Donna Knutson—Matriarchy

we have forgotten so much of the matriarchal language

the songs of mothers rocking children to sleep
babies nursing at the breast

cotton cloth close to the skin
rhubarb pie and a dollop of ice-cream.

dinnertime conversations of remembrances
and grandma and papa

that history of gone but not forgotten.

someone said a few years ago,
“It had to end one day.”

and I murmured, why,
under my breath
and folded another kitchen towel and slid it into the third drawer down.

I have hummed for years
and even the woman with Alzheimer’s
I cared for turned to smile at me with her eyes
and the tune went on for a while longer

I have watched birds in the bath
and the rain from the skies
held animals that were dying
told lies to small children
so I could lead them astray into fairy tales
and to the god with the smile and the moon.

I stepped further into a narrow realm
of goodness and miracles,
Of fading traditions and groups of grandmothers who gather to bless the space between – the space of here and now and not quite yet

The conversations that seem out of step and far from the core of health and home.
Why do the glaciers melt?

Who is playing ?
Who is creating?
What is time?

What happened in the 70s?
“where have all the flowers gone?”

The mamas march on.
And the white haired crones with the tribe of thousands
Carry the torch

Who drinks the water and cares for the wood?
Who kneels in reverence when Spirit calls?

I stepped further into the space of reminder
As these years go quickly
And pride is a sin – chapters are being written
Pages are being torn out.
The sun rises and the sun sets.

You really do get to choose the color of each day and the tone or the mood.

Leave the light turned on. Breathe love into the atmosphere everyday.

The matriarch is still holding the line with strength and compassion.
With wisdom and bold vision.
A beat of the drum and old eyes see the narrow path ,
worn and still visible, the ancestors gather, my mother appears
Those souls just beyond the boundary of visible/invisible

And within the veil of divine feminine
The sheer breeze of breath inhales the perfume of remembrance

I swept the patio with the fading blooms
and the breeze kept moving the branches of the trees
The land spoke of fireflies and whispers of wildflowers yet to grow near the fields to the west with the rising corn.

The candles were lit and a bow to the moon.

—Beauty, Donna

Donna Knutson is a Spiritual Director and Interfaith Minister living her home, her gardening designs, her ministry on two acres of land in Nebraska, called Sanctuary. She is the author of two books, Finding God on Mayberry Street and Finding God on Mayberry Street: A Reflective Journal. Both are available on Amazon. Donna has taught classes for years on grief, beauty, hope, and finding your true spirit inside your heart of love. She leads workshops and retreats on her land and encourages the deep dives of discovery and transformation. She can be found on Facebook at Donna Knutson-author.

Waking up in a Foreign Land without a Map

Reader post by B.R.
Posted: March 12, 2022

I’m not going to sugarcoat any of this. I’m wide awake at 1:30 am after a dinner of Good n Plenty and turkey casserole several hours ago. My hair is matted with dry shampoo and my worry gene just shifted into overdrive.

On Valentine’s Day, I took my Mom to the hospital for a TAVR procedure. A new heart valve with an overnight stay as a precaution. They came out after surgery and said all went well. Relief. Until it wasn’t. An hour and a half later they came out again and said there had been a complication. What? They offered to let me go back to see her . . .

I passed out that day on the floor of a Tacoma hospital’s surgical recovery room. It’s not every day you see your mother being rolled out the door toward ICU after suffering a complication from heart surgery. I was not prepared for what I saw. My own heart raced, I got lightheaded, and down I went. It was my initiation.

Welcome to caregiving.

Since that evening, my Mom has spent 12 days in the ICU/PCU and I was airlifted (figuratively) from the recovery room floor and dropped without supplies into a foreign land. I don’t know the language, I haven’t the right tools, and there is no map. I’ve been blindly wandering along the side of a cliff ever since.

The first hospitalization was three nights. She was discharged home from ICU and it was too soon. Covid made the concern over staying in ICU equal to the concern of coming home.

You don’t know what you don’t know. This isn’t caregiving, it’s firefighting. Every day there are dozens of fires to be put out. Here is my list today after her second homecoming:

Did I brush my teeth?
Take my pills?
Has she had breakfast?
Did I use the gait belt?
Is her BP taken?
Should I worry?
Temperature? Normal?
What drugs get taken in the morning?
What are they?
What are they for?
Should she still take them?
Why the hell is she taking them to begin with?
Have I remembered to measure fluids?
Why are they restricted?
Is she dehydrated?
Should she be this tired?
Is there confusion?
Are there appointments today?
Should I be calling the PT?
Is today the day the nurse comes?
Was I supposed to call OT?
Is the shower safe?
Is there mail?
Is someone looking at bills?
Are the dishes done?
Did I start the laundry?
Do I have enough socks?
Does my dog miss me?
Is there any food to eat?
Do we need shopping help?
Is the diet heart-healthy?
Have we exercised?
Is the sun out?
Have the birds started nesting?
Did the hummingbird feeder freeze?
Is the furnace working?
Is she warm enough?
Did the shows get taped?
Have I forgotten anything?

How does it all get done?
Will it always be like this?

Are there tricks?

In a foreign land.

Send hoses and help.