Tag Archives: hospice

Nothing is….

6 Nov

black and white.  Except:  Old photographs, some films, and these quintessentially New York cookies.

We lost a dear friend last month.  I made these for the celebration of his life that his wife threw.  I closed my eyes and tried to image what foods remind me most of NY (where they are from and where I am from) and Black + White cookies at the diner are what came to mind.

All of these friends of his came together, old friends met new friends, and new friendships were formed.  His son (and sworn protector of my son) and Alex horsed around most of the day while the grownups shared tales over beer and comfort food. The kids made us laugh.  It didn’t feel odd or inappropriate.  It was indeed a celebration of his life.

There is sadness, as he died too soon.  There was so much laughter because everyone had a story to share.

I keep looking at the photo I took of the river, and I decided to rename it.  I am calling it Broke-down Palace, in honor of our friend.  He was a huge Grateful Dead fan.  The lyrics of Broke-down Palace always seemed gentle and lovely to me, but they never up and sat right in  the middle of my chest like a curling stone, until a few days before John left this life.   I listened and was paralyzed and I listened again.  I had another copy of my image, “Brokedown Palace”, on a stretched canvas, that I planned to bring to Hospice House, to share with him and his friends and family.  I never made it there in time.  I still have it here, and I think I will send it along to Hospice House as a donation, because it is such a serene image.

(the image links to imagekind, where prints of this particular image are for sale)

The song just works so well with this…(click here for a neat page on the lyrics)

“River gonna take me
Sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy
all the way back back home
It’s a far gone lullaby
sung many years ago
Mama, Mama, many worlds I’ve come
since I first left home

Goin home, goin home
by the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul

Goin to plant a weeping willow
On the banks green edge it will grow grow grow
Sing a lullaby beside the water
Lovers come and go – the river roll roll roll

Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul”

We have this on a huge canvas in our kitchen.  Makes me feel at peace with the universe. This is the happy place I imagine when I meditate to fall back asleep or when the pressure is too much.  Oddly, I picture this place in black and white, just as presented here.  Color seems distracting to me, and particularly with this shot, it had a feeling of concealing the emotions.

Anyway, I meant to blog about my birthday but apparently I needed to share this instead.

Kiddo was feeling cold and goosebumpy and wanted to snuggle, so he’s curled up next to me, while I sit and type, with one arm getting achier from the weight of kiddo’s spectacular noggin.






Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…

6 Mar
3 days old, first time I was allowed to hold him....

3 days old, first time I was allowed to hold him....

(I chose these image from the NICU… They don’t quite feel like a fit for the post but they kept hollering at me..)

I can only imagine how it feels to lose a baby.  Even during our ten days in the NICU, the deaths of the tiny patients were not spoken of, for us outside that baby’s family, it was marked by the absense of an isolet or incubator that was crowded with doctors and loved ones only hours before.  We knew, all the parents knew, that we were fortunate as it wasn’t our baby. But it could be. In the NICU the emotional stew that you live in is a lifetime of emotion and stress in a matter of weeks or months…It’s a lifetime compacted into a tiny room and a tiny plastic box with portholes, wires, tubes, and distressing alarms.

A little over 24 hours old...Finally got to see his face in person (the nurses gave me a polariod to have in my room a few floors away while I got the rest of my IVs)

A little over 24 hours old...Finally got to see his face in person (the nurses gave me a polariod to have in my room a few floors away while I got the rest of my IVs)

But we were lucky.  I don’t think I will ever forget how lucky we were that Alex was ok. My mother was annoyed when I mentioned other babies in the NICU, who were there before Alex and stayed long after he came home, or who “disappeared” overnight-focus on happiness, she would tell me.  I truly believe that the stark contrast of what we had, and what could have been- what was a reality for many people, makes me appreciate Alex’s survival much more.

Since Alex’s birth and many changes in the life of our family, I have, in my journey, seen friends and family lose children at all stages of development, at all ages.

I can only imagine the loss of a child. I am grateful that I can only imagine it.  Perhaps I am not imagining it accurately, but I know my love for my son, and how the possibility of losing him has felt, and the helpless, drowning sensation that his distress, prematurity,and neuro issues, and the two miscarriages before my pregnancy with him, have impacted me on so many levels…  I can only extrapolate and the place where I wind up is stifling, hot and humid, very dimly lit…I imagine it to be like a vat of a viscous substance- like molasses- drowning, muscles aching as they try to move, there are no words, but by some cruelty you can still breathe, even if it’s hard and physically hurts….I can only imagine that the reality is much more terrible that what I can imagine. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced the loss of a child, their baby, at any age or stage.

My cousins Aimee and Julie, just introduced me to an amazing organization that helps parents who are facing the death of their baby remember their child.  The site for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep has much more detail about the program.  Here’s a paste from their about me:

“This is the place where the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.”

I checked out the site and I really wanted to help, to honor the families that I know that have lost a baby, which is why I’m trying to help spread the word…

They are currently running a fundraiser to support the NILMDTS mission. Our cousin Jaime  is participating in a national model competition that benefits NILMDTS.   Please consider visiting the image gallery and voting for our lovely Miss Jaime while supporting a wonderful cause.

You can see Jaime’s picture and vote for her by visiting:

National Charity Model Search benefitting NILMDTS

Every vote cost $1.00 and every dollar goes to a charity group close to our hearts, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (www.nilmdts.org). Jaime also has the opportunity to have a photo shoot with a renowned photographer if she is in the top vote count by March 15th, 2009. Please be generous and vote by then if you can! You can continue to vote until April 2nd, 2009 to give Jaime the chance to be the National winner!!
Thanks a bunch….

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