Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where I Live

The Aurora Borealis as seen in Iowa, photo by Richard Big (taken from the NASA website)

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain

"Finding inner peace, this is a point of no return. You can never go back into the struggle."
- author unknown

Driving on the midnight road, headed south, wondering what next. I have no idea what this poem was tapping the day I wrote it. Neither do I know why I wrote the first sentence of this paragraph. I like them both though.

My poem is true to the history of my relationship with my mother also. She really did move here to be near me when she got old enough to be concerned. There was no other reason for her to move to this area. Her sister followed her. She had stayed in the Kansas City area while my mother moved back to California for a few years from there, but when Mom came up to settle here in Oregon, it was apparent that she was settling in. That’s when her sister decided to make it a family gathering and moved here too.

Now I live in the house Mom left behind when she died in 2001. She died in three days of a stroke from onset to last breath, just a little over. I had come to visit her in the convalescent facility where she was recovering from hip replacement surgery. We were talking and she raised her hand as if to make a point, interrupting the conversation, then she rubbed her ear and everything stopped. She was out like a light. I called for help and that was that. We were on the death watch while her brain swelled shut, finally depressing her ability to breathe and she died. The swelling is what took three days. She was awake but not very comfortable the first day. Then she lost consciousness, but not completely because she did some orchestrating of events even in coma. She knew on the last day that my sister was not yet in town so she pitched a fit when her breathing started to falter. We quieted her with a morphine drip. Then it was time and I risked going to get my sister at the airport. There was no one else could do it. When my sister and I arrived and sat by her, we had forty five minutes (this was about five hours after starting the morphine drip to ease her struggle), and our people, a small gathering, sat vigil with my sister, her daughter, my mother and me. When Mom started to struggle again, I moved to her side, held her, telling her it was okay, really okay. It was over quickly and that was that. This was the end of January in 2001. In May, she would have turned 80.

She followed the advice of Mark Twain given above throughout her life. She aspired to the inner peace of the second quote in the last third of her life, so much so that she became an ordained and award winning minister in her quest.

And it is true, really. This house is not and can never be my home, and that is okay, really okay.

Where I Live

I miss the ocean.
You are the ocean. I miss
you like that, like mist.
I live in Mom's house
she bought to be near her son
in her last ten years.
When she died, moving
here was practical for me,
the right thing to do.
But I miss you now,
dispersing mist on water,
fading, not my home.

July 14, 2009 1:30 PM


  1. A beautiful poem that brought tears to my eyes...

  2. I am moved by it all and have so little to say, but -


  3. Erin,
    Life is what it is.

    I love you, good friend.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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