Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Six Months....

Love you and miss you every day Mom xo

At wine club on Thursday night a fellow writer friend agreed that when her head/heart are full she has a hard time writing.  We also agreed that sometimes all it takes is a quick photo and few words to make a new blog post.  Yet what I feel inside could fill volumes.  So maybe if I just start, just anticipate writing a few words it will all work itself out.  

I read something a few weeks ago that said "we write from our wounds."  Amen, Sista.  I also cannot get away from everything in the Universe telling me that when I am at my lowest that something good will come.  Rise from the ashes so speak. (Mom was cremated so I smile here.......thinking of all that could rise from her ashes, in me, in my life.....)  As I fell asleep last night I kinda shouted inside my head to God, "I'm here and I'm ready for you to show me how any of this will end up being great!"  Then I screamed "Show Me! Show Me! Show Me!" a bunch of times.  And now the lyrics "pray to a god that I don't believe in" come to mind.  Because when I say "God" I have no idea what that means or who the hell I'm talking to.

Today I thought about the foundation in life of all things great that my parents gave me.  I'm pretty sure it's enabled me to get through 41 years of my life and be here right now.  All they did, all they sacrificed has given me the strength to survive.  Six months ago today my Mom took her final breaths of air in an ICU hospital unit in my hometown.  She had been resuscitated and she certainly didn't look so great.  She'd been through 24 hours of every test and attempt to keep her alive.  But the infection tore through her body like a raging fire.
The Christmas of hats....always laughing and having fun together xo

But as my sister said, she was still alive.  She was still MOM.  She was still HERE.  She still smelled like Mom and her skin still felt like Mom.  My sister said, "I should have just crawled in bed with her at 3:00 in the morning when we knew things weren't looking good." This breaks my heart.  But until the end, that very last breath and time of death is called you just don't get it will be the end.  You keep hoping and praying and doubting and then feeling bad that you are doubting.  Doubting yourself and your belief in god.  Yet you'd give anything in that moment.  I'd have made a deal with god or the devil himself.  I would have done anything to keep her with us.

And as painful as it is or sounds, life has gone on.  Almost every dream I have about Mom is the same concept:  I am telling her how hard it's been without her. (She's alive in all my dreams and I have lots of dreams about her every week)  I fill her in on all the details of our life since she's been gone.  I even tell her all about her funeral!  In the last dream I gave her all the details of how we emptied the house in a week.  I told her about the funeral thank you cards!  This is what I did...I told her about freaking everything!
Thank you cards that my sister and I made after Mom's funeral...

The hardest part of all this is not telling her about all the big and little things in life.  My sister I have each other.  But there is absolutely nothing or anyone that can replace your MOTHER.  She's the beginning and the ending of everything!  If Mom likes it, agrees with it or hates it and questions it, well, it's your MOM and it makes everything better.  Decisions were easier, sweeter if you had Mom's two cents.  Even if she really didn't say anything I'd just feel better having talked to her.  Knowing she knew.  Knowing she knew made life sweeter, safer, simpler.
Mom & Tracy at Tracy's wedding....Tracy is wearing the pearl crown Mom wore when she married Dad

I was in Target today and my sister texted me that it was six months today that Mom died.  She didn't remember.  I didn't remember.  That's the thing.  You aren't counting down days to mile markers.  You are crying and hurting and dying everyday over the little things.  Because that is truly what life is:  the little things + the ordinary things + the mundane + the day in and day out + the average days all totaled up in the right hand column to = A LIFE.

I have an extraordinary one.  "Livin' the dream" is our new saying in the house.  We say it jokingly when the days are boring and long and we spend a weekend inside the house with the kids driving us insane.  We say it when the hubs works a crazy work week full of driving and long hours and stress and then works all weekend from home too.  I say it when I unload the dishwasher for what feels like the seventeenth million time.  I say it when I am folding yet another load of laundry.  I say it when Evan calls from the bathroom "Can someone come wipe me?"  (and WHO would that someone be besides me?!)  
Dad & Mom...
Classic elegance...I mean really....Dad in a white jacket?  My vintage obsession may have started here!

We joke but these really are our finest days.  We are healthy.  We have enough money to live comfortably and save for a comfortable future and kids college.  We have heat and groceries and few worries.  The kids are growing and changing and learning new stuff every single day right before our eyes.  But most of all we have each other.  We have love.
Mom & hubs at Tracy's wedding....

And if anyone taught me this it was my Mother.  For this I thank my lucky stars every single day.  Some days are yoga pants and sports bras.  Some days are lipstick and skirts with colored tights and cute shoes.  Some days I can bring the thankfulness and some days I am devastatingly sad.....like someone sucked the life right out of me and I'm sleepwalking through the motions of my life.  

But six months or six years........I will still feel all these feelings.  It's called life.  It's called grief.  I am here.  I am doing it.  As Glennon Melton from Momastery says, "We can do hard things."  You bet your ass I can.  Every damn day.
Mom (Terry), My Grandmother Regina (Terry's Mother) holding me and Regina's Mother, My Great Grandmother, Gertrude Sisson....Four Generations...(Very aged photo that I need to restore)

And for the love, can it stop snowing already in Illinois?  It's killing me!  I need Spring.  I need it NOW.  We are road tripping to Florida for Spring Break with our besties and despite that long, hellish drive ahead of us  I cannot wait to be on the beach with an adult beverage in hand wearing a floppy hat and laughing with my BF.  Sweet Jesus. (whoever he may be) COME ON.
Wearing my Grandma Kushman's Mother's ring (Gretchen) that my Mom bought her: 
(Birthstones from L to R: Dad (Tom), Me and Sister Tracy) 
and Mom's class ring...have you ever seen a more beautiful class ring?  So art deco delightful!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Festival of the Sugar Maples....

Sunday Funday with the kids....
Just as Curious George has done, (that show has been on repeat for days!) they are anxious to see how maple syrup is made! Last March in Stowe, Vermont we went snow shoeing and saw the trees ready for sap collection but we were leaving on the day of the festival.  
We headed out for a brisk yet refreshing walk through the woods.  We learned how the Native Americans first learned to tap the trees and make syrup and how the process changed throughout the years.  Our local McHenry County Conservation District does a great job with everything they do.
The volunteers are passionate and energetic...
I'm very much over winter.  It doesn't bode well with a broken heart or down trodden spirit.  However, it makes you feel good to get out of the house, take a hike and shake off the melancholy mood for a few hours.
 The sunshine always make you feel better on so many levels.
(Lovely knitted hats by my friend Nancy! xo)
The woods were bright, sunny and alive with shadows.
 Next up in the lesson we learn how to tap the tree.
 Lauren holds the spile in her hand.  
 Lauren takes a try at auguring out a hole for the spile.
 Evan made friends with everyone he encountered and ran up ahead the whole time.
 Lauren, Evan and Owen...
 Lauren runs to catch up...
It's been too cold but.....
 Any sap in there?
 Evan gets a first hand view of the boiling sap in the evaporation room....
Lots of steam!
It takes 8-12 hours of cooking the sap to produce the syrup....
This was a great visual for the kids...
Did you know it takes 40 gallons (milk jugs) worth of sap to make ONE gallon of maple syrup?  That explains the expense right?!  I buy my syrup at Costco.  1 liter for $14.57!~  A great deal.
Nothing better than a breakfast Mom doesn't have to cook!
Cafe 20 in Marengo was fantastic and highly recommended!
Later the kids and I cozied up on the couch and I caught this wonderful shaft of light....Which reminded me of my Mumford & Sons obsession..."Lover of the Light..."  It's like the yellow tote is there to be filled with all the sunshine!