Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Bracelet

It’s amazing the types of things that comfort us in difficult times. The day we buried mom was perhaps the worst day of my life. When I lost dad that was bad enough, but mom and I had been inseparable since dad passed and I had lost a very large piece of my heart that day. I remember standing in the chapel at the funeral home looking at her in the casket, memories of her flooding my brain as I cried, feeling so alone and wanting to just crawl in there with her. What was I going to do without her?

The funeral director called us to come together in the family room so I touched mom’s face one last time and said my final goodbye. As I tried desperately to put one foot in front of the other, I saw something out of the corner of my eye; I turned my head and laying there on the empty pew was one of those bracelets that we used to make when we were kids – you know the kind with the different colored string wound together to make what was then called a “friendship bracelet.” It was pink and black and white and was a bit big so I had to double it in order to put it on my wrist. I haven’t taken it off since.

IMG_1345

Why – when the chapels are cleaned daily and hers was the first service of the day – would this have been left there? Surely, someone on staff would have picked it up and thrown it away or put it in the lost and found after the final service the previous day? The answer is simple – I’ve come to believe that mom left this bracelet there for me, just so I would know she was okay. Because I had to double the bracelet, it feels as if I have mom’s arms holding me, keeping me safe. I know the day will come when I won’t need it anymore, and I am leaving that decision to fate. One morning I will wake up or I’ll be at work and look down and it will be gone. I’m not looking forward to that day because as simplistic as it seems, this bracelet has become a part of me and is a reminder that mom is still with me. It has become a “security blanket” of sorts and like a child with a pacifier, it keeps me calm.

Mom told me when I was three years old, we were in the car riding down Broad Street and all of a sudden, I threw my beloved pacifier out the window. When she asked me why, my response was “no want.” I never used a pacifier again. Perhaps the day my bracelet leaves me will be the day I “no need,” but I’ll cherish it while I have it.

Advertisements

Note to Younger Self

Brad Paisley is a hell of a singer/songwriter. He can take any topic and write about it in a way that will make the listener relate and think about their own life. Case in point – his song of reflection entitled “Letter to Me.” While I was working today, this particular song came on and it got me thinking about my own letter and what I would say to my younger self if I had the chance:

note-to-my-younger-self-650x400

1. When mom and dad get into their only fight in 47 years of marriage over a Snicker’s Bar, and mom grabs her purse and runs out – don’t worry, she WILL be back.

2. Don’t write on the wall with the red pencil you find in the end table drawer. Mom knows what you’re doing.

3. When you’re seven years old and mom tells you to pick up your toys – do it! Dad will come home to whip you with the belt – or at least scare the bejesus out of you so you pee all over the porch.

4. You are not always the good girl everyone thinks you are. Take responsibility for your mistakes.

5. Do NOT skip church and make out with your boyfriends in the Sunday School classrooms. You may fool your mom, but God sees all. (EWWWWWW)

6. Try to get along better with your brother. He’s the only one you’ll have.

7. Dad will want to go with you to buy your first bra – let him, but bring mom with you too. Yes it will be uncomfortable, but you’re his baby girl and you’re growing up. He’s proud.

8. Don’t wear that purple sparkly sweater in Junior High – you will get teased mercilessly.

9. Don’t start smoking!

10. If you go to prom in high school, go with someone you actually like.

11. On October 4, 1982, you will be intimidated by a girl in your World History class; don’t be.  Dare her to do something outrageous (like smacking the teacher on the ass for her birthday). Trust me – both your futures are worth it.

12. Don’t run away at 17 thinking you can find something better. YOU CAN’T. Realize your parents did the best with what they knew, loved you unconditionally, and you can’t get that anywhere else.

13. Tell mom and dad you love them – every day.

There are so many more things I’d want to tell my younger self – I screwed up a lot – but I think I hit the highlights.

If you could go back and time and talk to your younger self, what would you tell him or her? I’d love to hear your comments!

 

Back for a Chat

So it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I haven’t really been in the mood. After mom passed away in March, I was so lost and felt so alone. I didn’t know what to do or how I was going to live without her. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days now and then, and probably will for the rest of my life. My mom was my rock, and other than my best friend, she was the only other person in the world who knew me inside and out. She loved me no matter what. We had been through a lot in the three years since my father’s passing and it brought us closer together.

grief-quotes-5

If it hadn’t been for my BFF these last couple of months, I know I would have lost it and I would have wound up either self-medicating or dead. I’m not as strong as people think I am, and losing my mom was the ultimate test. I’m still trying to figure out if I passed or not. In any event, I came up with some thoughts over the last couple of months about grief and love and doing what YOU need to do to get through your own process. Some will help, others you may say, “she doesn’t know what the F*** she’s talking about.” But to each his own….

1. Cry until you can’t cry anymore….and then cry some more.

2. You don’t have to be strong…be a basket case if you want to be.

3. Make a DVD of your loved one’s life – I did this for the viewing of my mom and I can’t tell you how therapeutic it was to do this. I watched it a dozen times and knew she was there with me. Also, it’s a great help if you find you have problems with suggestion #1.

4. Don’t be in such a hurry to move on and get on with life. If anyone tells you to do that, tell ‘em to bugger off.

5. Don’t feel as if you have to forget. When grieving, memories are our bridge to the other side. Think about the good times – and the bad. Remembering both keeps your grief in check and helps you remember that nobody is perfect.

6. Don’t worry if there are times you can’t remember something about your loved one; this is your mind’s way of helping you cope.

7. Don’t feel guilty for having a life and hanging out with friends. This one is very difficult for me and I must say I still have issue with it from time to time. I took care of mom until the day she died but now when I’m out with my friends or at work, there are times I still pick up the phone to call and check on her. And then it hits me. Mom always told me I needed to be with my friends, and not worry about her… some days it’s hard to follow her advice.

8. Let your friends and extended family be there for you – see suggestion # 2.

9. Talk to your loved one every day – in the car, in your room, wherever you want. A friend told me that because most cars today use Bluetooth to connect to cell phones, I can talk to my mom and people will think I’m talking on the phone…LOL. What’s funny is that I do this every morning on my way to work…I talk to mom and dad as I’m driving or stopped at a light. It brings me a sense of peace.

10. To Hell with what people think. This is YOUR grief, YOUR process and YOUR loss. If you need to lock yourself in your room or take a drive to nowhere – do it. Take the time to mourn your loss – you are not one anyone’s timetable but your own.

Grief

Grief is scary as hell…I’ve been through it twice with my folks in the last three years, and I’m here to tell you it does NOT get easier. In fact, it gets harder as we get older. When we lose a parent, we may as well be five years old; we become that emotional child thinking that our parents will live forever. And then reality sets in and we must learn how to live without them. I know they taught me well, and I hope mom and dad are sitting on a cloud in Heaven saying, “Yep, we did good.”

-SB

other side of grief