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Future imperfect, past perfected December 30, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings.
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As this year filled with many losses ends, I have been pondering end of life issues. I have a discussed some options regarding ending my life peacefully should Parkinson’s rob me of many of the qualities I hold dear.  I hope that I will have the discernment and courage to know when to die.  I have no fear of death; I faced that when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007.  Out of that experience came deep acceptance, recovery, and reconciliation, but nothing could prepare me for Parkinson’s Disease.

My father died quietly in hospice care, with my mother holding his hand, with my sister and her husband next to her and their Episcopal priest at her other shoulder, all surrounded by the light of love and peace. His was a good death.

His own mother, on the other hand, had not been allowed to die naturally, because her handwritten final wishes had not been properly notarized. Despite many best efforts, she languished in a nursing home for a year after a massive stroke, her body deteriorating and subject to indignities to which she would not have submitted herself. Her death was a protracted misery for those of us who loved her and stood powerless against the indifference of managed care.

Ideally, I would choose the soundtrack of my dying, the menu, the venue, all the trappings that I try to control in life, but I know that my plans are beyond my control.

When my son was born, I had an elaborate written birth plan.  I was in excellent physical shape, had read more than enough to prepare for the birth (“Where do you get this stuff?”, my bewildered and bemused OB/GYN kept saying), asked for the use of the one birthing suite in the downtown teaching hospital, and had gone through two different childbirth preparation programs.  I had all my ducks in a row, ready for

  • Ralph Vaughan-Williams or The Brandenburg Concertos playing softly
  • No drugs
  • Upright posture–no stirrups for me!
  • The lovely birthing suite, with the lights low
  • No cutting

In the fullness of time, there was no room at the Birthing Suite Inn; a woman 28 weeks in with triplets was there instead.  My ideal labor room became an overly bright operating room, where I  had to use stirrups to make for an easier catch for the doctor.  A precipitous labor brought a crowd of interns in their short white coats, summoned by the resident, who had never witnessed natural childbirth.

So, surrounded by strangers, in a strange room without a bed, my babe was born at 5:15 on a cold February morning.  When we met face to face, all my disappointed plans went out of my mind, and I was caught up in everlasting love.


How marthasway came to be here, now and then December 9, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings, Primary food.
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How marthasway came to be here, now and then.

On musical gifts, in memory of Dave Brubeck, 1920-2012 December 6, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings.
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A few years ago, I was helping with the choristers in the Royal School of Church Music affiliated choir at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Corpus Christi, Texas. My “walking partner” was a third-grader named George, a sweet but scatter-brained little fellow with gigantic brown eyes peeking out from unruly bangs.

George was the Pig-Pen of the choir, and since I had known his mother from the time she was a child, I knew that was just his nature. One afternoon, I came into the choir room and was greeted by the notes of the iconic Dave Brubeck composition”Take Five” being practiced on the baby grand.

Over and over, phrase by phrase, George was perfecting his own “Take Five” with great discipline, that 5/4 syncopation rolling out of those thick little fingers. The notes from the piano took on a new voice as the boy took them for his own.

Hello world! November 28, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings.
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Welcome to marthasway@WordPress.com! This is my very first post.  My life is… eclectic, so against all reason, I am creating this blog.  It is probably the only way I have a breath of a chance of having anything done–marthasway.

  • I have run out of the excuses that have kept me from writing everyday.
  • I cannot work outside the home.
  • I have trouble following through with plans made in advance.
  • I am committed to keeping what is left of the little pieces of my mind.

Getting off to a clunky start is better than staying stuck in ‘maybe’ and ‘what if’ and ‘why not’, so as we say at at our house “Puff puff, Toot Toot, Off we go!”…