Happy 3rd Heavenersary, Dad

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Dad, Wow! Tomorrow marks 3 years since we last hugged, since you cheered the boys at a football game, or “stopped by” on your way to walk the Huntington Beach Pier. Tanner started football again, and it reminds us of his first game, days before your stroke. Do you remember how he stood heads shorter than the other boys? Remember hootin’ …

A thanksgiving letter to Dad

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Dad, I miss you. Around Balboa Island a friend and I recently strolled. We passed men your age – some alone, some with spouses, some walking dogs – their chins tilted sunward. That’s supposed to be you. Retired. With mom. Enjoying the beach and you’re not here. And I hate it. For Halloween the boys dressed as pirates and Ty shared his …

On the anniversary of a loved One

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{This post is dedicated to my dear friend Donna, who lost her mom a year ago today. And to Wendi, who lost her sweet dad years ago, and gently prepared me for my own father’s heavenersary. And to anyone else who is missing a loved one today, these words are for you.} ———————————————————————————————————————- It seems to stare at you in …

A Surprise Sighting

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Having been up since 5am, I’m gulping down a caprese panini, like devouring-it-in-two-whole-bites gulping. With a lengthy layover until the final leg to Boston, I plan on doing what I do best in Seattle’s airport: eating, tea-drinking, and people-noticing. Impressive is the dining area; shaped like an inverted glass egg, it offers the mood of being in a music hall. People …

Humble Pie, Sleeping Bears, and Dad Hugs

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I’m scooping up humble pie and shoveling it in by the spoonfuls. Pride has gotten the best of me, weighting each bite.

Yesterday the thought fluttered by: I’m glad this GRIEF thing is over. It’s nice to have that behind me. I’d doing fabul—.

Bam- I wake from a morning dream, grasping at the scene playing behind sleeping eyelids.

GRIEF JOURNEY: Stepping out of the shade

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Here’s the deal.

Grief sucks. And the anniversary of a loved one’s passing doesn’t wave a magic wand making sadness and pain disappear.

April 2nd was Dad’s 1st anniversary.

Surviving the muddiest and most eye-opening year was no small feat, yet I’m glad the annual “firsts” are behind.

On the night of his anniversary, apparently a train ran over me because in the morning blankets had sucked me further under the covers, and chilly air tempted me to stay in jammies and drink mint tea all.day.long. At dawn, I didn’t want to get out and help little boys brush teeth, put their shoes on, or find backpacks.

GRIEF Journey: Dedicating a Teacher’s Legacy

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When someone passes, there exists the temptation to idolize and place that person on a perfection pedestal.

In reality, we are all human- full of quirks and flaws. As was my Dad. An earnest, hard-working, believe-the-best-in-everyone man. His faith could move mountains, and his nature settle the most anxious of nerves. But in high school I’d wished I’d understood him better. How I teased him about “getting in touch with his feelings”. We nearly stopped talking over his panic at trying to teach me to drive. Over the years we didn’t always see eye-to-eye or agree. Our relationship strengthened when I married, and when grandkids came, well, stick-a-fork-in-him, watching him in the grandpa role won a new-found love and respect.

GRIEF Journey: What do I say?

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Let’s just say it like it is, talking about death is awkward.

Like super uncomfortable, weird, awkward.

What should I say? Do they want to talk about it? Do they not want to talk about it? Ahhh.

We long to validate one’s loss and ask how they are, while simultaneously trying to avoid making the elephant in the room the only topic. It’s a debacle; one that’s hard to navigate. There are no perfect words, only pure intentions. So, to save yourself from making a bigger deal out of an already big deal, for the love, here are phrases and actions that help soothe a very raw wound, as well as cliche’s to ahem, avoid.

Grief Journey: When People Experience Loss

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How are you? a friend asks.

I can feel my body looking for the nearest hole to crawl into, I reply. Maybe I’ll fly overseas and return come May.

I’m partly serious.

At Calendar’s turn from February to a new month, I sense, dread. March and April represent the anniversary of dad’s stroke and death, and a myriad of emotions that fall in-between, including late-fallen Easter. If I could just fast-forward this season, well, that would be super swell.

Living a Year in GRACE: An Awakening Come Full Circle

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Smack in the middle of January in Southern California and I’m cross-legged in the backyard. It’s 80+ degrees and the sun is warming my back as fingers fly on the keyboard and the youngest naps.

I could pinch myself.

The sky is the electric blue and far off I hear a lawn being mowed. A yellow bud catches my eye and I wonder when she’ll smile for us, radiant petals lifting their gazes heavenward. Empty bowl by my knee, chipped and worn- almost ten years it’s moved from apartment to townhome to cottage, settling into different cupboards and feeding hundreds of mouths holding soup, ice cream, and parfait snacks.