To Push or Let Go

My mother passed away nine weeks ago now, and my siblings and I still have not gotten around to writing an obituary for her. I’ve been anxious to get it done for five weeks now and the response from them, at that time, was “There is no timetable for submitting an obituary so what’s the rush?” One of my sisters admitted she was avoiding working on it. I understand there is no timetable for publishing one, but I can’t help but feel like the longer we wait to write it, the less of a chance we ever will write one as a family. I am so torn between pushing them to start working on it and just waiting until they are ready. We are all processing this immense loss that we are all experiencing. After much contemplating about it, I decided this morning that I’m going to go ahead and write a draft of one and e-mail it to them just to see what they say. I can see one of three things happening if I do this. One, they will tell me that it’s okay and that I should go ahead and publish it. Two, my siblings will say to me that it’s a good start and they will edit it and make suggestions. Or three, they will react with anger and tell me that they will work on it in their own time. But, I can’t let their possible reactions stop me from doing what I feel my mother would want. When she could still read the newspaper, she would always look at the obituaries, and one thing that would drive her crazy was when she came across an obituary that was printed months after the person had died. I know in my heart how upset she would be to know that over two months had passed and there still wasn’t a published obituary for her.

I’ve also found that deciding to write an obituary and actually creating one are two substantially different things. How do you summarize the life of your Mother in less than 300 words? How do you take over 80 years of experiences and life and compress it into a newspaper-friendly size? Over the past several weeks I have tried to write one in fits and starts, but nothing ever sounds good enough to honor her. Nothing has even come close to capturing the magic and grace that was my mother. I can feel my resolve waffling again. I just want to follow my siblings lead and put it on a shelf somewhere and not work on it or think about it. Knowing that’s not what my mom would want though, won’t allow me to do that. The bottom line, in all this, rambling, is that I know what needs to be done. I need to push through this apprehension and feeling of inadequacy and do what my mom would have wanted. This obituary needs to be written sooner rather than later.

Historical Excavation

There’s a spot in the woods up the way from my sister’s old house. From the dirt road it looks like the surrounding forest but walk in about fifteen feet and you start noticing stones in the ground. From underneath the dirt and leaves that cover the ground like a tattered quilt, an old foundation materializes. Who knows how long it has been here. Long enough for the wooden structure to have melted into the forest floor. What remains must be hunted for. My nephew and I have our weapons of choice: shovels. We scrape away the soggy leaves and uncover the damp earth underneath. We slop a pile of leaves off to one side to clear away a larger section. From the surface there is nothing noticeable, some rocks emerging like miniature mountains. My nephew picks a random spot and pulls up some dirt.  We eagerly look through it and find nothing. Repeating this process three more times our excitement begins to fade as we continue to find nothing. Sitting on a nearby stump we wonder if my sister’s husband has sent us on some goose chase to keep us out from underfoot. My nephew wants to go back home. I don’t. I stand up and kick some of the dirt in the last hole we dug and notice something. A glimpse of something whiter than the surrounding brownish black. I crouch down and he comes over and we start clearing away the filth. A face appears and a shoulder and an arm. It’s the head and torso of an old china doll. Who knows long how long she has slumbered here. Suffocated by what had buried her. It is like we have resurrected her from the dead. We find a nearby stream and cleanse her like a Baptism. The sun is sinking behind the trees and I decide we must go home. As we look at each other, and share the same expression, we both know we will be back here tomorrow to see what other treasures lurk beneath our feet.

The House Wren

The drooping string of Christmas lights hanging from the porch roof makes an excellent perch the little house wren decided. He had been busy flying to and fro working on the nest under the eaves. His little feet grip the plastic wires in between the colored bulbs and he gazes out onto the yard his head moving every which way to scan for danger. He has been busy all morning and is only vaguely aware of the figure behind the window watching him intently. This is his second spring here and he is used to the comings and goings from the house. Last year the hanging plant, sitting on the porch floor, was his favorite perch but he enjoyed the slight swinging motion the light string provided when the warm sunny breeze blew. Suddenly a bit of colored string tangled in the grass catches his eye and with a light motion he pushes off and it’s back to work.

Guys! You Gotta See This!

I fell in love with this piece of writing the moment I read it and had to share it with more people.

Over-sensitive is an understatement. Sometimes it’s hard to function. Like those days when every human interaction is as tense as tracing the edge of a razor. Conversation is nightmarish. Each rhetorical intonation is internalized. Analyzed. Immediately personalized. Muscles ache from muted intensity. Posture reflects defeat, bowing with hollowed fatigue. Somatic torture of the soul. Believing […]

via Each Day, Try Again — The Brass Whale.com

Not Quite Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing political posts every Sunday but I’m finding it difficult to find a topic I want to write about. Everything just seems so complicated, complex and overwhelming right now. From Syria to our relationship with Russia and the upcoming talks with North Korea there is so much history and too many characters to keep straight. My brain is still in sick mode and feels so foggy and apathetic to writing anything of relevance.  I’m too focused on getting better so I can take care of my mom when she gets out of the hospital, which is looking more and more like the outcome of her hospitalization, which is a good thing. I am planning on returning to Sunday’s political posts, just not quite yet. So stay tuned.

Same Ocean, Different Time

Alexandra found herself back in her old spot on the point overlooking the ocean. Time had passed so quickly and here she was once again. But it was a completely different situation now. When she was here before the ocean had looked ugly and dark and dreary. It reflected her own life as it had been. Now she stood there as the Queen. No one had seen it coming, least of all her. But the stars had formed a once in an eternity connection and aligned in just the right way. Now the same ocean that had held such dread for her was glimmering and shining just like her future.

Possession and Protection

Michael snaked around the ground level of the house, arms wrapped around the ancient tattered manuscript now in his possession. He feels as protective of it as he would his own child. The secrets it held were the key to his brother’s illustrious career as an author. A career that should have been Michael’s if his brother hadn’t stolen the book from their grandfather. Moving past the doors to the study, he couldn’t resist going within the walls of the sanctuary his brother had built. Bookshelves lined the walls and books lined the shelves.  Moving to sit at his brother’s desk, Michael picked up one of the many pencils that were strewn on the surface. Opening the book and skimming down the list of crossed off names lining the page he came to his brother’s.  Crossing it out, Michael wrote his own. A warm glow emanated from the pages and wound its way up his arm. He hadn’t expected the power of the book to feel like liquid fire and he bit his tongue as not to scream. Every cell of his body felt like it was exploding and his vision blurred for a moment or two until the pain began to fade. Rising on weak knees, he made his way to the front door and left. As he drove away he didn’t notice the figure of his brother standing in the upstairs window watching him leave.

Upstairs Christopher took a step back and sank onto the bed feeling the power pulling away from him. It had been with him for so long that he felt himself hollowing out and knew time was short.

“I took the book to protect you. All my success paled in comparison to that job. I hope you are ready for what the book brings you. I know I wasn’t.” He said to himself hoping somehow the words would reach his brother.

The next morning his assistant found him where Christopher lay, quite cold and very dead with an unnerving twist in his lips that had been left behind when his soul departed.

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When I first saw those five words I thought “There’s no way I can make any kind of sense with those words.” I know, total defeatist attitude, but come on a snake and a pencil? So, I just started playing with them and had a brainstorm to turn “snake” the noun into “snake” the verb and it just kind of went from there. Snaking around, to me, sounds like sneaking around and led towards a darker storyline. I’m going to keep playing with it and see where it goes. I just wanted to give you guys a sneak peek at where my brain is these days.