In July of 1994, my two sisters and I sifted through the belongings in our widowed mother’s home. She lay in a hospital nearby, unconscious and dying of a massive stroke at the age of 78. She lingered in that condition for nearly three weeks before she finally passed.
During those weeks, we hunted through the disarray of her home for documents, policies, and other papers that might be helpful for the disposition of her estate. It was grim and devastating work.
One trip to the dumpster behind her apartment complex allowed me (at last) to get rid of the embarrassingly poor plaster sculpture I’d made in high school two decades previously. I had never liked it, but my mom kept it in a place of honor. While there was a frisson of relief to see that thing go, my knees buckled with wordless grief when a set of Mom’s dentures tumbled with other “trash” into the dumpster, too. That she would never need them, never speak again, was more than I could fathom. My being the only Mormon in the family didn’t make my grief any easier to bear right in the midst of our loss.
My sisters Susan and Holly meanwhile had discovered Mom’s car insurance policy tucked into the 50th Rockford High School reunion program; stock certificates for companies long since defunct in one stack of papers; and boxes of old family photos – few of them labeled.
Holly pulled a small metal lock box out from one pile. Among the papers inside was one that baffled us all. Continue reading
It was a dark and stormy night last Friday here in Georgia. Okay, it was really just drizzling, but it was dark. My mom was driving me and my daughter to my sister’s house, about a mile away, for dinner. Because Mom lives here and I don’t, I figured she knew where she was going. We picked up her prescription at the drive-in pharmacy, then headed to my sister’s house. At least that was the plan. Continue reading
“Mothers’ Poem” was collectively written by twelve women from the Santa Monica CA Stake on the occasion of Mothers’ Day, 2011. The genesis of the poem occurred at one of the Westdale II Ward’s Friday “Park Days” (moms chat, kids play). On one of these days, the topic of conversation was the article on Mormon women’s ritual healing that had been published in a recent issue of the Journal of Mormon History. We discussed the nearly century-long legacy of Mormon women laying on hands to bless the sick. We were especially touched by the beautiful ritual of sisters coming together to bless women about to give birth. One of the sisters in our group, who was eight months pregnant at the time, mused about how powerful and meaningful it would be to receive a blessing from sisters who shared the experience of birth as a physical and spiritual passage. We wanted to draw on this rich spiritual legacy while showing deference to the Church’s current policy governing blessings, and hit upon the idea of writing a collective poem. Each section of the text represents the contribution of an individual sister (plus an introductory section at the beginning). This poem contains the words that we would say if we lived during the time when Mormon women gave blessings, or the words of a prayer that we might offer today on behalf of a sister among us preparing to cross the threshold into motherhood.
This poem was written by Marcella Capasso, Darin Epperson, Melissa Erekson, Rachel Gee, Lori Hulbert, Melissa Inouye, Neesha McKay, Leslie Paugh, Tanna Romero, Donna Simon, Kim Wilson, and Gwendolyn Wyne
Mother-in-Laws! That’s right! I know, I know. Media images fill our psyches with images of the Marie Barones of the world. But hey, they gave birth to our husbands, right? Continue reading
And the evening and the morning were the first day.
I ran 200 fewer miles in 2010 than in 2009. I read 25 fewer books. I spent a lot of time doing things I don’t enjoy like moving, volunteering in classrooms, baking (mostly) unsuccessful allergen-free breads and goodies, hosting parties and play-dates, and cleaning. I gave up lifelong dreams. I walked away from opportunities I thought I wanted. I had another miscarriage, another D&C. I continued to be terrible at things like Visiting Teaching (or any activity in which I have to use the phone), making deadlines, and mailing packages. I spent more time alone. Continue reading