Tag Archives: mother

ANOTHER SEGMENT—OR TWO. Will it ever end?

Today is Good Friday, supposedly a day of relaxation and to remember “whatever.” For me, it’s remembering my mother who died on Good Friday in 2016. Of course, she didn’t die two years ago today since the date of Good Friday changes every year. I thank Facebook for reminding me of her death on March 24 cause I’m horrid with dates. I’ll never forget Mom died on Good Friday, but I won’t always remember the 24th.

We have family coming for dinner on Sunday. EEK! Thirteen people, now that I count; that’s unlucky and I don’t need more bad luck, so I’ll set a place setting for Matt and put his photograph on the chair. This will be our second Easter without him.

For the past few weeks, I’d been searching for my high stool that magically disappeared. The only place it could have been was in our large, walk-in linen closet that was stogged so full you couldn’t see the floor or the shelving. I asked Hubby to help me organize it. He’s always eager to throw stuff out, so perhaps he had the wrong impression re my request as he was most accommodating.  We got a few things moved out, and low and behold: my stool! Sadly, I’d accused Hubby of taking it and forgetting where he’d put it; I had even gone as far as saying “someone must have stolen it.” (Who, I didn’t know.)

And then I saw them: turds. Oh My Gosh–to put it mildly. In my linen closet?! Never, ever have they been in the closet. I needed to remove everything. Long story and job that was, so I won’t even start that tirade.

Needless to say, it was more than a morning’s work. And then I had to wash numerous precious items, most of them by hand. And NOT how I wanted to spend Good Friday–or any day, for that matter. I needed a drink (or two) badly, but 11 a.m. was a bit early, even for me.

So, now I have an extremely (for me) neat linen closet.


Okay, so it doesn’t look THAT neat, not in the photo. And it’s way bigger than it looks, too. It’s very deep and long. Six (or more) people can easily fit in it, not that THAT matters!

But, GAH, mice in my linen closet? What the heck! And where are they coming from?

After that, we tackled the TV cabinet. [If you’ve read my earlier post(s), you’ll understand.] Hubby removed all the electronics. GAH: more peanut shells. He was great, though, he dusted like crazy. First time I’ve seen him dust–or clean!


Once the linen closet and the TV cabinet were clean, I tackled the office (where I spend my days writing stories no one ever reads). It wasn’t in that bad a shape, but the surfaces needed organized and books replaced back on shelves. It’s also my library.

So, I opened the bottom drawer of Hubby’s desk to stog stuff into it.

Low and behold: peanut shells and turds.

Oh my! What has my life become?

I had kinda been joking in earlier posts when I said how I constantly look over my shoulders, but you know what? I need to. They’re everywhere. And who knows where!

It’s now 4:44 p.m. Time for a drink, right? (Maybe two…maybe three…)

And this is how my Good Friday went. I hope yours is/was better.

“Happy Easter,” says Oliver the Rabbit.


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The Year of Firsts

The Year of Firsts

Matt candle crop

The year of firsts ends today,

What is this current year?

A year of seconds?

Is there a label for future years?


How did a year pass so fast

And yet so painfully slow?

I relived each day—

Three hundred and sixty-five.


Not wanting to remember,

Not wanting to forget

You walking through the door,

Your smile betraying antics.


We mucked with Mother Nature.

Did we do too much?

Did we do too little?

Guilt consumes my soul.


Flowers withered, trinkets exist,

Photos and memories abound,

Remains encased in silver or bronze

And within a wooden tomb.


A headstone highlights your grave,

Sun dancing upon blue and grey,

But you are as scattered and hidden

As your cans of empty beer.


Nine months I carried you,

Today I carry you ‘round my neck

And within my heart and mind,

Your death etched upon my face.


The first horrid year ends today

But every breath brings more,

You’ll remain an eternal mirage,

Forever unreachable until I die.


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I’m Psychic!

nurse calendar

My siblings and I don’t usually exchange Christmas gifts, but when I received notification in the mailbox that I had a parcel to pick up at the post office, I immediately knew it was from my brother Eric.

The next day when the postal clerk brought out the package from the back room, I knew right away it was a calendar. And my next thought was my brother had made a personalized one with photographs of our mother, who had died in 2016.

When I got home and opened it, I discovered I was right! It was a calendar and my mother’s face stared up at me. It was my mother, wasn’t it?  At first glance, yes.  I peered closer. No, it wasn’t.

My mother had been a nurse, granted only for a short time, if at all, for I’m sure she didn’t work after she married my father almost immediately after graduating nursing school. And a year later, after I was born, she didn’t work outside the home.

I peered at the calendar again. Yes, it was my mother’s face.

No, it wasn’t.

Still, the woman resembled my mother. The package had to have come from Eric, a bit of a prankster, and he probably sent it to each of his siblings as a semi gag gift.

But there was no name, no return address. Who else would have sent it but him?

I had slit the two pieces of taped cardboard to withdraw the calendar. Maybe I missed something.  I pulled apart the cardboard. A card!

Yep, it was from Eric: “I saw these in a store and figured everyone would want one as it looks so much like Mom.”

I laughed.  How funny. Did I have ESP?

My other brother called me the following day. After chitchatting for a bit, I asked, “Did you get a present from Eric?”

“Yeah, you, too? I thought it was just me, that I was special.”

“Ha ha,” I said. “At first, I thought I was special, too, but when I saw the calendar, I immediately knew he’d sent one to each of us. It really does look like Mom, doesn’t it?”

“It does.”

I relayed my ESP story, which he thought pretty amazing. Turned out, he had no clue who had sent him a nurse calendar either, and he, too, also had to search for the card since he had slipped out the calendar as I had.

After we hung up, I wished I could pick up the phone again to call my mother. She would have gotten a kick out of the story.

Miss you, Mom, this second Christmas you’ve been gone.  Hope you and Matt are keeping each other company.

And thank you, Eric, for a sweet thought!


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My Son. My Grief. Eight Months Today.

I seem to be able to compartmentalize my life, not that it seems possible to do so. Although I don’t want to be around other people most days, when I am, I hold in my tears. People tell me I’m strong, but I’m not. I just don’t like sharing my grief with others and I hide it until I’m alone. People don’t understand. Unless you’ve lost a child, you’ll never understand. And I hope you (whoever is reading this) never lose a child.

I may smile, but it’s not a real smile. I may laugh, but it’s not a real laugh. Not like before. When he was here. My life seemed so simple then. All problems back then too minor. Why had I ever worried about “such and such”? Bigger issues would take over, when he died. Nothing back then could ever compare to now.

It’s a horrific horror story, losing a child. I never EVER imagined I’d lose one of my children. How could such a thing be possible? They were all healthy. Loss had never affected us. Sure, I lost grandparents. I was devastated at my parents’ deaths. But parents always predecease children.

No, not always. Not in my case. And that’s a rarity. Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children.

I’m so overwhelmed with grief over my son’s passing, eight months today, that I don’t know how I manage some days. I’m not in denial he’s gone. I know he’s gone.

Dead, funeralized, buried.

But I miss him. Every second of every day. He’s first on my mind when I wake in the mornings and last on my mind at nights. When I do sleep, that is. Sleeping pills have become my best friend, but they don’t always work, and those are horrific nights, when I cry and toss and turn and want to be somewhere else. Where, I don’t know. Where else is there to go?

I’m not suicidal. I’m not a believer in life after death. I’m not that far gone I’d kill myself to be with him. I have two other children. And grandchildren. And a husband. And I want to continue my life, such as it is. I still have goals and dreams. I still have trips I want to take, places I want to visit and explore. I have stories in my head. I have the book of my experience with my son’s last three months I want to write, which I’ve titled (in my head) “Three Hearts. My Truth as I See It.” Whether I can ever write it remains to be seen.

I have no desire to give up everything to—maybe—join him.

Of course, at the time, when he was given a death sentence, I would have given him my life. I’d have done that for any of my children. Or grandchidren. I’d prolong each of their lives, if I could.

My son was a kind soul, loving and giving. All he wanted was to live to see his children grow. During his last days, he cried many times over that. His tears weren’t for him; they were for his two girls, whom he dearly loved.

I’d have given my son my heart had I been able. So he could have lived.

That’s all he needed. A heart that wasn’t full of cancer.

But death doesn’t work that way.

Death takes who it wants, when it wants.

We can’t bargain with death.


Death is just death. There is nothing else once death shows its face.

Matthew, my son, I miss you so terribly. And I know how humbled you’d be to know how many grieve for you. Not just me, but the rest of your family, and your friends. Even your co-workers. So many people.

You were such a simple soul. You’d help a stranger in the street.

And, dear reader, I’m not eulogizing him as people do after a death. My son truly was a perfect person. He was honest, sincere. A hard worker. He loved life. He loved his two children more than anything, and had he been able, he would have given his life for either one. But he was never called to do that.

Death took him before he could.


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The Seamstress



(In memory of my dear, sweet mother, 1927-2016)


My mother holds the tangled threads

of her five children

gathered in her frail hands,

now adults, all of us,


yet her babies still,

siblings once woven so tightly.


She clutches the flimsy threads


not wanting them to break,

but she knows when her time is done

the stitches,

almost brittle now with age,

will pucker and snap,


like a knitted sweater

frayed at the seams

that slowly unweaves

and shrinks in the wash.


The five of us,

once finely patterned

within the squares

of a cosy quilted comforter,

are now knotted differently,

we are mismatched buttons,

different lines we stitched,

different designs we embroidered,

different templates we followed.


We may have been pierced with needles

or cut with scissors

and discarded like scraps,

but still forever entwined,

criss-crossing like lattice

or unfolding like yards of white lace

or glistening like beaded brocade,

other times jumping through our fitted hoops,

casting each other off.


Sometimes we’re bold like strands of gold

and other times we hide in the folds

as we try to patch our souls.


We are twisted

and at odds

the five of us—

two against three,

three against two—

faded appliqués of assorted shades and sizes

torn from a worn and loving quilted spread,

smothered with pinpricks of jealousy,

looping alone

and spinning yarns

and piping warped dreams

that don’t gauze the rip

or mend the tear.


We’ve forgotten the wicker basket

from whence we came—

a hamper once filled with love

and accessories with which to mend—

the one the seamstress hovers over,

ever watchful and caring.


But in times of crises—

when pockets are picked

and seams are shattered—

we gather and braid together,

our dyes running forth again

while we weave a tapestry of colours

into a padded patchwork

that frames our mother in love.



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Too Much Pain

Excruciating chest pain woke me around 4:35 this morning. I lay there for a good five minutes, wondering if I was in the throes of a heart attack or if one was about to start. A myriad of thoughts sped through my mind: do I wake hubby to go to the ER, do I sneak into the kitchen for an aspirin, do I remain still and hope it’ll pass?

Will it pass? Is it a heart attack?

The pain wasn’t localized to the left side; instead, it lay across my entire chest like a swath of mowed grass, deep behind my breasts. (I’m describing the length and breadth of the pain, not the pain itself. Mowed grass doesn’t hurt…or does it?)

While I pressed my hands against my body, willing the pain to subside, silly thoughts raced through my mind. I pictured myself prone on the hospital bed: legs unshaved, hair unwashed, void of makeup. I even pondered getting up, if nothing else to shave my legs. Hey, it’s winter! Who reveals legs in this cold?

And then my dear, sweet mother, who just last month turned 89, flashed before me. She had been taken to the hospital close to midnight the previous evening after suffering a fall and hitting her head. Luckily she had no broken bones, but after being examined, the doctor said she had pneumonia. For an elderly person, pneumonia is just as bad as a broken bone.

My mother.

I waited for the inevitable phone call. A minute or so—maybe less—and brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrinnnnnnnnnngggggggggg.

Hubby jumped out of bed. But even though the phone is on his nightstand, I had raced around the bed and reached it first.

I could barely hear my sister’s muffled voice. “It’s Mom.”

“I know,” I said. Stupid me spouted the episode I’d experienced, as if in that dire moment she–or anyone—would want to hear such an unbelievable story—or any story.

“She’s not gone yet,” Heather said.

And I perked up.

But Mom’s condition had worsened through the night, and the family (at least the ones in in Ontario), were called. The doctor wanted to sedate her so a breathing tube could be inserted, and he wasn’t sure she’d wake up. Two siblings of three siblings in proximity got to the hospital while she was lucid.

At noon, it hit me. My mother. She might not wake up. I may never see her again. And the tears flowed.

She’s improved slightly. She’s still sedated, still asleep, and has had her second dose of antibiotics to fight the pneumonia. Her oxygen levels are good. She’s stable. Apparently, she can breath on her own; the ventilator had been inserted to relieve the stress on her heart, and it will be removed in a day or two.

The next 48 hours are critical. The pneumonia has taken over, but if she can kick that, she might pull through.

Mom needs to have a fairly simple procedure—an unclogging of a heart valve. She’s been suffering the past year or so because of it, and it’s taken all that time for doctors to diagnose her problem. After numerous appointments, she was just last week approved for the procedure. All that remained was the appointment for the surgery. And then this happened!

The horrible thing is: If she’d had this procedure done when the problem surfaced, she wouldn’t be in the dire straits she is now. She could have kicked the pneumonia to the curb. Now, of course, her heart’s weaker, and it’s harder to fend off attacks.

I’m prepared for the worse, but I’m hoping for the best.

I love my mother so much. I don’t want to lose her. But I know it’s inevitable, as it is for all of us. Death takes everyone in the end. No one is immune.

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The Spot Writers – “The Vase”

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This week the prompt is to have a character explain why they stole something. 

Today’s contribution comes from Catherine MacKenzie. Her most recent publication, BETWEEN THESE PAGES, is a compilation of 18 short stories. The book is available on Amazon and Smashwords: 




The Vase

Fragmented snakes twist around broken and chipped Chinese men. Hopelessly, their glossy faces—both snakes and men—glare at me, perhaps begging to be put out of their misery. I want to help, but it’s too late. At one time they were safe—when, healthy and whole, they leered from a two-foot-high porcelain vase. Now, it’s a puzzle as to where one slimy snake begins and another ends.

The vase belonged to my mother, passed down to her from her mother, though it had been a wild ride to her home. At first, it had been in the possession of my maternal great-grandfather until stolen by his disgruntled housekeeper. After his death, the thief had taken pity on his widow, for one day it appeared in a crate on my great-grandmother’s doorstep. The vase had been carted to England, Scotland, Portugal, Canada, China and the United States—not necessarily in that order—and to some places more than once. Surprisingly, the object remained in perfect condition.

Of course, all that was hearsay, since the tale had been passed down from the generations. But it makes for interesting talk.

My mother thought the ornamental object to be worthless. I knew otherwise. My three siblings were clueless and only vaguely knew the item existed.

I wanted the objet d’art. Badly.

Today, I see my mother’s face every time I enter my apartment. Those once-intact Chinese faces have morphed into hers. Too many of them, all sneering at me, as if they know the truth. In my defense, she wasn’t supposed to get hurt. And the vase wasn’t supposed to have broken.

Sometimes, however, you can’t control events. Sometimes life doesn’t play out like you envision. Sometimes you’re left with nothing but regrets.

My mother protected the vase the night the masked man broke into her home. The intruder fought back, selfishly determined to have what he desired. In the end, no one won. The almost million dollar ornament cracked into several pieces when it hit the floor. My mother, devastated—not because of its monetary worth but for sentimental reasons (for if she had cared about its dollar value, it would’ve sat in a vault)—picked up the poker resting by the fireplace beneath the mantle where the vase had been displayed. The intruder, instinctively protecting himself, fought back. The poor woman didn’t stand a chance.

I snatched a hunk of the porcelain before I raced off that night. The large shard now rests on my mantle, a memento as fragile as breath.


The Spot Writers- our members: 

RC Bonitz



Val Muller



Catherine A. MacKenzie



Deborah Dera


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