Thursday, December 4, 2014

I'm Trying

Faith is not something I have always had.  I mean, I guess I have had it, but I never really felt it.  So, I guess that means I didn't really have it.  It's funny how when you lose someone you are so very, very close to, like the two people who created you and brought you into this world, you start to feel like you have to have faith, you have to believe.  You have to believe that there is something greater that their souls go to when they leave this world.  That their bodies don't just rot in the ground or in a coffin and that is the end.  I can't believe that, I won't believe that.  What is the point to our lives if that is all there is in the end?

There have been few times when I have really felt like I needed to have something bigger to hold on to.  When I had to believe or I could simply not carry on.  I begged for there to be more and for a second chance once when I was looking death in the face and I have begged for there to be more when my mom died.  Now that my dad has died also, I have decided that simply begging isn't enough.  I have to believe.  I have to commit.  I have to not doubt that which I cannot see.  How can I expect there to be more when I won't commit to believing that there is?  And more importantly, what do I have to lose?  If there isn't more, then i will never know the difference.  But if there is more, oh my goodness, why would I want to miss out on that simply because I wouldn't believe?

It will be a process, it will be a time of learning and questioning.  It will be a journey but one I am willing to take.  I am so blessed to have people in my life willing to teach me, to walk beside me and help me.  There is something bigger.  I have to believe it, I have to live it, I have to let it into my heart.  If I ever want to stop not allowing myself to see the joy in the Holidays and the birthdays that come along, the Mother's Days and the Father's Days that I no longer can celebrate, the anniversaries, the start of the new Seasons, then I have to believe that there is something MORE!!!  That God IS. That my mom and dad are exactly where they BELIEVED they would be when their spirits left this world.  That they are together again, maybe not as husband and wife, but as something even more amazing and wonderful.  That I will see them again.  So this Advent Season, I am beginning my journey.  I may stumble along the way, I may have my doubts, but I will stick with it and I will find  my way.  It may not be by this January, when dad and mom would have both celebrated their birthdays, it may not be by April, when they would have celebrated another year of marriage, but it will happen.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for........

Thankful For:

My husband, my kids
My brothers, their families.
My friends, their families.
My health, my home.
My simple life.
My pets.

My God
My childhood.
My gifts and talents.
My desire to try new things.
My willingness to live and let live.
My ability to let go.

This Thanksgiving is a tough one.  Robby and I are by ourselves and he is sick.
The past two Thanksgivings were so wonderful, spending it with my 
brothers, their families and my dad, that it makes this one 
so much more difficult.
Every year it seems the Holidays are a little less Holiday-ish than they
use to be.  
I guess this just happens as life goes on.
But, in spite of it all,
I have so many blessings in my life.
And since my mantra is now, 
Choose Happiness,
I will be happy today for the things I have,
the things I am thankful for.
This will be enough,
as it is much more than many people have.
I miss my mom and dad,
I miss talking to them 
especially on the Holidays.
But I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember to find something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My New Year's Mantra

Today makes 2 months since daddy passed on.
Today, I came up with 2015's Mantra:

This will be the last mantra I ever set for a New Year and I am starting it now.
There never needs to be another one.
This one covers it all.
With Happiness in my heart,
fear, sadness, anger, grief and guilt
have no room.
Happiness in my heart only makes room for 

Today was an awakening.
Nothing out of the ordinary,
just an understanding that came over me.
Another dream a few nights ago,
telling me again that they are okay,
and to please LIVE.
Live with Happiness.
Life is for the Living.

I spent some time outside today.
It was rainy, cloudy, dreary by anyone's standards.
But I sat down and the chickens came over to me,
my dog laid down next to me,
the birds darted and chirped around me.
All of the simple beauty of my life became so clear to me.
I couldn't help but smile and laugh.

I took this photo with my Ipod
and when I looked at it,
I saw it.
Pure Happiness.
Yes, life is good.
Life is for the living.

And so, 
though I will never stop missing you both
and wishing you were physically with me.
I will move forward and live my life
the way you loved to see me live it.
Full of laughter, love, little adventures
and crazy ideas.
And I will know you are there,
watching, rolling your eyes, smiling and laughing.

Today and for now on

Friday, October 31, 2014

Remembering and Reflecting

My Mom hated having her picture taken and she probably hates my whimsical rendition of her even more.  But if she can see this painting, I hope she sees what I was trying to capture were the things that made her my beautiful mom.....her beautiful blue eyes, her gorgeous white hair and the gentle smile and look she could have when she was letting her guard down and just letting herself feel loved.  The pearls around her neck represent the beautiful gift my dad gave her when they married.  Pearls that I have the honor of owning now but find myself to scared to wear for fear of losing them.

Three years ago today I lost my mom.  A quick, swift blow to my world and the rest of my life.  She was snatched from us in a blink of an eye, clearly a decision God made and was certain of, for there was no doubt she would not return to us in any form.  Regardless of how much my heart hurts because of that swift swipe of her life, I am so thankful for her that it happened that way.  It's how she would have wanted it.

The past three years have not been easy and try as I may, moving forward seems to happen at a snails pace.  My dad was my inspiration to move forward everyday because somehow, he, the person who loved her more than anyone, found the strength to get up everyday, accomplish what needed to be done in the day, care for himself, be productive and carry on.  If he could do it, then surely I could do it.  One month and 26 days ago, Daddy left me and went to be with Mom, ironically at just about the exact same time of day as she left us.  Actually, it's really not so ironic at all, they were one.    I guess he just didn't feel like getting up and doing it "all' everyday anymore and I can't say I blame him. You did an awesome job daddy, and I am so proud of you!!!!  I know you were tired.

Some people deal with death really well,  I am not one of those people,  Many people find comfort knowing their loved ones are in a better place.  I may believe that they are in a better place for themselves, but my selfish heart believes that the better place for them is here with me.  But I am tired of being sad.  I am tired of yearning for someone, or now for two someones, to come back to me or answer the phone when I call.  I don't want to be sad anymore.  I want to create art that is happy art, not art that is helping me work through DEATH.  It's enough already and surely people are tired of me still grieving.  But the thing is, just about when I thought I was going to be able to move on with mom's passing, daddy had to go and die.  Damnit!!!!!!  And as if losing your first parent isn't bad enough, losing the second one is worse.  It's final.  I have no more parents.  I am an orphan.

The best I can hope for is to find a way to keep moving forward.  My art is how I best express myself these days.  As pitiful looking as it may be, I keep putting myself in classes with super inspiring artists, real artists.  My work compared to their's is juvenile and messy.  But, it is mine and it is helping me express what I need to express.  My hope is to start focusing my art on something new and different.  Something inspiring and refreshing for me.  I have some tough days ahead with clearing out and closing up my childhood home and letting go of my attachment to it.  But I will keep my daddy's strength and determination in the front of my mind and will move forward and hope to make mom and dad proud.

Mom, I love you and miss you so much, but I know how overjoyed you are that daddy is there with you now.  I promise I will try and find comfort in that.  Halloween will never be the same ever again for me.  But hey, I just thought of lost your mom on Halloween and yet every year you still insisted on going and getting candy to hand out at the house, knowing very well you would probably only have a handful of trick-or-treaters.  You wanted to be sure you had candy for whoever may come to the door.  I guess I should let you be my role  model and learn to celebrate this Holiday again.  I hope for you, there are trick-or-treaters in Heaven and you get more than a handful come to your door.  I love you and if you want to ring my doorbell tonight just to let me know you are happy, I promise to answer and have a frozen Snickers bar ready to hand you.                      

Happy Halloween Mom!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three Weeks Later

It's been three weeks since we said our final good byes.  The days go so slow and finding purpose in my days is a challenge.  I still go to cal you, morning and night, checking the clocks to see if it is time or if I am late.  Sometimes I still call, just to hear your voice on the message saying you can't get to the phone.
Last night I had such a vivid dream, though I know not of it's meaning.  It was Easter, a Holiday of celebrating re-birth.  I was home in my childhood neighborhood.  The church that was once across the street on the hill, that is now a Masonic Lodge, was a church again.  Crowds of people were gathering for Easter services and activities.  Family  members hiding Easter Eggs for a hunt that would happen later.   So many people gathering to celebrate a Holy Day.  I drove around the block, over and over again, past our house, but no one was ever home.  No car in the driveway, no main front door open and you standing at the storm door awaiting our arrival, no sign of life at all.  What struck me though was how bright WHITE everything was.  Everyone was wearing white and there was such a brightness and clarity to everything.  It frightened me, it was all so familiar but yet all so strange.  I just continued driving around the block, waiting for something to change, for some sign of life at my childhood home.  I watched everyone else and marveled at how happy and at peace they all were and wished I could stop, get out of my car and join them.  But I couldn't, I didn't belong.
I finally woke from that dream and remembered it so vividly.  All day I thought of  it and thought I had best write it down in hopes it would then leave my conscious and subconscious being.  It's clarity has haunted me all day and made me uncomfortable.
Three weeks have passed since I said my last good byes to you.  Three weeks of trying to understand that I will never see you on this earth again, that you will never be coming home to your things, will never complain to me again about all the solicitors that call you and all the junk you get in the mail.  Three weeks of not having been able to say good-bye the way I would want to say good-bye when I know it is the last time I will ever be able to say it again.  I wish you had come to me in that dream, i wish you had been standing in the doorway or driven up in your car.  I wish you never left and I wish I never had to say good-bye.

PS......please tell mom I love her and miss her oh so very much.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Using my Art

Everyday the mail brings more forms to fill out and mail back.  More ugly ways to remember my dad is no longer here with us.  When my mom passed, this didn't happen, but now that they are both gone, the paper work doesn't end.  Reading a Will that is written in the first person and hearing my dad's voice as I read words he would never actually speak in the real world is something I just can't bring myself to do.  I made it through less than half way, of the first paragraph and broke down sobbing. Not sure I will ever go back and read that paper......instead I handed it to Robby and asked him to just tell me what it is I need to do.

Through it all, I turn to the things that help me the most, my art and my family.  I am trying really hard to stay on top of my emotions and not let myself slip into a state that requires medication to get me out of.  Been there, done that, really don't want to re-visit that ugly place again.  Today, I made this entry in a journal I am doing for an on-line art class called "Kingdom Come".  I love the words to the song that accompanied the lesson and decided to include them in my journal entry.  This song continues to play over and over again in my head.  I believe it may just help.

Where Feet May Fail

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tiny, Small Steps

One week and two days ago, I lost my daddy.  I spoke to him on the phone early on a Friday morning and 30 minutes later, he was gone.  Just like that, in a blink of an eye, poof.  Just like my mom almost exactly 3 years ago.  And poof, just like that, my life, and that of my three brothers, has been changed forever.  How to move forward is the struggle I am dealing with now.  My daddy and I were always very close, but after the death of my mom, we became even closer.  He understood the pain in my heart from losing my mom, and I in return, understood the complete emptiness that he felt in his entire being, from losing the woman he had spent 58 years of his life beside.  I told him all the time, I did not know how he got up every morning and continued to move through his life and be productive.  But he did, day in and day out.
Some days, all he did was walk over to his workshop, turn on his Bose Radio that he was so proud of, listen to country music and sit in a chair.  No woodworking would be done, just reminiscing of a better time, a better life.  Other days,  he would be very productive, working for tedious hours on his clocks that he had become famous for.  Beautiful, wooden clocks that he made with love for friends, family and no one in particular.  They were a huge source of frustration for him, but also a huge source of diversion.  With his mind fully engaged on the building of the clocks, he had little room for thoughts of a love lost.  Though I am sure, she was always there, waiting in the wings for a moment to slip into a thought or two.  Perhaps there was a gentle nagging from her that he shouldn't be in the shop working with  power tools all alone.  Or perhaps she reminded him that he hadn't stopped to eat lunch and that it was getting late.
I called my daddy everyday, twice a day and on occasion, a few extra times in between.  I go to the phone to call him even now or realize I haven't called him and know he is going to be worried.  Then it hits me like the sting of freezing cold water when you plunge into an ice bath, he isn't there.  There is no one to call.  I call his phone anyway, just to let the answering machine or voicemail answer so I can hear his voice.  His voice that tells me he can't get to the phone right now, but if I leave him a message,  he will get back to me when he can.  It isn't true, but I listen anyway and then I weep.
There is a lot to be done still.  Things that didn't need to be done when my mom died.  There is an estate to handle and close up.  There are items to be divided and given away.  Soon, the only home I ever knew growing up, will be sold to a total stranger and I will never have that home to go back to.  The home my parents loved and cherished will never be the same.  No one could possibly love that home as my parents did or take care of it as well.  It will be sad to someday drive by and see that it is in need of work or that the lawn has grown full of weeds and in need of mowing.
I don't know how I will work through all of the emotions I am going through right now.  I imagine I will turn to this blog to write thoughts that no one really wants to read, but that I need to get out of my head.  I will probably create art, that no one will really want to see but that will help me express some of the ugly, depressing thoughts that are racing through my mind.  I will cry more tears which I didn't think was possible and I will spend time alone because it is better than having to be in a crowd.  I signed up for a year long art class on line today with Juliette Crane, called Serendipity 2.  Her art speaks to me through her whimsical creatures and girls.  Their faces speak to me with their thoughtful eyes and I am drawn to them.  I figure it will be a great way for me to express some of what is inside of me, without having to tire everyone with listening to me.
Tomorrow I will return to my job, not by choice, but by necessity.  My allotted time of "bereavement" is up.  How someone is able to put a number on the amount of days it takes to grieve the loss of a loved one, is beyond me.  Little children who have no idea what death is or the painful ache it leaves in your soul, will embrace me with their tiny arms, call out my name and pounce on my lap.  And in their best attempts to make me forget the reality of my life, they will make me smile and laugh, if only for a moment.  Tiny, small steps are all I can take right now.  And usually there is a long pause between steps.  It's all I can do.  I am in unchartered waters and know not of what is right or wrong.