I decided it was time to return to blogging after being away for 8 months. I found this entry written in June, 2012, but never published.
I am in the space between. I am not taking care of Mom and I am not at home where chores wait. I am allowing my thoughts to roll in and out like the ocean waves I am watching. Nothing is sticking for long, which is a good thing–cleansing, even.
I finished reading Then, Again by Diane Keaton yesterday. Her mother wrote in 85 journals over her lifetime. Diane wrote the book as a legacy honoring her relationship with her mother who died from Alzheimer’s Disease. She uses entries from her mother’s journal, her journal, letters, and recorded phone messages. I recommend it. “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth wrote. Whether we agree with someone or not, listening to or reading another’s words can bring understanding and respect in spite of our differences.
Words anchor our relationships. When they slip away from someone we love, it is inevitable that we feel unhinged. It has been over 6 years since Mom experienced several strokes and loss of words. I miss her spoken and written words. I miss her fussing at us about leaving the door open between the kitchen and backroom and not wiping our feet, tracking in sand. I miss her praying the blessing at dinner time and playing “pretend” with the grandkids. I miss seeing her singing in the choir at church. I miss her cards and letters. Each one found from the past is cherished. I hear her voice in my heart.
Words that we hear or read can be doorways to adventures, love, friendships, acts of kindness, finding ways to make this world a better place to live, experiencing the Divine, and anything you might imagine. Books have been an important part of my caregiving journey. Some are for escape from the sameness of each day. Some are for knowledge to make the journey with fewer bumps in the road.
My husband and I spent the last week in Panama City Beach with 2 daughters, 1 granddaughter, 1 grandson and a son-in-law in a 2 bedroom condo. It was a closeness that I cherish, though at times I found myself looking for opportunities to have a moment alone. I am sure I had company in that thought. Playing Apples to Apples brought chuckles and relief from any bits of edginess that might have overtaken us.
Mom, Kittye and my nephew, Kurt drove from the far western side of the panhandle to visit and bring vintage jewelry that Mom had worn and enjoyed over the years. She was ready to let go of it. Watching my daughters going through the necklaces, pins and bracelets and my mom’s smiles as they remembered playing with them as a child made me tear up a bit. It was such a sweet gathering of generations. Olivia wore bracelets up to her elbow. Grayson pranced around with a couple on his arm, not wanting to miss a thing. I love Mom’s expression when she first catches a glimpse of her great-grandchildren as they came in from the beach. Kittye made it all happen and I appreciate her giving her time and energy. All of us gathered around the table to enjoy Buddy’s Seafood steamed shrimp. Not much conversation then, as we were savoring the spicy goodness, though we did reminisce about Mom boiling shrimp for our family.
Olivia’s delight at finding the gold doubloons buried in the sand will be one of my fondest memories. Her aunt caught the joy in a photo. I am still learning about uploading photos and I am not sure how to get that out of her Picasa album. Grayson and Olivia were overjoyed to dig in the sand and dance in the surf.
Our last night together, we went to Hammerhead Fred’s. We ate outside. It was warm in our section, no overhead fan. I think the outside temperature was around 95 degrees. Olivia was sitting next to me. She was coloring with the crayons she was given by the waitress and being chatty. Then, her eyes went into a stare at the shark she was coloring and her head dropped to the table. She was sound asleep. I laid her sweet head on my lap and there she stayed until her daddy picked her up to go back to the condo. The fish tacos that I had were delicious, nice and light for a warm evening. The live music made the festive atmosphere complete with a strawberry daiquiri topped with whipped cream in a large, insulated take-home mug that was printed with Hammerhead Fred’s logo enjoyed by unnamed daughter. I look forward to more great times together in PCB.
A pocket of time
hidden from the busy world
where gentle memories are born.
The silence of peace
the beauty of nature
the warmth of love.
Time away from time.
From The Soul of the Island by Minnie Merton