Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Your Hands


Sitting in this room alone
I feel my hand in yours
As surely as if we’re on an evening walk
Strolling down the street  together

I feel your palm
Quite course from woodworking
Soft fuzz on the back of your hand
Your fingers squeezing mine 
In fond recognition of 
Loving commeradarie

I know your hand entwined in mine
Now resting on the sheet 
Swollen strange and puffed
At the end of an arm full of tubes
As you lay dying

Those young strong hands  
Now elderly and frail and still
Baseball hands. Swinging golf clubs
Draftsman’s hands, always designing
A gardener’s hands, a craftsman

I have the work of your hands all around me
In this old home you refurbished 
Your carpenter hands creating beauty
Were the hands of a dad who could fix anything

Beloved hands
I feel them on my cheek and 
Wish them in my hair and 
Your hands holding me
Our hands holding each other 
For almost 60 years


Total Eclipse


A  phenomenon of majesty
choreographed by Godde

A grand display of wonder
moved across the sky

An ancient rhythm seldom seen
known and yet unknown

Stars came out to play at noon
the sun slow dancing with the moon

The universe displayed its
grand Divine design

As awe struck creatures



Monday, August 7, 2017

Two Faces Into One


Two opposing tracks weave together in my life these days.  On the one hand, I’m getting used to living in solitary silence.  Even with the radio or TV on, the void is so dense you could cut it with a knife.  I wake to long hours of empty air.  Not feeling very social yet, so no schedule or commitments.  

On the other hand, I wake to an abundance of empty hours and the quiet solitude I’ve always loved and carved out time for.  Now I’m swimming in it and actually making good use of it.  I’m writing my way through this journey.  The blank page each morning has become my good friend!  Some pieces I share and when kudos come, they wrap around me like warm hugs.  

For example, I somehow pulled a muscle in my hip so have stayed in and favored it this week.  Stayed off my feet as much as possible to let it heal.  So it’s been a string of quiet uneventful days.  Phone calls most days, meaningful conversations online, but little or no in person interaction.  

Earlier I joined a private Facebook group for widows and have watched and been impressed with  the caring and encouragement that goes on there. It is a safe place for some to scream their pain and others share small joys of healing. All of us trying to figure out this new world we find ourselves discovering.  Our new normal.   Seeing how our stories, while so different, overlap, the other day I shared one of the piece I’d written about my journey.  The response was kind of overwhelming.  As the hugs and thank yous began to pour in, and women conversed on how my words had helped them, I saw a glimpse of purpose in this quiet week. A sense of confirmation that life has not completely stopped.  That out of this dark silence, perhaps my pondering can bring a bit of solace to another.  A thought which brings me joy.   




Most mornings after breakfast, I settle in my chair, open my laptop and think, write etc for a few hours.   I might not step outdoors for almost a week if I don’t need to run to the store. All the while feeling slightly embarrassed about it,  slightly guilty,  sort of a concern that others, if they were aware, would think there is something wrong with me. Wondering, what would people, my own kids, think if they knew how truly I am hibernating here.  As if this is something I must explain or make excuses for. As if this hibernation is abnormal. I know it will not always be this way, and yes it is abnormal - from what life was 7 months ago before John died.  But for now it is my normal.  And it is OK.

This now is my day.  My work.  My purpose.  My joy.  I can send away that ‘shoulds’ monkey on my shoulder and embrace this abundant time of quiet I have for healing and for writing. I can drop the apologetic stance and mindset I’ve been carrying around inside of me. It feels like a sigh of relief!  It is OK!  This is who I am. I will embrace this new routine and gradually modify it over time.   I might even go outdoors and read in the sun for a while this afternoon!  


Saturday, July 1, 2017


Life After Loss


once a time of pleasant  conversation
has become a source of quiet


Friday, June 23, 2017



I see her sitting in her wheelchair, just outside her door at the nursing home where I visited my Mom.  A diminutive, grey haired woman looking intently at the paperback in her two hands.  Every day I’d see her there. Reading, I thought. A kindred spirit. Another book worm.  Maybe one day that would be me, I smiled to myself.

Then I noticed something.  Her book was upside down.  A twinge of sadness accompanied that realization.  The book it seems was just a prop.  Or perhaps an echo of a lifetime of enjoying stories.  

That picture in my head is at least 15 years old and still as vivid as if it were last week.  Today  the vision of her comes when I am daydreaming.  I love to daydream and do it more and more as I age.  I wonder now, if that dear old soul I see in my mind’s eye was not so much staring vacantly at that wrong side up book, as she was daydreaming  Aha.  Still a kindred spirit!

I’ve always daydreamed.  Always with a sense of doing something I should snap out of.  A sense of wasting time.  The first conversation I recall concerning this propensity goes back to third grade.  My parents, returning from a meeting with my teacher, shared what I did well and where I needed to improve.  As all parents do.  As I did many times over.  But the only assessment I remember - and remember vividly, was that if JoMae could only stop staring out the window, dreaming, she would do so much better in school.  Perhaps that is why I’ve never seen this as a positive habit.  

Now that  I’m alone after a long and happy marriage, I catch myself daydreaming a lot.  Sometimes remembering.  Often imagining.  I’ve been noticing lately how similar it is to writing.  While I love to write, I’ve never before connected the two hobbies.  Now I have decided to embrace those daydreams.  Try to capture them.  Recognize this practice as something positive.  Write down those small scenarios that carry me away and see what happens.  And if someone should observe me staring into space, don’t worry.  I’m not vacant or lost or mixed up.  I’m writing!

My little old lady from so long ago, no longer living, I am sure,  still lives on among the pictures in my head.  Only now I think of her as gathering stories.  She may not have been able to write them down, but I suspect they were vivid to her mind’s eye and entertained her hours on end.  I’ll try to write mine down for both of us.


Thursday, May 11, 2017



I see the world from both sides now
The dream the dance
The final bow

I see the inside out of life
As grief wraps tight around me -
Blankets me with memories of laughter

I hear the silence screaming out
The void, the empty chairs
Where quiet conversation was the norm.

The look, the sigh, the grin is gone
The whistling is dead
Hollowness abounds

I feel the shift of weight upon my shoulders
Which once, resting upon two,  
Was shared with joy.  

I move through vacant rooms
And see you there
Without the music, hear your song 

I fix a meal and eat
Uninterrupted by the sound of
Your companionship

The everyday comments
Often about nothing
Yet everything to me - now gone


Before I gave birth 
I could not imagine the experience of that 
Separation of two beings out of one

Either the birthing or the
Life that followed as a Mom
So Full of Joy

Before I knew the death of one so truly half of me
I could not fathom an experience so profound
As the separation of the two of us

Either the immediate loss or the
Learning to walk on my own
So full of grief