Posted in Uncategorized

death is…

Death is not quiet or peaceful.

Death is violent.

Death is vomiting blood.

Death is choking and gasping.

Death is harsh.

Death makes you beg…

… until death becomes cruel relief.

Posted in Death, Funerals


Stroke victims often suffer from aphasia; a language impairment that often is isolating and frustrating. She suffers from this.

She recently watched some sort of science show and heard the term “nematodes”. For days afterwards, every time she talked about something or someone, that’s what she called them.

“Go get some nematodes. ”

She wanted scratch-off tickets.

“Where’s your nematode?”

She was looking for my daddy.

One day she leaned close and shook her finger.

“No buzzards. ”

Obviously buzzards eat dead things. But I know her well. She was referring to how they circle the dead prey waiting to consume it. She doesn’t want outsiders nosing around her funeral just waiting to gossip. She used to say the old ladies her age loved to gawk at their deceased “friends” at the viewing and say, “Oh, look! Doesn’t she look so natural?” Then they reportedly go back and gossip about the deceased and their family.

She didn’t watch a special about buzzards on the Discovery channel. She didn’t want to be preyed upon like roadkill.

I assured her that there would be “no buzzards” at her funeral.

Unfortunately, we’re related to a few. I hope there won’t be a good, old-fashioned, white-trash tussle at her funeral. Perhaps I should make a sign:

“NO BUZZARDS: Violators will be shot. ”

Unfortunately the buzzards to which she refers aren’t just protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. I don’t desire a prison stay. And you can’t just shake their roosting tree at night or put out owl decoys.

How would you get rid of a buzzard?

Posted in Death, Life Stories


She was fun… she was fearless…

She wore a blonde wig and a tiny bikini and strutted in front of her pig of a spouse as he, unbeknownst to him,  announced to his son that his disguised wife was “about [his] speed right there”.

She hopped on the first motorcycle she had ever seen and her white skirt- tails flew amok as she held on tighter and tighter, not knowing her very grip was making her go faster and faster; and she laughed at herself every time she told the story years later because she had no idea how to stop the machine and had no clue that her clutching hands were pressing the gas the whole time.

She was fun.

She doesn’t mince words about death.  “I’m just ready to… go on. ”

The damage from the stroke doesn’t interfere with her meaning.

She is fearless.


Posted in Life Stories

mother of steel

I saw her cry once.   That was when she thought she was going to die in a medical nursing facility after the massive stroke.   Her greatest fear was being here and being unable to move or communicate.  She had told me that many times.    And she was staring that greatest fear in the face.   And she wasn’t even sobbing.   A few silent tears trickled down her face and she accepted what she thought was her fate quietly and with the regal dignity of a queen.   The lift of her head and the set of her lips always could have put Queen Elizabeth,  herself, in her place.

I imagine it’s the same carriage she developed after riding one of her sick boys on the handlebars of her bicycle to get to the doctor because her alcoholic, filandering husband could have been anywhere, she didn’t know how to drive and mothers do what needs to be done.

I fall so short of the mother of steel who came before me.

Posted in Life Stories

the mental institution

My life would have been much different if she hadn’t come to keep them from putting myself and my brothers in a mental institution.   That’s what happens when your dad is bipolar and your stepmother doesn’t want to deal with you.

She was there, though.  She stepped up.  “There’s nothing wrong with them and they are coming with me. ”

Life would have been so different.  It will be so different when she’s gone soon.


Posted in Grief

when words won’t come

What do you say to her?

She lies there getting weaker and you can, but can’t really understand being in the place she is; ready to say goodbye.

You don’t want her to suffer so every time you’ve seen her in the past year, you’ve tried to say and do all you can to make it ok that it might be the last time… but you know you’ll always want that one more time. Even though you pray that she won’t suffer long. Your mind and heart at war with themselves just can’t decide.

All this culminates in the middle of the night. Tears that usually don’t hit you until after a loss are pouring and you have strange thoughts: “She’s going to be so happy to see get mother. ” Where that thought came from, you don’t know. Her mother died 80 years ago and she’s never said as much. You realize grief is hitting much differently than it ever has.

You search scripture to find verses that may comfort her, that she would love to hear. But you continue to find scripture that comforts those left behind. You don’t want that. Where are the words for her? You search and come up lacking.

“I’ll miss you and I love you, but it’s ok to go. ” But there has to be something else to say.

What are your thoughts? What have you said? What would you say?

Maybe someone reading this has more wisdom to share than I do.