Some of the Advantages of Getting Older

I love my mother’s writing. It is such a precious gift that she shared with me. She was my biggest fan, and I was hers.

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

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By Grace Christine Doucette (My mom)

I can wear a red hat with a green blouse and yellow pants. People just shake their heads and think, “Well, she’s old.”
Strong young men accost me just to put my groceries in my car. As I adjust my wig, they walk away with a smile, thinking, “Well, she’s old.”
I can smile and wink at every handsome man I see, young or old, and receive a smile or wink in return. It’s safe to flirt now, “I’m old.”
People let me cut in at the grocery store checkout line, and they smile when I have to ask, “What’s the date?” “Oh well, she’s old.”
I can add ten years to my age and smile when people say, “You look so good for your age!”
I can ask for directions, and people lead me right to the place. They don’t want me to…

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Simple Little Bobby Pins

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As I went to put bobby pins in my hair today, I was caught up in the most amazing memory.
I’m looking in the mirror, and suddenly, I’m watching my mom roll her long, black hair around her finger and then, she uses a bobby pin to hold it in place. Although it is my face, my mom’s face reflects back at me and I smile. I feel eight years old, watching her, the way I did each night before bed for so many years.
Every night, my mom would put those bobby pins in her hair.
Dad, drunk, screaming and yelling, nothing stopped her, nothing he ever did stopped her.
My mum was an amazing, strong and beautiful woman.
She just sat there in her own little space and rolled up her hair.
What a bitter-sweet memory simple, little bobby pins brought to me today.

“I am so proud of you Mum, even more now that I am older, because I have been to war too. Now,  I know how hard you had to fight. I have fought the codependency battles. Your unconditional love and your strengths made me stronger. I love you and I miss you everyday.”

Another Christmas for Grace

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

My dad was an alcoholic and Christmas was his favorite time of the year to tear up the house, a futile attempt to destroy my mother’s Christmas spirit.
He never succeeded with her, but he made me dread Christmas.
When I was a young mother, I didn’t really celebrate Christmas, not until the kids were toddlers and even then, I just went through the motions for them.
When I was twenty-seven, I got remarried to a man who made a big deal of Christmas.
Until our first Christmas together, I had never put up more than a 2′ ceramic tree, and only because my mom had special ordered it for me.
Our first year together, we put up a 6′ tree with all the trimmings and we surrounded it with presents.
The kids were so excited on Christmas morning and it was contagious.
From that point on, I grew to…

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Happy Mother’s Day To My Mom, Grace Christine 1926-2009

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

I decided the best way for me to celebrate Mother’s Day is to share some of my mom’s writing. I used to write a newsletter and my mom contributed poems and articles on a regular basis. I love you, Mom, and I know that even though you are playing with the angels, you still watch over me. Love, Jeanne Marie

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A NOTE FROM GRACE
W
hen my children were growing up and got into their “teenage problem” years, I’d become exasperated with them. I’d think, “They’re just like their father!” Then, one day the light dawned on me, (Marblehead) because after taking a hard, honest look at myself, I realized; they were just like me. The me I had suppressed and hidden deep inside, where no one else could see. I was as wild and rebellious as they, but I had put up a shield of adult perfection, striving to become…

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Where Do We Go from Here?


Fifty years ago my older brother, Billy, came home and found me drunk out of my mind.
Billy, you made me walk the neighborhood, on a snowy night, kicking me in the butt every time I stopped.
You said you were gonna walk me sober. It would be another ten years before I stayed sober, but you gave it a damn, good try.
I remember crying and crying and as I sobered up, asking you, “Where do we go from here, where do we go from here?”
Big brother, you were my first hero.
Mom wrote in my baby book that when I was a year old, I followed you everywhere, pulling your hair and teasing you, wanting you to play with me. And you told her that it was okay.
“She thinks I’m her toy,” you told her.
You taught me to ride a bike when I was six, and you set me free at the top of the hill that I felt was a mountain, on Pratt Street, because you knew I was ready before I did.
You taught me to ice skate on the Shawsheen River, in spite of my fear, because I always knew I was safe with you. You would catch me before I hit the ground.
I was afraid of everything back then, but you always took my hand and shared your courage.
I don’t know why you were so brave and strong, living with a father who tried to crush you, but thank God he didn’t succeed, and you were my hero.
Me and Cherie and Suzanne will never forget the year you saved Christmas from Dad’s rage. You came and you even packed up our Christmas Tree and drove us all to your house.
You threatened my first love’s physical existence when he left bruises on my arms. He laughed about it afterwards, but he stopped grabbing and shoving me, at least until I married him. That one’s on me.
You saved my daughter and my grandsons on a really bad night, when you could have walked away.
You and I stayed close for so many years, and it was only in the last few years that we lost touch. I had a meltdown and I shut out most of the world and if you were a casualty of my depression, I’m sorry.
We just stopped calling each other.
Maybe we got lazy, maybe we just took each other for granted, maybe we just got old.
Maybe I thought you would always be there when I needed you.
Now, you are so sick that you can’t even hold your head up for more than a minute.
The doctor said two weeks to two months.
We faced-timed today and I watched your courage once more, as you struggled to talk, to think, to connect.
We reminisced about our trip around the old neighborhood on that snowy night so long ago.
“Where do we go from here? You kept asking me that,” you said.
“Well, I guess we’re there now,” I said.
Once more, your courage shines through as you prepare to leave this world behind.
I told you I’m putting you in God’s hands and you could like it or lump it.
“Go for it, ” you said. A few weeks ago, you would have given a different answer.
I will play with you in Heaven, dear brother. Save me a place in the family mansion.
You taught me so many things, but this…this is the hardest lesson of all.

Ice


by Grace Christine Doucette (My mom)

It’s cold in New England, ice is King
The flowers are sleeping, waiting for spring.
In my heart, memories are deep
Waiting for old promises to keep.
I planted seeds of love early in life
They’re not dead, buried by strife.
Just waiting for the big thaw when
I’ll see blossoms as never before.
The rose in a grandchild’s smile
The bloom in a hug that stretches a mile.
Yes, my seeds have sprung into life
And bloomed in my garden
Through all the icy strife.
Life goes on, it never will end
When you plant your seeds
In the heart’s of your children and friends.

Now She Has The Time…


Now, She Has the Time

by Grace Christine Doucette

Mother, I wanted to visit you today
But I was too busy,
other things got in the way.
I knew you’d understand and not complain
You never want to put me under a strain.
So, my days slipped by without seeing you
But, I knew you were there, in plain view.
Now, I have the chance
to come spend time with you
But you’re not here. “Mum, where are you?”
God had the time so he took you away
To sit and talk to Him and quietly pray.
He fills your time with companionship
That I unaware, had slowly let slip.
I missed seeing your smile
and feeling your loving touch
And I forgot to say, “I love you so much.”
Now I have the time, “Mum, where are you?”

A Note From Grace (My Mom)

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A NOTE FROM GRACE (My Mom)
When my children were growing up and got into their “teenage problem” years, I’d become exasperated with them. I’d think, “They’re just like their father!”
Then, one day the light dawned on me, (Marblehead) because after taking a hard, honest look at myself, I realized; they were just like me. The me I had suppressed and hidden deep inside, where no one else could see. I was as wild and rebellious as they, but I had put up a shield of adult perfection, striving to become the perfect mother that everyone expected me to be.
I have now learned that I need to let this child in me come out to play, or the adult becomes a cold hard shell. I must confess, now that I’m older, I have to do this through my books, and old TV movies.
My mind wants to run through fields of flowers with all my clothes flung aside, but my body slows me down to a stroll through Wal-Mart, wrapped in warm sweaters.

Random Thoughts From Grace

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RANDOM THOUGHTS
from Grace ( My Mom)
Life has taught me an important lesson. “Put your money where your mouth is.” I brag to everyone about my clever daughter and her newsletter. Her beautiful public letters to me fill me with pride. Sometimes they make me cry to see the love flowing between us, and it makes me feel so undeserving because I only did what any mother would do—I loved my daughter. I remember how I tried to convince my jealous husband (jealous even of his own children) that “Love shared is never divided, it is multiplied.” My love was multiplied by him, and my four beautiful children, not divided amongst them. The years have shown me the strength in my children, and while I may not like everything they do, I love them and respect their right to be themselves. They have taken some of what I taught them and rejected what they found didn’t fit into each of their life styles; but, the base of our relationship has always been that I love them—unconditionally. So, Jeanne Marie, enclosed is my donation for stamps, and although I love my gift subscription, I want to contribute to WWTTM. Love, Mom

Thanks Mom, and I’ve met far too many mothers who don’t love their children unconditionally, so take credit for the gifts you have given me. You do deserve it! Love, JM

The House That Never Sleeps (The VA Hospital) by Jean Burbine

THE HOUSE THAT NEVER SLEEPS
(The VA Hospital)
BY Jean Burbine

I work in the house that never sleeps.
It hides the smiles of the man who weeps.
They come with a limp, with a faltering walk.
Some with a smile for they cannot talk.
Men come with their pain, their fading sight
and find a helping hand from the angels in white.
“Let me push your chair, let me help you walk.”
“Let me be your eyes, and your tongue to talk.”
And all through the night as the rays of dawn creeps,
they stand by your side in the house that never sleeps.

Some of the Advantages of Getting Older

gracewrites006
By Grace Christine Doucette (My mom)

I can wear a red hat with a green blouse and yellow pants. People just shake their heads and think, “Well, she’s old.”
Strong young men accost me just to put my groceries in my car. As I adjust my wig, they walk away with a smile, thinking, “Well, she’s old.”
I can smile and wink at every handsome man I see, young or old, and receive a smile or wink in return. It’s safe to flirt now, “I’m old.”
People let me cut in at the grocery store checkout line, and they smile when I have to ask, “What’s the date?” “Oh well, she’s old.”
I can add ten years to my age and smile when people say, “You look so good for your age!”
I can ask for directions, and people lead me right to the place. They don’t want me to get lost, cause “I’m old.”
When I go to the laundry mat, I can mix my colors and my whites in one load. I don’t even flinch when an organized woman sorts her laundry and shakes her head at me, thinking, “She’s old.”
The secret no one knows, is that I present this old face to the world, while inside a young woman laughs at my private joke.
“Who’s old? Not me!”
I love to send scribbles to WWTTM and see them emerge legible and in sharp clean print. I can expose my innermost thoughts to you all and you can laugh at me or with me. I’ve found new friends, though you’re far away and I can’t see your faces, you are all near and dear to me.
I’m not sad about getting older, I did it one day at a time. I’m a product of all my yesterdays, the good and the bad. Today I like who I am, and when I look in the mirror I can honestly say, “Well done kiddo, you did the best you could with what you had!”

Thank You

Have I ever thanked you for all the nights
you sat on your cold bathroom floor
talking me into staying alive,
for praying me sober when I was lost in the swamp,
for holding me close when my heart was broken,
for standing by my side when everyone else
walked away because I was wrong?
Have I ever thanked you for never judging me,
for never giving up on me,
for seeing my beauty
when all I could see was my ugly,
for being my sister, my best friend,
my go-to person for every pain and every joy?
Have I ever thanked you for introducing me to Jesus,
for your powerful prayers
when my daughter was dead in the water,
for your face that she saw as she came up, alive?
God places angels in our lives, and you are mine.
I am me because you loved me through.
For embracing me, for accepting the mission
with all of your heart, my sister, I thank you.

Another Christmas for Grace

My dad was an alcoholic and Christmas was his favorite time of the year to tear up the house, a futile attempt to destroy my mother’s Christmas spirit.
He never succeeded with her, but he made me dread Christmas.
When I was a young mother, I didn’t really celebrate Christmas, not until the kids were toddlers and even then, I just went through the motions for them.
When I was twenty-seven, I got remarried to a man who made a big deal of Christmas.
Until our first Christmas together, I had never put up more than a 2′ ceramic tree, and only because my mom had special ordered it for me.
Our first year together, we put up a 6′ tree with all the trimmings and we surrounded it with presents.
The kids were so excited on Christmas morning and it was contagious.
From that point on, I grew to love Christmas and all that it meant to the kids.
My mom was so proud of me for overcoming my childhood Christmas phobias and soon, I had enough homemade decorations from my mother to cover an entire tree.
I used to love to send her pictures of the tree decorated with her ornaments.
I put up big trees until my youngest moved out, and then I still put up trees, just not as large.
As my kids had kids of their own, I split Mom’s decorations between them and I bought new decorations for me.
Every year, I would do a different theme, bouncing between girly and guy.
All miniature dolls and fairies one year and all Harley-Davidson decorations another year. Pink trees, white trees, purple trees, gold and green. Even a Palm tree one year.
Then, my mom, Grace, died in 2009.
I had a hard time again, but my sister, Cherie, talked me into putting up a tree just for my mom and she sent me butterflies and fairies to decorate it.
That was my first Christmas for Grace.
The next year, it. became a tradition, one tree for Mom, one for me.
Three years ago, my husband and I split up and although I put up a small tree for Mom, I didn’t really celebrate Christmas.
We got back together after seven months and we had two more nice Christmases together, but we separated again this fall, and now here I am, my second Christmas without him in thirty-eight years.
I really didn’t know how I was going to get through it.
I decided the first thing I needed to do was to buy a Christmas tree in a color I had never had before.
I resisted the urge to buy blue for a Blue Christmas, and before I could change my mind, I ordered a turquoise colored Christmas tree. That was in October.
It sat in the box for about a month, while I thought about it.
What would I put on it?
That’s when my sweet friend, Michelle Marie, came to the rescue. She called and offered me enough decorations to do my whole tree. When she brought them to me on Thanksgiving weekend, I was thrilled. They were so beautiful and unlike anything I had ever used before.
My kids came with their kids for Thanksgiving weekend and I asked the three youngest ones to decorate the tree.
Four-year old Mile Mae, got on her daddy’s shoulders to put the star on, and while the entire tree leans, including the star, it’s perfectly imperfect. It’s rather Grinch like, and that was my mom’s favorite movie.
After they were all gone, I brought out some of my little fairies, my mom’s butterflies and a few special ornaments. I added them to the tree. The tree lights are pink and at night, it changes the tree’s color and the walls around it glow.
So, although it is a sad Christmas for me in many ways, I have kept my Christmas spirit going, partly in honor of my mother who refused to let an insane alcoholic destroy her Christmas spirit and partly in honor of myself, because I deserve a happy and blessed Christmas, and yes, I am blessed.
I have fifteen grandkids and five great-grandchildren, a beautiful, warm home, food and everything I need.
I firmly believe Jesus is the reason for the season, but when your grandkids are small, it’s also about glitz and glitter and shiny presents and stockings filled to the brim, hugs and love, Oreo’s and milk, all waiting for them at Grammy’s house.
So this tree is for them, and for my mom, the woman who taught me that your Christmas will become whatever you choose to make it, and for my sister, who wouldn’t let me quit Christmas after my mom died.
Special thanks to Michelle Marie for the perfectly timed decorations and thank you Jesus, for another Christmas and another chance to make memories with my family and friends.

Christmas For Grace

 

 

Celebrating My Mom’s Writing

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

Grace Christine Doucette, October 12, 1926-July 27, 2009

grace garden sit

Dear Jeanne Marie,

I’m dysfunctional? What’s that you say?

Well, I’ll deny it to my dying day.

I look at the world with rose-colored glasses,

It’s the men I find that make the wrong passes!

I’m so innocent, I believe all their lies

I think that’s true love deep in their eyes.

I see only what I want to be there

And accept love unafraid, not a care.

I function perfectly straight every day

And don’t allow reality to get in my way!

When I kiss my prince, he instantly

becomes a toad,

And I’m covered with warts,

alone on the road.

But I keep going, living my dreams,

Life just can’t be as bad as it seems!

Dysfunctional? Nope, not me!

I’m still waiting for my prince at seventy-three!

Guess Who?  (Love, Mom)

THE FLAME

by Grace Christine

How many times…

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Mirror Image by Susanne Louise

Mirror images are what we’re made of and everything has a mirror image.
What we are and what we want to be is all a reflection of what we see…a shadow is just a distorted mirror image.
A shadow that is not reality.
It’s reality distorted to a reflection.
Life is a mixture of both these images.
Sometimes we look in a mirror and see shadows instead of the reality.
The mirror image determines which is real and which is distorted In the mind.
The crazy lost souls of our hopes and dreams control the mind, so how do we trust anything we see?