The Cobblestone Road

Step, shuffle…step, shuffle. Grueling steps, feeling every pebble and stone. The scorching sun glaring from the surface of the road, as if the elements had conspired to inflict further pain upon this shattered soul. How many times has this road been treaded? Too many times, and I wish I could say it is the last time.

The slow ascent from the land of the living to the place of eternal rest. Heavy, tedious, yet robotic and numb. The mixed crowd, some there by compulsion, others need to be part of paying their respects and others simply want to sponge away information to be spread elsewhere. Tears, sobs, prayers and even some laughs are heard among the throng.

The Family Tree has taken another blow. One more branch laid to rest. It is said that it was a gift to his Mother, being it was Dia de las Madres in the quaint village. They are together again, Mom and her beloved Son. Funny the things we say to bring comfort and solace to our sorrowful soul. However, the unanswered questions and countless regrets remain. The horrid images will haunt us. And, the pain of another loss will sear us even more.

The cobblestone road, that held childhood memories of laughter and joy, is now paved with pain and sorrow, sprinkled with rivers of tears.

God have mercy on us✝️

The Family Tree

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a Tree, and although it wasn’t a unique Tree, it inspired respect and admiration. The Tree was beautiful to behold. It stood tall in the midst…sturdy and stunning. Lots of branches and foliage covered the trunk. Oh, the oohs and aahs it inspired.

The passage of time with its multitude of storms, beat that Tree mercilessly. “Today” it stands barely recognizable. I dare say, some may even disdain its memory.

Some of its branches never made it to maturity. Others held on until illness, disappearance, unknown causes or even their own doing cut them off. Those that remain, well…they simply remain.

Time has a way of unearthing great treasures or stripping away facades. That outward beauty hid many parasites that were eating away from within. And, try as we may to keep the semblance of this great, big, beautiful Tree intact, at some point, it is impossible.

Another branch is cut off…death’s blade strikes again. Few remain. Each with their own regrets. Each wondering what is next. And, so a tattered legacy continues…

A Fretful Day

Another horrid night. Enthralled in the unraveling of a life…watching…waiting. The ground ebbing away. The gut stuck to the spine. A pressure cooker waiting to explode. She sat at the table staring at papers that “seemingly” held life and death in it’s lines. The words “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” glaring at her; daunting her. It’s meaning incomprehensible, yet it’s reality could not be escaped.

How did she go from signing a birth certificate to signing papers that would mark her daughter’s demise? She sat numb, frozen…staring into nothingness. A frigid chill enveloped her from within; from without. Was she even breathing? Finally, as in a trance, hand to paper as ink flowed. “Ready pen” was not ready for this.

Her daughter’s screams, “Help me Mom!” Her whisper, “No more appointments, Mom.” That tender and loving stare speaking without a word, “are you going to be ok?” My audible words, “Angie, it’s ok to go. I give you permission. I’m going to be ok. I will miss YOU so, so much, but it’s ok to go.” Her surrender, “ok”.

Tumbling, tumbling in her brain…words, gestures. All ending at this table, making decisions that could never be changed.

Two years have passed since this fretful day, yet its memory is as palpable as today.

“only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Storm in May

Look up in the sky! Can you see them? Can you feel the rumble? Dark ominous clouds are approaching. There’s a frigid chill in the air. It’s a-comin! No way to stop it. Preparations are in full effect. However, the storm’s unpredictability is a huge factor. And, although it’s intensity and force cannot be gauged, it’s good to prepare.

May is here!

May is the month my daughter went to heaven. Another anniversary is approaching. The passing of time continues. Although, this will be the second year marker, I’m learning that these dates can be so unpredictable. I remember My Grieving Friend sharing with me her journey in the land of a bereaved mother. Such a gift to me. She’s twenty years into her journey. She said, “each year is so different”.

And, so we are “preparing”…as much as we know how. Flexibility is the name of the game. The day will come and it will go. One day doesn’t make the grief worse or less. It’s another second without ANGIE. The longing to hold her will continue until the day I hold her once again.

Diagnoses

“A diagnosis doesn’t define me.” A liberating statement, indeed. However, there are times one can not just “speak away” once ailments. We are all different. There is not a one size fits all remedy. Trial and error, and try again is the name of the game. A cooking cutter mentality is not a healthy approach.

In 2002 I ended up in a fetal position, seemingly out of the blue, unable to function. Tests, tests, and more tests, with frustration and annoyance as part of the ride. The end result a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Meds, home remedies, etc., etc., trying everything to beat these ailments. Yup, even got the typical “it’s all in your head. Just push through.” I’ve learned that it’s chronic. Sometimes I know exactly what brings on a flare up and sometimes I have no clue.

Then there was the time I was diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritis. No, this diagnosis didn’t define me, but it sure did change the way I do things. Amazing doctors and physical therapists have educated me on what to do to keep myself mobile and what not to do to aggravate things.

Now I’m faced with debilitating anxiety and depression. With the help of my medical doctor we decided it was time to see a therapist. With the support and guidance of my medical team and my family we are exploring ways to help me deal with and cope with these new companions. Will they come and go? Will they stay for a season or will they be with me for the rest of my life? These and other questions are on the table.

My diagnoses don’t define me, but they are part of me. They don’t undo me, but, at times, they do cause me to be laid out. I find accepting this is easier on my physical and mental health than trying to “push through”.

Learning is liberating. Fighting is exhausting.

Birth Date

There are records in a village of Mexico that state that a girl was born. A home birth, common to the land. No gender reveal, no birth announcement, no baby shower, no pictures on social media or elsewhere. Oh, how things have changed.

“Back in the day” is now part of my vocabulary. Who would have thought I would still be here today, 53 years later.

As Job, I have thought, “I should have never been born” or “what is the point”. Crazy brain! You know, for such a mess up like me, I like to think I did something “right”. Yes, I’m learning to shift through the crazy muck in my chaotic brain…an ongoing process. In the midst of it all I have had the privilege and joy of being a Mom. Four humans that lived, some for a very short time, in my womb. A miracle indeed!

Last year my son and his girlfriend treated my hubby and I to a fancy dinner overlooking the ocean. The sunset took my breath away. For a moment “everything” was alright. The vastness and beauty of the ocean reminds me of God’s amazing mercy and grace. Beauty in the midst of gutting pain.

After dinner we took a stroll down the malencon of La Paz, Baja…so refreshing. We ended the evening laughing and dancing under the stars. For a moment “everything” was normal, although one is deeply aware it’s a new normal. And, somewhere in it all, it feels perfect. A beautiful evening etched on my heart. Beauty for ashes, indeed.

So TODAY I am grateful that:

  • My husband doesn’t know the pain of widowhood
  • My son doesn’t know the pain of being an orphan

AND, somewhere amidst the thick fog, together, we will find a “lantern” to light up another moment in time.

A hug, a smile…laughter.

Listening to the beat of their heart

 

Birthdays

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you…” I better stop singing before I mess it up. Yes, it’s happened! Yes, I cried. End of story…oh, wait, I’m just getting started. Anywho, birthdays…goodness, how could such a subject conjure up all sorts of reactions and emotions? I tell ya, there’s nothing light and simple anymore…or has there ever been?

Can I just express my opinion about birthdays? Yes! I’m glad you approve…haha! What in the world has happened to birthday parties, people?!?! The venue, the entertainment, the decor…omygoodness gracious, one would have to sell their first born to afford such a feat. Wait, what if your first born is the birthday celebrated? Well, never mind. Let’s get back to the story. Quinceañeras are no longer a little girl with a simple white dress at a mass y una comida. Oh no, it’s a huge production. You’d think it’s the royal wedding. And, them cakes! Seriously?!?! Are they even eatable? I’d take a Betty Crocker, moist devils food cake with milk chocolate frosting ANY DAY over some of these “plastic” pieces of art. Ah, my Angie would always bake me a cake 😦

My “happy” birthday memory bank is, well, not very active. I do remember my Mom would always be the first to wish me happy birthday. And, I remember turning 15, which for some reason is a “magical” number in my culture. However, I had already managed to mess things up bringing shame to the family. The Runaway had begrudgingly been accepted back. Shunned because her innocence had been lost. Funny thing is that her innocence had been long gone. Taken in their own home by one of their own. I guess it was easier to blame a stranger…I guess. Let’s just say it wasn’t The Waltons. There was an attempt to celebrate this “magical” age in a girls life. Still not sure why? Cause it was anything but a “happy birthday”. Yup, Porcelain Doll was in full attire. A picture with a cake is cause for a flood of memories, a deluge of triggers which should be avoided.

There is that 50th birthday, though. Quite the marker, so I decided to celebrate. It was GOOD. Then there was my last birthday with my beautiful girl. She was nearing her end. Being who she was, she “decided” that she would fight to stay awake all day so that she could spend it celebrating me. Her eating was almost at a stand still, yet, she sat up and had a piece of pie with us. It was her Momma’s birthday and she would do all in her power to make it a special one, and SHE DID!

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you…”

maybe, just maybe, birthdays aren’t that bad after all…