Yeah. What she said.

Did you ever start writing something with no idea where it’s going?

Me too.

In a nutshell, my 93-year-old mother, my independent, living on her own for the first time ever for 10+ years since my dad died, exasperating, infuriating, Scrabble- and crossword-loving, card-playing, remarkable, enigmatic Mum, died a couple weeks ago. Just 4-1/2 weeks after we learned she had cancer.

[Expletive deleted] cancer.

On the day of her funeral, we learned that my 78-year-old mother-in-law’s recently diagnosed breast cancer has in fact metastasized throughout her body. My petite, giving, Silver Sneakers-going, husband-and-son-doting, cookie-baking, bird-feeding, daughter-in-law-welcoming mother-in-law is now facing the fight of her life, for her life. Because of cancer.

[Expletive deleted] cancer.

And so, nothing else I might write here seems worthwhile or meaningful. Except perhaps to note that most people — even utter strangers — are extraordinarily kind in the face of others’ misfortune. (Making the one person who should have been and wasn’t — a cemetery employee — all the more shameful in comparison.) Friends are downright breathtaking in their compassion and caring. Family is utterly essential. Sisters who care-give with you, laugh with you, cry with you, support you, lean on you, and sustain you are the greatest gift your parents ever gave you. And a husband who worries over you, holds you, grieves with you, and loves you even when all your love back is occupied elsewhere is the greatest gift God ever gave you.

That and the gift of a loving mom…or two.

Hmmmm…so that’s where this post was headed.

My mother is a poem
I’ll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.
~ Sharon Doubiago 

On faith, hope, and worry

I’m sure there is some tenet of some religion (or many religions) that holds that worry isn’t cool because it’s a sign you don’t have enough faith in the good Lord above. I’m sure I’ve heard this preached, or read it preached, and I’m sure I believe it.

I’m sure there is a school of intellectual discourse that holds that worry isn’t cool because it’s fruitless. Worry doesn’t change what will or won’t be; it only makes you miserable. I’m sure I believe it.

I’m sure I have always loved the poem Desiderata since I first read it posted on one of the secretary’s bulletin boards at the first job I ever had. It talks about not giving in to worry:

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

I’m sure I believe it.

As sure as I am of these, I’m also sure I’m a worrier. A gut-clenching, heavy-hearted, deep-sighing worrier.

Like my dad. Not at all like my mom. She takes after my grandpap, who seemed to define the word happy-go-lucky. I sure didn’t get the h-g-l gene.

I’m sure the moments, minutes, hours, even years of my life lost to worry have never accomplished a darn thing. Nothing desirable anyway.

So why does it persist? Do I lack the faith…the intellect…the soul of a poet? All three?

If I pray to stop worrying, does that mean I have faith?

If I constantly tell myself it’s useless to worry, does that mean I’m smart?

If I keep going back to Desiderata, does that mean I have hope?

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what a lot of things mean. But I do know that that, at least, is not something to worry about. I wish I could convince myself that nothing else is either.

Let not your heart be troubled.
~ John: 14:1


Just easing back into things after a trip to Atlanta to be with my 3 sisters. This used to be an annual event — our Sisterfest — but we hadn’t done it in 6 years or so. Thanks to my Atlanta sister’s excellent hosting and pampering skills (she’s the middle child — always aiming to please), we visiting sisters had a great, relaxing time (although I’m not convinced SHE did). And I’m sure I gained 5 lbs. in 5 days, happily tossing aside the last 5 months of dieting to eat absolutely everything in sight. It was heaven, on many levels.

I didn’t take a camera — sometimes taking pictures of the 4 of us together can be a little too “Picture of Dorian Grey” for my taste — except that we’re aging in real life, too, not just in pictures.

But I was glad to have my phone camera to snap a few shots of whimsy.

My favorite is this…on my seat on AirTran Flight 993, non-stop service from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, someone made my day.

Someone fun and mischievous and talented who sat in that same seat sometime before me had knitted or crocheted a “cozy” around the tray table arm. (I’m thinking crochet, since I don’t know if they let you have knitting needles in your carry-on!) Seamless, it would have to be cut or unraveled to remove.

No way of knowing how long it’s been there. I didn’t notice it for a while. When I did, my sister and I checked all the seats around us, wondering if this was some new design element. But no, it was just for me.

How cute. How unexpected. I’m sure I’d love the woman who did it (because, you know, it had to be a woman).

My other “wish I had a camera” moment came on our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

They had a “living wall” — something Mike and I have talked about adding to our side patio, but haven’t managed to execute yet.

It’s so cool. Chock-full of herbs and succulents, it looks and smells great. A guy was watering it by wringing out a wet sponge over the plants. In Atlanta’s heat, I imagine that would be a constant battle…or they have some other, faster watering method too.

I want one!

I’m also a sucker for garden art.

Loved this rustic and beautiful St. Francis statue.

Coveted this awesome wrought gate.

As my sister and I noted, there’s nothing like a trip through someone else’s glorious garden to make you feel like you better get home and get to work.

So I am. Too bad it’s not all in the garden.

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.
~ Author Unknown

« Older entries Newer entries »