To Shed the Tear Upon the Stone

The inspiration for my poem was given to me by Shadowlands.  This afternoon I knew I had a poem ready to be placed in print.  If I ignore the signal I never rest and so I come to the computer to let the mind form the words and my fingers bring the words to the screen.  Shadowlands thank you for the inspiration……I think that this poem speaks for both of us.  I dedicate this poem to you.

For those that have not been where I am,
the ones who sometimes look at me in fear,
will never know until later the ache of the heart that
continues as I journey on my discovery  path.

Along the trail I stop and look down to think of emptiness,
as though I saw the answer in a stone found a long the way.
And if I should bend to pick the stone, the one polished from being kicked by the foot steps of time
and set it in my palm to feel its  smoothness, then would there be the answer upon its shiny cover?

A step, and then two steps, next a pause for me……then I turn to see
gazing at me, off to the side of my journeyed path, another stands
with a look that says to never want to tread upon the unknowns that travel on this path I take,
nor could he want to see the stone that carries no answer because for him there is no question?

Within my heart I know I see further than ever before,
this place I travel brings me wisdom and knowledge cloaked in the pain of sorrow.
This journey carries me to forgotten memories now cherished with in my heart,
for they are to be known and remembered and they form the answers I need as I wipe a tear from the stone.

This journey, as it is for the ones that I know, the ones that carry their own found stone,
continue trodding upon the path within our hearts and minds and take solace to know
that those that gaze passed  us now will soon one day see and understand.
The road we journey is not for us alone, all hearts will shed their tears upon this trail……..

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Imagine its absence while you are alone!

rose-for-one-little-word

The poem that follows was inspired by the constant memory of the moment my Mother left this earth.  But, it is not only written to record a memory, it is dedicated to the many people I know, including myself, that may have their final hour alone.

I have written about my being alone, as I reach the end of my journey Within Crepusculum,  I have worried about entering my own final darkness without someone I know to accompany me on that profound voyage.  I have thought endlessly of the many things I need to do after I begin my twilight journey, especially deciding who could accompany to the end of my Darkness.

Because I was determined to make my Mother’s final hour as safe as possible for her, I think of all of the people who might be alone.  I do believe my Mother felt loved and accompanied.  I sang her songs, especially “You are my Sunshine” and talked to her to look for her Angel and that at the very end of the path she should see my father waiting for her.  My sister interjected that she always thought of that particular time to be colorful and that you pass from the darkness into Paradise on the Rainbow Bridge.  I  quickly included this in my whispering in her ear.  We both wanted her to know she wasn’t alone and that we were going to accompany her all the way to the Rainbow Bridge.

I think that all humankind should have that ability to have the living accompany them as far as they can and help them not be frightened.  Death is as poignant as Birth.  In birth you have a whole life ahead of you and you aren’t even aware of that until you are much older.  But in Death you have lived your whole life and your heart is filled with the memories from it.  To have someone you love or know accompany on your final journey into the Darkness is a fitting wish.

Sometimes I kid myself and say that death, mine, doesn’t bother me.  In reality that is a lie, a cover up  so  that I don’t express how frightened I may feel about it.  Now, I can’t imagine being alone or just with strangers at that final hour.  If I had been able to understand life more I would have already accepted that I prefer having someone near me when I was with my Aunt when she died many years ago.  She waited for me to arrive before she allowed her death to occur.  She needed me, her choice, to tell her she was safe to leave and that I would be there by her.  Shortly after I told her she died.  That very moment  when some one passes from earthly life and on into Paradise is indescribable and I certainly will not even try to do it, yet I will say it is profound.

Just take a moment to think about that moment.  Think of what separates life from death and then imagine its absence……………

One Little Word

There is this little word, often used within a phrase,

that heralds the difference between life and death.

You never know the exact moment that death arrives,

and often you question how much longer.

b

You ask how much longer not because you want it over,

but because you continue to pray for “for just a little more time”,

Time to hug, time to kiss, time to feel and time to remember,

yet you know that it all depends on one little word, one little phrase.

b

Panic reigns inside your chest and head as your heart beats harder,

your eyes well with tears and you know there isn’t time for tears.

Tears choke the words you need to say in the hope they are heard,

words you use to bring comfort and  healing, but never death.

b

You say those words and pray that life continues a moment longer

so that you feel you have one more second to share your love.

Deep inside, once again,  you tremble and falter because your heart

is aware of that one little word waiting to define who is still living……..

b

Your words tumble forth, yet in the quiet of the moment you know

these are the last words you will be able to utter to the one you love.

There in that moment you hold tightly for fear of losing your loved one,

yet just then you know the time is here and the word is to be spoken.

b

Hear it echo in the quiet of the moment as you place a kiss upon the cheek,

then one on the lips, while next you grope quickly to squeeze the hand.

Silently, with no need to to speak, you lay your head against the other and bid good bye,

good bye to the one you love because now “they no longer breathe”.

Farewell My Sunshine

For Momma–One of Her Favorite, Italian Songs       Press the Audio button:

Dean Martin sings, Santa Lucia

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For Momma–My Favorite Italian Song        Press the Audio button:

Connie Francis sings, Momma

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Saturday evening, my little one, left for paradise.  For the last few days her wish had been to return to Bennett, Iowa, our hometown where our family members are buried.  Now Momma has joined them in a small,  country, cemetery on the low, rolling hills of Inland Township.  From Momma’s resting place, you look out over peaceful fields of farmland with white houses, white barns and silos.  In the coming winter the land will be bathed in a white, velvet blanket of snow and then in the spring it will change to crops of deep emerald green.   If you stretch your neck,  just a little and look to where the hills stop you will see the flat, rich land where my parents farmed and that was my childhood home.

My mother, originally wasn’t a “farm” girl, but rather was born and raised in an Illinois railroad town.  When we moved to the farm just after I was born, Momma had no idea what it meant to be a farm wife.  Her first years were difficult to adapt to the new way of life, but when she did she quickly became one of the best farm wives in our community.  Momma found that the farm offered her many opportunities that she may not have had if she remained in town.

I will miss her greatly, as I am this moment, but I know she will now be happier in paradise.  She will be able to laugh, breath, walk, run or dance.  During her last few moments, as I held her, I told her that God will welcome her with open arms and then just down the path a little further,  Johnny waits for her just on the other side of the “Rainbow Bridge” at the doors of Paradise.  She turned her head and looked at me as she squeezed my sister’s hand.   I shall never forget her little face looking up at me.  Within a moments time, she left to complete the last little part of her journey accompanied by her angel.

Today, at a grave service, Momma lay for a short time with the casket open.   She was at home, I kissed her a final good by and then helped close and secure the top of the casket before the service began. I had chosen a new style casket for America, reminiscent of a European design.  It was perfect for a stylish, little lady to rest in for eternity and surrounding her resting place was dozens and dozens of deep red roses.   The service was very simple, with a priest officiating at the service.  Unlike previous funerals, this time I  was a part of it and as the service finished we were invited to participate as Momma was covered with the top of the vault and then lowered into the ground. The simple acts of involvement, although foreign to much of America was incredibly powerful in providing a closure allowing a feeling of peace and quietude.

I share with you a Remembrance of Momma that was at the visitation and service.


Please click on on the Remembrance.  It will open in another window and you may double click to read it better.

brochuresmaller

To My Friends:

I wish to thank all of you, my friends, for the constant support and prayers you have given me during this time.  You have no idea how grateful I am.  Without your words of encouragement, I would not have been able to walk the final path with Momma tonight.

The following excerpts from you will always stay with me:

To  Shadowlands for helping me accept my Mother’s philosophy

–in the hope that tomorrow is better, if wrank, hold on to Hope.

–It is the major “ingredient” to live this life and all that it brings…your mother is my role model. Tomorrow is much more interesting than today…it has to be because my todays really stink, but I am holding onto my tomorrows…to live them and not just survive… look for it to be…

To Lynda, thank you you were right

–I believe that you will have what you need to get through the worst of times, just in time. I believe it with all my heart, because I’ve experienced that kind of blessing myself.

–The hope of Heaven, the joy of the anticpated reun

ion and the belief that she will become “Momma” once again are the cornerstones to begin building the life that will come after she is gone from this world.
–I have to tell you that I think it is so special that you are still “Momma’s Boy”. That you have cared for her yourself rather than putting her into a nursing home shows the kind of character that you posses. I’m proud to be your friend, Frank, truly proud.

From Dalip

And, as your friend says, when the Angel comes it will be to lead her to a place where the pain will have disappeared and the light of His Love will be with he

To Ema

–I pray that the melancholy spell has lifted by now.. though I know that you may always be worrying about your mother, worry is not going to make her better and it could cause you physical/emotional harm. I would place her in God’s hands, Frank — and then just ask him to give you the wisdom that you need in regard to her care as well as strength for the day.
I do hope you get to see more sunshine.

To Linda,

I wish for you a different color of days…no more grey…l see you as a vibrant sea blue. Yes, you have made me smile many times. Thank you. Hugs, Linda

And to Dodie who I have not hear from for some time

There are times through the worst of caring for a loved one, that one feels so numb and so robotic. That is what you need right now. Don’t force ‘thinking’ about things. It will come; all in good time.

The Following, a glimpse over the years of “Mio Piccolo”–My Little One

Click to play Mio Piccolo

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Last Week Wednesday

new-angel

Death Gestures At My Door


Last week Wednesday, Death gestured toward my door,

I turned to look, yet my door remained closed and safe from its grasp.

Last week, Death gestured toward my door,

I turned to look a second time and in the distance I saw a dark web.

a

Each day I look in the distance, yet  my eyes see only the sky and grass,

and at first light, the golden rays of sun signal the new day’s birth.

Each day I look and each day I see the same,

first the light and then the day spreads out before my eyes and remains until darkness comes.

a

Last week Wednesday,  Death gestured toward my door,

it tried to make me believe it was time and made me twist my heart.

No, never more will I let that dark Angel cause me anguish,

nor will I believe that Death came to wave havoc upon  my door.

a

But then today, last week’s Wednesday next,  I find a message piercing my heart,

telling me that the time for first lights and birth  will no longer be.

Now in the darkness I grapple with this moment of truth

and wonder how I can decide to thrust the final sword  or can I still attempt to control destiny.

a

Suddenly, without much other warning my door opens,

and immediately I know peace will change to sadness and tears.

I turn to look in the distance and I see a dark foreboding web

clinging to my doorway and I can feel it’s lecherous breath  in that moment.

a

The winged Death now enters my home with its darkened web,

its presence is paralyzing and I sit in utter helplessness waiting for it to strike.

Death now beckons with long slender fingers from outstretched arms

and when I look again I see no darkened web of fear,  I only see the golden grace of God.

a

I pause, nod and smile upward as I see the glow of God’s Angel.

Soon It will be the time I have ignored–the time for me to let things be.

And inwardly I know my emptiness will begin to fill with the glow of God’s Angel

and it will bring back my  peace and  the first light of day.

Tick-Tock-Tick tick-tock tick-tock-tick-tock tick-tock-tick

Once again I have written this post and poem to help me understand myself and to help me see why I have great difficulty in accepting my Mother’s death.  As this one progressed, first the poem, then the paragraph prior to the poem, next the paragraph just after the poem, on to the top animation and then the rest kept on coming.  As I reread what I wrote, and I always have a lot of rereads, I noticed my words, openness and reactions to life were getting a little diifferent.  I decided that I am not going to edit much because it is important for you to see the changes in my thoughts as I progressed.  It became evident that I was beginning to discover many nuances about myself.  The nuances do not jump out after you, but you will feel the change.  Hopefully, if I continue to use this approach in my writing my thinking will become clearer and my thoughts will become more organized and my approach to life will be better.

c_solarcorona2003

An animation showing atmospheric corona around sun This animation shows the rising sun through thin clouds that cause diffraction rings to appear. The pink clouds caused the diffraction rings. Then the exposure was reduced and constant after. Notice, once the sun rises above the cloud layer, the ring magically transforms into dramatic spikes. The rings are atmospheric effects, while the spikes are due to optical effects within the camera.

From Wikipedia: This image has been released into the public domain by its author, Tomruen. This applies worldwide.


************

My days now are managed by time  more than they used to be……….Depending upon what is happening in any twenty four hours I am affected by my interpretation of metaphorical time, as well as, the many other forms of time, including the real down to earth time that we all are accustomed to experiencing.   My relationship with time changed even more when I became a caregiver. Sometimes it is on my side, but all too often I know it slides through my hands, then mocks and toys with me as my life progresses within each day. Time is not always my friend………

Time rushes in like a gale of wind forcing me to stand at guard,
it leaps in boundless increments making my stance unsteady,
then without cause, turns to languish upon my battered mind and
provoking it to deteriorate even more on its own remorse.

I think how fortunate it is to be time, an entity of baseless emanations,
whose sole objective is to be consistent in its adeptness to abrade my soul.
The anguish prevails, whether time comes like greased lightning or
as an adagio movement, it still pierces my heart as tears stream down my cheeks.

I wonder who tells it how fast or slow to go?
Does it know, regardless of its speed, that it can wrench me beyond my control?
Does it know it shapes my feelings and emotions beyond repair?
No, I think this thing called time just doesn’t care.

This thing called time flies by and suddenly, with the blink of an eyelid,
everything changes or remains the same.
In the quietude of pensive thought I know when it has done its job.
Without looking, suddenly there is noise, where there was black now there is white.
All softness has become hard and the glimmer of light becomes dusk.

For the moment, I decide to look into time, rather than at it or looking for it.
I look without tears, fear, happiness or a smile,
for if I do I know my happiness will fade, the smile will stiffen
and quiver as reality strikes with blows of fear.

I look into time and all I can see for miles is my present day.
It teeters on a precarious precipice that allows me to go in only one direction.
Look into time for the answer to my quest, the thing I want the most,
yet when I look I find time stops me from ever  letting me return to what was.


For as long as I remember I have lived in and for the events that have already happened.  Let me lounge on the chaise in my bedroom on any day.  I will close my eyes and let my mind wonder.  Soon, dreams of some wonderful past event will form and I will step into that vision without any hesitation.  Eventually, I return psychologically  to the present day and rise to  continue with what I be doing.  I think about, as I begin the task at hand, how wonderful it would be to remain where I just came from because the memory was so vivid and it was one of those perfect days.

You may find my living for or within the past fairly strange for a person of my age.  But when I think about doing this, then I realize how it has shaped my life and answers many questions concerning how I think and why I believe/ed tomorrow is less important than the past.  I can understand now that I may live in the present day, but that I prefer the past because it is safer.  The past is safe because all decisions have been made, I can be selective and frolic in whatever former day I wish and never need to face something that affects the rest of my life.  I have rarely thought of the metaphorical tomorrow–the place that is the key to the rest of my life, the place where dreams are built and smiles abound.  It is that place, though, that I have to acknowledge, particularly if  I  want a better tomorrow and then I need to do the work to acquire it

For the past year I have written not as many posts as I should about my crepusculum.  It is sad to say, but often I bring up items that I should deal with now, rather than waiting.  Not only should I have a plan for my older years, I should have it as organized and implemented as I can.  Yet many of the points are left to dangle in my present day.

I write about my dear Mother and the terrible time I have accepting her death.  I have been given some really good ideas on how to deal with all of this and until yesterday moving forward in my thought process never occurred.  This strange, elusive thing called time, with its ability to change its length really doesn’t change.   I am and you are the only one that can change the length of an increment of time.   Please remember, I am talking about regular, old time that we know.   We are the only ones that can describe and label time depending upon how it affects us.  I am the culprit that places strange labels on time.   It can’t strike out with blows of fear, but I can do that to myself.  It can’t really teeter on a precarious precipice, but I can tell you that it does.  I am the one that looks around and depending upon how I am dealing with life I can stop any forward movement in my life.

Yes, time may not be my friend, but it is beginning to open paths to ideas about my life in my mind.

***************

Time became a factor of major importance for Claude Monet. In his desire to seize upon the exact moment of vision, Monet found himself at work on a dozen or more canvases of the same subject, each recording a particular moment in the day. The artificiality of such a procedure led him to reflect upon the nature of time; so that in his last works, the paintings of the now famous lilies floating on water, one seems to have gone beyond everyday reality into some strange world behind appearances, where cosmic, elemental forces are in play. These lily pond pictures slowly grew in size and took on unparalleled dimensions; composition as Monet understood it disappeared and all the forms dissolved in light.

From Claude Monet’s Water Lily Series

Three Water Lily Paintings Expressing Nature of Time

Three Water Lily Paintings Expressing Nature of Time

Facing a Reality

Prelude

Once more I ask you to understand that this post is not about the Crepusculum.   The next post will once again address my feelings on entering my Crepusculum, but for now and for a couple more posts I will share with you my life as it is presently.

You are invited to play “You Are My Sunshine” by clicking the audio button.  This particular accompaniment is a recording by The Gene Autrey Band.  Sing along please.  The lyrics are slightly different than those originally written by Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell.  I first sang my version to my Mother four years ago while she was in the Critical Care Unit, following a major stroke.  It has become our anthem.

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You Are My Sunshine

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey, or purple, or pink….
You’ll never know dear
How much I love you
Please be be my sunshine for all of my days.

You are the Mother
I am the son–
You always have loved me
as much as I have loved you.
You’ll never know dear
How great you have been
Please be my sunshine for all of my days.

I have taken nearly a lifetime to accept the simple reality that my Mother will die.  Now I question, each day, will it be today, tomorrow or another day, but regardless it draws nearer and nearer.  The daily changes are significant, particularly, when Momma becomes quieter and quieter and less willing to speak or even answer a simple question.  Yesterday was the first day in three weeks that she interacted with me, but now today,  stopped responding this afternoon.  I don’t think that it is always in her power to communicate, even though there are times she can express displeasure very quickly.

It is during her quiet times that a phantom meets me face to face causing  me to be bewildered and  and weak  and  then I  realize how easily my nemesis reigns.

Daily I watch and understand her unhappiness and feel the malcontent within her heart.  I know that I would never be able to withstand the onslaught of degeneration she experiences and now I have begun to respond to that call and pray that I support her own orison that begs a speedy departure from this physical life.

Her beacon shines bright toward heaven and as she waits quietly and serenely, I  will support her appetency.  In so doing, a few weeks, ago  I wrote a poem embracing the idea of her departure.  By writing I hope the words will soothe and strengthen me,  particularly when my nemesis becomes overwhelming……….

You Are My Sunshine

Lately, I also realize I must tell this incorrigible, phantom it will not win.   I will support my Mother’s departure and I will repeatedly, read this poem because it came from deep within my heart and that its’ spirit will continue  to minister a balm that will ease me into change.   I have also begun to believe that Momma will be in a heavenly paradise where her spirit will no longer be plagued by her earthly pain and she will be able to be happy and be with everyone she loves that preceded her in death.  There she will also be able to be my Mother, standing with open arms and a warm smile, as she  welcomes my sister and I at our time.

A friend suggested that I prepare myself now for a new identity,  an updated life plan, where I  will no longer be a caretaker/protector, but one that allows growth in my own life.  I hadn’t really thought of this before because I intentionally blocked it from my thoughts.  Now I can see how important a plan is and how it will form a bridge between here and where I need to go.   As I have written before, my Mother’s wisdom shines yet to this day.  One day, not long ago,  my Mother spoke to my sister.  She repeatedly told my sister that she was worried for her.  Eventually, my sister reasoned that she was not speaking of her, but of me.  She was concerned about my life following her death.  Even so close to the end of her journey she expressed her concern for me.  When my sister told me, I didn’t think much of it until I understood that she knew before me that  I need to make new plans for my life.

I may have acquiesced to Momma’s orison, but in doing so I realize how little time I have left to get ready and to be with her.  And so I shall continue to write as much as I can to help me, but I also will spend as much time each day kneeling at her bedside, head to head so that my voice is directed straight to her ear;  Momma will quietly lie there, I will babble on as usual and then, every once in a while Momma will respond and I will send that moment directly to my heart to be locked away and not forgotten.

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Second Pass

A decade ago I wrote the following summary  about how my life turned 360 degrees and brought me back to a dream and an opportunity I passed by.  I do not know what would have happened if I had not let it go by. Would I have done as much as I have in my life?  Would I have been happier?  Would I have appreciated everything the first time, as much as I have on the second pass?  I have no idea and will never be able to know.  I am only happy there are  second passes;  once a chance comes by the second time, grab it and never let go!!


Darkness surrounded me, as I sat at the table, in the old country kitchen and a lonely, innocent despair crept into my heart and mind causing me to recklessly throw the papers on the floor in order to choose a future for myself.  In anguish, I slowly rose from my chair and then knelt first as I sat on the floor.  I was alone, without the help of unbiased council to guide me, yet earlier in the evening I  arranged with my parents to be alone.  I knew they would not meddle, yet I felt I needed to do this alone.  Now my task beckoned me to finish, although I hesitated because I was apprehensive of continuing because of my earlier imprudent act.  Regardless, I knew I must go on and scan the floor with my hand until I found one of the papers.

There in the darkness,  my hand touched a paper that would define the course of my life.

My heart raced in the darkness that was void of any light.  In the stark blackness I could hear the pounding beat of my heart and from the open  window the rustle of leaves on the old  tree branches could be heard as I stood to turn on the light.  In that split second it takes for a light to illuminate, my hand trembled in anticipation of which paper I had  found.  Next, despair filled my heart.  There on the floor lay the paper that would have taken me to a place in my dreams. Instead, the paper in my hand led me to a life others had selfishly hoped I would choose.  I had promised to call as soon as I reached a decision and rose from the floor to go to the telephone. As I did I couldn’t help but turn, then pause and glance at the other career that lay on the floor, miles and miles and miles away!

The future brought with it years to count, to remember, to accept a fate and remind myself I had set the rules and I had chosen the paper, yet Five–Ten–Twenty–Thirty years became an insurmountable distance to ever think of crossing and so hope disintegrated early on.

I  asked how many more years can I count,  often checking if the other road, miles and miles and miles away, was still……each year it became less accessible and the disregarded opportunity became a frightening, ridiculous, prohibitive dream.  It became clear to me that it was my indecisiveness that had been the key that kept me from ever experiencing the difference.

What I didn’t know was that the paths we take and those that we leave behind begin to meander as we grow older.  Much like meandering streams that wind, then make straight cuts through the valley and form oxbow lakes, the passage of time helps us grow and cut out the excuses and makes us less apprehensive so that we begin to hope and anticipate chance, rather than hide from it.   Eventually, there are changes in your life and decades old opportunities return and wait for you again.

And as I reflect upon my life I am delighted that little changes can continually occur.  I have no doubt my life will have major changes  following the day when I will no longer need to be my Mother’s caregiver.  This time will be a very sad time for me and I know I will be unfocused as I choose something to do and somewhere to go.   But, now I know that regardless of my immediate decision, time has a way of correcting and leading me to a satisfying and happier destiny.  This course of action will probably continue within my Crepusculum and I will  be ready to grab for an opportunity on its first or second pass!!



In 1965, at age 17, I abandoned my own wish to go college for an art degree.  Continually, a high school  teacher in high school told me I was better off going to a trade school for cooking.  She often said I was much better suited to a life in the culinary field than in art.

After I chose the admission papers that evening in my parents’ kitchen, I always wished I had been strong enough to tell her what I wanted to do, yet, I was hesitant because she also made sure I understood that I wasn’t smart enough for college.   For the next 31 years i never forgot what she said.  I always felt she had to be right.

Then, one day, M literally took me by the hand  and brought me to ASU to fill out an admissions form. Shortly after we arrived I made a quick about face and ran from the building in fear.  He did not let that effect him and the second time we made it to the admissions office.

After many discussions I was accepted at Arizona State University, School of Art, in 1995.  I was 48 years old.  During the first week of classes I realized how much I had missed all of those years.  After the first round of exams I was surprised to have a 4 pt average.  Seven years later I received my Masters in Fine Art Degree with a solid 4 pt average.   I had just begun to accept that I  was equal to my peers and that I could do anything I wanted and never need to worry  again if I was smart enough!