Moon Rise From the Sea

One of my sisters and her husband love going to the beach. They don’t need any occasion to go, they’ll just drive the hour or so to get there and he’ll either surf if the waves are accommodating or they will sit on the beach under their canopy watching the waves or walk along its lengthy shoreline.

Several years back, the invitation went out to the family to join them one evening to watch the full moon come up at New Smyrna Beach. My boyfriend at the time and I drove over and joined the clan.  My brother-in-law had a fire pit going and as the sun’s rosy glow dwindled behind us, the full moon rose up on the far-off horizon of the Atlantic before us.  It was enormous.  It was so large that it took our breath away.  Ivory colored, with craters shadowed on its surface, I will never forget that humbling, overflowing moon on that chilly, fall night.

endless breaking waves
sparks fly against silhouettes
full moon’s ascension

Toni returns with Haibun Monday at 3PM EST.  Read her presentation at dVerse Poets Pub for all of the details.

The Devotee

A man, very dedicated to his spiritual
studies, was also a husband and father.
His wife was proud that her husband
was a good provider, a man of higher
faith and too, was devoted to their son.

As time went on, his work duties
took more of his time and his
wife and child saw less and less
of him. But still, faithfully,
he would meditate four hours
a day…two in the morning
and two in the evening.

Chores around the house that needed
attending were going undone.
The wife and son ate their meals
without the presence of husband and father.

But still he kept to his sadhana schedule,
knowing his actions were adding up
to good karma and “right action.”

Social gatherings were missed, son’s
baseball games were not attended,
vacations were not taken and the years
rolled on with work taking precedence
next to the sacred practices that
he faithfully performed.

He would reap the rewards, he told
himself. His family would be blessed
by his astute and humble customs.
He took sanctuary in this knowledge
and committed even more to his endeavor.

But his relationship to his family dwindled.
No laughter or inquisitive talks were had.
Money was fluent but their emotions dry.
A deep imbalance had become evident.
After a time the wife divorced him and
his son felt forevermore like they were strangers.

Victoria demonstrates allegory for Writer’s Fourth Wednesday for The Bardo Group:

Small Stone # 25

Sister and brother-in-law
came for the weekend.
Long conversations over
dinner, sipping tea, laughing.
She is lovingly called
Aunt Birdie by my daughter.
She loves bird watching as
do I.  We hope to see some
nature this weekend.
Kayaking is in the picture
for Sunday…a good day
for sighting alligators, birds
and manatees in the river.
Small Stone # 25 for Writing Our Way Home for the Mindful Writing Challenge:

Gratitude Lantern; An Acrostic

On Thanksgiving this year, after dinner with my family, I joined my niece at her home for dessert. As night came, some guests gathered in her backyard and had an impromptu drumming session around a glowing fire.  Later, she offered the opportunity for us to write what we were thankful for on a “gratitude lantern”.  She would then light the paper lamp and send it into the sky along with our gratitude. I wrote one word…Mira.  Ours was just the one lantern, but I found photos of when thousands were lit and set sailing.  My niece also did a similar thing to celebrate the last New Year.

Google Images:  Paper lanterns lighting up the sky

Giving thanks this year, but especially for you;
Relatives and friends join together
All bringing good will and love for each other.
Today was different than so many others,
It included you, an addition to our world.
Tiny, but here, with full-fledged awareness
Urging us listen as you learn to utter.
Delighted, we focus, hanging on each coo.
Engaged, connected, our spirits merging.
Let us share and pen our thanks,
Annointing our hearts with gratitude.
Night arrives, the day is done,
Tablas beat an ancient tune.
Emitting a glow as it ascends,
Reminding us of what is dear,
New grace as our light lifts to the sky.


Sisters are awesome.
I have three of them.

I’m the oldest but
not the boldest.

I look at them
and see parts
of me and times
when we were
still children.

We share hearts.

My entry for Monkey Man’s Sunday 160:

Tree of Life

The tree of life

Has roots so sturdy

A steady base

Supporting all

A trunk is needed

To sustain each branch

Of myriad sizes

Each one a must


Tiny twigs

A limb becomes

Forking out

Diverging solid

Different directions

Taken by all

Freedom to grow

Brings strength to the whole

Though some may falter

And break away

The remaining bough

Makes up the altar

Each one relying

Through years of strife

Bearing what comes

Sustaining life

Though winds may blow

And trials lay waste

The tree stands firm

With yielding grace

It reaches high

Elevating itself

Fearless, bold, self-assured

Honorable, dignified and blessed

Lila Grace

Lila Grace is here

She came a whole month early

A perfect petite, darling baby

The new parents have it easy

She sleeps the whole night through

She’s adorable, a dear

My entry for Sunday’s 160:


Saatchi Gallery - Young & Old

She was a sweet and tender child and wise beyond her years, already knowing the importance of connection to others. Her delicate features, with excitement-blushed cheeks and bright, curious blue eyes made her sensitivity even more apparent.  Innocent, rosebud lips finished off the charm.  Long, honey-colored hair, worn parted in the middle, fell past her shoulders and hung straight and loose, complementing her slight frame.  She was prone to brushing straggles of hair out of her eyes when it was worn down this way. Along with her favorite pink suede cowboy boots, her mother had allowed her to pick out the multi-tiered, purple, gray and white skirt that she loved.  Her brown corduroy jacket topped it off because of the chill in the air.  A tiny dab of her mother’s Shalimar perfume behind her ears made her feel extra special.  The mild amber fragrance created a subtle aura around her.  They were off to visit Pa-pa today.

She was only six but loved her Pa-pa devotedly.  They had come for a visit today to the nursing home where he now resided.

His head hung slightly down as he sat in his motorized wheelchair, impeccably dressed in his black pin-stripe suit with pristine and starched, long sleeved white shirt and boldly striped tie.  Still after all of these years, his black leather shoes were polished to a high gleam–important when callers came.  His tall stature was evident even though he was sitting.  His snow white hair and beard intrigued her and his wild, wooly eyebrows made her giggle.  His aged face was speckled with numerous sunspots and the lines of years of hard work raising a family, ill health and losing his wife two years prior.  A silver band still worn on his finger signified their long union.  She loved to examine his elderly face and look into his wise eyes that still cheered up when he caught sight of her.

He offered her a peppermint from his pocket–he always smelled of peppermint and Old Spice aftershave.  She ate the candy immediately–feeling the sensation of the cooling mint in her mouth–savoring it slowly.

She made sure his hearing aids were still lodged gently in his ears and brought him a pair of scissors he had requested that he used to cut the tags off the gift he had ready for her.  It was a stuffed black and white striped zebra.   She clutched the toy, her small hand encircling its body, feeling quietly delighted at the surprise.

She thanked him, speaking up as she knew to do, so he could hear her clearly.  He hugged her gently and smiled, his voice a gravelly rasp, responded to her; “I love you.”

Monday Morning Writing Prompt:  Description;

Mom’s Emergency

It began with a phone call between 12:30 and 1PM Sunday afternoon.  It was my mother.  Her voice had that familiar tension in it when she’s feeling anxious.  “Gayle, something’s happening to me.  When I woke up this morning, I felt very groggy, like I was drugged and I lost my balance when standing up and I fell onto my bed.   Now my left arm feels “floppy” like I have no control over it.”  She said she had been this way since waking up at around 9AM!

Immediately alarmed, with adrenalin pumping, I thought to myself, she’s having a stroke or heart attack!  I told her to call 911 and then take some aspirin.  She argued with me about taking the aspirin because she thought it had contributed to recent nosebleeds that she had been having.   She said, “I’ll think about it.”  “Fine”, I said, “but call for an ambulance immediately!”  Why I didn’t think to call for her, I don’t know.  She always called me first, almost as if to get permission to call for help.

Several minutes passed and I thought I’d better call and check on her.  After several rings of the phone, she answered and I asked if she had called for the ambulance yet, “no”, she answered, “they always come so quickly and I wanted to fix my hair and makeup before they get here.”  What?!  I didn’t argue.  I told her if she was having a stroke or heart attack that time was of the essence and the sooner she was treated the better the likelihood of a full recovery.  She promised she would call right away.

I then called one of my sisters.  I had to talk to someone to help release this all too familiar panic that was rising up in me.

It had been almost exactly one year ago that she had had major abdominal surgery, having to spend over a month away from home while recuperating, first in the hospital, then a rehab center and then back to the hospital again to treat complications.  One of my brothers and my youngest sister came to stay with her for several weeks as she recuperated and slowly gained back her strength.  And prior to this, she had had numerous trips to the ER and subsequent admissions to the hospital over the past year, while they tried to figure out what was causing her severe intestinal pain.  With each phone call I received, panic would arise and the distressing matter of sitting with her in the ER, while the hospital doctors would order test after test trying to decipher what was wrong with her.

My father had passed away several years previous.  He had suffered from congestive heart failure with multiple heart attacks and had had a bypass surgery.  I had gone through this same routine with him for years.  Although, he never called 911, he always had my mother drive him to the emergency room.  One time when she had gone to church, he realized he was having a “problem”.  Instead of calling for immediate help, he took a shower, got himself all fresh and dressed and then when Mom came through the door he announced that he needed to go to the hospital.  So Mom always took him but I would subsequently receive a phone call saying that Wade was in the hospital again with another heart “issue”.

I was always expected to go to the hospital and sit with Mom for the endless tests and waiting that ensues when you are the loved one of a patient in the hospital.

For years I was able to go into the emergency room and hospital–although it did stress me out–and be the dutiful daughter and sit vigil with my mother during Dad’s numerous stays and then with Mom when she started having her health problems.  But the last couple of times that my mother had to go into the hospital and the ER in particular, I would start to have severe panic attacks.  I could not go.  The panic became overwhelming and I needed to take medication to help control it.  But I could no longer bring myself to go into the emergency room.  Something had snapped in me.  I was in overload mode.

The guilt was awful, but I candidly explained to my mother about my debilitating fear and that I simply couldn’t come.  She always said not to worry and that she was fine.  My sister who lives nearby would go instead if she was available.  But once Mom was in a room of her own, I could more easily manage being there.  Apparently, the emergency room energy became a trigger of extreme stress for me.

So when this most recent call came, I started feeling the same familiar feeling of fear sweep over me.  So I gave a call to that sister and told her what was happening with Mom and spent a few minutes on the phone discussing my feelings of panic.  I made up my mind, after speaking with her, that I was going to go (our other local sister was out of town) and try my best.  So I started getting myself ready.

In the meantime, sister number one had called sister number two (there are four of us girls and two older brothers) and told her what was happening with our mother and that I was again struggling with my panic.  Sister number two calls me up and starts berating me to “get over it” and “to hell with your panic attacks”; you’d better get to the hospital right now!  Mom could die.  How will you feel if Mom dies alone in there?  Well, this did not sit very well with my already escalating feelings of dread.  I yelled back at her and told her I had said those very same things to myself that she was now saying to me, and wouldn’t it be great if I could just snap my fingers and “get over it”!  I also told her I had made up my mind to go anyway and see what happened.  “Good”, she barked, before hanging up, “get over there”!

I was able to go and sit with Mom in the emergency room (with some help of my trusty medication).  Doctors discovered that she was having a bad reaction to a new medication that she had recently been put on for her back pain.  Also, quite upon accident, they had found that she was suffering from a virulent staph infection in her urinary tract of which she had no knowledge.  They said if she had not come in when she did, that it could have had deadly results!  She spent several days there being treated with a heavy-duty antibiotic for that infection.  Interesting how that played out.

My “barking” sister called me several times over the next few days to say how sorry she was for judging me so harshly.  She realized that I have been there for Mom and Dad both through all the years of their declining health and that I deserved everyone’s support.  I told her that I knew it was her own fear of losing our mother and feelings of helplessness that had gotten the best of her.  I told her those were her feelings to contend with and they don’t have anything to do with what I do or don’t do with our mother.

I have my own thoughts and feelings to deal with.




Goodbye Dad, Or Is It Hello?

My Dad died about five years ago.  Four out of my five siblings and I were in attendance as well as our mother and a few other family members.

He wanted to come home from the hospital more than anything to spend his last moments there but he was feeling some apprehension.  Finally, after my mother gently told him, “Wade, you’re dying”, he agreed to be unhooked from life support and come home one last time.  Even still, his controlling personality was in fine form as he ordered us to make sure there was some Campbell’s tomato soup for him when he got there and to go get some puzzle books at the neighborhood Walgreens drugstore.

Hospice was there for support if we needed them.

He never ate that soup or did those puzzles.  He lasted about a day, and as one of my sisters and I happened to notice a change in his breathing, we quickly called everyone to his bedside as he drew his last breath.  We then held hands, said a prayer and chanted for his soul to be free of any earthly attachments.  It was something I’ll never forget.  It felt peaceful and natural.  I am proud of the “sendoff” we had for him.

However, I think he still may be hanging around.  Shortly after he died, I started having an interesting experience.  As I am laying down getting ready to go to sleep at night, I have the sensation that my cat has jumped on the bed and is walking across it; however, when I put the light on to remove her, (I don’t let her sleep in the bedroom at night) she is not there.  I have even spoken out loud to her in the darkness, knowing that she has hidden under the bed waiting for the light to go out before she leaps out, –“Sita, how did you get in here?”  It absolutely feels like there is something “pouncing” on the bed and then “stepping” across it. This has happened repeatedly to me, only and just as I am snuggling in to sleep at night.  I had a strong feeling that it was “Dad” when it started happening and I feel no fear during these episodes.

Now, having shared this with my Mom and brothers and sisters, I have found that two others are having the same exact experience.

Hi Dad!

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