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Tea Leaves: a memoir of mothers and daughters by Janet Mason (Bella Books April 2012) is now available -- click here for more info

“There is something here for everyone who has ever loved someone else or plans to. I highly recommend “Tea Leaves” just because it is so real and so beautifully written.”–Reviews by Amos Lassen

check out Janet Mason's author blog

read Janet Mason's latest piece in The Huffington Post --Chick-fil-A: What Would Gandhi Do If He Were Gay? ('s) featured writer Gloria Rohlfs

Gloria Rohlfs lives in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Her mother gave birth to her and raised her in Sioux City, Iowa. Thereafter, Gloria ventured out from the Midwest and has lived in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, and Munich, Germany. She has a BA in secondary education, has taught in public schools and universities and has administered companies. She earned an MSW from Temple University and currently is self-employed as a psychotherapist and as a Career and Life Coach. She visits family in the Netherlands whenever possible.

My Mother's Death

The hospice nurse told us that we had four more hours with our mother. The brain tumor was finally winning the battle over her 90-year old body. Although Mom could not speak, she mouthed, “I love you.” We knew she was relieved to be home with her children, as she’d feared nursing homes more than death.

Every time Mom winced with pain, my younger brother Robert gave her morphine; we were fortunate to not have needed it earlier. I played relaxing music, encouraged her to envision peaceful scenes, and placed my hands on energy-harmonizing points on her body. My older brother Dave read the paper in the kitchen until Robert and I called him when Mom’s breathing became labored.

Dave sat near Mom’s feet, Robert positioned himself near her heart and held her hand, while I was at her head, holding the points at the base of her skull that signify soul and the bridge to the invisible.

After she breathed her last, my brothers and I waited breathlessly. Then we finally stood up and staggered aimlessly around the room, hugging each other and staggering off again. Then . . . Mom took another breath! We ran for our chairs, bumping into each other as if we were the 3 Stooges. We again held her, waiting, but nothing more happened.

I could not bear to call the funeral home while Mom’s body was still warm. My brothers and I spent the next several hours taking turns being quietly with her or talking amongst ourselves in the next room. Finally there was no sign of life left in her. As the undertaker was having her transferred out of her home, he told us to bring her clothing to the funeral home the next day – and to be sure to include underwear, which struck us as strange. My brothers and I asked the undertaker whether they anticipated the hearse having an accident for which she would need clean underwear. Our warped family sense of humor prevailed even during the greatest sadness of our lives.


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readings/appearances books poetry about audio/ site map submit Tea Leaves: mothers & daughters links/contact readings/appearances