6 months later…

It’s been 6 months today since we said goodbye to Mom. The holidays have come and gone, and guess what? I’m still here! I made it. I handled it. Gracefully? That depends on who you ask, but still, I did it. 
Yes, I still cry myself to sleep some nights. Some days I just start crying for no reason it seems. And then there are days where I cry out of thankfulness. I know that sounds weird, so let me explain.

I know someone whose mother suddenly went into the hospital, and then this young woman was tasked with “pulling the plug” a week later. My heart shattered for her, but at the same time, mine healed a little. I know the pain she feels, but I can’t imagine having had to make that decision, nor can I begin to understand how it must have felt to deal with that in a hospital room. I am blessed to have been able to hold my mommy’s hand as she took her last breaths. She slipped away so peacefully, in the comfort of her own home, no machines, wires or plugs. I’ve had some awful flashbacks in the last week, of those last 24 hours, but if I think about it long enough and from a different perspective, my experience was actually quite beautiful. 

I have found so much strength in the tiny little smiles that come from the smallest little memory of Mom. The little grins spread across my face much faster than the tears flow, though sometimes the tears do make me feel a bit better. 

I’ve found a couple other blogs that I really enjoy reading, written by people who have been through situations similar to mine. We seem to help each other by letting the other know that they are not alone, and that we know exactly how they feel. That common thread is a remarkable thing. It’s funny how life works. Some of my friends (they’re all amazing) but some of their efforts have just been astounding since Momma left. Isn’t it crazy the way some relationships flourish during the darkest times in your life? 

Soo, 6 months. Seems long, seems short, I don’t really know, it’s kind of a blur. I’ve kept really busy between my day job and my dream job. Some days she’s easy to think and talk about, others not so much. 
I definitely feel like two different versions of myself most of the time lately. Someday I’ll figure out how to blend the two. For now, I’ll just keep pressing on, I’ve got too many big exciting plans for 2017 to lose myself between the two, or to let myself drown in a pool of sorrow.

Dear Mommy…

Christmas has come and gone already. It was quite different this year. I woke up at like 6 am on Christmas Eve, you know me and Christmas lol. I wanted so badly to call you, like I always used to. So, I cried a little, then did the next best thing, I put on your Christmas music and took some time for myself, and of course, cried some more. My heart aches when I think about you missing all this fun, but my heart also rejoices in knowing that you are in all of our hearts, and you’re having the most glorious Christmas up there in heaven. 

We went to Grandpa and Grandma’s this year instead of your house, I think that made it a little easier on all of us. Aunt J lives with Gma & Gpa now, I’m sure she’s told you. I’ve seen Gma at least once a month since she moved in, so that’s been nice. We went Christmas shopping together, the 3 of us, and oh my gosh Mom, the mall has changed so much! The pretzel place is gone, but a new one is coming soon. Aunt J said they’d be at my house at 10, they showed up EARLY and I wasn’t ready!! I told them it was your fault, I’m so used to you saying you’d be here at 10 and then calling me at 10:15 to say you’d just gotten on the freeway haha. I gave them your Christmas tapestry throws to put on the couch to help decorate. Dad and Aunt J went up to Cedar Lodge and cut down a beautiful tree for Gma’s house. I’m sure you heard all about that too. Of course Gma had her candles and birds on the tree, but she skipped the angel hair this year! You would have loved it.

Uncle M & Aunt D were here of course. It’s so wonderful to spend time with them. I feel like we bonded a lot with them this summer while you were sick. I really feel like we know each other now. Perry and Aunt D are just adorable when you get them together, we had a lot of good laughs. They got us the cutest pair of double sided fleece pillow cases, one side is GB, one side SF! They are soo comfy and the kitty cats sure love how warm they are. Uncle M & Aunt D are always just so thoughtful and generous. I know you know how great your family is, but I just thought I’d let you know that they’re for real. Nobody has changed since you left. I almost feel like they’re loving me more since you left, if that makes any sense.

I think my favorite part of Christmas Eve this year was that Brian came home. We didn’t get to see T and the baby, but Brian stayed with Dad for a couple days and I think they had a good time. He said my sugar cookies were really good. Everyone said they were just like yours! I was so stinkin proud of myself for actually pulling it off! I even cut the butter all by myself! Thanks for organizing your recipes in those binders, it makes my life soo easy! I know you did it for yourself but… 

Since Brian doesn’t have Facebook, he hadn’t seen my tattoo yet. So I showed him, and everyone else. They loved it. That was when the tears started flowing. I knew it was bound to come out, since it was Christmas and our first time really being with him since July. He hugged me and we both cried, and it actually kinda helped. 

I thought about you so much all week long, especially while I was baking your treats. I even made rocky road dream bars! I messed up the first batch, but the second batch was perfect! Perry’s parents let me use their kitchen all week, and he helped me decorate the sugar cookies. They also got me this beautiful pendant urn, so I can always keep a little bit of you with me. Isn’t it perfect? My Guardian Angel Jenny Rose… 

Oh Mommy… I have been so incredibly blessed by so many wonderful people since you went away. You sure picked some pretty amazing people to call friends. They’re really good at checking in on Dad and me. 

I mostly wanted to tell you how Christmas went without you, but I also wanted to say thank you. Thank you for always being there for us kids. For giving us such AMAZING Christmas memories and traditions to carry on with our own families. For instilling in me a deep love of Christmas, not just the lights and the music and the nativity and the presents and, but the whole thing. Christmas with you will forever be one of my fondest memories. Christmas without you will get easier as the years go on, at least I hope it will. I’m not gonna lie, this year was rough. I don’t think I’ve ever been this openly emotional. But the memories of you, and your smile that could light up a room, and your laughter, I can still hear it… They make me smile and laugh, and it makes my heart happy. I know if you were actually reading this, you would cry and say, “oh Potatie…” followed by some motherly words of wisdom… This letter isn’t really for you though, it’s for me. You always like to read my thoughts, and I’ve noticed that it really does help with the grieving process. I’m not a great writer. I write like I tell stories, jumping all over the place and taking forever to get to the point, but it comes out on paper like it would if I were telling a story. I find it easier to just write it, that way there’s no need for conversation, and I don’t get caught crying while trying to talk.

So, on that note, Merry Christmas Momma. The New Year is almost here. We survived our first holiday season without your beautiful face, though we know you are here in spirit. I love you Moo. ❤❤ 

Harder in the Happy Times?

This entry is kind of all over the place so please bear with me. These thoughts have been rolling around in my head for a couple weeks now and I just had to put them on paper

It’s been just over 3 months now since Mom passed. My emotions are all over the place on a daily basis, which I assume is normal when dealing with a loss of this magnitude. I’ve definitely realized in the last couple weeks that the happier I get, the deeper it hurts. 

Perhaps it’s because we were so close. I can’t just pick up the phone and call her whenever I have exciting news. I can’t spend my days off shopping with her and getting all excited for the holidays. 

We used to Damsel together, she’s a huge part of why I joined in the first place. I’ve been a Damsel in Defense Independent Pro for 3 years now, but right now, for the 3 months since she left, I’ve been working my business FOR REAL, and it’s been rewarding in more ways than I can express. I seriously think to call her every time something amazing happens, and then I get a little sad. I know she would be proud of my recent accomplishments. She was always my biggest supporter and number one cheerleader. Part of me continues to Damsel because I know it was important to her to see me succeed, and the other part continues to press harder because I believe in the mission with my whole heart! Even though I know how proud she is, or would be, my emotional reactions in these times definitely range from one extreme to the other.

And now the holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving happens to fall on Dad’s birthday this year, which is cool, but… we always have Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house (on Mom’s side)… I don’t really know what to expect this year, but I told Dad we’d do whatever he wants. I know Mom’s family will understand if we don’t go to Grandma’s, but at the same time I feel like we would be breaking Grandma & Grandpa’s hearts if we don’t. I guess it 100% depends on Dad, but either way, it’s going to be difficult. 

Then there’s Christmas… My absolute favorite. I’m a self-proclaimed Christmas-aholic and I’m pretty sure most of my love for it came from Mom. Although a couple years ago it became perfectly clear to me why I’m such a sap when it comes to Christmas: 

My brother and I are both adopted, and I noticed a few years ago that on Mom’s calendar there was a day marked for my brother’s family anniversary, (she’s always had every important date on the calendar) but there wasn’t one for me. So, after a few cocktails, I asked her why mine wasn’t on the calendar. Her response? “Well probably because we brought you home on Christmas?” Grinning ear to ear, the little light bulb turned on, and it all made sense! Christmas was the best day of my life! But now I have to learn how to enjoy and celebrate the best times without the person who made them the best times…

Christmas baking was definitely my mom’s niche.When I was a kid we used to make an entire gingerbread village! Stained glass windows in the church and everything! She had a list of recipes that she’d collected and perfected over the years, but her sugar cookies were ALWAYS at the top of the list. Last year, Mom was just starting to not feel well, so she was changing her diet and trying to figure out what was going on with her body. My husband actually teased her that we wouldn’t be making an appearance if there weren’t sugar cookies! Luckily for us, she left an entire binder full of her recipes. I’ll have to do my best to carry on her traditions in the kitchen, even if it takes me a few years to perfect them like she did.

 
There’s also the matter of the spare closet. I already went through all the clothing in it, but the rest is all of her Christmas decorations. Cute little things my brother and I made for her when we were babes. Things she’d been gifted over the years. Keepsake ornaments she’s had for over 30 years. 

For my entire adult life, she has picked out a tree, always a Noble fir, tirelessly harassed my dad until it’s been positioned exactly right, and then called me to come help decorate the tree and the house. We had a select set of tapes and cds we played while performing certain Christmas related tasks. 

It’s unfathomably difficult to remain happy while reminiscing of Christmases passed. I have found myself getting super duper excited for Christmas in the last few weeks, thanks Hallmark Channel, and then I remember that it’s all going to change. I’m almost certain Dad’s not going to want to have it at the house like we always do. (Although I’ve been too chicken to bring it up with him.) 

I’ve been tempted to just run away and cancel Christmas this year. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? 

Then my conscience knocks and delivers an all expenses paid guilt trip. It totally wouldn’t be fair to my grandparents, both in their 90’s and just lost their daughter, for us to abandon 30+ years of tradition just because I’m sad.

There is one HUGE reason, aside from guilt, to be excited about the Christmas season this year, and that’s my brand new baby nephew, who will be just shy of 5 months old come Christmas. He was born 22 days after Mom passed. It breaks my heart that Mom was never able to meet her first grandchild, but it’s our duty to make sure he knows how much his grandma wanted to meet him, and that she loved him very much! I’m trying to cling to the idea of making happy memories for this baby, rather than being melancholy over all the things I miss about Christmas the way it used to be. 
I’m sure everything will all work out, I’m clearly not the only person who has ever been in this situation. I know I’m probably just over-thinking everything and creating unnecessary anxiety for myself. I know it’s going to be emotionally exhausting no matter how it works out, and I guess I’d rather be emotional while surrounded by my family than off somewhere trying to hide my feelings. Maybe it will be a good healing experience. 

Lucky Number 7

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July 14, 2007 – Turtle Bay – Redding, California

It was 105 degrees outside, and my dress weighed about 15 pounds. I had been planning this day for a solid year, but had envisioned it for as long as I could remember. The museum had been filled with pink and yellow everything, including the bridal party. The best men, and maids of honor wore pink, while the groomsmen and bridesmaids wore yellow. I never knew those boys could clean up so nicely.

Everything was exactly as it should be. I was surrounded by my dearest friends and family, and the man of my dreams was waiting, anxiously, at the altar.

The ceremony was short and sweet, very traditional, yet personal. We became Mr. & Mrs. in about 10 minutes flat.

We danced back down the aisle to Yes! by Merry Clayton and out into the blazing heat to take pictures on the Sundial Bridge. Jennifer Marinelli did such a great job of capturing the moments I really wanted.
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As soon as we were done with photos, we went back into the air-conditioned museum to party the night away! There were so many special moments throughout the reception, I couldn’t even begin to put them all into words!

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I can tell you that we (the bride & groom) were the last people to leave! We were just having too much fun, with all of our favorite people. The soles of his shoes fell apart, and my bustle was torn. It was a spectacular night!

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Here we are today, 7 years later! I think it’s supposed to be 106 degrees today. There won’t be a huge party with tuxedos and fancy dresses, a giant cake, or hundreds of guests. But there will be a man, and his wife, celebrating together. There won’t be a barrage of photos, but perhaps a selfie or two. They won’t physically be with us, but we will always be surrounded by the love and support from our friends and family. There won’t be champagne, but there will certainly be a toast, to many years to come.

It’s hard to believe that 7 years have passed already! Apparently time really does fly when you’re having fun!! There’s no one else I’d rather be growing old with.

Happy Anniversary Babe! I love you forever!

Happy New Year

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2013 was a full year, to say the least. It was a bit of a roller coaster, but the highs definitely outweighed the lows.

*We spent some time getting to know some of our extended family.

*We had a couple of amazing vacations.

*I took another step toward reconnecting with some of my biological family.

*We welcomed lots of new family members.

*We made some unforgettable memories with some of our favorite people.

*We said goodbye to a few loved ones.

*We still didn’t get any answers from the doctors.

*I started this blog, people actually read it, and it feels good to put my thoughts on paper.

*I started a new business venture. I haven’t made much money yet, but it’s such a wonderful company to be a part of. I can’t wait to hit the ground running this year! Damsel in Defense

We had good days and bad days, but we’re still here to welcome the year ahead. I’m living a very blessed life with my favorite person in the whole wide world.

Here’s to another year, with many more memories to be made! Happy 2014 friends and lovers!!

My cup runneth over

I hope this post finds you all full of love, laughter and Christmas cheer! My wonderful husband and I had quite an enjoyable holiday, with both of our families this year.

Our Christmas was filled with:

  • a glorious riverside sunset
  • quality time with immediate and extended family
  • bountiful treats to devour
  • laughter and stories of years past
  • overwhelmingly generous and thoughtful gifts
  • family traditions on both sides
  • traditions of our own
  • Although gifts are special, we know they aren’t the reason we celebrate. Every gift has some special significance, and will always serve as a reminder of the person who gave it to you.

    This year, the most meaningful gift we received, came as a great surprise.

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    On November 18th, my husband’s sweet grandma, left this world to go be with Jesus. We haven’t done a whole lot of grieving, as it was sort of an expected passing. Most of the family got to say good-bye to her before things got bad. After she made the decision to end dialysis treatments, we all knew it was just a matter of time.
    Early this morning we had a moment that made us giggle and we knew, Grandma was here, celebrating with us. When it came time for presents, there was a box under the tree for us, from Grandma. In it was the very last baby blanket she ever crocheted. We don’t have any children yet, nor are we expecting, but she knew how much it would mean to us. One day, we will have both the first (the one she made when my hubby was born) and the last baby blankets made with love from Grandma.

    We all sat there and cried, and hugged each other for a few minutes. I can honestly say, that was the most meaningful
    and heartfelt gift, I have ever received.
    I am thankful for each and every gift I received this year, but this one takes the cake, and I will remember it forever.

    So, Grandma,
    Know that we love you, and of course we miss you. You touched a great number of hearts and lives while you were here with us, but now you’re in a much more wonderful place. I’m sure you have the perfect mani/pedi and your hair is stunning, as usual. You’ve finally hit the biggest jackpot of all, Grandma! You used to say it all the time, but now, because of you, my cup runneth over. Merry Christmas!

    A time for family

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    Christmas is my ultimate favorite time of year! The holiday season fills me with warm fuzzies and makes me yearn for more quality family time. Of course, it helps that everything is covered in lights and dripping with sparkly tinsel.

    Having been adopted, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the importance of family. I’m am in no way implying that biologically bonded “normal” families don’t understand it. I just mean that it’s different for those of us who have been blessed with families that chose to love us and take us in, when those whom we share genes with, didn’t have the means, or the courage to do so.

    My family means the world to me, and so does my husband’s family. And I’ve recently been given the opportunity to get to know some of my biological family. Social networking is a pretty spectacular thing!

    I just had a really nice chat with my biological father’s new wife. Having been adopted at such a young age, I had basically made up my mind about what my “biologicals” must be like. Turns out I may have been wrong. It would appear that the ideas I had, about who they were or are, were simply the thoughts of a jaded young lady, who had been hurt, and didn’t know how to let go. Forgiveness is so hard to give, yet it can be so healing when you finally let go. I thought I had forgiven them a long time ago, but there was definitely some bitterness that I was still keeping locked up inside.

    With the holidays here, and all the recent contact I have had with my half-sister and her new step-mother, I’ve been kind of flooded with emotions and racing thoughts. The hubby and I have been talking and praying about the idea of meeting these people. It’s still a little bit scary to think about, but it’s beginning to feel more and more like a good idea. Something to look forward to in the new year.