Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Two months ago today, I took my mother to see my father in the hospital for the last time. He was not responsive. She held his head and kissed it over and over saying, “I love you.” He died the next morning.

I never heard my parents say “I love you” to each other. My father told me he believed that if you said it often, it would lose its meaning. Ten years ago, after he had colon surgery, I vowed to tell them both I love you every time I talked to them on the phone. Mom would respond, “hmm hmm.” Dad would say something like, “me, too.” Over Covid isolation, they finally said an audible “I love you.”

But this doesn’t mean they didn’t love us or each other.

Yesterday in the dining hall of the retirement home, a resident said she’d never seen such a loving family. She said we cradled my mother. I said, “I wish I could cradle her every day.”

Alzheimer’s is trying to take my mother away from us. She knows Dad died. She knows we planted a tree in his memory. She visits it every day. However, when we took her across the hall to look at a one bedroom apartment for her to move into, she said, “Is Dad moving, too?” I hugged her and said, “No, he’s gone. But he’s in your heart.”

My brother said, “Taking up less space.” We laughed. That’s something Dad would say. He loved irony.

Then Mom said, “You suppose I could find another man?” More laughter.

Mom at the Columbarium visiting Dad on Father’s Day.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Temperatures are high in these parts, and the virus doesn’t care. I haven’t seen my parents in person since Christmas. My mother sent me a Portal that works like Facetime through Facebook Messenger. The screen props up on the counter in the kitchen. Every time Leo (20 months) comes over, he points to it and says “Pop!” That’s my dad. That’s how he knows them, through the Portal.

My father has not been big on social media, but in the last month, he’s posting almost daily reports, “Reports from an independent retirement home.” They have been on lockdown for two weeks and were finally released on Saturday (Covid tests negative) to go downstairs for meals again. Here is one of my dad’s posts.

What does one look forward to when you are in quarantine? It’s different I imagine for everyone. As days go by, the options diminish. It gets down to such things as the next nap, the next meal, the next unexpected package, even the mail. Then there’s TV, which ends up being a search for the never found good program. My solace is a good book, which often ends up being the next nap. And so the circle goes on and on. The challenge becomes the acknowledgment that where you are is where you are and you’d better adjust to it. Part of the adjustment is to occasionally posting my thoughts. I hope you don’t mind.

John Gibson

Dad doesn’t know it, but I’m collecting his posts. I started doing this thinking I’d make a found poem, but now I like the way they speak themselves, full of his unique voice.

Andy Schoenborn posted the #OpenWrite prompt on Monday’s Ethical ELA. (Click the link to see the full prompt and read some amazing poetic responses.) Here is my poem draft:

My dog, Charlie

Weather Report

The dog lies at my feet
on the cold floor because
Heat is unbearable at 91
in dog years, the age of Mac
in human years, when the virus
took him.

Heat doesn’t care
if you are young or old
or if you have people
who love you. I see my parents
through a screen.
Their weather changes daily
with temperature checks, sticks up the nose.
(It was reported that my dad yelled from the pain.)
if we didn’t care so much
about isolation, the comfort
of a friend to eat ice cream with.

Hurricanes come in late summer
when we’ve let our guard down,
when masks fall to our chins,
when we just want to hug
because another person, human,
grandmother, friend has died.

The weather channel
24 hours
a map covered in red.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Mom and Dad

My parents, Dot and John, with my youngest daughter.

When Holly posted that the theme for this week’s Spiritual Thursday would be legacy again, my attitude about this word had improved. I realized that today is June 11th, my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary. Somehow we don’t tend to talk about someone’s legacy while they are still living, but I want to challenge that idea today. My parents are thankfully still living and healthy. Every day I am grateful for that. They do not live near me, so I have to rely on phone calls. In fact, my mother was the one who talked me into doing Facebook. She wanted to know what I was doing. Funny, I don’t think she counted on this whole blogging thing, though.

I could write about the legacy of talent; My father is an artist while my mother is a musician. Or I could write about how they parented us to be ourselves. Or I could write about the great flood of 1979 that tested our family as well as our community. All of these would make good blog posts. However, today, since it’s Spiritual Thursday, I want to write about my parents as spiritual directors.

My parents met at the Episcopal Student Center on the campus of LSU. My mother was the daughter of an Episcopal priest. I am what they call a “cradle Episcopalian.” I was baptized by my grandfather at a mere 3 weeks old. At that time our country was involved in the Korean War, and there was a possibility Dad would be sent to Korea. He ended up being sent to Fort Polk, Louisiana.

From my birth, the Episcopal church has been a stronghold in my life. I even followed in my parents’ footsteps to LSU and the Episcopal Student Center where I met my husband. You could say there was something in the water, but in reality, the church was a place where I felt at home. And when you feel at home somewhere, you can be the best you. Today, my husband and I are faithful parishioners at his home church, The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.

When I visit, we can be in the kitchen or on the porch where we look out at the lake and talk for hours about spiritual theology. I value these discussions. My mother and I talk about the Enneagram. This is a interesting theory around personalities. My father will discuss theories about time and space, death and resurrection. His ideas fascinate me.

While the church is my stronghold, my parents have been and continue to be my spiritual directors. I found this picture of their church holding a can drive and creating a labyrinth. They are there in the circle of worshippers like they are with me in the circle of my spirit.

Labyrinth of cans raises awareness of hunger.

Labyrinth of cans raises awareness of hunger.

There are only two lasting bequests we copy

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