Happy Birthday

linda22Happy Birthday to our irrepressible sister Linda.  I miss you.

I miss your goofy garage sales, your awesome car, your love of thrift stores.  I miss your love, your understanding, your heartfelt wish to make others happy.

I miss you as my confidant, second mother to my daughters, my happy-go-lucky camping companion.  You always made me laugh, and drew me into adventures to places and activities we maybe should not have gone.  Sarah still calls our camping weekends therapy weekends.  Not because they were therapeutic, but because Camping-Signshe swears she needs therapy for them to this day.

Before you passed, you told me that you would tell me what happens after and you did.  And you continue to send to me small little missives, like messages on a carrier pigeon. Sometimes just a smell, or a word I see written that brings your smile to my eyes, and your laugh to my ears.

Yesterday I was pulling some books from my shelf, and out fell a birthday card that you had created for me many years ago.  Were you reminding me that I need to prepare for your birthday, or just saying hey?  Once, in the middle of a snow storm in Minneapolis WMT blasted from my radio for just a minute.  What the heck, I had just been thinking of you.  And of course the dream  you sent shortly after you left. (the dream)  Previous File: jmTreeOfLife_1_10.psd Epson_2_05WP_720uni_2005_0411

I smell the scent of greenhouse flowers while driving down highways.  That started after as well.  I am not sure why I associate this with you but I surely do.

So yes, you have taught me, loved me, and I continue to cherish you.  I wish we could really talk, catch up, go thrifting, visit corny parks, and live in each others moments.   I miss that part of having you here.

Happy Happy Birthday my sister. Continue to enjoy your life beyond.

October 11, 1924

momasbabyOur Mother, Dorothy,  was born this day.

Happy Birthday Mom.  So many miss and love you.

fam

Mom’s 80th, still young.

I know our niece Shelly thinks of you every day, I believe she misses  you the most. 4 generations Cheri starts grieving about this time of year. but I know you are with her holding her hand.  Sandi Kaye has a broken heart. Sandy B I think has trouble believing you are gone, Dee is lonely for you, Richard just plain misses you and Steve grieves in his quiet fashion. I think our Linda is overjoyed that you are in Heaven with her, causing mayhem and hilarity.  Me, I am still befuddled, finally getting to know you now that you are gone.mom.cheriYthe kidsour daughters and sons, your grandchildren, your greats and your great greats, all miss you.

lovelymomIf you had been allowed, you might have been a hell raiser, in a good way.  You always had a hidden talent for mischief, and a glint in your eye.  I’m amazed the glint didn’t vanish after the life you lead as a youth, farmed out to an older husband at 16, lonely and isolated in the middle of nowhere Iowa, no amenities, just hard work and babies.  Your resilience was something else again, candling eggs, working in a nursing home, a bar, learning to make money and support your children when Dad passed.  I remember your learning to drive a car,  you were determined as you  headed into the ditch, but stopped in time.  Your red-headed Irish temper flared just a bit right then.

momsexymomTo this day I feel a surge of delight when I see make up samples, your days as an Avon rep have stayed with me always, with your blue case of wonders.mom

bernie momYou sure knew how to love your man, and you deserved more love than you might have received.   But you had moments of glory and happiness.

lindaI imagine you, with Linda, our sister, your daughter. You have both reconciled, you are fantastic evolved beings. I imagine you in a rocker, with a fluffy white kitten on your lap, or laying in the sun, turning a lovely copper.

I love and live for the sunshine. You taught your children that. Some cold days I turn my face to the sun and feel your warmth in my soul.  I imagine you are always in the warmth of glory these days.  You deserve to be, you deserve to rest.

beautifulmom

 

 

 

 

Celebration of Life

Our Mother has passed, we will mourn her absence, but mostly, we will celebrate her life.  Our Mother lived strong, wild, ferocious, bodacious.  She lived with faith, and joy, and strength.

She left us much, her joy of flowers, her affinity for sunshine, fresh air, natural living.  We will, all of her eight children, numerous grand children and even more countless great grandchildren remember her daily.

Countless gestures; we find our hand placed over our forehead, shading our eyes with exasperation.  hear ourselves with small phrases, “For goodness sakes.”  “Good Grief”.  sound like her, we hear her with our own words.

We enjoy chickens, well, some of us.  Fresh eggs, apples, bananas.  I never could get the hang of Rocky Mountain Oysters and frog legs but I think some of us have.

We have countless house plants, knick knacks, and candles scattered about our homes.  Just like our mother.

We have a a stubborn determination to live and survive, our Mother taught that to us as well.  She lived greatly.

We will miss her, and we will celebrate her always.

Memories of our Mother

Mom lay quietly in her bed these days, her last stroke destroyed half of her brain, her ability to move on her own, and her ability to communicate with more than a few one syllable words. She is waiting.

When I visit her I  sorrow.  Her tiny body is weak, her face still beautiful.  Half of her body does not move.  But her eyes…her eyes sometimes still burn with that flame of life that has carried her through so much.  At those times I feel a surge of hope, unwarranted hope, that perhaps she will pull back from this determination of death.

Each time I visit, she looks at me, and her eyes are tender, telling me so much with a look or a small smile.  As I sit and talk, she watches, nods, responds for a bit.

Sunday we talked of the past, growing up on her farm.

Our Mom had chickens, many chickens that lived in a good-sized chicken house,  surrounded by a tall dog – proof fence that was partly roofed by the large branches of overgrown apple trees.  Watching them was a wonder, they scratched about the dirt, heads bobbing, sometimes pecking at each other, other times mindlessly flapping their wings, chasing one another about the yard.  Autumn days, the apples hanging above their yard dropped down, some would ferment before the chickens devoured them, and then, I swear, the little creatures would eat the fermented apples, and chatter drunkenly about.

In the spring time Mom bought baby chicks, and nestled them in our basement, in a wire enclosure, with straw spread over the concrete floor.  Above she hung a warm light to keep them warm.  We could hear soft chirps and scratching coming up the stairs.  I was forbidden to touch them, but of course I did, cuddling their tiny bodies close to my face, smelling the freshness of their new beginning

At times it was my job to gather the eggs.   The chicken house was magical to me.  I entered it and the warm earthy smells of life rushed to greet me.  Hens laying in their boxes would let out soft, sleepy sounds. Reaching under them, my hands enjoyed the  cozy feathers of the creatures, and quietly as I could I pulled out warm eggs for the basket.

Always since, when I have been able, I have had chickens, and enjoyed again the beauty of new eggs, and mother hens.  One more of many parts of me left to me by our Mother,

Leaving home was the only thought in my mind when I turned 17, but now, nearing 60, I have learned that home has never left me.

Tilly Evan Jones

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” ~Mary Oliver

gathered and glued

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