Monday, April 21, 2014


I wrote this blog in January, then hesitated to publish it.  Somehow, this day after Easter, I have more clarity.  Here goes.

After she dies, I’ll have more free time.  We can be spontaneous. We can go on a long vacation, pack up the camper, bring the dog and be back whenever we feel like it. 

I’ll not carry around this worry inside me. My heart will not lurch each time the phone rings in the night. I’ll have more energy for Lynne and friends.  The dog will get more consistent walks.  I’ll write this novel, I’ll revise the other novel.  I’ll sleep late and maybe quit my part-time job. 

Instead of spending so much time with the staff at her long term care center, I’ll take classes on raptors and go birding on the Skagit Flats.  I’ll have time to go see the eagles on Mosquito Lake Road and maybe even blog about it.  I’ll have natural cheerful blog entries, fun things, pictures of us with beautiful misty mountains behind us.  More like that.


I’ll live a life that I imagined, instead of the one that happened.  I’ll be my every dream. Lynne and I will be in perfect health for twenty more years, if not thirty.  We will finish remodeling the kitchen and whip the yard into shape.  We will have no stress. We will drop dead at the same time painlessly.


My friend Kathy and I strolled along the North Shore trail of Lake Whatcom yesterday afternoon…sparkly water, sweeping vistas of the quiet lake, a beautiful sunny day.  We talked about her strategy for getting the garage part of her house remodeled into a studio/office for her use.  She burst out “I have put my own life on hold now for 18 years.”  Behind us was her 18 year old autistic daughter.


Saturday night I couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning with restless legs and the images of the norovirus that is running through my mother’s nursing home. I resorted to one of my last ditch techniques.

I remind myself how lovely it is to have a house.  I lie there under the rose colored down comforter on flannel sheets with Lynne’s warmth just inches away, and our dog snoring with her head resting on my feet.  I get up, walk down the hall and sit in our rocking chair. I look out the picture window in the living room, out on the sparkling city lights, the beacon flashing on the top of Mt. Constitution across the waters. I see fog rolling across the bay, first obscuring Lummi Island, Orcas, and then the Herald sign that beams up its name to our hilltop view.  I am safe, I tell myself, sipping a cup of warm milk.  I am well-fed and cared for.


“Life is a journey.” I pulled up that thought from my store of wisdoms, in response to Kathy’s angst.  As Kathy and I continued on the trail, I quoted John Lennon. “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”  I pointed out the successes she has had, like the house that she just resurrected from depressive un-inhabitability.  I mentioned the artistic voice expressed in her choices: raising the ceilings to give a spacious feeling to a small house, adding high windows on the south side to bring in light to the interior, re-storing the original fir floors to a warm finish.  I think of the tremendous strides her daughter has made as a result of Kathy’s advocacy: the art lessons, the horseback riding lessons, the speech therapy and the special soccer team, and now, helping her to have independence by re-locating to a house that is within walking distance of Fairhaven

For me? I can see the riches in helping my mother.  I feel the gift of knowing I am doing the right thing.  I know that helping my mother rescues me from certain self-centeredness.  I can feel that I have more empathy for caregivers.  I can feel the strength I have in dealing with a complex situation.  I can hear the voice I have developed while advocating for her.


I’ll miss her.  I’ll miss her wave through the window when I arrive.  I’ll miss her goofy sense of humor, like sticking out her bottom dentures to make me laugh.  I’ll miss the delight shared when we finish a game of Solitaire.  I’ll miss her telling me what she sees outside her window, like all the white butterflies she saw yesterday when the frost painted the lawn with sparkles and the sun melted the ice off the trees.

Still I wait. 


  1. Life is what we have, not what exists in our imagination. It is hard, but we all have to appreciate what we have or try to change it for the better. When life brings us obligations that we did not expect, it can be a burden, I agree. But it really does pay to look at your glass as half full, not half empty. It can be excruciatingly difficult to do, I agree, but if we can manage to see the beauty in our lives, we will be happier.

    I spent many years trying to have a baby and almost never had one. When I finally got one, she had a very difficult first two years. Two things helped me get thru those two years. The saying "this too shall pass" because it will. And thinking of Doris Day singing Que Sear Sera. There is no way to look at pictures of Doris and not be happy. She is so pretty and fresh and happy. And the song is spot on.


    1. Hi Kathy, Good points, all of them. I'm glad you shared your experience having P. I didn't realize what you went through. We all have challenges. Thanks for the link. Doris Day sings with such strength. Sky

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences. They are, as always, touching and insightful. We miss you both and and you love! Lynn and Connie

    1. Thanks, Connie. I always like to hear from you. Sky

  3. I enjoyed reading this Sky. It brought back memories of my Mom's last years. And I am living proof that the end of some situations is liberating and nothing to feel guilty about if you have done everything you could while they were going on. Life can be better.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. The responses to this blog are a gift. Sky

  4. Sky & Lynne, I think of you all & Mom often. I'm not there to help with the day to day stuff. I wish you didn't live so far away. I miss seeing you all. Love, Peg.

  5. Hello Sky, Thank you for your lovely blog regarding your Mom. I was hoping to see her when my mom passed, but she was unable to make it up to Connie's home at that time. She always scared me a little bit when I was young, but I now realize she in some ways was like a second mother, as she and mom were so different. i have many interesting memories of events that happened when I was shipped over to spend time with all of you, such as when the goal was for me to get chicken pox. I've kept Connie and Jane up on her struggles since she is no longer back East, and I sadly check in her with trepidation expecting to read the worst. keep strong, and I'll keep you all in my prayers., Tricia

    1. Wow, Patricia, do I ever want to hear more! Can you send me an email address or let me know how to contact you? Sorry that I did not see your reply until now. How great to hear from you. Sky