Connection in Loss

Visiting Mom today, we were separated by a window. Our mobiles were our speakers, like a microphone between a jail cell and her visitors. She put her hand up and splayed her fingers over the glass. Mom so wanted us to be glad visiting, not bummed by her condition, that while crying about the many things worth crying over, she pushed laughter out, and tossed her hair back and animated herself. Her act of love. Literally.

This month, my brothers, cousins and I have been closing down my parents house. We go in turns, distantly from each other, to do what our bodies can. My folks moved there, to Crown Ranch, more than fifty years ago. There’s been a lot to work through. Because of the quarantine, Mom hasn’t been allowed to participate. And so, through these two weeks since Dad died, she, and we have been saying goodbye in foreign ways. Goodbye Dad. Wave at Crown Ranch. Eyeball each of our individual idea relationship constructs, like the person with her suitcases would before moving to a different country. Awkwardly. Lumps of emotion in closed throats.

Mom was crumpled in her chair, crying. I, and my family, were on the other side of the glass.

“It’s all gone.” Mom’s voice came through the speaker phone. Her hands covered her face for a moment. We quietly sat on the other side.

I want to talk to you about loss and connection but I’m not able to do much more than tell you bits of this story. Finding connection through loss is a win though. And as we always say here at, Friend to Yourself, we are created for connection.

Mom received Dad’s belongings from the nursing home last week. When we left her today, she said, “I’m going to go smell Daddy’s clothes.”

We put our hands up against hers for a moment. And we were glad. She did it.

Questions: What have you lost?

What do you remember? 

Self care tip: Find your connection even through loss. You are not alone.

Briefly Loved

I used to gather rocks shiny stones precious metals and things, I thought had permanence, but now I will only go for cuttings with stems just so, bright red or pink I think on top

I like to look at hunks of wood, see the life-rings layered, a round embrace, years upon years in evidence

I like to see a cloud well formed in a frameless sky, or wispy shapes of nothing but Cyrus percolating droplets, hints rain

I once liked mountains and property, a deep footed house surrounded by trees, I once liked, permanence

now I prefer the open, unlined, spaces that cannot be so easily defined

I like to remember that I am temporary as was my father dead now, his ashes are breath behind my ear, dead like my niece some 15 years ago dying like my mother whose days blow down the sidewalk, crumpled leaves

I like to see things of beauty that are short-lived reminding me why pretend I am more than just barely, I thought barely a moment barely worth reckoning in fact nothing at all, wetted pages of Mozart or Chopin I’ll reach for them and watch them tear in my hand

I want to see a mood a whim and other changing things give me nothing that stays or I know you lie you are not any greater than Babylon nor am I

I am nothing but for who made me, else to pretend I want not, I have an old set of China from my mother’s wedding day you can finish that thought

When I was young my legs were strong my joints did not hurt my hair was thick I had potential like you I had use I had years ahead like a thick bank roll of quid and now my neck has wrinkles and I am gray and

my dad died a week ago today

I don’t want anything more than a flower than the truth that we are this this creature this creation this borrowed bit

I will holler louder come Lord Jesus come I will shake my fist it’s just temporary anyways like this

This is enough, “Carry-on,” the officer said, “nothing here to see,”

my dad died a week ago today 

and even that is over please delete when you are done, no tip on self care just a poem. Keep on.

Blessings surround me

David Robert Johnson, MD

Hello Friends,

Thursday, Redlands Community Hospital was able to make an exception and allow us to spend three ultimate hours with Dad In the ICU. He was smiling and attentive. Interested and listening. He had a happy day. We told him our thoughts. Read to him your many notes of love. He especially perked up with my cousin’s report of starting to read a Bible Dad had apparently given him some time ago. That kind of thing has been his and my Mom’s life passion and I don’t think there was much of a better way to say goodnight.


Dad was getting tired. He had started to grimace. There was blood coming out if his ngtube. His pressures were rising and his heart rate was up. Dad said he was ready for his fentanyl. Then he fell asleep.


Around 2am the next morning, Friday, we are told, Dad was asleep and then he wasn’t.


This is the “time,” and he’s not suffering. We are all glad about it. But there is so much of me that still wants him here. My right-arm feels like a knife is in it. My joints hurt. I have a headache. Even in the condition he was in, I would take him if I could.

I will be waiting my whole life for him; for that fortune of being loved by him again. The ground will never be the same under my feet.
Today my Dad died.

There’s never been an Easter weekend like this for me. I’m super grateful for the many layers in our experiences. I feel like blessings surround me. Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Thank you for being a reader here and sharing in life with me so well. We will wait together.

Goodnight for now Dad.