Wednesday, September 4, 2013

As time goes by....

“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”                                                                                 Rose Kennedy

As I look out the window and see the sun begin to set..I can't help but notice that there is a mysterious hue ….Yes...I know, it is barely September...but that hue....I tells me that ~A Maria kind-of-day~ is not far away.... Some trees are still green, and the tomatoes on the vine are promising, for weeks to come. But I know that cooler days are ahead. And, as much as I like Spring and Summer, I like Fall and Winter more.

So much has happened since last I blogged. My Mother went to heaven, leaving me with a feeling of emptiness like I have never experienced before. Shortly after, Priscilla,  a woman who graced our lives and was like a Mother to me and a grandmother to my children, also went to heaven...I mourned her passing and it added heavily to our loss. I am blessed to have inherited an entire family through her.  She was sweet, generous and lovely. 
Priscilla and Maria
Gay, Gloria, Bonnie and Priscilla, my adopted family

I was included in the wedding of Priscilla' son John and Gloria

 Our tears had not yet dried when husband's dad, Cal, left this earth. Surrounded by all his children, he took his last breath and went to be with his beloved wife, Jennie....he was so ready to meet her again.

Cal Neill
...And, in the blink of an eye, an entire generation ended...

The passing of my Mother brought much sadness to my life. Sibling relationships suffered and I hope, someday, to reconnect when the time is right. Much happened in the years that preceded my parents death that drained my spirit. I need time to sort things out, but in the meantime, I have been excluded and am alone.

In February we traveled to Chile. After the painful farewell to my Mother in Santiago, we headed to Melipilla, Chile to see my beloved cousins Maruja and Bergie. They are so sweet and always welcome us into their home and their hearts..... And we posed for family pictures under the centenarian grape vine that has seen many generations grow up, including me.
Bergie, Maria and Maruja
 From L: Bergie, a friend, Maria Joe, Maruja, Cristian.  Kneeling: Paula and Olivia

Theirs is a home that exudes love, gratefulness and happiness...
We headed to Southern Chile to spend some time with first born Paula and her family. While there, our son in law Cristian and husband Joe built a fancy tree house for 4 year old Olivia, with a big slide and doors and windows. Her dad wanted the house to be large enough to accommodate Olivia and her friends  for a sleep over when she is older....

Olivia's Place
We took short trips to the beach and the vicinities. In an effort to ease my sadness, Paula and her family treated us to a SPA in the forest, where the hot tubs were made of large whiskey barrels and heated with wood...All along, I knew that Mom's life was about to end, but the SPA was healing and lovely...and it did my heart good...

Wooden hot tub in the forest
Olivia in the hot tub

Olivia in the SPA

It was nearing the end of summer in Chile and time for school to start. Olivia had her uniform ready to attend the Thomas Jefferson English Immersion Pre-Kindergarten School... (long name!)

Ready for school!

Upon returning to the US, Joe detoured to Texas to see his Dad one more time. I continued to Oregon, becoming quite ill. I checked into a hotel for a few days to try and recover, visiting Urgent Care, and finding out that I had severe otitis and sinusitis. No wonder the plane trip was so miserable.

March brought my 65th birthday and husband surprised me with a lovely party with beloved friends....I was serenaded by sweet friend Linda with “Forever Young”....It was hard not to cry. What a wonderful gathering.

While trying to get our lives back in order, son was in a serious bike accident. The kind that makes a Mother hold her breath. He is fortunate to not have suffered long lasting injuries, and that he has a loving fiancee that took off from work to monitor his concussion and tend to his wounds. Since he lives quite a distance from here, what is a desperate Mom to do?? ... she feeds. I called a pizza place and ordered a large amount of food to be delivered. Then I took a deep breath and waited for news.  Lauren, sent me updates and pictures often, which made this Mama very happy.  
Son recovering from cycling accident.

Time has a way to move on and provide healing. I started preparations for a long overdue knee replacement. But as luck would have it, two days before surgery I fell and broke the OTHER knee, postponing the scheduled procedure. As I was in the process of mending, middle daughter suffered a miscarriage. A painful experience to go through, physically and emotionally. My heart ached for them. Joe and I traveled to Washington to help them for a couple of days and returned home to prepare for visitors. 
 Paula, Cristian and Olivia, from Chile, arrived shortly after and I was blessed to have ALL my kids and their significant others under one roof. Someday I hope to have enough space so everyone can comfortably come and stay. The twelve of us were rather cozy, but it all worked out.
My beautiful children: from L: Cristian and my first born Paula,  Jake and my middle born child Christine, Lauren and my baby boy Andrew

Beautiful grandchildren

And, as always, there is the dreaded goodbye time.....and as quickly as they all arrived. ..they were gone....leaving the house quiet and empty... until they return again...

They are so loved and missed!!!

I started to prepare for my long overdue knee replacement once more,  which was done on August 6th under the skilled hands of Dr. Jason Bell, an expert surgeon and also a friend. 
Dr. Bell and Maria. I may be smiling, but have no memory of this moment...
32 staples and a new knee, have no memory if this either!
He did a marvelous job, while my own physician, Dr. McAndrew, took care of the non-orthopedic aspect of recovery. I had surgery on a Tuesday, was home by Thursday, stopped all narcotic medications, Physical Therapy on Friday morning, dinner out on Friday evening. 
Three days after surgery, Physical Therapy with Jon Breuer, I do remember this!
Feeling much better!
I drove myself to Mc Donald's for a salad on Saturday and then to an art show nearby. I could not have asked for a better recovery, and a better surgeon. Blessings abound. I am now in the process of moving forward ...literally... one a step at a time.

We have suffered much in the past few months, individually and as a family. The healing of body and mind has begun and we are all  doing the best we can.

Now we turn our thoughts toward life changing events, happy events the upcoming marriage of our son Andrew to his lovely fiancee Lauren. Andrew always had the “burden” of having to close chapters. The last to graduate, the last to enter college, the last to graduate from college.....the last to give a piano recital, and so on and so forth. I am sure that seeing his Mama cry as each event would come to an end became a right of passage for him.  I don't even want to write about the day we left him at college! I will only tell you that he asked me to, please,  leave him "outside of his dorm". I KNOW he did not want his roommates to see this Mother hanging on to her son for dear life as he tried to free himself and enter his room!  He will be the last child to marry....but unlike the other events, which were “the ends”, this is a beginning. And while I may shed a tear or two, this time it will be from happiness.


we are enjoying tomatoes from Joe's garden and lovely summer fruits...
And the preparations for my annual Christmas Art show have begun....

Little knits are everywhere, lists of crafts have been made and checked twice. I only have about 10 weeks to accomplish all that I want to make. 

Enjoy life in its many forms...


  1. What a beautiful family you have Maria, thank you for sharing them with us. You are truly blessed my friend

  2. Beautiful story and photos. I understand your year. Having my step/adopted father pass away in the mid 80's then my adopted mom a few years ago and lost contact with 2 of my children. Like you I hope some day they will reconnect. All 4 of my children live so far away. Both my birth Dad and birth Mom are in their 90's, and Mom is not well and won't be around much longer. They live in opposite directions so far away. So sad to lose family in either way. My heart goes out to you and I ask God to bless you this Fall, winter and coming spring with Joy, Love and happiness.
    Valerie, a fellow artist and friend of Penny Brandon.

    1. Valerie, thank you for your kind comment!

  3. You have weathered many storms and emerged strong and beautiful. I enjoyed reliving this time in your blog. Thank you.