Archives

Hey you

Hey you. Yes, you. I see you there. I know you’re scared, and I don’t want to tell you not to be afraid…

And yet…

Here I am. Telling you it’s OK to be scared, but you still have to go on. Maybe it’s something you’ve wanted for a long time, something positive even, but it’s such a huge change that you’re scared to death. 

It’s OK. Let’s breath through it. We will make it to the other side, and you might even wonder after all is said and done why you were so scared. You might even feel a bit silly, but that’s OK too. I’ve been there.  You’ve been there too, so remember to just breath. And maybe giggle a little. 

It releases tension.

Truly. 

And even if it’s not ok, I’ll sit with you on the darkest night and light a candle for you. Call me and I’ll just breath on the other end letting you know I’m there. Maybe it won’t be ok again today, or tomorrow….

But things will be ok again. And after they’re ok again, you’ll be able to search for the good days. The awesome days. 

You’re not quite ready to believe in them, but they’re out there. So I will hold the dream for the both of us.

Santa Mom

I felt my mom close to me this weekend, as if she were with me while I shopped. She was there as I found the special soup spoons she used when we were sick, and the babmoo grippers thingees that she used to pull toast out when it got stuck in the toaster. She was there with me in a tractor supply store (don’t ask), as I started bawling.

I started bawling, the first time, because of a day planner. The year my mom died, she kept a day planner, and used the spaces for days of the week as a sort of journal. The comings and goings of us kids, all grown, and her little trips with dad… all in the little journal. Some weeks were full to the brim. Some only had a few filled out.

Then she died.

I couldn’t look at that blank planner, so I started filling it in for her. Comings and goings, a little glimpse into life right after she died. It was 20 or so years ago, but I still remember that journal. I think I still have it somewhere. But I know it. I know the cover, i know the feel of it, and I know what it looked like on the inside.

And in the tractor supply store, right with all the calendars… was a copy of that same damn planner, only for 2017. Same. Damn. One.

I bought it. I will put it into my stocking, and I will write in it. Buying it means that I now have 2 but one will be for my writing and one will be for my adventures in mommyhood.with my boy.

And then Walmart happened.

In talking with a friend, I told her I don’t know why I’m so emotional today. I don’t know why this is happening, but…

But I’m tired of being the one to do for everyone. I do stockings for everyone in the house, because Mom did. Because to me, that stocking shows time and attention and love. Dad used to do mine, and help with his current wife’s stocking… but since the stroke (and maybe a little before), it hasn’t happened.

I know every single present that is currently under the tree.

Even mine.

And it sucks. Because my son would love to do it for me. And wanted to. But I didn’t think to think outside the little house. But next year, next year… I have 2 different people who have said that they will take him out shopping for me, and help him do my stocking too.

Friends and family are a blessing. But sometimes, you have to stop being so strong and powering through… at least enough to ask for help.

I fell Mom close to me right now. Not just because of the stuff, but because of people willing to come together and help out.

Love you guys.

If you know someone who is a single parent, if the child is old enough, offer to take them shopping for their parent. Both the child and the single parent will appreciate it. Being strong and keeping it together, especially under the pressure of making the perfect holiday is tough.

 

 

Love Never Dies

I know this to be true:

Love remains, even when all that is left is a memory.

Love remains, through the years you should have had together.

Love remains, even as grief changes the very molecules of your soul.

Love remains, as you live your life, alone or with others.

Always, always, love remains.

Love never dies.

Bones

I saw the bones

Of the world

Washed up on shore

Stripped bare of the

Taint of hate

Laying side by side

One atop another

Coexisting
No care for male 

Or female

Republican or Democrat

Black or white

Brown or tan.
How long until

We no longer

Need to wait

Until we’re bones?

America the Beautiful

So I went off Facebook on Thursday. Before I did, I wrote  a post letting people know that  I was turning it off for a while, and that my heart hurt.

It hurt a lot.

I was ashamed to be an American, that’s how much it hurt.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

(Note, from America, by Kathrine Lee Bates, 1914 version)

I wasn’t seeing a lot of good on Facebook. Or a lot of brotherhood. Well… except for people that are just like them. The Paris attacks, we had 24hour coverage of. And I understand that we hold a strong affection for Paris. It’s the city of dreams for many of us. We’ve either gone there, or dreamed of going there. What happened was horrific, and reminded many of 9/11…

But what about all the other tragedies that happened that day? November 13,2015 was a horrible, horrible day in world history. In simple human lives lost. And yet…. I’ve only seen 1 news outlet even touch the fact that only Paris received the heart rending support.

Then the hate began.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

(America, Kathrine Lee Bates, 1914 version.)

People seem to forget that we are “the melting pot”. That we are a nation built (or stolen) on immigration. Ask the Native American’s if the Pilgrims are the hero of their story– or the villain. We have a long history with immigration, and it’s not always pretty.

Why does history matter when we’re dealing with a different enemy? (I actually read this and almost cried at the stupidity). Well, history might not tell us a lot about the current enemy. But it sure shines a light on us. And it’s not the  flattering, Hollywood set lighting either. It is harsh and ugly.

The memes that I’m talking about are basically sheep bleating to keep the wolves away. Only, they’re not keeping out the wolves. If you want to see the numbers break down, then go and check out Scalzi’s post on it here  He says it much better and more concisely than I can.

So, basically, we’re screwing the families. Just like we did to the Jewish immigrants before we stepped into WWII. We turned them away, as did other countries. And their boat had to go back to Germany. We sentenced them to death. Make no mistake about it. Our fear, our sheep mentality, cost people their lives.

And people are ok with making that mistake again. Forget what lady liberty has inscribed:

“Inscription on the Statue of Liberty”

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Author: Emma Lazarus

Just take that and throw it out the window. What we claim to hold dear is not, after all, dear to us. We want to slam our doors to the huddled masses, to people who have left everything behind to try and flee to safety… and people are ok with letting them go back to an enemy we hate. We’re not only ok with it…

We’ll one up it.

Yes, it has been suggested that we keep a “database” on Syrian refugees. Really? Really? Do you want them to sew a gold star onto their clothes as well? Or tattoo a number on their arm? Or maybe we should incarcerate them upon entry into the US because of their ancestry, regardless of if they are innocent. Or Americans. The worst deeds done in recent human history, and some people are not only willing, but eager to repeat them.

Never mind what it says in America:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

See that. Those ideals we hold so dear…. Talking about the military and MERCY.

MERCY.

MERCY.

Something that is sadly lacking on Facebook right now. And it’s not only the froth that’s coming out on their pages. It’s the bullying that goes on with it. If you don’t agree with me, you’re an idiot. All liberals are flighty ditz balls who don’t like the military (to which I say bite me). Ban the Syrians! Let me keep my guns! Go away!

Give me a freaking break.

So I’m taking a break from Facebook. Because it broke my heart.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

(America, by Kathrine Lee Bates, 1914 version)

Hopefully, God will shine his grace on us. Even though we are so undeserving right now. We’ve thrown brotherhood right out the window, and a lot more of what we hold dear. Maybe if the news could just report the actual, you know, news… instead of a candidates views of it, things would get better.

Or you know. If people would get their faces out of Facebook, and actually put a book in their face. Or talked with people. Had an honest debate with no name calling…

Yah. Instead, I’ll be on Twitter. Or with my face in a book.

 

 

 

When Nightmares Come to Visit

Halloween was my favorite non-Christmas holiday for a long time. I loved decorating my room for it, actually had boxes of Halloween decorations. It was spooky and fun: a night to pretend to be someone other than yourself, and imagining that ghouls and goblins really are around the corner. I was living with my parents, going to Cal State… when I found out that not all Halloween Nightmares end.

I did not celebrate Halloween (other than handing out candy) from the time I was 24 until I was about 38. One year, during that time, I went over to my brother’s house to hand out candy while he and his wife took the boys out trick or treating. That first night started a tradition, a way of raising a toast…

You see… my mother, she who loved the very dry and sometimes tasteless British sense of humor died on Halloween.

That particular Halloween Nightmare— you don’t ever shake. You learn to live with it, but it’s always there. I can’t remember parts of that day– I must have blacked out while picking up a chair and throwing it at a window in the hospital. I remember many friends who helped, who made phone calls and came by the house to hold my hand while I made phone calls. I also remember going to the airport to secure the flights for my sister in Missouri and my brother who at the time was in Arizona.

My friend Jackie drove me. It was a good thing she was there, because I remember wanting to punch Raggedy Ann in the face. Yes, a lady at the ticket counter, dressed as Raggedy Ann gave your good old Wynelda Ann a temper overload. Jackie quietly stepped between us, defused the situation.

When we returned to the house, it was just getting dark. Trick or Treaters were starting to swarm the streets. The neighborhood that I loved, the holiday that I adored… suddenly was way too much. As a group came up, the kids just starting to come up the drive, I told the grown ups “no Candy.”

“No candy? What’s wrong with you?!!” It was someone I knew, someone I’d known since childhood. He probably meant it in a joking matter, but I couldn’t…

“Mom just died.”

I don’t know how he did it. But there were no trick or treaters that night. None.

My soul sister came in from Reno, spent that first Halloween night with me.

After that, I couldn’t get into the spirit of dressing up, of decorating. Halloween lost its appeal for me. Slowly, the boxes of decorations disappeared.

Then came the toast. It was quite a few years after Mom had died. I was watching the house and handing out candy for my brother, Charlie. They came home, and were separating out the candy. “Hey, a Butterfinger! That was mom’s favorite candy bar!” Soon came to find out, she would con me, my dad and Charlie into buying her just one candy bar… sometimes on the same day. She was diabetic, so if we had known… well. If we had known then what we know now, we would have bought her a bag of full size bars.

SItting there, on their living room floor, Charlie, Beth and I held a toast with Butterfingers, to Mom. It’s a ritual, a tradition now. Even when all I did for Halloween was hand out candy, I always made sure that I had a Butterfinger. Sometimes alone, sometimes with family.

And the tradition spread through parts of the family.

After all that, I’m here to tell you… Sometimes nightmares come to visit, and they don’t leave. But you can learn to live with them… and start enjoying what you once loved.

Because I have a child now. He’s 9 years old. I’ve dressed him up and taken him trick or treating, but haven’t decorated beyond the general fall decorations that my dad has. That changed this year. Princeling wanted to decorate. Please mom! Please!

Love the dollar store. Love it! Halloween items were a true BOGO, and we got a bunch. Mostly stuff he chose– a mummy hand, a skull candelabra centerpiece, signs for the yard, big spider and webbing… I tried to steer him away from outright demons and ghouls, because my dad… but he had fun!

But then there’s my 2 items. That’s right. My. Two. Items. I actually found 2 things that I thought were cute. And then they needed to be mine. And they were BOGO, so how could I not? They are black and purple and witchy and sparkly and they had to be mine. I’ve started up my decorating again… Last night, we watched the Dreamworks Scary/Spooky collections on Netflix and laughed our butts off.

This morning, I’ll go over to my neice’s house and raise the toast with Princeling, the niece and her family. We’ll probably also have the toast again tonight with Pappa.

It’s hard to learn to live with your nightmare. Hard to learn to walk everyday with it.

I plan to dance with it tonight. I think Mom would like that

My wish for you is that you give yourself time to learn the steps. It isn’t easy, it isn’t nice.

Living with grief is of like trick or treaters. Sometimes you’ll get a ghoul, and sometimes it will be a princess. But you always have the power to decide which candy you’ll feed your nightmare.

And there will come a time, either soon or in the distant future, where you can dance with your nightmare and celebrate the one you’ve lost. It takes a while.It takes a lot of ugly, messy tears before you can get to the point where you can remember them with joy and not want to ball.

But you’ll get there.

Love, Grief and Mashed Taters

When I awoke on Saturday morning, it was to the news that Shirley, my sister in law, had suffered a stoke. She’d been airlifted to Sacramento. I went to be with the family, to offer support as I could, and to love and pray with them.

The situation was dire.

And all I could think of were her mashed potatoes. Shirley married my oldest brother, Richard. Her sons bracket me in age— I was the midlife crisis baby. I was little, maybe 5 or 6, and Charlie (my brother closest in age to me) and I were at their house for dinner. I was told that I had to finish everything on my plate before I could have something to drink.

It included a big heaping dollop of mashed potatoes.

I loathe mashed taters, always have, always will.

In a flash of sibling solidarity, as soon as she left the room, Charlie scraped all of my potatoes onto his own plate and I finally got something to drink.

And this past weekend, somehow, I ended up peeling a bag of potatoes for a church potluck.

Monday at 1:39pm, Shirley went home.

Losing your mother at any age is devastating. If I could spare them the pain, I would. I hope they know they are in my prayers every night, and that I love them fiercely. I was 24 when my mother died, she was 65? I understand how grief can come at you and rip you apart. And amid this grief, this wreckage left of their lives….

They have to somehow pay for a funeral.

Kimmy said it best:

“Walked put of the hospital today.. I was the last one to leave the room.. Carrying moms clothes.. Feeling so numb.. Not wanting to leave my mother.. Please help me get mom transported home..go to Linda Shelton go fund me account so we can bring mom home…”

Ricky posted:

I just changed my Facebook status to public because my mom just passed and my sister Kim took on the responsibilities of power of attorney. We have no ability to pay for the funeral cost. I am reaching out to the public in hopes that I can help my sister the strongest women in the world be able to lay our mothers body to rest. We are sorry to request assistance from others but are lost and stuck with no other options. We are good people and our mother was our best friend in this world if you can help please do. We are in such great need.
God Bless you all. Rik
.

 

David & Stephanie have been quiet— or I haven’t seen it because I decided to hide from Facebook.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never asked for any money on this site. I’ve stopped following people who because just one long harrange for money. But this is my family. And when your whole world has been knocked out of orbit with no warning… the expenses pile up ruthlessly. All four of the kids have jobs, they have families that they are supporting with little or no extra. Kim used her car payment for transportation.

If you can help them, the site is here

And if you can’t help with money, please pray for them, keep them in your thoughts. It’s a hard road to tread, and they were thrown onto it with no preparation, no map….