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...


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.