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FREE Kindle Ebook for Mother’s Day May 7 & 8

May 7 and 8 are upon us!

Download your FREE Kindle copy of The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret at http://www.ow.ly/vfH8E. This version was beautifully formatted by Gary Hall of http://www.greystrokecreative.com. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download to your computer without charge.

It is interesting to me to see that some of what I wrote in this book as a daughter is now being played out in my own life. How could I have known when I wrote The Last Violet that I was writing a guidebook for myself? 

Vignette

Helplessly I watch

as they make their mad dash

to the bathroom

her pale, thin arm clutching his

their weary feet shuffling

over the light Berber carpet

their bodies stopped with

the weight of many years

They've been together since

they were very young

sometimes they've been happy

sometimes not

but here they walk side by side

as cancer interrupts

whatever they were doing

as cancer eats her body

and tears his heart

"In sickness and in health," they vowed

"until death do us part," they vowed

Helplessly I watch

and then

I go into the kitchen and weep…

(Excerpted from The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother)

My Marriage Book – FREE Download Today

Today's the day! You can click on http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BT4P0SI and download a FREE copy of This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage for your KindleGary Hall formatted it beautifully for eBook. (Find Gary at http://www.greystrokecreative.com.) I am pleased that This Path has seventeen five-star reviews so far and has won three awards.

I worked for a long time on this book. Years longer than I worked on the other two. Perhaps I was afraid that if I finished the book, the story would end. Finally I realized that if I did not complete it before either Les or I took seriously ill or died, I never would. I finished the book. Unfortunately all stories do end. 

I worked especially hard on the last chapter. I wanted it to be just right. And I toiled intently on the last three words. For days, actually. (Of course I won't tell you what they are right now. Gentle smile).

And as it turns out, they were easier said than done.

I hope you find encouragement, entertainment, and, maybe, even a little inspiration.

And Happy Valentine's Day!

(If you don't have a Kindle, you can download one for your PC.)

End of Pinktober But Not Cancer

Halloween.

One of my least favorite holidays – pulling together costumes for years on end, kids wild from too much sugar, answering the doorbell to who knows what.

Ugh and boo.

And then there was the year Les and I brought our premature daughter home from the hospital on Halloween, in a blizzard….  

But at least it's the last day of October, the month when so many businesses use our breast cancer to promote their profits. Yvonne Watterson's post explains that much better than I can. And if fears of recurrence spook you, there is good information if you follow the link "may recur at any time" in her post.

[It's also the end of a tough month, health wise, for my dear husband, Les.  We're hoping for better things as the holidays approach – those holidays I do love, Thanksgiving and Christmas.]

But after all the pink, pink, pink, I offer something real to you – real feelings, real disfigurement, real fear, real validation of your many emotions – the eBook version of my award-winning breast cancer book, Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness. (Read more about the book here Fine Black Lines.

I'm especially happy that my many breast cancer friends around the world will now have access to this inexpensive version, if they are interested. And if you do read it, please let me know what you think and if there are any mistakes.  

Happy November!
 

 

It Hurts To Be an Adult Orphan

Hi – I've been gone from my blog ever since I posted for Mother's Day. There have been lots of reasons – loads of company, illness, lack of inspiration – all the usual excuses. And I wish I could promise I'll do better, but I'm not sure about that. We can only hope.

My last post was about my mother's death in 1995 on Mother's Day. On August 1, 1998, three years later, my father died, exactly three weeks after Les and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary with Dad right there with all of us and exactly one week after I had major abdominal surgery. I wrote about his sudden death previously. 

Eight weeks later I was on a book tour in Oregon and on the morning of my sixty-eighth birthday, I walked along the beach, cried, hurried back to the hotel. and wrote:

A Birthday Mourning

A birthday morning—

an ocean shore, far from home
whitecaps blend into the mist above
driftwood lies gray upon the sand
relics of places distant, days of yore

A birthday morning—

my first as an orphan
the woman who bore me
gone three years and more
the man who sired me, ashes encrypted

A birthday mourning—

for the two who gave me life
and where am I
under this threatening sky?

Who am I
and when
shall I die?

(Excerpted from The Last Violet, copyright 2002 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

Are you an adult orphan?

When did your second parent die?

Unwanted Anniversary Part 3

My journey with chronic fatigue syndrome continued and continues. I wrote of it again in This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage. This small excerpt shows some of the ways we coped:

"We eventually learned that while some patients recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome, many did not. However, I was determined not to lose my real life to a disease that, even though a mystery to medical science, was not usually fatal.

"From 1989 onward, Les and I struggled to make that happen. CFS shifted our roles. Doing heavy work made me worse, so Les took over as many chores as he could. We learned to stay at home in the evening. We started going to bed earlier than we preferred. If I could order from a catalogue, I skipped shopping. Friends slowly disappeared because I did not have enough energy to make and keep luncheon dates or carry on a converation when I did go. My family and friends tired of asking how I felt and hearing 'exhausted,' so I started saying, 'Fine.' 

"I increasingly turned to Les for strength and understanding. Only he could validate my journey with CFS; no one else knew or understood how difficult it was for both of us.

"Sometimes I dreamed about CFS. I would be visiting relatives or attending a party and feel too exhausted to lift my arms or legs; I felt as if I were disappearing into nothingness. The dream always frightened me to consciousness, but it was the one nightmare from which I could not awake.

"The rivers of entropy flowed on. And we knew that we could not stay in the Garden of Eden, no matter how hard we tried."

Most of the time, I accept my limitations. After all, I have had twenty-four years to adjust. It is part of the fabric of my life. CFS and my breast cancer a year later changed everything. And nothing. 

During all those years since April 6, 1989, I had two separate mastectomies, gave up teaching piano, wrote three books, traveled by car over 400,000 miles (without homicide or divorce?!) to speak more than 600 times, spent precious never-to-be-forgotten hours with my beloved husband and our four children and their families. 

But I know that there are many CFS patients who cannot live their lives, no matter how much accommodation they may try to do. I have been extremely lucky and I feel unworthy of the good fortune I have had. I am trying to give back as much as I can out of gratitude.   

This thread to be completed tomorrow with a poem…