Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

Time…

It’s almost time, and Moms funeral is on Friday. Nearly three weeks have gone by since her passing and it’s hard to believe. Everything is hard to believe, in general.

There has been no real process to the time passed. Some days are easier then others and I try to welcome and process each one. There is no right or wrong, and no timelines of where one should be in this time of grief. I think one of the biggest things I struggle with is that there was no goodbye, no closure. It feels so different now to remember that there were times when Mom got on my nerves. When I dreaded the moment of her asking me when I’d come home. I struggled so much with it because I knew it was important to her, and because I had no answers to give her. I was so sick myself. I was trying to listen to my body, to give it time, to be good and patient with myself so I could get better. And I did eventually after many month. It’s crazy where your mind goes, questioning yourself if perhaps you went too much with the flow while someone else needed you so much. I know it’s just misery and the ego that wants to torture me and despite of what everyone has told me, yet it comes down to myself and believing for myself that I did everything I could.

It’s sounds awful now thinking that there were those times. Times when Mom got on my nerve and I feared her asking that question that tore my heart apart anew every time she’d asked. Now I sort through her things from the nursing home, touching everything she once held, feeling her touch and such a loss. Sometimes I think there has to be a note to me, something, her words, anything, but there never is. Would it help if she’d said that she understood, that she was grateful and loved every minute we spent together? Would that make the goodbye more final, releasing me of the burden and the pain, or would it make it only more unbearable? It’s just so hard when you don’t get to say goodbye, when you don’t get that sort of closure. Some say it will come at the funeral but I don’t think so. It’s just a process to go through, a ritual that is performed with our lost loved ones. I truly don’t know if being by her side would have been easier, for I would have never wanted to let go of her. I would have held on to her and perhaps my heart would have broken right then and there. But this….being left behind, is so hard and one of the most challenging things you will ever have to do in your life.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

A difficult Day

Monday was difficult for me. I felt it right away as I woke up. I can recognize the signs as I try to cheer myself up, distract myself, and sometimes I even manage. But there are others, I don’t. It always starts innocent and I don’t even realize what I’m doing, but when I do, it’s usually game over and I lose. Today I lost. I couldn’t get myself out of the rut. We can’t win all the time can we, and processing pain, dealing with it instead of distracting myself from it is actually healthy and necessary.

Today, I saw her everywhere in everything I did and it hurt to do it alone and without her. My distraction technique failed me today, and finally I gave in to the pain and let it run freely through my veins. I lit a candle in church for you today Mom, sitting there in silence between the sobs of my heart, while watching it burn down. I couldn’t watch it until the end, and the flame going out would have been too symbolic and painful for me. So instead I left just like I always did, with you staying behind, very much a part of everything.

The funeral is coming up this Friday and everything feels like such a long goodbye already. It’s been years actually and this final one feels so different and cold. It’s hard to believe, I’ve been here nearly two weeks already.

Tonight my heart is heavy as I cope and find the means to go on without her in my life. I know she never really left, and that she is always with me and by my side. And yet some days it’s just not enough in this sense.

Posted in Death, Life, Loss

Part of me died when you left

At one time or another you’ve probably heard someone say that when a person you love dies, a part of you dies too.

I always knew this to be true, and each time when someone close to me left this world, a part of me left as well. At first I used to think that was just a beautiful figure of speech, a touching poetic image that spoke symbolically to the depth of our profound sadness and loss.

That was until last week—when I died all over again.

My father passed away suddenly more than 45 years ago, and I have been no stranger on this painful road I’ve traveled since then.

Last week I’ve lost my mother and again I find myself back at this winding road that meanders through The Valley of loss, the sticky swamp of emotions, and beautiful mountain top sunrises that fill me with incredible gratitude and love. It’s a roller coaster of emotions that climbs to beautiful heights, only to plummet to the deepest of depths shortly after. Over the years I have mainly grieved naturally, allowing my feelings to come and go and it’s a healing process for me to not try and control these moments.

Recently though, I came face to face with the me who also left for good, on the day each of my parents did.

Over the course of 55 years, there are many profound memories shared, although we lived so far apart from each other once I moved to the States. I remember special moments shared with dad only where it was just the two of us. The same thing goes for Mom, as I had much more time with her vs my Dad. As you do when you lose someone you love, I often find myself randomly rewinding to those places and times in the past, to remind myself of the love and adventures and the laughter we shared.

One of those cherished memories was playing cowboys and Indians with Mom and recalling funny stories and memories with Dad.

In the beginning it was an incredible struggle for her to talk about these moments because they were associated with her pain and the loss of her husband. Eventually those moments became easier and it was something special we shared, that could always be used to cheer her up.

These moments became priceless to me. Laughing about Dad answering the phone, announcing that nobody was at home and that he was asleep…silly, but that was just the point. To be silly and not take life too seriously.

Between all of that, and Mom gone too now, I find myself with her memory and the moments about her, that rest with me. They were precious times.

There are lots of other things that happened during those years. There are more stories, more conversations, more meals, more funny anecdotes—but I no longer have access to them. 

That’s what people never tell you, about the real, fundamental, life-giving stuff you lose when someone you love leaves.

You lose the part of you that only they knew.

You lose some of your story.

It simply dies.

Mom and Dad were the only ones there with me during those special moments and now that they are gone there’s no one to go to to help me relive or revisit or remember them when I want to. There’s no one to help fill in the gaps of my memories, no one to give me the pieces of life that belonged only to the three of us—and I hate that.

Any part of those days that exists outside of my memory is now dead and buried.

If you haven’t walked the Grief Valley yet, just trust me on this.

One day you will miss someone dearly and when that cold reality hits you; the truth of just how much of you is gone too, you’ll grieve the loss of yourself as well, even as you live.

One of the great things about having people who love you and who’ve lived alongside of you for a long time is how they can surprise you, how when you’re with them they can dig out a story or unveil something about you that you had totally forgotten about or had never known at all. Mom would do that all the time, matter-of-factly tossing off a random memory that allowed me to see myself through her eyes. It was like having a small lost part of you suddenly and unexpectedly returned to you.

As much as I miss them both, I miss the me that they knew, too. I grieve the loss of our shared story.

I mourn losing the childhood me who napped in their bed, and all the special memories we have shared. I miss the silly stories and even the struggles we have faced. We had a few tough ones. I miss the laughs and moments of closeness that only a child and parents can feel.

Just as sure as they aren’t coming back, neither are those parts of my story because my parents were co-owners.

Friends, as you grieve for those who are gone, know that it’s normal to also lament the part of you that they’ve taken with them.

While those experiences form you and reside deep in the fabric of your very heart, in ways that certainly transcend your memories, the painful gaps will still be there in what you lose without their eyewitness testimony.

Those aren’t just flowery words meant to simply paint a picture of grief, they’re a vivid description of real, personal loss.

A part of you does indeed die when someone you love passes away.

May they, and the unique part of you they’ve taken with them, both rest in peace.

 

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Messages from heaven

They say when feathers appear, the angels are near.

There was an unusual amount of feathers that crossed my path the week of Moms passing. After the bad news came of Mom not doing well at all, it was for the first time that I felt as if her soul was ready to leave. Later in the week was when all the feathers appeared and still I didn’t want to believe this to be the truth, but I knew. Mom died that weekend and I still feel as if I’m stuck in a horrible nightmare. Years and years later I am walking in her shoes, doing for her what she had to do for my father as he passed. The pain is tremendous, and what a strong woman she was. How much she had to endure in her life. I know that we share this in common and I am following her footsteps, equally enduring and equally as strong. But is it ever hard.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

A time for everything

I’ve been walking more since I got to Germany vs. the states, despite my regular two hiking days. Here it has become a cumulative, weekly effort, so far at least since it’s only my first week, but it’s good for me to be on the move.

There is so much to be done right now. Mom wanted to be cremated and the urn should come back sometime this week. There is a meeting with the pastor this Thursday who will facilitate the service and where we will discuss how things will go besides the urn being added to Dads grave. I have decided that it needs to me carrying the urn from the church to the final resting place. This is the final walk we will need to take together and I feel it in my heart that it has to be so.

Flowers need to be ordered for the grave which I was able to do already. An obituary needs to be placed into the paper and has been delivered, to be published next Tuesday. Songs have been selected for the church service and I have written Moms eulogy to give to the pastor on Thursday. I don’t know how much of it he will use and I realize that I wrote this more for myself because it is so much more then just some facts and dates about her life. It’s a life as seen through the eyes of a beloved daughter, filled with love and gratitude. It was hard to write for such a sad occasion, especially since I wanted it to be on the light hearted side. Mom endured so much pain and sorrow in her life and one of my favorite things was to make her smile. And while this is definitely not a time to smile, she would want us to remember her in our own memory and the way she was to each and every one of us. I will always see her with that beautiful smile.

There is so much to do that little time remains for grief. Yes there a moments here and there but mainly it’s being pushed away because of things that need to be powered through. Just as all these above mentioned things got completed, I thought to myself that some more tasks were accomplished, but that the hardest day, the actual day of her funeral was still ahead. Right now I feel calm and writing her eulogy actually brought a sense of peace, perhaps closure. As for the moment I want to think about “that day” as a day to celebrate her life and I will try my hardest to do so and honor the woman, my mother I loved so much. There are plenty of other times for sadness, and it might turn out completely different, but for now and as long as I can hold onto it, I will allow myself to be filled with so much more then just grief and heartache. ❤️

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Energetically connected

Lantern burning in front of Moms room at the nursing home to say goodbye….

I found myself in amazement that I managed to stay up past 11PM the day of my arrival. Now with a few days here already, it seems like distant memory. I am yet to sleep a full night though and I’m running on fumes. The long trip, car ride and emotional viewing of Mom, I put it all behind me and my body just powered through it all. Performing for me when being strong was the only choice there was. The last couple of days have been filled with sadness and sorrow, but also a certain numbness and shock I haven’t quite got past. It’s surreal, almost like wanting to wake up from a bad, bad dream. The moment I was so afraid of, and of which I knew I had to face sooner or later, had come faster than anticipated. Mom was this sick before, but her decline was rapid and then I had that hunch feeling that this was her time. Oh how I fought that feeling, how much I wanted to be wrong, for it to not be the truth, but it would be so sooner then I could imagine.

I was filled with a deep sense of loss, but also a sense of relief for her suffering to have ended. The scare about this moment had finally realized. How many years had I been afraid, afraid of the message, the call, that very moment. Of course I knew the answer and it was this way for as long as I could remember, or so it seemed….

Once in bed, I fell asleep rather quickly, but only for a short time. Pretty soon I was awoken, and immediately I recognized the feeling, I had felt this before. It was the same phenomenon as my dog passed away, and last year with a very emotional occurrence involving Dad.

It was around 1AM that I woke from a bright flash of light shining directly into my face. The light was so bright that I squinted my already closed eyes shut even tighter. Could I have been dreaming….no…I knew this was different, and immediately I knew what it was. Mom was trying to communicate with me. The light was brief and darkness once more filled the room. For the next two hours my phone lit up, notifying me that a message had come through, except there was no physical messages. No notifications, no emails, no alerts, nothing. Just the notification sound and lit up phone. This is not the first time this has happened and besides my dog, I also believe that it was a way Dad tried to contact me last year. It was very similar and the feel was the same. This is now the third time this has happened to me, and it can’t be chalked up to coincidence, or some kind of maintenance, etc. You just know, although you can’t explain it. It’s nothing you have ever felt, nothing familiar, nothing you can compare it with, and yet you know and it seems perfectly normal, making perfect sense. To you at least.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

Fly with the Angels ❤️

This is hard to write, but I have to and I already have to honor your memory, despite the pain I feel right now. This is about YOU and not me and my pain.

Mom 19th July 1938 – 28th September 2019

My heart is in so much hurt tonight and feels the loss only a daughter can feel for her mother. It’s ironic how far away I have been all of these years, how much time we missed, and already tonight I miss you so much and wished I could talk to you and make you laugh once more. I imagine everyone feels this way, and some day we won’t get another chance to do that. For me that day came today and I am sorry I didn’t make it back to Germany in time. I am grateful for the ten month we had last year and our time together will always be close to my heart, for it was the closest time we ever spent together.

You see I have prepared for this moment all of my life, ever since Dad died, but can one truly ever prepare for the loss of a loved one? I take little comfort right now knowing that you no longer have to suffer and it is what I need to hold on to keep myself in the light, helping me through these difficult times.

I planned to leave a heart rock for you in a special place the other day. Along the way I found another heart rock missing a piece from the top left corner. To me it was symbolic of our hearts together and that a piece of my heart will forever be with you.

I love you forever and I will visit you in the energetic world where no pain exists and where you are reunited with Dad, the love of your life once more. Where you can run again and are not restricted to a wheelchair. Where you can see your parents and be without suffering. Where you can be free and be loved the way you deserve to be.

RIP Mom, I promise I am doing my best to be strong, but it is undeniable that life has and will be changed a great deal without you. I can only hope to find half the strengths you had in your life here on earth, because you have overcome some incredible odds. I carry you in my heart always, until we meet again. All of my love….your loving daughter.

Posted in Death, Life

Life

Life gives and life takes. Just Sunday we celebrated a dear friends birthday, not knowing that another friend I used to work with struggled, and passed away. Chances are while we laugh, someone cries, while we are high on life, someone is deeply depressed, or while we enjoy food in abundance, another lives in poverty and is starving. Those are some extremes, and I’m sure many more could be named. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we are, we each carry our suitcase of troubles.

Saying goodbye to a loved one or friend, we take comfort that they are in a better place, that the suffering is over, and that once again they run wild and free, without pain. Bonnie’s passing made me stop in my tracks and think. It hits home when it’s someone close, someone we know, although people leave this world every day and any day. I’ve always believed that our days are not guaranteed, that tragedy can strike at any moment. I learned young what it feels like to lose someone close when my Dad passed unexpectedly, way before his time. Fact is that there is no timeframe, people die jung and old, and there simple is never a good time to die. It can happen quickly, perhaps more expected with age vs someone leaving us so young like my Dad. Whichever case, I don’t think we can ever prepare to let go, nothing makes it easier, and it remains one of the most painful times we will experience.

It made me think of my own time, having reached a age where many others I’ve known have passed on already. It made me appreciate anew what gift every day is. Sure, some days are filled with aches and pains, some hold memories we rather forget, but despite of it all, every day blesses us with another sunrise or another sunset. The time in between is up to us and we decide how we want to leave our mark.

It made me think about the time we are given here on earth. A time to leave our footprint, to make a difference, to impact, to contribute, to lift each other and support each other, to be a role model, to inspire and to build our legacy. Quite a list and not all inclusive, a list that often starts late, not right out of the gates and requires a special time. A time when we find ourselves, and everything that is true to who we are. A time regardless of what we’re taught. It reminded me that sometimes we have to forget all those things, the things we learned in order to learn again, and let our true self emerge to shine bright.

It’s a time that takes courage and strengths and the path won’t be easy. But it’s also a time that is liberating and freeing, a time you feel closest to who you really are. Bonnie’s passing reminded me that those of us lucky to see another day, are given yet another chance to get it right. Every day offers the opportunity to start new, the choices and chapters are no one others than your own. Your book is empty, waiting to be written with your story, only you are responsible to fill your pages.

Bless you and RIP Bonnie. We love you.

Posted in Death, Family, Life

10/8/1974

I sat on the cemetery’s bench and cried yesterday. It’s not the first time that I felt overcome with emotions visiting Dad. Not the first time that I wished that he was here, and definitely not the first time that I told him of how much I missed him. I remembered the day of his funeral, I was ten, in shock and unable to cry. I remember the eyes of the “Village people”, the community of my small town on me, watching my every move. I can hear the talk and I definitely still feel the pain over the loss of my Dad. I accepted his passing, (did I really have another choice), but I never got over the pain and it catches up from time to time.

10/8/1974 is the German way of writing for the date of August the 8th, as we write the day before the month. An important date that passed this year as if it was a day like any other.

Watering Dad’s grave today, the anniversary of his death jumped out at me and I completely had forgotten. It was 10/8/1974 and I felt like a bad daughter, ashamed, being here so close, able to visit his grave site and that I forgot about it. I know that I feel close to him every day, and don’t need to be at the cemetery in order to do so, but still. I know that there are other forces at hand that have left me vulnerable, questioning how a loving daughter could forget a day like this. And I know that I am unnecessary hard on myself. There is a void, a pain inside that has to run it’s course, whether it is influenced by outside experiences or my own standards and inability to give myself too much slack. I was here in Germany on the day of his death’s anniversary, I should have visited and brought flowers. At the least I shouldn’t have remembered.p and talked to him.

Life has changed so much since coming to Germany. I have gained some things and I have lost some things. It’s a delicate balance of give and take, of craziness and sanity, it’s a daily struggle. Some days I win, some days I don’t, and yet I’m still standing. Some days feel like I can take on the world, others I want to hide and give in to the endless tired and exhausting feeling. I find myself on my knees more times than I would like to, but I have always managed to get back up. It has been a journey packed full of emotions and immense growths. In the end, I know that I chose this path for the sake of everyone.

Posted in Death, Life

Shaken and a bit stirred

I’ve awakened from a nightmare the other night. It was a deep breath that brought me back to reality from my not so peaceful sleep state. It’s seldom that I dream, or maybe I just don’t ever remember.

I was at Mom’s House, sitting at the kitchen table as darkness began to fall. I got up to close the blinds which are like a heavy plastic, rolled up shade that comes down and covers the windows. It allows for zero light when it is closed fully. I pulled the cord on the side of the wall to release the blind, while stretching with the other hand to reach the light switch. I hit it but it remained dark. I surely must have missed it and went for it once more. The blinds were still coming down as I was multi tasking, and only a little light was left in the room. Nothing happened, and after hitting the switch for the third time, I realized that something was wrong and the light wouldn’t come on. It was mostly dark by now as I made my way down the hallway to the fuse box, maybe a breaker had tripped. I was almost in front of the apartments main entrance door where the fuse box is located as I heard it. Tap, tap, tap….the sound was faint at first but getting stronger. It was a knock from the outside of the locked the door. I felt an energy and a chill coming from the door and it scared me half to death. A scared deep breath followed as I was unable to scream while slowly stepping backwards, away from the door. It was the initial scare and that deep breath that woke me from my dream.

Now awake, I collected myself and knew that it was a dream, but it was so powerful that I didn’t dare to turn my back towards the room. I had to back myself against the wall and forced myself to stay woke for awhile. I was afraid that falling back asleep would place me right back to the same dream. The dream is still with me this evening like a haunting thing I can’t explain. It is unusual since I normally don’t remember my dreams, but it still seems so vivid, hours later. I imagine it to be a sign with some kind of meaning, I don’t yet have the answer or the understanding for.

Eventually, I slept a few more hours and woke up feeling down. I couldn’t pinpoint why and had no reason to feel this way. Everything was fine the night before and I didn’t take any worries to bed with me. At least not consciously. Progress with Mom is going well and we continue to have small wins. She was on my mind this morning though and although nothing can be rushed, I felt panicked, as if soon or later time would be up, in more than one way. I felt uncertain if I would accomplish everything that I needed to do, once that time would come. I was worried about stuff I know better. The stuff out of my control and yet it was on my mind in a moment as life was catching up. Perhaps it was that knock on the door in my dream, something taking me away, something scary, something I wasn’t ready to follow just yet. I remember seeing a bony index fingers commanding me to come closer. It belongs to a cloaked person dressed in black of which face I can’t see. Who is he and what’s the message? Why does he need me to come closer…it can’t be….right? Not yet (as if any of us ever have a choice)

I’m still a bit shaken and told Mom about my dream. She had no answers and didn’t engage all that much. She has seen her own version of the cloaked person dressed in black and I don’t think she is ready to see or follow him either. I think it scared her from just listening to me.

I was wondering if it was something she said to me yesterday that may have ultimately led to this dream. She talked about my Dad, something that has been very rare and non existing in all these years. She is beginning to share more and more, and is talking more freely about things. She even told me that they had broken up a few times before they married. Yesterday she told me that she used to get mad at Dad for what she thought was crazy talk. Several times he mentioned to her that he would die young. He couldn’t explain or tell as to why he thought so, there was no rhyme or reason to his thoughts, he just knew. Mom would get mad at him each time he talked about it. I am sure that over the years she has thought back many times to those conversations and how they ended up becoming the truth. We may never know how to explain some things in a rational, factual sense….but intuition and a gut feeling always does.