Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beyond FAREWELL: Flowers for Evan, With Love

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beyond FITTING: Swingset Flowers for Evan

Thanks to the thoughtful efforts of Jennifer and Shannon, Swingset Flowers for Evan is up and running. Visit this Flickr pool for just a glimpse of how many lives in faraway places Evan has impacted.

I love the simplicity and meaning of this tribute and look forward to participating tomorrow, the day of Evan’s morning memorial service in Pasadena.

To read more about Evan (and to see a fantastic, recent photo of this talented, special-in-so-many-ways young man), visit his mom’s blog and dive into some of her archives, or read some of the amazing essays Vicki has written for the Special Needs Mama section at Literary Mama. Then consider posting your own Swingset Flowers photo in memory of Evan, a little boy who loved to swing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beyond FAREWELL: Evan Kamida (July 30, 2000-July 24, 2008)

My heart’s breaking for Vicki Forman, her husband, and their daughter, Josie. Somehow Evan is gone. Sweet Evan, pictured with Vicki in my post from the other day. Sweet Evan, whose love of swinging at the park is captured so eloquently in one of his mom’s earliest Literary Mama columns, “The Mother at the Swings.” I am that mother at the swings. I don’t have a child with special needs but I have children, and I’m fascinated by the many ways women of all situations cope with what life delivers, or drops, or detonates.

Sweet Evan, who was seven like my youngest, and who would’ve turned eight next week.

Thanks to Jennifer and Kristina for making me aware, in so many ways. Both these ladies have noted on their blogs how donations may be made in Evan’s memory.

Blessings to Vicki for all she does, and all she’s going through.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beyond FINESSE: Vicki Forman

Vicki Forman amazes me. She’s a creative writing instructor at the University of Southern California; a Pushcart-nominated contributor to print and on-line publications; an essayist published in anthologies such as Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs; a mom of two kiddos, one of which (sweet Evan pictured above with his mom) has multiple special needs; and a terrific, prolific blogger. Impressive, huh? But wait, there’s even more….

Vicki generously offers her insightful take on things others might not even notice through her writings (consider her current Speak Softly post regarding the recent BlogHer conference and the concept of integral thinking she’s applied to it), but her current Special Needs Mama column on the stellar Literary Mama site pretty much knocked me over with its powerful message. In “Mothers Like Us: Contemplating My Tribe,” Vicki explores how her “motherhood demographic” altered as Evan, her second child, grew and his unique arsenal of required accessories (such as oxygen and medications on the go) became part of his mom’s arsenal, too:

“At another party, I remember removing a one-gallon ziplock from my diaper bag, one that contained half a dozen medications for Evan’s various ailments (the pink syrupy one for his lungs, the clear liquid for his heart, the white tablets I ground up for his brain) and noticing as I drew up the drug and plunged it into his G-tube that the other mothers had somehow…pulled their lawns chairs back a bit, into a new circle somewhat further removed.”

But Vicki doesn’t dwell on the negatives, which is why her writing remains so welcoming and accessible, I think, even when she’s tackling such heart-wrenching issues. Instead, she discusses her eventual acceptance of the fact she no longer belongs in her old tribe, and her realization she’s begun to develop the new tribe she needs. “Together, we drew our chairs up to one another in a new circle and asked about therapies, treatments, drugs and doctors. We called each other to tell stories the depths of which most others couldn’t comprehend….” And she ends her piece acknowledging the fact that all mothers need support of some kind, and that while some may not know how to respond when she pulls out her son’s big bag of meds, all moms—most women, I believe—belong to a tribe that instinctively acknowledges the demands of a life with extra heavy-duty responsibilities and wishes moms of children with special needs an extra blessing of good will, even when we fail to show it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beyond FAMILY: Summer Travels and Such

Just a note to say summer has worked its magic on yet another blogger... after six weeks of steady kid craziness; heavy-duty gardening; an unexplainable urge to organize closets, e-mails, and recipes; and an annual trip home to see lots of family (including our ever-photogenic nephew, Evan, and new beloved niece, Rachael) I am officially throwing in the towel. Be back in August! K.