Tuning In
Mother's Day

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

—Thomas Mann

I haven’t known what to write this week, so I haven’t. I don’t know what to write tonight, either. But I will.

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly a year. Why stop now, right? I didn’t think it would take over like it has, but the exercise of writing at the end of the day has become a necessary meditation, a way of keeping track as well as processing the day. What was different about today then yesterday?  What will Vernon want to know? What will I want to remember?

Once its on paper, I can move on…I can leave that day behind.  And the next day…I can start over, looking for the next story that will come.

Writing has been my lifeboat. It clears out the daily dust in my head and gives me breathing space.

And that is why…even though I have felt lately I’m beginning to repeat myself in posts…I do it as a discipline. I can’t afford to stop.

I don’t have the heart to write much about my week with Vernon, though. I haven’t for days.

He has been so up and down and back and forth in his moods and communication, that I don’t even know who I’m dealing with from moment to moment sometimes. I go from thinking he is getting sick to calling on the nurses and doctors to see how we can help…to being sworn at or told to shut up…to being sweetly complimented or seeing him charm some stranger in the room. I go from concern to laughter to hope to disappointment….sometimes in the course of a few minutes.

But don’t get me wrong…I do not obsess over this all day long. Thankfully, life is bigger than my time with Vernon. He is the center of this blog though…and I want to keep people posted on his progress, no matter how long it is taking.

Again this is the beauty of writing. I can put it down…and it helps me let it go.

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

—Anne Lamott

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Now I will share the best story that struck me in the course of yesterday. Before the rain chased us inside, I was sitting out on the patio with a surly Vernon. (“Check out that huge cat, Vernon.” “No, I hate cats!” etc, etc.)  Several of the tenants rolled outside and sat in a little row as they chatted with one another. There may as well have been an audience for how well they seemed to be staged. I guess that audience was me.


I could have listened to them chatter all day. Joan (at the center of the photo) used to be a middle school teacher who suffered a stroke earlier this year. She is a glass-full type personality and always a joy to visit with. She’s hilarious at times.  She had just discovered that the woman with the hat and the red blanket (whom I don’t know yet, she is rather new) was an actress in several films. I can’t remember now which ones she mentioned, but it was certainly impressive to the others in the row.  Joan was a little star-struck.

But the best bit I gleaned from eavesdropping on this crew was when Joan proclaimed to her friends: “I am here so much longer than I thought I would be. I never thought it would take this long (they all murmured agreements) but you know its not so bad. Before, when did I get to sit around all day talking with friends, not having to work or take care of things?  It’s kind of a luxury, if you think about it!”

Joan once told me that she cried for the first month she was in the home until her attitude changed and she got used to her new life there. So to hear her say that was touching.

Vernon’s progress is so much slower than I ever expected in the beginning.  But we are here. And if nothing else, writing helps me make the most of it. And it teaches me to live in the now. When did I ever do that before?  It’s kind of a luxury, if you think about it!

So that’s today.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings. And after that, the next day.



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Tuning In
Mother's Day