Four Visits to my Mother’s Deathbed II

Klee death and fireI have an essay of 3500 words, made by tacking together my drafts. It is a mess. What should I do with it?

In places I have created scenes, attempting to allow people to visualise where they are set and empathise along with the main character. In other places, I explain things. From my middle-aged perspective, I write of seeing things in a new way and maturing, which for me has been a middle-aged experience. I am less defensive, now, of my point of view, knowing how it may change. The essay seems disjointed, but I don’t see how I can make it flow better. I don’t want to cut any of it, as all the experience seems relevant. How did I get to that moment, where my old way of being was found so wanted that I made such a complete leap in the dark? The whole week seems relevant.

I have changed it so one good line is not repeated, and I don’t change pronouns “she” to “you” mid-sentence. I have added a scene.

I could leave it. It is too ambitious, bringing together too much disparate material. I could rewrite it, first as an essay avoiding scenes completely, telling of my attitudes and ideas and not seeking to show at all. Or I could (try to) make it a series of scenes, with no explanation at all: I am not sure I could pull that off.

All suggestions would be very welcome. Any questions or comments are also welcome.

7 thoughts on “Four Visits to my Mother’s Deathbed II

  1. Dear Clare,
    I have not read your piece on visiting your mother’s deathbed, but those words conger up memories of my own mother’s deathbed. She was 101 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s, and dying of heart failure, and she was the best friend I ever had in this whole world.
    I am writing you this brief note to inform you that here in the states the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, in Ambridge PA, which describes itself as evangelical in the Anglican tradition, is hosting a conference on October 10-11, 2014, entitled Christian Faith& Same-sex Attraction. It is led by Dr. Wesley Hill a professor at Trinity and a member of the local LGBT community. Their website is
    This could mean there might be some light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not necessarily the train.


    • Thank you.

      The Episcopal Church has been a pioneer in gay rights, such that I am proud to be baptised Episcopalian- though Scottish, rather than of the US. One of the things I like about Anglicanism is the way people with different Christian understandings can worship together.


  2. Hi Clare. How ironic that I am currently doing a similar piece on my Dad who is suffering form Lewy Body Dementia (third most common form of dementia). I too, have a mish-mash of disparate pieces that I’m trying to mold into some sort of comprehensible narrative. I don’t know if this will help you, but this is how I’m approaching it thus far.
    1. I wrote out all the disjointed pieces in sections. then expanded them through free writing.
    2. I decided to join things together in the form of acts (i.e Act 1, early memories, Act 2, midlife crisis etc..)
    3 I did this by leaving the earlier mess/free writing blocks at the bottom of the page, and am scrolling down to cut/paste/pick/choose from the mess and incorporating them into the first draft of the acts.
    4. (not yet begun) I plan to simply edit the Acts, one by one until I feel happy enough to begin deleting the lower messy sections of free-writing below. (Note: I don’t actually delete — i just cut and paste the mess onto a word document to save for notes I might want to use later)
    I don’t know if that made any sense or if it will help you with what you’re working on.. But, hey, don’t abandon it. Just take your time, play with it and make sure to back up all your material. It’ll come through for you.
    I look forward to reading it.
    Hugs, Tilliemom


    • Thank you for that. It is useful. I look forward to it.

      I want to write scenes, with the minimum of linking material. See how that works. Appeal to the emotions. Also try appealing to the intellect, with a separate piece to explain, though each should hang together without the other. But now I am off to Greenbelt, and will blog about that when I get back.


  3. I have read your 3500 word piece, Clare and read it through with ease. One thing that stayed with me all the while is imagining you and your thoughts – you, your soul, your debate with yourself even though your mother is the centrepiece, the place to which you”speak”. I did like it for the essay to me represents what a heart-to-heart conversation with a parent could be, perhaps even the ideal form. By the way, should in the sentence where you write about the coccyx “unable to trust” be “unable to thrust”?


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