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January 28/First Quarter Moon
Reflection upon a first year of Songs of Forgiveness.
I began this newsletter over a year ago now. Mom had declined so quickly since August of 2021 and somehow writing about her seemed like it would connect us with the Carol Baudler that we were missing so much. And it could connect the people who had known and loved her back when with what was going on now.
Her decline coincided with difficulty seeing. Cataracts, the doctors said. The future was unknown, and eye surgery was going to be (and had already been) torture for all involved. She was no longer in a place where she could understand what was happening. And we could not imagine a quality of life for her without it.
And so that was our intro to 2022.
Still, I couldn’t have imagined the year that 2022 was to be.
At the beginning of the year, we didn’t have the supports to care for Mom that we do now. We were just beginning to make relationships with Mom’s now very established home health aid team. We didn’t yet have have hospice, so trips to receive medical care required all hands on deck.
We have come a long way since then, all of us are more settled.
Endings were on my mind as I began writing. My Grandma was declining as well and it was getting harder and harder for her to eat, to go to the bathroom, to communicate. Mom’s world had gotten so small. At the beginning of last year, she was still coming to my house for tea, but her visits were only comfortable for her for a few minutes and then she wanted to go back to her spot at home by her bed.
We had just experienced what we had thought would be our last Christmas all together in the Big House. We have since had one more. We had hopes Christmas and its trappings would still be familiar to Mom, but she showed no interest. She would stay downstairs with us for short periods, for meals, and then sneak away back to her spot bedside. The Christmas this year was without such hopes and our trips to her bedside to sing carols and make toasts brought some peace to us.
As far as I can tell, Mom’s last visit to the farm where she grew up, was on January 16, 2022. She and Grandma were both there and mostly unable to make contact, but there was one fleeting moment where their hands reached for each other as they sat side by side in rocking chairs. A rare acknowledgement of each other, and the way they both as quickly let go, an acknowledgement that neither had the capacity to reach across the cognitive gap that actually divided them.
At the beginning of this publication, my dad was participating, reading along with Linda and asking me questions. Sharp as a tack, he had already lived for a long time with his Mesothelioma diagnosis. I was under the delusion, that he could live on forever.
This is all to remind myself that time has moved on, we are in a different space now. There are more resources and supports as well as losses, and this no longer seems to be the time of endings, as a time of waiting.
Upon starting this writing, I had the idea that by openly writing about these “ends,” I would have eyes wide open. Dwelling here would help the hurt pass faster. Even as I saw the value in that, I felt trepidation on breaking Mom’s silences. Part way through the year, that feeling had been replaced with a certain liberation. The writing came with a certain freedom and that freedom had compounded with repetition. My mom and dad are connected to the moon and now can never be separated.
Part of the reason I came here to write is to forgive myself. For forgetting, for never being the same person twice, and for not being able to own the things that are rightfully mine. I’ve made progress on this, but I still find myself working too hard to hold on to everything. When I find myself straining to grasp something I’ve lost, I bring palm to palm as a metaphor for that moment of contact with the truth of my experience. That allows me to relax, that’s when I find more openness, more ease.
One thing that happened, I went on the trip of a lifetime. Another thing that happened, I started a job halfway through the year. Actually I returned to a job that I had before the pandemic. It has had its own momentum, traveling me around and sucking me into its vortex at times. But I do like it. It’s a privilege to learn about a community through its schools. I love getting to know a place’s energy through their children. I like the challenge of staying healthy while I travel. A thing that I haven’t done that well this month, as I cough and sniffle right now as I write this.
Thank you so much for showing up this year. For the emails you have sent me and the comments you have left. Thanks so much for your likes of posts. Thank you for your questions and your concerns, your willingness to return with each new phase of the moon, to sign up and to become a paid subscriber, to listen to the podcast. All the ways you participate, the value you have placed on this publication with your time, attention, and money has helped me trust my purpose here more. I look forward to continuing to build the new world together.
One final thing, I saw this song in concert with Josh and some very good friends at Big Top Chautauqua mid-September this past year. It’s relevant because time travel is what we are doing here. Thanks for joining along. Much love, Tina