a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Words I Can Count On

The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Although my husband and I are in Springfield, Illinois for the Illinois Reading Council Conference, that is not the slice that is on my mind tonight. 

All day I have had something else tucked in the corner of my thoughts.  Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 76th birthday.  She passed away just over two years ago from lung cancer.

I miss her.

She once told me, “When I first met you, I thought you were just another one of Mark’s mistakes.” 

I didn’t say she was tactful.  No, she was honest. 

I like honesty.  I can count on honesty.

A couple of weeks before she died, she spent seven days at a hospice care center for respite.  While she was there, I tried to spend as much time as possible with her.  I didn’t want her to be alone, and I wanted to take as much of the burden off of her husband, children, and grandchildren as possible. 

One day, when I was feeding her dinner, she said, “I never realized how nurturing you are.  You would make a great mother.”

Although I am not a mother, I can’t imagine a better compliment. 

Those are words I can count on. 


  1. What a wonderful post about a strong and honest woman. I am sure she was pretty wise too.

  2. I just discovered your blog, and I love it. I love how you described your mother in law and how you can count on honesty. I could hear you talk through your words, authentic and real.

  3. Obviously, by this slice, your mother-in-law realized you weren't a mistake! I'd rather have the honesty, too. How you must have grown to love her to spend that time with her at the end. You are a wonderful woman.

  4. A touching slice, Christy. Thank you for sharing it with us on this tender day. I love how you added a few of her memorable quotes. Special.

    BTW: I wish I could be at your presentation --- you'll be awesome!!!! Good for you :).

  5. You gave me goose bumps as I read your words and your mother-in-laws words. It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship with her. Honesty is good.

  6. This made me want to call my mother-in-law. Thank you for sharing this with us--it gives me a deeper glimpse of you.

  7. What a rare treat a mother-in-law that loves you and you love too. Sounds like you both were very blessed, and I'll bet you have many kids..in your classes past and present.

  8. What a wonderful gesture from you to your mother-in-law. I know what hospice is like. Not all can do what you did. It's even kind of you to remember her two years later today.

  9. I've only been married for three years, but at the very beginning, my mom told me to always remember to treat my mother-in-law with respect because the qualities that I love about my husband, he got from his mother.

    This was a beautiful slice to honor your mother-in-law. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh what a lovely look back, Christy. Your slice is such a warm tribute to your mother-in-law's honesty, the genuine and real way in which you related to one another, could count on each other.

  11. What a sweet memory to cherish. Mother-in-laws can be very protective of their sons . . . I have one too. So glad she realized how wonderful you are - and that she shared it with you!

  12. This caught my attention, "I had something else tucked in the corner of my thoughts." Isn't that how this writing thing is? You start thinking about something important and then try to figure out how to weave it into a story.


  13. Cathy above said it so well, Christy. That is how writing is & you tell such a fine story every time. This is the nicest tribute to your mother-in-law. I had a wonderful one & miss her often. She passed away just about exactly 12 years ago. I am glad you both got to be honest with each other. I know what you mean about honest-me, too! Thanks, Christy!

  14. I am with Cathy and Linda - it is paying attention to the our thoughts, even those ones on the edges, that nudge us to our best writing.

    You obviously ended up with a special relationship with your mother-in-law to be one of the ones spending time with her during hospice care. May your memories continue to be tenderly special.

  15. Good words to rely on. What a tender -- close to the bones -- slice this is.

  16. I think you'd make an amazing post-apocalyptic mom. (or any other kind)

  17. You wrote this slice with honesty and vulnerability. Thank you for the trust.

  18. You are nurturing and definitely not a mistake! You have blessed your mother-in-law with your words. I miss mine too. She passed away from a rare cancer (that I can never remember what it's called). Now we share memories of her with my father-in-law.