Sunday, November 29, 2009

And the insurance company said...

I have not been looking forward to writing this post. I am beyond upset, really upset. Here is the deal. I called the insurance company several times in regards to fertility treatments. They let me know I had some coverage but not much, about five thousand dollars for diagnostics and meds. It felt generous enough and I was grateful until I found out that what I needed was IVF. I was told I did not have coverage for that. I didn't know what to do but I made an appointment at the new clinic anyway, just to see what my options were.

Went to see the new fertility docs and they told me 26k for IVF. I went home and cried, Steve doesn't want a baby and he wants a 26 thousand dollar baby even less. BTW that is 26 thousand dollars to try, that is not a guarantee. The following Monday I called the insurance company about the IUI meds I had to send a claim in for and I asked about IVF and if the meds for that would be covered under the fertility benefit. I was told that I needed to access my IVF benefit, I told her I didn't have one and she told me I sure did, 100,000 bucks for IVF. I almost fainted, regrouped, and called Steve's company to be sure, HR told me "you certainly do" this time tears of joy. I felt like the universe was whispering in my ear.

I called that day and got my appointments scheduled, did the paperwork for the insurance company, had all the tests (not fun ones) the blood work, and got all the instructions to start IVF in December.

On the following Monday I got a call from the insurance company letting me know that I was not going to be able to qualify, it seems that my husband has had a vasectomy and that knocks me out of the game. Even if he reverses and especially if I use donor sperm I am not going to be able to access the benefit. What Steve did was voluntary sterilization, that isn't exactly infertility, it is a choice to be infertile. They didn't take into account my age, and they don't cover me if I have a child by anyone but my husband.

It sounds wrong and unfair and it is. Can they do that, cover you only if you have a child by your husband? What if he would have had cancer or we chose not to use his sperm because of genetic concerns?

Well I cracked in half. The hormones, the trying, the thumbs up and thumbs down, dealing with Steve's fears about a "late in life" baby, I just fell apart. It is funny what taking a little bit of hope away does to a person.

I am trying to come to terms with this, trying to see all the reasons it is for the best. It seems to be for someone Else's best not mine. The reasons are all about money not about love.

In a perfect world my life would look a lot different.

I know I will get through it, I am use to getting through things but I would like to not have to and just once have it go my way. Do I sound like a big baby? I am feeling sorry for myself because for a while I felt like I was waiting for this child to arrive, I was doing all the work but in the end there this child would be.

Steve thinks it is for the best, there must be something else I want to do. He doesn't get it, he never has, he never will. He is always pushing me in a direction he wants me to go not one I want to go. I tried so hard to hold us together but I can't anymore. This feels so last straw.

I am an idea girl, always busy doing something, dreaming up a new plan and new adventure always trying to keep it interesting. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it stays in the idea drawer.

I am tired now, out of ideas, out of dreams, running out of hope.

I think this is depression...I will recover, I always do but right now I am in the thick of it and need to spend sometime bandaging up the wounds and putting me back together.

Mid-life blows.

My daughter was strong, she knew how to find the next thing when she lost the last thing. She endured so much and she still stayed beautiful, funny, and interesting. She always made the best of what she had and rarely complained. I don't know how to be like her, I wish she was here to tell me how to take the next step.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BFP-fingers crossed


Well some people know at least those who read this blog that I have been trying to have a baby. I am forty-four (cue to cringe) I know it seems old to try unless you are a celebrity but try I must.

I started a couple months ago, tracking dates, getting lab work done, having a physical, working out, taking vitamins etc. Then I went to an infertility doctor (serious stuff, desperate waiting room) who did something called a clomid challenge test. My initial labs were good and my CCT labs were good and we are almost sure I ovulated just missed it by a day. To quote my very serious doctor "Good Response for an old chick".

This month I had two IUI's, that's when they put the sperm (all spun washed and tidy) into your uterus so that your chances improve. I did this after another round of clomid an LH surge, a couple scans and a trigger shot, the shot helps to make sure you ovulate in a predictable little window of time. This was not fun or comfortable but I was very sure it was going to work...why wouldn't it?

I have never had a difficult time getting pregnant, I have a healthy body, my lab tests were impressive for "my advanced maternal age" and I timed this cycle perfectly, All my I's dotted all my T's crossed.

In this new age of reproductive technology I am officially DPO 10 that means ten days past ovulation. My little fertilized egg should have found a nice cozy spot in my uterus by now (implanting happens between DPO 6 and 12) and Hcg should begin to enter my system (the pregnancy hormone that makes you barf and have boobs like Selma Hyak). Symptoms may appear this early but not all the time which is good because none have except the hunger but I am always a hungry girl, and I already own a version of Selma's boobs.

I did what most women who are in this two week holding pattern do and obsess. We start peeing on sticks before the sperm has even found it's way to the egg. I am no exception I have pee'd on a whole lotta sticks in the last two days but today I was sure I would get a BFP (Big Fat Positive) instead it was BFN (Big Fat Negative.

This could mean that the egg never fertilized and instead of a baby I will get the dreaded days of bleeding and binging. It could mean that the egg has not seated itself yet and I am not producing enough Hcg to be detected on a pregnancy test. It could be that my stubborn little egg is waiting until the last possible minute to enter its 38 week home.

I am Being emotional because of the hormones that occupy a woman this time of the month, the hormones injected, inserted and swallowed. The rational non-hormonal person might take this all in stride and say "well we will just have to wait and see won't we and if not this month next month" Oh no, the hormonal woman can only count days over and over, and worry every moment. She needs this, she must have this, and how can she possibly wait. It is sweet torture, it is almost like climbing a mountain. The summit is there and you can see it but after hours of hiking it doesn't feel much closer.

This was my big shot at being a mommy, I have three days to produce a little Hcg or I will have to go off the prometrium (a progesterone they give you to help you build a happy nest for your baby) my cycle will start all over again...a cycle I refuse to acknowledge.

There is no trying again, this is it. We can't adopt our combined age is too old. I have no interest in foster care, I could never give a child back, too hard. So it has to work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where are you Stevie, My Sweetness?

I found this poem today after typing in "Where are you Stevie, My Sweetness" into the google box of my computer. Not sure why I typed it in, maybe if we are all just energy it would be a good way to communicate, maybe I just needed to type it in...

I opened this link not sure what I would find and there was this beautiful treasure waiting for me. It is perfect in everyway and speaks to the depths of my being. This poem could have been written by my own heart.

Stevie tell Khalil Gibran thank you for his beautiful poem and thank you my sweet girl for helping me find it this morning. I love you, I love you, I love you...

Mom




Where are you, my beloved? Are you in that little
Paradise, watering the flowers who look upon you
As infants look upon the breast of their mothers?


Or are you in your chamber where the shrine of
Virtue has been placed in your honor, and upon
Which you offer my heart and soul as sacrifice?


Or amongst the books, seeking human knowledge,
While you are replete with heavenly wisdom?


Oh companion of my soul, where are you? Are you
Praying in the temple? Or calling Nature in the
Field, haven of your dreams?


Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?


You are God's spirit everywhere;
You are stronger than the ages.


Do you have memory of the day we met, when the halo of
You spirit surrounded us, and the Angels of Love
Floated about, singing the praise of the soul's deed?


Do you recollect our sitting in the shade of the
Branches, sheltering ourselves from Humanity, as the ribs
Protect the divine secret of the heart from injury?


Remember you the trails and forest we walked, with hands
Joined, and our heads leaning against each other, as if
We were hiding ourselves within ourselves?


Recall you the hour I bade you farewell,
And the Maritime kiss you placed on my lips?
That kiss taught me that joining of lips in Love
Reveals heavenly secrets which the tongue cannot utter!


That kiss was introduction to a great sigh,
Like the Almighty's breath that turned earth into man.


That sigh led my way into the spiritual world,
Announcing the glory of my soul; and there
It shall perpetuate until again we meet.


I remember when you kissed me and kissed me,
With tears coursing your cheeks, and you said,
"Earthly bodies must often separate for earthly purpose,
And must live apart impelled by worldly intent.


"But the spirit remains joined safely in the hands of
Love, until death arrives and takes joined souls to God.


"Go, my beloved; Love has chosen you her delegate;
Over her, for she is Beauty who offers to her follower
The cup of the sweetness of life.
As for my own empty arms, your love shall remain my
Comforting groom; your memory, my Eternal wedding."


Where are you now, my other self? Are you awake in
The silence of the night? Let the clean breeze convey
To you my heart's every beat and affection.


Are you fondling my face in your memory? That image
Is no longer my own, for Sorrow has dropped his
Shadow on my happy countenance of the past.


Sobs have withered my eyes which reflected your beauty
And dried my lips which you sweetened with kisses.


Where are you, my beloved? Do you hear my weeping
From beyond the ocean? Do you understand my need?
Do you know the greatness of my patience?


Is there any spirit in the air capable of conveying
To you the breath of this dying youth? Is there any
Secret communication between angels that will carry to
You my complaint?


Where are you, my beautiful star? The obscurity of life
Has cast me upon its bosom; sorrow has conquered me.


Sail your smile into the air; it will reach and enliven me!
Breathe your fragrance into the air; it will sustain me!


Where are you, me beloved?
Oh, how great is Love!
And how little am I!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

22


Twenty two years ago I gave birth to a little girl.

For nineteen years she let me love her and she tenderly loved me back.

Today I watched the sunset over Mt.Diablo as I placed fresh fruit and an armful of beautiful yellow tulips (yes, real tulips in September, thank you Teresa) on her grave. It was quiet and calm and a family of deer came down the hill and danced on the lawn looking for blossoms to nibble. I knew once I left tulips would be desert.

I love thinking of the two little fawns tasting flowers, apples, and pears as the sun turned from pink to that bruisy blue. Stevie would love to be surrounded with such sweetness.

My heart is full of things to say but I think tonight I will keep all those words in my heart.

The night sky is indigo now, and there is a crescent moon, a wishing moon and I wished my girl a happy birthday...I wanted to wish her home, wish me were ever she was but I simply wished her love on a day I will never forget, a day that changed me forever.

Stevie,

I love you, I love you, I love you...if you were here I would bake you a giant chocolate cake an put a million candles on it. If you were here I would kiss you until you begged me to stop. If you were here I would ask you question after question and hold you so tight you could never leave again.

I don't know where you are lovey I just pray everyday that in that sacred place you have found you are floating in a sea of bliss.

I am opening windows, it worked for Mrs.Darling, I am hoping you will come home after you awfully long adventure.

Don't be too far away...

Mama

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hope


I get a lot of emails from family, friends, but mostly from people I have never met. They find the blog and read backwards. Some have lost a child, some a parent and some are attracted to the story like a car accident.

It is always a positive experience for me. I am comforted by the caring emails, it feels good to write a little bit about my girl when people ask, and I like to think that I am helping someone else who has just stepped off the train where they sat next to their child and out onto the platform where the train leaves taking your child, your heart and all your hope.

There is a destination, and someday that train will be back for you but until then you are here, in this new place. It all looks familiar but everything has changed. As mothers who have lost children we stand out to each other. It is like we wear a secret tattoo. It is a club no one wants to belong to but it is a very big club none the less.

If you have just stepped off the train here is a survival guide.

1. Cry. Cry loud, cry hard, and cry as much as you need to. Cry in front of your children, your friends, your family and complete strangers. Stop your car, pull over and cry. Break down at dinner, walk out of a movie, cry in a park, in your shower, cry until your body just can't do it anymore.

People will get nervous, feel uncomfortable, and well meaning people will tell you to pull it together and be strong for your children. Ignore them. You have lost your child and you are broken, crying is a natural response to pain and there is no reason to suppress that or feel guilty. Your children will see you cry and it will not hurt them, how could you not cry, you are so sad because this families child is so loved. You are letting them know it is OK to mourn and express your grief. As you begin to heal, they begin to heal.

2. Do not look at the clock. Time is different here and minutes last a lot longer than they use to. There is a part of you that wants the hands to stop, wants the whole world to stop and be here in this unreal space of time with you. Then there is the part of you that wants the years to go by as fast as they can so you don't have to live in all those hours.

You will hear "Time heals" it's bullshit. Time only offers distance, healing happens when it does, how it does, and it is never finished. Healing is a process of the soul, not of the body. There are no rules, you will not be better in a month a year or a decade. You learn to live with this loss, it never goes away, your heart won't let it. A vacation, a new baby, a new house, a better job, nothing fills the void. What you learn to do is live in spite of it, because of it, and yes you are stonger than you were before it.

No one gets to tell you when and how. No one can guide you, help you, fix you. This is your journey and it is deep, intimate, and sacred. There are no clocks here only heartbeats.

3. Look for signs. It doesn't matter what church you go to, what you were raised to believe, or if you believe in nothing. All of it disappears. This is a dark and quiet night of the soul. You are alone. Here in this alone place magic happens. Every cell in your body is waiting and watching and things happen. Songs will play and have meaning they never had before. You will find small ordinary things that are suddenly extraordinary. You will wake up in the middle of the night and feel kissed, flowers will bloom in odd places, you smell something that reminds you of something you can not name. I promise you these things will happen.

I don't know why these things happen or what they mean but they do. Get a journal and write them down. Don't try to make them mean something, don't share them with people who would not understand. These are private things meant for you.

4. Stay away from people who don't know better. It sounds cliche but the people who will be most helpful to you from this moment on may be the people you least expect, they may even be people you did not know before.

Here is the deal: When the funeral is over people need to go on with their lives. It isn't bad, it isn't uncaring. This is how it goes and you have accept that. The traffic will still be jammed in the morning, the banks will open on time, people will be rude in line at the grocery store. Your whole world has changed but you are the only one who noticed (well, you and the thousands of us who belong to this club). You are going to get mad and you will feel a little betrayed but don't stay there, move past it as fast as you can. This isn't personal it is just nature.

You will find that people will try to say all the right things and fail terribly.

You will find the people you thought would sit silently by your side and sooth you during this time will seem farther away than they have ever been.

You will find some people will actually get frustrated with your sadness, they want the old you back and try tough love you back to your old self.

None of these people are wrong, they just are.

They don't understand and you would not want them to understand. You have to let these people go. This does not mean cut them out of your life it just means that you have to understand that these are not your support people. You can still love them and let them love you but from an emotional distance.

Here is the beautiful thing, you will find people who for some reason you can't explain will arrive in your life and know just how to be with you, just what to say and are strong enough for your tears and your stories. I promise.

[Note: if money is involved in anyway these are not your people, run]

5. Allow yourself to feel good. In real life we are always trying to stay balanced, as women we find it easy to sacrifice what feel good for what feels right. As mothers we put ourselves last not because we are martyrs but because our instinct shows us how to distribute resources.

It is time to be selfish. Pull your kids out of school and drive to the Grand Canyon without any plan other than enough money, a full tank of gas and the desire to see something beautiful. Stay up all night looking at the stars and talking to the moon. Bake a big chocolate cake and eat the whole thing by yourself, dance naked in the rain, spend the day in the woods collecting pine cones, write a book, climb a mountain.

Avoid the real world, indulge in things that are good for you, break old rules, be spontaneous, live.

There is one thing you have learned and that is that this life does not last forever and there are no rules about when you go.

Lay in bed all day and watch TV, turn the stereo all the way up and sing and cry, fill the house with flowers and candles, plant fruit tree's, paint the house orange if it makes you feel better.

There are some people who worry that this anarchy will lead to insanity, to chaos, and your ultimate demise. I think it's the opposite, I know it's life affirming. If there is one time in your life when indulgence is not only a good idea but life saving then this is when it should happen.

[This advice does not include drugs, alcohol, or any other harmful behavior that would hurt you or hurt someone else.]

6. Don't give up. I know that the one thing you want most is to be with your child. You are praying to a God you are mad at or a God you never believe existed and you are saying "I want my child back" I know that you have considered leaving this life to be with them or to at least be in a place that does not hurt anymore even if it means being no where at all.

You are not crazy. You are sad.

Trust me, leaving is not a good idea and not really an option. My daughter use to say "Don't waste it" and it would be a crime against your soul to leave when you are meant to stay.

Your child is now free from the body that hurt, the body that could no longer survive here. The timing sucks for you but it makes sense someplace else. If it were a perfect world they would be here or you would understand why they are not.

To leave is to give up and we are not designed to give up. We are here for a reason. You have work to do. It bites, if anyone knows I do. There will be a time when you are ready to go, when your work is done but it isn't now. You have to be invited back home, grief is not an invitation to die it is a dare to live.

Choose life, it is a way to honor your child.

This dark night passes, your heart will never be the same but the sun comes up and you learn to live with half a heart.

7. Expect Change. Everything has changed, food tastes different, there is a color missing from the spectrum, and you feel like you are walking around in a dream you can't wake up from.

Something bigger has changed and you are stronger, less afraid, and the silly small stuff is white noise in your life. You feel disconnected from everything that use to matter and suddenly connected to something bigger you can not name.

Losing a child is like having a baby backwards. There is a rhythm to it, it has waves, contractions. The acute moment is closest to the first and the last breath.

Time will offer distance from those waves that crash so close together. You will stop crying as much, you will begin doing things you use to like paying the bills and getting the laundry done. You may even go back to work.

Don't be surprised if the things that felt important before don't feel important now. It is easier to let things go because you have a feeling there is something else waiting.

Most of us on the platform have changed jobs, left hurtful relationships, written books, started foundations, learned to play a musical instrument, go back to school, find a new hobby, adopt a child, move to a new city, try yoga, become support people, find new things to love just a little.

You are not the same person. You sent a part of you off with your child and like starfish we grow new parts.

7. Children. Most women who lose a child in their childbearing years become pregnant within a year. Mother nature knows what she is doing. If you are in a healthy relationship and you are moved to do this I think it is beautiful.

If you are past the fertile years and you want to adopt, how lucky for a child waiting all this time for a mother.

If you have children...

Those well meaning people who love you but say all the wrong things will say (and I guarantee this) "Your other children need you now and/or at least you have your other children" I think the worst is, "Your still young you can have other children"

It is easy to see how that might seem comforting but really it is insulting. Let the words dissolve, don't even let them enter your mind where they will turn into ugly thoughts.

Do fall in love with your living children. Give yourself time, and give them time.

Don't be afraid to have a baby. This does not replace the child you lost but helps you believe in love again, teaches you to hope.

Don't feel like you need to apologize for not wanting another child, only you and your heart know what is good for you.



This could go on forever and maybe I will add to it as a journey farther. I have a little boy that needs a lunch made and a kiss before school, a lab that is waiting for me to arrive at so they can check my hormones and see if a baby is possible, and a job that requires me to be there.

Life is not perfect and I am far from the person I hope to become. Today I have hope and that is a big deal. To have hope is to believe that it can and will get better.

It will. Keep Traveling.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I am home with the flu, a gift from my sweet boy and his bunk mates at camp. He is recovered and doing well and is being a love and getting me ice water, giving me head rubs, and teaching me camp songs.

This is a strange summer...I can't put my finger on it, maybe it is the unusual weather, a quiet house, or business that requires my attention. It just doesn't feel like a real summer yet.

I have been in a bummed out crappy mood. I feel restless, sad, a little frustrated, and disconnected. Because this is a blog about grieving and surviving I think it is OK to talk about the long term fall out. For me there was the acute period of absolute pain. There were whole days when I didn't even want to breath, everything hurt, those days quickly turned into days that were doing, doing, doing. If I kept myself busy I didn't have time to think, remember, or fall apart. I felt like I was healing but I would crash and burn, then get busy again.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and now it has been two years. For most people that seems plenty of time to move on and leave behind the crying days. I think what people don't understand is that there is no moving on. The moment I kissed my daughter for the last time, before they zipped up that ugly bag and took her body away was the last moment I was me.

I didn't die or disappear, my body looks the same, my life looks similar but everything has changed. This life I live is a broken version of the life I had before. I wobble around in it. Noah still needs a lunch packed, Aly still wants to argue about how she understands life much better than I do. Steve still wants me to be the person he met 25 years ago. The bills need to be paid, groceries purchased, a house cleaned, dentists to see, mammograms, school supplies to buy...

Everything still moves and turns but without the person I love most. I am learning to live this way, it isn't a choice really but I have not learned to live this way with joy, hope, and happiness.

I know several women who have lost children. One woman I know went to all the right therapists, did all the right things, and has chosen to celebrate her daughters life rather than focus on her death. She finds comfort in talking to her, talking about her and wrapping herself in her husbands love, and the love of her children and grandchildren. She is an inspiration.

Most women who lose a child, who are of child bearing age become pregnant within a year. It is easy to understand why, and I know if this option where available to me it would have helped me in a big way. I am very angry that it is not. I know that the act of bringing a life into the world would restore hope and belief.

There are women who can not bear this loss and I understand that. There is no one on this planet that will argue that the loss of a child is the most painful thing a woman will ever have to endure. I know women who have taken there lives and women who still have bodies that live but they don't live in them. This scares me.

Many women put their energy into a cause, they raise money, write books, start foundations. This cause is not unlike giving birth to another child.

There is a spectrum to this like most things I'm not sure it is a very big one but we all fit somewhere on it, I'm not sure where I fit yet, I'm all over the place.

I fear being stuck in a dark place but I know I am not able to celebrate my daughters life. Noah wraps himself around me and he saves me but everything else feels like an enormous rocking sea. I am tired of being busy just to be busy. I desire to find happiness, I would love to have more children.

I know I can live with this pain, missing my girl, and not understanding. I am doing it. I think I can do more than what I am doing. I know I still have a well of strength I have not accessed yet. I have an idea of what I want my new life to look like but I just don't know how to navigate this ocean and make my way to that shore.

I need a soft spot to land, a life that is easy, I need good weather, music, time to heal and a beautiful place to do it. I need to escape this place where the old me use to live. I want a vacation from stress, drama, and work. I want to sit under a big tree with Noah and read stories. I want to eat outside, walk on the beach, float in water, I want to write long letters by candle light, I want to watch the sky turn pink wrapped in a blanket on the top of hill. I want to make art for myself, sing in the kitchen and go barefoot everyday.

I want a real summer that lasts and lasts and lasts.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I am sitting at Whole Foods with the pink cupcake computer I bought a while back. They keyboard is so tiny I feel giant and fumbely. I just ate a huge dinner; curried veggies, tofu with peanut sauce, some garlic potatoes and a fat slice of Lemon cake. The sun shining through the window is keeping nice and toasty even thought they have the A/C turned up to Arctic in here. It is a little surreal blogging in a grocery store but I have an outlet and a connection how could I not.

I am alone, it feels weird. Aly and Steve went to see Hang-over I not so politely declined. I have been labeled "No Fun" by the two of them but I don't feel very offended. I'm sorry I just can't spend two hours of my life watching people get smashed testicles, knocked out teeth and near misses everywhere else. I'm not a fan of stoner movies, parodies, or Three Stooges humor. I also don't like practical jokes or those damn videos where someone always gets hurt. Maybe I am no fun but pie-in-the-face just doesn't do it for me.

I like my humor a little dry or a little dirty, I also like to soar just a tiny bit over my head where I have to reach a little. I also like sweet humor. Last night I went to Walnut Creek to see Away We Go. It was a sweet, funny, smart movie. It wasn't blockbuster material it was a quality film that I am very glad someone made. I wish more films were as thoughtful.

Noah is still at camp and I miss him like crazy. It is quite boring without my little man tagging along, singing his songs, trying everything he can to score desert and cuddling up next to at bedtime.

I know he is having a great time, I can feel it. I can see him at campfires with his new summer buddies, eating big, sunburned cheeks, rowing boats and learning how to use a bow and arrow. I am proud of him, and I am proud of myself for not letting my fear override my knowing. He deserves this magical and caring week.

I am once again at some crossroad. It doesn't have a name it is just a very real feeling that sits just below my heart. My life is about to change my fingers are crossed it is good change. I was telling one of my very dearest friends Teresa that I am ready for something good to happen, something light and feathery to rain down on me and fill me up with hope and a reason to get up before the sun.

I know we all are responsible for making good things happen, we should be attracting what we desire most, inviting the universe to move us into our desired direction. I am just not strong enough to make that happen at the moment. I need the universe to take charge and give me an amazing brilliant magnet to pull me in. I know it's possible, and if it can happen in a heartbreaking way it can also happen in a beautiful life changing way.

There is a woman sitting in front of me, I can't tell her nationality, she has Asian eyes but they are the lightest hazel, her skin is olive and she has a spray of tiny freckles on her cheeks and across her nose. Her hair is black and pulled back in a shiny ponytail. The reason she has my attention is that she is eating a large gelato and reading a book. It isn't the book or the gelato but the expression on her face as she is reading and enjoying her treat. She looks totally blissed out, her bliss is rubbing off on me.

Teresa told me that I need to look for those feathers from heaven all around me and simply be in a moment. If something is pretty it is pretty, if it smells good, it smells good, if I have a fleeting moment of pleasure then be in that fleeting moment.

This woman may be an example of that. She is finding such joy in such simple pleasures, it is almost like she is radiating. If she knew what I was typing all of that would probably change (just a little creepy)quickly as all things observed tend to do.

I love Whole Foods. It makes me sad because this was another one of those Stevie places. She loved this store, and we spent a lot of time and many of Steve's paychecks here. It also makes me feel close to her. It is funny how the two go together, the closeness and the pain. I understand why, and it's worth it.

I am starting to realise I ate way too much, maybe I should go home and go for a walk so I don't have all night cake guilt. A nap is a good cure too but I really need the walk.

I embrace change, I open myself to the greatness of the universe and trust it's plan for me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Big Hair and the Circle Star


Well it was a big day yesterday for the entertainment industry, two icons gone...

I remember my cousin Ron (and every other teenage boy) had the Farah in the red bathing suit- nipples at attention poster hanging in his room. I remember thinking how beautiful she was and how I wanted more than anything in the world to have two things:

1. Boobs
2. Big Hair

Lucky for me curling irons and a home perm weren't too expensive but the boobs would be harder to come by and a long wait. The boob fairy finally did visit me after the birth of my first child. Because this fairy was late she decided to make up for it by giving my great-grandmothers heavy breasts. It is feast or famine with me always.

Charlies Angels...sigh. You had to love that cheesy show, the original crew made me want a jump suit, made me want to learn karate, made me want to wear lipstick. Alas I was trapped in a skinny boys body but I loved those angels.

Although I am not a People magazine reader and I don't follow what goes on in the magic world of all things shiny I did respect Farrah making the documentary of her cancer journey. I have not seen it but I think it can only raise awareness when someone who was the standard of beauty in her prime allows the public to see what cancer takes away. It isn't like the movies, it is painful, scary, and ugly.

Thank you Farrah for raising cancer awareness.

Michael. It was a shock to hear that he had passed, I knew it would happen some day I just could never imagine Michael Jackson at 70. It was hard to believe he was 50. My instincts tell me his demise was drug related but it doesn't really matter how he left, it was just his time. His heart breaking seems like a tragic and fitting ending.

I was a fan, then a confused and conflicted fan when he was dealing with the molestation accusations. The plastic surgery never bothered me it is just what people do. His choices were just out there where people could examine it and act shocked and amazed. C'mon what celebrity hasn't been nipped-tucked and had things plumped up or moved around. It's mainstream now, I know more people who have had work done than people who have not.

The monkey, the out-there clothing, Lisa Presley, Neverland, seriously how could that shock anyone. Hollywood is the land of make-believe and he gave people something to talk about, to wonder about and keep them interested, pure marketing genius.

Surrogate mothers...he wanted children for what ever reason, most of us do. I don't care about his sexuality, in these times it seems silly that anyone is really all that shocked or concerned.

The molestation charges. This bothers me. I have no tolerance for pedophiles. I also don't believe children lie about these things. I have my doubts where money is concerned. The first little boys family took 23 million dollars and chose not to prosecute, there is something a little selfish and greedy about that. As a mother I would first want to rip the genitals off the person who did this to my child then I would want them to spend the rest of their days behind bars where they could hurt no other child, money would be the last thing on my mind.

The second little boy...not sure how I feel about that. I wasn't at the trial, I do not know what the jurors heard or why they chose a not-guilty verdict.

I think, and hope that this man will be remembered for the good things he did, and he did do things that changed lives for the better. He did give, he did make a difference. I think all people should be remembered for what they gave.

When I was a kid I went to see The Jackson Five at the Circle Star theater in Oakland. we were way up front and it was spectacular. These boys sang their hearts out. Micheal had a fro back then and all the brothers wore bell bottoms, I thought that was boss. I was a runny nosed little tom-boy but I danced my little chicken legs off.

While I was driving home I spoke to Stevie, I told her, "Hey Michael Jackson is in heaven now, how cool is that" She had a little collection of DVDs that she use to watch. To her it was all "Old School" and she loved the music and videos. Stevie didn't judge people. She like them or didn't like them, there was never an explanation or an apology, she never wavered or changed her mind. She could just feel to the heart of a person. She didn't have time to waste.

I wonder if that is how we should all live. I could have saved hundreds of hours of my life if I didn't try to help people who didn't really want help, change people who were happy in their misery, trying to build friendships with people I didn't really like because I thought it was the right thing to do. My instincts were always right but always a hindsight observation.

I am not saying people should be hateful or avoid helping another person,it isn't about the worth of a person. What I am saying is that we all have a moral compass, good instincts, and if we listen to that without judgement we could live a little more effectively.

I get lost in this. I always tell myself that that gut feeling isn't a tool for me to move in another direction but a challenge, a hurdle that will help me build a better me if I do the right thing, maybe I am wrong.

The universe gives us a road map for our lives, Point A to Point B. It offers us guidance and direction. We have the freedom to take our own route and we can make it as long or as difficult as we like. Only two things are for sure; there is a point B and there are no shortcuts.

I think I am going to stick to my map now, listen to that inner guidance, love when my heart tells me to, run when my heart tells me to. My girl had this all figured out by the time she was five, I am a slow learner.

For some reason humans need idols, and icons serve a purpose but they to die and fade away, making room for other icons.

We can chose who we love, I think we should learn to see lovable greatness in ourselves and not hang all our hopes and dreams on someone else who seems bigger and better.

This is the only life we have and know right now, we have to be kings and queens of our own beauty and promise.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

elsewhere

I just finished reading Elsewhere I found the book at Target, I was looking for some summer reading for Noah. I am sure this is his "reading" summer. The girls both had a magic summer just like I did when they discovered how to fall into a book and not come up for air until dinner time.

I passed the book up once then went back to it like a magnet. Noah started reading it and loved it so I started reading it and I fell in love with it. It is about a girl who dies and what happens after.

There were too many moments in the story that made the book feel personal. I know authors write what they do for what ever reason and it has nothing to do with anyone else but themselves, it is their art and it is personal only to them. Issabelle Allende and Jodi Piccult have both said that a story finds them, they listen and write it all down. I can almost believe that someone whispered this story into Ms.Gabrielle's ear so that one summer I would find it on a shelf when I needed it most and it would help heal my heart a little.

I had a dream a while ago that the date 7-12 was important. I think it might be still. Next month The Time Travelers Daughter will be released at theaters. This was one of Stevie's favorite books. The movie was set to be released earlier (much earlier) but they had to make a ton of post production changes, I heard through the grapevine that the ending had to be changed.

So next month I will be able to see this book come to life...I am taking Stevie with me. I will leave an open seat next to me for her. I will bring one of her sweaters and put it on the seat so everyone will know it is taken.

It's fathers day. We are going to take the boat out to the delta, it should be about 85 degrees with a little more wind than I like but it could be a nice day.

There is so much more I want to write but I will have to save it for another day, Steve and Noah are getting itchy to leave.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

wrapping night around me


I've been writing in my journal more and more. I forgot how good it feels to create letters with a pen on paper. I make lists. I am a list maker. Writing it all down in neat little rows makes me feel like I am making progress towards being more organized, I am not sure it works that way.

Today's list:

Finish the laundry (I didn't)
Get Noah of to school and remember to pick him up at 12:30 (I did)
Finish the little paper birds for the shop (almost done)
Go for a nice long walk after dinner (I did the dinner part)
Register Noah for drama camp (I forgot)
Make Polenta for dinner (I did but no one ate it)
Get my Rx refilled (done)
answer emails (read them, did not answer them)

Am I the only one who does this?

I have been doing a lot of research, it is easy to lose hours doing reading. I am obsessed with reincarnation. So many people on this planet embrace the idea but here in the West we are still scratching our heads.

As with most ideas that are a outside our little box of comfort we first question how it will effect mainstream Christianity. I listened to two parents with a child who has offered a great deal of strong evidence that he was a reincarnated air force Pilot shot down in WW2. I loved what they said, "This has not changed our faith it has strengthened it" It would be so much easier if most people wondered more about how integrating a new idea would enrich their belief system instead of fearing discovery.

I have my obvious reason for being curious but the more I learn the more interesting it becomes. In India almost every child talks about the life they had before they were born and parents listen, they are interested, they do not question it. In most cases the memory fades by age seven as the child learns to love his current family and rediscovers childhood.

The late Dr.Ian Stevenson studied thousands of these children. He evaluated the cases after much investigation. The stories that unfolded were mysterious and beautiful. He reunited children with past families, the children recognizing siblings, knowing where toys were kept and remembering how they died.

I wonder why it is such a difficult thing for us here to believe. We rationalize, tell ourselves it is something people created to ease the pain of loss and calm the fear of death. Don't we do that anyway with Heaven?

If we observe nature a tree grows from a seed, it gives fruit that is eaten, the seeds are carried off and grow into more trees. The leaves on the trees fall in Autumn and the tree sleeps for the season. The fallen leaves turn into mulch that protects and feeds the trees and in spring new leaves and fruit appear, year after year.

Energy can not be destroyed. Tree's do not disappear in nature. Tree energy remains tree energy and human energy must remain human energy. When we die we simply sleep through a season and wake when it is warm again. It is a thought I kinda like.

Tonight I am fighting the urge to bake a cake. I need sugar, everyone has a vice and sugar is mine. A homemade lemon raspberry cake is calling to me like a siren...

Stevie was my partner in crime, we are desert queens. If she was here I would make it and not even think twice, or she would, either way I would get stuck with the dishes.

I might just swim instead, the sun has gone down and the sky is that deep bruisy lavender before dark. It is kinda sad but I like it. I like watching night happen, stars appearing one by one. Night is magic, it is another world. I use to be so afraid of the dark, now it is a comfort. The sky feels like a big sparkling blanket. I remember reading once about stars being tiny windows people made in heaven to keep an eye on us. Heaven must be well lit and there must be a whole lot of heavenly people keeping an eye on us here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Graduations and Pity Parties...


Ashley and Stevie were born two weeks apart. Ashley's mother Sandy and I were close at the time. She was married to my cousin Ron and as children he and I were close. My family was big back then and all the cousins spent a great deal of time together. Ron and I were close in age and I got all his hand-me-downs.

When Ashley was born I was at the hospital, and Stevie was with me, all snuggled up in a baby sling. Stevie was a great big baby with huge cheeks and Ashley was a lean baby with big eyes. The two of them spent a lot of time together in pools, back yards and at parks. They climbed trees, played dress up, and got drunk once at a family party on fuzzy navels.

We took our first trip to Disneyland with Sandy, Ron Ashley and her little sister Megan when the girls were still little. I cried on the Peter Pan ride and the girls got sugared up and crowned with Mickey ears. I still have a photo of Ashley kissing Stevie on a ride that day.

Ashley called today to thank me for a quilt I gave her for graduation. She graduates from college this year and I am very proud of her. She is going to be a teacher. I knew she would be from the time she was little. Ashley was playful, responsible and patient. She was guided gently and has always been the first one to snatch up a baby or sit on the floor with a little kid to play. She is a hard working girl who loves her family with her whole heart. She loved Stevie very much and she was at the hospital the day Stevie died.

Ashley is good to me and it hurts. She is doing all the things Stevie would be doing, getting all the milestones, and she deserves all the happiness it brings but it reminds me of all the things Stevie will never be able to do.

I am an asshole because I should be grateful to have Ashley in my life, grateful that she is so loving and caring. I am grateful but I also let my loss get in the way of expressing that and being closer.

When Stevie was sick she pulled away from everyone and the last Easter we had together she cried because she wanted everyone to leave. It was hard for her to let go but that was what she was doing, it hurt her so much to be in a bed sick, without hair, unable to walk. It was hard for her to know that she would never have anymore holidays with the people she loved most.

I am not sure everyone understood that and they broke into her room any way and loved her up. She was pissed. I think it was mostly because she knew she had to leave...

Today I am falling apart because I am remembering all of this clearly, it is playing in my mind like a movie...I can smell the Easter Bunnies, feel the warm day, and I remember the way Stevie sobbed as my sister held her.

I promise on most days I am normal but on the days I feel heavy and broken I come here and have a little pity party so I can sort out all these feelings, cry and make room for deep breaths and new moments.

My girl graduated early and she moved away to start her new life. It is far away and she can not be reached by telephone or mail. I just have to trust that her new life holds great promise(s), unending love, adventure, bliss and a place for me when I graduate.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Hey baby girl,

It was a warm May day, the sun is setting, I missed all the colors but the sky is still beautiful. Noah and I watched "That Thing You Do" and I kept thinking of Briana when Liv Tyler had a little camera time. I never met Briana but I feel like I know her a little. Iva must feel the same way about you.

I keep smelling you in your room late at night, just for a moment then it fades.

I moved stuff around in the store, doing that thing I do and play a constant game of Tetris with my space until everything fits just right. If you can't arrange your life, arrange furniture. It looks good. Lana came in today to help me roll up ribbon, she even got her husband to come out and do some heavy lifting if it needed doing. I don't know how to recieve kindness, it makes me feel akward and emotional, another something to work on.

I am moving the studio back into the garage and having new carpet put in the sunroom. I feel like I am taking up too much space in a small house. I don't work at home much so moving back into the garage makes more sense.

(The new carpet will be refreshing, remember when someone spilled spaghetti sauce out here and we could never quite get it all up. In the summer when the room heats up it smells like underarms and oregano. It will be nice to have that gone but hard to give up another thing that you touched, that was a part of your life here.)

I am let my hair grow long, and letting it be as curly as it wants to be. Silly. I am too old to pull this off but I want to grow it one last time and finally have long hair. You will have to keep me from going out and cutting it like I always do when I get tired of being a slave to it.

Tonight I made ravioli and arabiata sauce and a big salad you would have loved. I made a lemon dressing that was really good. I was remembering you in the kitchen making ravioli from scratch (you savage) ever the purist, always the finest ingredients. I ate way too much bread, so much for the diet. I also ate a million ginger cookies at work, what is it about ginger snaps that tastes healthy? little tricky cookies!

I am going to go out and soak under the stars after I write this. Orion has moved out into another part of the sky and I feel like I 'm lost, I'll need to find another reference point, maybe the little dipper will be my guide for a while. The moon is almost full, I can see her face. I pretend that you can see her too and it is one thing we can both be a part of in the same moment. What was that old song...

"Even though I know how very far apart we are it helps to know we both are wishing on the same bright star and when the night wind starts to sing her lonesome lulliby it helps to think were sleeping underneath the same bright sky"

Aly is leaving soon to the South to visit with Hunter. She is pretty excited. Keep her safe.

I am reading one of your books, I had to take a break because there was a part that turned me upside down. I am going to read a little bit more of it tonight, it is a good story and you have always had excellent taste in authors, among other things.

Remember when we met Jodi Piccult in San Fransisco, we were standing behind her and she was ordering Starbucks just like a regular person. The book she spoke about, the one she was writing at the time is the one I am reading now. I am not crazy about all the prison stuff but I can understand her fascination with this world inside a world. In the book a young girl needs a heart and a man on death row wants her to have his.

I have always said that there were a million people who could have died, why you? There were child molesters, rapists, and serial killers all sitting in prisons... I would have removed a heart from anyone of them with my bare hands if it meant saving your life...

God just sees people as people, souls as souls no one more or less valuable than the other. I guess it is how I should see it, and I do but I miss you and need you here with me so I can have someone to tell all my secrets to, to talk to late at night, to watch grow, to be proud of, to learn from and to feel connected to.

You were my person...

Now I am getting all sappy so I better stop righting and get into that water and under those stars.

Let's go look at the moon sweetness,

Mom

Sunday, April 19, 2009


So here we are...the 19th.

My mind wants to race back to this moment in time two years ago, the synapse bridge has been built and it is an easy leap but I can't or I am going to try not to at least.

The memory of that day is as painful in this moment as it was then.

What I have to do is create a new bridge...

I'm not sure how to do that yet so I will have to stay as numb as I can today.

There is no forgetting any of it really.

Maybe forgetting isn't the answer but surviving the remembering is.



Stevie,

I am up with the sun this morning, I waited for you last night but instead of a visitation I had a deep restful nights sleep. Maybe God is offering a consolation prize but I will keep waiting anyway.

This morning I am going to clean up, open the store for Colleens class, run over to Joe's and buy every Daffodil they have, then I will go to Micheal's and buy and armload of yellow silk tulips. I will talk to you on the long, long drive to Oakmont, cry all the way up the hill, and find a way to accept that all this is real as I cover your body with flowers.

I listened to three people who claimed to have died, gone to heaven, and returned to tell about it. They all said that they didn't want to come back because heaven was so beautiful; the colors intoxicating, the sound of music transcending, the feeling of pure love and peace overwhelming. the experience changed them forever.

On the other side there were beings of light, loved ones, and the presence of a God they could not describe without reverting back to their own religious frame of reference. They were all told it wasn't there time, that they still had work to do and were sent back. Every person felt that had a message.

I listened to other people tell stories of angel sightings, visitations from the other side and messages left on answering machines, tape recorders and in the form of orbs and streaks of light on film.

Every well meaning person I know promises me that you are someplace better than here, at peace, in heaven, waiting for me. They are confused because I can't simply believe that and feel comforted. If it were their child they would be standing in the same place I am, no matter what church they belong to.

Yesterday I was in your room placing a beautiful vase of tulips that Teresa sent me next to your picture and I yelled at you. I said, "Damn it Stevie, I don't care if you are having a party with Julia Child every night, I don't care if I bum you out, you must come and see me and tell me you are OK, you have to, don't leave me here alone to go crazy with grief."

It is the first time I felt angry. I am not angry at you, just frustrated because I feel that I have been waiting so long, holding onto bits and pieces of a puzzle that don't quite fit together. I gather signs, and coincidence, and make a story out of something that moves me not because it is real but because I need so badly for it to be real.

I must have been on a roll because I had it out with God that day too. The things I wrote in my journal I won't try and write here. I wrote word after word, page after page until I was empty. It all comes down to faith and I am tired of faith, tired of trying to hold onto a belief that is betraying me.


I know I am suppose to wake up on a morning like this and thank God for another day, watch the sun come up, marvel at how the trees that have filled in with magical shades of green, the hills have been covered with a downy coat of grass, and count how many birds have found there way into the garden this year.

I did this but I also listened to how quite the morning was, and how lonely this place is when the person you loved best isn't here, sleeping in her bed, dreaming of coffee and sweet faced boys who sing about tangerines and trampolines.

A color leaves the spectrum, everything is still beautiful but it has changed.

Anthony spent the night, he is sleeping on our sofa. Dad, Noah and Aly are sound asleep. In an hour this house will be noisy, I will cook breakfast, Dad will start hammering away at the wall and door he is building so I can move back into my old studio. It will be another day for everyone else on this planet but it will be a wormhole in time for me, just a visit, no ability to make the changes I desire.

Noah, Aly and I watches a documentary on Time Machines. Aly didn't want to watch it she thought it would be too cerebral and she hates physics. I made her press "Play" and about ten minutes in she got up and stomped into the kitchen, angry because she couldn't get it. I followed her and explained to her that time and space were another dimension that would could see or follow with our five senses but it was real and it operated like a membrane or a piece of fabric and if we could find a way to manipulate it (the planets do all the time) then we could create a little tunnel, a short cut and move through time and space in a different way than we do now.

She got it. She is so smart Stevie but she gets frustrated too easily. There is a moment when you hit a wall, the trick is realizing that it isn't a wall as much as it is a door. Yesterday she walked through that door.

It made me think that I am doing the same thing...I am stomping my feet and wailing at God because I have hit a wall. I am trying to feel around in the dark for the door sweet girl but my Aly-apple didn't fall far from the tree...

I am not giving up, I am just circling Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's wheel of grief, she never said how many times you would visit each of those places and for how long but I am far from finished.

I am rambling because I don't want to face the day...I am a big sad baby.

Bunny of mine, twenty four months doesn't mean a damn thing. You still have all of me. Today I am yours take me where you want me to go, show me what you need me to see, teach me how this has to be. You can yell at me if you want.

I put the fountain were you told me to, I will turn it on today and maybe if I can get myself to do it I will put new plants in the garden. You hated gardening...I tried so hard to get you out there but you just were not a fan of dirt and sweaty labor.

It is inevitable, the day must begin, another day...

Stay close to me sweetness.

Mom

Monday, April 13, 2009

Crucimation


Hey sweet girl...

It has been a very hard week. You would think that going to Paris would turn me into a happy person for just a little while but the end of the trip was the end of the trip.

There were great times and it was beautiful. It is hard to travel with someone who has a completely different personality that you but I think we did OK. Sarah needs more than I do, or she just needs different things. I am a little more quiet, I like observing, exploring, figuring things out in a slow way, letting them happen the way they should. Sarah likes to go out and get what she wants, no is not an option, she is in control of her life and her outcome. She always gets what she wants I am just not sure she gets what she needs. I think she might feel I was too passive or lazy but I don't feel like you ever need to push that hard if it isn't really that important.

You taught me what is important, at least I am clear about what I think is important now. It is just the seconds lived in a way that is true, being a good person, observing and learning. It isn't what you can fit in your pockets it is what you fill your heart with.

I would have been happy in flea bag hotels and days spent seeing more instead of driving more. I went with the flow the first week. I always had the opportunity to speak up but there were things that were important to her experience that didn't take away from mine. The second week we had a home base so we were free to explore on our own.

The most memorable moments were walking through tiny villages, spending hours in cathedrals and the museums, oh the museums.

Stevie I must have looked silly crying...but there I was standing in Rodin's Museum surrounded by his work and Camille's and I was overwhelmed. I remember a similar feeling when I went to the legion of Honor to see his exhibit and later in art school learning about Camille and seeing her face. I know it's crazy thinking but I always felt I was Camille in another life. I have dreamed of Auguste so many times, I know his face like I know my own. The funny thing is that I am not in love with his work as much as I am in love with idea of him.

The Louvre was something I won't forget. Arriving at the square, entering the pyramid, walking with a sea of people from all over the world. I felt light headed. The paintings blew me away, the baroque rooms did not, and the scupture, well I almost fainted. I spent the most time with the marble. I wanted so badly to touch it. What is it about three dimensional art that moves me so?

I took photos then had to stop because I knew that I was wasting time looking at everything from behind the lense of a camera when what I really wanted to do was stand there in a narrow shaft of light and remember every detail with my own eyes, and I did, I stayed until they asked everyone to leave.

Paris has an energy all it's own but like any other place after a while it loses it's shine and it starts to seem a little more like Disneyland. I hate seeing the zipper on the gorilla suit but you and I both know it is inevitable. I walked for hours getting as far from the center as I could, I ate in places that most people don't and I am not sure if you had something to do with this but I found what must have been the only Thai cafe in Paris.

Stevie I was the only customer there and I had the most incredible bowl of soup I had the whole trip. It was full of veggies and spices, the broth must have been fish-based. It was served in a deep bowl that was taller than any soup ball I had ever eaten from. It was steamy and warmed me inside and out. I stayed there for a while, wrote in my journal, and listened to sing-song- Asian-French. I was very happy that no one brought me a basket of sliced baguette, you know me I love bread but the baguette got old very fast. It was a surreal day and I knew that if you had come on the trip with me, we would have found this place.

The plane ride home was long but Sarah booked us in Business class so it was comfortable. I watched the Secret Life Of Bees and there was something about Dakota that reminded me of you at that age. Remember how skinny you got after radiation? The last of your long blond hair turning auburn, your eyes so blue and haunting. You gave and gave and when you finally spoke it was always something so profound. Dad use to call what you said "Pearls" I like the image of pearls falling from your lips.

I understood the depths of May's sadness. I related a little too much. The wailing wall seems like a beautiful tool for grief, I wonder where I can find a billion stones to build one.

I am stressed out. There is so much to do. The business has a pulse now and needs constant attention. I am learning everything the hard way and just when I think I may have made a mistake by being so compulsive and opening a store without any real planning...well, people show up and make me think it wasn't as unplanned as I thought, just not my plan.

Noah is happy I am home but I have been sad. He tries to find me past that sadness, he needs it to go away so I can belong only to him. It won't go away and he will learn something beautiful from that. I give him all that I have, I see him, I am just a little broken. I am learning to be a different kind of mother and he is learning how much mothers love their children. He is such a happy boy, such a good guy Stevie, you knew it, you knew that he would be here after you were gone and you were afraid that I would forget you, that he would fill up your space. He has a place in my heart, his own place and you my sweet have yours, I will never forget, you are still my bunny, my best friend, my sweetness.

The 19Th is fast approaching and we have no plans. I think after the first year most people are over the hump and would feel more comfortable if I was too. The bulk of their grief has passed but I will live with mine forever. It doesn't mean I stop living it just means I learn to live and grieve.

I plan to go to the cemetery and take hundreds of daffodils. I will spread them all over your body, a sea of delicate yellow petals. The deer will come and nibble them and I am sure that will be more than OK with you. I am going to lay next to your body and sing favorite songs terribly, tell you how much I love you and how 24 months has meant nothing, it was just yesterday that you and dad were going to Berkeley to see the Format and I was doing your hair. I remember helping you get your make-up right and telling you how beautiful you were, how grown up you looked. I remember kissing your neck and telling you that you smelled so good, that you always smelled so sweet. What I would give to smell you, all fruit, flowers and knowing.

When you were little I use to nibble on you, all the fleshy places, I would inhale you, wrap myself around you, I thought I could keep you safe, my love felt strong and powerful, and you felt like you were mine.

We celebrated Easter the best way we could. I asked Noah if he believed in the Easter Bunny and he tried to fake it, he knew what was on the line. I told him it was OK, that a six foot Bunny dropping eggs in our yard was very Donny Darko and he was off the hook but in order to get a basket he had to tell me what Easter really was. He said, "Oh I know, it is when that guy who looks like Uncle John, the Jesus guy, he gets crucimated" Ding-Ding-Ding, Noah got a basket.

I got up at four and left a small basket for Aly in her car so she would have it first thing before work. She was very happy that I kept the tradition. She knows she is too old but there is comfort in some things not changing.

Spring is here puddin. Your Cherry tree has tiny green nubs, a million of them and there will be even more cherries than last year. Remember the mystery tulip the lone pink one that comes up every year under the walnut tree? This year there are two. The red tulips and garden daffs and the lilac are gone but the tree's all have their leaves again. This year I will try to plant a good garden. It is the right thing to do and it has always given me such pleasure I need to find a way back to it again.

So much to do honey, sometimes it feels like to much to do. I want a break but I need to stay busy. I need to have one of those dreams, the one where I can see you and touch you and it is all so real that waking up is confusing. Send me one of those dreams sweet girl.

Well, this tired mama has a house to clean, a garden to plant, and a business to run. I also have a sleepy little boy who deserves a good breakfast on his first day of spring break.

I miss you everyday, and I still count the minutes that you are not here.

I love you so much baby girl,

Mom

Saturday, March 28, 2009

France






















I am in France.

It doesn't seem real.

I went to a beautiful Bascillica in Verasay and spent the morning in meditation. I stayed for a long time, long enough for my toes and bottom to go cold and numb. I lit a candle for Stevie at the alter for Mary. I cried and asked for strength. The church is magnificent and I can't believe that God isn't moved.

This trip has been a learning experience. There is so much to see and time to contemplate. I am in the country this week following a trail of Chataux, small hamlets, good food and roads that wind through the greenest meadows and fields of grain.

It is breathtaking all of it. Next week I will be in Paris where it will be a lot different but exciting and interesting. I am traveling with my SIL Sarah who held me up after Stevie left. Now she driving me through France helping me find myself.

It is late in the evening, I have eaten too much and my bed has a thick duvet that I plan to crawl under and sleep deep and late.

I had dreams last night that I can't recall but I do remember laughing...

Stevie, all the things I dreamed about the night I went flying I have found here, all of them. I love you so much.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Stevie,

I am on my way. I can't believe I am going...this is surreal. I wish you were coming with me, maybe you are...

I have always wanted to go to Europe, Italy especially and you have always wanted to go to Thailand. We never got to take those trips together, we tried but it never worked out, there was always something...

Our little guy has been crying, he doesn't want me to go. I think he is afraid of losing another person. I want to promise him he will never-ever lose a person he loves but I can't, because he will. The odds are hundred percent that we will all die. I can promise him that I will stick around for as long as I can and that he will always be surrounded by love. Keep him safe while I am gone bunny he is still so little.

Your sister will drive me to the airport then Sarah and I will plan the first leg of our trip while we wait to board. We are getting there early so we can sit in the VIP and be silly. She can be a lot of fun, I think you picked the perfect person for me to go with.

I was thinking of leaving something of yours in Paris but I can't seem to part with even the smallest thing. I left Daffodils for you in your room, and the tulips are up in the backyard, so is the lilac. Your cherry tree is bursting with blossoms, Stevie I have never seen anything like it.

Spring is coming...so is April 19th.

I don't have anything big planned, I want to be sad and miss you all alone I think. I am going to make chocolate cupcakes I found in a book that are frosted in pastel colors and decorated with tiny fondant flowers. You would love them. I will bring them to Oakmont. I will also watch your video, the one Dave made for your service. It is going to kill me but I need to see you smiling, laughing and being your adorable self even if it hurts.

I have always been so terrified to fly, now I'm not. What is the worst that could happen? I think about it often and if you are somewhere out there then I will find you that can only be a good thing. I don't speak a word of French and Sarah and I have no real plans...we are just going. The first week will be an adventure, the second week will be an apartment in Paris and the marathon.

I plan to hit flea-markets and bring ephemera back for the shop. I plan to sit in cafes and write. I plan to pray in big churches, take a million photo's and come back healed a little more.

I found the Pi from my dream, it was on a journal Aunty Jerry gave me for Christmas. It is from the book of Kells, an illuminated letter. I think you sent me the letter for a reason...Pi is 3.1415...it is an infinite decimal with a number pattern that never repeats. It is a ratio for the circumference of a circle. It is like you to give me this puzzle. Such an old number, such an infinite and beautiful number. I'll figure it out.

Pi is also Aly's baby name could it be that simple?

Let's go to France Stevie, show me this place, point out all the things you want me to see, sit next to me in a cathedral, hold my hand in the Louvre. I need so much to be closer to you. Thank you for this trip, I know you had something to do with it. I used the money, you know what money. TT thinks it is what you left it for, you wanted me to be happy. If you are still you, and you are somewhere perfect and wonderful and if I get to be with you again then I can be happy.

I miss you best girl...my friend, my sweet, my heart, my bunny, my love...

Mommy

Friday, March 20, 2009

The dreamwaves...


I had a night of intense dreaming. I think it may have been a present to me for letting go of Stevie's body just a little and not honoring cemetery day. Instead I flew. I read a wonderful book on Astral Projection (yes I know I am weird, I like this stuff) that gave instructions on how to teach yourself to do this thing.

I am already a lucid dreamer so the instructions seemed simple enough, I have been trying for a couple weeks but last night it finally happened.

Lucid dreaming in case you are scratching your head:

A lucid dream is a dream in which the person is aware that they are dreaming while the dream is in progress, also known as a conscious dream. When the dreamer is lucid, they can actively participate in and often manipulate the imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be extremely real and vivid depending on a person's level of self-awareness during the lucid dream.[1]

I am very right brain. The creative center in my mind is lit up like a Christmas tree. My left brain works fine too but my right brain is who I am, where I find my passion. I have had to work harder than most people to be organized. I love physics but I hate math so it has taken me longer to understand it.

I have been lucid dreaming since childhood. I didn't know there was a name for what I was doing until my twenties and still I didn't pay much attention to what an incredible gift it was until my thirties. I now love lucid dreaming.

Astral Projection in case you are still scratching your head and wondering why you have lunch with such a strange person:

Astral projection (or astral travel) refers to episodes of out-of-body experiences perceived as unfolding in environments other than the physical world, by an astral counterpart of the physical body that separates from it and travels to one or more astral planes.[1] Astral projection is experienced as being "out of the body".[2] Unlike dreaming or near death experiences, astral projection may be practiced deliberately.
If you are still hanging on, no I did not leave my body...not the way you think.

When I dream I can communicate with myself, I can read, eat, taste, hear music and I know I am dreaming, I just have the gift of interacting with my dream world. For most people remembering a dream is difficult enough, and when you do it seems like you were swimming through a collaged life; bits and pieces of a familiar life all chopped up and rearranged. I get those too, not a fan.

When you astral project you basically tell your dream self to go flying. You know you love flying dreams, everyone does, it is rated the most favorite dream to have. Well, last night I got to tell myself to do it and I did. I slipped out of my "dream body" and flew. I was aware the whole time that I was dreaming and it was the most amazing experience.

I know you are thinking, "Isn't that a whole lot of work to do when the goal is to get some rest" the answer for me is, "No" If you are truly dreaming this way it means that you are in a deep sleep state and it can be very restful, it can also wake you up way over stimulated.

This is science. I know it sounds strange but it isn't. If you went to bed tonight and told yourself that in the morning you would remember your dreams, you would. If you did that several nights in a row and wrote them down when you woke up you would be amazed what you are dreaming. After several months you would begin to lucid dream. It is just an awareness, a muscle you have that you need to excersize. Creative people have an easier time, left brainers have a harder time but it is still possible. Einstein dreamed of the nature of time.

So last night I was dreaming and I told myself to astral project. I found a dream sofa (really the stinky one in my garage) and let myself slip out of my dream body and float around. It lasted a short time and wasn't amazing but felt wonderful.

Then I went into Stevie's room and tried again. This time I flew over water. It was a long dream and I won't go into the whole thing but in the asral projection part I felt the wind on my body and it was divine. I also felt my arms and legs but couldn't see them. I didn't fly like a bird I kind of glided and floated, it was very relaxing. At one point I felt surrounded and new that this is what Stevie must feel; surrounded by love and free to move with thought. I then had a very sad feeling, even though I was surrounded by love there was something missing, a love that was vital...I felt I was missing the best person. I said outlound "I love you best, I am right here" I hear it and it seemed to echo back at me like in "Goodnight Moon".

I woke up feeling so wonderful. The song "Airwaves" by Jacks Mannequin was stuck in my head.

I'll send this message through the speakers They told me that you moved I'll cross this country on a frequency I am slipping through, I am slipping through I am slipping into the airwaves (The static's where you'll find me) And this is nothing new, you are slipping through My fingers and into the airwaves Into the airwaves

I feel like I am close to something, I am just not sure what it is. It seems obvious but nothing is ever that simple, is it?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

comfortable shoes

It is a cool day a little gray but it has the promise of spring in it. I can see pink blossoms on the tree's that line the street where I work, they smell like corn masa and apricots. I love spring...but it is also filled with memories of a girl I love that I can't bring home cherry blossom covered branches for. She would love this morning, a trip to the Asian bakery for a sweet bun sticky with custard and coconut, a morning swim in a warm pool, online shopping for cute and unusual things to fill the store with.

This is a good life. Noah is healthy and strong, Aly is happy with her job and hoping to buy a new car. Steve is less angry that his life isn't exactly how he thinks it should be. I am here, working, making art, writing and watching tree's blossom.

It is also a lonely life. I have new and wonderful friends but my best one, my favorite one isn't here. I meditated this morning asked the universe why this has to be so hard, so heart breaking and it replied softy "it just is" If I listened a little harder I might have heard it say that it was all going to be just as it should be and to stop living in the heart breaking moments.

Paris is four weeks away. I still do not know how to count in French which is what I thought should be the bare minimum. I bought some t-shirts, a new pair of jeans and some walking shoes for trip. I won't be fashionable but I will be comfortable. I also need to travel light, I hate being a slave to luggage.

This is a big adventure for me not unlike the blossoms on the tree's. It is the beginning of something...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Doors close
Windows Open

I feel surrounded by love today.
I am blessed to know incredible people who took time out of their day to send comments of love, support and comfort.

I am fine.

When I am confused and frustrate, angry or sad, I bake. I am not good at it, my cousin Kelly is the baker in our family but I get by. I made delicate sugar cookies this morning iced with pale pink frosting and tiny white sprinkles. The flower cookie cutter I used was Stevie's and I know she would have LOVED these sweeties.

Yesterday I made peanut butter cookies. I like mine a little bit crunchy and dry. I use whole roasted peanuts, brown sugar and really good vanilla.

Yes, I ate them all.

My Sarah will be running the Paris Marathon in April. She and her husband recently separated and will be divorcing. She asked if I would go with her to France and be there for her at the finish line and I said yes without even thinking. How can you say no to Paris in the spring. I have a little money saved and I got a very, very good deal on my ticket. We will be sharing expenses and traveling like bohemians. Our one luxury will be the tiny apartment we are renting for the days of the race. The elevator in the building is broken, and our room is on the fifth floor so we got it half price. It is still astronomical as far as I am concerned but it is going to be dreamy I just know it.

No, I will not be running.

I do not drink red wine, I hate goat cheese and I am a vegetarian. It will be a bit of a challenge to get the French to like a Canadian (tee-hee-hee) like me. I am sure there will be plenty of pastries to keep my belly full.

I need this trip. It will be my first time away from my little guy for such a long period of time. I am having anxiety just thinking of the distance but I know he will be Ok. I plan to bring him puppets, chocolate, and rocks from France.

I will bring something of Stevie's to bury. I plan to take her everywhere I go and leave little bits of her all over the world.

I asked her to send a meteor shaped like a heart to let me know she is still alive, somewhere I am not meant to travel yet. I am waiting to see what unravels. I don't want anyone to get hurt or anything to get damaged, a giant hole in the backyard will be fine.

The shop is doing well. I am not rolling in money but there is always enough to keep it going. I am very proud of what I have created...The art, my children, the book, the store. I am blessed.

I am holding my head high, standing close to that open window letting it all in.

(T-I am here for you, we still share the same life-boat)

Monday, February 16, 2009

It is over.


After a very long and stormy marriage my husband has asked for a divorce.
It isn't a surprise.
I find the timing disturbing but this is how my husband is. He likes to make things harder, maybe he thinks it builds character, maybe it does but I don't feel like thanking him for it.

I find it ugly that he has been so emotionally needy. In some ways he is very generous and in some ways he is very selfish.

I find it ugly that I have been so angry at him. Inside me I feel like there was good reason but from a few steps away I just look mean.

He was actually a very good friend a long, long time ago when I was very young and it was appropriate to be silly and irresponsible. I thought he understood me, I thought we had a whole lot in common. I changed, I grew up, I became this person lugging around a whole life. He is the same.

So much time has passed and he has risen to the occasion on occasion and he has failed miserably a time or two. I am sure the same can be said for me.

I feel let down by him. Maybe it was never his fault but it sure hurt like it.

Is this Karma?

The only unconditional love I have ever experienced in almost 44 years came from my children. Aly might roll her eyes at that statement because she sure isn't feeling love for me right now but I know that there 's a little storm inside of her that only time and perspective can calm.

I told my husband that I didn't want anything. Child support seems appropriate but everything else he can have. It will be very hard to leave a house that I created, the walls I painted over and over, the kitchen I helped build, the floors I laid plank by plank while I cried because I was missing Stevie. It will be hard to leave a garden I created, my great-grandmothers rosemary, the memories of Easter egg hunts and Christmas.

The hardest thing to leave behind is Stevie's room...the last place she was herself, the trees on the walls I put up while she still had one good eye and could see. The closet that is still bubble gum pink and has little mermaid stickers. There is a spot on the wallpaper where the contents of her feeding tube splattered after a pretty unfortunate plunger incident. It is still there, bits of her on the wall. I know it sounds gross but it is what I have.

I told him I wouldn't take a thing because he made it clear that he felt responsible for me and didn't want that responsibility. He told me it wasn't fair that he worked and paid the bills and got nothing back. When I told him I would give it all to him he told me it was self flagellation and I was doing it only to get sympathy.

It feels like my husband is more worried about people feeling sorry for me than he is about what is really happening. He needs to be the victim in all this...he needs someone to feel sorry for him, to make him feel better. Don't feel sorry for me, I have what I need; self respect, strength, determination, and the next half of my life waiting to be lived

I don't begrudge him a new beginning with someone who isn't dragging around the memories I am. I want him to be happy but I want to have a little peace myself. I am not sure he will allow it. Sometimes when you are hurting you think that hurting someone else will make it feel better.

I am all outside myself. I am a woman so I express myself with words and magnified emotion. I say what I feel, and I tell the truth. It makes seem hard because my internal filters are not what they should be. I can be loud and opinionated when it is something I believe in. I think decorating what you think and feel is confusing. I love with all that I am and I fight hard for what I believe in and who I love. I am not delicate and I have a terrible temper. If I were a dog, I think someone would have shot me by now.

Steve is inside. He doesn't always say what he means so it is hard to know what he is really feeling. He pontificates. He likes to believe he is rational and reasonable. What is inside of him is not what usually comes out of him. This makes him angry because he can't understand why I question his motives. Most of my arguments with him start with "But you said..." His replies are always "But I meant..."

I know he loves me but in my darkest hours he has not been able to reach me. I don't understand why. I also don't understand why he takes the most difficult moments in my life and makes them harder. Why he feels so abandoned when I am happy.

It isn't intentional, he isn't that way. Most of the things he does that hurt me he doesn't even realize until the damage has been done. He is not a person who will apologize and make it better. He knows how to say he is sorry but only after it has been dragged out of him and replayed over and over. It makes me tired, and I can never find closure.

It might be me, maybe I expect too much. I understand that feeling when you have done something that you know has hurt another person and that person confronts you. Your eyelids get heavy, your heart starts to pound and you want to run away from it, pretend it didn't happen, wish it gone. I also know you have to swallow your shame and embarrassment and apologize with that beating heart and try to make it right.

I am not sure what you are suppose to do when you know you hurt someone but you did what you did because that person was hurting you...

I did something really awful to my husband many, many years ago. It went against who I was and what I believed in. I felt at the time that he deserved it, that I was evening a score. The funny thing is that instead of the pain and anger getting smaller it actually expanded.

I apologized and did everything I could to make it right. I earned his trust back because I was sorry with all of me. The words were not as important as the actions. Actions are everything, we are beings who need our five senses engaged in order to understand and believe. It felt like he forgave me, and it felt like I earned that forgiveness.

He tells me that I am a mean person, Aly backs him up...They tell me the reason no one else finds me mean is because they do not know me. My eyelids are heavy, my heart is pounding, and I want it to go away but I know I have to make it right, this time I just don't know how.

When I let Stevie go, I let a part of myself go. I didn't want her to be alone so I sent the best parts of me with her. What is here has to be rebuilt and I am doing that. There isn't much to work with and I am keeping what there is for me.

My whole life has been spent giving to other people, taking care of the messy things. My jobs have always been to comfort the sick, clean up blood, vomit, shit. Children are kinda the same, skinned knees, runny noses, barf bowls, poopy diapers. I am not complaining I loved my job and I love, love, love my children. I have spent 25 years of my life cleaning up messes, taking care of people, and in the process I forgot to take care of me.

I suppose a perfect person could be a loving wife and make positive life changes at the same time but I can't. I suppose a perfect person could be a patient husband and give his wife room to heal and grow, this new person might be incredible, but he can't.

Steve deserves more. I think he deserves a wife that never needs this moment, who can give and give and give. A wife who doesn't complain, who is needy enough to make him feel strong but strong enough to put herself neatly away when he needs to do what ever it is he needs to do.
He needs a house without children, a house without the heavy memory of a dead child, the remote to himself, sex when ever he wants it. He needs to be able to live his life to the fullest and have a partner who will stand quietly next to him, who adores him.

Steve has never liked the messy parts and he doesn't know how to be in a painful moment with someone. This doesn't make him a bad person. He tries but it isn't his nature. I am the opposite I am drawn to it, it finds me. I may not be good at it but it is my nature.

I read that this is midlife. Even if Stevie was still here Steve and I would still be here in this moment. Me changing, him not understanding. Dr.Northrup says that woman change in midlife dramatically, what they need and what they are willing to give are not the same anymore. A long time ago a woman in midlife was considered half dead, dried up, going down hill. Now women in midlife are changing careers, finding new partners, adopting children, building dreams.

I am not doing anything that adventurous I am just trying to finally get right with myself. I have neglected me for a very long time. It felt selfish and what I had to give I gave to my family. I am still giving just not in the same ways.

The house isn't spotless, Noah has to grow noticeably out of his pants before I think to take him shopping. I don't spend time at his school, I don't cook as much as I use to. I don't spend days trying to figure out how to fix my marriage, I don't feel guilty because I am not the wife my husband wants me to be. I gave my a part of my house to myself, I started a business, I wrote a book, I made a list of things I want to accomplish before I leave this planet and I am finally going to Europe.

In the process I pushed my husband away. I pushed because I am afraid he will turn me back into that other person and I will slip out of this new life and back into the old one where there is too much missing and too much hurts.

I spent the last two days in that vortex, trying to keep my family together but trying to be heard. I did all the talking, yelling and crying but he still didn't hear me.

He wants me but he doesn't want to do the work to find me.

He tells me I give him nothing, I have given him my whole life.