First Words


Earlier this week I picked my little grand-daughter up from Day Care.  Peering around the corner, I caught a secret glimpse of her.  Tiny and petite at only 14 months old, she sat upon colorful sponge flooring, playing with A.B.C. blocks.  “Hi little Sweetie.”  Hearing my voice, she bounced up like a silver spring, running full force towards the gate where I stood.  Smiling big and wide, the two of her little arms shot straight up into the air.  “Pick me up,” they said!

Driving home in the already dark of early night, I heard her talking to her favorite doll, the one with the bare bald head.  A reflection from the car’s rear-view mirror revealed a little angel clutching her baby oh-so-tight.  What a sight to see for me!  A rubber face of Googly Eyes smack dab next to the rosy pink of my little one’s cheek.  “Bay-bee, bay-bee,” she repeated over and over again.

Important first words for this little grand-baby of mine.  Her mommy was in the hospital for yet the third of fourth time, waiting for her little sisters of identical twins to arrive.  Still far from being due, the babes could come at any time.  God would choose when, while we prayed that all would be fine.  “Bay-bee,” a soft voice said once again.  “Yes, bay-bee,” I responded back to her.

That evening, after my munchkin ate ‘mac-n-cheese,’ played in a warm bath of yellow rubber ducks and changed into pink fuzzy footed pajamas, I cuddled and rocked her to sleep.  Gently, I laid my grand-baby into a spindled crib lit by soft blushes of a nursery night-light.  Puffs of even breath spilled from her perfect pout as she snuggled a bald rubber head together with her favorite flannel blanket sent from home.

Tiptoeing carefully towards the door, I was almost ready to shut it quietly behind me. Hushed and silent, all was still within my grand-daughter’s crib.  Until one soft, sweet familiar word.  “Bay-bee.”

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Stuff


In thinking of the soon-to-be Thanksgiving holiday, I remember a quiet time spent with my mother a few days before she passed away.  Cuddled within one of her hand-knitted afghans, she sat to the side of her favorite burgundy velvet rocking chair.  We played a game of sorts, both of us tip-toeing around the elephant in the room.

Thanksgiving was only a few short days away, with Christmas coming soon afterward.  Only God knew for sure, but I suspected that my mother would not be sharing either holiday with the whole of our family.  Moving two steps back while taking one step forward, I pretended like everything was the same as the year before.  Except nothing was the same.  Not even close.  My mother was dying.

So what game was I playing a few days before Thanksgiving?  “Christmas Is Coming Early!”  Unwrapping a few decorations to delight my mother’s tiring eyes, I lit the fireplace mantle in sparkling miniature white lights.  Next I pulled a tiny tree from a new box, fluffing the faux branches of dark green up and down and to the right or to the left.  I wanted it to look perfect before placing it atop the red brick and stone hearth of the fireplace.  “Do you like it, Mom?”  I asked.  She nodded, “Yes.”

Next, I carried a box of decorations from my parent’s garage storage area.  There, I discovered some of Mother’s favorites, including various Christmas dolls made of porcelain dressed in ruffled red velvet or shades of green taffeta.  Atop their breakable heads were wigs made of mohair dyed in blonde, brunette or dark red, the color of wine. Looking at me, they smiled with eyes of glass blue.  Each had tiny hands with long, delicate fingers of polish that shined in the light.  Clasping their silk strings carefully, I held them to the rose-colored lamp in order for Mother to get a better view.   “Where should we display them?” I asked.

I waited for her then, but no response.  Instead, I saw slight hints of clear tears in the corner of her eyes.  My heart broke then.  I had tried to pretend…but the game was over.  I had drawn the wrong card, it seemed.  “Do Not Pass GO,” it read.

“I don’t want to see them,” my mother said, barely able to speak.  “Look around,” she motioned, waving her arms about the room.  “Everything you see is just stuff,” she whispered, with all her strength and all her might.

One of my greatest Life Lessons came during the end of my mother’s days.  Nothing is greater in all of this living world than FAMILY.  Remember this during Thanksgiving Day and each day afterward.  Everything else is just…..Stuff.

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Thank You, Lorrie Bowden


Months have gone by since I was generously nominated by the dear Lorrie Bowden for The Versatile Blogger Award.  It looked somewhat different than I had seen before with a beautiful red flower against the bright backdrop of green.  How lucky I am, to be honored by Lorrie!

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I had every heartfelt intention of accepting this lovely award long ago.  Within days of receiving it however, my bowl of life began to overflow with commitments.  Lorrie understood, telling me to, “Take my time.”  No matter now many days passed, her kind heart full of love and appreciation was never far from my mind.

I am most grateful to accept this terrific award from Lorrie, a special person to many here at WordPress.  If you haven’t had the chance to get to know her, please visit her beautiful blog at, http://lorriebowden.com/.

The rules of acceptance for this award are to share 7 interesting facts about yourself in addition to nominating 15 other bloggers for this award.

My best attempt at Seven “Interesting Facts”

  1. My first name is not Kimberly.  Whenever I’m asked, “Is your name, Kimberly?”   My answer is inevitably the same.  “No, it’s just Kim.”
  2. My favorite children’s book is “Charlotte’s Web,” by E. B. White.  I still read it to this day, sobbing uncontrollably at the loss of Wilber’s beloved and faithful friend, Charlotte.
  3. When I was expecting my first child I craved Banana Splits, gaining 52 pounds over the course of nine months. Before my last son was born, Grapefruits never left my mind or mouth.  I had to have them morning, noon and night.  During that time I gained 53 pounds.  Go figure!
  4. I’ve never been much of an athlete, choosing “Bicycling” to fill a requirement for a P.E. college class. So sad…
  5. As a young mother, I always hoped to someday have a daughter.  I never dreamed of having four grand-daughters.   Miracles do happen!
  6. If I could choose one author to have lunch with living or dead, it would be, Dominick Dunne.  I’ve read every book he ever wrote and couldn’t wait for Vanity Fair to arrive in my mailbox, flipping pages to find his column.  Although worlds apart, I always felt a special connection to him.  Several of his books are signed First Edition copies sitting on a prized wooden shelf in my library.  Such a fascinating time it would have been to sit with him in a New Your cafe, gossiping about people and places, life or anything at all in the world.  Oh, how I would have loved it!!
  7. Long ago I wanted to be an actress. How ironic, for if I had been an actress perhaps I’d be reading another author’s words today, rather than writing my own.

The Fifteen Bloggers Nominated for The Most Versatile Blogger Award:

*If you are an “Award Free Blog” or do not have time to accept please know that I understand.  Your work is always very much appreciated.

  1. http://irenedesign2011.com/
  2. https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/
  3. http://olganm.wordpress.com/
  4. http://kmihran.wordpress.com/
  5. http://graleview.wordpress.com/
  6. http://ramblingsfromjewels.wordpress.com/
  7. http://383g.wordpress.com/
  8. http://poetlou.wordpress.com/
  9. https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/
  10. http://ladiesbulletin.com/
  11. http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/
  12. http://mudpilewood.wordpress.com/
  13. http://apuginthekitchen.com/
  14. http://paintingrainbows.net/
  15. http://nofacilities.com/

Stairway to Heaven


*Edited From Original Post Dated 11/20/2013

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was bright in the sky of blue and breezes whispered softly through the covered patio.  Whenever I passed the screen door, wind-chimes that dangled from the outside roof twinkled with melodies so dear.  Family gathered by my mother’s side.  Not many.  My father together with my sisters and brothers.  Mother sat upright in her favorite rocking chair, determined not to die in the same bed she had spooned my father in for over 56 years.  It was her last unspoken gift to him.  To this day, I’m not sure he ever got the connection, that final bit of will in her…but, I knew.

Mother’s chair of soft burgundy velvet, a gift from my sister years before was small and shaped to fit her itty-bitty body perfectly.  For as long as I remember, it sat under a rose-colored lamp.  The same one that shined above her petite head of wavy, graying hair where she knitted ruffled christening gowns for grandchildren, read her Bible daily, and hand-stitched needlepoint quilts for all five of her children grown.

The day was long as my mother struggled between this world and the next.  Her breathing became more labored while rays of sun stung the milk-blue of her eyes.  I remember finding dark glasses to fit her tiny face.  Finally, her body seemed to rest in preparation for her journey to Heaven.  Between comforting her and dispensing medication, my sister and I wandered out to the back of the yard where we prayed for God to take her while tears fell to the bare of our toes.

That evening, our family sat around the family dining table of walnut colored wood.  My father’s seat was the ladder-back chair directly in front of my mother’s resting spot.  So close, he could feel the warmth of her body while smelling the scent of her breath.  Softly we spoke, reminiscing about the years gone by.  We laughed about little things while listening to Mother’s favorite music from dark speakers connected to an older CD player in the foyer, nearby.

It seemed to be the first time in a week that we had time to sit down together.  Minutes to share love and respite from the emotional toil of a soon-to-be, finality.  Fluted paper plates in a Thanksgiving theme held our dinner of take-out tacos made of  golden corn. Shredded green lettuce, yellow cheddar cheese and red salsa on the side.  Between bites, my father’s hand reached behind his chair to gently touch the nape of my mother’s neck.  A silent gift of love and loyalty from him to her. What message was in that simple touch? Their many years together would be ending soon.  How my heart ached for this humble father of mine who wanted nothing more than to love my mother forever and always!

Joining hands in prayer, we asked God to ease my mother’s suffering.  Peaceful lyrics continued to give us a sense of strength in the background while wind-chimes of brass and glass danced to music a few feet away.  So close were the sounds of our voices together with the melodies, that I wondered if my mother could hear all that was comforting and familiar to her?   If so, perhaps it would help her transition into God’s afterlife?

A few minutes later the phone rang.  Wiping his hands free of taco crumbs, my father answered it.  On the other end was my youngest brother, who lived about an hour away. He was of course, calling to check on Mom.  In that very second we learned that she was gone.  “Oh, my God,” my father said, in anguish.  Through tears, my ‘baby’ brother responded, then. “Dad, I had a feeling.  I just knew…..My other brother, who was with us let out a the most terrible wail.  Deep and guttural like the cry of an animal.  I shall never forget it.  His heart shattered into a million pieces, scattering them to the wooden floor below.

By then, my mother’s soul was surely being carried by Angels to the Stairway of Heaven.  Instinctively and without thinking, I removed the clear, stiff oxygen tube from her soft, delicate nose.  It was no longer needed and she hated it so.   At last, my mother could breathe freely on her own.

She Breathes Freely with God in Heaven Above.  I love you, Mom.

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The Day Before Her Last


*Originally Posted on 11/19/2013

My mother’s yellow roses are wilted now.  Edges of curled brown buds barely cling to their coffee-colored vines.  They bend ever so slightly to the left or to the right from evening temperatures turning oh-so-cold.  Within a day or two, they’ll have to be cut down in final preparation for next spring.  Yes, gentle spring when life begins anew.

Early this morning, I opened my patio door to breathe in a gust of fresh fall air.  It slammed me hard and quick.  High in the sky was a still bright moon, spectacular in sight. Then, clouds moved in to shadow it with a thin veil of grey, giving it an almost ghostly appearance.

Three years ago today was the day before my mother’s last.  It was the most painful one for her living on this earth.  The worst for her loved ones to bear.  The hospice nurse told me to gather my siblings and so I had.  After they arrived, I anticipated scenes from a movie, I guess.  The ones where sisters and brothers take turns having private time with their dying mother.  It was not to be.  In the same manner that a new parent recognizes the cry of their newborn, caretakers know the difference in their patient’s signals and signs.

It was too difficult for my mother to speak near the end, and so she did not try.  We had our own way of communicating without saying a word.  She lay on her side, trying to lessen the pain, I suspect.  There, her slender hands were open to me.  A slight inward movement meant, “Come closer, I need something.”  Perhaps it was an extra bed sheet or slight sip of water?  An outward turn meant, “No more, I’ve had enough.”  Occasionally, she moved her hands back and forth.  “Please don’t touch me,” they silently said.  “My body hurts me so.”  A hand rising abruptly meant, “NO!  Do not let anyone come near me.”

My mother’s cooling touch guided me towards granting her last wishes.  As arduous as it was for loved ones to understand, she couldn’t bear to be seen in such a deplorable condition.  She wanted peace, to be left alone.  Without time for explanation, I became the designated gate-keeper, of sorts.  It was a role I did not choose.  Rather, it was chosen for me.

I don’t remember how I became my mother’s caretaker.  My father was of course her, “Number One,” leaving my middle sister with other roles to play.  I was simply there to keep charts, dispense medicine and give the proper answers to intuitive questions.  I had done it for many years while raising chronically ill children.  I was good in a crisis and could pocket away emotions if only for a minute…..much like a doctor or a nurse must do.

The time spent with my mother as a caretaker was a privilege, allowing me to discover a lifetime through wordless gestures.  It was the very last thing I was able to do for her.

The very last thing……

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My Mother’s Yellow Roses


*Please bear with me during the next couple of days as I dedicate a few older posts to the memory of my mother.  She passed away four years ago on November 20, 2010. Originally posted 11/8/2013

There they were.  Three yellow roses blooming high atop the bush of frosted leaves.  The morning sunlight had just come over the horizon to frame its own picture of them before I grabbed my camera phone to do the same.

They are “My Mother’s Yellow Roses,” of course.  All her life, the yellow rose was her favorite flower.  Five years ago when I moved into this house I planted the yellow rose-bush as a way to keep her close to me.  We lived far from each other, able to visit only once or twice a year.  Yet, whenever I sat on my patio, her spirit seemed to surround me. The scent of the yellow roses, their edges dipped in painted pink, brought us together.

My glance at the lemon colored rose petals always remind me of my mother.  Particularly this morning.  Perhaps it is the contrast of the glistening, white frost blanketing the hill in the background.  How it sparkles in the sun like fairy dust, covering the grasses and all of the blades of green around it.  The flowers I so prized in rainbow colors decorating my patio have withered.  They hang, crumpled over rainbow pots.  Their lives have ended for the year, a sign of cooling weather.  Changing seasons are upon us with winter coming soon.

My mother is on my mind this month.  She passed away three years ago in November of 2010.  I was packing to board a flight to see her in Arizona.   Packing  three years ago on this very day.  It was not her time yet, but I knew….she  would be lost to me, soon.  She lived with several chronic conditions.  The worst of which was, COPD.  Eventually, it led to lung cancer, choking the life from her.

The yellow roses I planted to keep me close to my mother are hanging on as if to send me a message this morning.  In spite of the frost that snuffed the life from the flowers around them, they are still here to say, “Hello.”  They have not withered or left their source of life.  They send me love from my mother above, and me right back to her.  I predict they may prevail for a few days more, or even longer.  Like life in general, no one but God knows for sure.  Until that day comes, I glance out the window at every opportunity to see my mother’s yellow roses.  There, I  whisper a silent message full of love to her above.

“I miss you, Mom.”

My Mother's Yellow Roses Growing Amongst The Frost Surrounding Them

 

God’s Matinee


Unexpectedly, snow began to fall.  Flakes in different sizes and shapes were seen from a sky colored in smudged charcoal that seemed to be sketched against a slanted artist’s easel from Paris.  Falling freely, endlessly.  White and wet.

Not yet winter, the picture before me fooled even God’s seasoned calendar.  A fall that fell quite early it seemed, leaving crinkled leaves suddenly damp within the woodland trees behind my home.  Colors of finality dipped in burgundy and muted gold spoke volumes to creatures living in the forest.

This morning before rising, I delighted in viewing nature’s entertainment seen through the bow of my bedroom window.  Surely, it could have been a miniature version of the famous Circe-de-Solei!   Dancing acrobatically, bushy tails of nutmeg twirled and flew.  No net was underneath lest they fall or break a neck.

Wheee!!  Padded paws on furry limbs passed each other, swinging on trapeze bars of wired imagination.  Two by two.  Or, perhaps I saw them grabbing on to nothing more than hanging vines?  Acorns fell to the ground, leaving minute indentations in the snow.  Little plops of nests where forest fairies might stop to rest.  Time to take a break or sit and see the next matinée of the day.

When the opportunity arises, enjoy God’s life of free-living and breathing entertainment.  Nature is always putting on a show.  Open your eyes to see the spellbinding world surrounding you.  No reservations needed!

Life and Death


I am not to question why the flame of a candle dims, burning out unexpectedly.  Around me, the air feels of slight warm breath.  Floating, cloud like and breezy.  Tipped wick of soot flickers, igniting new light within.   From a cocoon, new butterfly wings flicker and flutter in colors of crayon yellow, red and burning blue.  Rejoice in all things anew.

Kim Gosselin

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Kaleidoscope of Miracles


Shadows of darkness surround me everywhere, yet they soothe my soul.

Not to worry.  I see everything, everywhere.  Up above, my mother’s heart so near.  Pink and dear.  It beats with love, do you hear?  Thump…thump, thump…thump. It’s comforting to me.

Take a breath.  Deep.  Deeper still.  Hold it now.  Close your eyes to imagine picture postcards of the unimaginable.  Trust me enough to view this kaleidoscope of miracles.

Tip-toe through sparkles of ocean sand.  Feel liquid warmth of foaming white trickling over toes…1 to 10.  That’s me!  Brush wispy flying hair away from sweet soft face.  Lift a coral conch shell aloft to your tender ear.  Quiet now.  Listen closely.  Slight waves are washing back and forth.  Shhhh… that’s what I hear.

Swooosh!  My tiny torso just flipped like a fish in the sea.  Swimming… such a small space inside for me.  My mother felt it.  My father could see!  A miniature foot kicking to the top of the roof!   Arms of slight floating every which way with hands of fragile fingers.  I touch clear walls.  Like jelly it feels…ohhh, so magical!

This is exactly the place for me to be.  Right now, here in this moment.  Far too early for precious lungs to fill with air on earth.  My mother prays.   She rests her head on goose down pillows while caressing gentle hands beneath a bulging belly.  Yes, that’s me, and more.  Wait you see…..

Look closely.  There she is, just below.  A mirror image of myself sleeping in a separate sac.  Ohhhh, eyes wide open looking back!!  Since the day of conception my sister has been here with me.  In the beginning she was a secret, until doctor’s discovered her.  Soon she’ll be shared with all the world.  But, for now she is mine alone and I am hers.  We are identical, yet different.  While I am swimming in the sea, she is taking a nap!

Look now through your kaleidoscope of miracles to see the unimaginable.

Didn’t I tell you?