Showing posts with label losing a mother. Show all posts
Showing posts with label losing a mother. Show all posts

Sep 20, 2012

Spirits That Hum

If you sit down

on the grass

in the sun

with the wind




for spirits

of souls you have loved

you will hear them

if you let your mind

at ease

and stop thinking

they will come to you

and speak

with a whisper

you will feel them

in the tall grass

with your fingertips

their voices

will tell you

they miss you

as much

as you miss them

they'll surround you


they leave you

they won't tell you

where they are going

just that you can't follow

you'll stand up and walk away

and just when you think

they will never return

the wind will blow

the sun will shine

and somewhere in the distance

you will hear

a hum

Sep 14, 2012


The Jewish New Year is quickly approaching.

There will be honey and Challah and prayers and rejoicing.

There will be families and loved ones and grandparents with grandchildren and aging parents with their own children.

There will be laughter and jokes while enjoying dinner and lunch and walking home together arm in arm, hand in hand with the people most important to you.

But there will also be fresh cuts that will turn into raw scars and never fully heal.

There will be lasting images of the end of a life well lived packed with pain and suffering that served as a great injustice and indignity to the person that they were - a person who cared for you with every molecule of their soul and left this world too soon and too brutally.

And you won't forget because you can't forget.

Just when you think you may be having an okay moment, your stomach turns and you feel as if you are going to be sick except you are sick already - sick, exhausted, beaten and torn and there is nothing you can do to dull the pain.

And when your family sits down to say farewell to the year that has passed and to welcome the year that is present, there will be an empty chair at the dining room table.

Some of you will choose to look away while others will stare in utter disbelief and question "Are they really gone? Will I never see them again?

And there will be a crude silence and an image will form for just a second - their face - their lips speaking your name - and then it will disappear just as you were starting to think it may last.

Every family has someone they miss and someone they wish they could bring back.

And then there would be no empty chairs at any tables - everyone would be together at least for that one meal, that one celebration, that one very sweet moment.

Empty chairs - there are far too many and they will never be filled.

Sep 1, 2012

Watching Someone You Love Suffer

I’ve been writing a lot about suffering lately. I realize that there are more cheerful things to write about but few as powerful. The truth is I would rather suffer myself than watch someone I love suffer. After what I have seen in the last 48 hours I would also say that being beside that bed in ER and in ICU is like watching a horror movie in which the images are so disturbing that you have to turn the TV off or change the channel; the obvious difference being that in real life you cannot go backward or forward when time freezes you right there in that awful moment.
And anyone who has been through the maze that is our medical system can tell you that there are days when you think they will stabilize and although they will never be back to themselves or on their way home; they are still somewhat okay or as best as can be expected. The light in their eyes is present and their personalities, sarcasm, jokes and all are in full swing. They just don’t feel so well and it becomes this rollercoaster of constantly being at the hospital other than work and lying awake at night at home and every day is different even though it is mostly the same.
The diagnosis changes and then changes again. The fire alarm is pulled and you all come running and the water is still dripping, more damage has been done but the structure is still miraculously standing and you wonder “How long can they hang on?” “How long can we hang on?”
And the family either unites or goes at one another with daggers. I am happy to say that we united and support one another and walk side by side with only our loved ones best interest at hand. As the end grows closer and the body starts to give in, give up and deteriorate, the person begins to vanish. The light has long since left their eyes, the face becomes almost glued and stuck in one single sad expression, the hands and feet grow cold and the confusion becomes their reality.

All of the families surrounding ours look as if they were taken on a long bus ride – the windows left closed, the stops for breaks few and far between, the ability to sleep sitting up and in constant motion impossible and no appetite for anything except prayers, prayers that are asked each morning before seeing the changes from the night before and each night wondering what will happen before we get there the next day and prayers that change as time goes on.
First you pray for a good outcome and that they will be home soon. Then you find out they are never coming home so you pray for them to deal with it and not be afraid and for the system to place them somewhere safe and clean. Then you deal with a sudden crisis, worse than the first one which was an accident or a medical condition that put them there in the first place. This crisis is a sudden shift in their condition and its downhill from there. So you pray for time and for things to turn around. Then you realize that time is running out and that something that only knows the motion of forward can never turn around.
And toward the end you begin to pray for the one thing you prayed against because you have seen it all and neither you nor they can take it anymore.
So you pray for a kind, gentle exit and you pray against suffering and carrying on with no quality of life.
And you pray that you will remember the magical moments of a life well lived rather than those final images of the little that is left of them that isn’t them at all.
In our lifetimes you will suffer and so will I but watching a loved one suffer is far worse. 

Sending strength to all those coping with pain and inevitable loss.

Aug 23, 2012

Watching a Parent Vanish Before Your Eyes

Our parent’s age and they either go suddenly or slowly – either way is awful.

And as much as we prepare ourselves for the obvious inevitability; we are never ready to say goodbye.

I would say the worst thing by far is witnessing their demise.

When they first become ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated, they are still themselves but as it drags on and drags everyone along with it, the family is left exhausted, spent and staring at a petrified, confused stranger in a hospital bed who use to be their parent.

There are medical professionals who are very kind and do all they can.  It’s important to realize that every patient who is admitted to their floor is followed by a long parade of characters consisting of family members all with their own personalities and idiosyncrasies, opinions and demands. They are upset, tired and fed up and that can make for a very unpleasant atmosphere for all.

It is hard to remain neutral when you find your loved one curled up, shivering in their bed, house coat open, bruises from falling because the bar was not put up or no one responded to the bell, a meal left sitting and rotting because they can’t feed themselves and the staff are too overburdened to do so and the tremendous guilt you feel in missing that one meal – any meal.

But the most gut-wrenching thing is when you come to the realization that they no longer know who you are and they just stare past you in oblivion. They mumble and nothing but a soft hum can be heard.

Yet you sense they recognize the crisis at hand and how scary it must be for them to feel locked up inside of their own bodies so badly wanting to escape and turn the whole disaster around.

All this while the family stands by the bed waiting for what is about to come down without knowing when.

And the other parent watches on as if it is a car wreck. They are in the passenger's seat, the car is on fire and they are unable to reach out and save them.

You stare at your cell phone and jump when it rings. You can’t sleep because you expect a call to come in any moment and you wonder if you should get in your car in your pajamas and head to their room to be there for everything – for nothing.

This time comes in all of our lives. It hits hard like a kick to the stomach and a punch to the head. One minute you are standing and the next you are down on your knees praying for them to go in peace and praying for them to stay.


Oct 25, 2011

As Beautiful as a Mother

Nothing is as beautiful as you
No field of wild flowers
No wild running river
No rainbow
No summers kiss

You are beautiful as a person
You are everything as a friend
You are my past, my present, my future
You are my beginning, my middle, my end

I carry you with me wherever I go, wherever I am
I know you support my every decision as much as my every mistake
I see you when you are not there or here or anywhere
I strive to emulate you in gesture, kindness and compassion

You are beautiful
You are irreplaceable

You are my Mom
I love you

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