Ram and I made a big ham and brought it to my Mother’s around noon. She was having trouble breathing, her breath kept catching in her throat but she just ignored it, “I’m fine,” she said when I asked her, “Are you ok?”
I know she enjoyed looking at the huge ham we brought down…it was over the range of normal, it could have fed twenty and we were a small group. It was delicious with the thick brown sugar glaze on top.
Kitty, as we called her, and Ram and I hung out after dinner. She said, “Do you have a minute. I just want to show you something, this is the quilt I made that won an award in 1980.” (small section pictured above)
She stood in the dining room and displayed it for us…she was smiling. It is a quilt I had seen before, and a story I had heard before, but I paid particular attention.
And that was the last best moment with my Mother. That is how I can remember her smiling as if she just won the prize, as if there really was something to be proud of in this thing we call life…something we can touch, feel and gaze on and leave for others. As if to say, I know I’m near the end, please don’t forget.
September 10th is my Mother’s birthday…she would have been 87. I want to believe she is somewhere helping others make beautiful quilts.
Click here to access the pdf of my book, My Rural Broadband Journey.
I wrote this book in blog form from 2011 to 2012. It is now 2018, Spectrum, Time Warner Cable’s replacement, MAY be connecting us soon. In the meantime,
thank heavens for Clarity Connect, or we would have had nothing for these last six years but HUGHES NET aka DIAL UP!
We are watching the second season of Anne with an E based on Anne of Green Gables. Never, on such humid summer days, has winter looked so inviting. The frosted grass in clouds and sun and snow tipped leaves.
The great thing about the Netflix series is that it shows the inevitable hurtles of life and how people help each other through them. It also shows the resilience of a soul. Anne had been badly abused in an orphanage but she finds her way to people who love her and she hopes…she hopes to see the absolute wonders of life and celebrate them daily.
If you read my blog, you will note that this year has been one of incredible sadness. My dear dear friend Joe passed on October 26 2017 and my mother died on July 13. My Mother’s death a striking blow as it is truly the end of an era for my husband and I. We enjoyed our visits with her, her stories of growing up, and her constant comment tea. We also enjoyed the occasions when we would meet up with my siblings at her place.
But channelling Anne with an E,”isn’t it just wonderful to be alive today and safe and look out at this big tree from my balcony.”
And isn’t it cool that this Quaking Aspen was nurtured over 40 years into it’s current height by my husband. I am going out to pick tomatoes now…John McCain said be grateful for each hour. That is my intention today!
Today I walked into Sage Chapel at Cornell to pray. I thought it might be nice. As I arrived, a brief walk from my office, I soaked in the quiet of this beautiful building with no one around.
I remember the first time I walked into this chapel in the winter of December 1984. At the time, there was a road in front of it and parking. I was with my parents and we were attending a wedding. I don’t think I ever saw the bride again and the couples we sat with, maybe once or twice.
1984 was 34 years ago. It struck me as peacefully odd that I ended up here all these years later. I prayed for my parents and everyone I know. Then I thought how many beautiful pictures and angles one could take of this chapel.
It is like life…angles…one snapshot here, another there, people coming and going.
I asked my husband how I would ever get over my Mother’s death. You do and you will…you will remember her but she will seem so far away he said, not verbatim but in essence.
My Mother feels so far far away and she is only 39 days into the either. She told me once I would miss her someday and she was right. It seems at this moment like she was never here, as if it was a dream.
My Mother’s funeral was 30 days ago…I don’t feel good…I look at the world and it seems to be bland, out of air. It was the saddest death and the saddest goodbye…the funeral music was so lovely but I could hardly hear it. We have gone on, I guess.
I play with my doggies, I pick vegetables, I have parties. Parties to make me forget like Mrs. Dolloway. Somehow when the flowers come out and the table is set, and the meat is in the oven and the wine is in the frig, all seems right with the world even though it isn’t.
I try not to talk about it because if I do, I start talking and I can’t shut up. My mother told me that this is what happened when I turned one and if to validate it seven years later, my report card said, “Claire continues to talk incessantly.” People don’t like it when I talk. A boss told me once not to ask questions which hurt my naieve child within. My father called me mouth one year on my birthday, in the newspaper, in public, this too hurt me. Someone wrote a nasty comment on my blog shortly after my Mom died…it made me so sad because other people told me how lovely that particular blog was. But that really wasn’t what made me sad, what made me sad is that the person didn’t sign their name and so I was left wondering: am I hurting someone? So I have been quiet.
I go to work. I walk the trails, I keep planning parties. And I play with my dogs. My dogs…always ready to sink their teeth and their mouths wide open into anything I give them…bones, beach balls…whatever. My dogs, always happy to hear my voice and jump on me with love, and lick me until I pet them again and again.
It is a sad day when your Mother dies and it is an even sadder day when you wake up thirty plus days later and know that the only place you will ever see her again is in your dreams. But it is a good day when you realize that your dogs have a message in their play…what truths their mouths convey, what nature giveth let no one taketh away.
Not the book
Vinegar Hill sounds like a place
That would only grow honey
But I am sure that all those people
The ones in the land of honey
I am sure they got their troubles too
I’m sure that those people singing to God on high in the park pavilions
They probably got their demons
But it’s fun to pretend
That all is fine on Vinegar Hill
And that once the steeple opens
To let out all the people
They go home and to work
And their egos surrender to the will of the Lord
Are you kidding me grief, are you really back again. .my goodness, I just barely left you seven months ago when our dear friend Joe passed.
And here you come again . Great! Sucker punch me again and again only to exhaust me, put me to sleep, and then force me to rise again to another round of blows.
The thing is grief there is nothing I can do about you…I can’t just kick you out, I can’t just fast forward to the next best day I am going to have so I have to tolerate you.
I have to accept that you, my most unwelcome visitor, is here again and much too soon . I have to do stuff even though you try with all your might to drag me to the ground.
So what to do…today I thought I better do it all…for example, plan my next vacation, dump all my old books and old bank statements, clean the kitchen, but by noon I was shot. I was moving through a hot humid day and I felt stuck in jello that was fast solidifying.
I have to slow down and let my body and mind adjust to one of the greatest loses of a lifetime. The passing of my last parent.
So I decided I am going to weed slowly…slowly through the purselane taking over our garden and slowly through my bank statements.
And grief I am even going to slow you down, take my foot off the accelator a bit, find out what you are trying to help me do…listen to your wisdom and feel the closeness I feel to all that I have lost.