Love and a loss for words …

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Words can’t express how much I miss my mom. But in a way that comforts me. It means that I loved and still love that woman HUGE. Sometimes you get lucky enough to experience something in life and you get to just FEEL it. For me it’s the motherly love she filled my life with. I can still feel it. But to describe it, explain its’ influence over me and how I feel about loosing her, is not something I’m capable of. It’s just too big. But I try to express it in different ways like living genuinely, just the way she taught me. And in sharing her legacy of hope every single day and at every opportunity I get. It may be 24 years since her passing but her influence on me, my family and our little world will continue on forever. And that is certainly something to celebrate.

Well, I hope you all have a day where love leaves you at a loss for words!!!

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Hoping it all goes beautifully …

It’s been 24 years since my mom passed away. But I’m going into this weekend feeling pretty good. I’m not sure what that will mean come Sunday, but it’s honestly the first Mother’s Day I’ve looked forward to in … ever. It’s always a tough one. I remember the first one without her like it happened yesterday. It was awful and to be honest I struggle every year. I’m so thankful that my family understands and let’s me just feel it out. And this year I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you think it’s all going to go beautifully!!!

The love living on in my heart …

One year ago today I drove home in the pouring rain after spending the early evening with my dear friend. It would be just hours before she took her last breath. I will be forever grateful that her husband welcomed me into their home that day and for allowing me to sit and just love on her. Those moments with her will remain some of the most precious I have ever shared with another human being.

Sadly, I am no stranger to moments like these. I was there for both my parents as they passed. As a social worker I sat with many patients and their families as codes were called and time of death was reported. I never took any of those last moments as less than profound. I was honored and still am that God called me to share them with so many beautiful souls. Having been there for both my parents has definitely made their deaths more tolerable-ish. But NONE of these last moments were easy. NONE. The loss of a loved one is awful. REALLY AWFUL. I do think that these experiences, along with God’s grace, has given me a sense of peace about death and dying. There is a natural and spiritual process that I saw, time and time again, that both personally and professionally blew me away. The reconciliation one’s mind, body and soul has with death is nothing short of heroic. And being there for my parents certainly gave me comfort knowing that they were taken care of until the very end. But despite the peace I have and my faith in God, grief is no less painful. It stings. And if you loved BIG, I don’t think that sting EVER goes away. At least it hasn’t for me. Love and loss comes with unfathomable pain. Nothing can ever replace the touch of a loved one who has passed. Their laughter will always be missed. Memories are great, but they are no substitute for the real time we spend with our loved ones. And the passage of time doesn’t seem to make their absence any easier. I wish this world talked more about grief and how it may change but it doesn’t truly go away. Acknowledging that we all hurt and miss someone and admitting that sometimes we all just need a hug could do us some good. I think if we did we might all be kinder and take better care of one another.

Today (and LOTS of other days) I miss my friend. Gut wrenching, to my soul, pain is what I feel. I want her back. I miss her. In my human state I cannot reconcile her death in my brain to make sense. She was too young. Too good. She had too many people who still needed her. I still needed her. Yes, today I am grieving deeply. But I am also celebrating a love and a friendship and a sisterhood that God so generously blessed me with. And even though I don’t feel it was nearly enough time, I couldn’t be more thankful to have shared my life with this incredible woman. My faith reassures me that I will see her again. And when I do, I’m going to give her the biggest tightest hug Heaven has ever seen.

Well, I hope you all have a day where love lives on in your heart!!!

24 Groundhog Days later and love still knows no bounds …

Today is Groundhog Day. It is also the day that my mother died. For 24 years this day has not passed without tears and sadness. Sure, some years are better than others, but generally it’s just awful. I usually spend most of the day trying to avoid contact with the outside world. I try to limit my interactions to the people who know me the best. Those brave souls who have seen me at my worst and loved me anyway. Because for the most part, on Groundhog Day, I’m a wreck.

Twenty-four years later I STILL find it difficult to maneuver through this day. I mention this because ongoing grief is not something people talk about much. The initial grief that comes from loss we all understand even if someone has never felt it. But ongoing grief is a different beast. It shocks me how it still consumes me. It can be as painful as the day my mother died. And I think I know why.

When I feel genuine love for someone and they feel it for me, it’s like this energy has been created. It’s one of the most beautiful and powerful feelings I have ever felt. Being a mother myself and now having children venturing off to college, I find that their absence, although not permanent (thank you Jesus), still leaves an energy behind. It’s a connectedness that pulls on my heart and makes me want them home with me. And it’s also that connectedness that fuels their desire to return home. The love I have experienced both as a mother and as a daughter does not understand time, distance, physics, or logic. It is almost a stronger KNOWING than faith. This love just … IS. It is a constant. And although it’s not always at the forefront of my mind, it is and (I believe) always will be present. And after 24 years of grieving I can assure you that the energy that came from the love I felt from and for my mother is still as strong as it was when I could reach out and touch her. It has never gone away. I still want her to come home. I still want to hug her and spend time with her. Put simply, I STILL want my mommy. And I’m thankful. Although these ties to her tend to cause me incredible pain on days like this, it is a reminder of the gift that God had so graciously given me. Genuine love. And I will ALWAYS be thankful for that.

Well, I hope you all have a day where love knows no bounds!!!

Hopeful …

For most of my adult life if you were to ask me what the greatest mistake I could ever make was, I’d say it would be not fully appreciating my life. Seriously, THIS is my greatest fear. Perhaps it came from losing my mom when she and I were both so young, but that thought really bothers me. Our days may be long but our years are definitely short. For some, those years are even shorter. In my early twenties I made a decision that I wasn’t going to take one day for granted. I made it a goal to find happiness in each new day no matter what trials I faced. And I promised myself that I would relish every joyful moment I was given. I refused to live with regret or worry being the theme of my life. These choices have served me well. But I will admit, it takes a whole lotta work. It doesn’t always come easy, but this “habit” of mine is worth it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are hopeful!!!

Someone has my back …

Last night I had a dream that I was sitting in the backseat of a car behind the driver's seat. It was a beautiful sunny day and then suddenly people were screaming and there was smoke everywhere. Someone driving behind the car I was in was running cars off the road and hitting pedestrians. It was total chaos. It went on for what seemed like 5 minutes. I was calm for some reason. Never panicking. Even when I realized no one was driving my car. I looked over to my right and saw my friend Pam who passed away last February. She was healthy, beautiful and strong. Her hair was curly and long. Her lips red with lipstick. She came from the backseat and easily slipped into the driver's seat. She took control and there was a peace that continued to remain over me despite all that was happening around us. Then I woke up.

I have mentioned before that I do tend to remain pretty calm through some pretty stressful situations. It makes me appear quite emotionless to the outside world. Which couldn't be farther from the truth. It's usually after things are resolved that I fall apart. Then I cry and I'm a mess. Or I just get sick. I guess we all deal with stress differently.

Anyway, I believe that when people die they never completely leave us. I've lost many people that I have loved dearly. And it all began early in my twenties when I lost my mother. There are times when I cannot deny the presence and influence over my life by the ones who aren't with me physically anymore. I've lived a lot of decades now with these "signs". These experiences are comforting. It's as if someone is looking out for me … an angel sent from Heaven.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel like someone has your back!!!

The sound of four …

This morning I woke up in another hotel room. It's been too many to count this summer. I'm not complaining, it's been fun. But there is an unfamiliarity you must overcome each and every time you travel. You look for ways to make it feel like home. For me, it's in the little things.

When you travel with kids it can be challenging. When you travel with 4 kids, it's REALLY challenging. But I love it. I love doing anything with my kids. They make life fun. And they give a familiarity to these very unfamiliar places. As a mom I know their every sound. I can tell who-is-who in the dead of night just by the sound of their breathing and moving. It is the sound of my life for almost twenty years now.

This morning I woke up before everyone else, as usual. As I wandered around quietly from room to room, getting myself ready, I could hear my children sleeping. And while these sounds were familiar, I got a little sad. These sounds will change soon. Very soon. Two will be gone. They will be off to college and sleeping in their new rooms away from home. I know this. Heck, this is the whole purpose of this trip. But it hit me all at once … even the sound of our lives is changing. I took a minute to sit and listen. To take it all in so I can remember what it sounds like to have them all together with me. Again, as they get older, I know that moments like these will soon be a thing of the past. And that's OK. It's life how it should be. And I wouldn't want it any other way. I can't deny that it hurts. There is pain in this process, but for them, I'll endure it. And for one more morning, I'll just be thankful for what life sounds like now.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you hear the sweet sound of family!!!