Friday, October 29, 2010

To My Friend-Because So Many Love You and Yours

Sore at Heart.  Broken.  Broken Hearted.  Heart Sore.

Grief.

It wears like a suit of armor.

It is stiff, unwieldy. Alternately cold and hot.

It rebuffs the sun and repels happiness.  

Grief requires……..no, it demands death. 

Death of one we love, death of a dream, death of a promise, death of an ideal or death of a perception.

Death of any of these leaves you empty, broken and heart sore.

The fact that none of them must remain permanent is of no comfort at first.

My friend and her family are grieving.
If you are here you probably know who I am talking about.
If you do not know her then I apologize for the lack of details.
I will only tell the stories that are mine to tell and this one belongs to my friend and her family.

This friend, like many of us, is human. Smile.
She has made many mistakes in life-just exactly like you and I have.
She has faults. As do I.

I suppose that I want you to understand that underneath the surface that we show to the world we are all the same.
We all rejoice.
We all love.
And we all hurt.

I suppose that I want my friend to know that over the twenty something years of our friendship I have seen the good and the bad.
The funny and the sad.

What I want you to know, my friend, is that I know the steel that lies beneath the surface. 

I want others to know about the times you chose the rocky road, the uphill battle or the way less traveled.

You had a choice early in life that many of your peers wouldn’t have thought twice about.
But you?
You chose the road of sacrifice.

When I confided my struggle with panic attacks…….you put your child in my classroom.
You will never know how your confidence in me gave me the strength to keep my head above the water and to keep on dog paddling through those waters filled with anxiety and heart pounding fear.

Your complete acceptance of something none of us really understood is a gift I will be forever grateful for.

I watched you raise that boy alone for a time. You did it with little monetary support and you let him love ALL his family. Even the ones who didn’t really deserve it at the time.

You had a baby with a pretty foot.  Where others might have seen it as something to cry about…..you simply called it his pretty foot.

You have calmly weathered multiple stitches, broken bones, emergency appendectomies and freak accidents with your children and rightfully earned the right to be my medical colleague. Smile.

I was there when you helped give a gift that broke your heart.  I know the cost.

You said the words I have never forgotten.
You said them when I called with grief and pain of my own.
You said,
Hang in there. We’re gonna circle the wagons around you and it’s gonna be okay.

Well, my friend.
Hang in there. 
We are circling the wagons right now and it IS gonna be okay. 

If you have read this far then you must love my friend too.

PLEASE leave her a comment. 
PLEASE write words of love and encouragement for her and her family.
I want to show them that they are loved by soooooo many.

If you have trouble leaving a comment In-box me on Facebook and I’ll add it for you.

It is time to circle the wagons.


Just sayin'.....................................

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Breathe-(Sorry Angie)

I tried all week to write a lighter post, Ms. Fabulous.
Really I did!
I just wasn't feeling it.

Funny things have happened. They do everyday in my line of work.
I just didn't feel driven to find those words.

Friday, Oct 22 marked six months since mom died...
And I remembered her with a smile.

The date holds no power for me.
It is other things that take my breath.

Things I never would have guessed.
The book she took with her that last time in the hospital.

A bookmark still waiting for her to find her place again.
The aprons she wore and the brand new dish towels she
refused to use because she didn't want them to get dirty.
Her hairbrush and tooth brush.
Her nightstand.
Her chair.

Incredibly, I find myself unable unwilling to face
My Sanctuary.
My Church.
The sweet familiar voice of my pastor.

I spent most of the last service I attended there
Struggling to keep a sob inside.
Struggling to catch the tears before anyone else saw them.
Struggling to breathe through the pain.
The cords that once bound me there seemed missing.
I know I own my emotions. Still, I felt unimportant. 

So now...well, now I avoid.  It's something I am a master of....

Years ago, for very different reasons,
I chose the words
Just Breathe
as a reminder that many times in life all you can do is
Just Breathe. 
And when that is all you can do, well,
then you have done all you can.

This afternoon I ventured into a beautiful old church
in Milledgeville. I went in support of my father and in
honor of my mother.

The stately old house of worship smelled that musty
old wood smell that exists only in buildings of history
and days gone by.

The Hospice organization that helped us take care of
Mom in those last few, much too short, days had invited
the families and loved ones of the patients they have served
over the last year to join them in a service of
Remembrance.

Maybe it was the easy chatter on the drive over or maybe
it was my old friend Denial.  At any rate, I was blindsided
by raw emotion when they asked me to write something
about my mother for the chaplain to read.

I froze. I panicked. And then I cried.

I didn't know what words were big enough, sincere enough, 
significant enough or lovely enough for her.

I struggled for composure for the next forty minutes.
The wails threatened to erupt from my throat as the
tears flowed. And flowed.I don't mind tears.

It is the heaving, choking
loud wails that I am afraid of.

The service was beautiful.

Each family member present lit candles and the
flickering light they gave was peaceful.

Finally, we gathered outside where the last of four white doves
was handed to my father.


He kissed her head and gently threw her skyward.
Where the previous three doves had flown to the right...
Ours chose the left.

Flying towards the house, a block away, where I grew up
The dove disappeared into the sunlight.




She is gone from us now.

But she is only a breath away.
Only a heartbeat away.

It is our job to continue on-

Even if all we can do is

Just Breathe.




Just Sayin'..................................

Sunday, October 17, 2010

She Came to Me

She came to me this afternoon as I slept away a migraine.

I remember that she asked me if I needed her
and I remember answering with a nod.

She became form and substance and I crowded as close as I could.

Making myself as small as possible I lay my head on her shoulder
and cried.

She held me and told me things I can't remember now.
They will surface when I need them.

My heart knows now that she came because I would need
her after I struggled awake.

She knew I would need the steel to do what
had to be done.

The time came.
I did what no one ever wants to do.

The rest of the story is not mine to tell and
it never will be.

Being the bad guy sucks.

Just sayin'......................................

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Empty Place

The
empty place
in my heart
is shaped like
her.

I miss her
voice
and
her smile.

I miss the way my
name
said
in her voice
sounded like
love.

I miss
her
hands.

I miss her
khaki
culottes
and
her
S.A.S.
shoes.

I miss
hearing
her say
Hello, my precious angel.



I want her back.




Just sayin'.........................




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Baby Post

This is the child who made me a great aunt. She has more nicknames than Baskins Robbins has flavors.

I like to call her Ellie Belly, Ells Bells, Ellie J and Pebbles.
She also answers to Belly, Belle and of course the ever popular and apt Princess. Smile.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful face?
Those eyelashes are to die for and when her mama puts her hair up in pigtails or a ponytail on the top of her head...... well, I cannot be held responsible for any spoiling that happens.

Her grin lights up the world and only a cyborg could resist grinning back at her.

Her parents are so blessed to have her! She is blessed to have them too. I love watching her mommy and daddy take care of her. 

Right now she is a little suspicious of me.  I don't get to see her as much as I would like. I can't wait for the day that she knows that I'm the great aunt that always has something special just for her in her purse.  I'm never above a little bribery. Smile again.

Ellie J, I promise never to pinch your cheeks and I will never ever, ever, ever try to get some of your sugar with lipstick on my teeth and smelly coffee breath. 

I promise to always give you two cookies (one for each hand) and when your mommy and daddy get all crochety and grumpy like parents sometimes do I'll take you outside to play.

I promise to be on your side every time.

I love you, Pebbles!

Aunt Ann
(Your favorite GREAT aunt)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dear Brooklyn,

A few weeks ago you made your mommy and daddy the happiest two people in the whole wide world.

You made them into a mommy and a daddy.

All babies are miracles.

Just thinking about a tiny little being coming into existence, growing inside a womb and finally exiting to become a person who has it's own personality is....well... it is unimaginable, incredible, incomprehensible. 

At least for us humans.

It took a wise and wonderful God to figure all of that out.

Perhaps the most miraculous of all is that God knows each of us before we are born.  His Word tell us that he knows each of us before our bones are knit together in our mother's wombs. 

That passage has been one that has uplifted, comforted, consoled and given me confidence all my life. To know that God knew all about me before I was born proves to me that He loves me. He loves ME.  Not just a generic human.....but the me that I am.

He knew you too, Brooklyn. 

He knew you before anyone else in the whole wide world did.
And He has loved you every single moment.

God knew who you were as you grew from something smaller than a speck to a seven pound baby girl with two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes.  God knew your name, the color of your eyes and how beautiful your hair would be when you were born into this world.  God knew that you would have long fingers and toes and that you would squeak instead of instead of crying. 
God knew one more very important detail.

God knew that you belonged to your parents.  And to us.  Smile.
But, beyond the miracle of your existence is another miracle.  It is one that you and I share and it makes us very, very special! You share this miracle with your father, your grandfather and your maternal great aunts and uncles.
You see, Sweetie, sometimes...God has to work a little harder to be sure that babies get the right mommy and daddy.Brooklyn, you are a Chosen Baby.

God chose you for Mommy and Daddy and He chose them for you.
He knew that the three of you belonged together and so...
He made you all a family. 

We have all known we were meant for each other from the day we heard you were on the way.

On Friday, October 1st.....it was made official for the rest of the world!

I love you Brooklyn Grace!
I think I always have!

Just sayin'.............

Love, love, love,

Aunt Ann

PS-Don't forget what I told you last time.....I'm your favorite.