Guppy Talks Grief at WLP

As some of you may know, before mom died I had started reviewing contemporary romance books over at WickedLilPixie for my friend Nat. Nat and I lost our moms within days of each other. It’s amazing how something that traumatic could bring about such a wonderful source of comfort.

I wrote about our mutual grief and things people can do or say to help, and you can read my post HEREYou might want to grab a tissue. It seems I’ve made everyone cry. Not my intention! I swear! 

In the meantime, my dad came over for dinner last night and we talked about everything, as we usually do. This morning he called me and we had this conversation:

Dad: How are you doing today?

Me: I’m doing okay, I guesss.

Dad: I’m going to keep calling you every day until you answer “I’m doing GREAT!”

Best. Dad. Ever. He’s been my rock through this entire ordeal. One day I’ll tell the story about getting my mom Last Rites. LOL. Believe it or not, that’s a funny story. ESPECIALLY if you know my dad. 

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks
aka A Still-Grieving Guppy

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Questions Without Answers

I’m sitting here on the sofa and I took a look around and thought…where do I start? This house is filled with my mother, and I don’t know what to do or where to begin. Yeah, I know where to take her clothes, and I can find a home for all her books, and she told me what to do with important things like her jewelry and certain family heirlooms, but…what about the rest of it?

What about the blue vases in the cabinet in the dining room? Should I get rid of those and put my cows in there? Or maybe my music box collection? Do I keep the porcelain cat which is by the stove because I bought it for her one year for Mother’s Day? Should I leave the copper molds hanging in the kitchen? Or find something to replace them with? 

Do I take down the antique mirror over the fireplace and put up an original piece of art of my own I’ve had for years? Can I replace the sheets for her bed? Her duvet covers? What about the opera glasses she bought herself after giving me my own pair for my 16th birthday, should I give them away? What do I do with her high school yearbooks? Her DVDs?  

What do I do with all her genealogy books? Her half-finished needlepoint canvases? Her purses? What about her christmas ornaments? What should I do about the fabric sample hanging over the kitchen sink that she put there 3 years ago to “live with” before she made a valance out of it? 

We had the same coloring and often bought the same makeup. Is it okay if I use hers? Or should I just toss it all? Can I wash the makeup brushes and use them? What about the carpet in the living room? The silver eyeglass case on her bedside table? The dresser in the entryway? Do I keep her dishes because they’re better than mine, even though I’m not crazy about the pattern? What do I do with the antique doilies she bought to make into pillows? The shawl I knit her which she never wore because it was too big? 

Do I keep these things? Do I give them away? To whom? Do I take them to Goodwill or The Salvation Army? Do I sell them on E-bay or take them to a consignment shop? Do I put all these things in one room and have family and friends come and take stuff?

Do I try and do a little each day? or try and cut swathes through this all in large chunks? Should I try and do some on my own? Should I call my friends or her friends and have them come help? 

How will I know what to keep and what to let go of? What to change and what to leave?

How do I get rid of all her things and not feel like I’m getting rid of her?

And how do I do it all without missing her so much it hurts to breathe?

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka A Grieving Guppy
aka A Fish With Sticks

Yesterday

Yesterday I buried my mother. She was 63.

Nearly 2 1/2 years ago, on February 12, 2010, the same evening as the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics my mother went to the emergency room.

And on July 27, 2012, the same evening as the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics, my mother took her last breath.

She went to the emergency room that long ago February for what she suspected was a hernia. “Oh, it’s nothing,” she told me. “I’ll be in and out in no time. Won’t even have to spend the night….Well, unless it’s cancer. Ha ha ha.”

It was cancer.

And it had metastasized.

By the time they caught it, her body was riddled with tumors and she had 8 POUNDS of tumors in her liver alone. And not one large tumor, but lots of little tiny inoperable tumors.

Did I mention my mother was a big muckety-muck at a major University and was Director of a world-renown cancer research network? And her boss was one of the top cancer researches in the WORLD. If you go to a cancer research lab and mention his name, they practically genuflect.  

And there was nothing they could do.

They tried everything. Her Oncologist was AMAZING. He was also my grandmother’s oncologist for many years, and he worked directly with mom professionally for nearly 13 years. He threw everything at this cancer. And I mean EVERYTHING. If he could get it for her, and if he thought it had even the tiniest chance of working, he gave it to her. And I know it wasn’t because of her connection to him. Cancer offends him, and I think he does that for all his patients. 

At her funeral yesterday, I told him that I thought he was incredible. I told him there was no way…NO WAY…she would have lasted as long as she did if it wasn’t for him. You know what he said to me?

“We didn’t do nearly enough. We should have been able to do more.”

Mom did everything she could. Her tentative diagnosis was 6 weeks. Her confirmed diagnosis said 6 months. She lived 2 1/2 years. And I do mean LIVED.

We went on a month-long trip to Vermont last summer, and drove home back to California after making it through Hurricane Irene.

She saw Niagara Falls for the first time.

We went on an Alaskan cruise with the entire family.

She went and visited with friends more frequently.

She made time for everything she thought was important.

And she fought for her life. Every moment of every day.

A few weeks before she died she asked me if I resented having to take her to the doctor every week and spend so much time taking her here and there all the time, having to do everything because she was too weak to help. Did I wish it had been fast like her original diagnosis had suggested? 

I had to think about it for a minute. Not because I didn’t know my answer, but because I wanted to be sure to say it correctly. For her sake, and the amount of constant pain she was in? Yeah, I wish she hadn’t had to live through that. For me? I would do every day of those 2 1/2 years over and over and over again without complaint if it meant I could spend more time with her. Resent it? Not a second of it. I wish I still had to take her every Monday for treatment. But I’m so grateful she’s no longer suffering.

Watching her fade away these last few months has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to witness, and I’m so glad I was able to be there. It meant she never had to go into a facility. She was able to live at home the entire time. She could die at home with me and one of her best friends by her side. I was able to tell her I loved her one last time. I could kiss her and stroke her hair and tell her it was okay to let go. She had fought so hard and it was time for her to stop fighting.

I was there to hold her when she took her last breath.

Yesterday was a day to share my grief with those who loved us both. Yesterday was a day to wear the outfit she loved me in best. Yesterday was a day to wear her pearls so I could feel closer to her during one of the hardest days of my life.

Today is the day after. And it was a lonely day. Those who love me have checked in to see if I’m okay. Really I’m not, but I pretend I am, and they pretend I’m not pretending. I know eventually I will be okay, but not today. Today was a day to recover. Today was a day to really feel her loss. Today was a day to wander around and poke into closets and open drawers and touch the pieces of her life.

Today was a day for me to remember her. Privately.

I know it sounds like I just moped around the house, but really I didn’t. I slept and read and watched some Olympics, too. I just felt like today was a day I needed to be alone and take a break from everything going on “outside” and really just let myself feel what I needed to feel when and how I needed to, without worrying about anyone or anything else.

Tomorrow…Tomorrow will be better, or so I’ve been told. Maybe it will be. Maybe it won’t, but either way, eventually I’ll be okay.

After all, I’m my mother’s daughter.

I’m too strong not to be.

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Bear’s Daughter
aka A Grieving Guppy

Alaska Day 4: Mush! Mush!

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today was FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC. Today was the one excursion I was DYING to go on. The Dog Sled Experience. I had to be on the pier at 7:20 to meet my group, and, once again, no one at Princess or with the tour groups had ANY idea what the heck is going on or where anyone was supposed to be. 

Once on the tram though…

I met Tim. Tim was our driver. He was funny and friendly and made everyone feel comfortable and welcome, and gave the impression he really loved what he does. He picked us up in the tram, and we headed to “base 1.” 

 

Base 1 is the lowest of the area owned by this dog sled group. It is a small camp with pens for the puppies (OMG THE PUPPIES!), a lecture area, and a small gift shop, and a couple of bathrooms. That’s pretty much it.  From there we took this weird vehicle. I never got the name of it, but it looks like all those military transport vehicles you see in movies. You know the ones. Where the Big Evils go and pull back the tarps to reveal the crates of guns, but instead…BIG DAMN HEROES WITH GUNS! Yeah, that. But without the tarps. And OMG was it COLD. So up another 900 feet of altitude, to the next area. 

 

From here we get off the off-road vehicle and get into this thing that looks like a 6-seater dune buggy or golf cart, but without the engine. Attached are 16-17 dogs. SMALL dogs. I KNOW! I was as surprised as you, but these dogs only weighed about 50 pounds or so EACH. My aunt’s Springer is probably larger than these dogs. I KNOW my uncle’s Goldens are. But these dogs just whipped us around like we weighed nothing. And they did it laughing. These dogs wanted nothing more than to RUN FAST! RUN FAR! CAN WE PULL SOMETHING?? HUH?? HUH?? CAN WE?? PLEEEEEEEEEEASE?????

 

After the run, we got to meet our dogs, and they were beautiful, and you could see such personality in their eyes. I do have to say, though…it was FREEZING!!!! And after the ride up the hill, I was already cold, so this didn’t help. LOL. 

 

Once back down the road, again freezing my butt off, we got to hear one of the women talk about the Iditerod and what equipment they’re all required to carry, and what the dogs eat, how often they rest, etc. I also got to “meet” an Iditerod veteran. He was very sweet and willing to pose for pictures.

And then the puppies. OMG THE PUPPIES!!!! SO FREAKIN’ CUTE. They were about 8 weeks old, and into EVERYTHING. If they could reach it and bite it, they were gonna keep it, even if they had to pull it off you to do so. LOLOL. At one point I had a dog chewing on each leg of my jeans. LOL. They were adorable, though. The whole litter (5? 6? of them) were named after chess pieces. So we had Rook, Bishop, Knight, King, and (the only girl) Queen. I think that’s all of them. I may have missed one in the OMG THE PUPPIES!!!! frothing. 

 

Here’s Tour Guide Tim with one of the puppies.

On the way back to the ship, I saw a few interesting things. One is this street sign. Apparently when you pay for a street in Alaska, you get to  name it. This one was done years ago, and, unbelievably, the sign isn’t stolen that often!

Then a little bit farther down the road we saw this guy. All I could think was how much he looked like Sam the Eagle. LOL 

I was back on the ship by about 11:00. We waited around and all went to lunch, then back to the cabin for a well-deserved nap. 

Once again we ate in “our” dining room (Bernini) and once again I’m kind of unimpressed. The selection is decent, they have interesting things, and the wait staff is unparalleled, but the problem is almost everything has nuts (which will kill me) or chicken (which will make me wish I had eaten the nuts). Tonight was the spaghetti & meatballs which was okay. Liked the pasta at Sabatini’s so much better. After dinner it was another pina colada for me, and back to the room for a bit.

The ORIGINAL plan was for Aunt K and Uncle J and Uncle Dr J to meet us in front of the Vista Lounge for this song and dance muscial thing. Sounded like fun! Until…Aunt K called our cabin and said something to mom about Cousin A falling getting out of the jacuzzi and she had to go to medical. That was it. All we heard. So Uncle Dr J and mom and I went on to Vista ALLLL the way at the very end of the ship. Our rooms are near the FRONT of the ship. It was a long hike…only to find out there was no second performance of the show. 

Greaaaat. I called Uncle J and Aunt K and Cousin A’s room, but no answer, so I left a message and we went on to the comedy show…which was in the Princess Theater…2 floors directly under our stateroom. *sigh* He was funnier than I expected, even though he, like most male comedians, think the best jokes are centered around dicks or Viagra.

We cut out a few minutes before the end, because we knew from experience if we didn’t get to the elevator right away we’d be there for another half hour at least. When we got back to the room, I called Cousin A’s room, but no answer, so I left a message for them to call no matter what time. I called down to Medical and she said she left a few minutes ago.

I hang up the phone, and it rings immediately. My Aunt K. Apparently my Cousin, Miss Grace herself, was getting out of the jacuzzi and walking down the wooden stairs next to it, when she tripped or slipped or something on the last step. Now, for most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but she managed to step on something and slice open the bottom of her toe, scrape up a few other toes, and even break one of them. Two days before she’s supposed to go salmon fishing. LOL. She’s mobile and okay, which is why I can mock her mercilessly.

But you can bet her mother, who broke her foot on the last cruise they went on together, will have one or two things to say to her as payback for all the rude comments and lack of sympathy Cousin A gave Aunt K back then. LOL

Okay, it’s now 11:30 and I have to get up at 5:45. *gulp* Glacier Bay tomorrow, so it’ll be worth it, but still…5:45!!! AM!!!! That’s MORNING!!!!!! I’m so glad I bought an extra Diet Dr Pepper the other day. It’s gonna be one of those mornings. LOL.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish Out Of On The Water
aka Fish With Sticks 

Alaska Day 3: Juneau & The Whales

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today was an adventure! It started with mom, Uncle Dr J and I heading to the dock in Juneau at about 11:00 a.m. We were REALLY early for our excursions, but wanted to make sure we got where we were going. Found a nice bench to sit on, and just people watched. I ran into the “general store” there and found some Christmas ornaments (I collect them when I travel) and some bottles of water and soda. STILL no Diet Dr Pepper, though. *sigh* I’m starting to wonder if I have a teensy tiny addiction? Maybe?

After a while, Uncle Dr J left for his excursion. He had a variation on ours. We were just doing a whale watching tour on Juneau Bay, but he was doing a Mendenhall Glacier “Photo Safari” first, so he was on a different boat. 

Mom and I found where were supposed to go, with no help from the Princess employees or the tour guides *rolls eyes*, but we got there in the end. We met a really nice couple (Brad and Barb) who were both charming and helpful. The whale watching tour was, for the most part, uneventful. We did get to see a number of Humpback whales come up and then flip their tales (or show their flukes, according to the naturalist on board).

Photo courtesy of Uncle Dr J

Lots of pretty scenery, though, and a great look at how large the bay really is. We also got to see a couple of glaciers (Howard and…um….yeah….) and a whole PILE of seals. Literally. A pile. And they are LOUD. They weigh up to 800 pounds EACH, so ow you have an idea of scale. LOL.

Once we got back to the dock, Uncle J and Cousin A picked up mom and took her back to her room, and I went on to the Mt. Roberts Tramway. It was a $29 “excursion” which is just an aerial tram that takes you up the side of the mountain in front of the pier. There’s a fantastic gift shop up there, as well as some other things to do, including hiking, but I really just went for the photo ops and the shopping. *grin* and I scored on both counts. 

 

On the walk back from the Tramway, I found the Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial. It was a really wonderful memorial. It’s this little half-circle with a few stone benches and names engraved in the wall. It’s a quiet, peaceful little spot which looks out over the water. 

As I turned to leave, I spotted this wonderful cross. It hangs on the railing facing the very center of the memorial, and, while I’m not usually a big fan of religious icons of any sort, I thought this was beautiful and perfect.

Tonight’s dinner was at Sabatini’s. Italian all the way. Very tasty, and excellent service, but really, I have yet to find anything to top the Crown Grill and their S’mores desserts. Although, I DID find something that would be a very close second. It was the Peanut Butter Cup at the International Cafe. It’s a little espresso cup filled with the lightest, creamiest peanut butter pudding EVER, and topped with this really delicate chocolate mousse. OMG YUM.

Next up: DOG SLEDS! 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

 

Alaska Day 2: A Day At Sea

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today is our first full day on the ship, and it’s a day at sea. We don’t get to Juneau until tomorrow, I believe, but I’d have to check…and right now I’m nice and cozy sitting on the bed. LOL. 

Mom and I got up early and had croissants in our room, and just slowly took our time getting ready. No rush, and, in fact, I actually went back to sleep for another half hour. LOL. We finally got a call from Uncle J and Aunt K that they were heading up to breakfast. Uncle Dr J had already left to go take photos, although, with the weather, there really wasn’t much outside to take pictures of. Aunt J was reading, but said she’d go up with Mom and me. A family breakfast it is!

Uncle Dr J took a break from taking photos to join us, and after breakfast we all wandered around the ship a bit. Got to see the tail end, and went up into the Skywalkers club to see the views from the highest public point on the ship. Beautiful. Would have been spectacular if we had seen any sun.

We found our embarkation photo. Well, sort of. Mom and I went in a different way separate from everyone, so they didn’t take our picture. I bought one of the group of Uncle J, Aunt K, Cousin A, Aunt J and Uncle Dr J. Between them they’re holding a 24-pack of Bud Light and 6 bottles of wine. We won’t talk about what’s in the “water” bottle. *grin* Let’s just agree that everyone knows it’s not really water. We also saw the photos the photographer took at dinner last night. Mom’s wasn’t very good, and Uncle J looks like he should be twirling his moustache talking about the dastardly deeds he’ll be doing later. Aunt K’s picture was beautiful, but she photographs well anyway. I picked up my picture, because it wasn’t too bad. Mom really loves it. I wish I had the time to remove my glasses.

We wandered in and out of some of the shops, and it ended with everyone going their separate ways. Cousin A went with me to one of the bar areas and I FINALLY got my first drink! The Ultimate Mai Tai. Now, I’m not big on mai tais in general, but this one is AMAZING. Too bad the server tried to kill me with nuts. LOL

We’ve made reservations to go back to the Crown Grill on the night we’re in Victoria. I’m already planning my meal. LOL And wondering if I can get 2 S’mores desserts. *grin* I bet I could.

I’m doing TONS of walking on this cruise. I’m trying to not say no to something just because I’d have to walk there. Although, I AM tired of being hot and sweaty. LOL. Later this afternoon is Bingo, then back to the room to get dressed for Formal Night. We’re taking pictures. I’ve insisted. 

****************

L-Y-N-D-A and BINGO was her name OH!

Yup. That’s right. I won Bingo. $200, baybeeeee! My cousin won $400, so YAY for Team FishWithSticks! My Uncle J and Aunt K…Zippo. Uncle J says every time he plays with Cousin A, she wins and he loses. LOL. Bingo again in a few days. Maybe I’ll try my hand at Roulette tonight. I do well with Roulette.

After Bingo was Trivia. Yeah, we sucked. Did you know a baby porcupine is called a porcupette? Who knew? Well, apparently the team behind us, because they got it right. LOL. We got 15 out of 20 right. Would have been 17 (and the winning team) if we had only listened to Uncle J. LOL. Ah, well. Next time.

Formal night was tonight, so before we went in to dinner we got our pictures taken. I really hope they came out, because we all looked gooooood. Our dinner was at our “regular” dining room, Bernini. It was good. Crown Grill was better, of course, but still tonight was tasty. Most of our table had Shrimp Newburg, and it was good. I OD’d on shrimp, as I had the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, too. 

Then at 9:30 at night we went back to the room where I took a picture of the sky before sunset. When I travel north I’m always amazed at how different the light is. Pretty chilly out there on the balcony, though. *grin* Especially as I was not wearing a jacket. Brrr.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

Alaska Day 1: Bon Voyage

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today, a day of travel, has been an excruciatingly long day, and it’s only 5:30 pm. LOL

It started out with my alarm at 3:45 in the morning. Any day that begins HOURS before the sun rises is sure to be long. LOL Luckily mom and I had packed, and packed well, and were on the road by 5:30…exactly when we said we would. We met Aunt J and Uncle Dr J at the airport. I was worried my luggage was going to be WAY over weight, as it felt really heavy, but when Uncle Dr J took it out of the car, he commented on how light it was. Turns out: 37 pounds. WHOO HOO! We had to laugh when we got to the dock, though, because we thought we lost mom’s suitcase. Turned out it was so small we couldn’t see it behind everyone else’s.

We got the wheelchair for mom, and headed to the gate. These airline escorts go through that place like they’re in a race! Cousin A upgraded herself to first class…the brat…Mom, Aunt J and I were on one side of the aisle, and Uncle Dr J was in the window seat across from us. Uncle J (not to be confused with Uncle Dr J) and Aunt K were WAAAAAY in the back.

The flight was uneventful, and then…SeaTac. Ahh, SeaTac. How I loathe you so. It took a couple long walks, and 2 stops on a train, and then another LOOOONG walk before we were able to find the taxi stand. 

Next dilemma: 7 people…8 large suitcases…6 decent sized carryons…and a Prius taxi. Umm…No. So we got them to send a Yellow Cab van, and while I wouldn’t want to take a road trip this way, it wasn’t bad. From the airport we headed to a state-run liquor store for the booze. Unfortunately, it’s May 26 and on June 1 Washington is doing away with state-run liquor stores and allowing the grocery stores to carry hard liquor. So…no one has any. LOL We got some wine and some gin at the liquor store, then headed to a Safeway for the beer. Cousin A emptied out 2 large water bottles and filled them with the gin. *grin* That’s one water bottle you DON’T want to gulp from. At some point we started referring to it as the Holy Water. 

Check in on the ship was relatively smooth. Aunt J and Uncle Dr J have the room next to us, and we had our Stateroom Steward, the fabulous Rosalie, open up the door between the balconies. We’ve Mustered ourselves (security lecture/life-preserver lessons), obtained our souvenir glasses for our drink packages, and we’ve been to the cafe for a little snack. By that time it was 4:00 and the last thing we ate was breakfast sandwiches at 6:30 am. We were STARVED.

Everyone’s in their own staterooms now. Mom’s napping on the sofa. We have the sliding door open and the water is beautiful. We’re still within sight of land, and I believe we will be most of the night. Well, I’m off to nap for about a half hour before we have to get ready to go to dinner. 

Later: Crown Grill for Dinner.

Next Up: A day at sea. Should be wonderful and relaxing. I can’t wait.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

I’m Late! I’m Late!

For a Very Important Date! No time to say “hello” Good bye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!

Well, no, not really, but it’s going to be a Very Close Thing. See, I have deadline knitting on the needles, and it’s all coming due in May.

Due Next Week:

I have a baby sweater I have to finish today so I can give it a wash and light block before I have to gift it Wednesday. It’s worsted so it’ll take a day or two to dry. There should have also been booties and a hat, too, but I doubt I’m going to make it. Well, the booties might make it. Maybe. We’ll see.

I have a Very Large Special Project which needs a lot of work done to it this week. And it’s being gifted on Thursday.

Due May 26:

I have a pair of fair isle mittens (my first colorwork ever) which need to be finished. I’ve knit the first and am about two-thirds of the way done with the second.

At least one cowl (hoping for 2, but it should be 3) out of worsted, but I don’t have a pattern for them. Might be winging this one. How hard could it be? Why are you laughing?

In my fantasy land, I’m also knitting 2 hats. Really. Stop laughing. It’s rude.

A Shaelyn shawl in black which also needs to be washed & blocked so it’s dry by the 26th. I have 1 1/2 more pattern repeats to do.

So the upshot is once I get through next Thursday, if I manage to get everything done I need done by then, I’m in good shape. The mittens will only take a few more days of concentrated knitting, and the Shaelyn is my purse project, so it will move forward steadily. The cowls & hats SHOULD only be about 2-4 days of knitting each, so…*fingers crossed*

And on top of all of this, I have school, appointments, and a number of books to review.

Of COURSE I’m not slipping into Holiday Knitting Delusions. What makes you think that? This is totally doable, right? 

Right???

*crickets*

Uh-oh.

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka Delusional Guppy

Day 4: Happy Birthday!

Today is my mother’s birthday. How did she celebrate? At home surrounded by family? No. Out with friends for a great party? No. Off to the spa for a relaxing massage? Nope.

She spent it leaving the house at the crack of dawn to catch an 8:00 a.m. flight to New York for business.

So here’s a long-distance Happy Birthday, Mom! Your presents are here waiting for you.

And so are your cats.

Love,
Your Lady Jane,
aka Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Dear Greg…

Dear Greg,

It’s two years today since we lost you. Can you believe it? It’s hard to imagine that life has gone on for that long without you.

I went to see you today. I was feeling strange because I wasn’t feeling this large grief like I did last year on this day. Until I got in my car to go home and I started crying, and I sobbed the whole way. It’s like I’m moving on and coming to terms with you being gone, but there are these large pockets of grief that sneak up on me, and the next thing I know, I’m crying my eyes out on the 101. Like I said. Strange.

The first Year Without You seems easier, as everyone EXPECTS it to be hard. They expect the first birthday, the first vacation, the first Christmas to be so, so difficult. And it was. BELIEVE me. But the second year seems even more difficult, but in a different way. I guess I imagined this second year would be easier, and…it’s not, because it means that a significant amount of time has passed and you’re still gone, and you’ll never be here again. I can’t tell you how much that pains me.

Your brother and sister had a marble stone carved and placed it on the shore of Lake Powell. Your Aunt Nancy took you to England. Your parents took you to Paris. Did you see all that? Do you know how much you’re still missed? Do you know how much we all still grieve for you, even as we know you’re okay up there? Do you see that now during holidays and other family events there’s always that moment that nobody speaks of…the one where we all realize you’re not there. Do you see that we still look for you in the room, even now? 22 years of habits cannot be changed in a measly two years’ time.

I keep imagining you, your Grandma Dorothy and your Grandpa Jim up in Heaven. I picture you and your Grandpa Jim building things, and he’s teaching you how to build it bigger and sturdier. And you’re teaching him how to make it go faster, with your Grandma Dorothy either trying to keep you two from getting yourselves kicked out of Heaven for being too rowdy, or strapping on a helmet to join you. And as comforting as that thought is, I realized something a few weeks ago…

Your brother is now 22. At some point this year he’ll become older than you ever were, and I realize how much of our lives you won’t be there for. And how much of your life will never be. And I wish you were here.

Today is the beginning of the third year without you.

I still love you. I still miss you, Gregger, all the time. We’re all getting better, but it is taking time. A lot of it. But we’ll always love you, no matter how long you’ve been gone. And I think we’ll always look for you in the room. Every now and again, I hope you’ll be there.

Love, Cousin Lynda
A Still Grieving, but Slowly Healing Guppy