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Posted by: | Posted on: June 25, 2016

Memories Linger

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Patio sitting

I was going to go sit on the patio after dinner. I walk out and realize the chairs are still in the sun and the heat is oppressive. I come inside the family room and look out on the patio. No direct sun and yes, air conditioning.
It has been such a difficult 24 hours. When will a new normal feel normal. Life is of constant change. We expect that. Growing up, becoming educated, trying to find a purpose and a career, marriage, children. We step in to each of these stages with enthusiasm and to be honest, equal trepidation. But the flow seems so natural, comforting and nurturing as it gently pulls us along. I remember when my Great Grandmother Johnson died. We had gone to visit her. I had never known her in any other way but as a very frail, elderly lady- with twinkly blue eyes and gorgeous loving smile. She would reach out and hold on to each of her great grandchildren. Hugging us so firmly for such a small body.
Now I think back at my own Grandmother at that time. Perhaps in her late 40’s early 50’s. I thought she was older but not old old. My Mom was in her 30’s. She was the adult/parent class. I would watch my Grandmother gradually get older and frailer as my Great Grandmother had. But I was sheltered by youth and could not feel what this process was all about for either my grandmother nor my mother. I never thought the process would happen to my vibrant, beautiful Mother. As I grew older and she grew older we would laugh and chatter just like we always had. Full of ideas, dreams and enthusiasm. She took a fall on a snowy icy day and from then on we both entered that elderly, aging process. That was about 15 years ago. Mom had always been healthy, full of energy person. I could never let myself see that she was in the same process that I had seen my Great Grandmother and Grandmother go through. I am sure  if I just kept thinking of  her as she was she would remain as she was. And, to a large extent she was. Especially mentally. In each other eyes I was the silly young woman and she the adult woman inquisitively looking at life. We never stopped to think that our bodies, our bones would grow more fragile and often were filled with pain. After her fall Mom had to go to the Nursing facility for a time to aid in her healing. It was meant for healing, but it was a horrid place. Sadness and sorrow was everywhere. The staff presented some sunshine, but it did not seem real. She could never walk unaided again. Fears of falling were always on both of our minds. I am sure we went through every emotion fighting with AGE to stay away and leave us alone. The most effective process was simple denial. If you don’t think something is true then it can’t be, right? Mom went through her 80’s keeping inspired about our next adventure with my kids and our crafts. I the silly daughter and Mom the wise adult. But definitely not old- never.
And there we stayed for many, many years. My daughters would grow into young women and mothers. But Mom stayed in that same place that did not, could not age. Denial is strong. We were not about to let that thought get remotely close to us. It worked too. We became more careful of Moms body and movements. It was tethered to her ever young self. Full of enthusiasm and spirit. We knew we had to accept that the body may get weaker and need more care. But never did we let the old age thought in to our reality. Great Grandmother Johnson was old and even Nana became older, but not Mom. We kept that door firmly shut and locked!

We all know in our inner most selves we become, we grow and we return. Our molecules are programmed, imprinted with the process. We read it in literature and see it in movies and in our own realities. But until someone who is so close to our heart walks this journey do we really feel it. I could feel her anguish, anger, frustration as she drew closer. The denial door stayed locked. But as with all of life that firmly held door was just an illusion- as is all life. Our words and thoughts would deny its presence, but it still came and got closer and closer. I wanted to make it go away for both me and Mom. If I held her long enough, if we laughed enough, dreamed enough it would be ok. One of the last memories I had of Mom was the two of us sitting on the couch watching movies. Winter was all around us. Mom was always needing to be bundled up a bit more to keep away the cold. When I would sit next to her I would sit as I had when I was a girl next to her. My feet curled up on the sofa too. Mom would become as concerned about my feet getting cold as her own. She would take blankets we kept for her and wrap them tenderly around my feet. She would say I must always remember to keep my feet warm. I felt the tenderness of the young mother with her child, totally wrapped in love.

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 28, 2016

Memorial To Dad

Steve Jackson just wrote this poem to his Dad. Find Steve’s book on Amazon.image

Kidnapped

My Dad,

bless him for this;

when I was 5 or 6

he read to me at night

before I went to bed.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s

“Kidnapped”

is the story I remember best.

It took my father

many nights to read to me

that whole book.

I’d lay curled up

on his lap

while his gentle voice

took me away

with the story.

So loving of him,

to come home

tired from work

and read his little child

“Kidnapped,”

the story of a child

kidnapped away from childhood

and taken

to roam

the ocean.

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 24, 2016

Knitting Inspirations

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I am a baby boomer baby. Growing up in the 50’s I always remember my Mom carrying her knitting bag. It was probably more important to her than her purse. It went everywhere with her. Whenever she had an idle moment, out would come the yarn and needles. I always could tell the difference between a handmade sweater and a “store bought” one. We would drive up to Aspen, CO to their Scandinavian shop to look for buttons and yarn. Scottsdale, Arizona also had such a shop that Mom loved. Grand Junction had one knit shop during the 50’s and 60’s. It was located near the downtown. As Mom explained it, it was run by three “old maid” sisters out of the large Victorian house. I remember sitting in their very filled living room listening to my Mom and all the ladies laughing and the faint clink of knitting needles. New yarns were brought out to sell. Lots of show and tell. The atmosphere was full of gentle laughter. I don’t really remember the “old maid” sisters. They were supposed to be master, master knitters and would guide Mom through her patterns. I do remember cats and cats and more cats. While Mom would knit I would roam around this huge old house and follow the cats about. I never went upstairs where the sisters lived but I would follow the cats to the large, distinguished staircase and watch them disappear. I learned to knit too as time went on. But by the late 60’s we were all wanting to be with our friends listening to this new, rock and roll sound that we could listen to on our portable radios and  on our record players. Mom continued to knit up in to her 90’s. Painful arthritus had set in. But I remember one of her last projects was a hat for Skyelar, her Great Granddaughter. Mom would tell me that her “count” was off and the hat was a little to pointy. She thought Skyelar rather resembled a gnome with her pointy hat! My daughter Tiffany would bring her beautiful baby  wearing this hat, over to see us. Tiffany being Korean and her husband being Norwegian we thought the gnome look was quite  acceptable.

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