“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


you have to write these words like no one is reading them

tell the truth of the day no matter what; details are maybe unimportant, but you might mention the girl in the silver car in front of you at the stoplight, shoepolished words covering every window - honk if you're single, dang girl you're sexy, and you might mention that she texted through the go arrows and you kind of wish she would read this, but she's from here, so you know she won't, and you might mention that you wanted to honk but you were sure she wasn't smart enough to realize it was a honk that was saying move on you fool, that she would think you were signalling her you were single and she'd think you were way too old and she was probably straight and would think you were hitting on her, so you just didn't.  honk, that is.  you waited through the lights, and she finally noticed the green one and you were home free at last.  you might mention that as you sat through those go lights and another set of don't goes, you were forming words in your head, saying them right out loud up there where no one but you could hear, and you might mention the word solace, and how it kept popping up.  cause it did and that's important.

the day began with a wake up call from my mother's doctor, telling me it was time we made a decision re: keeping her alive or not.  that's not how he put it, he's a good man, he gave me statistics, and even told me he knew my mother wasn't a statistic, but her chances didn't look good, he said, and he will wake me again in the morning to hear our answer.  which is yes.  where there is life, there is hope, and i am a newcomer to the word hope and intend to embrace it.  she will get that chance.  here is where the details are unimportant, and i am exhausted with saying them and writing them anyway, so let's just skip that.  it ain't over till it's over, and it ain't over. 

and here is where you might mention that while walking along the hospital's skywalk this evening, you ran into an ex-neighbor, the other amber on the left side of the house, and her grandmother is in the hospital not doing well, and you might mention that you said ditto your mother, and that she asked your mom's name and when you said jean, she said we'll add her to our prayers.  there is no doubt that you would then find out her grandma's name, and tell her wanda juanita will be added to yours.

you might mention that earlier in the day, something happened with your mom in icu, something a little scary and you left her room, left her with nurses, and you settled onto a chair in the icu hallway, silently crying, when a woman came by, younger than you, crying also, and said i'm there too and can i get you some water?  you might mention you thanked her, but no, and you would definitely mention that in a moment she was back, kneeling on the floor next to you, hugging you, the both of you crying.  my baby may not make it, she said - you will mention that - and she tells you he is 19, that his heart just stopped while he was jogging yesterday afternoon, that the prognosis is grim, and she asks about your mom, and you both cry some more and you talk about the hardness of it all.  you might mention you cannot imagine her pain.  you might also mention that you were just flat out unable to carry yourself back to your mom's room this evening, you called your brothers and made sure you were all on the same page re: what to tell the dr. when tomorrow's wake-up call comes, and you are, but you also might mention that you almost made it, you were about to turn the corner when you met one of your brothers leaving; she's sedated, he said, but looking good, and you walk back to your vehicles together and you leave.  and the word solace comes to you.  it may as well have been written in the clouds.  it was that big and that perfect and that loud. 

solace. you felt it when the other amber recognized you after all this time, you felt it walking with your brother, you felt it on the phone with the ever-wonderful michael as soon as you were in the jeep and had dialed his number.  solace.  comfort in trouble or grief.  comfort.  you'd felt it earlier with emails from friends. all those arms held out to hold you, all those hands to pick up the pieces.  you'd felt it when there was a message that said call if you need anything - i am only 3 hours away.  only 3 hours.  solace.  and you knew you had to write.  there is solace in words, in the saying of things, in the power the words hold.

if i were to make a magic potion for my mother, i am unsure what i would toss in.  she and i are so different, but so very much alike.  i would toss in words - she writes also - and cats and birds from her backyard, she has the smartest crows ever, and i would toss in calmness, a soft place to fall into, easy breaths.  i would drop in all the letters and notes and emails and phone calls and prayers and thoughts and light sent her way.  it would be a potion that glowed.

so this is where we are.  in the land of not knowing, in the land of not giving up, the land of tears and hands held tight.  i thought i would mention that.



  1. Tears of recognition, of my heart with yours, of hope & the joy of being able to hope. That's all this world really is, I suppose.
    Love you, your mom, your brothers, the ever-wonderful & all of the moving parts that comprise this great & mysterious life.

  2. In the land of not knowing and of waiting, I am praying for you with you and holding you tight, squeezy tight, hoping this will also bring you solace.

  3. and now i am here, crying with you, still offering a hand that can be held from afar. what little solace that is, i offer it.
    you know that you are in my thoughts, and that those thoughts are filled with hope.

  4. solace ... the word itself sounds like a breath, like a whisper, like hope. keeping you, your mother, and brothers in my thoughts and prayers. and wanda juanita too. ♥

  5. Keep the words coming. Such pain. Such love. Hugging you across the miles.

  6. what shoes are we wearing because my friend we are walking together in this land of waiting & decisions & tears, whether visable or not. Hope is tricky but in these times itis at times the one solace we have. your mom, you, your brother, thelady who cired to yoj will be in my thought and prayers tonight, somewhere in the middle of the ones uttered quietly each now for my own mom in our own land of decisions & waiting....xoxo if you need anything?...

  7. ((((((Debi)))))),

    I know how much the place that you're in right now hurts. I've been there with my own Mom (just about 28 years ago). It's so hard to watch our Moms suffer and watch that train coming right at us and we can't do anything.

    You've had such a hard year ... full of losses.

    One thing that brought me through losing my Mother was that I did and SAID everything that was in my heart while she was she was still here. I gave her the care that she deserved.

    I have no doubt that I treated her with the respect that she deserved ... and that comforts me.

    A lot of us (-->Me<--) are just names on a computer monitor. We've found our way to your writings because something in you in the same as the something in us (cats, words, flowers, Mother-love).

    All of us nameless, faceless people wish ... more than anything ... that we could stop the pain that's coming. We can't. What we can do is be a presence ... standing right behind you and right next to you ... a mental image that you can lean on.

    Prayers for you and your Mom and the rest of your family. Feel the love and caring that surrounds all of you.



  8. Oh Debi. I am so so so sorry. I wish I could be there in person to help you out, to do anything that might make your life easier right now. I am thinking of you. Sending up prayers for your mom, too.

  9. solace is a comforting word .. you are a very special lady .. handling this valley with such grace and strength .. I just thought I would mention that.

  10. weeping.
    recognizing this, the odd and beautiful coincidences that converge on hospitals at such times, whether it is amber and the white dog in ICU and the woman with the 19 year old son, or the three strangers who pray over you in the hall outside your father's room and the man named Edgar in the chemotherapy waiting room and the song that played on the radio *each and every time* as the car pulled into the parking lot of Seton Hospital to visit your father or take him into surgery.
    smiling through the tears, so unspeakably glad that it ain't over yet and that there is hope. and so unspeakably glad for that solace. i have been praying for exactly that all this time.

  11. I read this post with tears running down my face, this will be one of the most difficult times you'll face. Know that you're not alone and that we're all here for you, holding your hand, hugging you and wiping your tears with our virtual tissues. Your family remains in my thoughts. x

  12. i am just about to leave to pick up my mom for her 12th run of chemo, the one she has designated as her last because it is too much now, just too much. and i stop by to see how you and YOUR mom are doing and i am crying now.

    because it is so hard and your words are beyond exquisite and i want to make it all better for you. but instead, i have her name, jean, to make my prayers more specific and i will hold you both in my heart for as long as you need it.

    your words give me solace.


  13. all of our prayers will make that potion so thick that you'll have to put it in a barrel.....or two.

  14. ...i come as i do every day. often in deep thought of what your words say. in the last days, with a sadness of remembering this time for me a year ago with my mother. how the kindness, the simply utter kindness, of a stranger who kneels infront of you and cries with you brings back memories of my strangers in my hallways, who in seeing my total exhaustion and fear, and tears did the same for me. the comfort of a heart felt hug from someone, ANYONE, because the mere touch of another human being could help ease the hurt somewhat, if only for a few moments.
    my eyes are filled with tears for you, my heart aches for you. i whisper your name in the last moments before sleep overtakes me. we, some who know you, but most we are strangers, are ALL here for you. i hope you can find some solace in that. i hope you know how much we all care.
    in my fondest of thought

  15. "you have to write these words like no one is reading them"

    Thank you for exercising courage in recording your thoughts and actions. A true eloquence accompanies your telling of the day. I wish wellness and blessings,


  16. "I am glad u mentioned that",,,

  17. it wasn't so long ago that we visited a lot more often. You know. I will always remember and appreciate everything. I wish so badly that I could extend the same comfort.
    Love you friend.

  18. Yes... hold on to that solace as tightly as you're holding on to your mama...

    sending you love,

  19. I wish to add my tears and prayers to the glowing potion of solace you are creating for yourself, for your mom, for Wanda Juanita (how I love the music of that name), for all of us. I too remember those painful days of waiting, wondering, worrying over my dying father's status. It's so hard. Hold on to each other as long as you can, the letting go will be the hardest but until then, hang on, hold on, glow on together.

  20. hello my friend,
    i am thinking of you and your mom at this time.
    i love you, so very much.

  21. This is definitely a rough time to walk through. I hope you remember us silently walking by your side.

  22. no words. but i want you to know i remember the phone call from you that said accomplished all the 'you might mention's' that i needed on my own that fateful time of loss last year. what goes around comes around and you my dear deserve ech and every moment of solace that is laid at your feet. I'm sorry for you. I'm so sorry for your mom.


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .