Holy Sheet

Mom, OK if you were still here this would be one of the moments that I call you and ask how did you do it?  How did you manage to fold sheets?  And have the top sheet and bottom sheet be the same size?  And all the sheets the same size?  How did you fold the bottom fitted sheet at all?

When you folded sheets, they looked amazing, almost like a work of art – and I am convinced the fitted bottom sheets you folded actually were.  Your sheets could be in a commercial they looked so pretty.

In addition to not being able to find what you used to make the laundry smell so wonderful, I cannot for the life of me figure out how you managed to fold the sheets and make them look so nice, and neat, and uniform and wonderful.  I have folded what seems like every sheet in the house and none of them are the same.  The tops and the bottoms are not the same at all.  Mine are wrinkled, ill sized, and look messy.

I have tried everything and every which way to get them to look like how they did when you folded them.  I have done over and under, long ways and short ways. I have laid them put of the floor and tried to fold with creases.  I have fought with them like Snoopy and the lawn chair…and the sheets won. And still, they look awful, like a four year old tried to fold them.  Kind of like when Dad tried to make the bed for the first tie…except I have been folding sheets for years.

I have said it before and will say it again.  You were magic.  Your sheet folding ability is just one example.  Love and miss you always.



Nice Guy or Good Man

“I may be a real bad boy, but baby I’m a real good man.” – Tim McGraw

If you are like most women, you want to date a nice guy.  Well I am sick of these “nice guys”.  I want a Good Man, and there is a huge difference, it has just taken quite a while to understand.  I have always said how much I want a nice guy to date, someone sweet and affectionate and honest and nice…well forget that.  Give me a good man over a nice guy any day, and I will tell you why.

The last man I dated was a “nice guy.” And he was horrible.  Nice guys are what I call the good-on-paper guys, meaning that if you look at their credentials on paper, they look perfect.  Good looking?  Check. Well educated? Check?  Good job/career? Check.  Nice family? Check.  No drugs? Check.  No prior felonies? Check.  The list could go on and on, but basically, once you get to know them you see that beyond the paper pedigree, they really aren’t nice at all.

They don’t care about how they treat people, who who they hurt, or even how or why they hurt them…as long as they get what they want and their image stays in tact.  That is exactly how my ex was.  “No one threatens my reputation!” he would text me after  I refused to stay quiet when I found out he was cheating on me with prostitutes and strippers.  No, he wasn’t concerned about the kind of person he actually was, just what kind of person people thought he was.  My answer to that is: If you don’t want to be embarrassed when people know what you do, then don’t do embarrassing things.  He should have thought about that before hand.

Now, if you met this guy, he would seem very nice and helpful, after all he is a career coach and project manager. He connects people, gives them advice, is Catholic and has a very nice large Catholic family.  He smiles, has manners and says all the right things, everyone likes him and his reputation was pristine…BUT, he is not a good man.

A GOOD MAN, is less worried about his reputation and more worried about his integrity.  This is because any person with good morals, character and integrity will stand up for what’s right and thus will inevitably make a few enemies.  A good man is more worried about his conscience than other people’s perception of him.  I would much rather have a man with enemies but who does what is right, than a good looking, Rico Suave who everyone loves, but who is secretly a jerk.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill

A good man will treat a woman like a lady, no matter how she acts, because he has class.  A good man will not lie to spare someone’s feelings, or just to get what they want from someone. A good man will tell the truth, even when it is difficult, even when there is a chance he won’t get anything he wants.  Because a good man values honesty over opportunity.

A good man is strong enough to shoulder his woman and her troubles.  He would never leave her in the middle of a difficult situation.  A good man has compassion and empathy, because he understands humanity.  A good man will protect a woman, not be whom she needs protecting from.

A good man doesn’t care what others think, as long as he knows he has done the right thing, by God and his own conscience.  A good man will do what is right, not what is easy. It is much easier to make excuses and blame others, but a good man will admit when he is wrong and apologize when needed. A good man has backbone and the courage of his convictions, because he actually has convictions.

A good man is also strong enough to know when he needs help, or when it is time for improvement and self reflection. My last ex , a nice guy, refused any counseling, even after a difficult divorce, a death of a loved one and the demise of our relationship.

A “Nice guy” might say all the right things and be charming a sweep you off your feet, but his actions will not match his words.  A nice guy will always have motives or keep score with the what he does, and expect quick turn around on payback, with interest. A good man’s actions will always match his words because he understands that is how you earn trust. He will not require payback and will not keep score.  Getting something back in return is simply a bonus.

A good man is slow and steady, knowing that anything worthwhile is worth working hard for, whether it’s a job, a career or a woman.  A good man doesn’t blame others or make excuses, is he not entitled.  He simply is.

So give me a good man, I am through with the nice guys.  I don’t care what a man looks like on paper, because paper is two denominational, and real life has more layers and angles than can be measured.  Give me a man who has the depth and breadth to handle life beyond the paper machete cut out of himself. I want that man.

Sitcom Moment #694: The Dinner Party

It was the first dinner party in the house.  I have lived there maybe 10 months, but have been so busy with family and other duties that there has not been much opportunity for fun things like dinner parties, or parties or lots of company. Well, that has changed.  I have always enjoyed having friends over, and now that my plate is clear, it is time to start that back up.

And some people enjoy having company more than being company.  I enjoy seeing my friends, but if I can have them over to my house, even better. As long as they are not allergic to cats, we will have a great time.

So dinner was made, pot roast with all the fixings- I am a very Southern cook and enjoy southern food.  And friends were coming over.  There was talking, laughing, stories told, some business and wine.  As any good dinner party goes, most conversation ends up in the kitchen, or around the dinner table. Indeed, after much of the meal was done, friends still lingered in the kitchen area.  The comfy couch and living room was only briefly enjoyed before the food was ready.  And also the magnificent deck.

We all have the need to make were we live, our house, a home.  And the only way to do that, as far as I am concerned, is to have a place filled with love, with laughter, friends and family.  And since I moved into that beautiful house, that is exactly what I wanted. And now that is exactly what I have.

And when it was all said and done, everyone was full, and we talked and laughed even more. then there were hugs and goodbyes and then dishes.  And then, after everyone had left, after the table cleared off and the counters wiped off, I looked down. And there I was, still standing in my pajamas.  Yes, I had completely forgotten to change clothes and hosted the entire dinner party…in my pajamas.

Thankfully my guest were too graceful or shocked to mention it.  Or perhaps thought they were lounging clothes and I was trying to be chic. Or maybe they just thought I was a bit of a ditz and forgot to change clothes.  Either way, everyone had a good time. Proof, once again, that my life is a sitcom.

I can hear you laughing…

Something Just Like This

Vulnerability is defined as: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.  In the past this has been hard for me.  But one of the things that has come out of the last year is an appreciation of and a desire to be vulnerable as well.

We all have those lessons we learn in life, maybe with age, maybe after an experience.  I learned about vulnerability after my Mom died.  I had no choice but to be vulnerable, I had no choice but to fall apart a little. I say a little because there wasn’t much time to fall apart.  But when I did, I had no choice, there was something finally bigger than my self control.  And I simply could not keep a stiff upper lip and keep with my rule of not crying in front of people.

I cried on the shoulder’s of my friends, of the counselors and of my then boyfriend. And I realized the value of letting other’s on, the value of having that shoulder, and the value of connecting like that.  It is comfort, it is human to need that kind of comfort when dealing with overwhelming pain.

And then my father died, and my world literally fell apart. I feel apart, consumed with profound grief, finally dealing with the death of both parents.  And Again I cried on my friend’s shoulder’s, counselors and tried to cry on my then boyfriend…but he refused to give that comfort. And in an instant I was once again reminded how important comfort is during times of trauma and grief.  When it was taken away and refused, it was needed more than ever.

To let your guard down and let someone see your pain, your confusion, your fear, your depression, your sadness, your guilt, that is a gift.  And the gift in return is understanding and compassion. Compassion and empathy is what makes humanity work. Without those there is no humanity, and without humanity we die.  Maybe  not literally, but a part of our heart and soul dies.

But it all starts with someone letting their guard down, trusting enough to be vulnerable and be willing to be hurt by another’s actions, or lack there of.  And I want that.   If I am going to have a life full of love, a life where love is so present that it is palpable, then I must lead by example.  And in that vulnerability, I will find those who will truly cherish the gift, and protect it., value it for the sacred that it is.

I don’t much believe in the romantic love anymore, but something deeper instead. Something based in deep friendship, respect and deep admiration and knowing.  When it goes that deep it comes naturally, the recognition of the gift, the protection of the sacred. There are too many lies that can be told with romanitic love, too manu that are disingenuous, and I am far too gullible. But time brings loyalty. Respect brings sacred, and those bonds are forever.

I want something just like this.

The Thriving

Merriam-Webster defines the word Thrive as: 1. to grow vigorously, flourish; 2. to gain in wealth or possessions 3. to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.

I cannot think of a better word to describe my life right now.  Because right now – I thrive. Through the muck and the mess and the pain and the heartache and tears and battles and ….the everything this past year has been.  I am thriving in every aspect of my life.

And sometimes that is the was life happens. Many times it is cyclical – we go through a bad time, only to be rewarded with more happiness and love than we can imagine – but only if we learned our lessons from the hard times and do not repeat the same mistakes. These times of good remind us that we truly need to hold on and have faith in the rough times, because they won;t last, even when they seem to go on forever.  We have to always have hope that somewhere the sun is shining. and it is only a matter of time before those rays of sunshine and joy come across our face.

Spiritually, which is one of the most important to me, I am doing well.  I am incredible grateful for the opportunities which God has given to me. Every day I meditate, pray and have conversations with God.  And every day my faith grows.

My personal life is going well, as there is love all around.  Nothing like dating a horrible man who uses prostitutes ad strippers to teach you what you are worth.  And after going through that whole mess, I have learned what red flags to watch out for and I know when to make my exit. And now that all that of that drama is gone, there is room for the truly wonderful.  I am having much fun exploring the possibilities

Friendships are going well and are strengthening. I beyond blessed with the best, most loyal, hardest working, deepest unconditional loving people in my life. And they are flourishing too.  The thing is about friends is that you help each other  When one is donw, the others who are up lend support and a helping hand.  That is the way it works.  Loyalty is repaid with loyalty.

And my professional life is booming.  I have been given the an amazing opportunity with Turner – the only writer on a $30 million project.  It is overwhelming in every good way possible.  While I have done similar projects, I have never done one on this scale, with this much visibility, and this much importance.  It will be challenging and I will have some adjustments, but I can do it. The team is amazing, everyone is one point and it is one of the most fun places to work yet.  They know how to treat their people.

The only thing with which I still struggle?  That last 10 pounds.  But joining a new gym should fix that, as now there are no more excuses…the dreadmill, er, I mean treadmill is calling me. But before things were crazy, I loved running.  I loved the way it made my body feel and the challenge of a good run.  The runnere’s high is that and makes me happy. Not too mention it is a great stress reliever and I could use more muscle tone everywhere.

But this wonderful place I am in now, thriving, has not been without cost.  I spent so many days and nights working my tail off and taking care of both my parents.  Went through a horrible toxic relationship and break up and more tears and heartache than I thought one person could endure.  Bat all bad tings must coe to an end.

So when you get discouraged that life will never improve, know that it is only temporary.  The bad will not last.  It will not be like this in 6 months, one year, two years, 10 years from now.  Get rid of toxic people, cut the drama out, have faith, pray, meditate and work your bum off. There is hope.

And when you get to the other side of the struggle, you too will THRIVE.

To Love and Honor

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.

We all have those books that we read that completely change our lives.  There have been two for me that blew my mind and perspective. The first one I read when I was 19 and it was a gift given to me by a dear friend.  It was The Prophet, and not only changed the way I thought, but it changed my view on life.

The second book was the Alchemist.  The theme of that book is a man wo is searching, and finds that by simply being the best he can be personally, and by staying humble and curious, he ends up attaining his goal, even when he did not think he could do it.  By following his heart and doing what he knew to be right by his conscience, he actually ended up surpassing his goals.

These two books sum up my theory of life, that you should simply be the best you can be, love with all your heart until there is nothing left and trust in God.  I decided at 19 that I would live a life where I felt everything I could, which meant, as in the Prophet, crying all my tears and laughing all my laughter. Basically, not running from life because it is painful or uncomfortable.  You love, and you take your lumps.

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

But if in your fear you would seek only
love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing floor,
Into the seasonless world where you
shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.

I do feel that that is truly the only way to honor God and the life he wants for us.  Only by living every moment to the fullest, only by taking risks and feeling everything you can, can you truly experience life the way God intended.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

In my last relationship, I truly loved him with all of my heart.  Did he end up being worthy of that love? No, but that is on him, not on me.  I can say that I did the best I could, loved as much and as truly as I could and honored what was in my heart.  And the same with taking care of my parents.  I loved them and took care of them until there was nothing left.  And I sleep well at night knowing I honored them. And by honoring them, I honored God.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” ― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

But living that way, feeling everything you can and loving until there is nothing left, will wear you out. You get worn out and burned out and weary,  Sometimes you need breaks to heal and recover.  I think that it is in this way you become “real,” the kind of real that makes you deeper, finer, more beautiful of a human being.  Of course, you get scars too, but those who think those scares are ugly don’t understand, and probably never will. Because they only want to good and not the bad, they are not willing to go deeper.  And that is OK, they don’t have to.  But recognize them and move on.

‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt. It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” ― Margery Williams BiancoThe Velveteen Rabbit

In my pain, I have become real. I have truly loved and lost.  I have paid dearly for my mistakes, but I have laughed deeper than most too.  And now I feel my energy and love of life returning, after pausing to heal from the last years.  My creativity and focus are also flourishing.  In short – I am thriving.

Loving someone is never a mistake, neither is choosing to love.  I move and love forward with a clear conscience and an unburdened heart.  That is what happens when you love until there is nothing left; God rebuilds you, stronger and finer than ever.  Because that love that you give out, originates from Him.

To experience the miracles of love and loss, to know the dark as well as the brightest light, that, to me, is the highest way to honor others, to honor life, to honor yourself and to honor God.

Hi Mom

Hi Mom,
One of the things I miss are the phone calls…I would call you when I had a minute during the day. Today is one of the days I would call you, tell you about where I am working and what I am doing.

I would tell you about how they have big hammocks and couches outside, how I am right above the studios and that the people here are really nice. And that I sit close to an Emmy Award. I would tell you about the blue hair lady I saw in the elevator this morning (literally) and the other lady with white hair…with pink and purple polka dots.

And I would tell you that I am doing good.  That I am truly getting back to happy. And I would tell you how much I appreciate how much you and Daddy did for me, and how well you taught me how to handle the world. And how you and Dad are the best example of good human beings I have ever seen. And I would tell you that you are magic, and always have been

Thank you for being such a strict parent when I was younger and my best friend when I was older…And that even though I am glad that the profound grief is over, that I never want to stop missing you.  Because missing you is a testament to what a great parent you were, and how much love with which you served.  Missing you means honoring your memory and our close relationship.

Most of all Mom, I would tell you that I love and and miss you.  Tell Dad I love and miss him too. Thank you for everything.  Thank you for being magic.

I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.

100,004 Miles

We all have those moments, the ones I like the call the Oh Crap moments.  They are different than the Ah-ha moments which Oprah talks about in that the Oh Crap moments make you realize just how much something really did cost, how much work it took, or some other realization that doesn’t quite qualify as an ah-ha moment.

I had one of those moments to day when I looked down and realized the odometer on my car was about to hit 100,000 miles. I bought the car 4 years ago, yes, that’s 100,000 miles in 4 years.  That was my Oh Crap moment. While my parents were alive and aging, I took as good as care of them as I could from far away.  I lived 4.5-5.0 hours away and for a long time I was going to down to help them almost every weekend.  That is 500 miles round trip.  Every weekend almost, especially in the Spring when they were really busy.

One of the best investments I made was buying that car new, even though a new car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the floor…the reason is because I don’t think that many cars would have been so good to me and so easy to maintain.

The miles on the car reminds me of just how much I did take care of my parents and that there is truly nothing more I could have done for them  That is a good feeling. Several life times have been lived, loved and lost in that 100,004 miles on my car. And that is the miracle of life, it keeps going.

Out with the Inbox

It had been over a year since I cleaned out my email Inbox.  Yesterday was the day…and I had almost 15,000 emails.  I didn’t even know you could have that many unread emails. But there they were, staring at me in the face.  One by one I went through them.

It is interesting the things that come to a stop or pause when dealing with family tragedy. I did not have the time or energy to go through any extraosseous emails form the past year. And it was strange going through all those emails , all those messages. It was like the past 15 months flashed before my eyes, heart and souls in just a matter of hours.

All the memories flooded back as I went through everything.  All the conversations with the family about Mom, the service, the obituary, the bills, the funeral home…Then all the doctors appointments for Dad, emails to and from family keeping everyone updated, The everything with his service and the church and the family and who is staying where and coming from what airline.

There were all the things I had to cancel too, all of my doctors appointments, all of the trips, concerts and other fun things my then boyfriend and I had planned.

All of the emails to and from the grief counselors, from the beginning, to the last ones when they said that I am OK and have made through. All the emails from my best friends and angels, checking in on me, making sure I was OK, sending me inspirational messages.

Over and entire year of my life -the worst year of my entire life, documented in emails. And the emotions came over me with each individual email, playing back in my mind.

Now they are nice and neatly organizes. My trash box is stuffed, but going through all those emails reminded me of how far I have come, how many miles have been traveled and how many tears have been cried.  I have traveled worlds in that amount of time. But now my life, just like the email, is getting in order and falling into place.

Getting Back to Me

Two years ago, I was enjoying going to the gym on a regular basis.  I was running, boxing, doing free weights and even had belly dance classes.  Today, I am reclaiming those goals.  I joined a gym with many locations, and I bought a yoga trapeze swing.  Have you seen those things? It will be a spectacular way to keep fit, and a lot of fun, if I don’t break my neck.


Slowly, I am getting back to me, back to who I was two years ago, and back to where my life was.  I know that after all that has happened, I while I will never be same, not would I want to be, I can get my life back.  I have done all the work to be emotionally and mentally healthy. I am praying, meditating and taking care of my self spiritually, which is so very important. Now it is time for the physical.  This is my time to make myself and my life whatever it is I want it to be.

And so I start out running again, as I did earlier this year before it got so hot.  Now there is no excuse for not working out.  Now, it is my time.  I am so ready to get back to myself, to get back to fit,  and to have fun doing it.

When you are a caretaker, many times you end up being too busy and too tired to take care of yourself.  And that is where I found myself.  I was wearing slouchy, baggy, unattractive clothes, not fixing my hair, being too tired to put on make up, no nail polish, nothing.  I stopped exercising, stopped even trying to look good.  I was just too exhausted.

But now that is not the case.  I have energy, I have the time, I have the desire.  I am rediscovering what it is like to be the girl. I am wearing make up, fixing my hair, and wearing stylish outfits again.  I m embracing life.

And so far so good.  I have a great job, there have been concerts, there is theater coming up, trips to be planned and soon a move into an amazing new house.  I cannot wait. Because this is only the beginning.

A Letter to You Mom

Hi Mom,

It’s me.  It’s been a year since you passed.  Today is a year since your memorial service.  I cannot believe it has been a whole year. A year since I saw you, hugged you, heard your voice.  I play your voice mails often so I can hear you tell me you love me and laugh at some of the other messages.

I don’t really remember the day of your memorial service.  I know we used the plants from Patsy, I know the ladies at the church helped out. I know that Dad was there with Michael.  I know that I spoke or read things at the service.  But I do not really remember anything other than that.  I know that Dad came up to live with us after that, and that he spent most of the night crying and telling me things about his life that I never know before.

I miss you so very much, but I think you would be proud of me.  I am finally through with the deep profound grief.  You know I still miss you, every day.  But I am not so sad anymore.  I am smiling, laughing, dancing and am even joyful.  I know you would not want me to just shrivel up.  I know you want me to be happy because it is you who taught me that your life is bigger than any one event of person.  I was listening when you taught me things Mom.

I tried to take care of Dad as best as I could.  I am sorry about Michael and how he turned out.  I know that you liked him and that you were happy that I had finally found the man of my dreams.  But he wasn’t Mom.  But I know you know that. While he did help take care of Dad, that cannot undo the terrible other things he did.  And all the fights he caused while Dad was here.  I didn’t know how to stop him.

I envision you and Dad as wonderful, beautiful rays of light and energy, zipping and and playing around, being so joyful.  I imagine you guys being mischievous and playful. I imagine you riding on the wings of dragon flies, and being the light for a firefly. I know that you are just as magic now as you were when alive.  And you were magic Mom.  Pure, magic and love. If I am even half the human being, half the woman, half the mother that you were, I will be happy.

A year.  I have missed you every day, and that will continue. But I know that you want me to be happy.  And I am.  But it has been hard to get to the point to be happy without you guys, it has been hard working through the grief.  And Michael didn’t make it any easier.  It’s been easier and I have been happier since he has been out of my life.  Him leaving is the reason why I was finally able to focus on y life and get over through the grief finally.

And finally Mom, I am ready to move forward. I am happy and am ready to start my life in this new normal.  I am ready Mom.  But I will never be used to a life without you guys, so you have to be around.  You still have to give me signs now and then.  And please, show up in my dreams.  I love seeing you in my dreams, because hen I can still hear you, see you, touch you, hug you.  I love those dreams.  I wake up so happy.

I want you to know that it was my honor and privilege to take care of you, to be there, to hold your hand when you passed.  The time we spent together was precious.  You were and are the best mother ever.  I love you so, so very much. And always will.

The Happy Voice

They say that the eyes are windows into the soul….but what about the voice?  As someone who used to be in radio, I can tell you that the voice can show a wide range of emotions and insights as well.  As someone who used to be in radio, the voice can be a very powerful tool.

A It happened a day ago, I was talking to one of my best friends on the phone. And she stopped me mid sentence to say that she had mot heard me this happy in at least a year.  She could tell that I was happy, lighter and no longer sad.  She was so excited to hear it in my voice.

And it is true,  I am happier now than I have been in years actually.  Even today, the anniversary of my Mother’s memorial service I am happier than I have been in a long time.  Don’t get me wrong, a year ago today was horrible.  And my life is so different than I thought it would be.  But my life today is also incredibly blessed.

The time of profound grief is over, so while today is melancholy, and there have been tears, it is better than last year.  One of the biggest improvements is that I got rid on a toxic person with whom I had a toxic relationship. A man who took pleasure in my pain, a man who took pleasure in being vindictive for sport.  A man who tried to deeply scar me, but failed.

Now there is a wonderful new job, great opportunities, and even chances for new relationships and love. The world is truly mine.  And my parents are above me, lvoing me and guiding me as I love forward.

And now there is Peace in my life.  There is no fighting, there are no accusations, there are no arguments, no negativity, no darkness, nothing bad.  There is Peace, love, friendships and goodness.  Getting this toxic person out of my gave me the time, space and peace to heal from my Mother’s death.  It allowed me to fully process everything so I could finally get over the profound grief.  And now everyone can hear it, see it, feel it and experience the happiness that is bubbling up from my soul.

Get those negative, toxic people out f your life and get a happy voice too.


The Now in the What

It is the time you have decided will be the time of your life.  You are tired of all the bad and are ready for the good stuff.  You want excitement and friends and family and all that is wonderful.  And then…you look around and wonder…Now what?

This is where I find myself.  After what is arguably the worst year of my life, I have come out of it better, stronger, more.  And I am ready for all the wonderful.  But now what? How exactly does it happen?  How do I go about it?  What do I do now?

I think many find themselves in this place at some point our lives.  I think maybe we must be patient. I will pray, I will meditate, I will follow the good and what makes me happy.  I will follow what brings joy to my life and heart.  I will have fun and share that goodness.

But that doesn’t mean to be busy all the time.  There needs to be moments of rest and reflection.  TO get the house in order, to write, to read, and breath.  This is a hard one for me, because I tend to want everything NOW.  Especially when I make up my mind.  So patience.  Whatever needs to be, whatever is supposed to be, will come. Naturally, organically, truly.  I just have to trust in God, that His timing is perfect and that HE will show me the direction in which to go.

So that is the what next. Trusting and being patient. And having a glass of wine.

Peace if Life

It has taken a while to happen, and it has taken a lot of work, a lot of tears a lot of processing.  But there is finally here.  Peace.  I have Peace. I am at Peace.  And it feels wonderful.

I am at peace with my past.  At peace with all that has transpired.  At peace with the death of my parents, though I will always miss them.  At peace with the end of the toxic relationship that needed to end. I am at peace with the mistakes I have made, and the things I have done, and the things I have left undone.

With Peace there is also a sense of calm and balance and stability.  This may seem counterintuitive to the excitement I have also been feeling, but they go hand in hand. It is simple and basic – that which brings you peace will make you happy.

There is no internal struggle, or external struggle for that matter. It is felt deep in the soul, where the light dances with the dark. It is hard to describe except everything is good.  Everything is right.  It is what happens when you love until there is nothing left.  It is what happens when, like the Velveteen Rabbit, you become Real. It is what happens when you and God rebuild yourself.  And you become very protective of it.  When you feel Peace like this, you don’t want anything to disturb it again.

And so you learn to walk away from anything that causes a wrinkle in in it, the Peace that rocks you to sleep at night.  And so I want to keep this feeling, this wonderful calm after al the storms. And I want it to become the foundation on which I build.

Release Me

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.  – Nelson Mandela

We all have a time in life where we have reached a goal, accomplished what we set out to do, or faced a fear.  Sometimes all of them.  This is the case with me.  And this goal is bitter sweet, but a celebration none the less.

Since Dad’s death I have been in intense grief therapy.  I saw two grief counselors with the Hospice which Dad was blessed enough to be a part of, and a separate counselor to help with putting life back together.  I am a big believer in reaching out and getting help when a situation is bigger than what you can handle yourself.  This past year was it for me.

So I set out with the help of others, to rebuild, to face my grief and go through it, all of it.  Every heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, horrible moment of it.  And I cried, and ye;led and questioned.  I wrote letters, said prayers, did meditations, talked with friends, cried more, read books, watched TV shows, wrote a lot and cried even more again.

And finally, after the first year anniversary f Mom’s death, after finally having the time and the peace to sit down and truly go through each day, of all that happened and process it, I have been told that i am done.  I have had all of them tell me that indeed, I have gone through the process and that the profound grief is over.  I have done it. I have come out the other side and I have been released form the program.

I have been told that I am emotionally healthy and have done a great job in rebuilding my life.  I have the foundation now to have whatever life that I want in the future.

That is not to say that I am not going to have moments, I will still miss them every day, I’ll still cry, I will still have triggers.  But the worst is finally over and I can grow from here.

It has been a long, hard road. It has taken time to go through all the feelings and resolve all that happened within my mind and heart.  But now, I have just another reason to celebrate.  I could not have done it without these wonderful, compassionate, loving, caring, individuals who led me through the landmine and helped me get back on my feet.

If you are going through, or have suffered the loss of a loved one, I encourage you to seek help of a grief counselor.  It will truly make a difference. I felt like Humpty Dupty, and now not only have I been put back together again, so has my life.  I am thankful and blessed.

And now, let the celebration of life, love, happiness, friendship and more start….now!

Better with Age

Many women (and men) begrudge getting older.  I love it.  There are so many wonderful benefits that come with age and I do not understand why we do not celebrate it. Sure, there are a few more wrinkles, but who says that isn’t sexy?  I like the lines on my face, I like how my body is evolving. I like my looks more now than when I was younger.  Yes, the hips are a but fuller now, but I like them.  And what are these benefits that only come with age?  Sit down and get comfortable, as I will be more than happy to tell you.

Wisdom:  I love this part.  I am so much wiser than I was when I was a kid, and by kid I mean in my 20’s.  In your 20’s you don’t have anything figured out.  You may think you do, you may even have it all together, but you are an idiot when it comes to life.  Trust me.

Comfort in your own skin: I see those little 20-somethings all pump up and insecure in their little outfits and such, worrying about how many likes something gets, how many followers, what he says or what she thinks…because that is where their world is.  Oh, they can have it.  I feel just as comfortable and sexy in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt as I do an evening gown, or sexy vampy dress and boots. Because sexiness comes from within, and that is something those 20 year-olds haven’t figured out yet.  So let the glam it up…I’ll be sitting in the table in the corner, people watching, enjoying a glass of wine and not trying to impress anyone.

You don’t care: This goes along with being comfortable in your own skin, but takes it much further.  To be honest, you just can’t be bothered. With what exactly?  IT doesn’t matter.  Anything you don’t want to fool with or be concerned over, you just aren’t.  IT doesn’t matter what other people say, think or do…what. Ever.  You. Don’t. Care.  You are too busy enjoying your own life to let someone else’s drama interfere.  This frees up a lot of time and energy that is was wasted in your 20’s and even 30’s.  You are a lot more relaxed when older.

Dating and intimacy: This isn’t your first rodeo and you are proud of that. You can own your womanhood.  You don’t have to do anything, and you won’t unless you want to.  You know what you are worth and what you are not. You know which rules to break and which ones to follow.  You also are much more comfortable with your body and what feels good, and you are not afraid to make sure you get it. There is no playing coy, unless you want the fun of it. You know the tricks you need to do to make you and your man happy.  And I don’t mean what you read out of Comso magazine.  Cosmo is for beginners.  This is the kind of knowledge that only comes from experience.

You know when to watch: You are also not afraid to get the popcorn and watch when the men in their 50’s try to date GIRLS half their age because of their midlife crisis.  That’s right guys, if you are 50, and you are dating or trying to date someone in their 20’s… you look ridiculous and are an idiot. We are watching you with the popcorn ready, waiting for it to magnificently explode in your face.  The only thing those girls have are daddy issues and money issues, both of which are a mess. So go ahead and hi five your friends, we will be there with a big bag of I-Told-You-So on the other side when you are licking your wounds wondering what happened.  She isn’t going to settle down and she isn’t going to make you happy. And no we are not insecure.  We are however, very entertained.

Sexiness: It drips off of you because you don’t care if you impress someone or not, you don’t have to have them and you are comfortable on your own.  This is because sexiness comes from the inside, and nothing is sexier than confidence and knowledge. And the quiet confidence of your knowledge.  Knowing that you can walk into the room and own every pair of eyes in that room, but you choose to go home alone.  You can’t buy that at Forever 21.

Money/Career: Speaking of buying, did I mention we make more money that our younger selves? We have our career figured out. We don’t need anyone to give us a leg up, we are helping others at this point in our lives.  We have done the rate race, we are happy where we are, and are not having that “OMG, what am I going to do with my life now that I am almost 30” crisis.  Been there, done that.  We don’t need a man to pay our bills (but we will let him if he offers).  We are thinking about retirement and how to travel – first class – when we vacation.

These are just a few of the reason I love getting older.  Women are like a fine wine, we just keep getting better and better. And if I am this fabulous now, imagine how much better I will be in 5 years or even 10, or more.

Live life, enjoy, make experiences and memories.  Enjoy getting older as it is a luxury not afforded to everyone.

Life’s on Fire

there comes a time in all our lives where we just throw caution to the wind.  Where we have had enough of the bad and dreary, where we want to smile in the beautiful freedom and this glorious life. And this is where I find myself these days.

There is a new job with fabulous opportunity, there will be a new place to live the the Fall, some place with no negative and only the positive on which to build.  There is the book that I am picking back up, since I had to put it down for over a year.  There is more writing to do now that so many opportunities are coming.

There is love and friendship and dates and kisses and wine and long talks on the deck.  There is goodness and blessings in this life that are coming, I can feel it.  My friends call me optimistic.  Well, maybe.  I think that it is due, God willing.

Basically, I am giving myself to this life, throwing myself into it wholeheartedly, enjoying, savoring, each perfect moment. I’ve had enough heartbreak to last a while, it’s time to live, love, move, shake, and believe.

And I do. I believe in answered prayers. I believe in the kindness of strangers and the love of friends.  I believe in karma and forgiveness and mercy and compassion  And I believe that life is good.

So hang on ya’ll!  I am back with extra strength Wanderlust.

Summer of Love and Prayer

This summer it has begun.  Everything for which I have prayed, I have received. And this is the summer that I resume my life. This is the summer that my life will be about love, and friendship and laughter, and prayer.

When you have gone through a hard time you have a choice: Either let it drag you down and hold you down like a ball and chain, or use that hard time as a stepping stone to rise above. I choose the latter rather than the former.

When you choose to let it hold you down, that is when you turn angry and bitter.  That is when you become a vehicle for hatred and vindictiveness. I have known people like that. So consumed with anger and bitterness to the point that they are toxic to all they come across.

Why do people choose that route?  I don’t know.  To me it takes so much more energy to stay angry and bitter that it does to move on being happy, allowing all that is good to return to you.

I have long said that which gives you peace will make you happy, And I have reached a point in my life where I am at peace. And doors are opening, new possibilities are coming, because I am not wasting time and energy on things that make me unrested, or agitated or that are just unnecessary drama.  When you get rid of those negatives, positives start coming in.

I want to shout it out, I want to dance in the moonlight, I want to celebrate with those who are the nearest ad dearest to me.  I want to hold them close and thank them for being in my life, through all of it.

All I know that finally there is peace in my life, there is love, there are wonderful friendships and good times to be had.  The clouds have scattered and the light is streaming in.  Why hang on to old issues?  There is an entire world out there of adventures and I will be first in line, during this the summer of love and prayer.

Adventures at the Compound

It has been the family homestead for many years.  And now it has passed on to the next generation. I had been down there before, but this time was different.  This time there was a joy to be where they were.  There was no sadness, no depression, no tears, only love.

And as I walked around the property, I felt it deep in my hart, that this is now mine.  They wanted it passed to us, they knew I would be the one to take care of everything. It is a right of passage, and it is one of love.

And so I walked around that wonderful, beautiful space and knew they were happy with it in my hands.  I take care of it, keep it up and sell it for the family. I know that they are smiling, I know that the butterflies, frogs, bees and dragonflies are their way of smiling to me. And so from here on out, it is only adventure and good times at the family compound.  Adventures are already starting in earnest, and will continue.

Yes, this time was different, as I am finally coming into my own in this place in the family. And that is an adventure all it’s own.

The Anniversary

One year;  12 months; 52 weeks; 365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes. That is how long it had been on July 13, 2017, since my heart broke for the first time and my mother died. That was when normal was no longer the normal, that was when my life turned upside down and when I learned some of the toughest lessons in my life.

And then I wrote the Walk with Mom Series.  And finally set the grief free.

And so on the first anniversary of my wonderful Mother’s death, I was truly able to celebrate her life and her legacy to me.  I planted flowers in the garden in her honor. My sister and I remembered her, we laughed as we talked about her mischievous ways.

I thought the day would be horrible. And indeed I did cry for the loss, for how I have missed her,  But more than anything there was Peace.  Finally, after a long, hard, horrible year, I am at Peace with my mother’t passing.  I loved her, she was my best friend, and she always will be.  I will miss her every day.  But she would want me to live. And so I shall.

And so this anniversary represented peace and love.  She made me strong. And I will make her proud with the life that I am building.

I love you Mom, Always.

The Sad Less

Sitting at the family compound, it is quiet and still. It is just me here, no others until morning. And something has happened that has not happened before:

The sadness is gone.  This is my house, built with their love. I am the keeper of it, for now. And it feels good. It feels right. It feels happy.

I know this place is love. And I am blessed to be here. I am happy and optimistic about the future. For the first time in a long time.  

I feel my old self coming back. My smile, my heart, my happiness, my joy. I lost those things for a minute, but here there are, smiling back at me. I want to be silly and whimsical, I want to do the happt dance, make jokes and take chances. I want to love my life. And so I shall.

Who knows what the future holds, but I know, because I have Faith, that is will be good. The momentum has started. God brought me this far, blessings are around the corner. 


I did it, I survived not only the anniversary of Mom’s death, but the entire hellacious, tumultuous year.

It has been so hard, for so many reasons, and finally this time of profound grief is coming to a close.  There will still be grief, as you never stop grieving the loss of your parents.  But after wiring about it and having the time to really go through everything from start to finish. it has given me the closure I needed to move forward with life.

And so I take the chains of the past year off, I have shed that skin of the old and have emerged stronger, better, and more than I was before. I am tired of the doom, gloom, grief, depression, drama and sadness.  The sun is shining in what used to be a dark window, and I will not shy away front the light, I will invite it in and enjoy its warmth.

It is time ti stretch my wings, and enjoy the freedom the past year has gifted to me.  I am letting go all that I have carried this past year, with every heart beat, every breath, every tear, every step of a million miles my heart and soul have traveled.

It is time to date again, time to fall in love again, time to smile again, laugh again, have faith again, build a life again, and enjoy life again.   It is time to dance, to sing out, to be silly, to celebrate life and all it had to offer.  It is time to run and play, to work hard, to wear sexy high heels and and my favorite shirts.  It is time to wear lipstick and fix my hair, it is time to enjoy being a woman and all that is commands.

It is time to be free. It is time to return to myself, it is time to get to be ME.

So hold on tight, this is going to be an adventure.

A Walk with Mom: Conclusion

No one is every prepared to loose their parents, even though it is the natural process of life.  We will all loose our parents, we will all feel that grief, we will all share in that story.  And even though it is something that we will all go through, the story and relationships and grief are all different.  This has been mine.

Thank you for going through this journey with me, throughout this year and in this series.  I had not been able to sit down and write about what happened until now.  With taking care of Dad full time, working full time, trying to handle a relationship, and then the break up of the relationship and Dad’s death…it’s been a busy year where I felt like I had lost everything.

But the fact is that I haven’t.  The fact is that my parents loved me enough for a lifetime.  My parents loved me enough to teach me and give me to tolls needed to love a wonderful life, even if it is without them.  And that is their gift to me.

And it is in writing this that I am able to let go. It has been a hard year, but it is time to let go of the sadness, the loneliness, the grief.  It is still a process, but with this series, with this anniversary, I move forward, like they would want, like I want. I have wonderful friends who are my heart and soul and family. I have blood family who loves me and will always be there. And so it is with this, and with the love of my parents that I LIVE.

A Walk with Mom: Day 16 Part II

Dad had collected himself and it was time to let the nurses know.  I walked out and told them and asked for their help.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know how or what was next, so please help me and guide me.  I told them that by Dad’s request I was to handle everything.  That the only thing he was to be involved with was any legal docs that he had to sign, and other than that everything would go through me.

I was numb, I was in shock and there was so much to do.  I had no idea what to do.  It is hard to remember everything, it was such a confusing day.  I know I told the staff, I know they put a sign on the door to see the nurse before going in the room.  I signed several papers and then they gave me a list of funeral homes.  They had to be called to pick Mom up.

I had to call the funeral homes. How do I pick a funeral home?  What do you even ask them? How do you know you are choosing right one? I just looked at that list and started shaking and my head was spinning.  I had to pull myself together, there was too much to do to fall apart.  Mom taught me better than that.  I took a deep breath and called the first place.

Nope, not the one.  I had a bad feeling about them. Called the second and they were very nice, friendly, compassionate. They understood I had no idea what I was doing and would take care of everything.

I know I made many phone calls to family, friends.  I must have called my boyfriend a dozen times.  I know that I cried. But I really don’t remember much of it.

I do remember that the nurses went in the clean Mom up, but they did not do a good job.  It was 3 or 4 hours later and my sister had not shown up yet with my nephews.  My cousin had taken Dad to be with him and support him.  I walked into room with Mom and noticed that her face had not been cleaned up.  I got a damp cloth and gently, lovingly washed her face and made sure she looked nice if the rest of the family wanted to see her. I arranged her and made sure she was OK to for them to see. I am a strong woman, but that was one of the hardest things I had to do.

When my sister arrived with her boys I told them the news.  I wasn’t sure how to say it and I think I did it wrong.  I met them in the parking lot and told them before they went up. I should have told them in one of the other rooms in the hospital.  But I wasn’t thinking. They did not want to see her, but my sister wanted her stuff out of the room.  They wanted to to take Dad to the family home while I took care of the arrangements.So I went in and out of Mom’s room, arms full for several trips, as I got everything of theirs out of the room. It was so odd.  I knew that Mom was technically no longer there, I couldn’t just walk into the room and not say anything.

Soon after everyone left and I would meet them later.  The men from the funeral home had arrived and I had signed the papers needed.  I walked into Mom’s room to say a final goodbye.  I sat by her bedside one last time, took her hand and told her that I loved her.  I told her that I would miss her for the rest of my life and that she was the best mother I could have been blessed to have.  And I thanked her for everything. And said one last time I love you, Mom.”

I turned to leave and the lights on the hospital room flickered 3 times, as if she was saying “I love…you.”  And I knew it was her.  I burst into tears because I knew.  And I told her that I wanted her to “haunt” me a lot, she had to know, I needed to know that she was still close, because I wasn’t ready to let her go yet.  I wasn’t ready to have a life without my Mom.

And all this year, she has given me signs that she is here close to me.  And though this past year has been the worst and hardest of my life, but I know she has been there for me.  I have made mistakes, but I have done the best that I could.  And I know that she loved me enough to last a lifetime.



A Walk with Mom: Day 16

Wednesday July 13, 2017

The day my heart broke.


I didn’t sleep much that might and when I did I had my glasses in my hand.  I did this so that I could wake up and make sure that Mom was breathing.  I noticed her breathing was much more labored and I knew that it would not be long.

When I got up that morning and immediately went to her to tell her good morning and that I loved her.  I took her hand and I immediately knew that something was different. She was still alive, but the only way I know how to explain it is to say that she wasn’t in there any more.  She was not responsive as she was before.  Her hands were limp, her mouth open, her breathing very labored and from her chest, and her neck was seemingly over extended over the pillow.

Dad wasn’t awake yet and I remember praying so hard that I didn’t want her to go, but please, God please, take her if it means she doesn’t suffer. And to please give me strength, because I didn’t know if I could do this alone as my sister was not back yet.

It was as if my wonderful mother read my mind, because shortly after that one of my dearest cousins called and said she felt compelled, called almost, to be there that morning.  I knew that Mom somehow, while in between this work and then next, had put that thought into her head and asked her to come.  Mom had always been close to that cousin, her niece.  And I knew once again Mom was taking care of me.

A little while later one of the doctors came in and did something so strange, yet said nothing.  He took his stethoscope and listened to Mom’s abdomen.  He listened intently and frowned.  What I found out later that he was listening for sounds from her intestines. A healthy person will have sounds coming from the abdomen.  However, when the internal organs shut down and there are no sounds, then death is near.

I started working on Moms nails again as I was waiting for Dad to wake up.  And then I combed her hair. It was all matted and tangled from he laying on it and not being washed over the last few days.  I was terrified of pulling her hair and hurting her, even though on some level I knew that she was in a coma by now.  Most people who pass naturally actually go into a coma before death. For that I was glad because she had suffered so much over the last 16 days, and several years.

I sang to her as I combed her hair:

Surely the Presence of the Lord in in this place
I can feel in His mighty power and  His grace
I can feel eh brush of angels wings,
I see glory on each face
Surely presence of the Lord is in this place

And I arranged her hair as best as I could. It was thin and frizzy from the malnutrition.  I gently brushed hair out of her face and arranged her blouse.  I knew that she would want to look as nice as possible, Mom was always a lady and a lady always looks nice.

When Dad woke up her immediately went to Mom’s side. I went to call my best friend and my boyfriend for support and encouragement.  I didn’t know how to do this. I needed to hear their voices to help me.  And I cried and I prayed.  How do I let my mother go?

The ladies from Palliative Care came in to once again check and see how Mom was, how we were and if there was anything that we could do. The explained to me that the way she was breathing, from her chest muscles, that it would seem she might have a few hours, and that was it. They changed her oxygen mask to make her more comfortable, and asked a few questions.

I started frantically calling, texting and emailing my sister to please, please get there with the boys. Mom would want them there and they would want to say goodbye.  I could not understand where they were.

And where was my sister?  How could I do this?  How could I help and guide Dad through it, while loosing my Mom at the same time? It was all so surreal. My head was swimming.

I cannot describe the emotions felt s=during this time.  It was a sadness and reality I had not known before.  It was fear and love and heartbreak and shock and…so many indescribable things. You move through those moments as if on auto pilot, as if you are not really you.  It’s almost like an out of body experience because when I look back I see it from almost a third person perspective.

Soon my cousin arrived and I knew Mom knew she was there.  My cousin was a retired nurse and no doubt had seen death before. I will never forget how gently and gingerly she took Mom;s frail hand and put her head down.  Mom’s breathing was more and more shallow.  We all gathered around the bed.

I was on one side holding Mom’s had and stroking her hair.  Dad and my cousin were on the other side. Dad was holding Mom’s hand and had the most lost expression in his face. My cousin was gently and softly talking to Dad, while keeping an eye on Mom’s breathing. I twas like an unspoken plan – she would talk to Dad and be a distraction, while I took care of Mom in that moment. And so it went.

And as it got close, I could almost feel the moment.  It was as if the heat from her hand receded in an instant. It wasn’t cold all of the sudden, but there was no more life being generated from that moment. It was a shift so slight and subtle I almost doubted it happened. You are never prepared to see your loved one take their last breath.  Her breathing was more and more shallow, the time between breaths kept growing. I held her hand and stroked her hair and watched as her chest barely rose, then did not rise again.  And she was gone. It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was the most beautiful and painful moment of my life.

Mu cousin knew and their conversation came to a lull.  I looked at Dad, as he was still holding her hand, and said softly: “Dad. It’s time.”

He looked at her leaned over and said “She’s not breathing.”


It was 12:15.

And he fell apart.  His wife, his best friend, his partner, his lover, his everything, was gone.  He began to scream her name and cry.  He called out her name over and over, more pleading in his voice each time. It is the pleading that comes up from the depths of your soul, where pain originates. He gently held her face, stroked her cheeks, his tears falling on her brow and gently down her cheeks too. It broke my heart. That was truly the hardest moment, to see my strong father in those moments after loosing what he loved most dear.

He cried and called out her name, begging for her to come back for maybe 30 minutes and then finally was able to speak to us.  He asked me to make the phone calls and take care of all of the arrangements, he just couldn’t do it.

I took the cannula from her face and nose.  I brushed her hair once more.  I arranged the covers for her and tried to make it so it was easier for others to see her.

I cannot describe what those moments were like.  I was lost. I could not imagine a life without her.  She was my Mom. How could she be gone?

At 12:15 today, my beautiful mother passed away peacefully. She was surrounded by family and an immeasurable amount of love. We held her hands as she slipped from,this world into the hands of God. While it was the most painful experience of my life, it was also the most beautiful. It was truly my honor to be there with her. I have been so blessed to have her as my mother, and for this many years. Please continue to pray for our family as we go through this difficult time of figuring out life without this amazing soul. Please especially pray for my father who lost his dearly beloved of 49 years. She is a beautiful soul, was a wonderful wife, and amazing mother. I will miss her every day of my life.




Blessings and Grace

We all those things and goals about which we dream.  And we all have things for which we pray. But what happens when the two meet?  What happens is spectacular.

I have worked so hard over the past years, and this past year especially. It has been beyond hard.  But as deep as the heartache has been, so has the joy.

After loosing everything, at least it seemed like, I have finally regained my footing and my life.  I lost my parents my boyfriend who I was madly in love with, I will be loosing the family home, lost everything I was it seemed.  I was drowning in grief, loss, and sadness.

All I have wanted this whole time is to just be held and have someone tell me that it will be OK, no matter what.  I have wanted a shoulder to cry on, and arms to hold me.  I have wanted someone to help and have compassion.

But life is not a fairy tale and sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we have to work hard to pick ourselves off, and be our own safe harbor.  And that is OK, it will make us stronger, as long as we don’t let it make us bitter and impenetrable.

That is what I have done.  I have had a many friends who have helped me along the way, and they have been my heart.  And I have worked hard at putting my life and myself back together. It’s been a tough year.

But God works in mysterious ways.  And this week, the hardest week for my heart, has also seen more blessing and miracles than I thought possible. And isn’t that just the mysteries of life?  How it all works and how it is all intertwined. But I had to let go of all the anger first.

I want a life full of love, where love is so present that it is tangible.  I want to walk in love and light.  If I accept the grace and compassion from God, and I want a life of love, then I must pass that on. God is from where all love originates.  It passes through us, touches us, fills us and makes us better. Then when we pass on that love, it grows and becomes another miracle.

And that is the miracle of blessings and Grace.

A Walk with Mom: Day 15

Tuesday July 12, 2017

This day was particularly hard.  Mom was in a deep sleep, and she made strange noises.  She would grunt when she was breathing, she would mumble and she was just acting so strange to be in a deep sleep.  She would moan and raise her hands up as if to hug someone above her,  Many times I would lean down and hug her and tell her it was OK.

It was frightening to see this and not know or understand why, or what is happening.  What I now know is that those actions are very common among those who are dying  They are somewhere between this world and the next.  Many nurses and hospital staff say that those who are transitioning see their relatives who come to assist.  When Mom was still conscious, she would talk about seeing her sisters and mother who had already passed.  She would talk about taking a trip, how she was ready to go home and she knew others were waiting for her.

But no one tells you this while it is happening.  No one told us that what was happening and what Mom as doing was the normal, natural process of dying.  And it was terrible.  It is terrible when you don’t know and your loved one is doing all of these strange things, saying strange things. We were all emotionally and physically exhausted and we were scared.  Mom had been such a driving force in all of our lives, how could we loose her?

I lost track of how many times I called my best friend and my boyfriend.  I was frantic and crying.  I couldn’t cry in front of my father and sister, they were counting on me to be strong and ask questions and make decisions. So those were the two people I could just be me with, be scared and terrified, to not know all the answers, to admit I didn’t know what I was doing. My boyfriend would offer over and over to come down, but I told him no, there was nothing he could do but wait around and be bored.  In retrospect I should have let him, to be there for me.  I didn’t know it. but I needed the support only a partner can give in times like that.

The ladies from Palliative care came in that morning to asses Mom’s condition. The pneumonia was worsening, and she was getting weaker still.  It had been almost a week since she had eaten and she was probably about 65-67 pounds. Her arms were just bone with skin hanging off.  Looking at the pictures that were taken during that time, her wrists were the size of a 4 years old’s.  Her size extra small shirt was too big and she was swimming in it.  The neck was so big for her, and you could see every bone in of her shoulders and collar bone.  You could actually see the tendons in some places, she was that malnourished.

The ladies told us that Mom might have another 24 hours to live.  If we were lucky she might live a little longer, but that it would either be today or the next.  More than anything my heart ached for Dad. They had been married for 49 years.  They were the love of each others lives.  Mom was his heart. I cannot express the sheer feeling of helplessness I felt to have Mom dying, and nothing I could do; And Dad so, so sad, and nothing I could do to comfort him.

That day, one of the foster children that Mom had came to see her and brought her children.  It was so good to see her, but I hated that it was like this.  Mom loved her so much and I know she know this wonderful girl was there.  She  stayed fir quite a while, sitting, holding Mom’s hand. Dad was on one side, and she was on the other.  There was so much love in that room for Mom.  I know that she felt it.

Mom was not talking or communicating, but she would hold your hand and squeeze it ever so slightly more tight, if you said something to her or if you were about to leave and she didn’t want you to go. So yes, they can hear you even if they cannot respond.

My sister and I found a 3 hour soundtrack of birds chirping and played that so Mom could hear them.  She loved being outside and hearing the birds.  We hoped this gave her some comfort and pleasure.

Dad would walk over and hold her hand.  He would sit by the bed, lean in and rest i his forehead on hers and match his breathing up with hers.  He would speak soft words to her and look at her so tenderly.  One day I hope I am lucky enough to have someone love me like that.

Mom’s visitor left and then it was just the four of us again.  The original Four-Pack that we were , as Mom called us.  It was the last time we would all be together.

While Dad and my sister went to dinner ( I think), I stayed and sang to Mom.  I noticed that her nails were ragged and in and shape.  I knew that would bother her.  She would want her nails to look pretty, as she always a lady. There would be a lot of people seeing her, and she would want to look good.  And so I did her nails.  And I sang to her as I trimmed, filed and painted them. I sand church songs to her – The Servent Song and Surely the Presence. Those were out favorite from a place called Honey Creek  It was my honor to do this small thing for her.  And to make sure that her hands were pretty for the end. Final, precious moments exchanged between mother and daughter.

I also talked to her about my favorite child hood memories.  Like how she would read to me and she never made me sit till.  And how she would let me move around while I was reading out t\loud to her too.  How she made hot chocolate for me that time I got up after having a nightmare when I was 7.  And how many times she had held me whole I cried over a boy who had broken my heart.  Long phone conversations, teaching me how to attract butterflies, how to cook and how to be a good person.  How she would fix my hair and make some of my favorite clothes.  So many, many memories, a lifetime of them.  And I told her how much I loved her over and over.

Dad came back and he sat by Mom’s bedside.  The we gently moved her over to the fr most part of the hospital bed, and dad crawled in beside her and got as close to her as possible.  He wanted to be close to her, wanted to be close to her presence.  He would whisper things to her that I could not hear, and did not want to hear.  That was private between the two of them.  She was the love of his life, and he did not want to live without her.  His heartbreak was tangible. He stayed there for as long as he could, crammed up against the bed rails.  He gently kissed her before he got out of the bed.

A little later that night, my sister left to go home and bring her boys over the next morning to say goodbye.  Shortly after that Dad went to sleep.  I slept a little, but I was afraid that Mom might slip away in the night, so I checked to make sure she was still breathing about every 20 minutes.

It was a strange time. And I had gone through all the prayers of bargaining and trying to convince or even bribe God with promises of good behavior.  That night I prayed for her to live, unless she was suffering. And then I asked God to lease let her go if she was in pain.

Mom is resting comfortably and is surrounded by family and so much love that it is amazing. She is still on antibiotics and doctors say that there is always a chance, so please continue to send prayers. The outpouring of love and support has been amazing and is so very comforting during this time. I am beyond blessed to be surrounded by such love and support. Please know that all messages and replies are read and treasured, even if I have not responded yet. Thank you so much for the kind, encouraging words, they not only help me, but the whole family. Thank you to my angels and visitors. My sister is here and we are treasuring each moment we have our wonderful mother. Dad is coping and my heart breaks for him. We know that God is in control and we have tremendous faith in His will. The staff here at SAMC have been wonderful and compassionate as we transition into comfort care in her final days. We could not ask for better staff. Thank you and much love to all.

Life is Real. Messy. 2

Life is messy. We have to, in our lifetime, deal with betrayal, lies, heartache, and false friends. But in the end, those that try to harm us and hurt us only make us stronger. Better. And they hate that. The best revenge truly is simply being happy and living a fabulous life. And when you move on, happy and confident, it is your life returned to you. And each time we feel pain, we feel it a little deeper in our soul, until we are the beautiful, complex works of art we were meant to be. But life must carve out those deep spaces in us first.

When I was 19 I read a book called the Prophet. Amazing book. It changed my life. In it was the passage that said:

“But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”

I decided right then and there, at the tender age of 19, that I would live a life that was full, full of love, sorrow, joy, tears, laughter and much, much more. I decided that I would make my life the great epic novel it could be. I have soared above the clouds and crashed below the ocean. I have made mistakes and paid dearly for them. And I would do it all over agian. Because in the end, everyone, those who like me and those who do not, will never be able to deny that I lived and loved with my whole heart.

But this life wears you out sometimes, wounds you, gives you scars. They heal, yes, but scars they leave just the same. And then we wake up, all tattered and torn, and wonder about our lives and get very introspective. I wonder if the choice I made to live life to the fullest, both the good and the bad, was the right choice? Then I read the following quote from a book titled Kisses from Katie:

I was like the Velveteen Rabbit. I was tattered and worn out. I’d been hurt and scarred and banged around a bit in the past year, but God was using all those things to help me become real. I was coming to understand that what it means to be real is to love and be loved until there is nothing left. And when there is nothing left, and we feel we’re all in pieces, God begins to make us whole. He makes us real.

These words spoke to my heart and soul. And I realized that only in living life to the fullest, can we truly honor God’s plan for us.  Only in experiencing and loving till there is nothing left, can we honor the life we are meant to live.  The desire to live a meaningful life of purpose is universal. It is in our bones, our blood, our humanity. We strive.

Because in this life, what really matters? It is not the big house or expensive things, though they may give us enjoyment. But they are not realWhat is real is loving, playing, working, kissing, living, with all your heart. Those we hurt us show us who we are supposed to be, and give us the life we are supposed to have. They help us reach the heights we only would have imagined.  So I thank all those who helped make me real.


A Walk with Mom: Day 14

Monday July 11, 2016

I got drove back to the hospital early that morning, and watched the sunrise as I was driving. It was surreal and hard to believe.  I knew that everyone looses their parents, I just wasn’t ready to loose my Mom so soon.  I kept thinking that maybe it was a dream, but then I knew it wasn’t.  This had been coming for a long time.  I to the hospital and Mom was weaker and not really talking very much.  She was tired and her eyes were sunken in a little more.  Her breaths were more ragged. I was scared when I looked at her, but painted on a smile. I am sure if she was awake she would have seen through.

We had talked to the doctors and decided that maybe, maybe putting a feeding tube in Mom would help her. It was the kind was a tube snaked down through her nose. I knew that she didn’t want a feeding tube but my selfishness took over.  If it would save her yes, let’s do it.  Mom agreed because all of us wanted her to do it, not because she wanted it.

Soon after that decision had been made, the two women from Palliative Care asked to speak to My Dad, my sister and me. We went into an empty hospital room and Joanne carefully and em-pathetically explained the situation.

She softly but firmly explained that Mom was at a point where she probably wasn’t going to get better. They could do a peg feeding tube, but her on a ventilator, even on life support, but just because we could didn’t mean that we should. She explained that we had to think of Mom’s quality life that she had left, her dignity and what she wanted.  She said that it was obvious how much we all loved her, and she had never seen a family fight for a loved one so hard.  And as she was speaking to us, I noticed that tears were rolling down her cheeks. She truly cared.

She explained to us that Mom’s body was just too weak to survive to survive and life saving measures.  That her body had lost it’s ability to synthesize proteins, so even if she had a feeding tube, her body could not absorb any nutrients and it would just turn into diarrhea and it would be a painful death. When she said that it clicked that that is what happened when I was giving Mom all those protein drinks in the days that followed the procedure. Joanne also confirmed that was why Mom would eat for a few days then cramp and vomit for the next 3-4 days.  She told us that they would have needed to see Mom two years ago to help her, tat was how bad and how far the nutritional had gotten.

I think I was the only one not shocked.  I had been telling the family that this was going to happen if Mom did not start eating, if we did not get her treatment.  I had begged Mom for years to please go to a different doctor, a doctor up here, maybe at Emory where Dad was getting his chemo treatments for his liver cancer.  I had set up appointments with nutritionist, counselors and any other doctor I could find at Emory that would talk to Mom.  The one time she agreed to go, she refused to admit that there were any problems, and they could not treat her. For years I had been accused of being dramatic, of lying, of exaggerating and causing drama. I have never been so heartbroken to be right.  I have never wanted to be more wrong in my life.

My sister and father were paralyzed.  I asked a lot of questions because decisions had to be made. And whatever the decisions were, we had to be as comfortable with them as possible. After lengthy discussion of what Mom would truly want, of what was possible and mot, of what is ethical and right and what would break our hearts, it was decided to take Mom from “Get Well Care” to “Comfort Care.” They would keep her on Antibiotics, because miracles could always happen, but if that was not the case, then she could have her dignity. She said they would change Mom from the oxygen mask to the cannula because it would be more comfortable for her.  They promised that they had medicine to help with the “air hunger” that mom would feel. They also had medicine to help with the “death rattle” breathing.

My sister and father left to make phone calls, and I went into the room.  The nurse bad nurse that Mom was afraid of had already put a green feeding tube down her nose.  Mom looked miserable.  I looked at Mom and apologized and told her that I never should have said she should try the feeding tube and that they would take it out immediately. And the nurse did. She pulled it out of her nose very rough and I could tell that it hurt Mom.  She looked at the nurse, fear in her eyes and said “You have no compassion.”  My mother had incredible insights into reading people, and she had yet to be wrong.  That startled me and I swore I would watch over that nurse like a hawk.

After that Mom turned to me and asked where we were, and I just told her the doctor wanted to talk to us as a family to make sure we had a view of the whole situation. That she didn’t need the feeding tube and that we were going to make her as comfortable as possible. That got her attention.  She looked at me, smiled sadly and knowingly, pointed her finger at me and said in a Don’t-try-to-fool-me tone “I know what that means.” and punctuated the sentence with her finger.

I knew I had to have the conversation with her, but wanted to get the feeding tube out and get her comfortable first.

The nurse without compassion came back in and changed the oxygen mask to the cannula, but she did not give any medicine for the air hunger.  And she left.  Within about a minute, Mom couldn’t breath and was begging me to get the nurse. I told her I would and have the nurse bring the mask back. “Please. Hurry.” she gasped. Those were the last words she spoke to me.

I told the the nurse Mom couldn’t breath, and to hurry and change back to the mask, because she was suffocating,  The nurse just looked at me and said she was told to keep Mom and the cunnula. I argued and said that Mom would have to be given the medicine for air hunger. The nurse said she had no idea what that would e, took her time looking through the orders and said that there was nothing in the orders about it.  By that time I was angry at the nurse and panicked and yelled at the nurse to just get the damn mask back on my mother so she could breath! and ran back into the room.

Mom was holding the cannula and gasping. Finally the nurse came into the room, hooked up the mask again and left. After Mom could breath I hugged her and told her how sorry I was.  She said it was OK, that she knew I loved her and that she wanted to rest. I would tell her what the prognosis after she rested, when the family was in the room. I wanted to ask her if there was any one she wanted us to contact?  Was there anything she wanted us to do for her?  Did she want to go home to die or stay there?  And I wanted to ask her, when I was alone, about things she told me she wold only tell me when she was dying. And I wanted to hug her for a long time, long enough to last a lifetime. I wanted to get her some wine and all of us have a drink with her.  I wanted to take her outside, so she could feel the sun on her face one more time, hear the birds, see the sunshine, see the trees and say goodbye to the world.  I wanted her to have the chance to tell all of us whatever she wanted us to know.

Shortly after Mom drifted off to sleep, that same nurse came in, did not say a word and gave her a shot in her IV. I later learned it was the morphine that she should have been given for the air hunger. Mom never woke up after that.

Mom slipped into a deep sleep and then eventually into a coma.

That afternoon there was a knock on the hospital door.  It opened and there was C, one of my other best friends.  I saw her face and almost ran to her, and just hugged her for a long time. We went outside to the waiting area and talked for along time. She was just there for me, she was passing through and decided to stop in. She just wanted me to know I was loved and that she was there for me, for moral support and was praying for me.  It meant so much and was beyond needed.  I friend and unloaded on her.  I didn’t know what I was doing, if I was doing anything right, I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to loose my Mom. How do I let her go?

My friend left and I felt lighter, though still overwhelmed and deeply sad.

My Dad and sister went home to sleep that night and would return early the next  morning. I stayed at the hospital and again watched over Mom as she slept.  I cried, and prayed and sobbed, and prayed.  I was afraid to sleep in case Mom woke up and needed something. I was afraid to sleep in case she slipped away in the night.

I sat with her, in the quiet of the late night, listening to her breathing.  I knew I had to have that conversation with her.  And a part of my knew she would not be conscious as I knew her again. In a situation like this, you have to tell them, you have to break your own heart and give them permission to leave.  I loved her so much, and she deserved that. And so I did. I held her hand,stroked her hair and her face, and I told her what the doctors had said: That miracles can always happen, but that her little body was jsut getting weaker and did’t have the strength to fight the pneumonia.  I told her, as tears streamed down my cheeks and fell onto her , that I knew she was tired and had suffered a lit of pain. If she was tired, if she did’t want to fight any more, that it was OK.  She could let go. I told her that I loved her more than anything, and I wanted her around forever, but she could go if she wanted, if it was just too tired.  We would be OK.  Everything was OK for hr to leave. I told her that it had been my honor to take care of her and my honor still to be there to see her off  as God took her in his Great big hands.

I sat quietly with her for a long time after that.  I sat and held her hand and watched her breathing.  I sat with her and prayed and begged God.  I sat with her and treasured every moment we had together. I sat with her quietly and loved her like only a daughter could.

A Walk with Mom: Day 13

I don’t normally post personal things, but this is different. It is with a heavy heart that I say that my mother, Genny Burch, is very, very sick and is not expected to make it. We will learn more from doctors either this afternoon or tomorrow. I don’t even know how to write this post. The staff at Southeast Alabama Medical Center have been wonderful, extremely compassionate and given her exceptional care. My father, James Burch, is being very brave, but is no doubt hurting. My closest sister in age, R, has decided to leave the situation and has no interest in participating, so it will be my father and me. I have no idea how to do this and am terrified. I don’t know how to do this. Please, please say prayers for us. Please pray that Mom has a peaceful passing, pray that my father be given strength and comfort, and please that I may have wisdom and courage as I make these decisions with my father. Most of all, please pray for a miracle. She has lived a very full life, been a wonderful mother, an amazing grandmother and even raised 65 foster children, She has truly made a difference in this world in so many ways. And if you have any wisdom or advice, please let me know, I need support and love. Thank you.

Sunday July 10, 2016

This was one of the hardest days of my life for many reasons.  It was the day I truly found out that Mom was not going to make it.

Mom had been getting weaker and weaker and was having trouble sitting up by herself. We had been trying to figure out any way to save her. But she wasn’t responding.  She was on 100% oxygen since we had found out she had sever COPD that had not been diagnosed.  Her pneumonia was getting worse and they still could not find the source of another infection they had identified.

They had run every test on her possible.  They had given her x-rays, MRI’s, sonograms, every blood test possible for everything they could think of. She was just so weak. And what they could do was extremely limited because of her sever malnutrition. They could not operate at all because she would not survive being put under. They could not do any more tests because the only ones they had not done would be invasive, and she would not live through it.  They just kept saying, if she weighed more, there would be a lot more options.

By now she had not eaten on 4 days and had probably lost another 7 pounds or so. She was still smiling, but she was getting weaker.  I remember her sitting up and she looked at me and said “I know I brought this on myself from not eating, but I just didn’t think getting better would be this…hard.” It broke my heart.

We had talked to the doctors and decided that maybe, maybe the next day she would pull out of it, but that more than likely she would not.  Palliative Care came down and talked to me. Joanne said that we have to face the fact that miracles happen, but more than likely Mom was going to pass. That her body was so weak and it seemed that her immune system was failing.  They would watch her and continue to give her fluids and antibiotics. The next day would determine it, but to understand that most people who were in the hospital for more than a week with pneumonia didn’t make it. We needed to start thinking about what she might want.

Mom was just getting more and more weak.

I called my boyfriend sobbing. My heart was breaking and I didn’t know what to do.  He was very compassionate and reassuring. He tried to help but that is a heartache that cannot be helped. I called my best friend and cried to her.  How do you prepare to loose your Mom, your best friend.  She had lost her Mom, and so she talked about it in a way we had never talked before.

After the conversation with the doctors that Mom was dying and to pray for a miracle in the next day, my sister decided to leave. She announced that she had to get back to work.  She did not have nay more time off and she did not want to loose her job.  She she was leaving.

I just looked at her. “What? You can’t leave. They told us that Mom is dying, she only had a day or tow left.  Mom is dying. You can’t leave,” I said. I could feel the panic and emotion rising up from the tip of my toes to my head, I could feel it coming is waves. I felt sick and dizzy.

“I need to get back to work. I am leaving, I am not staying.  I have no more time off, and they will fire me,” She said again very matter-of-factly.  “They will give you time off if you tell them Mom is dying. You will not get fired for that. You can;t leave, please stay. I can’t do this by myself. I need you here, you are my big sister. Mom needs you here and so does Dad.  We need to be here as a family for Mom. Please don’t leave me, I am not strong enough to do this without you. Please stay for Mom, she needs to say goodbye too,” I desperately pleaded.


And then I did something I never thought I would do. I fought back and fought hard.  I pulled a dirty trick to get her to stay. I looked at her and defiantly said “I am not going to let you leave me to handle all of this,  You are part of this family too and you need be a part of this.  I will not let you do this. So I am going to beat you to do. I am taking my stuff and I am leaving – going back to Atlanta.  You can handle the rest of this.  And if you want to leave, then YOU are going to have to be the one to tell Dad that YOU and leaving him alone to deal with Mom dying. YOU are going to have to be the one to leave him alone, and scared, if you decide to leave!”

I packed my things and gave Mom a long tight hug.  I whispered to her that I was not really leaving, I would be in the parking lot waiting for Rita to stay. I would be back in a few hours. That was the last hug she gave me.

I left and went to the parking lot and sobbed.  I didn’t know how to do this alone. I didn’t know how to do this if my sister left.  I went to the Waffle House across the street for the first meal in in tow days.  I silently cried as I tried to eat.  I could see the window of Mom’s hospital room from the Waffle.

I was devastated. There are no words to describe the devastation, fear, sadness, terror of those moments.  I went back to my car, called family and friends to tell them the news.  I called my boyfriend to cry and tell him. Called my best friend who had helped me so much, let me vent and gave me incredible medical advice that helped me navigate and make good decisions when I had no clue.  I was falling apart. My heart was breaking and I my head spinning.

After some time I called Dad to see how things were and if my sister had decided to stay. He said yes, he was staying and that they were good. I came back and told him later that I was just in the parking lot, I never and would never, leave them during this time.

My best friend K called and said that she wanted to come down, to see Mom and say goodbye. A few hours later she was there talking to Mom, holding her hand and saying how much she loved her.  Her Mom and my Mom were best friends until her Mom passed away 3 years earlier. It truly broke my mother’s heart to say goodbye to her best friend.  And now my best friend was saying goodbye to my mother. And Mom truly loved her like a daughter.

Mom was weak but tried her best.  She was always proud and wanted to seem as well as possible to others. She talked for a while but then grew too tired and drifted off to sleep. K took pictures of me with Mom, took pictures of my holding Mom’s hand.  We then let and spent the night over at the family compound leaving my sister and Dad to take care of Mom.  She was sleeping almost all the time now, so it was an easy night for them.

I cried a lot at the family home with K.  We talked of her Mom and mine. of old times and the things they would say to us.  That night I tried to sleep but had terrible nightmares again.  How do you sleep when your heart is breaking?