What I felt in each instance [when her parents died] was…regret for time gone by, for things unsaid, for my inability to share or even in any real way to acknowledge, at the end, the pain and helplessness and humiliation they each endured.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
How easy it came to us—why doesn’t Dad just [insert action here]: call the doctor, or get off his butt
and go up and sit with Mom, or say something, or agree to wearing Depends. Perhaps it depends on who
is doing the asking and who the doing. This saying is also true: you don’t know until you’ve been tried.
The one-year anniversary of my dad’s death is coming up this Monday. He was (not) dealing with his own cancer throughout my mom’s time on hospice. Peace to our ♥s!
Not a yarn: that my Grandma Boos taught me how to crochet. Yarn: the many, many skeins of my mom’s, now mine,
becoming coasters and afghans to brighten others’ days, tangible love handed down three generations.
My mom’s acrylic yarn is what I’m using to crochet small afghans for Project Linus, which distributes new handmade blankets to children in need (for example, in hospitals). I’m fortunate that there are Project Linus drop-off boxes in the JOANN fabric stores in my area. For the coasters, I’m using up her 100% cotton yarn, which can take the heat of a hot mug. There’s enough yarn for at least 200 coasters–it brightens my days, too, to be able to give them away. Peace to your ♥!
Upstairs, Mom. She’s stuck in her room. Dad’s downstairs, free to roam the house, though he mostly sits on the couch and sleeps.
I go up. Mom’s in bed, watching a game show. We both think the host looks better in blue. I guess some answers.
I head down, ask Dad if he needs more soda. No, he needs a big pain pill. “I don’t know,” he says. A refrain.
I go up to give Mom her lunch. It’s okay if I leave. Dad needs the company more than she does. She says.
I head down, scrounge lunch while Dad broods on the couch, eating squat. He still doesn’t know. Neither do I. So I smile.
It’s better than frowning, I hope, though it’s not amusing, how I go up and head down, torn between the two.
NaPoWriMo22 Day 14 — Today would have been my Dad’s 83rd birthday, the first since he died in January, seven weeks after my mom’s death. I’m still processing, and writing poems to capture different aspects of the experience. I wrote this one this morning. Peace to our ♥s!
Daffodils are a start. Warmer weather helps. Longer days, lighter days, all good. But not what I really need.
What I need (okay, really want) is summer, hours and hours steeping in the sun, healing from the outside in.
Then I think: skin cancer, rogue moles, sun damage. Then I write poems—fibs, shadormas, sijos—healing from the inside out.
NaPoWriMo22 Day 4 — A poem I’ve been pondering several weeks that finally came into its own as a series of shadormas. It happens to fit murisopsis‘s poetry scavenger hunt prompt #12, to write about healing. I now have 18 poems written in the wake of my parents’ deaths (see “Afterdeath“) and will post more of them once NaPoWriMo is over. I’m calling it my Afterdeath collection. Peace to your ♥, particularly if you’re healing from the loss of a loved one or dealing with cancer personally or among family or friends.