Category Archives: Mothers

Sunday Morning Musings: Mother’s Day Reflections

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)Ever since my publisher announced it was “winding down” its business, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. A freefall funk. Just as I thought finally I’m climbing, I’m achieving, I’ve got a team to back me—I’m back on my own wondering, what the heck do I do now? I’m old. I’m tired. I’m not a techie genius. The thought of self-publishing, not only my back list, but my new stuff is daunting.

When you arrive at a certain “age and stage” as my mother-in-law used to say, you can’t help but reflect on what you’ve accomplished or not accomplished with this gift of life you were given.

I wish I could say I ever had a goal, a plan, a dream, a vision, even some vague idea of what I wanted to do with my life or how I thought it would be. But I never did. I still don’t. I excel at being content (or maybe not so content as it turns out) with whatever comes my way.

I drifted from an early age. Into jobs. Relationships. Marriage. Motherhood. Writing. I took what came and made the best of it. Sure I wanted to write and I did. Sure I wanted to be published and I did. Eventually. Sales? Who cares? Someone wants to publish my book! That was enough for me.

So what, I’ve been asking myself lately, have I accomplished with my life? I have no degree. No career unless “professional barista” counts. I have some published books to my credit (but please don’t look at my sales numbers or author ranking).IMG_0678

The only thing I can point to that maybe I did successfully, is my son and my daughter. Maybe I was an okay mother and with my husband’s help, we somehow (without a plan) raised two successful people. They are gainfully employed and self-supporting and have the kind of work ethic that makes a mother proud. Both have college degrees to their credit. They are in successful relationships. Maybe…they even have some kind of plan, goals, dreams for their futures. And, not only are they are still speaking to me, they are two of my best friends.2013-06-23 05.55.10

So what if “bestselling author” isn’t part of my resume? If raising two great kids is what I was meant to accomplish with my life, I am more than okay with that.

P.S. I hope they’re still speaking to me after they see the pictures I chose. If not, they need to get together and take another one for me to use next time.


When Dad Was Sick – Part 13

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)7/10/08 

Dad doing poorly today.  Disoriented.  In pain.  It’s 1 p.m. and he’s had 3 blasts of the liquid morphine for break-through pain. 

Mom insisted on trying to get him to eat something off a plate in the bedroom.  Chicken breast in cream of mushroom soup gravy, stuffing and GREEN BEANS.  WHY does she try to get him to eat green beans?  He doesn’t like green beans even on his best day.  If you’re trying to get somebody as sick as he is to eat, wouldn’t you offer them something they like instead of a food they absolutely despise?  What is the thinking here?  Is it just more of her craziness?  Doing things “her” way?  Imposing her will on someone who’s too weak to fight it now, and who wouldn’t fight even when he was able?  For that matter, chicken is hardly one of Dad’s favorites, either unless it’s “Crispy Baked Chicken” from Marla’s.  It’s this kind of behavior that just makes me crazy to sit by and watch.  Even after Dad said, “No more bites,” (after he’d taken like two) she insisted he try to eat more before he gave up.  She wasn’t very successful. 

She hardly ate any more than he did, so she’s got no room to talk or to be trying to force people who don’t want to eat to eat.  She sat there and sort of sniffled.  (I ate—no problem—now that it’s a fait accompli, my appetite is fine.) 

I can hear him in there coughing and breathing hard sometimes and I think he’s awake, but he isn’t.  I still have to get up and check each time though in case he is awake and needs pain med. 

So I was thinking while I was shoveling food in my face (because we barely spoke during lunch; for my part I have nothing to say to her; I assume she’s got nothing to say to me, either) how much she and Kevin are alike.  I thought back to the way Kevin behaved when Irv was sick and then after he died how he “grieved.”  I still maintain their grief is a self-centered grief.  It’s a “who will take care of ME now” kind of grief.  Dad always took care of Mom and now he can’t and he won’t.  And I’m sure she’s wondering who will.  Who can she get to do her bidding the way Dad did?  Kevin to a certain extent, but I don’t expect that to last forever.  She may find herself in assisted living.  Alone.  Because “I don’t want to move to Florida.  I hate the hot weather there.  I hated it when I lived there all those years.”  Gee, Mom, why’s that?  Because you wouldn’t use the air conditioning during the summer?” 

I talked to Chris last night and told him how my eyes have been opened and I now understand her so much better.  I am done with her.  I don’t like her.  I don’t respect her.  I don’t want to be around her.  And when the time comes, I won’t be running to her aid.  I am done with her.  In my opinion, she’s getting exactly what she deserves. 

I’m reading Wayne Dyer’s book INSPIRATION and I opened it this morning to this:  “Use your own inner hunches to determine if you’re in the right places with the right people.  If you feel good in their presence, meaning that you feel inspired to be a better and more joyful person, then these are right for you.  If, on the other hand, you feel more anxious, depressed, and uninspired, and you can’t wait to get away because of conflict, then these are not going to be sources of inspiration for you.” 

Well, at least not the kind of inspiration he’s talking about.  All my mother has inspired me to do is to be as much not like her as I possibly can.  So maybe she has inspired me and I’m thankful for that.  I knew I didn’t want to follow her example.  I didn’t want to try to make everyone conform to MY ideal, but rather, I try to let people, including my children, be and become who they are.   Accept that they’re different from me, not good or bad, but just different and I don’t have to agree with them or like their behavior and I can choose who I spend time with.   Indeed, I can’t wait to get away from her.  In a way, I think she slowly suffocates the people who are around her for too long.  It figures, that my dad’s having trouble breathing.  Ooh, that’s harsh.  I know all those years working in sulfuric acid plants did a number on his lungs.

#mothers #dying #inspiration


When Dad Was Sick – Part Eight


I can’t stand being around my parents when they’re together.  My mother hovers hovers hovers and fusses fusses fusses.  She can’t leave anything or anyone alone and just let them BE.  She has to be on them all the time and it’s especially hard to watch now with my dad.  He got his pills at 8 or so this morning.  The clock radio he wanted by his bed went off and started playing music and she was laying in there and I heard her bitching “turn that music off!”  Well, he was still sleeping, but her lovely, strident voice and bitchy tone woke him up.  She didn’t know how to turn it off so she unplugged it.  And she also unplugged the lamp.  I showed her how to turn it off in the future, not that she could see the button and then she couldn’t plug the lamp back in so I had to do it.

Mom and Dad


Then she’s in there talking to him about Steve leaving this morning in minute detail.  What time Steve got up, how she made him hotdogs to take with him and a plain one for the dog.  Trivia on top of trivia which I’m sure my dad found fascinating and stimulating just as he has found most of her conversation for the past 50 years or so. 

So then she gets him dressed, pushing and prodding.  He comes out with his belt hanging out of his pants and makes it as far as the chair by the fridge and sits down where she continues to goad him about going to the bathroom.  I gave him some liquid morphine and he sat there and she stood there waiting for him to get up, which clearly he needed to rest a few minutes before the slow and laborious trip to the bathroom.  He gives me this sad desperate look, like please help me.  But I know if I say anything to her, she’ll get pissed off and then I’ll be the bad guy and it will create more tension for him and he doesn’t need that, so I didn’t do anything or say anything.  I cut up some Ativan and then I came back here to my room and my computer to vent.  So he made it to the bathroom and now she’s making him eat even though he said not ten minutes ago that he wasn’t hungry right now and I’m sure he isn’t.  But she’ll force him to eat anyway.  I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  The hospice literature says not to force patients to eat when they don’t want to and not to make them feel guilty for not wanting to eat.  But she doesn’t know how to do anything but make him feel guilty, so I guess that’s not going to happen in this scenario.  Besides if he eats prunes and bran flakes that’s like medicine anyway.  Keep his bowels moving hopefully. 

Yesterday Kevin came over and we went to church and then we got lunch at Marla’s.  I had a taco salad.  It was pretty good.  I suggested to Mom that she get a lunch and share it with Dad because you know neither of them can finish a whole lunch.  She said to get something besides crispy chicken, so I got chicken fried steak.  Steve bought all of the chocolate cookies they had and a cheeseburger sans bun for Molly. 

Of course Dad didn’t want to eat.  Then I wanted to go to Joplin to get my markout so Steve drove over there with me and we did that and got the car washed by some kids who were trying to raise money for a scouting camp.  Whatever.  For $5, they rinsed the road dust off it and cleaned some of the bugs off it.  I can’t find a hose around here to wash the car anyway and it was sort of bugging me as it’s been driven a lot without a wash. 

Then Pat Wagner came over and we sat outside and had a few beers with him.  He had said when I saw him at Ron and Maria’s that he’d been meaning to stop by and see Dad but he just hadn’t done it.  It was good of him to do so.  Then Clem and Lenore came because I’d talked to them at church that morning.  Clem didn’t know if they should come or not and I told them of course they should, even if Dad didn’t feel like getting up that Clem could go see him in his room.  But Dad got up and came out and sat down.  Then he went to get up and his pants fell down because he’s lost so much weight and he didn’t have a belt on.  I told him he should use the suspenders Kevin brought him and he said, “It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?”

#parents #family #dying

When Dad Was Sick – Part Two

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)I went through Dad’s desk.  He gave me copies he had of all the lab tests, etc., that have been run on him over the years, some MRI result reports.  I would like to get this Dr. Sub’s records also.  Maybe Sacry has those.  I will ask. 

Yesterday I went and talked to Maxine.  She wasn’t very sympathetic when I told her about my fight with Mom.  Not that I necessarily expected her to be.  She said maybe the pain med Dr. C. prescribed that wasn’t effective was because Dad didn’t complain about it loudly enough.  Susan thought that was ridiculous when I told her about it.  Of course, hospice is all about treating pain. 

Last night I talked to Steve and Chris.  Steve suggested putting M & D in an assisted living facility, or at least looking into it.  Chris suggested a hospice house, but now I know there aren’t any around here.   


Last night I talked to Bill.  He does not think much of the idea of having Kevin move in with Mom and Dad.  He thinks I should look into assisted living.  Of course, his idea of taking care of your parents is to put them in a home, because that was the best solution for his mother.  He’s not here and it’s not his family.  Dad wants to stay in the house and I can’t see any reason why that can’t happen.  He doesn’t need to go anywhere and neither does anyone else for that matter.  The relatives can help with driving places and getting food, RX, doctor appts., etc. until we can find someone else to help who we can pay on an as needed basis.  Kevin can afford to pay for help.  He won’t be paying rent here.  I’m sure there’s someone around here who would like a part-time job for which we would pay cash.  They can drive Dad’s car for that matter.  No wear and tear on their own vehicle.  We will ask Tanya, who’s the CNA, if she knows of anyone who would be interested in such a position.  I think if we put the word out around town we will find someone. 

Cathy also called last night.  Don’t I have such sweet and caring friends? 

Cody arrived yesterday.  Dani took him to Fantastic Caverns and to the Fish Hatchery in Branson.  Today they went to Eureka Springs.  Cody seems fine with everything.  We took him to the Dollar Store, the post office and the grocery store.  Last night they walked up to the cemetery. 

Missouri2013 007
Mom and Me

Yesterday Clem, Lenore, Francis and Jean came over.  They were here for about 2 hours, I think.  Dad sat up with them the whole time.  He didn’t say a whole lot.  Jean, me and Clem and Lenore each had a beer.  Clem and Lenore shared theirs because Lenore was driving.  Then Loretta came over later in the afternoon with some peanut butter cookies she had made.  She said she loves Dani and Dani is so sweet.   


Today Kevin came over and we talked and went for a walk.  We told Mom and Dad that we thought Kevin moving in here was the best solution at the moment.  He can monitor what goes on in the house and dole out pain medication for Dad.  Dad is fine with whatever we want to do.  Mom says it’s fine, but she gets her back up about specifics.  Like she doesn’t want us to rearrange the furniture in the back bedroom.  (Like, why does she care?)  She doesn’t want to get rid of the bed in there because it matches the other furniture and the mattress is good.  The mattress sucks, as anyone who has slept on it will tell you.  But then, the twin beds they’re sleeping on are probably 30 years old as well.   

I take everything in small steps.  People are slow to change.  It’s best not to upset her.  There are enough changes happening that she doesn’t like and doesn’t want to happen.  Moving furniture is something she can object to and control, so let her.  She does not like my interference and ideas, but that’s too bad.  Left to her own devices, nothing would be done because “everything’s fine.”   

Her memory is horrible.  She displays obsessive/compulsive tendencies.  Repeats herself constantly, fusses over everyone constantly, asks the same questions again and again.  Want more tea?  Want more tea?  Do you need more tea?  Bowls for pudding.  These little bowls are for pudding.  Did everyone get a bowl for pudding?  Have some pudding.  Have some pudding.  That’s what the little bowls are for.  Acts like I’ve never done laundry before in my life, that I wouldn’t be able to figure out when to put the soap in. 

#mothers #dementia #dying

Abandonment Issues in Romance Novels

image001_editedI started to think about the books I’ve written and the role parents played in them. Kaylee in A MONTH FROM MIAMI: No father; abandoned by mother; raised by grandmother.

Haylee in A FOREVER KIND OF GUY: No father; unfit mother; raised by grandmother and aunt.ForeverKindOfGuy72sm

FirstTimeAgain,The72lg[1]FINALBaylee in THE FIRST TIME AGAIN: Alcoholic father; mother deceased.

Lesley in WHAT A RICH WOMAN WANTS: Father debilitated by stroke; not close to mother. (But both parents still alive and playing an active role in heroine’s life. Progress…)WhatARichWomanWants72sm

Jolie in NOBODY’S FOOL: A breakthrough! Her parents are alive, still married and not alcoholics. But she doesn’t trust her mother or confide in her, nor does she live near them.NobodysFool72sm

Annie in MISCONCEIVE: Close to father; difficult relationship with woman she thinks is her mother.

Indie pubbed
Indie pubbed
Indie pubbed
Indie pubbed

Amanda in SCATTERED MOMENTS:  Alcoholic father; mother deceased.

Melissa in NOT QUITE HEAVEN: Parents divorced, abandoned her, raised by aunt.nqh-thumbnail

Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing
Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing

Quinn in FANTASY MAN (2/16):  Mother deceased; raised by father and brother.

Cleo in CLEO’S WEB (11/16): Abandoned by father; raised by struggling mother.

Bree in (ANIMAL 4/17): Abandoned by parents; raised by grandparents.

I’ve mentioned before that in most of my books there’s a child who doesn’t belong and that child is a part of me. But what I also notice (look at the list above) is that there is never a strong mother figure for my heroines. The mothers have died, been unfit or untrustworthy. The fathers are either alcoholics or non-existent. The heroines are looking for love, of course, but also for someone they can trust who’s going to stick by them…forever.

In how many historical romance novels are the heroines orphans? Rich or poor, parents died young, leaving children to fend for themselves. Often there is an unscrupulous relative in charge of the child’s life.

In my career as an amateur psychologist I’ve always been fascinated by patterns. Nothing has fascinated me more than seeing authors’ life themes played out in their fiction.  Show me a happy family with little conflict and I’ll show you a writer with nothing to say. Dysfunction drives everything in fiction, especially internal conflict and motivation.​

A Daughter’s Reflections on Mother’s Day

    “Children are not things to be molded but rather people to be unfolded.”

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)I open the box of goodies my daughter has sent me for Mother’s Day and delight in the surprises she’s included. My attempts to cook after I’ve had a glass or two of wine are legendary in our family. She might be one of the few people who know that my go-to chocolate choice is the extra-large Hershey bar with almonds. There’s a tube of expensive mascara she knows I would never buy for myself. I look at the card she’s chosen and read what she’s written and I realize my daughter sends me the kind of Mother’s Day cards I wish I could have sent my mother.20150503_170645

In so many ways I never knew my mother. It seemed to me that she hid behind the façade of what she thought a good mother should be and thus she was never real to me. I’m not sure she thought her children were individual people who were separate from her. She tried so hard to make us into the perfect family she must have envisioned she would have. But we were human and we were far from perfect. What I remember most about my childhood is my mother’s disapproval. Perhaps it was disappointment masking as disapproval.

I was well into adulthood before I realized I was never going to get my mother’s approval, especially not if I let her see who I really was. Maybe she was afraid to let me see who she really was. It’s possible she didn’t know herself all that well. Or didn’t want to know. We didn’t live close to each other so I only attempted to be the daughter she would have liked me to be on the occasional weekend visit or during a phone call.

My mother would say, “I love you” to me. I’m sure she did and believed that she did, but it was never the kind of love I could feel. I’m not even sure she liked me very much. There was simply no relationship there. Eventually I gave up looking and hoping for one.

I dreaded visits to my parents’ home, but I wanted to see my dad. She resented the relationship he had built with me and my brothers. She couldn’t understand why we would talk to him for hours but have virtually nothing to say to her. I can’t speak for my brothers, but my mother didn’t know how to create a healthy relationship with me.

Every year at her birthday and Mother’s Day I struggled to find an appropriate card. I couldn’t buy the ones that said how supportive and loving she’d always been and how much I appreciated what a great mom she was. I couldn’t because it would be a lie. I’d have to search until I found one that said I hoped she had a wonderful day and got everything she wanted that would make her happy. Nothing too personal. Nothing I didn’t feel. I refused to let Hallmark say what wasn’t true. I read a lot of cards before I found one that conveyed what I didn’t feel.

Every day I thank God for my parents. Without my mother’s example I might never have known what I wanted for my own children. I might not have known the kind of mother I wanted to be and the kind of mother I wanted them to have. Because of her I know what I missed.

All those cards about love and support I couldn’t send to my mother? Those are the ones my daughter sends to me.2014-08-22 06.13.18

“I made a chocolate cake…”


Nobody’s Fool

The following is excerpted from the romantic comedy NOBODY’S FOOL by Barbara Meyers, released 1/6/15 from Samhain Publishing —

She heard her mother’s approach from the back door and wished with all her heart that she’d made it to her room before now. She’d rather her mother not know that she was upset, or that it had something to do with Court. From Sue-Ellen Kramer’s mouth to Becky Harrison’s ear. What would Becky say to Court? “Sue-Ellen told me Jolie was crying over you.”

Jolie gritted her teeth. No way would she give Court the satisfaction of knowing she was pining after him the way he had once pined after her. It was sickeningly ironic. What she’d wanted him to see was how great they could be together now that she was finally ready. Now that she was no longer afraid. She’d taken a chance and it had blown up in her face.

No. She didn’t care what Court said or how he behaved. He wanted her. He had wanted her last night. A man simply could not make love to a woman the way Court had if there wasn’t some deep emotion involved. She refused to believe it was possible.

Her tears had dried and a small knot of anger began to grow. If she wasn’t careful, pretty soon she’d be mad enough to spit.

“Jolie? Honey, what’s wrong?”

Jolie lifted her head and unintentionally glared at her. Her mother took a wary step back.

“What is it? What happened? Are you all right?”

Alarm covered her mother’s features and Jolie scaled her own back into a less frightening expression. She got up and wrapped her arms around her mom.

“What is it, baby?” Her mother stroked Jolie’s hair, just like she had when she’d been a little girl. It felt so good. So comforting. “Is it Court?”

Jolie nodded, afraid if she said anything, the tears would return.

“Want to tell me about it?” Sue-Ellen asked. “I made a chocolate cake earlier.”

“Do we have milk?” Jolie replied, her words muffled against her mother’s shoulder. It sounded ridiculous, but right now it felt like the most important question of the day.

“A whole gallon.” She could hear the smile in her mother’s voice and that almost made her smile in spite of everything.

Five minutes later Jolie felt like she was six years old again. Her mother had placed a square of chocolate-frosted chocolate cake in front of her along with a big glass of milk. At that age she’d believed all her problems could be solved with chocolate cake and milk.

Of course, how many real problems had she had back then? Jolie licked a dollop of frosting from her fork. “I feel like a kid again.”

“When things were much simpler?” her mother asked.

“I guess.” Jolie sighed. How had everything become such a mess? It all started when she’d told Court she’d loved him. Correction—last night when she’d told him she thought she was in love with him. Said what she meant, what she felt. Whoever said honesty was the best policy was dead wrong. All it ever did was create more problems.

“About Court…” her mother ventured.

“Mom, if I tell you what happened, can you promise not to tell Becky?”

“Sweetheart, she’s my best friend, and Court’s mother. Maybe she can help—”

“I don’t want her to know. I especially don’t want Court to know how upset I am. If you can’t do that, then let’s not even go there.”

She remembered when she’d stopped telling her mother things, had stopped confiding in her. It was the day she’d gotten her period for the first time and overheard her mother on the phone talking to Becky Harrison about it. That milestone had been personal and private as far as Jolie was concerned, not fodder for general consumption. And especially not Court Harrison’s mother!

That was when she realized her mother had been telling Becky her secrets for years. If Becky knew them all, then Court did as well.

She’d become more secretive after that, picking and choosing what she could tell her mother, never revealing her personal turmoil, never asking for advice or direction. She’d stopped being herself around her mother and then stopped being herself altogether. She told people what they wanted to hear, even her friends. If she kept her true self hidden no one could betray her trust.

Imagine if I’d told any of them that I liked Court in high school! She’d have been a laughingstock. Courtney Harrison? She could well imagine the incredulous reactions from her girlfriends at the time. The kid who edits the school newspaper? The equipment manager for the basketball team? The guy with enough hardware on his head to set off a metal detector? You’ve got to be kidding.

She’d buried her affection for Court so deep she’d forgotten it was even there. Now, when she’d found it again, he’d thrown it back at her. To make her pay for the hurt she’d caused him.


The Last Sarcoxie Day

10556496_10203511984774854_3627893454693989324_nBack in Sarcoxie I stop to visit Maxine once more.  I won’t see her again before I leave.  I wish I had the energy to go down to the square again.  I want more pictures.  I want to people watch and absorb the atmosphere.  I have ideas for blogs but I’m exhausted.

Sunday Steve and I go to 10:30 Mass and stop to visit Dad’s and Kevin’s graves afterward.  it’s a beautiful day.  Warm, sunny and breezy.  Of course it is.  I’m leaving later.

Lenore has made spaghetti for lunch and it’s delicious like everything that comes out of her kitchen.  My cousins and their wives are there.  Pat’s been in a car accident and has a broken vertabra and other injuries.  He’s in a plastic body brace that looks massively uncomfortable.  He’s recently started a new job and is concerned about how long his recovery will be.  Ron’s having job issues too and is currently farming full-time.  He indicates it doesn’t pay very well at the moment.  Joe’s just become a grandfather and there are baby pictures to see.  Hmm.  Another cousin with grandchildren.  I’m sensing a theme here.

Time zips by and I realize I need to get going.  I’ve got to finish packing and gas up the rental car.

For all my dread leading up to the annual sojourn to Sarcoxie, as I leave I realize very few things are as bad as you expect them to be.  I love seeing all the people I’m related to.  I’m honored that they take the time to arrange these gatherings.  My extended family is easy to love, easy to admire.  Seeing my mother continue to decline is the sad part, the part I dread.

While I’m talking abut my mother with Maxine I realize my mother left her support system behind when she left Sarcoxie.  She left her mother and her siblings.  Her in-laws.  Possibly even friends.  Familiar territory and people she knew she could count on.  She didn’t have a choice and she never wanted to leave.  Maybe that’s why she always wanted to come back.  It wasn’t the town of Sarcoxie itself.  It was what it represented to her.  It was home.  She never really felt comfortable anywhere else or around other people.

It’s only now that my mother is gone in so many ways that I think maybe I can understand her a little.  That’s enough of a reason for my annual Sarcoxie Days.

#mothers #hometowns

(Chief?) Sarcoxie Days

10645101_10203511988414945_5485431917587865473_nI’m back in Sarcoxie.  Again.  Ugh.  Chief Sarcoxie Days is a celebration, but of what?  Obesity?  Poverty?  Hopelessness?  Am I just used to everything new and bright and shiny so that here all I see is faded paint, burnt out lights and desperation?  Maybe the worn out carnival is a reflection of my mother’s worn out life.

Each day she grows a little sadder, less vivid, less alive.  Eventually she’ll fade away like the memory of a fall street fair on the square.

Yesterday at the home I was shocked by how much older Mom looked.  She “lost” her upper plate so her face is more sunken.  She’d put on pedal pushers under her dress.  At least her hair looked clean.  We walked her down to see “the birds” – caged finches.  Mom doesn’t get out of bed some days.  I’m sure she sees no reason.  She’s weak(er) because of it and I wonder if she’ll make it.  She does, my brother Steve on one side and me on the other holding her hands, my 94-year-old aunt walking on her own just fine behind us.

We’re meeting two other aunts at the Sirloin Stockade for lunch.  When Steve said we were taking Mom with us I said, “Why?” “Because she hardly ever goes anywhere.”  That’s because she doesn’t know where she is anyway or who she’s with.  But I demur.

It’s probably good for her to get out.  It’s a long walk in hot sun from our parking place to the restaurant door and then to the back table where the aunts are waiting.  Steve fixes Mom a plate – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans.  He cuts her meat.  She picks at the food but when he sets dessert in front of her she’s enthusiastic.  The little plate is picked clean in minutes.  I wonder if she has trouble eating due to her missing teeth.  Steve says, “Didn’t you see her chomp right through that cookie?”

We joke about Mom’s obsession with meal times but most of her senses are dulled.  Sight.  Hearing.  Cognitive ability.  All she’s got left are taste and touch.  And there are days, I’m sure, when no one touches her.  There should be an official hugger in her assisted living facility.  Steve says those people there are so damned lonely.  He talks to them when he and Mom sit in the lobby.  I think he’s performing a valuable function.

My mother was not a hugger.  Not particularly affectionate at all.  It was almost as if she was never comfortable in her own body.  She held herself apart.  But now I wish I could pick her up and hug her.  Hold her and soothe her and take care of her.  No one really takes care of her.  Her nails are longer than I’ve ever seen them.  She’s like a Lab, Steve tells me.  She won’t let anyone touch them.

I wonder what her toe nails look like.  Has anyone trimmed them?  She’s always wearing shoes and socks.  Even in bed.  No one’s seen her feet in years.  Steve says, “I’m not touching them.”  My aunt doesn’t seem too interested.  Tough toenails, I guess.

When we arrived to see Mom, she greeted Steve and Maxine like she knew them.  Maxine says, “Do you know who this is?  This is Barbara.”  Mom looks at me, puzzled and possibly pleased and says, “Oh.  My daughter?”

That is the most recognition I’m likely to get from her.  Undeniably I am her daughter with all that entails.

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#Sarcoxie #mothers #loneliness


Barbs_Book_Front As usual, it has taken me forever to make a book available to my legions of fans. Thank you for your patience.
Writing and publishing are not only still in the experimental stages as far as my career goes, they are a mystery to me. This time I am trying the Amazon KDP Select program which gives Amazon exclusive rights to offer the digital version of the book for 90 days. I can’t offer it in print, just yet, and it won’t be available anywhere else. It’s priced at $2.49, but that’s subject to change on Amazon’s whim. When you’ve got nothing to lose, it’s easy to take a risk.
MISCONCEIVE started out as a short story I wrote for a creative writing class a very, very long time ago. It evolved over time into the novel I’m making available which basically asks the question, “What would you do if your husband was in a coma and you got pregnant by another man?”
Along the way many “misconceptions” are revealed to the heroine Annie Langdon. Those closest to her are not who she thinks they are. Maybe she’s not the woman she thinks she is either.
The couple of readers who read the draft loved it. Writers and editors? Not so much. Not that I’m deterred. I am reminded of an author saying, “Editors look for what’s wrong in a book. Readers look for what’s right.” I love that quote. I have a lot of faith in readers.
MISCONCEIVE may not be perfect. It tells a story of a woman’s journey, her relationship with her mother, her children and the men who love her. As a young mother myself at one time I was fascinated by the dilemma I’d created in MISCONCEIVE. As someone who had a less than ideal relationship with her own mother, I took Annie’s situation with her mother to the extreme.
When you’re in the creative process of writing you don’t always know where you’re going. You follow a thread and hope it leads somewhere. There’s a grain of an idea and maybe part of what you’re doing is working out your own pain and anger and letting it spill onto the page.
MISCONCEIVE’s cover was designed by the very talented Brandon Buchanan (Snippets Press).
MISCONCEIVE is a PG-13 read. No violence, profanity or graphic love scenes.
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ajtillock2013 012Follow my infrequent posts on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock
You can find my Braddock Brotherhood series at Samhain Publishing.
Happy reading!