• death,  Featured,  Love,  Poems

    Winter’s Song

    Winter comes in quiet, stage left, light focused elsewhere, and waits. She knows her line is coming, her nerves tumble around inside her She is a subtle addition to a lovely scene of oranges and browns and dark green As the players fall back after Autumn’s brilliant number, she moves on shaky feet When she steps into the spotlight everyone gasps – she is stunning Her homemade gown flings sequins in an orb around her as she finds her mark Standing now on solid feet, knees bent so she won’t faint, she listens for her cue Which is up to her: a break in silence whenever she senses we are…

  • Family,  Grief,  life,  Love,  Motherhood

    Lipstick Legacy

    I have it now; this little blue mug that says “MOM” on it all uneven like it was mass printed and sold for last minute gift-buyers on Mother’s Day sometime in the 80s. Maybe my Dad got it for her from me, their new baby, between sleep deprived shifts at one of his several jobs and maybe it made her cry the way you do when you’ve earned something that has not been easy. Mornings were quiet in our little cabin. Dad needed to sleep after his swing shift and Mom readied herself in the early, dark hours to join the other commuters on 101 by sunrise. Sometimes she would…

  • Cancer,  death,  Grief,  life

    Why May is Grey

    May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month. It’s probably also some other awareness month and there is probably a Donut Day or something wonderfully absurd in it’s mix. These things are arbitrary. May is no more or less affected by Brain Cancer than November, but somebody wanted it to get attention so they picked this month. I wonder why. May is an otherwise beautiful month – it’s the month of blooming flowers and occasional rainstorms. May brings the end of winter, the beginning of tank top season. May means visits to the greenhouse, the sound of dirt scraping a metal shovel as you plant hope in the form of seeds or…

  • death,  God,  Grief,  life

    Evil, Chaos, and Seashells

    I don’t remember what brought us there. I don’t remember if we’d had a fight or something had happened to her at work or something else, but I remember arriving to seagulls and salty air and watching her make her way across the sand. Usually the beach was recreational: we brought blankets and snacks and sand toys and tanning oil (don’t judge). This time was different. No beach bag, just us and a purpose. Mom had business here. My memory is imperfect, but what’s in here is her teaching me, showing me her way, introducing her ritual. She got out a journal and sat in the sand and told me,…

  • Beauty,  death,  Grief,  life,  Love,  Politics

    Election Day 2016

    Something will happen tomorrow. You’ll get up. You’ll do your thing. You’ll work or play or study. And the world will get herself around that sun. We’ll survive. And in America, we’ll have a new president. I went to a memorial service tonight put on by the incredibly caring people at Hospice of Spokane. They offered tips for getting through the holidays and sang folk music and let us cry our tired little eyes out together with strangers. They gave us candles to light and food for our bellies; a great reminder that in the midst of the grief and the pain, you still eat and you enjoy the cookie…

  • Birth,  Family,  life,  Love,  Motherhood

    Highest Hope

    I gave birth to her on the floor of the Birth Center – right outside the tub where I thought I might die, where I hated her from a reserve of fury I didn’t know existed, where I’d cursed the moment of conception which had brought me to this agony. She came quickly. Her eyes were steely blue, her lips resembled a rosebud, her chubby olive cheeks were too kissable to resist, and she smelled like Heaven. I am convinced. If there is a Heaven and if it has a smell it is that one. The midwife handed her to me and I don’t think she even reached my chest before…

  • Love,  Motherhood,  Politics,  Race

    Darker Brother

    Gabe picked up a copy of illustrated Langston Hughes because, presumabley, he likes to make me cry in front of my children. That boy looks like my Daddy! Why do you say that? Because his skin looks like my Daddy’s – my Daddy is the darker brother! She is so sweet when she says it – she is excited over her connection, she loves connecting things. She doesn’t know it comes with so much behind it. She doesn’t know why I can barely choke out the words – “tomorrow I’ll be at the table” – as I think of her father graduating from a respected University mere miles from the…

  • Beauty,  Cancer

    Ten Seconds

    “How’re you doing today?” I asked to be cordial with our 10 second encounter. He answered warmly, “I’m alive and breathing.” He said it as if he were wearing vacation clothes instead of a red vest with a name tag, as if he were standing on an expansive beach instead of between two car lanes in a small glass box. It was one of the dozens of mornings my day started with a 45 minute drive last fall. After this I would grab my check-in ticket and shuttle over to the cold, sterile battlefront where Mom got her weekly radiation or met with another doctor or went over the chemo plan. The…

  • Beauty,  Cancer,  Christian Living,  God,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  Love,  Worship

    In The Likely Event that I Don't Get a Yearly Update In the Mail

    I didn’t get the Christmas New Year card out. Maybe I’ll squeeze it into the “Hey, we’re only a few days in and you know, life so it’s still acceptable for you to receive this” window. Probably not. I didn’t get the card out to tell everyone what a stupid, awesome, horrible, beautiful year we had. And I feel more compelled than I have in other years because this was a year. I mean, a damn year. This year earned her place in nostalgia – good and bad and ugly and lovely all swirling together in our memories. This year we saw God so.close. So up in our business that…