If you are a new Upcycled Jane reader, there’s a pivotal part of my story you may not know. Or at least not all of it. It’s not my whole story, but a loss volcano that erupted suddenly- searing and disruptive- serving as the catalyst to foundational faith, freedom, peace, and the most authentic joy that I thought only existed in Pollyanna-type movies. …
What I wouldn’t give to invite you to the Pogue Cottage; to rest on our couch, sip tea and gobble chocolate croissant bites. No doubt U2 or Frank Sinatra would sing in the background, as autumn scents hang in the air, and I see your eyes to express thanks. Thank you for listening, encouraging, cheering on, offering grace, and allowing …
Dad, It was at Ty’s preschool orientation, a nostalgic intimate sanctuary setting, that I thought of you. The pastor welcomed parents, then shared about the day before, when he’d accompanied his 3 year old grandson on his first day of preschool. Together, they met the teacher, and then the pastor laid on the floor with the little boy, racing cars and building roads, …
Relationships. They aren’t always easy. At some point, specifically with deep, important ones, conflict will occur. And when it does, we have a choice to “peace out” or “push through.” When my dad died, a lot of ugly bubbled to the surface. Anger. Frustration. Resentment. Loneliness. I was confused at why certain people were not showing up in ways I …
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the reasons I’m drawn to windows is that no two are alike. Each has a story- where it came from, glass clarity, layers upon layers of paint, chipped wood, unique hardware- they are a hidden secret, these windows. From one side the glass appears unscratched, the wood clean and solid, but turn it around to see the bottom left pane loose, paint worn, wood shabbied, a chunk missing from the side.
The same window, but different in appearance depending on what side you view it from.
I’m finding the holidays to be like windowpanes.
If I were to join your Thanksgiving celebration, come meal time I’d settle in a chair next to you.
Over turkey, mashed potatoes laden with gravy, bowls of creamed corn, and please tell me there will be heaps of pretzel jello salad, I’ll gather with your family- large or small- and the question of What are we thankful for? will surface followed by a merry-go-round of heartfelt responses.
I’m thankful for…