Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I suppose all literature professors carry a bit of drama in their pockets. A simple poetry reading with the right dramatic flair, strong enough to cling to the crevices of gray matter twenty years and counting. It called out to me yesterday.

Il pleure dans mon coeur

I could remember his rich French accent as he taught us how to read poetry. 


Yesterday. I slept in after weekend commutes to the hospital. [She] has been there officially two weeks now, and what started off as an admission for pneumonia has become a bigger battle than anyone ever imagined.

I started a load of laundry. I fixed a coffee. I finished a thankful list, and just barely. Of all the things I've felt this week, numbness and exhaustion have been gaining ground.

I started a fire. I took a shower. I read to Erin under a blanket. She cried during the history reading, of children shuttled away from their families, for years, during war. It's been an emotional two weeks here.

Erin asked for chips and dip, and I joined her. I dusted the bookshelves. I dusted the bay window ledges. I cleaned the powder room. I started a new load. I realized I've never been more thankful, and a burden so light, as to do a load of laundry, dust a shelf, clean a mirror. Never so light. Did I ever think that those things were work? Because they're not. They are not work.

I was thankful for the warm fire and socks on my feet. I was thankful to sit next to Erin during math. The only sounds were the hum of the woodstove blower. The spin of the laundry. The phone rang and it was a bestie. I didn't answer. I just needed the sounds of home.

I thought on days when I made plans a week or two in advance. (Shane told me for the first time in all our years together that I need to make getting a haircut a priority this week. I wanted to laugh. I don't know how to make a plan when the days change on their own, out of my control. I wanted to laugh that I thought they were ever in my control.) When the dentist's office called to reschedule an appointment, we looked out into May. Maybe things would be predictable by then.


I remembered the poem and how he recited it. I remembered it incorrectly though. I thought it was douleur.

Quelle est cette douleur

But it was langueur.

And I know I will never forget it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

And still counting (10,236-10,262)

dinners from friends in my fridge
Becky and Ann who took my kids
Michi at my house and on the phone
praying friends always checking in on us
timely scriptures of God's goodness

Lori's open eyes
her fight
her hand squeeze
her smile

chocolate kisses
hot tea with extra honey
a shower
enough sleep
Nora with me at the hospital

talks with Val
that man of mine
Comet and Haley, house guests
strengthening words from people in my life

mountain views, covered in fog
a foggy Monday in the school room
a sleep-in day
gentle rhythms of home

respite in the stillness
Amy, the case worker

Monday, March 20, 2017

And still counting (10197-10,235)

a safe place for my sister to stay during the snow
good care
reliable snow removal at Dad's house
his good neighbors

a snow day home with my girls
her hours of fun outside--HOURS
a sled run, over and over and over
hot chocolate
a movie

a picnic blanket for the years
heat from the fireplace
a waggy dog
His timely word

talks with Tracey
her 57 years

sweet notes from Lanie
Erin, with me everywhere
math, canceled
another home day
read alouds with Erin (The Secret Garden)

Amy, the case worker, who drove out to see my sister at the hospital.

Melanie, who checked in on the cats and brought in the mail. For her visit to the hospital to check on Lori.

Diona, who, unbeknownst to her, texted me and asked how she could pray for me in that minute, as I sat at my sister's bedside and watched her shut down from the stress of it all.

Tracey, who talked to me the whole way home.

Michi, who was willing to put her Saturday on hold to go out to my sister's to help clean her place. Who made calls to the caregiver company and talked me through some really tough moments.

Marshall's Mom, who met us Sunday and worked hard at cleaning bathrooms and Lori's bedroom to make a welcome home for my sister. For her prayers and her in-the-trenches friendship.

Shane, without complaint, who helped at the house and waited patiently in the hospital while I sat at my sister's side for hours.

My kids, who pitched in cleaning Lori's basement and played with the cats. They waited for me and gave me space to be with my sister.

Neil, who hardly knows me, told me to call him first with any need and offered to take over my management responsibilities on video or blog.

Anita, who has heard me ugly cry more times this year than in the twenty-plus years I've known her. And it doesn't phase her. 

Rebecca, Christy, Nora, Dave, Kellie, and many others who prayed over our situation.

Becky P's offers to take my kids and make us dinner.

Val's help in what could be causing her decline, and her suggestions on next steps.

You, God, and your miracles in what seems like madness. For restoration like I never imagined. For mercy in her hallucinations. And for your grace when she was present.

Lori, my sister. Her fight. Her happiness. Her forgiveness. Her faith. Her story.