A Walk with Dad: The Conversation

The next day was the the news that what dad was going through was 90% the dying process.  They said that miracles do happen, but it did not look good.  I didn’t know what to do.  I paced around a lot. That was the the 27th, Monday.  I called my cousins and aunts to let them know.  I called my friends, and i called the three siblings to let them know, find out of they wanted to fly in to say goodbye. They did not, just to keep them updated and let them know when he passed.  I still could not get hold of  my closest sister and wasn’t sure if she wold believe me if I told her anyway. Then I called the ex and asked him to see me after work because it was an emergency and I needed and face to face conversation.  To my surprise, he agreed to come.

That day was spent talking with nurses and staff, making plans, telling family and friends. Praying, a lot of praying. And crying.  Dad was not getting better. He was getting worse it seemed.  He was not really talking much, and terminal restlessness has started. That is when the patient gets restless, cannot get comfortable, picks at the covers or tubes, tries to get up, sit up, lay down, etc.  It is incredibly distressing, even when you know what it is, which is a natural part of the dying process.  I recognized it it from when Mom was dying. Even then, it was hard.  I recognized other things as well.  But Dad was comfortable and well taken care of.  He was at peace with dying, he had said it before.

When the ex arrived, I pulled him aside and explained to him that Dad was dying, that he was not very responsive, that he had terminal restlessness.  That it would be very stressful to see, but that dad was actually not in any way suffering and was natural part of the process.  Even then, the ex had never seen anyone dying and it was very distressing to him.  I asked the ex to be in the room with me when I told Dad that it was OK to let go and be with Mom.  You have to tell those who are dying that it is OK, you have to break your own heart and tell them to let go.

And so I did.  I held Dad’s hand and told him that I loved him more than words could say, but that I knew he was tired.  I knew that he missed Mom, the love of his life, and that he wanted to be with her.  I told him that I would be OK, that all of his children and grandchildren would be OK, and that if he wanted to let go, to be with Mom, it was OK.  I understood, and that he could let go. It was the second hardest conversation I have ever had to have in mu life.  The first was the same conversation I had with Mom.  Dad was not responsive with words, but he held my hand and squeezed it. I knew he hard and understood.  That was the conversation.

After that the ex went and got cognac and beer for Dad.  I had been giving Dad water  on little spurge to keep his mouth dry.  Dad could no longer swallow so he could not drink any liquids or take his medicine.  So I would take the sponge and squeeze it as drop went into his mouth.  When the ex came back. I put some cognac on the sponge and asked if he wanted some.  He parted his lips and grunted enthusiastically. I put some on his lips and in his mouth.  It must have hurt his lips (they were cracked) and then out water on them  We sat with Dad for a while longer, talking to him, making sure he was OK.  He was restless and kept trying to get out of the bed or sit up.  That was terminal restlessness.  The Hospice nurse gave him something to help calm him and he was OK.  The ex however, was visible shaken, so I told him I would take him for a beer. We went to a terrible restaurant were we both had a beer and two double shots.

I stayed with Dad that night.  I sang to him, and talked to him about my favorite times we spent together.  I wanted to make sure that he knew he wasn’t alone.


A Walk with Dad: The News

I think this was the morning of Sunday the 26th, but again I was so exhausted it is hard to keep the days straight. I had slept most of the day before and felt better but was still just weary. It was truly bone tired. I received a call from the assisted living place.  They were a bit concerned because Dad had been so active the day before, but was not able to get out of bed that morning.  He had not wanted to eat breakfast and was too weak to get out of bed.

I immediately went over and saw him.  He was talking, but his speech was slow and a little slurred.  For the first time he did not want the news on, which he always wanted to watch the news, or the Discovery Channel, or the History Channel, or anything on WWI or WWII. He just wanted it quiet so he could rest.  I asked how he was and he said he was OK.  But his sentences were short 1-3 three words and very basic.

One of the two Hospice nurses taking care of him was already there, the other was coming in even though it was her day off.  I knew that it had to be bad to have two of them there. I took a deep breath, exhaled slowly and told them that whatever the truth was, I could take it, so please shoot straight. I said that they did not have to sugar coat anything.

They both examined him and told me the news:  It was one of two things, either he had really over done it the day before and it would take a day or so to recover, or he was in the beginning stage of the dying process. They next 24 hours would tell a lot, and within 48 hours we would definitely know.

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, but smiled and told them thank you.  I stayed with him all that day.  I made sure he was OK, had whatever he needed.  The staff were great, checking in on him, even checking in on me and asking me if I needed anything. The Hospice nurses we great, checking on Dad, taking his vitals, making sure that he was not in pain and could breathe fine.

I prayed and prayed, but deep down I knew,  I kept thinking about that last conversation he said…”If I am stying here then I am going to have to change how I think about a few things.”  He had lost Mom, the love of his life, he had left his home and friends, to move in with his daughter, and now he had been relocated to a very lovely assisted living facility.  I think he tried, but decided he didn’t want to continue.

He was lying there, and he looked so small.  A few times he rolled over on his side, with a grimace because of Pain. Dying of liver cancer is painful as the liver and kidneys shut down. But the Hospice nurses were wonderful in making sure that was not in pain long. They tended to him so lovingly and better than I could have.

By the afternoon he had the “death rattle” when breathing.  I remembered it from when Mom was dying and I knew what it was.  I knew that Dad wasn’t suffering or in any discomfort.  It sounds worse than it actually is. And I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I prayed that Dad would pull through somehow.  That a miracle would happen and that next morning he would wake up and smile, and tell me he was hungry. Prayed for grace and strength.

I sat there in the room with him as he slept and wondered who I could call.  I couldn’t find my older sister.  I had been keeping the other siblings updated, but they were not terribly bothered.  I called a few of my best friends…but I couldn’t get the words out…I think my Dad is dying, but I am not sure? They are not sure. We will know something in 24-48 hours? What was I to do in the meantime?  Was I going to have to go through this alone? The other four siblings probably wouldn’t be there.  Could I even handle being alone when Dad died? Again, I felt so alone.  That is the thing about death, it is usually worse for the loved ones than the patient.

The Hospice nurses, Trey and Julie, had explained to me that if this was the beginning process for Dad, that he would not suffer at all.  Not only because they would take care of him, but because dying of liver cancer is actually one of the most peaceful ways to go.  They said that the ammonia would build up in his brain and he would become delirious and almost happy.  And so it was.

A Walk with Dad: The Last Visit

It is about this time that the exact days get a little fuzzy.  I was so exhausted and sleep deprived that is it hard to remember.  What I do know is that one day of that last weekend was my last visit with Dad. I went either Friday of Saturday. I never in a million years that that would be the last time I would see him, talk to him, hug him while he was strong enough to be up and around.

The last day we spent together was good.  He had been getting stronger, but was still tired easily. He had already eaten but I did roll him around the to get him outside of his apartment.

I had been keeping a close eye on his health and any issues he had been having.  Hospice had informed me about symptoms to look out for and let them know about immediately. They had also said to make sure any visitors were aware of what to watch out for and to tell me about how he was doing during any visits.

Dad had a few visitors and they all told me how Dad was during each visit – if he seemed stronger or weaker, if he had trouble speaking, swallowing or moving or breathing.  Also if his cognitive abilities seemed OK or worse. If he complained about about pain. The creepy cheating ex kept up his super controlling behavior up by refusing to share any information about how Dad’s health seemed during his few visits, or if Dad  displayed any of the symptoms Hospice warned about.

Dad was in a good mood that day, but he wanted desperately to go home.  His missed being home.  Right before I left for the night, he talked to me about what he wanted to do once he was well enough to get out and go home.  I had to tell him that this was his home now, and that is why all of his favorite things were there in the apartment.  I explained to him that it was not safe to be “home” anymore, because he fell a lot and I could not keep him safe because I did not have the medical training that was needed to keep him safe. And Dad’s face fell.  It was like telling a child they could not have candy any more.  I told him that as soon as he was strong enough I would take him home for dinner several tomes a week.  And keep him there over night even when he was able.  It broke my heart to tell him that.

Dad slumped over in his chair, his disappointment physically visible. It broke my heart.  And he said softly, but matter of factly, almost as if he was talking out loud to himself, “If that is true then I have to change the way I think about a few things.” Even then the way he said it seemed a bit ominous.

I said goodbye, hugged him tight and told him I loved him. He said it back.  But that was the last conversation I had with my father.  The next day I was so exhausted that I slept most of the day.  I didn’t go to see him.  I needed the rest and I figured he was in good hands with the staff.  I wish I had gone that day. Later the staff told me that Dad had a burst of energy.  He got up, walked with the walker, he joked with the staff, he ate meals in the dining room, with one of the staff members (staff would eat with new members to help them meet and integrate with the other members). The lady he ate with said he told her about all the projects he worked on, all the ballistic missiles, the designs for the white house and presidents, all about his amazing career.

As much as I wish I had gone to see him that day, I wonder if he needed to tell his stories to someone who had never heard them before. I was so proud of him, but I knew all the stories, new all the projects he worked on.  He had the opportunity that day to share his life stories with others.  He got to make people, the girls who spent time with him that day, laugh and smile with all the projects and the amazing things he worked on.  All the ways he, his designs and his ideas changed the history of technology. And maybe he needed to know that others would think he was special too, and understand his contribution, when they were not related to him and somewhat obligated. All of them told me how charming and adorable he as. And how so incredibly smart, how they loved hearing what he had done and worked on. and how they wanted to talk to him more.  How they loved spending that time with him.

I do know Dad enjoyed the last day he was out of bed and moving around.  I know that he had a great day, that he laughed, enjoyed good food, good company and charmed the staff.  And I suppose we should all pray to be that lucky.


We are all the sum of the choices we make – that goes for a business as much as an individual – Richard Branson

We may not be the sum or all of our parts but we are the sum of our choices. I have a friend, she has been on of my best friends over the years. We have known each other almost 20 years and I love her dearly.  But she is making some very bad decisions, against all of us trying to help her.

No matter who we are, what we do, or where we are in life, we cannot escape our decisions. We answer for the decisions we make. And many times those decisions affect others as well. So where do good decisions start?

There is a saying that says we are what we think.  And I think that is true.  What ever it is we think, or think about, is where I decisions come from.  If our thoughts are aligned with positive things, our decision will be a reflection and a positive out =come will result.  But if we focus our thoughts on the negative or dysfunctional, then our decisions will be a reflection of that too. If we have a mind, and there for thoughts, that are sick, then so too will be the decisions we make.

We cannot escape the outcome of our decision, good or bad.  In that respect we create our own Karma.

My friend is not well, so I try not to judge her. Her decisions are not well right now either.  And she is reaping the outcome and that is furthering the downward spiral.  And many times all you can do is pray for the person making those bad choices, and be there for them when they decide they want to do better. Because you cannot help anyone until they want to be helped, until they make that choice for themselves.

And so I do both for my friend.  I pray and I will be there for her when she makes a decision to get out of the spiral she is in. And I pray that I make good decisions as well.


When the weather changes and gets warmer, we seem to get Spring Fever.  And indeed I have it.  I want to be outside, want to sit out on the deck, I want to enjoy the warm air.  I want to walk and hike and see and be active.  TV holds no special place for me and it is hard to be still.

There is an optimism in the air as well. I feel good about life, even if I am still overwhelmed at times.  But I know life will be OK, that I am Ok.  That life, and the world, renews and blooms during this time.  We all need fresh starts. We all need to step out of the old and walk into the new.  The New Normal is not one that I would have chosen, but it is what was given to me. And you work with life hand you re dealt,

In that instance, life is what you make it. So you find a way to make life work for you. Build the life you want, because life is what you make it, and where you start doesn’t really matter.  It is where you want to be.  And I want to be happy. I want to see the sun and feel warmth on my face.  I want a full, good, fulfilled, wonderful life.

And this Spring, this time, is the start. I will take this new normal and make it mine.  I will take this new normal and make it amazing. I will build the life I have always wanted. I will pray and have faith, and work hard, and stay on course.  And with God’s guidance, I will succeed.

Yes, this is Spring. And this is the beginning.

A Walk with Dad: The Phantom

This day, Thursday, was a good day with Dad, though he was tired from all the activity from the day before.  Eating in the dining room, socializing and moving around so much just wore him out.  I went to see Dad around lunch and he had already eaten in his room.  The staff were wonderful about making sure he had what he needed.

The staff also made me aware that the first Hospice that we used was good, but was not doing everything needed.  So I had another Hospice assigned.  And they were amazing. They gave a thorough examination and made sure I had their numbers.  They had chaplain who came while I was there.  Dad, who was a man of few words, immediately trusted him and opened up.  Dad smiled and talked easily.

The chaplain had a way about him that put people at ease, myself in included.  And he said he would come back, when it could be just the two of them, and really talk to Dad and make sure that he did not have any emotional or spiritual issues with the situation.  He said he would talk to Dad about loosing Mom, about his children and family, about God and make sure Dad was a Peace. He said that he was there for Dad, in whatever he may need in that capacity. Dad smiled and said he was looking forward to seeing the chaplain again.

Dad was in good spirits that day, though tired. He was still also in a bit of pain from the fall earlier.  He also fell at the assisted living place, and that jared him a bit, so he was sore from that as well.  Dad was having trouble balancing and walking.  He would shuffle his feet and sometimes would not lift them up quite enough when stepping.

Dad was still able to eat by himself and wasn’t shaking as much.  When he first went into rehab back in December, he was so weak and shaking so badly that he could barely hold a fork or spoon to get food to his mouth.  It was heartbreaking and I took video of it him if I was accused of exaggerating Dad’s condition. But he was doing well in assisted living. He was easily fatigued but doing much better. And that day he was in good spirits, so that made me feel much better too.

I was excited because I was going to see Phantom of the Opera with some friends.  I had bought 3 tickets a month before, originally for my then boyfriend and father.  Dad had not seen a stage production in a long time, and this was a great one to take him to – the amazing costumes, the effects, the music…it would be perfect.  But he was too tired and the then boyfriend was now the ex. So my friends and I went instead.

We had a great time that night and it was a needed break.  Sometimes when dealing with difficult emotional situations, you need to be reminded that life exists outside of your current experience.  That life does exist, period.


A Walk with Dad

As I sit back enjoying a quiet evening after a hectic and long day, the memories flood back. This time last year with my father.  The thing about memories is that they are often not chronological.  They just come in sometimes random order, leaving you to figure out which ones came first and on what days.

I remember visiting my Dad every day while he was at the Hospice House.  The rooms there were set up to look like real bedrooms in real homes.  They even had a sliding glass door with a wonderful patio.  I remember looking out and wishing that it was warm so Dad could enjoy the warmer temperatures.  But this time last year, it was still freezing.  Looking back it seems like last winter started in October and lasted until mid April.  Dad was miserable when it was cold.

I would stay and talk with him until he was tired and wanted to go to sleep.  Only then would I leave.  And we laughed and just talked. I would tell him about my day, about work, about things in general. And sometimes we didn’t way anything, we were just silent. He was tired often, and talking, thinking and keeping up with the conversation would take all of his energy. I went to leave, and I hugged him and told him I loved him like I always did.  And he looked at me and thanked me for everything that I had done for him…because I was the only child that would be there for him and do these things.  It broke my heart.  He was so sad when he said it.

I know he wanted so bad for my other sister to be there, but no one could fine her or get a hold of her. She had refused to help, then just disappeared, and no one knew why or how to reach  her. So we just thought she changed her number, since all we got was a recording when we tried to call.  I didn’t know what to tell Dad…what do you say when a number is disconnected and no one hears from that person?  What do you say when emails, phone calls, text messages, get bounced back when they have said they have no time or interest in helping?

And I desperately wanted my sister too.  I didn’t know what to do, or how.  We had lost Mom so soon before, how could I handle loosing Dad? But we are often stronger than we realize. There was no way to even tell her that Dad was in Hospice, or that his treatments had stopped and we did not know how long he had left.  And even if I did tell her, would she dismiss it like she had before and just told me that I was exaggerating, like she said about when I told her mom was sick?

The creepy ex had left, and I was devastated. Then trying to be there for Dad, talking to nurses, Hospice staff, making arrangements and getting all the legal things in order for the assisted living facility. And all the medical records and coordinations between the assisted living and Hospice. Trying to keep all the family – Dad’s siblings, cousins, my siblings and his childhood, high school, college and other friends updated. Oh, yes and still working a regular job,, though they were being incredibly understanding of my situation. I was crying all the time.  I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I was exhausted and distraught.  There was no one to help and I desperately needed help and advice, I needed a shoulder.  My friends called and did what they could. But I was just lost.  And I felt so very alone

And that had to be nothing compared to what Dad was feeling and going through. I can’t even imagine. He was a good and honorable man, he worked hard, he loved my mother and was a wonderful husband. He was my hero.

And so I loved sitting with him, talking with him, eating those boiled peanuts, fixing up his room. And when he got to the assisted living place, his room was lovely, with all of his favorite things.  And I left a little not on his pillow, letting him know that I had to be at work, but that I would there later…and in the meantime, there were boiled peanuts and his favorite beer in the fridge.

And I made sure he was Ok there, and almost spent the night with him that first night.  But I was exhausted, and needed to try to sleep.  Plus, the staff was checking on him every hour at night.  I kissed him goodnight and hugged him so tight that first night as assisted living. I was both relieved and scared.  I prayed he would be OK, and not feel lonely.

The next day I was there and he was still very tired as the moved the day before had taken a lot out of him.  But I went and talked to him and laughed and made sure he was OK.  I talked with the staff and nurses, they were looking after him well.  They we checking on him, making sure he ate, helping him shower and get around, as he was still unsteady.  That was on Tuesday.

Wednesday the 22nd I went and we had dinner or lunch together (can’t remember which).  But I remember wheeling him down to the dining area and we ate. The food was good, and we enjoyed the conversation. Afterward we listened as a few of the other members who stayed there played the piano. He loved it, and for the first time in a while, I saw him smile and his eyes dance.

It was a warmish day and so I took him outside for a little while.  The grounds were lovely, and there was a little patio with chairs and a little garden at the end of the hall, which was one door down, from his apartment. We sat out there are talked a bit before I wheeled him around the grounds.  Everyone was do friendly, and I think that maybe for a brief minute, he wanted to feel better so he could enjoy where he was living. There was a cool breeze that felt c=good to me, but gave him a chill.  So we went back to his room and sat and talked for a bit.  He was soon tired and ready for a nap. I hugged him tight and left for the evening. And as always, told him I loved him so very much before I left.

I still love you so much Dad. I know you wanted to be to home, but you were trying to enjoy where you were.  They took such great care of you, better than I could have honestly.  I am thankful for that day and that time together.




The Last Miles

There are times in all of our lives, when we feel like we have finally turned a corner when it comes to having dealt with trauma. And when it happens it is almost tangible, it can be felt so strongly. And yet, there is no evidence to the outsiders that anything has changed.

I turned that corner on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day last year marked the final last miles I walked with my father.  The creepy ex who cheated on me with prostitutes and strippers left the house, leaving my father and I to enjoy the house.

My father and I were eating breakfast on the 16th when he made the comment that the house was so much more peaceful and pleasant. That said a lot coming from a man of few words.  We had a good time together, just being father and daughter.

And then Dad fell out of bed in the early morning hours of the 17th.  It was a Friday and he was to move into the assisted living the next day.  Instead he went into a Hospice Care facility for the next 5 days. He was in quite a bit of pain and they could take care of him, keep him comfortable and well looked after.

One night I took him boiled peanuts, and we had the best time eating them together, watching some TV and just talking about life.  Then while cleaning up, I slipped on a bag of boiled peanut juice and fell on my bum. I’ll never forget how my Dad laughed and called me the Pinktank, a nickname I have had for almost 30 years.  But his favorite nickname for me was simply PJ.  He had called me PJ since I was a little girl, about 4 years old.

All that weekend I moved Dad’s things into his assisted living apartment, set up his new place, hung pictures, got a shower curtain and other decorative things just for him. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I had enough love to make the place shine. I even had boiled peanuts, and his favorite beer in the fridge.  No detail was overlooked.  His favorite coffee cup, his favorite beer koozie, his favorite clothes and furniture.  I even got him new soft sheets for him to sleep on. I was exhausted, but I knew he would like it. AN I just wanted him to feel good and warm there.

He moved into his new place that Monday, the 21st.  And those were the last days we would spend together.  He passed away on March 1st. As the anniversary approaches, I am thoughtful and very aware of all the memories.  I spent as much time with him as possible, going at lunch or after work, sometimes both.  Such a wonderful, kind, gentle man.

And I finally feel like I have my life back together.  I finally have me peace, my groove and my heart back.  It is no longer shattered in a million pieces and my soul is once again whole.  So his anniversary now is so much different than Mom’s, when I was a certifiable mess. I have turned the corner in the grief neighborhood. Every day I am a little happier, even as I miss both of my parents so very much.

It is surreal that is has been a year.  And even longer than that for my mother. It is surreal that I have existed this long without them.  And that there is a lifetime ahead without them still. But the corner has been turned.  And I will never have to go back to that place of heartbreak again, even as I remember the last miles Dad and I walked together.

I love you Dad.  I miss your voice, and your hands, and your smile and you, It was my honor to walk those last miles with you, and a privilege to be there for you in your last moments.  To hold your hand as God took you in His arms. I know Mom was there to meet you, I saw your smile as you left. Please visit me in my dreams.

The Perfect Valentine

We all have those days or dates that are just perfect.  Even when we didn’t know what would be perfect.  It is wonderful when someone makes you see everything you didn’t know you wanted and would be perfect.  This is how Valentine’s Day was for me.

Somehow it was exciting and laid back at the same time, familiar and new, romantic and low key. It was everything I didn’t know that I wanted. It was perfect.

And that is the thing about life, just when you least expect it, just when you take a deep breath and let go…life grabs you by the heart, makes you smile and warms your soul. Maybe that is the point, for life to always be a surprise.

And I have to say, that after the past two years of hardship, this wonderful happening is very welcome.  To be the girl again, to to adored, to be held and to have fun are things not to be taken for granted.

It is Spring. The days are getting longer, the weather is warmer, the nights are breezy and life…life is, for the first time in a long time, quite wonderful.

To Be Me

Love this and am proud to have written it. 🙂

To Be Me

I am a woman,
Real, live, not imagined
Magnificent, amazing, dark
You cannot imagine the depth of me
Or the breadth of my smile
Or the source of my strength
Or the very essence

A woman, phenomenally me
I am real in the flesh
And you cannot control me
With remote, joystick or otherwise
I do not obey, and you cannot
Dampen or darken this light
Inside me; it is God-given

I will not be controlled
But I will blow the rules
Rock the boat,
Tell the truth and,
Call you out on lies
Or shortcuts on character
And misquotes and more

I am not here to please
Or pleasure or serve.
I am here to pray
And flourish
And throw my head back
In laughter and joy
And honor the live given to me

I am here to love
With my whole heart
And not settle for half done tries.
I am here to breath fire
Into this life and
Make it dance with the
Brilliance of my soul

I am here to be me.
Ada Burch 2/19/2017

I Will Restore to You

“And I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten…” – Joel 2:25

Restore is a powerful word.  The dictionary defines restore as to bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate, to bring back to the original state. For me, that is what this Lenten season is about.

Lent is traditionally a season of deep introspection and contemplation.  A time wen we think about our lives and our Faith.  It is a time of discipline.  And I traditionally give up something for Lent, this year it is soft drinks, a guilty pleasure I do so enjoy. Last year I did not give anything up. I figured having to give my father up in death so he could return home to our father was enough. And it was.

This year is different.  This year, even in discipline, there is much joy.  There is promise, there is restoration.  I know that having faith, being disciplined in that faith and being the best version of myself that I can be, I will be restored. The last few years have been about loss, so much heartache. This year, after all the hard work of getting through it is about life, love and all the wonder the world brings with it.

And isn’t that the way it is in life?  We work hard, we get through the bad, hard times, we have just enough faith to barely having on, and then, it is done. And we are restored.  My hart as broken into a thousand peaces, and I got to know very intimately the laws of Loss and Grief and Sadness. Last year I was so empty that I had nothing left in me to give up.  Everything, every bit of me, every fiber of my being, was being used just to survive and get through.

There comes a time in life, where the pendulum swings in the other direction and the table turn, and your life is returned back to you. When you look up and realize that the baron fields have been replaced with fertile ground, steady ground, to plant and build your life again. Now I am being replenished.  Yes, there are still hard moments, I still cry for missing my parents and loved ones so, but my heart is full.  Life is good. I am no longer surviving. I am living.

So this Lent is meaningful and joyful in so many ways.  I am thankful to have enough in me, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, to be able to participate. And in doing so, God is restoring me and returning those years that I lost. It is said that you cannot turn back time or get it back in any way, and in many ways that is true. But what you can do is make your come back, so to speak.  You can appreciate much more, do more, be more than you were before.

And when your life is returned to you, even though that time has passed, you see that you really haven’t missed anything.  Life, love and all that they encompass, were right there waiting for you all along. And because you missed them, you have a deeper understanding and appreciation of them.

I am looking forward to the restoration, already under way.  And I am thankful for it.



Love and Bliss in Modern Times

What a difference a year makes. So much can happen, both good and bad. Growth can be exponential. Entire lifetimes can be lived in 365 days. And how often we look back in life and think we were were 1 year ago, 2, 5 or maybe even 10. We make mistakes, learn, we grow, we teach, we live. Each and each path is different. That is part of what makes life magic.

And so it is that I sit here I my bed, tired after a full day of work and play, pondering my path for the last year or so. I cannot even begin to explain the thoughts or emotions. A year ago today was the best thing that ever happened to me. A year ago, a break up from a very horrible and toxic relationship freed me from so many horrible moments, potential pitfalls and guaranteed heartaches. I didn’t see as such at the time, but hind site is 20/20. It seemed very painful, but it tooknme from where I thought I should be, and set me on the path God had for me. Now, the relarionship I have, my partner, a man with whom I am equally yoked, is truly amazing.

That life I left behind, so different from today. I thought about how my world turned upside down and now what seemed so foreign and uncomfortable is part of my every day life. I am in a different area, a different job, writing different things. The landscape of my life, not what it was. In this moment, I feel like I am where I am supposed to be, like I am finally on my path and on my way.

But I never would have gotten here, without first leaving my old life behind. Growth can be a painful part of life. But when the dust settles and the clouds clear, we are left with our purest version of ourselves, because everything else has been stripped away. And from there is where we grow. I guess God prunes us when he sees fit, when he sees that we are going and growing in too many directions. He prunes us for His purpose.

And when He sees that you are not on the right path, he will turn the world upside down to you can step where you should. I should not have been where I was a year ago or with whom. That is not the life I was ever meant to live. And I thank God every day, when I see contrast now.

As I sat at dinner tonight, a treat after some shopping, I thought about how blessed I have been. Love is all around me, so much so that I cannot escape. Not that I would want to. It has taken a while, but I have fallen in love with my life.

I do not know what they future holds. What I do know is that I am happy on This Valentine’s Day. I am most happy with those who are I my life, close to me, feeding my love, hopes, dreams and more. I am excited for what it means. I am happy with the love that I have found. I am blissful.

Love and bliss are rare in these modern times. And oh do I plan to celebrate.

The Bed

Another piece I write in 2014.  As the day of love approaches, look around…you probably have more love around you than you thought.

Bed of Love

 Yes, it is That day tomorrow, the day dedicated to love: Valentine’s Day. When I was younger, I was all into this day. I wanted the roses, the dinner, the gifts, the romance, the ALL of Valentines. Ah, how age has mellowed me out. I am still a romantic sap, but a bit more practical.
To me, whether single or attached, these days Valentine’s is about the every day love that we experience in our lives. And as I look around, I see so much love in my life. First, the love of my parents. Their love for each other and their family is truly inspiring. I can only hope to be as good of parents as they are.


And my friends. I have so many who are there for me, day and night, through the good and bad, thick and thin. Yes, they are my heart, as it beats over and over.

These are the people who love me no matter how many times I make mistakes, trip and fall, spill things, put my foot in my mouth, break something, need help, forget something, when I look ugly, feel ugly, have gained 10 lbs, eat and entire pizza (not that that has ever happened), have a bad hair day, or month, spill a drink on them, or their significant other  (not that that has ever happened…)and countless other things too numerous too mention..


And then there are my loves. Those men who have been in my life and are and have been the loves of my life. Most of them are still friends, and I cherish the time they have been in my life. They have been and filled the space between the heartbeats. Each and every one. The time between each breathe.


And I think of how blessed I am, to have loved and top have been loved, and to be loved so much. In my life, in this new beginning, in this space and time, in this struggle, there is not a place I can go to get away from the love in my life. And it will just grow. Because that is what love does when it’s shared. And love is everywhere with me as I start this new beginning, this new adventure in life.


And to all of them, everyone who is a source of love and light in my life; I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart



Stepping Stones

I wrote this back in 2011.  and it is still true today…when we have gone through a bad time, we have a choice…

The Stepping Stone Theory

 We all have them, those bad times, those hard relationships, those broken hearts, the skinned ideals and the bruised egos.  But do those things have to define who and what you are?  How much power do they have over you?  The decision is yours.  This has come up in several conversations as of late…with my friends, confidants and potential dates.  I have long had a theory on this topic.

The years 18-20 were very tough years for me and many bad things happened.  One day when I was 21 and feeling sorry for myself, I had a revelation.  We all go through dark times…it’s how we choose to handle them that makes the difference.  We have a choice:  To let those bad times, and all that comes with it, to become a ball and chain around us that drags us down into a pit of fear, anger and bitterness. OR.  Or, we can use our bad experiences as a stepping stone to rise above and become better, stronger people.  The latter is the hardest, as it requires a great deal of strength, courage and determination.  It also requires a great deal of compassion.

I decided at the ripe old age of 21, that I would never have a ball and chain, I would never lower myself be subjected to the bitterness of it, I would not let those who hurt me make me as bitter and twisted as they were.  Last night as I spoke to someone who said they could not have a relationship because of the remnants of a bad relationship 10 years ago…I heard my 21 year old voice again.

We all have a choice – we are not nor do we ever have to be, the sum of all our wounds, hurts and broken hearts.  We have a choice.  And I have made mine.  And that is the beautiful things about choices, it’s never too late to make them.  It is never too late to change your destiny, attitude, life. So make the decision to climb up on the stepping stone.  Don’t worry about what happens if you fall…because there are plenty of people who love you who will be there to help steady your feet…if you just let them in.

What are the Odds? Who Cares

I am convinced that to accomplish anything in life, you must decide that the odds do not apply to you. At first this may sound arrogant, but it is not. The reason is that you have to make up your mind that the odds do not matter…because no matter what the odds are you will succeed. So why do they matter?

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he might have between 6-12 months. But he lived and received treatment for 6 years, which is unheard of for liver cancer. I am not even sure they have odds for someone living that long after diagnosis. HE decided that the odds did not matter or apply to him. He had faith and prayed, he had treatments and took care of himself. And then he also had my another as his caregiver.

And my mother beat the odds as well. Back in 2001 she was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer and given less than a 1% chance. And she beat it. For 16 years and still died cancer free. She decided, even told the doctors that she was going to give them their 1%, because those odds did not apply to her.

You have to believe with such determination and such passion and such faith, that you cut a clear path through all the menucia and achieve. No matter what your dream is – to be an actor, a writer, retire early, climb a mountain, be a mother, beat cancer – you make up your mind. And the odds? Don’t even listen to them. You don’t need to know what they are. Because they don’t matter. Let the naysayers have the odds, make the calculations and talk about the results. You just put your head down and get to work.

When you make up your mind like that, are you really taking risks? Other’s may think you are crazy, and that is OK. The best people are. Mom sounded crazy when she told the doctors she was going to survive, Dad sounded crazy to say that he would be around longer than 5 years after the diagnosis. I was told many times that I was crazy to think I could make a great, or even good living, being a writer.

The odds don’t apply to you, so don’t even listen. All you need to accomplish your dreams is already right inside you. Everything you need is already there, and no one, not even the math wizards who get paid to create the formulas that tell us the odds can tell you anything. You make your own odds.

Where Are You Now

When the anniversary of the death of a loved one is approaching, it causes one to look back. At least it does for me. YOU look back and think of the timeframe. It has almost been a year and in addition to looking back on a year ago, I think about all that has happened in 12 months. I think about where I have been.

A year ago today, this weekend, my two half sisters came to visit to see Dad. I had urged them to come down and spend time with Dad before he was too sick and weak. He was going into Hospice so I knew there was not much time left. He was so happy they were there. His face lit up. He was so happy to see them, so happy to spend time with them, so happy that they came down just to see him.. He loved being around those girls and I had only seen him happier once – when all of his children came together for the sibling reunion. It meant so much for him.

There were a lot of changes happening and I wanted them to know that Dad would be well taken care of. He was not only going into Hospice, but moving into a wonderful retirement/assisted living facility. I had looked at about 7 places while Dad was in the hospital the week after my birthday and narrowed it down to three. Dad then chose which one he liked the best. The place was amazing and they truly cared for those who lived there. He also chose which apartment he wanted and it suited him well. I can’t say he was excited, but he was not dreading it. I arranged for the girls to have a tour so that they knew where Dad would be.

It was a year ago tonight that we were all together watching the Grammy’s. Adelle paid tribute to Prince and even started it over. Dad hated modern music, but wrapped up in blanket and watched with all of us just so he could be with the girls. The pervy ex was somewhere, phone in hand, contacting strippers and prostitutes, and making plans to leave just 3 days afterward.

You remember. And then you ask yourself – where have you been? And you think about that. I have been around the world and back a thousand times it seems. And here I am now. I work at a great company, have the best friends in the entire world, have a wonderful relationship, live in a nice house in a nice area, completely different from.where I was before. Very little about my life is the same as it was. And even though this month is a hard one, I am happy. I am still adjusting to the new normal and am not completely convinced that you ever get used to it, but I am good. Life is good and I am working hard every day top make it better.

You have to look up and recognize your path and where you have been. And when someone asks where are you now? You can answer and talk about that which you are thankful and recognize as good. Because that is how you grow. Even on the days when it is hard and you have to make yourself, it is worth it. Because you are stronger than the sadness and grief, because life is stronger than death and love is the strongest of all.

The Peanut Gallery

Boiled peanuts.  Something my father and I loved to eat together. The last time we ate them together was about a year ago in February 18th or 19th.  He had gone into Hospice the first of February. He fell a few days before he was supposed to go into the assisted living and was staying in Hospice care for a few days. During this time I would go and see him, sit with him and we would just talk, about nothing in particular.

One day I brought a bag of boiled peanuts Mom had out up three weeks before she died. We sat there, in that beautiful Hospice room that was designed to look like a real bedroom, ate Mom’s boiled peanuts together.  It is one of the most precious last memories I have of him and us spending time together.

After we were done eating them, he was tired, so I got up to throw the bag away. Being the klutz that I am, I spilled the boiled peanut water, slipped on the slick wet floor and landed square on my bum.  There was actually a large bruise where I landed.

This is a hard month for me, as the first anniversary of Dad’s death is approaching, and with it comes all the memories, good and bed, associated with it.

A dear friend who knew my father, and who has known me since I was 14, decided to send a gift.  There are times in life where people just surprise you.  Today was a day like that.

Soon a bag of boiled peanuts will arrive at my door.  A bag that I will eat and think of my father, and the last time we shared them.  I grew up eating boiled peanuts with Dad, and this year, this anniversary, I can pay tribute, as corny and as silly as that sounds. Boiled peanuts and a beer. Nothing better in the whole world.

So comments from the Peanut Gallery are entirely welcome. And I am thankful for my friend who is sending such a sweet and thoughtful gift during this time. It is truly the simple things in life that warm the soul, touch the heart and bring a smile.

When the Laughter Returns

All of us who have been through a hard time can say that when the laughter returns, it erupts from a place that is so much deeper than before.  It boils up from the tips of your toes, from the depth of your soul, from the bottom of your heart and spills out.  It is that deep belly laugh that truly originates from joy.

When you have been through a hard time where laughter was scares and tears were plenty, you appreciate that laughter as the miracle it truly is. To me joy is a miracle because it is the other side to the coin.  And both sides celebrate our humanity.

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”  – Kevyn Aucoin

When we go through painful experiences, it shows our humanity in the fact that we can feel, and cry, and ache and empathize.  We can also comfort and hold and find solace in the humanity of others.  IT is all part of the human experience.  As hard as life is. would we really want to live a life with no pain or discomfort?  How boring would that be?  And if we never felt any kind of emotional discomfort, how would we grow or become more compassionate human beings? How could we truly comfort a friend with a broken heart at the end of a relationship if we had never felt that same pain ourselves?

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”  – Robert Fulghum

So for me, that laughter represents the return to myself, the return to life, the return of joy and of love and peace and all that is wonderful.  It is my life being returned to back to me.  And the truth is that I have missed my life, while I was away.  And I have laughed more in recently than I have in the past two years.  And it feels wonderful. Because when you have truly seen the bottom, and felt it in the deep and dark places no one talks about at night when it is quiet, then that laughter is freedom.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” –  Joseph Campbell

And so here I am, giggling and laughing just like I used to, but even more.  Because I appreciate life more, after having been through the dark and difficult times.  I have a thriving career, wonderful friends, an amazing love, and peace.  Yes, life is good and I am happy.  And I Am laughing all the way to this wonderful, fulfilling, amazing life God has given me.

When you get to this place, even when bad times or bad days or sadness comes, it still doesn’t rock you to your core. You still have joy and happiness in reserves, And mayne that is what it is, having enough happiness internally to get you through the hard times.  And I thought I had that myself.  But when something so huge happens that is does deplete you of your reserves, it takes some time to build up again.  But it does happen. You will get there. My heart is free and my spirit feels lighter and brighter than ever.  Even this month, with the first anniversary approaching, as hard as it will be, I know it will be OK. But it has taken a year.

And that is how it is with life. So don’t be afraid of your own humanity.  Feel whatever needs to be felt. Because it will lead you back to the laughter, back to love and joy and peace and …life.  And when you get there, you know you have earned that laughter. And you feel it in every fiber of your being.

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  – Victor Hugo

Spring is coming after a long cold winter. Life is renewing, and if you listen close, you can har the giggles and laughter of those new little green leaves of your new life growing.

Wild Hearts Can’t be broken

Hollywood. A town a of glamour, movie starts and money. But honestly I have not been very impressed with Hollywood lately. I haven’t seen many movies or TV shows that are worth my time or many kind of praise.

But then I see things like Ashton Kutcher’s speech to Congress about his organization that has help over 6,000 victims of human and sex trafficking. And I see Pink’s video “Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” with links to Unicef and women who are victims all over the world. And I have a friend who is a movie producer of Christian films like “God’s Not Dead” and specifically a movie about human sex trafficking called “Caged No More.”

They have such a huge platform and are truly using their influence to make changes and help those who need it most. And truth is that human trafficking can happen anywhere, On any street, in any town. It can happen in any house. Atlanta is one of the biggest cities for human and sex trafficking in the world. And there have been many news stories about human trafficking rings being busted, news cameras surrounding houses where the victims were being held and forced to work. Many times those houses are in very affluent neighbors, in multi-million dollar homes. Surprised? Most are. It that insidious, that it can be so close, yet undetected.

Maybe this topic hits so close to home because my parents took foster children. We were a therapeutic foster home, which meant that we got those who had often been abused the worst and were the most damaged. So I have seen what severe sexual abuse does to children. I know what it means when they are “conditioned” or “trained.” I have had them in my home as a child, played with them, eaten with them, even held them and tried to reassure them when they woke up scared and screaming.

Who are these men who shop around and take advantage of women and girls who have been trafficked? I used to wonder that too, and to a large part I still do. And what part of them is so broken and sick, that they would take advantage and exploit others? But they may not be who you think.

They are men like my ex. My ex was well educated, professional, came from a “good” catholic family…looked great on paper. But he shopped on Craig’s list for prostitutes, went to strip clubs to find “dates” and knew that many of the girls in the ads were under age, but did not care. Even if all the girls happened to be of age (which is doubtful), he was still contributing to an industry that perpetuates human sex trafficking…He took pictures and videos of them naked and sent them around to his friends. He volunteered as a career coach, and often worked with desperate unemployed women, so he would be in a position of power. And even now, at age 50, still brags about having 18 and 19 year-old teenagers that come to his house…But you would never know any of this to look at him. Or if you met him at work. Or at a social function. Or even on a dating site.

I mention this because it shows how bad and widespread the problem is. It is not just creepy men in back alleys with slicked back hair that look like they could sell you a horrible used car. It could be anyone. In any city, in any industry, in any socioeconomic level and any education level. They can seem charming or harmless but these men often lead double lives. The reason why human trafficking is such a problem, is because there is such a huge demand for it. And it is not just in other countries. My ex lived with me. This man was in my house. It hits close to home, because he was in my home.

Several years ago Dateline had a series called “How to Catch a Predator” that shocked the nation. How many men were out there looking to hook up with under age kids? How many men did they catch? Many. And still not enough. They were doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, mechanics, father’s, business men, firemen, some unemployed..some married, some single, some younger, some older And show after show, these sexual predators would take the bait.

Now, those clients have simply moved to another supplier. But it’s not just girls below 18 that are being trafficked, there are women of every age. Because human traffickers have figured out that sex sells and the age doesn’t really matter. Out of the 6,000 victims of human sex trafficking that Ashton’s company has saved, only 2,000 of those were minors. That means 4,000 of the victims were prostitutes above the age of 18. Children get the biggest spotlight (and they should) but it is a problem that does not end once a girl turns 18.

I think that it’s wonderful that celebrities are bringing attention to, creating dialog and helping victims of human trafficking. It is truly a worthy cause. For an industry that is known for being superficial, it is good to see so many rolling up their sleeves. It is good to see this topic get so much attention, because even one victim is too many.

Ashton Kutcher’s speech is below and his organization is called Thorn: https://www.wearethorn.org/

This is a local agency that helps victims: https://www.unodc.org/blueheart/index.html

And this is the movie that my friend produced about human trafficking: http://www.cagednomoremovie.com/


Sometimes a song, some music that you hear immediately connects to a deep space within…and that is what happened with this song. It is like music that describes my soul and where I am in life and where I have been, all at the same time.
It has almost become my internal theme song. Because strength isn’t always loud. Sometimes it is soft and quiet as it comes from deep spaces within. Sometimes that strength is beautiful, melodic with a hypnotic tempo. And that is where you find your rhythm.
So my new theme song…because no matter what…I will always…shimmer…

Hi Dad, it’s Me

I found one of your cards today, one of the ones you left for me to find. Somehow, I always find them right when I need them. I guess you are just magic like that.

Your 1st year anniversary is coming up soon. I know it will be a hard day. There are so many difficult memories this month.

I didn’t know how I was going to make it after you passed. I knew I would, just didn’t know how. Or when. Those were some dark and sad days. And I was feeling mighty low.

You never get over losing your parents, but I think you would be proud of the progress I have made. It has been a long time. And so much hard work. I hope that you would be proud.

I miss you. I miss your voice. I miss you hugs. I miss eating boiled peanuts with you. And I miss you sharing your thoughts on what mattered. I miss your laugh and your one-line zingers and your quiet sense of humor.

I love you so much. Thank you for the card today.