Apologies for being so quiet of late. In the first hour of November 10, 2019, my beloved and seemingly invincible Mom died, and I just haven’t felt like writing. Or reading or commenting.
Mom was 94 and had recently undergone emergency surgery for scar tissue blockage in her intestine. During tests before surgery, the doctor also diagnosed severe liver cirrhosis. (Seventy years of hybrid martinis can cause that. But my parents did cherish their evening cocktail time.)
Anyway, although the surgery was successful, her failing liver and age-related fragility couldn’t handle the surgical trauma, and Mom decided it was time to join Dad in that mysterious ether on the other side. “I’ve had a good life. Dad’s waiting for me,” she told me in the hospital. So our family placed her in hospice care until her peaceful end.
Unlike with Dad, who died suddenly in his sleep 13 years ago, I had opportunity to repeatedly tell Mom that I love her. I was able to apologize for the times I got angry with her, and for forgetting cards and flowers on her birthday and Mother’s Day. I also thanked her, albeit clumsily, for everything she’d done for me, and for us as a family. So despite her feeling “like hell…H-E-L-L” (a direct quote), for me there was some of that merciful closure which we all value, yet which many of us are sadly deprived of.
Therefore, I’m hoping I won’t need individual and group therapy like I did with Dad’s death. We’ll see…there’s still time. (You know me, Mom.)
“Writing for yourself is self-serving. Writing for others is pandering. You write for the thing that needs said”—Unknown
Speaking of time, now is a good time to take stock. I began longitudes seven years and 170-odd posts ago (and I do mean “odd”). It was originally called Latitudes, and I launched it to promote my blubber book. But like rock ‘n’ roll, it soon grew out of control. If you’re interested in seeing how quickly innocence can evaporate in an Age of Treason, here’s my very first WordPress article: a rather insipid story about Lynn and me visiting Ohio Amish country in October 2012. If I recall, we bought some award-winning Guggisberg baby Swiss cheese for Mom on that visit.
I discovered not long ago, during my never-ending quest for an uncomplicated life (which the Amish also strive for, though for slightly different reasons), that—while I will always have an urge to write—social media platforms are not as imperative as one might think. I also plan to expend my writing energies on another
Pulitzer Longitudes Prize-winning book, rather than WordPress. So my activities here are going on hiatus with those on Facebook and LinkedIn, up there in the barn loft.
It’s a bittersweet moment. I love writing these miniature “mind blasts.” While some are spontaneous, most I labor over for days, occasionally weeks. I’ll be driving to work, or running on the bike trail, and one word will spring to mind to replace another that I’m unhappy with. Or something will sound too sour, and I’ll return to add some sweetener (getting harder to do these days).
I’ve saved all of these diverse essays in hopes maybe my grandkids will one day pore over them, just to see how weird, and maybe prophetic, their Grandpa was. That is, assuming humans still read things longer than 280 characters, and our atmosphere is intact, and our puerile leaders haven’t, in their ever-increasing hissy fits, pushed any red buttons.
But since I haven’t packed up email communication (yet), I would love to stay in touch with fellow readers and WordPressers. So please drop me an email, if not old-fashioned letter, once in a while, and I’ll do the same.
Thanks for reading and for all the great conversations, everyone. Like Paul or Ringo, longitudes may threaten to do yet another tour. It depends on the amount of pressure in my shrinking brain matter, and how compelled I am to release it. Or whether I need to shamelessly plug my next
Pulitzer Longitudes Prize-winning book.
Me, after Dad’s death: “Mom, I think we’ll all be reunited somewhere, in some way.”
Mom: “Maybe. I don’t know. My father always said ‘When you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it.’”
Well, assuming your father’s wrong…save some vodka for me, Mom.