Posted in Family, My story


Wednesday morning came and the short drive to the hospital was a quiet one, spent mostly in silence. Time had run out and in a way with the newfound peace, there was so much to say, yet it wasn’t the time for it. I had wished for this moment to happen, surrounded by the perfect circumstances, but life is not perfect and things often pan out much different. Driving and in silence now, we were strong for each other to avoid an outpouring of emotions, at least from my side and I know couldn’t have held back. We had a deadline to be there and I heard Mom’s voice from the past telling me to get it together. In other words to keep my emotions in check and to be strong. Strange how some things follow you through life and pop up at various times. Feelings suppressed over years, that were not allowed to be expressed. Once more, it was a reminder that those emotions were a sign of the weak and were mostly taboo growing up. I was alone to deal with my feelings and I was alone to figure them out. Mom just didn’t know how to after my Dad’s death and to protect her heart she built a wall around it, feeling that this was necessary in order to be strong for me. It does make me sad to think of, and what I see is the tough road that was destined for Mom. There had to have been times she must have felt tired of being all that strong, moments she needed an outlet, moments she needed someone to wrap her up and give her the feeling that everything would be ok. Who was there during those times for her? She was alone, with her strong front, the facade of protection that she had built and she did her crying to relief pressure and pain alone, when nobody saw and when nobody could comfort her. She has never talked about any of this and she has never told me, yet I know and my intuition paints a picture that with certainty confirms what must have been throughout the years. There is a understanding and a comparison to my own life as I have carried the pain of the past alone myself at times and did my crying alone. There is a knowing that I can’t describe, a understanding that will keep me despite the tough times we have faced, that only strengthens the compassion and the bond by blood that fuels a love that is unconditional. The love of a daughter. Mom was the first to inhabit a four bed room, and I stayed to help her get settled. She was no stranger to hospitals, but in all the years of my absence, I couldn’t remember ever being home and seeing her admitted. All I wanted was to stay by her side, for hours, being close, a blanket of comfort, to let her know she wasn’t alone, if she allowed me to be. It was around noon that I finally left and made my way back home to the house. Surely, the doctors would come soon to run the first tests, take blood and measure her vitals, and lunch couldn’t be that far off and was around the corner. In a way, I was running from the vision of seeing her this way. My emotions were all over the place and I needed to refuel the tank of courage and strengths that was running on empty. 

It hit me once I was back at the house and embraced the silence. It was lifeless and quiet, I saw Mom everywhere, yet she wasn’t there. This is what it would feel like one day after she was gone and it felt like an empty shell, a home no-more, with her ghost lingering in visions and memories all over the place. My heart tore and once again the panic of running out of time set in and engulfed my heart. I had been through a rollercoaster of feelings since I got home as I sat and thought about my life and being born on the day of ups and downs. It seemed fitting once more. Faced with extreme lows, there were also the rays of light that brought hope and love, associated with the desire to change my life once and for all. To surrender and leave it all behind, the accomplishments, the possessions and the life I knew and had built in the states. Those were the moments that seemed crystal clear and that there really wasn’t another choice. It was exactly what I needed to do, yet the future was so scary and uncertain. I forced myself to remember that this wasn’t about me and that I had to trust and believe that everything would find its way. 

I went to visit Mom once more that day and stayed for a few hours. I brought her a few magazines that she could read and more animal crackers that she had come to love. It was a snack I had brought onto the plane and Mom loved to inspect the various shapes, much like a child before eating them. For me it was being able to give her something that she loved, even if it came through the simplicity of an animal cracker. As I entered the room, I noticed that she had gotten two more room mates in my absence. At least she would have company if she wanted to chat, even though Mom loved a prior stay in the hospital where she had a room all to herself. I don’t know if she preferred it this way or if it was because she is used to being alone, but I was glad she wasn’t this time, although things would unfold down the road with me wishing that she would have been alone. 

A prior planned road trip to the mountains was on the agenda the next two days and I so wished, that she could have come along. Like me, Mom is a mountain girl and my feeling were all over the place and in turmoil about leaving her behind. Surely, it was time for me to get a little break, a little vacation and time away from reality, but I didn’t care much anymore and I found myself wanting to be back by her side. The only comfort came through knowing that she was in good hands and that the best care was provided to her. That a nurse would tend to her legs, monitor her medication intake, her insulin, that she could enjoy a warm meal daily and that she wasn’t ALONE!

Entrance to the fortress/castle near my house in Germany, where Mom and I enjoyed coffee the day of my arrival. 

Posted in Family

Unforeseen circumstances 

“ You picked a fine time to come visit. I might be admitted into the hospital”, were some of mom‘s first words, as I arrived in Germany. I had just unlocked the door to enter the house and found her standing at the bottom of the stairs in front of me. I knew that she had a doctors appointment while I was still En route to Germany and she quickly informed me that she had another appointment with a specialist the following day. All this happened before I could even properly say hello and greet her. “Hello to you too Mom, I missed you too”.It was the following morning, my first full day in Germany, as we made our way to the specialist and our first fight started over something silly. I knew that side of Mom all too well, but had hoped that we made some headway’s during my last visit in 2015. It was only my second day but the initial welcome and time spent enjoying coffee in the romantic setting of a castle from the prior day, seemed like a distant memory. Here we were, on our way to see the doctor and somehow it feels as if Mom knew what would follow and purposely tried to get some distance between us. Finally, we arrived at the office, but something went wrong and somewhere along the lines the ball was dropped. Nobody knew of Mom’s appointment and their was no entry in the books for her. All in all we had to reschedule for the following Tuesday and a whole week would pass before someone could properly tend to Mom and her open legs. It was later in the day that I got to see Moms legs for the first time. It took all of the self control I could muster to not scream and to hold back the emotions. It looked bad, really, really bad. I truly believe that she would have been admitted into the hospital, had the appointment not gone missing. Her lower legs and calves were swollen and dark red and blue, with open sores and water emerging out of the holes. Yet according to her they already looked better and a nurse would be by every other day to re-wrap and take care of her legs. I had to trust her word and in some ways, this incident, in a very strange and dangerous way, bought her some time, time with me, who picked this fine time to come visit, even though there was no time to waste in her condition. I was worried, but at least I knew I’d be close if she needed help and if things got worse. 

Over the next week, Mom would hum in front of her. Mmmm m mmmm, mmmm m mmmm, but she never complained or said anything. Still, I knew she was in pain. Her behavior made me recall the incident as I dislocated my elbow. I had made the same sound and it was now that I could recognize it again and realize that it was pain induced. The week passed and I kept my eyes on her legs like a hawk to look for worsening signs, but luckily didn’t find any. Instead our fights continued Tuesday through Saturday and I admit that at times I’d wished she would have been admitted into the hospital for my own sanity. Of course the reasons for such should have been for her health, but I didn’t know how to go on with the constant fighting. There was no resolve to anything and all it left behind was deep sadness. I too wanted the time with her, but this was driving me crazy. I’m not a person who enjoys fighting. It makes me sick, literally speaking now and it only aggravates the RA. I usually escape those moments as they are not worth my time and my health, but there was no escaping this time. I was trapped and felt like a victim, having to endure punishment whenever it felt to be unleashed. And then, finally came Sunday and the fights ended. 

Tuesday afternoon came around and we were back at the praxis. The prognosis wasn’t good, and although her legs looked much better, if you can say that while they were still leaking fluids, the specialist suggested hospitalization. Mom tried to postpone to a later date when I would be gone again, but we all knew there was no time to waste. I remembered our fighting days and the times I wished she’d be hospitalized. I now felt ashamed of those thoughts and I no longer wanted her to go. The news was tough, although no surprise and I knew chances were high that this could happen. But here and now, all became reality and it felt as our time together came to an end. She was expected in the hospital the following morning which would come way too soon. We sat at home and I spent what felt like our last evening together. I helped get her things together and packed her bag, despite her bag being mostly packed already. Standing by, just waiting on the steps, without ever being fully unpacked from hospital stay to hospital stay, the next one would come with certainty and would be around the corner. And here it was. I felt sad and alone, my heart was aching and breaking, and yet I needed to be tough for her and instill the feeling that all would be ok.

Posted in Family, Inspiration

The bigger picture 

The peace pipe continued to burn after this beautiful, mental and physically relaxing Sunday. As quickly as the fights had started in previous days, they vanished without a trace. Almost as if they had never happened and whatever the reason, we never spoke about them again. There was a silent understanding, a shared enjoyment of the peace that now filled the air and lingered like a comforting blanket. Perhaps it was that hot cooked meal from the previous night, that I secretly infused with the spice of love and magic, and which brought warmth and peace our way. I don’t know, but I believe that sometimes things can be as simple as sharing a meal together. It was in this case and it boiled down to time spent together. Perhaps it was simply time to lay our weapons down, being tired of fighting and trying to plead our opinions and feelings onto the other one. In retrospect I understand that not all things went that smooth, and after all we spent our life living apart from each other. Restricted to the occasional phone call and the even more seldom visit. What was it that we truly knew about each other’s personal day to day life? Did we really noticed each other’s journey, the things and opinions that changed over the years and the once sacred values that no longer had a place in our daily way of living? Did we pick up the phone to inform the other one of our progress, our newfound beliefs? Did even notice our own growth spurts as they were happenings? No, they just happened over many years, most of them subtle as time carved the experiences of our existence deep within our soul. Most likely we wouldn’t notice at the time and it wouldn’t be like we woke up one morning, feeling a visible difference, even though I can look back now and notice the changes. How, and when it all happened is unclear. I recognize the influencers, but to explain it into logical facts with dates and times is impossible. The same had to happen to Mom and every other being in this universe. It’s part of life and the path we walk and choose. Some paths choose us and not all are shared, some are walked alone and our loved ones and life around us has little understanding and knowledge of what that path really looks like for us and what it is that we experience. It may appear completely different from the outside, maybe we would do things differently and rely on the fact that we all have choices to change the course. And maybe we lack the understanding and should not pass judgement until we find ourselves walking that same path. Maybe only then could we gain the understanding of what it is truly like. Clearly there were things I would have done differently, things I couldn’t see eye to eye with Mom, but it was not a matter of forcing my opinions

onto her. I was worried about her and it will always be a part of my life, especially here being so far away. It’s a heavy burden I carry daily and for a better lack of expression, it sucks. Big time. 

The following Monday took me away from Mom for a good part of the day but we still found time together in the evening. I was hungry to spend more time with her and all I wanted was to strengthen the foundation from the previous night. After what took a little convincing, which basically resulted in me taking charge and leaving little choice to Mom, we went out for Pizza. I can only imagine and know that the times Mom was out in a public place were far and few, so it was no surprise that this one felt like a milestone. She knew that her “No’s” fell on deaf ears that simply wouldn’t take no for an answer and she gave in and got herself ready. I’m not surprised that she enjoyed herself and I still can’t believe Mom ate a decent size Pizza all by herself. Once again she enjoyed a warm meal as if she had to store and savor it for later times to come. It made me happy and sad at the same time. I felt as if I was gaining ground as the tough facade continued to crackle away, allowing more and more of her true nature to come to the forefront. She had chosen to let me in and finally be her daughter once again. Maybe momentarily, maybe lasting, it is yet to be seen and will largely depend on how much t8me she will spend alone again. The wall was something (perhaps from my Mothers perspective) to protected her feelings, something I wasn’t worthy of at times due to the pain of leaving her behind and alone. In her journey of troubles and pain, she didn’t know how else to deal with it and for years we lived bound by blood but through the pain of each other, caused from this separation. 

All this became clear and then something else magical happened. I forgave her for not knowing how to handle her pain and for hurting me in return. I never hurt her on purpose, I simply didn’t know. I don’t feel that it was meant to be intentional but due to not knowing how to deal with it. I felt her pain and her strange way of expressing her love for me, even though she has never told me. I understood the loneliness and the fear that was urging a sense of urgency. I recognize the disappointment she couldn’t control and the lack of simply knowing who her daughter was. Remembering the little girl I once was and the absence of witnessing the woman that I had grown into because I left Germany. It was me who took that away from her and in a way she lost her daughter as well as she had lost her husband. My Dad died at age 35 in an accident at work, and now I was gone too. With the difference that I was alive, but still unreachable and removed from her life. All this became so much clearer during this Sunday and Monday and for the first time I saw a picture that was much bigger than it ever appeared. Maybe it was always there but we wasted so much time talking past each other. Trying to force opinions and views, without the other being ready or in a place to understand. Therefore all it ever brought was frustration and pain and I’m not saying that there won’t be any in the future, but I’m saying that I have a better understanding. Our first days were tough, but I harbor no hard feelings and even more important, I have forgiven her. I think the restart button has been hit with the lighting of this peace pipe and may it be written in the stars that one day Mom can forgive me as well.

Posted in Family, Life

Turning point

Most of the first week home in Germany was filled fighting with Mom. Hurtful remarks would surface here and there throughout the day and in hindsight I know that it was the pain and illness that was talking. It was tough as the jabs kept coming without enough recovery time to get passed the hurdles. The roles had reversed and I noticed Mom’s stubbornness lighten up in regards to previous memories. I remember here so stubborn that without a problem she could easily not talk to you for however long she chose. Now it was more like throwing the punch and within a few minutes commenting on the lovely countryside. A few times I thought she might have turned bipolar. Mom developed water blisters on her legs which resulted in open sores. Every other day, a nurse comes to the house to tend to her and wrap her legs anew in the hopes of eliminating infection. Mom has struggled with diabetes for many years and the medicines are causing her kidneys not to function properly. Further medication is suppose to remove excess water from her body, but she hates the pills as they bring on a sudden and uncontrollable urge to run to the bathroom. A few times Mom proudly showed me how low her sugar was and it wasn’t until I talked to the nurse that I learned the dangers of such and the damage that is done to brain cells each time this occurs. It was eye opening in regards to her strange behavior and flooded me with compassion and a much better understanding of what she might be going through.

It was my first Sunday in Germany as the pieces fell into place for me. I felt as if I had learned another lesson in regards to Mom, her life and how it ultimately connects and impacts mine. The tension was mellow compared to the past five days and for the first time since my arrival, the peace pipe was lit and burning a feeling of comfort into my soul. I want to inhale the magic as long as possible as it offered a beautiful glimpse of what could be, if and when all the crazy subsides. I didn’t feel all that well as I got up and besides the RA acting up, I felt dizzy and clammy. I slept late and was still yawning after I got up, usually a sign of getting sick. Hopefully that would not be the case, even though I was already sick in the sense of being sick and tired of fighting and arguing. 

Our original idea to have lunch at a guesthouse went out of the window, due to eating breakfast so late. Prior to the fights subsiding, I had read that there was a flea market in the next town over. It would be a neat place to check out and a welcome escape from the low blows. That idea went out the window as well since the mood miraculously changed and I didn’t want to leave the peaceful atmosphere. This was what I came for, time with Mom and I wasn’t going anywhere. Who knew what the next moment would bring and if it wasn’t going to last. I was going to soak up each moment as one of my fondest memories and be grateful for the gift of experiencing the bond between us. I even managed a few minor repairs in the house that were simple enough, yet a big deal for Mom. Things went well, she saw the progress and end result and in return her trust grew which allowed for me to do these things. I felt like I was contributing, even if it was on the tiniest scale of making her life a little easier. 

Mom talked a lot today and for the first time we didn’t just sit, side by side, starring off into the distance, without regard of the others presence. The mood lastet all day and it was wonderful. Thank you everybody for sending warm vibes and energy for this to happen. You did it, and it was a day I will always hold dear to my heart. Besides the minor repairs, I washed Mom’s hair today and cooked another meal in the evening. This time went much better and I think she was grateful for a warm meal. We are not at the point she would say so or admit it, but I know and some things don’t need to be spoken. I found it funny and an honor that while I did the dishes and the leftovers cooled on the table in front of her, the remains were shrinking as she continued to snack and couldn’t keep her hands off of the delicious goods. I think it was a winner and while I was happy, I also felt a bit of sadness creep up, knowing that on her own, all alone, her meals consist of cold food and that she doesn’t cook for herself anymore. 

The lesson learned today was one for the need of purpose. I have grown to be a independent and responsible woman, I have always made it on my own and I never had to ask for help to be bailed out of any situation. Not that I have been spared from those situations. Being gone for so many years, Mom knows relatively little from my life and remembers me as her little girl. A person that she could guide and teach a few things, while instilling values and morales. She never really got to see how these lessons turned out because I moved away. And although I never got into trouble on a serious note, she would not be able to see how these lessons unfolded in my day to day life. I feel that in a sense I took away that purpose from her, leaving her lonely and perhaps feeling useless and helpless. She never grew with me over the years of being gone and how could she have? She had her memories of the past but couldn’t join the celebration of lessons I learned along the way. I decided to play dumb and give her a feeling of purpose back. A feeling of contributing and being a part of my life, instead of being on the sidelines and watching her daughter play out the lessons she had learned over the years on her own. Without the help of her mother. Of course I had no clue initially if any of this was the case and if it would change things, but it did and the peace pipe burned all day while I never moved from her side. 

Posted in Family, Life

On the “Fence”

Mom and I talked last Wednesday about the upcoming details of my visit. I interrupted her watching a show about the Alps and like myself she’s a lover of the mountains. She seemed a little agitated but also stated that the connection was not the best and that she had trouble understand what I was saying. So the tension could have stemmed from that. We barely got the conversation started as it took a turn for the worse. The turning point was once she found out that I wouldn’t come home to stay. Things got out of hand and ugly, a relapse in the behavior I have come to known from her so well in all the years I have been gone. There it was again, the reminder that she truly never has forgiven me for leaving her behind. It turned into blame, a lecture, disapproval, a difference in opinion and the disagreement between the life my Mother sees fit for me and the life I actually live and see for myself. I understand that she might not always agree with me, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be respectful of each other and try to value the choices we each have made. In the end we have to do what we see right for ourselves as we go about our daily business. I don’t think me Mom ever allowed herself that kind of freedom and her life has always been influenced by what others think or say. I’m the opposite but know that her way is the only thing she knows and she is expecting me to follow the same steps. Therefore disagreements always ends with things that don’t need to be said and I’m always the one to give in and to mend the situation. You know what they say “The smarter one gives in”. Ha, but somehow it’s missing the fun in this case and wasn’t all that hilarious at all. She ended up hanging up on me. Again…not that it would have been the first time she has done this. Such rudeness, as I now joke about it, but there is a point to it and it is how I feel. I was mad at her and disappointed at the same time, I feared that we would waste quality time spent together trying to overcome her stubbornness like we have in the past. She is without a doubt the most stubborn person I know and I say this in the most loving way that I’m glad that I did not inherit any of that. None, not a shred of it, thank goodness. I still don’t see what good comes from fighting, holding grudges and pouting until it is decided that the other one is worthy so we can put the argument aside. Talk about it and get it over with, don’t hold on to it, you may miss a chance to make it right. I had to let off a little steam and put my thoughts into a blog post that is now entirely rewritten, with most of the prior content erased. It bothered me and I made it a point to call her the next morning. We had a better conversation and she understood that it is not that all that easy to just move from one country to another. To dodge the obligations and start a new life at the age where you should think of retirement and slowing down a bit.

In hindsight I know that her feelings got hurt, that her hopes got crushed, that she wants me there even though she struggles to voice it to my face. The second call, the day after made it more obvious that she is worried and needs help. Perhaps it was the first time she showed a more vulnerable side to herself and immediately I sympathized and felt compassion for her. I know that she’s afraid of the things that need attention, things in the house that she can no longer do because of her health and simply due to old age. The cleanliness of it falls into this category I would imagine and she said that somehow water entered into the cellar from prior storms. It’s impossible for her to mop it up and carry the heavy bucket. Finally a civilized conversation and all this was hard to remember during our first conversation when there is absolute no reasoning with her. None of this information surfaced until the second call and after she had a chance to calm herself and get grasp on whatever it was she felt so upset about. In my opinion it could have been avoided, but I know now that the news of a non permanent stay probably brought on all kinds of emotions. She can’t rationalize it and instead has no problems verbalizing what she considers to be my mistakes, blaming me for making the wrong choices. In her mind. 

With a few days past now, it’s almost comical as well as baffling to me that I have learned to accept all the things in my life, good and bad while realizing that all brought lessons and shaped me into the person I am. Apparently my mother has not come to accept the same and it’s hard not to take it as an insult on my character, feeling that she is not ok with how I turned out to be. I’m not sure but there is a good chance that she will let me hear it for the rest of her life. Most likely every time she gets angry at me. What’s even more bizarre is that she has never come to visit me but has a very strong opinion about my life and what is going on. 

But for now all is well again and I will go home in the hopes of finding some solutions to her well being and the future. I hope to build onto the relationship we started to nourish towards each other in 2015 and to become closer in our Mother-Daughter relationship once again.

Posted in Family, Inspiration, Life

Finding your moments 

I was little when I flew my first kite. I still remember the wooden sticks that were attached to the main frame that ran through the center of my kite. Metal enforcement rings prevented the material from ripping and held the wingspans of my green airplane in place. I can still visualize the look of it and I still remember holding on to the spool of string. My head tilted way back, I was never losing sight of my little plane as I was watching it dance in the summer breeze. I was with my dad who was in charge of take off, and who would hand me the controls once the kite was up in the air and steady enough to stay there for awhile. 
Years ago I bought a kite, a dragon (coincidental I am a dragon in the Chinese horoscope and sometimes I wonder if there is a relation as to why I picked a dragon) that ended up laying around for many years. It wasn’t until my recent trip to the ocean earlier this year, that the dragon came along, but it was too big and heavy and the wind conditions were less than perfect to fly it, unless you would continue to run up and down the ocean to keep it in the air. A few weeks later, determined and with the call of flying a kite still strong, I bought a smaller, lighter kite. I strapped it to my backpack last week and got to fly it for the first time. I had a lot of fun and I will definitely do it again sometime. I remembered a few things and the experience took me back in time, back to my childhood and back to the moments with few responsibilities. Even though it already was my sole responsibility not to crash my kite. Perhaps I was less concerned about crashing, for I would simply try again. I guess what I’m trying to say and what has me pondering things lately has to do with time and creating your own kind of magic. Do you remember the moments in your life that have turned into pure magic? Moments that made time stand still or at least make time slow down a bit? After all these years, the moments of flying a kite with my dad are forever engraved into my memory. I remember the feel, the laughter and the carefree moments. Why not repeat those moments in our adult lives? Do the moments that brought us so much joy, no longer fit into the grown up way of behaving? I wonder if that is the reason or if we potentially are afraid to look silly. Life is serious as an adult, isn’t it, we better behave accordingly. Yes it was different this time around, I’m no longer a child and I flew my kite without my dad, but I remembered our adventure, I smiled, felt childlike abandon and I had fun. I remembered those special moments and connected in spirit, I watched the little kite dance through the warm summer breeze. Life was good….

I hope you remember days with little responsibility, days filled with adventure and play and I hope you find your very own, special, moments. 

Posted in Family, Inspiration

A Daughters love 

Happy Father’s Day to the man that left such a huge impression on me and only had such a short time to do so. 
I miss laughing with you and see our eyes sparkle and light up in a game of prank and shenanigans.

I miss talking to you and spending time with you while listening to your soothing voice. 

I miss the look in your eyes that tells me without a word how proud you are of me and how much you love me. 

I miss sharing my life with you and telling you about all the things big and small. I miss you every day.

Taken way too soon, I wish we had more time together. Time, that is painstakingly missing from a life without you in the physical sense, but within my heart you are only a heartbeat away and I carry you with me, always.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love and miss you every day, but you already know. 💙 
In loving memory and forever your girl.
PS. Live is short and time flies. Please don’t take a moment for granted and tell those you love how much they mean to you.

Posted in Family, Holidays

Happy Mother’s Day 

Thinking of this beauty and words will never convey what I want to say and what you mean to me. I love you and miss you more than you know. Xoxoxoxo ❤

Wishing all Mom’s out there a wonderful day and may you always know how special you are and how you touch our life’s.