Posts Tagged ‘death’

Still nope.

April 12, 2017

Last night I came home to an empty house. No spazz-monkey waiting for me when I walked in the door. Quiet. Just quiet.

Last night as I was shutting down the house, I moved around the kitchen on autopilot, filling Fenway’s bowls with water and food for the morning. And then it hit me that I wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t have to. No one was going to be impatient for their breakfast.

One of these days the loss won’t hit me like a soccer punch to the gut. But not today.


Fenway and Julie. This pic is all sunshine and love!


Father’s Day, the not-quite easy way.

June 20, 2016

Father’s Day was a bit of a mixed bag this year. We had a (mostly) lovely day at our house. The girls were at their dad’s this weekend, so I missed them terribly (but took over the desk in Gracie’s room, so clearly I got over all of the missing). Jeff took the Xman to the museum for a few hours in the morning for some daddy-son time. And then I made a big, juicy, grilled steak dinner with roasted garlic-butter corn and garlic mashed potatoes.When Jeff opened his presents, he got to see how well the Xman’s mom and I know that little boy – we each got him the same superhero tshirt! Annoying (because the shirt wasn’t cheap), but kind of funny.


Yes, the Xman got tired mid-afternoon and his daily temper tantrums started up. But that wasn’t what made it a bit difficult.

My Uncle David died on Saturday. It wasn’t entirely unexpected – he’s been rather sick – but that doesn’t ease anything. I mean, how awful is that? On top of the already crushing grief, my aunt and cousin’s had to face Father’s Day the next day. I just can’t, when I think of how they must be feeling.

I wasn’t terribly close with Uncle David growing up; we didn’t see that branch of the family very often, and some of the men (Uncle David and my dad, particularly) didn’t always come to birthday parties and family functions. When he did come, I remember being afraid of him. It was nothing he did – I think I was just scared because I didn’t see him often, and because he was a rather imposing size. Silly things that little kids find daunting. And as I grew up and got over my fear, we started talking more at get togethers. We sat with Uncle David and Auntie Carol and my cousins at my Uncle Teddy’s funeral a few years ago. (Oh, the things you remember.) Uncle David always called me over to talk to me when I visited home each August. He asked about the girls and talked about his grandkids. He asked how I was doing and encouraged me with whatever I had going on in my life. He always made sure to give me a hug and a kiss, and even though I might not have been as close with him as I was with some of my other uncles, I always knew he loved me.

It’s tough, losing someone you know has always been in your corner.

So, no, not the easiest Father’s Day. Though it did make me very thankful for a rambunctious, superhero-obsessed little five-year-old, and the return of the swarm of pre-teens. (Oh, shoosh – two of them does feel like a swarm.) Joy is in all the little things, and that is what gets us through these great big things.

Five for Friday.

January 8, 2016

Good morning, everybody. I very nearly made this a gratitude list, and you’ll see why, but instead I decided to let loose the random things that have been flying around in my mind. If for no other reason than I find if I let the canaries loose when they clamor, they make much less of a ruckus and then I can finally think. So! My five:

1. Jeff and I finished our West Wing marathon and then watched a metric ton of WWII documentaries. We tried Man in the High Castle, but that didn’t work. Then we tried House of Cards, which he liked but I found cold. (Even though I adore Kevin Spacey and he was pretty Kevin Spaceyish, addressing the camera and such.) We finally settled on Dexter. Yes, I am the last human on Earth who hasn’t seen it. But I adore it and we’re half a season in already, so the “problem” should be entirely rectified in the near future.

2. The Xman’s birthday party is tomorrow at the science museum. Pray for me.

3. The cast recording for Hamilton: The Musical knocked my flippin’ socks off! I mean – WOW. If we could approach all of history and literature in such a way, so many more kids would connect, could find a way in, find a piece that felt like their own. The girls adored the music, as well, and Gracie has been asking me every time she climbs into the car if I can find certain pieces. It’s two discs with 23 tracks each – mostly she gets to listen to it in order.

4. I have been reading so many good books lately! I’m five books in and going strong! I’ll have mini-reviews up next week, but suffice it to say that Hamilton stood up well to a re-read; Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere nearly made me cry every chapter because girl gets grief in important ways; and if I don’t finish My Grandmother Said To Tell You She’s Sorry soon, I’m going to weep real tears of frustration. The book is one of the best I’ve ever read and I basically want to be Granny when I grow up. God bless Best Of lists or I never would have found it!

5. One of my co-workers was missing for two days and was found un-alive yesterday at her apartment. It was sudden and we’re all sort of reeling from it. The whole thing is crazytown bananapants and hoo boy. People are talking.

So. Remember to be kind. Update your emergency contact info. And have a fantastic day today, because life is short you guys. Fill it with books, fill it with adventure, fill it with laughter. Just be sure to grab your life by its ears and fill it with something. With so much more than just five things.

Still, no words.

January 19, 2015

Because one year is a stupidlong time.

An incomprehensible phrase.

I’m smothered. Wordless.

Nothing but grief, because I familied all wrong.

Quote of the Day.

October 18, 2011

I’ve been watching The Sing-Off with the girls. Gracie is fascinated with singing and anything rocker-girl-esque. (Yes, my little diva. Shocking, I know.) So I figured watching the show with them was one way to help clear it out of my Tivo queue a little faster, rather than waiting for them to be gone or asleep before I tried to sneak it into my already crowded lineup of shows. (Instead I find I’m trying to find snippets of time when my very busy children have time for TV, and so it is taking even longer than if I just watching it myself, but that is neither here nor there.)

So, we’ve been watching the show and the girls quickly realized that there is a lot of drama involved in the backstories of the contestants. A lot of drama. Bee, for instance, seems to think that every other group lost a family member because two – out of about a hundred singers! – mentioned during the group interviews that they had recently lost someone.

It must have made quite an impression on Bee, because the other night when we were watching, they showed clips of the groups practicing and bickering and a few of the singers started crying because they were sick and possibly couldn’t sing that week. Faced with the possibility of elimination, those singers got a little dramatic with the sobbing and the tears, oh yes they did. And that’s when Bee said to me…

Bee: Did their mom or dad pass by?
Me, quickly interpreting: Pass away. No. They’re just sick.
Bee: “Pass by” means died.
Me: It’s “pass away.” And yes, it does.

Brings a whole new meaning to passing someone by in the hall, doesn’t it? And yet, exactly how my days seem to feel at a certain place we shan’t discuss.

The If Question about choosing your own ending.

May 1, 2009

I waffled about my If Question selection this week. It was the next If Question that caught my eye…but it does seem a bit morbid. And I thought, what with all the goings-on this week, that maybe I should pick something a little more upbeat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what the other question was when I was thinking about my answer all day yesterday. So. Screw being morbid. We’ll just call it our theme of the week.

If you were to die in a public place, anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

(See what I mean? Death, dying, moaning, groaning. Ahem.)

My first thought was a hospital – because then probably I would be focused on GETTING FIXED and NOT DYING! I am all about the not dying, people. But I can’t change the nature of the If Questions (I can only bend and tweak the rules, and only then because I am the If Question Dictator). So maybe not the hospital because I don’t want to actually die there, I just want to be there to be cured.

So then I thought maybe I would choose a library or a bookstore because I love libraries and bookstores…being surrounded by all those books at my death does have sort a romantic quality about it. But it didn’t feel quite right.

Then I thought a big field somewhere high up, where I could look out over a big, beautiful valley. Someplace with lots of trees, gently swaying in the breeze. I’m always thought trees had such a graceful way in which they swayed, almost dancing, that is particularly calming. I’m going to need a LOT of calming if I know I’m about to die.

But does my place need to be, you know, populated in order to count as a public place? Because I wouldn’t want there to be a lot of people in my peaceful, tree-lined field. So maybe I should choose some gorgeous monument or famous site. The Eiffel Tower. Or…I don’t know, Fenway Park or something. Something perfectly beautiful. With people.

The people around me is kinda weirding me out, guys.

Screw it. No people. If I’m going to die, in public, it’s gonna go my way or no way at all. So…I’ll just cheat on the rules a little. I pick in front of the ocean, on a beach. In the early morning when it’s nice and calm (no people, except some friends maybe), with the sun throwing a pretty light over everything, beautiful puffy clouds, and the waves crashing around me. No seagulls, though. I ban the seagulls. But otherwise…doesn’t that sound nice?

So. Come along. Choose something. Pick a place. Your answers can be funny or serious, populated or not. But it DOES have to be a public place. What is YOUR place?

Somtimes love means having to say you’re sorry.

April 30, 2009

Gracie and Bee,

I know you’ve never heard of it, but there was this silly tagline to an even sillier movie that went something like, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” I think that’s a bunch of baloney. I think love means you do have to apologize, that you should want to apologize over and over again, even if the other person already knows how you feel.

I’m sorry that Cooper died. I’m even sorrier about how you found out. It was crummy of your dad to tell you just before he sent you off to school that your bestest friend in the whole wide world had died. (How exactly did he expect you to process that on your own?) And I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you on Monday night because I was playing Ex-games. I thought your dad was partly responsible for what happened to Cooper, and so I thought he should be the one to have to break the devastating news. Girls, if I had any idea of how badly he would bungle the job, I would have taken care of it myself, no matter how it would have killed me to say those words.

That’s it. I wanted to open my heart and let those two words – I’m sorry – escape from my lips to your ears. Usually on Love Thursday, moms and dads and ladies and men and all kinds of people write about random acts of kindness or messages of love they find all around them in their bloggy lives. Today I wanted to let my love take the form of this apology. Sometimes I’m going to bungle things, too. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you or that I’m not going to get it right one of these times. I always love you, and I will always keep trying, because with love comes faith. Right?

Happy Love Thursday, Gracie and Bee. If you wake up during the night, don’t worry. That’s just me checking on you again, tracing hearts on the outside of your pajamas and kissing your sleepy, dimpled cheeks.

Love, Mommy

The first love is the deepest.

April 16, 2009

My first love walked…er, ran? scampered?…into my life just days before I turned five years old. She was a fabulous springer spaniel and border collie mix; perfect in only the way pound puppies can be. I named her Goldie, as much for the way her eyes shone perfect gold in the light as for her namesake, a little neighborhood beagle who frequently squeezed under the hedges to play with me.

I was besotted from the very beginning. True, I did sort of hide in my room with the door slammed shut or climbed to the tippy top of the back of the couch when my dad let her in the house after dinner. She was a very frisky puppy in the beginning and she liked to jump. And scratch. Oh, she didn’t mean to. The poor thing couldn’t help it. She just wanted to love all over us and lick us and call us George and thank us thank us thank us for rescuing her. We were all her family, but she always knew that I was her very favorite one. If my dad was the alpha, then I was her best pack-mate. I was the one who ran with her in the yard and used her short leash to teach her tricks, like to run down the hill with me and up over the picnic table. (Nice.) When I went through my outdoor-sy, survivalist stage, she was my pretend-wolf in all of my fantasies. I was the only one she wouldn’t run away on when she went through her prison-break stage. And when I went through my dark tween stage, I can’t tell you how many times Goldie lay patiently against my neck while I cried into her fur, because she was simply the only person who understood me.

When I was a junior in high school, my friend Jenny and I came back to my house in the wee hours of the morning on New Year’s Eve after having babysat for my aunt. We sat down on the couch for a second with my mom (everyone was camped out, asleep in the living room although the tv was still on). My baby sister sat up in the middle of a dead sleep and told me Goldie had died. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. A few days before I heard my dad had taked Goldie to the vet because she was sick. Turns out, Goldie had eaten a piece of metal somehow and it had shredded her stomach. They put her to sleep and just like that she was gone.

I’ve helped friends and family members take care of their dogs. The Ex and I had a beautiful black lab (my “Ex-Dog” named Cooper who will be nine this summer) and I love her dearly. But no one will take the place of Goldie, my very first dog. Sometimes when I dream, Goldie is there. She visits me and in all of the dreams I’ve ever had (and believe me, I remember them all), the only thing I’ve ever felt like I have really touched or felt in my dreams is petting Goldie’s coat and hugging her against me. I believe down to the truest part of my heart that it’s her spirit visiting me.

It’s a love no one gets over, I think, and one every one should have. No matter what, no matter how hard it is when it ends, it’s something every child, every grown-up should experience. The hurt hurts bad for a little while, but the joy will come back. Right now, one of my friends is dealing with the horrible, how-do-I-tell-my-kids? part, and I wish I could make it all better. So I will just say: today is Love Thursday, everyone. Love those who are still around you, and remember those aren’t.

Tissues, tissues, and more tissues. (Oh, and guilt.)

February 7, 2009

Gracie cried during Movie Night last night. It wasn’t because Bee kept getting in the way (although she did). It wasn’t because her sister stole some of her movie candy (although she did that, too). Gracie cried because of the movie, because the plot was sad. It was like I was watching her grow into a big kid right before my very eyes, and that made me sad. It was a great night overall, really, better than it sounds! But the tissues. And the guilt!

I should have known better when I picked out the movie. We have a few leftover from Christmas that we still haven’t watched, and so I was a little careless about choosing one last week. As in, on Thursday night I thought, oh yeah, I should pick out a movie for tomorrow night. I flipped through ABC Family and HBO family to see if anything good was going to be on in the next 20 hours before I raided our video stash. And there it was on HBO at noon the next day: The Land Before Time.

Littlefoot! Sara! DUCKY! Land Before Time is a classic, one that we watched over and over and over when we were younger. (I’m sure my mom learned to hate it, we watched it so often.) I remember crying when Littlefoot’s mom died. And when she appeared to Littlefoot in a vision. And during the reunion. And all throughout that blasted sad song during the credits. Still, it was a great movie in spite of the tissues and I was curious to see how Gracie and Bee would like it.

They LOVED it! They were a little afraid of Sharptooth, but really enjoyed the rest of the little dinosaurs’ adventures. After the first twenty minutes, Gracie even stopped asking so many questions; if that isn’t the definition of getting sucked into a movie, I don’t know what is.


When Littlefoot’s mom died at the beginning of the movie, Gracie quickly grew both anxious and teary-eyed. “What happened to his mom? Whyyy? But what will Littlefoot do?” I thought I had gotten off easily when Gracie moved on, following the action on the screen. Yeah, that lasted until Littlefoot’s vision of his mom just before he reached Happy Valley. Gracie was in full blown tears this time when she figured out Littlefoot’s mom was “died” for good. She wasn’t going to open her eyes. She heaved and sobbed and asked when Littlefoot met up with his grandparents, not his mom and dad. And when she asked when Littlefoot would ever see his mom again? My heart broke.

I thought I had smoothed everything over with a happy, upbeat explanation of heaven (“Don’t worry! When Littlefoot dies, he gets to see her in heaven! Forever!”). But after Gracie finished brushing her teeth, she came out crying yet again. “What happens if you get old, Mommy, and you die and I don’t see you?” Her heart broke, my heart broke, and everyone needed a tissue. Then I promised her I would never die and we’d always be together. So if you guys have any tips on the not dying thing, I could use some help here. (I already scratched playing-in-traffic off my to-do list. Any other ideas?)

So that was our happy, sad, guilt-laden movie night. I don’t know what the happiest movie is on earth, but you can bet your booty that’s what we’re watching next time!

Love takes chances.

January 8, 2009

I didn’t mean to start seeing someone so soon after my marriage crashed and burned. I wasn’t sure I wanted to make myself vulnerable get involved again so soon. Part of me was simply afraid of not having someone there to lean on, but a big part of me wanted to find out who I was. Curiosity might not be the best reason to try to go it alone, but I have to admit, it was a big factor for me.


Of course, that’s not how it played out. Because all of a sudden, there was Mike.


We had a lot of starts and stops. We discussed to death what our intentions were, what we wanted from each other, and the implications our un-relationship would have on the rest of our little worlds. There’s a lot of history between us, and we’ve tippy-toed because of that. And you know what? I like that.


I like that because yesterday, after a very emotional day spent burying his friend, Mike came over and we spent the evening just lying on the couch, holding each other and watching old reruns. We didn’t talk much, but every now and then I would feel his arm pull me a little closer. I would hold his hand, and after a minute, he would relax.


Look, I might not have wanted someone new in my life with all of the entanglements and rules and newness, but on days like yesterday, on days when a friend was lost and deep thoughts kept peeking out, I was glad all the way down to my toes that I had my best friend there. I liked the newness of having someone to cuddle with, and I liked that I’ve known him long enough to know he just needed to watch t.v. and get out of his head for awhile. And if I’m being honest, I really like that after the funeral and the graveside service and the after-party that included all of his friends, my guy still needed to see me.


Sometimes knowing she brings that much peace and comfort to someone is what gets a girl through the week.


Happy Love Thursday, everyone. I hope you all have that someone to hold you close when you need it.