Posted in Anxiety, Death, Fear

A happy ending

Yesterday could have ended much differently for us, and honestly I am still digesting what happened. By writing about it I hope to get some fear and anxiety that has set in in hindsight while seeing a much bigger picture off of my chest and I will feel better.

It started as a beautiful day, one of those rare mild ones late in the season where Father Winter can make an appearance each and every day. It was my first time out for an extended period since hiking The Wave. I felt good and I was going to go a little further than usual today. It should be no problem after my adventure to The Wave, and although I wasn’t planning to hike 10 miles, I’d be happy if I hit 3. I was breathing deeply and the sun felt nice and warm in the slight breeze. I took Cinnamon to a place, a point on a lake we have hiked several times in the past. Except today we would go beyond the bathroom which is usually our turning point. The path is a gravel road and goes through the woods. It ends at a point of the lake and if it wasn’t too muddy, this would be a great place for Cinnamon to run and burn off some energy. The entire hike to the point was peaceful and I was thinking about thanksgiving and how I felt this feeling of gratitude and giving thanks every day already. Who needed a calendar to dictate as to when you should feel this way, but I get it and understand why.

Arrived at the waterfront 1.7 miles later, Cinnamon walked right in and submerged herself up to her belly in cool bliss. I scanned the area and made out the dry patch of an open field to the left of us. It would provide a great area for her to run wild and free. Further left in quite some distance, I saw a group of three people with a dog. I felt that with any luck, she (Cinnamon) wouldn’t even notice them as they were far enough away. I let her loose and she ran like a maniac across the field. Ears flopping, smiling from ear to ear, mouth open showing teeth in such a delight and happiness that it always makes me laugh. I snapped a few pictures and glanced over to the group of people to see what they were up to. It’s a habit and something I always do, especially when I’m out alone. To be honest, I’d rather encounter no one and I’m sure this mindset stems from an experience many years ago where I was stalked and someone was following me. Strangely this happened at the same lake.

By now the group was breaking up and two out of the tree people with the dog were heading into the woods. The man dressed in all black, wearing a hoodie seemed overdressed for this warm day and was now starting to walk into my direction. Immediately I got a real bad feeling and was trying to make sense of what reason he could possibly have to walk towards me. There was no car parked that he was returning to, there was nothing besides the bathroom and I highly doubted that this is where he was heading to. My intuition and gut feelings were running rampant and I knew that we had to get out of there. I leashed Cinnamon in record time and started to briskly move. My goal was to walk off of the open field towards the trail in the woods. I was grateful having accomplished putting her on leash quickly and that she wasn’t playing any game of catch me if you can that day. In my mind I was trying to calculate of where the man in black would intercept me on the trail, me coming straight and him coming from the side. I was gauging the distance and I had no desire to meet him. I had hurry, hurry, hurry if I was to have chance avoiding him.

I looked over into his direction which was now on my right side to check his progress and where he was. He had disappeared which was even weirder and I knew again that something wasn’t right. I forced myself to move even faster and to get off of this darn open field. Almost there, and at least back into the woods I thought to myself as I saw him reappear and come out from behind a bush of which bare branches were tightly meshed together, reaching towards the sky. Again he was making his way towards me as the distance and the gap between us was closing in. Honestly I didn’t know if I would make it and escape him in time, or if our path would collide, but I knew I had to give it my best shot. And then I heard it and I will never forget that sound of two bullets passing just overhead of me and hitting the waterfront right next to me. He was shooting at us, why, clearly he could make me out as a person with a dog, just as I had made them out before. What reason would he have to shoot at us. I was thinking more about Cinnamon, it couldn’t be that he was mistaken her for a deer. Besides he didn’t look the least bit like a hunter. This was serious and adrenaline and survivals instinct took over. He was shooting at us, he wanted us gone. Cinnamons hair was standing straight up and she was visibly shaken from the gunshots as we continued to move.

We made it into the woods while never stopping to scan the side that was his direction to see if he was coming. “Should I hide and lock myself into the bathroom” I thought, which I quickly dismissed. How could I be sure of when and how it was safe to come out! I immediately knew I’d be there for hours and if he made in somehow and broke the door down, it would be lights out for sure. I had to keep going and follow the path close to the trees instead of walking in the middle of the gravel road which I usually do. Hopefully the trees would provide a “No shot” environment for us. Surely he’ll catch up to me with the RA and me being unable to run I thought, although at one point it felt like the adrenaline was carrying me so much that I might have been able to run. I didn’t try and I didn’t want to make more noise than I had to. Instead I walked as fast as I could. Ever so often Cinnamon stopped and looked back into the direction of the shooter. She will sense someone coming and hear someone long before you ever do and her doing this was even more nerve racking. It left me feeling followed and as if we were being hunted. I knew I had to clear another 1.7 miles to get back to the car. 1.7 miles that were sheer terror. If he was trying to scare us….mission accomplished for sure.

All of a sudden three more shots were fired and came directly from behind us. Not necessarily into our direction but on our heels. By now my feet were aching so badly, but this wasn’t a time to take it easy or even slow down. I managed to send a text message to communicate my where about’s and what had just happened. Luckily I had a signal and I hurried up just saying what I needed to as to not slow down and get distracted. We had to keep moving. FAST!

Eventually we made it back to the car and it must have been the longest 1.7 miles ever. Still looking in anticipation that the shooter was close behind us, I peeled out of there with Cinnamon and couldn’t even wrap my mind around what had just happened. After some distance, I was able to communicate another message that we were safe and had made it back to the car. Back at home, I lost the timeframe of a few hours somehow and I don’t even remember what I did in these few hours. As the adrenaline was wearing off, I felt so exhausted and drained. I was beat and I was so tired. I couldn’t force myself to complete the slightest task and just vegetated away. I don’t think I fell asleep and yet I have no recollection of that time.

Later that evening we were contemplating on what happened and the reality of hindsight set in. How this could have been a much different picture, ending in disaster and in what could have ended my life and Cinnamons. The conclusion we came up with was that that group of people was up to no good and that I became a witness to a potential drug deal. I was merely caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Shooting pictures of Cinnamon, perhaps they thought that I was photographing their interaction, which made me a threat. Why would someone with a gun shoot into the direction of people, me in that case, unless they wanted to eliminate that person? There was such a ruthlessness, such no hesitation in his action, it’s truly scary and puts into focus how far people are willing to go and how little a human life means.

Further we thought that he probably stopped his search once he had reached the bathroom. Few people, if any, park at the Main Street and then walk in 1.7 miles like I did. Out of frustration he fired the additional three shots that we heard behind us. He must have thought that I had driven off and didn’t realize that I was hustling through the woods to get away, still on foot. Had he realized this and known that it was slow going for me, I would have become an easy target for him and I’m most certain he would have pursued me.

Needless to say we are not going back there again. I am grateful Cinnamon cooperated and knew as well that we had to hurry and get ourselves out of there. I am sure she picked up on my own fear and that this was a dangerous situation. I slept little last night and felt cold. I remember feeling like that during a robbery I was held up in and at gunpoint years ago. Same feeling and I think it is the shock wearing off. Today we are just taking it easy and will walk a more populated path for our walk. I am still in awe, but I am grateful for this happy ending and that we are both still here. Today we have a new reason to give thanks and be appreciative that w have both gotten away.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

There is no escape

Grief is powerful. Grief is love unexpressed. Grief impacts, grief changes us – forever and grief holds us in it’s iron grip.

It was the day of your Death anniversary. A dreaded day, one I try to prepare for every year now. Last year was the first time, a year of firsts, a year of birthdays and holidays without you. Maybe I thought it’ll get easier after that, but it didn’t. Maybe I was trying to fool myself into believing such a thing to breathe hope where hope no longer lives. Now into the second year, the pain was just as strong. I realize that it is something that I will live for the rest of my life and I will have to get used to it. It’s a hole that can’t be filled, a wound that will never heal.

September had just started, but right away I knew that this month would bring some painful memories. Memories that are just a little stronger than they are during every other month. It was the anniversary of your death that would trigger other dates and events, such as saying goodbye to you in the hospital lying in front of me in a closed casket. Such as the day when your cremation certificate arrived, stating in such a macabre way the location, date and time you were cremated. To the date your urn was put into the ground as we bit the final farewell. All dates are well remembered and seem so current despite of the two years that have passed since then. Dates that reach well into the middle of October.

It was the day before your anniversary and it was night time to be exact. I thought I had held it together pretty good so far, given that I had prepared all month for this day, feeling it’s pain on and off. In the evening, that night, a storm moved through bringing rain and high winds, just like it did the day of your funeral. I’ve always thought it was you getting in the last word, sending us a sign, us who stood there grieving you, already missing you so much. Now two years later you are still speaking to me. You show up as the wind, howling and descending rain drops onto my small tin roof. I actually felt comforted to know you with me, but I hardly slept that night. I tossed and turned and couldn’t get comfortable. In the morning I woke with a great deal of physical pain and swollen, inflamed limbs. Was it the barometric low of the storm, the lack of sleep, the stress of this time a year, I am not sure, but the pain stayed with me all day, leaving me exposed and more vulnerable than usual. It’s during that time I always feel more vulnerable.

I struggled through the day despite of trying so hard to distract myself and be ok. Who was I kidding? Did I really think I could be ok on a day like this? The afternoon came and I committed to self care and being gentle and understanding of myself. Giving my body a break where it needed to rest and being present in the moment with no particular thoughts. But I was uncomfortable and riddled by pain. I so badly want to believe, that pain is nothing more than a warning sign that I am not living in the space of my most authentic self, but while I believe it plays a huge role in it, I know it’s not all and it’s not that simple. Whatever the case and whether this is true, I can only be patient as I allow the things meant to be to fall into place.

Throughout this difficult time I felt most lovingly supported by loved ones, friends and family who all know that this is a hard day for me. I felt held, loved and understood. I was given space where I needed it and open arms to be embraced where it was all that could be done. Space was held for me in loving compassion and without any questions. And then it finally happened and the holding it together approach flew right out the door. The tears started to flow and a deep pain was acknowledged, heard and finally released. Was it the physical pain that finally led me to this point or was it simply time? I was alone just like I needed to be, but in that instance I felt so lonely. I felt left behind with no opportunity to express my love, although I know that we don’t always have to do this in the physical sense. Perhaps in a moment of rest, the goal to distract myself fell through and the truth of what’s inside my heart had to surface and come out. Whatever it might be, it doesn’t matter, but grief and missing a loved one continues on for yet another year and another thereafter until the end of time. And throughout it, I love and I miss you very much.

Posted in Animals, Death, Loss

An annual reminder

Today is a bittersweet day and day with mixed emotions.

The stimulus money arrived this morning, so it’s a plus on the financial side. Unemployment continues for the other half (husband) so I know at least he will be taken care of for now.

Our house has gone on the market as of today and a sign will graze the yard in a few hours. It’s surreal, really, and it’s leaving me a bit on the emotional side of things. More about the house later and a few posts are scheduled.

I wish I could wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s day, but the fact is that this day has been an emotional one for me for another reason, one that dates back many years.

While some of us celebrate at any given day, honoring a holiday, a birthday, or perhaps an anniversary, for others it is a painful reminder and a dreaded day.

For me it marks the anniversary of having to say goodbye to the closest companion I had to that day. Together, we came into each other’s life, much like Cinnamon did now, and together we rescued each other.

Seven years ago today, I had to make the tough decision of sending Nikki over the Rainbow bridge to run with Sparky and to end her suffering. Believe me it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I try to remember it not in a way of being in charge of ending her life, but in a way of walking that final path together. To do the only thing possible to end the suffering of a depleted life quality. It’s doesn’t bring much comfort and I will never forget that day. Today hurts just like it did seven years ago.

I love you sweet princess…run free and without pain, and hug Sparky for me.

Posted in Death, Family, Life

Ascending towards the heavens

Picture taken from yahoo

2020 is coming to an end, and what a sad end it is. My aunt passed this morning, exactly two weeks after her husband passed. Both cases Covid 19 related and it’s truly hard to grasp. It feels like an awful nightmare you are hoping to wake up from, but no matter how many times you try, the outcome always remains same with a harsh and awful reality. Just like that, both gone in a matter of two weeks, a family wiped out.

My cousin, there youngest son who is my age has also tested positive for Covid and I can’t even begin to imagine what must go through his mind. The grief about losing both parents and being sick himself with a vicious disease that claimed the life of his beloved parents. Things change and you truly come to value life and how precious it is when a crisis such as this knocks on your own door. I personally have reason now to despise and hate this vicious killer.

My heart is truly heavy and aches for the families, all of us left behind trying to come to terms with all the loses encountered over the past two years. Even the non physical ones and countless hours are spent reminiscing and connecting in spirit. Some things are just beyond heartbreaking and don’t get easier in time. As another angel is ascending towards heaven today we cling to memories and beliefs in an effort to comfort our own aching heart.

Yes my aunt and uncle are reunited in heaven once more, and yes Dad got another one of his sisters to keep him company in heaven. May they all Rest In Peace as we miss them dearly.

Posted in Death, Family, Loss

The first day without you

Yesterday was hard, although I tried my best. And how could it not have been? Over and over the message and my own thoughts about my Uncle’s passing caught up with me, leaving behind such heartache and such a sad feeling. A empty hole I have come to know so well.

Over and over I found myself wanting to reach out to my cousins, his children and just wrap my arms around them, knowing darn well the tough, heart wrenching road that lies ahead. I remember how much needed to be arranged when Mom passed, how much needed to be taken care of, in a time of disparity, when shock took over, and made you power through those things as if on autopilot. There wasn’t any time to grief, to let it fully sink in, to allow yourself to mourn. I know that my cousins are caught in this trap right now while trying to come to terms that they have just lost their father and might still lose their mother as well. I can’t help but wonder if during this tragedy and while fighting for her own life, she is aware that her husband lost the fight. It is hard to make arrangements, even harder to find closure, which usually comes much later. For right now the fear continues for their mother, who is also hospitalized with Covid.

My heart is heavy and bleeds love, compassion, and understanding. Over and over, I search for the right words, words that could bring comfort, that I could share to bring some peace to their hearts, and yet I know that such words simply don’t exist. Emails have been sent, and cards are being written, conveying that I am here, that I understand, that they are not alone, offering whatever comfort I can in sharing the grief.

Other family members have made contact yesterday, in a way and not son many words expressing their own mortality. The generation of my mother and father, the same as their parents, is leaving this earth, slowly fading into dear memories and remembrance. It’s a process inevitable, happening to all of us, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am just not good at it, at all. Would anyone be? Yesterday, in a moment of grief, I said to myself that my heart just feels too much, too strong, too intense. It takes my breath away at times, but should it be any other way?

One year later after Moms passing and 46 years later after Dads passing, I still feel the pains of a life without them. And the same goes for the animals I have lost over the years. I just feel too much and I know it is in part what kept me from getting another animal, until my Cinnamon Girl came into my life in the mist mysterious of ways.

Today, another day, I find myself connected in the energetic, continuing to feel the pain of those losses. Not just in the physical, but also in the form of other losses, lost connections and people of the heart who have moved on with their own journey. My day is on hold, sitting, petting Cinnamon, who seems to know, picking up on a low, my own vibrations while I’m dazing into the sunlight that is entering through the blinds. She has squeezed her little body into the tiniest of spots with me, just so she can be as close as possible to me. I imagine I will try to keep myself busy, recognizing that it is my natural reaction and an effort to distract myself from the seriousness that is death and loss.

Posted in Death, Family, Loss

Flight towards Heaven

Heaven got a new angel today and I am remembering my uncle in Germany who was recently hospitalized due to Covid. My aunt (his wife) is also in the hospital and on a ventilator now. What a said time, really any time to lose a loved one, but especially so close to the holidays. My heart is heavy and a wish for his children, my cousins comes to mind over and over. “Much strengths” my heart reminds me of the feeling of loss and grief and what a difficult and hard journey it is. Today I remember his spirit and the last time I saw him, telling stories from his youth, trying to show off his new motorcycle, riding it a little too swift and wiping out in front of an audience. I will hold on to those stories as they bring smile and put aside the tears and the sadness.

Looking out the window this morning, after receiving the bad news, the sun came over the ridge, resting on my frozen fence. The frost was lifting and rising towards the heavens. I stood and just watched. To me it was symbolic of his spirit rising to be with the other angels already in heaven.

“When those you love die, the best you can do is honor their spirit for as long as you live. You make a commitment that you’re going to take whatever lesson that person or animal was trying to teach you, and you make it true in your own life. It’s a positive way to keep their spirit alive in the world by keeping it alive in yourself.”

~Patrick Swayze

Death is final, such a strong emotion. Ruthless and unforgiving, your memory remains but you are just no more. It takes your last breath and time and time it takes the breath of us who are left behind, missing you, trying to find hope and a smile in the memories you left behind.

Rest in piece my uncle. Your spirit lives on forever.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

On this Day

Another anniversary, another painful memory. The last one in the cycle of one full year without you. Holiday, birthdays, special occasions, things have been different and surely not the same without you, Mom.

One year ago today, I carried you to your final resting place next to Dad. After many years you were finally reunited with who has always been the love of your life. It was a beautiful service and I remember it in a way as if only you and I were there. Everything was on auto pilot and I had my own pace. I didn’t hear or witnessed much around me, the things I worried about prior to the service merely fell to the wayside and lost their significance. None of it mattered in that time and in that place. Carrying you out of church, we almost lost all the proceeding people behind us, and gently I was asked to slow down to allow time for others to follow. I was in my own world. With you. This was hard. Setting you down on the side of the grave. Letting go. Of you, in the physical sense of relating to you in the urn I was carrying.

Today on the anniversary of your funeral, I remember that day and all the emotions that were felt on that day, the days prior, and the days that have come and gone. I am thinking about our beginning and the time when you carried me during your pregnancy. And I am thinking about the ending and me carrying you for the last time to rest for all eternity. I am thinking about your dash, the little line between the date you were born and the date you left us. How you lived your dash and all the times you were alive.

Today I howl with the wolves remembering you. May my heart always be kind and forgiving, never holding a grudge because of foolish pride or the ego. May my mind be fierce and aware. May I be conscious of all the special things, the miracles, and blessings that constantly surround us. May I never take life for granted and always make time for the people in my life. For I have learned over and over that I may not get the chance to do so another day. And may my spirit be brave in the face of adversity and never forget to get back up. May the warrior within me, like yours, never stop fighting and remain united in spirit, courage, and integrity….always.

Posted in Death, Mom

The day off….Numbness

The day off – September the 28th, the anniversary of Mom’s death. I dreaded this day, but now I’m not really sure why it gave me so much anxiety. Of course it’s a painful day for me, the anniversary of her leaving this world, but perhaps it was more of the unknown that had me up in arms. I didn’t know what I’d be thinking, or how I’d be feeling. Would everything change all of a sudden? Would I cry non stop? Did I want to be left alone? Would I be unapproachable?

It takes me by surprise to think that this was the reason, knowing that I usually don’t care about the unknown. Knowing that I usually go with the flow. I’m not one that needs to have everything under control and over the years I learned to roll with the punches as they appear. Maybe this one was a expected one, one that I saw coming. Perhaps it was something different all together and all I knew was that it was the anniversary of a terrible day in my life, a day that happened one year ago.

For days now I have had the most terrible tension in my neck and shoulders. You know the one that gives you headaches and makes life miserable. So bad in fact that I actually took a muscle relaxer because the pain got too intense. And I’m not a pill person and have a high threshold for pain. I prefer and much rather handle issues in a holistic manner, with essential oils, but it got so bad that I needed it to be gone or at least ease up a bit. Walking became painful and I even skipped my work out. I even exchanged the pillows in my bed for an extra firm version to add support. I guess I pleaded my case and have made myself believe that I needed to take this pill. And to be honest I didn’t even think clear enough for the use of a homemade remedy and just grabbed the pills. Ughhh…

Anyways, I felt better this morning and it paid off. I’m glad because I surely wasn’t going to take another. During my cup of Joe, I remembered a sweet lady I met during my walk yesterday. She was having a garage sale in the neighborhood, the annual neighborhood sale in my community, and yeah I missed it. I surely could have tried to sell some of things instead of just donating. A little extra money is always helpful, but as long as my stuff is finding a good home with someone less fortunate, I’m ok with that too.

I stopped to have a closer look at her sale. We got to chatting right away and actually had a lot in common. From crafting, to essential oils, from tarot cards, to energy healing and who knows what else. I ended up with a cute little bag full of beads for future projects. I had $5 to spend but she was so kind and generous, just throwing things in, not even charging me for it. Plus the bag had a dragonfly on it and I knew Mom was there, working her magic again. We talked about my crafts and the Etsy store and I promised to stop by and bring a business card.

This morning I did, armed with a pair of my handmade Austrian Crystal earrings I was going to gift her, and a few of my crafts for show and tell. I was relieved she loved the earrings and they complimented her outfit perfectly with the same color scheme. She also fell in love with one of felted bags and I ended up making a sale. Yay. Long story short she works in the insurance business and I ended up switching the homeowners insurance for the house and the vehicles. Per year a whopping savings of $1700. Crazy isn’t it? Who knew and I really gotten ripped off prior. Magical how things work out at times.

On my walk I found more feathers and two pennies from heaven, both from my parents I believe. They knew it was a tough day for me and I know they worked hard with their interventions on keeping me distracted throughout the day. It worked, mostly and if I had to describe how I felt, I’d say that I felt mainly numb. This day is just a reminder about a horrible day that happened in the past. It doesn’t really feel more painful than any other, and the pain is always here, throughout the year, on every other day. It doesn’t require an anniversary to feel more intense, and I’m not sure that it can be felt at a deeper level than it is already. It’s evening time now and I feel drained and tired. I feel exhausted to be honest and my stomach hurts from a little mass that seems to get bigger. I wonder if it is an ulcer (which would probably be the lesser of the evils) and after a little trouble this afternoon it seems triggered. I know I should have it checked but it will have to wait for now and faith will have to carry me until I can.

Thank you Mom and Dad for walking besides me today and for the special souls that reached out to me, in person or on this blog. It truly meant a lot to me and I’m blessed to be surrounded by you, the light in my days. 🙏🏼

I made Mom a bracelet (picture above). A dragonfly, a feather, and her first name initial. I will wear it from time to time I think.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Remembering you – A letter to Mom

Hello Mom,

It is a year that you left us. A year the dreaded phone call arrived, you know, the one I was so scared off, for so many years prior to actually receiving it. Maybe you never knew because we never talked about those kind of things. One year ago, your health declined for the worse and my flight was booked. Soon I’d be there to hold your hand, to give you courage, and a reason to go on, to fight with you the fight for your life like you had done so many times before.

I remember the last time you were this sick and then miraculously recovered against all odds. Afterwards I was joking with you, grateful, but also comparing you to a cat with nine lives. You yourself made fun about it, saying that you were jumping off the grim reapers shovel once more. But this would not be the case this time and it would be your last fight. On September the 28th it was confirmed in that very phone call. You had passed away and you were on your way of becoming an angel. I was too late, and the last time I saw you in person and said goodbye, was with a promise to be back soon, to do whatever I could to take you out of the nursing home and bring you back into your own four walls. It wasn’t a forever goodbye, such as a goodbye to your life, although every time I did leave always held the possibility that I’d never see you again. That thought itself was scary enough and always weighed heavily on me. I prayed, and I hoped, I believed, and I pushed it away, not wanting to think about it coming true. But it did and the inevitable call came.

Today I believe it had happen this way and I’m not sure if I could have been strong enough to sit next to you, saying my final goodbye, watching you take your last breath. I know that it would have broken me even more, maybe beyond the point of repair, and I know that this wasn’t what you wanted for me. Perhaps in your final hours you bestowed your biggest kindness towards me, going off towards the light in silence and alone. I know you weren’t afraid in the end and you were looking forward to reunite with Dad. You knew I would find a way to go on and not be haunted by those final images of you being in pain, finally letting go.

A year has past since you’ve been gone. A year of coming to some sort of acceptance as I wander through the streets of loneliness, missing you more than I could have ever imagined. A year of trying to celebrate holidays and special occasions without you, trying to make it through and holding it together somehow. Family traits and values passed down, remnants of YOU, a strong woman, tough and resilient, who and what you always resembled to me growing up. I would have failed you during your last hours and I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together.

The fact is that I don’t share those same views and I am not afraid to show my emotions. I don’t see them as a weakness and I don’t buy into upholding a front, a facade that hides and is made of steel. I am not afraid to say that it’s not the same without you, and that you cross my mind on most days. Special occasions such as your birthday have become times that are now harder than usual. Harder because they can’t be shared, harder because you are not here .

I find myself surrounded by the memory that is you and the time we did get to spend together. In the end you embraced me as your daughter and I think you even forgave me. You finally understood that me coming to the States was not at all to leave you behind, abandoned, and all alone. I was simply trying to live my life, to be responsible and strong, just like you, like you have raised me. How could I have realized the impact of such a decision.

Many dragonflies have sat with me this summer and my response is always a painful smile and a whisper that says “Hello Mom.” I know it is you and I remember how you came and sat on my hand shortly after your passing. I had just arrived in Germany and on a sunny fall day, you, a beautiful dragonfly, landed on my hand, sharing a couple of moments with me. I will never forget it, and I immediately knew you came to tell me that you were ok and made the transition to heaven. It was a message from you trying to put me at ease, lifting some of the burden and the pain I felt.

Mom, I don’t know how many times I have talked to you over the past year. Feeling that I never really got to say goodbye. Looking to understand, but never really feeling a sense of closure. You’re simply gone, no more, and it’s hard not being able to call you on the phone and hear your voice. Luckily you left me a few surprise videos, recording yourself by accident and a few times I’ve even managed to view a live picture and get a few seconds of footage, or a little video clip of you. Sometimes I even manage a smile. But most of the times it’s just torture and pain knowing you are gone. It’s a feeling of loss, a hole, something that can’t be filled and lives deep inside my heart. I know you are always with me and yet you are not. I know I love with the memories and although they are precious and priceless, sometimes they don’t seem enough and bring little to no comfort.

You have sent me so many feathers over the past year and I am sure it is because you see my pain. I know you are watching over me and perhaps it is for the first in a long time you are actually finding fulfillment to give me all your care and love. It was too hard for you to do in real life and I know you struggled with it. You just didn’t know how but I know it wasn’t because you didn’t care, but because of your own tough life and having to grow up way too early in a war. It was something you never learned and perhaps you have never received it yourself. Therefore you couldn’t pass it forward although it was something I needed above all from you.

I like to think that you are in a better place where there is no suffering and somehow I know this to be true. I am grateful you didn’t have to experience the current times, as I couldn’t imagine you in that home and me unable to see you.

I know that grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love and I have always loved you dearly. I miss you Mom.