So much for that resolution!

Dear Mom,

All right, so number one on my list hasn't been going so well. It's been a more difficult and "time-consumed" month than I expected. Lots of work. Long days. The girls had midterms and I was committed to working with them every night. Todd got sick - not sick like two years ago, but sick enough to cause major disruptions. And so, each night when I meant to write, I was too tired, or just emotionally not up to it.

But, I can say that I've worked hard on looking for love and sharing love as best I know how, which was my ultimate goal anyway.

We've planned a vacation with dad to go to Grand Cayman and that is going to be good. There will be a fair amount of crying, to be sure, but it will be good. We are even thinking about all getting certified to dive -- can you believe it?? I know, I know -- you can't imaging me doing anything but sitting on the beach reading or watching the girls or just staring at the waves. Don't worry! I'm sure to do a lot of that too. But I'm not sure how well I'm going to do not being with you -- sitting with you -- reading and chatting and laughing with you. Taking our walks. To say I'm going to miss you being there is the understatement of the century.

I'm tring to help us keep going -- to miss you and love you and celebrate you -- but still move on and make new memories.

People are being so kind -- you would be amazed. Lots of love, once again. Friends at work who are helping me get through -- and I truly hope Dad has the same at his work.

I keep checking in on him; I'm trying to hard not to "hover" or be a nag or anything. But I can't not check in or try and spend as much time as I can with him. I send him little text messages every night to make sure he is home safe and sound. And he always replies, no matter how late. It's good -- we are making our own new routine.

He is going to see Matt next weekend. I'm glad about that too. I know Matt is super exicted to see him. They are going dog sledding!! I know you always wanted to do that -- I hope you can somehow be there in spirit form.... you can, can't you? I think so. And because I think so, please help him to not fall off! Or not to hurt himself, OK? Let's not have another water skiing bruise, eh? :)

All right, that's about it for now. The puppy, dear Kipper that is, is currently tearing apart of big cardboard box and I think I need to go and rescue it. Or clean up the mess. Or both. And it's almost time to go and get the ladies from play practice. I don't think I told you -- Sarah is playing Toto and Ainsley is a barrister and a flying monkey! Going to be lots of fun.

Love you mom. I'll write again soon. Bear with me as I find my sea legs again.

Love,
BD


One little word for a new year

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As has been my tradition, (and not to get all maudlin about it, but it was the tradition mom and I would do together), I've decided to pick my One Little Word for 2016. I thought about not doing it again, just letting it slip by and just work on surviving (come to think of it that would have been a good choice!), but then my little Sarah and I talked. She encouraged me to choose one, noting that I should because I liked doing it and that perhaps it was something we could even do together. As denying her anything causes me pause, I decided she was right. And so, started some reading. I fell across a blog page, (mr. thomas and me), and she talked about how not only she was she choosing a word but monthly "challenges" to help remind her of her word and keep it fresh in her mind. I appreciate this idea -- and not just because it would keep the word front and center. But also because I am a project person. I like short (and sometimes long) term projects that give me a chance to create or be clever and so on. So, not only will the little word keep me staying with tradition, but the projects will help be stay busy. AND, best part, they are things she and I can do together; Ainsley too if she wishes!

So, my word for the year, with help from my dear daughter, is LOVE. Specifically taken from Corinthians, 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Yes, I need to remember that to have faith (and God knows I am trying), I need love. To have hope, I need love. To have courage and strength and everything else, I need love. So I will keep love close this year. 

As to those monthly challenges, here's what I'm going to aim for:

JANUARY -- Blog or journal every day. Let's get back in the habit.

FEBRUARY -- Organize and donate daily. Share some love with those less fortunate.

MARCH -- Walk 200,000 steps (100 miles). Love my health and body.

APRIL -- Do one of Mom's 30 days of lists. Celebrate her life and love.

MAY -- Leave notes of encouragement around. Love my friends and family.

JUNE -- Incorporate 10 minutes of stillness daily. Love silence and contemplation. Think about how I am so very loved and how much I love in return.

JULY -- Start a circle journal between myself, Sarah and Ainsley. Love our girl time. 

AUGUST -- Explore faith. Love God. 

SEPTEMBER -- Develop core strength -- both physical and mental. Love my health and body, once again as I tend to forget...

OCTOBER -- Create something every day. Share love through art, cooking, crafts. 

NOVEMBER -- Write out prayers and positive thoughts and quotes. Find love all around me. 

DECEMBER -- Make a "Things I love about you" book for each member of my family. Express love. 

 

So there we are. Let's make 2016 a year of love. 

 


Back to work

Was good to be back. My concentration level isn't the greatest, but I just picked one thing on my list -- today it was working on my capping syllabus for my upcoming class -- and stayed busy. Was able to leave early and get the girls at 3; then set up the grow light for Sarah's science fair project. Homemade stir fry for dinner. TV with the family and a call from Matt. All in all, an OK day. Kipper continues to entertain-- and make me laugh. So -- onward. Busy is good. Busy is good.

Back to work


11

I've been seeing elevens for months. Everywhere I go, my eye seems to always catch them. Each time I looked at the clock, it was 11 or something and eleven minutes. The time ticker on a song on my iPhone -- something and eleven seconds. My flight to Italy in November - 1114. Just everywhere. I was pretty freaked out about it, actually. Todd and I would talk about it, and he would tell me it was nothing. Just a trick of the eye because I was paying more attention. But I couldn't get it out of my head. So much so that I almost changed my flight. Stopped looking at the time. 

Meanwhile, my mom was getting sicker. The pain was getting worse. All through August and then, September. I watched her suffering -- always believing that she would get better. The radiation that Sloan was going to do would help -- they said so. They said in 90 percent of the cases, the radiation would make her pain free. Would move the tumors away from her spine. 

Then October. The pain did go away, for about a week. Then it was back, just different. Then the pnuemonia. And the anemia. She spiraled down and down. 

Then November. Into the hospital to treat the symptoms. For blood transfusions. For antibiotics. And again, it seemed to be working. We made plans for her to come home, to live with less mobility, but still to live. We never gave up hope. Kept cheerleading and praying and sending her strength and love. 

I spent days and days and days just talking to her. That's all she wanted. Just for me to talk. About anything and nothing. And so I babbled. I was so scared, but didn't want her to know. I'm sure she did -- as the waterworks are something I can't always control, but I tried. I rubbed her feet. I helped her to the bathroom. I stayed as long as I could for as many days as I could -- always believing this would be a chapter that she and I would talk about later, perhaps sitting on the beach in Grand Cayman or on one of our girls trips to Cape Cod. We would toast over wine and say, yet again, how she defied the odds. That us being there made the difference. We would all be so thankful and laugh and cry and hug. And life would go on. 

But this November, month number 11, had other things in mind. She did come home. And we prepared for months of rehabilitation. We prepared for life without her legs moving very well; the wheelchair lift on the stairs, the hospital bed, all the supplies. The nurses for 12 hours a day. And she was scared. And disoriented. And still I sat, and talked, and held her hand. Dad never left her side. Ever. Unless I was there. 

And on November 30, 2015, at 11:30 a.m., I lost her. We lost her. The cancer just was too strong, and her body was just too tired. All the praying and hoping and love wasn't enough to keep her here with me, with us, in her physical form any longer. And now, I am just lost. The elevens coming home to roost. 

I still see elevens. I imagine that it is her talking to me. Telling me she is OK and that she is still here. I WANT to believe this because otherwise, it is even more awful. I find myself in almost a state of disbelief. It just can't be. It is too much to wrap my head around. No more conversations. No more time together, at least for now. 

I am trying to find my faith. To have faith. That there is a heaven. That it is, as the Bible says, made of many rooms and someday I will find her in one of them and we will again see each other. But I'm struggling. 

And so I'll keep going, one foot in front of the other. I'll try not to dwell and obsess. I'll be as strong as I know how for my family and for my dad. 

For Christmas, he gave me the ring she always wore and I wear it now, a constant reminder of her love and a constant reminder that she isn't here -- a double-edged sword at the moment.  But I don't know what else to do. 

That's it for now. Tomorrow, I'll come back and try again. 

 

 


It's been a while...

I needed a break. I had been blogging in this space for several years, and needed a break. This space held, as the title suggests, moments of my life -- mostly photos, but also words + stories. The girls got busier. I got busier. And the time I had to journal became less and less. Surely, I could have found time. But something had to give, and this was it. 

But this year ended with something catastrophic and I need to come back. Want to come back. I need a place to write and share and virtually yell and scream. I need a thing to help me as a cope and grieve. So, here I am. Bear with me, you who might stumble upon this space. As Joan Didion wrote, this may be a year of magical thinking.