Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Between every two pines...

"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world."
(John Muir)

This picture is of Mom in 1946, a few months after her marriage, taken by her father.

It was her Celebration of Life today; it was beautiful. RevAmanda was wonderful, Mount Baker out the window was as beautiful as anyone had ever seen it. I had found Celtic music to play (Turlogh O'Carolan played by Patrick Ball & Aine Minogue), since she had wanted one Celtic piece for herself among my sister's country music at my sister's memorial service. Many people got up to light a candle and tell Juanita stories.

My stories:

- When my brothers were young, to ensure fairness, she used to weigh the bowls of ice cream. And being Juanita, first she weighed the bowls, then the bowls plus ice cream.

- I live in the house she was born in, in the Northern California foothills. It is surrounded by tall trees, Black Oaks and Ponderosa pines that were mature when she was born. They dwarf the 3-story house. Once when she came to visit, she got out of the car, looked around, and said "You need more trees". At first I thought she was joking.

- In her last weeks, when she didn't really remember people, she would always ask "Have I met you before?" But if you were wearing purple, you were her friend instantly.

- When she was perhaps pregnant with the elder of my brothers, and I was barely tall enough to see over the counter, I had asked the 'where do babies come from?' question. Maybe in the form "Is the new baby going to come out of Mommie's tummy?" The answer I got involved diagrams of cell division, and I swear, when I got to the subject long later in biology class, the words 'meiosis' and 'mitosis' were strangely familiar...

For 'going away music': the Huron Carol, played by John McCutcheon, and Farewell to Stromness, by Peter Maxwell Davies, among other nature themed songs.

I had spent the time since she died finding photos & writing a memorial booklet about her life, and found these two John Muir quotes for the covers.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees."
(John Muir)

Labels: ,

Friday, December 25, 2009

I was alone today

Picture from 12/12/2009, 5:04 pm.

I was alone today, in this house where we often spent Christmases together, Mom, my sister Tina and my two brothers & I - and one memorable year, Mom's niece & her son Jeff, plus Tina's husband and my brother's wife. Mom, Tina & Jeff are all gone now.

My brothers were here for 2 days on the weekend, and they will be back for a couple of days for the memorial service. Otherwise the cats & I are alone here. They have started sleeping with her teddy bears on the chest that used to be at the foot of her bed. Except Tiger who has lost a lot of weight for unknown reasons, and seems very ill.

I should have called my family, I know. I didn't.

My friend called in the evening at his usual time.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Patches & Sugar Mouse with teddy bears

The cats are hanging out in the bedroom again, on the toy chest with the teddy bears.

Picture taken 12/18/2009, 4:12 pm.

My brothers will be here this weekend for a few days.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tigrrr went to the vet

Tigrrr went to the vet yesterday. Don't know what's wrong with him - he's been losing weight, despite getting canned food. And his eyes are totally dilated.

This picture taken 12/10/2009, 2:17 pm.

Once she said, while sitting at the table with Tiger on her lap, and her pills spread out on the tablecloth, "I don't know if I'm supposed to take this medicine or give it to the cat." 

PS. When she got him from me, he was named Musketeer, because of his Puss in Boots coloring. She renamed him Tiger... I am not going to have a cat called Tiger, of all the trite names. But he's had it too long, and I've been calling him by it here when feeding him, and he knows his name. (Well, I suspect it means "food" to him.) So I at least will make it Tigrrr.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Foggy today

Picture taken 12/15/2009, 1:06 pm.

Ran errands today with Michelle - the last time she will be here. It was the first time I have left here, except to go for a walk, since I arrived in late October.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 14, 2009

The teddy bears miss her

Picture from Friday 12/11/2009, 3:07 pm.

The coverlet here was her favorite color.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 13, 2009


That's a blue heron on that log out there, in the patches of floating ice. The rough-looking areas are ice too. I think the flat white patches may have finally floated loose from where they were stuck to the beaches, underwater, after the very cold middle-of-the-night low tides we have had for several days. The days have been in the 30s°F.

Picture taken 12/12/2009, 5:02 pm.

I am working on a memorial booklet about Mom, like she & I did for my sister, except that in the several years since my sister died, I have gone to school for three years to learn how to do this. Unfortunately, technical difficulties prevent my moving forward very quickly until more RAM arrives for her computer. Meanwhile I am getting an obituary out to the local newspapers.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

You just have to keep moving

This picture was taken 12/10/2009, 4:13 pm.

You just have to keep moving to not freeze in place, like this little bird striding along the frozen shore.

Mom's computer guy was here this afternoon to help me get her computer able to use Photoshop & InDesign so I can do a booklet about her, like she & I & my brother did about my sister.

And he showed me that there is a street named after her!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Swimming in the sky

Picture taken 12/10/2009, 4:30 pm.

The light was amazing yesterday afternoon, with clear reflections of the colors in the sky on the glassy surface, and with spreading ripples made by little birds swimming through the sky reflections.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ice on the beach at sunset

Picture from 12/10/2009, 5:34pm.

Everyone has come and gone, and I am alone here now with her cats. My brothers will be here for a few days, not this weekend, but next. It's finals week.

Labels: , ,

Frozen wave

Picture taken 12/10/2009, 4:21pm.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon down at the shore, taking pictures. It was very cold, and bright, with new clouds coming in, in the distance.

It has been very cold at night during the low tides, and the seawater has frozen onto the beaches, underneath the returning tidal water. I've never seen underwater ice before.

And here, visible during this afternoon's low tide, a wave that froze as it came up onto the exposed beach.

Labels: , , , ,

Calm Seas

My mother died this morning.

She was breathing peacefully & quietly all day yesterday, and last night, when I whispered "Goodnight, love" at about 2:30 am.

She was gone this morning at 8:30.

Goodbye. We love you.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The tide is far out now

Picture taken 12/9/2009, 5:51 pm.

She has been breathing peacefully and quietly all day.
No one will be here with us tonight - the car won't start.

Labels: , ,

Bright, clear, calm

Picture taken 12/9/2009, 10:42am.

She is breathing more quietly now.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Red sky in the morning

Red sky in the morning.
Photos Dec 8, 2009, 9:24am.

She has been breathing harshly all day

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dec 7 Waves

Gentler waves on the beach.
Photo Monday Dec 7, 2009, 3:26pm.

Difficult breathing.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dec6 09 Waves

Wind and waves on the beach.
Photo Sun Dec 6, 2009, 1:34pm.

Difficult breathing all day.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Cruel & unusual

The mountain is beautiful...
(Picture taken 12/1/2009, 1:10 pm.)

She went to law school when she was 60. She said that the thing which frustrated her and her classmates, was that in all the case law they studied, the precedent-setting cases, justice was nowhere considered, or fairness, or redress for wrongs. Only precedents of law.

"Help help help.
No no no.
Stop stop stop.

Cruel & unusual."

When I told Hospice that, they raised the dosage.

"I can't drink it right now."

That was the last clear thing she said, and couldn't really drink anything after.

Labels: , ,

Morning sun

Someone was here last night, so I could go for a walk before she left this morning.
Photos Sat Dec 5, 2009, 10:53, 10:57.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 04, 2009

Soft light

A soft light at noon today.

"Help help help.

Help me lift up.
Help me give up.

More hurryin."

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Frozen beauty

It's stayed cold. (This picture is from yesterday.)

Yesterday she said "Where is my memory?"

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Going away

Her teddy bears share her bed. (And that is useful, especially now that it is the hospital bed, because they are cushioning against the bars.)

Weeks ago she said "I feel like I'm in Never-Never land.

Some of what she is saying must come out of the past. I wish I could hear the story behind "She outsmarted him".

One can guess about "He ate my candy." How long ago.

Some of it may come from the day the Hospice volunteer was reading Newsweek to her. "Help Dubai. Help me speak Dubai." (me - I don't speak Dubai). Very clearly: "Fake it."

Some is enigmatic. She called me in to give her a drink of water, and when I tried to leave the sippy cup that my brothers had brought, in the bed with her, saying she could have water when she wanted it, she said "I don't want it when I want it". Then very clearly, "Lake Pontchartrain". Was she thinking of flooding?

Some of it is so sad. "He said I was cheating on him. I didn't even know what the word meant. Please, I never meant to cheat anybody."

And I don't have a clue what "Stop, stop, stop the little blue men" was about, but I imagine them marching across the footboard.

Today she said "I googled & googled & googled".

And some is about the teddy bears. "We have to keep all the teddy bears warm." (I think one of my brothers came up with that to keep her from pushing off all the covers.)

And "Two teddy bears should be enough."

And "I need my teddy bear. I've got to hold my teddy bear."

And one day last week when the Hospice volunteer was here, I was called in: "Mina, she took my bear!" (me-your favorite bear is right here) "Show me all the bears." repeat several times

And "Please, please, put my teddy bear on the wall." (Where all her pictures are?)

And Monday "The teddy bears need a nap. Mama needs a nap."

Labels: ,

I want water

Reflections today on smooth rippled water, showing "sky pools" and "land pools" of color.

"I want water. More water.
Did you drink too much water?

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Lovely beach arrangement

This was a particularly beautiful beach arrangement today.

Tonight will be the first night since my brothers were here at Thanksgiving that there will be anyone here besides me & her. They have brought a monitor too (why didn't we think of that before?) so I won't be sleeping on the couch anymore, to hear her in the night.

11/29 "There's a little dog in the bed. It's homeless. It needs a home."
"I can only keep one a month."

Labels: , ,