12.28.2010

Happy Birthday Em

Today is the birthday of a very special woman, Emily.  I have called her Em since I can remember.
I remember the joy that Di had when Em was ready to graduate and the happiness she felt when she went to live in California and pursue her dreams and the little voice inside her head that was a bit mad when she came back home to stay; for her mom.  Worries, travels, tears and memories dot the landscape of the past few years and I know that Em has always put her strong personality forward and trudged through it all. 





Remember to be patient, everything in life always takes much longer than we expect it to and remember that you really are your mother's child and no one can ever take that away from you; she resonates and still lives in the spaces of your heart each and every day.
I wish you a Happy Birthday and I'm sure that your mom is sending you hugs from heaven, Em.

Love and PEACE.
Yours truly,
Cat

12.27.2010

Illuminations and Ponderings

Staring into the lights twinkling on the Christmas tree this year I am reminded of the insurmountable loss over the past two years. This is two Christmases without Di and they just keep adding up. Untangling my heart from the knots that resonate in my soul is even more difficult at this time of year because it brings up memories of those that we lost and makes me make the realization that the losses and the sorrows are always and forever with me. To be okay again is a mighty feat. To lie and say “I’m fine” just masks the underlying sadness and sorrow. Is it okay to be lying and masquerading behind the lies? For many it is not, for me at the time, “its fine”. I still do feel like sometimes I just can’t breathe through the thickness of all of it, all of the feelings of emptiness but somehow I shoulder through it all. Some people cannot understand how some people just can’t move on. I am moving on but the heaviness and the sadness remain still. Celebrations and happiness cover over the mystique of sadness and block it out throughout the times of needed functionality in my life.

What is really true is that I have been trying to put on a brave suit of armor every day. Facing my fears of isolation, loneliness and sadness is something that I do every day, but I do it in the quiet spaces of my mind and my soul. I am strong but underneath it all I lapse more than momentarily when I find myself reverting and regurgitating the loss of Di. Soon the flowers in my garden will show their strength and start shooting upwards searching for the warmth of the sun….if only I could be a flower.

I have been trying really hard to open my heart to new friends and new acquaintances but the smiles I portray at times or at best are only a little bit of who I and how much I am willing to sacrifice at the time. I am truly afraid to open my heart I think. I almost feel like I just don’t have the time to waste and I know that’s a harsh thought, but it’s hard to fathom taking the time out of my life to make new friends and then spending the time needed to nurture those relationships over the years…..relationships take time. I have moved into the anger stage recently and I do not like this stage much because I find myself mad that Di left…wasn’t this stage supposed to happen so very long ago? I know that we all move through and throughout the stages of death and dying differently but this is really throwing me off track lately. But, I just keep moving on, going through the motions of the days on my calendar hoping that someday soon I will be okay again and return to the person that I am meant to be and find more people to surround my life with happiness and contentment and peace.

Peace to all.

12.24.2010

Christmas Eve On The Cusp Of Christmas

Lately I've been thinking about all of the past Christmas memories that I can recall with the presence of Di.
Like the year that Ken and I spent Christmas Day morning with Di and her family and friends; yummy food, wonderful company and happiness and laughs and loudness in their household.  The tree was decorated with a myraid of the years of rememberances from the kids' projects to special ornaments that conjured up those special kind of memories that you can never forget.  Di always celebrated the holidays with family and friends and she loved the flowing in and out of people from her humble abode.  One year Jerome spent too much money on a beautiful ring for Di and I remember her telling me that she loved it but she was mad that he spent the money; trivial things.  Important things.  Very important Christmases past. 

Savoring the peace and joy of the Christmas season is something that I find as I get older is more important than the presents and gifts.  A simple gesture, hug or smile is more important.  I love you is even more important than a card or a gift.  Simplicity in this day and age we are living in is so very important and even more today than it was yesterday.  I have come to appreciate little things, cherish the important things and have become accustomed to knowing that who I am is who I am.  Nothing can change that.

I am reminded today how much I miss Di and her call to us to wish us Merry Christmas and the times that we went to Christmas Eve mass at Holy Name with Dorene and the gang and saw Di and her family and listened to their sweet singing voices.  I miss those Christmas hugs and those warm and fuzzy feelings that Di gave to me in little pieces over the years.  She is very missed by all that loved her and the holidays will never be the same ever again. Two Christmases without her computes to ticks on the clock and days checked off the calendar that keep adding up to mumble jumble of how fast time passes by us.

The small amount of snow that we recieved overnight looks like little sparkling diamonds at the break of day on this Christmas eve morning as I dabble in the prosperity of the season...

Peace and Goodwill To All...

12.21.2010

Never Again In This Life


Not In This Life

Lately I've been walking all alone
Through the wind and through the rain
Been walking through the streets and finding sweet relief
In knowing that it won't be long
Lately it's occurred to me
That I've had enough of that
And lately I've been satisfied by simple things
Like breathing in and breathing out
Never again, not in this life
Will I be taken twice
Never again, no never on your life
Will I make that same mistake
I can't make it twice
Lately it's occurred to me
And exactly what went wrong
I realized, I compromised
I sacrificed far too much for far too long
Never again, no not in this life
Will I be taken twice, no no no no
Never again, no never on your life
Will I make that same mistake
I can't make it twice
Starting out from here today
Swear I'm gonna change my ways
Once mistaken in this life
And never never never, never twice
Never again, no not in this life
Will I be taken twice, no no no no
Never again, no never on your life
Will I make that same mistake that I'm gonna make it twice, no no no no
Never again, no never on your life
Will I make that same mistake
I can't make it twice
Starting out from here today
Swear I'm gonna change my ways
Starting out from here today
Swear I'm gonna change my ways
Gonna change my ways
Never again, no never again, no never in this life
I gonna make that same mistake, I'm gonna make it twice
Never again, no never again, no never on your life
I gonna make that same mistake, I'm gonna make it twice



You might be asking yourself why Natalie Merchant, why this particular song, why today?
We've all seen hurt and felt desperation and have found ourselves in quandries at least a few times in our lives.  Recently I have been given the opportunity to possibly "reconnect" with someone from my past; someone that thought I was the center of her world at least for a time (or at least I hope that was the case).  I have not heard from this person in 27 years and it's odd that right before the holidays through the hustle and bustle of daily living that she searches me out and calls and leaves me a message.  Of course there is a complete backstory to this and maybe someday when I complete my novel you'll have the opportunity to read about a child who became motherless just at the time in her life when she really needed that particular figure to help her steer the course of life. 

Making recalibrations on the course that I have set forth upon as a motherless child is a difficult task to decide upon. How should I go about in testing the waters and dipping my foot into that pond that has been gnarled with contempt, anger, desperation, defiance and betrayal? I have learned to have an openness to doubt, to shame, to loneliness and to the magnitude of loss but I do not know if I have the will inside of me to allow the openness to that of betrayal to permeate my being again. This is something that I have to take in slowly, let it churn in the belly of both the beast and myself and then mull it over until it can be deciphered no more and only then make my decision. How do you call your daughter after 27 years right before the holidays and leave a message like you’re calling to confirm a dinner reservation?


When I received that call in November I honestly thought that it was Di tapping him on the shoulder and telling him that he needs to make the call since it was the first time in so many years that I would not hear her voice on my birthday; but now….what is this? Did Di put the wheels into motion, move the cart carrying the years of lost times and catapult HER to this spectrum in time to make her face her demons, her betrayal, her lies and her deceit? I honestly have always believed that everything happens for a reason and at this time, I’m trying to contemplate what on this earth would the reason be.

I understand fully that things are not coincidence, things happen for a reason.

There was a reason that she picked up that phone that afternoon and she called my number; there was a reason that she left a message and left a call back number.

The last day that Di and I spent together, we did talk about “righting” the wrongs and making amends and she was specifically telling me to be open to the challenges that will be thrust upon me in the future and make those connections because they are important. We had talked so many times over the years about my motherless predicament and Di would always tell me that there was a reason that she left, a reason why she did what she did when she did it and the only way that things could be different would be when she would make that first step. Di was right; she was always right and she told me to never approach this situation with anger, instead use the tools that God gave me –compassion and honesty.

After that first message, I wanted so badly to call Di, to tell her that I had a phone message and then I realized that I couldn’t. That hurt more than anything. Then, when the second message came I knew that I couldn’t call Di and I was angry. Angry at the world, angry at cancer, angry at HER for calling me again and angry that I was even in this predicament in the first place.

Placing blame is easy, dealing with blame is harder.

I talk frequently about connections in my writing and I tend sometimes to run amuck; but frankly, connections are what bind us a people to others. I have had the opportunity to make those such connections in my life with those that I have chosen to gather around me as friends and the man that I chose to spend my life with. Unfortunately, over the years I have closed that door on the past and my connections do not include the one that took for granted the relationship bond that we had created at one time and then abandoned their responsibility and their daughter all in one big swoosh.

Can I make the same mistake and open up my heart and my life just as I did so many years ago when the two of us just started to 'connect' as adults and then she walked away will it be as Natalie Merchant says, Not In This Life….

Can I make this choice?
Am I strong enough to make this choice?
Will she allow me to make this choice?
Can I remain a motherless child?


In life you are not always right; in many and most situation you are called to partake in you are only a passenger and throughout the many stops on the way you will run into many circumstances that will challenge your will, break you down and prove that you must have been mislead, but in the end we all hope to master the navigation of our lives in one way or another...

Peace
Love
Contentment of a heavy heart and busy mind...

12.08.2010

Strength Reserves



“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”


                                                                                                      ~ Rachel Carson ~

12.07.2010

Elizabeth Edwards and Connections

This morning Di met another angel who arrived in heaven.
A strong woman with convictions, a fighter, a mom, a woman stricken by the ugly green cancer monster.

The world grieves, survivors of breast cancer and those of us lucky enough to be cancer free at this time in our lives all share in the sorrow that caused our world to take another deep long sigh again at the thought of another loss today. 

In an article that ran in The Catholic Voice in 2007, Di talked about cancer and treatments and Elizabeth Edwards and "managing the cancer".  I remember talking to Di about the article after it was published and we also talked about Elizabeth Edwards.  Di told me that she felt a connection to Elizabeth because of all of the struggles that she had been through in her life she admired her strength.  I told Di that she was as strong as ever too and she just gave me a giggle and said, "I guess I am but my family is really the strength that keeps me going."  I know that she knew she was a strong woman because she knew in her heart that she was fighting the biggest fight of her life with cancer. 

An excerpt from the article is below:
 http://catholicvoiceomaha.com/main.asp?SectionID=9&SubSectionID=145&ArticleID=2730


Diane's story

After her diagnosis, Diane's first course of treatment was surgery, including a lumpectomy and a mastectomy.
They found cancer in two lymph nodes, so 19 lymph nodes were removed from Diane's right side. After surgery she had nine treatments of chemotherapy and 36 rounds of radiation.
"You go back every three to four months for check-ups and you hope you stay clear - and for four years, I did," Diane said. "But then I had what I thought was something wrong with my lung."
The chest pains turned out to be a problem with her lung that worked itself out, but after a final CAT scan, the doctor noticed something else.
"He came into the room and his eyes were red and a little puffy. I will never forget that," Diane said. "He said, 'I don't know what else to say, you need to call your oncologist.' The lungs were clear, the heart was clear, but he saw spots on my spine."
The spots ended up being cancer, which had metastasized to the bone, and another chemotherapy regiment began.
....."Elizabeth Edwards (wife of presidential candidate John Edwards) and I are managing our cancer," Diane said with a laugh. "My thing is that they get beyond this being chronic and we can only manage it. I want to live long enough not to have to manage it.
"I just want to live. I want to be at all my kids' things. I want to be at their weddings. I want to be a grandmother. I want to travel; those are the things I want, God willing," she added. "God has a plan for me, but I am not ready to look at that plan quite yet."



Another woman...
Another life lost...
Another heart ceases... 
Another day and cancer wins again.

Godspeed Elizabeth...

11.29.2010

11.29.2007 - An Empty Chair For A Full Day of Love

Di had planned my wedding for years in her head, I'm sure. 


"When did you tell me your getting married?" "Do you have a date set?"  "What can I do to help?"

Di was on the marriage track probably from the very beginning of that first meeting of me introducing Ken to her and Jerome.  She was my marriage cheerleader over the years. I also knew Ken was the one for me; my soul mate.

In the months leading up to the wedding, Di was adamant about wanting to be there for me and I was so happy that she wanted to be there.  She looked at the many pictures of dresses with me in magazines, we talked about colors and possibilities and shoes and hairstyles that I should have for the big day.
Then back in the late summer of 2007, we went shopping for my dress.  She was so excited.



I'm so sad knowing that she never will get to see her girls try on their own wedding dresses someday when they approach that time in their lives.

It was the first time ever in my life that I had tried on a wedding dress.  We walked the long aisles of the white and cream colored dresses, Di had her cane with her but she was not totally reliant on it, in fact she used her cane as a tool that day to sort through all the hundreds of dresses.  Each one of them had their own special personality, their own style.  Upon the first sweep of pulling hangars, taking first glances and standing on my tippy toes in my perusal I just could not find the "one".  I kept saying no, no, no, no.  I remember glancing at one particular dress but Di had her eyes on the poofy dresses and the princess dresses even though I remember specifically saying that I did not want to even look at those.  She told me several times that I will never get the opportunity to try on dresses again and she just wanted to "see" what the dresses looked like on me.  So, I obliged her of course.  I could never turn Di down.  She had that convincing way about her.  I can't remember how many dresses I tried on that afternoon, it was a lot.  I stopped counting after the third sweep of the store when I finally grabbed that ONE dress that in the initial sweep I had seen but never picked up.  I pulled it from the rack, it was heavy and long but no train, just a long trailing chiffon scarf and it was beaded from top to bottom, sleeveless but it had a collar that went around the neck.  When I pulled it out, Di said "I Love That One, Cath".
Well, that was the ONE after all.  But, I know that we had to do all that work to get to "that point" on that day.  This is a day that I will forever cherish.   A day that Di and I were free from the ugly green cancer monster, we smiled, we laughed, we were looking forward to the future and I was looking forward to having Di with me on my wedding day. Afterward, we went to the Cheesecake Factory, had dinner and Di bought lots of desserts to take home.  It was a wonderful day.

Unfortunately, Di could not come to our wedding and it broke my heart; but I knew that it was breaking Di's heart more than mine.  Her health was not treating her well in the fall of 2007.  Di gave so much to so many so often and I think that her body needed to take a break and her not taking the trip was indication that she needed a rest break.  I had always wished that she would be there for me, to keep me focused, to keep me on track, to help to guide me, to hold my hand as I walked through the sand in my heels and to be the one that I would peer over to as she stood there as witness to our beautiful bonding on our wedding day.  I know that Di felt bad for not being able to come but I told her that I understood; because I really did deep down inside understand.


She was a part of my wedding, even though  she could not be there; it was a small wedding and there were only four chairs set up on the beach, one for Ken's mom, and three other chairs that I designated in my mind as one specifically designated for Di, one for Ken's uncle Jimmy who had his own health issues that morning and was devastated that he could not be there and one for my sister, Nancy who is always in my heart.

Three years later, today I celebrate that day that I made the commitment to my husband and I am sure that Di is smiling down on us today and wishing us happiness forever.


Peace.

11.27.2010

A Shrine

 
I have been reading about the architecture of Shrines and the work that goes into building them.  Shrines are art pieces that are compiled for worship and rememberance.
Di loved art. 
Over the years, Di had several art projects going on both literally and also figuratively.  Her mind would be thinking about the next great project that she wanted to start before she was even done with her current project.
I had the pleasure of taking many art "type" classes with her and one of the first ones was a pottery class where we got to actually "throw clay" and work with a manual pottery wheel.  I can remember the giggles and laughs and jaunts that Di made to me during those short class sessions.  I could not keep my wheel turning long enough to even pull the clay into any type of looks-like-a-pot-or-a-vase for the life of me.  Di had the knack almost instantly; she pulled several vases and pots and also a couple of cups (without handles) during our first-ever pottery class.  The class lasted only 4 weeks but it was fabulous to be there with Di and see her "creating".
She went on to take more pottery classes and even made a set of dishes for her final project in one of the advanced classes.  I am the proud recipient of one of her accomplishments, a cup (with a handle, albeit), and I treasure this piece with tender loving care.  It sits on my shelf in my kitchen, far and high above and away from any animal that may knock it down.
One of my other Di "treasures" was not so lucky and met with a shattered demise.  Fortunately, it was not a treasure that Di made with her own two hands, instead it was a gift that she had gotten me on one of her trips to Mexico.  It was a wonderfully colorful sunflower plate that I had perched high above my kitchen cabinets and on one special day while I was picking up my wedding dress after alterations, I myself was looking at a plate in the wedding shop; a remembrance of your "wedding day" plate and as I put the plate back on the shelf  on 11-10-2007 (I still have the receipt from my wedding dress alterations), I missed the shelf completely and the plate went crashing to the floor shattering in too many pieces to count.  I was abhorred at what I had done and the salesclerk told me it was okay and she told me not to worry.  Thank goodness.
Unknown to me, on that same morning, our eldest cat decided to take a walk on the wild side and venture way up high above my kitchen cabinets and she managed to lodge herself between the plate and the wall knocking the plate to the floor shattering it in too many pieces to count.  My then soon-to-be-husband collected all the pieces and put them in a bag awaiting my return home.  I was devastated at first, called Di and told her and she told me that the next time she got to Mexico, she would try to remember to buy me a new plate; I told her that it was not necessary since apparently I did not show due diligence in securing this plate, how would I know that the next one would not also be shattered to oblivion?  I never got another plate, but I still have the precious cup that Di made for me with her two hands and her heart that means more to me than any 'purchased' item from Mexico.

On the idea of shrines; this is an important aspect of "remembering" those that touched your life. According to many religious customs, shrines play a large part of everyone's daily lives from the churches that we attend to the specific customs that we practice.
At Holy Name, it itself is a shrine to Christianity and there are several shrines honoring those that we hold dear to our hearts and there are many ways that this is shown from the alter to the statues to the candles that we light in honor of loved ones.  On the evening of Di's visitation and the day of Di's funeral I sat close to the front of the church right in front of the candles and many people were lighting candles both for Di and others and as I watched each and every one of them light a candle I could feel the presence of Di smiling warmly.

My visual focus on the evening of the visitation was on the devotional alter and I kept my focus steady while trying to remain composed.  I kept praying and I kept thinking all along that Di would be so happy to know that so many people that she touched over the years were there all together in one place; she would have loved so much to be there that day and talk and chat and hug and touch those people but that was not possible; she was there in spirit and in our hearts though.  I remember the day of the funeral so vividly and during the service the light from the windows took itself and placed it upon Di's casket.  During the entire ceremony, the light stayed there and kept it's focus on the important reason why all of us gathered there; for Di.  During the processional when Di's casket was moved from the front of the church to the back, I watched through my tears as the light appeared to "follow" her casket. 
During the many years from childhood to adulthood, Di held strong in her faith and her worship at Holy Name.  It was only fitting that God that day showered her casket with the light of his love throughout the ceremony.

11.25.2010

Thanksgiving Wishes

Thanksgiving Wishes 

Peace and freedom in every possible way
To love and be loved
Hope in the face of even the bleakest of situations
Joy for the sake of joy – and for the bliss that one person’s happiness can bring to another life
The gift of good health, or if that is not possible, as little suffering as can be
A roof over your head and food on your table
Creativity and inspiration – may the muse never wander out of sight
Dreams to reach and new goals to aspire to
A song in your heart
Time spent with those nearest to you and the fond memories such moments foster
The ability to fall asleep with a reason to wake up smiling
Light to guide your way no matter how dark the hour
Security in whatever ways matter most to you
Friends to confide in, laugh with, hold dear
Endless blessings and reasons to give thanks

Poem Courtesy of http://www.chronicallyvintage.com/
via Norman Rockwell

11.21.2010

Story People

This is a magical beast that holds the secret of light & shadow in a safe place in her heart....

11.19.2010

Birthday Wishes - Ben

November 19 is a very special day and last year Di's "Benno" had to celebrate amidst the sorrow of losing Di.  Di had a way of making up little names for her kids and two that I remember she frequently used for Ben was Benno and B; it was almost her signature style...you could just hear the happiness exude from her voice when she said Benno or B.  You couldn't help but smile even when smiling was not of the utmost importance for the particular time and place.

Today is Ben's birthday and I certainly know that with a heavy heart he will be thinking of his mom and I'm sure that there is an extra special kiss that she has sent down from heaven and planted right smack on his cheek today. 





Happy Birthday, Benno!  Please always remember that your mom loved you so very much and she would only wish the very best for you today and always.  Hold all of those memories of her inside your heart and know that she is so very proud of you.

Love,
Peace,
Good wishes to you...
Cat

11.15.2010

One Year Later ...

The church was immaculate, flowers were lined up on each side of the alter, candles were burning, people were milling and crying and sobbing.  A very tough day.

It's been a long year, my friend.
One Year later...

·        31,536,000 seconds
·        525,600 minutes
·        8760 hours
·        52 weeks (rounded down)

It's been a long road, my friend.
Miss you so very much.
Love.
Peace.
Godspeed Always.




Di's Funeral

11.14.2010

The Day Between The Good and The Bad

Today is the day between the last day that I talked with Di and the last day of Di's life...
I honestly did not ever think in my wildest of dreams that I would be looking back on the last days of Di's life one year later.  It's all because I'm still hurting.  Still raw.  Still lonely without 'my girl'.
I remember one year ago; the day before on Friday, November 13, 2009, I sat with Di in the hospital and we chatted and held hands and talked about so many things as we watched The Ellen Show together.  Forget about the bland hospital room, the beeping of machines and the insistence of people who only wanted the best for Di.  She wanted to watch Ellen and hang out.  We did just that. 
I had the privelage of hearing Di sing to me too, that day. 
Apparently, she had been doing this daily and I got to hear her last performance; so sweet and so beautiful.  I wished I would have recorded it; if I would have thought about it, I have video on my phone and I just did not take the time to THINK to do this.  It makes me sad to know that since I did not think to record this moment, it is lost; but really it's not - it's in my memory.  A special gift from Di.
As I listened to her words she sang and held tight to her hand, I outlined her face, her features, her nose, her lips, her eyes and her prominent jaw line tracing her features and her face and her baldness as she sang to me.  To this day, I cannot remember even one of the words to the song and can't even remember the name of the song. 

When I got ready to leave that afternoon, Di had made the choice to take a stronger medication to help her sleep and before I left I told her that I would "ring her up on Saturday" and she told me that I better make sure to as she waved her cell phone at me.  I gave her hugs, cried all over her bed sheet and she held my hand tightly and told me that she loved me much....and that we would have more "days".  Then I left with a heavy heart.  Friday the 13th's are typically bad days all around or at least we have come to recognize them as so, but on this Friday the 13th I got to enjoy "my girl" for awhile and sit and chill with her.  I was privileged to be there, be there with Di.

I tried to ring her up on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and then in the evening.  No answer; it only went to voice mail...then I called Jerome's cell and I could feel the sadness through the phone, through the words he was saying.  Things were not looking good.  Family was there and it had been a long a difficult Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon.

Time was catching up and the ugly green cancer monster was beckoning again....and he was not going to wait much longer.  We knew that.  Di knew that.  We were losing the battle, losing our girl, our husband, our daughter, our mom, our aunt, our sister, our niece, our best friend in the world all to something as stupid as cancer and the complications that it causes.


11.13.2010

Caring ... Through Music NOVEMBER 13TH 2010

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) began as a local effort to raise money for a Florida girl to get treatment and turned into a global nonprofit. The charity realized its message resonated with music lovers after a friend in the band Switchfoot wore one of its T-shirts at a concert in 2006. The band's fans searched the Web and began purchasing shirts of their own, and reaching out to founder Jamie Tworkowski to see how they could get involved with the movement.


The Switchfoot concert opened doors for TWLOHA, which has since worked with a few dozen artists and celebrities. This year, for the fourth consecutive summer, the group traveled on the nationwide Vans Warped Tour, hosting a tent and selling T-shirts.  The organization does not sign contracts with artists, and many of its famous supporters have reached out to TWLOHA through MySpace, where the grassroots movement began.

"We really believe music has a unique ability to make us feel alive, and realize it is okay to feel things and ask questions, and the conversation that we represent is oftentimes something that doesn't get talked about." - Tworkowski

Music is engrained in the charity's work, Tworkowski said, because so many of its supporters have a deep love of artistic expression. TWLOHA takes part in more than 200 music-related events each year.

The organization does not solicit donations, but instead lists information on its Web site that tells how and where to donate without making formal donation appeals.


11.08.2010

Anniversary Approaching - My Angel Watching Out For Me I Believe.....

As we approach the anniversary of Di’s death I…contemplate, reflect and find myself retreating again because another milestone is coming up; another tick on the clock and another date to look at on the calendar with sadness.
And this time a year ago tough decisions were being made about care and comfort and  the time was so raw and so present having to make decisions and see Di struggling so much. 

Di always knew that this time of the year was very hard for me; it has always been.  Marking my own "tick on the clock" and the date that defines my persona and my life and who I am brings sadness and contemplation and loss and wants all back in a rush for me.  It makes me want to turn back time and now after this day it makes me want to be able to turn back time even more so and pick up the phone because it's ringing and I know who is calling; it's Di to wish me happiness.  But it didn't happen yesterday and it will never happen again.
Since my little angel could not call and speak to me yesterday I think she must have provided the means to inform someone that they needed to make a very important and long overdue call.  I've always believed in coincidences and that everything does happen for a reason and I think that a very special angel gave someone a very hard tap on the shoulder and may have even dialed the phone for him. 

I was suprised and shocked to receive a phone call yesterday.  It has been many years since I've heard those words "Happy Birthday" and "I Love You" from him.
It was good and maybe this will lead to more of these phone calls to happen in the future....
It would be good to reconnect again and  bring a balance to the uneasiness and instability.

One thing that Di told me on the last day that we spent time together when she was in the hospital on Friday, November 13, 2009, was that I needed to make the "contacts" with him, make the first move, make the distinction and come to the realization that he does NEED to be in my life as much as I need to be in his life. Di was in her final days and we were talking about my problems and she was giving me advice and telling me what to do. She was even asking about others that were not well and wanting to know about them and giving her hopefulness to their struggles.  She was always more worried about others than herself.  That was Di.  It always was.
I think she was trying in her heart of hearts to prepare me for the next phase of what my life could and would offer me in the coming years.  She knew.  She always did, I believe.

10.30.2010

You are NOT alone

Over the past few days I have been again, contemplating life and the complexities of it.
Death is so hard and so brutal and so raw that it makes us take a look at everything and examine things with a fine tooth comb.  Am I worthy?  Am I going to be able to go forward?  Am I alone now? Am I just feeling this because this is what I am supposed to feel when there is loss?  Am I going to recover?  Am I willing to recover? Am I the person I want to be today; the person that I was before?

After the loss of another family member, I find myself looking at things again. Recollecting the past, pondering in the present and contemplating the future.  Mostly, I have been looking back into my past.  Can I really do that?  I'm not sure but some days I wish there was a window that you could open up and all the past memories and feelings and smells and experiences would be categorized for you into groups that you could choose from and re-experience them again.  Wouldn't that be fabulous?  We could take steps back into time at a whim and marvel and dance and sing and laugh and re-cherish those memories whenever we wanted.

Di's passing made me want to reach out and grab everything that I could that I had that was Di-related.  I wanted to never forget her, forget the things that she stood for and the things that she liked and loved and wished for.

I spent some time last night talking with my grandmother who told me she is feeling lonely.  She is the only surviving sibling in her immediate family since the loss of her brother just last week.  A kind soul, a giving soul, a soul that emulated live and happiness and lived with gusto.  As a child, the times spent with my great uncle are etched in my memory.  He loved to go bowling and take vacations and spend time with family.  He had an infectious laugh and when he smiled his eyes seemed to be twinkling.  I cannot ever remember a time when he was not happy or smiling about something; except when Nancy died.  I think a little part of him died when she died.  We all lost a little part of ourselves when Nancy died.

Melvin, my grandmother's brother passed away quickly and with no indication of any health problems.  My grandmother told me that she feels alone and it broke my heart to hear those words from her.  I wanted to go to her and embrace her and tell her that she is not alone by any stretch of the imagination.  She has 15 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and 7 children of her own that love her so very much and wish happiness for her and do not ever want her to feel like she is alone. 


 Feelings of alone-ness and unworthiness are the underlying affects of what we feel when there is nothing that we can do to make things right again or fix things back to the way that they were.  I know that Melvin would have never wanted his sister to feel alone.  I do not want her to ever feel this way either. 
We are really not alone.
Ever.

10.16.2010

Birthday Girl 10.16.2010

Happy Birthday to 'my girl' Di
Cancer took you away from us all
Your memory burns bright in my soul
I cherish the honor bestowed upon me to be your friend

Time moves too quickly once we've lost someone...can we go back to last year?  I really need a Di hug today...



I have a little yellow sticky note that has sat taped to my computer monitor for a year and three days now; I put it up there last year not because I would forget Di's birthday, but as a reminder to me to buy her a birthday card.  I've found that the older I get the harder it is for me to remember to do certain things at certain times and I need those visual cues to remind me.  That was last year; this is this year; one year and three days later and that little yellow sticky note is still there taped to the side of my monitor.  I can't take it down, it's too late, I can't crumble it up and toss it, I can't NOT see it everyday and I can't process in my mind today that I missed doing something that I have done for so many years - buy a birthday card for Di.  That hurts and the idea of even entering a card aisle just breaks my heart.  Last year when I went shopping for Di's card I just had a feeling that something wasn't right.  I looked at all the funny cards, the serious cards, the stupid cards and when I finally found 'the one' I remember holding it in my hands and running my fingers over the raised lettering of the words happy birthday and then I completely lost it in the Hallmark aisle and began crying.  I had an overblown attack emotionally and something inside me told me that this was the last birthday card I would buy for Di.  I had never in all of the years that Di struggled with cancer EVER had that feeling of loss.    It's something that still haunts me today.  I even went home and called Di just to chat; I think I called her to ease my mind of wandering any further...and she was fine...she sounded tired but she was good, she told me so when I outright asked her.  I can remember her saying "I'm good, Cath".  I could breathe and function and move forward after I hung up the phone knowing that I would see her in a couple of days when I stopped by to wish her a happy birthday...the last birthday.........ever



 Peace.

Connecting The Dots...Making Sense of It All...

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
   -- Steve Jobs


Connecting the dots and making sense of it all seems like a daunting task; one that requires work and diligence and commitment.  I can look backward in my mind and find all my dots and see all of the times that I made the "connections" with my life through friends and love and experiences.  When we do something or say something, we trust that what we do or say will be heard and will be correct and at the time; I think that we just trust that what we do or say will take us further and hence, connect the dots to our future. 
Trusting in your gut and your emotions puts a high price on what the return will be, but it's the trust part that we have to depend upon to be true and correct; that everything will work out in the long run...or at least we hope it will work out...

All of us depend to an extent on trust even if we don't believe it or not. 
We all trust that people are going to stop at the red traffic light, we trust that our job will be there for us tomorrow, we trust that we will be happy with a good home cooked meal and companionship, we trust that God has a plan and we are part of it, we trust that our neighbors will help us when we need it, we trust that our friends will be there for us, we trust that our soul mate or husband or wife will not leave us, we trust that our car will start everyday, we trust that our home will be safe from intruders, we trust that our children and our animals will remain healthy and happy and live long lives and we trust that our friends and family will outlive us so that we do not have to shelter the burden of their loss alone; without them.

In my opinion, this is wrong.
We all tend to be selfish when it comes to trust  and we "trust" that trust will be there for us tomorrow and all of the times that we truly need it.  But really, it can't be there for us all of the time, can it?
We wish upon a star, but do we allow for the time needed when that star is not there?  Or do we think about the time it took for that star to be born?  Do we look past the twinkling and really wonder why we are here and where we are going?  That's trust and so many of us just allow it be the catalyst for what is to come, what is to be, what is to happen. What we think it should be for US.
Can we really live our lives and do this?
Can we "trust" that the stars will be up above and the soft grass below wriggling between our toes?
I can't answer that and it brings pain to my heart.  To my life.  To my relationship with my God and my feelings and my thoughts and I wonder why on earth is this life that I'm living so different today than it was yesterday and could I have made changes that would dictate where I was today if I had changed one thing yesterday or last year on October 15, 2010?

It all boils down to if I could change the world, re-connect the dots and make them all appear in perfect alignment, turn back the clock to last year could I have made some type of distinction and known that one year later things would be so different?

If I only had a crystal ball, maybe tonight I would peer into it and see that things really are not that bad, the dots are starting to connect for me on the good days and inside my crystal ball I can see a redhead inside a little heart shaped box who is grinning ear to ear.


The people we meet form the foundation of our lives that when built upon allow us to bloom and blossom in ways that we never would have anticipated.