Thursday, September 14, 2017

and the dream of horses...


My god woman, I feel you all around me so much, it is both subtle and strong.  This song, the computer in your closet, that little box of things you saved...

I think its because its September and your birthday will be here soon... maybe its just that I miss you so much, maybe it's because big changes are coming, I feel it, I am part of it, I am excited and afraid and that is usually when I reach for your hand.

Oh my love, I  miss you so very much, there are no words to describe it.  I live on the surface of it, if I dive in I will be destroyed.  I am getting use to loving you this way but it doesn't make it hurt any less, mostly because I don't have a choice.

You would be 30 this year.  In a way it feels impossible to imagine you thirty but in a way you were always a little 30 year old librarian... I need you here so I can tease you, tweeze your eyebrows, give you a ponytail, go for a long drive to a beach and collect stuff.   I need to hear your voice, talk about your favorite books, bake a cake, go to the farmers market, sew something.

Visit me baby, I need you to wake me up and tell me you are ok and that I we will have plenty of time sometime, somewhere, somewhere else to catch up, talk long in to the endless night, laugh, and you can tell me all about it, everything, show me your heaven.

Your brother sang this song for you at your service. He was only little, but he needed to sing for you, to say good bye with music.   Your funeral was simple, your casket was a beautiful brown wood, sanded smooth and left natural.  Lizzie arranged a million yellow tulips, we all gathered at the old church in town, don't worry we covered all the crosses, no religion, no talk of hell, or God, no pretending, no insincerity.  I gave your eulogy.   It was a little bit angry, I was mad at all the people who showed up, all the people who cried and said they would miss you but never took the time to know you.  Angry at the treatment that was suppose to save you , that killed you.  I was mad at me for not fixing it, for not being able to take the cancer from your body and willing into my own instead.  Mad that I was so tire that night, and fell asleep.   I was heartbroken, and just broken, I had moments of grace and moments of wanting to die because I didn't want you to be alone where ever you were, and I didn't want to be here without you.

The grieving never ends, it just changes into some kind of pain you can almost bear if you hide it, if you distract yourself, if you fill up your days, if you find little boys to fall in love with, and their big brothers to be so proud of.  If you tell yourself that you are here to do important work and one day the girl you love so much will come and take you home.

Stay close buttercup, I need this, it hurts, it makes me cry but its only because you are too far away.  I need to remember, I need to believe you are here in your way and trying to touch me through the veil.

You have been taking good care of us my love.

Give Aunty Sarah a big hug and a kiss for me.  Take good care of Claire.  I will see you soon sweet pea.

Mama

Monday, August 7, 2017

Apricots


August.

We didn't have as many apricots... it amazes me every year that the apricot tree is still there.  So many years ago when you were sick, it was sick and I almost cut it down, then I put my hands on it, I could feel the life in it, and I said (out loud because I am a little crazy like that)  as long as there is one green leaf left I won't cut you down, lets get you better.  The tree became symbolic and it thrived, and you did too...then you were gone... and still it stands, it healed itself, it is old and crooked, we lost a huge part of it last year but all these years later there are not only green leaves but fruit.  Not sure what it is symbolic of anymore.

The garden was good this year, you would have loved it; giant zucchinis, long deep purple japanese eggplant, four different kinds of tomato,  lots of aromatic basil, lemon thyme, sage, oregano.  I planted peppers but nothing yet, I made bread and butter pickles out of the cucumbers (there were so many) and the strawberries were new (hula pink berries) they were the only thing that didn't do very well in the heat this year.  The swiss chard dominates and I have yet to cook it, it has been there since we moved here it just keeps popping up.  We had so many beautiful nectarines but no figs, dad accidentally over pruned my tree.  The asian pears are heavy and falling to the ground where Elliott plays with sand and trucks and we are going to have so many pomegranates this year.

This garden is all you lovey,  your eden, I imagine you walking around, filling up a basket...

Your little brother loves fruit just as much as you, he would live on just fruit if we let him, not sure why we don't.

Noah is having a magical summer, he is traveling and singing and having so many great experiences. He is using a stage name, and gets on airplanes, he is becoming a man...how is this happening, I am not ready.  Stevie he shaves and has a girlfriend, he is tall and beautiful, his voice is deep and sounds like water moving over river rocks, far away thunder, rain, love, tears, everything.

He writes songs that make you feel, he is brave and tender, he takes you with him where ever he goes.

Aly is Aly, she remains gentle and fragile.  She is an artist but she doesn't dream, she is lost I think. She works, she pays the bills, she comes home on Sundays to do laundry, have coffee with dad, make us laugh.  She hikes and runs in the sun, she bikes down long winding paths. Her heart is sad she feels alone.  She has an adorable apartment, an awful room mate.  I think she needs a change.  If I had a magic wand there would be a boyfriend who adores the real her, there would be a job that she really loves, there would be more art in her life...maybe a stand up gig on the weekends...

I worry about her sometimes.

She is with your brother this month, staying close to him while he is away from home, protecting him, making sure he eats and sleeps... he is only 17.

She takes care of us Stevie.

Your little brother starts school this fall, and this will be Noah's last year of high school.  Two big milestones, its so surreal.

(Dad doesn't like me to talk about him in these posts, so I wont.)

I am losing the weight.  It has been more than weight it has been me holding on to things I need to let go.  I eat when I am upset, I bake when I am sad, I cook when I am lonely.   I am ready to let it go to breath better, feel better, be "me".  I have been hiding and not living.  My blood sugar went up and I was told that I was pre-diabetic, my cholesterol climbed and after 50 that isn't a good thing.  I found myself experiencing aches and pains that were mostly a product of a body carrying around more than it should.

My father once told me to "set it down, just set all that down and walk away, no need to carry it all".
It was a long,long, time ago, and he was listening to me talk and he felt it, felt me carrying too much, he called it a "sack of old rocks".  He was right but I couldn't hear him.

I remember things and hold onto people,  I carry tears in my pockets, I tie stories to my heart.  I am a hoarder of memories , I think it all has to be saved so I fill up journals with everyday tasks and events, resurrect the past, turn it around and upside down and make sure I have explored every bit of it.  I write down my thoughts because I am afraid someday those books will be the only thing that will keep me real, keep you real, all of this real.

Sometime in June I decided to ask for help, I didn't want end up in a bed or on a couch, never leaving the house, eating because I needed to feel loved and cared for, eating because I didn't know how to make the changes I wanted, eating because I felt alone or afraid. By medical standards I was obese, my BMI was 30.  If you looked at me you would think that I was just a 50 something year old woman who looked like every other 50 something year old woman at target wearing yoga pants and a big t-shirt going down the cookie isle.

I had just recently visited Aunt Sarah who was living in Bend with a her tribe of women friends, she had a lover that flew in from Seattle to have great sex, beautiful dinners, and long early morning runs with her. She looked better than ever, she had her dream business,  was living someplace beautiful, hip, and full of people who loved her.  She was in a happy place running marathons, triathalons, she had a big puppy.   Luke and Corey were grown up and doing what they loved, she had divorced her past in a graceful way and was living her own life, she was glowing top to bottom.

She was also diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the intestines.

I was there because she was giving herself a life party (a funeral of sorts) it was happy and sad and beautiful.  I spent the weekend with her, met her friends, shared late night snuggles in her big bed, talked, and just loved her.  When I left I did so without saying good bye.  I snuck out to the car that was going to the airport, I was in the back seat, window rolled half way down, she ran out to the drive way yelled for me, I yelled back "I love you, I will see you later"  she cried, put her hands to her mouth and I cried, I knew I would never see her again.

I didn't.  She died in July.

She was my family, my sister, for 32 years of my life.  She was someone I loved but she also drove me crazy.  She was a supporter.  That was her role in life to support and to inspire, to push you a little, to challenge you, to motivate you to do a little more, give a little more, follow your dreams.  She never took "No" for an answer, she ignored road blocks, she broke rules, she crossed the line, she spoke her mind (elegantly).  Everything was a mountain she was willing to climb and if  you were with her you were expected to go for the ride.  She asked a lot, she gave a lot, she loved a lot.

She was there when you died, she held me up, she took charge, she made everything happen that needed to happen.  I am forever grateful.

Her death was beautiful, as if she orchestrated it. I am going to miss her so much.  My promise to her is to live "My Best Life" and to use the tools and gifts she left me.

I haven't done all the things I wanted to do, I still have dreams, I don't have a tribe, my kids are still little and need me...

So I have to take better care of myself.  I have to put down what I don't need, what doesn't help me, what keeps me from moving forward.  I am starting with all this fat, and all this wasted time sitting in this house feeling sorry for myself.  I have a little who needs a mama that can run, ride a bike, swim, play and stick around for another 20-30 years.

On July 5th I started a diet, well not a diet really, I made a change.  I am changing my relationship with food.  It is not a form of entertainment, it is not my escape hatch, it is not my feel good drug, it is not my coping mechanism.  It is nourishment.

I have 40 pounds to lose.  I need to get my blood sugar down, my cholesterol down, I need to move my body more.  I don't care about being thin, I don't care about the size of me jeans.  I care about my heart.  I care about having more energy to do what I love.  I care about having a healthy body.  I care about being happy and enjoying the rest of my life.

I am walking again, just 30 minutes a day.  I eat three meals and a two snacks and I eat what my body needs not what my emotions crave.  It isn't easy, it hurts, I have cried, I am "hungry" but I know that what I am hungry for is not food, it is something else.

This will take as long as it takes.  I am addicted to sugar, flour, butter.  I am a junkie, these things are my drug of choice.  I don't know how to have just a little.  I can't change that relationship and it isn't good for me so I have to set it down, walk away.

I can't imagine a life without those three things but for five weeks I have managed and when I let them go I lost 12 pounds.  I still have a long way to go but I am on the road that leads to my goal.

Every pound I lose feels like a heavy rock left by the roadside, a pound of sad, of alone, of fear, of doubt, of frustration, of anger.  It isn't easy, this is more than losing weight.  I am visualizing this weight loss being the catalyst for a lot of change.  I have learned that I can't change other people the only power I have is to make my own changes.   I am starting here with me, being physically healthy will lead to better emotional health, I am getting stronger and expect to continue to get stronger in many more ways.  I am taking control of my life.

I am still afraid, I still want cake, a soft blanket, a crappy Netflix binge.  I also want to go for a hike through the forest with Elliott, be a better role model for Aly, show Noah that I am strong and he doesn't have to worry about me anymore.

Its August, I will be 52 this year.  This is my year of change, good change.

Maybe that Apricot tree is still standing there for me, maybe I know inside my heart what it is symbolic of.

I love you Stevie.  Every once in a while when I least expect it you show up and I am surrounded by you, it is subtle and beautiful.  I hope you found Aunt Sarah when she arrived, I know she was looking out for you, she was going to to tell you how much we love you.  Show her around, have fun and I will see the two of you later.












Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ten

(I didn't forget you, didn't forget to post...I just couldn't access this account and it has taken me a couple days to get back in.)

 Stevie,

Ten.  It has been ten years.  It just doesn't seem possible yet time seems to be flying by so quickly now, it is actually a little scary.  I am 51 now and you would be turning 29.

I can look in the mirror and see how much I have aged, the lines around my eyes and mouth, the grey hair that keeps appearing that I keep covering up with a different color every month..  I can see my hands changing, the skin thinner like my grandmothers, that waggly stuff under my arms that makes me laugh and want to cry at the same time.

I don't have the energy I use to have, not sure if that is from aging or just my lack of interest in things I use to think were so important.  I have gained all that weight I kinda knew I would but promised myself I wouldn't.  Everyday I wake up sure I will just accept this new mature fuller body then hating myself for not taking better care of a body that needs to last a long time.

You...I can only try to imagine you at 29.  I think you would have the job of your dreams and be in love with a guy that has a soft voice, pretty hands, who is smart, witty, loves to cook (just like you).  I can see the two of you sitting up late at night reading together under a blanket you knitted.  He would adore you and be protective and loving, feel so lucky to love a woman with such a brilliant mind who is funny and laughs with her whole face.

I imagine your hair past your shoulders, up in a ponytail most days,  cute sweaters, flats, perfume that smells like flowers.  You would be hipster for sure, no doubt about it and that man of yours maybe he would have one of those awesome hipster beards.  You guys would go to concerts and collect odd retro stuff for you apartment, make DIY christmas gifts, drive cute electric cars.

I wish I could call you and ask you to come to dinner on Sunday, you would bring something yummy for desert.  I wish we had a standing lunch date every week, you would share work gossip...I wish we could get pedicures and ready trashy magazines, Aly would come with us.  I wish I could trim your hair, do your eyebrows like I use to.

Ten years.

I read "What Dreams May Come" again... it comforts me I can't explain why.

We went to the cemetery, Aly came for the first time since the funeral.  She unburdened her soul, it tore me apart.  She loves and misses you so very much.  We planted a tangerine tree over your body.  We planted a cara cara at home.  I wish you were here to watch them grow, pick the fruit, drive me crazy by leaving the peels by the computer...

Ten years.

I miss you every single day.  I still count the minutes...5,256,000



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Its cold inside.

Its Christmas eve.  Well it 4:33 in the morning and when everyone wakes up it will be Christmas eve day.  I can't sleep.  Noah was up all night, he is sick with the flu, we have all had it.   Elliott brought it home from pre-school.   I am recovering from it but still have that cough that is ugly and lingers forever.

The house is quiet, cold...and I am in your room your little brother sleeping soundly next me, and I am missing you like crazy.

There are days when I forget.  I don't forget you I just forget the hurt, I live here in the moment where the dishes are piled up and the laundry needs folding, a lunch needs to be packed, someone needs a ride, the turkey bacon is burning under the broiler...and I forget to be sad, I forget that I am doing this life thing without you.  Maybe I am not forgetting as much as just living.

Then there are days when it still hurts to breath.

Sometimes memories kind of linger around me, pull at me, ask me to pay attention to them, I  know if I follow them there will be tears...but I must because that's what I have and some part of me thinks its you saying "Hey mom I am still  here, remember this...remember when..."  And I do baby, I remember all of it.

Yesterday I was remembering the shower and it brought me to my knees.  That shower is gone now, replaced by a new one but I wrote to you in the steam anyway.  You loved water, it gave you such comfort.  This is something you and I share, water calms us, it neutralizes everything, it is home.

You know I hate Christmas.  Not my favorite holiday but you kids loved it so much so I tried to make it magical, when we had plenty and when we had little.  You my little elf loved it most.  You made it so much fun.

The last Christmas we had with you hurt like hell, it was pitiful, we slept in the hospital, on the floor, on chairs, in the waiting room.  We pretended...it hurt, I knew it was our last.

I try to make it special for the boys and your sister who is 31 still gets excited for Christmas morning, she loves her stocking and a pile of presents, it squeezes my heart.

I don't put your stocking up...its strange it feels wrong.

It will be a good Christmas, Elliott finally understands it and he is so excited.  He is sure Santa is coming even though he has spent a fair amount of time in the naughty chair this year.  Your Dad showed him the three stooges and they like to watch videos where people bump into walls, slip on ice, the christmas tree falls on gramps or someone falls into the birthday cake...so you can guess what kind of trouble he gets into.  He is a sweet boy but he is a handful.

The tree is red this year.  I let Elliott choose.  The ribbon is red and white polka dots, we pulled out all the red balls, the white snowball ornaments, and any of the christmas past ornaments that were red.  Elliott got a furry puppy, kitty. and duck ornament to put on the tree, he keeps taking them off and putting them back on.  He loves it.  He has scattered fake snow all over the house, smashed all the tangerines, licked all the chocolates, pulled all the pompoms off the stockings, and made tiny pesky holes in all his presents.

The tree is new, we got it last year, a cheap fake tree with white lights, nice and narrow so it fits in our tiny living room.  I didn't feel like a tree topper this year, your angel is still wrapped in tissue in the box.  I couldn't pull it out, I just couldn't.

Tonight Aly will come over after work, we will make stuffed chicken breasts, scallop potatoes, roasted broccoli and bake a loaf of bread.  TT and Anthony will come over and we will exchange presents.  Early Christmas morning we will wake up and open presents.  It will be nice.

I need to sleep, if I don't I will be crabby and ruin it all.

Stevie I feel like I am failing at everything.  Your dad and I are a mess, we are two people living in the same house...I am my worst person on most days.  My parenting is me just being here but not really being here.  Some part of me is tired.  I am holding on to hope, because that is what I do, I write stories in my journal about how things are going to be better, how magic is going to happen, how there can still be a happy ending...

I need change...good change.

I am going into the studio to make art for me.  I am ready to get back to it.  Elliott will be in preschool until summer then will start Pre-k that means I will have four hours in the studio five days a week.  I am looking forward to creating again, really going for it.  Maybe that is the change I need.

Sarah is sick.  I am guessing if there is a heaven, and you are watching us from time to time then you know.  She has Cancer.  I want to wrap her tiny bird self up in my arms and protect her but I know I can't, and honestly that woman is made out of much stronger stuff than me I think.  She is brave.  She sent me an angel for Christmas, a girl with wings, butterfly in her hands...she is sick but sending me love and angels.  I don't know how it works were you are but could you stay close to her, could you help her find the doctors and treatment she needs, keep her strong, don't let her be afraid.  I am sure Annie is close by and he dad but she needs all the angels.  You know Sarah she likes to go big!  She loved us so well when you were sick, when we needed her.

I wish you were here.  I wish we had gone shopping and baked cookies.  I wish we bought odd ornaments for the tree and you would be opening presents tomorrow with your sister and brothers.  I wish...I wish...I wish...

I have to believe you are somewhere, and everyday feels like Christmas.  The sky is warm and pink, the ocean is turquoise and there are dolphins you get to swim with.  There are meadows with yellow tulips and red poppies, unicorns for fun.  You walk barefoot on soft grass, fall asleep under giant redwood trees.  You are surrounded by all the things you love and there is music, the most beautiful music.  Maybe there is a big crystal ball where you live and once in a while you peek in at us and laugh and wonder and wait...

I am here baby where I have always been, I can't give you a Christmas present, I can't wake you up and tell you Santa is here, I can't make you hot chocolate and cookies, I can just lay here in your room and love you where ever you are and hope you feel it and know it.

I miss you so much, so very much.

I love you Stevie.

Merry Christmas.




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nine

Nine years.

I just don't even know how its possible.

The moon will be full tonight, I will stand bare feet in grass and look up at it, pretend it is a magical portal to where ever you are now and I will talk to you, say all the same things I always say.  I will tell you how much I love and miss you, I will ask you to come visit me and let me know you are ok...

I put pink tulips on your grave this year, they only had one big yellow, I bought that one too.  I filled in with some darker pink ice land poppies.   I scrubbed, cleaned, weeded, and even cut grass with scissors and gave myself blisters before I realized that it was a silly thing to do.  They haven't mowed in a while and overgrown feels forgotten and you are not forgotten.

Tending your grave is very primal, it is all I have left to do for you.

I don't cry much there, sometimes not at all.  That precious body keeps me coming back to honor and remember, out of respect and the need to be close to you in anyway I can but I don't feel "you" there.  I feel you here at home with me...sometimes.

I posted a photo of you to Facebook.  I really needed the support.  People are busy and for them nine years is a long time but it only takes a few minutes to say something kind and it makes all the difference to me.  The outpouring was more than I hoped for, I am grateful.

Your sister bought me Paul Simon tickets, please be there with us.

I love you sweet girl.  

Come visit me tonight, wake me up, we will sit by the new fountain and you can tell me stories, I want to know all of it, everything, don't leave any parts out.

Mama

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I try to take a deep breath and I can't.  For no reason in particular I am transported back into a moment in time, it can be a sad one or a beautiful one but the affect is the same.  I can't breath.
Tears come hot and fast, I feel a trembling inside me that feels like I might be breaking apart and I wrap my arms around myself to hold me together, and I let the seconds loop, I have to its all I have and I would rather have that and the pain then to not have it at all.  The memories keep me alive but they are painful so painful.

There is a scene in "What Dreams May Come" Robin Williams plays a guy who has crossed over and but he loves and misses his wife so much that instead of living in his heaven he follows her as a ghost.  He does everything he can to communicate with her in her grief, and she is deep in it.  The closer he gets the worse it is for her until one day she screams out loud for him to leave her alone.  He leaves her...she kills herself to be with him.

I need to be here, as much as I wish to be with you I know you need to live in your heaven and I need to live here with your brothers and sister and do what the universe has asked of me, to be a mother.  So I tell myself that those moments when I can't breath are you are simply passing through trying to tell me you are still here and even though it hurts, it only hurts because I miss you so fucking much.  I will never ask you to leave me alone.

Today it happened.  I opened the blog and a photo I have not seen in a long time popped up and I got dizzy, my chest tightened, the most pitiful sound escaped and I was done for.  Now I am pulled together and I am writing because it feels better than crying.  Thank you sweet girl.  I see you, I feel you, and I miss you.  I have not forgotten, I will never forget.

The sky turns pink, the seasons change, everyday more grey hair and wrinkles.  Your clothes are still in the closet and they are soft and still have the imprint of you on them, I touch them and smell them and I can imagine you right there in that room like it was yesterday.

Please God be real.  Please Stevie be there waiting for me when its my time, promise me you will be there.  Please be happy sweet girl in your heaven where white ponies wander around in fields of poppies, where there is a concert every night under stars...you don't have to wear shoes, your clothes are soft, your hair long, hip glasses just because, and long days at the beach with friends with huge umbrellas and picnic baskets, laughter and soft waves, singing dolphins in the distance.

I see you falling asleep in Heavens library surrounded by every story ever written...

I love you, I love you, I love you....deep breath.


Friday, February 26, 2016

February ending...

It has been unusually warm this February, high 70's clear skies, sweater nights.  I love this weather but its winter and we need rain, so although I  enjoy sitting out in the yard drinking ice tea  and watching your little brother dig in the sand there is part of me that knows I won't be able to water the lawn again this year and I shouldn't bother planting a veggie garden.  There are more important things to worry about but these are the things I think about with my toes in the grass that won't stay that green for long.

I had my physical today.  I think of you when I have to do things I find unpleasant or scary like go to the dentist for a filling replacement or have a pap smear.  I think of you all the time but when I am afraid I think about how brave you were, you didn't have a choice, and it helps me suck it up and stop being such a wimp.  When things are really scary like being wheeled into the operating room for an emergency appendectomy thats when I hold your hand.

God I miss you Stevie, you have no idea how much.  The moon was full the other night and I was out walking, and I just slipped out of my body and wrapped myself around every memory of you.  I cried and walked and cried some more, all the while talking to you about how much laundry I did that day, how your brother is having a major break-out, and that I made the best chicken soup ever on sunday.  It was dark, surreal, comforting and very painful all at the same time.  This is what grief looks like almost 9 years later.

Noah is doing some amazing things, I think you are helping make things happen, I don't know how but I feel you in it.

Aly is doing great, she is a grown up now.  I am proud of her.  She misses you so much.  She can't talk about you without falling apart.

Elliott is getting so big so fast, you would love him.

I haven't been out to the cemetery for a while.  When you left I went every Thursday, then on the 19the of every month, then just special days...I sometimes worry that you think I have forgotten you, I hate graves with faded flowers from a holiday long past.  I will visit you in April, bring the tulips, bring something to make the brass plate shiny again, and maybe some art.  I found a bag of clay and I cleaned off my old work bench, I am thinking of making you a big snail with wings, see I don't forget.

My faith is different now Stevie, I am not sure what I believe anymore.  The thought of you not   being anywhere, that our 19 years was all there was ever going to be, that you are not somewhere in a heaven of your own waiting for me, that you won't be the one to bring me home is too much to bear.  So I hold on to part of the God fairytale I was raised with because it comforts me I am not sure anymore, that is scary.

I wish you were here.  I wish you had a cute little apartment  somewhere in Berkeley with a roommate or a boyfriend and I could come and visit, we could cook and talk and I would tidy up for you, feel like a mama.  I wish we were swapping books, sitting in a coffee shop talking about work and life,  I wish we could plan vacations and holidays, I wish I could just wake up in the morning and know where you are.

This is the life I have, this is what I must endure, I have to find happiness even though I am broken, I have to love even though my heart aches.  I have to keep believing that this isn't all there is.

Stay close sweet girl, keep whispering in my ear, help me find things, come to me in my dreams and let me look into those eyes.

February is ending, March will come and then April...nine years.