February 22, 2022
Today marks a year since my Meme died.
She taught me so much.
I remember when I called her,
the day Mike was diagnosed, I can still hear her voice
like it was yesterday.
She simply told me , you can do this,
We just have to trust the Good Lord is taking care of us.
She was wise and truly someone that was worry free.
She didn’t have a gray hair until she was 80.
She lived 90 incredible years.
She stood by my grandfather as he battled alcoholism ,
and stayed by him throughout his years in recovery.
Attending every AA meeting with him.
She was an only child.
She was a mom of three and loved her girls more than anything.
She loved her son in laws equally :)
She suffered loss, when her oldest Celia died after a fight with cancer.
She loved each of her 9 grandchildren ( and each of their spouses ) the same.
She even loved all our crazy dogs and pets.
She was most proud of her 18 great grandchildren.
Coming from being an only child , her family was her greatest accomplishment.
And she loved each of us so well.
She forgave so easily, even when one of us had made some REALLY stupid mistake.
She always forgave and just loved.
She taught us the best cure for anything was a real coke.
I looked back at what I shared last year at her service.
One thing I shared , was that SHE was a real coke,
She was as genuine as they come.
She was true, the real thing.
She allowed you to be yourself and to tell your truth.
She always made you feel like you were the most important thing in her life.
This was her greatest gift.
The kids and I went on an adventure to get pizza and bottled coke with her
Just a couple weeks before she died.
She told them a real coke would solve any problem and any stomach ache they had.
They haven’t forgot that and I assume never will ,and will continue to use it against me :)
And yet that was her
she was that very same cure,
the real thing for each of us,
that was lucky enough,
to be loved by her.
I wrote the letter below to Mike a couple weeks ago.
As I sat this morning, thinking about Meme , I realized she was one of the many people in my life , including her girls - my mom and aunts ,as well as family, friends, cousins....
who have taught me
to carry on.
to keep going .
to keep living.
My therapist Ginny has also encouraged me to carry on.
She has also encouraged me to keep sharing with the prayer of helping others suffering.
So I share the letter below with hopes
that it will help you carry on today.
And with Meme's love and courage .
Sometimes carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.
- Albert Camus -
van der Kolk writes -“Well, what I think happens is that people have terrible experiences. And we all do. And we are a very resilient species. So if we are around people who love us, trust us, take care of us, nurture us when we are down, most people do pretty well with even very horrendous events. But particularly traumas that occur at the hands of people who are supposed to take care of you, if you’re not allowed to feel what you feel, know what you know, your mind cannot integrate what goes on, and you can get stuck on the situation. So the social context in which it occurs is fantastically important.”
We had a great weekend with Mich and Papa.
We felt you with us.
Your dad called us out to see the crescent moon Saturday night
as he grilled some burgers for the kids.
Thank you for letting us know you were there too.
We miss you.
I have not felt like writing much the past week.
I had a bad dream,
where you were sick again.
I realize I am still working through questions about the final year of your life.
Especially in my dreams.
And that frustrates me
and makes me mad at myself.
Haven’t I relived that thought enough?
Why can’t I let it go?
The trauma we went through,
the trauma I can still feel
when I stand in the shower
and imagine you sitting on the shower seat.
I still sit there, although less and less.
I am getting stronger.
In those moments I relive me washing your back
and you just wanting to be able to bathe yourself.
But you were humble and brave.
And only once did you tell me
that you wished you were strong enough to stand up in the shower.
When I think I’m not strong enough to get up without you.
I think of that being your only wish.
And I get up.
And Carry on.
My heart had sunk that day.
That day you told me how bad
you wished you were strong enough to stand in the shower.
My heart still hurts thinking about it.
I hope you knew how bad I wanted it for you too.
But now, those sacred moments, are some of my very favorite memories.
As we had to surrender to a life we were given,
one we never would have wished for.
I believe only then,
in our weakness,
in our surrendering
we became open
to the depths of love.
And were made stronger.
so much stronger.
I think you swallowed your pride
and the wish to be able to care for yourself
each time you were courageous enough
(you were so courageous.)
to allow others to love you,
and take care of you.
It became easy for you to allow others
to carry you.
That’s why you were able to carry on each day.
The trauma of small moments throughout your fight,
I can feel them bubble up.
I am learning that I have to feel it, in order to heal from it.
In order to carry on.
I have had so many good dreams with you lately too.
Like the one I wrote about to you weeks ago,
where you kissed me.
A reunited kiss after a lifetime of waiting.
Like after a weekend trip away.
One where you don’t want to let go.
One That grows stronger with each passing day.
Maybe I’ll share the letter one day.
But for now just that it felt so real,
I touched the other side of the bed to see if you were there.
And I carried on through the day, with hope and light.
With your love close.
The dream last week though,
was a nightmare.
You were still sick.
And I was still running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Trying to fix you.
you thought I was crazy for sure.
In my awake self, I know,
we did all we could.
We fought with all we had.
Without a doubt.
But the questions have the ability to swoop back in
as fast as Graham can swipe my phone out of my pocket.
I am trying not to doubt myself, that I did do all I could too.
This dream left me sad and missing you.
When I went out to dinner with friends the other night,
Graham said- I wish daddy was here to keep us.
Me too, I told him.
I miss him too,
and I would give anything for him to be here keeping you.
But they carried on.
And Lorraine kept them.
And loved them.
And they were happy.
They carried on.
They snuck time on the computer and I pretended I didn’t know that.
I carried on.
I went to dinner With friends
And had a great time.
And we talked about how the creators of Minecraft
have turned our 11yr olds into monsters addicted to minecrack 😆
But we felt better because we were together.
And not alone. In this battle.
And we’re given strength to carry on.
I carried on,
the kids carried on.
With you in our hearts.
We are surrounded by love.
Others who nature us, trust us, take care of us.
And so we are able to carry on.
To feel the pain of missing you.
And carry on.
I believe when you are loved,
You become superhuman.
Love is the superpower.
You taught me that too.
So with love,
we carry on,
just carry on,
or searching for answers,