Waiting on Baby, dVerse Haibun #29

I wake up slowly and the first thing that pops into my head is that I’m not only still pregnant, but I’ve seemingly grown larger overnight. As I try to extricate myself from the waterbed so I can go to the restroom, I find myself wailing, “I’m as big as a house and still no baby? Ugh! I’m so tired of being pregnant!”  My husband of two years reaches over to kiss me and automatically makes the same reply he’s been making every morning, “You’re not that big and eventually this baby will come…when he’s good and ready.”  He’s heard the same litany for weeks now and is inured to compassion or sympathy. He’s just as tired as I am of my final weeks of pregnancy. 

These weeks haven’t been easy on anyone. I try to be sensitive to his feelings, truly I do. It aggravates me to no end that I must rely on him to put on my socks and shoes, help me sit and get up again, and dang it, get out of bed!  I’m stuck between the water mattress and the side of the bed. “Honey, I hate to bother you, but can you help me out here?  I can’t get out of the bed.”  He looks over at me, sighs, and rises out of bed like a gazelle or something. He comes over to my side of the bed and starts laughing. I guess the sight of a whale-sized woman stuck in a waterbed is funny, but instead of laughing, I start bawling. “I’m going to be pregnant forever! I’m as big as a whale and keep getting bigger. I’m so tired of waiting! Why can’t this baby decide it’s time to be born?”  My husband stops laughing and leans down to envelope me in his arms. “Babe, you’re not going to be pregnant forever. You will deliver this baby soon I’m sure. Maybe even today! Here, let me help you up, ok?”  As I putter over to the restroom after I’m free of the cursed waterbed, I pat my overly large abdomen and whisper to my baby, “Ok baby, we’re ready for you, anytime to make your appearance. No pressure, but can we do it today? I can’t wait to see you!”

Winter arms are long.

Icy fingers hold too tight.

Trees start blooming, free and bright.
D. Elaine Wood-Lane

1/26/17


This week’s haibun prompt from https://dversepoets.com/2017/01/23/haibun-monday-29/ was to write about waiting. I’ve waited thousands of times over the years, but I can recall no impatience and discomfort more intense than waiting for my first child to arrive. Said child, a son, will be 33 in May, but I can recall instantly those final weeks of pregnancy and my frustration every morning at having to wait for him to be born. 

Try your hand at writing a haibun!  They are a fun challenge to mind and form.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my worst “waiting” story ever. For more information and to take up the challenge, go to https://dversepoets.com/2017/01/23/haibun-monday-29/ for more information. 

Dancing Through Life

Life is a dance,
Full of joy, sorrow and grace.

Sometimes we feel like doing a reel,
And sometimes we feel like dancing in place.

We never know what music will come,
As we dance through this thing we call life,
But if we keep dancing and give it our all,
We’ll find in the end a beautiful waltz
That ends all our struggles and strife.


Over the past weekend, my family experienced a huge loss as a dear friend of ours who was actually living in our basement, passed away. He went in his sleep, so his dancing here has ceased, but I know he’s dancing in heaven.

We all have ups and downs and turnarounds in our lives. That is, we do if we live very long at all and get involved in the world and with people around us. The ups keep us encouraged and hopeful. The downs remind us that life on this earth isn’t perfect and is only temporary. However, if we keep on keeping on, never ceasing to improve our dance steps/actions and selves, we know in the end, we’ll find peace.

I, myself, believe I have found salvation and peace through Jesus Christ, God’s son. I believe that He was crucified, died, and then rose again so that all who believe in Him might rise again after we die and live eternally too. For some people, that sounds like too fantastic a story, too unbelievable to accept. Some people call it a fable, a myth, a fairy tale. I call it the most beautiful example of love I’ve ever heard of and so…I take the risk. I accept the story and the gift of Jesus. My prayer is that when I pass away, I will keep on dancing, but my partner will be Jesus. I think Chuck is dancing with Jesus right now, happy, free, and completely devoid of pain. That gives me peace and joy. I pray it will give you peace too, knowing there is someone (God) who loves you so much that He let his son die for you.

God bless you all and may your Christmas be merry and bright!

D. Elaine Wood-Lane
December 14, 2016

From This Moment On-A Beautiful Tapestry of Life

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From this moment on,
Life will never be the same.
Broken hearts still beat.
Beauty still exists.
God is still love.
All weave a tapestry of
a beautiful life.

D. Elaine Wood-Lane
12/8/16

30 years ago on December 24, 1986 I lost the second of two my two brothers. It had been a really rough year and became completely unbearable on Christmas morning around 7:30 AM when my father called to let me know we had lost Joe in a horrendous, freakish car accident the night before. From that moment on, my life was completely different. I was no longer a 25 year old young mother of two whose primary worry was when to wake my two tiny sons for Christmas morning. I had survived many difficult things in 1986, but the news of my brother’s death cracked everything wide open. It is amazing, truly, what a heart can survive and what can grow in the cracks of our hearts.

On May 27, 1986 my 69 year old mother had a massive heart attack. It took two ambulances, four emergency medical technicians and a full hour to stabilize her enough to transport her to the hospital. I called my brother, Joe, and my sister, Judy, who both lived in the area, to let them know that Mother’s life was hanging by a thread and then prayed, prayed, and held onto Daddy’s hands like the life lines they were. We held onto each other’s hands. Joe and Judy came up to the hospital as soon as they were able and we all spent the night moving back and forth between the CCU waiting room and the garish lights of the cafeteria. In 1986 you could still smoke inside certain areas of the hospital, primarily the cafeteria, so we made regular trips there. You see, everyone in my family, except me, smoked at that time. In the morning, we had to make a decision to have an arterial line put into Mother’s upper chest so the doctors would have direct, immediate access to her heart.

Two days went by and Joe, Judy and I decided it would be wise to ask our brother John, in California, and our sister, Betty, also in California, to come to Texas and join us in our vigil. Betty was unable to come at that time, but John was able to come. John himself had been fighting cancer, but was supposed to be in remission so we were delighted to learn he could make the journey to Texas. Two miracles occurred when John came to Texas. First, Mother’s condition improved greatly. Second, after a seeming lifetime of bitter sibling rivalry, my two brothers reconciled. John and Joe made their peace and our hearts were greatly encouraged that things were getting better. Over the course of John’s visit, however, I realized that John’s cancer was not in remission and that he was in very bad shape. He begged me not to tell anyone else in the family. He came to say his goodbyes to us and he wanted it to be a time of joy and pleasantness rather than doom and gloom. I kept his promise and told no one.

About a month later, Mother had to have quadruple coronary bypass surgery in order to not only keep her alive, but to give her a chance to thrive once more. She survived the surgery and once again we family members made frequent trips from the CCU waiting room to the cafeteria.

On August 24, 1986 we received word that John had lost his battle with cancer and was gone. Joe cried more than anyone. He had just regained his brother, only to lose him less than 70 days later. Daddy and Joe traveled to California to attend John’s funeral and to say their goodbyes. That trip was remarkable because it was the only time my daddy ever traveled by airplane anywhere and it was the last time Joe flew anywhere.

Several months went by with many changes occurring within those months. My husband, Craig, my sons and I moved to a small town in the Texas panhandle and started a new life when my husband started working for the United States Postal Service. It was the first time I had ever lived so far away from my parents. Also, our family slowly started to heal from Mother’s cardiac issues and John’s death.

Life was looking up! My husband and I bought a lovely old Victorian home in Memphis, Texas. I was able to stay at home with our sons, ages 2 and 1, and finally, we had enough money that we didn’t have to decide who we were going to pay each month for the essentials of life.

Christmas Eve rolled around and I was so excited because my mother-in-law and her sister and sister’s husband came to Memphis to celebrate Christmas with us. My baby sons were excited because it was the first time they were even aware there was such a thing as Christmas. I remember for Christmas Eve supper I made homemade cheese soup and rolls. I was feeling so grownup and domesticated and…happy, truly happy.

I started experiencing extreme right flank pain around 7:45 that evening, immediately after supper. I ran a fever, started passing blood, and felt like I was dying. My happiness had evaporated within 10 minutes. I desperately wanted it back, but could not seem to shake my pain and malaise. For the remainder of the evening and throughout the long Christmas Eve night, I was in agony. Nothing seemed to help. I finally drank a gallon of half apple cider vinegar and half water mixed together in complete desperation. My baby sons were going to have their first fun Christmas morning and by golly I wasn’t going to let anything spoil that!

Finally, around 6:30 on Christmas morning, I passed what seemed to be a large kidney stone and the pain was gone. I went to bed completely exhausted. Around 7:15 AM our phone rang. I answered the phone to hear Daddy say, “Is Craig there? I really need to speak to Craig.” As Daddy asked these questions, his voice cracked. I immediately was alerted that something was terribly wrong. After a few minutes of wrangling, Daddy finally spoke the fatal words that changed my life forever, “Elaine, well, Joe has been in a terrible car accident. Please let me speak to Craig.” “Is Joe ok? How badly was he hurt? Daddy, please just tell me!” “Elaine, sugar, I’m afraid Joe didn’t make it. He was killed instantly.” Suddenly my hands were no longer strong enough to hold the telephone. As I dropped it, Craig picked it up and I started keening and wailing in agony. How could my beloved Joe be gone? It just couldn’t be true!

You know how you always read in novels that the hero or heroine has gone numb from grief and shock? I always thought that was pure hyperbole until that morning. After my initial wailing and sobbing bout, I realized I had a job to do. It was still Christmas morning and my boys were expecting fun! By golly they were going to get it too!  So, I took some deep breaths, wiped the tears off my face and went upstairs to wake up my babies. We had a great Christmas, from what I understand. Apparently I did all the appropriate things, but  I remember none of them.

So, where does that leave things now, 30 years later and staring Christmas Eve down as it looms closer and closer? The pain is still there. I still miss my brothers. In addition, I miss my sister Betty and my parents, all of whom I’ve lost in the intervening 30 years. My life never has been the same since Christmas day 1986. However, it hasn’t been all horrific either. I’ve learned we have moments of great joy and moments of great sorrow in life. They don’t balance each other out. They never become equals. What they do accomplish is weave a tapestry of a life wherein we know to cherish the joyous moments, however brief they may be, to know with confidence God will assist us through the agonizing moments, and the rest of the moments are full of the dreams that become beautiful memories.

The most important things I’ve learned from that fateful moment on December 25, 1986 is to love and trust God, to love people and tell them so, and to love life. There is no other way to find peace in this wild and crazy tapestry we call life.

Remember…

How do the years pass so quickly? 
How does the love never fly?
How do we keep on going,
Whenever a loved one dies?

The love is a blessing,
I thank God for it all my days,
It’s wonderful to have it still,
Even after loved ones part ways.

When we all get to heaven,
It will be a great reunion,
We’ll hug, kiss, laugh and cry,
A regular feast of communion.

Until that day, though,
We’ll hold fast our love,
We’ll remember our loved ones,
Living long up above.

We’ll hug, kiss, laugh and cry,
The loves we make down here,
Until the day that we die.

Elaine Wood-Lane

11/24/16

Election Day in the U.S.A.!

What day is this,
that all are nervous,
speaking in shouts,
or tones hushed and querulous?

Why do people so much
wish for tomorrow,
anticipating great joy,
or dreading such sorrow?

The truth is we’ve had many
such election days,
when people were nervous,
fearing the worst,
yet never, so far,
have we become eternally cursed.

In spite of the fears,
we’ve endured on,
we’ve made it through wars,
depressions and worse.

Why fret so today,
we’re going to be okay,
because, people, we live
in the grand U.S.A.!

Elaine Wood Lane sharing her little two cents worth. Hang in there people! We’re going to be fine if you just keep calm, hang your hopes on God and not man, and keep on keeping on!  Spread the joy, spread the love!  

Enjoying the moment with joy!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere, over the rainbow,

on the other side of the wall,

days are bright and sunny,

no matter winter, spring,

summer or fall.

If my clothes could talk

at the end of the day, 

they’d tell of the rainbows

I saw today.

Some rainbows I noticed,

Others I passed right by,

because I was too busy

feeling serious with a sigh.

There are rainbows nearby,

not on the other side of a wall,

but right in front of our eyes,

if we’ll simply slow down and

look up, whenever the bright colors call.

©D. Elaine Wood-Lane

11/3/16


Let’s not be so serious and worried about the news, the election, the environment and ourselves that we miss the bright, colorful moments hitting us right between the eyes. I’m not advocating irresponsibility or not caring about the world we live in, but let’s remember that it is important to take the beautiful moments seriously too. Here’s a scene I saw thousands of times while I lived the first 45 years of my life in the southern panhandle of Texas. I took these scenes for granted because they were so common. I live at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado now, which are also beautiful and easy to take for granted. When I saw this photo below, however, this is the scene that made my heart ache and my eyes mist because this beauty is part of my soul.

Magnificent Poetry & Prose


I was all set to write magnificent prose,

I have the day off,

It’s blustery and pure,

And I was feeling writerly,

Of that I was sure.

When what to my wandering eyes

Did I find?

No way to get in! 

The lock was unkind!

I tried and I tried,

I jiggled and pulled,

I said kind words,

I cursed a bit too.

So back in the usual

World of my house,

I’ll write what I can,

Quiet as a mouse.
Yes, it’s a frustrating thing when you’ve cleared time and space in your day to write in your special place and then, you can’t get in!  Ah well, we’ll get it sorted out sooner or later.  No worries!  If that’s the biggest problem I have to day, I’ll say thank you and call it good.  

It’s a blustery day here in the 80909!  Windy, dry and chilly.  I love autumn!!!  Have a wonderful day! 

Doris (Dee Dory) Elaine Wood-Lane.  (And that’s just a few of my names. You can call me anything you like, as long as it’s nice!)

Joy

My eyes view beauty through tears.

Yet my heart is joyful.

Golden leaves peek through.

D. Elaine Wood-Lane 9/11/16

My past week has been full of everything you can imagine. In the midst of it, I attended the memorial service for a very young poet friend who was so talented it blew me away. At the service, the same words were repeated so often about this young man: “Blake was so calm, quiet, and wise.” The memorial service itself was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever attended. Family and friends spoke about him and most of them read one of his poems after they spoke. It was a gathering of love, sorrow and even joy for having known such a remarkable young man. As I walked out of Shove Chapel at Colorado College, my eyes full of tears and my heart aching with loss, I looked up at this view and it took my breath away. It’s a perfect visual representation of what lay in my heart. Yes, there is darkness, sometimes seemingly overwhelming in our lives, yet if we have God with us, we also have glimpses of golden joy. Underneath the photo below is a daily devotional from a daily meditation book I read. It so perfectly expresses my underlying joy that I had to share it. The book in question is called, “Be Still And Know,” and was compiled and edited by Michelle Winger.

 

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Do no grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

Joy is not necessarily happiness. Happiness is dependent on circumstances; joy is not. Happiness is fleeting; joy is constant. Happiness disappears when trials come; joy grows through troubles. Good times bring happiness and laughter; difficulties bring sorrow and grief, but joy resides beneath.

Joy is not an emotion that can be fabricated or faked. It is a deep-seated sense that all things are well because God is in charge. Joy is expressed in praise, song, laughter, a peaceful countenance, a light in the eyes, or a serenity that belies any adversity. It is the substance of the soul that holds us together as we trust in God, who does all things well. Jesus wants our joy to be full!

Thank you, Jesus, for the joy that gives me strength. I choose today to fill my mind with truth, to think about those things that are praiseworthy, and to trust you fully. With a thankful heart, I choose joy!