Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Collective Swell...

Mom's hand made mittens from Nancy....

Today stated off like any other morning.  I awake to a bush pile of red hair in my face as Lauren comes to cuddle or a blanket to the face as Evan jumps in the bed.  A slow pain rushes to my heart and brain when I remember that Mom is gone.  Every stinking morning.  I have dreams about her frequently. Which is a good thing until I wake up.  Last night my dream consisted of me frantically running around Door County from boat dock to cabin trying to find her because she was missing.  In the end when I found her she simply sitting on a park bench with her friend Ken and when I walked up to them I didn't express my frantic panic because the scene was so calm and peaceful.  Just like I imagine she is. Wherever that is.  Heaven? What is Heaven?  What does that mean?  

Am I to be somehow comforted that she is there?  That she is with all those other loved ones who have gone before her? What do I do with the little bundle of rage that wants to tell everyone, including God, whoever that is, to go F themselves.  She is not here!  She is not with me and my children sitting on my couch drinking a cup of coffee with me or with or lying in the bedroom basement we finished for her reading a magazine, having quiet time around 3:00 pm like we always did.  We finished the basement for her F'ING recovery.  This is no recovery.  This is DEATH.  The end.   
Button detail...

This was not my intention for this post.  But there, it's out.  The questions no one can answer, the rage no one can stifle.  The love that I still feel inside my heart.  The goodness that I know exists in the world.  I see it everyday.  I feel it.  I am part of it.  

I walked the kids to the bus stop today instead of leaving my PJ bottoms on and driving them in the car.  (so much easier) But I needed to work the kinks out of my sore body.  On Monday I felt enough strength inside my body to revisit my friend Jillian on her DVD.  I even used the lower weights.  And I tweaked something in my lower back and I'm just so sore and achy and feel like a million years old.  And that adds to my anger this week.  I don't like being burdened by sickness (which is rare) or a sore body.  I want to move freely and easily about my day.  Now I'm asking the kids to pick things up off the floor because I know the effort it will take for me to do it.

So out the door we went, bundled up and I grabbed these mittens from the closet shelf tote.  I didn't even realize I was grabbing them.  One of my mom's best friends, Nancy, made her these mittens.  And a small comfort worked itself into my heart.  And I smiled.  I smiled in joy and in sadness.  Because that is what I must do.  A little laughter and some tears everyday until I can manage anything more.  I'm listening to Bon Iver right now as I type.  "The business of sadness" lyric just flowed into my ears from the album "Dark was the Night" (Track entitled "Brackett, WI)  

I'm sitting in a hard backed chair with the laptop on my lap.  The couches are too soft and I can barely get out of them when I stand up.  I walked upstairs and had a good cry.  What would classify a "good cry"?  I put on a sweater for warmth and my mom's blue octopus scarf and my Dad's ring and with purpose and intention I sit down to spill these words out.  
friendship mittens....

As I walked back from the bus stop I had a vision of all the people grieving the loss of my mother.  All the tears, memories, sadness, love, pain....all swelling up like a large wave ready to crash and roll onto the sandy beach.  It's not just me feeling all these emotions.  Not only are so many others grieving along with me, but they are also praying, loving, and feeling for me.  Their hearts break for me and my sister and my aunts and my grandmother.  Who the hell wants to be 89 years old (Grandma turns 90 in February) and live to see all your siblings and spouse and son-in-law and daughter die?  So tell me what is the reason that one person leaves while another person stays?  
snowflake detail...

All the love and laughter that I feel looking at these mittens made by one person to give to another person.  There is nothing like handmade.  My mom was friends with Nancy my entire life.  I remember riding in Nancy's yellow Fiesta car and listening to her and my mom laugh, listen to music, gossip and tell the rest of the kids in the car small pieces of wisdom.  Of course I knew nothing of what they spoke at the time.  What I do remember is Nancy always, and I mean always, telling me that I should travel and see the world and fulfill my own desires before I got married.  Still good advice today.
Holding my heart in my hands....

Lately I find Bon Iver music, an extra cup of coffee and pouring myself into doing something for another person brings me comfort.  What will I do with my life now?  How will my mother's death change me?  I am 41 years old and both my parents are gone.  The house I call home is empty.  The thermostat is set low and one lonely lamp sits on a bench from my Dad's garage in the large front window.  One small stream of light shines when a click on the timer goes off and a soft glow tells others that this house is still inhabited.  But it's NOT.  We feel the need to have this little light click on at dusk.  Because thinking of the emptiness and the darkness would be too much.  What one thing could push us over the edge?  Are we at the end?

Anne Lamont gave me this comfort this week:
"There’s freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won’t be able to save or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you’ve reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin, because when you’re still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from the past. It’s exhausting, crazy-making.

Help. Help us walk through this. Help us come through.
It is the first great prayer."
(Her new book is entitled "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers")
Mom's journal....

I have no answers and for now, right now, that's okay.  I have yet to uncover the gem in all this.  But I propose it does exist.  And I will find it.  

Another comfort I seek as refuge is to open one of my mom's journals to any random page and pull a bit of understanding from her.  Like she is speaking to me.  Today I opened to this:  (I sent this email to mom on January 7, 2002 and of course mom documented that...amazing)

Thought for the Day:
Peace of heart will come when you hardly notice, like the first star in the evening sky.  You need not strive for it or seek will find you as surely as the light dawns, as purely as water bubbles from a mountain spring.  Time goes by and peace of heart tiptoes softly into your days and whispers in the night....Be still, all will be well.  I am here.
Dad's ring....He gave it to me before he died which makes it mean even more.

Don't wait another day to give away a treasure you are ready to let go of.  It will give you joy to give it away and the person who receiving it will soar with joy.


  1. That was beautiful Tricia. You, Tracy, and your mom are always in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you lots of love from NJ...Diana

  2. It's definitely OK to be angry...I had a bout of it last night during our bereaved parents group meeting (first time since Jordyn died that I wanted to punch a wall.)

    Still praying for your family. Much love to all of you.

  3. I am crying for you right now, Tricia! But your writing is gorgeous. You have such a way of expressing your painful emotions. I am dying to read that new Anne Lamott book. I adore her. Remember again how Glennon Melton says, "We can do hard things." I remind myself of that all the time, every day it seems! xoxoxo