Saturday, May 12, 2012

Heart Break

May 11, 2012

Last night when I kissed my dad on the cheek I promised I’d drop by tonight or in the morning.

Shery, I HAVE NOT blocked you from seeing your dad the SW did. I just wanted you to know that your dad wants to see you, but you have to speak with the social worker at the rehab. as well. I can't change it. Your dad knows NOTHING of what has happend since April 9 2010. He remembers nothing, If you want to see him make a appointment to see the SW and then you can see your dad.
Your dad wanted to know how you and I have gotten along. I told him that you and I have had a rough time, but we have gotten through it. Because it is not about you or me but it is getting your dad home. When you do see your dad after seeing the SW the only thing that he needs is happy positive thoughts because for the next 2 months he could have a major coranary or stroke...your dad has signed a DNR. I am sorry that it has worked out the way it has.

Sent May 10, 2012 from me via text message.

I would like to see my dad this afternoon around 3 or 4 this afternoon by myself.

I talked to the Social Worker.  There was no requirement I meet with her at the rehab.  My dad did want to see me.

Response May 10, 2012

Your dads medical condition is still very fragile.  You are welcome to come and see him but I will not be leaving his side.

Sent May 10, 2012 from me via text message

Then we can have a talk w social wker and staff when I get there.  I will not subject myself to any further emotional physical or verbal abuse by you.  You hanging up on me during a simple phone call proves that I am not safe from you animosity towards me.

Response May 10, 2012

I will still not be leaving his side and I will not allow you to do anything else to put him in jeopardy. 

My therapist tells me, “You did not marry her, your dad did.  Too bad he  has made so many poor choices in terms of his kids.” 
I take another Lorazepam. 

If I take two I cannot drive.

What do you make of all of this? 

I have choices.

I can subject myself to fights of will over seeing my dad, whether my visits have to be supervised or not, what I can and cannot talk to him about, what I can and cannot bring him.

I can subject myself to the further possibility of physical and verbal abuse. 

I can subject my dad to the hatred that vibrates the walls of his room—I have become the focus of all of his wife’s anger and frustration. 

I choose to let it all go. 

And wait.

My dad will get better.

Or he won’t.

My dad made his choice of partners.  In the end, she will be the director of his final days, whenever those may be.  

So far, in these days when he has been as close to death as anyone, three of his daughters have been driven away.

But she’s in charge, and damn it, everyone better fall in line with that.

No compromise, no consultation, no information.  Don’t talk to the doctors, don’t talk to the nurses.  I don’t need your advise,  I’ve managed to get along these 40+ years, what makes you think I need your help now. 

“I will not allow you to do anything else to put him in jeopardy.”

Do you know what she is talking about?  Cause I sure don’t.

If you get any insights let me know.

Love you--Mom

Living Mothers Day

May 12, 2012

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  Your sister sent me a Mother’s Day card.  It is the first in many years.  I bought myself a bouquet of pink roses from you and put her card in front of it.

Happy Mother’s Day to me.


Aunt Karen called me earlier this week.  “We are going to Tillicum Village for a salmon bake on Sunday.  Want to go with us.?”  “Us” being your cousins Lisa and Ryan.  Lisa’s kids, Tanner, Alicia and baby Annalise.  Annalise you have not met. 
“We take a boat to Blake Island for a fun filled day.” 

“A boat to Blake Island for a fun filled day?”  I asked.

“Yep.”  She answered. 

“Count me in.” 

This morning my heart was beating funny in my chest.  It does that sometimes.  I thought “What if this is my last morning, my last afternoon, my last evening?”

Do you know how when someone asks you a question you really have to think about it?  You are shocked at the frankness of the question?  You have to spend a few moments with the question?

I did not want to answer. 

I did not want to accept the implication.

Taking a deep breath, willing my heart to find its rhythm, a thought rises up in me. 

Answer the question.  Be the question.

Live the question.

I hug my pillow around my head as the tears fall. 

First, I must take a moment to mourn.  Mourn my childhood.  Mourn the mother I never had. Mourn the years of adulthood that I lost fighting for survival.  Mourn the years I spent in marriages that kept me down.  Mourn the death of you.  Mourn your sister’s anger and estrangement.  Mourn my father and that I cannot be with him.

Nested in my bed, my home, sun shining through the blinds, birds chirping over morning seed the question persists.

“What if this is my last morning, my last afternoon, my last evening?”

What if?

First I let the tears finish falling.  Accept the grace of feeling.  Let myself linger there until I have had enough.

Sadie, laying next to me, shifts her weight against me.

This is a day of sunshine.  A day for planting seeds and seedlings.  For watering things that will grow, provide color, a place for butterflies, birds, bunnies, and a little tree frog.  This is a day to build cages around new growth, allowing it every chance of survival. 

This is a day I will plant things that will nourish me through fall and winter.

I bought my dad a Martha Stewart Contour Pillow for his neck.  The hospital pillows and the pillows at the rehab center are like hard stones. 

On Friday I asked him, “Are those pillows uncomfortable for you dad?”
“Yes.”  He answered.

“Would you like me to bring you one more comfortable?” 

“That would be nice.”  He smiled.

After I finish planting, I will drop the pillow off to him.  I know his wife will go ballistic.  I cannot help that. 

I have not interfered with her relationship with my father.  She is his wife.   

Why is she interfering with my relationship with him?  I am his daughter. 

I cannot ponder questions that have no answers. 

But this “what if”?  It speaks of possibilities.

My tears water seedlings of change, of choice, of mindfulness this mourning.



I’m about to come alive.

I can’t cry hard enough.

My life is brilliant this morning. 

Because I am going to spend the day living.

What if.

I love you baby girl.  My heart is full of you.

Friday, May 11, 2012


May 5, 2012



Trying to catch

for branches

for a safe landing.

The wind has been knocked out of me.

Breathe again.  

It may feel like white hot briquettes are being fanned in your chest. 

My heavy chest rises. 

Breathe.  Deeper this time.

Steve is talking to me.  I try to focus on the words.  Dinosaurs.  Bugging you.  In the back of your mind.

“Hey kid.”  The  sound of snapped fingers, I am back to him.  I look up, meet his eyes.

“Yes?”  I linger on the word, melt it from my mouth.

“You o.k.?”  He asks.

“I am.”  In that one moment I am certain of that.  I am fully aware of o.k.ness. 
Steve smiles, goes back to the orchestra of sound he creates in the kitchen.  Teaspoons dropping on each other in a drawer.  Oatmeal transferred from the cardboard Quaker Oats box into a plastic container.  The whisper of a cotton dishtowel over a porcelain plate.  Water running.  The sound of the tomato flesh giving way to serrated blade.

Crushing the Quaker Oat box, Steve comments “130 years and counting.  That’s cool…………..Way Cool.”

I am 57 and counting. 

Lately I’ve been hearing you, a little voice inside of me.
“I miss you.” 
“I miss you too.”  I answer. 

And I write to you.  Because you always understood, understand.  There is a mother tongue mine, to yours.

Today is Saturday.  I have not seen my dad for two weeks and one day. 

Yesterday, a text. 

Sherry, Dad would really like a visit from you.  Charge nurse said make your appointment with the social worker right away so you may do that.  Oh need to tell, still NO outside foods.  Didn’t want you to bring something all the way from and be told no by the nurses or docs.  So make that appointment, have that meeting and go to go to visiting.

I can’t do crazy.

It took me years to separate from it.
To shield you and your sister from it.

But did I really?  Shield you from it?
My past so much a part of me. 
Always driving me.  Away.  Always running.  Away.

Even in my dreams, I was not safe.

It was hard to see, experience the world around me as I gathered speed for lift off.  My focus always forward, on some point perceived better than where I was. 

I thought motherhood would come naturally.  Instinctively.

The instinct I felt was a fierce need to protect and love you.   What was in my heart I knew.  The rest I had to learn.

Did my mom ever feel the fierce need to protect and love me?  I can’t remember. She died five years ago, and I can’t ask her.

A question haunted me months after your death, did you know how much I love you, loved you from that first moment I knew your cells were dividing, creating you in my womb?

“You should have an abortion.” You yelled at me before you died two months later.

“You never wanted me.”  You sobbed at me through the phone.

“Where ever would you get that idea?”  I asked—core melting down.  “I chose to have you.  I never wanted anything more than to hold you in my arms and see your little face.”

I chose to have you.
Gathering speed for lift off. 
Hoping instinct was enough.

Weaning you from my breast when you were two.  Holding your hand crossing the street.  Making sure your vaccinations were current.  Feeding you, bathing you, clothing you, reading you stories, teaching you, teaching you, teaching you. 

All the time learning.

My focus on points ahead.  Lifting off.  Trying to pay attention to you and Erin.

Montessori, Head Start, Girl Scouts, Blue Birds, Seattle Girls Choir, Dance Lessons, Ski Lessons, Summer Camps.  Disney World, Disney Land, Disney Cruises.  Cabbage Patch Dolls, My Little Pony, Barbie Dolls and Barbie Clothes.

The first time I left you at a daycare.  I pulled out of the parking lot, you at the window lifting a blade of the venetian blind, sobbing.  I could see you calling for me—“Mommy” as a hand appeared, pulling you from the window.  You were two.

I made it up as I went.  Mothering.  With no experiences I wanted draw on.

You and your sister expecting me to know, to be an expert.
Me trying to be mother, father, grandma, grandpa.  Filling in all the blank spaces left behind.

I have not seen my dad for two weeks.  The grandpa you did not know.  The father I ran away to Remann Hall to get away from.  The father I reconciled with and grew close to in these later years for both of us.  Forgiveness has as been as good for me as it was for him. 

          Sherry, your dad would really like a visit from you.

I am tentative about walking back into crazy. 
I can’t do crazy anymore.

And now I have a choice.

Love you—thanks for watching over me.