Posts Tagged ‘children



20
Aug
10

thinking of you

Today I found a little drawing by a very talented young girl from the church Big Dawg, Adopted Daughter Bettina and I attended until June, 2009. It was given to Bettina shortly before she died last March. The drawing was of a beautiful horse with a coat of many colors. At the top of the drawing this little girl placed a perky little pink flower with green stem and leaves. At the bottom, beneath the colorfully happy horse she wrote: I’m thinking of you.

This artwork had been amongst a pile of things collecting for months on the table next to my computer desk. Why I saw it today and not yesterday, or the day before, I don’t know. I saw it today—early this morning as I booted up and began my electronic day. Looking at it—its simple beauty took me by surprise as though I hadn’t seen it months ago, when it first came to Bettina’s bedside. She was always so happy to have these gifts from children. From child to child is how it went. I’m thinking of you, it said; and so I am, and do, and did all day long.

I decided to add another posting to her blog, Longing for Light. I called it Hovering, and published the drawing with it. Afterward, I worked again at thinning down her last few belongings…the ones most difficult to deal with. The most difficult thing was reading through the letters she had written…remembering all of the good and all of the painful things that ran through our knowing each other. I made some progress, mostly organizing and separating things for final distribution. There isn’t a lot, just a couple of small boxes, but it was difficult and I thought about her all day long.

I’m thinking of you, Tina…and the sadness returned.

Hovering: Tina promised to hover. She told everyone she would learn to hover. I don’t know if she has learned, or is learning, or maybe flunked 101. I don’t dream about her, don’t have visions, don’t feel her presence…except when my little cat Bella jumps up to sleep with me at night. At that moment I feel Tina…as though Bella brings her to me. I am especially glad when Bella chooses to come right up to my chest, settles down and stretches out there. I say, “Hi, Tina, where have you been?”

So this is Bella…or Tina…or just a pretty orange tabby. You can decide.

11
Aug
10

alone together at last

Remember our lovebirds? Here’s where they were last time we peeked into their story.

Four weeks and 11 days later, the newly weds are finally off to their honeymoon cottage. They had a few things to attend to first…like house and home for 2 little squirts and 2 funny cats.

These two little lovely Misses stay with Grandpa and Grandma while Darling and #1 Son (the Captain) go not too far away…just far enough to be alone and in love together.

The cats, Pablo and Toulouse stay home to guard the house, eat, sleep and watch the birds. 🙂

28
Jun
10

6 days

In 6 days Darling Daughter and #1 Son, the Captain, will exchange wedding vows. The very next day 40 relatives and friends will descend upon my sister’s home where she is hosting a reception for the happy couple. I am not much thinking about any of this just now. I have too many vicissitudes of life sprouting on my shoulders. What happened to the golden years? I am now in that time period when life is supposed to be easy and pleasant. That is what was promised back when I was growing up. My body says it should be so, but the news and the mail and the world says something very different. Ten years ago I expected to live to be 90+ and not skip a beat. Today I am wondering what happened to the beat. I think the rhythm is completely different. There are days when I do not even understand the beat, let alone want to skip along with it.

Darling and Captain will begin a new song. I pray their lyrics do not lose their sweetness…that the God who dwells within them always has a place at their table.

And to Miss Green and Miss Pink, my new grandchildren…you are the sunshine on a cloudy day.

05
Jun
10

june 6

This is the 3-month anniversary of Adopted Daughter, Bettina’s, death—exactly 13 weeks. The few weeks following were sometimes numb and sometimes sharp, but I was busy with preparations for her Memorial on March 27. Once that was over it seemed like life became mostly gray and I have been slogging through from oasis to oasis ever since. This is grieving 101.

My big sister Florence, a mother to me, died 2 years ago of T-Cell Lymphoma and I grieved, but in a different way. My sister and Bettina were my cancer buddies. We understood each other…walked with each other. I am the only survivor and there is a deep loneliness to that. What more can I say? Cancer: I wrote about it on my website, inheritanceproject-2.com, Project 5, Dying to Live. Check it out. No sugar coating. I write about how it really was. Cancer…the Black Plague of the modern age. I’m thinking of doing a similar project about how I experienced care giving. How it was and what it meant to me. I’ll have to give this some serious thought. Might be too soon. In the meantime… Love.

My soon to be new grandchildren are coming to visit in a half hour. Darling Daughter is getting married. Life goes on. I will write about this too and show you pictures. Grace.

31
Dec
09

dying and caring

Yesterday, Adopted Daughter talked about her illness, her thoughts about the immediate future and the way in which she wants to ease into her dying days. It was a sobering talk…not long and not short…just about right for managing to mostly stay in-the-now. We are walking together toward an end that will receive her breath, and for a time will encapsulate mine. I have just commemorated my sister’s passing. I am ready, but for the longing to say: “No…not now, not yet!” But we know it is coming…we cancer people know the signs before others do. We know and quickly learn to savor each day. I hope I am not making it sound easy, because it is not.

Last night I also learned how deeply my Darling Daughter suffers from wounds inflicted so early in her life that she doesn’t have recall. But I do…I was there and I have been waiting for decades for confession and forgiveness. Now that perhaps it may happen in the coming year, I am breathless with hope and fear—fear of overload. Although the river has risen high enough to enter my throat at times, I have not swallowed nor drowned.

Learning Trust: I am becoming a receptacle…a wine skin, if you will, and there’s a strange sense of peace in that. In my best moments, I am a receiver of the Spirit through Christ, and through many others who have gone before. Because of this, I can also be a channel for the Spirit: Legacy – Inheritance.

AD and I are reading Henri Nouwen’s, Our Greatest Gift, A Meditation on Dying and Caring for a class our church will host in a few weeks. She and I will go together and learn how best to walk this walk in the company of Sisters and Brothers. We are both student’s in God’s classroom. Nevertheless, I confess to feeling best when she is here in the house with me, whether sleeping, waking, working, reading—whatever. I have two daughters, one biological and one “adopted.”  One is slowly dying and the other slowly living. The wheel turns and we with it.

15
Dec
09

children in time

I believe children are formed with a particle of God’s DNA embedded deep inside them. And when they are born they have more than physical reasons to cry out. I think it’s the experience of separation from the creator, mother/father God…the first of many separations to come. Happily, they are welcomed by loving persons (usually) who take up the slack and show the way.

Children are amazingly insightful. All we have to do is suspend our own educated understanding to see this. Their drawings, stories, prayers, dreams and hopeful trust in all that is unseen and untouchable, delight and inspire. They are the beginning and we are the end. Alpha and Omega. As a new member of the Omega club, I am blessed by this…blessed and renewed. Like glimmering candles in the dark, the prayers of children and their thoughts about God in particular, can be quite profound in terms of trust and unhindered belief in the mystery of the Divine—a quality I must work backward to achieve. These little prophets and oracles are God’s Grace.

This is what I hope will be the first of many postings in what I am calling children in time. If any of you have any bits of child wisdom and grace you’d like to share, please let me know. In the meantime, we’ll start with a poem written in 2007 by a little boy of  7 for his class assignment, using the acrostic format. His name is Liam Peachey,  now 9 years old, the son of a dear new friend of mine from my new church—the one that welcomes everyone…

Some children write to Santa at Christmas; some children write about Jesus for CHRISTmas.

30
Nov
09

giving thanks

My last posting was November 18. I talked a lot about time…my sense of time as a cancer survivor in her 7th decade. Whew! I made it through the looking glass and I’m none the worse for wear. In fact, maybe a bit better for the wear…a little more polished. This birthday may have been one of the most outstanding of my life. Many spots and splashes of love from family and friends, old and new…splashes of love like stars sparkling in a small universe of God-lights. It was memorable.

Sometimes I’ve gone to bed asking God if s/he loves me. Of course, I knew and know the answer, but I  needed to ask the question, just out of habit in the same way that sometimes we ask our spouse, our lover: “Do you love me?” A tiny bit of assurance after a long day’s work or a difficult day’s successful encounters. I am so incredibly human, so flawed, a sprouting mustard seed, a bird with big wings to grow into. Made in God’s image. That is a comforting thought.

It is 1:30 A.M. I’m looking back over the hills and valleys of the past 12  days looking for meaningful events to share with you. There was the evening my friend and his young family came with cookies to celebrate my birthday. How can one be sad in the presence of young, vibrant, loving children dancing and prancing about—their laughter, drawings, paper snowflakes—all love gifts…God-gifts of God-light.

There were many messages from here and there—affirmations. People appearing like open pages in a children’s pop-up book. One person  from so long ago, a fellow cancer survivor saying a private hello on face book, just because he’d read this blog and the years melted away. That was awesome, as the kids like to say.

Dinner with good friends…always a nice treat, and I had several of them, each very loving and memorable. But lunch with my daughter at a wonderful French restaurant, just she and I, cozy and sweet was very special. If you are pining away for quiche or crepes…or Buche de Noel…be good to yourself…enjoy those things at a good French restaurant. You will be pleased. The French know how to prepare foods for gastronomic happiness.

Thanksgiving day came soon after my birthday, and I had much to be thankful for. There is one little story of losing and finding my wallet that I will save for a separate posting, as it deserves it’s own place. Thanksgiving day 2009 was the first major holiday that my biological family and I faced without my oldest sister, who died in December of 2008. And it was the first major holiday that my partner and I faced since the bad old times of 2008/09. They say the first year is the hardest. I expect that is true.

As my dwindling family and I sat down to eat on Thanksgiving day, one of my young, great nephews announced that he had written a prayer of thanksgiving and would like to read it. He is a very sweet and sensitive boy. As it turned out he was overcome with stage fright and couldn’t read it, so his dad read it for him. The prayers of the young and sincere are touching in their innocence. This prayer was lovely but was missing a couple of adjectives in one of the points of gratefulness, so there were stifled chuckles from some and unabashed laughter from the younger sibling who sat directly across from the author of the thanksgiving prayer. Embarrassment, humiliation the color of red beets! My heart went out to him because I have been in that same spot as a child with adults laughing and smiling. It took many grown-up decades to really understand that they were not laughing at me, but expressing, however awkwardly, their enjoyment of my child-self singing a song, or telling a story, or reciting some verse or another. Those early experiences of perceived ridicule formed parts of my character for a very long time.

I sat at the table for what seemed like way too many minutes, feeling for him, wanting to comfort him…cover him with this understanding I now have. I sat until I couldn’t sit any longer, asked God to give me words and knelt down next to him, his red-beet face in his hands. I don’t know if what I said helped him or not. He is a very shy boy and way too sensitive for the competitive, heart-breaking world we live in. I was thankful for the glimpse of his soul that came my way to stay. I will always feel connected to this little boy from a foreign land. What I witnessed will be sacred to me. Maybe some day he will know that and be glad, as I was glad for the rather few adults in my growing up life who made a place for me, a very different sort of duck, in what I thought was a world of swans.




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