Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Reflection on Five Years

Five years ago today, the most important person in my life finally succumbed to ALS, after an 11 year battle.  Five years, my heart was ripped into a million pieces.  Five years which at times seems like 5 minutes and other times it feels like a whole lifetime.

One thing I have learned is that no one is an expert on grief - everyone grieves differently.  No one talks about how much you will regret EVERYTHING and how much guilt you will feel.  I wasn't there enough, I didn't say enough, I didn't thank enough, did she really know how much I loved her. There is NEVER enough time with a loved one, period.  I don't know if I will ever not regret or not feel guilty, but at least it dissipates over time and I can at least be more thankful for the time I did have then regret the time I didn't.

Another thing I have learned about grief is that I don't think there is ever closure of the "five stages".  I will always be angry that my mom got sick, I will always be angry that there was no cure.  I still would like to bargain with the powers that be - I would gladly trade someone to have my mom back. I will always be heartbroken that my mom is not with me.  I will always miss her.  As a rational, intelligent human being, of course I accept that she is gone, but there is no peace in that acceptance and maybe there will never be.

As an adult, with a job and a child, etc., I did not have the luxury of shutting down and checking out and letting myself grieve.  Life went on, my job went on, my child needed to be taken care of.  One day a year, that is when I let myself grieve.  But as I did today, I met someone who made me think about my process.  My daughter is almost 6 years old, my mom passed away a month before her 1st birthday so she has no memory of her.  I rarely talk about my mom with my daughter because it is hard, because I get sad.  I realized that I want my daughter to know about my mom, and it is ok if she sees me get sad.  I have to start telling her about my mom, letting her know how much I hurt without her, and that these feeling are all ok.

My mom was a strong, independent, fierce woman (at least that is how I saw her).  She spoke her mind and she was unapologetic for it.  She pissed off her enemies and sometimes her friends!  She was silly and kind, and she had a twisted sense of humor.  She loved with everything she was and I could always see how much she hurt when any of her kids hurt.  She was tough and strong and a bit stubborn. She was beautiful.  The world is a darker place without her in it.

Everything I am today as a person and as a mother was inspired by her.  Not only did she give me life, but she gave me more strength than I ever knew I had. I hope wherever she is, she is proud of what I have done and who I have become.

Mom - there will never be enough words to describe how I feel or how much I miss you.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

One Woman's Thoughts on the Election, America, and What it all Means to Me

With the presidential election just days away, I have been thinking a lot about what it all means. This has been an emotionally charged time, not just for myself but for most of America is seems.  I have found myself getting angry, worked up, and stressed.  I feel like the stakes are high, much higher than they have ever been in my lifetime.  I remember watching in college as the polls closed and Bush beat Gore and we were upset.  But it wasn't the fear, anxiety, and hatred of this election season.  I am terrified: Terrified for people at polls who might bring guns;  Terrified for people who might riot and incite violence when Trump doesn't win; Terrified of what has been brought out in many Americans that will take years to fix, if it can even be fixed.

I am an opinionated woman and maybe a bit more judgmental than I would prefer to be.  I know what I like and I know who I like and I don't need a lot of time to figure that out.  Maybe I have been too judgmental this election, maybe I have lost or damaged friendships, maybe I just don't care?  I don't mind having friends with differing opinions and view points.  I love a healthy debate or disagreement and I think it helps us all to be more intellectual to do so.  But, as I look at this election and I look at the many Americans who support Trump, I find myself thinking I could never be friends with people like that, people with the same values as that God awful man.

The thing that continues to baffle me the most is the hypocrisy of Trump supporters and their unwillingness to actually read facts.  Take for example, the facts that Trump has made fun of women, the disabled, veterans, minorities, etc and yet he is "just kidding" or "he is saying what's on his mind".  Hillary says ONE negative thing about half of Trump supporters (the KKK, neo-nazi's etc) and she is persecuted for it.  HYPOCRITES.  Quite frankly, if you believe and support the KKK, then I think you are a deplorable human being and I wish bad things for you.  Let's talk about facts - Trump has bankrupt at least 6 of his businesses, not to mention the failure of Trump Steak, Trump airlines and the FRAUDULENT Trump U.  But all I hear from Trump supporters is that he is a great business man.  Seriously?  If you believe that, you need to go back to school because you obviously don't understand business.  FACT - Trump has said nasty and derogatory things about women his whole life.  Millions of girls have heard this and it is having an effect on their self-esteem.  As a women and mother or a girl, I can't understand how any women or mother with girls can write this off as funny, or "locker room talk".  And, I wonder how many of you would be screaming sexual harassment if someone at your work did or said things like this to you?  I wonder how many of you would be calling for the impeachment of Obama if even one woman said he looked at her funny?  HYPOCRITES.  How about Trump's (and his supporters) remarks on "using their second amendment rights?  He should be jailed for that, it is a threat of violence against a Presidential nominee.  I bet that if Hillary indicated any sort of violence against Trump, you would be calling for her hanging.  HYPOCRITES.

It is true, there is a lot at stake this election.  I think the biggest thing at stake is who we are and who we want to be.  Who am I?  Who do I want to be?  Most importantly, what do I want my children to be?  I want my children to know that everyone is different and that we should celebrate people for their differences rather than bully and demean them.  I want my children to stand up for what they believe in without fear of persecution.  I want my children to accept everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, or disability.  I want my daughter to respect herself, to dress however she feels comfortable, and to always be comfortable in her own skin.  Beauty fades, weight fluctuates, but intelligence, humor, self-respect, kindness - those things always prevail.  I want my daughter to know it is ok (and even encouraged) to speak out against anyone who assaults her in anyway - physical or verbal.  I don't want her to ever feel uncomfortable with how she dresses or acts.  I want my son to stand up for his sister and all women.  I want my son to respect women, to not treat them as objects, but as human beings no different than himself.   I want my children to obtain facts, to research issues, before making up their minds on something.  I want my children to live without fear of being hurt for expressing their opinions.  

Those are the things I want, those are the things I am. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On Your 5th Birthday

Dear Ava,

How is it possible that you are already 5 years old and in kindergarten.  You continue to amaze me every day.  You are incredibly smart and I hope you cherish that above all else.  You are also incredibly strong-willed.  As frustrating as it can be to parent you at times, I know that you will be such a strong, fierce, independent woman who will not take any shit from anyone!  You have an amazing sense of humor and a wonderful laugh.  You can frustrate the hell out of me and then turn around to be one of the most loving people I have ever known.  

Every day with you is an adventure (and some are a struggle!), but there is nothing that brings me greater joy than watching you grow and change into the silly, sassy, loving person you are meant to be.  I hope you always know how proud I am of you every day and how much you are loved.  You are smart, you are strong, you are caring, you are independent, you are silly, you are sassy, you are beautiful.  I love you more than you will ever know.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

She's a faded smile, frozen in time.

Dear Mom,

It sounds cliche to say I can't believe it's been four years already, but I can't believe it.  It's been a weird year - The Donald could be the next president, Han Solo died, Jon Stewart left TV.  Crazy freaking world right now!  I miss not being able to share all these "small" things with you.

Ava is starting kindergarten this year and Hayden is going into his second year of high school.  It's really weird and I feel old:)  Ava decided she wants to do gymnastics, which means I can live my Olympic dreams vicariously through her.

I wish I could say I was doing as well as the kids, but I just don't know.  I feel like I am falling apart and the one person who is supposed to be here for me, to listen, to advise, to knock sense into me, or just to listen and love is not here.  I wonder if there will ever be a time when I am not angry that you got sick.  I wonder if the guilt ever goes away - guilt of not spending enough time with you, guilt over not having Ava spend more time with you, guilt over not being there with you at the end, guilt that I don't think about you as much, guilt that I can't hear your voice, guilt that I am not doing enough to honor your life.  I wish I could hear your voice one more time telling me everything will be ok, that you forgive me. 

 I'm sorry you had to go and I hope that you are looking down with a smile and that you are proud of how we have all turned out.  I truly owe you so much and I will always wish I had thanked you more for everything you did for me, everything you gave up and sacrificed for me.  It is truly an honor to be able to call you Mom.  I am so lucky to have had you in my life for 32 short years.  You were an amazing woman, with "a heart so big, God wouldn't let it live".  Thank you for loving me with all of your heart.  I love you so much and miss you so much.

Love Always,

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Four on the 4th

Dear Ava,

I cannot believe you are four years old.  Where did the time go?  You make me want to pull my hair out half the time, but the other half of the time you are one of the sweetest, smartest, most loving people I know.


 I am amazed everyday by how independant you are and how smart you are.  You are certainly beautiful but I hope you always put the worth of your brain above the worth of your beauty.  I have no doubt in my mind that you can and will be whatever you want to be.  The only thing that holds you back is you.  I watch as you try to tie your shoes and get so frustrated that you cannot do it right away and that makes me so frustrated because I want you to understand that things take time.  Not everything in life is easy but if you practice, you will get it.  I hope you never give up on anything that you want.  

You certainly have an amazing personality and you have since day one.  You are a wonderful mommy, you are creative, and a goofball!

You are so loved by so many and I am thankful everyday for all of the wonderful people in your life.  Never lose yourself, never stop being who you are, and never be afraid.  You are so strong and brave and I admire you more than you will ever know.  The last 4 years have been an honor to be your mommy and I can't want to see what the future holds.

Happy fourth birthday you silly, sweet, loving, strong willed little girl!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Years are Rolling by Me

Dear Mom,

I can't believe it has been three years since you left.  It feels like I have lived a lifetime without you but at the same time it still hurts like it was just yesterday.  It is still so surreal that it almost feels like maybe you are on vacation!  I never imagined what my life would be like with out you or that I could even go on without you and yet here I am.  Life goes on for me and around me like nothing ever happened.
I am doing better, coping better I guess.  Or maybe I have just learned to better compartmentalize?  But sometimes I still feel so lost and angry.  Why aren't you here to impart unwanted parenting advice on me?  Why aren't you here to tell me "I told you so"?  Why aren't you hear to give me a hug when I am feeling down and defeated?
You and Ava would have been the best of friends, I am sure of it.  She has the DeVeney "spunk".  She also has our attitude.  Sometimes I think the only time she looks sort of like me is when she is mad!  I read all of the weekly notes you wrote when I was a baby/toddler and it is amazing because I could have written that for Ava (in fact maybe I will copy them and change the name!).  

She and Hayden are BFF's, most of the time.  He is amazing with her.  I don't remember Jeremy or Josh ever caring about me and Angela as much as Hayden cares about Ava.  I hope they can always be close...

This time of year is always hard, and I am sure it always will be.  There is almost nothing I wouldn't do to have another day with you.  I hope I am making you proud.  You truly are my inspiration.  I will wish for the rest of my life that I thanked you more for everything you did for me.  I love you more than you will ever know.  

I  really, really, really miss you....
Love always - M

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day.  I now I should have said it so much more often while you were here, but you were an amazing mom and I am so lucky to have had you.  You taught me what it truly means to be a mom.  You taught me about the sacrifice that a mother makes every day, starting when her baby is born, to put that child above anyone else including yourself.  You taught me what unconditional love really is.  You taught me that a mother may not like everything her child does, but will always love and stand by them and never, EVER walk away from them. 

 I miss you every day and I hope I am turning into the kind of mother that would make you proud, someone like you.

Love Always,