flm fRIDAY aPRIL 29TH
Dear Fight Like Mike army,
Nancy sent me this post last week.
I loved the image of red flag seas.
During the week leading up to Easter,
I was living, yet again, in red flag seas.
Like the image says, waves of grief still come.
Just with more yellow flag days.
And I’ll even say green flag days.
Where you can swim freely
with no current fighting against you.
But the double reds,
They still come.
And maybe the entire day isn’t red.
Maybe just a few hours.
In those days I still try and be brave and fight the current.
Even though the flags say to stop.
That the waves are too dangerous to swim in.
When I thought about this image.
I realized nature continues
to teach us to surrender.
When the waves are too strong,
Ii permits us to sit on the shore and rest.
And if you are with Celia,
she will have packed a complimentary snack bag
to help refuel you while you rest.
The flags give us permission to feel the depths of sadness
the depths of grief.
Permission to take a time out
and feel the strength of the waves
from the shore.
To allow others to care for you.
So the waves do not engulf you.
( maybe one day I will take my advice 😬)
I am grateful for the yellow and green flag days
that come more frequently.
I am also grateful
that red flag days will keep coming.
They are proof you have loved as deep as the sea.
They remind me of the greatest love gifted to me.
And I never want to forget.
I will always believe these
drowning waves are the sacrifice
for having loved.
I write many letters on my red flag days.
And as always it’s frightening to share and to be vulnerable.
But I think of Brene Brown’s words.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” – Brené Brown
So I share a red flag letter, with the prayer, that if you are missing your person, you know you are not alone.
Wednesday, April 27
Book day 54.
I saw this.
And I was given hope.
Oh, how I miss you physically.
It is lonely without you.
But I found comfort in these words.
That you are here.
That your love is here.
That our love can
I feel it.
Not every day.
But on most days,
through the wind, the moon,
the sky, cardinals soaring.
Graham’s frog lip smile,
Jake’s broad shoulders and miniature waist,
and Celia’s great stubborn love.
They are proof our love existed.
And that makes me smile through the tears.
We once bought Graham this overpriced weighted blanket.
We were desperate and determined
to make him sleep in his room.
You wanted our room for us.
And I appreciate that now more than ever.
But my mom heart was torn
because he is as charming as you
and knows all the right things to say to make me melt.
We tried it all, including baby melatonin.
That of course knocked him out immediately.
Causing me to tuck him into our bed.
Keeping me awake, watching him like a hawk,
leaving me with another sleepless night.
I anxiously watched him believing I had drugged him
and at the same time watched you sleep,
equally as hard as him🙄
I miss you peacefully sleeping
through everything, next to me.
So the blanket was another attempt
and yet another backfired fail.
The first night he was all in
and sweetly tucked himself underneath it.
He fell asleep immediately.
We were hopeful.
Night two, however, as we lay in bed
we heard his sweet toddler voice,
yelling from the top of the stairs.
“ Mommy, Daddy, come and get me ! The blanket is too heavy to carry down “.
I rolled my eyes.
It was worse.
Now I had to get out of the warm bed,
to go pick up him and
the damn heavy blanket.
But I did it.
And he smiled as he snuggled in the warm sheets between us.
Grief feels like that.
A blanket that engulfs me.
I can’t move.
I can’t make it down the stairs alone.
It weighs me down on days,
So much that I am paralyzed
Glued to the couch on our back deck.
Watching the birds fly freely.
The birds are not weighed down by anything.
I wonder if that is how you feel?
I hope you are flying freely like that.
I know I should be flying freely too.
I want to.
You would want me to.
Everyone who loves me wants me to.
You would not want me weighed down by missing you.
As I recently struggled through another red flag week of missing you,
My dad asked me empathetically and genuinely- As any parent watching their
child suffer would do,
“ do you want to find joy again ?”
And I have been thinking about that question.
It is so heavy.
And some days,
I don’t want to be better.
I don’t want to be freed from
this cage of grief.
Where I feel safely locked in with you.
If I free myself,
I feel I will lose you even more.
And I am scared.
It’s easier to stay planted on our deck,
under the heavy blanket.
Planted in the dark soil
of self-pity and sadness.
It’s easier, no doubt.
So in some moments,
I don’t know my answer.
I am conflicted because grief,
is so heavy and so confusing.
How do I get up?
I yell to God.
I yell as Graham did to us.
When his blanket was too heavy.
And he just wanted to be close to us.
but could not get to us alone.
I yell to you both.
Up there in heaven.
Do you hear me??
I want to
Feel safe in your arms.
As I am forced to surrender.
When the blanket is too heavy to pick up myself.
When I cry.
that’s all I got.
When I relinquish,
the tightest grip of control
that is cutting off the chance that any amount of peace
could flow freely through my veins like blood.
A grip as tight
as Pearl has on a favorite stuffed animal.
The tug of war struggle,
it is real.
I didn’t want to let go of you.
I didn’t want to let go then
and certainly don’t now.
But I couldn’t stop it.
I couldn’t keep your death from coming.
Like that hourglass,
I couldn’t stop you
from slipping through
So what am
I left to do now.
When the pain is unbearable.
That’s what you did.
You surrendered every time.
So, could you
Help me surrender too.
Doesn’t seem to
come quite as easily right now.
I hope you hear my prayer, God.
You DO hear it.
I don’t understand it.
But I know,
I am heard.
When I finally
This is NOT something
I am doing alone.
There is a greater power.
Giving me the strength to continue.
And I must surrender.
and over again.
every minute and
of every day.
I am thinking about you even
when I am not thinking about you.
I know you want me to keep flying.
To free myself from the cage.
To put the weighted blanket down.
To sprout through the darkest of soil.
Family is grace.
Friends are grace.
Tears are grace.
Your children are grace.
I feel sure this grace is you.
As I am sure you know,
Graham is still manipulating all of us.
He talks sweet Jake into bringing down his pajamas
after I tell him his legs do indeed still work.
Celia brings his breakfast to the couch.
He still needs us.
And he still misses you.
Especially some nights.
I took him on a little trip last weekend.
He loves farms, animals, and being outside.
He also loves, equally as much
the tv and his “nest” ( as he has named it ) on the couch
with endless snack wrappers.
It makes me think of your nest,
where you sat in your chair
surrounded by tubs of Aquaphor, refresh eye drop tubes,
alcohol wipes, and your blue water bottle :)
I am grateful to be able to smile about that space these days.
He is your humor and when he smiles I see you.
I tell him every single time.
On our trip, we counted cardinals,
well actually “daddy birds”.
They were close enough to touch.
Was it you?
It had to be.
You sat on the ledge of the treehouse
for quite some time while he played.
You sat on the tree stump next to us,
as we watched the ducks playing happily in the pond.
You swooped across our path as we drove a golf cart,
making me think I might hit you.
Graham pointed out every one of them.
We were in nature.
It was peaceful.
The noise of life was quiet.
I felt free.
I could feel you.
I felt, oh so close to you.
Our love was the only noise I could hear.
I felt God.
I heard you whispering,
as we chose life,
“ free yourself ”.
When we got home,
I could feel the weighted blanket
trying to make a home on my lap again.
The stress of life was loud.
The silence of your absence was even louder.
I wondered if your voice would
become silent again.
When I picked up Graham from school Monday afternoon.
He ran freely and happily home.
He wanted me to cut through a neighbor’s yard
and take the shortcut home with him.
I argued against him, telling him I am not trampling through their yard.
And he said,
“ but a daddy bird is sitting on this path “.
And you were.
Close enough to touch.
Waiting for him.
I get the sense you two will continue to work against me
or if I am hopeful, maybe it’s for me😊
As I struggle to differentiate
between praying to you
and to God.
Ginny told me this week,
that maybe it
is the same.
Maybe you are connecting me to God.
Maybe you are making me feel God’s presence
Maybe it is all just love that we cannot understand as human beings.
I like that thought.
We are all searching for you, Mike.
We are all searching for you, God.
Trying to feel as close to you as possible.
It’s exhausting work,
just saying 😉
Keep leading us down the path of surrendering, Mike.
You are teaching me it’s the only way to fly freely with you.
Free us from our cages, God.
Help us put down our weighted blankets.
And sprout through the dark soil of life we live through each day.
Help remind me that I do indeed want joy and life after death.
That trapped in the cage is not where I will find you.
Graham follows your path with ease.
I want to follow it like him.
I need your help.
I love you,
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise