Tuesday, May 12, 2009


It's not just me who gets upset about tree removal.

Seems to me judicious pruning is called for. And why can't people just pay attention to avoid tripping over a tree root? My mother-in-law would have a thing or two to say.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Well, not exactly.  After some months of steady decline into very old age, my wonderful Druid-ish mother-in-law died last Tuesday at 89 in a hospice setting, attended by her husband, son, and daughters.  In a very normal series of events, her last days included one "hallucination," perceiving she was on a train.  In a way she was.  She was probably recalling the long rail trip that was one of the big events of her early life, as a young woman, traveling  with her first daughter and pregnant with my husband to meet her own who was off on an Army training mission in Texas. It must have been early 1945. Not long after reliving the train trip, she told the nurse she knew she was dying and ceased asking to go home, understanding her destination was elsewhere.  In the Anglican prayer book there is a prayer for a "happy death." She was happy on that train, I think.

In this situation, having lost my own mother to cancer nearly 40 years ago, I was caught up thinking about Mothers' Day while having  dialogue with a friend who is having a likely unreconcilable conflict with her own mom.  She has generated many pages of what amounts to testimony to this unfortunate relationship, love lost.  

I took the opportunity to help another friend, incapacitated in Kentucky, whose mother is afflicted with Alzheimer's and resident in a facility just a few minutes from my home.  I took her flowers and a card, on behalf of her daughter, playing surrogate daughter but really paying tribute to all Mothers. Perhaps I am coming under the influence of the Wizard's Marianist colleagues.

The moon is 100 percent full this early morning, 3 o'clock, May 10, which to my surprise is also the so-called "Optional Memorial" day of the already Blessed Father Damien, to be canonized this coming October as Hawaii's first Roman Catholic Saint.  

Ironically, the good Father became a Saint by doing 
the work of a good Mother. His life of dedication and selfless service is the subject of an excellent 1999 film. The effect of Christianity in Hawaii is not limited to those New England Protestant missionaries who invented the mu'umu'u for the sake of the natives' modesty, or more accurately, their own discomfort with the naked body.  Father Damien cared for lepers in a colony on Molokai, in a setting that looks not unlike the place shown here where I spent the afternoon after taking flowers to my friend's mother. I had a little solitary picnic of sushi and chocolate cream puffs near the Century plants in bloom -- those are really the tall flowers of a large kind of agave.  It was a good day for flowers; I appreciated the digital photos my own son sent me of wildflowers in Oregon.  They last, and didn't cost him too much,  and will serve as references for my pathetic Chinese painting efforts.  A good son, he makes me feel like a good mother.