I didn’t have time to rad any books this week, so instead of a Thursday book feature, I’m posting a song from another blogger. I never paid much attention to the 90’s music scene, so I heard this song for the first time today. It’s kind of interesting, and I hope you enjoy it and have a great day.
In June of 2005, after my late husband Bill proposed to me, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I in Sheridan, Wyoming. Bill planned to move to Sheridan and marry me.
Meanwhile, I was visiting him in Fowler, where he’d planned a barbecue. Many of our family members and friends were invited, including my brother Andy and his family, who lived in New Mexico at the time.
Since hotel accommodations in Fowler were limited, Andy and his family stayed in Pueblo, about twenty-five miles west of Fowler. Kathleen and I went to a mall, where she helped me pick out the dress, a slip, bra, and shoes to match.
On the day of the wedding, September 10th, 2005, which was held in my grandmother’s back yard here in Sheridan, I paced the upstairs hall between the bathroom and my aunt’s old bedroom, thinking Kathleen had the dress with her at the motel where they were staying. Through the open bathroom window, I could hear guests arriving and music from the string duo my father hired for the occasion. As the time grew closer, I wondered if I’d be parading down the aisle in my underwear.
At almost the last minute, Andy and Kathleen arrived with the children. It was then that I discovered that the dress had been lying on my aunt’s bed all that time. Because of my limited vision, I hadn’t spotted it.
Later, as Dad escorted me down the aisle to the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon, I didn’t see Bill, either. Earlier, he’d planned to go with friends to The Mint Bar. Was he still there, or had he developed cold feet after having too many drinks? Of course he was totally blind, so he couldn’t have jumped in his car and hit the interstate in the direction of Colorado, but still… Then, there he was, in his green suit and the sunglasses he always wore, and I had no more worries.
My wedding dress still hangs in my closet. In January of 2006, three months after Bill and I were married, he suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. I cared for him at home until he passed in October of 2012. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about a specific article of clothing you remember. What did it look like? Where did you get it? Who do you associate with it? Can you remember some sort of conflict that happened, either while you were wearing the garment or that had something to do with it? Where is this article of clothing today?
If you have a blog, you can tell your story there and link to it here. If not, please share your story in the comment field. I look forward to hearing from you.
This past week, I attended a four-day writing workshop at The Sheridan Senior Center. We met for two hours each day. The instructor was Jane Elkington Wohl, a local author who taught English and creative writing at Sheridan College for years and has published several books of poetry.
This workshop focused on writing personal stories. Many participants were senior citizens. The main objective was for us to have tools to work with in our future writing. Jane gave us some great prompts, and we even learned about metaphors. Most of us, myself included, loved the workshop, and Jane promised to do it again next spring. I’ll be using some ideas I picked up in future blog posts, so stay tuned.
What’s the best thing that happened to you this past week? Please tell me about it in the comment field. I hope something good happens to you this coming week.
Thanks to Bruce Atchison for inspiring me to post this. On his blog, he posted another Janis Joplin song. The one I’m posting was on an eight-track I had in the 1960’s. It is kind of a dumb song, but as a kid, I liked it because at the time, my family had two Mercedes Benz. I hope you like it too. Have a great Saturday.
When I heard this song for the first time today, I wished my late husband Bill and I could be together again and that I could see his smiling face. Maybe this will happen when my time comes. Who knows?
by Paul Kalanathi
During the last year of his neurosurgical residency, Dr. Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In this memoir, he shares his experiences in an attempt to help others. The book has a prolog, two parts, and an epilog.
In the prolog, Dr. Kalanathi shares how he and his wife Lucy learned of his diagnosis. In the first part, he talks about his life growing up in a small Arizona town, his interest in neuroscience, how he studied abroad before returning to the states and attending medical school at Yale.
In the second part, he shares his experiences as a neurosurgical resident at a San Francisco hospital, leading up to his diagnosis. He discusses his treatment and how he and Lucy conceived a child, despite his illness. He explains how he returned to his residency after treatment and completed it before he took a turn for the worst. He died before he could finish writing this book, so Lucy ties up loose ends in the epilog.
One thing I found disconcerting was the lack of dates. We know that Dr. Kalanathi died in March of 2015 and that he was diagnosed a couple of years earlier, but that’s it. I think it’s a good idea to insert dates throughout a memoir to orient the reader, and I do this in My Ideal Partner.
When Breath Becomes Air reminded me of when my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. It was never known where the cancer originated. After six months of chemotherapy, she was given a good prognosis, but a couple of weeks later, she was gone. Dr. Kalanathi’s oncologist was reluctant at first to give him a prognosis. I can see why, I guess.
I liked Lucy’s description of her husband’s death in the epilog. He died in a hospital room, surrounded by his family, even his infant daughter. I felt guilty because my own husband died alone. Of course he wasn’t alert for the last few days of his life, and Dr. Kalanathi was, most of the time. Lucy’s concluding paragraphs emphasize something I’ve always believed. When you lose someone you love, you grieve, but where there’s love, even in death, life goes on.
the breeze cooling and caressing you,
trees with swaying branches,
flowers and their scents,
spongy grass under your feet,
what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch,
what keeps us alive.
This poem appears in the current issue of The Weekly Avocet. Click below to hear me read it.