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12 December 2006


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Mary Scriver

An ICU nurse in Oregon called today to say that my brother is in the hospital there with a massive heart attack. This is the first Christmas in several years that we've known where he was. He'd been living in his truck, defiant as only a brain-damaged street person can be. This is almost exactly the fortieth anniversary of our father's death and my brother is about the same age my father was when he died. I'm not afraid of death. I said, "I would defend putting "no code" on his chart."

My other brother said, "How dare you? How do you know what he wants? I won't take responsibility for this. Did you ask them to put this on his chart? Did you ask them to kill him?"

I wish I could be empty. I'm swirling with memories, with training, with ideas and theologies, with alternatives... on and on.

I do very little with Christmas anymore. It's solstice that speaks to me. My rich friend has sent me a box of big fat pears. I wish you were close enough for me to share them with you.

Prairie Mary



sharon ryals tamm


My boat struck something deep ;
nothing happened
Waves, water, silence
Nothing happened ?
Perhaps everything has happened
and I'm standing in the middle
of my new life

Poem by Juan Ramon Jiminez (Spanish 1881-1958)

Am going into this Solstice season preparing for shoulder surgery, morning the passing of my mother like a child, as if her body had not eclipsed her being for 27 years and still it was her being that was recognizable nova bright so that when I saw her frozen body claimed by disease as if it had won, I declared, "Wow, she really isn't there. This is not my mother!" It is so obvious yet I didn't know it until that moment that what we recognize is the dynamic being, not the box it comes in. I had been afraid that with all the intimate care I'd done for her these past few years that I would be so attached to her body that it would hurt me. But it really was an empty shell no more shocking than a beach find discarded by the one who'd used it. She had squeezed every breath out that she could and savored every tiny moment she wanted then she took her magic pony, Rocky Roads, and galloped away.

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