Ever since I can remember, my mother had a love affair with Kleenex. Looking back, my only regret is that I never purchased shares in the Kimberly-Clark company before 2015, the year she passed. I could’ve made a fortune. I’m sure stocks have plummeted since then. I’d estimate Mom single-handedly accounted for at least 25% of their national sales, annually.

I’m reminded of the popular magician’s trick of pulling an unending line of scarves out of a hat, the way Mom pulled an unending supply of Kleenexes out of her bra. A gambler always has an Ace up his sleeve the way Mom always had a Kleenex up hers.

Mom was to Kleenex as the character Bubba in Forest Gump was to shrimp:
She had yer solid colored rectangular boxed Kleenex, spayshal design rectangular boxed Kleenex, cube boxed Kleenex, celler phane wrapped mini packs of Kleenex…not to mention the custom packed zip lock baggie full which I always kept in the car door next to Mom’s seat, so that whenever she’d ask: “Anybody got a Kleenex?” there was always one available, because she’d forgotten she had some in her purse, some in her bra, and one up her sleeve.

When she still made her own weekly grocery list, it always included 5 boxes of Kleenex.

When I cleaned out her condo during the move to Assisted Living, I found 37 boxes of Kleenex … 10 under the bathroom sink, 10 in the hall linen closet, 10 in her clothes closet, two on her kitchen counter and the rest placed, one on every table.

Mom’s attachment to Kleenex was so strong, that in her last few months, she would touch a Kleenex to her nose, blow once (a dry blow) and toss the Kleenex. I cringe just thinking about the rain forests she single-handedly destroyed.

One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t introduce Mom to Puffs Plus ‘til she was 94…She had no idea such softness existed in the world of hankies, and rued the fact that she had never heard about them before.

Oh well, Procter and Gamble’s loss.



Do we really need a roof over our heads?


But we certainly don’t need ceilings. Especially glass ones.

As women we’ve been managed our whole lives under the architectural structure of a patriarchal architype that demands women avoid real wolves, while shrinking themselves to the size of atoms in order to make themselves delectable prey to the kind with two legs. But I eschewed that behavior decades ago. On to another thought.

Do we really need a roof over our heads?

Ask the Syrian refugee, ask the American refugee we trip over on city streets, invisible to most…the homeless ones who have escaped brutality in their homes with only their children in their arms, and the clothes on their backs.

A roof is safety. A roof is protection. A roof is security.

A roof can be freeing.

A roof can be liberating.

A roof can be imprisoning.

It can block our view of the moon and stars. It can block our flight toward the sun.

Where are you living? Does your roof keep out the rain, or does it reign over you?

Do you breathe freely under its canopy? Does it let in light and warmth? Does it have a skylight through which you might fly?

7/21/2015 May She Rest in Peace

You may have noticed I have been absent from this blog since June.

Much has happened.

My mom died July 21st, and I am only now beginning to feel my head bobbing just above the waterline. It has been non-stop from the time I was called by her Assisted Living nurse reporting that she was having another TIA, through admission to Hospice, her dying days and moments, the funeral, and the closing of her affairs.

I have spent the last week going through the family photos which she kept stored in three drawers, categorized and classified by year, beginning with 1948: the year she and my father wed.

Looking at photos:
I see the face of that person: that friend, that mother, that artist, that writer, that quilter, that knitter, that soprano, that numerologist, that healer, that teacher of meditation and of Yiddish and of watercolor painting and of knitting, that executive secretary, that homemaker, that seamstress, that self-taught naturopath, that child, that sister, that aunt, that wife, that woman of enormous intelligence, creativity, witchy intuition and acerbic wit, that lover of trees and of music and of the dying and the homeless the helpless and the suffering the impoverished and the downtrodden—that volunteer for Hospice, and Hadassah and library boards, who well into her nineties sought out shut-ins and blind neighbors in order that she might read to them or hold their hands— that manic-depressive, bipolar, judging- forgiving, punishing- comforting, loving- rejecting, critical- ashamed of me- proud of me mother; that complex convoluted non-compromising comical compassionate coherent cogent codependent person whom I had lost so very long ago to dementia and time… and who had faded from both our memories; only the tiniest bits and pieces – broken fragments of who she once was- breaking free of that older old’s personality and mind only in the rarest of moments.

The bittersweet irony is that only through her dying were we both able to rediscover who we’d once been… to rediscover the raging river that had carried us both in its current of shared life. That river which had dwindled into a vague undercurrent of connection, swelled again, lifting us both into the powerful current of endings and beginnings. She held my hand and kissed it over and over again. She held my heart and thanked me for all I’d given her and blessed me for always being there. She said our love was an unbroken circle, surrounding us and binding us together, forever. She held me in her arms and told me not to cry.

These boxes are filled with photographic memory— moments captured through the lens of time. They render her death— for which both of us had so ardently prayed, believing it would bring only blessed relief— unbearably painful. Her loss is inconceivably huge; and the time I had with her—all of it, the good and the bad and the ugly—has been made absolute and precious.

I wish I’d looked at these photographs while she was still alive, to remind myself of who she still was at the very core, so that I might have honored and loved the lifetime in her; so that I would have been more patient; so that I would have been more kind, more forgiving, more mature, more generous, more present. More grateful. To her and for her.

I have been unable to concentrate, or write, or stay in one place doing one thing for very long. I feel scattered, lost, aimless. The woman who took up so much of my life is gone from my daily cosmos. The woman who gave me life is gone from mine.

For the first time, ever, my life is truly my own. And I really don’t quite know what to do with it.

A letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter about the universal force which is: love.

I just came across this post through my private Facebook page. I had never read this letter before, and all I can say, especially to my readers of “The Last of Her Kind,” is…WOW.

You Are The Light That You Always Have Been

Reposted from: https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/a-letter-from-albert-einstein-to-his-daughter-about-the-universal-force-which-is-love/

In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them, for Lieserl Einstein.More can be found about Lieserl here

…”When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been…

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Momma, Again

I haven’t posted my own words on this blog since settling my mother into an assisted living apartment in April. It is difficult to concentrate or focus, or to find the writer’s peace of mind so necessary to the work. To write with authenticity, to write well, it is necessary to tap into the deepest, interior, raw regions of the writer’s soul.

Quite honestly, I am afraid to do so publicly.

To create fiction, it is necessary to find interior silence, that meditative space within oneself from which the voices and personas of new characters spring— where settings grow like wild flowers and weeds, and plots are uncovered through uninterrupted, keen observation of that evolving alternative reality.

I pause life, hoping to gaze into that meditative space, but find only chronicles of my mother’s biography instead. Every voice and persona are hers. Every setting a photograph from the past and present. I am an unwilling observer; the only keen observer of her devolving alternate reality.

I look into my heart and feel only sorrow and anger overtaking me from a lifetime’s bittersweet and complicated relationship, and its loss. Her presence has become a growing mushroom cloud overshadowing all else. My emotions have become a storm so intense that I dare not tap into their ferocity with words that post publicly.

Dementia has been a cruel parasite within my mother. It has decimated the filters which once protected her, exposing her weaknesses and her doubts and her fears and her ugliness. It has eaten away her masks. The masks once used to project what she must, to protect those she loved, and hold herself harmless. And in that decimation I have myself become exposed, a more vulnerable moving target than ever before.

And here, I must stop; my masks are intact.

The Voice of the Trees by Bartholomaus Traubeck

Have you listened to a tree sing?
Here is You Tube’s ‘Years’ Tree Turntable demonstration. Utilizing various make-shift components, German designer Bartholomäus Traubeck has managed to create a modified record player that takes wood slices of a tree and makes music from its inner rings. Whether you believe this or not, it’s not hard to imagine this as the music trees might make, if their trunks were converted into vinyl LPs. https://youtu.be/ZYLaPVi_I2U