Fisted Hands

Hands closed…tight, tight! Veins pop, the flow of “life” is cut off. Holding on for dear life, thinking, “if I squeeze tighter ‘nothing’ will be lost; nothing will ooze away.” It has been said, “he who dies with the most toys wins”. Grab, grab, grab…holding tight, oh so tight. Eventually, there is no room for “more”.

This could be said of possessions, but what about relationships? People come into our lives for a “moment” in time. Nothing and no one stays forever. My parents, both gone. My sister, my brother – gone! Friends whom I thought would be around forever, gone! Some have physically moved away, others relationally, while others have completely been severed.

There was a time I thought that by holding on tightly I could protect, shield, keep forever. That’s not how it was meant to be…acceptance is a journey worth taking.

Learning to be present, in the moment, because “tomorrow” will bring its own or it will never come. Today is a gift! This moment is a gift! Drink deeply of the moments gifted to you. Keep your hand open, your heart open…love, live, laugh!

My Grieving Friend

I saw her. Her steps were heavy. Every move cautions, as if each move threatened to shatter her brokenness. Somber, every facial line etched deeply. Her frame and movements seemed ancient compared to her real age. Her beautiful body bowed, like she had just been hit in the stomach and all the breath was zapped out. She seemed unapproachable, quiet…her mind far, far away.

She spoke softly, almost in a whisper, almost as if she didn’t have enough air in her lungs. I had no idea the sorrow and the pain she held deeply, reverently. We would sit for coffee, often. At times she spoke, but mostly she listened. There, yet, absent. Her red lipstick always on point…she needed color, somewhere…anywhere.

Cautiously, briefly, she opened a window of her soul to me. We entered a sacred place…her garden. Filled with color, serene, holy. In the midst of her vibrant garden was a memory garden filled with the most mundane of things, yet each was set with purpose, with care. A bench, a bird bath, a cross, an angel, and lots and lots of miniature roses. Oh, the tears, the memories, the talks that garden held. We stood in silence, it was a sacred moment. She shared that her 21 year old son had gone off an embankment; that she had to identify his remains; that she missed him; that this was one way of honoring his memory. I gasped, I couldn’t say a word, but felt privileged that she had allowed me into the sacredness of her pain.

Many, many years have passed. I now sit in my own memory garden. Mine has rocks with messages, butterflies and plants that attract butterflies. My daughter loved butterflies. I put a rock with her name on it…something about her name.

My dear grieving friend, how much you taught me through your silence ❤

Grateful

“Life is a gift…the way to handle a gift is to be grateful.” ~ Claypool

I’m grateful that I birthed You; that I heard your first cry; that I heard your first word; that I got to cuddle you; to feed you; to bathe you and yes, even to clean you.

I’m grateful when you would run to me when I’d pick you up from school; your talks; your dilemmas; your hurts; your smile.

I’m grateful for having the privilege to homeschool you; for having coffee with you; for sitting around in our pajamas; for doing your hair.

I’m grateful that you would call me and send me encouraging notes while you were away at school; grateful for your stories; for you trusting me with your defeats.

I’m grateful that we spent every minute of your end-of-life journey together; slept together, colored, giggled, played dots…hugged, oh, how we hugged. To be able to tell you over and over again how much I loved you, and that YOU showed and told me how much you loved me.

I’m grateful that we sang together, prayed together…and got to hold you as you departed. What a privilege!

I’m forever grateful for the privilege of being your Ma, Mom, and Mommie ❤

“…the best way out of darkness is the way of gratitude.” ~ Claypool

My First Born

After being told that we would not be able to conceive, then having two miscarriages, YOU burst forth and shattered our world! Even then, without You knowing it, You brought joy into our discouraged existence.

I LOVE that You made my tummy swell with life. Every move, every kick…living, vibrant, ready to burst forth. In fact, You were so ready to come “into” our lives that You came early. I still remember Your Dad’s excitement and tears.

I LOVE Your passion. Your competitiveness. Your smile.

I LOVE that You came to me for “huggy-time”; that You laid on my lap so that I could scratch your back.

I LOVE that you defended Your Sister, even against me; that You would fight, but still be together; that You loved her; that You made her feel special; that You remember her; that You miss her.

I LOVE the love and respect You have for Your Father; that You make him feel special; that You have beautiful memories.

I LOVE that You love; how You look at her; how You touch her; how You have adventures together; how You dance.

Life has handed us a hard blow, but we are trying together, each with their own regrets, but NOT dealing with them on our own.

I read this:

“…I was helped by my only other child, my son, Rowan, who steadfastly called me on to life and away from a preoccupation with the tomb.” ~ John R. Claypool

It resonated with my heart.  Son, thank you for calling me onto life and away from a preoccupation with the tomb. I hear You! I see You! I LOVE YOU ❤

Last Breath…

The dawn of another sleepless night. Your breathing shallow, sporadic…every interval, more and more distant. “It” was lurking at every corner, making “it’s” presence known, felt…making my body stand on edge. “It” had been announced months ago, AND, maybe we had “accepted it”, but the thought that “it” was…almost here was just so unnerving.

Your little frail body, almost a shell of what you had been, finally at peace; finally the screams, “Help, me Mom!” had been quieted. The horrible flow of you vomiting your insides had stopped. Finally, you lay oh so peaceful, not writhing in pain. BUT what was the cost?

At times begging The Father to take you already. At times clinging to every last second of life…wishing for one last

…Hug, smile, giggle, even a grouchy face, anything…one last MOMMIE…

I’m playing one of your favorite songs, trying to sing to you…YOU breathed in ANDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD it was over!!!

My heart pulverized into a gazillion pieces…

I know You are at peace in the very safest place you can ever be. I know I will see You again. I know…I know…I know…

BUT

How do I convince my aching arms that they will hold You, again? How do I tell my ears that they will hear Your voice, again? How do I tell my eyes that they will see You, again? How do I tell the fragments of my heart to beat, again?

I miss YOU, my beautiful girl ❤

Letter to my Daughter

Hi Angie! I miss you so much. I wonder what you are doing? I wonder if you think of me? I wonder if you talk to God about us? Do you look the same? Well, not like you looked before you left, but like you looked when you were healthy. I miss you! It feels so weird to not have you around. I feel lost without you. Your brother said that you always needed me so now I don’t know what to do with myself. Crazy, I never thought you’d leave so soon, or that you’d go before us. Although, I’m glad you’re in heaven totally joyful and complete. It would have been so difficult for you to see any of us go.

Guess what? We went horse back riding. I know, your thinking your crazy Mom. You’d probably worry about me. You always “took care” of me. I remember when the nurses would come and ask you if you needed anything and you’d say, “I’m fine, but can you bring my Mom some coffee.”

So on our horse riding adventure, as we were all waiting to start the trail, a huge butterfly hovered around us. My eyes filled with tears thinking you weren’t with us, but God sent us a reminder.

I think we did good for your Dad’s birthday. He said it all felt like a dream. He loves horses, you know? Even your brother went. Oh, and he has a girlfriend. You would like her. She is beautiful and sweet. She loves cheese. I can picture you and her eating cheese together, cause you loved cheese, too.

After the horse ride we went for a yummy dinner. Yeah, I didn’t cook, nor did I make your Dad a cake…I just couldn’t. You were the baker of the family. And, you loved celebrating all of us. How we miss you! Our celebrations aren’t the same without you. But we are trying.

Much love and tons and tons of hugs <3<3  ~Mom~

The Dreamer

As it was the custom of that culture the boys in the families would help out their father tend to the land or they would be hired out to other ranchers for meager pay. However, the “dream” was to be able to go to “el norte”. That was the ultimate job! Poverty was part of life in the village, so the only way to be able to take care of ones family was to be seasonally hired to head to “el norte” for a hard job and little pay.

Finally reaching the magical age of fifteen, he ventured out with just the clothes on his back. Little is known of his trek, but he finally made it to “el norte”. His father and three other siblings were already settled in a small apartment. He was so excited to join them. He knocks at the door. He is waiting in expectation. The door opens…it’s his Dad. They stand there looking at each other. The silence is broken with a growl, “What the hell are you doing here!? You look horrible, whose kid are you anyway?” The boy’s shoulders slump, his smiley face turns into a frown, and he stands at the door of his “Dad’s house” for what seems an eternity. He is finally let in…

And so life went. Always pensive, always “away” in his mind. Not sure if that “frown” ever disappeared. Ah, but the moments he would lose himself in his writing or composing were magical. Playing the piano brought him great joy, but the melancholy of his songs was palpable.

Marriage…fatherhood…other endeavors…BUT something was always amiss.

Disappearing at the young age of forty-eight. Never to be heard from or seen. Talks of a torturous death haunt our minds. Did this really happen to you? Are you still alive?

Your hopes and dreams shattered in the canvas of life!