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✝️

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.

Mourning

Mourning began the day of your diagnosis, and so it went…

your body, your face…changing before my eyes. somber faces all around, unable to tell me what I “knew” was coming…BUT had no idea the train wreck it would be.

oh, there was laughter and glimmers of hope, BUT  sorrow and grief were waiting at the door. Ah, the tsunami that would soon engulf me…no way to prepare.

your body, a shell of what it had been. your face, tiny, ashy. your eyes, sunken, shut. your mouth…no more sounds. how? why? ugh!!!

Mourning continued…BUT, oh what awaited, who can prepare?!?!

cold, horridly cold…a shiver shaking my body…that hasn’t stopped

relentless reel playing over and over…your little body placed in a bag. a dark, cold van. a white box – why?!?! how is this even possible?

AND then the inevitable. You know it’s coming, BUT…

the white box, that contains your earthly shell – so precious – is lowered, covered AND you are forever GONE!!!

Unraveled! Undone! Short Circuited! Forever Changed!

Almost twenty-three months…mourning continues…

it will continue until the day we are together, AGAIN ❤

Unwelcome Friend

Ah, my unwelcome friend, you’re back!

Your unannounced visits can be so aggravating,

the length of your stay unknown.

The continual task of learning to welcome you, to embrace your presence

can be exhausting and debilitating.

Your mysterious character unravels me

I don’t understand you! I can’t figure you out! I can’t defeat you!

Accepting your presence; embracing your constant companionship

…is…well…healthier…I guess…

Dare I ask that your visits be less often? shorter? or none at all?

AND, so, I sit with you, my unwelcome friend…

in acceptance and surrender

learning to simply be…

A Step Forward

The thought. The decision. The plan. Support in place. The day had come, unannounced and without fanfare. No spiral. No fight. I guess, somehow, she knew it was time. Resolute and steady.

The walk, eternally long, even thought it was only a few steps away. Legs soft as wet noodles, yet heavy as lead. Standing before a sacred place, surrounded by love and support. In an instant her mind flooded with memories – laughs. giggles. good nights. good mornings. hugs. smiles. love —– screams. tears. pain. sorrow. grief…GOODBYE!

Prayer – Deep breath – Prayer – Deep breath

I CAN’T! Yes, it’s time. This doesn’t keep her alive. She is not here. You are not forgetting her. BUT…I can’t! Yes, it’s time. BUT…“, the tumultuous thoughts flooded her mind. Surrender. Acceptance. Shoulders down. Clenched hands released. Slow and Steady, the process began.

The soft blue blanket, that she loved to curl with. The teddy bear she tenderly clung to. The shirt that draped her little torso. The pillow, where her little head laid; where tears and sweat drenched it’s every inch. Piece by piece…tearing at my heart. WAIT?!?! How does something that has been obliterated into pieces, break even more? Oh, the mystery of LOVE.

And, so, the bed that held her frail, little body; where she was ushered from this life to the next, was stripped of its garments…two months short of the anniversary of the second year of her departure…Another marker…Another step. Propelled and held by love and acceptance. Oh, the mystery of LOVE.

~ winter has passed ~

⇒♦♦for now♦♦⇐

Stuck

The path has been riddled with puddles of quicksand. No warning signs, no brights lights signaling its upcoming presence. Step, step…STUCK! Step, step…STUCK! In my clear, unstuck moments I’m aware of those that “turn-on” the light and give me a hand, or literally carry me on to the next step…even when I am “done”, with no fight in me.

♥⇒My husband. how? why? does he get tired? will he get tired? gentle, quiet…my man! 35 years and counting…what grace!

♥⇒My Son. he needs his Mom. I need him. he is dealing with the loss of his sister and a Mom that often, checks out. what goes through his mind? does he feel like he’s not good enough to keep me going? is he pressured? is he afraid? my gentle giant! my boy! 34 years old and counting…what grace!

♥⇒My Son’s Girlfriend. loves me. respects me. cares for me. makes me laugh. cries with me. makes me feel so incredibly important. drops everything and sits with me as I spiral, vomiting chaos…AND she is simply there. her presence settles me. her hugs squeeze life into me. how? why? she doesn’t have to? Counting the days, months and years…what grace!

My friend who dropped everything and sat with me at coffee. That roller coaster conversation, with deep lows and huge highs. Sparks, tears and laughs. No judgment. No pat answers. Just grace. My Grieving Friend who spends hours with me on the phone, because distance prevents us from sitting with each other. Twenty years into her journey, which scares the poop out of me, because I can’t even fathom the thought of being without my daughter one moment further. Yet, she speaks Angie’s name, remembers her, talks about her and allows me to talk and talk, and repeat myself over and over…cause one cannot say the story enough. She does, however, remind me and shows me that “it” does get softer. My massage therapist, who is a gift. She not only takes care of this “balled-up-crackly” body, but speaks life into me. As I was leaving from my massage she held me and told me, “You matter! You bless me! Don’t give up! I’m praying for you!” She squeezed me and held me. What grace!

♥⇒My Lifelong Buddy. goofy and all, she demonstrates an unwavering strength of love and loyalty. she doesn’t retreat. she doesn’t stay away from the ugly. she barges in and stays. she constantly puts soft “sponges” on the sharp edges of this porcupine.

God shows up everywhere, surrounding me with these amazing humans. Showering me with love and care. Oh, mercy and grace to sit here and type and breath and take one more step♥

~ Spring always follows Winter  ~