One million ways to say good bye.

Mom and Catherine at Little Lake summer 2000

I just realized that all the visitors to this page today were termed Spam. That means that no one who really wanted to read stopped by.
Probably because there was nothing new to read.
Probably because you knew that I am six days away from the anniversary of Mom’s death and just a teensy bit gray and quiet today.
Probably because you, dear reader, know that I just got back from sharing my FeMail at the Museum of Motherhood in New York City on Monday.
Perhaps because you figured I’d be tired and tender and not write anything today.

Well, you are mostly right, as usual.
But, I have been writing.
I am on a self-imposed deadline to complete my non-fiction book proposal for Laundry Line Divine A Wild Soul Book for Mothers by next Tuesday.
Pond trees CBB

A few minutes ago I wandered over to Paige Orloff’s blog, Tales from the Park Side. In a post about grieving the loss of her old boyfriend, Paige pointed me to Marion Roach’s Memoir Project. And then I headed to The Sister Project, to Marion’s post about writing about grief. In it Marion asks the writer, as a jump-start, to complete a set of three lists with these headings: What I brought. What I heard. What I said.

So I did.
I love lists.

What I brought:

1. My daughter.
2. My husband.
3. A black outfit.
4. Lavender oil.
5. Comfortable clothing to sit next to her in.
6. My camera.
7. A few photographs.
8. Phone numbers.
9. Surety of her release.
10. The calm of the oldest daughter about to become matriarch.

What I heard:

1. The raspy shallow breathes of my mother.
2. Incessant noise of the nursing home.
3. Sticky shoes padding along the hallway.
4. Other elders, once the pillars of this small town, moaning in the hallways, calling out for help.
5. My aunts saying my mom’s name in just that Chicagoan way- “Joanne?”
6. Resolve in my stepfathers’ voice.
7. Wind whipping fall leaves past the single story building, wind on the roof, teasing leaves into small tornadoes in the parking lot outside the window.
8. My own strong heartbeat.
9. The silence of my husband’s calm presence.
10. All the songs we sang- from the “Weenie Man” to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, all the dear partings from the staff members as they came in to say farewell to Mom, and the absence of those who did not come for this moment of gray blue death swinging in to the room.

What I said:

1. What I wanted, which was to stay by her side as long as I could.
2. That it did not matter if I was not there for her last breath exactly.
3. That I needed a break, a rest and would sleep with my phone under my pillow.
4. Hello, I am here. I will be there in 5 minutes.
5. Will you come with me?
6. Do you want to sleep longer?
7. Mom is dying now.
8. She has gone.
9. No, she is still here.
10. Now, she is gone.

Light Drops Baldwin Hill

Gaining ground in handfuls today, all because of Paige and Marion and the desire to write it out for you, so you can know how it is for me and by the dearest chance that that will make a difference in your day.
All my love and thanks to my writing friends,

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Showing 21 comments
  • MaryAnn Myers

    Special, special, special…. thank you for sharing.

    • suzi

      Thank you MaryAnn. I am so happy to feel your sunshine-y smile here on the Laundry Line. Love, S

  • SG Lori..Lucsious Louruska

    Very beautiful and a well loved sweater, gentle fall breezes, the slow esxpansive opening of the opening to the tender longing, that hurts but is such a relief.
    Cold fresh ice cream..strawberry on a heat f-illed day.

    My Mother is onto her 93 year, bless her.
    She lives 3,000 miles away
    That is hard
    That is easy
    My task..opening to what is next for me and her.
    Love to you BSG Suzi on this week of your dearest Mommy!

    • suzi

      Thank you my dearest Lori. I can taste your comfort. Sending you love right back across the miles, S

  • Lori Landau

    what is the sound of a heart breaking? whatever it is, mine is making that sound right now in response. sending love.

    • suzi

      Thank you Lori. xoxoxoS

  • Mary

    This post overflows with beauty!

    • suzi

      As do you my birthday angel. Thank you for stopping by. Love, S

  • Becky

    Hello dear! I will have to sit this weekend and try my hand at those lists for myself. School is so energy consuming, lots to do, living one day at a time. Thinking of you with love, Becky

    • suzi

      Oh Becky, you are a list keeper too! I hope you have time for something sweet this weekend. All my love to you this week. xoxo S

  • Jim Banks

    How many heartbeats in a minute, in a day, in a month, in a year? Each one is a goodbye.
    Love, Jim

    • suzi

      So good to have you here Uncle Jim. I can only sit in gratitude for the good company you keep me in. All my love, S

  • Jennifer Gandin Le

    Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm. I am nodding with you, loving you, holding these lists in my cupped palms. What a glory it was to hug you in person on the eve of such a week. xox

  • Mary

    Suzi, Loved that grand lady you knew as “Mom”. She was so bright…. such an encourager, such a smiler, and left such a wonderful legacy in 4 dear ladies…..her daughters. We were all blessed to have known her. Hugs to you, old friend, m

  • Julia Ruth

    Hi, Suzi. I was just thinking about Mom this morning as I walked the dog, thinking about the anniversary coming up. Potent, poignant lists.

  • Alice Ormsbee Beltran

    Oh! I do, now, and it does, Suzi! It does make a difference in my day, quite a big one. I’m thinking of you, and that a tiny part of me is there on your desk, the dust of my fingerprints on your little family of chickens. love,a

  • Tammy

    I am calm and I am sad and I am so touched by this. Beautiful lists Suzi.

  • Kathy

    This post is beautiful, Suzi. It shines, like the moon, weeping and growing stronger, brushing leaves from her white and glowing face.

    • suzi

      Thank you Kath. I am so happy to have you here. I was reading about blogging the other day and the piece suggested the potential connections that might arise from good blogging habits- posts worthy of reading, etc.- and all I could think of is you. What a gift of a reader and participant you are here on the Laundry Line. I may never be Fresh Pressed, but here on LLD, we are all sun bleached, air dried and wrinkle free. All my love to you, S

  • Therese Hirko

    Great post 🙂 I loved it! Where’s the feed? I want to subscribe!

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