All day yesterday when I looked at the date, I thought, that date is so familiar.  No…the 22nd is my Alyssa’s birthday.  What is the 23rd?  Just thinking of the date even today fills me with warmth.  What happened on that day?  Was it last year?  Yesterday, yesterlife?  I looked up and there he stood.  Mitzi, the man, not the boy, slightly altered by time and health but those vivid baby blue eyes still looking softly right back at me.  There is a vibration deep in my body that resonates at the very thought of that glance.  Yes, even after all these years, of smooth and rough seas, I love him from a place that must have been born in me for it to last so long and feel so strong.  September 23rd, the day a few million lifetimes ago when he asked me to be his girl. Goofy, I know, but if you could see the look on my face via my webcam, you would either laugh, or understand.  God, how I love that man. 


Volunteering Making a Difference…written 2/1/2010

In my role as a Hospice Volunteer I have always been humbled by the graciousness of the families I served.  I have felt blessed by my ability to be of service to others and had the same answer as so many of you do, when asked, “How can you do it?”.  I would reply, “I get so much more than I could ever give.”  Last year while taking care of my dear, sweet Dad in the wild winter land of Maine, I was so grateful for all my hospice experience.  My son remarked, “Do you realize, Mom, that you have been preparing for this moment, when Papa would need you, all your life?”  It’s the very reason you were drawn to Hospice all those years ago.”  I’ve often said that as Hospice Volunteers we are drawn to the bedsides of patients to learn lessons they have to teach us that we didn’t even know we need to learn.

Last winter as I cared for Daddy I learned a lesson about the value of a Volunteer, even though I have been a Hospice Volunteer since 1991.  I learned that it is HARD to need a volunteer, and even harder to accept one.  I was convinced we could do it all with the help of my dear sister and brother in law, nieces, and the long distance support of my husband, daughter, son, and friends.  I said, “No, thank you.”

I was learning that you can get by on very few hours of sleep; that there is a bitter sweetness in knowing that you are losing someone you have love your whole life; that it is essential to respect and honor all the losses of  independence as one walks the journey from this world; and that patience IS a virtue that will come when you need it most.

Sharon, Daddy’s nurse had the agency call me and insist that I might want to “consider” a volunteer.  They said I could just try it one time, for one hour, so that I could get out for that hour, and if I didn’t want to continue I didn’t have to.  Cameron was the name of the angel that the agency sent to my Daddy’s home.  I had a hard time leaving the house for my walk.  I talked to this “stranger”,  Cameron and cried when I did.  I was embarrassed and didn’t quite understand what I was feeling.  After a while I left and went for a brisk one hour walk on a 22 degree day down a snow covered road.  I came back refreshed, revitalized, humbled and and appreciative.  I accepted the volunteer.

When Cameron appeared at the doorway of Daddy’s hospital room near the end, I cried and he hugged me.  When he came to Daddy’s funeral I was grateful and humbled once more.  I was tempted, even though I knew the answer to breathlessly ask, “How can you do this?”  As volunteers the answers, as you know is “How could we not?”

My thanks to all Hospice Volunteers, everywhere, with a new sense of knowing, appreciation, and humility.Image

Our Ruth

Its okay to want to go,

Its okay to stay.  

Today’s the day you get to choose,

Its alright either way.

You’ve lived your life

With strength and faith, held hands with those in need

Unwitnessed were those quiet times

Humbling was your deed.

You lived with courage

through hard times-

Your faith you have maintained

God granted you the strength required

And took your away your pain.

With friends and families at your bed

You turned your head aside

You looked into the face of God

Your sigh was your goodbye.

Your lovely, neat and proper self

Saved your best for last

Your place your life into HIS arms

Your resting place now vast.

We’ll think of you, remember you

With folded quilts across your arms

As you toddled through the hallway

Your visits were your alms.

We’ll wander through and look for you

Sitting in the chair

And smile sweetly at the thought 

Of Our Ruth still sitting there.

Our lives were touched

Our hearts more full

Our understanding wide

You made a difference here on earth

Our Ruth was at our side.

Its okay to want to go,

Its okay to stay.

Today’s the day you get to choose,

Its alright either way.


OUR RUTH was written as I sat bedside with a dear lady who had been a longtime volunteer with Hospice.  She was a woman of great strength and style with a deep and abiding faith.

Word Storms

Lately I’ve been a little down in reaction to life.  It is not as unusual for me as it might be for others, but chances are most of you are surprised.  Many people describe me as outgoing, hilarious, crazy, (really don’t enjoy that one, unless you’re smiling when you call me that) and others tell me that they can’t believe the things I say out loud.  Those closest to me also know that I’ve had a personal battle with depression that I’ve both won and lost, over the course of my adult life.  Sadly, my family takes the brunt of it but luckily still hangs around.  The thing is, with depression it sometimes creeps in on me and in what feels like one day, and then it feels like I have to really work at  just being the me I am when I’m not feeling down.

I’m a writer when I’m in a funk.  I have what I call word storms.  They aren’t scary, they are amazing, at least to me!  Don’t go all freaky on me, I don’t hear voices or anything like that. Yet.  Yet I am able to more clearly articulate what I am feeling and begin writing in what my high school English teacher, Mrs. Hayden,  called stream of consciousness.  It is my favorite way to write.  Just begins with a thought and my brain just pushes it through me to paper or computer.  I love using the computer to write because I can actually keep up with my thoughts and generally allow them to fall where they may.

I call it a word storm because living out here in the desert it feels similar to a haboob (dust storm) as it settles over the valley.  The haboob being the darkness the valley the depression.  See, it makes sense.  Not all of my writing is dark, the lighter writing can be likened to the lifting of the storm and the clearing that follows.  I’m a bit like weather, pretty mercurial and unpredictable while being remarkably unremarkable as well.  Like the weather I have highs and lows but I don’t believe I’ve set any records lately.

Its been a hot summer and it is the desert’s time for cabin fever.  Like a Maine winter, housebound by weather and the oppressive heat, I’ve had enough and am waiting for the season’s change.

So Deserthoughts will be my writing.  It might be in the form of a recent thought and might also be something that I wrote as far back as high school which was many, many decades ago.  Try not to be afraid of some of the things I write about.  I’d like to be honest here, but I’d also like not to hurt the people that I care about so I’ll try to be cautiously truthful.

I won’t use but an occasional name in my writing.  I’ll begin with Ruth…..