Wednesday, May 23, 2007



The trip to California was as good as a trip like that gets - the second house is SOLD - after nine months on the market - hooray! My mother has already signed the closing papers and it is final this coming Friday. What a relief.

Mother pledged that once the house sold, she would list the primary residence and prepare to move - for the past few months, she has been doing a ton of stuff, cleaning out closets, painting and interior and exterior, having the gazebo deck refinished - "getting ready to sell." We had the realtor out to visit two days before my departure and Mother informed us that she was not ready to list the house yet. OK - her decision.

The morning I left she informed me that she will not be ready to consider selling the house for at least a year. I was amazed. I wanted to say, "Mom, you are one fall away from some really bad stuff." I didn't. I kept my own counsel. There is not much to say in the last 45 minutes that wouldn't have left us in a weird spot.

Leaving her alone in a two-story house is frightening.

We make our choices and our choices make us. This is the choice she is making now. It is very clear that I need to go home more often.


I am cleaning out the downstairs closets, getting ready for my handyman and his helper to come on Saturday to clean out the garage. These are the last hidey holes of undiscovered memories from life before death. It has been overwhelming. Pictures, clothing, suits, wedding shoes, theater tickets, guitars, music, so much of our life just laid out at my feet. My darling - my Tom - our life that is no longer.

It is hard. My heart is heavy today and yet, I know it is time. I need the rest of the house to be organized and I need to know where everything is in my home. I need the future.

For nearly three years, I have put so many things on the shelves in the downstairs bedroom and in the laundry room and in the garage. Now is the time. I clean and weep. I go through boxes and laugh and cry. I am full of gratitude yet apt to break down in tears at the slightest provocation.

I find myself slipping back into an old place of "why, why, why did this happen?" There are no answers.

Grief - the transformational journey that keeps on giving - the journey that keeps on ripping your heart out, that keeps reminding you to live in each moment - it is the only one we truly have.

I honor the grief, it has brought me to my knees a million times over, it has tested the resilience of every fiber of my being, it has drawn a new landscape on my soul.

"The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone -- that is pure hope, rooted in the heart."

David Steindl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer


  1. You are expressing your feelings a way that teardrops are falling from my eyes. But you sure are a strong woman and very realistic when you have come to the conclusion to live every moment.

    I will tag you to Alexia "train of love" as I think you deserve many more readers on your excellent blog.

  2. I'm so sorry that your mom has changed her mind. I know how difficult it can be when you think you have finally made progress in helping a loved one move forward only to find out they are still needing to linger in a situation that seems to no longer work. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mom.


  3. What a wonderful description of pure hope. Truly, we widoweds have had all our hopes and dreams ripped from our souls. And yet somehow, we find our way to pure hope. What a road we walk, my friend. What a road we walk.

  4. Suzann, I am always touched by your words, impressed with the movement you've made in claiming the future, and left with an aching heart that memories will always bring both joy and sadness when we are without someone we love.

    I understand fully the issues you face with your mother's change of plans. "One fall away"...yes, you are right. That one fall can end a life or compromise it to such a degree that it is unrecognizable. What to do? I sit in the same boat.

    Where in the world did you find that amazing photograph - or did you take it yourself?

    The tasks ahead are hard ones, necessary but emotionally difficult. As you do these things, I hope you will surround yourself with people who love you and in whose presence you find comfort and safety. Many hugs and love.

  5. It is hard allowing loved ones make decisions that we believe to not be in their own best interests as with your mother. Our parents may have had to do that with us as teenagers, young adults, even mature adults. As long as they're of sound mind, I wonder if we should, perhaps, allow them to take risks we might prefer they didn't? I don't presume to know the answer in your situation. Sounds like you have done the best you can under the circumstances and that is all anyone can do. Doesn't make it any easier, I know.

    I'm glad for you that you are finally able to complete the reorganization of your home. I won't be quite so hard on myself, now that I know how long it took you to get to this point. I thought I would have reached that point this one year later since my husband's death, but I had a bit of a problem even getting through the income taxes this year as I described in a post.

    Do take good care of yourself. Keep walking that road. That's all we can do.