Category Archives: Slice of Life

Hope

Sky Over Jones Beach

Sky Over Jones Beach

Hope is a useful attitude. For me, the idea that something may be obtainable has carried me through some tough times.  When my sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, hope induced me to research treatments and pharmaceutical trials. After all, she was young and she possessed the strength to pursue harsh medical protocols. Of course, the less obtainable something becomes, the less hope we feel. Once it became apparent that the treatments didn’t work and that there wasn’t that much out there to do anything but prolong her life a month or two more, it was time to reassess the situation. Hope was no longer a motivation. The main concern became alleviating her pain.

Just this year, I realized that decades ago I gave up hope of ever being loved again. Yes, all these years I have been in a relationship. We have worked together, raised children together, traveled together and prepared for old age together. Yet, the love aspect of the relationship withered a while ago leaving us in a business partner/ friend position. That’s fine.  Many, many couples experience this role progression and make it work. We are too.

Still, I think of resurrecting that hope–of somehow, in some way  feeling in love with someone again.

After the Flowers

Washing the Vase.

Washing the Vase.

I have so many pictures of lakes and oceans and ponds.  I love the way light hits large bodies of water. I can watch the ocean waves mesmerized by the constant motion and, in the stillness of a lake when there is no wind, the  beauty of reflected scenery is like an intricate painting that holds the eye. For some reason, none of these pictures would suffice for the photo101 assignment to photograph water. Instead, I chose to take a more mundane picture of water readily available inside.

Reminiscence

image

Where  does the time between memories go? Is it compressed and re-compressed to a quark sized particle in the brain? Is that why I have vivid memories of two mornings in a cold, mid-January over 16 years ago more clearly than any morning last week.

I was getting ready to go to a Memorial Service for a man who had been my husband’s co-worker. Late and rushing to get breakfast for Catherine, my 8 year-old daughter, I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. Of course, the phone would ring now! I swallowed my exasperation. But, it was my sister’s voice I heard and it sounded weak and raspy.  She had been fighting a winter cold and the first round of antibiotics didn’t help. I was worried about her.

“Mare, Dr. Chen called. He wants me to go for a chest x-ray tomorrow” I heard fear in her voice.

“Tee, He’s covering all bases. Catherine has had two rounds of antibiotics a few times to get rid of sinus infections.  Don’t worry too much.” I wanted to add “yet”. My sister was a heavy smoker.

“I’ll come with you.” I said. I could hear the relief in her voice as we made arrangements.

The next morning I picked her up and we drove silently to the hospital’s x-ray facility.  She was called right away. I watched her walk slowly until the door shut behind her.

I couldn’t read the newspaper I brought or any of the magazine’s in the waiting room.  I just stared out the window. About a half hour later and much to my surprise, Dr. Chen came into the waiting room and headed straight toward me.

“I am so sorry to tell you this. Your sister has a tumor in her lung very close to her heart. I don’t think it’s operable but I advise you to go to a Thoracic Surgeon, a good one and as soon as possible.. It is going to be a very difficult time” he said.

I could hardly process his words. I was holding out hope, praying. I searched his face but I didn’t see a any hope in his eyes.

“Okay, thank you for your advice.” I said as he turned and walked away.

He left me to tell my sister.

Call It Courage

imageDecember Sunrise.

When I was nineteen, I had a boyfriend my mother disliked.  We fought constantly about him.  She made it clear that he was not welcome in our home after he took issue with her about something and, honestly, I can’t remember what it was–something inconsequential. I was embarassed and chose to blame her for rude behavior forgetting that he was just as rude if not more so. No matter how I tried to convince her to accept him, she just would not.  I decided I could no longer live in the atmosphere my mother created. She was smothering me.

So without much money and only a suitcase of clothes, I left home.  I went to the only place I knew of–a hotel near the Staten Island Ferry.  It was a horrible place that usually charged by the hour and the man at the reception desk told me I didn’t belong there.  But, I didn’t know where else to go. The next day I found a house with a room for rent.  I took it.  I found a job and eventually got my own apartment.

That first step out on my own was so difficult and I missed my family terribly.  I know now that I left for the wrong reason and without either the mental or monetary preparation that would have made my first move toward independence a much more positive experience.

Yes, it took courage to leave home and a good deal of stubborness. And, after a while, I realized that my “boyfriend” never provided any emotional support during those first very tough months. I wanted to see him as accepting and supportive but he was extremely judgemental and rigid.  In the end, I was able to repair my relationship with my mother. It was my “boyfriend” who I no longer wanted to be part of my life.