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.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Birthdays and brown couches...

Oh my...the sky turned soft pink tonight as I sat outside watching your brothers jump on the trampoline, Noah all legs and arms and Elliott adorable and blissed out to be jumping with his big brother.  They laughed, did tricks, showed off for me I was proud and happy.  I looked up into the sky where heaven is suppose to be and said "Happy Birthday Stevie, I love you so much".  I was wishing you were looking down and sharing the silly moment with me.

You would be 28 this year.  What would you be like?  The odd thing is that I can't imagine you any other way than the way you were, you have always been yourself...I love that "self" I have never met anyone like you and I have never loved and liked someone so much.  Your brother is a lot like you in many ways, physically you both look a lot alike, and you both have the same moral compass, a gentle compassion and understanding of things I can't even begin to grasp, and you are both good at math.  He  lives with you inside him, always trying to make you proud, to do the things you were not able to, he loves you so much and in return I feel a sense of pride I can not explain.

Three birthdays this month.  Your little brother turned three, not sure how that happened, still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that he is actually here.  We celebrated with spiderman, chocolate cake, a big spaghetti dinner and a house full of friends.  I strung up Edison lights in the back yard and made a long table, it was simple but magical.  He is a well loved little boy.

Noah is getting a surprise party.  He will be 16.  You had your pink champagne sweet 16, Aly had her surprise party with a band and rowdy friends.  Noah is getting...a last minute surprise party, a bon fire out back, a handful of drama friends, he has no idea.  He thinks we are going out to dinner.

I didn't go to the cemetery today, I am sorry, it was a long, hot, sad day. I went for a morning walk instead, had a long talk with you then just stayed home, my energy was low, my heart heavy.  I needed a quiet, do--nothing, be-no-where day to just honor you and have my feelings without distraction or false cheer.  Your birthday is the opposite of a celebration, it is remembering that there are no more birthdays, that you are somewhere else and all I have on this day are the memories of the birthdays you did have.  It has to be enough, and I am grateful for every single one of them.

I will go to Oakmont soon...change out fading flowers, I may bring some grass stain, because of the draught they are not watering as much so the park is turning spotty brown.  I have a love hate relationship with that place.  I love it that if you have to be in a cemetery that you are there, it is beautiful.  I love knowing that when I die I get to be with you, I wouldn't want it any other way.  I hate it that you are not here in this room instead of there, I hate the color of the earth there, it is the color of baby poop, I hate that it gets cold at night, that strangers are buried all around you, that my brain is making memories of that place as part of your story.

I bought a couch.  It is random.  We didn't really need a couch, ours is still nice although smelly, and the couch I bought isn't really one I like.  I am surrendering to a house full of boys.  This is a piece of furniture designed for men.  It is dark brown leather (fake) double stitched, it looks like a baseball glove.  It has four recliners, a console to hold remotes and drinks.  It is soft, you could nap all day in it and honestly if you were here you would love it (especially since it isn't real leather).  You wouldn't like the look of it but you would love the feel of it, don't tell the boys but I like the way it feels too.  It is very luxurious.  This is a piece of furniture built for football watching, lounging and ball scratching, it has a wipeable surface so it won't stain or start to smell bad.  It is a sectional so you can have some male bonding over pizza and zombie movies (not that we watch zombie movies)  It is made for comfort, it is not pretty.

Why am I going on about a sofa?  Well, there was a time when this was a girls house, we had pretty things, flowers in the garden, made pretty meals, had big boxes of tampons, drawers full of hair things and make up.  There was an energy in this house that I loved.  It isn't the same, the house is always dirty, I clean more, it doesn't make sense to keep anything pretty no one cares but me.  The house smells like boys...it isn't bad but it is different.  The sofa is me embracing that.  The house has slowly turned to shades of brown, the walls are taupe, the furniture all shades of chocolate.  Anything sweet is in my studio, or in your room.  Things have become simple, no delicate little things to be broken.

I love these boys, they are my life line, they keep my heart beating, they make me smile, they make me cry, they make me proud.

I miss you.  I miss the three of us (you, me, Aly).  Now my side kicks are Elliott and Noah, there is less drama, no house of PMS hell, no one needs hair braided or eyebrows tweezed, no one to go bra shopping with, no one to steal my make up, no cute socks to buy and pajamas to share...but there is something warm and good about boy energy.

I will have this big ugly couch, giant tennis shoes, dinosaurs, shaving cream, construction vehicles, baseballs, deep voices, messy dinners, but I have a place to cuddle at the end of the night, and I am making this a home they feel good in.

Everything changes.

I still keep you here, I have your clothes in your closet, your trees are still on the walls, I cook with your crappy knives you bought and I wear the pajamas you left that haven't fallen apart.  Your pink blanket is in the blanket chest and in the winter I wrap it around myself and pretend you are wrapped around me.

You came to me in a dream several days ago.  You were in the sunroom, sitting on the old Ikea couch, smiling.  I was in the kitchen talking to your brother and sister, there were people here, a party?  I looked through the open space that use to be our kitchen window before we put the sunroom in, and there you were...you.  It didn't register at first but then I remembered that you couldn't be there, and my heart began to race, I was happy and afraid and I thought, "Damn I am dreaming" I looked around and everything seemed pretty solid and real, there was nothing dreamlike, everything was as it should be, but you were there.  I didn't know what to do, I didn't want you to be a dream...then you started coming towards me, almost floating through the window until I could reach out and wrap my arms around you. You were real, your skin just the same.  I kissed your cheeks and shoulders and I just kept saying, "I love you,  I love you"  In my dreams I have never felt what I did and that was you telling me you loved me and missed me too, it was all telepathic but it was clear and it made me so happy.  I woke up...

That dream has stayed with me, even as I type this I feel it again.

I don't know what to believe Stevie but I don't even care, if felt so beautiful, it was such a gift.

Thank you.

Happy Birthday sweet love.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eight

This was our last day and we didn't know, it was scary, I wish we would have stayed at home in your room, listened to music, just fallen asleep in your bed...

I wish you didn't die.

I miss you so much, there is not a word in any language that I know that can describe this feeling, this ache.  I pretend to be normal, I do normal things, I let life distract me because it must.  If I peel off this skin I have made for myself, this protective layer I am raw, like a burn victim who has had the debris removed I am wet and sticky, my nerves exposed I am pure pain, I am vulnerable and normal life can infect me and kill me.

Today a sliver peeled away when I wasn't paying attention.  I remembered so many things, small things that were stored away in me;  the blue cotton dress that wasn't really you but it was easy, it made it easy for me, listening to the rocket CD in the sunroom, Noah writing you a poem on the magnet board, you ordering books on Amazon that would arrive after you left.  I remembered the last car ride...I can't breath, it has been too long.

I have learned to smile in all the right places, to say what people want to hear, to act like I am stronger than I am.  Your brothers and sisters are a balm for my heart they keep my body here and what is left of me alive.  The real me left when you did, she curled up into a little ball,  she receded into the darkness, she is quiet and alone, I keep her safe, I feed her stories, I tell her not to worry that someday it will be Ok, someday we will be with you again and this will all be a bad dream.

I dream of a heaven, my heaven, where I will have a big house full of light, no doors, just a path that leads inside.  It will be filled with large rooms, moms and babies all transitioning in and out, it will be a hospital of sorts, a place to heal, to sleep, to recover, to decide.  My job will be to provide a place where it can happen.

You will have your heaven and someday your brothers and sisters will too, even Claire will have her heaven and I will get to know her there.  We will all drift in and out of each others place, and it will be beautiful we will remember and learn and celebrated.  No time, no space, just being here or there or everywhere at one time.  It is comforting, I wish I could paint it or write it or visit it in my dreams.

Tomorrow we will go to the cemetery, I don't know what kind of flowers I will bring, maybe I will find the tulips...all yellow.  I will bring you fruit and chocolate cake and we will play music.  There will be tears for you body baby, tears because we miss you so much, tears because it isn't fair and there is nothing we can do but cry.

I went to the bookstore today, bought a little book that called to me, I am going to write more I promise.  I felt you there, just for a moment, I felt myself melting, I repeated silently, I am here Stevie, I am right here.

You are here now, its not the you I knew before, its the after you, I have learned to love this you, the one I can't touch or kiss, a voice I can't hear with my ears, but I smell you when I walk past a flowering fruit tree,  and when the sun warms your room.  I see you when there is a full moon, when the sky turns pink, in Noah's eyes...your music still plays in this house, your books are right were they always have been, all those words, all those pages you touched, it is almost like touching you.

Sometimes I am afraid I am forgetting, but I don't I am just not strong enough to peel away my costume and expose myself to the air and light, to feel all that pain, it is unbearable but I would rather have that than nothing so I protect it all, keep it sealed up tight, wrap it around "me" like a blanket there in the quiet, there in the waiting place.

I love you, with all my heart, with my fractured soul.  It doesn't stop, it never changes, it is love.

Don't be too far away, eight years, eight years, eight years...


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Almost April...

I forget about this blog...it use to be my lifeline.

Life goes on...I hate it when people say that but it's true, it does, bills have to be paid, laundry needs folding, lunches need making, babies need nursing, gardens need tending, bathrooms need repairing.  You realize one day that almost 9 years has gone by, you haven't been to the cemetery since December, you can't remember what her hair smelled like.

Then one morning you wake up from a dream.

You were on a pay phone calling me from college, you had a history class that was going until 8pm and I was worried, I wanted you home.  Some guys were bugging you, a friend, his name was Anthony he was teasing you about some junk mail about mortgages and the number 80.  You sounded happy, distracted but I told you I needed you to come home, I missed you.  You told me you were fine, you would see me later not to worry you had a ride home.

Then it was just like yesterday... no time had passed, we left the hospital without you, you were zipped up in a bag in refrigerator in a mortuary and I was home and it was quiet and you were not here and my world crumbled and there was no forgetting.

I thanked you for the dream when I could catch my breath, when I talked myself down and repeated, "she never left she never left she is just someplace else where I can't see her but she is still her, still herself, still alive just not here in this house, on this planet, the way you understand, its ok, its going to be ok."  I forced myself to believe it because if I couldn't I wouldn't be able to pull myself back together.

I am grateful for the dream, if it was you Stevie I get it, if it was me I get it too.

The grief never goes away, it just hides.

Next month I will bring you tulips, I always do in the spring.  I won't stay long, and I won't cry until I have to leave.  Sometimes I never want to leave and sometimes I panic knowing that one day I will be in that very same grave with you and Noah, Aly and Elliott will be in the same pain.  I don't want that for them, I wish this on no one.

I will be 50 this summer.  We are going to Hawaii.  Aly will be 30 and Noah will turn 16 so it is a big year for birthdays, we need a celebration.  I will try not to let dad ruin it for me.  We just don't get along, hard to be in the same room with each other but we continue on because this family does not need anymore loss, because this family is all we really have.

He keeps waiting for me to change my mind, to want this to work, to make it better.  I won't, I can't, we flat lined a long time ago.  They say marriages rarely survive the loss of a child, I don't think it was cancer that made us fall apart I think we were already falling apart a long time ago.

The thing for me is that my marriage use to be so big to me, so important, it was a life of its own and I tried to save it so many times even when I didn't really want to, I did it because it was right.  Now it seems almost silly, I can't make sense of it, I can't remember a time when it felt good, when I felt happy in it.  Now it is something we must do for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with happiness.

The biggest thing in my life now are your brothers and sister.  It is what I am here for.  I find pleasure in art, a good book, a pretty day, fruit on our trees, a song but my heart is beating for my kids, it is my purpose, it gives my life meaning.

Elliott is so big, I am  in love with his face, his big brown eyes, the way he says "Mommy" none of you called me mommy, not sure why he does but I love it.  He wakes up grumpy, he falls asleep next to me, he loves fruit and green peas, being outside and soccer balls.  He melts my heart.

Noah is a teenager, he shaves, he has a deep voice, he is moody, has a messy room, still loves music, still says things that make me wonder who the hell he is and how I got lucky to have a son with such a beautiful soul.

Your sister is out on her own, we never see her, she texts she calls (once in a while)  she is enjoying her life, dating, making friends, I miss her.

The house changes more and more.  We just re-did the back bathroom, it had water damaged, took it down to the studs, removed everything you ever touched, the shower door I wrote you letters on in the steam went into a dumpster, it was hard to do.  I wrote you letters on the sheetrock before we painted.

The guest bathroom got a face lift.  I found a giclee at Target.  I walked down that isle three times, not sure why, then I saw it, a white horse, a pink sky...I said out loud, "Oh Stevie I love it" and I brought it home and decorated around it.  The walls are a creamy beige with an accent wall that looks like cocoa when you mix it with cake batter.  I bought peachy pink guess towels, lavender soap in a pretty pink container.  I changed out the cabinet and mirror, white, it looks pretty up against the brown.  I made a mosaic backsplash out of tiny glass and stone tiles.  It is very peaceful in there and even though it is all new(isn) I imagine you there, you would love it.

I am not my best person.  I am damaged, I am angry.  I am fat.  I am going through a mid-life crisis I think.  I am looking at my life differently.  I want change, I want to do better be better but for myself. I need to wake up and like me.  I have been so use to staying distracted I forgot about me.  My body is out of shape, it is flabby and bumpy, my skin is gross, my hair is dry, I am wrinkly.  I see photos and I don't see "me" in them anymore.  I need to be "me" again, or find me (cliche) if for no other reason than I need to show up better for these kids.  I don't want them to look back at this me.

I am feeling emotional.  I need to sit next to you rub your feet and talk...I need to hear your voice.

Promise me Stevie when my time comes you will be there, you will be the first person, promise that this isn't all there is that there is something else and you are there.

I am going to go to bed and try to sleep off some of this ache.

I love you.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wake me up

Stevie,

Its November...this is when we found out the cancer was back and this time it would take you away from us.  You knew.  You were afraid, I was afraid, it all happened so fast, It was our last Thanksgiving.

This has been a sad couple weeks I have been missing you so very much.  There is just so much I wish you were here for.  I wish you knew Elliott, I wish you could listen to Noah sing, I wish you were sitting next to me helping me plan Thanksgiving dinner, we always did it together.

I wish so many things...

I love you Stevie.

Nothing is the same.

I stay busy, I am always busy, I can't be still, can't be without a project, a goal, something that needs doing.  If I am still or quiet I am flooded with the reality that you are not here anymore.  I still look for signs, I still keep the window open, seven cold winters that damn thing has been open, fly in and take me on an awfully big adventure already.  You don't come to me in dreams very often anymore, when you do it feels like a Christmas present.

I look for you everywhere and in everything and I find you over and over then you fade away again.

I have not been to the cemetery in a long time, I need to go, need to lay down on the grass above you, be close to your body, look up at the sky and talk to you.  There is a peace there, all those people, all that love.  I don't know why people are afraid of graveyards they are beautiful, sad, but there are so many stories there I can feel them when I go.  I wish each grave site had a book or a video and I could know those stories, instead I walk around pick up dead leaves, replace flowers, and read the dates on headstones.  The garden we buried you in was almost empty seven years ago now you are surrounded by so many people, do people look at your headstone read your dates, your name and wonder what happened to a 19 year old girl.  Maybe they think you were in a car accident or died in some tragic teenage way instead of how you did leave...cancer.

I try to imagine you as a grown up, in your own apartment, your own friends, me calling and bugging you all the time because I miss you, but you are busy with your life, work, school, friends, research, cooking, going to concerts...I am sad but happy too, the hope is that your children will outgrow you and be so happy that they don't "need" you anymore.  It's bittersweet.

I try to tell myself that is all this is, you are happy doing the next thing, you outgrew me, this life, your body and now you don't need me and that's OK.  I just wish I could pick up the phone and tell you something silly or listen to you tell me about all the things you are doing.

Your brother is a beautiful soul, he is trying so hard to make you proud, to do all the things you didn't get a chance to do, to make the most of his life, he is spectacular, he squeezes the hell out of my heart.

Aly moved out on her own, room mates (two guys who are slobs) it has been really hard for her, she wants to be here with us, she needs us, but I know she also needs to be out in the world at least for a little while so she can see what she is made out of.  I miss her.

Elliott is two, he is getting so sweet, I love this age when babies turn into little people.  He is a lot like you in so many ways.  He loves fruit, not a fan of meat, loves to nurse (yes, still)  he only likes soft clothes, he is smart and stubborn (just a little) and is my little Charley-horse (side-kick) just like you were.

Dad and I are the same, just a little more wrinkled and annoying.

I wish I was younger, I would like Elliott to have a sibling his age to grow up with but unless someone leaves a baby on my doorstep or asks me to adopt a two year old it seems he will grow up mostly as the baby of the family.

I smell you in your room once in a while, it is a scent that isn't anywhere else in the house or in the world, just in your room, next to your bed.  I love it when it happens but it also tears me in half.

I did a big family photo wall in the dining room, put up photos from happy times, it makes me feel like you are there with us, having family dinner, making some joke that is both witty and profound, making us laugh or groan.  Damn I miss your humor.

Come visit me tonight, wake me up, tell me about heaven, let me know you are OK.  Help me find that damn little pony, the white one with the pink tail from mothers day, Elliott played with it and I can't find it, show me where it is, make that our sign.

I love you sweet pea, so very, very much.