I've been away for awhile. I found this blog post from 2 years ago that had been saved as a draft. Although the events mentioned are now from the past, the power of the words were quite strong as I reread it. So, I've decided to post it:
Last night I attended a gathering of writers who've attended or come close to attending Hedgebrook, a wonderful writing residency in the Pacific Northwest. It was such a treat to be transported from a mosh (sp.?) pit to a bar in a sleepy Mexican town, to a young Jewish woman's sexual awakening, to a 30-ish young woman whose mom is in the throes of a mid-life romance, to Sor Juana, to the vivid imagery of hummingbirds and feathers and themes of coming of age and endings, to workers resistance and bloodlines. I may have left something out, which further illustrates how rich the writing, conversation and women were in many ways. A 4 month-old daughter graced us with her voice and presence near the evening's end. She reminded us that the wheel keeps on turning as generations of women come and go.
Perhaps it was I who was reminded of the coming and going, as I spent yesterday afternoon going through a file of poems that are in varying states of the reconsideration that revision requires. I was especially drawn to work on one of those poems and I read it during the group's informal reading last evening. Its themes are birth and death and our responses to them.
This week we found out that my mother's right heart valve is leaking considerably and that the right side of her heart is enlarged. The cardiologist told us that if she were 15-20 years younger, he'd suggest an aggressive approach to the situation, meaning surgery. Since mom is 82, he is or rather, we are going to try to manage it through prescription drugs. Mom is now taking more pharmaceuticals; the legal and doctor-prescribed kind. That's something that my tendency toward clinging rigidly to alternative medicine is causing me to have more than a little trouble with, intellectually. However, since I am neither a herbalist or western trained physician, I'm learning to take the middle road. This might be similar to the middle road that I take when I teach. The road that is most accessible and that doesn't toss out possibilities that might not otherwise emerge and be considered.
I am sad. I love my mom. I'm learning to allow my sadness, my vulnerability, my inability to do anything about mom's decline except love her, take her to doctor appointments, visit her, laugh with her, go out to lunch or dinner with her. I guess these things are not really small, except in my mind's view. My ego tends to expect something more grandiose of me at times. A swooping down and saving the day or something. That would sound better. That's when I forget to be compassionate and loving toward myself. That's when I forget I'm human. That's when I have the opportunity to eventually learn to remember.