Echoes Trailer

Friday, July 9, 2010

Making Peace with the Inevitable

In December of 2007, my family buried a teenager. He was taken from us suddenly and I remember thinking how wrong it was for us to be saying good-bye to him when it should be the other way around. It just seems to be the natural order of life for children to outlive their parents. Still, we are not prepared to lose our parents either, no matter how old we are when it happens.

At some point over the last decade or so, my mother and I seem to have reversed our roles in life. I have become her caretaker and she has become quite childlike. Now there is no doubt that the end of her life is near and even though it’s a natural part of life and I’ve known it was coming for quite a while, I find myself struggling with my emotions. Each smile, each sunset, each sunrise, and even each tear seems so much more important now that it would have in the past.

My mother’s body has grown tired. Her kidney function is dwindling daily, she has congestive heart failure, bladder cancer, and dementia has robbed her of many memories she wanted to hold onto throughout her life. Still, she smiles easily and often. Yesterday her doctor informed me that it’s time to make a decision that cannot be put off any longer. Do we want her to undergo dialysis or just keep her comfortable and let nature run its course? At eighty-six years of age with so many health issues I don’t feel dialysis is an option.

On our way out of town after leaving the doctor’s office my mother went into a panicked state. I thought it was because of the conversation we had just carried on in during the office visit. She was looking down at the floor of the pick-up truck I was driving and jabbering but I could not make out what she was saying. “Mother, look at me and tell me what’s wrong!” I said.

She looked at me with a very startled expression as she replied, “My feet are gone. I don’t know what happened to them but they’re gone.” I couldn’t help but chuckle.

“They’re right there at the end of your legs,” I said trying not to laugh out loud. “Oh, Sh**!” she replied, and that was that. She is accustomed to riding in my much larger SUV and the truck is much smaller. There have been many moments like this one shared between us. She trusts me to take care of her. She trusts me to protect her. She looks at me the same way I looked at her when I was a young child and she was a vibrant mother nurturing her young.

My emotional struggles come from wanting to be honest with my mother without making her afraid. I want to comfort her without being negative. I want her to know as much happiness as possible while she’s here. If it makes any sense, I think we start the grieving process the moment we know we are going to lose a loved one very soon. I want, no, I need her to have peace of mind.

I am grateful that I am a very outgoing person. I know that I can reach out to my friends and family for support and advice when I need it. I am grateful that many people in my life make an effort to keep me smiling no matter what adversity comes my way. My mother has none of those connections anymore. Her whole world is here in this house. Her immediate family has all passed away or lives too far away to travel back here to visit. I have assured her that the people she has loved who have gone before her will be waiting on the other side for us, not just her, but us.

I’m sure one of the biggest regrets anyone has after losing a loved one is not having shared how much they were loved and appreciated. Sometimes they don’t share those feelings because they are so reserved they bottle up emotions. A lot of times though, people don’t express their feelings because they don’t want to say, “I hope you feel better soon,” when there is no hope for recovery.

My mother and I have not always seen eye-to-eye; in fact, we have had our share of ups and downs. We have totally opposite personalities. She never saw the need for higher education. I never seem to get enough education. She hated change, I thrive on change. She was content to stay at home and I enjoy travelling. I wanted my children to know her and spend time with her but I reminded her on more than one occasion that they were MY children and they would follow MY rules. I cannot say I regret the moments when we didn’t see things the same way. We learned a lot about each other when we disagreed and had to work things out to get past the hurt feelings or misunderstanding.

When we lost the teenager it happened so suddenly that there was no time to say good-bye. There was no time to express our love one more time or tell him how proud of him we had always been. He had no time to be held as he passed away or tell us how he felt about the life we had shared up to that point.

Maybe knowing that someone is dancing with death is a blessing in a strange way. There is time to remember the good times we’ve shared and talk about them with her. There is time to tell her that although I often thought she was too possessive and too strict, she did something right because I’m happy with the woman I see in my mirror every day and it was her impact on my life that made that possible. It’s a sad point to make but maybe the compassion and tenderness we give people when they near the end of their life is lacking when we take each tomorrow with them for granted before we know they are suffering from a terminal illness. Each day could the last one for any one of us.

Moments in life soon pass,
But the memories they made,
Like music play on and on,
As youth and beauty fade.

Words we left unsaid,
A touch we never gave,
Tears we cry in the still of night,
Are carried to our grave.

© Dianna Doles-Petry


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Acceptance of The Versatile Blogger Award from Ruth Cox

My Acceptance of The Versatile Blogger Award from Ruth Cox

Me Versatile? Versatile: Capable of dealing with many subjects. It is this definition that allows me to accept this award.

The Versatile Blogger Award I have received comes with rules:

1. Thank the person who loved me enough to bestow this gift. (A big thank you to Ruth Cox and a private email has been sent as well.)

2. Share seven things about myself.
    1. I am blessed to have many friends and family members willing to share my life.
    2. I believe that we are all unique and yet, we are all the same.
    3. I am a combination of the past and the present with a strong desire to make a difference in the future.
    4. I am a proud lifelong resident of West Virginia.
    5. I am a addicted to chocolate and not ashamed to admit it...Goddiva anyone?
    6. No one loves their children more than I love my children.
    7. I am a writer. I set free the rumblings deep within my soul by sharing my thoughts and feelings through poetry and prose.

3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers – in no particular order – who are fantastic in some way.

Amanda -  Amanda's Love and Writing Blog
Karen - Karen's Love and Writing Blog
Lena - Lena's Love and Writing Blog
Debra - Debra's Love and Writing Blog
Anca - Faraway Designs Blog
Elizabeth - Elizabeth R's Blog
Mish - Mish's Love and Writing Blog
Pattie - Pattie's Blog
Luxury Reading - Luxury Reading Blog
Ruthi C - Ruthi Reads

4. Drop by and let my friends know I love them!
I'll be dropping by all of the blogs I follow.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Writer's Dream

A Writer’s Dream

My daily life is chaotic and stressful to say the least. Sometimes I fear I won’t make it to bedtime before I collapse. There are other times when I don’t want the day to end. The great thing about this kind of life is that it often gives me something to write about. Over the last few weeks I’ve dreamed about my writing career. Trust me when I tell you that nothing in this dream came from my daily life.

Before I share the dream, let me clarify that it is purely a dream. I realize there are very few Janet Evanovichs, James Pattersons, Dean Koontzs, or Laurell K. Hamiltons. That level of success in the writing industry is rare. I am aware that I should seek publication first and worry about a paycheck from my words of wisdom much further down the line.

The Dream

I was standing there leaping up and down like a Kindergarten student who needs to go potty or some sugar buzzed ADHD poster child wanting attention. “What is wrong with these people?” I muttered to myself as I looked at the large cardboard boxes filled with copies of my books that needed to be loaded into my silver Mercedes Benz. None of my neighbors would stop to help me no matter how hard I tried to flag them down as they drove past me.

Once again I was running fashionably late for another book signing at Books-A-Million. It was the man-servant’s day off and I had to decide how to get the books loaded without scratching the car or getting scuff marks on my brand new designer shoes. The high-heeled shoes did not match my outfit of blue jeans paired with a simple silk blouse at all but I didn’t seem to notice. I placed two of the heavy boxes into the truck of my car and proceeded to enter the car so I could drive off to the book signing. As I pulled my left leg into the car I failed to lift it high enough for the heel of my shoe to clear the bottom of the door opening. Off went the heel of the designer shoe and blood started to spew all over the floor of the car even though I had not pierced my skin at all. “HELP! Somebody help me!” I screamed.

A very handsome male model came to my rescue. He was carrying a pair of hiking boots with him that just happened to be exactly my size. He slipped my foot out of the broken shoe and started to stroke the shoe as if it was a kitten or pup. Out of thin air he pulled out a roll of paper towels and blotted up the blood that had pooled around my feet in the floor of the Mercedes. Lovingly, he then slipped my right foot out of the other designer shoe and helped me place each of my feet into the hiking boots. As I pulled away from the mansion, I could see him cradling the broken shoe as he walked away from the main house and into a field of wild flowers.

As I neared Books-A-Million I could see a crowd gathered at the front door. Men in business suits were sipping on Slurpees and women in everyday household attire were sipping their Starbucks coffee. All of the people there were watching every vehicle that pulled into the parking lot as if they were waiting for their favorite movie star to arrive so they could catch a glimpse of her.

It was a long and exhausting book signing. Everyone who arrived wanted an autograph on a copy of my latest best seller. I had to stop signing books when two of my fingers actually broke off of my right hand and a couple of computer geeks started to fight over who would get to keep them. As I sat there trying to decide how to hide the fact that I was missing fingers, one of the geeks jumped up and yelled out, “Holy crap! I’ll make a bundle from this on EBay! Can you autograph this?”

My Thoughts about the Dream

I guess as writers we all have a need inside of us to be recognized, to gain fame and fortune, and have at least one best seller to our credit at some point. We all have to believe that what we write might be of interest to readers. Maybe the shoes in the dream represent my determination to move forward and breaking the heel was an obstacle or determent to reaching my goal?

I’ve tried very hard not to be apologetic about my writing even when it brings a tear to someone’s eye or makes someone burst out laughing and wake up everybody in their house late at night. I’ve finally gotten over my fear of rejection and I submit, submit, and submit! Maybe the male model was my concept of perfection sometimes taken to the extreme and expecting too much of myself and others?

Maybe my dream is trying to tell me that I’m working too hard and need to make sure other parts of my life have a chance to live. Am I using too much energy on my writing and allowing my faith, my humor, my passion, and simple pleasures to slowly fade into the sunset?

This particular dream causes me to wake up feeling as if I need to change my outlook on my life and my career goals. For now, I am going to keep forging ahead with my goals of being published more often and eventually making it to the New York Time’s bestseller list. Oh, and just in case that male model happens to show up here with or without shoes, I may be AWOL for a while. I just thought I should give you prior warning. A girl can’t work all the time without taking time to play a bit!

© Dianna Doles-Petry
July 2, 2010