Sunday, December 30, 2012

With Ships the Sea Was Sprinkled

With Ships The Sea Was Sprinkled

There are those who expect to fly, soaring up over familiar landscapes to disappear, like Dorothy, behind a rainbow.  Others, including some who profess empirical knowledge, plan to make their way down a hallway of light where those long departed stand waiting.  For myself, I have always dreamed of a ship.  With full sails and towering masts, like a galleon of old - a sea worthy vessel to bear me away, far away, on a journey as mysterious as it is unavoidable.

I have thought a lot about ships this year.  They have sailed through my dreams in fowl weather and fair, tossing and turning in nightmare, drifting along on the glass-smooth sea of an afternoon reverie, but never far out of sight in my mind’s eye.  My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer one year ago.  Difficult as ever, she decided against surgery and refused any type of home care for as long as possible.  We were fortunate that she drifted, rather than lurched, into the dying of the light, which was finally extinguished early this morning. 

No matter our age, do we all feel a bit orphaned when our last parent dies? Having known this day was coming all year, only today do I realize how much tension I have been swallowing, wrapping it up tightly inside me to appear efficient and solid to the rest of the world.  Only now do I feel the raindrops of exhaustion beginning to hit my shoulders.  I fear they shall become a torrent  in the coming days.  

After the rituals are over and the crowds have all gone,
 I shall slip off by myself to the seaside,
 till my feathers are smooth again, till my nights are untroubled.
I shall sit by the sea.
And think about ships.

William Wordsworth and I were born on the same day in April.
Perhaps that is why he can express my feelings so much better than I.

With ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh,
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed;
Some lying fast at anchor in the road,
Some veering up and down, one knew not why.
A goodly vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad;
And lustily along the bay she strode,
Her tackling rich, and of apparel high.
The ship was nought to me, nor I to her,
Yet I pursued her with a lover's look;
This ship to all the rest did I prefer:
When will she turn, and whither? She will brook
No tarrying; where she comes the winds must stir:
On went she, and due north her journey took. 
William Wordsworth

I shall return before long.
Much love to you all, 


  1. So sorry for your loss. Your mother is in a wonderful place and I believe they still watch over us! I'll wait for your return. Thank you for your work

  2. I send my very deepest sympathy. Take all the time you need. We will wait for you here.

  3. Beautiful post! I hope she appreciated how lucky she was to have you for a daugher!
    You.are a wonderful writer!

  4. Once in a while, I still think I can pick up the phone and tell or ask my best friend, my mother, something and then I realize she's no longer here. That was thirteen years ago. I just wish I could reach out and touch her. Life goes on but there is an empty space that can't be filled.

  5. Pamela, I am so sorry about your mother.
    It is so difficult to lose a parent, and I am glad she
    slipped away easily, as you said, without too much
    trauma. Thank you for this beautiful, glorious post.
    I am treasuring it and saving the pictures. Thank
    you for sharing so much of yourself with all of us.


  6. What a beautiful post. I am very sorry to read about your mother's death. I am glad that her death was peaceful.

    May you find the rest you need at the sea.

    I think Edward and Apple will be giving you extra cuddles tonight.


  7. Extending my deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother and praying that your faith will give you strength in this sad time.


  8. so , so sorry about your loss, may your sorrows ease up with time.

    Annie v.

  9. My precious mother, too chose not to have treatment for her cancer. She died October of last year. I used to read your blogs to her...and she loved ships...Wonderful words, indeed. Rejoicing for her, love and prayers to you and your family

  10. my own best friend who was my mother died of lung cancer when i was 26. i think had we known what she would go through with all the 'treatments of torture' that were merely to prolong her life a bit ~ she would have chosen your mother's way. i know i would now.
    my heart to your heart.
    rest. you know an exhaustion on every level ~ unknown by those who haven't walked its peculiar path.
    love and strength to you,
    tammy j

  11. My heart and prayers are with you, and I wish you peace and strength. Let the tears come when they may, and it may not be right now...for me it took several months but come they did. And it happened in the most beautiful, magical way that left me filled with peace and the belief that my mother would always be with me. I have never left a comment before but I've been reading you for years, and am reading your book now. Your words have often brought me comfort and joy and pleasure, and I understand completely your relationship with Edward and Apple as I have the same with my dog. They will feel your pain, too, so keep them close.

  12. Pamela, I am sorry to hear of your loss. You chose a wonderful ship and seas and stair case illustration. I like the idea from C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, where at death God calls everyone and all who love Him go to Him.

  13. Pamela dear, I am so very sorry to hear of your sad loss................i'm sure your mother fought the good fight, and when time for her light to be extinguished she did it her way.

    Sending condolences from across the pond and will be looking for you on your return home.

    Warm hugs - Mary

  14. Pamela, please accept my heartfelt condolences on your loss. And yes, even at a grown up age, one can still feel like an orphan. I hope you will find peace through the various stages of the grieving process. My mom passed away ll months ago, so our first Christmas without her. I had no idea it would be so hard. Take good care. Hugs from Robin.

  15. My condolences to you and your family during this sad time. It is never easy, and yes the torrent of tears will fall. I lost my mom 11 years ago (I was 33), the tears still come. Just keep the memory flame alive, all will be well.

  16. My Dear Pamela - My mother passed away very unexpectedly this past June. I was with her when she took her last breath. I too felt like an orphan. She was my best friend and I have missed her so. It's been a difficult holiday season without her for me. If it wasn't for a few close friends, I don't know how I would have managed to get through it. My heart is still breaking and it breaks for you. Sending my deepest condolences to you and your family. Take care.


  17. Yes, we do feel rather orphaned when the final parent passes; but I think a mother's death is the harder of the two. Whether we are in sync with our moms, or we struggle to find our own identity outside of their influence, mothers are a powerful force in our lives.

    I have been where you are, and I understand your loss. My heart goes out to you.

  18. Beautiful post, Pamela. A lovely tribute to your Mother, and i'm so sorry for your loss. Have a peaceful as possible rest..

  19. I am so very sorry Pamela.No matter how expected, nor sometimes even prayed for when the passing is difficult,The last of our forbears leaves a great hole, suddenly we are the elder generation and I at least, did not find myself up to the task of stepping into my compassionate, wonderful sister's shoes.
    Do take great care of yourself. I only realised a few weeks later, that sitting at my sister's bedside for three weeks, I had aged 15 years.

    Let the gales blow away the cobwebs and fill you with renewed energy for the road ahead. Let the swish of the waves lull you to peaceful sleep to recover your equanimity and take solace in the unconditional love of Edward.

  20. I'm so sorry Pamela. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  21. I'm sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds very brave. Yes, we all feel rather orphaned at losing the last parent. Your ship analogy is beautiful. Take good care of yourself, stress takes a lot out of a person and grief is hard work.

  22. We are so sorry to hear of your loss. To lose the last parent is a lonely and perplexing time. Your gentle words reflect both the pride and love you had for your mother. Our thoughts are with you.

  23. Dear Pamela, I was so sorry to read of your Mothers departure. I too am an orphan and feel your loss. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and speakable love.” Washington Irving. Thinking of you....B:) xo

  24. And much love back to you, dear Pamela. Take all the time you need...we'll be here when you return. Godspeed.

  25. Pamela

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  26. Much love crosses the Atlantic to you Pamela - how good that your dearly loved Mother slipped away as she would have wished, sailed away if you like, to a better place of peace. My thoughts are with you - take comfort in that it is as she would wish it - and also take comfort in Edward - dogs are great healers.

  27. I am very sorry to hear about your Mother. Please accept my love and prayers and deepest sympathy.
    Much love and many blessings
    Love Jeanne

  28. Dear Pamela - my heartfelt condolences. May your mother rest peacefully and may you move through your grief as you sit by the seaside. Our mothers are our connection to this life, to this's an eerie sensation to have that connection severed. Be gentle with yourself.

  29. So sorry to know of your mother's death. The only solace is no regrets; to know that you did all you could and that she knew it. Memories are a wonderful thing and a lovely place we can live. Hoping that in a while you can visit there without pain. Patience.

  30. I am so sorry of your loss. I understand well your mother...
    You know we love you and we will be there.

  31. I am so sorry for your loss, Pamela. My mother died 21 years ago. Taking some time to be still is the best thing you can do. I was unable to do that (15 month old son, father utterly distraught), and I am glad that you will have that healing time.

  32. Oh Pamela, i am so very sorry for your loss. Having just gone through it myself two months ago, I understand how you feel. it will take some time to recover and heal. Your post was beautiful ad brought a tear to my eye Take care!

  33. Deepest condolences from a new reader of your blog. Sending wishes for peace in the days to come......

  34. Your post is lovely and heartfelt, especially followed by the poem.

    Deepest sympathy and yes, your loss will stay with you but it becomes different. One of your posts mentions picking up the phone to call her mother, 13 years after her Mom's been gone - you'll find you do things similarly. Think that's a testament to you as a daughter and to your Mom as a parent.

    Take care and hold family close. Come back when you are ready.

  35. Dear Pamela
    I am so sorry.
    Am thinking of you and sending you much love

  36. Yes, efficient and solid...and tender when I thought it wouldn't undo me...efficient and solid in order to lend strength to my father and ease my mother's recent passing. Now it is time to be efficient and solid for my father who is grappling with his last weeks here on earth. Grief upon grief to read of your own loss, dear Pamela. I weep for us both. Please may God grant you the comfort of his presence in your sorrow.

  37. Pamela, please accept my sincere and heartfelt condolences to you and your family, for the loss of your dear mother. I do have lost my mother in June of this year, and am still feeling the pain and grief of her absence from my life. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem by Wadsworth. It's so poignant and yet very comforting.


  38. Pamela, I'm so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. I am wishing you a happy, love filled, successful 2013. Hugs and love!

  39. I am sorry for your loss. May God's loving arms wrap around you in comfort and peace.

  40. Gail, in northern CaliforniaDecember 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    So sorry to read of your loss. Be very, very kind to yourself in the coming weeks....fresh air, healthy nutritious food, lots of rest, plenty of sleep. I understand what you're saying about feeling a bit orphaned. Those were my thoughts exactly when my mother died..."I am no longer someone's child."

    Come back to us, Pamela. We'll be waiting.

  41. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Pamela. My thoughts are with you.

  42. My deepest sympathies Pamela for the passing of your Mother...
    There is one thing that a Mother shares with her child quite like no other and that is the sharing of a heartbeat while still in the womb.
    And it is the memories of her that remain with us forever...
    Susan x

  43. My condolences to you and your family and I hope you find comfort with all the happy memories of your mother.
    I know you are in the best of company for soothing grief and sadness, sending loving hugs your way,

  44. Pamela
    My condolences on the loss of your mother.
    May you find the solace you need by the sea. My thoughts and
    prayers are with you and your family.


  45. I'm very sorry about your mother. I hope your memories sustain you and give you strength in the future.

  46. I am so sorry for your loss - I can't even imagine your pain. You'll be in my thoughts and I pray that peace comes to you.

  47. My most sincere condolences, Pamela. They tell me Time heals, - in the meantime I wish you serenity and comforting memories.

  48. A bow to you and your Mother. May you find peace in the new year.

  49. Pamela,
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I pray your mother has a peaceful journey into the great unknown, whether it by ship or other vessel.
    May your fond memories provide you comfort.

  50. Please accept my sympathies, Pamela, on your loss of your mother.

    Yes, I think we all feel a bit orphaned when our last parent dies. I know I did, in fact, still do even though 25 years have gone by.

    You write so eloquently, even in sadness, and bringing William Wordsworth makes this all the more poignant. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you slip by the seaside. Penny

  51. Your words brought to mind the opening scene of Elizabeth Goudge's "The Scent of Water". In a room filled with the light of a marvelous sunset where an elderly woman has just died, her housekeeper recalls her last words:

    "She said something about sailing out on living water."

    "Wandering," said Mrs. Croft (the nurse).

    "She had been, but not then. She was quite clear in her mind, like they so often are. Living water she said. This gold puts me in mind of it."

    May you find peace in your sorrow, Pamela. It's been 25 years since I lost my own mother and I still miss her.

    With sincere sympathy,

  52. I too am so sorry to hear of your mothers illness and death. I am with Tammy J, that there are times when treatment is worse than no treatment, so maybe your mother made a wise choice-maybe the drift rather than the lurch was what she was after? I have lost people both suddenly and after a long, slow illness. My dad died quite suddenly. I was a geriatric nurse at the time, and I was so angry that I had no time to get ready for the idea of him being gone, as people do when there is a long illness (so I thought at the time...). Then many years later my mother developed dementia. That was a much longer road, and I found it much more difficult, to see her decline so slowly, to change and become someone who wasn't the person I had known, and yet had so much of that person present as well, she just didn't know she was my mother any more. I found that much more difficult, and by the end I was so terribly, terribly tired, I'm still tired three years later. I also used to wonder why everyone seemed to die in the winter, in my life. Now, though, I think it helps to have it be winter, when our natural world is dark and cold and sleeping. It's the right time to mourn. I don't so much feel like an orphan,though, because I am still and will always be their daughter, but I miss them a great deal. I don't think one gets over these things, I think we learn how to live in a new way, with this new information that we can't escape, that they are gone. But we are here, and we carry the knowledge of them with us, the memory of them, and what they taught us is always with us and I think that it grows as we go on. At least it has for me. I hope the ocean is helping-she is, after all, the one great mother.

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  55. Pamela, from Lahore, Pakistan.. I just visited your blog after a while, and was shocked, and saddened to read of your mother's passing.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish you much strength through your sorrow, that may Allah heal your heart and take care of you every moment, and send peace over your heart.
    I am so sorry to hear of your grief.
    You are in my thoughts.
    Warmth and Love,

  56. My thoughts and prayers are with you Pamela, I'm so sorry to hear about your Mum. I lost my Mum just 2 years ago and agree we do feel orphaned somewhat. God bless you. Kind Regards Mandy Currie (

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