New Release – A Decent Woman

I was going about my day as usual, when my book manager emailed to tell me A DECENT WOMAN was live on Amazon! I am thrilled beyond words, very emotional, and I’ve popped open a bottle of champagne I’ve been saving!

CHEERS! To five long, amazing years of writing and researching A Decent Woman! Ana finally has her day! I love you, Ana and Serafina!

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Do you know what my first thought was? I wish my Mom and grandmother were here with me today to celebrate this happy day. My second thought was to call my children, but my daughter was at work and my son lives in Holland. So, I texted my beautiful daughter and emailed my handsome son!

I was actually dizzy, honest to God. I said a prayer of thanks, logged onto my social media sites, and starting posting 🙂

THANK YOU to my family and friends who’ve supported me for five long years. I love you all!

Here’s how you can purchase A DECENT WOMAN-

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you will enjoy A DECENT WOMAN well enough to write an honest review of the book. Thank you!

Ellie

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Character Interview with Ana Belen from A Decent Woman

CHARACTER INTERVIEW with Ana Opaku Belén from Eleanor Parker Sapia’s historical novel, A DECENT WOMAN. Part of the Historical Novel Tour, hosted by the fabulous author, Tiffani Burnett-Velez. https://tiffaniburnettvelez.wordpress.com/ Thank you for having me,Tiffani!

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Welcome, Ana.

When and where were you born?

My Nigerian-born parents were captured and sent to the new world on one the last African slave ships that landed in Cuba. I was born a slave on a sugar plantation in Camaguey Province, Cuba in 1860.

I say I was born twice—once when my mother gave birth to me, and the second time when I fled Cuba under mysterious circumstances in 1880 on a freight ship that landed at the Port of Ponce, in Playa de Ponce, Puerto Rico in the middle of the night. It was a second chance for me; a rebirth.

In 1860, Cuba produced nearly one-third of the world’s sugar, and my parents worked in the sugar cane fields of a Spanish-owned sugar plantation between Las Minas and the port of Nuevitas. Near the end of my mother’s pregnancy with me, she was sent to work in the land owner’s house kitchen.

Abraham Lincoln became President of the United States the year I was born, but of course I didn’t know who he was, or what he would do for those born into slavery until many years later.

What was Playa de Ponce like during the first ten years after you arrived?

The last half of the 19th century was marked by the Puerto Rican struggle for independence and the abolition of slavery, which was abolished in Puerto Rico by the Spanish National Assembly on March 22, 1873.  The owners were given 35 million pesetas, and slaves were forced to continue working for three more years. I arrived in Puerto Rico in 1880 as a free woman and lucky for me, I met a midwife who trained me as a midwife. When Doña Milagro (her name means, miracle) passed away, I took over her business and became the only midwife in Playa de Ponce. I was very fortunate.

At that time, the main currency was the Puerto Rican peso, and the US dollar was appearing as well as foreign currency from merchants doing business on the island. Although Barrio Playa was a bustling port town with many grand homes and mansions owned by wealthy merchants, and many government buildings, I lived in relative poverty in a little, wooden house near the Caribbean Sea. I was illiterate until the early 1900’s when I met my friend, Serafina, another character in Eleanor’s book whose baby I caught, taught me to read.

In 1898, all Spanish-born governors were appointed by the Spanish crown, and the population was a mix of white, black, mulatto, and criollo, creole. There was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with Spanish rule, and the Puerto Rican educated elite were making their voices heard, but their efforts were always squashed and silenced by the Spaniards. There was talk of the Americans fighting the Spanish crown for possession of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and it came to pass—in 1898, the United States declared war under President William McKinley, and soon afterward, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States at the end of the Spanish American War. The Americans invaded Puerto Rico on the shores of the town of Guánica on July 25, 1898 under the command of General Nelson Miles.

When Hurricane San Ciriaco nearly decimated the island two months later with twenty eight days of rain and high winds, I wondered if the Americans regretted their decision to invade and control Puerto Rico. The hurricane claimed 3,433 lives, and caused widespread disease, poverty, famine, and left millions of dollars of crop damage. It was a miracle I survived, and there were many more hurricanes and tropical storms to come, and an earthquake in 1918.

What was the situation for women in Ponce, Puerto Rico in your time period?

For me and many poor, uneducated, black and mulatto women, the situation was dismal, but I managed to keep a roof over my head and food in my cooking pot because I caught babies. But many times, I didn’t charge for my services as I knew most of my clients couldn’t afford to pay me. We used a barter system, which was how I survived.

Women had few rights in those days, and even the high class women had a difficult time as is life in a male-dominated society. Women’s first obligation was to their husbands, who kept them and their children protected and safe. It became difficult for women to keep other women away from their men, as all women looked for the same protection and good futures for themselves and their children. Men pit woman against woman, which was a shame in my eyes, but I understood the battle of these women.

What advice in life might you give to young women today?

In my advanced age, my advice to young women is simple—live your life with integrity, compassion for others, strong faith, and strength of character. Our character and integrity should be impeccable, and never choose a bad man over a good girlfriend. Women need a strong village in life, and that is why in Puerto Rico, women refer to each other as ‘comadre’, which has many meanings. A comadre could be your midwife, the godmother of your child, and it is often used to refer to a very close person to the family, a best friend.

Serafina and I are comadres in every sense of the word.

Thanks so much for the creative interview questions and for inviting me on the Historical Novel Blog Tour, Tiffani! I enjoyed sitting in Ana Belen’s chair today! All the best to you!

A DECENT WOMAN is coming early March, 2015 with Booktrope Books.

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#1000Speak – 1000 Voices for Compassion

Featured Image -- 2683 The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. – Thomas Merton A month ago, I learned about 1000 Voices for Compassion on a Facebook thread, and it took me a few seconds to decide to join this blog movement. We’re each asked to write a personal blog post on compassion, and share it on February 20th.

As of yesterday there were 1002 voices, most likely more by now, and I’m happy to add my own blog to the growing list on the designated day. I love the idea of thousands of men, women, and children sharing their thoughts on compassion on one day. Of course, these outpourings would be wonderful every day, but the idea that positive, hopeful, and loving energy will emanate on that day from all corners of the globe warms my heart. It will be an outpouring of love that will connect us to each other in a common goal—showing compassion. Global warmth–what a beautiful thought during these trying times around the world.

In this age of ME, it’s easy to forget that our greatest accomplishments were not achieved alone. I took a weekend workshop on personal development where the facilitator asked us to list one personal accomplishment that didn’t involve one other person to achieve. A young man raised his hand and offered his higher education degree; no one helped him with that, he said. He told us how he’d studied hard, worked late, and had done it all on his own. The facilitator mentioned possible mentors, counselors, and the young man’s parents who’d probably paid some, if not all of his college tuition. The man cocked his head and sat down, perhaps thinking of how his soccer coach had instilled good habits and discipline on his team.

A fifty-year old woman stood up next and said, “I have the perfect accomplishment, and no one but me did this. I gave birth to two children!” The facilitator smiled at her. “Unless you had your children in the woods with a stick between your teeth, you didn’t do it alone.” The woman agreed. “And perhaps you had a sperm donor?” Well, my contribution to the discussion was going to be giving birth, as well! And try as I might, I couldn’t think of a single thing that I’d done alone in my life without the help of another person-not writing a book, learning to repair the commode in my old house, growing a garden, or raising my children.

We are all interconnected in a beautiful, magical way.

My feelings of love and protection toward my children are no different from mothers in Asia, Africa, or Europe. We kiss our children goodnight, soothe their fears, and offer encouragement. What about mothers who can’t offer their children clean drinking water, nourishing food, and safety against rebel forces? What about the suffering of women in male-dominated societies? Would we not feel the same anguish as the mothers of the kidnapped Nigerian girls who are still missing? What about the young men and women trafficked all around the world and in my country, the United States?

So yes, while February 20th will be a day of warm and fuzzy feelings, beautiful, heart-felt blog posts about compassion, let us not forget to show compassion, as well. To our neighbors, those less fortunate than ourselves, the marginalized, and the abused, who live next door, in our towns and cities, across borders and the ocean.

Join us on February 20th, 2015 when 1000 voices will speak out for compassion. Join the Facebook group at 1000 Voices for Compassion Facebook Group. Or, tweet #1000Speak if you’re on Twitter.

About the author:

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her passion for writing. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time. A Decent Woman is her debut novel. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children, and she lives in West Virginia.

Book synopsis of A Decent Woman, coming March 24, 2015

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change.

Author Interview with W. Ruth Kozak

 

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It’s my great pleasure to welcome, Ruth Kozak, author of the historical fiction novel, Shadow of the Lion: Blood on the Moon.

W. Ruth Kozak is a Canadian travel journalist with a strong interest in history and archaeology. A frequent traveller, and a published travel writer since 1982, Ruth lived for several years in Greece and instructs classes in travel journalism and creative writing. Ruth also edits and publishes her own on-line travel zine at http://www.travelthruhistory.com She has been published in the APA Insight Guides 1994, Writer’s Abroad anthology “Foreign Flavours”, as well as two poetry anthologies, and was writer for The Vancouver Guide for Planet Eye Traveler. She recently worked on an Athens Guide e-book for Hunter Publishing, US.

Welcome, Ruth!

What is your book’s genre/category? 

IMG_1803SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON is historical fiction.  Though ‘fiction’, it is based on a historical time-line so the events in the story are true. Most of the characters are historical with a couple of fictional characters thrown in for a balance.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

After the death of Alexander the Great in Babylon, 323 BCE, his generals begin to squabble over who should take control.  A son is born to Alexander’s Soghdian wife, Roxana, a month after his death – Alexander’s only legal heir.  But as many of the generals do not want a non-Macedonian ruling, they name the child joint-king along with Alexander’s mentally deficient brother, Arridaios.  The theme of the story is “How blind ambition and greed brought down a world power.”  Volume One , Blood on the Moon, follows the journey of the two joint-kings from Babylon to Macedon.  Volume Two (to be published in 2016)  The Fields of Hades,  is the account of the wars of the Successors, and the women who were powerful figures in Macedonia including Alexander’s mother Olympias and 18-year old niece, Adeia-Eurydike.

How did you come up with the title?

It was a challenge finding sub-titles to suit the book. The main title, SHADOW OF THE LION, was chosen because everyone in the story is living under Alexander’s shadow.  He symbolizes a lion and often wore a lion’s head helmet.  When the publisher decided to break the very long novel into two parts, I then had to find a suitable subtitle for each Volume.

The end of Chapter One has a scene where two suspects in Alexander’s untimely death are seen leaving Babylon.  As the sun sets and a reddish moon rises, the youngest man notices and says, “Look! There’s blood on the moon. Surely it marks our destiny!”  Hence the subtitle ‘BLOOD ON THE MOON’.

For Volume Two, because it deals with all the battles and the results are a true Greek tragedy, I chose the title THE FIELDS OF HADES.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

I became interested in Alexander when I was a 16-year old in high school.  In my last year of school I wrote an Alexander-themed novel.  I’d always wanted to write a novel about my hero, but Mary Renault had done a good job with her Alexander trilogy.  So I decided I’d write about Alexander’s little-known son, Alexander IV (called by his Persian name “Iskander” in the novel).  I was going to write it as a young adult story but found it was far too political. So I was advised to rethink it and start over.  Once I established the theme I knew what to do, and started again in multiple points of view. The boy is still an important character in it but you get all sides of the story. Alexander is a ‘golden thread’ woven throughout the tapestry.  Mary Renault’s “Funeral Games” had disappointed me, being her last and a quickly written story, and this is the same era I’m writing about. I wanted to develop the characters and really give this tragic story some clout.  In doing so, I paid attention to developing the characters, visited as many of the sites that I could get to, and lived in Greece for part of the time while I wrote it.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I love the research, although I have to rein myself in!  And I love it once I have a grip on the characters and can let them ‘tell’ me their own stories. I also enjoyed exploring the actual locations for much of this story.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Getting facts straight, in the case of this novel, which is mainly a ‘true’ story.  My current work-in-process is a Celtic/Greek tale and purely fiction other than a couple of historical characters (young Alexander).  I’m finding it much harder to write because I have to make it logical and realistic.  SHADOW was easier as I was following a historical plot-line. I was very meticulous in my research to get the facts straight as there is always someone to call you on it if you ‘make things up’. Because of my detailed research, it took me 15 years to write the complete book (which is now the two volumes).

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Mary Renault, Steven Pressfield, Margaret George, and many of the Classics writers. I am also reading an amazing book by Louis de Berniere and I admire his writing style and research skills. 

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

Mary Renault was my writing ‘mentor’ in that I have read her books over and over.  I also found Margaret George’s books inspiring and Steven Pressfield’s Greek-themed books.

Three writers, who I mention in my book forward, who were so supportive of me in the writing of SHADOW.

Steven Pressfield has always been very supportive of my work. Writer Scott Oden and I have kept in touch and supported each other’s writing all along.  Dr Jack Dempsey, author of “Ariadne’s Brother”, an amazing book I read back in the ‘90’s, has been a mentor since I first contacted him after reading his book.

I couldn’t have gotten this massive project off the ground without the help of the Greek Consulate of Vancouver. When they learned what I was planning to write, back in 1991, they flew me to Greece to do more research. While there I was given interviews at the Ministry of Culture and Society of Macedonian Studies. I was also granted permission to research at the British Library and Gennadius Library in Athens. The Finnish Institute in Athens provided me with a site pass so I could visit any archaeological site for free. I met many Classical scholars there who also helped me.  Last September, when I was promoting my book in Greece, I was invited to do a reading at the Athens Centre to present my book at a World Poetry Conference in Larissa, and I read to two grade 9 classes at the Athens Community School. And when it came time for my book launch, the Consul of Greece in Vancouver, Ilias Kremmydas, sponsored it at the Hellenic Centre. I owe a lot to the Greeks!

I also belong to an amazing critique group, The Scribblers, and several of them were in on the very beginnings of this novel.  They have been a tremendous help, and with their experts critiques and encouragement, I was able to keep going for the long, long journey that the book took me on.

Favorite place to write?

I have my bedroom set up as my writing space with pictures on the walls and little sayings to inspire me.  When I am working on a new piece I often go for long walks and make notes in my notebook as I meditate and the words start flowing. I usually write scenes out long-hand before transferring them to the computer.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I guess it’s my age, which I tend to ignore (because most people think I am much younger).  I was 80 when I finally got my first novel SHADOW published!

I am also a travel journalist and have been since 1982.  And I’m a solo traveler (usually)

I had a play produced successfully in 2000 that I had originally written in 1953 and reworked. 

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

You have to be tenacious, patient, thick-skinned, and also organized.  It took a year before I hit ‘bingo’ and that was just by chance. On a last minute whim before leaving for another Greek holiday, I sent out the query to MediaAria-CDM. They immediately responded and within a few weeks said they wanted to publish. It happened the publisher loves that history!

I have also just learned that no matter how many times you and your publisher and your editor go through the MSS, there are likely going to be typos.  Ach! I couldn’t believe it. Though many were easily missed in the spell-check.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I spent money on a very good editor.  I workshopped my novel from the beginning in my very excellent critique group, and before I sent it to the editor, I had two friends read through the original (1700 page MSS) to help me decide what to cut. My publisher remarked on what a good editor I had. It cost me a lot (and should have cost more) but it was worth it!

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

First, find a good editor.  Don’t give up. Eventually you will find the right home for your book.  I didn’t want to self-publish SHADOW because of its contents and the work I’d put into it. But these days lots of people do. However if you choose to self-publish, pay attention to all the above–get a good editor first! And be prepared to do a lot of work once the book is published as well. Athough SHADOW was published traditionally, I still have to promote and find myself working on this almost every day.  But it’s worth it in the end.

Website?

 My website www.ruthkozak.com will link you with my blogs and other sites, including the on-line travel ‘zine that I edit and publish.

Where can we find your book?

SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON is available through Amazon.com  and can be ordered at major bookstores such as Chapters and Barnes & Nobel or any high-street book stores in UK.  Even smaller bookstores will order it for you. Hopefully it will soon be on bookstores shelves. It is already available in the libraries in Vancouver area.

What’s next for you? 

I am currently working on a Celtic tale  “DRAGONS IN THE SKY” told partly in Bardic verse, linking the Celts of the 3rd C BCE to the Greeks, and introducing Alexander as a  youth who rescues my Celtic Druid’s child from her kidnapper. It is a sort of past-life regression story told in first person, so somewhat tricky to write. My writer’s group loves it!  Now I just have to finish it.  Still working on the first draft and have been for ages, as I set it aside a long time ago when I decided to write SHADOW, thinking the Young Adult story I’d planned would only take a year to write. LOL!

I also write travel stories for a couple of on-line sites, www.EuropeUpClose.com and www.travelgeneration.com as well as any others who like my stories.  I teach travel journalism and creative writing classes, workshops, 3 morning memoir writing groups, and some one-on-one writing coaching.  I’m currently president of the BC Assoc. of Travel Writers.

Thank you for a great interview, Ruth. I wish you all the best with your writing and your many projects!

About Eleanor

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is her debut historical novel. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children, and she currently lives in West Virginia.

A DECENT WOMAN available now on Amazon 

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

What Does Compassion Mean to YOU?

One Thousand Voices Blogging for Compassion

#1000Speak for Compassion

What do you think of when you hear the word compassion?

#1000Speak for compassion

Although Compassion is defined as “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others”, that means different things to different people.  Some of the things we think of when we hear the word Compassion are:

  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Caring
  • Non-judgement
  • Self-love

On February 20th, (at least) one thousand bloggers will be flooding the blogosphere with their take on Compassion.  One feeling is common – Compassion is something the world desperately needs right now.

Inspired by this post on the blog Considerings titled “We ALL Need the Village”, founders Yvonne Spence and Lizzi Rogers decided to create the village.  It started with a Facebook group and within the first couple days hundreds of bloggers signed up to participate.

Then something else amazing happened.  Some of the bloggers’ kids and friends wanted to participate too, even though they didn’t have…

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Early Monday Morning Fog

 

Early Monday morning fog

It’s five o’clock in the morning. My father woke up for a bathroom break somewhere around four, and removed the outer bandages covering the skin graft that protects the area where his ear used to be.  I could say he was incredibly quiet, sneaky, and possesses great stealth, but the plain truth is we are tired, and we didn’t hear a thing.

Our plan seemed solid at ten o’clock last niSummer storm and fog 005ght-my sister and I would try to sleep together in the bedroom closest to our father’s room, in a real bed instead of the couch, and check on him every few hours or so. That has backfired. Tonight, we’ll take turns sleeping again-we can’t risk infection, and my father is 1000% committed in his quest to remove the bandages off his head and especially, over his missing ear. As many times as we replace the bandages, he has attempted to remove them.

Are we afraid of what his reaction will be when he sees the wound? Will he remember the wound ten minutes later or will the shock of seeing his missing ear cause him to remember the surgery, and his hospital stay? I don’t know. We finally saw the wound yesterday when the nurse came to the house to change the dressing. Sobering and tragic are the only words that come to mind. Poor man. Stay in the mystery, Dad. Don’t look.

Early this morning, my sister woke up and found him in front of the bathroom mirror, poised and ready to remove the Curad medicated pad-the last bit of fortress between mystery and reality–he has not seen what is left of his ear yet. She called for me, and I jumped out of bed. He’d removed the outer bandages and the gauze covering the wound where the skin graft was taken from his thigh. The questions began. There was no reasoning with him; no amount of pleading or gentle scolding will stop him-he is bound and determined to take it all off because it doesn’t belong there, and he doesn’t like how it looks. I can’t blame him, but we have our orders-the skin graft must take or we’re looking at another operation. God forbid.

It’s the same all day, every day-he reaches for his ear, we gently lower his hand, ask him not to touch the bandages, the hand goes up, we lower his hand, ask him not to touch, and then he asks, “Why not?” while touching his ear. We are in danger of losing the battle of keeping his wound clean and covered, but we’re as stubborn as he is; he has forgotten how much so. “Stop, Dad. Leave it alone.” He answers us curtly, “I’m not touching it. Leave me alone.” The hand goes back up.

When we finally got him back to his bedroom, I try to remember how to make the mask like the nurse made from the stretchy gauze. My first attempt doesn’t work. The mask reminds me of my kid’s ski masks they wore in winter. More rapid fire questions from my father, “What’s wrong with my head, why is my head bandaged, how did I get skin cancer, when was the surgery?” At four thirty in the morning, my father is stuck on how he got cancer as I cut the tube gauze again. It fits, thank God. I need caffeine for this operation. ‘We don’t know why you got cancer, Dad’, we answer. We lie to him, telling him it’s three in the morning, and we must all get some sleep. We tuck him in bed, but he throws back the covers telling us he must brush his teeth and change his pajamas again. He thinks its night time again, and doesn’t seem to miss the imaginary day he lived. We lie, “Your pajamas are clean, and you’ve already brushed your teeth.” I notice my sister and I share the same firm resolve to lull him back to sleep.

Suddenly father calls me Carol, and doesn’t know who my sister is. “Give me more clues,” says my father when I realize he’s not kidding. “That’s okay, Dad. Go to sleep now. We love you.” He is confused, and if it weren’t nearly five in the morning, I’d go into it. I need sleep. I truly thought it would be a traumatic experience the day he forgot who we are, but it’s not. It is what it is; we’ve been expecting it. I’m reminded me of the night my mother died. I prayed God would release my mother from pain; I did not pray to keep her with us while in pain. That’s the night I knew I’d grown a bit. This morning was another of those growth moments. He doesn’t remember us, but we remember and love him.

Finally, all lights are turned off, and it’s still pitch black outside. I hear traffic in the distance. Within minutes, my father is snoring again, mouth agape. Did that all just happen? I’m wide awake now. I tell my sister to sleep until eight, and I will keep watch. The coffee is brewing. I will write to my precious children who I miss very much, and tell them that if I get Alzheimer’s, and it is in the latter stages, they have my permission to put me in a nice nursing home.

On my first day in Florida after my father’s surgery, I remember wondering who would care of me when I turn 84 as I’m a single woman. I didn’t mean to imply my children won’t care for me because I know my children will, they are beautiful, caring and compassionate young adults, but they need to live their lives. I pray I’m never a huge burden to them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But, I don’t pray to take away the caring for me part- it is through these moments, we grow and learn.