Complicated Space

As the “local daughter,” once Mom’s diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer was confirmed, I toggled between showing up and removing myself from the space as much as possible so that her other children could get what they wanted and needed from her dying process. Out-of-town siblings and their families visited often. Mom’s sisters and brother…

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The Beginning of the End

Goodbye begins July 27, 2020, with a text. The doctor just called with the scan results, and it’s not good. Can you come over? My brand-new 14-year-old is in the middle of blowing out twisty rainbow candles on an ice cream birthday cake. It is homemade by a sister and looks delicious. We finish singing…

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What Is Required with Goodbye?

I am familiar with goodbyes. I said goodbye to my innocence at 4-years-old. From ages 4 to 12, I buried my voice in an effort to extinguish the ongoing abuse and survive. By age 13 I had learned that my sadness engendered pity and my sexuality, attention. Male parents for whom I babysat groped for…

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Fight Like A Girl

My husband was diagnosed with acute kidney disease with renal failure in 2012.  At that time, he was driving a truck making 10-day trips from Texas to New Mexico and I often accompanied him. On April 1, 2012, I started my period. I had been dealing with “the change” for ten years, which included horrible,…

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Imagine Being Enough

It has been three years since she left. The missing of her grows like sprawling crabgrass over my tender lawn. I long to hear her voice and see the sparkle of life in her brown eyes. Eyes that saw me. She would have delighted in the things that have happened since she’s been gone. I…

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To Agnes, the Patron Saint of Women’s Hair

When the Securitate would enter our house, my sister and I would hide in the bathroom, the one where the tile and commode and even the porcelain tub was pink, and tell each other stories. There was the story of the gypsies who kidnapped fair-headed children like ourselves, cut off a hand or foot, then…

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Gift of Faith

A friend recently invited me to a talk at her church about keeping faith during difficult times. I had a work conflict so I could not attend, but I commented, “I could give that talk.” “Oh, yeah,” she responded. Nine months after my friend Jim died, I gave a retreat talk on gratitude. I shared…

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Belonging is the Beginning

How do you talk about the girl who is the beginning of every story you tell? The girl whom everyone seemed to experience similarly: intense, passionate, a bit wild, and fiercely loving. At least, that’s the theme that ran through every remembrance shared at her memorial last month. And that’s the girl etched in my…

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An Unwanted Driver

“The bitter drink of death is still before you.” – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce A late-stage cancer diagnosis has become an unwanted challenge inviting me and my friends to walk in a uniquely odd journey of hope through a minacious and evolving terrain.

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