Saturday, December 9, 2017
I lost the weight, almost all of it. I feel good, I feel like "me" I am not in love with my body but I am learning to love it, respect it, and take care of it. It has been the beautiful vehicle that I have traveled in for the last 52 years, it has carried all of you safely and delivered you into this world, into my life. It has walked me down roads, I have floated on lakes and on oceans, I have felt rain fall on my face, I have climbed trees and mountains, been touched with love and anger and love again. I laid next to you on the last day of your life this body pressed close to yours my lips on your bald head, your last breaths on my cheeks. I will honor this body the rest of my life, it took me this long to understand all this but here I am.
Your baby brother. He is a person in the world, brave sometimes, strong all the time, and always on the move exploring, learning, climbing, jumping, falling, and coming in for the big hug. You would love him so much Stevie. If you sent him here to me thank you, he is perfect, perfect for us and he and dad are best friends, the most unlikely of best friends but they love each other so much. Maybe all this was so dad could feel this kind of love again, maybe he didn't know how much he needed it.
I have had to face a lot of fears and phobias and I wish I could say that they are no longer fears of phobias but that wouldn't be true all I am is a little more brave but I like that, I will take that and run. life is all about growth and change and that means doing things you never thought you could like hike up and down the side of a steep cliff praying to all the gods just so you could spend the day on the most beautiful beach with your kids and watch the sunset. It's saying the things out loud that have been holding you down and hurting your heart out just so you can feel heard and let them go. It's getting into an airplane over and over and not crying or losing sleep because even if it went down you realized finally that your life is good and who you are and what you did here was enough. Its saying good bye to your father in a cold hospital and becoming an orphan and not being afraid of being alone because you never were.
Today I sit in an artists tent at the Universal lot, on the set of a very successful TV show with your brother. He is waiting to do a stage rehearsal. He is calm and quiet, fighting a cold, losing his voice because he has been here singing since June. 40,000 people auditioned for this show, hundreds of people told him he needed to try, again and again he said "I am not a competition singer, this isn't for me" then last spring they called him.
We were camping, I thought the call was a practical joke, after a lot of goofing around and after I embarrassed myself I realized it was real, they were serious, and they were inviting him to come and do the show. He wasn't sure he wanted to, we talked him into it, I think he did it for me, not out of love but because he was tired of me nagging him. I had a good argument, he had a good argument but I laid down the mom card at the end, he pulled the good son card, because thats who he is as we packed our bags for LaLa land.
It has been a long journey, your brother has been through so much, learned a lot and he has grown into a young man that I am so very proud of (I was always proud but now I have a million more reasons). Oh Stevie, I know you have been close by the whole time, I feel you. He gets all the credit for the hard work but I know you are there smiling. He never took your place, no one ever will, he in his own way is taking you with him. He is stubborn like you, looks like you, and he has big dreams like you, he is your brother but he is also himself.
He stayed while others left, he never expected any of this and he has fans (that is so weird to say) people love him, love his music, his art, his look, his face, his voice. I don't think he quite understands what has just happened, all he can think about is getting back home and into the studio so he can record the album he wrote before this all started. This has been a wild ride and its exciting but he wants to make his own music, its like an itch you can't scratch, being really hungry, or waiting for the plane to land so you can see the person you love.
People make art for him, I think he loves that most, he treasures it. What I like most about him is that like you he believes what he believes, its strong, he is sure, and he is good, his heart is so good.
Will he win this thing? Not sure. My prediction (for what it is worth) is he won't. Not sure the prize is worth the price but he has done very well, better than he thought he would. He is here with competition singers who have made a life out of this, who have accomplished a lot, some are older, some have been training a long time, some are very driven and have a strategy, and some want this so bad that they have sacrificed much to be here. He is humbled to be able to sing and hang out with them, to learn and share with them, these are his people, if nothing else came out of this I think those friendships were worth it alone.
There is a girl here who seems so familiar to me, dad said the same thing. We can't explain it, from the very beginning we have been drawn to her like she is family, I like everything about her. She feels like she could be one of my kids, I want to protect her and feed her and make her wear a sweater when it is cold outside. It is so strange. I wonder if once in a while we meet people that we knew before in another time, on another time line and some part of us remembers...
I know television isn't Noah's thing, music is but this has been really positive, it doesn't mean its been easy or things have gone his way all of the time or some of the time but people try and they have been good to him, good to us and they honored Noah's request not to use your memory as a gimmick to sell him. I just love that nine million people know who you are, that you are still real. Sweet pea, I won't forget and the world will never ever be the same without you, after ten years you are still here, still a part of our lives, your body is buried, it died, but you did not, sometimes I beg God to let me talk to you just for a minute, bargain with the universe to give me something to let me know you are ok...but if I take a deep breath and feel all the blessings, look at all the love and good that has come our way...I know, I just know.
You live in us and around us, when I can let myself feel and believe that I am not afraid of anything and I am sure all things are possible. I haven't stopped dreaming, I am so not done here yet, I plan on making you very proud puddin'
Don't be too far away,
Love you bunny,
Thursday, September 14, 2017
My god woman, I feel you all around me so much, it is both subtle and strong. This song, the computer in your closet, that little box of things you saved...
I think its because its September and your birthday will be here soon... maybe its just that I miss you so much, maybe it's because big changes are coming, I feel it, I am part of it, I am excited and afraid and that is usually when I reach for your hand.
Oh my love, I miss you so very much, there are no words to describe it. I live on the surface of it, if I dive in I will be destroyed. I am getting use to loving you this way but it doesn't make it hurt any less, mostly because I don't have a choice.
You would be 30 this year. In a way it feels impossible to imagine you thirty but in a way you were always a little 30 year old librarian... I need you here so I can tease you, tweeze your eyebrows, give you a ponytail, go for a long drive to a beach and collect stuff. I need to hear your voice, talk about your favorite books, bake a cake, go to the farmers market, sew something.
Visit me baby, I need you to wake me up and tell me you are ok and that I we will have plenty of time sometime, somewhere, somewhere else to catch up, talk long in to the endless night, laugh, and you can tell me all about it, everything, show me your heaven.
Your brother sang this song for you at your service. He was only little, but he needed to sing for you, to say good bye with music. Your funeral was simple, your casket was a beautiful brown wood, sanded smooth and left natural. Lizzie arranged a million yellow tulips, we all gathered at the old church in town, don't worry we covered all the crosses, no religion, no talk of hell, or God, no pretending, no insincerity. I gave your eulogy. It was a little bit angry, I was mad at all the people who showed up, all the people who cried and said they would miss you but never took the time to know you. Angry at the treatment that was suppose to save you , that killed you. I was mad at me for not fixing it, for not being able to take the cancer from your body and willing into my own instead. Mad that I was so tire that night, and fell asleep. I was heartbroken, and just broken, I had moments of grace and moments of wanting to die because I didn't want you to be alone where ever you were, and I didn't want to be here without you.
The grieving never ends, it just changes into some kind of pain you can almost bear if you hide it, if you distract yourself, if you fill up your days, if you find little boys to fall in love with, and their big brothers to be so proud of. If you tell yourself that you are here to do important work and one day the girl you love so much will come and take you home.
Stay close buttercup, I need this, it hurts, it makes me cry but its only because you are too far away. I need to remember, I need to believe you are here in your way and trying to touch me through the veil.
You have been taking good care of us my love.
Give Aunty Sarah a big hug and a kiss for me. Take good care of Claire. I will see you soon sweet pea.
Monday, August 7, 2017
We didn't have as many apricots... it amazes me every year that the apricot tree is still there. So many years ago when you were sick, it was sick and I almost cut it down, then I put my hands on it, I could feel the life in it, and I said (out loud because I am a little crazy like that) as long as there is one green leaf left I won't cut you down, lets get you better. The tree became symbolic and it thrived, and you did too...then you were gone... and still it stands, it healed itself, it is old and crooked, we lost a huge part of it last year but all these years later there are not only green leaves but fruit. Not sure what it is symbolic of anymore.
The garden was good this year, you would have loved it; giant zucchinis, long deep purple japanese eggplant, four different kinds of tomato, lots of aromatic basil, lemon thyme, sage, oregano. I planted peppers but nothing yet, I made bread and butter pickles out of the cucumbers (there were so many) and the strawberries were new (hula pink berries) they were the only thing that didn't do very well in the heat this year. The swiss chard dominates and I have yet to cook it, it has been there since we moved here it just keeps popping up. We had so many beautiful nectarines but no figs, dad accidentally over pruned my tree. The asian pears are heavy and falling to the ground where Elliott plays with sand and trucks and we are going to have so many pomegranates this year.
This garden is all you lovey, your eden, I imagine you walking around, filling up a basket...
Your little brother loves fruit just as much as you, he would live on just fruit if we let him, not sure why we don't.
Noah is having a magical summer, he is traveling and singing and having so many great experiences. He is using a stage name, and gets on airplanes, he is becoming a man...how is this happening, I am not ready. Stevie he shaves and has a girlfriend, he is tall and beautiful, his voice is deep and sounds like water moving over river rocks, far away thunder, rain, love, tears, everything.
He writes songs that make you feel, he is brave and tender, he takes you with him where ever he goes.
Aly is Aly, she remains gentle and fragile. She is an artist but she doesn't dream, she is lost I think. She works, she pays the bills, she comes home on Sundays to do laundry, have coffee with dad, make us laugh. She hikes and runs in the sun, she bikes down long winding paths. Her heart is sad she feels alone. She has an adorable apartment, an awful room mate. I think she needs a change. If I had a magic wand there would be a boyfriend who adores the real her, there would be a job that she really loves, there would be more art in her life...maybe a stand up gig on the weekends...
I worry about her sometimes.
She is with your brother this month, staying close to him while he is away from home, protecting him, making sure he eats and sleeps... he is only 17.
She takes care of us Stevie.
Your little brother starts school this fall, and this will be Noah's last year of high school. Two big milestones, its so surreal.
(Dad doesn't like me to talk about him in these posts, so I wont.)
I am losing the weight. It has been more than weight it has been me holding on to things I need to let go. I eat when I am upset, I bake when I am sad, I cook when I am lonely. I am ready to let it go to breath better, feel better, be "me". I have been hiding and not living. My blood sugar went up and I was told that I was pre-diabetic, my cholesterol climbed and after 50 that isn't a good thing. I found myself experiencing aches and pains that were mostly a product of a body carrying around more than it should.
My father once told me to "set it down, just set all that down and walk away, no need to carry it all".
It was a long,long, time ago, and he was listening to me talk and he felt it, felt me carrying too much, he called it a "sack of old rocks". He was right but I couldn't hear him.
I remember things and hold onto people, I carry tears in my pockets, I tie stories to my heart. I am a hoarder of memories , I think it all has to be saved so I fill up journals with everyday tasks and events, resurrect the past, turn it around and upside down and make sure I have explored every bit of it. I write down my thoughts because I am afraid someday those books will be the only thing that will keep me real, keep you real, all of this real.
Sometime in June I decided to ask for help, I didn't want end up in a bed or on a couch, never leaving the house, eating because I needed to feel loved and cared for, eating because I didn't know how to make the changes I wanted, eating because I felt alone or afraid. By medical standards I was obese, my BMI was 30. If you looked at me you would think that I was just a 50 something year old woman who looked like every other 50 something year old woman at target wearing yoga pants and a big t-shirt going down the cookie isle.
I had just recently visited Aunt Sarah who was living in Bend with a her tribe of women friends, she had a lover that flew in from Seattle to have great sex, beautiful dinners, and long early morning runs with her. She looked better than ever, she had her dream business, was living someplace beautiful, hip, and full of people who loved her. She was in a happy place running marathons, triathalons, she had a big puppy. Luke and Corey were grown up and doing what they loved, she had divorced her past in a graceful way and was living her own life, she was glowing top to bottom.
She was also diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the intestines.
I was there because she was giving herself a life party (a funeral of sorts) it was happy and sad and beautiful. I spent the weekend with her, met her friends, shared late night snuggles in her big bed, talked, and just loved her. When I left I did so without saying good bye. I snuck out to the car that was going to the airport, I was in the back seat, window rolled half way down, she ran out to the drive way yelled for me, I yelled back "I love you, I will see you later" she cried, put her hands to her mouth and I cried, I knew I would never see her again.
I didn't. She died in July.
She was my family, my sister, for 32 years of my life. She was someone I loved but she also drove me crazy. She was a supporter. That was her role in life to support and to inspire, to push you a little, to challenge you, to motivate you to do a little more, give a little more, follow your dreams. She never took "No" for an answer, she ignored road blocks, she broke rules, she crossed the line, she spoke her mind (elegantly). Everything was a mountain she was willing to climb and if you were with her you were expected to go for the ride. She asked a lot, she gave a lot, she loved a lot.
She was there when you died, she held me up, she took charge, she made everything happen that needed to happen. I am forever grateful.
Her death was beautiful, as if she orchestrated it. I am going to miss her so much. My promise to her is to live "My Best Life" and to use the tools and gifts she left me.
I haven't done all the things I wanted to do, I still have dreams, I don't have a tribe, my kids are still little and need me...
So I have to take better care of myself. I have to put down what I don't need, what doesn't help me, what keeps me from moving forward. I am starting with all this fat, and all this wasted time sitting in this house feeling sorry for myself. I have a little who needs a mama that can run, ride a bike, swim, play and stick around for another 20-30 years.
On July 5th I started a diet, well not a diet really, I made a change. I am changing my relationship with food. It is not a form of entertainment, it is not my escape hatch, it is not my feel good drug, it is not my coping mechanism. It is nourishment.
I have 40 pounds to lose. I need to get my blood sugar down, my cholesterol down, I need to move my body more. I don't care about being thin, I don't care about the size of me jeans. I care about my heart. I care about having more energy to do what I love. I care about having a healthy body. I care about being happy and enjoying the rest of my life.
I am walking again, just 30 minutes a day. I eat three meals and a two snacks and I eat what my body needs not what my emotions crave. It isn't easy, it hurts, I have cried, I am "hungry" but I know that what I am hungry for is not food, it is something else.
This will take as long as it takes. I am addicted to sugar, flour, butter. I am a junkie, these things are my drug of choice. I don't know how to have just a little. I can't change that relationship and it isn't good for me so I have to set it down, walk away.
I can't imagine a life without those three things but for five weeks I have managed and when I let them go I lost 12 pounds. I still have a long way to go but I am on the road that leads to my goal.
Every pound I lose feels like a heavy rock left by the roadside, a pound of sad, of alone, of fear, of doubt, of frustration, of anger. It isn't easy, this is more than losing weight. I am visualizing this weight loss being the catalyst for a lot of change. I have learned that I can't change other people the only power I have is to make my own changes. I am starting here with me, being physically healthy will lead to better emotional health, I am getting stronger and expect to continue to get stronger in many more ways. I am taking control of my life.
I am still afraid, I still want cake, a soft blanket, a crappy Netflix binge. I also want to go for a hike through the forest with Elliott, be a better role model for Aly, show Noah that I am strong and he doesn't have to worry about me anymore.
Its August, I will be 52 this year. This is my year of change, good change.
Maybe that Apricot tree is still standing there for me, maybe I know inside my heart what it is symbolic of.
I love you Stevie. Every once in a while when I least expect it you show up and I am surrounded by you, it is subtle and beautiful. I hope you found Aunt Sarah when she arrived, I know she was looking out for you, she was going to to tell you how much we love you. Show her around, have fun and I will see the two of you later.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Ten. It has been ten years. It just doesn't seem possible yet time seems to be flying by so quickly now, it is actually a little scary. I am 51 now and you would be turning 29.
I can look in the mirror and see how much I have aged, the lines around my eyes and mouth, the grey hair that keeps appearing that I keep covering up with a different color every month.. I can see my hands changing, the skin thinner like my grandmothers, that waggly stuff under my arms that makes me laugh and want to cry at the same time.
I don't have the energy I use to have, not sure if that is from aging or just my lack of interest in things I use to think were so important. I have gained all that weight I kinda knew I would but promised myself I wouldn't. Everyday I wake up sure I will just accept this new mature fuller body then hating myself for not taking better care of a body that needs to last a long time.
You...I can only try to imagine you at 29. I think you would have the job of your dreams and be in love with a guy that has a soft voice, pretty hands, who is smart, witty, loves to cook (just like you). I can see the two of you sitting up late at night reading together under a blanket you knitted. He would adore you and be protective and loving, feel so lucky to love a woman with such a brilliant mind who is funny and laughs with her whole face.
I imagine your hair past your shoulders, up in a ponytail most days, cute sweaters, flats, perfume that smells like flowers. You would be hipster for sure, no doubt about it and that man of yours maybe he would have one of those awesome hipster beards. You guys would go to concerts and collect odd retro stuff for you apartment, make DIY christmas gifts, drive cute electric cars.
I wish I could call you and ask you to come to dinner on Sunday, you would bring something yummy for desert. I wish we had a standing lunch date every week, you would share work gossip...I wish we could get pedicures and ready trashy magazines, Aly would come with us. I wish I could trim your hair, do your eyebrows like I use to.
I read "What Dreams May Come" again... it comforts me I can't explain why.
We went to the cemetery, Aly came for the first time since the funeral. She unburdened her soul, it tore me apart. She loves and misses you so very much. We planted a tangerine tree over your body. We planted a cara cara at home. I wish you were here to watch them grow, pick the fruit, drive me crazy by leaving the peels by the computer...
I miss you every single day. I still count the minutes...5,256,000