26 December 2009


That beautiful Scout is my oldest brother. He would go on to grow up and do all the things the kids did in the 50s. He would finish high school. Get drafted. Go to Vietnam. He would return and head off to school, his military haircut drawing war protesters to spit on him on an American college campus. He would struggle through the next 10 or so years of his life until he couldn't any more.

This year the holidays have been quite blue here. Earlier, I was so sick with the flu I had to cancel what may very well be my mother's last Thanksgiving. While slowly recovering I pushed through caring for my mother and tryed to put together a great birthday party for my daughter. The only Christmas decorating I could manage was the tree. Not even a wreath. I kind of cared but not really.

Friday a week ago my mother had declined so that we took her to the hospital via the emergency department. A blur of highs and lows followed. After a weight loss of over 25 pounds this year, we finally got a diagnosis, a stack of prescriptions and she was kicked out on Christmas Eve in a blizzard. My daughter did not make it home from her grandparents until 8 pm on Christmas Day. The few gifts we had this year remain under the tree this morning, wrapped.

There was a Christmas with wrapped presents under the tree on the 26th many years ago when I was my own daughter's adolescent age. We waited for my brother to come home. We had not heard from him. A call from the coroner's office told the story that he had been in the morgue for ten days. Unclaimed bodies are targeted for disposal at day 10, but our wonderful coroner looked at my brother and said "this boy has a family." He took it upon himself to call to ensure we had been notified. Of course we hadn't. We had been waiting for him. An Oklahoma City police officer, at the end of his shift 10 days prior, marked that he had come to our house and notified us. He simply did not. The apology which came a couple of weeks later didn't help much.

So here I am with gifts under the tree. Of course we are all alive this year. I know to be grateful about that. But actually I feel empty, hollow. My mother lives with me now. I have much to do physically and emotionally in the coming months. Right now I am not sure how I will muster the strength for it all. But I have done it before. We all have. Somehow you keep waking up, plowing forward, through the pudding that is exhaustion. Somehow another meal. Another load of laundry. A trip to the grocery store all the while screaming inside "I can't, I don't want to" and yet doing it anyway.

I can't tell this story out loud. I also can't post a pretty picture of the holiday. This is the blue truth today.


  1. Hey there....I feel for you on so many levels..the Holidays are hard enough and with an ill parent overwhelming....I will pray for you to have strength and peace and a few momemts to yourself to recharge....if there is anything I can do...I live very close and would be glad to help in any way that I can.
    Blessings for you during this hard time....

  2. Robin, you're such an amazing woman. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, even if it was a while back. I am also sorry to hear about your mother. I think most home caregivers don't believe they can do it, but all the ones I know always do. You can, too. You're a great daughter. I'm sending you good thoughts not because of the holidays, but because I care about you.

  3. Robin, friend, my heart is so heavy for you right now. It is 9:45am right now. I am coming to oklahoma city to see you. If you do not feel like seeing me, I understand. but you will know i came, in honor of you, in honor of your dear mother, in honor of your brother. I am leaving my house right now. I look like crap. I am not even taking time to spruce up. I dont have a phone number to contact you. My phone number is 501-912-2858. on my phone i can see regular posts to facebook, but not fancy ones like this. If i dont hear from you by phone or facebook, i will go by your mother's house and just spend some time there praying for her and you and all your family.
    -James Dean

  4. Oh Robin, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful brother, and the awful circumstances that surrounded that loss. I'm sorry that beautiful boy was so horribly mistreated by selfish and self-serving, cruel people when he returned from service to his country. I'm so sorry for the sadness in watching the decline of your mother and that you had such a sad and lonely Christmas.

    I'm grateful that your daughter is home. Lots of people were stranded in malls and in their cars overnight. It was a crazy Christmas for sure.

    I'm praying for you, sweet Robin. xo

  5. I wanted so badly to come to the hospital or your house just for a distraction for you, but, of course, it was too bad out there. It's sad to say that it was too bad to drive for a friend.

    I'm glad that your daughter made it home safely, I was worried.

    Well, take care of yourself, there are people that need you right now, that is a big pill, but, chop it up and swallow small pieces.

    Love you!!

  6. Robin-
    I am so sad to hear that your brother was treated so cruelly after his service and that the horror and trauma of that war and his experiences after returning home were something he could never overcome. I am so sorry that you are now faced with caring for, and letting go of your mother. I cared for my father in the last week of his awful battle with cancer, and I know how physically and emotionally draining just those seven days were. I am not a praying person, but please know that I am thinking of you, and willing you strength and peace in the days ahead. If there is anything at all that I can do from here, please let me know. Be good to yourself.


  7. Hi sweet sister...I can relate to this on so many levels, as you and I have shared over twisting pipe cleaners. If I can share one more thing...the bathroom, shower, tub, is a great place to cry...lock the door and let the water run with your tears. It's a cleansing of emotions and it does help if only for that small window of time. Do whatever it takes...baby steps...big girl panties...a sign on the door that reads, "not today folks"...a hug from your daughter,husband...

    I love you, Robin...I'm pulling for you...I'm here if you need ANYTHING...want to scream at someone...470-1920. Big hugs...

  8. my wife read this post to me and i was so touched i felt compelled to comment myself. nicely written, and what a great job of sharing, and explaining, those feelings we all try to keep locked up inside us. thank you.

  9. well, obviously not knowing what i'm doing here, i somehow posted that comment as my lovely, dear, sweet, charming, wonderful (can't add too many more of those or i might sound phony) wife. my apologies, but the second honstuff comment was actually me.

  10. Babe, I love you so much I can literally feel your pain, deep inside my bones. I don't remember ever hearing the story of how your brother was unclaimed for ten days. Your post was a moving, stirring tribute to him. But also, connecting that wrapped Christmas to this one makes it all feel so real and raw. We understand where you are right now.

    It's a dark place, but you and I know the truth behind those dark places. They come to us for a reason, they leave us with their imprints and they clear the way for us to move to another level we didn't even know existed.

    Please get some home health care services as fast as you can. Give yourself the help you need with that so you can focus on the emotional side, getting through the pain and putting one foot in front of the other one day at a time.

    Remember, you are "wrapped" in the lovely papers and bright colors of all those who care so deeply for you. When you can only see the blue, when you fall into the dark - we will hold the colors for you until you can see again.

  11. Precious Robin, there is so much despair in this post. My heart bleeds for you. I am so worried about you. Please take care of yourself and monitor your own physical and mental health, if not for yourself, then for you daughter and your mother.

    The only way out of this is through it, one step at a time, one moment at a time, one load of laundry at a time. But how many people can say they have the Leaders of the Free World at the ready, ready to swoop in at a moment's notice? Lean on us, use us. We want to help you, to be there for you. Just say the word. I can do laundry, I can grocery shop, there are things I can do to lighten your load. Just say what and when and I'm there. I'm your huckleberry.

    I love you more than books and bacon!

  12. My heart goes out to you, Robin. Try to hang in there and think positively... it will get better.

  13. Robin, I am praying for you and your family. Lisa


You have no idea how much this comment means. I really thank you for taking time to connect with me. This is why we are here, isn't it?

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