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Please note that I am in the process of releasing several titles, as follows:
The Red Sun Umbrella - Available on Amazon
A short story. Filled with words of wisdom and passages to reflect upon, "The Red Sun Umbrella" is excellent reading for middle-school children as well as adults who wish to nurture their own inner child's heart. Aimed toward blended families, foster care and adoptions, join the Red Sun Umbrella as he searches for a sense of belonging.
The Path Back to You: Healing Childhood Pain
The Healing Listener: The Transformative Power of Listening
Finding Hope: Reflections, Poems and Prayers During Difficult Times
Healing Your Relationship: Seven Acts of Courage
LIFE IN THE LOST AND FOUND
© BARBARA LANE, LLC
All rights reserved. No part of the text included her may be shared, copied or transmitted in any form without the express consent of the author
She was buried in St. Louis in the winter of 1992 beneath a slate gray sky, that dark complexion typical of unforgiving winters in the Midwest. The tall sycamore trees lining the streets of St. Louis were etched in white from the sleet, leaving the branches no choice but to bow under their heaviness. An inch or more of ice covered the ground, making the walk to the gravesite a deliberate careful act, one we were not sure we could have taken. In hindsight, the scene at the cemetery told the truest story of all; a story that left me as cold as the sleet that was hitting my face.
I was inconsolable at her funeral. Leonarda’s mothering had been exploitive and parasitic, yet she had been my primary mother figure from the age of three until her death, thirty-eight years later. At her passing, I had no comprehension that my tears were not shed for her, but rather for the loss I had experienced over the course of my life. I didn’t know at the time that Leonarda’s death carried with it such an impact, but at her burial, the barred doors of my mind were thrust open, and a wave of truth rushed in. I was sure I would drown in its threatening force, much as the ominous tidal waves threatened my life in the recurrent nightmares I had throughout my childhood.
She was born from angel wings and a heavenly chorus; a gift to the world, the same to be delivered to humankind, although unknown at the moment of her heart’s first earthly breath—and they named her Hope.
Faith was her friend, walking next to her as she grew in it, unwavering in her belief that God was but Good, no shadow to be found, only the light of truth seeded in the Word.
Yet the darkness came, sowing seeds of despair, division and depression—Love—lost in its wake, missing the golden link.
Oh , Golden Hope, lost in the distraction.
Look into your heart, she whispers to me; For therein you will find, A gift from the angelic realm;
A gift from the Divine.
And upon your quest it will be known
To you and humankind
That Hope is grown within the heart
And lives within God’s mind.
The gift of Hope you find within-The golden missing link?Is found along with Faith and Love—in God’s indelible ink.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Some think that old things have no value, such as the old house I have become. My beams are rotten and my foundation in need of repair. I am an eye sore—a building that should be knocked down to make room for a new and improved structure—one with modern architecture and style that would compliment the revitalization of the neighborhood. At least that's what some think.
My value cannot easily be seen by the passer-by. Few know or care to hear of the stories I can tell--of the warm summer breezes that swept through my porch, nor of the rain and hail that bounced off my tin roof.
There are treasures to be found inside my walls, memories of births —the wailing of soon-to-be mothers and the first cry of their newborn babies—then the joyous celebration.
And of the deaths, the long last years of waiting, sometimes patiently, sometimes not, for death to relieve suffering.
No one knows these stories but me.
If you care, grab them now. The tales that build your foundation as well. The stories that strengthen your walls. The history of your life.
Grab them as I, as well, wait out my long last years.
I once met a woman, let’s call her Polly, who, while in her 90s, was as astute as any college professor I might have known, even though she was not formally educated. She stood upright, straight as an arrow, still maintaining the strength her body needed to do so. Her hair, grey with a hint of the dark brown it used to be, was held up in a bun; the kind you would envision a woman wearing during the late 19th century. She unabashedly wore a pink flowered cotton house dress and brown leather tie shoes with white cotton socks.
To me, there was something mysterious about her. She was proud, unafraid of displaying her magnificence to those who cared to see; and, she didn’t care if you saw it or not.
How could anyone not see it?
I asked myself, for there was a depth of wisdom to be found within this woman’s brown eyes as they peered out from beneath her drooping eye lids, a wisdom readily available for the sharing to those who were inclined to see it.
“What’s your secret?” I asked her, “to your longevity and your health?”
“I pull weeds,”
“Think about it.”
I did think about it and found that "pulling weeds" applied to more than gardening.
Pull the weeds from your life, and watch it bloom is what I concluded and took her words of wisdom and stowed them away in my heart.
Is this the first virus I’ve lived through, MiMi? I look down at Grace and hold back my tears. Such an innocent question at the age of six, but one that speaks the truth in her heart—one of not liking the virus and hoping that her magical MiMi could make it go away.
It’s the first one, I reply, and hopefully the only one you will ever live through. She nods her head, assuring me she heard my words—the only one. Dear God, protect her.
I feel my heart ache—truly break, not for me, but for her, and the children and grandchildren who are innocent and want to play on the swings and slides and swim in the pool as they have in times past; and race to the moon and back and to the moon again.
Will I ever go back to school and see my friends? She probes again. A simple question but one asked with the belief that I would never lie to her, could reassure her, and yes, make things different than they are.
Let’s write a book about your friends, and how you miss them, I reply, aware that I don’t really know the answer to her question; a book that you can share with them when the virus is over.
Words are magical, Grace, I continue, as are prayers.
a longing to flow in life's rhythm, its rhyme-a tempo which fuels a heart's pounding,
for living seeks waves. a constant flow of comfort,
though lost in the space between the fall and the landing.
naivete doth smite the minds of those who dared
not see the invisible, odorless, tasteless beast that crept
across the sea until too late!
and so forlorn the bite was deep and strong and took by death the
innocent; grieve now for they are gone!
oh gentle passing of days and ease of slumber found in the quiet of the night; sweet sounds
of sleep-flowing rhythm and rhyme. Her babe, how plummet the font of life?
come back my life, my wife, my mother, this world I do not know! deep-rooted
still the beast sleeps not, more death
doth it now sough taking life or taking freedom, a choice
that ends not well, and then our days and our nights trudge a pathway straight to-
there was a time, I tell her as she sits upon my knee, when things were
less than normal, not new. earth, sky and water befriending.
humanity! humanity! what learns ye from this scourge-the feeble
now deep in the dirt while the well can still emerge? a sacrifice?
to appease the beast? the weak, so they do die! tell stories of their bravery,
or would you seek to-
don't go out! but she must, lost in the numbers, her arms reaching to the sky. the warmth of the sun
and the cooling of the breeze caressing her body, as a last love, hot and cold, salt air settling upon her lips.
hearing the rhythm and rhyme of the sea as it sings in chorus, wave by wave, its goodbye.
and taking all that She doth need, Our Mother-Nature, Earth-
to clear Her air and blue Her skies to manifest
Her worth and waterways,
replinishing the life that breaths the sea-Dear Mother Beast,
are you rebirthing all that we took from thee?
naivete! naivete! wake up!
ryhthm and rhyme lost. between the fall and the landing, not found but sought. oblivious
to rebirth's pain. the beating pulse in ears, the music of words, and the matriarch of life!