Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Month’s Mind for Ann Elliott

Entry for 22 July 2012:

On 22 June 2012, one month ago, my mother Ann Helena Kearney Elliott died of complications from brain cancer in Paso Robles, California, at the age of 83.  Today I’m marking the one month’s mind of her passing.  I spent the last seven weeks of her life with various combinations of my siblings, helping care for her.  It was a powerful experience, which has left me in a different place psychologically, contemplating what it means for her to be no longer physically present in my life, and what my priorities are this point going forward.

If you are interested in learning more about her, my siblings and I have posted an obituary/account of her life online at: .

In addition, during her illness, I kept a journal/poem sequence documenting the journey we traveled with her. At more than 80 pages, it’s too long to post on this blog and is currently only available as a Google document at: .
(For best results, you may want to download it.)

Here are the two sections that I used for my talk in Antwerp, the opening section and a later one:

0. Saturday Afternoon, 4 May: Arrival

I arrive, full of grand ideas
about the deep and needed
conversations we’ll have.

But I find you past all that,
With your right brain
In charge of what you say.

Instead, we converse in catch phrases.
Surprisingly, these reveal
Deep and zen-like richness.

11. Thursday 17 May: Follow the Leader

Perplexed and confused,
By the many twists and turns
In this story,
We have given up trying to know
What will happen next
On this journey of yours.

When you were still mobile, every hour or so,
You’d get up from your chair or bed,
Without saying or sometimes even without knowing
Where you were going to go.
“Where are you going?” I asked one day.
“Follow the leader,” you said.

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