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One million ways to say good bye.

Mom and Catherine at Little Lake summer 2000

I just realized that all the visitors to this page today were termed Spam. That means that no one who really wanted to read stopped by.
Probably because there was nothing new to read.
Probably because you knew that I am six days away from the anniversary of Mom’s death and just a teensy bit gray and quiet today.
Probably because you, dear reader, know that I just got back from sharing my FeMail at the Museum of Motherhood in New York City on Monday.
Perhaps because you figured I’d be tired and tender and not write anything today.

Well, you are mostly right, as usual.
But, I have been writing.
I am on a self-imposed deadline to complete my non-fiction book proposal for Laundry Line Divine A Wild Soul Book for Mothers by next Tuesday.

Pond trees CBB

A few minutes ago I wandered over to Paige Orloff’s blog, Tales from the Park Side. In a post about grieving the loss of her old boyfriend, Paige pointed me to Marion Roach’s Memoir Project. And then I headed to The Sister Project, to Marion’s post about writing about grief. In it Marion asks the writer, as a jump-start, to complete a set of three lists with these headings: What I brought. What I heard. What I said.

So I did.
I love lists.

What I brought:

1. My daughter.
2. My husband.
3. A black outfit.
4. Lavender oil.
5. Comfortable clothing to sit next to her in.
6. My camera.
7. A few photographs.
8. Phone numbers.
9. Surety of her release.
10. The calm of the oldest daughter about to become matriarch.

What I heard:

1. The raspy shallow breathes of my mother.
2. Incessant noise of the nursing home.
3. Sticky shoes padding along the hallway.
4. Other elders, once the pillars of this small town, moaning in the hallways, calling out for help.
5. My aunts saying my mom’s name in just that Chicagoan way- “Joanne?”
6. Resolve in my stepfathers’ voice.
7. Wind whipping fall leaves past the single story building, wind on the roof, teasing leaves into small tornadoes in the parking lot outside the window.
8. My own strong heartbeat.
9. The silence of my husband’s calm presence.
10. All the songs we sang- from the “Weenie Man” to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, all the dear partings from the staff members as they came in to say farewell to Mom, and the absence of those who did not come for this moment of gray blue death swinging in to the room.

What I said:

1. What I wanted, which was to stay by her side as long as I could.
2. That it did not matter if I was not there for her last breath exactly.
3. That I needed a break, a rest and would sleep with my phone under my pillow.
4. Hello, I am here. I will be there in 5 minutes.
5. Will you come with me?
6. Do you want to sleep longer?
7. Mom is dying now.
8. She has gone.
9. No, she is still here.
10. Now, she is gone.

Light Drops Baldwin Hill

Gaining ground in handfuls today, all because of Paige and Marion and the desire to write it out for you, so you can know how it is for me and by the dearest chance that that will make a difference in your day.
All my love and thanks to my writing friends,
S