When all else fails

November 28th, 2007

So while I was gloating over what this much-loved and widely read woman said about me, Ana spoke from behind my chair.

Ana is a woman who quite nearly shares my age, my home and my family and yet we live worlds apart. She comes every other week to put my life right side up, to pet the dog and humor the kid, to climb ladders and sweep corners and reach places that annoy me to high heaven but not enough to get off my butt and do something about.

She sat with me when I was bedbound and pregnant; I have rushed her to the hospital with strange and gripping pain. I do not live without Ana, and thankfully, I do not have to.

I swiveled around and Ana told me about her niece in El Salvador who was dying of leukemia. A niece only 12 years old and with only five months to live. A niece with the two names Meriam Artice.

At least I think that is what she said. Although we communicate perfectly, Ana and I rarely understand one other, which is the basis for an ideal relationship.

Meriam Artice is what I heard, and she spelled it for me. I had to ask because hearing this shut me down and emptied me out. Artice was my mother’s name. It was only my mother’s name. I never knew anyone else, nor did my mother know anyone else, who had her name. My mother has been dead for six years, but as you might guess, she’s not gone. Not by a long shot.

I took Ana by the shoulder and we went to the backyard to say a service. We said a chant for auspicious blessings for Meriam Artice and every other Artice, for Ana, me, you and every other you. And post-haste, I hastily posted to broadcast the benediction.

This is how the practice works. This is how the world works. In thunderbolts of heartbreak and flashes of illumination.

And while I was out back, with the dog and Ana and Artice, I saw clearly that it was time to rake. The rake rescues me, every time.


  1. A name is so important. Artice is beautiful.

    Comment by marta — November 29, 2007 @ 3:12 am

  2. You share so much of yourself, not only in what you say, but what you don’t say.

    Comment by denise — November 29, 2007 @ 5:25 am

  3. I understand what you’re saying about being out back. The yard is where my mom comes to me. Some would think I mean that’s where I remember her.

    Comment by Moanna — November 29, 2007 @ 5:39 am

  4. Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile. I really connect with blogs by mothers. I’m passing this one along everywhere, a song I found by an artist named Kim McMechan who is a mother and a writer. This song has become my meditation for happy mothering… I love it and I think every mother should hear it.
    It’s at http://www.myspace.com/kiimmcmechan and it’s called “Little Morning Song”.

    Comment by Michelle — November 29, 2007 @ 5:51 am

  5. I think I missed something! A title was in my feed and is gone. Thanks for the comment–before I neurotically edited myself. 😉

    Comment by denise — November 29, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  6. Goodness me … the world is still so small. I’m so grateful to know this. Sometimes it feels so wild and crazy and overwhelming.

    I’ve been dreaming about trees, longing for them, actually. Their strength, their comfort, everything, really.

    Comment by Shawn — November 29, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

  7. This gave me chills and was oddly comforting. I was so sad and yet I was embraced by comfort. In the way things connect.
    And I needed this reminder, that it is always time to deadhead.

    Comment by bella — November 29, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

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