Uncategorized

I Googled My Mom Today

I Googled my mom today, hoping to find some new-to-me fact about her that I could pretend was a memory we just made. I thought It would be like getting to know her all over again, before those fading glimpses of our time together escape me entirely. It’s not like I haven’t done this before. Every year I spend an hour or so building a word salad and believing wholeheartedly that I’m just one key word or phrase away from uncovering the motherload. Google disappoints every time. But that’s ok. I have a bigger search engine, family and friends who loved her just as fiercely. They remind me every Mother’s Day what a blessing she was to the world. The stories they share about how she touched their hearts bring her to life again. They make me laugh and cry. They make me grateful and proud. They make me feel like I’m sitting right next to her. Most importantly, they fill up my memory bank again and carry me through another year.

Happy Mother’s Day ❤️

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Poetry

Memory Care

I wrote this in September of 2019 just after my father made the decision to place his long time girlfriend into memory care.

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Memories of my mother

who wasn’t

She’s not here any more

For years she tore

the flesh and bone of his soul

Ceaseless berating

belittling and blaming

became

His comfort

No more

He’ll remember those glimpses of good

The in between

Moments when she put away her guns

and loved him

for who he was

A good man

who’s finally drawn the line

He’ll do what’s right

Not what just looks right from the outside

He tried

and tried

and tried

He’ll honor all those years

Let her have some dignity while there’s still time

He’ll say goodbye

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Uncategorized

Mother’s Day

As my sister and, honestly anyone that has ever met me even once can attest, this holiday is a tough one. In the days that lead up to it I can be short tempered and easily emotional, letting all the pain loss be felt, whether I realize it at the time or not. This year has been different though. This year it surprised me in a new way.

While having breakfast with my wife yesterday, I put down my fork and quietly said “I’ve never really thought about how hard Mother’s Day must have been for my parents. I can’t even imagine”

I’ve spent more of my life than not, 26 years to be exact, grieving my mother’s illness and subsequent death.  Nearly all the choices I’ve made or failed to make can be attributed to that grief. My life was profoundly affected by the experience of losing her and everyone I’m close with knows that.

What they may not know is that my parents lost their mothers on the same day in the same year.  That’s right, both mother and mother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly gone on the same day in 1972 when my dad was just 34 and my mom 29 (a year younger than I was when she passed). I wrote about my 4yr old memory of that day in here The Day I Picked Iron Man and My Grandmas Died. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

How could they have possibly endured that?  I’ve limped my way through the past quarter century hamstrung by my sadness and have spent every Mother’s Day feeling loss rather than celebrating who she was.

Today is different though. Today is about the gratitude I feel for both my parents. Today is about assuring them that their mothers would be so proud of them and the lives they’ve lived. Today is about thanking them for the tenacity they had to live through such incredible losses and still give my sister and me an amazing life.

Thank you, Mom and Dad. Happy Mother’s Day ❤

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Poetry

By Myself

Sometimes when I’m by myself i cry.

I don’t know why the tears flow

more easily in the solitude of my own mind.

When I fly.

Alone.

They come.

My heart open wide.

Vulnerable to the memories,

pains,

and joys of my life.

Like a songbird that waits for the break

of dawn to open its throat and sing with everything it has,

quieting it’s music in the full light

I fight

the urge to burst,

seemingly with all the strength I have

and so much so

it hurts.

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Poetry

Rip Cord

Loving you feels

like leaping without a chute.

All at once

Exhilarating, terrifying, and the truth.

We step over the threshold willingly welcoming

the free fall

clinging

to all our hopes, dreams, and that one we hold dear.

You pull the rip cord on my heart

opening a canopy so wide

there’s room for both of us inside.

Our bodies intertwine.

Spinning through vast space and time

until our shadow casts a net over that place

we’ll collectively feel our roots again.

And we jump again, and again, and again.

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Poetry

Hot Knife

Your memory moves through me like a hot knife on cold butter

Melting the hardness as it goes and

I know

you’re here again to make it all better

The champion of my strength and encourager of my softness from those days before I was fully formed has come home. 

You roam through the hallways of my mind

the guide 

for my own hand to pick up that hot knife myself and cut through the solid surrounding me

Freeing that tenderness that needs to be seen

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Mom's Brain, Uncategorized

I’m Never Going Home

“I’m never going home”.

Those words were the last to ever touch my ears from my mother’s lips.

Hitting my heart like a ton of bricks, I never could have believed it would the last time I would look into her pale blue eyes or see that broken body that used to store the strongest and most generous soul I’ve ever known. In that one fleeting moment of lucidity, she conveyed more truth than she’d been capable of in longer than I can remember.

Her words weren’t just true (she died 3 days later), they’ve also served as my vitality killing kryptonite for nearly twenty years. Racked with guilt, shame, and sadness, I’ve barely lived. Blaming myself for crimes I didn’t commit and searching painfully for things that don’t exist to fill the massive hole in my heart I thought she left.

The perfect body.

The perfect career.

The perfect relationship.

The perfect home.

The perfect words…

No matter how many times beautiful, loving people said “Your mom wouldn’t want this for you”, and my head bobbed up and down in rote acknowledgement, my heart locked down as if filled with fresh cement, preserving the hurt inside me like a crypt.

I’ll never know what I’ve missed.

It doesn’t matter now.

Somehow, and believe me I wish I had some brilliant little nugget of wisdom to convey rather than “I just woke up one day”, her words are now my mantra.

I’m never going home.

I’m never going home to that place where worry and regret are my roommates.

I’m never going home to that place where my success and self worth are measured by a full plate.

I’m never going home to that place where my head and my heart avoid play dates.

I’m never going home to that place where I believe it’s too late.

I’m already home.

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Uncategorized

Her Gift

me-and-janWhat gift can I possibly give someone who helped lift me out of the darkness?

What gift could ever convey “thank you for lending me your eyes to find my way and your heart to believe that tomorrow is always a new day”?

As I rack my mind to find that perfect thing, that perfect symbol to represent how grateful I am that you were born, tears fill my eyes and I realize the answer lies inside.

Words.

Words that for many years I feared.

Scared of failing.

Scared of succeeding.

Scared of even being.

A writer wasn’t who I was seeing when I looked in the mirror.

Over these last few months that image has finally become clearer.

When that darkness was about to win, there you were again like you’ve always been.

Thank you.

Thank you for finding me when you were just 17 and I was a ripe old 18.

Thank you for overwhelming them with your incredible power in game 1, making it possible for me to shine in game 2.

Thank you for playing along as I tell a story for the umpteenth time.

Thank you for making me laugh harder than anyone else can.

Thank you for all the times you’ve picked me up off the floor both literally and figuratively.

Thank you for believing in me even when I couldn’t bear the pain of opening my eyes to a new day.

Thank you for our first 30 years of friendship. I hope to be even half the friend you are in our next 30.

Cheers to my dearest friend and one of the kindest, most generous, selfless people I know.

Happy Birthday! Xoxo

P.S You’ll get a real gift too 😃

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Uncategorized

What She Taught Me


My adult brain was only about  half-baked when she left. To be honest, most of the time it feels only about half-baked now. If I was any good at math I could probably calculate the true fraction of understanding I had of the world when the person I relied upon for almost every answer was cruelly and without warning ripped from my life, but I’m not, so I’ll just round up and say “one tenth of not much”.

It wasn’t until she was gone that I realized how much she had taught me in our short time together. Even though I can’t pick up the phone and call her anymore, which makes my heart twist like spounge  any time I think about it, I still talk to her and she still reminds me that there are a few equations that solve almost all of life’s problems. 

  • People are always more important than things so give whatever you can
  • Smiling and laughing, even if you don’t feel like it, cures a bad mood
  • You can never earn more time so spend it like you know that

The detailed memories of our time together may fade with each year removed, but every Mother’s Day they burn brightly again and take up their rightful place in my over occupied mind.  Mom even calls me sometimes, like she did today, and gives another important lesson-

Always show your work

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