learning curiosity

74CDDAE7-CE49-4E60-98E2-38B095EAE245Curiosity.  Perhaps that is the theme for the month, maybe the year.

In Mare Chapman‘s class last fall, (wonderful teacher, by the way) a discussion about feeling ‘less than’ led me to tell the story of my brother challenging my ability to do a task because I was a woman.  One of my classmates asked what I would say to my brother today if he said the same thing to me today and I was silent.  When I admitted that I had no idea what to say, she offered, “I’d ask, ‘Why would you think that?’”  Her answer/question stunned me because it was so simple and yet, so far from my grasp.

Simple curiosity! Continue reading

liturgical year

It is Thursday and we’ve been out of internet range except for select minutes for days. I have many pictures to post from our incredible hikes in the outback, the center of Australia. There is no way they will upload on hotel internet but I will have access to better soon.

Today is the eighth anniversary of David’s death. I wrote what comes next earlier today.

I never understood the church year and as a kid I wondered why from year to year the stories did not change because some of the repetition bored me. Now I have my own liturgical year, March to July, transplant to expiration. I can relive it in an instant, scenes with vivid recall like yesterday, clearer than yesterday. Eight journeys around the sun so far. Those early ones when the best I could do was to find care for Julia while I allowed for a good long wallow in pain. Then, the years of Miyazaki movies and Chinese takeout. First just the two of us and then with friends (Bless them for their indulgence).Then sitting in piazza San Marco with gin and gelato and observing in NYC with Cheshire and Indian food. Today, waking up in a cold tent, cuddling with Julia for warmth under heavy blankets. Traveling the Australian outback with a group of people we didn’t know three days ago. Last night, arriving at a camp site not set up for us, we made up beds and cooked a noodle dinner together, eating so late that Julia’s eyes were closing. No way I could have imagined today eight years ago. No way could I have imagined the company we would keep this day. Grieving, observing, and one day, not quite yet, celebrating the years and the life I/we share with David. Continue reading


9DD6D52A-8C94-4DDF-BC20-243AFE0DDD5D“Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.”
                         ~Joan Didion

With a very big sigh of relief, I count another mother’s day over.  My feelings about the holiday remain the same as they were four years ago and I am still not proud of them.  Of course, I am not proud. The feelings are still all about self-pity.  Which is ugly and such a damm nuisance. 

When I first read Joan Didion’s “The year of magical thinking,” I did not understand those first  lines quoted above.  I rather shamefacedly admit that I didn’t understand them for a very long time.  What was so bad about some very well deserved self-pity? Continue reading

private truths

Recursive Dream Study by Day Huynh

Thunder and lightening and rain last night.  Just before bedtime. This morning everything is moist and cloudy.  The bird and squirrel sounds come to my ears as if through fog. Sitting on cushioned wicker on the back porch, I listen to the uneven hum of the ceiling fans. Temperatures predicted to be summer like, so I open all the windows and turn on the fans. There is a disconnect between the wide open house and the gold-brown and worn green leaves blanketing the gardens.  But the disconnect, the tilt, the slight unevenness of my world’s tectonic plates feel . . . right, correct, just as it is. Continue reading


IMG_1175Feeling like a super mom today.  Exhausted but endowed with power and magic.  Today is never easy.  7 years.  Another anniversary of the beginning of my unexpected life.

I have long entertained the idea that the cells of the body are recycled bit by bit every 7 years.  Where did I hear that?  I have no idea, but if it were so, there is no cell in my body left that actually knew David. Could that be? Even if it was the general rule, I imagine my cells clever enough to bypass such ignorance.  They might have whispered and conspired, perhaps saving one very, very old seven or eight or nine year old cell and sitting at her “feet” to listen to stories of when I was not lonely.  And really, there was that time when I knew joy without effort. And maybe in the stories of that old cell is the seed of a coming time of such joy.  Just maybe. Continue reading

my major

Two deaths. One the wife of friend; the other the mother of a friend no longer. The first was a sound shake. A woman who was ill and being treated, who was expected to survive, to be healed. An unexpected death even though there was probably some scientific percentage that she would not survive. Like David. Twenty percent of those with heart transplant don’t survive. And we never considered for a moment that to be David.

We are all always part of the percentage. Continue reading

breaking for spring

Morning walk at Olbrich Gardens

Trees are in bud; daffodils are blooming as I turn around; I dug up the purple crocus that were finished on Thursday.  I’ll dig the yellow ones today.  When I civilized my wild, overgrown garden back in Indy, I dug up scores of bulb plants as they finished their bloom determined to save and replant.  I did not let the greens develop as is advised because if I had I would have forgotten what they were and colors.  Rows of bulbs with greens attached dried in the sun until the greens were browns and the bulbs were stored for fall planting.  I need to do the same process with the bulbs on the terrace gardens.  The purple crocus was a beginning.  As the daffodils and tulips come up, and with only those plants coming up on the terrace beds, I can appreciate how many there are.  All representing my work and love.  Taking apart these beds as been full of so much sadness and pain; this spring there is room of appreciation and a bit of joy. Continue reading

healing bumps

I am typing with two hands!  After weeks of big splint/cast/smaller splint, I was released to type last week and this week I have managed two days without much hand support.  The wrist bones are healed but the muscles and tendons of my hand and lower arm need much work to get back to normal. Continue reading


IMG_5071A friend explained that she was distracted because she heard of another death. My first thought was of how another person was going to have to go through that journey. I sighed and felt bone tired weary.  I know, I know, it’s inevitable and I know every journey is different — beloved partner to acquaintance, tragic, expected, prepared for, unexpected — but it is the journey from brokenness to the Kinisuga masterpiece of a life. That is, if we are fortunate enough to recognize the journey is necessary and patient enough to make it.

The urge to grab onto a bit of melancholy is due in part to Friday’s memory of transplant day. It’s been seven years, and over this past year I’ve started looking again at the memories Facebook offers to share. I stayed away from those memories for a long time. On Saturday seven years ago, I posted that David was sitting up eating Jell-O and how glorious that simple act seemed. There has been so much work from that time to this. It feels like a mere girl wrote those words not the woman who was looking forward to her 30th wedding anniversary. Continue reading

Catch up

img_5057I broke my wrist on Sunday. Of course it was my left wrist, my dominant hand. Aside from the pain and the splint and the doc appointments and the craziness of trying to figure out how to hook a bra, button up jeans and open pill bottles with one hand, there’s a steep learning curve of another kind going on and I have to grudgingly admit, I’m grateful for it.

For my birthday. I gave myself two presents–a creative workshop taught by a poet friend of mine called Spirit and Shadow. Her provocative questions are stirring my soul and disturbing my sleep. The other is an online course called Awakening Joy. Taught by James Baraz, it is a mindfulness class. This week we are put the intention of joy/happiness /contentment into the center of your life. Continue reading