It was an important day today, and I’m processing all there is and all that has been so far. I think I am still a little numb and perhaps reality hasn’t set in yet, or at least not to the full effect. I will write about it soon I’m sure.
Two weeks ago I got to visit family I haven’t seen since I was a child. After a doctors appointment with “Dad” we stopped to extend a belated birthday visit to whom used to be my biological Dads godfather. He had turned 90 years young and appeared very feisty. Today I also learned that he passed this morning and although we gave only met a few times over an entire lifetime, it is definitely sad news.
I think Mom sent me a sign today and she definitely was with me in regards to signing house over.
You’ve been gone for so many years Dad, and still sometimes it feels like it’s brand new. I’ve missed you for nearly 48 years now, and your loss hasn’t gotten easier over the years. It’s just something I had to learn to live with and accept, yet the hole in my heart it left behind is just as big and the pain burns just as deeply. I am in Germany for your birthday this year and I am close to your final resting place. I don’t know if that makes a difference as I carry you within my heart every day, but I am sure that I will visit you and Mom many times during my duration here, and for sure, I am here today, on your birthday. Happy Birthday Dad…I love you.
I have a feeling that I will have company with me when I come. It’s your older brother who is born just a few days before you…well, and some years. I wonder if you celebrated your birthdays together growing up. I have learned that he has cared for you a great deal, having to come to terms with your loss in his own way and he will always see you as his lil brother. I can see a smirk on his face when he talks about you and I am sure you two have shared some stories of mischief. I hope I get him to tell me a few of those stories while I am here. Just the other day he told me that he found a video of you holding me in your arms while I was still a baby and I’m waiting for him to show me. Maybe I can show him some old pictures of you with your clique and he might know a person or two himself of the people you hung out with in your youth.
I have to confess something and talk to you about something. It’s no secret that I have always shared a special connection with your brother and I never quite knew the exact reason. I can’t pinpoint it to one thing and perhaps it is his sense of humor that closest resembles your own nature, always ready to crack a joke and not seeing life so seriously. Always caring for family above all, and always wanting to protect the ones that mean the most. Maybe it is because he has always treated me with respect, even as a child. Or maybe it is because I saw you in him once you were gone. He became my legal guardian and I never knew it until just a few years ago as I had to dig through papers after Mom passed. He had forgotten all about it and never had to spring into action. Mom always took well care of everything, and there was never a need for him to interfere.
Living in the US, we never got to see each other a lot, yet the connection was there and intensified in 2019 as I was back for Mom’s funeral. His wife was in the hospital at that time and I was able to give him a lift a few times to visit her. We had a lot of time to talk and we got very close to each other, especially once his wife passed just a few months after Mom. We shared grief and pain, an understanding of what it’s like and we leaned on each other. I remember telling him that it felt weird and empty not to have parents anymore. I told him that I felt like an Orphan, and I told him about the paperwork that I had found saying that he was my guardian. The memory of it came back to him and I feel there is more to it, that I simply don’t know yet.
What followed next happened very fast but felt natural. He told me that in that sense he was my 2nd father, that I was and that he wanted me to be a part of his immediate family. I started to call him Dad. It was for the first time since the age of ten that I could use this word, addressing someone close to me and it had a good ring to it. It was bittersweet and it brought to the forefront all that I had been missing all of this years. A father, my Dad, YOU.
It was the beginning of January and I was back in the States as he emailed me an adoption certificate that his oldest son made on the computer, officially adopting me and welcoming me into his family. It looked very professional, almost like it was the real deal, not that I would have known what the official document, if any looked like. I was overcome and I burst into tears as I saw it. I felt very touched, even loved and cared for. I thought it was sweet and generous, but soon I would find out that he was serious about the adoption and wanted to legalize it. Even while I was still in Germany, I remember that he mentioned to family that I was his daughter. Not the daughter of his younger brother, but his daughter. He introduced me this way to other family members like he wanted them to get used to the concept. It felt good to feel this care, the love of a father I never knew, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I enjoyed us being closer and it gave reason to the closeness I had felt towards him all these years.
Two years have passed since then and he has been serious about making it legal through the courts. The legal process has been started and he is hoping that we can finalize it while I am here. I can feel how important this is to him and I can feel a story behind it, but I don’t know the reasons in great detail yet. I do have to wonder about the importance and after all he just turned 85 years young. And because of it, it has also become important to me. He wants to experience what it’s like to have a father daughter relationship before he leaves this world, and perhaps I seek a similar feeling, wondering what it’s like to have a Dad, although I know that in my heart you will always be the one, my true father, the one I miss every day. Now I sit here and I wonder how you would feel about it if he adopted me! You already know that nothing will ever erase you from being my father and the person I have looked up to and missed for a lifetime. And I don’t think that this would be what he wants anyways. He is not here to erase you. Your memory is strong and it lives not only within me but also within him. I wonder what your relationship was like with him. Would you be at ease, knowing your older brother is looking out for me and is helping spread his guardian wings around me.
Dad, I miss you and you too always treated me fair, like an adult, never once raising your hand at me. There was never a spanking, but there was a love that was unconditional and undying. I miss that. Every day, I miss that. I miss you. Now I am here on your birthday, with your older brother, standing at your final place of rest and I wish that I could talk to you and see you again. I am sure your brother has already talked to you about the adoption and I bet he talks to you a lot either way, regardless of the subject. In the end every road always leads back to me and to what I think about it and to what I want. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t consider if this could betray you in any way. I can’t see it and I know my loyalty and my heart and it’s definitely not like I am turning my back on you. I know my heritage and I need to learn more of the reasons. I know I am bringing purpose to his life just as he brings purpose to mine. Still there are a few questions and I need to understand why this is so important.
Sometimes, I crave solitude and an escape from the chatter when things get too busy. Yet when I have it and when I am alone, these night of solitude become the worst ones of all. When the day comes to a rest and I’m no longer distracted, the truth of these haunting walls where Mom lived and resided for so many years, close in on me. I can feel their loneliness, their pain and I can hear their cry’s, while adding my own. Some days my heart feels heavy and I suppose even those times are needed and a part of the process. Being right here, where it all happened, where only walls heard the cries of loneliness is yet different vs thinking about it from afar.
For the longest I contemplated moving back, to transform this sadness and breathe a new life into these walls, letting my love cancel out the pain. I always knew I could, and I was convinced of that, being stronger, allowing love to cure all. Eventually I realized that it would merely be a sad attempt to take away the pain, to lift the burden for the one who carried it all, and who is no longer amongst us. Today my own cries add to these walls because I too was left behind and I too miss someone dearly.
We lost a loved one last Friday and it’s been a week. She was a mother, a sister, a wife, aunt and godmother. It was a tough road leading up to it and in the end no further help could be given after a full month stay in the hospital. In other words, “we knew” and it was an expected death. And yet how do you ever prepare for it, knowing or not, it stings just the same and is a very difficult transition for most who are left behind to deal with a loss. I have experienced death for too many times it seems. Expected or unexpected, I wonder which is easier. It’s a question no answer can be given to.
Death is a subject we all face at some point. It is also a subject many fear or don’t like to think about. Perhaps it is the unknown, not being in control and having no say so in the matter. Nor knowing when our time comes and what death has in store for us. Will it be quick, or will we suffer for many years! Death freezes our blood and chokes our breath as we all have to stare into the eyes of death at some point. So perhaps at this point it is easier to dismiss the unknown that induces fear and stow the thought as far away as possible from our conscious. Yet it is imminent and just a matter of time. But some things are better not known as they would overshadow the rest of our days and I think this is one such thing.
Death leaves us helpless when we witness someone else facing it other than ourselves. It leaves us with little consolation such as knowing that the suffering is over and that they have transitioned to a place of no pain. To know that they live on through us and merely moved into another form without the need for a body. That they have fulfilled their purpose here on earth, in their body and that their soul lives on. Still we will never talk to them and see them in our old familiar way again. I think this is what makes it so difficult and it’s not that we will have a visit with their soul at some point and time. Perhaps we will and nothing is impossible, but whether we could even realize it from our end or theirs is highly unlikely.
Death is final and changes us instantly. Life will never be the same and no matter how strong we try to be, how hard we try to hold it all together, death always has the final word and will revisit us over and over. It’s then, that the memory surfaces in the tears that roll down our face, in the family traditions that are not quite the same anymore, in the familiar chats, talks, hugs, and love that is left unexpressed with nowhere to go. Death is final and none of us get out of here alive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.