Sunday, May 23, 2010

holy obligation

it was somewhere in the midst of the torrent of tears and her forehead pressed to the table, somewhere in the span of time where i knelt on the floor at her side, stroking her back, her legs, kissing her hand, that it occurred to me, this is what holy obligation means. it means to bear witness to and shower compassion on the spilling over of the sorrows of the soul, especially, right now, the sorrows of the beautiful mind dimming in the light of longer days.

she had forgotten she no longer drives. as we ate the dinner i brought over and talked of her life in germany, and what she was going to do the next day, she realized, as if for the very first time, her car keys were missing. and so it began. fresh pain, fresh anguish, fresh fear of being trapped and made useless, and an hour and a half of broken record ranting. at a point where my knees began to ache, the crux was reached and the singular not-to-be-repeated sentence squeaked out of her mouth, "nobody loves me anymore".

at that point, i rose. she continued to sob with her head on her arms. i kissed her forehead. i cleared the plates. i found post-it notes and i began to write. for her nightstand, i wrote, "i love you, oma". i wrote the same for her refrigerator door. for the door to her tv room and the bottom of her kitchen calendar i wrote the date and time i was there and what we did together.

i knelt some more and talked to her and slowly, the storm passed. we agreed we loved each other. but for the first time ever, she did not stand at the door to wave as i drove away.

from what i am told, the next day was one of her happiest in a very long time. when a neighbor, who saw my car in the driveway the day before, inquired about me to my oma, the reply came, "she is a good girl". but whether my oma recognized me or understood a word i said to her in her anguish, at this point, does not matter. what matters is giving honor to all she has meant to me. what matters is giving her a witness. what matters is showing love, no matter what. this is my obligation. and i consider it holy.


{photo~ a shelf in my oma's kitchen, may 2010}

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Color Week~ Multi

colors to smoke; istanbul

oma's bookcase

 souvenirs

big paw, little paw; gypsy king and stray

Color Week~ White

funeral parlor cupola; mayberry, usa

white trillium

preparing to pray; istanbul

Color Week~ Grey

grey with windows; istanbul

a touch of grey; jerry garcia doll

me and earl; my favorite man in the morning


Thank you to Lisa at Curious Girl for bringing more color into my life.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Color Week~ Green

so say the borders of mayberry

green striped trillium

faery arches; portals to the beyond

twin jack-in-the-pulpits; arisaema triphyllum

For more Color Week photos, visit Curious Girl and wander down the side-bar blog roll.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Color Week~ Purple

lavender door; abandoned house

last gasp tulip

wisteria; istanbul

For more Color Week photos, go to Curious Girl and wander down her side-bar blog roll.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Color Week~ Yellow & Orange

prayer flag, laughing Buddha

safe on the sofa, resting Buddha

yellow fruit; istanbul

wild cherry; orange

my oma's last daffodils

 wish-they-were-edible; orange begonias

For more Color Week photos, visit Curious Girl and wander down her side-bar blog roll.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Color Week~ Blue

vintage apron, feline pocket

protection against the evil eye

 blue jeans; wishing felines fit in pocket

 smoke shop on the Rez


For more Color Week photos, visit Curious Girl and wander down her side-bar blog roll.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Softness and Sunshine



In the end, what I want is softness and sunshine and big, fluffy clouds. What I've been getting is a downpour of emotional overdrive.  On some days, it's paralyzing and the best I can hope for is to stay out of everyone's way. Usually, somewhere in the midst of the downpour, I remember to ask for invisible help and slowly the mid-life hormones or the residual affects of sun flares making Swiss cheese of the earth's magnetosphere begin to wane. Today, as emotions slip into the background, a cool breeze carries the gentleness of the oriole's song through my window and I lay in perfect sheets listening, long and luxurious.

I rise. Calendula baby shampoo and citrus-lavender cream scent my morning. I slip the ring back on my hand. Today, it fits. Down the stairs and out the door, sunshine. Another scent, the sweetest scent, and I am bent over, tenderly pulling little white bells from the lily patch. I wave to the men who put the branches and weeds from yesterday's desperate distraction in their truck bed and watch them drive to the next pile down the road.

I fill my lungs and walk back up the stairs. The tea kettle is primed and the flavor is chosen. Earl Grey, caffeinated. Raspberries are set out on the table to warm. Cats at my ankles, neither of whom purr, thank me for breakfast. Music is chosen; love songs from Yanni, Gregorian chant and 45 minutes of Turkish groove. The day is set.

In the softness and sunshine of this laudable day, prayers will rise to meet big, fluffy clouds. Downpours are past, the pace is slow, gentleness with myself is the way.

Color Week~ Pink

vintage suitcase

pink trillium

 pink glitter, istanbul

Color Week~ Red

pillow cover from istanbul

vintage dish towel, bon-bons= danger

rare & beautiful red trillium

tik tak polka in red vinyl

For more Color Week photos, visit Curious Girl and wander down her side-bar blog roll.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Color Therapy


Join me, please, in a week of color therapy. Starting Monday, May 17th,  Lisa-Queen-Of-Color over at Curious Girl is hostessing the 2nd annual Color Week. It's an opportunity to dig out your camera and look closely at the world around you. So far, the nominated colors are: pink, green, grey and white. I requested multi-color day, as well. Lisa will determine the final list and link your blog or flickr account to her side bar, so we can follow each other through a rainbow week. Click on the link above and post a "count me in" comment.

Then start hunting for colors. (Grey has so far been my favorite to sleuth.) It's a wonderful way to ground myself in the moment and reduce stress. And lord knows, I could use some therapy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Moving On


There is movement away from the known. Adjustments are called for. Resistance is imminent. The prettiness and the politeness are falling away.

I see the mirror in my Oma's rapid onset of dementia; her forgetting, her reduced intake of food, her getting lost while driving, the subsequent removal of her car keys. And now the deluge of 90 years of suppressed rage is flooding her family. Her needle is stuck in a groove of loss and blame and threats for attention because she has moved into the scary unknown and pretense is no longer possible.

I am guessing she will eventually exhaust herself and the exploding baggage will be carried away on the wind. But until resistance gasps and surrenders, I see the uncomfortable reflection of my own fears. After all, I was taught about womanhood and ways to behave by what she passed on. Suppression of feelings and the appearance of perfection were the primary rules of the game. For the most part, the rules seem to work. Until they don't. And when they don't, there is hell to pay within and without.

Faced with my own version of moving on, moving more purposefully into the unknown, I am somewhat paralyzed by my fears, yet aware of what must be done. I hope not to misdirect the little rages I carry within me, I hope not to keep paying for mistakes that weren't really mistakes, I hope and I hope and I hope like hell I can live and breathe with trust. I have lived so long without it, to live with it and in it, is movement away from the known and I feel afraid.

Of course, the whole issue, the whole ball of fear is lack of trust in myself. My self criticisms, my self judgments, my knee-jerk self scoldings, are the foundations of fear of the same from others. Lack of trust in myself keeps my wings folded and my head tilted towards the ground. It keeps the rage from being expressed in a timely and well-directed way. It keeps me stuck where I don't want to be.

So, I work towards the gasp and surrender. I work towards the trust that I will never be and feel unloved or abandoned. By and from myself. With trust as my goal, with prettiness or not, this is the time for moving on.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another Helping Of Turkey


ferry launch at Buyukada, island off Istanbul

ferry ride approaching Istanbul

little shop of flowers

honey at the spice market



p.s. my newest 'follower' has a blog narrated by a
turkish cat living in america.
it's a rambling narrative that gives you some idea
of what it is like to be a street cat in turkey.