Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day reminds us to remember those who have passed on. Originally called Decoration Day, it was first observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate those fallen in the Civil War. Passed by Congress as a national holiday in 1971, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May each year and is celebrated with a parade or ceremony in many towns to honor those soldiers who have died in service. Traditionally, it is connected to those in the armed services. But does it have to be? I can't help thinking of my Dad, a World War II veteran who passed on in 2004. Being a WWII vet was what he was most proud of in his life. I've written quite a bit about my father. If you're interested, check out "My Father's Keeper," found in the essays/articles tab.

But someone I haven't written much about is my Mom. In my memoir, I briefly talk about her childhood and some of the things I knew about which might have made her who she was - perhaps the saddest person I have ever known. She passed away in her sleep in August, 2001. That story is also in "My Father's Keeper," because it is how I came to caretake my Dad.

My mother and I were not close. So different in our values, our tastes, our way of being in the world, it was difficult to fine a place to connect. Perhaps if I'd had the same chance with my Mom as I did with my Dad, spending the last three years of his life taking care of him, things would have been different. But that's not what happened. She died without us ever really having a heart to heart where we could come to an understanding of each other.

I don't feel any unfinished business around this. Just sadness. For the lonely life she led and for the mother/daughter connection we both missed out on. So on this Memorial Day weekend, I choose to honor my mother's memory and thank her for giving birth to me.



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The mother-daughter relationship can be a challenging one, despite all the Hallmark-type messages we get from the media. I think it's wonderful of you to honor your mother's memory.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

Well said and worthy post and muse, Karen. I applaud you for this and your whole attitude bout it.

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

A heart touching post. I think I'll give my daughter an extra hug as soon as she arrives here today!

Jane Kennedy Sutton

C. Margery Kempe said...

Very kind of you to be so generous with your heart: it shows how strong you are to be able do this.

Jina Bacarr said...

You are a fine writer but you also convey a poignancy in your work that keeps me coming back to your blog.



Anonymous said...

Oh, this is sad and sweet. Jina's right -- you manage to convey poignancy in your writing. When you write, I feel the emotion. Thanks for your honesty.

Anonymous said...

Another heartfelt post. I appreciate your honesty and self-disclosure - they inspire me to be ever more open in my own blog.

N A Sharpe said...

Very touching tribute to your mom...and I guess moms and daughters everywhere since your post took us each to thinking of our mothers and daughters. Thank you.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

KK Brees said...

Karen, you and I share a great deal more than our first names.