Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Two Months Later....

... and I'm still missing my Mama so very much.

I'd give anything to feel her cheek against mine again. I didn't snuggle with her nearly enough while I could.

"If tears could build a stairway
And memories were a lane,
I could walk right up to Heaven
And be with you again."

Blowing kisses to you, Mama....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Moment in Time

Several years ago, I paid a friend to design a book cover for my poems, in the hopes that someday I would have them published. Lately I've been encouraged (mostly by you!) to compile my blog posts into a book. I think I may do just that, sometime. I might even use a version of this cover for that book. Also, here's one of the poems I wrote over six years ago. Keep in mind, it was done a long time ago and I know it is not perfect. I'm always a work in progress.
A Moment in Time
by Darlene Womack

The vision unfolds; I know it so well.
Ever fleeting, yet everlasting, as I attempt to tell
If it really is me, coursing nearer to my Home.
A Host of Friends encourage; I am never alone.

Time after time, it appears to be
That work and adversity are all I can see.
Then impressions of Eternity come into my view
To remind me these moments will be but a few.
Press on! I must! More determined, becoming stronger.
To fall behind now will only make the journey seem longer.
Keep going! Don’t stop! ‘Be not afraid.’
This moment in time is for what you were made.

When the day is harsh and seems unfair
I reach for my Friend; I know He is there.
The Love of the Savior fills me within,
And I know that life’s battles, surely I’ll win.
With my Goal back in sight, renewed Hope touches my soul,
Gently healing my heart, and once again, I am whole.
Inspired by Personal Trials and Triumphs
February 2004
We'll see what happens....

Friday, June 11, 2010

"The Art of Healing"

This afternoon a friend of mine left a bag hanging on my back door knob. Inside the bag was a beautiful head of home grown cabbage from her garden. That thing had to weigh ten pounds, at least! Daddy usually has a big cabbage or two for me, but not this year. My friend stepped in and took care of it, though. She thought of me and took the time to deliver it right to my door. I couldn't help but grin at my plan to make enough of my Mama's recipe for Marinated Slaw to share with her. She's gonna love it!

Doing nice things for others makes me feel wonderfully alive. It makes me smile from the inside out. (I can't imagine what it will be like when I am no longer able to go and do....) When others take the time to think of me and my family, it also makes me feel loved, like delivering a big fat cabbage -- just because!

A memorable lesson from my Mama was to look around you and notice that there is always someone having a harder time of it. It's true. As I sit and type, I can think of so many of my friends who are struggling with the loss of a child, unemployment, a sick baby in the hospital, home foreclosures, repossessed transportation, devastating illnesses, loneliness that comes from bodies aging faster than the mind can comprehend, and on and on and on.

Marjorie Hinckley once said, "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Just think about that for a minute or so.....

There are healing qualities in service that extend to the giver and the receiver. When I can look outward as I'm hurting, and offer an act of kindness, I forget or let go of some of the pain, even if only for a little while. It doesn't have to be anything huge. The acts of service I remember the most have been those given in small increments, and come at the best possible times, when they have been truly needed, and offered with a genuine interest in my well-being.

A past leader of our Church wrote: "Almost anyone can inflict a wound. It may be made by a word, a slight, or by general conduct. But the healing of a wound is an art not acquired by practice alone, but by the loving tenderness that comes from universal good will and a sympathetic interest in the welfare and happiness of others. If people were always as ready to administer kindness as they are indifferent to the pain of others—if they were as patient to heal as they are quick to wound—many an unkind word would never be spoken, many a slight would be avoided. The art of healing is really one of the highest qualities and attributes of man; it is a characteristic of a great and noble soul; the sure indication of generous impulse." --- Joseph F. Smith

I borrowed a phrase from someone a long time ago that goes like this: "Hands are for helping, not for hurting." I've learned from past experiences that wounds leave scars; helping avoids them.

I sure hope I live long enough to develop the "characteristic of a great and noble soul" that comes from learning and using "the art of healing," every day of my life.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Yesterday was a difficult day. First of all, I was supposed to have had Will all lined up to stay at home and in the shop so I could go down to my father's house and help my sister go through my mother's things and donate what we couldn't keep. My sister-in-law was also there to help us, which was a really great thing; my mother apparently kept everything, so there was much to sort through.

Will ended up going with me, which made for an extra long and boring day for him. He basically sat in one spot on the couch in the living room for about seven hours, except for the two trips he made to use the restroom. He entertained Daddy with several games of Henry (a battery powered light up matching game) and attempted to show him how to play BopIt. All that may have taken about forty-five minutes, max. Lunch for Will lasted another hour to hour and a half. The rest of the time he just sat, and sat.

I arrived (with Will in tow) about three hours after my sister did. She and my sis-in-law had already gotten a good start, so I jumped on in and began folding and boxing up Mama's clothes. The first thing I picked up was one of Mama's flannel nightgowns. I wrapped my arms around it as if somehow I might make her appear inside if I squeezed hard enough. I pressed it against my face and just couldn't get enough of the feel and the scent of her all around me. I buried my face in that nightgown and cried for my Mama. I dried my tears with it, folded it up and placed it with my purse to bring home.

There were headbands, combs and brushes with Mama's hair still in them. There was a half-eaten piece of peppermint sticking out of the wrapper on the night stand at her side of the bed. Mama always kept peppermints with her to pop in her mouth when her throat got dry and she started to cough. They were soothing to her, so she was never without them.

As I was going through the drawers in Mama's dresser, I found 26 pretty little handkerchiefs, some still in the original packaging. She always kept a lot of those on hand to give as gifts. She had given me several over the years. I brought those home with me, too. My sister and I decided I should send at least one to each of the girls in our family, on their next birthday, no matter what age they are. It may not mean much to the younger girls now, but in years to come, it will be a treasure. Their mothers will share stories about Maw Maw and how much she loved her children and grandchildren. We all have a special story to tell about her.

I can still picture Mama in her kitchen, canning beans, freezing corn, or mixing up enough Chicken and Dressing to feed the neighborhood (we ate as much as we could, then split it up and ate more at home) -- all from her wheelchair. As her health declined, Daddy helped her more and more, but she was busy doing as much as she could, which was a whole lot, considering the wheels on her chair were her walking legs..... She always had a list for Daddy, too. (He called her The Boss.)

Mama really didn't want to leave us when it did happen. She gripped the sheets on that hospital bed so tightly that her hands swelled. We'd have to remind her to straighten her fingers out, but after a few minutes she'd be holding on again. She just couldn't seem to let go. One of the clerks at the hospital motel told me of an experience she had with her own mother's passing. After lingering for days in a coma, her Aunt told her that just maybe she was trying to work out some unresolved issues with God and when it was all settled between the two of them, she would feel that she could then rest in peace. Maybe that happens with some people. I don't know. I do know that Mama stayed as long as she could, then she quietly, gracefully, gently, slipped away.

I'm so grateful to have witnessed the bond my parents had between them, especially during those final weeks of Mama's life. The love they shared is indescribable with words. It was even felt and mentioned by all the staff and fellow waiting room friends we came in contact with during our stay in the CCU. Mama and Daddy celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary exactly one week before her death. Daddy wore a tie all day, with his dress shirt and slacks. I'm sure he probably applied a little after shave lotion just for her. The nurses all complimented him on his appearance that day. He told them he was "trying to impress" his "girl." Daddy told us that when he looked at our Mama, he saw the same 14 year old girl that he married 65 years ago.

I was talking to one of my brothers on the phone the other day. We both decided that our Mama was IT. She pulled everything together, especially when it seemed impossible to do. Mama never stopped believing that whatever the problems were, someone else always had it tougher.

It was a hard thing to watch, my Mama taking her last breath, but I am so grateful to have been by her side when she did. I'm especially grateful to have had her in my life for almost 55 years. I look forward to spending an Eternity with my Mama. But, for now, I have the blessing of memories to embrace and to share. Mama. She was indeed IT.

Blowing kisses to you, Mama....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What we might see...

...Through the Eyes of Will

I'm Mom's angel. I know because she tells me I am, all the time. She loves me.

Mom's a good cooker. She makes cinnamon rolls and I eat a lot of them. She tells me I have cinnamon rolls all around my belly button. Then she tickles me. I laugh. She's right. I pat my tummy. They are there alright. She makes good brownies, too. She loves me.

Mom always says, "Wrap those arms around me and squeeze me like you love me." It makes me smile and I give her a bigger hug. She kisses me on my cheek and says, "I love you, my angel." That makes me smile, too. She loves me, a lot.

Mom blesses my food for breakfast and lunch. I used to, but it's hard for me to say words now. They get stuck in my head and then in my throat, so I just let Mom do it. She blesses my food and prays for me to remember to be happy and to not fuss when people laugh or sniff. (Sometimes it annoys me so much when they do that! I stick my fingers in my ears, but I push too hard and it hurts my ears. I take my fingers out of my ears. I fuss instead.) She asks Heavenly Father to help me remember that people love me and that I should remember to love them too. Mom thanks Him for me and all my family and friends and asks Him to protect and watch over us. (I don't know what that means, but He must be doing it because she hasn't fussed at Him at all about it.) She thanks Him for everything we have. She tells Him that we are so rich, but when I ask her for a new movie or more fish, sometimes she tells me we have to wait until we get some more money. Mom is funny that way. Mom says long prayers, especially when I'm real hungry. But, she loves me so much.

I like walking on the treadmill. I walk on it for a long time. I hold on too tight, though, and it hurts my hands before I get through. I sweat a lot. It makes me shake, but I like walking, so I do it anyway. Mom smiles at me and says, "Don't shake...unless you mean it." I laugh. She's funny. She loves me a whole lot.

I have a lot of friends. Sometimes I go to lunch with them. They come to my house and play, too. I see them at Church. I like going to Church. I get to see my friends there. I like to shake hands and get hugs. I do that a lot at Church. I pick out the songs and lead the music in Priesthood. I really like doing that, but sometimes the men are noisy and I can't get up there and do it. I fuss instead. It makes me sad when that happens. Mom used to make me go to Church, but now I like to go. She gets me out of bed on Sundays and helps me get ready to go. She wants me to be in Church as much as I can. She really does love me.

I have a big family. I have a sister and three step-sisters, a brother (Christine's husband), a grandmother, a paw paw, lots of cousins, aunts and uncles, and I'm an uncle. I'm an uncle! I like to hold Simon's hand and walk with him. He likes it, too. We are buddies. Mom talks funny to him and thinks he is cute. It makes me smile when she talks to him in her silly voice. My step-dad and buddy, Ron, gives us cookies and marshmallows for a snack. Mom tells him when to quit. She doesn't want us to get sick. She loves us "a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."

Mom wrote a poem about me a long time ago, when I was just a little boy. Christine helped her. They know me better than anybody else in the whole wide world!

What we might see . . .
Through the Eyes of Will
When you laugh, loud and long, I’m not sure what to do.
It scares me when my mind is on things, rather than on you;
Please talk slowly, clearly and calm, or I just won’t have a clue
to what is being said or done.
Instead of joining in, I’ll miss out on all the fun!
I need to see my Mom or Dad; they’ll tell me, "It’s alright.
It will get better, just stay calm. Please, try with all your might."
Oh! It’s so hard to be still! I try so hard, and I know I really should!
There are too many people; so much going on, and I’m trying to be good!
I know I am a child of God and will live with Him someday.
Could you please just teach me how to live and love,
right now, from day to day?
If it seems at times I’m nothing but a brat,
please don’t think of me like that.
Be patient, kind, and know that I do care!
It may take me a little longer, but I will get there.
Keep trying to take my hand and, in time, I’ll take yours, too.
I think that’s what the Savior would really want us to do.


And so, this is just a small glimpse of what we [might] see, through the eyes of Will, whom this Mom loves so much. Even though he seldom tells me in words, I know he loves me too, way more than much.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


"If we would have friends we should be rich in admiration and free from envy; rejoice greatly in the good of others; love with such generosity of heart that your love becomes a dear possession in absence or unkindness." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

There are not enough tender or kind words to say about true friends. You know, the ones who love you even when you're not lovable. They don't judge you for being less than perfect (or at least they keep it to themselves when they do). When you mess up, they've already forgiven you, before you even ask. You want to be together often, so you look for ways to make that happen, as much as life will allow.

A friend will show up at your door because she felt impressed to stop by and check up on you. She hasn't heard you laugh lately and that is usually the sign of a problem. You stand there amazed at the connection the two of you have. No words are necessary, but they are spoken anyway. "How did you know to come today?" "I just knew," she says. "I just knew."

Friends do know each other and sense when they are needed. They come to you with a fistful of flowers, a plate of brownies, or just a look that tells you that you are loved, and with a hug that you absolutely melt into. They drop what they are doing at the sound of your quivering voice and listen to you explain the rotten day you are having, but by the time you are finished with all the graphic details, you are both....laughing.

When something bad happens to you, it's [almost] the same as it happening to them. They love and care that much.

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." -- Bernard Meltzer

You are that cherished friend, and I adore you!

What can I say more?