The gift

I wrote the following piece many years ago about a time my mother and I had lunch together. She didn't want to eat and surprisingly the gift did the trick. The Gift by Madeline Sharples Laura saw him standing quietly by the door. He turned and put a quarter into the vending machine.  The next time she looked up he was holding a white stuffed bear dressed in blue plaid overalls, a bow tie and baseball hat. The brightly lit restaurant was almost empty except for the waiter, a woman sitting alone in the front booth, and Laura and her mother sitting across from each other in the booth by the window. Laura was in her mid 50s, slim with short graying hair and a look on her face that said, “I want to be any place but here.”   Her mother was so short her head of pure white whispy hair barely reached the top of the booth. “I’m not even hungry,” the older woman said. “Nothing ever tastes good to me.” “Mom, you look so pale, you have to eat something,” Laura said. “What are … [Read more...]

Letting Go

Hello. Sorry for the long delay. It's been a busy holiday season. And during that time I resurrected some past writings - especially about my mother. The one I'm posting here today is not very uplifting or loving, but I thought it perfectly depicts the relationship she and I had through the years. Maybe I'll post a happier one next time. Here goes: Letting Go  In the last days of her life, my mother looked like a skeleton with yellowish gray skin, sunken chest, and bony shoulders, legs, and arms. Her hands and arms had huge red-and-blue bruises like mottled granite in sporadic blotches. Her lips were dry, cracked, and peeling. Her mouth was crooked as she labored in deep rapid breaths. Her sparse hair stuck up. She lay on her side in the fetal position with her eyes and mouth half open and her hands clutching the bars at the side of her bed. As she intertwined her fingers around the bars, I could see her nails like claws, badly needed a manicure—the silk wraps had … [Read more...]

Remembering Paul – again!

Paul's birthday was yesterday - New Years Eve. And yesterday he would have been fifty years old. To me that seems like yesterday though I'm probably no different from other mothers who remember the births of their children in vivid detail no matter how long ago they were born. Paul was only twenty-seven when he died in 1999. Here are some wonderful photos to share. … [Read more...]

A wonderful 5-star review

Thank you so much for this great review of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide. That makes 206 reviews total, with 66 percent of them with five stars. This review made my day. "as she explores on the page what it is like to attempt to create normalcy within a family life ... Exploring the real life story of the unspeakable tragedy of losing a son to suicide, author Madeline Sharples has written an affecting and heart wrenching memoir entitled LEAVING THE HALL LIGHT ON. A deeply personal and first hand account of struggling with her son's battle with bipolar disorder and the effect on the family, the memoir delves deeply within the author's consciousness, as she explores on the page what it is like to attempt to create normalcy within a family life where little exists. She tells her story with courage and abiding honesty never shirking from the hard truths of a life filled with so … [Read more...]