How To Say Goodbye – Don’t

This is Day 31

Thank you for joining me during the month of October for #write31days. Now that we are ending the series, I am just getting started with this rodeo. Was this a practice drill? Is tomorrow really November 1? More about that later.

To read the series in its entirety, click the page tab at the top of the home page. Spoiler alert, there are not 31 posts. Right, I know, I fell short of the goal. But I don’t really see it that way. More about that later.

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I do not like goodbye’s. Unless I am leaving the DMV or the dentist. But even then I have usually tried to connect with someone in the place and have done some sort of bonding, making it difficult to leave. So goodbye’s, I am not a fan. When I say bonding, I mean I hope I have gotten past how are you’s and how is the weather’s. I am a digger. Though I try to be gentle. If we were having coffee I would be gently going deeper in conversation rather than keeping it superficial.

If you are a regular reader here, it is rare to hear me speak. Usually its a lot of poetry. And I like it that way, but today is a horse of a different color and I am feeling a bit chatty, sentimental and having a difficult time saying goodbye to this series.

Perhaps it is because I am struggling to say goodbye to my beloved old English Lab who is hanging around this thin veil of living and leaving. It is painful and yet there are moments laced with such tender beauty. I am clinging to the moments and praying for a miracle. I am seeing signs of love and life and glory tinged on the edges of her illness. The tail wags, a barometer of life. She rolls on her back and lets me rub her sweet spot, an indicator of emotion. And the food? If she can still eat her beloved peanut butter treats, she’s not going anywhere anytime soon (she says hopefully and expectantly).

So perhaps saying goodbye is best when we focus on the hellos, the gratitude, the blessings of the life and life experiences rather than the void. I do not know how to say goodbye’s well. So do not listen to me. But as I map out the end of this series I want to focus on gratitude.

My best goodbye is a big hello, thank you, blessings on your head.

If you have read here for a season, you have come across my words on aging and dementia. This is a theme of sorts  in my life as I walk through this confusing disease with my mother. It is a journey of discovery. Of pain and joy. Of surprise and disappointment. I do not want to say goodbye to who she was before dementia, I choose to say hello to who she is becoming every day within the new paradigm of her life, aging with dementia. Hello, thank you, blessings.

I want to choose to embrace the moment, savor the moment and declare the gratitude in the moment.

I guess the best goodbye is a hello till later.

Maybe that’s the best I can do on this Day 31. I hope this is hello. I hope this is see you in November. And I hope you will be around for the book. Because the book is coming, I  trust the timing. And no, I do not know the details, I just know my heart’s desire on the matter. And I hope you will help me explore the newsletter and join me if it is birthed and takes off.

So this is my postcard from me for today. Hello, thank you, bless you, warmly, e.

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If I have met you through this series, thank you. If you have subscribed to the blog to follow my writing during October, thank you.

I hope to see you in November and all the months ahead.

I am dreaming of a weekly newsletter which contains writing that would not be found on my blog. If you think this sounds interesting, intriguing or has any merit at all, drop a comment in the comment box and say, “I MIGHT be interested in that”. And if you are subscribing, you will hear me announce here a place to sign up if I go forward with it. I think a newsletter may be fun for all of us. (Rather than a second blog.) Yes, I did mention that as an option earlier this week.

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The Snow Globe

Welcome to Day 13. Thank you for joining me during October for #write31days.

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To catch up on the series click on the page link at the top of the home page. I am honored that you are here.

(Subscribe to receive postings in your email as they are published. Or check back whenever you like.)

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The Snow Globe

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Strange little egg shaped metaphor
Just as the dust settles,
No snow
Frozen tranquility is restored
To your glass sanctuary
Slowly
Fake flakes fall gently on the plastic turf
Your home’s floor
Photo-shopping beauty
We settle in to a Norman Rockwell-esq
Version of life
Frozen in time and place and space
How perfectly boring you become
With no movement
Living in your glass house
It is when the shaking comes
That the blanket of beauty is laid
The turning of you upside down
And right again
That complex mix of calm and peace and static is restored
Until
The next time
Your perfectly calm snow lined streets
Get wondrously shaken
Again and again
World without end
amen

There in lies the wonder
The beauty
of it all
Globes were meant to turn
Round
And you, little snow globe
A little upside down

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Joining Laura today

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The Beauty Of Repetition – A Story of The Bats

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Thank you for joining this journey of poetry, prose and photography. To follow the series click here for all posts in Postcards From Me — #write31days
Grateful to have you along on this 31 Day Writing Challenge. You breathe joy onto the pages here as you accompany me on this journey.

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The Beauty of Repetition – A Story Of The Bats
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Good Night Moon for the two hundredth time
Crispy fried chicken from the colonel from Kentucky
Hot macaroni and cheese
Orange or yellow, boxed, or home made
And a glass of cold milk at bedtime
Cheek on cold pillow
Rhythms and patterns, the labyrinth of life

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I start out to gather my words, herd them into a poem. They said, “no can do”. My words talk back to me. They can be headstrong like that. I know they won’t conform to my poem so I give them up and open the field of prose. Let them run wild and free.

I think they like it there sometimes where there is more openness, where it is wider, bigger more like South Dakota. A lot of space to stretch and breathe. And be the words they were created to be. With less fence lines and gateposts and cattle gates with locks.

Plus, it is difficult to write about bats in poetry. Unless you are Billy Collins or some other very creative and poet laureate-esq writer. Because the words, patterns, memories, recollections that have tried to form a poem have put their collective feet down and said “tell this in prose.” I assume your words talk back to you in a similar way.

She keeps telling the bat stories over and over again. And we laugh and feign misery and say”no not again, don’t tell the bat story.” And then we spell as if she can’t and say, here comes the b-a-t story again. Being a child and being an adult are not that dissimilar. Familiarity is comforting. And patterns are guideposts to our living.

Repetition comforts. Pattern calms. Tradition and customs and pilgrimages restore our souls with the balm of the familiar.

I walk to the spring and stop. Stare at the water trickling down. Measure with an invisible yardstick in my memory. Check to see if the water is coming from the spring in a rapid or slowing rate. Twenty something years of going to Wynne Lithia Spring and it’s new every single time. The beauty of repetition restores me. I stop and lose myself in the beauty of the spring. And remember my memories of this place. I have stockpiled them. Hoarded them. Hold them tight.

She asks me if I have read this book, the one in her hand, the one by Flannery O’Connor. And I say yes parts, until I realize it is a different Flannery O’Connor book. And I remind her of the author’s love of peacocks. Thinking we’ll discuss the short stories with tales of the peahens and peabiddies. And she said yes, “I see that now in technicolor on television.” And I haven’t a clue. Until I catch up with her mind and her world and where she has gone. She is not in the room. Her look is far away. Empty. Vapid.  And I am lost.

Dementia is a game player. One moment we are discussing Flannery O’Connor and the next she is remembering NBC’s early logo from the television of her youth. I go there, with her, in my mind. And follow this trail to her past. Where I learn. And revisit. And uncover. And secretly wonder about this place of distant remembering that she goes to brush off the dust and bring back a treasure from her past.

I was thinking of O’Connor’s beautiful peacocks, her beloved peacocks from her youth. Mother was thinking of NBC. As the crow flies, they aren’t that far away. You  must learn the language of dementia before you can communicate with it’s strange dialect. The nuances. The subtleties.

We cross our legs in laughter. Red faced and breathless. The bats came walking into the powder room one day as she sat there. Stunned. Amazed. Bewildered. And then they came from the bookcase during another time in her life. We zig zag through the stories of the bats. And where do all these bats come from. And why is there a series of unfortunate bat stories in this family. And aren’t we all a little batty anyway.

There are other “bat stories”. No not stories of bats. But ones she repeats. The stories of her youth and childhood. The ones that are emblazoned there in her mind. She grabs the photo album. We sit down side by side. And she shows me the pictures of us again. In Boston. I am two.

And I savor her narrative of this faded photograph album.

And listen to her telling of us.

As if it is the first time. Because like my visits to the spring. Her stories are always welcome and new. With an added piece of herself, folded into the telling. And if I listen with the ear of a child, I will walk away, wiser. Changed.

By the beauty of the repetition. And dementia loses another battle. And we are winners, again. We beat back the dark and stand in the light. And say “Wonderful story, mother. Tell us again.”

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In Just A Moment

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Thank you for joining me.You breathe life into this space and into this series. Your presence here is a tremendous gift.
Today is Day 4. To catch up and read the series in its enirety, click here or click the tab at the top of this home page marked #write31days2014-Postcards From Me, elizabeth w. marshall
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In Just A Moment

The earth will tilt and lean
Press her face against the foggy
Glass
Look at us
As we at her
We play a game of stare
Poker faced, straining
To not  look away and miss
The micro moments
She presents

What if every moment
That we see
Capture with our glassy pupiled lens
Was meant to savor
Fragrant earthen soil
And well-lit canvases
She lends

To gather up the
Remember when’s
In just a moment

She will tilt again
Continue
On her race around the galaxy

Each moment that she gives to me
In fractured minutes as I blink
To tuck into my memory folds
Filled with all the grainy, dull and fading
Remember whens
But
I will still say

I remember when
The sun rained down on the precipice of stone-grey rocks
Magnificent
And magnified by a gurgling
Rushing mountain stream
That perfect October day
Destined to meet
The beauty of the earth and I
For I was there
Gifted
With a front row seat

And in just a moment

We were gone
Fragile is life’s middle name
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Joining Sandra Heska King for Still Saturday