Tag Archive: Friends


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Eileen Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

This is a short story about life sometimes being painfully long, and other times abruptly short. It’s about fleeting-time, death, living day-to-day, year-to-year -the struggles, triumphs, and the people that we love, creating memories and losing them, falling-apart, and finding yourself. It tells of new friends, old places, and the need for trusting strangers. Throughout, there is music, dance, laughter, and madness, sometimes waiting too long-running out of time, broken hearts, and romance. Included are the moon, the sun, the sea, that has often saved us in our coming and going in fear and fury, desperately holding on and simultaneously letting go.

When once we were young and beautiful now growing-old and free – the tears, regret, joy, and walking with God in love. Sometimes you must trust in something, even a dream, each day while losing hope until there’s a miracle.

Finally, it’s about choices – good, bad, and suddenly having none.

Together we are here as if a point on a map has found us equally lost.

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

I am in between love, without life’s old shine, missing a best friend, walking, not necessarily feeling the steps beneath my feet that take me through the day. When sleeping has become the only sanctity, and you end up in an uncomfortable bed — the irony.

Eileen is a woman I’ve come to know. Alzheimer’s is her afflicting disease. We share a strong sense of humor, punching our way through life’s struggles, laughing at ourselves, jointly crying over a broken heart.

In many ways, in different circumstances, two people can find a new foundation to keep them both from sinking.

I cry almost daily for a warm hug that never comes, for a listening ear that understands and won’t judge. I’d like to be able to trust someone. Eileen cries to know how things changed and if she could possibly get back to where she belongs, feeling happy. We agree with finding happiness.

From my first poetry book, The Sum of Something Meaningful

This story is a reflection of you, out there, and of me and Eileen, and what it takes to survive nature’s cruelty. What if anything, is the point? Do love and pain exist as experiences in and of themselves that we merely host like the sky does the stars? Or is each step, day, year, a way closer to healing…

For the past year and a half, I’ve been caretaking for Eileen. I thought I was ready because my mother died from Alzheimer’s, and I had witnessed first-hand the violent storm. During those years, I was losing a caretaker—heart of the home, a warm hug from the person that could always make anything better. I was missing her recipes, stories, clear-eyes with no confusion, advice, unwavering love, her kiss goodnight that I’d collect while she said her prayers, knowing they always included me, and it made me feel much safer in the world, that and the smell of Pond’s cream on her soft cheek.

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My Mother Francesca

Eileen is my friend. I’ve come to know her well, despite the times she does not recognize herself. Unlike the experience with my mother, today, a mature woman, I am learning the soul and heart of another woman. I only wish I could have understood my mom this way, those days, but instead, I later found a gentle glimpse of her romantic heart in her love letters to my father. I have learned how much like her I am.

Letter to my Dad Overseas

Eileen also has love letters from a man she recalls when she was young. Jimmy Wells sung of her praises. From photographs, she has shared with me; beauty did not miss her. Even today, Eileen maintains the same spirit and fights to keep herself!

Young Eileen

Putting on her lipstick with an aching heart, she views the picture of her beloved late husband, Sonny, on the bedroom chest-of-draws. Confused and sad, she wonders why he doesn’t come around anymore? Initially, I explained he was in Heaven. It pained me to see her become angry or hurt, thinking he’d left. Now, she no longer understands the concept of dying the same way she doesn’t always recognize that she’s home.

Sonny and Eileen

“Where is my father,” she asks – A large red STOP sign taped to the front door and an alarm that sounds if she tries to leave to find her way home to the Bronx.

Eileen 2019 – Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

I do a lot of distracting these days – Let’s get dressed-up nicely before we go!

We look for people from the old days on the boardwalk and cope with anger when they don’t show. Often, we go to the nearby beach. There is peace at the ocean hard to find anywhere else. It has a quiet knowledge of everything. We feel simultaneously small and lucky to tread on the sand or boards beneath our feet. The sun offers brilliance on a blue-sky day or peeking through stern-grey clouds. We don’t have to grasp for words to speak but listen to the waves crash and seagulls soaring above. It’s enough, and there’s comfort in that.

Long Beach NY Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

In her last year of life, my mother continuously stated I want to go home! To watch my father make her comfortable, kiss her hand with love, and carry the burden of her being lost from him, broke my heart. I can only imagine the pain and fear of feeling you’re unable to find your home, beneath a roof or in someone’s heart, and oddly enough today, I recognize this feeling in my loneliness. I witness Eileen trying to find her way, and I know sincerely a soul is a home no walls can ever confine but invite a willingness to stay, yes.

My Father and Mother

Eileen and I listen to Frankie Avalon sing his hit songs, Why, Venus, and Beauty School Dropout. Eileen is back in time, young, beautiful, gushing over boys from school, and she laughs out loud while telling me how her mother would tease her, mimicking her young daughter’s behavior. In those moments, she is entirely comforted. Then we take a walk around the corner to find people from that time. They may be near if only we believe.

Recently after taking a couple of days off over two weeks, then returning to work with Eileen, she had declined. She saw me differently. That day I was her enemy. In her words, disgusting and horrible. According to her, I’d stolen her sister and children and now was after her memories. No, Eileen! It’s me, remember? No, she doesn’t. Suddenly, a sinking selfish-sadness came upon me. Everything I did is for nothing!

Then an epiphany – I realize on some level, not only with Eileen but my other relationships, love is meant to save you and in turn, myself. Could I be this powerful, and if I love you enough, if I give more than I can bear, will you stay and remember me? Can we build a forever home?

Long Beach NY - Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

We try to understand this life, turn to God, talk about faith. I admit I’ve turned away momentarily but because I cannot remain that angry, or deny all that is purely magnificent in this world, return. I convince Eileen to return.

Through profound points of personal sadnesses, we can find ourselves on a random Friday suddenly lifted by purple light cast across the sky, and a racing flock of Sandpipers.

We all transition through much over our lifetimes. All of us connect. All of us have our turn to live, to love, to explore, to be brave, to suffer, to celebrate, to be lost, to be found, to challenge the truth, to be angry, to fight for what we feel is right, to walk away, to create, and to die. But I don’t believe we really die. We merely transition our energy into another form. I think we find each other over and over, and that time is only an illusion. Love and pain will see us again.

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Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Lately, Eileen and I dance. We listen to the music that returns a time when everyone we know was alive. Isn’t it brilliant the senses remember so well they can transcend? Close your eyes; we’re there.

Eileen and I developed a second language of gibberish. How it makes us laugh to make no sense at all and at the same time, understand – that we don’t need to.

Over many meals and walks together, we’ve learned of each other’s families, friends, lovers, our dislikes and likes, the disappointments, and been plain silly. We’ve balanced the most serious from medical test results to the simplest, enjoying a chocolate-malted.

She has cried to me about her fears, and I won’t forget. Life, people, nature, time, leave imprints.

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Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Eileen and I are an example of finding what we need at the right time until the next time we need something different, more or less. We’re an example of our human experiences, the frailty and strength, the kindness we all need, and love most importantly.

A Bench Along Our Way

A Bench of Someone’s Memorial along our Way – The Written Message So True

I miss a companion and have become one to another. I recognize we all portray what we need most, and in that, I don’t think anyone of us can truly ever be lost. We only need someone to help us remember, to remind us to live from that most profound part of our soul that doesn’t need explanation; just being is enough.

(YEARS FROM NOW, on the beach, I’m confident, Eileen, will let me know she’s reunited with her, Sonny, and dancing into the Mystic, like my Mom and Dad (Fred and Frances) where someday I’ll join them with a love of my own.​

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIA PISCIOTTA-DELLAPORTE at Long Beach, NY 2019

 

 

Tempo into Release

This period in time is the build-up—soft tempo eloquently escalating, patiently, sometimes painfully, to reach a point—release into magnificence.   -Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2018 All Rights Reserved

Below is a poem, author unknown, that my late sister, Marilyn, wrote down and gave to me. For all I know, she could have written it. I kept it tucked-in at the left corner of my mirror for years. She was my best friend. The water marks are my tears, from when I held the paper in my hands to read again for the first time after she died. She was a month shy of her 33rd birthday. It broke my heart knowing she’d never realize anymore dreams.

This time in my life is a different challenge, and there are days I really want to give-up, but a stubborn flicker of belief always remains in my heart, and I want to wake-up dancing. I know my sister would want that. 

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Ps: I intended to put a formal classic ballerina dance video below, but when I stumbled upon this one with its upbeat melody, and the lyrics – home is wherever I am with you (there’s a personal meaning in that for me) and then the girl dances holding a large daisy (daisies were Marilyn’s favorite) I knew it was her telling me this was the one. This was her kind of spirit. I know if I could hear her she’d insist that I also be my playful self, get it done, and be happy.

Midweek, one ordinary early evening, I watched people shuffling across the street moments after being set-free from their train ride home, from a busy city where they work doing a range of things: technical, in law, banking, construction, in art and fashion…

 

In a time we are all uncertain

 

In high-up places, and downtown, they buzz through the streets in cabs, by foot, on schedule—the clock ticking dollar bills. Between the hours of twelve and two some break for lunch, and sit with a sandwich or fruit by a fountain, enjoy daydreams until once again they return home to our seaside town.

 

The aroma of plum tomato and garlic calls to them from the local pizzeria, as they hurriedly make the green light, cross the street to meet their cars patiently waiting at meters (calculating quarters for the hours they’ve been gone). Others walk home or get a ride. A cabdriver anxiously calls-out to make a living.

 

The streets intertwine like stories and ghosts that we hear on a subconscious level, of years past and days ahead that hold us willingly captive, in love with this city—our home.

 

This particular evening the sky could not decide whether to storm or let the sun shine for its final hours before setting, and it cast-off a mystical greyish-pink hue. Photographers and artists would surely gather on the boardwalk to capture a pre-dusk—hope not to be forgotten—before evening’s ominous newscast.

 

Salt was heavy in the air from a rough surf, and the light-fog swayed like a slow dance, romancing.

 

I turned right at the corner and slowly drove toward the ocean, peace in her waves, on my mind.

 

As an extra-sensory being absorbs everything going on around them like their own movement—I notice most people are asleep or too busy inside themselves to notice the energy around them—until I see Diana.

 

Diana owns a lady’s handbag and accessory store with her mother, a seamstress and bag designer, on the main strip. The boutique is filled with more than fashion trends for her clients, but rather creative details that if you listen tell a story.

 

Pocketbooks upon the shelves, leather and embroidery, fall and summer necessities, earrings in a case of glass with silver trim. —A mirror with a delicate woman’s image.

 

She’ll greet you each time with a beautiful smile and in it you can see her dreams.

 

She didn’t notice me as I recognized her walking—a poem unfolding on a page.

 

I was glad not to interrupt the momentum of her stride. It struck me as being accompanied by song. Indeed flowing as opposed to walking. Her gaze was faraway and reminiscent of youthful innocence. A breeze gently influenced her auburn hair.

 

I watched intently as it seemed she was unaffected by the ordinary surrounding her—traffic, a bicyclist carrying a food delivery, but was captured with the extraordinary—a seagull with dinner in its beak about to land on the edge of a broken fence, as if it were Heaven.

 

I felt less lonely seeing a kindred soul watching, as I do, the world around us.

 

It became understood that not everyone on a Wednesday could be a butterfly or a ballad. Some must be a traffic light or a steal gate. Some are meant to be foundation, solid to land upon, while others fill the air with wonder; and there are those that are meant to notice and call attention to each.

 

In light and in darkness, in times of woe or of joy, confidence or uncertainty – we are all individual movement, our own beat, each a separate story none less important, different by cultures, and yet the same by design.

 

This is our home by the sea, among many different homes under the sky, where people travel to and fro, seeing and experiencing life around them—a rose about to bud—or a shattered piece of glass in mourning.

 

Tomorrow will be another story—each soul a particle in defining its entirety—like sand and a city by the sea.

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2017 All Rights Reserved