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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Final Chapter

A few months ago I wrote about how my mother's books were more to her than just ink and paper, they were her friends. (Read the post HERE.) That friendship continued through the remainder of her life.

In late January 2017, my mother suffered a mild stroke and was admitted to an in-home Hospice program. Prior to Hospice swapping out my mother's hospital bed, etc., my sister decided to move mother's belongings to a different bedroom so that it would be easier to get a stretcher into the room should it be required. Moving the furniture was easy, moving the books not so much. As my husband and brother-in-law shifted furniture, my sister and I sat on the floor surrounded by piles of books, organizing them by author before putting them back on the bookshelves. It was easy to determine mama'a favorite authors - the piles of their books were the largest. Among the stack of books by Catherine Anderson was a dog-earred copy of Lucky Penny - its pages were falling out and the cover was held on by multiple strips of tape. I suggested that we throw it away. My sister said "Oh no! That's one of mother's favorites - she asks for it frequently." I was kind of surprised because while mama is responsible for introducing me to the writings Catherine Anderson, Lucky Penny was not one of the books that she had ever discussed with me.

Even as mama entered the final days of her life, her books stayed by her side or in her lap - usually The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey, with a few others sprinkled in. One of the last things she asked me for before her power of speech failed was a list of all of my books - she wanted to be sure she had read them all.

The White Dragon was with my mama the last several months of her life.

When we got the call that mama's life was now limited to hours and made the mad dash to be by her side, the much loved copy of Lucky Penny was on the table next to her. As my sister had said she would, mama had asked for it.

When we laid mama to rest, her copies of The White Dragon and Lucky Penny were with her. What better tribute is there to the power of words and books?

Goodbye, mama. I love you. When I see you again, I'll tell you about all of the new books I have written.


When I sat down to write this post, my concept was clear - I knew where I wanted to go. However, execution was much more hit and miss. Words failed me and tears flowed. My mother passed away one year and eight days after my father and right now, I miss her. I miss both of them. This post is a form of catharsis for me. I promise, some day soon I will get back to my humorous, lighter writing style.

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  1. Isabella,

    Your words brought out a lot of emotion, and a few tears, in me, because the fourth anniversary of my dad's death is tomorrow, April 6th, and he's been on my mind quite a bit over the past couple of weeks.

    I'll share a bit of my experience about grieving and writing.

    I have a manuscript that I completed long before my dad died. I often think about digging into the story for a good, hard edit so I can submit it for publication. But the thing that stops me from revisiting this story is the patriarch...the essence, my father...dies in this story. When I wrote the father's death into the story, I was years away from facing my own dad's death, and it wasn't "real". Well, it is real to me now, and even after four years, I'm not able to revisit that story. Someday, I will, but not now.

    So, my well-intentioned suggestion from my experience is, as far as getting back to your "humorous, lighter writing style", to give yourself permission to grieve and remember for as long as it takes. If your writing seems to take on a 'darker' tone, let it. It's a form of self-therapy.


  2. Kaye, thank you for stopping by - and for sharing. Many hugs to you on the anniversary of your dad's death.

    I struggled to write anything last year. Now that the desire to write has returned, I'm going to try to do as you suggested and just let the words flow and see where they take me.

  3. This was a sweet memorial to your mother. I'm sure you will be able to set aside your grief at some point and do your best work ever!

    1. Thank you Jeanne. The words are slowly starting to flow again.