Dear Daddy – 3 years later


Dear Daddy,

Three years can seem like just yesterday and also like a lifetime.

Today I plan to take your oldest grandson to school (I can’t believe he’s in kindergarten!), then off to work along with random errands tossed in. A somewhat normal sounding day, although I know, life changes in an instant.

You would be so proud of your grandson! Both of them! The Boy and Little H. Although he didn’t have the joy of meeting you, Little H knows about you. Through The Boy of course and our family, you were our rock.

Little H was born less than 2 months after you passed. A bundle of light in our sea of grief. You knew of him. I remember when they told you his name, Little bro and Sweet Sis were so excited. We were all so over the moon and the tears of love and happiness were only overshadowed knowing our time with you was short.

I over hear The Boy telling Little H stories about you. You have made it to super hero status in the eyes of your grandsons. You were always a superhero to me. The boy includes you in his nightly prayers, “God Bless GiGi and Pops”. Every time.

Sunday, February 9, 2014 was a crisp cool day. I knew we would have company, you were loved and admired by so many.

I got up and came downstairs with mama. Seeing you, I knew. I knew that I couldn’t know the time but I knew your journey here was nearly over. It was surreal. As I helped you get ready, I whispered words of encouragement and love. One of the many ways you always gave to me I was able to give back to you. You didn’t talk as much as your strength was waning, your body tired and sore from a long, hard fought battle. But you were at peace with this world and with God. You held onto my arm, your grip was firm. I remember because earlier you had apologized for not having as much strength… you looked into my eyes and told me You Love Me. Oh, Daddy, I love you too! I wish I had more time with you!

I went to the store three times that day. I went early to get some medicines and supplies we needed. I didn’t get the rest done until much later that day. The second time I went I had just gotten out of the car when Sweet Sis called me and said, “Come home now.” The lady next to me in the parking lot was declaring what a beautiful day it was. My expression had changed from smiling to panic, I guess. I just said, “I have to go. My daddy” and jumped in the car. I did hear her say, “Be safe and my prayer are with you child.”

It is only about 5 miles but I was home before I realized it. I’m pretty sure I may have broken a traffic law or two. Sweet Sis met me in the garage, opened the door and said, “Go”, with her eyes filled with tears of love and sorrow. I raced through the house, passing The Boy and Auntie, I knew she knew and said “I love you both!” A few steps later, I joined mama, Little Bro, Uncle and the rest of the family came in as we surrounded you at your bedside. A couple of friends who had come by to say their goodbyes to a great man who I called Daddy were also in the room.

We were all right there with you as you took your last earthly breath.

Time stopped.

As the tears ran down my face, I looked at mama and little bro…I could hear Uncle praying. I felt your arm beneath my hands and you were still warm.

There but yet not there.

As I raised my face up, the tears blurring my vision and cries choking my words, I saw and felt this beautiful, warm sunshine hazy mist. It was all around us, enveloping us almost.

I realized it was you. Comforting us. Helping us to find a peace within our grief as it was so overwhelming.

You were no longer feeling the pain and suffering of the disease that had held you for too long. You were free! Free in ways we can only imagine. As I felt my deepest, most painful loss, I saw and felt your love around us.

I sometimes find it so hard to remember that. Selfishly, I want you here. I Need you, Daddy. I need your advice, your guidance, but mostly, I just need to feel your arms around me because no matter what I know that you love me. I was always safe in your arms from the time I started my journey. I always knew my Daddy would protect me.

As you say, life does go on. It is definitely not always easy. Lately, it has been pretty challenging and I find myself talking to you more.

I am beginning to understand that maybe I know some of the steps I need to take – actions not always words! I also know I miss you more than I knew it was possible to miss someone. Someone who was ALWAYS there for me and truly loved me unconditionally when I know I was tough to even like at times. You always told me I was harder on myself than everyone else was. Sometimes you said I needed to be. Other times, I need to lay off myself. The second part isn’t always so easy for me as you know.

I know that I will get through this day. If I am blessed, I will live to see tomorrow and another day with my miracle boy. I have a loving family, a boyfriend and his son who I know love me, as well as an amazing group of friends who are like family…you know how we somewhat adopt folks and keep them for life! Most you’ve met, some I wish you could meet. I still always Keep Hope Alive!

I just couldn’t let today go by without writing you a letter. It’s probably better than sitting at the gravesite rambling away, laughing and crying! I will probably do that too, at least not too many will hopefully not see that part!

I am so thankful that I had you as my father. I know I was truly blessed.

I love you, Daddy.

Always.

 

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Things that matter to me


Things that really matter to me

My son

My family… well most of them, some of them are quite crazy

My friends who are always there no matter what

My boyfriend and his awesome son

My job because I love taking care of others even when it makes me crazy

My health so I can do all the things I need to do, not just what I want to do

Having a roof over the boy’s head

Making sure the boy is cared for and knows that he is LOVED

Making sure those I love Know that I love them for who they are, not what they can do for me

Writing… I always knew and writing my blog confirmed for me it is something that makes me feel whole

Being kind to others, because sometimes you may be the only person who is nice to someone and it can make a difference

Having food to fuel my body and soul

Always having hope because hope leads to happiness which leads to love which gives you the ability to get through the storms in life knowing that you have hope, you’ll find happiness and life is so much better with love

Keep hope alive

Caverns and butterflies


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This past weekend I enjoyed visiting one of the oldest caverns in the United States right here in sweet home Alabama.

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I went with my boyfriend and our sons, a total of 4 of us trekking on an adventure. Naturally I am out-gendered, however I know how to run with the boys and even impress with my ability to keep up… in a few instances be in the lead and one moment, questioning my sanity, riding with the boy on a flip you upside down ride. I was actually proud of myself as I didn’t say any crude words just closed my eyes and laughed hysterically. I’m just thankful my man didn’t photograph or video that! Leave it to my 5 year old to want to ride that!

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Neither of us adults had been there in over 20 years. We learned that they had moved the main entrance; stairs are a liability, and also closed part of the cavern due to flooding. I think it made us both feel better because neither of us remembered going in the way we did. I thought I remembered a lot of stairs too. It’s kind of sad they had to close it off but it was still as awe inspiring and fun as it was when we were kids.

They’ve added a mini movie and a laser light show. Although amusing, the light show was kind of cheesy but still fun.

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We did get some awesome photos of the cavern, the scenery outside and of course ones with the kids being kids. His phone is newer than mine so the photos were better but we laughed at the photos we took of the same things from similar angles. It makes me want a camera or a better phone!

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We also visited the beautiful butterfly house. We went towards the end of the day so there weren’t too many people in there at all but the four of us and what seemed like a hundred butterflies. It was so beautiful. Sometimes it is nice to just observe the beauty.

Sometimes you need to just get out and go. Don’t worry so much about all the “chores” that need to be done because they will eventually get done. You don’t always get that chance to just enjoy the beauty in our natural surroundings. Take it when and while you can.

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Keep hope alive!

 

Those end of year school programs… bring your own meds


May seems the month we have more end-of-year functions for kids as I am learning. End of year programs, festivals, carnivals and graduations are weekly around these parts.

Children now graduate from Pre-K. And as I am learning, it is apparently a big deal. There is a presentation with brochure and everything. The boy has a role in the program and I am highly amused and slightly concerned! His other end-of-year programs are group things but this is the first time the boy will be one of two kids performing, and reading at that! Of course I am so proud and to be honest, I was kind of shocked. I communicate regularly with his teacher and we discuss his strong areas and what we need to work on, etc. but she didn’t mention this as she knew I would be happy! We are close. She knows I know there are rules but if he gets out of line she has my permission to treat him as her own and put him back into the line or out of the game all together! Of course, this is only Pre-K not “real school” per se.

And today we are at yet another end of year program which is his second for this “extra-curricular” activity in which he learns all kinds of fun skills, coordination, language, arts, working solo and as a part of a team. It’s a cool little deal and his second and last year to do it. He gets to perform and also will get a trophy. He loves the teacher and the kids so it’s worth it. Plus, I admit it’s quite entertaining to see around 40 kids between 4-6 dancing and performing! There are always a few who sit down and just stare… the boy did that on his first performance! Once he goes to “big school” a.k.a kindergarten they no longer offer this program. I am sure there will be “cooler” and probably more costly options though!

So to anyone attending one of these functions, I wish you the best of luck and sanity! As for me, I’ll be the mom volunteering calmly, thanks to medications.

Just keep swimming and keep hope alive!

 

Beginning life outside the comfort zone


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I have been going through so many phases in my life with so many changes to both my personal and professional life recently. Most all of them are good, some are challenging and others I just don’t even know how to categorize. I know that I have felt more alert and acutely aware at times.

Because of all of this there are other times when I am totally wiped from trying to do so many things and cover so many bases. I don’t need to be dropping my basket again, folks would start talking. Wagging their tongues like they know me when the reality is they have no idea about me. They see me, look at me, access from their perspective and judge me when they don’t even speak to me but at me. Where is their basis for judgment when you don’t communicate?

I actually work to make my life better. I work for myself, my son and the people I love in my life. I work to make my job better and I don’t do it for the money, but for the love of helping others.

Yet I am judged. I am no saint. I have made plenty of mistakes. I also know that if I don’t try things, I will never find full inner peace. I can’t go through life without living it. There will be bumps, dings and sometimes even big blow ups through this journey.

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But I have to do it my way, on my terms, with the people I chose and not who someone else thinks I need to be doing their way. Last time I checked I am an adult, albeit one who sometimes wishes I could lay off the adulting at times, I still do all of my “adult chores.” I am also mommy to a small boy who counts on me… that’s responsibility. He is healthy and happy and has always had consistency with me. Sure we’ve had adventures and had really challenging things happen to us, but he has come through those challenges stronger, better and with his own quirky views and also compassionate and loving. He is also full speed ahead and a 5 year old boy who is curious, presses boundaries and is a human sponge. Life is never dull around him.

It is during these challenging times I find myself out of my comfort zone. During these outings, is where I find out more about myself and I realize I can’t let the judgment of others cloud what I need to do for me.

Step outside of your comfort zone for a bit. It’s good for you.

Keep Hope Alive!

 

So much lists


I’m always running around saying, “I’ve got so much to do.” I say it, I blog about it, I make lists, post its and try to set reminders – more written than digital because I guess I am just weird that way.

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For Mother’s Day, my fabulous sister-in-law gave me the absolute awesome gift of a note pad!

Before you all think I have gone too far around the bend let me just say I received amazing gifts from my son as well as a sweet drawing from another young boy who is pretty special to me as well. I love homemade gifts and gifts with thought behind it.. not that I don’t appreciate gifts it’s just I don’t feel like it’s something we need to go overboard with and I love the things my loved ones give me because it means they thought of enough of me as a Mother they acknowledged it.

In the case of my sister-in-law, she went with my love of writing mixed with my OCD of list and my absolute need and quirkiness of how I am!

I had to write in the tiny, cute boxes because well, it’s a new note pad and yeah, again with my oddities! I am thinking this could become a theme of amusement for me.

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Not so sure that I need to share all of the ones I was thinking of, laughing hysterically writing down while trying to not be too loud because I was writing later in the evening and didn’t want to wake anyone. I mean I admit my mind is totally twisted sometimes and I am sure I don’t need to share everything that’s on my mind. I am not censoring myself I am just saving myself some grief! What I am sharing shows a glimpse into the insanity of my mind… further down the rabbit hole I go!

Now onto those things I really do need to get done!

I am keeping hope alive for a fabulous day!

 

 

Monday take 2… Tuesday


I seriously did not want to get up yesterday. I was all comfy and snuggled in bed and the alarm went off and I thought of 10 reasons I could stay home. I let snooze go off at least 5 times, maybe more. I got up running, got up the boys, made coffee and got ready and didn’t stop at work until I left and then took calls.

We are growing, the company I work for. It is an awesome thing. It is also exhausting at times. It’s emotional, wonderful, frustrating and I can’t imagine anything I would rather do and be paid to do. Other than like sleep or something like that. No reality TV for me… HA!

There is so much I have to accomplish. I am trying and the struggle is real. I feel like just trying to keep myself and the boy fed, watered and alive should be considered major accomplishments at the moment. I feel tired.

The truth is I am happier than I have ever been and I am also pretty stressed… a twisted dichotomy to be sure.

I have some things in my personal life that are just sucky and other things that make me so happy deep down in my soul.

I have Hope! Keep Hope Alive!

I also have a lot on my plate so I’m going to go get ‘er done.

Hopefully, after today, Monday will be over… until next week and the cycle will begin again. Hopefully with the same start and better maotic days!

As the late, great George Carlin said, “Holy shit it’s only Tuesday?!” I feel ya George, I do.

Ch-ch-changes are happening!


Ch-ch-changes are happening in my life right now!

It is exciting, maotic and crazy all at once… like I expect my life any other way!

My office is finally going to be more than a shoe box! I have been working hard since I started to help grow the company I work with and grow we have – doubled what was going on when I started! It’s exciting and a bit terrifying at the same time. Better office, more responsibilities and I am sure a bit more stress! But that is what life is all about right?! Personally I am excited!

My personal life is always so up in the air but I am in a happy place right now. In fact, it is nice to not have to worry about someone being upset with me for not being where they feel I need to be. Being accepted for who and what you are makes life easier to handle. Of course the boy always accepts me for me, no matter what. That is a beautiful thing to know that someone loves you no matter what and that it is an unconditional love. I have wonderful family and friends both near and far away. I miss those who aren’t as close, but we know we have each others backs when needed even if we can’t physically be there for each other.

Yes I can feel the changes in the air and I see the changes on the horizon.

All I can say is Keep Hope Alive and bring it on!

Change, be it good or bad, is going to happen. It’s all in how you deal with it. I chose to go into the day with hope, happiness and of course my own fabulously graceless style!

Have a beautiful day!

Happy Birthday Mama!


Happy birthday to my beautiful, amazing mama!

The world is a little brighter, a little better and a lot more awesome because of you!

You have loved me, tolerated and put up with my maos for 45 years and you still look barely 50! That’s good looks right there!

The lady that can and does, run circles around me and her grandsons! She’s athletic, graceful and the best dancer!

She is an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, family and friend.

I truly and blessed to have her as mine.

I often say my brother is her favorite and I am second or third if my “sister” is here. I say it jokingly and with love.

It is hard between mothers and daughters. I completely understand that more so now that I have a son of my own. But I am so grateful for all that she taught me about being a mama and loving your child no matter what.

I am thankful she is in my life and loves me, no matter what. I know it’s not easy!

Happy Birthday Mama!

Happy Earth Day to you all!

Keep Hope Alive!

*I don’t post mama’s photo because she is too beautiful to see and because that may be the very thing I send her over the edge with, but take my word she is a beautiful lady inside and out!*

 

 

Missing mah sister


You know the high you get when the person who knows you best in the wide world and you get to finally spend time together for a few days because you rarely get to see each other?! That is so awesome.

What sucks is when they have to leave.

You drive them back to the airport and walk them to security, hug that last emotional good-bye knowing it will be months before you see them again and most likely a year before they come back.

At least it’s like that for me. My sister came in for 4 days and it was amazing! We laughed so hard we “spritzed” (new word I still can’t stop laughing over definitely not child appropriate word), snorted, cried and lost breath over.

We visited with friends and family. We talked about those things that really matter… the itty, gritty and sometimes shitty things in life that you don’t feel you can have with anyone else who will understand you kind of conversations.

When you’ve known someone all your life, over half your life or that person you connect with that knows the core of who you have always been, interactions become like an extension of yourself. You can live on opposite sides of the country and still pick up in conversation and right in step whether it’s been 8 days, 8 months or 8 years.

It’s one of those connections in life you really are blessed to have.

So when they leave it is a downer.

Yes it was fun, yes it was all we had hoped and more. But sometimes, we need a little more time. Sometimes it hurts to see them go when you know you need each other.

That’s the adulting part that really sucks. We can’t just “take a few extra days.” We have responsibilities and families. Not that we resent any of it. We just wish for more time.

And we are grateful to have been able to share time together.

I’m missing my sister.

She hasn’t even touched down at home yet and I was trying to talk her into coming back during her layover!

So today I keep going. I know I will find myself laughing at our time together. Something’s you can never unsee nor do you want to!

Keep Hope Alive!