On Wednesday, I got up early to write because I knew I was only going to have a partial day at my desk. My niece, Amy, had contacted me and asked if I’d be able to help move some of her mother’s things from the home her parents built in the mid-1970s to an apartment in an independent living center. Sharleen, my sister-in-law, had been living there alone since my brother passed away three years ago.
Naturally, I said, “Yes.”
I remember all too well when my sister and I moved our mother out of the home my husband had built for Mom to the very same independent living center. The move was fraught with emotion. You try to stay positive for your loved one but inside you’re dying a bit because change is hard and this change means your loved one is not the same person you want them to always be.
In my sister-in-law’s case, her health has declined since my brother died. Actually, even before that, the stress of caring for my brother at the end of his life took a heavy toll. Shar loved my brother almost as long as I’ve been alive. (I was five when they got married.) After he passed away, she tried to carry on with her business (Buchanan Hollow Nut Company), her art (watercolors) and her life, but her health just hasn’t been up to it. Depression is so not in her nature, but some days were too hard to get out of bed.
Christmas was a turning point. Shar made the decision. She needed people and routine in a safe, warm environment–not alone in a huge house twenty-five miles from town.
We all have good memories of this place. Shar’s room is directly above where my mother stayed. It’s only been a few days, and Shar told me yesterday she’s not sure she’s ready for this, but the people are friendly and so far she’s won several robust games of Scrabble. Fingers crossed the transition goes smoothly.
I’m sleeping better knowing she’s safe, but I’ll feel even better when I know she’s happy, too.
Have you had to deal with this sort of thing with a loved one? I’d be happy to pass along any tips for a smooth transition to Amy and Shar. Below is one of Shar’s watercolor paintings hanging in my house.
And so starts February…I have to say after the crazy weather we’ve been having on the West Coast, I’m looking forward to XOXOs from Mother Nature this month. At least the inclement weather afforded a good excuse to snuggle up with a good book.
I’m a sucker for second chance/secret baby books. But as a writer I’ve always struggled with the secret keeper needing a rock solid reason for keeping a child a secret. I think Lisa’s got one. I hope you agree if you read the book. In the meantime, please enjoy Lisa and Joe’s first–in a very long time–kiss!
He stopped her. “One confession at a time. I owe you an apology.”
She looked up. “For what?”
“For being an ass the day of Patrick’s funeral. I was mad at the world, and I needed somebody to blame for what happened. I didn’t care who I hurt in the process. You. My dad. Hell, I probably said something nasty to my mother, too, but I don’t remember.” He glanced toward the door. “Don’t ask her, okay? I’m a Kelly. Humbling myself once a day is all I can take.”
Her lips curved upward but only for a moment. “Why are you bringing this up tonight, Joe?”
“Because ever since you picked me up at the airport I’ve felt like there was some ponderous weight between us. Patrick. The past. Our past. And, of course, my asinine behavior at the funeral. I was hoping if I apologized we might find a way to get past it.”
“Why? Because we’re going to be working together—well, in close proximity—for the next few weeks?”
Her tone sounded contentious. “Yes, partly.”
“Because you’re already bored and need a little romance to spice up your stay?”
Momentarily stunned speechless, he watched her tap the corner of the envelope to her lips. “Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it isn’t going to happen. I may be a small town girl who is too afraid of life to risk leaving Worthington, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have plans. I do. And you aren’t part of them.”
Too afraid of life to risk leaving Worthington? His words came back to haunt him. The night by the lake, after they’d made love, Joe had asked Lisa to go with him. She’d refused, and he’d accused her of being too afraid to take a chance on a bigger life outside of Worthington.
“I was eighteen and full of myself. I thought I had all the answers when, in fact, I didn’t even know what the questions were.”
He shook his head and made a gesture toward the bar where the sound of laughter filtered under the door. “You proved me wrong, didn’t you? You’ve met your goal of graduating from college. You have a lot of friends who think you’re fabulous, and your son has turned out great—despite a few little age-related glitches. You have a lot more to show for your life than I do.”
She set down the card and took a step closer. “How can you say that? You’re a successful filmmaker. You’re living your dream.”
“I left here convinced I was going to be the next Steven Spielberg. That didn’t happen.”
She smiled the way she would have if Brandon had said something self-effacing. “So neither of us has set the world on fire,” she said with a shrug. “I’ve decided there comes a time when you either embrace your life—flaws and all—or give up.”
She shook her head and a lock of golden-red hair escaped from her fancy updo and danced across her shoulders. He took her by the wrist and pulled her a step closer. Their bodies weren’t quite touching, but he could reach her by leaning forward.
He moved slowly, giving her a chance to back away, but she didn’t. He put his mouth on hers. She didn’t respond right away, but after a heartbeat her mouth opened. At first, all he could taste was the tangy flavor of the wine she’d been drinking, then her tongue touched his and memories poured into his mind. Even after all these years, she still tasted like Lisa.
This, he realized, was what he’d wanted all night. All week. Ever since he’d walked out the doors of the airport and seen her standing beside her perky little car. He needed this. He needed her.
But Lisa apparently didn’t need him.
Stepping back, she held on to the table with one hand and used the other to touch her lips, as if making sure they were still there.
“I stole a kiss, not your lips,” Joe said, trying to lighten the moment.
She didn’t smile. “I can’t do this, Joe. Not now. Not until… There’s something you…” She didn’t finish the thought. “I’m sorry. I have to get back to my guests.”
With that, she walked out of the room.
As a special February treat, you can download NEVER SAY NEVER at my DebSalonen Bookstore: CLICK TO BUY for 50% off if you use this (limited time only) coupon: QMZ9I9XDM7
I love my fingers. They type when I ask them to. They write, play games, deal cards and operate the remote. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are viciously attacked by a weed, I am not amused.
A WEED, you say? Well, not just any weed. STINGING NETTLE – a nasty, vicious, poky weed that caused the fingers on my right hand to burn, itch and swell.
Who knew? Not I, but, boy, did I learn. The hard way.
I’d been pulling weeds because all the rain we’ve been having has made it perfect weed-pulling weather. I thought I was approaching a regular weed, but, no! One pull and my hand was on fire. I took a photo of the offending weed and Googled it. Here’s what I learned.
WHAT IS A STINGING NETTLE:
According to Wikepedia:
“The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation upon contact.”
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE STINGING TO GO AWAY:
“In normal circumstances, stinging nettle rash should disappear within 24 hours.”
Well, I have news for you, www.healthline.com, I can still feel it.
I also learned that stinging nettles has a medicinal use. The same site offered this praise for the vicious plant:
“Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).”
Do I care? Not a whit.
Here’s something else I learned:
“Research has found some evidence that rubbing stinging nettle leaves on painful joints can provide pain relief. One small study also found that eating stewed nettle leaves was a helpful addition to the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.”
SO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
My takeaway: don’t pull weed without wearing gloves–and don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. 😉
PS: We’re having a wild and wooly storm in our part of the West Coast. Perfect weather for reading! I finished a book during the Super Bowl (yawn). Must go write a review…now that my fingers are finally better. 😉