Optimist, Pessimist, Life, Death, Life

Saturday, and it’s raining. I’m eating dry Cheerios with raisins because I haven’t any milk. A hurricane is once again approaching, and the naming system is so worn out, all it can generate is Beta. RBG is dead, as are 198,000 Americans from COVID-19. I made a pot of white rice so I will have something to eat until my husband the cook reunites with me. Next week, I go to my mother’s memorial service in North Carolina, 4 months after she died.


My foot is healing from the (second) steroid shot. If it continues, and works, I might be able to wear something other than the tennis shoes I’ve been restricted to for a year. The virus positivity rate in New Orleans is dropping like a rock. The orchid my church gave me 5 1/2 years ago is still alive and blooming. A male Cardinal just lit on my windowsill in all his red glory. Next week, I will get to see my beloved siblings to whom I’ve only grown closer over the years. The dog is eating.

Focusing on the positive doesn’t come naturally to me, but it comes easily when I remember to do it.


This post is one week old. It’s another Saturday, but it’s not raining. I’ve been traveling for 4 days and have one more to go before I arrive back home. The food has been better than dry Cheerios, but I’ll be glad when I return to NOLA with its surfeit of great takeout within walking distance (my husband’s walking distance; he cooks the food; he secures the food; he keeps us alive every day). No storms are forming in the Gulf. RGB is still dead.

My foot isn’t healed, but it became a mere irritation when, right after drafting this post, I hurt my back so bad I couldn’t stand up (before you ask, I was bending over to read a can of beans–in other words, nothing.) For 24 hours, I was certain I could not get in a car and drive to North Carolina for Mother’s service. Time ticked. I healed a bit. I got drugs. I grogged into the car and made it.

Here we are at the memorial service. We look like the trailer for a new Netflix movie. My niece said, The Distanced Mourners: a documentary. The pitch is: blended family gathers in a pandemic to mourn beloved mother four months after death, and…all turns out well.

The family mourning
Saying goodbye to my mother, Virginia Van Hecke. You can read about her fabulous life HERE

Comments (10)

  • The first thing I noticed when I saw the photograph of the people at the memorial service for your mother was your shoes. Good news! No tennis shoes. More good news–you made the trip despite the issues with your back. It is not news that you are one tough lady and after reading your mother’s obituary I think I know something about the source of that toughness. I wish I had known your mother, but I do know you. Close enough.
    Yes RBG is gone and racism is rampant in our land. We must keep opening doors of hope and working to confront the fear that sustains the racism
    Great post and great writing

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Look at you! Noticing my shoes! And thank you for reading Mother’s obituary. She had much hardship–losing her husband young in a tragic accident then raising the 3 of us by herself for 10 years–that she never let define her. TY for reading and coming here to comment–I feel we are staying in touch at least a bit….

  • Oh don’t I know about the backitis. I’m impressed you were able to get in a car and drive that distance. As your friend above commented, you are one tough woman. I also noticed your shoes and deduced the foot is not healed. You know there are fabulous flats out there now. One brand to check is Fluvog – Canadian, natch – which are the most theatrical shoes I know of. On the more conservative side there’s also Beautifeel. Anyway, you rock flip flops and your mother would have been pleased you were able to gather and remember her regardless of the time elapsed since her death. And to echo Donna, hugs to you.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Shoe recommendations! Now, this is why I blog. No, the foot hasn’t healed. I tried a tennis shoe today, and it wasn’t ready. I have bookmarked the wonderful suggestions. I can at least dream… I was happy that the flip-flops, orthopedic that they are, at least matched the dress. And the weather allowed me to wear a dress my mother would have enjoyed. 🙂

  • I’m sorry to hear of all the complications and hope you are continuing to mend. Being able to gather for a service for your beloved mother is a blessing in the midst of this challenging year. Yummy NOLA food is a blessing, too!

    • It’s interesting, Joanne. The last couple of days, I’ve woken up with something resembling hope. A new life begun. We moved to NOLA 2 months ago but only with my mother’s funeral does it feel as if I’m looking forward. I didn’t expect that.

      • Hope is definitely a gift and a blessing, too. Not being able to gather and grieve has certainly had an impact on many of us this year. Perhaps having that opportunity created some space for healing and hope to begin to return. Praying that hope will remain and grow as we navigate through these next tumultuous weeks in out national life.

        • Ellen Morris Prewitt

          Yes, I think that’s true. “Closure,” folks call it. And that doesn’t seem right. But it is a marking. Thank you for your prayers. I join you in that! <3

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