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.

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...