Making Peace with the New Normal

It rained last night, and the birds are singing lazily from atop their dewy perches. In a rare moment, all factors are working in harmony to create a needed respite. Mom, who has had a couple of really bad days is blessedly sleeping in, Molly has been out, the coffee is hot, and my magical red mug is clean for the occasion.

Some may scoff at the notion of the spiritual properties of pottery, yet from the moment it entered my hand, this cup became the comforting hug of friends, proof of an ‘afterlife’, and an anchor to my faith. It’s red maple leaf proclaims proudly a deep truth. Tim Hortons. Always Fresh. Always Home. Although the actual Tim’s coffee is long-gone, it is evidence of a now invisible life that sustains me in the darkest moments.

Two months ago, mom and I received and invitation to Sudbury, Ontario where I lived for many years, for a First Nations community celebration honoring a much-loved friend. After much discussion, mom decided she would like to take the opportunity for one last road trip together. The day her brand new passport arrived mom became excited by the prospect of an adventure, and we spent hours considering numerous modifications to support a slower pace of travel with increased comfort. We planned to document the trip and share it with you.

We were both excited when the hotel was booked, and spent a good deal of time reminiscing about our experiences driving across the country together when she was 70. She joked about how her friends at the time, thought it was far too dangerous, and went so far as to tell her she was crazy for taking such a chance. She figured, since many of those same friends are now gone, there would be less ‘flack’ about the prospect of doing something so outrageous at 90.

This past week, mom’s breathing and dizziness issues progressed to the point that the insistence of medical intervention was a card that had to be played. I won’t bore you with the details of our day spent in the hospital ER, suffice to say that visiting nurses are in place, a cardio-care monitoring machine is now part of our daily routine, and a new medication has been added. The VNA have initiated a referral to hospice so that Comfort Care Orders will assist my mom in her desire to remain at home.

At this point, it is a pretty sure bet that our trip will not occur. I am sad about the prospect of missing a chance to honor an incredible leader and friend. Yet this sadness pales in comparison to the pain of realizing that losing my mom, which seemed so far in the distant future is now happening in increments that have sped up dramatically.

Pain management is tricky at this point, as is being the only person so far assisting with her physical care, which is increasing exponentially.   It is difficult to see her struggling to breathe in the mornings, and harder to try nightly only to fail, at making her comfortable when she is in pain.

In a few weeks additional supports will be in place. In the meantime, we both treasure the precious rare moments of comfort and grace. My friend Ann sent an email the other day. “Love and light surround you both. We all walk with you.” I feel you all dear readers and appreciate the reassurance of your company along the way.



"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 bakka2thesource a collaboration of musicians and artists.
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18 Responses to Making Peace with the New Normal

  1. Peggy says:

    You might recall that years ago, I wrote an essay about the magical qualities of pottery. It is called “Experience the Magic”. Something that has held me in my profession for years – I will always be healed by the feel of wet clay spinning in my hands. Lovely to hear that your red cup offers comfort.
    I wish Marsha peace and comfort and lots and lots of love.

  2. Amy Lapetina says:

    You are so loving and kind, Beth. You couldn’t have given your mom a better gift than to be by her side. xxxxxx

  3. Ann Russell says:


  4. Sylvie says:

    We are with you Beth…

  5. Ronald says:

    Stay strong Beth. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mother.

  6. Shawna says:

    watching changes in increments…is like seeing both sides of the coin simultaneously….not for the faint of heart… i’m wondering if you will write more about the anchor and spiritual properties of pottery…i’d like to hear more…wish i was there today wathing the ball bounce in the rapids…s

  7. Pamela Janz says:

    Hey Bethy…Sorry havent been spending time on computers for quite a while…..Im sorry to hear that things with Marcia are changing so quickly….I cant even imagine how you are coping but you sound strong and clear and are so beautifully expressing how it feels to you…Once again Im aware at how quickly time is passing and thinking how Ive been wanting to come for a visit for the past few years but just havent been able to…for many reasons…But I am thinking about all of you….and please say hello to Marcia….sending lots of love and prayers for continued strength….Its an amazing service to be able to support your mom through this hugely significantly important time….Lots of love Beth

    • I know that no matter where you are and when I see you we are connected in all ways. I think of you all often and wonder how you are. How are your folks doing? I have such fond memories of happy times spent with you over the years. Thanks for taking time to comment. We feel the love, and appreciate every prayer and kindness. Blessings to you Pammy.

  8. Deborah says:

    One day at a time. And some days: one breath at a time. Thinking of you, dear friend. Deborah

  9. frangipani says:

    I hope your mom is better. This story reminds me how we never know when we run out of time. Hence, we must balance long term preparedness e.g. “study hard for the future”, “save for a rainy day”, with what’s most important to us here and now.

    • Thanks so much for this, you are soooo wise. It was rather shocking, now that I have my head around it as much as I can for the right now it is possible to be MORE in the moment. The palliative care SW’r was very helpful and is going to focus on pain, breathing, and sleeping, so this should be a huge help. Great to be getting to know each other through our writing. hope you have a good weekend. Beth

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