Saturday, April 7, 2012

Posting the Pieces

(Edited repost from May 2011 . . . )
These memoir memories resemble jigsaw pieces. In the past three years, I’ve emptied the puzzle of my life on a figurative card table. Now you’ve gathered with me around that table. We pick up a piece, examine it, and place it somewhere in the landscape of my life. Lower left corner. Upper right. A border piece. Smack dab in the middle.

            Together, we view that picture as it emerges.
            The individual pieces may seem haphazard. How do convent, Meniere’s, work, growing-up, and cat stories relate? I wonder.
            One thing I’ve often wondered about is rather I would have stayed in the convent if cats had lived there with us. Picture a long-haired calico cat like Maggie with whom I now live. Watch her weave her way down the choir-chapel aisle as we chant Compline. The nuns gathered there try to suppress their laughter. It erupts into loud guffaws and we mangle the Latin. Maggie ignores us. She's ambling now for her fleece pillow in the sanctuary. Now that's contentment.
            I want to alert you that the color of these memoir memories will sometimes be dark; other times, light. I hope many stories will tickle your funny bone. For myself, some are poignant; others just strange. If you stick with me in this venture, you’ll get to read the whole shebang.           
            I hope you’ll gather often with me at this card table. I hope also that you’ll jog my memory by adding comments and asking questions about something I’ve mentioned that bemuses or intrigues you.

            It’s apparent to me that my life choices frequently seem mistaken. But one wonder of growing older is being able to look back on a longer life. We get a chance to discover that what may once have felt like a bad choice turned out to be good. It’s all in definition and meaning.
            Living in this new locale and facing almost three years of illness have forced me—willy-nilly—to explore the arc of my life. Here’s the pot of gold: I’ve come home to myself. That is to say, I’ve embraced my whole life. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. I’ve taken it with a lightness of heart that surprises even me.
            Walt Whitman wrote, “The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything.” That Whitman knew metaphor.

Photos from Wikipedia


  1. I imagine that if you took all these pieces and fit them together you would be looking at the image of Independence. To me, that's what all the pieces have in common.

    You're welcome! No charge for that great insight. It's just what I do!

  2. I am enjoying your journey--& would love to help you complete your puzzle!

  3. Just wonderful writing Like the song say"I Am What I Am".


  4. I love this as much now as the first time I read it!

  5. No cats in the convent, huh? That's sad. I've seen a number of nursing homes and small businesses that have resident cats or dogs. I think just about anyplace is more cheerful with an animal on the premises.


  6. "...facing almost three years of illness have forced me—willy-nilly—to explore the arc of my life."

    Wow, Dee! Those words reached a place very close to my heart. Especially the "willy-nilly" part. Currently on medical leave myself, I sometimes berate myself for not organizing my thoughts, in some sort of linear pattern. Or even "organize" a little! Your words give me comfort that I am not alone in my experience.
    Thank you!

  7. The ability to embrace your whole life is part of what makes you special. A rare gift. Thank you.

  8. I love starting at the beginning, Dee. I wonder if over this past year you've been able to see through the comments that come back to you that it really doesn't seem the "missteps" have ever been mistakes! Your choices seem to follow a very loving heart's call to do things differently. You aren't particularly conventional--you don't seem to crave safety. You've been bold and been in harm's way many times defending others. I don't see mistakes, just very bold choices. Debra

  9. I love the way your mind works and look forward to reading the next installment in your memoir series.

  10. He certainly did...what a clever comment, Dee :-) Wonderful to come home to yourself.

  11. I love the idea of bending over the puzzle with you, Dee -- and hearing your stories, examining your choices and meeting your friends -- feline and otherwise!

  12. I know you are on a sabbatical of sorts, Dee, but I couldn't leave your blog without a comment. "Coming home to myself", embracing the totality, is quite an accomplishment.

  13. I think you are a wonderful person, and very inspiring to me..I would hate to live forever on my own with just a cat. And yet you are so at peace with yourself and life. Probably as you read this, you say, no I'm not, she doesn't know me..Then I will say, well who really knows who? My husband and my children are a mystery to me, and at times I am a mystery to myself.. Gosh, now I am wondering if I am mad??? In the Bible is says, we are peculiar people..I believe that is so right!!!And I am glad that God loves me anyway....because at times, I don't even like myself..LOL

  14. I love how you pulled this together, Dee, and used a jigsaw puzzle to do it. I've wondered about my choices as well and the puzzlement becomes clearer as time goes on and I realize that the pieces really do fit together.

    It is a delight to catch up with your early posts. Hope all is well.

  15. Well I would say it is a similar scenario for many of us at the 'tale' end of our lives. We wag with a bit of wisdom and wish to pass a bit of to along. Stories that elders tell are usually the most interesting ones. After all lives need to have a meaning of sorts and we want to believe it, right?

  16. Dee,
    I tried commenting on this before, but I'm not sure if it went through since I was on my phone. This is such a beautiful post. It would be the loveliest intro for a book!