Reflections about a life

Carol A. Hand

Sometimes, in the fleeting moments of clarity,
I’m frightened. I wonder, what is happening to me?
I feel like I’m losing my mind as the fog descends
A memory surfaces of a life that might have been.


Norma b

My mother with the woman who wanted to adopt her, Lac du Flambeau, WI, 1923


If I had been adopted into a life of privilege by Mrs. Paterson,
into a world far away from the Chippewa reservation where I was born
instead of life as an unwanted child raised in abject poverty, forlorn,
who would I have become?


norma age 7

My mother in front of her aunt’s house, Lac du Flambeau, WI, 1928


But that was not to be, thanks to the mother who abandoned me
Giving me to her sister to raise, to live as a servant for my aunt’s family


Note: These are beginning reflections about my mother’s life from the vantage point of what I imagine her thoughts were as Alzheimer’s Disease progressively interfered with her ability to do the simplest of things or communicate. It’s based on some of the things she said early on, and the sense I often had in her presence that she was still there somewhere inside.



23 thoughts on “Reflections about a life

  1. I went to see Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers yesterday. It was fantastic and made me cry. Do you know it? Your writing reminds me of its story of class, wealth and poverty.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Nelly, and for introducing me to a play I hadn’t heard of before. (I just googled it, and it does sound like a fascinating story.)


  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pain, Carol. I’ve observed in life that fine character is shaped through hardships and loss. Your Ojibwe tribe gained an advocate for their rights and well-being.

    As mothers, the decisions we make have consequences for our children. Over time, I’ve come to realize that my mother did the best she could with the cards she was dealt in life.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Rosaliene. Motherhood is not an easy job, is it? I didn’t intend to write today, but I couldn’t ignore the words that wanted to be written. I have been thinking about the next book I want to write, about my mother’s life, through her perspective as she looks back with a disease that makes it impossible for her to communicate with others. Like your mother, she did the best she could, as have I although terribly imperfect.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Your words made me cry Carol. She must have had a sad childhood. But I think she would be very proud to know that you are sharing her story with the world so thoughtfully and lovingly and paying respect to her hardship years.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Mithai. Many years before she developed Alzheimer’s, my mother did give me permission to share her story if I thought, in her words, “it would help others.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Each of our lives be they good or bad or sad or happy, have a God-given purpose, Carol. And as much as you and I hate that you had to endure such hardship, I thank God for the powerful voice and testimony you have created with your story.You have touched countless lives for the better because of your circumstances and the gouging out of your soul that came from such difficult beginnings! And as hard as it may be to do, I would embrace it with gratitude. In a way what happened to you is not unlike the physical pain I’ve had to deal with almost daily since I was 25 years old. I’ve asked why over and over again, I railed against the heavens and God at times, I’ve felt sorry for myself, and on and on, and it was and is all to no avail for it is still a constant in my life.
    But I refuse to let it define who and what I am. I know the Lord has a reason for it and I’ve come to realize that I’ve been granted a fair measure of wisdom and compassion among other things as a result. So, so be it. Upward and onward we, all of us must go, with what has been laid or removed from the altar of our lives. We all have stories to tell and who knows maybe yours or mine will unlock the prison in which a fellow sojourner is trapped. So I keep reminding myself that would has to be gouged out by knives for the sweet sound of a violin to pour forth. Love and hugs, Natalie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lives can take such an extreme turn at any moment. Yours certainly did. But I believe you have/are an extraordinary soul that would have found expression regardless of circumstances.

    Liked by 2 people

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