Raised on the Southern Oregon Coast, now retired on the Southern Oregon Coast. I was a hard of hearing child who grew up to be a deafened adult. I share and write about deafness, hearing loss and other things I find interesting. I am a 50 something year old woman who could be anyone's mother, grandmother or friend. I've traveled the U.S., and I've lived in Europe. I'm currently residing near the beach with Fabulous Husband and 11 year old son. ~ Joyce Edmiston
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin
Here is a delightful signed and captioned account of "The Night Before Christmas" posted by Sheena McFeely.. Isn't she adorable? Be sure to check the second video for "9 Reasons This Little Girl's ASL Version is so Great" at the bottom of this post!
Last week, Daughter and I felt the two of us needed to do something by way of celebrating my mother and bringing closure to her life with us on this earth before I left to go back to Pennsylvania. Mom, Daughter and I were a trio of women spanning three generations who are more than daughters, mothers, and grandmothers ....we were blessed to have our familial relationships develop into friendships. My mother was my closest and best friend.
"We should write letters to Grandma, tie them to balloons and release them," Daughter said as we discussed what we wanted to do.
I loved the idea of writing a goodbye letter, but I thought putting our letters together into a bottle with a cork and releasing it into the ocean was just as nice. Daughter loved the suggestion. It took a few minutes to decide exactly from where we wanted to send off the bottle, Sunset Beach, Shore Acres, Horsefall or Bastendorf. After running through the list, we settled instead on the rocky banks of Coos Bay near Mom's home, not far from where she liked to take walks.
There were two criteria for what we wanted regarding the kind of bottle to carry our love letters to Mom. It needed to have a cork, and the glass was to be green. My mother was known for collecting green glass.
We settled on this bottle:
Our letters were written on the last day of my stay in Oregon. While most Coos Bay and North Bend residents were making their way out to Shore Acres for the holiday lights display featured each year at Christmastime, Daughter and I were standing on the banks of Coos Bay deciding which of us was going to toss the bottle out into its depths in hopes of catching a current out to sea. It really didn't matter who was going to do this, but we had to figure a way to decide who it should be.
The shadows were quickly deepening along the shore. We could tell we didn't have much time before the sun would be set for the night. The tide was slowly moving out. Turning to Daughter, I asked, "Do we have any last words?"
Daughter shook her head, "No. I think we said everything in our letters."
Poised on the shore, taking a deep breath, I tossed our hearts into the bay.
The bottle landed quite a few feet away. It bobbed a few times, then started drifting towards the currents that weave around the bend of the bay. Standing solemnly with tears brimming my eyes, I watched the vessel drift further away with our last loving words to my mother.
Suddenly, a tug boat came into view pulling a huge barge. Really? Right now? I threw my arms up in the air and started laughing. I turned toward my daughter who was also laughing and we began to speculate the fate of the bottle.
We were certain it was going to be brought back to shore in the wake of the waves created by the barge and tugboat after they went by, but to our delighted astonishment, the bottle surfed over the top of each wave and continued to move outward and seaward, albeit slowly.
Satisfied with our mail being successfully sent off, Daughter and I turn away from the shoreline as a bottle of love floats out to sea.
The bottle is the speck almost at the very center of this photo, a bit to the left.
Last night, I was asking my friend how her mom is doing. She told me she isn't doing well. I was so sad to learn this. Her mother is under excellent care while at John Hopkins, but they have done everything they could for her. They don't give her much time.
Elizabeth went on to say how this was good in one way, because they know what to expect and they have this time together.
I responded to Elizabeth that that is much better than having something like this happen unexpectedly.
This morning, my husband called Rickie at ReikiSpace and told her he was coming to meet me there shortly and to wait for him. I had just finished a session with a client.
When I checked my phone, I saw that my daughter had called while I was in the session. Usually she texts, knowing that I can't hear. I called her back using the relay. She asked if Fabulous Husband had talked to me yet. I told her, "No", and she said that he would tell me when he got there. She just couldn't talk right now.
I mentioned to Rickie that something was up, something wasn't quite right.
When Fabulous Husband arrived, I could tell by looking at him that something serious had happened. We went into the Dragonfly Room and he held me and told me my mom had died.
I wasn't ready for this. This was so unexpected. I'm so thankful I wasn't alone. I am so grateful for this man I married. He had to make some phone calls and handle hard conversations.
I'm also grateful for the arms of a kind, gentle sweet friend. Rickie was so comforting with her support and kind words.
I drove home on a cloudless sunny day as if looking through a windshield covered with raindrops, only it wasn't raindrops. It was tears welling up in my eyes and splling down my face for twenty two miles.
I'm not sure which point of the journey I was hit with the instant replay of the conversation I had last night with Elizabeth. It played over and over in my mind all the way home. I told my Uncle Ricky about my conversation with Elizabeth last night and how suddenly this happened today. His response caught me off guard.
"Someone was preparing you for this".
I decided to tell him what happened earlier this evening. Most people don't know that my parents had a little girl who died of cystic fibrosis when she was 4 years old, a few years before I was born. Her name was Mary Marlene, but everyone called her "Marlene". This was almost 60 years ago.
I was adopted a few years later. My mom often talked about Marlene and shared stories about her. Though she lived a short life, my mom kept her memory alive.
I use my Iphone mostly for texting, and I seldom use it for phone calls. I use a relay, and call my mom mostly, and Fabulous Husband. My daughter and I prefer texting. Not many people have my "actual" phone number. The number I give out is a relay number.
Tonight, while waiting for my cousin to call, the phone rang. It wasn't my cousin's number, and it was from a number I've never seen before. I answered saying, "Just a moment, please". I handed it to my husband who answered it and told them they had the wrong number.
I asked him who called. "I don't know. It was a wrong number."
After I moment, I asked, "Who were they calling."
"It was a wrong number. They were asking for someone named Marlene".
....... Oh..... My..... Word.... "That was my sister's name!"
When I told Uncle Ricky about this, he said, "That was your mom sending you a message. She is with Marlene now. You know where she is. Your mother was an angel while she was on this earth. She is an angel in heaven now."
I have heard stories about loved ones sending "one last message" for the people they were leaving behind. What a tremendous gift to receive!
My mom was letting us know she is safe, we need not worry for her. We know she is happy to be with her other little girl, the one she had lost so many years ago.
While her soul has returned to God her maker, I know that one day, when I cross that great divide, my mom will be waiting for me, just like Marlene was waiting for her.
Lauren of CCAC posted this "Words to Live By" on FB this week. This excellent short about language is from Ireland. I like what the gentleman said about how it is the importance of "intention" behind what people say. There are very good and valid points made in this piece. Captioned.