About Me

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In this blog I have created a haven, a place I allow my deepest emotions to go and sit. I can write easily about what I’ve accomplished. This biography I can recite in my sleep. But I’ve always written poetry and in diaries since I was a teenager. I continued to write poetry in my journals, and not until 2006 did I show them to anyone. I generally write every day, at the present in memoir form. I haven’t written poetry since my mother died in January, 2007. I didn’t write at all between her death and the death of my father three years later in January, 2010. On my father’s birthday in March, 2010, I began this blog, to honor my father and to help me grieve. But I also desperately needed to write, and this stream of conscious style emerged. I needed to find my organic voice.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter. Non Easter. Sunny Sunday Morning. Weekend Away.

Since our social scene has changed over the year,  I made reservations down in the Cities for Easter Weekend, at a swanky hotel in a skyscraper Karl adores for its architecture. 20th floor, lots of great views of the city.  Karl and I were afraid to admit it was a romantic weekend...I'm not ready for that kind of intimacy, but we did have a very nice weekend.  Together. There were so many people on our minds this morning at breakfast--my soul friends M & K finally reunited after many months separated by job, my sister and family, facing their new adventure, thanking M and J for a great dinner last night at Chiang Mai Thai.

And our room. Great room. Great shower, and all products by BLISS! (for those who know, that's bitchin', right?) We arrived to the hotel around 6pm and treated ourselves to valet parking, so we could check in, bring our stuff up to the room, and then find a place for dinner. When we got to our room, saw the great bed, white fluffy bathrobes, I was sold. Not going anywhere for dinner. The room service was absolutely delicious, and those of you knowing my problem with food would be very pleased.  I even ate a fair amount of fresh baked brownie cake with at least 2 pounds of fresh whipped cream on it, along with hot fudge and hot caramel sauces. Then we got nerdy. Put our jammies on, back on with the robes, and watch a night of Dr. Who. So calm, so peaceful, it was just what we needed. Slept like a log.

I tried not to think it was my father's second easter up in heaven, or in my own invention---the ether---. When I think, now, of this, I hope he is up there with my mother, watching my niece and nephew enjoying their easter baskets, running around on a sugar high.

This easter was not painful, except for the fact that the ppl we have always shared Easter with have fallen off our radar screen. So it was a new tradition for us, maybe. I like it. It was peaceful. We went to an old haunt, The Local, where I had some fine Irish gold tea and K has Guinness. We wandered, without a plan for the whole of the day. It was a day I breathed deeply and easily all day long.  Loved the day, got some fun things, and then met friends for dinner.

As I re-introduce myself into the world, more people notice my tattoo, which has been augmented into a cuff-style bracelet, having charms for each person in my life. I don't mind telling people about it, but only in a general way.  My father was not greatly into tattoos, except for the one he got when he spent a Thanksgiving here with us (after my mother died). A rearing black stallion, over his heart.

My re-entry is as a very different person than when I left. I am more authentic, less tolerant of social and political shenanigans, and willing to be emotionally present as it comes.  It is still a little roller coaster ride, not entirely predictable.  I am more aware that I don't have to worry about that; I can handle the bumps and bruises.

Nose to the grindstone as far as work goes; last week of the semester; events every  night. Every day  will be filled with student desperate to raise their grades at the literal 11th hour. I will try to be unemotional and consistent in my responses to students.

My dear friend M is finally reunited with her husband in KC; they've been living apart as a family since September. I know Easter will ALWAYS be a special holiday for them, and I'm grateful.

So, I wasn't expecting any Easter-y things to happen; that was fine. But we did have a stress-free weekend, away from home, had good food and good company. My father would have wished I'd be with family, and I'd always have to remind him that I'd have to fly out Friday night and fly back Sunday --there's no real time for travel.

We are one week away from the end of the semester and the end of the year long insanity of returning from a heartbreaking sabbatical. I've healed a lot, opened up a lot, and have less time for nonsense. My dream is still waving at me, and I am going to follow it. There's a door opening, and when it does, I'm walking through it and never looking back. I"ll be holding Karl's hand, so it'll be fine.

Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy Renewal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It's been a busy academic year, teaching on overload, reconfiguring all lecture materials into smartclassroom formats, and all with the veil of grief. I am seeing the light at the end of the academic tunnel, only to realize I had agreed to teach the university's "intercession' rather than summer session I. Bummer. I have only a week's turnaround time between end of semester and starting the intercession--which is a compressed class, four days a week for 2.5 hours a day. Not complaining really. Work is good for me. I am productive, focused, and it keeps me engaged intellectually. My heart is TOO easily engaged, still...so it waits for me to clear the calendar.  And so when June rolls around, it is officially "heart time."
Finally addressing the boxes of things from my father's house, choosing where to put them, if to keep them, and how to store them.  I will have the time to fall apart as I touch his love letters to my mother, because i know I will read every single one of them again. And the throws, the ones my mom loved to snuggle under, they're here, too. My father's beautiful cameras, the "real" one with the chip that captured the last two years of his life, through his eyes. Getting ready to get the chip "developed" and sent to my sister and our aunt.
I have put off grieving, in a way. I chose to return from sabbatical and dig in--teaching a big overload--to keep my focused on the present moment. Perhaps that is pushing grief aside, but I could not function with my grief. I promised my heart it will have all summer. My heart is definitely ready for its opportunity. Thank god my own chronic physical pain has been addressed to a manageable level, and this gives me the courage to allow my grief its part in this process of reclaiming my life as mine. I dedicated my life to my parents during the many years of their consecutive and ultimately fatal illnesses.  I feel good that I did that.  And now. it is time for me. Look at every item, touch every item, smell it, relive the memories associated with each thing, and then mindfully craft a place for it to be. So that my house is mine again. Mine and Karl's.
I anticipate being a mess during the summer. It will be the first time since my father's death that I can devote my mind, body, and spirit to whatever grieving I still need to do. It's a lot, because I haven't done very much. For good or not, I had to get myself through the academic year successfully. And now I am almost done.

My garden was abandoned last summer....detritus still there, evidencing my neglect. This summer will be different I hope. I can't believe how much different I feel in a year's time; a year and four months' time.  I , finally, feel some fledgling wings wiggling under the surface of my skin. I look to the sky and imagine.

Many of my beloved friends are in the flow of change. I hope that our friendship vibes, so connected to each other, will help the others along, so we can help each other through and out, to maintain peace, to step out in a new life. It is on these friends I focus my energy, because it comes back to me threefold. My father had friends like that, friends that uplifted him and were ready to party and have fun; these same friends sat at the hospital everynight, and eventually became the pall bearers to Dad's final resting place. Their goodness, and true friendship extended my father's life. My niece and nephew extended his life too, as did my sister and I. What an honor, what a position I gladly served.

Our house is still a mess, although I am sleeping in my actual bed. This has been so a long time, thanks to a friend who came over to help me wade through things, donating clothes I knew I'd never wear again: the things I wore at the hospital for those three weeks, and then during the next four months on the road. It's paper work. On all flat surfaces. It feels so insignificant that I don't even want to bother with it. I have enough paper with teaching that I don't want to touch or acknowledge any more. Now that we're having some work done at the house, we need to break out of our pattern and find true homes for necessary paper in our lives. Will a new kitchen help bring back my appetite and interest in food? Don't know.  I know I can't afford to lose much more weight.; I'm at my lowest, 97lbs, but I am only a tiny thing at 5 feet tall.

My sister has done an about face! She is going to launch a new career, and I wish her success and happiness. And if she needs me, I hope to be there for her. I, too, am trying to do something new, but slowly and mindfully this transition will be. I know what I want, I think I can achieve it, I just need to DO IT. It involves a change of scenery, though, and we're not a united front on this part. I know my parents always wanted us to be successful and happy, and my sister and I really want to be both, in our own ways. This will be a wonderful homage to both parents, as they, for many years, had jobs that were just a paycheck and health insurance for our family. It's scary jumping off a known ledge, wondering what the landing will be like, how far down will it be, and whether or not to expect broken bones....
Flying blind without my parents--that's what it feels like--because they'd be the ones to whom I'd talk about something of this magnitude. Same with my sister. Hopefully we can talk to each other...we may be on our way. I'd really like that.  I want to LOVE my life. And live it in gratitude. I do, I do now--live in gratitude; many times a day I say it aloud or to my heart, the things I'm thankful for. My wishes are still too timid to be enunciated aloud. Someday I'll find that voice, and the wings that feel like they're sprouting will be ready for me. I look forward to that day.