A Long Week

Many thanks to all who responded to my post about the death of my mother, or who reached out in other ways. Your love and good wishes were heart warming when I received them and continue to be as I move through this difficult time. 

This afternoon I played my dulcimer at the service, just about ten minutes while everyone was entering, finding their seats, and so on. These are the tunes I played:

Si Bheag, Si Mhor

Planxty Irwin

Shepherd’s Wife’s Waltz

Hard Times Come Again No More

Healing Springs

I chose songs I had a good chance of making it through, even if the emotions of the moment started getting to me. There were more than a few stumbles, but mostly during the noisier times before everyone settled in, so I was probably the only one who heard them. The service was short and bracketed by my nephew and a friend singing hymns. They did a fine job.

And then it was over. People said their goodbyes in the reserved kind of way the pandemic has forced on us, and made their ways to their cars and then to Atlanta or Nashville or Knoxville or just across town. We made it back to pick up our dog from where she was boarded with five or so minutes to spare, and took her home.

This week has been a full one, and not in a good way. Mother’s death, the discovery that one of our pets has an inoperable tumor, my son and daughter-in-law testing positive for Covid, and the preparations for Mother’s service have all combined to create a week that so far has lasted about a year and a half. I’m a little tired.

And I’m also grateful, both for having had her in my life for so many years and for the love and kindness of friends and family. I’m trying to respond individually to as many of you who reached out as I can, but I’m certain to miss some. My apologies for that. 

As my friend Jenny once said, we are, as always, stepping into the unknown. It’s true of every moment, but usually I don’t notice. Not this time.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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