Monday, December 31, 2007


Words are flowing out
like endless rain into a paper cup
they slither while they pass
they slip away across the universe

Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting through my open mind
possessing and caressing me

Images of broken light
which dance before me like a million eyes
they call me on and on across the universe

Thoughts meander like restless wind
inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as they make there way
across the universe

nothings gonna change my world...

-The Beatles

It will be 2008 in a couple hours. A new year, a year my daughter will never know, and I will never know with her.

I keep thinking about all the things she will never have, never experience, never know and with all the most beautiful things she will miss she will also not have to bear the most painful...anymore.

This doesn't feel like a milestone, just time passing as it will.

I float on this sea of tears in a little red boat with a black pen and a fat tablet of white paper. I am scribbling poems and drawing pictures of a little girl who looks just like the little girl who use to sleep in my bed and sing about stars. I toss the paper into the wind, I let it float in the water...it will go where it will go, I just want her to be everywhere.

I am not looking for land, the horizon is not important. The sea is calm, that is all that matters, the sea is calm.

Who will I become now?
What will I do with the time I have here?
Will I sleep it away?
Will I cry on all the days of the calender?
Will I grow and become someone she would be proud of?
Will I find a path across the universe?
I am trying to figure it out.
Do not worry.

Stevie,

I am here, sitting in our little house. Your bed has changed but not much else has. Your sister cried tonight, she misses you so much, she is starting to feel the distance and time inside her.

I found a CD you made, you wrote "Christmas" on it in you tiny perfect writing. I cried when those sweet Emo boys started singing and I fell apart when Andrew sang:

...and this life has been no holiday
a complicated situation
I'm fine with my memories
I could use a vacation

...and this place is paradise I'm sure
so here's my reservation
I've gotten lost here before
inside a good vibration

...and time it seems to stop for no one
and the seasons come and go
that's just time
and seems to stop for no one
the season keep on going
weather or not we're alive...


I must have heard this songs a million times coming from behind the closed door of your room but tonight it felt like a letter from you to me.

I baked peanut butter cookies and listened to my music in the kitchen all the songs that drove you crazy. I tried to picture you there with me, cooking, talking and getting pissed off at me because I won't measure and add things that are not in the recipe. You did everything right, it just doesn't seem to be my way. I always envied the way you made it seem effortless and teased you about not being human. You were better than human, you should have had a cool spandex suit and super-powers it wasn't fair.

Don't worry about me, I think I am going to be OK, I just need to feel you close, I just need to understand all this. I have to get use to you not being here, so hard, so damn hard to do.

I warmed the big tub up, nice and hot I am going to float out there under the cloudy sky and sing you songs off key, if you can hear me tell me what you always did before, tell me I can't sing, tell me it hurts your ears, I am listening, always listening.

Don't be too far away for too long, don't forget me, I am here, I am always here and I love you with all that I am for as long as I am.

2008 will be a year without you to learn from, to laugh with and to sit close to and share a Thai lunch. I will do what you did and find new things to fill the year with, new things to love...I just wish you were here to love them with me.

Love you lots, love you snots,
Mama, mama, mama...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Waterbed


About Two years ago Stevie decided she wanted a water bed. What she really wanted was one of those terrible 1970's monster water beds with stained wood and smoky mirrors. Retro can be fun but that was just way too over the top for me. We settled on a conventional bed with water coils. She found one on craigslist that someone had been storing for several years. It was in a guest room and was nearly new. She paid cash (275.00) for it and we brought it home in Aly's truck.

I bought her pink flannel sheets and a really pretty duvet cover from Ikea. It was girly and beautiful and soft and squishy just like her. Last year it became "The white bed" when she decided to get rid of everything pink. A big white down comforter, a down mattress pad, big white pillow, and a micro fleece blanket in pale beige that I use to throw in the dryer for her to get her warmed up.

She spent the last days of her life in that bed, trying so hard to get better or simply let go. I slept next to her and told her stories, prayed and waited for something wonderful to happen. She wanted to die there but I was too afraid and I couldn't let her go. When we came home from the hospital the first thing I did was change the sheets and climb in with her pillow and her soft blanket. Her very best pillow was put in her coffin with her.

I have been sleeping in that bed for eight months now. I feel closest to her there. I read to her, I talk to her and I try to dream about her.

A couple nights ago I noticed a smell. I had smelled it before but couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I stripped the bed down this morning and noticed a big wet spot under where I sleep. Now after having three huge babies there is always the possibility that my bladder gave out but it wasn't likely. I unzipped the bed and found moisture where the water coils are, there was also mold, and that smell. I can not understand how the top got wet, the coils are zipped up in a plastic bag...

Needless to say there is a leak someplace and the mattress has to go.

I cried my head off. Then I took a deep breath and heard my thoughts say, "This is the beginning of letting go she is helping you" So I am letting go of one more thing again.

I took Noah out to buy a new mattress. It has been a while since I have purchased one new and holy-moly I was in for a treat. My first car cost what this new mattress did. It will still be the white bed and I will still sleep in it surrounded by the trees on the walls, in the room where her clothes and her memories are still. One step at a time.

Stevie and I have an unusual attraction to water. I need it but fear it. I need to be out on my boat but I do not like being out in the deep end of the pool, lake or ocean. The only thing that can calm me is a bath. I am happiest when I live close to water. Stevie loved the bath from the time she was born. She began swimming as a baby, no fear, ever. She loved the boat, the pool, lakes, oceans, rivers, streams. I always had water dreams right before Stevie got sick, I have not had a single one of those dreams since she died. Tonight I am emptying the water from the bed we shared. Water connects us, she made it rain the night she died.

In heaven I think my girl lives by an ocean where she can hear the waves and can wake up with the smell of salty air. Or she lives in a big open house on the edge of a forest with a calm lake that she can walk to, a long dock that she can sit on, and a tiny red row boat she can take out on the water.

I hope I get to share that heaven with her, I hope she is saving me a place.

Tomorrow I will be sleeping in the new bed and I will continue reading Sleep Pale sister, I would say it is ironic but she hated when I misused the word. I want her back every day but I will have to wait I guess until it is time to go back home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Winter


It is December 26Th. I survived. This does not mean I wasn't sad, or didn't cry it means I got through it. Maybe the key to survival is not looking too far ahead, not getting stuck looking backwards, just being in this moment until it becomes the next.

I swam.

I floated.

I prayed.

Last night I dreamed of Mary, or what I perceived to be Mary. She did not have a face under her blue and white veils, instead there was a portal. a dark space that grew bigger as you got closer. In my dream state I entered this space and went speeding through tunnels of subtle light and shapes, different sounds and feelings, then I was shot out into a dark space where I just floated.

This dream has layers for me. It is important.

Christmas eve was uneventful, I had the flu so I stayed in bed. Steve, Aly, and Noah made a silly dinner, watched videos, and just hung out. On Christmas morning there were a few modest gifts from Santa for Noah and Aly. We did not do the traditional rip and tear at 5am. We didn't make the big breakfast and thank-you phone calls, we didn't stress out about the evening meal or pile in the car for a long road trip with a cake on our laps.

Instead we had oatmeal with pecans and brown sugar. Later in the day I made a nice lunch: Salmon, mashed potato's, a big salad, Greek olives and feta cheese, and a huge loaf of farmers bread.

We hung around all day just relaxing. Noah played with Nicolas while I sat in a patch of sun and wrote in my journal.

For dinner we had french bread pizza and salad. I sliced the leftover bread from lunch and laid out everything that seemed pizza friendly on a platter. We had some roasted veggies, sun dried tomatoes (the ones Teresa made me), four different cheeses, olives, basil, salmon, mushrooms, and fresh tomato sauce. We each made our own little pizza's, it was nice.

I have to think of some new traditions for the holidays there was something really peaceful about a non-traditional Christmas. I know it must seem like I am a Grinch and I guess I could be, being the only person in America who doesn't like Christmas. I just felt that we were able to feel the true meaning of the holiday. We were together as a family (even if we were missing the heart of it) we cooked, and played and enjoyed a day.

Thank you to everyone that took time out of your full day to call and make sure we were OK and wishes of love and comfort. It is nice to know that we are so surrounded by really wonderful people.

Steve is taking Noah roller-skating with some friends today and I am going to clean the house, do some textile designing, and make Iva's green chili casserole.

I am learning about GRACE it isn't what I thought it was. I am learning that it is a force that surrounds me and gives me a moment to pause before I speak, think before I do, and helps me tell the difference between fear and real danger. It is kindness and permission to put one foot in front of the other knowing that you are never alone. I wish to live in Grace and surround all the people I love with it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I have been feeling a bit better. I had a melt down in Target last night, had to go to the dog food isle and have a little cry but other than that I have been feeling a little more calm. It is hard to be there with all the decorations and people, all the cute t-shirts I know she would have loved and the books she will never read...

I went to the aura reading in San Fransisco last weekend, it was nice. The guy who read me was very kind and said all the things I needed to hear. It turns out the rainbow aura I hoped for and the brown aura I feared had nothing to do with me. Mine is white. At first it scared me, I thought it was doom and gloom, maybe I had an absent soul or it was death omen. It wasn't. It meant I was surrounded by spirit. That feels beautiful. I also had an incredible reading from an intuitive who reads aura's and she validated everything the first guy said. Not sure what to believe, I just know I feel a little lighter, a little more hopeful and patient.

Teresa drove a hundred miles, last minute to go with me. How did I get so lucky? We ate french bread, hummus, sushi, and artichoke hearts in the car while we drove and talked. Her aura was vibrant and full of greens and blues, pure compassion and intelligence. No lie. This woman is so smart but never arrogant, she is so down to earth and good. She would give you everything she has and not think twice about it (no you can not have her address) She feels everything and she knows how to soothe you. She is the mother everyone wishes they could have. She is patient, kind, tender and she knows how to give of herself, it is never a sacrifice, it would actually hurt her if she couldn't. She didn't come by her name by accident, she is made out of the same stuff as mother Theresa. If she is reading this she is turning red and denying it.
She doesn't see herself...do any of us? I wonder what her life would be like if she could see what I do?

Iva, Colleen and I had an art play date on Thursday. It was so relaxing and wonderful. We made Silver Bella Paper cakes. I brought rusty wire and naked ladies...I am a little less subtle than the other ladies who really know how to make things beautiful. They work so carefully giving thought to every part of the process. I was envious of them as I sat in the little mess I was making. I was the only one with dirty hands and piles of torn paper. I get a little too hamster-like when I am making paper stuff.

Iva made a green-chili-egg-casserole that spoke to my soul; eggs, cheese, butter, chili's...Good God it was yummy. I male bashed and we talked about Briana and Stevie (poor Colleen) We ate Christmas cookies and it was just a really good day, I loved it.

I woke up last week with a book in my mind. Not sure why...I just got up, wrote it, and went out and bought 21 illustration boards. I have been working on the paintings. They are all acrylic, simple, a little dark, a little cute. It is the story of a little girl who dies of Cancer. OK, I know your thinking "What the hell is that about" Well, it is a story about dying and what happens before and after we are born. It is meant for children who are facing these issues. It is gently told and there is no religion in it. I know it sounds way too sad for kids but this happens, like it or not kids get cancer and they deserve a comforting story.

What will happen to this little book when I am done? I have no clue. I feel like it is my job to make it and what ever happens after that is up to the universe.

Noah is sick again, a fever and a cold. He isn't in bad shape just cranky. Today is his room cleaning day and he is way too sick, but he isn't too sick for Steve to take him out for a bike ride or to the gym. Go figure.

I made a big breakfast this morning; Nacho eggs, fried potatoes with red peppers, and cuban0 black beans. Nacho eggs are so easy you just cut some corn tortillas in thin strips and pan fry them in a little olive oil until they are crunchy then you add the egg mixture (whisked eggs, a little salsa) and cook until done, then you top with a ton of cheese and let it melt. I like to add Ortega green chili's if I have some in the cupboard. Onions and red peppers are good too but Mr.Noah is a picky eater.

To sweeten my poor cranky boy up today I am making cookies. I am using a basic sugar cookie recipe (cutting the sugar in half, never Pillsbury!) I will add way too many chopped pecans to the dough and bake in fat circles. When they are still warm from the oven I throw them in a zip-lock bag full of powdered sugar and shake them around until they are well coated. I guess this is a kind of Russian tea cake or Mexican wedding cookie. I should create a funny name for them...what isn't so funny is that I will eat a million of them and hate myself the next day. They are really, really good. Maybe I should call them fat-girl-cookies.

Today I am going to stay in pajamas.

Chel is having her Holidaze show at her house. I am suppose to be there but Noah needs his mama. If I leave him with Steve he will take him for a two hour hike, a tennis game, buy him a Slurpee and scratch his head when Noah needs to take three days off of school to get over a cold that would other wise be gone.

I got to spend a couple hours with Chel the other night stuffing goody-bags, eating Chinese and girl talking. She has a really great sense of humor. She is also a self proclaimed caffeine head which explains why she can fit so much in a day, she goes at warp-speed. She is a good person, I like having her in my circle of friends. She is one of those people who will always be honest and in a nice way...a skill I do not have. She can also be very deep and spiritual in a way that I can relate, I don't know a lot of people quite like her.

I am surrounded by so many loving people, not sure how they found me, not sure what I did to deserve such amazing people in my life but I am grateful beyond belief.

Well I think fat girl cookies are calling my name, maybe a double batch, I will share them with some skinny girls.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Let it be...


When Dark grey clouds hang-over

There is still a light that shines in me

Shines until tomorrow

let it be...


-Beatles



The gallery I designed for a friend is finished. We had our opening and it was sweet. I sold several pieces.


I am wondering about my commitment to continuing the project. I want to walk away now. The part I love to do is complete, the part I don't like to do is being offered but in exchange for my time and energy I am being offered a percentage of a commission that may or may not come. The risk of losing time I need for myself in exchange for a dangling carrot does not appeal to me. The problem is walking away from all the hard work. The bottom line is that it is not my gallery, it belongs to someone else and the way it looks now is my gift to her and not a partnership. My ego keeps me from staying and will not let me walk away easily.


My personal relationships are strained. I find it hard to be my old self. I find it hard to give emotionally. I can show up and do the work, I can give my time but I am keeping all of me, all the best parts of me to myself.


With Stevie gone I am minus my very best friend. I could tell her anything, and I sometimes felt guilty that I did. I kept forgetting she was my daughter and some things you just don't share with your children but I did, I told her everything. It was easy to do. She was a good listener. She was not judgemental and she could see so clearly. She knew instinctively and intellectually the heart of it, her advice was always solid and true. That does not mean it was easy to hear but you could trust that she was right, she just was, every time.


I never felt embarrassed with her, I never held back, and giving to her never felt like enough.


I know that people romanticize the dead. I know that it is human to deify someone you loved so much and I have no doubt that I am not doing that. I hate it when people do.


I love the messy parts of people, the things that make them most human.


When I talk about Stevie I am not covering her in frosting and glitter. A handful of people knew her and only three people knew her well. I knew her best. Still there was no one who really knew her completely. She did normal things, she got pissed, threw tantrums, had cravings for wicked things. She wanted to be pretty, smart, hip and have lots of friends. She wanted to listen to music, get stoned at a concert, and kiss a boy.


Try as she might it just did not play out that way. She was pretty, she was smart, she was hip and she could have had a lot of friends but she was stuck with me, and I was with her in the hospital, in waiting rooms, in an ambulance. She was here with the computer, her books, her music. She went to concerts, she had crushes on boys but she never really got out there, into the real world, she never got to play and be reckless. There was never enough time.


She had me, all of me, but that can't have been fun for her, she needed and should have had so much more.


I had her and I may not have had all of her but what I had filled me up. She saved me, made me strong, made me feel like a whole person. She gave and gave and gave. She made me feel worthy, she made me feel important.


That is gone now.


I thought I was stronger. She isn't here to remind me, to push and encourage me. I miss her insight, her wit, her love.


She could be really hard on me, she could be demanding and she could get very frustrated when I could not see what she could see. In the end she remained patient while she watched me run around in circles when what I needed was always in my hand.


I have people who love and believe in me, who are trying to hold on to me, save me, heal me but they are not her.


Sometimes I think I hear her, not her voice but I get a feeling about what she would say or think and some times I will say out loud, "Oh I know, I know" and I respond a little differently to a situation as if she were standing next to me. I wish she were. How beautiful would that be to know that she was here with me, still being my friend.


It isn't fair and I can not see how this was anything but a mistake that God made. I want to scream at him to make it right, to give her back, to let me trade places with her, at the very least to let me know that she is somewhere. I can let go of unfair if I know that where she is now it is very fair and she can be everywhere anytime she wants.


I am going to the city to have an aura photograph taken today. I am supporting a friend of a friend and hoping that in return this photo will let me see something I need to see. I need so much.


On Friday night I went out with my sister and my cousin Woody. We went to a cheesy club in town, found a table, ordered Cosmo's and people watched. When we were lubricated enough we danced to pounding music, three silly women letting loose, becoming the watched. It was bittersweet. I needed to let go and let myself feel good but guilt comes with that. It did not stop me from having a couple hours of fun but it was there in the back of my mind. We went out to eat after, we ordered all the worst things on the menu, grilled cheese, biscuits and gravy and french fries. We sat and talked until four in the morning. It was nice, I needed to do something different, to feel like a real person.


Today I am struggling but I am trying very hard to just let it be, let it be.


I have today.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lisa Williams and pasta.


It has been a real rough week. The melt down seems to be over and now it is raining. I have a cold so I am staying home today and getting the laundry done, the house clean, and I am cooking lots of comfort food.

This morning I decided that food in the frig needed cooking or it would be wasted so I roasted some little yellow potatoes with red peppers, purple onion, olive oil and some rosemary from the garden.

I also made a big peanut butter pasta. I know it sounds gross but it's really yummy. I make my own peanut sauce with onions, garlic, soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, brown sugar and olive oil. The pasta I had in the frig was cold linguine and it was perfect, I threw in some peppers and chopped spinach with the sauce I warmed and my goodness... I think I will eat the whole thing before Noah comes home from school.

The last thing I made was a bread salad. I had a container of tomatoes on the vine from Joe's and a large portion of fresh mozzarella that was begging to be used. I bought a big loaf of bread from Grace on Saturday that was now a little too stiff for sandwiches, and I picked the last of the scrappy basil from the garden.

I cut the bread into cubes tossed it in olive oil and Parmesan and baked it until it was toasty then threw it in my big wooden salad bowl with the chopped tomatoes, herbs, cheese and some sun dried tomatoes I found in the back of the frig, then tossed it with a simple balsamic dressing I had. I sprinkled pine nuts on top and now I have to let the whole thing sit and get a little soggy, it takes about two hours.

I went to the cemetery on Sunday, I also drove through the hospital parking lot where Stevie died. I am not sure why, I was just driving and letting the car go where it wanted. I really poured my heart and soul out while at the cemetery. It was cleansing and I needed to be there for some reason. I listened to Andrew sing all the way up and back.

"You can breath, you can breath now, you can breath..."

When I got home I did something I never do and took Noah to John and Debbie's to play so I could take a nap. I curled up on the couch with a blanket and the remote. There was nothing on. Is it me or is TV terribly boring? I went to ON DEMAND and decided to surf around. I found Lisa Williams. I have never seen her before, she was incredibly cute and sweet. I was thinking it was a bad day to watch a psychic talk to dead people but then agian it could be a perfect day for it too.

I watched a couple episodes and tried to turn it off. Something told me to watch just one more. I had dinner to make, Noah to pick up, a dark messy house and there I was laying on the sofa watching television. I said "Fuck it" and hit "OK" and watched one more episode.

The woman she was reading was the sister of a girl who died of a brain tumor.

I am not sure why but the reading sent me over the edge. I cried and cried, and turned the television off. Then I sat quietly all alone and thought to myself, "What if Lisa can do this, what if this is real and she can really see these people who have passed over?" I did a little experiment and for that moment I let myself believe. Then I felt silly because I suddenly knew Stevie was standing right there saying "God mom what took you so long, you use to really be into this stuff and now when you need it, you doubt it, I swear you can't commit to anything"

I have nothing to lose, so for as long as I can I am going to believe she is here with me, really here with me. I know she can not be here all the time but when I think I feel her I am not going to brush it off. I am not going to wish or imagine I am going to know it and believe it.

My life keeps changing. I am headed in some direction...I really hope it does not involve a padded room and daytime pajamas.

I would like to find a way to meet Lisa Williams. I feel like she could help me. Does that sound too desperate? When I went to see Sylvia Brown and John Edward I was a little disappointed but I have a feeling Lisa could help.

Well There is a pile of laundry that requires folding and the roof is leaking so I need to find a big beach towel to catch the drips. I have pasta that needs eating and some funny looking doll heads that would like to become art.

The wave came, it crashed over me, I rolled and rolled, I struggled for breath but now I am back on the shore, two feet in the sand. I know the wave will come back but today I am just glad to be standing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Elevator music


I meditated this morning, a meditation a friend gave me yesterday. I tweaked it a little (a lot) because my mind likes to do that.

You are in the lobby of a beautiful hotel, like the Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles. There is a bank of elevators with big gold doors with art-deco trim: raised lines and big circles. There are gilded naked ladies in the corners, eyes closed, heads bent with smooth wings that go on forever. I am all alone there, and it is very quiet. When you look up there is no ceiling only a sky the color of dusk with faint stars and a large heavy moon butter yellow.

On the wall next to the elevator there is only one button with an arrow pointing up. When pressed it lights up lavender and you can feel a release of energy into your fingertip that travels up your arm and into your chest. You are suddenly warm and relaxed as the energy hums and vibrates through your body. It is gentle and comforting. It pushes out all the red and brown and grey, it pushes out the black, all the black. You are left with onlty lavender, and you glow from the inside out.

When you are ready the doors open and there is the sound of tiny bells when they do. Inside it looks like any other elevator shiny with a rail to rest your hand on. The only thing missing are little numbered buttons to push. The doors close again only when you are ready.

You are lifted going up and up and up. When it feels like you can not possibly go up any farther you rise even more. It is smooth and you glide your body knows you have left the ground, it knows you are higher up than you have ever been. It isn't scary, it is comforting, you know when the doors open you will be in the most sacred of places, and you will be more safe than you ever imagined.

The elevator stops, there are bells again, and the sound of waves crashing in the distance, a heartbeat, the sound of slow even breathing and the doors slide quietly open like a whisper.

On the other side it is bright, like stepping out into a sunny day from a dark room and it almost hurts your eyes so you close them and let the light wrap around you like a blanket, as you remember and trust it you become a part of it and you can open your eyes easily.

Here you are, in this place that dreamed of you and made you, there are guides and angels to your left and right and there are loved ones here that stand in shadows and smile. You know you may not step out of the elevator but all the love and beauty finds it's way in to meet you, to hold you, to assure you.

It tell you to ask anything and you want to ask everything.

The answer is yes, yes, yes.

The answer is we are right here and you are OK. We are always with you, you are so loved and never alone.

You can ask and ask and ask.

The answers fill you. The is not mystery this is memory, a curtain in your heart has been lifted and for a moment you see everything, know everything and you are at peace. You are the trees, the wind, the sky, the oceans, the universe, you are every star, every moment, every breath.

Slowly the doors close and you rest. The elevator is gone, the lobby is gone, the hotel has disappeared and you are were you are, here. Resting, breathing gently in and out, traces of lavender in your veins, your mind light and floating in a soft cloudy sky.

When you wake you are well rested. Your body is a gift, your life is an assignment you must see through to the end because it took so many people and a miracle to bring you here.

Everything means something.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Melt Down


Not sure why today is what it is.

I dreamed I was being given a tour of a house made out of rose quartz. It was in a different country than the one I spend my waking life in but I knew this place and had been here over and over in my dreams. There are big houses all crowded on hill tops. A colorful crowded downtown, restaurants I have eaten in and neighborhoods wandered around in searching for what? I know this place, I learn more about it each time I visit but mostly I forget about it by morning. When I am dreaming I say to myself "Oh here we are at this place again" I am a little afraid but mostly intrigued.

This morning I woke up and I said, "Oh here I am again" and I wondered why it is I wake up here everyday in this country, in this hurting place, in this room with walls made out of trees a full moon outside my window.

I floated through the morning, me, but not me. I made muffins from a cheap box of mix, they smell good but taste fake. I did a load of Laundry, I swept my studio, I put the pile of bills in a basket and set them next to my purse to remind myself I need to pay them or something bad will surely happen. I wrote "December" on the dry-erase calender and wrote in all the appointments and reminders. I drove Noah to school.

I sat in my car while my boy ran for the playground, then sat a little longer watching my warm breath in the cold air and I thought, "why can't I just see her like I see my breath, what conditions would make it possible, couldn't God take my breath and spell her name?"

A woman walked by with a double stroller and a five year old. She was frazzled trying to get her son in the gate before the last bell, trying to push a monster jogger full of babies and things babies might need. She was so thin and looked tired. I think she was skinny by choice but tired because she was a mom. I started remembering when that was me. I was never skinny but I was worn out most days.

I started thinking about how taking care of Stevie at the end of her life was like living in reverse.

When you are pregnant there is something where there was once nothing. It feels like a dream. You wait and wait as this something grows and grows. You have no idea who is coming but you love this person more than you have loved anything or anyone. You dream about her, you buy her soft clothes to spend her first days in, you arrange your life so that there is plenty of room for her.

Labor begins, slow at first. It is painful but manageable, there are spaces to rest and breath, it is exciting and scary. Then the waves crash in on each other and you are surrounded by doctors and family and everyone is telling you what a good job you are doing as you push this person out into the world. She is real, and you can not imagine a time when she was not, life is so beautiful.

You buy a stroller and bibs, you change diapers, you don't sleep. You worry, you protect and you love with intensity that could make you fly. Everyday something new. It is expected that there will be a giggle, a tooth, a first step, solid food, birthdays, running, reading, dancing, singing. All in it's own time, but it all moves forward, always forward.

When your daughter gets sick and begins to die you bring in wheelchairs, piles of clean towels, pillows, medicines, machines. Everything goes away little by little until she can not speak or eat. Soon she is small and helpless curled up next to you in bed and you worry, try to protect her and love with an intensity that could kill you.

Soon you are in a hospital surrounded by doctors and family telling you that you did the best you could and you can not wrap you heart around the fact that she is gone.

The pain is intense wave upon wave crashing and crushing you. Then slowly there are spaces to breath and rest in-between. You choose soft clothes for her to be buried in. You go home where there is too much room and you wait for someone to tell you this is just a dream. You wait and wait and wait...

I watched that mom pushing that stroller and I could tell she needed a good-nights sleep, maybe a night out without a diaper bag. She is wondering if her life will always be like this. I wanted to get out of my car and tell her that this is the best part. I wanted to tell her to hold onto every second and thank God that you get to go forward everyday.

Instead I drove home crying, feeling sorry for myself and wishing that I could walk into the house, and know that Stevie was there, taking a shower or laying in bed reading a book. I wish I could take a day like that for granted.

Healing is a bitch.

I want to go to bed. I want to crank up the heater, put on pajamas and sleep for a hundred years. I want to wander around in strange countries, walk through houses made out of rose quartz, and wonder how the hell I got there and finally find what I am looking for.

I have a life to live here in this house, with this family and this pain. It is what I am given. Maybe there are some best parts left but I can not see them, the conditions are not quite right yet.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Last Thanksgiving...





This are photos from last year, the last Thanksgiving with Stevie.

David sent me this song this morning, he knows I am not celebrating but he thought the music was appropriate, I cried and cursed him, he knows just how to get inside my heart and head.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg1H4uvk-Go&feature=related>


Good Morning Stevie,

It is very early, the sky is still indigo and the stars are bright. There is frost on the grass now so when I went out to talk to you my feet got cold and wet. It is so still, so quiet and calm. If this were any other Thanksgiving I would be up peeling potato's, rubbing salt, olive oil and Rosemary into the skin of giant turkey. I would be cutting onions and chopping pecans, bacon and linguica would be in a bowl with breadcrumbs waiting to be turned into stuffing.

I would be stressed out, like I am every year you guys like to tease me, and know it just winds me up, I am a party psycho. I love to host, I get high from the drama and anticipation. The tables would have been set days ago a color scheme decided by you and I. We usually build it around the dishes we have the last two years I have finally had enough Blue Willow so we choose contrasting flowers and napkins. Last year it was big golden sunflowers and I put gold place cards on every ones plates. They had a butterfly on them and I wrote something I appreciated about each person on each card. I didn't know then how significant butterflies would become in five months or that it would be my last Thanksgiving with you.

There wold be tiny butter plates with those antique butter knives I found and some garage sale we went to, pretty bowls of cranberry sauce and baskets of rolls. It would be hours before everyone arrived but I will have had this feeling I was forgetting something; do I have enough bottled water? did I remember the whipping cream? will Safeway be open today in case I don't have enough butter or rolls? The house would smell like a holiday by noon, the air scented with a baking bird and apple Cinnamon candles burning on the tables. I didn't forget anything, except how to relax.

Your aunts and uncles, cousins and friends would arrive a car load at a time and then they would be upon us and our house would be full and noisy. My bed would be piled high with jackets and purses and it wouldn't be long before the toilet would overflow in the front bathroom, it happens every year doesn't it? Dad would start making coffee for the ladies who still drink coffee in the middle of the day. I would be telling the kids to watch out for dog poop on the lawn and to be careful on the trampoline. Uncle Ron would be wishing that I would let him turn the TV on so that he could avoid talking to anyone. Uncle Rich would be cracking us up, Kim and TT would be looking for a bottle opener. Gram would find a little corner to sit quietly and nibble on the linguica I high jacked for her off the turkey. Aunty Jerry would be unloading the ham and green bean casserole she brought all wrapped in paper and in USPS shipping boxes. She would sit on the little fainting couch and get anal about how to heat her dish back up.

The kids would all be jumping on the trampoline, getting sweaty and laughing. The big kids would be bouncing the little ones high up in the air. Dad would try to tell jokes no one got but he wouldn't notice. Aly would steal Anthony and they would drive off to get ice for me, taking a detour to smoke pot and make the day interesting instead of boring. I would be trying unsuccessfully to look calm and collected as I transferred food to dishes and set up the buffet.

By four we would all be sitting in the sun room, packed in, always more people than we planned on but we always fit. there was always one more plate, one more chair. Two days of cooking, two weeks of planning and in twenty minutes the meal seems to be over. We all sit around talking, telling stories, laughing. Dad, TT, and Aunty Jerry break out the cards for a little family poker. They clear off a table and break out the old cardboard poker chips on a blue glass jar that I have had forever. I never play, I can't seem to like poker, I am a sore looser so I set up the desert table and take people out to the studio for a tour. Uncle Jeff takes his guitar out and begins singing and strumming, he has become the background music for all our Holiday's his deep easy voice floating in and out of rooms and through the day.

The next day the house looks like a natural disaster but I clean it up and we start pulling out the Christmas stuff. We eat left overs while we try to figure out how the hell to put the damn tree together. We find the box of Italian glass ornaments you and I have been collecting, we move furniture, we build a fire. We relax and settle into the winter that is coming, it is a long weekend and we are so relaxed, it is the time we seem most like a normal family.

This year will be different. It has to be. This year I have to try and forget just a little, just for a little while. Your brother is so excited to spend the whole day at the movies with me. We have never done that before. Dad is torn. He knows that he made a decision based on all the wrong things and wants to take it back but it is too late. There is too much yucky energy now and I don't want him to come with us. He and Aly will have to follow through. They will have a good time.

I miss you. I miss your smile today most of all. I can not believe you are not in your room sleeping.

This day is just a day and it will be a good one. I have you here with me, in my heart, in my memory and maybe you are closer that I can imagine. I wish I knew.

You didn't even eat Turkey.

I am sending you so much love at this very moment...I love you sweet pea, so much, so very much.

Mommy





Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Truth About...


I wish I didn't have to but maybe I meant to clarify why I am writing here.

Journal writing is like breathing for me. Twenty years of journal writing sit in big Rubbermaid boxes in my garage. I use these little books to keep time, to remember, to vent, to help myself understand things that feel overwhelming. I make shopping lists, write down nightmares and funny dreams, I draw pictures, I have even taken it out of my purse and let the kids scribble and play hang-man in it when we are someplace stuck waiting.

When Stevie got sick I found an online support group for parents of children who have brain cancer. It was creepy signing up but I was lost and terrified and I needed to connect with someone, anyone. I felt like we were floating in the ocean in a life raft, just Stevie and I. we were so alone.

This group of parents embraced me and helped me navigate. I grew stronger writing about my feelings, without the fear of judgement. There was no pity, we were all floating in the same rafts in the same sea. Alone we were so small but when we tied ourselves together we were bigger and stronger and there was so much hope.

I ended up being a moderator for this group and was active for six years. I hated it when someone new came on, it meant another child was sick but it also feels so incredible to reach out and tie them up to your boat. I left the day Stevie died. I did not want anyone there to be a part of the sadness, I didn't want to steal hope.

A couple months later I discovered this blog-thing.

It gives me the opportunity to continue writing with open honesty. It helps me heal and grow. I have made connections through this blog and that is a bonus I didn't expect.

My hope is that maybe someone who has lost someone, or who loves someone who is experiencing loss will find this blog and it will give them a little insight or help them not feel so alone.

I know myself, I am a survivor. I am almost certain this blog will be about surviving.


My husband...

He wishes he could comfort me. He wishes he could connect with me on a deep intimate level.

He read my blog.

I thought it would help him understand me better, know what I am feeling. This is the real me at the moment. It is not all of me but it is who I am right now and it is how I feel.

He told my daughter Aly that he feels I am using this blog to illicit sympathy.

That hurts.

I feel I had to write this post so that I could go on writing honestly without any road blocks or censorship.

This blog is not intended to illicit sympathy, but really how could it not. It is about a grieving mother who has lost her young daughter to cancer, you would have to be made out of titanium not to feel a little sad.

I don't want pity. I just want a place to write it all down so it does not make a bigger hole inside me. The connections are wonderful. The comments I am sent are kind and supportive and they fill me with such comfort.

I would never want this blog to hurt anyone in anyway.

The truth about me is that I am at my best when I can be the real me. When I write, the real me slides out so effortlessly.

Thank you, all of you who how found little ways to let me know I am not alone even now when my best friend in the world is so far away.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


My poor journal is empty, it seems I do all my writing here instead. It is very different writing here. I have spell check, I don't need to hunt down a working pen or pencil that needs sharpening. I never run out of pages and my blog can't fall into the bathtub.

I am getting better at typing I think I can do a million words a minute and I don't even look at the keyboard anymore. Ahhhhh technology.

Noah is still sick, just barfed all over the bathroom floor, my shoes, the garbage can and a magazine, that's ok it was a PEOPLE someone left here. Poor little stick man. The pediatrician will be getting a call from me bright and early. I hope he knows what he is in for. I am not leaving without a full work up, scan, and IV for hydration. I am mean Mama now. We won't miss anything this time.

I have had a couple offers from the most loving, loving people to join me on Thanksgiving to hang-out, go the cemetery, go to the movies. I tell you I could just sit here and cry I am so touched.

(Chel...you are so sweet)

I would love to take everyone up on the generous offers but then it would feel like Thanksgiving. If Noah is feeling better I think he and I are going to the movies and we may movie hop like bandits. I will smuggle in popcorn balls and juice boxes. Later we will get something very nontraditional to eat, most likely a Chinese restaurant as they seem to be the only ones open on a holiday.

If he is still feeling bad I am going to rent a bunch of On Demand movies and we can drink tea, eat toast and I can beat him at spit and speed (these are card games). I am the but he has nimble little fingers and slips cards in under mine then beats the pants off of me.

I am a sore looser.

I am fine with Aly and Steve going to my sisters house. They want to, they need to and it will be better for me, I can relax. Steve is trying to act like he is staying and pretending like he never in a million years ever intended on really going. The bottom line is that I shamed him. Aly has no shame, she wants turkey! I kinda respect that in some demented way. Steve hates to look like the asshole. What he doesn't understand is that if you have to be talked into doing the right thing then you have already been asshole stamped. He would be better off eating the damn turkey, watching football and falling asleep on the sofa.

I painted one table today, I should have taken pictures but I couldn't find the new package of batteries I know I just bought. If I know myself they are in a weird place. I think something might be wrong with me. I found a package of socks I bought then promptly lost in a bucket in the garage where we keep hammers, hacksaws and pliers. I have no idea how they got there please don't ask.

I had a sandwich today, one of my favorites from Eric's it has a pile of veggies in it with some wicked Dijon sauce. They put it on this super soft brown bread that gets totally soggy, it is heaven and it made me a little bit happy today. I ate it in my car while I listened to Spanish radio. I didn't even realize it just sounded nice, there was a really great guitar that made me feel very mellow. I also ate two bags of Ms.Vickie's BBQ chips but please do not tell anyone.

Well I got up so early I suppose I should cuddle up with my little guy who smells like cottage cheese. Maybe I will slay him in a game of cards before bed.

Tomorrow is the nineteenth again. Seven months. I don't know how to feel about that. I want to go Christmas shopping with her. I want to fill her stocking with strange things that make her smile. I want to read her Christmas list and search desperately for the obscure things she puts on it. She does it to prove there is a Santa, a game we started a long, long time ago. This year if she were here I would buy her a loom, a silk screening kit and one of the little handmade baby chicks I found on ETSY. They are way too cute, she would love them.

I never liked Christmas, my least favorite holiday of all but I would give a trillion dollars and all the days of my life to have one more with her.

I have been up since three...just couldn't sleep. Noah still has a bad tummy, he is losing weight. It must be some kind of bacteria. He doesn't want to go to the doctor and I don't blame him, I don't want to go either. It is creepy and sad and it seems they did nothing but make mistakes when they should have saved Stevie. I know he thinks the same thing.


I will give him one more day then we will have to brave the pediatrician with his stinky waiting room full of dripping and coughing kids. Please God let him be OK. I keep getting flash backs of Stevie at this age with tummy troubles...they should have known.


I went for a short walk in my socks and pajamas. I have not been outside this early in the morning in a very long time. It was so quiet and foggy. I love fog, I love to feel like a can truly touch and taste air. Have you ever tasted fog? No matter where you are it tastes the same sweet, cool and little like sulfer. There were no crows cawing, no traffic humming a all the windows in all the houses dark. I was the only one up and for a moment I couldn't tell if I was dreaming...I sorta wish I was.


I wrote, "Stevie is real" on my misty-dusty car window.


I walked up and down the block all alone pretending that I was the only one left on the planet.


I whispered, "Stevie are you here?"


Then a light on a timer went off across the street at the park. I know it is programmed to go off and back on again to save energy but I thought it was amazing that it went off at that exact moment. I beg for a sign, get one, then blow it off. I really don't want a sign, I want her. I want to know it is her, no doubts, no riddles. I want her to tell me "Yes, mom I am here"


I had a massage last night. A friend who does energy work rubbed my body with oil, kneaded my skin and soft muscles, placed her warm hands on my abdomen and said "your daughter is so present" Then she put her hands on my head and heart and for just a moment I believed her and thought I felt her in me and all around me, thought I heard "Mom I am here"


Why can't that be enough?


The woman who gave me the massage lost her sister at birth and her mother just a short time later. She was nine years old. Her mother did visit her when she was a child.


The tables are here and need to be painted but I can't get them into the house by myself, they are too heavy. No one is awake to help so I will have to wait for the sun to come up and for the sleeping to stir and rise, it would have been nice to paint them while everyone is sleeping.


Our Sunday mornings are so different now. They use to be noisy and chaotic. They use to be full of familiar sounds and smells. We would steal the Sunday paper from the school across the street, make a giant breakfast, stay in our pajamas a little longer, and try to find something to do together. On Sunday we always eat dinner at four and skipped lunch because our breakfast was so big.


Steve would usually work on the yard a small repairs, Noah would play out front with monster-boy Nicolas and Stevie and I would find a bookstore. Aly would go back to bed or take a long shower followed by much toe-nail painting, hair straightening and my-spacing.


Now Sunday is just Sunday. I have made a big breakfast or two but no one really has interest in it. Steve still works on things around the house, not that there is much to work on. We hired gardeners when Stevie was sick and they still come and do the things Steve would normally do. Noah still plays with Nicholas or plays tennis with Steve. We all kinda pick through day, making a sandwich or soup. Aly will get something to go from the pasta place, Noah will eat ten bowls of cereal. I will bake something I should not eat then give half of it to the neighbors so I don't keep eating it.


It is quiet.


How is it that Stevie's quiet presence made so much difference. How did one sweet girl leave such a big empty space?


Nothing is the same.


Is this how it is for everyone who loses someone they love?


I have an artist to see today, she is self taught and very organized. She paints when ever she can and has hired a Representative to take care of everything else. Smart girl. She has a good web-site and lot's of work. The work doesn't blow my mind but I love her conviction. She is creating what she wants and I am happy to step into her flow and be a part of making it happen.


My sweet friend Cinda is sending me some of her work for the gallery. I have two boxes trying to make their way to me and I am filled with silly anticipation. She is a collage artist and she has a brilliant sense of where things need to be. It is like she re-assembles how things should look or makes you think about the endless possibility of combinations. He packages smell like patchouli and it makes me smile. It is like having a little bit of her here when I open the box.


My life is good. I know that. I am grateful for each and every blessing, each and every friend and for all the love that finds me.


My life is also very sad so it is hard to remember that there is still so much good left.


I just lit a candle, I think I will use this quiet time waiting to meditate.


God,


Surround and protect me, carry me when it is too hard take one more step. Fill me with knowing again, don't let me forget how to believe. I need it to make sense, I need answers. Hope is just word now, a word that does not work. I need a new one.


Help me heal but don't let me forget.

Help me heal but don't let me forget.

Help me heal but don't let me forget.


I need to know she is still real....


God bless the people in my life who have always been her for me and the ones who have just found me. Fill their lives with the love they so generously offer me. Help me to see what it is I am here to do and help me to understand what it is that will happen when my work is done.


I need so much.


God bless this "thing" you created, this giant universe and all the universes, this planet, these people and all the living things that dwell with them. God bless the Sun, the moon, the oceans, the forests and all the plants that grow to nurture us.


The Mayans believe that 2012 is a time of great change. It is not that far away. If the veil is to thin let me be the first to reach through and touch what is on the other side.


I will do what you will have me do but I need you to walk with me down this long dark path until I can find the morning.




Saturday, November 17, 2007


The sun came up early, or maybe I slept in late. I woke from a dream where I was in a busy hospital emergency room. I was bleeding and four months pregnant. I knew I was going to lose the baby but I was trying to hold on.

There were other dreams about our neighbors but the details have disappeared back into the place that dreams are made. I use to wake up and write them down in my journal but I don't anymore instead I creep out of bed while everyone is still sleeping and find something to do. Staying busy seems to be my drug of choice, it helps me stay out of the tender sad places.

Today two tables will be painted. The first will have a leafy green base, the top will be painted with houses, clouds, and so much color it will vibrate. The second will be all black and white, stripes and geometric shapes. My sister is giving them to me we seem to keep passing these tables back and forth, this time they will be in the gallery.

I am determined to live this day without tears. I will be productive and when the sadness creeps in I will fill my mind and heart with the image of my daughter at her happiest, her sweetest, not sick, not sad. I will repeat I love you, I love you, I love you.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I have been working, working, working...

I re-designed Sawsans Gallery with a microscopic budget and some long nights cutting linoleum and painting walls. Artists are trickling in, it is taking shape. I have to admit it isn't what I dreamed it would look like but I think we did very well with what we had to work with.

We will be having an opening in December, I'm not ready.

I don't feel fit for the public. I feel like I woke up under a train and everyone can see how ripped apart I am. It is sweet when people try to be comforting but the pity is more than I can bear sometimes.

I have been trying to squeeze in art but I have been so busy putting this place together that I am spending less and less time in my studio. If I had my way I wouldn't do anything but art but I need to have a job just in case I am left alone to support Aly, Noah and I . Steve will try to do his best but I know from experience that women always see the shitty end of the stick when a marriage fails. I would love for once in my life to feel safe, comfortable, not in a hurry, and to never have to fight for every damn thing. I would love to never have to apologize for my true feelings and beliefs.

I know there is a Guru out there somewhere who would tell me I never did and I never have to, it is all a choice. I would tell him that sometimes choices come in some strange disguises.

It is quiet and dark in the house. The only light is coming from this monitor and the glowing street lamps that create shadows in the room. My little guy is ready for bed and Aly is out somewhere with her friends celebrating another Friday night.

I am very tired.

Stevie,

I miss you so much. I have been talking to you all day. Tonight when I went outside to stand in the grass and say good-night to you, I imagined your arm linked in mine, your head on my shoulder and I could almost smell your hair and hear your voice.

There was a woman reading magazines while I stood in line at Target today. She didn't look like you as much as she was your size and had your coloring. I squinted my eyes and pretended it was you standing there waiting impatiently for me to finish at the check-out so you could trick me in to stopping at Mr.Beans before we went home.

She looked up at me with blue eyes that couldn't come close to your blue, I wanted to say "Hey Stevie let's go home now" Instead I said "I think you dropped your keys" She looked down, picked them up, thanked me then walked away with a tiny hitch in her step, like yours.

She had no packages, she was with no-one, she was just standing there reading then she was gone. My heart did it's little skip a beat thing. What if it was you...

I am trying to live a life that would make you proud. I am trying to live with truth and integrity. I am trying to be good to myself. I am trying to be kind and forgiving. I am trying to let go of the stuff I use to hold on to.

Don't stop trying to find me, where ever you are. I am right here, where I have always been.

I love you so much, all of me.

Mommy

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The first of the holiday wars...


My sister called and said "I know you are not have Thanksgiving but I am cooking..."


Aly and Steve heard me talking to her and said "What we aren't having Thanksgiving? " Then they proceeded to let me know that they were taking Noah and going to my sisters house for Dinner.


Out of shock, hurt and confusion I said, "I guess I am the only one who is hurting this much, who doesn't feel like celebrating"


They yelled at me, I am selfish, I am denying my family Turkey and the comfort of family.


It bothers me that no one is concerned that I will be home alone with the memory of my daughters last day of being well. She had surgery last year the day after Thanksgiving, she was so afraid. Everyone was here and she was so afraid, she tried to be a good sport but she couldn't eat and she went into her room at the end of the night and cried. I was up with her all night. She knew it was the beginning of the end, and she was right in five months she would be dead.


How can I sit around a table in a holiday sweater and pass the gravy?


I will instead visit her body at the cemetery, spend an hour with her there, then I will invite her spirit to a movie, if I can find a place that is open. In the evening I will build a fire and talk to her about things we would have talked about if she was still here, like before, and I could hear her and see her.


My sister called back and apologized, she feels bad for stirring it up, she didn't intend to.


I am not sure what part of "I don't think I can survive the Holidays this year, it hurts too much, I just need to not be a part of it and heal" Is it too hard to understand.? My aunt J called wanting to talk about Christmas presents, why? Noah wants to be sure Santa will come, His school wants me to help with a Christmas party.


I didn't say "I don't want to celebrate but..."


I guess I am feeling hurt that they can not hear me, and do not understand. I guess I need to respect the fact that life goes on for them, that they do not have to stand still in this hurting place with me.


I want to tell myself to be stronger and not make such a big deal out of it, go with the program but I won't. Too many times in my life I have let myself feel like there was something wrong with me for feeling strongly about something. Too many times in my life I have had to fight for what I believed was right. Too many times I shut down and ignored my heart. I won't do it anymore.


I am going to take care of myself, my heart, my life. I will not celebrate this year, my daughter has died and a part of me has died. I have to heal so I can continue to live and if it means being home alone then I will be. This is not a time of celebration for me, this is a time of great sadness as it should be.


If I was the relative or friend and not the grieving mom I would respect that.


I know myself, I would show up with flowers, a pizza, a bottle of wine, a stupid movie and just be with that person. Just be there for them in anyway they needed without my own agenda, just available. If I couldn't do that I would send a card or a letter or make a phone call and say, "I am thinking of you, if you need me I am here"


I wouldn't push.


I don't know how Steve and Aly will be able to sit there and eat turkey but I won't judge them, they are were they are with this and there is no right or wrong way. I do wish they were here with me, but it has never been our way.


I will be with Stevie, holding a hand I can not see, talking to her hoping that she can hear me. I will cry and miss her and it is going to be hard but I can not imagine anything else right now.


It is hard to watch as the world keeps turning, as people fill shopping carts with cans of pumpkin, giant frozen birds and cranberries. It is hard to know that people will be sitting around a table giving thanks for all the blessings of the year, getting drunk, watching football and glad for the four day holiday from work.


There was a time when that was me, and somewhere out there was a mother mourning her child trying to be grateful for what she still had. Did I stop and worry, did I put my fork down and sit with her, did I remember her child? No I didn't.


So this is my year to be alone and I am fine with it. I won't have to apologize for my mood or my tears. I won't have to pretend.


I am not mad. I am not bitter. I am not a martyr. I just have a broken heart and I am trying to heal.


I will be giving thanks in my own way that Noah is healthy and Happy, that Aly has a job she likes and makes slow steps forward in her life as an adult. I am happy that Steve continues to support us, likes his job, has friends and outlets for his creativity. I am thankful for friends and family. I am grateful that I am stronger than I thought, that I do this thing everyday, that I havn't fallen apart. I am mostly thankful that I had 19 years with the most wonderful person I have ever known, that I was able to love and be loved by her. I am so honored to be her mother and her friend. I would take this pain, all of it and more to have that time. I would easily have given my life and taken her pain so that she could still be here.


I know my girl, if she were here she would be pissed if we killed a bird and ate it.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Aunt Marina


You called tonight...crying, missing your boy.

I know this moment, this walking on glass, this big black hole in your heart, this wondering how the hell this could all be real.

It is real.

Why?

I don't know.

It hurts, it hurts so bad.

I would live with this pain forever if it meant I wouldn't have to lose anymore of her, not a memory, not the scent of her on her pillow, not the knowing that she is me and I am her.

It is a big ocean we are swimming in and the waves come...sometimes they knock us around and we have to catch our breath, sometimes the are so big that we are forced down to a cool quiet place. It is in that dark silence we think that air isn't all it's cracked up to be, and falling asleep where there is nothing is better than staying afloat hoping.

We are meant to survive so to the surface we rise and inhale more of this life.

You will find that some days the water will be calm, the waves rolling on distant shores. You can float easily staring at clouds, feeling the sun and imagine a dry firm place to plant your feet.

We are mothers...we were suppose to save them, we couldn't and now we are forced to do the most unnatural thing and save ourselves.

We don't do it on purpose, it just happens, day after hour, after minute, by breath.

I wish I knew how to do this better. I wish I had the words to mend your heart but I know there are no words, just time.

You told me over and over I was strong...I am not.

I cry, I beg, and I fight with God. I want her back.

God tells me no.

I don't believe in fairy tales or magic anymore.

I don't believe love conquers all.

I don't believe that God loves me like I thought he did. He has saved me from so many things just to bring me here, to my knees with my heart in my hands.

I do believe that there must be something...I just have to wait.

I do believe that I am needed, that I have work to do and that someday I will understand the love of this universe and the reason we exist, oh it better be good, really good.

Cry...

Fall down and cry, unleash your soul.

Then sleep deep, wake in the morning and start the day again. Do the things Richard could not, live a life that would will make him smile where ever he is. It is all we have, this life.

Remember when they were curled up inside us, our secret, we knew them when no one else did. Everything we did we did for them and they didn't even know it. We ate good food, we sang to them, we dreamed of them, for them. We nurtured them and waited.

This is what we must do again...

This time they wait for us. It can not be rushed, there is growing to do.

I ask the universe tonight to bless you with a dream. I ask that while you sleep your boy comes to you in his perfection, he smiles and tells you he is OK now, he is home and he is loved. As he climbs the stairs he looks back at you slowly and you know, you just know.

Sweet Dreams Auntie...

G

Sunday, November 4, 2007


This morning I hosted a brunch for my family.

I wrote about them several weeks ago after my cousin Richards passing. It seems they found my blog and we all found the time to keep a promise to find a way to be together more often.

We are all so different as adults than we were as children. I can see bits and pieces that stir up memory but I am getting to know them all over again as grown-ups with new lives and new families.

I could have never guessed how we would all turn out. We are all good people. We are kind, strong, and loving, this is what is really connecting us, it is what always has.

My cousin Lisa is the the oldest, the funniest and the wisest. She had a job before we all did, kissed a boy, drove a car (her dads old station wagon) and had sex... I needed her to let me in on the mystery of it all. I was not the only one who was sure that I would forever weigh 87 pounds be breast-less, funny looking, and dorky. If she didn't fill me in I would never know. I would be destined to die a bony virgin never knowing what a blow-job was.

She picked me up once to take me to her house to spend the weekend. I loved it there with all her sisters. Her mom and dad worked weird hours and we were always sneaking off and getting into some kind of trouble. When Lisa would go to work we would pick the lock on her trunk and steal her cute tops and make-up. We use to show up at the mall where she worked and she would give us free cookies. Then we would go to Farrell's to dine and dash.

She was always nice, even when she was pissed. It was impossible not to like her, she was so positive, she knew how to take a crappy story and make it shine. She could also bullshit the pants off her parents and get us out of trouble.

I miss those summers learning how to use a tampon, how to put on eyeliner, and making midnight runs to Jack-in-the-box.

I miss watching all my cousins get ready to go out to the Disco in blue eye-shadow, wedgie heels and wrap around skirts. I was too young to go but they always promised me they would sneak me in someday. By the time I went through puberty and could pass for sixteen Disco was a bad word.

My Aunt was here today. She has changed so much over the years but she is still herself, the best parts of herself. She is a beautiful person with. She has lived many lives. I love it that she is so loved.

My cousins Rose and Carol are women now. They have grown-up children and real jobs. They are maternal, good, hard working and value family. We grew up scrappy little kids with runny noses, bare feet, and hair in those damn marbles on a rubber band. We slept all squished in the same bed skinny legs all tangled. We played together and went to the same schools sometimes. We also shared childhoods that could seem a little scary to most people.

I feel like they know me. They know the real me. We have scars in the same places. We survive.

I loved being in my sun room with these women and feeling the energy that is created by the strength of real women who live real lives, all different but all the the same.

Right now we are all trying to move through loss. I have lost my daughter, my cousins a brother and my aunt a son. This is the hardest part of life, knowing that it doesn't last forever and being here while the ones we love most, leave first.

I want to find comfort in the fact that we will be welcomed home by them, that they will be the first people we see when it is our turn, but somehow it isn't really a comfort at all and it seems so far away.

We have to stay here and keep living these lives with big holes in them. We have to pretend it is possible. We have to learn to forget without forgetting. We have to learn to love shadows where there once was a warm person who could make us smile. We have to learn to sit down at a table that has an extra chair.

We are enduring.

I am thankful tonight for family the way we can go our separate ways and find our way back again. I am thankful for a kind of love that is soft and forgiving and never fades completely away.

I am tired. So tired. Tonight I want to dream about being a kid again and riding on the handlebars of Richards bike, sitting in the back of uncle Wayne's wagon eating a triple scoop, playing Barbies with Rose and Carol, learning to do the hustle with Lisa, Tammy and Bridget, falling asleep next to Aunt Marina in the car.

Goodnight wonderful family.