AdaLamar's Blog

A Sassy Girls Guide to a Life of Wanderlust

Oh Christmas Tree

Posted by adalamar on December 7, 2016

In life there are many firsts.  Some of them good, some of them bad, some fall smack dab in the middle.  This first is bittersweet.  It is the first Christmas without my Mom.  Which means many other firsts too – the first Christmas tree without her, the first gift wrapping without her, the first year of my life that I will not be buying Christmas gifts for her.  You never realize just how many gifts that a person would enjoy until you lose them….and you still see gifts around the holidays that they would love. But somewhere along the way, you have to find more sweet than bitter if you are going to survive the holiday season.

This past weekend was time for another first. We went to pick it out, and Dad searched and found just the right tone.  I admit, I have never had a real one.  Growing up we always had an artificial Christmas tree.  This dates back to, what I have been told, the first Christmas that Mom and Dad were married.  They got a real tree, and loved it.  And then the holidays were over, and it was time to take the ornaments off and put the tree, well, whereever real trees go after Christmas.

This is where there was an impasse.  Dad firmly believed that it was the woman’s job to handle the Christmas decorations, including the disposal of the tree.  Mom felt that it was the man’s job to carry the large Christmas tree out the curb.  Both my parents are very stubborn.  Neither one was willing to budge.  And so there the Christmas tree sat, needles brown and falling off- through New Years, past Valentine’s day, and St. Patrick’s Day.  It was the Easter tree, the Maudi Grad tree…

I have been told that late in the spring, when they moved from that house, the movers finally took the tree and put in on the curb.  Thus there were no more live Christmas trees.

Until now.

So we went to the nursery and  found the perfect 8ft Christmas tree. And it does indeed smell wonderful.  And we have been decorating it a little each night.  And that is the hard part.  Because my mother collected Christmas ornaments for over 40 years.   And now I have them.  And they are wonderful and beautiful and amazing and make me feel close to her….but they also make me aware that she is not here. She Loved Christmas

I sobbed while hanging the first few ornaments on the tree. It was surprising how hard it was to see these glistening ornaments, some I remember as a child and was not allowed to touch (Small klutzy child + delicate ornaments = disaster). There were all the angels, and animals and Christmas mice, and even the cute little Christmas Octopus ornament (I bought that one for her).  There was the little sequin drum that she made with my sister and cousin.  There was the ball with the cork oriental building inside. There was the Christmas Skunk ornament (it sounds weird, but is really cute).

And there was putting up her absolute favorite Christmas display – the nativity.  It is a sight to see.  While it is not an ornament on the tree, it is a display that was very close to her heart.

Slowly, as each ornament is hung, and each display or decoration is arranged, and the tree  glistens with its lights, it gets just a tiny bit easier.  Because I do feel like she is near.  And because she did love Christmas.

And so as I smell the scent of the tree, and see her ornaments hanging, I find the sweet in the bitter. I find the comfort in the quiet glow of the lights and the soft sound of Christmas carols…I miss her so very much, but know somehow, someway, she and Santa are having a great conversation. I hope she puts in a good word for me.

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One Foot

Posted by adalamar on December 3, 2016

Saw this quote and irbreally stuck. 

“You put one foot in front of the other and you just keep on going, and if you fall you get up and you keep going.”

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Season of Thoughts

Posted by adalamar on December 2, 2016

To Wear it well

We must let go of the life that we planned so as to accept the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell

This is the time of year of festivities. Parties, gifts and resolutions.  And it is usually about this time of year that in addition to enjoying all that this happy season will bring, I start thinking about what I want to accomplish next year.

Most of the time, the things on my list are the usual:  Travel more, spend less, smile more, loose that 10 lbs that has been on my hips for the last 5 years. For this next year though it is quite different.  My goal for next year is quite simple: To wear it well.

I want simple things to not take so much energy.  Things like putting on my pants, going through daily routines…breathing.  To put it quite simply – grief is bitch.  Grief is like that bad roommate you can’t get rid of.

But the fact is that Grief will be with me for quite a while. So I must learn to wear it well.

What exactly does that mean?  It means that You hold your head high, smile anyway and get on with it.  It doesn’t mean you still don’t feel it in every part of every bone, you just don’t let it wear you, you wear it. Right now, I feel like Grief is cutting off circulation, because it is a very ill-fitting outfit that is tight in all the wrong places and loose in all the wrong spots.

From all the research I have done, grief never really leaves you. So I have to learn to wear it well. And defiantly better than I have.

Ultimately, I would like to make this grief a place from where love can grow and prosper.  I would like to make it a beautiful garden of compassion and goodness. I want to do more than wear it well; if it has to be with me for my life, then I want it to make me a better person. I just don’t know how to get there yet.

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. – Rumi

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The Smell of It

As a parent, it’s my responsibility to equip my child to do this – to grieve when grief is necessary and to realize that life is still profoundly beautiful and worth living despite the fact that we inevitably lose one another and that life ends, and we don’t know what happens after death. –  Sam Harris

It is funny the things that you miss.  And as cliché as it sounds, the laundry smelled so good when Mom did it. I never thought I would miss that smell so much. I cherish anything I find of her original laundry.   And I finally found out her secret.  I found her stash of fabric softener and smell good stuff.  The one problem?

I cannot find it in any stores here in the Atlanta area.  Seriously…in a city of millions…I can’t locate any of it.  Dad and I are both searching for it.  Where did she get this stuff?  Did she ship it in from another country?  Or planet?  Because this stuff smells like Love.

It is somewhere, and somehow I will find it and get as many bottles of it as possible.  Love in a bottle cannot be overrated, neither can the magical smell of laundry.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. – Abraham Lincoln

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Hard Candy Christmas

Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life. – Anne Roiphe

Tis the season for all the holiday festivities. It is also a very bad time for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.  And while the grief cannot be fixed or erased, we can, if we choose, still find the beauty in every day.  We can, if we choose, appreciate the happiness and joy around us, and maybe even have some of it seep in.

And so it goes this holiday season.  The Christmas tree is going up this weekend.  A big real tree.  I’ve never had a real Christmas tree but have been told that they smell wonderful.  And there will be Christmas music and carols.  And lots of Christmas lights.  We are going to see a large light display, complete with hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows by a fire afterward. The house will have a lot of Christmas decorations, some old that have been passed down to me, and some new.

This Christmas will be hard, and that cannot be changed.  It cannot be fixed.  But. But, we do not have to drown in it either.  We can still smile through tears, celebrate through grief and see joy in the world. A broken heart still beats. The world still turns and life goes on.

So, bring on the eggnog, Christmas carols and fires.  Let’s light the house up with Christmas displays.  Let the stockings be hung, the dancing Santa’s dance and the angels sing.  No doubt my mother is one of those angels now.  May we hear her voice this Christmas, and all others to come.

I think faith is incredibly important because you will become overwhelmed with what’s happening and you will have waves of grief, but when you turn to your faith, I believe God will give you waves of grace to get through it. – Joel Osteen

 

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Protected: Broken Promises

Posted by adalamar on November 28, 2016

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Protected: You Knew

Posted by adalamar on November 22, 2016

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The 49th Year

Posted by adalamar on November 21, 2016

To most today is just another day, nothing special.  But to my family, this day has been a day to celebrate for 49 years now.  It is my parent’s 49th wedding anniversary.  They met 54 years ago and were married in 1967.  My wonderful mother passed 4 months ago, but we still celebrate.

To stay together so long, through the ups and downs of life.  Theirs was truly a time when you stuck with it. It was wonderful growing up with parents who loved each other so much.  It was wonderful to see them, even in their older years, holding hands and being affectionate.  They have been a wonderful example as to what a relationship truly should be.  And they taught me not to ever settle for less than what they had.

And what they had does not change with the times or social opinion of the masses.  Because they taught me about basing a relationship on similar values, friendship, trust, respect and faith.  Those are the things that last, long after looks and the superficial fades.  They taught me about doing for the other not because you owe them, but because you love them.

I have called them many times over the years to wish them a happy anniversary and they would have completely forgotten about it.  They just went along, happy with each other no matter what day.

Today, we talked about many things he remembers about her.  We laughed as we talked about fond memories and talents she held.  I want to take all those memories and put them in a place inside my heart that is so Holy and sacred, that they will always be bright and unfaded. Afterward Dad went to visit my closest sister in age and geography.  Being so close to Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for her interest in keeping in touch with him and hope the trend continues.  Tonight will be a dinner of his choice and lots of hugs.

Today marks the start of the first of many holidays and celebrations without Mom.  Truth be told I do not know how to make that sound optimistic, or nice.  It is a journey that we all must go through at some point in our lives.  I do not know how to truly process that she is not here for this anniversary. I do not know how or what to feel. In truth, all we can do is hold those who we love just that much closer.  We can make those anniversaries of whatever a celebration…of life that is here, in front of us.  And maybe therein lies the key.

So tonight I raise my glass to the 49th year. I am only 43, so I cannot even fathom what it is like or what it takes to stay with someone for longer than I have been alive.  But I do know it takes a lot of love.  I want to take those memories of love and be inspired moving forward.

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Why Yes I love Turkey…a Little too Much!

Posted by adalamar on November 17, 2016

We all have those traumatic childhood memories…you know the ones…they are those things that you try not to think about at night. Those memories that send a chill up your spine when you do, and you push it out of your mind just as fast as it popped in. Traumatic and shameful, no amount of therapy can truly exercise some demons. Most of my childhood memories are happy, but there is one in particular that still haunts me.

Her name was Tina. I am sure in some other life she may have been wonderful, but in this life, with me, she taunted me endlessly. She was the terror of my 7 year old world. She would chase me and I knew if she caught me she would rip me to pieces – one look at her hard cold face told me that. I would see her face in my dreams and wake up screaming in a cold sweat.  Getting home from school for most kids was an exciting thing to look forward to, but for me it was an experience in terror. She would wait by the fence that bordered our yard, pacing back and forth waiting till I got close enough. A few times she even somehow got on the other side of that fence into our yard and chased me till I ran into the house screaming.

Who was she? Tina was a turkey. Literally. And she was evil. She hated me with a fierceness that I did not think Possible of our fine feathered “friends”. Some of you might laugh at my torment, but you have an angry, bitter bird come after you with their sharp, angry beak and see how long you stand still.

And Tina was an unusually large turkey….she was almost as big as I was (at least that is how I remember it in my 7 year old mind). She was the biggest turkey I had ever seen, and she was usually coming right at me to…to peck my eyes out or take big chunks out of me.

I had nightmares about being chased by her. You know the one…where you are running from something but you are running in slow motion, and they are running at normal speed. Except Tina was a turkey, so her legs went unGodly fast. And in this nightmare she resembled more of a terrifying version of the Road Runner than your friendly Turkey that gets spared every Thanksgiving by the president.

One time I got up the courage to turn around and throw a big rock at her…and when she stopped for a moment I even did a little bravery dance and a “Take that you big stupid bird!”   And that must made her even more angry, which I did not think possible. She proceeded to chase me with the speed only reserved for evil spirits in bad cheesy horror flicks. But this was no movie, this was real. I barely escaped the fiery fury of her evil beak.

So this Thanksgiving, and every Thanksgiving, I truly enjoy my turkey dinner…maybe…a little too much.

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This Thanksgiving

Posted by adalamar on November 17, 2016

Change. It is a fact of life. Everyone, at some point, must accept it, learn to deal with it, adapt to it.  But that can very so very hard.

Usually I write about everything I am thankful for in the Month of November – a new list every day.  This Thanksgiving that seems too strange. I do look around and acknowledge the many blessings.  But I am not sure how to act really.  I am very thankful Dad is still here, thankful for my wonderful boyfriend, the fact that we have been blessed to have such a wonderful home and are building a life of love. That I have such wonderful friends who are there for me and love me, that I have a job I love at a great company.

And that I had 42 wonderful Thanksgivings with my mother.  That I was there in her last moments. And for all the wonderful talks and whispers and moments we shared, mother and daughter.  When she looked at me in the hospital and said “I know you truly love me.”  When she smiled and said “I know what that means.”  When I read the letter and notes she wrote labeled “Don’t open unless I am dead”…and how truly funny they were.  Thankful for the way she always knew just what to say, and when to say it, to make me smile and feel better.  Thankful for the taco soup and fresh cut corn that she froze, just for us, knowing she was going to pass. Still taking care of us, even now.

This Thanksgiving will be very different from the ones in the past.  Every Thanksgiving has been at my parent’s place.  Even when I lived far away, the trip would be made to make sure I was there with the rest of the family.  There was always so much food because Mom loved cooking for all of us.  The exception was last year when I begged to have the holiday feast at my place.  Mom and Dad reluctantly agreed and made the trip up to the big city.  It would turn out to be the last with my Mom.  My sister and her three boys were there too.  I treasure those memories.

This is the first year in my life that Mom will not be here for Thanksgiving, or Christmas.  This change is not welcome, but it is as it is and so I must adapt.  Thanksgiving is coming whether Mom is here or not.  And so this year we will spend Thanksgiving around M’s mother’s table. I am thankful for their generosity of taking us in. And no doubt there will be lots of love around that table. Truth be told Dad and I are at a bit of a loss this Thanksgiving…and holiday season in general.

But that is the thing about change – it opens up new opportunities. New ways of thinking about and doing things, and new possibilities.  This Thanksgiving may have a melancholy feel, but it can still be special.  This Thanksgiving is about love. And love is always a good thing.  Because love feeds the Human Spirit, fills in all of our cracks and makes us stronger.

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What’s Cooking

Posted by adalamar on November 8, 2016

We all have those challenges in life where you wonder how on earth can it all get done?  One of the biggest struggles in modern life is what’s for dinner?  How do you cook a balanced meal most nights, have it tasty, fresh and not take forever to prep and cook?  After working all day?  We are currently trying to figure this out.  So is a large part of the rest of the country as well.  All the planning it takes, prepping, and actual time cooking.  How to make sure everything is done and hot at the same time when each thing cooking takes a different amount of time to prep and cook?  How to cook and plan a meal for this this night, leftovers that night, the other dish the next night…so that nothing is repetitive and boring – oh and still nutritious and yummy?

Having an aging parent living with you, who is going through chemo and who has special dietary needs adds to the challenge. Growing up my Mom cooked for us almost every night. And when we had 6 foster kids, she cooked almost every night still.  We always had three balanced meals a day.  I have no idea how she did it.  Actually I do –  First, she loved taking care of others, so it gave her a tremendous amount of joy.  Second she didn’t work.  That is not knocking those who stay home – quite the opposite.  One of the most important things you can do for your family is cook, clean and take care of them.  And it is a lot of hard work.  Thus the challenge.  How to take care of the family as well as you could if you didn’t work, when you do work?

My boyfriend and I, who both work, are trying to figure out how to take care of things in and around the house as well as those who don’t work.  And the truth is – we can’t.  Those who stay home and take care of everything are nothing short of miracle workers.  There are two of us and we, combined, cannot do what my mother did, and there was only one of her.  (But then my mother was magic)

Maybe the trick is in addition to doing it together, you have to decide on a level of un-doneness. Yes, I did just make up that word. What that means is that since we do both work, and we are not miracle workers, we cannot possibly to everything.  So, if we cook great meals 4 nights a week, then eat left overs, sandwiches, soups or pizza the other nights, maybe that is enough.  Add some healthy snacks in there and maybe that is the extent of what we can get done.  Because there is still laundry, still dishes, still vacuuming, still trying to exercise, still quality family times and still trying to have a little smidgen of a social life.

Maybe finding an acceptable level of un-doneness is the secret to keeping the love as well.  There might be dust on the mantle, but if love burns bright in the fireplace, then a warm home cannot be far behind. And that’s what’s cooking at the Burch Manor.

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The Company You Keep

Posted by adalamar on November 8, 2016

Growing up we were always the house that everyone stopped in and visited.  And I heard many, many times that it doesn’t matter what time of the day or night you stop by, my mother would always have fresh coffee and delicious food available.  Everyone felt comfortable and at home at our house.  And the house was always full.  There was much laughter, fun, lots of food and an extra plate at meal time.

I told my boyfriend to expect lots of company once we moved to a more convenient and central location. Cat allergies aside, there would be lots of visitors.  And this weekend it started.  We have been in the new house maybe 5 weeks.  There are still boxes to unpack and pictures to hang.  The floor needs a sweep and probably the upstairs carpet a vacuum.  But that’s OK.  My friends know that my house will never be perfect.

Saturday my Boyfriends mother came over for a visit and laundry (while they wait for their new washer and dryer to be delivered).  I love that fact that we live so close to them that they can pop over for something like that.  When I was younger and in college I lived that close to my parents, but never as an “adult.” Mom would call and tell me about the delicious goodness she was cooking for dinner and if I wasn’t busy, would I join them.  I was usually over in 5 minutes or less.  And I felt like such an adult the first time she came over for coffee.

Sunday was more company as a cousin of one of my best friends came by for a visit and dinner.  It was great.  A house is not a home without love, laughter, good food and good friends.  It’s the company that you keep that turns a house into your home.

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Unpacked

Posted by adalamar on October 31, 2016

After moving to a new home, nothing feels quite as good as having most of the house finally unpacked. After most items are unpacked, the home starts to take shape, starts to feel good and warm and comfy.  You have your favorite soft, warm blanket close by, you have your favorite coffee cup, see your favorite picture hanging on the wall.  It feels good, definitely a lot better than wading through a floor full of boxes.

And this is where we are after a great weekend, that oddly never feels quite long enough.  Finally, most of the boxes are empty.  Those that are left are simply books or office supplies to be placed on their respective shelves.  But home looks like home in this place we are building together.

IT is a place to go after work, a place to have hot dinner and warm discussions by the fire.  IT is a place to watch a movie or TV show, or hear music, or share a story.

And most of all, it is a place to love and build the future, inside these walls.

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14,000 Miles

Posted by adalamar on October 31, 2016

Regular car maintenance, we all do it.  Unless we want to be stranded on the side of the road because the engine exploded, we get the oil changes, tires rotated, fluids topped off.  Just like the DMV, it is a necessary evil that must be endured.  I am lucky that the place I take my car is pretty honest and they know I know a bit about cars (thanks Dad).  But even I was surprised when the technician asked “14,000 miles since your last oil change in June?!?  Where have you been driving?”

You can travel a lifetime in fourteen thousand miles. In those miles I have traveled several.  What started out as simply assisting Mom during recovery from a minor procedure ended up as so much more.  And that seems several lifetimes ago already.

In 14,000 miles I have traveled to heartaches door and back.  I have carried more love and compassion than all the luggage in the world could hold.  Each mile, each inch, each centimeter, has paralleled each beat of my heart.

I have traveled to confusion, and denial and desperation and fear and loss.  I have visited darkness and knelt humbly at faith’s doorstep.  I have sat, hunch over, crying, sobbing, begging, pleading, admitting that I don’t know how to do this, how to watch my mother pass, how to be strong enough to be the leader, how to be what is needed for this task. I have prayed for wisdom, and grace, and compassion and understanding, and patience; sometimes failing, sometimes not.

In those miles I have bargained, promised, negotiated, fought, and bled my soul.  I researched the best course, sacrificed sleep because it was not important, and seen acceptance in the nurses expression when they looked into my eyes and knew the term “visiting hours” did not apply to me. I have prayed that as much as I love her, please, please let her not suffer.  I have broken my own heart into minuscule shards, trembling, as I prayed for it to be peaceful.

I have seen compassion and true heartbreak watching my father.  And I have witnessed the truest love, watching them the last time they interacted.

In 14,000 miles, I have seen the most beautiful and striking rainbows, as rays of hope break through the clouds. I have seen eyes look into mine with love and compassion, shoulders that truly are strong enough for me to cry on, arms that are strong enough to protect me, and gentle enough to be shelter. In those miles, I have seen how blessed I am to have a wonderful man and partner who is willing to be there, even when I am so terrified that I cannot stand to be in my own company. And then seen him stay and stroke my hair so I sleep in peace.  I have carried whispers and secrets and writings, and journals, and anger, and fear, and love and joy and everything that is life in those miles.

There have been miles of boxes packed. moved and unpacked.  There have been countless sleepless nights, up planning and figuring, writing and praying.  There have been men payed, volunteers asked, friends talked to and letters written.  Interviews and jobs declined and accepted, tasked completed and left undone. There have been pictures taken and voice mails saved, phones traded and flowers smelled.  There have been countless meals cooked and eaten, many bottles of wine and water and coffee.  There have been long goodbyes and short visits, lengthy conversations and easy decisions and heavy burdens. There have been cards and songs, and work and play. And love, most of all.

Fourteen thousand miles is a short distance for where I have traveled and returned. And when you think about all of that in 14,000 miles, it is humbling to think of how many miles are traveled in our time on Earth, and by how many travelers.

And in the miles ahead, I see that the road is rich with hope and dreams, and love, and kindness and all the good that can be held around the next bend. And it makes me wonder what the next miles have in store.  Just like looking at the blank pages of a new journal, I am inquisitive about the future. Even when the road is long and hard, we must never lose our hope, our wanderlust, our curiosity, our sense of wander or our optimism. We must always strive to learn and grow and be better.

Yes, I saw all of this flash before me, in an instant when the technician asked that simple question.  I just said “I had a family illness that required a lot of driving.” He smiled kindly and said he was sorry to hear. Then he rang me up and went on his way down his road, continuing his journey.  And so it goes.

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Symphonies for Us

Posted by adalamar on October 24, 2016

We all need to experience new things, or even old things that we have not experienced in many years that gave us joy. As adults, we need to have fun, enjoy life even in tough times, especially in tough times.  Friday my father and I went on a Father-daughter date to the symphony.  He loves classical music, and one of his favorites was playing.  I had never been to the symphony and looked very much forward to the first experience.

I love the fact that I will be able to say that the first time going to the symphony was with my Dad.  He was very excited, as was I.  We left in plenty of time for traffic (which for Atlanta is at least an hour with some extra padding).  Upon arrival we noticed quite a crowd.  Each part of the art center had functions, and Atlanta loves the arts.  We were seated in the main orchestra section close enough to see everything.  We even met a very nice lady who gave us tips on the best places to sit depending on what we wanted to see the most.

And then the music started.  Wow.  As many live music shows as I have been to, I have to say that there is nothing like the symphony.  To not only hear the music, but to see and notice the nuances as the instruments are played is amazing.  You are carried away by the violins, then the cellos…then you notice that the flutes are being played, when you had not noticed their subtle under tones before…and a whole new world is opened in that piece of music.

We were both lost in the music while the orchestra played, both fascinated by the way the conductor led the members, and both carried away to another place and time.  Wonderful memories.  And no doubt there will be more symphonies for us, as looked online to see what our next musical adventure.

 

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Father Daughter Date

Posted by adalamar on October 21, 2016

Tonight will be a great night. It is something my father and I have been looking forward to for quite a while.  Dad loves classical music, so when I saw this event, I knew we had to go.  Dvořák’s popular “From the New World” Symphony is one of his absolute favorites, and it has been a long time since he has been to the symphony.

Tonight is Father Daughter Date night.  We will go to Casual Friday’s at the Atlanta Symphony, enjoy some great music, then have a nice bite somewhere tasty.  Truly good quality time together, he and I.  A treat to celebrate a bit of life, something good at the end of the tunnel and the start of maybe a new tradition.

The holidays are approaching, and the symphony has many concerts for the season.  But tonight is the first. Something I will no doubt cherish for a long time.

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When Little Boys Think They are Mem

Posted by adalamar on October 21, 2016

When little boys think they are men.  When boys think they know the difference between books and real life, and Robin Williams sets them straight. One of my favorite scenes.

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Pace Yourself

Posted by adalamar on October 18, 2016

In this world of bigger is better, more is best and the more you can accomplish and cram in one day the more important you are…it is important to pace yourself.

There is so much to this week, even with things slowing down a bit. And I struggle not to be overwhelmed and not to be tempted to unpack and organise trough the night.  Not everything has to be done today or tonight.  Indeed, one must have a good pace in order to complete the race.

My schedule has been non stop since early April, maybe March.  Dealing with Mom’s degrading health, planning the sibling reunion, having the reunion, Mom’s death, moving Dad in with us, organizing the move into the bigger house, unpacking, getting ready for moving all of Dad’s things in, and getting settled in a new job – in addition to family issues. It’s a lot!

And I am feeling burned out.  I am struggling to not burn out.

What is the solution?  I don’t know.  What I can say is that tonight, I must pace myself.  Tonight I put our relationship first.  Salmon steaks, wine and some smiles and plans.  Your must make sure your priorities are in line and conducive to a healthy, happy life. And that takes effort.  It takes effort to pull away from the brink of burnout to make your partner know that they are important and that you appreciate them.  It takes pacing yourself to make the time necessary for care and nurturing that relationship.

It is so important right now, with all the changes, that I take care of those I love, including myself.

And so it goes tonight.  And maybe the answer is the pace of it all.  Maybe it is in slowing down, taking a breath, saying a prayer and making the effort that we find ourselves anew.

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With Love

Posted by adalamar on October 18, 2016

I have long had the theory that if you do something with love, it will be felt throughout.  This past weekend is a great example.  My father wanted several of his belongings and pieces of furniture moved up.  A new home doesn’t really feel like it’s yours until you have your most favorite things around you.

And so my man and I went down to Mom and Dad’s, loaded up a 16’ truck full of his favorite things and drove them up to the new house.  Dad is taking full advantage of the fact that there is space for his things now.  So, with the help of some wonderful friends, we unloaded the truck and arrange Dad’s new room.

When my father returns, he will find his room full with his bed, his desk, his favorite chair and other items he picked to have with him.  My man and I arrange everything last night, moving heavy solid wood furniture, pulling out the tape measure with blinding speed, trying not to fall over the cats and trying not to trip over each other. The result is warmth that you can feel as soon as you walk in the room.  A room filled with, arranged with and designed with thought and love.  It is my favorite room in the house so far.

It seems that when you are doing for another, being of service to them, whatever love is felt is returned ten-fold.  Doing things for Dad helps me feel better.  It makes me feel as if Mom is smiling as she watches over us. It melts away all my heartache, channels it into something positive, and makes me smile. Serving others helps me heal. I can no longer do for Mom, but I can do for those she loved most and make sure they are good. And the is no doubt she loved Dad the best and the most.

Now, to arrange the rest of the house in the coming weeks.  To make it ours, warm and comfortable.  A sanctuary in a crazy world, a place of rest and peace.  And love.


 

Special note:  I am the luckiest woman in the world to have such a wonderful man as my partner.  He has been there for me, putting up with me in my emotional, grieving state.  He has been patient, letting me cry when needed.  He has been amazing to my father, treating him with nothing but kindness and respect.  He has lifted and moved heavy furniture, called on his friends to help, done dishes and laundry, eaten questionable cooking, and watched TV shows just because I liked them. I have been treated with more kindness, grace, gentleness and love that I deserve or could possibly hope.

There is a saying that when a woman is loved the right way, she becomes 100 times more than she ever could have been.  He has shown me this is true.  And I am blessed.

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The Wonder They Hold

Posted by adalamar on October 10, 2016

Sometimes we find ourselves in interesting places while trying to get back into the rhythm of life. This is where I find myself.  Three months after Mom’s passing, which still seems so surreal, we are all starting to get into the rhythm of forward movement.

In many ways is it the land of Almost (Which I wrote about here). I say almost, because I am not there yet.  But it feels like the brim of many things.  I am almost back into life, almost feeling like myself, almost back  into the swing of things.  We are almost unpacked, almost settled, and I almost know what I am doing. At work I am almost done with a few projects, my clothes almost match, and I almost feel like I look like I have it almost together.

It is peculiar, this place.  No longer there, but not quite at the other. It is better, as I come out of the darkness. I almost have a routine, and it feels good.  Get up, make coffee for Dad, discuss what is going on for the day.  At lunch it is either running a quick errand, eating at my desk or running home for lunch. After work is maybe going to the store for ingredients, then cooking, a little clean up and spending time with talking with my boyfriend about the day.  Still have to finish unpacking and figure out things like when to work out or watch TV.

A return to the routine after months of holding on, letting go and breathing out. The bittersweet relief of normal.  I look pictures of my mother, noticing her features as I inspect my own in the mirror.  There are enough similarities that I know I can do this. And I sleep warmly under a blanket which she picked.  She and God equipped me with all that is needed, and she loved me enough for a lifetime. Soon it will no longer be Almost…soon it will be a rhythm of life and love and hope and all the wonder that they hold.

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THIS

Posted by adalamar on September 27, 2016

Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again.  And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful. – LR Knost

The ups and downs of life. We can’t avoid them.  And honestly would we really want to? While there are times when we all wish we could fast forward, would we really want a life with just ups and no downs?  I don’t think so.

This was a rough summer for me.  And I am still healing.  But this hard time, this heartache, it makes me think back to the wonderful memories of when everything was perfect.  I hold onto those memories so tight, knowing this will not last forever.

While packing up for the move I found cards my mother sent me during other rough times.  And those cards felt like a wonderful blanket of love and warmth, with the things she wrote still holding true.

THIS. This is all part of life.  We cannot appreciate to the good without also experiencing the bad.  I remember reading a book called “The Prophet” when I was 19.  Totally changed my life.  One of the passages states only that which brings you great joy can bring you great sorrow. Truth be told, I will gladly grieve the loss to be able to say how much joy I had with my mother.  I will gladly cry and miss her now, for the fact that I had her in my life for 43 years.

And that is just life.  The good, the bad, the ugly and the all of it. It is the all of it that makes life so rich, so deep, so mosaic and so riveting. It’s the mistakes, missed opportunities, wrong roads, paths less traveled, the unexpected moments that take our breath away and truly make life worth living.

The best stories and memories aren’t when everything goes as planned.  We find ourselves and our joy oftentimes in the most assuming and surprising places along the way.   We find our life in the spaces of the hills and valleys of our heart and the tales it tells. We find our love in not only the happiness, but the sorrows.

And in the end, when I look back, I hope it’s as magical, as memorizing and as beautiful  as I imagine.

We just have to hold on, pray, have faith and breath. I wish I had some deep and fantastic thing to write about it. But the simple truth is we just have to live it. We just have to live THIS.

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Boundaries for Peace

Posted by adalamar on September 26, 2016

Most people things that a happy, peaceful life comes easy.  But in my experience, it does not.  It takes a lot of work to make sure that all is well and happy and healthy in your life.  Just like exercise and keeping your body fit, life sometimes requires some work in order to keep things in shape.

You must be very vigilant to make sure that you keep out people and situations out that will cause drama.  When you don’t, the result can be a lot of energy spent dealing with destructive, emotional situations that leave you exhausted.   And constant drama can not only leave you drained, but also emotionally unhealthy.

There is a saying about keeping your circle small. I have found that to be true. And every now and then you have to let people go when they drain you of your time and energy by dragging in unnecessary drama.  Even if you love them, even if they are dear friends, even if they are family.  Sometimes the best thing is to just walk away.

I did this recently and the result has been actually having the time and emotional bandwidth to heal.  Mom’s death and all the changes surrounding that have been tough.  And everything has happened very quickly.  So I had to choose, either my emotional health, or them.  My emotional health won.

Healthy boundaries are a necessity for a peaceful life.  You must have lines that others are not allowed to cross.  Anything that disturbs your peace of mind or makes you feel bad, anything that does not serve you or your purpose or your joy, must go.

And now I can grieve properly – in a safe, loving environment that fosters emotional health.  I can truly concentrate on what is best for my family as we move forward.  I can make sure that this move goes as smoothly as possible.  That this home, our home, is a good space that is a shelter from all that is bad.  And bottom line is that I am too busy and have too many things on my plate to deal with such foolishness.  I just can’t be bothered.

I could not do that if I still had those situations and people interfering.  So don’t be afraid to be selfish, don’t be afraid to stand up and do what is best for you, for your family and for your life.  Today is not a dress rehearsal.  Don’t be afraid to take control and be a supporter of boundaries for peace.

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To Her

Posted by adalamar on September 26, 2016

What is she looking for, I wonder?  When she looks at my blog, at the same ones that she always reads? Is she looking for comfort?  Or inspiration to leave?  Has he done to her what he did to me?  Is she trying to get the courage? Is she looking for a clue?  Why it is those entries?  Except, I know.

This is to you, yes you, his new.  Don’t be afraid to leave.  You deserve better than to have someone speak to you that way, treat you that way, hurt you that way…hit you that way.  Yes, what I say is true, all of it. And there is life after, love after, all after it’s over. Two others have gone before you, and there is enough of a record to stop it.  If that is the road you choose, you will not walk alone.

 

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The Temporary Slobs

Posted by adalamar on September 20, 2016

Packing up an entire house, with the belongings of 3 people in no small thing.  And the house gets messy when you are throwing around boxes and arranging items securely so they don’t shift or break.  Boxes are everywhere, stuff is everywhere as we try to organize what should go in which box.  And we are packing so there is not much time for actual housework.

And then I get the call.  The property management company wants to show the house to a potential renter.  She makes the appointment time and now it is time for a frenzied cleaning spree.  You never realize how much of slobs you are until you are packing up and living in the same space while working full time and trying to have a life.  All of the sudden it was dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, organizing, folding and actually putting the laundry away.  Not to mention arranging the boxes into a manner where you can see the floor and do not have to walk a narrow walk way. Getting all the cat fur and dust bunnies from underneath the bed and out of the corners. Wiping off counters and cleaning bathrooms.

I realized in that moment; in that moving, cleaning, OMG, we have been so busy we have not had time to do this moment, we had become temporary slobs.

And the house will be shown, and while it won’t be perfect – the know we are in the middle of packing – it will look decent.  This little house that has been our home, that has been such a blessing and rescued all of us in one way or another.  Leaving is bittersweet – this is the first house in a long time that truly felt like home.  And I felt it from the moment I looked at it.   It has been a space filled with love, and promise, and my first Thanksgiving celebration, and family, and memories and so much love, it’s hard to believe a building can hold so much.

And now we move to another home, this one bigger, with more space for Dad, and better commutes to work.  But still that little house will always be one of my favorites.  And we will continue packing, then unpacking, and probably being slobs until we are settled into the new house.  And that’s OK, because we are in order where it counts – our priorities, our love for each other, our commitment to each other and this little family – my boyfriend, my father and me.  Life can get messy, but as long as we have each other, it will all work out in the end.  And it’s OK to be the slobs next door – for now.

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In the Silence of Your Absence

Posted by adalamar on September 13, 2016

In the silence of your absence
I am acutely aware of the space
Between the raindrops
And the heartbeats of each minute

I have deep knowledge of
The distance a whisper
Can travel in a quick breath
On the thick summer air

In the silence of your absence
I have felt, with keen understanding
The depth of love and pain
And loss and hope

I have heard and follow
The cries of the doves
And the joy of the butterflies
As their wings work their magic

In the silence of your absence
Though deafening as it may be,
I comprehend the bittersweet
Celebration of all the love you left behind.

And I recognize the calling
In the songs of the hummingbird
And I distinctly hear your voice
As the silence is broken.

Ada Burch
9/13/2016

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And Then it Was Two

Posted by adalamar on September 13, 2016

Someone asked how Dad and I were doing today. This day, the 2nd month anniversary of Mom’s death. Two Months.  One can live a lifetime in two months.

Most of that day is a blur to me.  I remember parts and pieces.  I remember painting Mom’s fingernails and gently brushing her hair the night before, and that morning.  I remember gently talking to her about how much I loved her and about my favorite childhood memories.  Like the Alfonso’s break dancing kit gift debacle.  And when she read Little House on the Prairie book series to me.  And when she would brush and fix my hair in the morning when I was a child.  When she taught me all those childhood songs that I still remember, how she decorated my bedroom when I was a teenager and made it seafoam green…and how I really did not appreciate that as much as I should have.  How she sat with me through each and every heartache and break up.  And teaching me how to cook and make her famous milk sausage gravy…and so many memories.

I remember how I held her hand and watched her breathing get more and more shallow.  Even when you know it’s coming, you are never prepared to see someone take their last breath.  And I remember the lights flickering three times after I said “I love you…”

And then there was talking to everyone, making arrangements. Making decisions and taking care of everything. I know it happened, and I was the one to do those things, but I really don’t remember.

Grief is not as I expected.  I thought it would be a huge brick in the pit of my stomach.  But it’s not.  It is more like an acute awareness that she is not here.  It is the extreme knowledge of the Last time I felt her arms around me. It is the silence of her absence. And it is deafening.

But my answer to my dear friend who asked was simply – We are getting better at moving forward.

Because we are. Every day we get better at honoring her by creating something beautiful.  We live for her to look down and smile.  We pray for God to hold  us – and her – in his big hands. We hold our breath for the signs and whispers.  We look up and feel the sun, see the clouds, celebrate the rainbows, feel the rain and notice the magnificence of the world. A life beautiful through honoring her, her memory, how she wanted us and raised us to be. A life beautiful by creating a safe, peaceful space that is a sacred sanctuary, protected and kept close.

We move forward by honoring her memory and being true to ourselves and those we love.  We continue forward with the move to the new house, and creating something special.  We weave together the fabric of this life with every heartbeat.

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The House on The Hill

Posted by adalamar on September 12, 2016

It is always exciting when you move to a new house, everything but the packing.  And Sunday it was time to take Dad by the new house.  He looked around and inspected everything with his precision eye…making sure everything was in line and right.

The basement, the most important thing and what he was the most excited about.  And he went down. It is not perfect, but we can make it work.  We can make it work with his workshop, with a few moderation.  Add some light fixtures, get some extension chords. And there is plenty of room not only for his workshop, but for storage as well.

He likes his new room. It is big and has enough space for whatever he wants to put in there.  He can have a little office as well.  The deck is being worked on, and will be ready by the time we move in.

It is not perfect, but it is great.  And it will be a great place for us.The house we are in now has been wonderful – the Rescue House.  It rescued me from me from the House of Mold, it rescued my boyfriend and became a place of love, and now it rescued my Dad and has become his home too.

The new house will be a place of new beginnings.  And it is my privilege to have Dad with us, starting this new life with us.  I am a lucky woman. And I feel Mom smiling.

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It’s Already There

Posted by adalamar on September 12, 2016

When I first read it so many years ago, it made me cry. It makes me cry still. A beautiful writer, a wonderful friend who wrote a beautiful piece. For me. And now I share it with you.  Thank you Rex Holiday.

It’s Already There

I see it this way: from a guy who has pissed away more great chances in a week than most men will see in a year: I’ve been allowed to see incomprehensible scenery connected to a brain that “gets it”.

Without those missed chances I would have: never been able to speak of the pain of an aborted father in the throes of post-regret, nor spoken to others who are bleeding the same way. Never known the kind of fervor and spit and fire it takes to speak my mind into a howling wind and actually made it slice through.

Never known the dubious pleasure of bringing down a pseudo-Napoleon living as king of his particular hill in a school system I pay for.

Never heard the voice of a now-relieved-son thanking me for helping his invalid grandmother out of a winter storm

Never had the ocean-powered wave of gratitude wash over me when I, alone, stood with one, wrongly accused, against a courtroom full of antagonists. (Not-guilty, by the way)

Never known the sheer power of being the one in the fray who is COMMITTED.

Never been able to speak of true, unrequited, ripped-apart love to an adolescent who’s going through the same thing.

Never known the joy of vocally and VERY audibly cheering a teenager when they finally excelled at something and got their due for it.

Never seen the pain in a true friend’s eyes when they buried their youngest. Never been able to hold them and let them cry the way they would only in a true friend’s arms.

Never been blessed to help bear the pain of someone you love on any level.

Never felt so dirty and ashamed as to chase even my closest friends off.

Never felt the heat of a South Georgia summer.

Or the cold of a Kentucky ice storm.

Or the power of an Alabama thunderstorm.

Or the thundering beauty of a Mississippi sunset.

Or the caress of a Tennessee mountain morning.

Or the complete release of a hearty and block-shattering “KISS MY ASS” to authority.

Or of watching the pain

the pleasure

the ecstacy

the victory

of discovery.

Would never had heard the crowd’s approval swell like a big gentle wave in the warm Gulf.

Or my new bride, taking such care to dress in some kind of frilly underpinnings complete with garters and white stockings say, “…do you mind if we don’t”, on my wedding night.

Not a bit. I just drove three hours through nowhere, Mississippi to say to the hotel clerk, “I’ve waited 31 years to say this: I just got married, and I need a room.” I was tired. Be real.

I would have missed words like, “I do”, “You may take your planet home”, “Would you hand me the piano?”, “I want to try everything, tonight.”, and “Honey, wake up. Hannah Newton was killed last night in a car wreck. John was right behind her.”

Not all of these are pleasant or desirable but they are rich. A mosaic of life. If we didn’t like imperfection and character, photographs would far outsell paintings. It’s what we’re here for.

I would have missed the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, and the cussing of the GM.

And I would have missed you and your smile.

Most of all.

Stop searching. It’s already there.

– Rex Holiday

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Life in Imperfections

Posted by adalamar on September 8, 2016

I am learning that within our own imperfections we find the greatest truths, unconditional love, appreciation and a mirror of who we really hope to be on the inside on the good and Bad days. – Jennifer Jo Clark Singleton

We all have those times in life were we just have to do it. There is a reason why that slogan is such a hit.  It is especially appropriate after a tragedy or major setback in life.  When we feel hopeless, defeated, hurt, scared, sad, depressed, discourage, unsure…we just have to get up and do it.

I remember a lesson I learned from my mother.  She had a very bad back and suffered terrible chronic pain.  She was extremely strong willed though and worked through it.  The pain would put most people in bed…and I remember asking her why she didn’t just take a break or lie down?  With a smile and that common sense way of thinking for which she was famous, she told me that her back was going to hurt whether she got up or not, so she might as get up, and get busy. Wow. Now that she is no longer with us, I want to carry her on lessons of strength and endurance in the face of hard time.

The fact is that we will probably still feel scared, discouraged, sad, or whatever, but we just have to do it anyway.  At some point you have to decide to reach deep down, where the soul meets the mind, down where each heartbeat mingles with our breath, and pull ourselves up.  It’s going to hurt anyway, so we might as well just do it.

And so it goes.  There is much to do at this moment.  So much change, heartache, work, love, fear, truth, honor, sadness, and life.  Adjusting to having an aging parent in the house, making sure he has everything he needs and wants, packing and organizing two moves, working a full time job, trying to cook, clean and do everyday things, keeping up with friends and family… I have no idea how I am going to do it, but I just have to, because failure is not an option.

But I know I can do it, because my mother could do anything, and I am my mother’s daughter.  The pity party is over – and that is another thing she taught me.  Have a pity party, but just make sure it doesn’t last too long.  Because life and it’s demands do not stop just because you are having a bad day, or week, or month or even year.  So you better figure it out.

I can hear her voice, gently whispering to me, as I get up in the morning.  She knows I can do it.  I will not be perfect at this.  I will stumble, fall and even fail sometimes, no matter how hard I try.  And in my imperfections, I have found this truth.  In her imperfections I have found that unconditional love and faith.  I have found that mirror of who I am now and who I want to be on the good and bad days. And I am blessed to have a wonderful people around me who will stand by firm.  They are my roots.

We can also choose in what spirit in which we move forward.  We can choose to rise above the drama and pain, or let it drag us down.  We can choose to do things with a loving and cheerful heart, or we can be bitter and angry. I choose the former in both sets.  Dolly Parton Sings in her hit Hard Candy Christmas “I’m barely getting through tomorrow/But still I won’t let/Sorrow get me way down/Me, I’ll be just fine and dandy.” And I will be just fine.

I think that starts with acceptance. It is going to be hard. It is going to test my limits and strength.  But’s it’s going to hurt anyway so I might as well get up and get busy.  Things are going to be unbalanced right now, so I will just grab what time for myself that I can, and just get through the rest. Maybe the key is finding the unbalance you can live with temporarily. And the bad times are always temporary; it won’t be like this six months from now, a year from now, ten years from now.

You can pack and cry at the same time; you can move mountains while still wounded. You just have to do it. And so I will. How…I am not sure.  I guess we will figure that out along the way. And in my imperfections I will find life.

Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together. – Elizabeth Taylor

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Changing Seasons

Posted by adalamar on September 6, 2016

The air is starting to crisp.  I for one am ready for the coolness of Fall.  It has been a cruel summer, and I am looking forward to the kinder nights of the changing season.

The change will not be without challenges though, as a two moves, what would have been my parents 49th anniversary and also the holidays are all on the calendar.  But Fall offers a break from all the heavy topics of summer, and a chance to break away for a moment and breathe.

Fall offers sitting out on the back patio next to the fire pit, maybe even the roasting of a marshmallow or two. It offers a slowing down of life and taking time to enjoy the air.  It offers apple picking and talks of new plans and a new life that comes with a new season, a new house and a new situation.

We made it through the summer, working hard and getting through.  We all need a bit of a break, to breathe, to smile, to laugh. To remember that there is life after tragedy.  To grab a good time and make a memory or two along our journey.  To make new traditions, while honoring the old.  To hug and hold each other, and to really know that together we can do anything.  There is safety in numbers and we are stronger and better together, our little unit; my Dad, my boyfriend and me. 

With love, patience, Grace (pray I have it), and Faith, we can do anything. There are other siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and dear friends to add, all making for a great supportive extended family. Why worry about one, when there are so many with which to celebrate the new season?

I just want to surround my father with so much love that it makes the loss and absence easier. I want to block out all drama, all negative people, all dialog not constructive to create a protective order. 

I am ready for cool breezes to cleanse the sweat and tears of summer.  Ready for the foundation of the next chapter to be poured as we build something beautiful and honest and real. Yes, I am ready for Fall.

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Grace Under Pressure

Posted by adalamar on September 6, 2016

How did my Mother do it, I wonder?  How did she manage the family and all the activities? When she was here, she was the one who took care of everything and everyone when they needed something.  Now that torch has been passed to me. And I think I am failing miserably at it.

For example, my sister closest in age has refused to help with moving our parents belonging out of the family compound into the new house where Dad will live.  When I asked if she would help her answer was “Dad can handle moving by himself, he is not a child.”  I don’t know of a single adult who can handle a move completely alone, including her.  In addition to that, she has many things of her own still in the house that she is expecting Dad, or someone other than her, to pack, load, move and store for her.  Seems to me like that takes a lot of nerve to expect. And it makes my blood boil as I see the hurt in Dad’s eyes, and his panicked and defensive tone as he says he doesn’t need her, any one’s help.

I am not a violent person, but the urge to throw something large and heavy at her was hard to resist.  But I did, barely. How exactly did my mother do it?

When you are placed in a leadership position, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that goes along with it. That responsibility also gives you certain rights or privileges.  For example, I was there when my mother passed, that sister was not. The cross that my mother was wearing when she passed, hangs around my neck now. That cross my dear mother gave me, I took and placed around her neck so she would have a cross to wear for her journey. And when my mother’s journey was complete, the cross once again hung around my neck from hers. A beautiful gift given, an intimate moment shared between mother and daughter.   That detail gives me the privilege to tell my sister she should have been there herself if she wanted anything different. The responsibility is to try to have Grace..to have justice tempered by mercy. I am pretty bad at that part. 

And I try so hard to remember my mother’s teachings of Grace and patience.  But that is oh so hard when I see my father being hurt. I want to be fiercely protective of him and tell her, in no uncertain terms, what I think if her selfishness, her refusal to work with us, her refusal to communicate or plan anything from his move, to his birthday to plans for the holidays.

We have all heard of a divorced parent whose ex-spouse makes joint custody of the children a nightmare.  Just because it is an adult parent, and not a child, does not make it OK to be an uncooperative ass.  And my mother dealt with this for almost 30 years, this sister causing problems. It should have been expected then, but I thought it might be different because of the circumstances.

And I wonder how she did it, my beautiful mother, because I am drowning. How did she keep her cool when selfishness came to the door and inside the house? Because I want to come out swinging.

When someone so selfish comes into your life, it completely alters the energy and feel of the room.  You can feel the air being sucked out of the entire space, as they are a black hole that devours anything positive and good.  It leaves you feeling exhausted as you try to feed their insatiable hunger.  But nothing you do for them will be enough; they will always want more, expect more and refuse more and more to do anything.  They are entitled, after all.

But you cannot defecate on those who love you and expect them to stick around.

And I realize maybe the solution is in walking away. From the drama, from the pain, from trying to be nice to someone who has no use for anything Burch but yet demands everything to be given. And Maybe the Grace and Patience my mother had comes not from believing in my sister, but from having faith that God will provide regardless.  God works miracles every single day.  Somehow this move, this time, this holiday season will work out without my sister, without her drama and her selfishness.  You cannot force someone to care, but you can move forward without them in your life.

And in letting go and leaving her behind, maybe therein lies the Grace. And also therein lies the Peace

Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, Building a life, faith, faith in love, family, father, feelings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Looking Up

Posted by adalamar on September 1, 2016

There are times in everyone’s life where all we can do is look up.  In looking up there is faith and hope.  Sometimes, we have to put our heads down and work through whatever it is, go get through or to reach a goal.  And then we find ourselves looking up at the sun, or feeling the cleansing rain on our face.  Looking up means noticing all that is around, not only above. It is saying a prayer, giving thanks and taking a breath.

There is a conversation you never dreams of having with your loved one.  The “It’s ok if you are tired, you can let go” talk when a family member is too ill.  I had that conversation with my mother while she was under sedation and she could not really respond.  The nurse had given her the shot before I had a chance to have a real conversation, so this was the best I could do.  I know she could hear me, so I stroked her hair and gently told her that I know she had been in pain and was so very tired, so if she didn’t feel l like fighting, that it was Ok to let go.  She had our permission.

I sat at her bedside, looking down watching her while rested and reassured her that while I wanted her to be around forever, it was OK if she was too tired and I understood. And loved her more than words could ever say.  I told her about the prognosis – that her body was just too weak to fight the infection and recover.  The truth that if she did recover, it would take months of rehabilitation to get back to normal.  That Everyone would be OK, even though we would miss her more terribly and deeply that we could ever imagine.

I think it is one of the hardest conversations to have with a parent or any loved one.  Gut-wrenching and physically difficult, it is what you do when you love someone and want what is best for them. But it goes against every selfish desire you have, because you naturally want your loved ones with you for as long as possible. But not at the cost of their comfort and quality of life.  So you break your own heart and let go, letting them let go too.

After she passed, I said my final goodbye, taking her hand and telling her one more time that I loved her so very much. When I stood up to leave, the lights flickered softly three times. A gentle whisper of “I love you.”  And I looked up and knew it was her.

As we move forward without her here, there has been much to do.  Getting the old house ready for sale, cleaning, arranging, packing.  We go out to take breaks and sit on the back deck facing the water.  Feeling the breeze, watching the flowers dance. And I look up and see fireflies dancing and playing right in front of me.  And I know it is another gentle whisper.

And there is unpacking the van in our current home, taking Dad’s things out and putting them inside for him, making sure he has all he needs to keep him warm and feeling loved and not so alone.  Unloading 40 houseplants, finding a place for them, in the sun, or partial sun, or full shade so that they flourish as much as they can.  And I look up…and see a double rainbow after I asked for a sign. Another gentle whisper, this time captured on my phone.

After dad and I were down dealing with the coin collection, there was a penny at my door, the year of my birth. And I looked up, thankful for the whisper. Truth be told, there have been too many signs, signals and whispers to mention.  Every day, another whisper, just as I have asked moving forward. A wonderful reminder that she is around, looking over us.  I hope she is proud of me, when I look up at the sky, at her in the beautiful cloud formations.  I hope she likes the way I try to carry her legacy of love, warmth and laughter.  I hope she is patient with me learning how do balance everything she did so effortlessly and does not frown too harshly when my patience and Grace and running short. I hope we she is pleased as she looks down and we look up.

The fact is that moving on is not possible, because it insinuates that you close the door on that part of your life.  And that is simply not possible when missing a parent. You miss them always. But you can move forward, learning how to wade through and make new paths while still honoring and keeping the old ones.  And even the old paths will not ever be the same; but different isn’t always bad and change doesn’t have to be negative. You can build a beautiful life on the grounds and foundation of your parents.

And you never have to stop looking up.

Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, Building a life, faith, faith in love, family, Geneva Sams Burch, Genny Burch, God, grace, hope, I miss you, Mom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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