Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 90

It's hard to believe that it's only been 3 months since the first day of Mom's diagnosis. Time, a powerful fourth dimension though it may be, does not command the growth of our lives. Some lessons may come gradually over years, even decades, and yet other life-altering awakenings occur spontaneously in a single moment.

Not only am I not the person I was 90 days ago, there have been countless iterations within that span. It's happened to of all of us in some way at some time, hasn't it? You go to bed not even knowing what your lacking and wake in its fullness. An epiphany. A humbling death met with a swift resuscitation where the air itself feels different, tastes different. Sure we can revert and go back to our old way of looking at life, but we're not really returning. We're bringing something entirely new with us, regret. Regret is a fertile creature too: Depression, Shame, Contempt, Self-Deprecation, Doubt, Cowardice. Though growing pains can be unbearably severe, the slow creep of death has a far greater sting.

We all change and in many ways. But, it seems the time-bending changes happen more often when change is thrust upon us by some unforeseen event. So, I am new today. Today I am not reading the story of my life, it is being written as we speak. Each new loved one who asks, how are you doing, summons me to search this new person for an answer. It's good that they ask, because I'm neglecting that interview with myself all too often these days. My answers are different every time.

Sometimes I even find myself answering with how Mom is doing, which seems inextricable from my own feelings. Yesterday Mom explained quite lucidly and with great fervor that she wants to be more a part of her own house: daily tasks, menu planning, various projects, etc. Things with which we did not want to burden her. But, as it is my mother, it is more a burden for her to be on the outside and feeling useless. She still has something to give in the midst of all this and she won't be robbed of that opportunity - not even by me.

Today change comes to me more as a challenge than a violent force. Do I have the courage to watch Mom use what little life she has left taking care of all of us? Do I have a choice? Not really (she's a Seufert woman), but I can choose how I respond, how I listen and whether I learn.


  1. Jess That is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Your Mom is by far the strongest women I know. She gives and gives and gives. The love that she has shown all of us is such a gift for that I or we are all blessed. The day she came into my life changed me in so many ways. She is an Angel for sure. I love you all so much.


  2. This journey is beautiful. I hope you feel yourself wrapped in in the Lord's arms. The pain is a pure expression of your love for your Mom and so is the deep joy of going through this experience with her. There has been nothing more real that I have experienced in life, than the journey toward death of my loved ones. Love yourself, Jess. Be easy on yourself as you would your most beloved. Aunt Jeanette

  3. What if those minute changes happen to us all, every day...but it is only through these intensified times of life we take care to notice them. I don't believe pain is the ultimate teacher anymore (in that there is always a lesson folded into pain and that is its ultimate purpose), but I do see your plight as a means to enlighten my soul to real living as you encounter real dying. I admire her so, the still wanting to leave this earth with her hands on a menu for the week, and I admire you so - for indeed summoning the courage to keep her hands strong and full - which, no doubt, requires an emptying of yours.

  4. When Wisdom speaks through precious pain
    Its light becomes an ageless flame
    That sheds the dark of fearful halls
    So brave our hearts may walk withal

    And braver now we journey on
    Our strength renewed to lean upon
    The words we heard when we did fear
    That Wisdom whispered in our ear

    And so the light of Wisdom burns
    To bring the strength for which we yearn
    For truth and love can cast off fear
    If we but have a willing ear


  5. I find myself at a loss for words through all of this. We are fixers that can't fix! How can that be? How? I am finding myself so grateful for TIME! And so grateful and blessed by our family!

    I love you guys and will always be here. Even through silence...we are STRONG!

    1. Beth, I do not know you but I do. I am Ben's mom and what you say joins our families. We ARE strong! Thank you Jess for your words for your love for your determination.

    2. You have an amazing son. Please know that I greatly appreciate you sharing your son with our family. I look forward to getting to know him better. It is such a blessing to have them here.

      I want to personally thank you for your support from Washington. It is felt and appreciated greatly.

  6. Take Each Day
    One Day at a Time

    One day at a time
    this is enough.
    Do not look back
    and grieve over
    the past,
    for it is gone,
    and do not be troubled
    about the future,
    for it has not yet come.
    Live in the present,
    and make it so beautiful
    that it will be worth
    A poem by Ida Scott Taylor

  7. Jess, I wish I had the words to comfort you more at this difficult time. I do most assuredly know the feelings that have become part of you now. I do know that our paths were chosen before we came to this life and that the path chosen has specific purpose and intent. We cannot question that because we don't have answers until we are done. I know that life will not stop for us, but at some time it will allow us to take a deep healing breath and catch up. I wish for you faith that all is going according to the plan and that you will be able to carry on. Life will become clearer and stronger. Love does not expire. I am praying for strength and comfort for all.

  8. The life, love and experiences you share with your Mom will become even more vivid in your heart as you move through this journey. Your family shares a spiritual kinship with all you encounter and you bless us in ways you don't even realize. May God bless you richly as you embrace each moment, each day and may you find peace through the pain. You are all loved so much Jess!

    Hugs and Kisses, Kathy

  9. Jess, You are the same strong woman your mother is. My heart is with you all at this time. Words are somewhat meaningless but please know that as time goes on, you will heal and be whole again. Give yourself time. It's the hardest thing I ever went through (with my sister) and my love and prayers for peace with you all. Love, Doreen

  10. A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day,
    drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As

    they talked about life, about marriage, about the

    responsibilities of life and the obligations of

    adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her

    glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance

    upon her daughter..

    'Don't forget your sisters,' she advised, swirling

    the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. 'They'll

    be more important as you get older. No matter how

    much you love your husband, no matter how much you

    love the children you may have, you are still going

    to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now

    and then; do things with them.'

    'Remember that 'sisters' means ALL the women...

    your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other

    women relatives too. 'You'll need other women. Women

    always do.'

    What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman

    thought. Haven't I just gotten married?

    Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a

    married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely

    my husband and the family we may start will be all I

    need to make my life worthwhile!'

    But she listened to her mother. She kept contact

    with her sisters and made more women friends each

    year. As the years tumbled by, one after another,

    she gradually came to understand that her mother really

    knew what she was talking about. As time and nature

    work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman,

    sisters are the mainstays of her life.

    After more than 50 years of living in this world,

    here is what I've learned:


    Time passes.

    Life happens.

    Distance separates.

    Children grow up.

    Jobs come and go.

    Love waxes and wanes.

    Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

    Hearts break.

    Parents die.

    Colleagues forget favors.

    Careers end.


    Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how

    many miles are

    between you. A girl friend is never farther away

    than needing her can reach.

    When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you

    have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life

    will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,

    praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on

    your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the

    valley's end.

    Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk

    beside you....Or come in and carry you out.

    Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,

    daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,

    Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended

    family: all bless our life!

    The world wouldn't be the same without women, and

    neither would I.. When we began this adventure called

    womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or

    sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we

    would need each other.

    Every day, we need each other still.