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!

Honest Ponderings

The realization that you are more like your Dad than you thought. Well, in all honesty, I had never even made the connection. As I ponder this, the thought nearly suffocates me. I said, “Everyone adored and respected my Dad. He always did good for everyone —— EXCEPT his own children.” I gasped…then…boom! I WAS JUST LIKE MY DAD!!!

Known, traveling, sought after, helping here and there, “rescuing”…making a name for myself. Yikes! BUT what about my children? My husband? They were being left behind…set aside. The “others” came first. My family got what was left, if anything. Everyone “loved me” when I was their “savior”. Now, I’m just a by-word. They shake their heads in unbelief and disappointment. I’ve let “them” down. I fell off the man-made pedestal.

No human being is meant to be all-things to all-people. Only God can do that. Humans disintegrate under the weight of trying to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. Humans aren’t meant to do that.

In a world of “trying-to-do-it-all”, we miss the MOST important. I am a wife to my husband. No one else can or should fill those shoes. I am “still” a mother to my remaining son (my daughter is in heaven). No one else can be or should be their Momma.

The memory of my precious daughter, on her last days here on earth, calling out to me, “Mommie!” Guess what, no one else would do. She wanted her Mommie

Clarity of mind in the midst of this intense fog – go figure…what a gift! So often, we come to “aha moments” too late.

Grateful, it is not to late for me!

The Oldest Girl

Married at 15, having already lived a “full life”.  No quinceañera, no prom, no pictures to capture the accomplishments of her life. The oldest in a large family. Her Momma always busy, sick and/or pregnant. The daily chores overwhelming for anyone, let alone a little girl. In this culture large families were the norm. The eldest would soon be helping out around the house, especially if she was a girl. She did it all, and was a Mom to her siblings, more so than their own Mother. As if the household chores weren’t enough, she would be demanded to help out tending to the land along with her Father and brothers. How did she do it all? She would say with pride, “I was like one of the boys to our Dad.” She took pride in being able to do what the boys could do, at times faster and better. So why did Dad beat her so mercilessly?

Grown up and married now, with children of her own and her own household to tend to. You’d think this would have earned her freedom from all the responsibilities of her “childhood home”. No, not in this culture. The hats just kept piling on.

There was a “hardness” about her, yet the caring soul within her managed to come through time and again. Every now and then a tear dared to escape from her eyes, almost shattering that impregnable armor. With one hard swoop she would yank it from her face in defiance and resolve not to let this happen again. Who told her she shouldn’t cry?

I wonder if all her collections were part of her “living” in a world she had never known; she had never had? There was that miniature tea set in the midst of other miniature figures. There was her collection of Monchhichis (Japanese stuffed toys) – always sitting pretty on her especially made shelves.

Everything sat pretty, clean, protected. The stuffed toys encased in plastic bags to preserve their beauty. Lots and lots of porcelain figurines, especially dolls. She would clean them with care.

What was going through her mind?

What was brewing inside of her?

Forty plus one, was the number of her years. Such a short life! She finally broke beyond repair. Unanswered questions remain…how I miss this beautiful soul!