“Trust this love,” you tell me.

Can I just trust you to love me
how you love me,
which seems rather wonderful.
Instead of all this
looking back at past
sorrows that I cannot
change or correct.
To let go into this moment,
into you and your
deep pools of
understanding–
the way you
can join together my
disconnected thoughts.
The way your quick mind
sends forth this salve; just
the probing question to
turn me from the infinite
trail of “what ifs;”
the way you can intuit
what you are feeling and
tell me when I am hurting you,
at the time I am hurting you,
rather than carrying it
around silently in small
atomic packages of
cold war sentiments,
never knowing when
DEFCON 1
will be achieved.

The way you turn in your sleep
to hold me once again
after I’ve moved away.

This is the photo of me he loves; the one in which I see my wrinkles, and big nose, and lifeless middle-aged hair. And he says again: Trust this love.

This is the photo of me he loves; the one in which I see my wrinkles, and big nose, and lifeless middle-aged hair. And he says again: Trust this love.

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I remember 9/11/01. I remember sitting in the auditorium at the large corporation where I worked, watching the news coverage on the big screen with fellow employees. I remember the eerie empty skies as I walked through the parking lot to my car. I remember black plastic bags placed over empty gas pumps. I remember feeling uncertainty towards the future.

*Then*

I remember 9/11/09. I remember being sent away from the hospital by my midwife; being told I wasn’t in labor. I remember thinking, good, Joshua (he already had a name) won’t be born on 9/11. I remember eating brunch with Chris​ at The Good Earth Restaurant and having to lay down in the booth every five minutes to get through my contractions. I remember Chris taking this picture of me after we left the restaurant, just before he insisted on taking me back to the hospital where Josh would be born a few hours later. I remember looking at Josh’s “perfect” little ears that evening. I remember that one “perfect” evening of 9/11; it was our “before.” On 9/12/09 we would learn that Josh could not hear perfectly. I remember feeling uncertainty towards the future.

While in labor, just had brunch at Good Earth (39 wks, 5 days)

While in labor, just had brunch at Good Earth (39 wks, 5 days)

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I remember how love can enter even our most groundless state; how only love is the antidote to fear.

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I invite you all to follow this amazing young woman who is one of my daughters longest and best friends and also a dear friend of our family. She is serving in Peru at an orphanage, doing occupational therapy with kids.

We were blessed to have her wonderful heart and spirit watching over Josh for about a year and a half of his life. She has one of the purest hearts I’ve ever met. She reminds me of Henri Nouwen.

Source: Update: My Life in Arequipa // Actualization: La Vida Arequipeña

Morning Glories

Awake, but still in bed;
I wear my favorite nightgown—
slippery, pale green, synthetic.
Morning sun streams through
opaque shades, slightly raised
for the breeze; only windows
cool this house without central air.
Crop duster sounds bleed in
from distant potato fields.

Early on these summer mornings
my mother tenderly cares
for her morning glories,
climbing just outside my window;
she is present, but not with us;
she’s alive, but always hoping
for more. Here though,
on these mornings,
spent tending her flowers
she finds a semblance of peace;
perhaps even joy.

Now a mother, it’s reassuring to know
my mom too left dreams unattended,
as we all must do, and this summer
I wake with clenched teeth and pass
my own flower beds, over run with
weeds and whimpering, dried out leaves.

Delayed gratification, they might say,
but still I hope that I might
find ways to nurture my children;
my morning glories.

Amen, Mother, Amen.

IMG_2986

A poem written on the day I turn forty-five,

after a month of exhausting myself with worry

over my son’s right ear.

At 45 years of age, I’ve noticed that

the journey is no longer

about getting somewhere.

Instead, I arrive to each day as it comes.

Here, I will stand as the aged tree with lost limbs:

always reaching, always grounding. Here,

I can both feel sunlight and offer shade.

How much is lost in translation?

How would it change things to know

the Great Teacher did not say,

Do not be afraid, but rather,

Embrace it all?

Crows do not seem to ask why

they’ve returned to the same rooftop.

Perhaps, however, they wonder

how the steeple will cast its shadow.

At 45 years of age, living with

openheartedness matters more

than tracking slippery happiness;

asking how seems more productive

than asking why.

Heidi Fettig Parton

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Last week, my mother’s condo unit burned down (along with all seven other units in the complex). My mother lost everything she owned; even her car, parked near the flames, suffered severe heat damage. But the most important thing is that my mom got out of the building in time and is completely unharmed, at least physically. Because I sensed she was going through the four stages of grief, I began re-reading the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross memoir, The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying, looking for a section that referenced these four stages (because I didn’t own Kubler-Ross’s original work, On Death and Dying).

While reading the memoir, I remembered that Kubler-Ross too had lost everything, at an advanced age, to a fire when her property was deliberately burned because her community had learned (this was in the late 1980s) that she planned to begin a Hospice for babies with AIDS on her property. This memoir is probably one of the reasons I fell in love with memoir and began working within the genre in my own writing. It is also an amazing story of a person who decided, after reviewing countless patients who had experienced life-after-death situations, that the only reason we are here is to give love to others.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Fettig

What’s left of my mom’s condo building.

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