Category: Grief (Page 1 of 2)

All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time


I remember the day Ladybug started kindergarten. I took the morning off work, we put her on the bus and then her mother and I drove as fast as we could to the IMG_0946aschool to meet her and walk her to class. My first granddaughter started school.

This year, Watermelon would have started kindergarten. My first grandson. Another first added to the scrapbook in my mind. First smile, first step, first words, first day of school. All those firsts that can only exist in our imagination and wishes.

I remember him in perfection. I envy his utter joy and peace in Heaven. I have complete faith that I will see him again and it will be glorious. But I suffer while I wait. My arms ache to swing him up into my arms and cradle his body against me.


Not any easier than the others.

Happy Birthday, Collin. Grandma loves you.

The Fourth Year

Collin Michael 8/9/08
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you.
Love, Grandma

Always Remembering

Today is October 15th,Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Light a candle at 7pm, tonight and join us all in remembrance of those gone too soon.

Stop by Band Back Together’s Wall Of Remembrance and show some love and support for those who have lost.


August 9

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.

My mind is an emotional explosion today. I just spent the most amazing three days at Blogher’11; experiencing the most vast array of emotions and experiences you could pack into such a short time. I have so much to share. Some truly amazing experiences I will share with you over the next while, including dinner last evening with two amazing women (whom I had never met before), that was probably the best experience of the entire convention.

Not surprisingly, I was particularly moved by certain aspects during the week, that had to do with grief, loss and the heartfelt support some of us have received from this amazing community. The reason it is not so surprising, is that tomorrow is three years since Watermelon came into our lives and just as suddenly left; leaving us lost, bereft and heartbroken. Today we are having our annual memorial and balloon release and during the conference that was always in my mind, no matter how distracted I was.

There is a lot to process, so much new insight and new questions about this process of love and loss. I just want to thank everyone who has (and still are) helping me on this journey. Three years is a long time. Three years is a short time. An eternity and yesterday. Fresh and old. Who knows how long this takes? Five years? Never? Tomorrow? I don’t know. but I do know that I couldn’t have come this far in the journey without your love, support and understanding. We are an amazing tribe, aren’t we?

I am going to send another message to heaven today, tied to a balloon, and watch it drift above until it disappears from my site.  I am not just writing to Collin though, this year I want to reach out to others up there, remember them and the amazing women who’s lives they touched: Maddie, Boo, Christine and many others. If I met you this weekend, shook your hand, or hugged you….just know that today I am again thinking of you and that touch/hug. Bless you all.

Only Happy Tears

This song is just so beautiful…when Dolly’s voice joins in on the chorus if give me goose bumps. The lyrics are so uplifting and lovely, I shared them below the video. Happy Sunday.

When I get where I’m going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I’m gonna land beside a lion,
and run my fingers through his mane.
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I’ll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Don’t cry for me down here.

I’m gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he’ll match me step for step,
and I’ll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I’ll hug his neck.

So much pain and so much darkness,
in this world we stumble through.
All these questions, I can’t answer,
so much work to do.

But when I get where I’m going,
and I see my Maker’s face.
I’ll stand forever in the light,
of His amazing grace.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will love and have no fear.
When I get where I’m going.
Yeah when I get where I’m going.

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer

We haven’t had to deal with any death in the family with Ladybug and WhatAboutMe? (formerly known as Butterball) so we had never discussed the eventuality of attending a funeral with them.  Grandma Max’s death caught us unprepared and off-guard. In our shock and grief we just jumped into a car and headed to her town, wanting to be there for Pop. Looking back on it, I am sure there are tons of resources and books out there that could have helped and guided us with age appropriate ways to talk to a 5 and 3 year old about death and funerals. We had none of that and, in fact, the idea didn’t cross our minds until Tuesday as we approached the memorial chapel for the viewing. We quickly came to the decision that we would take turns inside the viewing room with family, while the girls stayed in the provided children’s play area–never to be any wiser as to the adult goings on.

Nanny had discussed with the girls that the next day we would be attending a ‘special event’. Not using the words funeral or death, she explained they would have to be on their best church behavior: quiet and still, knowing they were familiar with that and would understand. You can imagine my dismay when I arrived the next morning to realize it was going to be an open casket. We had ten minutes to spare, so I grabbed Nanny and asked her if we should prepare the girls in some way? Considering the room was only about 20’x30’, there was no way they wouldn’t notice a body in a casket in the room. She quickly came up with the idea of telling them that “like in the movie Snow White” there would be a lady sleeping in a casket at the front of the room, but they had to be on their best behavior and I told them if they had any questions to save them until after the service. It seemed as if it just might work, but I have learned over the years….never underestimate the brilliant mind of a child.

Scene: Inside a small memorial room with four rows of seats a beautiful woman of 92 dressed in a lovely pink gown, lies in repose in an ornate white casket, surrounded by a sea of fragrant flowers. A grandma, holding her 5-year-old granddaughter’s hand, makes her way to the back row followed by her husband and her eldest daughter who is holding on to her 3-year-old daughter. They take their seats and the 5-year-old begins craning her neck—trying to see past the other mourner’s heads to the front of the room and eventually scoots up into her grandmother’s lap to see better.

Ladybug: (whispering) Grandma? I still can’t see.
Grandma: (whispering) That’s okay, honey. You’re not missing anything. You’ll be able to see the pastor when she comes out to talk.
Ladybug: (whispering with a hint of pleading) But Grandma, I can’t see it.
Grandma: (whispering) Shhh, sweetie. Just hang in there, we’ll be done soon.

 There is quiet for a moment and then the child leans back towards grandmother’s ear:

Ladybug: (whispering) Grandma? Where are the dwarfs?
Grandma: (stunned) Huh??? Oh, ummm, well, they’re not here.
Ladybug: (normal voice) Oh. So it’s just Snow White in this show?

The grandma takes the little girls hand and quickly exits the room. On the way grabbing the mother & telling her they need another meeting out in the hall before the service starts.

 Later in the day, we were able to laugh about it, as did everyone who heard the story. At the time, I was too worried that she was going to grow up and tell everyone the story about the time “Grandma took me to see a Snow White show and all I got to see was a dead body.”

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal

I have lots of good times I have been meaning to share with you, but it will be delayed (how many times do you hear this from me and still come back???). My Grandma went to heaven yesterday (not Great, dear readers, but my other Grandma M), so I will be a bit out of pocket this week.

Memories abound, aloft, flooding my mind. Things not surfaced for decades. The smell of lemons Grama Max Birthday 1984and limes as we walked down a busy city street. Back in the days when it was safe to do so. A young girl and her best-friend; now sisters. Funny, how we always wished to be sisters, not knowing such a thing was possible. No one we knew had ‘divorced’ parents. And what were the odds that we, best friends, would have parents that divorced AND end up sisters? A gazillion to one, in our minds. And yet here we were in the heat of a crazy place called Fresno. Walking down the street to Grama Max’s beauty salon.

Grama Max was a BEAUTY. To me, older people looked wrinkly and unkempt, they smelled and were cranky. Maxine was the opposite of all of that. Grace, beauty, refinement, kindness and charm. Never rude, always kind; even with us kids she had patience immeasurable. That was unheard of in those days, we were always being told to be “seen and not heard.” She smelled of heaven and never had a hair or hem out of place.

We often made this walk, to the salon, out of boredom. We learned to crochet at Maxine’s, but only one of us took to it. Highly adorned ladies with names like Goldy and Pauline,  taught us the over and under, to hook and draw. The magic of Granny squares, numerous and colorful. We hung out in Uncle Rick’s semi truck, if he stopped by that weekend: Climbing all the way up into that cab, while the motor growled and rumbled was thrilling. Especially since we were alone, us girls, left to explore while he locked himself in his room, wafts of fragrant smoke escaping from under his locked bedroom door. Labor Day Weekend, was the time we were always there. That was back in the days when a person watched the Jerry Lewis Telethon and it was entertainment=enjoyable, at least for us.

The walks always included stolen pomegranates on the way and True Story magazines at the shop. Greatest magazine ever written, I thought. Couldn’t get enough of it or the stories overheard in the shop by the patrons: older women, under giant hair dryers, big rollers with their hair all the shades of a rainbow in a foggy storm: pale shades of pink, purple, blue and silver.

The days of my youth, marked by memories of my past, and held in check by my families growing and shrinking. Expanding and receding. A never ending flow of life, love, happiness, and joy expended to it’s fullest.Grama Max and family 1984

Shannon Marie Fava

Shannon Marie Fava (nee Nielsen), age 30, died tragically on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. She was bondsbroker at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of your family. Although I don’t know you at all. We’ve never met. I don’t know any of your family. Until today I really didn’t know your name. There are just so many names, it is taking me years to get through each one. But I go through them. And search. To learn. To listen. To hear your stories. I pick a name from that horrible legacy of a list and I go.

Your name touches me personally. My family will know why. You share something in common with one of my own children. You were so young. You had so much to share, learn and give to your family. I know you are safe now, but I still weep daily for your family and so many other families.

Only 30 years old, just a baby in the long look of life. You met your husband, Frank, at only 18 and fell in love. I know he and your son Joseph Anthony, must miss you terribly and I feel for them. It seems you were very close to your brother, Dennis. His pain must also know no bounds.

I feel for your parents: so loving and heartbroken.  Your beautiful godchild, Alexandria and your nephew Dennis III, have you only in thoughts and memories from their parents, but I know you must watch over them. The pictures, they so remind me of our family and I feel pain for your loved ones. Knowing what it is like to lose a loved one. The wishing for more. The missing of what might have been. An animal lover myself, I know your dear little Zeus must miss you too.

I have taken a moment to get to know you a bit, as best I can. Not to intrude upon your family. But to help the world remember a lost soul. A senseless loss. A reminder that life is short. And a reminder to get to know your neighbor, because tomorrow they might be gone. And to honor you. You and your family.

You are one of many. This year, you are my one. I miss you. Even though I didn’t know you, I miss what ever you had to give to my world. I wish your family peace and solace. God bless you, Shannon Marie.

We will never forget.

(My previous 9/11 posts are here and here)

My Candle In The Night

Some days still, I have flashback moments. Submerged in the feeling, the sensation, the moment. The sound of panic and fear in her voice when she called. The frustration while running down the hall alongside the gurney that I couldn’t get her earrings out for her. Holding my son’s face between my hands and looking deeply into his eyes, telling him firmly that everything was going to be all right. I truly believed that it would be, babies are born earlier than 34 weeks and do just fine. That feeling of relief when the nurse came out and said he was here, having a little trouble breathing, but someone would be out shortly to show us up to the NICU. A sinking feeling, like drowning slowly, as those minutes lengthened and we were left standing and wondering. Trying to grasp the look on the doctor’s face as he came through those doors, his words “I’m so sorry, so sorry”, echoing in my head.

Two years since I last held you in my arms. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, but your birthday is the hardest. When your little brother sits in his swing by your memorial garden, I watch him. He sometimes makes noises that sound like he is carrying on an entire conversation with someone, his back to me. Other times, he gazes up into the top of a tree and the most beatific smile spreads across his entire face and I know. I know you are there with him. You make a perfect guardian angel. It may not have been the choice we would have made for you, but I trust God. He knows a bit more than I do.

I love you Collin Michael. And although I miss you daily, I know that when my time comes to enter the long darkness you will be there. My bright beacon, my candle in the night, to guide me to the light.


(picture credit to ~ethereal-forest303 from Deviant Art)

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