My mother is 77 (let’s say it all together..) “bless her heart”. She has severe senile dementia, congestive heart failure and is a breast cancer survivor. She is, in a nutshell, A Survivor.

She has also reverted back to that state of a child where she’s lost certain social proprieties that have heretofore been an integral part of who she is. Either that, or she knows she can get away with it. I’m leaning toward the latter. Once, a nurse accidentally hurt her, and my mother referred to her as a ‘fat cow’ as she left the room. I scolded her, saying, “Mom, that isn’t nice!” She replied, louder of course, “I don’t care, she’s a FAT COW!” Sigh. Continue reading “Stinker”

Strong Like Water

stronglikewater2.jpgby Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner

The same week Karmine discovers her husband is having an affair with a man, she takes her mother to a doctor, who finds a tiny patch of cancer on the tip of the old woman’s nose. Abby, Karmine’s seventy-five-year-old mother, cannot be convinced she has not contracted the malignancy from her late neighbor, a young woman stricken with lymphoma, who regularly, at the conclusion of Abby’s visits, kissed the old woman on the nose. Abby’s little spot is a garden variety cancer, the result of too many years’ unprotected exposure to the sun, years and years of wear; its removal requires but a small operation and the maintenance of a periodic check-up. All the same, Abby is sure she’s caught lymphoma from kissing. She is convinced she will shortly die. “You’re not going to die,” Karmine says. “There’s nothing fatal about a tiny spot on the end of your nose.” It is snowing hard—icy flakes click softly against the windshield. It is the sound, Karmine imagines, of parakeet feet, unnumbered parakeet feet, walking on glass. She turns the wipers to the highest speed. The blades rush back and forth, and though Karmine doesn’t entirely realize what is happening, the vigorous back and forth, this motion of winding a watch, has begun to stiffen her neck. Continue reading “Strong Like Water”

Abide with Me

I can’t sleep again.

I got home late (10:30 LOL) and I was so exhausted I thought I was going to pass out. Well, I did, relishing the thoughts of sleeping in until…6 or 7 or something. But no. Four am on the dot.

I keep thinking of the eulogy I’m to give on Friday at dad’s funeral. I don’t know if what I wrote is…right. I want to feel perfect about it. I want it to be in par with my memories and my honor of him. But I think the song is right. Yes, we have to sing as a family because it’s what dad wanted. Continue reading “Abide with Me”

Youth Conference

The very first thing I heard upon arriving at Youth Conference was a dirty joke.

Somewhere behind me in the long line of kids walking from the buses to the registration tables a boy’s voice said “Why did the condom fly across the room? — because it was pissed-off!” Not very funny, really, but it made me smile to myself. It seemed like a good omen for how the conference would go — hopefully not one hundred percent goodie-goodie. Read the rest of the story »

How Do You Know?

When we were younger, we threw the word “know” around a lot. We said we knew “with every fiber of our being” that X, Y, and Z were true. And we knew not because of reason or “evidence” but because of the witness of the spirit. This kind of knowledge is the foundation of a Mormon life. Here’s Richard G. Scott’s take on it: “A strong testimony is the unshakable foundation of a secure, meaningful life where peace, confidence, happiness, and love can flourish. It is anchored in a conviction that an all-knowing God is in command of His work (“The Power of a Strong Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, p. 87).

And I had this knowledge. I was firm in the faith and unshakable. Continue reading “How Do You Know?”