Friday, July 13, 2012


There are people who Major in eloquence. Their outgrown bedroom slippers shine with it, they quip the way I snore (effortlessly and with Great Abandon) and they can talk their way out of ...of....a polar bear's jaws, I imagine.

And, then, there are people like me, who majored in 'foot in mouth disease' in college.

(Or was that just co-authoring 'Verbal Mortification for Dummies'?)

Eloquence is what I could use right now.

My dear young cousin Tina struggled against her failing health...until she really didn't have much left to work with. And then her spirit flew free.


There are many ways to write about loss, but this loss isn't mine to write about. I have gratitude for the care she received in her final weeks, but the pain she lived with for the last three years is nothing you can address in a quip, or epigram.

She was blessed with dear friends, a fiercely devoted mother,  a loving brother with a wonderful family, and a a large extended family, and I think all of us are feeling pretty flattened. Long-term illness can wear at people, even when they aren't the actual victim. does it demolish the will of the ill?

I sent sunflowers, for her, and as a tribute from all her cousins who share her generation. Recognizing genuine good, and joy, is hard from this vantage point. Some of Tina's family - as many as could come - shared her final three days in the hospital. Not because they are heroically selfless people, but because they are family - and wanted to help carry the burden of sadness for awhile.


There are days when we question 'why'. Why are we here?

Carrying the burdens makes the joyous times so much sweeter - maybe that is part of it.

This post, on review, is clumsy, half-articulate, and....lacking, I suppose. On the other hand, that pretty much sums up how I feel.

That, and rather flattened.

But I leave you with this - that when (not if) this road is what you walk, I wish that your friends and family - and maybe even complete strangers - show up when you need them. Even if you think you don't.

And they do what we did.

We tried to help carry the burden.


Friday, July 6, 2012


good morning, to you who are there :-)

most people tend to be a little out of touch around the fourth. I am wayyyyy more out of touch than usual - and it would almost be fun to say something like I am 'focusing on myself' or...redecorating the couch, or some damned thing.

i have instead been more than a bit caught up in my cousin's health struggles. She is a dialysis patient who has had horrific health problems, that have gone un-addressed for far too long. So, Mayo Clinic - St. Mary's - is doing their best to shore up her health and restore her.

She is terribly fragile, but has been terrifically strong. The praying knees are out in force, because it's healthier for her, and for us, than pacing. Her mother - who is very strong, and very soft, and very dear to us - is going through a hell that is unimaginable. As is her brother and his family.

Our extended family is huge, and when that happens, statistically, there is 'more'.

More weddings, births, illnesses, divorces, accidents, blessings, fights, and love. When I was much younger, I - and some of the rest of us - thought we were almost bulletproof. My maternal grandfather (his sketch is in the gallery :-)) was a ferociously protective family man - he'd been an only child, didn't want that for any child of his, so he had nine. He was adamant that his children make up together from fights, whether they were old or young. And he had the misery to bury two sons and a grandson - my brother.

It would be easy to dwell on the past sadness while walking through the present. But, focusing on my sweetheart cousin is the most important thing. Her mother and brother are the most important things.

They make my current frustrations shrink down to realistic size, but also make me regret that my energies are divided. Doing the best I can, on all fronts, whether I make mistakes in the process or not, will at least help me sleep at night.

I hope that for you as well.