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March 02, 2013


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Whenever I read a volume of poetry, I put the date at the end of a poem I like. There are dates at the end of nearly every poem in Jacqueline Berger's volume of poetry entitled, "The Gift That Arrives Broken", in which today's post is the title poem.


A story we are all part of at some level. A condition of our demographic I suppose. Or maybe we are more dramatic than past generations. Or maybe not. I wasn't there. Went to be with my Mom for her 96th birthday the other week. She knows the end is not far, but how is far defined? Another day? Another decade? So, we will go back. And another sister will get the calls when she falls or is taken to the hospital to relieve the virus that if left untouched would bring her to the close. The chance one day to be again with My Dad. My Brother, her first child. Her Brother and Sister. Until then, we will go see her. Sit with her. Laugh at an old or new story. Watch as she eats little but ice cream. Take her out and try to find the right item on the menu she can no longer read. She will clip out newspaper articles from the big print New York Times and ask that we send them to the boys. We do. And my sisters and I say I love you to each other more than we ever have. But mostly we let her know. Whatever good exists in any of us springs from her.


noway told a story about his mom, but this poem, from the opening, made me think of his dad and his brother. noway's dad had a fall and a stroke at the end, the kind of end that no one would have wished for him.

When his brother was in his final battle with melanoma, the whole family became more demonstrative, hugging and saying, "I love you." His brother actually commented one day, "Five years ago we never said this," but we could see the end and we were not going to miss our chance.

And now, my mom gone and noway's fading. We have been willing to look deep into the eyes of the animal that has devoured our loved ones and soon enough will come to tear us apart. I would advise it. Don't be afraid, for accepting our inevitable end has opened us in a new way to the joy and beauty of each day and we savor it as if it might be our last.

PS: This may sound too fatalistic. I just read it to noway, who replied, "Well, shoot, I was gonna do my laundry ... but, maybe not!"


What beautiful and thought-full comments from our beloveds out West.

Thank you.

I was hoping to spend the day in quiet, but devastating tragedy visited a long-time friend last weekend. The memorial service for her 21-year-old son is at 1 pm at a church about 45 miles away. I am attending. Will try and post about this, but couldn't yesterday or today.

Too much sadness lately.


I was present for the 21-year-old's baptism.


Tonight I will be going out to dinner with my friend, who lost her husband suddenly a couple of years ago. A group of us will be celebrating him. It would have been his 50th birthday today. His 8 year old thought it would be appropriate.


and we talk about death.

We wander out into its moonless night,

stand in its dark field.

We are near enough to see how the end

might come, and willing

to look into the eyes of the animal

that will tear us apart.

I read this poem and called OLD.


Thank you, Flann and Matiss, for showing-up to support your friends through their profound and heart-breaking losses.

We count ourselves among the luckiest to have you as our friends, too.

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