Memory and the St. Johns River

During my mother Lois‘ last year of life, she lived at St. Catherine Labouré Manor, a skilled nursing facility on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL.

Mom longed for the out-of-doors. She had always been a walker, a lover of nature. The constraints and losses of Alzheimer’s didn’t change her longing. If anything, what was most important at the core for her may have been highlighted.

Jim and I learned quickly that we needed to take

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Lois

Jim and I sat with Mom for the last couple hours of her life last night.

Before sunrise on Wednesday, I had awoken from a powerful dream, in which the vibrant, out-going Mom whom I haven’t seen in several years was holding everyone’s attention at a party with her three brother and other family and friends.

Later that morning, when I visited her at St. Catherine Labouré Manor, I found her in her recliner in the sunny hallway

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Grief

Bearded Iris

For my mother, recovered from hospital yet confused and afraid as Alzheimer’s steals her memory.

For my partner, since she is his mother, too.

For my brother and sister and their families.

For my father, whose last, eldest sibling has died.

For my friend whose mother has just died.

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On waiting and squirming

Being of melancholic temperament, my Quaker practice is occasionally reduced to long periods of inner struggle between faith and circumstance.

These are not periods of doubting God or of doubting that I can rely upon God.

Rather, they are periods during which I have difficulty finding God’s reassuring silence in the midst of my own emotional noise. Or, sometimes, in the midst of a kind of emotional shut-downness, when prolonged distress has dulled itself into exhaustion.

As

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