Sunday, May 30

Broken Heartland

I've been in Nebraska for the last two weeks.

It's where I was born.

It's where both of my parents were born.

My sisters and my daughter live there with their families.
Nebraska is also where I spent my mother's final days.
It's where we buried her on Thursday.
It's where I'll always see her in my mind . . .
Her grave is next to her parents -- my grandparents -- and two of her siblings. There are nearly 30 members of our family buried there close to her.
Her grave looks over a Nebraska field.
Jordan and I explored her new neighborhood the night after we buried her.
We were fortunate to watch the full moon rise over her resting place.

Now that we have tied up most of the details, the reality that we will miss her in ways that we can't yet imagine is settling uncomfortably.

But, I feel like she is home.


  1. Oh Leslie I'm so sorry to hear of your Mom's death. I know there's nothing I can say or do to make things any easier other to let you know I care and am sending lots of healing wishes and prayers your way. Once a Mom always a Mom - she will always be a part of your life as you will of hers till the very end of time and then some. Treasure the memories and know you're being thought of.


    "Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear ♥

  2. I'm so sorry Leslie.... I have no words of wisdom, and am at a loss for words in times like these. All I know is that I love you, and I'm so sorry for your loss.

  3. Thinking of you, Leslie. I hope the beautiful memories of your mother help ease the pain of your loss.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss. You post is a beautiful tribute to your Mom.

  5. Lelsey, such beautiful words from you. Like the others there is little to say except I am thinking of you and know you have wonderful memories to cherish. All my love xo

  6. O such Beauty-full touching pictures. Thank you.
    I am sorry for your loss, and wish you comfort and Peace amidst good grief.

  7. Oh Leslie what a beautiful post about your mother. ((Hugs))

  8. Beautifully said, beautifully done.
    Love you lots.

  9. I am sorry for your loss. It looks like she has found a beautiful place to rest....

  10. Leslie, What a stunning tribute to your mother. Just look at the beauty that she created in you and your family. And when you miss her, just look in the mirror and listen to your own voice. She is right there with you.

    Peace, Adriane

  11. Leslie

    Please accept our condolences on your loss of your mother. Your photo essay was a moving trivet to her.

    Jim & Anita

  12. Oh, Leslie! Ron and I are so sorry to hear of your loss! Your blog was a beautiful tribute to her. We're thinking of you, and Ron actually said to give you a cyber hug ((hug)).

  13. Leslie, What a wonderful peaceful place your mother is. What great pictures glad jordon was with you lots of prayers for you and your family Jennifer

  14. My entire body is responding to this loving and beautiful post. Please accept my condolences.

    Incredible. The words, the photographs, the heart.

  15. I was wondering where you were and felt something was going on, however, I never could have guessed you were dealing with such a monumental loss... I am so sorry.

    Much love to you and your family.

  16. Leslie - wrapping you up tight in love and light. Beautiful post, evidence the love in your heart will heal the emptiness. xo

  17. so sorry about your loss... but I do believe she is on her next journey and you will see her again.

    xo karen

  18. I'm so very sorry Dearest Leslie, for your loss!! My heart is touched by your post here.
    Your a special person.
    I am here for you.

  19. I lost my dad (at 90!) 5 years ago. It's with very sweet memories that I remember him. My mom (she's 76) recently began dating a very nice man. I'm happy for her. I still miss my dad's face beside hers though...
    peace to you during this time.
    PS your blog is one of the most beautiful. I love it.

  20. Dear Leslie, my heart cries for you.
    So sad, but so much beauty with you too.
    Your homeland is stunning, and your mothers new home as well.
    And that the new moon watched over her on her first night there.
    I am sending love and hugs. take care. roxanne

  21. Leslie this was beautifully expressed and written. My deepest condolences to you and your family. It was an honor to meet you all. Hugs and love to all of you.

  22. And in her, we shall see ourselves again. The one thing I know true is that no other thing or person meant more than the three of us. Never in her mind could that be possible. Now we see it.

    I guess we're the lucky ones for one such as her to call, 'mother'.

    I'm stealing some of your pictures until you post the site that hosts them all.

    I love you.

    And we loved her.

    That's about all that needs be said.



  23. Leslie,
    I am so very sorry for your loss.

    It's special that you were able to spend the last days with her.

    My heart goes out to you,

  24. my heart
    is here too
    in the heartland
    of my childhood home
    and with you
    sweet friend
    your hand is in mine...

    holding you close,
    xox - eb.

  25. My sincere condolences go out to you and your family.
    This is such a beautiful tribute to your beautiful Mother.

  26. Leslie,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
    I had the pleasure of meeting your mother on one of my visits to your sister Dee Dees' house.
    She was a true sweetheart.
    What a great tribute to her and a beautiful spot for her to rest with her family.
    May the memories of her always remain in your heart.
    Sending hugs your way,

  27. Beautiful Leslie. These pictures and words capture all the emotions that come pouring out at the passing of a loved one - sorrow, grief, hope, love, memories, sadness, happiness.

  28. Leslie, I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about your mom. Your presence was no doubt a great comfort for her during these last days. She must have been so proud of you and your other siblings, and all of her grandchildren. Your mom's spirit lives on through all of you.

    Sending you good thoughts tonight.

  29. What a peaceful place
    but obviously so difficult for you right now.
    How wonderfully you capture the spirit of the place. Thinking of you and sending so much love in your direction.

  30. my thoughts are with you now,
    Dear one,
    for how your heart
    must be aching.

    how Amazing that the moon shone
    on your difficult time
    to help show you

    {{ your sweet tribute
    to your mom
    Touches my heart.
    to see your homeland
    by the light
    of a wise and knowing moon
    is a Treasure
    in its
    own right. }}

  31. Oh Leslie, I am so sorry about your loss... Your post is a beautiful tribute to your Mother and it brought tears to my eyes... Love her photos and she looks very sweet and a lovely person.

    My Mom pass away in 1997 with 85 years old and I have lovely memories of her. I think that only these sweet and lovely memories can help us ease the pain of our loss. I am sending so much love to you.

  32. Eloquently said. As a child of the plains, I was whisked back to my roots with your first sentence.

    this brought tears to my eyes. it is very difficult, and so complicated by emotional surprises that we can't even anticipate. I wish you the most peace and sweetest memories.

  33. Leslie,
    I am truly and deeply sorry for your loss.

    Wishing you peace,


  34. A beautiful post but I am sorry for your loss.

  35. so sorry to see you lose your mom; such an empty feeling, i suppose, when your mother is no longer a part of this world. i'm glad you were with her before she past away. your photos, as usual, are beautiful. thinking of you,


  36. hi sweetie, after our conversation, and then seeing these pictures, your words, wow, just beautiful. Our moms will forever live in our hearts, even though they have departed...they just do

  37. I am moved by your memorial to your mother, and to place and time.

  38. Leslie, I am so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose a parent-it is a strange feeling that is so hard to put into words. And a sudden loss is even more discombobulating. Your post is beautiful. She is home.

    Wishing you much love and strength during this sad time.

  39. Thank you.

    Love you,

  40. I am so sorry for you loss. I passed through your home state two weeks ago, so I could really relate to the landscape and hometown feel. The moon photo is stunning! My mama died October 2008...I miss her still and think of her daily. There is something about a mama...
    I read a favorite poem of hers at her service. It says it just right. Or as she said, “I just fell in love with it…”

    “Perfection Wasted” by John Updike

    And another regrettable thing about death

    is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,

    which took a whole life to develop and market –

    the quips, the witticisms, the slant

    adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest

    to the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched

    in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,

    their tears confused with their diamond earrings,

    their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,

    their response and your performance twinned.

    The jokes over the phone. The memories packed

    in the rapid-access file. The whole act.

    Who will do it again? That’s it; no one;

    imitators and descendants aren’t the same.

    Your post was so touching and heartfelt...presented beautifully (as usual), with such class. Keep up your lovely work!
    Thank you for sharing yourself with your readers. I completely enjoy your writing and photographs. Those grandbabies of yours are amazing! And that dog of! You have real talent at capturing life's moments. I have shared your blog with so many people, always with positive responses. Thank you so much.
    Take care,

  41. What a beautiful tribute to your mother and your family Leslie. I am sorry to hear of her passing.
    Your love for her is evident in your words and she
    is watching you and your beautiful family from where she is now. Her heart is in your heart too.
    xox Corrine

  42. Just beautiful! God bless you!

  43. such a touching sad entry Leslie. So sorry,I love the pics of your mom. It happened to me a few years back and its hard to get over a mom,trust me.

  44. Dear Leslie- I am so sorry to hear about you mom. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
    xo Julie

  45. Thoughts, prayers and tears for you, your family and your mother. What a beautiful post about a beautiful resting place for a beautiful mother.