YOU would tell me…

My attempt to participate in the “writing through your grief” group was completely stunted by horrible triggers which sent me spiraling for days. Continuing to practice ‘being kind to myself’ I bowed out. Maybe another time, maybe never, who knows. However, the following prompt caused me to pick up my pen…

“How would you love me in this?”

“If I imagined you speaking…you would tell me…”

How would you love me through this? Goodness, you’d be absolutely heartbroken that I’ve been so incredibly sad and inactive. I remember the day we got the “final-NO” in your care. We got home, put you to bed. A family member was here to help (so grateful!), so I was able to go into the back yard to ‘breathe’. I gave your Dad and Brother the latest news, then I walked to that block wall and screamed, “I can’t…!!!” I sobbed, not sure what else I said. Punching that wall was so tempting. Before I knew it, your brother’s tender arms drew me in and held me. Safe…calm…breathe…hold it together. I came back to your side. The sight of your little face was oh, so sad and you were crying. I said, “what’s the matter? Are you ok?” Crying, you answered, “I’m sorry Mom, for hurting you.” YOU HAD HEARD MY BREAKDOWN and blamed yourself for causing my tears and pain. This memory still haunts me. I was mad at myself, mad at the world, BUT NOT YOU. My precious girl ‘taking care of Mom’ as she was finishing her earthly race, God, I have much to learn from you.

You hated to see me sad. You never wanted me to hurt emotionally or physically. You watched me and cared for me.

I remember difficult moments when I’d say, “Angie, I need a hug.” On good days you’d come to me and hug me. On difficult days, you’d say, “Come here.” I’d go to your bedside or couch and lean to you and you’d hug me.

You hated when I was too “homie”. From your small allowance, which by the way you were an amazing steward of, you’d say, “Come on Mom, I’ll buy you lunch.” I’d tell you I could pay so you could use your money for your Starbucks runs, but, no, you wanted to treat me. So we’d go and have Jack-in-the-Crack (haha! that’s what you’d call it). Two ninety-nine cent tacos, fries and a coquita. Caffeine was your friend.

What would you say to me now? Maybe, “Ahí, Lady, what are you doing? I am so JOYFUL. I am with my Savior, where I longed to be.”

I would hope you’d say, “You did everything you could. At the end, I didn’t feel any pain. I heard your goodbyes. I felt your touch.”

I know you’d say, “I am so happy Chubbs is there all the time. And, I love Maria.”

“I’ll see you soon, Mom!”

 

In the End…

Ponder with me…

When someone comes to mind, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? When death comes, how will you be remembered? When you are just a corpse, and hopefully, people come to pay their respects, what will they “think about” as they stand over you?

Death has rattled our cages again. I’m older, and hopefully wiser. I’m learning to “think through”, to “work through” grief and loss. Our family has the tendency to stuff grief down our being so as to not deal with it or even acknowledge our pain. So, I’m a pioneer in this “new and improved” way…haha! And, guess what? Working through loss and all the implications thereof, I’m finding, is so much better and healthier than the alternative.

What triggered the above questions has been two recent deaths. When the first death occurred the words and sentiments written were those of love and honor. When the second death occurred there was an eerie silence. The legacy left by the first will be one of fond memories and the deep desire that the person wasn’t gone. The second, well, there is almost a “relief” that they are no longer causing damage.

In the end how will I be remembered? What memories will I leave behind? Will I be missed or will it be a welcomed loss?

Oh, that I would learn to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom; that I might leave a legacy worth emulating.

A Tortured Soul

It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Your windows have been closed shut forever. I remember a few times in our lives that you dared to crack them open, only to slam them shut as if it was the most stupid thing you did. Agonizing pain tortured your soul. Why couldn’t anyone help you? What kept you shut in your pain? Once again, we are left with a myriad of questions and regrets.

Two memories of you as a teenager come to mind. I was only a child. You were raging mad, like a caged animal who had been brutally hurt. You lashed out only to be beaten mercilessly. And, so, the brutal assault upon yourself and others continued. Your manipulation was masterful. I wonder if your poisonous spews were to keep us away, in an almost protective kind of way. Warped? Yes, but is that what you learned?

You were a son, a brother, a husband, a dad, a grandfather…a human being. How did you slip from our hands? How did you end up alone in your last hours? And, selfishly, I ask, “did you know I loved you?” You were always on my mind and prayers, and now you are gone. A horrid end to a spiraling life.

I wish I could say, “you are now at peace”, but…

So, as many times before, I will rest on the fact that God is God and I am not. That He is merciful and just. That this side of heaven, my questions may never be answered. I will hold on to Him and His promises, and when I have no strength to hold, He holds me still. Like a weaned child, I will rest upon His bosom…there I find comfort and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Be still my soul, and know He is God.

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.