Sunday, March 27, 2011

Insights into Me

Listed in no particular order.

  1. I have found it helpful to remind myself I do not have to think every thought that falls into my head. I have found that even though I am tempted (to follow thoughts that will only lead to depression, anger, dissatisfaction), God is faithful when I ask for help…sometimes I still refuse to ask for help—always to my detriment. I find that it is much easier to ask and receive His help when I feel the first nudge of a thought track I don't need to follow…once I have begun the track I become a bit rebellious and/or angry which makes it harder for me to even want help.

  2. Now juxtaposed to #1 is the need to go through the pain, to face the grief head-on. I do not believe there is any shortcut, and trying to take the long way around in avoidance will not help either…we must go through. When grief overwhelms and overtakes me (and it still does at times), I don't try to fight it. For the most part, I let it wash over me without guilt…I don't really try to hide it from my children (except when I need to scream loudly—I do wait for them to be out of the house before I do that…too scary to hear mommy wailing and screaming in anguish)

  3. Time and work do help.

  4. I don't believe there is an answer to "why" that would ever satisfy me.

  5. Our choices are to play the hand that has been dealt or to fold…I have felt like folding on many occasions. To just lie down and not even try to get back up has had a LOT of appeal during the past 20 months—particularly the first 12. I have finally reached the point where most days I am content to be alive--and I feel very privileged to care for my children. I am determined to learn to live life fully, but there will be absolutely no regrets when it is my turn to go…I am ready whenever that day/moment comes.

  6. Before all this happened I had already worked out that God is good--the world we live in isn't always. He created it to be good, but we seem to have other ideas. I am glad I had already questioned, struggled and resolved this beforehand.

  7. I admit to still questioning God's goodness from time to time (but only in a very shallow sort of way…not way down deep like before). I don't have answers to why human beings treat each other so horribly, but the fact is we do. I also don't have answers for why some people who by all "rights" should be bitter and angry choose to love…but the fact is many do.

  8. I am not fearful, nor am I reckless.

  9. It is impossible to please everyone.

  10. I cannot control how others behave.

  11. I am surrounded by a community of family and friends who continue to pray for my kids and me, and this brings me such comfort—particularly when I am feeling weak and overwhelmed.

  12. I am cared for by a God who loves me beyond measure. My children are cared for by this same loving God.

  13. If I continue to love, I will continue to have times of sorrow.

  14. It is not all about me…and I don't want it to be.

  15. I am strong (inner strength).

  16. I am smarter than the average bear. (at least *I* think I am)

  17. Laughter really is good medicine.

Great Week

I have had a great week. My mom came to visit last Saturday, and my sister joined us Wednesday. My kids and I have really enjoyed having them here. Friday and Saturday my school hosted a conference, and I was able to see so many dear faces from the past. Although I have not seen some of them in years, I consider them life-long friends...and they all knew words had to be said, just big hugs given and warm, loving smiles shared...a few misty eyes, but mostly just genuine fondness and contentment to see one another again. Thank You, God.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I am making the choice to move forward…and make no mistake, I have a choice. It has been almost 20 months since Todd was ripped from us. I still have days when, if I didn't have children to care for, I would just lay on the floor and weep. The other night I did shut myself in the bathroom and do just that--but I eventually DID get off the floor even though I cried off and on the rest of the evening.

…but back to the moving forward part. I *am* living my life, not just existing in it. I do many things for myself that I NEVER thought I would, and in doing these things I know that I am stronger than I ever thought possible...but I have also pretty much learned to accept and ask for help when I need it. I do not have my husband (who was the BEST dad) to help me with my children; I do not have my lover and dearest friend of over 25 years to encourage me and make me laugh…and for lack of those things I am very discouraged at times.

…but back to the moving forward part. The apple trees are beginning to bud! The weather has been beautiful the last few days. The benches and ashes have made a space where I can go and talk to Todd and feel connected to him in a healthy way…at least I think it is healthy. I know that Todd is at peace. My beautiful children are healthy, and they are continuous reminders of the beauty of their dad. I have a loving, supportive network of family and friends. I have a job that I really enjoy and colleagues who are wonderful to work with…and I have my Tom Petty station on Pandora Internet Music. Of course, I wish Todd were here to enjoy all this too, but he's not, and he won't ever be again…so I am going to enjoy it for the both of us because I know that is what he would want. So you see, I am moving forward…and I can even hear music over the next hill. Todd would want me to dance, so I am going to try.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Better Today

Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Just when I think I have my act together, I am overcome. I bought some concrete benches today to sit between the apple trees and scattered some of Todd's ashes around. I unloaded and put the benches together myself--even though the concrete was extremely heavy. I layed on one of them and talked to Todd when I was done.
Earlier today:
A friend who is having a baby came by to tell me that she and her husband had decided to name him after will be his middle name.
I read some of the old news articles written about that horrible night.
Not too bright, am I?
Only cried a few times today, but I fell apart this evening. I am tired, and everything is worse when I am tired.
It hurts so very badly, I feel like I will crack.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bad Kitty

Warning: This post contains bathroom humor (although "humor" may not be the word I am looking for)…and there will be moments when you are sure there is animal cruelty on the horizon, but I assure you that I did restrain myself.

This morning we discovered the cat spent the night inside the car. I knew it would be bad…this is the same cat that cannot spend the night inside the house without peeing and pooping as soon as you let your guard down…that is why, when it is necessary for him to stay inside the house for the night, he is banished to the bathroom or laundry room --with the door firmly closed! I am done with litter boxes, so this is our compromise. But I digress… My daughter said "It doesn't smell, so I guess he didn't pee." I thought to myself "I just don't believe it." This is one time I wish I had been wrong.

We didn't have time to deal with it at that moment because we were getting ready for school. Of course, we were scrambling to get out of the house on time, and when my daughter jumped in the car she said, matter-of-factly, "I found where he went." (of course) It was right where she needed to sit, and there was no time to clean it up. Those of you who know me, know my car is rarely free of clutter –from kids toys, books and candy wrappers to junk mail and school papers that somehow find their way out of the backpack and onto the seat. The cat had managed to plant it on a "magazine" (according to Caley). Somewhat relieved and filled with hope that it wouldn't be too big a mess, we took off for school. (Caley now buckled in to the small middle seat after this entire conversation took place in the rearview mirror as I was backing out of the driveway.) When I returned home I found a much bigger mess than I had been led to believe…the "magazine" turned out to be a pamphlet, and I immediately realized this would be an involved clean-up. I had some cleaning supplies I had purchased earlier in the week still sitting in the trunk of the car, so I popped it to unload them. It took two trips to get it all, and I slammed the trunk closed after the second trip. When I went out to begin the first stage of clean-up —the soak-up—I decided to put (throw??) the cat out back and shut the garage while doing this. Did I mention it was freezing outside…but I guess when you are dealing with cat pee it is better cold than hot, huh?

Well, I call the cat and he doesn't come, so I decide he must have already gone out. I begin blotting up the mess and I think I hear something as I am doing it so I call to the cat, but no kitty comes. I decide it was the wind. I go back to the job…trying to use my weight to press the paper towels into the seat and soak up as much as I can before I spray it down with cleaner. I hear another small noise, and I call the cat again…no cat. From somewhere in the back of my mind I have the thought "the trunk! I am going to kill that cat if it is in the trunk!" I pop the trunk and IMMEDIATELY my nostrils are greeted with that HORRIBLE smell associated with….well, I will just tell you, IT WASN'T pee this time. That %%$$#@@*(!!**cat had been in the trunk for all of 2 minutes! As far as junk goes, my trunk is even worse than the inside of my car. I grab (yes, grab!) and toss him out, while I am muttering obscenities and trying to locate the source of this awful smell. I begin to take things out, and finally see the mess…neatly on a cardboard box top containing a toy that has been riding around in my trunk since I moved a year ago. I finished my clean-up both inside the car and the trunk…actually thankful that the cat had gone "neatly" on the top of the box. I did put (throw??) the cat out the back door, but I was amazed that I was able to laugh and be grateful for several things: 1 I didn't have to be at work this morning so I was able to come straight home and clean up the mess 2 The incident in the trunk was not worse than it was 3 I may have a "clean" car when this is all over 4 I was able to laugh about it to myself. Oh, and one more thing I was grateful for…the almost full ice cream drink my son spilled all over (and down inside) the other back seat was no longer smelling so strongly of spoiled milk!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Lent has come around again. The predictable rhythm of the church year is a comforting accompaniment to life's unpredictable circumstances. In the Episcopal Church we consider Lent a time of preparation and waiting…a time of slowing down and drawing particularly close to God. During this time, we are preparing our hearts and minds to receive the joy of Easter…and acknowledging that Good Friday is the only way to get to Easter.

I have considered what I will do to mark this season of Lent… I wasn't even sure I wanted to mark it in any special way this year. I have the germ of an idea that I am trying to hash out…I want to be transformed in one area in particular involving my thought life…and consequently how it plays out in my behavior and actions. I am asking God to first, give me the desire to change in this area, and second, for Him to do the work in me. I am unable to do it on my own…and as I noted, I don't necessarily even have the desire to change even though I know this change would bring a lot of healing. I am not a passive observer/participant in this—my part is to lay this issue at His feet, "suit up and show up" and let His Holy Spirit move in and through me—redirecting my thoughts and attitudes as He does. It is not an issue of having enough will-power--it is an issue of trusting in His grace and mercy and great love for me and knowing His desire is to bring spiritual healing to every part of me. I sometimes feel so alone, but that is a lie. I am never alone.


And I can hear Your voice reciting

"I'm here. I'm closer than your breath

I've conquered even death

I am still here

And just like I was then

You can't remember when I was not here."

And I can hear Your voice inviting

"I'm here. I'll never leave your side

My stubborn weary child

I am still here

Please let Me lead you on

Your race is already won

I am Your God"


You're Here (words and music by Leigh Nash)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Silly Is as Silly Does

I curled my hair with hot rollers like I did in the 80s and 90s…big curly hair. My kids told me that it would take some getting used to, but that I did look like my pictures from college. They had no idea how great it was to hear that even if they didn't necessarily mean it as a compliment. The curls stuck out all over—squirrely like. Drove me crazy all day long until finally as I was leaving work. I had to pull it up in a hair clip—so now I have big hair AND a hair clip….but I am happy to report it is NOT a banana clip. Anyway, for some reason this made me laugh all day long. It has been a long time since I could laugh this freely at myself…it felt really good. (Every time I saw myself in the mirror today I would burst out laughing…I think I will call it "happy hair.") I might do it again tomorrow.