Tuesday, September 20, 2011


6 months ago today my life changed drastically when my mom passed away. It has changed my life in so many ways. I've been reflecting on that a lot lately. How it's changed me...how it is continuing to change me....what all I have learned in that time.
 I've learned so much about life and death through the experience of losing mom. I know that a 6 month mark probably isn't as significant as what a year marker will be, but 6 months without my mom has been so hard. Experts say that the first year is the hardest....ask me in 5 years and I'll tell you if I agree or not. Because since i'm still in the first year, I can only say it is really awful. There are events or thoughts or places or things or sounds that remind me of mom every day.Sometimes those memories make me laugh. Sometimes they make me cry.  In 6 months time, I've experienced my first mothers day without mom, my first birthday, and their anniversary....we haven't even hit the more common family holidays yet that I know will be tough. I've not had a day yet where I haven't wanted to share something with mom. 6 months without my mom has felt like a lifetime in some aspects. A lot of life has gone on...I've changed jobs, Elizabeth changed schools, Joseph lost his first tooth, I'm organizing a 5K....and yet I think sometimes of all the life that's yet to be lived. I have a lot of memories with mom-that's really an understatement. It's strange making new ones without her. It's unreal to be organizing an event in her memory.I miss her with every heartbeat. I'm not sure when that ache will go away. I try to explain it to others...I'm not sad for my mom. Her last weeks were really horrible. In fact, I was thinking about it today. The last 24 hours of mom's life were awful. I am so thankful that I got to be there with her. But I am thankful that I know that she rests in a better place. She was in no condition any more to be here. The sadness comes with figuring out a new normal. Figuring out who I call when I am sad or ecstatic or just need a friend. Figuring out child care. Figuring out how to be more of an adult, I guess. That sounds silly....i"ve been a mom myself for 9 years. But there's something about a mom that one can always possess that childlikeness.  Now i'm the adult in new ways.  I've had to grow up in new ways.  It's not always so easy. 
 I've learned a lot about myself and about who I am through this. Mom was always really good about encouraging me and about telling me good things about myself and telling me  to stop being so hard on me. She never told me fluff that wasn't true (like.."oh, you're the smartest one in the class"...or things that were overkill nice statements) she would tell me things like achieving my dreams were possible. And that I was a good mom . And that I was beautiful. Things I tend to be hard on myself with. Not having mom there to whisper those things when I need/want to hear them has been a new journey for me. And it's a journey that will continue. But I have full confidence that as I walk through each step of this process, I will continue to grow and to learn. And it's strange how even through her death, her life still speaks volumes to me. 
 Saturday I will run a half marathon. That has been a journey this time around, too. I won't PR at this race, and that's ok. I will finish it, though. And I will finish it well. that journey has been challenging, as I had set out to do a full this time around. As I came to a conclusion of not being ready, I learned new things about myself yet again. These 6 months of training....and grieving...have been exhausting. But I am ready to run with a new excitement on Saturday. I cannot wait!! Not having mom will be hard. In fact, dad is watching the kids so Michael and I can go to this alone. And I am sure there will be emotions that come along with this finish. But  I am ready. And I cannot wait to cross that start line early Saturday morning. I have a renewed passion for it that comes with this particular race. And the full will come eventually. 
 In the last 6 months, I've changed jobs, and that has been a really positive thing for me. I have made new friends, and really, I laugh a lot at my job, which is fun. Changing jobs was also a growth process for me. Not because what I am doing is so different from what I did before, but more so because I left a comfort zone of where I'd been for so long. And that has brought me to new realizations of myself as well. Some of which I continue to be processing. I am thankful for the change. 
  So...6 months ago my life took a drastic change. I miss my mom as if it happened yesterday. And I know I still have a ways to go through the grief process.... but I'm learning....and that's part of what life is about.
 I close with this verse that has been strong on my mind and heart this week. Whether it's because of my race or because I needed the boost of encouragement in this time of missing mom, it has been a good reminder for me.
 Isaiah 40:31
 "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 

so, tomorrow, and onto my race on Saturday, and each day that I will have to face a new first without mom, I will keep taking it one day at a time. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Life is such a journey. Grief is no different. It, in and of itself, is a journey. But it's a part of life's journey and growth. A lot of people today have been reflecting on the journey of the last 10 years since 9/11 happened. Yes, I remember where I was. I was at my job, childcare at First Baptist Church of West hollywood. I was planning my wedding. In fact, my mom had just flown home the day before(9/10), as she had been in to help buy my dress and be there for a wedding shower. How thankful I am that she wasn't on a plane that day on 9/11. i remember having that thought quite vividly when those planes were crashing.  I recalled that  thought today, as I also reflected on life over the last 10 years. 
 It has been quite a journey, to say the least. I would have a very hard time putting even a scratch on the surface of events that I've had the privilege and sorrow to experience. I also thought something to myself today, as a word repeated over and over was "grief". 
 Back then, I had absolutely no idea what grief was. Sure, I felt saddened and so many other things. But Now, I can relate to that in such a new way. I also understand that each person's grief journey is a different experience. Their loved one was taken away in an instant. Some didn't even get the chance to bury theirs. My mom died over time. I watched it happen. I was there the moment she died, even. I had time to say goodbye and other things I wanted to say. I'm really not sure that there is a "better" experience in a loved one dying-fast and instantaneous opposed to slow and time to say things. Neither is a good one. In the time that mom was dying, I really learned the value of taking it one day at a time, hence the name in my blog. Some days I wondered, "will it be today?" and then I'd waste time worrying if that was the last time I'd be with mom. Eventually I learned there was absolutely no value in that. It wasted time, really. And I began to take it one day at a time and did my best to enjoy that time, painful as it was to watch mom deteriorate. Today the phrase "one day at a time" hit me in a new way. Because now I am learning one day at a time to let go a little more. And that is part of a very painful process. For a person who hasn't walked through grief,  it really doesn't make much sense. Some tell me I should be over it. Some don't understand why I am still sad, knowing my mom is really in a better place. Some think I'm crazy for the ups an downs I have. And some still have absolutely no idea what it is like to love someone so deeply that life is dramatically changed once they are gone. I'm 29. Life as I have always know it is different now without my mom. 
 Yes, I was married 10 years ago, and left home. But mom was still mom and she was there for me for everything. It is so strange to not have her now. It's been nearly 6 months. It is still unreal some days. And then other days, it is so painfully obvious that I can do nothing but cry. The process of letting go does not happen overnight. It doesn't happen in 6 months, either.  
 Zig Ziglar said "If there were no love, there'd be no grief." 
 Mom loved me unlike any other person really can-a mother's love is different. And I know that for many reasons, but that quote stuck out to me. The deeper you love the person, the harder the grief is, I believe. My grief is really pretty private, as far as my tears and emotions go. But that is a funny statement, seeing as how I put it here for anyone to read. 
 My mom was so sick in the end. She wasn't able to eat or sit up or move on her own. I think I'm beginning to reach a point where i can recount some of those details more here in my blog. So you may catch some glimpses of what I actually experienced if you stay tuned into future posts. 
 I am not sad because I fear an unknown hope of where mom is. I have every confidence that mom rests in heaven, and is no longer sick and is laughing again, as she always did. She wouldn't want to come back here, and I wouldn't wish her back. My sadness is because I now have to find a new normal. I have to figure out life without mom around. I had her for 29 years as my support system. There is a lot of life ahead still. So that is a process I have to take one day at a time. 
 Another quote that's been given to me recently says..."Even though your heart is breaking and tears are clouding your eyes and staining your cheeks, God does give us something worth trusting in tough times. And that's Him. and Him alone." -Dr. Joseph Stowell. 
  and that is an aspect of life I also am embracing in a new way.
A year ago this weekend, I got my first tattoo. Mom was fighting hard, but hadn't yet taken a terrible turn. I got a tattoo of a running shoe with wings with the cancer ribbon in the center of it. The running symbolizes so much for me. The ribbon was for my mom. And the wings symbolized many things, one of which being God carrying me through difficult times. Today it's no different. It's just I'm learning to do it better one day at a time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Think.Feel.Be.... and patience in the process

I was told the other day, when asked a question, that I think too much. My instant response was "I know." In that instance, I didn't have to think too much because I knew the statement was true. I then spent time thinking about him saying that to me....which is sort of prompting this blog.  I think way too hard on things-whether it's a circumstance, or a person, or an event, or a problem or a response. I just sometimes over think about it. Thinking isn't bad, per say. I believe I'd rather think about my answer and give it accurately than to always say something and then later want to change my answer. I also think (ha-no pun intended on that statement) that I'd rather ponder my words than say everything that comes to my mind immediately. Honesty is good, but sometimes it is good for me not to say everything I am thinking. Sometimes, though, thinking can not always be good for me. Thinking can be exhausting and sometimes even keep me awake.
 In the same way I think a lot, I also feel a lot. Feeling deeply is just who I am. sometimes this can be a bad quality. Sometimes it is a good one. I believe that feeling so deeply is what part of what makes my grief process so agonizing at times. I also believe that feeling so deeply is what makes me able to connect with people pretty well. I have always put all of myself into whatever I am doing-partly because of my over thinking and feeling so deeply. When I work, I put all of my efforts into my job. I don't do it half way. When I love, I love deeply-myabe not always in the best of ways, but I love with all of my being. When I mother, I do it full heartedly. When I run, I am passionate and put my all into each step I take. It's just who I am. It's why I had to decide not to do the full marathon this time around-because I don't want to do it half way. Feeling deeply is also what made it such a tough decision.  It's one reason I love my job. I put my all into it and I see the rewards. Because I feel so deeply and think through things, it's why grief is exhausting for me. Each day and each step I take to move through the grief process in order to be healthier, it does move me through a lot of memories and emotions, which is exhausting. But it's also why I believe the 5K will be successful (as it is really shaping up)-because I put my all into it.
 I realize this blog is a bit disjointed. I'm just saying this: I do think pretty hard. I also feel pretty deep. It's also who I am. I'm not philosophical really-just pensive. I'm not crazy-just emotional. It's who I am. And that's ok. I think. I feel. I am.... but  I also have to have patient in the process.
 sometimes the deeper I feel, the more I want it to be over-like grief. Walking through this first year of not having mom is pretty awful. Learning to live life without my mom around is a really hard adjustment. She was my best friend, as much as my mom. But I cannot force the process to be over. I just have to walk through it. It's not going to happen in my time-if that were the case, it'd be over. I have to be patience-it's not always on my time frame. Mom's death wasn't in my time frame-it wouldn't even be reality if I had my choice. But it's not always in my time frame that things happen. But as thing happen, it shapes me into me more and more. Moving to Ohio wouldn't have ever happened  if I'd had my choice. But then if I'd never moved to Ohio, I wouldn't have been here for mom in the last years...and that's something I never want to change. Patience is a virtue is a quote that is often repeated by people . I used to think I was a patient person. I'd like to say I still am. But I think it's something that I have a lot of room to grow. Being patient is hard. I often want things done now. Like...not being sad anymore over mom's death; like owning a home and not being in an apartment; like losing weight that's been put back on; like being able to run a full marathon. But I have to have patience in the  process of these things coming into reality. It takes time. Grief takes time; finding a home takes time; losing weight takes time; running a full marathon takes time. Nothing (well, mostly nothing) takes place overnight. And in the process, I grow.
 So....I must continue being patient and taking life as it comes one day at a time.