Archive for the ‘alone’ Category

The inspiration for my poem was given to me by Shadowlands.  This afternoon I knew I had a poem ready to be placed in print.  If I ignore the signal I never rest and so I come to the computer to let the mind form the words and my fingers bring the words to the screen.  Shadowlands thank you for the inspiration……I think that this poem speaks for both of us.  I dedicate this poem to you.

For those that have not been where I am,
the ones who sometimes look at me in fear,
will never know until later the ache of the heart that
continues as I journey on my discovery  path.

Along the trail I stop and look down to think of emptiness,
as though I saw the answer in a stone found a long the way.
And if I should bend to pick the stone, the one polished from being kicked by the foot steps of time
and set it in my palm to feel its  smoothness, then would there be the answer upon its shiny cover?

A step, and then two steps, next a pause for me……then I turn to see
gazing at me, off to the side of my journeyed path, another stands
with a look that says to never want to tread upon the unknowns that travel on this path I take,
nor could he want to see the stone that carries no answer because for him there is no question?

Within my heart I know I see further than ever before,
this place I travel brings me wisdom and knowledge cloaked in the pain of sorrow.
This journey carries me to forgotten memories now cherished with in my heart,
for they are to be known and remembered and they form the answers I need as I wipe a tear from the stone.

This journey, as it is for the ones that I know, the ones that carry their own found stone,
continue trodding upon the path within our hearts and minds and take solace to know
that those that gaze passed  us now will soon one day see and understand.
The road we journey is not for us alone, all hearts will shed their tears upon this trail……..


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If I let go of all the things I know,
if I toss from my heart what tugs at its’ walls,
if I take the chance to step on to the edge of my soul,
then will I be better or worse than I am.

Will the sun shine again as bright as before,
will I never again feel the anxiety within my mind or,
can I take a hold of all the scarred, ragged edges
and bring them back and sew them together again?

If I bend and pick up the pieces of me
If I reach and hold onto the sweetest of the memories,
If I sit and stare at the nothing I see in the vision of my soul,
then will color be able to return to the space I see with my eyes.

Will sorrow that pierces and gouges the heart,
be changed so that the spring returns to the soul
or will tomorrow only bring another spear
laced with grief that only I can feel its’ sting?

As I continue on my journey toward my twilight it is evident that I shall be carrying a few more questions that I can only answer.  Each day I realize that there isn’t any one else in the world that can tell me how I am to do the things I am to do, understand how and when the haze of my world will return to its normal clarity and it is only I who can can know when my tomorrow will feel like it has brought the new spring to my life.

For now I continue to muddle with in the sludge under the white snow that occasionally lets me slip and fall.  It is the grayness of the sky that matches what my eyes see as I sit, sometimes too long, staring off into the corner of my bedroom; or at times I fall asleep on the chaise only to awaken and return to the sight of that same corner of nothing.

I question also, when will the night begin to pass without  numerous times of awakening to see just how much longer I need to stay there.  Eventually I arise before dawn and trip quietly down the stairs so that I don’t awaken M. or the cat, Souse.  It is then, once again in the appalling quietude of our house I sit in that corner of the kitchen that I have always sat in before the bright monitor of the computer to think of what next could lessen the impact of these days on my soul.
And then suddenly,  I realize I have passed from the time of pensive thought into flipping url’s like Blueberry Pancakes on a sizzling hot grill and as the pancakes  are stacked they leave no room between.  As I arise from the computer I know the day lies ahead to be experienced mostly with agitation even more than the Kenmore washer produces to wash my clothes.  And I seem to follow the same cycling.  First there is the agitation, then the rinsing and calming of my mind only to plunge forward into a spinning haze.

I think of all this newness of experiences each day and wonder is it all that bad and  will I be able to make it through it and look backward and know that even in my mature years I can grow and learn all there is that life has to offer.  I know for now I wonder why there needs to be lessons like I am within, but I think  that somewhere in the motion of living there is a plan for me and I must follow this relentless path to find greater peace.

As I turn each new corner I find myself a little closer to my crepuscular years.  With each step I must take now I realize it can only prepare me for the new years ahead of me.  To gain wisdom through thoughts, by the anguish created by death and by recording my  collective new beliefs then it is an acceptable path that I take.

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The poem that follows was inspired by the constant memory of the moment my Mother left this earth.  But, it is not only written to record a memory, it is dedicated to the many people I know, including myself, that may have their final hour alone.

I have written about my being alone, as I reach the end of my journey Within Crepusculum,  I have worried about entering my own final darkness without someone I know to accompany me on that profound voyage.  I have thought endlessly of the many things I need to do after I begin my twilight journey, especially deciding who could accompany to the end of my Darkness.

Because I was determined to make my Mother’s final hour as safe as possible for her, I think of all of the people who might be alone.  I do believe my Mother felt loved and accompanied.  I sang her songs, especially “You are my Sunshine” and talked to her to look for her Angel and that at the very end of the path she should see my father waiting for her.  My sister interjected that she always thought of that particular time to be colorful and that you pass from the darkness into Paradise on the Rainbow Bridge.  I  quickly included this in my whispering in her ear.  We both wanted her to know she wasn’t alone and that we were going to accompany her all the way to the Rainbow Bridge.

I think that all humankind should have that ability to have the living accompany them as far as they can and help them not be frightened.  Death is as poignant as Birth.  In birth you have a whole life ahead of you and you aren’t even aware of that until you are much older.  But in Death you have lived your whole life and your heart is filled with the memories from it.  To have someone you love or know accompany on your final journey into the Darkness is a fitting wish.

Sometimes I kid myself and say that death, mine, doesn’t bother me.  In reality that is a lie, a cover up  so  that I don’t express how frightened I may feel about it.  Now, I can’t imagine being alone or just with strangers at that final hour.  If I had been able to understand life more I would have already accepted that I prefer having someone near me when I was with my Aunt when she died many years ago.  She waited for me to arrive before she allowed her death to occur.  She needed me, her choice, to tell her she was safe to leave and that I would be there by her.  Shortly after I told her she died.  That very moment  when some one passes from earthly life and on into Paradise is indescribable and I certainly will not even try to do it, yet I will say it is profound.

Just take a moment to think about that moment.  Think of what separates life from death and then imagine its absence……………

One Little Word

There is this little word, often used within a phrase,

that heralds the difference between life and death.

You never know the exact moment that death arrives,

and often you question how much longer.


You ask how much longer not because you want it over,

but because you continue to pray for “for just a little more time”,

Time to hug, time to kiss, time to feel and time to remember,

yet you know that it all depends on one little word, one little phrase.


Panic reigns inside your chest and head as your heart beats harder,

your eyes well with tears and you know there isn’t time for tears.

Tears choke the words you need to say in the hope they are heard,

words you use to bring comfort and  healing, but never death.


You say those words and pray that life continues a moment longer

so that you feel you have one more second to share your love.

Deep inside, once again,  you tremble and falter because your heart

is aware of that one little word waiting to define who is still living……..


Your words tumble forth, yet in the quiet of the moment you know

these are the last words you will be able to utter to the one you love.

There in that moment you hold tightly for fear of losing your loved one,

yet just then you know the time is here and the word is to be spoken.


Hear it echo in the quiet of the moment as you place a kiss upon the cheek,

then one on the lips, while next you grope quickly to squeeze the hand.

Silently, with no need to to speak, you lay your head against the other and bid good bye,

good bye to the one you love because now “they no longer breathe”.

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Farewell My Sunshine

For Momma–One of Her Favorite, Italian Songs       Press the Audio button:

Dean Martin sings, Santa Lucia


For Momma–My Favorite Italian Song        Press the Audio button:

Connie Francis sings, Momma


Saturday evening, my little one, left for paradise.  For the last few days her wish had been to return to Bennett, Iowa, our hometown where our family members are buried.  Now Momma has joined them in a small,  country, cemetery on the low, rolling hills of Inland Township.  From Momma’s resting place, you look out over peaceful fields of farmland with white houses, white barns and silos.  In the coming winter the land will be bathed in a white, velvet blanket of snow and then in the spring it will change to crops of deep emerald green.   If you stretch your neck,  just a little and look to where the hills stop you will see the flat, rich land where my parents farmed and that was my childhood home.

My mother, originally wasn’t a “farm” girl, but rather was born and raised in an Illinois railroad town.  When we moved to the farm just after I was born, Momma had no idea what it meant to be a farm wife.  Her first years were difficult to adapt to the new way of life, but when she did she quickly became one of the best farm wives in our community.  Momma found that the farm offered her many opportunities that she may not have had if she remained in town.

I will miss her greatly, as I am this moment, but I know she will now be happier in paradise.  She will be able to laugh, breath, walk, run or dance.  During her last few moments, as I held her, I told her that God will welcome her with open arms and then just down the path a little further,  Johnny waits for her just on the other side of the “Rainbow Bridge” at the doors of Paradise.  She turned her head and looked at me as she squeezed my sister’s hand.   I shall never forget her little face looking up at me.  Within a moments time, she left to complete the last little part of her journey accompanied by her angel.

Today, at a grave service, Momma lay for a short time with the casket open.   She was at home, I kissed her a final good by and then helped close and secure the top of the casket before the service began. I had chosen a new style casket for America, reminiscent of a European design.  It was perfect for a stylish, little lady to rest in for eternity and surrounding her resting place was dozens and dozens of deep red roses.   The service was very simple, with a priest officiating at the service.  Unlike previous funerals, this time I  was a part of it and as the service finished we were invited to participate as Momma was covered with the top of the vault and then lowered into the ground. The simple acts of involvement, although foreign to much of America was incredibly powerful in providing a closure allowing a feeling of peace and quietude.

I share with you a Remembrance of Momma that was at the visitation and service.

Please click on on the Remembrance.  It will open in another window and you may double click to read it better.


To My Friends:

I wish to thank all of you, my friends, for the constant support and prayers you have given me during this time.  You have no idea how grateful I am.  Without your words of encouragement, I would not have been able to walk the final path with Momma tonight.

The following excerpts from you will always stay with me:

To  Shadowlands for helping me accept my Mother’s philosophy

–in the hope that tomorrow is better, if wrank, hold on to Hope.

–It is the major “ingredient” to live this life and all that it brings…your mother is my role model. Tomorrow is much more interesting than today…it has to be because my todays really stink, but I am holding onto my tomorrows…to live them and not just survive… look for it to be…

To Lynda, thank you you were right

–I believe that you will have what you need to get through the worst of times, just in time. I believe it with all my heart, because I’ve experienced that kind of blessing myself.

–The hope of Heaven, the joy of the anticpated reun

ion and the belief that she will become “Momma” once again are the cornerstones to begin building the life that will come after she is gone from this world.
–I have to tell you that I think it is so special that you are still “Momma’s Boy”. That you have cared for her yourself rather than putting her into a nursing home shows the kind of character that you posses. I’m proud to be your friend, Frank, truly proud.

From Dalip

And, as your friend says, when the Angel comes it will be to lead her to a place where the pain will have disappeared and the light of His Love will be with he

To Ema

–I pray that the melancholy spell has lifted by now.. though I know that you may always be worrying about your mother, worry is not going to make her better and it could cause you physical/emotional harm. I would place her in God’s hands, Frank — and then just ask him to give you the wisdom that you need in regard to her care as well as strength for the day.
I do hope you get to see more sunshine.

To Linda,

I wish for you a different color of days…no more grey…l see you as a vibrant sea blue. Yes, you have made me smile many times. Thank you. Hugs, Linda

And to Dodie who I have not hear from for some time

There are times through the worst of caring for a loved one, that one feels so numb and so robotic. That is what you need right now. Don’t force ‘thinking’ about things. It will come; all in good time.

The Following, a glimpse over the years of “Mio Piccolo”–My Little One

Click to play Mio Piccolo

Make a Smilebox photobook

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When I was in undergraduate school, I became very interested in Anthropology/Archaeology. That led me to take enough courses to get a BS degree in it without taking many more courses. Before I officially turned in a portfolio for grad school, I toyed with the idea of getting the Bachelor of Science in Archaeology first and then go to grad school! If I had, I am sure that I could have arranged to enter grad school the following year. My concerns in art and the complexities within the studies of Anthropology and Archaeology are interwoven in my mind and because of their simularities many issues in Anthropology helped define my art.

I have always envisioned being a part of a team of Archaeologist excavating a mountain’s surface and exposing layer on layer of rock, sediment, debris and different forms of life that create the intervals of growth and help to supply material to determine the age of the fossils sandwiched between the stratum. As archaeologists uncover the remains of an ancient people’s midden their story unfolds as the site is uncovered tier by dusty tier. Each layer of excavated soil is carefully sifted to find artifacts that will tell a story and give a time line for the living that inhabited that particular spot. In comparison, our thoughts, memories and emotions become multiple tiers in our mind that lead us to self-understanding and expression. Regardless of which idea they both demonstrate a passage of time structured by a complex cycle of growth, life and decay.

Many spiritual dogmas, in the past and in our present day, enlighten the cycle by believing in an afterlife. When I think about the artistic possibilities of life being spiritually continued I imagine a line of hollow, fragile forms. Each represents an empty homogenous soul that waits patiently for a heavenly tomorrow. In reality, I imagine souls serenely floating in azure blue skies accented with billowy, white clouds as they pass through the immense golden gates of heaven. On the other hand, the souls may become a part of an interminable final que and as the line of fragile forms sway, one by one the souls fall and become anonymous hollow pods that are brittle, frail and worn from the passage of time. The fettered, empty shells give little information of who or what they were. Yet they are the remains of countless people who have lived throughout history.

Death Scene         Gothic Illustration          Girl Reading Book

Cave  at Lascaux        Simone Martini         18th Century

At times, it is those people, probably us in another five hundred years, that makes me stop and try to remember them for a moment. Can you possibly guess just how many people have preceded you in death. Can you look at the three images and feel that their lives were equal to our current existence? In the majority of paintings or illustrations held in Museums there is never information about the people that are in the painting, unless they are infamous.  Nonetheless, they need to be acknowledged. Imagine that the death scene, from the Lascaux caves, probably was drawn by someone with blood and urine.  The death scene had to have been important to the artist to have recorded it and is as important as one that is recorded today.

Nevertheless, the relationship between man and time continues within other relationships. In our youth and early mature years our backs are metaphorically, straight and strong, while we collect stacks of memories and information. Rarely, while we are younger, do we consider our ending chapter, although our subconscious tries to signal that we are changing. Where once our memories were occupied with dense information, later in life as we grow older, we find that they may thin and fray at the edge. Where once the back never tired it now asks for a moment of rest and we begin to understand and accept that there may be passages in life that leaves us perilously fragile and degenerately transformed.

I am sure one day, I will pass through an ominous threshold and I may find I cannot live independently because I am not able to control the escalating fragility of my mind and body. If this happens I will begin a transition towards total dependence for life care. This major, unidirectional modification in life care prompts feelings of vulnerability to the world and apprehensive of tomorrow. It is evident how important it is for me to find that certain, younger person that will understand and follow my directives for my life care. The directives have already been listed in my living will and so my only worry is appointing an executor for the more distant future should I be alone to die.

Death, the end to all this thought, comes when it wishes. There is no preset date or hour, nor is there a preset script. You may think death will come and sweep you away at that unknown moment, that it will whisk your spirit instantly up to the heavens, yet sometimes for some people death lounges at the door letting the person’s degeneration become unbearable for the family and their associates. Death, that final hour, will tick in the background of my twilight…………..

2012                  2014 tick

tick tick tick 2018 tick tick tick tick 2029

tick                 2020 tick                                                         tick 2028

2013 tick tick tick 2021                                              tick

2025                                tick tick 2026                                                               tick tick tick

tick tick tick tick tick 2026

tick 2027


tick tick

tick tick 2229 tick tick


2030 tick tick

tick 2031 tick tick 2032

tick tick 2033…………….

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Second Pass

A decade ago I wrote the following summary  about how my life turned 360 degrees and brought me back to a dream and an opportunity I passed by.  I do not know what would have happened if I had not let it go by. Would I have done as much as I have in my life?  Would I have been happier?  Would I have appreciated everything the first time, as much as I have on the second pass?  I have no idea and will never be able to know.  I am only happy there are  second passes;  once a chance comes by the second time, grab it and never let go!!

Darkness surrounded me, as I sat at the table, in the old country kitchen and a lonely, innocent despair crept into my heart and mind causing me to recklessly throw the papers on the floor in order to choose a future for myself.  In anguish, I slowly rose from my chair and then knelt first as I sat on the floor.  I was alone, without the help of unbiased council to guide me, yet earlier in the evening I  arranged with my parents to be alone.  I knew they would not meddle, yet I felt I needed to do this alone.  Now my task beckoned me to finish, although I hesitated because I was apprehensive of continuing because of my earlier imprudent act.  Regardless, I knew I must go on and scan the floor with my hand until I found one of the papers.

There in the darkness,  my hand touched a paper that would define the course of my life.

My heart raced in the darkness that was void of any light.  In the stark blackness I could hear the pounding beat of my heart and from the open  window the rustle of leaves on the old  tree branches could be heard as I stood to turn on the light.  In that split second it takes for a light to illuminate, my hand trembled in anticipation of which paper I had  found.  Next, despair filled my heart.  There on the floor lay the paper that would have taken me to a place in my dreams. Instead, the paper in my hand led me to a life others had selfishly hoped I would choose.  I had promised to call as soon as I reached a decision and rose from the floor to go to the telephone. As I did I couldn’t help but turn, then pause and glance at the other career that lay on the floor, miles and miles and miles away!

The future brought with it years to count, to remember, to accept a fate and remind myself I had set the rules and I had chosen the paper, yet Five–Ten–Twenty–Thirty years became an insurmountable distance to ever think of crossing and so hope disintegrated early on.

I  asked how many more years can I count,  often checking if the other road, miles and miles and miles away, was still……each year it became less accessible and the disregarded opportunity became a frightening, ridiculous, prohibitive dream.  It became clear to me that it was my indecisiveness that had been the key that kept me from ever experiencing the difference.

What I didn’t know was that the paths we take and those that we leave behind begin to meander as we grow older.  Much like meandering streams that wind, then make straight cuts through the valley and form oxbow lakes, the passage of time helps us grow and cut out the excuses and makes us less apprehensive so that we begin to hope and anticipate chance, rather than hide from it.   Eventually, there are changes in your life and decades old opportunities return and wait for you again.

And as I reflect upon my life I am delighted that little changes can continually occur.  I have no doubt my life will have major changes  following the day when I will no longer need to be my Mother’s caregiver.  This time will be a very sad time for me and I know I will be unfocused as I choose something to do and somewhere to go.   But, now I know that regardless of my immediate decision, time has a way of correcting and leading me to a satisfying and happier destiny.  This course of action will probably continue within my Crepusculum and I will  be ready to grab for an opportunity on its first or second pass!!

In 1965, at age 17, I abandoned my own wish to go college for an art degree.  Continually, a high school  teacher in high school told me I was better off going to a trade school for cooking.  She often said I was much better suited to a life in the culinary field than in art.

After I chose the admission papers that evening in my parents’ kitchen, I always wished I had been strong enough to tell her what I wanted to do, yet, I was hesitant because she also made sure I understood that I wasn’t smart enough for college.   For the next 31 years i never forgot what she said.  I always felt she had to be right.

Then, one day, M literally took me by the hand  and brought me to ASU to fill out an admissions form. Shortly after we arrived I made a quick about face and ran from the building in fear.  He did not let that effect him and the second time we made it to the admissions office.

After many discussions I was accepted at Arizona State University, School of Art, in 1995.  I was 48 years old.  During the first week of classes I realized how much I had missed all of those years.  After the first round of exams I was surprised to have a 4 pt average.  Seven years later I received my Masters in Fine Art Degree with a solid 4 pt average.   I had just begun to accept that I  was equal to my peers and that I could do anything I wanted and never need to worry  again if I was smart enough!

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So many days (weeks) have passed since I have posted. I have tried to write, especially at night, I sat in the darkened room at the little desk. As always, my Mother’s life support motors continued to whoosh and play in synchro-nized tones as I sat in the dark. The computer screen dimmed to maximum so the darkness wrapped around and cradled me.

Even as I sat in this well-known spot, the words rarely came. Instead, a stream of empty-headed babble floated in and around my head and quickly I began to feel very exhausted which then lead me to give up and go to bed. One more night wasted. Not only did I not write, but also the time sitting uselessly in the chair robbed me of the time I should be sleeping. It felt like a vicious cycle as the wasted hours accumulated and the body’s exhaustion peaked at new levels that take forever to lower. I admit I am sleep deprived and it does take rest for the mind to function. The body is a funny thing and shows you what needs to be done as it takes charge when I attempted to type. Without realizing it, I fell fast asleep. When I awakened only a moment later, I noticed that I needed to delete the letters and characters I had rested my fingers on as the body shut down for the moment.

The lack of sleep may make me continually disagreeable and it may cause my body to eat more than it should, but it is not the only cause for my lack of words. Lack of words, the blank mind, it is a worry to me. In addition, so many times, as I sat trying to write I found the things that bother me the most encroached upon my mind. These worries moved stealthily to the forefront of my thoughts and for a while I felt that it didn’t make any difference what I wrote about, yet I questioned how I could integrate them into my journey to my Crepusculum.

In the short time I have been posting, not all I write is directly related to my queries of the twilight, but I realize everything has the ability to influence my thinking and help me understand how I might react to problems during my time within my twilight. Any interaction I have is a permanent part of my experience and my experience will guide me down the path of exploration.

But then, I wonder, what do you, the reader, think if I continually make detours to salve the mind and let my worries come into your lives. Will you see them as I do or do you expect much more consistency in presenting issues that I face in preparation for the next stage of my life? Now after five paragraphs do you question the validity of my not writing before now? I am sure it seems like writing to you, but to me it has only been a way that I can move from a state of blankness to a state of combining words…. a state slightly less than written text.

Surprisingly now, I need to tell you more. I need to let you know how these past days have been so undirected. I am tired, very tired, but each day I know, I must go on. As I continue on each day (M. says I am not completely aware of what I do) I hope that I can continue giving my mother the same care as I have been, regardless that her care requirements have nearly tripled. I also wish that she is able to enjoy some form of happiness during this time and while these thoughts are active, I stop and remember all of you, as well as the other people who take the time to write me their well wishes.

Then, without hesitation, I take a very long moment to send peace to Shadowlands as she watches over her husband, and I especially hope that her heart gently safeguards her through these trying days as her husband passes into the shadows of his darkness. Of us two, she is the stronger and I read in awe of how she continues each new day, rarely beleaguered before him, yet inwardly being overwhelmed and possibly alone.

Therefore, he and my mother, as everyone does upon leaving their twilight, begin another journey, a final, unidirectional journey into a personal darkness. Some may say a light may guide you through that darkness, but even if it isn’t present often a living person can help by always being by their side. I know Shadowlands will walk with her husband every step of the way and I have promised my mother that I will be with her, regardless how long the journey may be.

The promises, the care, the worries, the tiredness are all a part of my life now. Even though they may be problematic, it is my choice. These are easy for me, as compared to that final moment, the final good bye, that realization that I will never hear her speak, just as Shadowlands will never hear her husband’s voice again. Sure, the voice has been a part of my life; I can listen to it in my head at any time, but never again in the spontaneous conversation that has always been between us. Therefore, I think of a time during my mother’s last hospitalization that becomes very poignant. A respiratory therapist told me quite firmly that I need to grab a hold and deal with my mother’s death, She repeated this even louder and firmer as she left the room…………”Deal with it! NOW!” The words still echo in my head, but particularly that day left me speechless and almost childlike. Now, with time to do its work I can say I may need to “deal with it”, I have tried unsuccessfully for too many years and now I know that there is no way I will ever be prepared!

Maybe now, once again I can write. I made it this far and my mind continues to be a tiny bit open. As I think on what I have written, it only reminds me how important it is for me to settle so much about my care when I reach that final journey, because I probably won’t have anyone I know to make sure everything will be as I want. I will be alone to walk through the darkness on a unidirectional journey.

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