Flour at my Door


My friend, Linda, and I put together a shopping list on the morning after we arrived at our condo.  It’s our yearly pilgrimage to Navarre Florida, where we write, critique each other’s drafts, soak in the beauty of our favorite place on earth and do a thorough catch up on the year past.

We have our menu and our groceries down to a science after years of practice.  This year I told her I’d make biscuits and gravy, so we added a can of  Grands refrigerated biscuits, milk and some Jimmy Dean sausage to the list. The grocery store is only a few minutes away, but we like to veg out if we feel like it. That means minimizing our trips across the bridge to get supplies. There is a Tom Thumb convenience store on the island for emergency needs, but even that requires us to change out of our swim suits or pj’s (the proper dress code for our vacations.)

We schlepped our bags up to the sixteenth floor and started putting our groceries away. I realized, we had no flour. Blast, that meant a trip to Tom Thumb’s before breakfast the next day.

That morning, we decided we’d settle for toast and coffee so we could get down to the beach first thing.  While we were organizing for the day, someone knocked on our door and Linda looked at me across the room. “Who could that be?”

I shrugged and watched while she answered the door.

“Oh gosh, I’m sorry, I thought this unit was empty.”

“That’s okay. Did you need something?”

“I was just going to borrow some salt for my hamburger.” She was one of the ladies from maintenance sweeping the breezeway.

“Here’s some salt, help yourself.” Linda said.

“Thank you so much.”

“No problem.”

“Do you know where we could get just a small amount of flour? We need less than a half cup.” I explained our dilemma.

“Sure, I know a really nice lady who lives here year round. I’ll be right back.”

Her second knock brought a cup of flour right to our door. I suppose you could call that luck, or coincidence or whatever you want. I think of it as a tiny hidden treasure along the path, a blessing on the journey.






Blessings Make the Impossible Possible

RozMy mother-in-law, Roz,  came to live in Kansas City five months ago.  We set her up in a lovely assisted living residence. Soon it became apparent she would need more care. Her dementia began a rapid decline and our plans evaporated. She required Memory Care Skilled Nursing.

January 2, 2016, Roz passed away. Caring for her with Doug’s chronic health issues and my need for a hip replacement was complicated. We weren’t able to give her the time and attention she deserved. Watching her decline and preparing ourselves for her death seemed impossible.  The last few weeks were heartbreaking. Extenuating circumstances left me to visit her alone much of the time.

There were many small blessings along the way, including concerned friends and family, but the ones that made this impossible time of life possible for us to move through were her caregivers. Caris Hospice was present for us at all times. The level of loving care that the nurses, aide and chaplain administered to Roz and to us was unexpected.  They were professional and competent, but that was the least of their gifts. They all offered us as much time and attention as we needed. In this world where visits with family and friends are rarely spontaneous and open-ended,  the hospice staff acted as though we were their only purpose in life. Constantly they invited, “If you need anything, call or text any time. We’re here for you.”

Their strength, kind words and presence helped me visit when it was very difficult to see Roz as she became unable to eat or drink, losing weight and strength daily. Their tender care with constant awareness to treating Roz with dignity and gentleness awed me. They made being a part of this impossible process possible for me.

After it was over, and it still seems surreal, I wrote this poem.

Empty Room

The room where she died is empty.
Maintenance will ready it for a new resident.

The last of her possessions rest in our garage.
To be sorted and picked through.

A few boxes, sparse sticks of furniture
pictures and books – all that’s left of a lifetime.

Relatives take what they want.
The rest donated to benefit strangers.

What’s the point to life without memories.