Category Archives: Grief

LIGHT AND WATER WALTZING

March 2, 2020

MOMMA IS DANCING

My mother once told me as we stood on a bridge overlooking a creek, “After I die and you see the sunlight dancing on the water, think of me. I will be in those sparkles. I will be part of the Light.”

My mother always loved to dance. I wish my father had taken her more often. When she lived alone she would put on a rousing piece of music and dance around her house. It was her exercise. Now, whenever I drive her somewhere I have classical music on. If it is upbeat and cheery she will wave her arms as though she is dancing or maybe conducting the orchestra. A big smile on her face, she will exclaim with childlike wonder about everything she sees.

In November I noticed an advertisement at the library for a dance class for folks with Parkinson’s or other disorders affecting mobility. I took her to one. She was in a terrible mood when I picked her up. But a few minutes into class she was smiling and doing her best to follow along with a dozen other people sitting in a Circle doing an odd mixture of ballet and movements to support brain pathways. Dancing in chairs!

Momma needs all the brain support she can get. She suffers from vascular dementia. She was only able to attend the class twice as she began to rapidly decline from Stage 5 into Stage 6 of her illness making it much more difficult for her to process information and also for her brain to direct her body what to do. Only six weeks later she is stumbling now and then into Stage 7, the final stage of this disease that devours a brain.

Occasionally she will cling to me… “I’m going to lose you!” she says.

“No, Momma. You won’t lose me. I’m here. I’ll always be here.”

Her eyes pleading, she shakes her head. “You will lose me. I’m, I’m, I think I’m slipping away.”

She’s right. We are losing Momma a brain cell at a time.

The other day I sat on her bed holding her hand after a severe episode had left her exhausted and sleeping. Whatever bitterness and disappointment still lingered in the holes and scars in my heart because of who my mother was not, because of what she was unable to do or give, because of what she didn’t know…quietly dissipated like shreds of fog succumbing to the Sun.

She was Enough. She is Enough. I gaze at her withered and ruined body in which she holds Divine and Sacred Light. Her body is a vessel meant to be filled up with Love. Mine too. All of us. Our bodies are vessels meant to hold Love and Light. She did her best to do so in the ways that she understood.

She did her best.

And soon, Momma, you will be that Light I see waltzing with the water in the bay.

WHAT’S UP WITH HER?

APRIL 17, 2018

THE MOODS OF MOTHER NATURE

One day last week…

I open my eyes to a lightening sky, grey melting into translucent blue — faint streaks of pink deepening into rose; setting the sky on fire. The ball of the Sun, orange and shimmering shyly peeks over the hill. The rosey clouds turn yellow then white as the Sun gathers all the color back to himself, now a flaming golden sphere slipping through the trees, breaking free, leaping high above the rooftops. Piles of charcoal grey clouds come racing across the ocean of sky, sails full. Soon a ceiling of slate has slidden into place, closing off all view of yellow Sun and blue ocean sky. The light of the Sun filters through — a cold drizzle of grey the color of water.

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Three days ago — April 14, 2018…

I wake up in the dark of dawn — the windows and doors are rattling, a great howling swirling about the eaves. After breakfast we decide to drive down to the Lake. It is difficult to open the back door as the wind presses hard against it. Running for the car, my mug of tea is nearly snatched from my fingers.
Arriving at the pier, we stand stunned watching Mother Nature roar and rage. FuryShe comes twisting down the Lake, pushing 12 foot waves over the pier walls, beating against the lighthouse, the bridge, and flinging herself as far out upon the land as she can reach, seal coating everything in ice: people, lamp posts, benches, birds, bushes and branches of trees. The parking lots are filling up with water. I stand silent, leaning into her, witness to her grief. My coat is crunchy with ice. My mittens stiff.

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Today — April 16, 2018

I drove past the Lake this afternoon. She is flat and brown, the color of rage spent.  She quietly kisses the shoreline.  The Sun is breaking up the clouds, shining through.

 

* Photo of Duluth Lighthouse on the shipping canal taken by David Jensen on 4-14-2018. Used with permission.