Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Heartache Can Wait (Brandi Carlile)

I really don't know how I've managed to go three weeks without a blog post - chalk it up to a combination of busy... and sad... and the Christmas season. I miss recording my thoughts - I have vowed to do better in 2010... :-)

Some of you will receive a printed copy of the following enclosed in our holiday cards, which have only just been mailed out from my sister's home in Cumming, Georgia - it's been a whirlwind but most amazing trip already, and I hope to write more about it in the next day or so...

In the meantime, early on this Christmas Eve morning, please accept my sincere wishes for a holiday that is warm, blessed and loving - I am grateful for everything that has come my way, the good and the bad, from which I have learned and grown... and for the support and patience of friends and family as I continue to stumble through this first year without my mother...


Constance Elaine Izzo Driskell Maresco – September 9, 1930-July 19, 2009

"The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive - perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine." ~ Mignon McLaughlin

How does one put a life-changing summer into words? - everyone receiving this knows that mom had been ill for the last few years... with kidney disease and pulmonary fibrosis, both progressive and irreversible illnesses. Most of you also know that my initially-intended two-week visit to Flowery Branch in mid-May segued into my becoming primary caregiver for Mom until her passing mid-July – some of you realize the import of those two months, as we circled the wagons as well as widened the circle. A select handful involved considered it an honor and a blessing to help mom on her journey and to aid in her transition – she handled everything with her usual grace, style and humor... preparing not only her financial and legal affairs, but readying us for her expected yet hard-hitting absence...

Upon the advice of friends, we set up a CaringBridge website in late-May, when we brought in home hospice – it was not only cathartic for Mari and I to track the details of mom's days, medically and emotionally, but it proved to be a multi-dimensional way for her loved ones to stay informed as well as to respond. You can visit the link below and click on Journal to view what Mari and I wrote along the way... and click on Guestbook to share others' musings (which we read aloud to mom every day) – it actually brings me peace and comfort to re-visit periodically... and it takes me right back to CSI: Miami and Happy Hour and nebulizers, oh my (weak smile... :-)

"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Mom herself could have written the above quote... because she most certainly did live her life that way – she made every single minute count. She was generous, kind, bright, funny, vivacious, spiritual... and she left an immeasurable legacy to her children (me, Mari and Brad), her grandchildren (Sarah, Robby, Eric and Julia) and everyone in her path, whether relatives by blood or marriage, life-long friends or brief acquaintances. She embraced her final months with dignity, courage and faith - her light continues to burn and set an example for the rest of us...

This holiday is most certainly bittersweet, as we head out in just a few hours on our annual family trip to South Carolina and Georgia – there will be so many triggers of grief, but there will be equal sparks of memory. We will uphold previous traditions and make new ones - Mom's spirit will give us the strength and the serenity to navigate this first major holiday without her. WWCD (What Would Connie Do) has become our new mantra (good one, Mari!) - words to live by... literally...

The Moss Family (Sue, Chico, Sarah, Rob and Eric)

The Heartache Can Wait by Brandi Carlile

Getting in the Christmas Spirit: A Gift of Inspiration for the Holiday Season by Tian Dayton

POEM: An Old Man Performs Alchemy on His Doorstep at Christmastime by Anna George

Cream of Tartar, commonly used to lift meringue and
angel food cake, is actually made from crystallized fine wine.

After they stopped singing for him,

the carolers became transparent in the dark,

and he stepped into their emptiness to say

he lost his wife last week, please

sing again. Their voices filled with gold.

Last week, his fedora nodded hello to me

on the sidewalk, and the fragile breath

of kindness that passed between us

made something sweet of a morning

that had frightened me for no earthly reason.

Surely, you know this by another name:

the mysteries we intake, exhale, could be

sitting on our shelves, left on the bus seat

beside us. Don't wash your hands.

You fingered them at the supermarket,

gave them to the cashier; intoxicated tonight,

she'll sing in the streets. Think of the old man.

Who knew he kept the secret of levitation,

transference, and lightness filling a winter night?

— an effortless, crystalline powder

That could almost seem transfigured from loss.

“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily.” ~ Adabella Radici


  1. Glad you arrived safely...Merry Christmas to you & your brood...can't wait to see you in 2010. Love & Support, Kate (in wellyworld)

  2. Hey, Kate ~

    Thanks for checking in - Merry Christmas back at you... and I do look forward to more frequent get-togethers in this New Year... :-)

  3. Wow...I just randomly came across your blog. My mother died the day after Thanksgiving after her leukemia relapsed. Brandi Carlile's music has kind of been the soundtrack to my own journey through my mother's intial hospitalization, recovery, relapse, remission and then caretaking through her death.

    The holidays were hard hard hard this I empathize and feel for you.

    I hope 2010 bring much healing for us!

  4. Hey, Adrienne ~

    Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in and comment - I'm very sorry to hear of your mom's recent passing. We've had almost six months for the reality to sink in - your pain is still very fresh...

    I make a holiday mix CD each year to gift to family and friends, and this song came to me after last year's was finished... so I saved it for 2009 - it really hit me in the heart. I am not familiar with anything else in her repertoire - can you recommend a CD to start with?

    Yes, a very good wish/hope for 2010 - keep me posted as you continue on your journey of healing (I care... <3)