Early October Reflections – 2021

October 9, 2021

Dearest Mother, I remember

sitting beside you

as you struggled to breathe

on your last day of life

October 10, 2010

I am not sure if you heard me

or recognized that the person beside you

was your daughter

gently stoking your thinning silvered hair

telling you I loved you

letting you know I was grateful

you could finally be free of pain

although I would miss you deeply

for the rest of my life


Beloved Mother, I remember

the photos I discovered

that you lovingly arranged in albums

chronicling the seasons of your life

Norma 1 g g

the sometimes forlorn little girl

raised on the reservation by an aunt

until you were taken by federal agents

to be shamed for your heritage

in the process of being “saved” and “civilized”

by priests and nuns

in the Catholic “Indian” boarding school

where you were placed involuntarily

without your family’s or community’s

consent or approval

Norma i g

You survived nonetheless

and lived a life

that made the world a better place

because of skill and compassion

that your healing presence

norma loyola graduation

Graduation from Loyola University

Norma nursing home

Owner and Administrator of Keystone Nursing Home visiting with residents


norma community work

Community Engagement


brought into the lives

of all those who knew you

august 2020 3
My mother greeting her new great grandson and granddaughter – March 1999


October 11, 2021

Sorrow sometimes surfaces suddenly

revealing buried grief

that we believed had been resolved

with passing time

Long life leaves losses

that accumulate through the years

as we say so many goodbyes

to family, friends, furry and feathered companions,

and our youthful dreams of what could have been

Reflective resilience reveals rewards

described in a poem …

“After a while you learn

That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong,

And you really do have worth.

And you learn and learn…

With every goodbye you learn.”

(original by Jorge Luis Borges, perhaps modified by Veronica A. Shoffstall who is often attributed as the author)


IMG_0732 (1)

The final resting place for Cookie, Pinto and two aged willows


October 14, 2021

Light sometimes makes its presence known

on the dark and rainy days of autumn

in ways that are surprising

golden leaves that glow despite clouds

or the kindness of virtual exchanges

about topics that are boring to most

which somehow trigger unexpected insights

that help one look back with gratitude

on a long life well-lived

golden autumn 1

31 thoughts on “Early October Reflections – 2021

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful, lovely comments, Diane. I look forward to reading your new book! It arrived a couple weeks ago, but classes and the last days of harvesting and yardwork have kept me too busy to do much else. 💜

      Liked by 2 people

  1. My Mama, or a friend of hers, might have taken me to that park. I began school in Duluth. I loved my kindergarten school but had to change for first grade. Had to leave my first best friend there in third grade. So Duluth and Lake Superior hold fond memories for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing such lovely, thoughtful comments, Cindy. Sending hugs. 💜

      It is such a difficult decision and transition. I felt a great deal of guilt when I moved my mother to an assisted living center, even though it was the best option. She had Alzheimer’s Disease and required an increasing level of care during the 14 years she was there. I remember the relief I felt when I visited her on her first morning after the move. She was seated at a table with three other residents. They were engaged in a lively conversation, repeating stories. Yet each time a story was told and retold, it was new and interesting to the group, no matter how many times it had been repeated. I was grateful she was surrounded by others who could help her feel valued.

      Sending by best wishes to you and your family. 💜


    1. Thank you, dear friend. 💜 You have been in my thoughts. I love your recent posts and look forward to having time to communicate through our virtual campfires once again. Until then, I send my gratitude and best wishes to you.


  2. So touching, so poignant. I can feel the love you have for your mom. And i recall my mom as well, and everything she did for us. Thankful for having read this wonderful tribute, Carol. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your beautiful tribute; it made me tear up a tad. Remembering similar circumstances with my own mother. But also what yours went through–nothing short of kidnapping and brainwashing–but she blossomed and added to the world instead of only taking from it. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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