I was thinking about it yesterday. I looked at the clock and realized that one year ago at that time my mom and I were spending her last few hours on this earth together. I was holding my mom's hand for the last time. I gave her a final kiss. And I said goodbye.
Not forever. But for the time being.
Until we meet up again in heaven.
Knowing that we share the same faith, we both love our Savior, we have both been saved by grace and that we will be reunited once again. We will stand together before our Lord and rejoice.
This gives me comfort.
However, I'm still human, and I'm still vulnerable. And I still ache and hurt with the pain of losing my mother. Time does not heal all wounds. Whoever came up with that saying? No amount of time will make the loss go away nor will I ever miss her less. My mom will still be gone. And I will still miss her. And does anyone really ever stop grieving? I don't think so. I think you just learn how to live with it. You do not "get over it". Rather you learn how to create a new normal for yourself. And you slowly become able to smile more often than cry.
I have been reading through a book called: The Grief Recovery Handbook. I have learned many valuable things on this journey. How many times do you hear people say, "I know just how you feel" after you've lost someone? The truth is, no one can possibly know how you feel. All relationships are unique. Just because you lost your mom and I lost my mom, does mean that we know how each other must feel. We may have some general idea, but our experiences are profoundly individual.
Here's another truth:
Our entire lives we are taught how to acquire things. We are never taught what to do when we lose them.
Let that sink in a minute.
Well I could go on and on with bits of wisdom from this book. I still have a little ways to go before I'm finished reading it. Maybe I'll be able to share it all at some point.
But for now ...
... aren't these pansies beautiful? My mom loved pansies. She always made sure to help me plant some at each place I've lived. I was looking up the language of flowers and learned that pansies are actually the flower of remembrance.
Well, we didn't actually chuck it. It's still here.
We did, however, get rid of our DishNetwork.
So now we have no dish, no cable, just a TV.
We have an antennae and we can get local stations.
But really, there's not much on that's worth watching.
We weaned ourselves before we actually cancelled the dish. So for about 3 weeks prior we weren't watching TV. Can I just say, it was WONDERFUL!
It was so nice to not have the noise. The junk. The wasted time. We read books, we played games, we talked. Imagine that. I got some sewing projects done too.
Here's the thoughts behind getting rid of TV ... first, we're saving money. Second, most everything on television can be found on the Internet. But now that we've gone without, I don't really care to even find it on the Internet. Also, there are some shows (remember all my British tele posts?) and tons of movies that I check out from the library.
I really never thought I'd be dependent on an electronic device. But I am. My iPhone can do everything. I can check email, I can surf the web, I get weather updates, I can access maps that show me exact directions to my destination (complete with a little blinking pinpoint of where I am to show how much farther I need to go), I pay my bills, I take photos, I can Facebook, I listen to music, I can prevent global warming and save the planet!
Well, not quite, I don't think anyone has invented an app for that yet.
Oh yeah, I can even talk on the phone!
In fact, we completely eliminated our home phone.
You heard correctly, there is no telephone or phone line at my house! When I tell people this, they are astonished and perplexed. But I don't understand why. We don't really need a home phone anymore. I have my mobile, hubby has his, oldest daughter has hers. Our Internet is through cable. We don't need a phone line. So I had my home phone number transferred to my iPhone. So basically, you're calling me, not my house. Doesn't that make sense?
Funny story ... last summer when hubby and I were in Vegas for his business meeting, my dad calls. He called the old home phone number, which caused my iPhone to ring. I answered it and caught him off guard. He says, "I thought you were in Vegas." I said, "I am." He replies, "but I called the house." I had to tell him, "um no, you called the old house number, which is now my new cell number and you're actually talking to me while I'm in Vegas." Hmmm, he pondered for a bit. Then jokingly says, "well I didn't want to talk to you, I was calling your house to talk to talk to your brother." (my brother was staying at our house with my kids) To which I countered with, "Well, then you have to call his cell phone."
I guess the idea of calling the person, instead of the location will still take some time to sink in. Anyhow, back to my original train of thought ... lists. If I don't make lists I forget things. Well, I don't totally forget, I just sometimes remember too late. Like when the kids ask, "did you get shampoo at Target?" And I say, "no it wasn't on the list." And they say, "but I told you, don't you remember?" And I say, "yes, I remember now, but since it wasn't on the list I didn't remember it when I was actually at Target!" To which I get the big eye roll in response. So now, the kids know to grab my iPhone and find the Target list and add their items.
I'm not sure if it's true, but somehow having lists makes me feel more organized. Plus I love the sense of accomplishment when I can cross something off of the list!
Here is a list of the current lists I have going:
*Save Mart (groceries)
*Von's (more groceries)
*B-Alive (my vitamin/health supplement store)
*Outdoor chores to do
**sub list: garden plan
*Indoor chores (daily/weekly)
*Indoor projects (stuff that needs to be fixed/painted/redecorated, etc)
*daily school plan
*weekly school plan
*monthly school plan
*yearly school ... well you get the idea
*daily to-do list
*bills to pay
*drama prop list (for our upcoming play production)
Somehow, somewhere, at some point in time she acquired this tiny little toy dolphin. By tiny, I mean it's not even an inch long. I'm not even sure exactly when, or how, the game started. But it goes like this:
I hide the dolphin.
You find the dolphin.
Now it's your turn to hide the dolphin.
Then I find the dolphin.
And we keep going like that.
But there's a catch ...
We have no idea when the other one is going to do this!
For example ...
I open up my nightstand drawer to get a book, and there sits the little dolphin. So I hang on to it, wait for a day, or two, or 12, and then I hide the dolphin in her jewelry box. She may not open her jewelry box for a week. But eventually she does, finds the dolphin, and then starts plotting her next hiding place so I can discover the dolphin again. This has been going on for a couple of years now I think. Then all of a sudden the little dolphin stopped turning up. I assumed that one of us had hidden it so well that the other one never found it and the hider forgot where she hid it.
Well imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I sat down at my computer and opened up the case for my glasses and there sat the little dolphin! I was so surprised. Then I started getting a whiff of mint. Hmm, this is odd. So I ask my oldest where in the world did dolphin turn up. She says, "remember Mom, you hid him in the cap of my toothpaste tube?" Oh yeah ... I had totally forgotten. She opened up her toothpaste, there was dolphin peeking out from the goo of vanilla-mint Crest and so she squeezes it to pop him out and he ends up getting sucked into the tube. She had to wait until the tube was empty to get him out. No wonder he smelled minty fresh.
So I hung on to dolphin for a few days and then I hid him in the back pocket of her new Build-A-Bear dog's blue jeans. I know she found it. So now I wait ...
I was thinking about this today. About my wonderful friends. And I started noticing that I have several friends who's first names start with the letterK. I even looked on Facebook and I have 22 female K friends. And check this out ... my middle starts with K. Not only that, my middle name actually is Kay! I don't know why, I just thought this was pretty amazing.
So I started thinking about all these K friends. I want to share a bit about a few of them. Pay attention, you may recognize yourself here ...
KK ... I've talked about her here before. In fact, there may even be some photos of her on my blog. I'm thinking of a particular photo that goes back about 25 years. This is noteworthy, because we've been friends for a long time. And there is nothing else as treasured as a long time friend. This is the friend who knows how silly and irrational I can be at times. And she knows she can be the same way with me because we totally get each other. I can tell her anything and not fear judgement. I can scream and shout and whine and cry to her. She knows stuff about me ... and she still loves me!
KR ... is truly one of the sweetest girls I know. We met through homeschooling. I love her gentle and kind nature, her willingness to help, her devotion to her hubby and daughter. Every time we see each other we can just fall into conversation about absolutely anything. I admire her love for the Lord and the radiance she projects because of that love.
KB ... is one of my most favorite people in the world. She just makes me happy! Her smile and laugh are so infectious, you just want to be around her. We have a lot in common. In fact, there are times we can just look at each other and know exactly how the other one is feeling without saying a word. I think we have talked about practically everything at some point, yet when we get together it just seems like there's never enough time because we could talk on and on forever. She is also very thoughtful and kind. I've found little gifts dropped on my doorstep. As well as dinner for my family at a time when I needed it most. She's definitely a blessing in my life. And she has a huge tea collection. ;-)
KB ... I have another KB friend. We used to be neighbors. But thankfully our friendship has survived their move across town. Our families have hung out together ever since our oldest kids were little. Then we both ended up pregnant with our youngest at the same time. Her son and my Emma are a month apart. I have so many great memories of spending time with this friend. Most of our get-togethers revolve around the pool and the BBQ. Or at least food of some sort. (And the occasional margarita ;-) We love to get together and eat and chat for hours. Which reminds me, we're due for a date!
I recently lost a K friend. She was a scrapbooking buddy from way back. We met when our middle kids were babies. In fact, her daughter and my son share a birthday. Despite the distance across country, we managed to keep in touch all these years. She was a great mom, a loving wife, a devoted friend, and a very talented gal. She was such an inspiration to me. Sadly, she passed away on Christmas Eve.
Our family is pretty good about all of us sitting down to dinner together. Granted, there are a couple of nights a week where some of us are off playing floorball, or are at drama rehearsals. But for the most part, we are a family that sits down to dinner together on a regular basis. It is one thing I love and treasure about my family.
Tonight however I had the pleasure of dining with just one of my children. My husband was busy treating a patient and my older two kids were so engrossed in their homework I didn't have the heart to tell them to stop and come and eat. (translation: one kid didn't want a full stomach before floorball practice and the other was busy on the computer and chose not to come when the dinner bell rang).
So my almost 6-year-old and I dined together. The dinner conversation was fascinating.
Below is the transcript:
Emma: So whatta you wanna talk about?
Me: I don't know. Do you want to talk about something?
Em: Well yes. That's what you're supposed to do. You sit down, you eat, and you talk.
Me: Ok, let's talk. You go first.
Em: Well ok. Did you know that Tom loves Becky?
Me: Yes, I think I heard something about that.
Em: Tom, he's so handsome. He sat down with Becky and asked her to go 'gaged.
Me: You mean, engaged?
Em: Yeah, that's what I said. He said, Becky have you ever been gaged before? And Becky said no, what does it mean to be gaged. And Tom said I think you have to kiss. And he gave her a ring. And he said something about some other girl and Becky got mad and said she didn't want to gage him anymore.
Me: That's interesting. How do you know about Tom and Becky?
Em: You know, from the movie.
Me: Oh yes. Well wait until you read the book. Did you know it's a book?
Em: Of course. Just like Huckberry. He's in the movie too. But the movie is much better than the book.
Me: Really? Because I usually like the books much better than the movies.
Em: Hmmm. So when did you get gaged?
Me: In 1989. By the way, do you know what engaged means?
Em: Of course. You have to kiss and get married. It's very romantic.
Me: You think so? What does romantic mean?
Em: Mom, you know. When he's handsome and everything. That's romantic. And do you remember when the 2 kids across the street moved away? I was like 3 years old.
Me: I remember. What does that have to do with romantic.
Em: And then Riley moved in?
Me: I think you're changing the subject here.
Em: Riley is my friend.
Me: Yes, I know. What do you like about Riley?
Em: She's nice. Can I have dessert?
Me: You have to finish your dinner. You've been talking so much you haven't eaten.
Instead of an art lesson today, I had a lesson on artists.
I just finished watching a very impressive series called The Impressionists.
This is a story of the great painters of the Impressionists era. The story is told by the old Monet looking back on his life: how he got started, his friendships with fellow artists, his inspirations, the struggles, the vast locations and subjects of the art. It is truly a visual feast. The landscapes and scenery are stunning. The colors are amazing. A scene will show one of the artists painting one of his famous works, then will still shot into the actual finished painting with the name captioned. It's really like seeing the life behind the artwork.
This is the younger Monet ...
Played by, you guessed it ...
I just love a chance to put his photo on my blog again. Can you blame me?
Now, it's tea time and I'm off to brew my new favorite:
I know it sounds like an odd combination ... chocolate and jasmine ... but it's quite lovely. So I'll sip my tea and reflect on art for a while.
I've flirted with Flylady for years. She's very motivational, but I tend to get distracted or simply annoyed by the pressure and I don't keep up very well. But occasionally my house looks, feels and smells pretty good. You know, when all the stars align, I'm on a cleaning kick, and the kids have willingly and cheerfully completed their chores, above and beyond my impossibly high expectations. Yeah, then. It doesn't happen often, and the results are very brief before the mess starts up again. But for a tiny bit of time, it's pure bliss to have a clean house.
Part of the bliss comes from these fine products ...
At one point I was going to start making my own cleaning products. I was going for that non-toxic, healthy approach. But seriously, I can only do so much. I know it's not terribly time consuming to make your own products. But I get such joy out of not having to do that one extra thing. Mrs. Meyer's claims to be "earth-friendly, biodegradable, phosphate free". Good enough for me. The products work just as good as any others I've tried. But what sold me was the smell! They contain essential oils and smell absolutely divine. My favorite scents are Basil, Lavender, and Lemon-Verbena. I can't believe how often I'm cleaning my counters and kitchen table now.
I have no affiliation with Mrs. Meyer's. Other than I will be a forever customer now. I'm sold!
So today I had a clandestine meeting with some guy I met on the Internet.
We've been exchanging emails for a couple of days.
He was offering me something I couldn't refuse.
So today we met.
And he delivered everything he promised me he would. And more!
Ok, ok ... so it wasn't as secretive and illicit as all that. Don't be letting your minds wander.
Really, what kind of a girl do you think I am?
The truth is, I recently joined my local Freecycle group.
Are you aware of Freecycle.org?
Well I wasn't until just a few months ago.
Basically, it's an email group. You join a group that's local to you. Now you're a part of a community privy to items people are looking to give away. Or you can post items you would like to pass along. It's all free. The idea is to share things you no longer want or need instead of tossing them. And it creates a community of sharing and caring.
I love that!
I have noticed all sorts of items up for grabs. Everything from furniture and exercise equipment to baby formula and boxed mac and cheese.
Today, this is what I scored ...
A very nice gentleman was sharing his abundance of purple potatoes, ready for planting!
This is what I'm talking about ...
the whole sharing and caring community thing.
He grows potatoes, had way more seed potatoes than he needs for his own use, and is thoughtful enough to want to share with others. What a blessing.
He even threw in some garlic too!
I can't wait to get my garden tilled and ready to plant!
Now I know sometimes things like this can go sour, and there are people who don't join the group for the right reasons, and others that flake on their promises, and all that. But I have faith that by and large people are going to play nice and be fair. Besides, I made sure my family knew where I was going. And I took my now-taller-than-I-am, with-a-developing-deep-voice, son with me just in case.
And I met a new friend! And I gained some valuable knowledge about growing potatoes and garlic. And even a tip on a good source for baby chicks whenever we get our backyard coop ready.
Next step, cleaning out my garage so I can pass along some things we no longer need. What's that saying ... one man's trash is another man's treasure. Then I'm sure we can bless many people out there with our bounty!
Last night I made a home-remedy recipe for cough syrup.
It has ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper.
The cayenne pretty much makes your throat numb. So in essence you could say it works in an odd way.
My son cut off his long golden red locks today.
My son is also now taller than me and closing in fast on his dad.
Sometimes I hear my son's voice from another room and wonder who the strange man is in my house.
I sat in our pool today.
It didn't have any water in it.
But I still froze.
Kids and I are working on a 1000 piece puzzle of San Francisco.
A perfect activity for a cold, dreary day.
I was surprised at how well my almost 6-year old does with a puzzle like that.
I assumed she wouldn't be able to focus long enough on it, but she shows great concentration. And she's very good at finding the exact piece I'm looking for.
She amazes me on a daily basis.
Same daughter also talks non-stop.
Chatter, chatter, chatter.
I just had to pause between typing those last 2 sentences because she had something to tell me.
I'm still watching British tele.
Last series I completed was called Berkeley Square.
Quaint little show about the divide between upper class society and their hired help. Sadly the show only ran for one season. It was good costuming homework for me though as we'll be using some turn of the century styles in our upcoming play production.
I'm now watching BBC's Robin Hood.
I'll have to do a separate post on that one since a certain Richard Armitage stars in it.
Isn't it interesting how memories can be linked to a specific smell? Anytime I smell raisin pie I'm taken right back to my grandma's kitchen. The smell of Coppertone reminds me of the summers of my youth. And star jasmine in bloom reminds me of buying our first house. Which we still live in, by the way, yet the star jasmine no longer grows along the front walk.
This is the smell of my mother.
Her signature fragrance was Estee Lauder's Youth Dew. She preferred the bath oil over the spray. She would dab it on her wrists and neck and behind her ears.
She would always purchase her Youth Dew at Gottschalk's department store. Many times she would splurge and get the dusting powder too.
I now have the last bottle of Youth Dew my mom owned. There is about half of a bottle left. I keep it in my dresser drawer. Every time I open the drawer I get a subtle whiff of my mother. It's the smell of warmth, security, reassurance, tenderness, confidence, strength, compassion and love.
Luna is about 7 years old. We got her at the SPCA after our beloved Calorie died. I've always had a cat in my life. I can't imagine not having a cat. The kids and I went and looked at all the kitties at the shelter ... and Luna chose us!
That's how it works you know. Unlike a dog, you don't chose a cat, they chose you.
Well Luna settled right in and took over the house.
And we all got along fine.
Then we did the unthinkable, inconsiderate act of having a baby and actually bringing it home. To live in Luna's house.
She was not happy.
A few years later we err again and bring home a dog.
Into a house dominated by a cat who was barely tolerating a baby at that point.
Well, we took it a step too far last year and really blew it when we adopted 2 stray cats living behind our garden shed.
These 2 cats are outdoor girls. But it doesn't matter.
Luna's had enough.
So guess what she does now to show her disapproval?
She pees on the carpet!
Eeeeegads ... there is nothing worse than cat pee on the carpet. She has one spot in the hall that she returns to whenever she's feeling stressed.
Now I'm the one that's about to blow a fuse over her behavior.
I've tried everything to deter her. I have used the enzyme products and cleaners. I have ripped up the corner of the carpet to get all the way down to the concrete foundation to deodorize and clean it. I bought her a new litter box that she loves. She gets plenty of attention and food and treats and toys. She certainly acts like life is good. And yet, she still does it.
I am a Wife, a home schooling Mom trying to keep up with 3 kids (ages 7, 15, 18), raw milk drinker and local produce eater, wanna-be hippie earth mother, thinker and dreamer ... and soon to be world traveler!!! ... living each day with thanks and glory to The Lord