The Soccer-Playing T-Rex

You had been too quiet for too long when I went to look for you. I found you standing at your parents’ window that overlooked the backyard. I walked over and kneeled next to you. You were so focused on what was going on in the yard that you barely noticed me.

“What are you looking at?” I asked you. I had looked outside and didn’t see anything.

“Kardhu (the family’s golden retriever).” You replied your eyes never leaving the scene you were seeing.

“What is Kardhu doing?” I asked watching you.

“Soccer.” You replied with such conviction that I almost believed it was what you were seeing.

“He’s playing soccer?” I asked. You nod, and then you laugh.

“What’s funny?” I asked him.

“T-rex.” You said as you glance at me with your laughing blue eyes.

My eyes grew wide, and I whispered, “Kardhu is playing with a T-rex?”

You laugh and look at me, your gaze piercing my soul with a curious look as if you were gauging if I was really seeing what you were seeing or not.

“Who’s winning?” I asked you. You think about this for a second before saying, ‘Kardhu is.”

“He is?” I ask. You look at me, and I can tell you want to tell me something, but your words aren’t quite there yet. You shorten your arms like a T-rex and start growling at me.

“Oh because Kardhu has four good legs and T-rex has two?” You nod with such a grin on your face, and you come at me with your T-rex legs, and we dissolve into a fit of giggles on the floor. As I look at you, I can’t believe an almost three-year-old has such an imagination, and I hope it is something you never lose.

The Saddest Birthday Cake

I stand with my hands gripping

The edge of the counter

Tears spilling to

The floor.

I can barely look at it

My birthday cake.

Here I am.

First birthday without her

And I stand alone.

No family came to celebrate

No family came to support me

During what is the most

Difficult day so far.

The aching for her

Is unbearable.

My heart cracks again

And sobs fall

From trembling lips.

No lit candles this year.

I am so sad

I am so angry

I am so lonely.

And another year begins.

Grateful

Through all the tears I’ve shed

I’ve found clarity

Like rain washing away fog

Even though it hurts

I’m grateful.

Even though my heart is aching

I’m grateful.

Grateful to have had her

In my life.

My arms long to hold her again

Because she was such

A wonderful mother

And provided me with

Such warming love.

And even though it

Will never be enough

I’m grateful to know

That she will always be

With me.

A Riptide of Grief

Hi all,

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a few days now. I was doing fine. Getting the house ready for Christmas and thinking I was dealing with my grief pretty well. And then wham! I got caught in a massive riptide of grief that dragged me off my feet, and I’ve been trying to find my footing again ever since. I had heard that the first Christmas after a significant loss is hard. Hard is the most useless word to describe it. For me, it has been utterly debilitating to the point that I can’t do anything much except cry. The pain I’ve felt the past two days has been spiritually excruciating. I miss my mom more now than at any other time during this grief “process.” Yesterday I thought I’d try to make myself feel better by putting the lights on my little tree. After finishing, I was looking at it thinking how cold and harsh the lights looked this year. There was no soft twinkling glow at all. There was no anticipation of the upcoming holiday that I had been looking for. I felt even more miserable and also thought about taking the lights down again and putting the tree away. I’ve contemplated not having Christmas at all this year because the pain is just so intense. I’m not seeing the world as it is right now and I know it. I’ve heard of rose-colored glasses; I wonder what color grief colored glasses are. I’m thinking a swampy greenish-brown color. I feel like I’m just treading water until the day that I’m dreading arrives and departs as it does every year, just surviving instead of living. I don’t know how to change my mentality but I know I want to. I hate feeling this way. My mom wouldn’t want me to feel this way. But if I try to swim against the grief, I know it will just drag me out of my life even further, and I’ll drown. So I’ll just keep treading and try to move forward towards Christmas and hope I find a way to get through it without her.

A Christmas Haunting

The closer Christmas approaches

The more I feel you near.

Memories won’t stop unfolding

And it’s leaving me in tears.

You’re ghosting all the corners

Of every single room

Tis the season of light and merriment

And I’m deep in grief and gloom

I’m hearing snatches of your voice

As if your still here with me

I see the brightness of your love

in the lights on the Christmas tree

I don’t know how to do this

The holidays without you

How do I heal this ache in my soul

And figure out what to do.

 

This poem doesn’t want to be finished. I’ve been trying for several days now, and this is where it wants to end. Maybe once I get through this challenging time I’ll be able to look back and come up with an ending, I don’t know.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Swedish princess cake

Today would have been my mother’s 88th birthday. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden and every year for her birthday she had to have a Princess Torte (cake). A Princess cake is a Swedish dessert with white cake surrounded by layers of whipped cream, raspberry jam, and a thick cream filling, surrounded by a cover of green marzipan (almond paste), dusted with powdered sugar with a frosted pink rose on top. When we lived in Massachusetts, my sister would drive to Worcester to The Crown Bakery and get one for her every November. Once we moved to Maine, that became too much of a drive, so poor mom was deprived of her cake for a couple of years. Then last year, I found a European Bakery near where we live and to my surprise and delight, they sold princess cakes. I arranged to get one for her, and she was absolutely stunned when she saw it. She ate the entire 8-inch cake herself over the next week and said she wanted more. Last spring when she was in the hospital I got one for Mother’s Day to make it more special. It was one of the last solid foods she ate before she passed. I’m missing her incredibly today but having the memory of last year’s successful surprise is helping me immensely. So, happy birthday mom, wherever you are, I miss you incredibly, and I love you like crazy.

Checking In

I’m just checking in.

To tell you all how I’ve been

I keep surfacing for air

And looking here and there

To see if the grief is gone

To see if life can go on.

But grief’s a cheeky bugger

And not much of a hugger

He tends to sneak up on me

From behind where I cannot see

So I quickly dive back down

Trying to find smiles in all the frowns

And try to be patient with me

Because that’s what mom would want to see.

Captured Rainbows

One day my sister and her jeweler husband came over and wanted to see me. I think I was around 10-years-old at the time. When I walked into the kitchen, I noticed that my brother-in-law had a small brown envelope in his hands. He told me to put my hand out like a cup, I did so and he proceeded to pour the contents of the envelope into my palm. Diamonds. I gasped. My hand was half full of glittering diamonds. I heard him laugh as my eyes went wide looking at the treasure that was cradled in my fingers. I started walking towards the window and vaguely heard him warning me to be careful that I had tens of thousands of dollars in my hand. When I went to the sun-filled window I got lost in the beauty and wonder of them. I remember thinking how could anyone capture rainbows and trap them in stones. They sparkled and dazzled in the light and I passed a fingertip over them to make them twinkle like stars that had fallen to Earth. Tipping my hand slightly back and forth I watched the jewels roll back and forth; they felt hard like stone and as heavy as frozen raindrops. Before I knew it, he asked me to give them back to him and reluctantly I did. As I watched them disappear back into the envelope I wondered if I would ever see anything as beautiful again in my life. I’m still waiting.

Have Faith

“Have faith.” She tells me

But how can you have

Faith in the faithless?

How can you have faith

In someone who has

Let you down

More than they have

Raised you up?

How can you trust

Your heart with

Someone who never

Sees your feelings

As valid.

Who builds herself up

By tearing you down

Over and over again.

“Have faith.” She suggests.

Never again.