Darkness in the Gray of a White Cloud

I am gray,
I am the darkness in the gray of a white cloud,
one without a spark of color to  lighten a day’s gloomy mist;
where the spring of hope no longer beats within the cloud.

I am gray,
I am in the twilight of life and question a new day’s dawn.
Will rays at horizon’s edge salve the discontent of disquieting thoughts
or will the kindness and love of others assuage my unrest?

I am gray,
Within my mind’s gloaming, I conjure up a hand reaching out that beckons
me further into a blackness, a quagmire of thought and questions that surely
will absorb me, as well as, place stones before me so I trip along the way.

I am gray,
A story, a short tale; yes each stone glimmers with a moment to remember.
The stones pull me this way and that,  I bend for them to see into the illuminated forms.
Playing inside are fragments of my life, some seek atonement, others laughter or tears.

I am gray,
With hesitation, I pause to understand if what is shown is authentic,
yet I know that if what I see is valid then I should not contradict the sequence I see.
If I deny a scene I lie and to deny means I have not lived and sadness fills the heart.

I am gray,
Now each circumscribed step is within a blackness, one where hope is nil.
No ray of light can penetrate and help me to miss the darkened stones.
Ominous blackness breeds caution and I fear each step may bring a fate unknown.

I am gray
Further along, a light is coruscating from the intense blackness; the sparkle widens as I go forward and each infinitesimal piece glimmers in forming a Chrysanthemum.
Does this bright, mass bring goodwill or will it cause my gray to be a tightened cloak?

The Swirling, sparkling mass of shimmering light engulfs me.
The gray, like the cloud in a rainstorm,  breaks apart in swirls of light.
The deep darkness is pummeled by the light till nothing remains.

The fury of the lights quiet and all space is void except for the remaining lights.
Now my hands and body are hollow and dissolve in the sparkle of light.
What was, no longer is….I am gone.


The Rate of Time

If I am not attentive, the days pass too quickly for certain things and others pass like a snail.  Yesterday, I realized a second week had passed, both of which I spent working on a watercolor.  I looked at the painting, reflected on its imagery, understood the work needs patience and clarity as I paint, but how is it only half done??  Could it now take me more than two weeks to complete an intricate composition where a few years ago I could compete one of the same size within a two-week period.  Maybe I paint slower than I did!

Then, late yesterday afternoon, as I sat on the den sofa and stuffed myself with a large salad, I pondered over my complete inactivity.   I hate doing anything that is good for me, like exercise, yet when I look in the mirror I know I need to force myself to begin again if I do not want to get heavier and heavier.  The humidity in the hot Florida sun is overwhelming for me each summer.  My bike seat needs fixing so I use it as an excuse not to bicycle even in the evening when the temperature and humidity become acceptably lower.  Immediately, without much more thought, I switch my thinking and defend my inactivity that summer is the cause and that it always seems to go on indefinitely.  Even in October,  I think November will never arrive when the temperate days and nights beckon me out.

Times passage is always elusive to me, even in my aging.  I know I am sixty-five,  yet I don’t feel I have lived that long, yet I remember too many birthdays that I have had!   They prove how old I am, yet I feel I feel the passage of those years and the question of time passing too quickly as I paint are similar.   So then, shouldn’t I feel that the passage of  summer have the  same rate or is the its passing  governed by how I think??

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.


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

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!

Under a Melancholic Spell

When I was young I learned quickly from my family elders and from the community, that death comes in packages of three.  At first hearing this I counted “one” and I would wait a good length of time, and then “two” with an equal pause and finally uttered a last count of “three” to see what would happen.  I was soon told it wasn’t the counting of numbers, but the real death of people.  I was stunned and though I had not experienced “death,” I knew it wasn’t something I should take lightly.  Over the next few years I tried to understand and couldn’t.  Then, almost overnight, my special, buddy, my Grandpa died.  All I knew was that he wasn’t there and I felt a pain of loneliness in me.  Following Grandpa’s death two other people weren’t in my seven year old world.  I asked my mother where they went and she said they had gone to join my Grandpa.  Then I knew they were gone forever and  they were #2 and #3..

The past week has been filled with anxiety, memories, thoughts, questions, anger, love, protection and worry that wistfully put me under a spell of dismally low spirits.  Regardless how I tell my self that  that if death came in threes then it would be a myth or a play on the odd  number three, I still can’t ignore the count.  IF someone I know dies, I immediately wait for #2, exactly like the people do in the little town I came from.

Now, I know that Shadowlands’ husband died two weeks ago,   Two weeks later M’s sister died from pancreatic cancer.  I pray that in two weeks no one else will.  When I think of the dates, exactly two weeks apart, makes me nervous, particularly when my Mother’s doctor told us this week he doesn’t want to give her further treatment because he thinks it will not be effective.  His words still ring in my head and I find them so presumptuous.  How can a Doctor think he, not the patient or family, can tender this decision rather than asking what the family and patient wish.  His decision is tantamount to a death penalty, without any other possibility.  Regardless, we need to rectify this action and it probably means finding a new doctor…

The death of M’s sister brought to mind the importance of getting everything straight while you have time, energy and health during your twilight years, if you have never tackled the problem before.  The major issue here is having a Will and a Medical Power of Attorney. I thought everyone did this, but I guess I was incorrect.  My Mother and Father had a will since the 1950s, occasionally with attached codicils as time passed.  M and I have had a will since 1970.  In fact, we have changed the wills three times just to make sure every detail is covered.

If you don’t have a will you should have one.  If you are married or with a partner please keep it a joint will and state what you want, whether everything first passes to the mate and then trusts, gifts, etc., are handed out, or you need everything in a particular way because of trusts or inheritance taxes. The latter can kill your heirs if you are not careful!  Making a will also solves the problem of making sure you have an executor that will handle all of your affairs during the immediate time after your death.

Next, do not ignore how you wish to be buried.  Make arrangements for yourself.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  If you don’t plan on moving then there isn’t any reason why you can’t have a plot, prepaid burial, etc., all arranged.  After you do then let your next of kin know what your preferences are and how they are arranged.  It’s a good idea to give a copy of all signed documents to a friend or relative to keep and then give to your family if they need them.

I mention these things because they are important and if you don’t take care of them you can cause your family endless hours of stress and grief.  Lately I have remembered that my preferences for my demise has not been updated for a very long time.  Years ago I only wanted to be cremated and the ashes strewn dramatically over the Iowa countryside where I grew up.  Now that I am older I am not so sure that maybe what I feel the most comfortable and I tend to be a little less dramatic now,  I need to consider this as an important matter, because if I should die before M, which is unlikely, then I just might be strewn to the wind!

And so I return to my melancholy spell and think about the three’s and hope that it is just a myth.  I don’t want to deal right now with another death, particularly if it is as close as my Mother is to me.  M. said to a friend on the phone that we (meaning our families) are in the “Year of the Dead”.  M. whispered, thinking I might not hear, (Not likely since I have very good hearing), that he has two brother-in-law that are close to death, then he drops his voice even more to say my Mother and then mentions a friends Mother.  As he was whispering I was counting and I didn’t like getting two sets of three’s.  I suddenly saw a long journey into a final darkness that sent shivers up my back.  No, God could not mean two sets of three within a short period of time, would he?

I used to discount all thoughts if they included God “did mean or didn’t mean” something would happen.  Now I think he has a big thing to do with everything.

Maybe I should send a simple prayer to God and just ask him to help me rid my mind of the three’s and above all forget I ever heard about the “Year of the Dead”.  If he was kind enough to me then maybe I would no longer feel my melancholic spell and sunshine would fill tomorrow!


A Time of Reflection

To reflect upon my own life is much more difficult than if I was asked to give thought to another’s worth. While I was in college, I became concerned if I had done anything that would let me be remembered after my death. Even more so had I achieved any lasting legacy for the far future to know me?

I asked that many, many times and now my reaction to that question is that it is unimportant. There are other concerns in my life that I should attend to, or begin to resolve. These are issues that relate directly to my elder years or that will help me feel fulfilled. I cannot guarantee that anything I have done meets some unknown criteria. If it does, fine, but then it runs the risk of history not recording the accomplishment. Often a special deed is lost or distorted and if it is a small achievement, it can be lost. I think I am far better off knowing the things I have done in my life have made me happy and that I have done some good for someone else and not worry if anyone else remembers or agrees.

Even though I may occasionally complain, I know my life has been good to me. I have little wrong with me except many, many extra pounds! Early in my life it became important for me to be employed in distinctive positions, ones not in the regular mill of things. I accomplished doing that, but now wonder if I was doing that so others would acknowledge my success, or was I doing it for me so that I could feel better? Until I went to college I always felt I wasn’t equal to someone who was educated. So often in grade school or high school, I had problems with my grades. I had no idea how to go beyond that stigma. Even when I applied to Arizona State University and was finally accepted it was on the condition that I take limited courses the first year. After the close of the first semester the grades rolled in and I was astounded I had a 4.0 pt average for the semester. As I graduated from grad school, I still had a 40 average and I began to understand what my capabilities and intelligence was. That lack of trust in me marked why it was so important to me to have jobs people recognized as special. I never was able to understand that if I could do the job that it must have taken a little more something than pure brawn.

Throughout my life, withstanding any minor character deficiencies, I have been generous and willing to help someone. Unfortunately, this help and generosity has been limited mostly to my family, but occasionally I have given my time to help others. The last few years I have cared for my mother, as she passed from her Crepusculum and into her darkness. Constantly I hear how special I am that I can do this for her, or that I will do this for her. It is my choice to care for her because when I watched my Aunt and Father deteriorate faster in a nursing home than necessary, I decided I would never allow anyone else close to me to experience the same. Now, a few years later I know I have made the right decision. Caring for her has given me insight, knowledge and patience. Now, even when one of my S/O’s family members called to tell us that they were terminally ill, I offered for her to come here so that I could care for her. This is not an act of goodness on my part; I believe it is more an act of caring and a responsibility of what should do.

Possibly, I should list the flaws I believe I have. Probably I am one of the worst people you can communicate with on a one to one basis. I am one of those who doesn’t listen unless they want to and I am often too quiet, nor will speak my opinion. From early on I was timid and even today carry many of the traits of an introvert. In addition, I live in a continual gray cloud. For years I only knew that everything was fine until suddenly I was moody or uncontrollably down. I continued this way on into my early fifties. During my forties, instead of changing things in my life I began drinking. I went away as so many do, but never could control it. Finally, during another gray period I decided that I couldn’t go on this way. I packe our truck with my cherished items, hooked up the muffler to the window and passed out believing there wouldn’t be another tomorrow. The next morning I awakened, unbelievably groggy and slightly irritated I couldn’t even orchestrate this event flawlessly. By that evening M had arranged to have me started on antidepressants. The world changed in a day. The gray cloud lifted and now only occasionally returns. The new day allowed me to stop drinking immediately, go to college, receive two degrees, make plans for the future and be able to take care of my mother now. Unfortunately in the past fifteen years there have been times I stop taking the antidepressants for a couple weeks and each time I do the gray, overwhelming cloud overtakes me with such intensity that it reminds of taking my pill.

My memory is very selective. I may choose to remember you as a dear friend, but I will never remember your birth date, nor will I always remember to write or call when I should. If I remember to call it may take a very long time because phone calls are a little bit of a problem. I do not like to make phone calls. I hated making business calls and always had a secretary or someone else to make the call and then give the phone to me. My family was even included in the continual hesitancy to make a call. Today I am much the same. M makes most of my calls unless i am calling a family member or a very close friend.

As I grow older and think more about my future, I find I think more of the past and wish to relive them (never change them-just relieve). Once I asked my mother if there was a time in her life that she would like to revisit. Her immediate response was, “Why should I–tomorrow is better!” It was the first time I realized how much I tend to live in the past and the first time I understood how much her attitude has allowed her to continue to live. If she had not been able to enjoy her unknown tomorrows, she may have had less living to today! I see the lesson in her curiosity of tomorrow, but it is a lesson I most likely won’t take.

Now is is time that you may decide if I have even come close to reflecting upon myself. My life is mine and at the present time I am happy with the way that I am. Tomorrow I need to forge on in my journey to Crepusculum. During that time I know there will be many diversions, particularly as changes occur with my Mother. To those of you who read my posts and especially to you who are kind enough to respond then if you have a moment that I have made you smile, gave you a moment of thought, or let helped you resolve a problem, then I am happy and content!

The Journey Back From Babble

So many days (weeks) have passed since I have posted. I have tried to write, especially at night, I sat in the darkened room at the little desk. As always, my Mother’s life support motors continued to whoosh and play in synchro-nized tones as I sat in the dark. The computer screen dimmed to maximum so the darkness wrapped around and cradled me.

Even as I sat in this well-known spot, the words rarely came. Instead, a stream of empty-headed babble floated in and around my head and quickly I began to feel very exhausted which then lead me to give up and go to bed. One more night wasted. Not only did I not write, but also the time sitting uselessly in the chair robbed me of the time I should be sleeping. It felt like a vicious cycle as the wasted hours accumulated and the body’s exhaustion peaked at new levels that take forever to lower. I admit I am sleep deprived and it does take rest for the mind to function. The body is a funny thing and shows you what needs to be done as it takes charge when I attempted to type. Without realizing it, I fell fast asleep. When I awakened only a moment later, I noticed that I needed to delete the letters and characters I had rested my fingers on as the body shut down for the moment.

The lack of sleep may make me continually disagreeable and it may cause my body to eat more than it should, but it is not the only cause for my lack of words. Lack of words, the blank mind, it is a worry to me. In addition, so many times, as I sat trying to write I found the things that bother me the most encroached upon my mind. These worries moved stealthily to the forefront of my thoughts and for a while I felt that it didn’t make any difference what I wrote about, yet I questioned how I could integrate them into my journey to my Crepusculum.

In the short time I have been posting, not all I write is directly related to my queries of the twilight, but I realize everything has the ability to influence my thinking and help me understand how I might react to problems during my time within my twilight. Any interaction I have is a permanent part of my experience and my experience will guide me down the path of exploration.

But then, I wonder, what do you, the reader, think if I continually make detours to salve the mind and let my worries come into your lives. Will you see them as I do or do you expect much more consistency in presenting issues that I face in preparation for the next stage of my life? Now after five paragraphs do you question the validity of my not writing before now? I am sure it seems like writing to you, but to me it has only been a way that I can move from a state of blankness to a state of combining words…. a state slightly less than written text.

Surprisingly now, I need to tell you more. I need to let you know how these past days have been so undirected. I am tired, very tired, but each day I know, I must go on. As I continue on each day (M. says I am not completely aware of what I do) I hope that I can continue giving my mother the same care as I have been, regardless that her care requirements have nearly tripled. I also wish that she is able to enjoy some form of happiness during this time and while these thoughts are active, I stop and remember all of you, as well as the other people who take the time to write me their well wishes.

Then, without hesitation, I take a very long moment to send peace to Shadowlands as she watches over her husband, and I especially hope that her heart gently safeguards her through these trying days as her husband passes into the shadows of his darkness. Of us two, she is the stronger and I read in awe of how she continues each new day, rarely beleaguered before him, yet inwardly being overwhelmed and possibly alone.

Therefore, he and my mother, as everyone does upon leaving their twilight, begin another journey, a final, unidirectional journey into a personal darkness. Some may say a light may guide you through that darkness, but even if it isn’t present often a living person can help by always being by their side. I know Shadowlands will walk with her husband every step of the way and I have promised my mother that I will be with her, regardless how long the journey may be.

The promises, the care, the worries, the tiredness are all a part of my life now. Even though they may be problematic, it is my choice. These are easy for me, as compared to that final moment, the final good bye, that realization that I will never hear her speak, just as Shadowlands will never hear her husband’s voice again. Sure, the voice has been a part of my life; I can listen to it in my head at any time, but never again in the spontaneous conversation that has always been between us. Therefore, I think of a time during my mother’s last hospitalization that becomes very poignant. A respiratory therapist told me quite firmly that I need to grab a hold and deal with my mother’s death, She repeated this even louder and firmer as she left the room…………”Deal with it! NOW!” The words still echo in my head, but particularly that day left me speechless and almost childlike. Now, with time to do its work I can say I may need to “deal with it”, I have tried unsuccessfully for too many years and now I know that there is no way I will ever be prepared!

Maybe now, once again I can write. I made it this far and my mind continues to be a tiny bit open. As I think on what I have written, it only reminds me how important it is for me to settle so much about my care when I reach that final journey, because I probably won’t have anyone I know to make sure everything will be as I want. I will be alone to walk through the darkness on a unidirectional journey.