Friday, March 15, 2013
It's been nearly five years since you moved on from your earthly existence, and I still miss you every single day. The pain isn't quite so acute, but it still lingers. I still ache, still long to visit with you and share my troubles and hurts, my joys and successes. I still want to sit and share my stories and brainstorm ideas. The problem is, you're not here and there's not a darn thing I can do about it.
Things have been hard--really hard--with TinMan the past couple of years. He got himself in some pretty serious trouble this past year and almost ended up in Juvenile Detention. We got him into a Day Treatment program instead. It took several months to get him accepted, but it seems to be making a big difference and I'm beginning to feel a bit of relief. Birdie is failing almost all of his classes and doesn't seem to care except for the consequences. I'm just at a point where I don't know what to do, and talking to you would be such a help and relief. You always know the right thing to say, but again, you're not here.
I realized the other day that you would be Eighty-One now. It seems impossible. You were always so young. It just goes to prove what I've been feeling lately about age. It just keeps marching on whether you want it to or not. The years disappear and there is no retrieving them.
Mom, I can't write. My stories are stuck inside of me and I can't let them out and I don't know why. I want to write. I want it sooo bad. But the words fail me when I try. How do I put simple words on a page when the feelings warring inside of me are beyond expression? I can't talk about it, no matter how hard I try. I just cry and cry and cry and the words won't come, not even with Shari, and I know I can tell her ANYTHING. How do I move beyond this constant ache and live again? Where is the joy that used to come so easily? The peace? I'm doing the things I know I should, trying so hard to keep the spirit with me, but the pain is too much! It's too much! Losing you, struggling with the boys, feeling so alone, hating all my health problems, and not being able to write. Pain, pain, pain! Where can I find freedom and be the real me once again? I'm tired of putting on this mask just to face the world. It is exhausting.
I had thought writing to you would lighten my burden today, but all it has done is bring my emotions to the surface. Yes, I need to release them, but I hate it. I don't want to feel. It hurts too much. Which is probably why I can't write. I can't write if I can't feel. I know that about myself, so why does it take doing this to get me to realize it? Okay, so you helped me after all--but I still miss you and wish I could feel your arms comforting me. Feel your loving kiss on my forehead. I miss talking to you most of all--hearing your stories and having you listen to mine.
And that brings up another thing. Mom, how am I supposed to write your life story? I told you many times that the best person to write it was you because you had lived all the experiences. You were the non-fiction writer, not me. Do you want dragons in your life story? Because I don't know how to write anything but fantasy and I feel so very, very inadequate when it comes to writing about the amazing person you are. How do I tell your stories? I don't know them, not like you. Do I write it as a history? Do I write it as "based on a true story" and write it like fiction? Vignettes? I DON'T KNOW!!! This feels like an impossible task you've given me and I am not worthy to write it. A little inspiration would be great. Actually, tons would be much better, because I'm clueless here.
Dang it, Mom! I miss you!!! Why did you have to go? I need you more than ever.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
It's been almost a year since I wrote to you, but though I've missed you desperately, I just couldn't bring myself to write to you. I guess I've been a little angry that you were gone, and in part have been trying to move on. Unfortunately, I forgot that moving on cannot involve stuffing my feelings. It only makes me explode just like you and Grandma used to. I am not a pressure cooker, even though sometimes my heart tries to trick me into thinking that I am.
Tonight I am remember you and have shed many tears throughout the day. This was the last day I saw you alive, fully functional, cognizant, and totally yourself. I came home late from some activity and saw your light was still on so I came downstairs to talk to you and there you were, like so many times before, sitting in bed reading with only the tops of your pajamas on. Bright, red silk, I remember, and as soon as you saw me your face lit up and you welcome me. You always had a way of doing that. Making me feel important just by being with you. I miss that. I doubt myself much too often anymore and long for your encouragement and love.
I don't even know what to tell you, Mom. It has been an eventful year full of joy and sorrow and pain and excitement. My book is slowly building and is getting decent reviews, which thrills me to no end. I know you would say, "well of course. I wouldn't expect anything different." I can hear you say it even now, but you know I've always wondered if I was really capable of doing this. Even now as I write book two I doubt myself and it is only Gary's blessing and the promise that you will be there helping that keeps me going.
I miss you so much sometimes I can't stop the tears and the mask I wear so often slides off my face like mud. I still wonder how you can be gone? And why did you have to leave then, just before so many good things finally happened? Why couldn't you stay long enough to see the success after watching all the years of struggle?
Every once in a while I hear your voice as if you're in the room. It's so YOU in my head that it's like you're here, and I hope you are. I miss having you here. You were gone for a long time and I missed you terribly. Even tonight, though I hear you and feel you, the tears still fall because I want you to be here. This was NOT the way I wanted to get more space in the house. I thought you'd be around for so much longer and just ache that I didn't realize you weren't coming home until it was too late. I would have spent every single second with you if I'd known. I'd have done polarity to ease the pain non-stop. Anything to help you.
Sometimes I wonder who I am with you gone. I feel like I'm having to figure out who I am all over again. Who am I without you? I know that you're happy. You showed me that. But--I feel so empty without y0u. Why did you have to leave me? I wish I'd known earlier what your problems were so I could have taken you to the doctor and gotten you in better shape. Part of me feels so guilty still that you are gone, that it's my fault for not taking care of you, that maybe Mark or Collette could have done a better job than I did. But I loved having you here. I loved waking up and coming to say good morning and sitting down to visit and sometimes eat with you. I miss your quiet strength and absolute faith. I miss our conversations.
I didn't get enough time with you, Mom. I don't think it would have ever been enough time, but I wanted so much more. I miss you every minute of every day--though sometimes more than others. Today is a bad one because of what I remember. It's one of my most precious memories, and red always was your color. I miss you sense of humor, Mom. I miss you bending over and kissing my forehead when you would walk by, and the way you always reached out to me when we sat near one another. I miss YOU.
I hope on nearing this two year anniversary that you are still happy on the other side and have been able to accomplish the missions you were sent there to do. I hope you are loving your time with Daddy and long for the day we can all be together again, though I know my time is still far off. I've got a lot to do first.
And I haven't forgotten your life story, Mom. I just haven't been able to write it as of yet, nor do I think I'll be able to write it the way you would have. I write novels, not non-fiction. You may become a based on a true story kind of book, because I don't know how else to write it. I hope you'll be okay with that and that I won't disappoint you with it.
I love you, Mom. I'll try to write more often. This week is super busy, but I'm glad, actually. It will keep me distracted and hopefully writing on the days that were the hardest of my life. I need the distraction. I hope you'll forgive me.
Yours for all eternity,
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It's been one year and seventeen days since last I saw you tucked in your hospital bed. A year of tremendous change that has filled my heart with joy that takes me to the tops of the mountains, and sorrow so deep it felt I'd fallen to caves far beneath the earth. Some days I've felt you guiding the sunlight my way, and other days I've felt as if the sun had gone entirely missing, blacked out by the pain of your absence. I've had about a month now of really, really hard times, missing you like I did near the beginning when I thought I would melt for the ache of your loss.
Our renter moved out, and now after a full year of having you gone, I am suddenly faced with your absence. He filled your space and made it his own, and now that it's gone all I can see is you're not here. Going down the stairway I see the holes where nails hung your many pictures of family. I know which hung where and whose face shined at you every time you navigated the stairs. I see your empty table and immediately my mind draws up the ghostly images of you sitting there paying bills or eating breakfast or working on your life story you left me to finish. I feel the softness of your touch as you held my hand when we talked. The poke to my backside whenever I bent over to help you with something. The racing heart and laughter when you jumped out at me from the storage room. I see your smiling face, your bitter tears, hear your gentle voice . . . but you're not here.
I don't know how to get over losing you, Mom. Sometimes I feel so alone, so abandoned by you and the rest of my family. I know you've been doing a work with them, a work you couldn't do here and have seen the changes in them for it. I don't resent that for them. I'm THRILLED that they get a piece of you, that they get your attention now. I know you've done what you needed to for me, for the moment anyhow, and I know I have to share--but still I miss you and can't help but be jealous that they get you now and I don't get to feel you near any longer.
I guess I feel like I've been shoved out of the nest when I'm not ready and that ground is coming up hard and fast and I can't figure out how to work my wings. Most days I'm afraid I'm going to splat all over the pavement. You were always there, lifting me back up when things got hard and I don't know that I ever learned how to fly.
I don't know how to express all the feelings that are weighing so heavily on me. Most days it feels like they're going to tear me apart, cripple me so much I'll never feel again. Some days I wish they would. At least then the pain would stop and I could function again. I had thought things would be better once the first year had passed, but I was wrong. It's as bad as ever and I feel more lost than anything. Why did you leave, Mom? Not just leave this earth, why did you leave me spiritually? I used to feel you close so often and now there's just an absence, a void where you once were. I've felt Daddy and Grandma around, but no Mom, and it's as obvious as the sun in the sky. You're not here.
Come back, Mom, even if it's just for a moment. Let me know I'm not abandoned, not forgotten. Help me remember I'm not alone.
Yours for eternity,
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I've been avoiding writing for ages again. It's so hard to deal with the feelings so I stuff them deep and pretend everything is okay and you're just gone on some extended vacation most days. I still haven't sold your truck. I can't seem to bring myself to let go of anymore of you than I have to.
I fell apart tonight. Bits and pieces of my walls crumbled down and I melted into a big dribbling pool of emotion. I didn't think I was going to survive this one. I couldn't catch my breath for the pain. Thankfully my four dearest friends came to my rescue tonight, sending their love and hugs via text and chat and somehow after exploding they helped to piece me back together again so I can think.
I've not felt you around much lately. I know you have to let go, just as I do. I know that I've never really cut the apron strings. It was just too hard. I liked the apron strings. They didn't sever even after you left and it's only now, when I finally see some success in my life, that you've snipped them and stepped away. For my good, I am sure, but still it hurts. I don't like standing on my own. I liked leaning on you. You were stronger, wiser, so much better than I and I miss being able to lean on you.
You were right, Mom. Right about so many things. You told me there in the hospital that I'd be okay and needed to let go. I didn't understand it, couldn't say it then, but you were right. I'm going to be okay. I feel it now. I still miss you. I ache for you every day, wake with memories of you bubbling through my head, and go to sleep with remembered kisses and bedtime songs. Sometimes I imagine you sitting at the side of my bed, stroking my hair like you so often did, and just being there with me as I drift into sleep. Other times I imagine you sitting next to me in the car and remember all the conversations we had together, whether on long trips or just a jaunt into Salt Lake. Of all my memories, I am most grateful for the time we shared talking and sharing our souls. I miss my friend in you the most.
It's finally happening, Mom. You always believed in me and my writing. You always told me it was going to happen, that it wasn't an "if" but a "when" and I always loved sharing that dream with you, living it for the both of us. My first thought when you took your last breath was a selfish one. She's never going to see me published. I couldn't help myself at the moment, but immediately after the realization came to me that you didn't have to see it. You believed in me so much that you knew it would happen. You knew it like you knew the sun would rise. Well, you were right. It's happening. I wish so much you were here to see my contract, to hear about all the exciting news and plans for my book, to see the cover when it's revealed. I want to sit at your bedside and read my drafts to you and play the "what if" game.
I want you to be proud of me. More than anything, I want that. I want to know that you are happy with what I've done with my life this year, that you are pleased with the changes and growing up I've been doing. I want to see you smile, have you wrap me in your arms, kiss me and say "I'm so proud of you." I know you would if you were here, but I miss seeing it, miss feeling your lips pressed to my forehead.
I miss you!
The boys are growing so much. They still speak of you every day. Teeny prayed the other night that you would be able to come back to earth when Jesus came back down and could come and be with us. Birdy comes and begs to sit on my lap, even at 10, because he aches so much for you. We all miss you, Mom.
I need to tell you something I couldn't tell you then. It's okay. I'm going to be okay. I'm letting you go now, Mom. You've got a work to do on that side and I'm holding you back. I've felt it. It's okay. Go do the work Father has set for you to do. I've found some more amazing friends to add to the gem I have in Shari and they are helping to carry me through. Thanks for bringing them into my life.
Go do your work, Mom. Just, please . . . if you wouldn't mind, check in every once in a while? It's so comforting knowing you're near and helps to remind me that there's more to this world than what I can see with my eyes or hear with my ears. There are some things I can only feel with my soul and you are one of them. Give daddy and everyone a hug for me. I miss you all.
Love for all eternity,
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I've been avoiding writing more letters to you for a while. I'm not entirely sure why, except that I think I'm afraid writing to you will hurt more than having to function on a day to day basis, but I'm finding that to be entirely incorrect. Not writing to you, not communicating with you in any fashion dries my heart a little more each day until it is becoming nothing but a dehydrated husk, likely to poof into dust and disappear entirely if I'm not careful.
This time of year has yet again been full of firsts. My first easter without you. No coloring eggs and hiding them with the kids. No Easter dinner. My first spring without you and you know how much you loved spring. As soon as the snow was gone you'd be out there with the rototiller preparing the garden and pulling out all the dead stuff. You always loved being outside and my heart aches with your absence. And then of course there's the upcoming Mother's Day. Mother's Day. How can I celebrate when you're gone? I always looked forward to finding the perfect gift for you. I'd spend months thinking on it and saving money. Last year it was the digital camera you used on your trip to see Linda and your grandkids. Gary has it now. I wish you'd been able to get more use of it. This year I'd hoped to go see Celtic Woman with you. I know how much you loved their music and the joy it brought to your heart. You were the one who introduced them to me and made me love them not only because of their gift of music, but because they touched you so greatly. I loved them because you did. But you're not hear to share that with any longer. Who do I go to see them with? It's just not the same going without you.
I feel like I'm just being whiney after eight months, but the pain never goes away. I felt you near often at the beginning, but I don't feel you anymore and it makes me desperately depressed. I want to be with you, but I don't want to die to get there. Couldn't you sneak me a visitor's pass to Heaven? Just a day pass? I wish so much for even an hour to finish talking about everything that didn't get said. Did you hear me say good-bye? Did you feel me rub lotion into your feet in those last few hours? Did you feel me hold your hand as you took your last breath?
I wish so much I'd been with you that last night you were lucid. I wish I had remembered to bring things with me and had stayed at the hospital. The guilt over your going downhill every time I left your side still sits heavy with me. Is it my fault you died? All these questions plague me until I think I'm going to go insane with the pain of it, but still there are no answers. Who do I turn to when I have no wise parents or grandparents left to guide me?
I'm lost, Mom. Please, come and find me. Help me find myself once more.
Yours for eternity,
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I’m missing you tonight more than I have in quite a while. I’ve not felt the need to write you a letters but the ache in my heart is starting to swallow me up again so once more it is time to reach out to you in the only way left to me.
I’m at LTUE this weekend and it’s wonderful, as always, but I found myself thinking of you quite often throughout the day. In the past I would call you between classes and tell you what I was learning or who I spoke with or this fantastic new idea for a story, but not today. Today it was just me and your memory. I have friends here, don’t get me wrong, and they are just as fabulous as they always are, but you’re not here. Knowing
Maybe that’s not the best example. I know I was hard to get through to as well. I heard you, I just didn’t feel motivated to do what you wanted me to do. Stubborn, I guess. Maybe I’m pushing him too hard, but darn it, he’s got to pass in school and the way he’s going he just won’t. How do I encourage and emphasize the importance without being pushy? I know you can’t give me the answers, but if I ever wanted an instruction manual for a kid, it would be for him.
Birdy said the funniest thing the other day. He was crawling up the stairs and wouldn’t move so I playfully booted him in the bum and stepped down. Evidently he was lined up just wrong because when I stepped down he groaned and grabbed himself and said “Mom, you smashed my nerds!” I laughed until I cried. He can be such a hoot sometimes for being such a challenging child. I don’t know how you ever did it with six of us and kept your sanity. I’m struggling with two, and grateful as I am and as much as I love them, they frustrate me to tears. I wish I knew how to be a better parent. I wish I understood how to parent with love like you did. I keep trying to imitate you and the kids walk all over me. Evidently I’m doing something wrong.
It is so wonderful being here at LTUE and getting reacquainted with my writing friends again. They always motivate me to write again and build up my confidence in myself and my abilities. Julie is particularly good about that. She makes me actually believe her, that I do have talent, and that the only reason I’m not published is because I’m not submitting. Part of me knows that’s true, but another part of me is constantly doubting my abilities. I have decided to get my synopsis down to 1 page and submittable by the end of the month so I can start looking for an agent. I need to start earnestly trying and treating myself like a real writer. That means writing again too. Making it a priority and not just that thing I do when I can’t stand not writing anymore. It’s a part of me and is something I know I should be doing daily. I’m happier when I do.
I wish I could share my new writing with you. I wish I could run down the stairs and read to you like I always did. I loved hearing you laugh and seeing you cry in all the right parts. I miss my greatest fan, friend, and supporter. I miss you, more than anything. Sometimes I dream of pushing your hair off your forehead or smoothing out your wrinkled hand. Every once in a while I’ll feel your kiss on the top of my head, like you used to do so often, or will almost see you standing at the side of my bed and I reach my hand out for yours—but I can’t feel it. Nothing is there. Nothing I can touch anyway.
How do hearts ever heal from something so agonizing? How can one fill the hole left when Mom leaves? I don’t know how. I don’t even know where to begin so I take one day at a time, place one foot in front of the other, and try to keep smiling though my heart feels as if it’s been pierced with a thousand nails. A living pincushion, beating its pain with every pulse, shrieking for release when there is none to be found. I hope you are happy at least and finally able to reach your family in the ways you couldn’t when you were alive.
I just wish I could have a day with you knowing it would be our last. I’d love a chance to say good-bye in all the ways that meant the most. I’d hold your hand and listen to your stories. I’d rub your feet and bury my head in your shoulder for the greatest of all hugs. I would take the time to thank you for the gift of life and love you’ve given me and beg your forgiveness for the wrongs I’ve caused. I know you forgave me long ago, but I never forgave myself. I’m sorry I hurt you, Mom. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better daughter. I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough you could have stayed. I would have given everything I had for one single day with you. I guess I’ll have to wait for it in the eternities now.
Just know I love you with all my heart. I know you know that already, but I need to say it and I need to know you hear. I wish I could feel your arms around me now. You always had a way of making me feel better—safe in your love. Nobody loved bigger than you and I hope you get to continue sharing that love where you are now.
I can’t think of anything else to say and it’s getting late so I’m going to end. Could you find it in your heart to help Sheila gain some comfort too? She’s really hurting and missing you so much.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I drove your truck to Bountiful today. I started missing you the moment I glanced down and saw your aqua colored gloves sitting by the gear shift. I can’t bring myself to give them away. Not only are they yours, but they’re your favorite color. They covered your hand, your flesh and blood hand, when the wheel was cold, and it’s one more piece of you I’m not ready to let go of yet. Silly, perhaps, but if I put them on it’s almost like I get to hold your hand. Your hand was in them and now mine is. It feels like we overlap then, like our DNA is dancing around together in your glove. Yeah, I know, it’s weird. I can’t help it.
I had a wonderful visit with Sean and Jenny, though it wasn’t as long as I’d have liked. It almost feels like it did when we were kids with Sean. I feel a closeness with him that I haven’t for a long time. I guess losing you has drawn us together and made us need each other again. When we were kids we needed each other because there was no one else to play with, though we always did enjoy each other’s company. Kind of weird that my little brother was always such a great friend, even though he does say I tormented him. I never meant to. Well, that’s not exactly true. Yes, I did mean to, but it was only because it was fun and he was my little brother so I could get away with it. It was just a way to get his attention because I liked him. Backwards, yes, but that’s the way siblings are, unfortunately. He’s devouring Brandon’s books and was disappointed I forgot the third one. I promised to take it back on Monday when I go in for my movie day.
After visiting with them I went to Bountiful and took Teeny to our favorite restaurant. Ahh, the memories in that place. It made me rather nostalgic and I shared some of those memories with your grandson. It’s still kind of hard for him to talk about you. I know he thinks of you often. His behavior tells me how much he misses you, but he won’t talk about you much. I wish he would. I know from experience how much unexpressed pain can hurt a person and build up to the exploding point. Not only is that harder on him, but in the end, it’s harder on all of us. I wish he would just realize that I want to be there for him. I’d love to listen while he talked, but that’s just not the way he communicates. Words aren’t his thing.
Everywhere I went today I thought of you. I wish you could have been with us. I would have loved to have the hours to chat like we always did and go see our old house and point out my old high school to my son. I miss your comforting words and your carefree laughter. I missed your veined hands and crooked fingers. I miss sharing beautiful music and funny e-mail with you. I still hear your voice in my mind sharing space with the characters in my head. Yours is different than theirs though. More solid. Real. I hope that will stay. It keeps a piece of you inside of me. It makes ME feel more real.
I wish I’d known that our trip to the hospital would be our last trip together. I would have been more patient and understanding. I wasn’t terrible, but was a little grossed out with what your body was putting out. I tried not to be, but I couldn’t help it. It hurt so much to see you in so much pain, but I thought you’d be in the hospital for an hour or two and they would fix you right up. It wasn’t until the very last day that I fully realized you wouldn’t be coming home. I didn’t get to tell you good-bye. I know I’ve written that before, but I know you know how that feels. That was always your greatest regret when Daddy died. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard you say “I never got to say good-bye.” I said my farewells, but not good-bye. They are completely different. You know how we were. Heck, if we were on the cell phone and got cut off, it wouldn’t matter how close we were to finishing the conversation, we would always call back just to say good-bye and know it was the end. No loose ends. No letting things hang, and yet I didn’t get to hear it from you in the end. I don’t know that I could have said it even if I’d known, but I wish I’d had the chance.
The tears are falling now, and though I know they help to ease the pain, it’s hard to let them go. I feel so often like I have to be strong, I’ve got too much to do to deal with the emotions, but I know that if I don’t I’ll bottle them up again and close myself off from the world and that’s not good either. I actually write better, feel better, and function better when I allow the tears to come. It’s painful for the moment, but when expressed I find more peace. It even helps me sleep better when I write before bed. Most nights I lay there for an hour or more with my mind racing, thinking mostly of you, the memories of our life together and especially the days and hours before your death coming back clearly. When I remember the last year or two, I think you knew your time was coming. I think that’s why you pled with the Lord not to take you until He knew I was ready. I’m glad he waited, but I still wish I’d had more time. I don’t think it would have ever been enough.
Shari has stepped in and filled many of the spots you left empty. She lets me bounce story ideas off of her and lets me ramble on about whatever is on my mind, much like you and I used to. I always enjoyed doing that before, but now I need it. She is a wonderful sister-friend and I’m so thankful to have her in my life. She seems to understand me in much the way you did. She sees beneath the surface and not only lets me be myself, but encourages and threatens me if I don’t. I love that. It’s nice being with someone who loves me just the way I am, flaws and all.
I saw the psychologist again. She was thrilled at how well the letters are working for me and was astounded at how fast they have worked. We spent more time talking about Gary and the kids than we did about my grief this time around. I really like her. It’s like sitting down and visiting with a friend. She’s easy to talk to and gives some great advice without it sounding all doctorish, if you know what I mean. It’s a lot like talking to you, to be honest. I’m so grateful Gary kicked my butt into going to see her. The things she has taught me has changed my life and I will be forever grateful.
Do you have gardens in heaven? I know you don’t need to eat, but I can’t help but wonder. I don’t think heaven would be heaven to you or Grandpa without a garden nearby. I can imagine the two of you working up there side-by-side and catching up, you chatting at him and him nodding his head in response, then working together in silence. He wasn’t much of a talker. I remember that. But I also remember his great big heart and how he used to push me around in the wheelbarrow. He never seemed to mind having his noisy, rowdy grandkids around and I adored him for it. I hope you are finally able to tell him all the things you wished you had in life. I hope you finally have the bond with your Daddy that you longed for. I love you, Mom. That will never change.