Tag Archives: tides



A week of extremes…

As I write this, I am in a northwest Florida condo with a gorgeous view of the Gulf of Mexico.  The temperature is 66 degrees, the sun is bright, and the surf is a bit more active today than the Gulf is most of the time.  Foamy whitecaps dot the surface of the blue-green water, and the sugary white sand is completely devoid of people.

Five days ago I was working at my current temporary assignment at the library and watching a postcard-pretty snow fall just beyond the reference desk windows.  Oak Ridge was whited out, but the streets and pavement were clear and safe, just wet.  It was every bit as beautiful as the setting I enjoy now; it was also about as opposite as one could imagine.


It has been a week of extremes.  My #FirstEverWorkHusband Martin’s mother passed away on Halloween.  Fort Walton Beach was their home for many years, and Charlotte was a driving force behind the local Stage Crafters Theatre company, so it was decided that her memorial service would be held there.  Hence our trip to Florida in December.  Even though a month and a half has passed since she died, it is still a fresh grief for them, and the gathering of family and friends from decades gone by and miles away seems to have brought a fresh tide of emotion.

At least, it has for me.  I grieve the death of a woman I never met, but feel like I knew.  I grieve because my friend/person is grieving, and, as Truvy said in the film Steel Magnolias, “…no one cries alone in my presence.”  I grieve remembering my own Mama’s death, the anniversary of which was a week ago today.  December always brings a fresh tide of memories.

Since we had not seen each other since I visited him in February during #OperationTakeAMinute, Martin invited me to go with him to his dialysis session on Friday, so we could talk and visit away from the crowd of family and friends.  When I arrived to collect him, he presented me with one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received…a pair of large, beautiful feathers he had found during the months since my last visit and had saved for me.


We arrived at the clinic, did paperwork, got him connected and me gowned up, and, as much as possible, we enjoyed short periods of conversation mixed into wordless times of simple shared presence.  About halfway through treatment he began to have some chest pain and, long story short, we ended up taking an ambulance ride to the nearby hospital to have him checked out.  Fortunately, his heart is medically all right.  I am grateful.

While we were in the emergency department, a portable X-ray unit was brought in to examine him in his triage space…and a fresh tide of memory flooded over me as I relived a moment from when Mama was in the hospital and a portable X-ray unit was brought to her room to check her, a moment when she was not stable enough to transport to them, so they came to her.  It was my sweet husband’s one meltdown moment during the whole of Mama’s hospital stay.  A moment of his deep attachment to my Mama, and his mother-in-love.

It is an odd thing, how present grief can churn up past grief, like the foamy whitecaps of a turbulent surf.  The tides are constant, sometimes tranquil, sometimes violent.  But the ebb and flow never cease.



I See The Moon


The beauty of our dreams…

Mama’s last job was as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home.  She and Aunt Elaine worked together on the overnight shift at the nursing home where my Mamaw and Papaw were residents, and during this period Mama became a believer in “Moon Madness”, the phenomenon of strange behavior that happens near the time of the full moon.  She recounted numerous stories of normally placid residents exhibiting bizarre actions and personality changes with no other explanation than the moon phase. No changes in diet or medication, no alteration in their routines or unusual visitors, nothing else to account for the changes except for the full moon.  A coworker of mine who also worked in health care confirmed her own experiences with patients whose demeanor changed around the full moon.



Mom Cutshaw told me that she and all her sisters experienced strange and vivid dreams around the full moon. I am a vivid dreamer with strong recall, and even I experience increased number and vividness of my dreams at full moon time.  It makes sense when one considers that the moon moves oceans and controls tides.  Our bodies are made mostly of water, so it stands to reason that when the moon is full, our dreams and moods might be affected.

My sleeping dreams seem to be beyond my control, the effort of my mind to make sense of the world around me, my wishes, fears and insecurities. I have a number of recurring themes in my sleeping dreams.  There is the “school dream” in which it is time to graduate or perform a recital only to realize that I haven’t been to class or a voice lesson all year; the “work dream” which can be either radio- or television-related, where I am in a control room about to go on the air and none of my equipment works.  There is also the “naked dream” in which I am in a public place and either partially or completely nude (I think most people have a version of this dream).

An unusual recurring scenario in my dreams is that I am traveling using an inappropriate mode of transportation.  For example, I am on the interstate with huge trucks whizzing all around me, but I am riding belly-down on a skateboard, or riding a 20-foot-high bicycle.  A psychiatrist would probably have a lot of fun dissecting this particular scenario.  I’m sure it must mean that something is terribly wrong with me!

My waking dreams are much more straightforward to me. I dream of winning the lottery, like most people do.  I dream about what I would do if I had unlimited financial resources.  I would pay off all our debts and all the debts of our family.  I’d purchase vacation homes in peaceful places I’ve visited, and I’d travel to places I’ve always wanted to go.  Sweet Pea would get every ridiculous man toy he could ever desire. I’d go back to school.  I would continue to work in some way, volunteering or whatever else I wanted to do to keep myself useful; I just wouldn’t have to worry about making a living.

The question is this: how much of my dreams really depends upon The Lottery Fairy landing on my front porch?  I think the secret of making my dreams come true is realizing that money doesn’t have that much to do with it.  My most earnest of dreams is simply to live a life that matters and to leave a positive mark on the people around me, to love and to be loved, and to please God.