loss

chaos and the need for ‘normal’ life

When I look back at the last six weeks I’m honestly amazed that we came out the other side as well off as we did.

Two deaths in two weeks.
Three birthdays in the same two weeks.
A mother’s day when there are no mothers.
Projects, exams, last month of senior year with senioritis in full swing.
Graduation.
Party.
Girls here.
(P.S. there’s still a hole in our house)

Now when read in a list, it may seem as though I’m exaggerating the impact each and every one of these things had on us. I’m here to assure you I am not. And while some of these things are in the biggest ‘Yay’ column, it was a stressful time.

Last week when YBW and I had our therapy appointment, we each talked about what we needed as we moved forward.
I wanted to take a break. Go away for a few days. Breathe new air. Get out of this house. Be near water. I was looking at it as kind of a reset, have a break to rest before we returned to normal life.
YBW wanted to get back to normal straight away. He expressed his weariness at the starting and stopping and starting he’s been doing for the last six weeks. He also expressed his desire to sleep.
Our therapist was on point, and while we didn’t settle on one or the other, we each began to consider the other’s point of view differently than we had before.

Later in the day I scribbled a note to myself.

The more I considered it, the more I began to feel that just saying what I need might be enough.
Which actually may turn out better as YBW is on call the last week of June which means we can’t go anywhere anyway.
We haven’t talked about it again. I did tell him my thoughts on expressing the need vs having the need met. I asked him how he was feeling about getting back to normal life. He remarked it didn’t feel like normal life.
Does he need to discover what his new normal is? I don’t know the answer to that. I do know he still isn’t sleeping all through the night.

What I do know is that from a very early age I learned not to express my needs because they wouldn’t be met. So to avoid that disappointment, I get vague af when it comes to expressing my needs. I actually think the phrase, ‘it doesn’t matter what I want or how I say it, I’m not going to get it anyway’. (Sounds pretty pathetic, right?)
I guess it’s the way I learned to defend myself.
Anyway, that’s where I am.
Desire to rest and recharge after the last six weeks before returning to ‘normal life’.
Only, here I am today, knee deep in normal life.
Blogging, GOOB with Lula, prob and stats, and instructional planning homework, hole in the house repair, teaching Thing G to drive, and just regular household maintenance stuff.

I don’t feel short-changed or whatever. I feel like being specific regarding my needs is a big deal and even if I don’t actually get what I said I need, I suspect I got some little bit of what I needed just by saying it out loud.
Go me!
I’m growing as a person and all that.
I mean, sure being near water would be perfection. But so far, on this first day of ‘normal life’ since the second day of May, I’m feeling fairly content.

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Categories: death, loss, love, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

celebration of a beautiful life

We laid YBW’s precious mother to rest yesterday with one of the most beautiful funeral services I’ve ever attended.

Her grandsons, Thing C and Thing G, and Nephew J welcomed us all and thanked us for coming to celebrate the life of their grandmother.
Pink and white carnations (her favorite flower) and family photos as far as the eye could see. Friends and family together to celebrate the life of this quiet, lovely woman who raised two kind and loving men.
Both her sons spoke of her with such adoration.
It was one of those rare experiences when every wonderful thing being said about the deceased was the absolute truth. We daughters in law also spoke and here’s what I shared:

“When I set about to find the words I would share as prelude to YBW, I knew it must be somehow related to stars. The first thing that came to mind was lyrics written by Joni Mitchell.

We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

And then I remembered The Little Prince:

All men have stars but they are not the same things for different people.
For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides.
For others they are no more than little lights in the sky.
For others, who are scholars, they are problems.
But all these stars are silent.
You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them.
In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night.
You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!
And when your sorrow is comforted (for time soothes all sorrows), you will be content that you have known me.
You will always be my friend.
You will want to laugh with me.

Thing G suggested we need an observatory from which to see the stars and I stopped for a moment. Because he reminded me of a Hebrew word I love.
Mizpah
The original meaning is watchtower.

But, mizpah has a more commonly understood meaning in the modern world:
a strong emotional bond between people, especially those separated by distance, or death

Mizpah is a sacred blessing:
The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

Think about that for a moment.

Let it fill you completely.

For whatever star dear E is laughing from, we are content to know her, we are always her friends, we will continue to laugh together.
And we have Mizpah, the ancient word of inspiration and protection.”

Thing 2 wrote the following in response to my request for her opinion:

Wow. You could not have written (or quoted) better words. I read it in your voice. I know that it will bring everyone comfort and peace. Those boys and their families/loved ones are blessed to have you in their world.

I think we’re all blessed to share the same world.

After the service, everyone came back to our house where we celebrated each other with love and laughter, and a fair amount of wine. YBW’s and his brother’s friends, our sister in law’s siblings, friends of mine, our neighbors, even Thing C’s closest friends he’s had since middle school.
I feel as though I’ve been going at a full-tilt boogie since Tuesday last. I kept saying, If I can just get through Wednesday.
In this time, we lost a beloved woman. Celebrated YBW’s birthday. Planned and executed a beautiful funeral service. Fed and wined friends and family.
Today after school, I cleaned the mess I couldn’t handle last night. I did dishes. I moved flowers to every possible place in this house. I returned borrowed items.
Tomorrow YBW and I are playing hooky. We’re both going to skive off work to spend the day together in celebration of his birthday Friday last, and mine Saturday two days from now.
As excited as I am to spend the day in DC, honestly, I just kind of want to sleep for a really long time. It’s been a hell of a week and I’m worn slap out.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

lifting them up in love and light

They say death comes in threes.
I don’t exactly know who “they” are…but that’s what they say.

I find it is true.
In the last two weeks, three people I love very much have experienced death.
Now, I was only truly close to one of the deceased. The mother of a girl I grew up with. Amy’s mother loved and taught and mothered me just as she did her own five children.

The other two deaths are further removed. Each of them is the father of a guy I love. I never met these fathers, but I love their sons a great deal.

My friend Jack’s father left a whole in his world and he’s been struggling so. It pains me to know this, to know that I really can’t help. He has to heal in his own way.

I got a message from Thing 2 this morning, she wanted me to know her arrival time might be delayed. The young man who is her true and dearest friend has to bury his father some time in the coming week. I’ve know the young man since he was an awkward preteen in middle school, with an unhealthy crush on my daughter. He grew and matured as a young man. I loved to watch as he took the stage with both my girls in high school. Turns out he and Thing 2 were meant to be the best of friends!

My heart is heavy for my friends. Dealing with this painful grief. So if you don’t mind, would you all join me in lifting them up in love and light?
Love and light to you, Amy and Jack and Lane.

It just occurred to me to wonder if I’m feeling this love so strongly on this particular day? Today is the anniversary of my own father’s death.

I’m going to love and light myself a little bit today, too.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

love and sadness deep in my bones

When there occurs a misunderstanding big enough to end a friendship, your initial reaction could quite possibly be to blame the other party. As far as I can tell, this is perfectly normal human behavior. You’re hurt. You’re sad. You’re confused. But then you’re angry.
For me, anger jumps in to protect sadness. I suspect that’s a fairly common phenomenon.
Blaming begins because anger is irrational. Anger is trying to make sadness feel better, so it lashes out. Well, let me assure you, that lashing out benefits no one.
Anger can turn a situation that’s tricky, but possibly repairable, into a situation that there is no coming back from.

In my experience, no matter how close a friendship, there is a line of truth you simply cannot cross. And that’s when you know that particular truth will create a shift in the other person.
Of course, we all long to believe if our friendships are close enough…that if you’re so close you’re “friends as family” there is nothing that cannot pass between you.
I’m here to tell you, watch what you say. Because you can wound deeply without knowledge. You can wound deeply without intent.

I recently experienced this scenario. And truthfully, it’s just a big bag of suck.
In a half-assed attempt to explain one of my long and delicate thought processes, I wounded a friend.
Without intent, my words were hurtful.
I believe I wounded his pride.
Pride is a double edged sword, too much or not enough can sometimes kill you…or others…

Each of us became frustrated. Then reactive.
There was no being mindful in this conversation.
I know the words “behaving like a petulant child” were involved…
When the conversation ended abruptly, we retreated to our corners to lick our wounds.
I honestly don’t remember who reached out first to begin the rebuild.
But after that, in true Robynbird fashion, I wrote a long and emotional email in which I completely over-explained my point of view.
To say it went over like a lead Zeppelin is…well…the truth. I have a tendency to overthink and overtalk my thoughts and feelings…normally my friend can sort through my words to extract the important information. But not this time.
Apparently, I triggered a hot button in him and anger came back via email. Blaming and (possibly deliberately) hurtful words on the screen caused two simultaneous reactions in me.
My hackles went up and I felt compelled to argue point for point. (and) I knew in my gut it was time to break the cycle.

This may seem terribly dramatic, to talk about a friendship this way. But here’s the thing, it was a terribly dramatic friendship. When I say “terribly dramatic”, I mean it this way.
We became friends with a quickness out of the clear blue. Differences in gender, culture, generation, time, and distance held no meaning. We were as close as siblings. (Not the ones you grow up with, but the ones you get to choose in your adult life.) We talked each other through some seriously tricky situations, and loved without question. If you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of loving friendship with a person of the opposite gender, you’re blessed beyond belief. That other point of view is invaluable.

I sat with my dueling reactions for a while before I moved forward.
When I chose to act, I was mindful. I used “I statements”. I expressed my love and gratitude for everything our friendship gave me. I wished him well.
I send only love and light to him. I’m hopeful he’s doing the same for me.

Can our friendship be healed from the hurt caused by this misunderstanding and our ridiculous reactions?
I honestly don’t know.
I do know this:
I have sadness deep in my bones.
But I also have love.

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my mom

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day Mommie died. I’ve been thinking of her so much lately. I miss her in ways that sneak up on me and hit me upside the head like a baseball bat. I’m momentarily stunned and then I feel sad. Or I laugh uncontrollably. Or I get a warm fuzzy feeling. Or I get so angry I grunt and stamp my foot. I firmly believe that all daughters feel these things about their mothers.

I’ve written about my mom before, But I’m not going to talk about our unpacked baggage, or our love of robin birds, or the gift of silly memories. I’m just going to share my mom.

I love this photo!
This is my mom when she was sassy AF. I think she’s so beautiful. This photo was taken in the mid 1960’s. I think my mom stopped being sassy when her mother died. She looks different in any photo taken after 1969, like something’s just a bit off…or something. Now, this is just my theory…but I do know that death of her mother changed her greatly.
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This was taken at our house on Barton Street in Arlington. I suspect my dad took it. It was before I was living in that house, but I don’t know how long after they were married this was taken. Some time in 1970.
I think she’s beautiful in this photo too, but she looks different.
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This photo was taken in April of 1971. The month before I was born. I think she looks tired. But I’ve been that far along in a pregnancy twice in my life and I remember feeling tired.
I’m so glad that the middle part went away for a long time…does it really look good on anyone?
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So, my parents were pretty freaking strange. And quite possibly they shouldn’t have been allowed to bring me home from the hospital. I’m the weird little alien looking baby. My mother is holding me inside my father’s boot (he was a motorcycle cop) as he takes the photograph.
Obviously, I wasn’t a very cute baby…though in my defense, I’m kind of crammed into a big leather boot. That makes for some uncomfortable faces. Summertime 1971.
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I went through years and years of photographs trying to find some of me with my mom. There are tons of photos of me with my dad (before he left) and even more of me with Grandaddy. But few with my mom. She was always behind the camera.
Being behind the lens is something that must run in our blood. I’m a photographer. Thing 2 is a photographer. Thing 1 is kind of a photographer too. Luckily, there are other people with cameras who’ve taken photos of me with my girls, even though I’m almost always behind the lens of my camera.

This is Grandaddy and Mommie and me. I’m not sure why Mommie and I are dressed up and Grandaddy is wearing a sweatshirt. Maybe we girls were going somewhere just the two of us? I don’t know.
I was probably in sixth grade so that would make it 1982…maybe?
(note my awful middle part)
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I did find this one of us working a WETA telethon. (taken before we were actually on the air) I had this mad skill of sticking out my tongue just as the shutter clicked. And our hair is really terrible. This was the next year or so. My mom hated my long hair and cut it all off one afternoon under the guise of giving me a “trim”. Circa 1983?
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This one was taken in November of 2000 by Thing 1. We went to see “Grandmommy” for Thanksgiving. This photo was taken sixteen years ago this same month. I love this photo because we look happy to be together. I recently removed it from the album and put it in a frame.
Positive reinforcement of love.
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Five years ago this day, my mother’s life ended. She died the Monday before Thanksgiving. The girls and I drove down to see her body (before it was cremated) on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
The little bit of my mother’s ashes that belong to me are in a tiny enamel heart shaped container.
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Sometimes I take it out of the blue velvet box and hold it in my hand. Sometimes I hold that heart to my own heart and imagine that we can feel each other’s love.

A small stuffed robin bird sits atop the blue velvet box. The blue velvet is on a small cedar box filled with memories. The small cedar box is on my bookshelf below my collection of journals. This is the side of the shelves that face my work tables and comfy reading chair. So I can see it whenever I want.
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In some ways, five years is the blink of an eye. In others, it’s a long, dark eternity.
I’ll always have a complicated relationship with my mother. It wasn’t sorted before she died, but that’s because of who she was. And I guess that’s OK too.
I know she loved me. I know I loved her.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

specific example of love and strength

I’ve known Catherine since I was eighteen years old. We developed a deep and everlasting friendship. She was a bridesmaid in my first wedding. She has woken up at my home on Christmas morning almost as many times as Thing 1 and Thing 2. She would have been the one to raise my children had something happened to me and their father.
We know each other’s families, have been there for each other through thick and thin. Laughed and cried together, and loved like crazy.
We sometimes go months without speaking, but that never matters. We simply pick right back up where we left off as though a moment hasn’t passed. So when I got a message from her Thursday that said, “Bob passed away this morning, will you please come to the service with me?” My only answer was, “Of course I will!”

Catherine was married to Bob for twenty years. They’d been married a year or two when I met her. They were a curious couple, but that old adage about opposites attracting seemed truly embodied in these two. The girls said their names almost as one long name: “CafferineandBob”. To this day, if I say something to one or the other of them about Catherine, they’ll say, “Cafferine Catherine?” To which I smile and reply, “Yes, Cafferine Catherine.”
As I say, they were happily married, and they suited each other. And they were an important part of our life.
But one day twelve or thirteen years ago, Bob disappeared. I mean that literally. He just left. No explanation. No information. He literally disappeared off the face of the earth. Left Catherine holding the bag of their life. She suffered from the unanswered questions. She suffered with the pain of loss. She suffered doubt and confusion. She suffered from the barrage of questions coming at her that she simply couldn’t answer. Then she suffered financially as folks came out of the woodwork to collect on random Bob debts. She was blessed to have good people around her. She suffered, but she had love and support to keep her safe and sane.
What that man did to her was inexcusable. I could never accept his behavior. I never forgave him for what he did to her. He had no idea what she went through. That woman is made of the toughest stuff. She moved forward in grace and gained strength from that pain, but never got hard. She has a deep and all-encompassing love inside her.

Then, a couple of years ago Bob showed back up. He’d been on a soul searching journey. He’d suffered great pain and loss and didn’t know how to deal so he simply disappeared.
He showed back up on the arm of the widow of his recently deceased cousin announcing they were to be married and wanting his things.
Catherine provided his belongings and promptly told them to…well, I’ll just say she bid them adieu.

She had real love.
She had real pain.

Bob was sick with cancer and died quietly at home Thursday morning.
Catherine not only went to his funeral, she spoke eloquently about love and life and peace. I have always been proud to call her my friend. But in that moment, standing in the tiny cemetery in the warm sun and cool breeze, I was witness to another specific example of the love and strength inside Catherine.
She is and extraordinary woman. How fortunate for me that we love each other.

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my defining moment as a frog in cold water

Acute stress feels like it will crush you where you stand.
I promise you it won’t. Your fight or flight instinct will kick in and save you. Acute stress feels overwhelming and most of us would do anything to get away from it. But, acute stress won’t kill, no matter how much you believe it might.
Chronic stress is what will kill you.
Chronic stress is like putting a frog in a pot of cold water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s already boiling! That’s when one of two things happens. Fight or flight kicks in to save you, or you just die.

I’m an expert in chronic stress. I’m that frog in the pot of water. I was lucky enough that my instinct for flight is so strong. It saved my life.
I spent seventeen years with a man who emotionally abused me.
His sabotage so subtle, his manipulation so nuanced, it was poetry of pure unadulterated evil. He brought passive aggression to new and frightening depths. For the most part I was unaware on a conscious level. I went about my daily life feeling anxious without actually realizing it.
Sometimes I would wonder…Why did I require so much sleep? Why did I turn so much of my focus to my children? Why did I feel nauseous when he would come home? But never for long because there would be some sudden kindness and I would smile and believe him when he told me everything was lovely.

But on some level, I did know what was going on. I did know that something was amiss. I focused on my children to be a buffer between him and them so he couldn’t treat them the way he treated me. I presented the picture of the perfect little family to the rest of the world so no one would realize that he was not what he seemed.
I was scared of him. And scared isn’t a big enough word, but I’m honestly too lazy to thesaurus right now. He frightened every fiber of my being. Somehow I knew he’d never lay hands on me. I wasn’t worried about that. I didn’t realize the internal wounds could occasionally be worse.

He used to tell me that I was crazy. That I was certifiable. That they would put me in a straight jacket in the padded cell and that was where I belonged. He told me no judge in his right mind would give the girls to me. I had nothing and I was crazy. He told me that he would take the girls and I would never see them again.
I would have done and would still do anything for my girls. So I stayed with this man.
He read my journals. He read my email.
He even tried to sabotage my friendships…he had to do that carefully because he didn’t want to show his true colors. I was lucky that most of my friendships were strong enough to withstand his tricks.

I was trapped in a hell I helped create.
Every single day of my life I was scared.
Every single day of my life I was anxious.
Every single day of my life I was angry.
I was miserable. My girls were miserable. I was failing at being a mother. I was failing at being a person.
I was the frog in the pot of water suddenly aware that I was boiling!

This was the defining moment.
Would I die in that pot of boiling water?
No! I would save my own life!

The chronic stress was literally killing me. I was dying. I had to do something to preserve my own life.
I told him that I was done. I told him that I was empty and dead inside. I told him that I had nothing left to give. I told him I was leaving because I knew he would never leave.
When I finally left, he acted as though he was surprised. As though I’d never expressed any of my concerns. I didn’t even argue. I just walked away.
That’s when he turned on my girls. He manipulated them. He used them as weapons to hurt me.
That’s the only thing I regret about leaving him…what he did to my babies. You want to hurt me? Come at me directly.
My poor babies had to suffer for me to live.
That doesn’t seem right. But it was how it was.
A dying person is a desperate person.
I had to save my own life.
They’ve moved through that part of their lives. Will they ever heal? I honestly don’t know.
I know the only one who came out unscathed was their father. He has no clue what he’s done…or he doesn’t care. How’s that for crazy?

I was told by friends and family that I was strong. That I was brave. I felt neither. I felt as frightened as I’d ever been. I did what I had to do to stay alive.
It was the hardest thing I ever did, saving my own life. I only wish I’d been strong enough to do it sooner. Of course, the frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until the water comes to a boil…

I’m writing about this because of a conversation I had with my friend Nora last night, and a conversation I had with my sister in law today. Nora and I talked of relationships and life and celebs and sports stars we’d like to have our way with. We talked of previous lives and choices we make. We discussed “winning” at divorce. (When your life is better than it was before AND better than your ex’s current life.) We talked about being mothers. We ate pasta and drank a goodly bit of wine. We were “just girls” together, but we talked of important topics.
She’s actually the one who verbalized the frog in water analogy.

This afternoon I had a distressing conversation with my sister in law about her relationship with her children’s father. Apparently their state of chronic stress has escalated to acute and he’s announced he’s leaving. Knowing him as long as I have, I think he’s having a bit of a temper tantrum and it will blow over and they’ll go back to their life of chronic stress.
It is killing my sister in law. Now, there is a fairly decent amount of her stress that has little or nothing to do with him. She has some of her own shit to sort.
I told I knew what she was capable of. I suggested she tap into that deeply rooted power and make a better life for herself.
She expressed her fear.
Fear can ride shotgun, get it out of the driver’s seat. Fear will never drive me again. But it sure as hell likes to go along for the ride. I was scared half to death to make that huge change. Especially considering what impact it had on my children.
She’s not ready to do that hard work. She will eventually have to decide to save her own life or she will die.

I can’t run other people’s lives.
Some days I can barely run my own life. Seems that way lately.
I have stress in my life. But it’s acute stress. It causes an immediate reaction. And though my flight instinct is the strongest, I’m learning to fight. Fight the good fight. Fight for what’s right.

I fought the good fight by flying all those years ago. The fight to save my life. Because I tell you, I was dying. Not metaphorically dying. Actually. Physically. Emotionally. I was actively dying.
I learned the most important lesson about myself by saving my own life.
I learned that I can do anything.

Categories: divorce, loss, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

magic as crazy as this

Nick Drake playlist on repeat.
Which Will and At the Chime of a City Clock.
One of These Things First and a Black Eyed Dog.
Time Has Told Me.
Cello Song.
That voice giving everything.
He left us too soon.
He is the Northern Sky.
We are in The Time of No Reply.
I am calm.
I feel peaceful.
Pink Moon is on its way.

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blowing a kiss

I find myself missing my mom today.
I don’t know if it’s simply “that time of year” with my birthday rapidly approaching. Or if it’s that I’ve seen so many robin birds in the last two weeks. Or if it’s because it’s gray and cold today.
Maybe I just miss her.
It’s actually kind of strange because I honestly feel like I miss the idea of her more than I the physicality of her. That probably has to do with the fact that we lived so far apart and didn’t see each other that often.
Maybe it’s just knowing she was there was enough.

At the end of her life, she and I were not speaking often, I was wrapped up in my dad being very sick and burning miles back and forth between VA and SC. But learning how sick she was for so long before she actually died, I’ve figured out that it wasn’t just that I wasn’t reaching out to her, it was that she had stopped communication. She was keeping her illness a secret.
I wonder why she did that. She loved to play the martyr, but not seeking treatment when you’re as sick as she was…well that’s just ridiculous if you ask me.
It wasn’t my choice though. I can’t say how I would choose to behave if I was that sick, diagnosed or not…though I’m pretty sure I’d fight the good fight and do what I could to be well. I can assure you I wouldn’t keep it a secret.
I’m not quick to volunteer information, but I sure as hell don’t hide it.

I miss being able to talk to her whenever I want. To pick up the phone with any big or little thing that runs through my head. To send and receive mail on a whim. We were the quick to send each other any old thing from the crazy post card I found at Tower Records a million years ago, to trinkets like little redhaired Kelly doll or a new color book and box of crayons. She would have adored and fed my (and the Things) love of MLP.

I’m tickled to find myself choosing little trinkets to send to Thing 1 or Thing 2. Carrying on the tradition as it were. It’s as meaningful to them as it is to me. I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail? But more than that, isn’t it lovely to know someone is thinking of you with affection enough to send you a little something?
Thing 2 just got a little box of yellow smiley face gumballs from me. Randomly, because I saw them and they made me giggle. She was so happy to receive them, not only does she know she’s loved, the gumballs were yummy, too!

I suspect when the day comes that I get grandbabies I’ll do the same for them. Just a little love wrapped up with postage affixed waiting in the mailbox. How perfect is that?

It seems absolute crap that I’ll never get to talk to my mom again. Never hear her voice. Laugh with her. Get frustrated or angry with her.

There is so much unresolved baggage between my mom and me. Here’s the thing though, even if she was still here it wouldn’t get sorted. That’s simply not who she was. I’ve come to accept that.
I’d just like to hear her call me baby or tell me that she loves me.
I’d like to tell her I love her.
When I was little and we spoke on the phone, we would always blow a kiss before we hung up. Literally, “mwah, pfff” (kiss sound, blow sound).
I have the very last card she sent me on my magnet board above my desk. It’s a Mother’s Day card. It’s kind of funky like me, kind of sappy like her. She wrote, “I love you, Mommie” just like she signed every other card she ever gave me. But this was the last time she ever wrote it. She died almost exactly six months later.

The robin birds are out in force. I have a strong desire to call her to report the news.
Maybe she knows.
The pragmatic part of me knows it’s not the case but it seems kind of sweet somehow to think it.

I’m not sad. I’m…what? Thoughtful? Yes. Thoughtful. I’m in the positive place of memories and I’m filled with love.
As Sirius told Harry,”The ones that love us never really leave us…and you can always find them in here.”
For good and bad, my mom is in my heart. She always has been and will always be.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

standing in the rain, and waiting for the stream to settle

Today would have been my dad’s sixty-ninth birthday and I stood in the rain scattering his ashes in a place he loved to be.
I did this because his oldest and dearest friend came from Colorado to perform this act and he is the one who chose the date. He felt it was a good way to honor my dad, the anniversary of his birth. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I did it because it was what my dad wanted, and he wanted his friend involved. I’d known this for years so I had plenty of time to prepare for it. They were cops together, I’ve know him since I was a teeny little thing, but you know how that goes, he’s close with my dad and I grow up and move on.
My heart wasn’t in it really, I was just going through the motions. But I’m OK with that because it wasn’t about me it was about my dad’s friend…and my dad. I am a good daughter.
I’m tired now it’s all over. It was cold and rainy which wasn’t physically comfy and it was emotionally exhausting. I want to get in the bathtub with my ipad for a bit of soaking and Netflix.

On the Thing 2 front, I finally had a good long conversation with my friend and mentor last night. She asked what my heart was telling me to do. I told her my gut said, make her come back, my heart is tired of fighting and my head pretty much wants the other two to get it together. She laughed. She reminded me I’m a “gut truster”. I agreed.
We talked a bit more and she told me I had been tromping back and forth in the stream and it was muddy and unclear, that perhaps I should sit by the stream and let the sediment fall to the bottom and wait for the water to clear. (Oh how I love this analogy!)
We talked a bit longer and she just wondered aloud where I was. I took a deep breath and said: I’m going to let it go and leave her where she is.
I feel good about that decision because instead of focusing on her, I decided to focus on me. I’m going crazy trying to decide what to do what’s best for her life and completely ignoring what’s best for my own.

This morning I had the most freeing thought.
I’m so worried about Thing 2’s future but I didn’t take into consideration that teenagers live in the now. So if she’s sad, lonely and uncomfortable here in this home, how successful can her future be?
I know her dad won’t hold her accountable, but perhaps she really can live happily in the now and STILL have a relatively successful future.
And that might be as positive as I’ll ever feel about it.
I lived in that horrible situation for years, trapped, scared and feeling unsafe. It hurt me physically and emotionally. If she FEELS safe, etc. then isn’t that actually “what’s best” for her?
I believe she stands a better chance here but I’m only going to focus on me and my future.
She’ll sort it out eventually. I believe I’ve done a good enough job raising her to have that faith.

And that’s how this portion of the story ends.
She will be responsible for ‘cleaning up her own mess’ and building her future and I’ll focus on my own future and just love her.

Categories: death, loss, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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