Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Category: shamrocks

Supposed 2

I was supposed to do many things in my life that I never did: to sign with a major record label like 36 years ago but I got a major flat tire along the way, to listen to the music my 3 daughters grew up with to understand where they were coming from
(obviously trying to sniff out signs of devil worship, anarchy and drug abuse),
to write books like  ‘Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease’, ‘Moving your parents’, ‘Cooking with the Sneaker’, ‘Starting a blog’, ‘Starting a coal fire’ and on and on.

I was supposed to do so many things.
I did not do any of them.
Life comes stomping in and tells you what you need to do.
Immediately.
Or else.
Your life plans are always somewhat temporary, truth be told.
End of story.
You can heed the call or as Fleetwood Mac says, ‘you can go your own way’.
Stevie Ray Vaughn was supposed to live until he was 101, just like Robin Williams, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Len Bias, Bill Evans, Hendrix, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and the list goes on and on ad nauseum.
I’m writing tonight, so in a small way I’ll consider that a victory.
I’m supposed to write every day.
Do I write every day?
No, I don’t.
Why?
Maybe it has something to do with the way my stars are aligned or the fact that I have tomatoes to plant or a client that I have to visit, or a meal that must be made for a special occasion, a song to be learned, a call to be made, an email to be sent, a scratch to be itched, a broken heart to be healed.
I’m never going to figure this thing out so for now I’m just going to take it slow.
One day (stone) at a time.
In writing terms, the ever eloquent Stephen King said it best:

“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: One stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.”

Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.
Tomorrow is another day.
Another chance to just do good.
Maybe I’m supposed to be blessed enough to open my eyes in the morning and see sunshine glowing from inside the dewdrops of moisture on the shamrock green of my lawn.
Maybe I’m supposed to try and make people believe my lawn is actually shamrock green.
Yeah, that’s a definite ‘maybe’ . . .

Shamrocks

It is on this day that I think about my Mom and Dad.
Saint Patrick’s Day would find my mother in the kitchen cooking her corned beef and cabbage.
And God help you if you didn’t stop by for a plate and a pint.
I miss them both dearly on this day but know in my heart they are here with me as I serve my own
a dish they both dearly loved.
Danny Boy is for me Mum.
Miss you, Ginny.
Blessed be Ireland and all those from County Cork. [my roots]
~m

Shamrock

the whisper of a song…

In the summer of ’98, we moved my mother to an assisted living facility called Hearthstone.
At the time, it was getting downright dangerous for her to stay at home for a number of reasons:
she was driving my father up a wall with questions, she was becoming increasingly paranoid
and she would leave the house on a whim and disappear in a wisp of smoke.

The facility we placed her in was secured and specifically designed for people with progressing dementia.
This was to be my first foray into the deeply fragmented world of Alzheimer’s.
So many things happened while she was out there.
From the clinging and uncomfortable goodbyes to the sad moments of epiphany when I realized I was becoming a total stranger to her.
I liked to think I took it all in stride, showing the world my brave face and big shoulders when in reality,
many a visit found me in my car afterward weeping bitterly while forsaking the heavens above.

The God I thought I knew was turning His back on my mother with a deep negligence and offering me little to no discernible shred of mercy.
I was the only one that saw the situation for the tragedy that it truly was.
I felt He “owed” me.
These days I’m beginning to believe that maybe
He was there after all.
They say that hindsight is 20/20 and I believe there were many small “miracles” that happened way back then.
I was just too angry to realize it.
This story is about one of them…

It was St. Patrick’s Day in ’99 that I went to see my mother.
It was a routine visit at best.
I sat with her in the common room at Hearthstone and talked using my one-way conversation that had become a learned ritual.
Usually, when I ran out of things to talk about it was time to leave.
I went into the kitchen and poured a cup of juice for her and went to leave.
For some reason, I decided I would check her room to make sure everything was clean and in order.
(Another story in and of itself)

Everything was fine and after talking briefly with one of the aides that took care of my mother,
I went downstairs to leave.
There’s a long corridor that takes you past the common room before turning left to the thick oak door that led to the free world outside.

My memory of that walk down the hall goes into slow-mo right about here.

I had a gazillion things buzzing through my mind at the time.
As I approached the doorway leading to the common room I began to hear music—Irish Music—Danny Boy, to be specific, one of my mother’s favorite songs simply because her father sang it to her when she was a child.
As I walked towards the door leading outside, I stopped.
Someone was singing the song.
I turned and walked back towards the doorway recognizing the voice of my mother.
I looked into the room and saw that all the residents had their heads bent down, prayer like.
There in the middle of the room was my mother, head back; eyes closed,
singing every familiar word I’d known since I was a child.
Ten minutes ago she couldn’t say or remember my name and here she was going solo.
I began to mouth the words sotto voce along with her.
It was about as close as I could get to her in that one solitary moment in time.
And it felt wonderful.
It was really her once again.
I smiled realizing that I had just been given mercy.

~m

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