Someone’s crying

Three years ago today, I held my mother’s hand as she took her last breath. This is the post I wrote the day after. Today I am remembering a moment towards the end of her days when she was at Hospice. I never had a lot of time to have the heart-to-heart conversation with her that I yearned for. Things were moving too fast; I was too busy with Dad, and Mom was too sick. But on this afternoon, for the minutes she was awake, I leaned over her bed and said, “I’m going to have to find a way to talk to you.” She said, “Yes, you will.” Then I cried the tears I tried so hard to hide from her. She reached up with both of her arms and cupped my face between her two hands, giving me a lifetime of gratitude and love, a million words of goodbye, in one moment I will cherish forever.

Christine M. Grote

On Thursday night I heard my mother stir and I rose from my bed on the floor in the corner of her room and hurried to her side.

“What’s wrong?” she asked as she roused from the deep sleep she had been in all day.

“Nothing’s wrong, Mom.”

“Someone’s crying,” she said.

In my mom’s 78 years on this planet, I imagine she heard and answered a lot of someones crying.  In the 1950s through the 1970s she was raising five children who had been born within six years, including my sister Annie who was extremely disabled.  I suspect there were a lot of times someone was crying.

Even as we grew older we were sometimes crying: me coming home from college carrying a basket of laundry when a relationship ended; a long-distance phone call to speak of a loved one who died; a conversation about one thing or the…

View original post 337 more words

Reclaiming memory

One thing led to the next. I deleted important (to me) photographs from my camera’s SD card after downloading them into a folder on my laptop, and then I inadvertently deleted the folder containing them. I still don’t know how it happened, but I could not find them anywhere.

I have always wondered about investigators removing computers from suspected criminals’ homes. I’ve heard that computer gurus can reclaim things that were deleted from the hard drive.  Now I’m no computer guru, but I can Google with the best of you.

“I deleted my photos by accident.”

You would be amazed at how many hits that Google search got.

Anyway, as I said, one thing led to the next and I found myself looking at a faded version of my recovered photographs using free software I downloaded. What they neglected to tell me was that I couldn’t actually access those photos unless I bought the program for around $50.  Talk about an effective tease. My pictures were right there. They were still alive. But I couldn’t reach them.

To make a long story short, I bought the software. The code they gave me to covert the free version to the fully functional program didn’t work. I made the phone call. I gave them permission to access my computer remotely. This was the scary part, but I was in for the duration now. I mean, my pictures were right there.  The guy I finally got, after the extended elevator music, wanted to sell me a $350 program to get rid of the virus he found that he said was responsible for the problem

Even though this account reads fairly quickly, it actually was taking a lot of time and my patience was wearing thin. This was a racket. And the worst part was that I had given this guy access to my computer.

We were on vacation at the beach and daylight was wasting. (Ignore the fact that I probably shouldn’t have been out in the sunlight anyway).

I told him there was no way I was spending more money on this project, and that he could give me a code that worked, or I wanted my money back. If I didn’t get my money back I was going to let the world know, through multiple blog posts, Facebook pages, and tweets, what a racket their company was running. That made him sit up and listen.

I got the code. I got my pictures. And I changed all my passwords out of paranoia.

But that wasn’t the memory I was talking about reclaiming.

Yesterday I was driving along and a memory popped up. It was of my childhood or teenage years. I think my sister Carol was in it. And it brought back to my senses the sights, sounds, and scents of home. It felt really good. And it wasn’t one of my over-used, tried and true, old-reliable memories that I keep for old-time’s sake and bring back out now and again, probably slightly modified with each review. It was a fresh memory.

I woke up this morning and could not access it. At all. I still can’t. I can’t remember any details about it except for how it made me feel.

Maybe I should Google it.

“How to access fleeting childhood memories.”

Do you think I’ll find “free” software for this one?


Unmined memories

I woke up with a new memory of Annie running through my head. It will probably be running through my head the rest of the day.

Annie, Annie, bo banny

Banana fanna fo fanny

Me mi mo manny


The Name Game written and recorded by Shirley Ellis was first released in 1964. Annie loved it when we sang it to her. I had forgotten. And I might wish later today that I’d never remembered.

In case you can’t recall the tune, here’s the video. Click it at your own risk.

 I decided to give away three books in honor of Annie’s birthday. I drew the winner’s names this morning and will be posting them on my Christine M Grote Facebook page once I have confirmation from the winners. (If you didn’t get a message from me on Facebook today, it probably means you didn’t win.) If you haven’t yet “liked” my Facebook author page, it would be great if you could spare a minute and go over there to click the “Like” button on the top of the page. I make shorter announcements and may have other contests over there later on.

Memories through the waves

The wind roars, whipping the blue panels of the beach umbrella back and forth where I recline beneath, shaded from the sun. My legs, one crossed over the other,  are rough and grainy from the sand that clings to them.

I am doing absolutely nothing even though my iPhone with unread e-mail messages, and a good book reside in the beach bag that rests on the sand within easy reach at my side.

The rhymic sound of the waves breaking on the shore lull me into complacency. I sit and watch and listen, feeling the cool breeze off the sea blow across my skin and toss my hair.

A black crow perches on the top of an unopened umbrella to my right and caws.

The tall seeded grass on the dunes that dot the shore bend over with the wind.

A group of bare-chested men in the waves trudge slowly to shore with big steady and slow strides.

I remember my dad’s strong hand holding onto mine as we moved slowly through the waves and out to where the sea crossed my shoulders. My dad laughing, lifting me over the high waves. Never letting go.