Four months after being diagnosed with heart/lung cancer my husband’s daughter and my stepdaughter, Heather died peacefully last night in the hospital surrounded by family and friends. A beautiful young woman living the peak of her dreams. She is missed.
She is gone now
After she took her last breath
we exhaled deeply
bearing the pain of loss as her pain is no more
Our loved ones are like trees
they grow providing shelter and food for our souls
and when they fall they leave an empty space in our hearts
Yet in this very space is light
so their seeds planted within us will flourish
with the memories, stories, and lessons
that they have left behind in their wake
We hold our sadness close
continuing our journeys as better people
In memory of Heather Ann Woltz Winfrey
July 24, 1984 – October 27, 2022
Daughter, step-daughter, wife, sister, and friend to many
My husband’s daughter, Heather was just readmitted to the hospital with the final stage of cancer. Last Sunday we had her and her husband Jerald over to share a meal with us. Reflecting on this experience afterwards, I wrote this poem…
The hiss/swish of her oxygen unit keeps time
like a hydraulic clock in the background
We converse and laugh
carefully avoiding the minefield of reality
the dark mist that surrounds us all
Her lashless eyes morphine heavy
Her head chemo bald
The nasal cannula that hangs from her nose
connects her to the lifeline of air
The decline of her shocks me
There is no longer room for miracles
How can I help in her mortal struggle?
All I can do is prepare a homecooked meal
with apple crisp for dessert
We savor it in the company of family
around the table in the warmth of my kitchen
Maybe that is enough
About the time the chlorophyll-producing plants get weary in the garden, the mushrooms are just getting ready to party. After I applied a fresh layer of ground yard waste on the native plant garden a few weeks ago and watered it a few times, I have had some surprises appear. Here is the latest show. I have no idea what type of mushroom they are. At every stage they look quite different- suitable for fairy play.
It happens every year, I think the bloom show is over, and up pops the fall crocus. It seems like crocus herald the beginning and the end of the blooming season. Fall crocus have their vegetative phase in the spring. It’s a large corn lilly-looking plant that dies off when other bulbs are done blooming. For years I didn’t know that these plants were in my yard. I would pull them out until I saw the same mysterious plant displayed at a nursery labeled as fall crocus. I finally connected the dots that the crocus that appeared in the fall and these mysterious plants were the same. Now I let them be.
It turns out that these crocus and saffron crocus are very closely related. It’s a great plant. I ignore them and they return faithfully every year in greater numbers popping up in the yard in unexpected places. For more information on fall crocus go here.