Be still

I am sitting here on the couch trying to write a ‘signature talk’, which would be so much (expletive) easier if I could just decide on one fullsizerendertopic, already! I am trying to figure out how to combine my metaphysical nurse blog with my kwrites blog under one domain, a version of my name, which I bought 14 months ago as part of a workshop but that’s where it ended. I never did anything with it, except to look at it longingly from time to time. Now I am trying to decide if combining it all is even a good idea!
I am giving several topic-specific talks over the next few months and I am trying to write those.
I am writing a parent ad (sorry, but this feels like a ploy to get more money from us) for the high school yearbook because my graduating daughter WANTS one.
I am debating (OMG! YES! STILL!) if I should give yet another talk at an upcoming event (this internal debate has been raging for months now) and if so, WTF to base the presentation on.
And then I realize that I am actually doing none of these things, except the ‘just sitting here on the couch’ part. Okay, and eating a large quantity of chocolate (#lunch).
Surrounded by paper. And pens. And my laptop. And my iPhone playing Pandora.
I am a (expletive) mess.
And then this song comes on:

And I hear the words:  Be still and trust my plan. I’m more than you think I am.

And then, with tears streaming, I know it’s true.

Hello from Heaven

big-nana

Big Nana with her great-granddaughter Ariana in her kitchen in Nantasket

As I recently wrote, my son moved into his new apartment. Apartments, as we all know, usually need furniture. As a mother, I want to (over) help him with this. When I got my first apartment, my mother and my grandmother went to great lengths to make sure I had everything I might need or want, opening their cupboards, closets, drawers, and wallets to help me get things I didn’t even know I would need. I always knew that I would do the same for my own children one day.

The current need for my son’s apartment is for a kitchen table and chairs. I remembered my grandmother’s kitchen table has been stored at my brother’s house for years. I checked to make sure it was still there and usable. My brother determined (after some digging) that it was.
I started thinking of how my grandmother, Big Nana, spent most of her life helping her family. She has been dead since 2004, but she is still helping her family all these years after her death. Because now her kitchen table and chairs, at which we ate so many wonderful, lovingly prepared meals, will now serve my son and his girlfriend.

And here is the biggest gift of all: when my brother was looking for the chairs, he found a photo Nana, as well as some of my mother and father that I have never seen before.

It feels like they are all saying ‘Hello’ to us from heaven tonight, and letting us know that they are still watching over us and taking care of us, even though they are not here physically with us anymore.

What a wonderful start to 2017.

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Endings and beginnings

box-truckThe new year is already promising to be a very different one from those prior.

My firstborn is moving out and getting his own apartment. I am happy and excited for him.

I am also sad that he is no longer living here. I am still checking the driveway to make sure he is home safe at night, and he moved out almost a week ago. This new feeling that I’m experiencing–I’ve dubbed it HappySad.

I flash back on my own first leave-taking from my family of origin. My mother tearing up. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I’m afraid I’m never gonna see you.” I reassured her that of course she would still see me. I would come by all the time. I’d call. She just looked at me with those eyes that knew the truth, even as I ‘doth proclaim too much’.
She was right,  of course. I rarely went over. I eventually started calling her once a week because I felt obligated, not out of a true desire to speak to her. I loved my mother, so it wasn’t about that. I don’t know what it was about, to tell you the truth. I just moved out and I didn’t look back (until I had to move back, but that’s another, sadder story).

I was free!

So, as I watched my son excitedly packing up for his move to his first apartment, part of me was channeling my own mother, feeling her exact emotions, I am sure. “I’m never going to see him now,” I thought.

What goes around, comes around.

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The power of one

I have been giving a lot of talks at local libraries. For my most recent one, I personally invited and Facebook invited a lot of people.

yorklibraryphoto2

A lot.

Plus, it was a full moon in Gemini (my sign)! At 7:05pm! And my talk started at 7:00PM!

I know this is a busy time of year for us all, but I was expecting at least 10 people or so.

When it 6:59pm and still no one had come, I began to consider that maybe I had saturated my geographic location.

If no one came (as I have heard sometimes happens, but thankfully had never happened to me), my Plan B was to have my husband make a video of me reading so I could post it on my YouTube Channel (still evolving–don’t judge it). At least this would be time well spent, right?

What I learned: Don’t accept a time slot that starts when the library is CLOSED. Duh. I’m not sure why they even did that… oh, wait. Yes, I do. I took the slot because I was hoping to sell a lot of books before Christmas, and this was the only December slot they had. They had one slot available in January, but I thought people might not come out in the cold when they weren’t possibly out already, shopping for the holidays (books make great gifts!). Note: the temperature was in the 20’s last night.

And then, at 7:05pm, one person came into the room.

My audience had arrived. She probably didn’t really feel like going out, but she wanted to support a fellow writer/author, and guess what?

SHE DID.

Thank you again, Katherine. ❤

For some reason, this song was in my head on my way home from the event, so I am including it here for your listening pleasure:

The BRAVE Interview #5 December 2016: Jeanne Emerson

Here is #5 in The BRAVE Interview series! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, How,  (and sometimes Why) of YOUR ‘one brave thing’! December’s interview is with Jeanne Emerson!

jeanne-emersonWho: Hi. My name is Jeanne Emerson.  I’m a grandma, gardener, artist, yogi, retired social worker and grieving mother.  I’m fortunate to live in a peaceful and cozy home in southern Maine…it is my sanctuary.  I am calm here, reflective, often tearful and recently, joyful…again.  And, I’m about to celebrate my 65th birthday.  WOW.

What:  I never really thought that I would feel brave about this but I do.  My one brave thing is to allow the feeling of joy back into my life.  My son Scott died three years ago.  He was 35 years old, funny, handsome, loving and very artistic.  His death came as a shock, no preparation…but even if I had been expecting it, it still would have been a shock.  No mother could prepare for this.

When:  The call came at 8:45 on a Tuesday night. (Tuesday has become my least favorite day of the week ever since).

Where:  I was home, the phone rang and the police officer had the nerve to say, “I’m sorry to inform you that your son is dead.”  How could he say something like that about my child??  I hated that officer at that moment.  I couldn’t spare any compassion for him then, no ability to care about how awful that call must have been for him to make.  Compassion could and would come later.

Why:  I’ll never know.  I won’t know why Scott died at such a young age, with so much more to offer, so much more to experience.  (please believe  me, I have driven myself to extreme exhaustion trying to understand).  But here’s what I do understand…healing can happen, life does in fact go on (as much as you may not want it do)…joy can enter again.

How:  This part of the interview is perhaps the easiest to explain.  My joy has come back because of trust.  My husband, Tim, my son Matt, family members and very precious friends believed in me.  They trusted me when I was a wailing mess on the floor, they trusted me when I couldn’t get through a conversation without crying, they trusted me when I couldn’t eat, sleep or get out of my pajamas, they trusted me when I would sit and stare, unable or unwilling to talk.  Somehow they trusted my process, that I just had to go through this my way (albeit dramatic and probably frightening to witness), but trust they did.  AND, miraculously, bit by bit, I started to live again without my son (well, without him in the way I knew him before his death….this is another interview but I KNOW that he is still with me, guiding me, encouraging me in my artistic pursuits, laughing with me and still loving me).  I feel very brave for laughing, running, playing, creating and loving.  This is my most important brave thing….so far.  

Jeanne, thank you so much for your brave, powerful words. ❤

Check out Jeanne’s designs at FOUND in Kennebunk (42 Main St; 207-604-5009) and on her website: emersondesigns.net

BOOK REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I read this book at the recommendation of a young lady, Angie, who visited my author table at the Kennebunk Community Market one Saturday.
everything-everythingShe told me that Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was her favorite book. This book says it’s recommended for readers aged 12-17, but I object to narrowing the audience for this book. Anyone of any age could enjoy reading this.

The main character, Maddy, is physically isolated in a way few teenagers are. She is a prisoner on so many levels. This book is not predictable, however. There are surprises to keep your interest.

I had a problem with the nurse, Carla, whom I loved, but she compromised her professional ethics, therefore (in my opinion as a nurse) she deserved what she got.

But it still made me sad. I also didn’t like how the author portrays the other nurse in the book. Don’t even get me started. People! Don’t believe most of the characterizations of nurses you read in books!

Maddy is very lovable until she starts lying to everyone (including herself?) which made me like her much less. Is it acceptable to lie when you believe you are running for your life? I’m not sure. Read it and make up your own mind.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I am in the world and, too, the world is in me.” -Maddy

“Empty tummy, empty head.” -Carla.

“Be brave. Remember, life is a gift. Live it.” Carla the nurse to Maddy, Disc 3 track 13 on the audio book.

Bottom line: worth reading.

Perspective Part 1

I have never bought People magazine before, but I picked up a copy last week, just for something different to read.

dempsey-people-magOkay, I bought it because Patrick Dempsey was on the cover. I’m volunteering at The Dempsey Challenge again this year and so I was interested in the article.

Anyway, there was another article about the children of parents who died during the 911 attacks, children who were in utero then and never got to meet their parent. Reading these stories was heartbreaking, but it also made me think about how insignificant what I had been worrying about before I began reading really was.

 

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