November 21, 2016

My brother texted me today – just to check-in, and he called later on. We don’t usually talk much – being grown-up busy and all that.

I feel sad tonight.

Sad that the man who died three years ago never seemed to know peace.

Sad that his daughter and son struggle even now to believe they are ever good enough – for anyone, for anything.

Sad that a much loved cousin lost her beloved Hoop – on her birthday.

Sad that not everyone understands how deeply we love and are loved unconditionally, at least by our four leggeds.

Sad that cancer overtook KH, and her little girls no longer have her close.

Sad that I feel too embarrassed to admit to those whose birthday falls on this day that I don’t want to celebrate.

I feel powerless tonight.

Powerless to right the wrongs done unto so many.

Powerless to keep children safe.

Powerless to breathe.







Still. Here.

There are moments some days. Quiet. Laughter. Comfort.

“What you seek, you will find” admonish life coaches and Positive People.

Lock away anger, hurt, disappointment, fear, rage, exhaustion into a box. Seal it shut; permit no seepage into the Positive World.

Positive People ask, “What are you thinking? What are you feeling?”

Remember: those are rhetorical questions; Positive People don’t really want to know. Make them laugh, share a quip, tell a joke (preferably self-deprecating), or invoke the time-honored approach of honesty through omission. “It’s a sunny day, so everything must be great!” Flash a smile, and keep rolling. Nice people do that.

Everything else keep to yourself.

Exhausted trying to be there for all of those who “don’t ask for much”? Thinking that “much” is relative term? Keep it to yourself. Frustrated with aging parents whose health is failing? Angry that they’re using you as a whipping boy for their loss of independence, and continued family disharmony? How could you be impatient with such a wonderful person?  Keep it to yourself.  Tired of hearing about how easy things have been all of your life? Biting your tongue about the price paid for all the “easy things”? Keep it to yourself.

Positive People smile and nod about the sunny day. But, tell them your truth and they quiver with fear and/or disgust, furtively searching for an exit. Question their assumptions and privilege, brace for an endless battle. State an opinion, it’s mean. Keep one’s counsel, you’re cold and selfish.

Mom is dying, angry, and bitter. Given a new audience, she smiles and charms.

Here? Ready to sell everything and start over again elsewhere. Neither love nor passion tether me to this place. Those dreams shattered – a lifetime ago. But, as usual the practical outweighs the impulsive. Simply damn imprudent to move at this point career-wise.

And people? Well, I’ve heard all sorts of things – good and bad. At least dogs usually bark before they attack.

Yeah. Still. Here.

(Here, but hidden. Initial draft early 2019.)

Watch the Cat

Emotions are stray cats weaving between your feet, throwing you off-balance.

Days passed unaccounted, memories foggy, clarity writ small in a journal hidden. “Grief reaction” the medical code.

Emerging awareness. Identifying sadness over mother’s death, accompanying feelings of loss, anxiety, isolation. All mixed with relief that she passed quickly on her terms, respect and gratitude for the hard decisions she made, though she lamented “I thought I had more time.” Still, tears overwhelm without warning, inopportune reminders assaulting; there will be no more visits, calls, or messages from “Wow.”

Meanwhile, surprisingly, happiness peeks out. Heart and mind whistle with joy, shadow box with hope. Flawed, riddled with foibles, but in the moment, back to happy.

Still, watch the cat, maintain balance.

Mother’s Day 2019

All the complaining across the years returns to haunt the impatient daughter.

Nine weeks, three days, just over two hours.

No graveside tears were shed, no cards sent to surrogates.

Tears confined by four walls and shame. Am supposed to be stronger than this. Should be able to “sit with sorrow” or ask for help.

Death of a parent is universal, just breathe. It gets better. Kind people acting with caring.

I Don’t Want to Feel This Way. Emotions careen wildly through hurt and loss. The whimpering woman huddled there, can’t be me. Not again. Heart heaving. Gasping, breathless. Shivering in sorrow. Visceral responses.

Scarred but resilient.

Wish I could craft lovely prose to honor my mother and the magnitude of loss, but no. Think my way out? Do the work? Resolve it all now?

Not an option. Neither formula nor framework repair the cleaving. Only Chronos will bring relief.

The dogwood did not bloom this year, least not that I could see.

It stands outside my window with just its leaves of green.

The world still seems askew, limping ’round the sun. Months have passed; the loss of mom unabated.

The dogwood did not bloom this year, perhaps next year it will.

2:30 a.m.

Dogs asleep. Chihuahua snores. Protests from an aging refrigerator.

Can’t breathe.

Sad. Mother’s Day looming. Sorrow, so much sorrow. They – mother, grandmother, dear friends- walked in my dreams last night. Doing everyday things, never seeing me.

Conflicted. Logic versus longing. Do we truly learn and refine our behaviors? Am I a fool to believe? Yet, if I speak truth to one who questions, is it hypocrisy to disbelieve their words? Circle yes if you love me, as is?

Exhausted. Death of young and old, long past and recent. Damaged belief in ability to discern authentic versus fabricated. Aftermath of frantic late night workout to meet daily goals.

Charmed. Despite insecurities, past actions, and logic. Wouldn’t life be less messy alone, more orderly and predictable? Perhaps. Of course order has never been my priority. Life’s messy exuberance enthralls me.

This Moment. What is wanted? What is needed?

Must Remember: Need versus want. Sleep.

Twenty Moons

First disbelief, and hurt.

Rage joined and stayed, stoked by another.

                                                                                                            Why did you stop loving me?
Was anything real?
You were my happily ever after and I was nothing to you?


Resignation and despair: happiness existed only in fairy tales.


Do you even notice I’m gone?
Do you miss me?
Did you see the moon tonight?

Moons pass.

Abandoned heart surrendered to ego – flattery and attention

Even then denying forever.

Actively refuting “in love.”

Ashamed that ego overruled heart and mind.

                                                                                                                            Where are you?                                                              I so want to call. I can’t call.

It’s not fair, to ask for help from you.

Mom’s sick, and I feel so alone.

What if you don’t answer? What if you do answer, and it’s just sympathy, but you don’t really care?

What if you have someone else who is your happy ever after, since it wasn’t me after all? What if?  


Constant battling and badgering. Checked – out, shutting down, emotional reserves depleted.

Eighteen moons.


Tenuous connection disintegrates entirely; Just Leave Me Alone.

Mourning death.

That Name in messages.

                                                                                                                          Surprised, grateful. Mustn’t admit the longing, casual questions
(probably not) questions to mutual friends,
the aching void of these past eighteen moons.
Perhaps just being polite and gracious.


Nineteen moons.

In Person.

Hugs and conversation, one topic rolling into another.

Laughter, that smile.

A touch.

Don’t be a dolt and embarrass yourself.
Cool is Not in your vocab, eh?
Breathe. Just be.  Passion stirs.
No. Must stop.

                                                                                                                                Lessons learned? What is essential?
Love. Autonomy. Fidelity. Honesty. Passion.
Can these co-exist? Can I trust?
Can I risk losing again?
Am I strong enough?

Twenty moons.

I wonder.                                                                                                         

Easter Sunday 2019

This is my first Easter with no familial obligations. No parents to call or visit. Folks checked in; others invited me to Easter brunch/ lunch/ dinner. I couldn’t do the so-sorry-how-are-you things.

Struggle with the sympathy invite. Think it’s meant to be nice, but I hear “Never asked you over before but heh, pretty pathetic you’ve no family and have nobody, wanna come to my place? It’s been almost two months, you need to pull yourself together.”

Amidst all the holiday noise and angst (real and imagined, I admit), someone unexpectedly invited me to breakfast. Breakfast turned into a day – filled with laughter and tears, comfort and caring.

I don’t know if the timing was purposeful Or serendipitous. If words said were real or fleeting. I don’t know much. But I do know I am grateful that today, for a few hours, grief was set aside and my heart stopped hurting.

Riding the Wake

Kayaking – peaceful, often solitary. Paddling, appreciating nature when SUDDENLY a powerboat screams past, assaulting the quiet, spewing a huge rollicking wake. Fight it, tense and angry? Breathe, and paddle into it head-on?

Yesterday, I fought – clenched, tight, outraged – emotion roiled a tenuous calm. Resenting these new roles, and responsibilities. Aching with loss. Disappointed with my inability to navigate new waters without losing control.

“Point the front into the wake” – words from a lifetime ago. Took a while to do – to face the turbulence, to admit being overwhelmed, to give voice to grief, to risk the exposure. Different voices, similar messages. Still upright.

So, today, I paddle into the emotion – rolling with heartache, remembering joy. Feeling the wind, seeing beauty. Reaching inward to the person I aspire to be. And so very grateful.

Riding the wake, eyes to the sky.