we are so far from home, but so happy

as 2017 draws to a close, it is difficult -if not impossible- to take stock of everything that has come my way this year.  after the fire of 2016, i am standing here and am no longer in fields of ruin.  

restoration.  it is an interesting concept.  i myself buy into too many marketing schemes, always keeping an eye out for the new.

one time addy points out a toy to me and i go, "but baby, you already had that toy, we didn't play with it and we gave it away"
she goes, "but this one is new"

and there is truth in that no?  new clothes, new shoes, new skin creams.  and there's not anything wrong with it.  a fresh paint job on my nails and a new essential oil in my diffuser can go a long way in lifting my spirits.  

but restoration... that is a trickier concept.  it's why divorce is often easier than saving a marriage, why cutting people off is easier than navigating difficult relationships.  and there is no one size fits all, no black and white.  

sometimes we make cuts, sometimes we stay in it.  i am working currently at rebuilding my family and what that looks like.  at including all members - even ones we won't see on earth again.  at making sure addy and lane always have ties to their dad that extend past me.  losing a lover is so different than losing a parent or brother or child.  lovers are defined in time periods.  my college boyfriend, my first marriage.  there is an impermanence to the permanent.  

i remember being around 12 or 13 and asking my dad who he loved more, my mom or stepmom.  the question in itself, took a lot of courage for me, half of me was scared of the answer.  he just told me "it's different, i love them differently"  this was way before i had ever had my heart broken or truly loved and i didn't understand.  i know my kids will possibly struggle with that same question - who did i love more?  why could i move on so quickly?  do i still love daddy?

it's different.  

and here i am smack dab in the middle of navigating different.  

these small moments that turn into big moments that are really just moments

when i was probably ten or eleven, my dad had our kitchen redone.  it was a big job of course, i remember the workers coming every day, messing up my tv schedule if i was home from school.  my dad doesn't remember this, but he used to quiz me on the wood. 

i knew all different types of wood and their stains

church pews?  oak with a cherry stain

i remember it being asked, and i distinctly remember getting the answer right.  i brought this story up with him when i visited in april or when he came in july.  this story that has lived on in my mind and has caused me all these years later, to constantly guess what wood is underneath my fingertips, supporting my elbows, or drawing my eyes up.

the silly thing is, he didn't even remember doing this.  it was probably a once or twice off thing to him. 

there are so many things that i don't want to forget.  talking to my grandma about her family life growing up, the green shag carpet in her house, what every room felt like to me, or how she would put the pearls around my neck.  walking to bob evans with her and ordering the popcorn shrimp. 

my grandpa, going up to the non-airconditioned third floor to play tea party.  crammed into a small closet, where i had cut up place mats that served as our dessert.  how he would always let me mess up his crossword puzzle by writing my own answer in, but only in one.  how he would watch NYPD blue at night and never slept more than six hours, his great smile.

my mom, the time i freaked out when she got acupuncture and was screaming and crying and begging her not to do it even though she said it didn't hurt, the time she cut off all her hair after it had started falling out, the time i saw these antique dolls are some sort of resale shop and she told me i couldn't get them but they somehow made it under the tree for christmas, how she helped me cut out christmas cookies, and drank carrot juice. 

the time i was sitting on the steps and my mom was in her hospital bed in the living room and my dad looked at me and said "do you think mommy is going to get better?"
i said "yes of course"
he said no.

the morning i held addy and told her that daddy wasn't coming back.

the casual afternoon she announced to me, "i can't remember daddy's voice anymore"


i have withdrawn from most of social media recently, including my blog.  there are ebbs and flows right?  i got a forty hour job and somewhere in between working and buying a house and raising my kids and loving my boyfriend and all those really really beautiful things i have, i realized i cannot work on anything else right now. 
it takes every ounce of spare energy i have to that, work, kids, boyfriend, keeping myself sane.

somehow i've slipped back into normal life, i'm not drinking to cope, i discuss things like netflix series and basketball games at work, things like traffic and bad weather legitimately stress me out without me thinking, "well it could be worse, someone could be dead".  i don't feel the need to word vomit my story to every stranger i run into.  i'm excited for the holidays.

i'm in a cocoon.  a really comfy, cozy one where i get to relax and be normal and get stressed about silly things, where i don't feel on display for what i went through, where everything has started to scar over and i cover the scars with long sleeves and pants. 

but i struggle with it.  i struggle with wanting to share.  with wanting to tell everyone, this in between phrase where you don't want the past to be too far in the past because that would mean that it's been too long since you've seen them but you also really want to take the shackles off. 

if i slip back into normality, does that mean it was all in vain?  is the ghost of trying to make something of their deaths haunting me, or do i need to be doing more? 

//  in other news, cavs don't look so good and this is us is solid. //

If you wait, it's always too late.

It's Saturday morning.  I am sitting on the couch, Mickey Mouse clubhouse is on in the background, everyone - for the moment - is calmed by the bright lights and dancing figures on the screen.  Christian is making breakfast in the background.

This is life, right?  And I've had so many different versions of life.  Life as a traditional family, life as a single mom, life again in a non-traditional family.

The thing with life is that, nothing really follows a time schedule.  God knows, my life hasn't.  I got a full time job smack dab in the middle of moving.  I ended up planning a vacation when we had only been in our house a couple days.  There is this tendency I think, to look at my life or one's own life and miss out because it's not following the timeline.

There are some who think that by bringing someone new in so quickly I am doing my best to reclaim what I had.  Maybe in a desperate way trying to fill in those roles.  That I'm not quite ready.  The crazy thing about the human experience though, is that there is no way to replace people, no way to re-create the unique and bright human experience that each person brings to the role.  It's beautiful to be in a relationship again, but it's not the same, it will never be the same, and no one here is trying to make it be.

The flip side of that is, no I was not ready.  None of us ever are for the things that truly scare us.  I was not ready to open my heart, not ready to expand my family again, but I jumped anyway.  I think that's where true bravery lies, to those willing to try again, to those willing to leap, to those who say- I know what makes me happy and I will pursue it.

My boss has a saying, procrastination is the thief of health and isn't that true of all.  So many people are immobile, unwilling to try or do anything different.  I meet and talk to so many people who are stuck in jobs they don't like, who are afraid to even admit what they want to the universe.

If you want it, claim it.  On December 31st, I wrote down what I wanted for myself in the New Year.  Some of them didn't come to fruition (visiting my cousin in Hawaii- sorry Lys) but my main one did- to fall in love again.  It was so scary to write that again, even in a journal.  We have this tendency to just self-edit, to be always slightly okay with what things are, even if it's not what we want.

Don't be scared to want something different than what you have.

and life goes on

i have been so just discombobulated recently.  more than once, christian has come home to find me wasting away on the couch crying about not having a purpose while the house remains wrecked and there are literally a zillion things that could garner my attention.


i have such a clear idea of what i want to do, of what i feel i am meant to do.  but i am so unsure of how to get there.  i have literally no trust in moving forward regarding it.  i also have a really hard time thinking i should get paid for it, that i'm valuable enough to be paid for it.  basically i want to be a life coach, someone who can look at the pieces of your life, where you are going wrong or stalling or not letting light in and say, "what can we do to get this under control?  what can we do to move forward?"  so many of us are just waiting for life to hand us what we think we deserve.  (did i just write that on my last post, i might've lol).

i've been over here trying to get pretty menial job after menial job.  and it's not that they aren't important or helpful or even necessary, i'm just not sure that's what i am supposed to be doing.  it is so hard for me to invest in myself.

Duke has a great and quick certification program.  it takes about two months to complete, you have to have a bachelors for it and it certifies you as a "Integrated Health Coach" basically I would be able to help people with areas that are blocking their life whether it be nutritionally or emotionally and help them achieve a better and more quality life.

but it's Duke and so it costs some money, like several thousand.  and it's not that i can't do or wouldn't be able to.  it's just hard to look at myself and say "brianna, you have the same resources and intelligence as a lot of other people and you have the resiliency of about 100 of them combined, you can do this"

i've always been a quitter.  and my life as a stay at home mom enabled that quite a bit.  if i didn't want to do something or it was hard or difficult, i just didn't.  i think that's why i have such a complicated relationship with how i feel about staying at home.  do i think it's valuable, especially in the first couple years of life for the child?  yes absolutely.  do i think it allows a woman to wither, especially if she is inclined that way anyway, yes absolutely.  (PSA PSA this is not all stay at home moms just me personally)

that's super hard to admit, so so so hard.  and i've been working on my website and applying to this program to Duke and i feel paralyzed, frozen.  what if people don't want to talk to me, what if they don't think i'm worthwhile?  what if i screw up my taxes?

and it's just all these logistical options.  you don't realize how easy it is to allow someone else to define you until you try to define yourself.

these are just all my deepest fears put out there.
and this is just me rambling, a lot of you read this but almost no one ever comments.  why would i think people would value my advice?
deep deep deep fears.

if you are reading this,

i am sorry that your life has started over, perhaps more times than you would care to admit.  i mean that, i really do.  i was not the first to grow up under the impressions or fantasy that my life would turn out similar to the disney princesses.  "they all lived happily ever after"  and on a similar note, i am not the first to see what's behind the curtain when that mirage falls apart...


... until they got divorced
... until she got cancer
... until their kid is in trouble at school
... until you declared bankruptcy
... until he died
... until she lost her job

there seems to be this apology dance that we get to do when our life doesn't go the way people expect...

"yeah i know it's soon, but he's a great guy"
"yeah he does have two kids from his first wife, but honestly they're angels!"

and on the flip side of that, we all seem to have this innate chip that makes us confident we could be living everyone elses' life more effectively than they appear to be living it.  we conjure up ideas and rules, expectations and limits.

"i would never do long distance"
"she's crazy, he's a decade younger than him"
"i heard she's letting her kid drop out of college and move back home"

it's an immunity thing right?  we see these tricky or difficult circumstances and in a hope of inoculating ourselves against the difficulty of navigating it we place a boundary around it, a way to stay safe.  but there is no safety net, no inoculation against pain.

and there is no one more equipped to navigate your life than you.

i almost drowned in opinions about my life after jim.  and the crazy thing was, i had everything i needed to make the decisions within myself.  if you haven't seen moana, you should watch it, i can't even discuss how empowering it was and how much better it was than frozen... but these lyrics get me everytime

You are your father's daughter
Stubbornness and pride
Mind what he says but remember
You may hear a voice inside
And if the voice starts to whisper
To follow the farthest star
Moana, that voice inside is
Who you are

but listen, no one gets to define how many happy endings you get.  that is your choice and your choice alone.  
and no one gets to paint how those look but you.

so please for the love of God, stop trying to protect yourself against other people's lives, mistakes, or joys and just live your life, and live it well, without apology.

loving a widow

i remember swiping on bumble and one guy's profile said "please be over your ex" i kind of chuckled to myself and swiped left because Lord knows, i was never going to be over Jim.

dating as a widow is tricky, adding in kids is trickier.  there is no easy way to love a widow, to be with a widow, to play a role in her life.  it takes a really special person to say, "i acknowledge that hole in your heart and i know my puzzle piece will never fit the same, but i still want to be included" it takes a really special person to say, "i know you are hurting, i know you miss him, i want to hold you"

there are so many things that if you were to ask me i would confidently reply that i knew it all.  when i was married to jim, i emphatically told alayne she was dating wrong because she kept dating guys her own age or a little younger.

"young guys are players, i would never date a younger guy"

fast forward a couple years and i have suddenly found myself with a guy quite a bit younger than me.

before we started dating, i told christian, "listen, my life is set.  i've got my kids and i've got my life and there will be sacrifices made in a relationship, but most of them won't come from me.  you have to decide if that's what you want and if that's something you are ready for."

after spending so many years in my early twenties and teenage years doing my best to conform to the guy's or society's standards of what was deemed lovable, it was quite a turn to stand there and say "this is my life, get on board or get out"

i think a lot of single mom's can probably identify with that.  the changes that having children brings to your relationship dynamic, but none more keenly know this than a widow.  there is no every other weekend, no split custody or night's at dads, it is me, on all the time.

it is hard to describe to outsiders what a relationship looks like post-marriage.  hard to show what Christian means to our family, impossible to explain how we can be so close-knit or so sure in such a small amount of time.

all i can tell you is, those people out there, who love widows and kids who have lost a parent.  the men and women who are every day putting in work for a family that looks different and acts different than most, the men and women who say, i know you saw forever looking differently than what we have now, and i'm okay with that.  those people need to be acknowledged, to be celebrated, and to be thanked, because they are truly gifts from God.

and if you are widow, and you wonder how to accept love, be open to it, it's worth it.  i know forever didn't go as you planned, i know life dealt you a shitty hand, but let those eyes you have now be forever changed to focus on what is important, on what is to be gained and on what matters.  grief changes you forever, but it doesn't ruin you.

when life moves on

letting go i think is probably the most difficult of life lessons.  loose grip.  we see our friends and their choices and we think "oh i wouldn't do that" or "i would do that differently" and part of this is just our mind, our mind preparing for different circumstances, for making sure we are ready and prepared for what comes our way, although that is never truly possible.

i think ultimately at the end of the day we all live in a very broken and hurt world and we are all just trying to create our own happiness and find our own path.  and you have to allow others to find that path.

be supportive
show up
show compassion

to the dreamers

now, now comes the difficult part, being prepared for new dreams, dreams that i haven't thought of, dreams that will catch me by surprise, dreams that were not and are not part of my plan.  but even in living out new dreams, i will always have the gift of those five weeks.  the five weeks where i lived my heaven. 

that was written going on just a year ago.  it is weird and oddly comforting to have this journey documented somewhat.  especially as i find myself living those new dreams.  we are so limited with our comparisons, our striving to make life so black and white.  my thoughts, limited, "is my life better?" 

we always want to be achieving, making sure we are hitting that goal mark.  i am not set adrift as i once was.  actually last night i looked around a table of my friends and realized, how happy i was.  how happy these people made me, what beautiful and wonderful things we had coming our way.  

what do my goals look like? 
what do i want? 
what is it that sparks my soul?

also this is a total side note, but did you know that it can be august 3, and you still may not have heard from grad school.  wtf state.  i am assuming, probably correctly, that i did not get in for this year.  i also take that information with the knowledge that it could mean next year i'll be in a different space, a different school, and i'll think to myself "thank god i didn't get in last year"

that happens too often right.  i have all of these ideas and i don't know, not many are coming to fruition, i feel daunted by the next step.  scared to spend money for education, unsure of where money is coming from.  

i started looking at houses recently and it honestly sent me into a complete tailspin.  i feel immobilized, striving to find the BEST solution, the best option, so i run around frenzied and end up  not being able to make a decision at all.  we can so easily get caught into the next thing that i find myself forgetting that i actually quite like where i live and the convenience and my kids school.  

i'm trying so hard to find the right thing maybe i'm missing that for now i am in the right thing.

(deep breath) in and out.  in and out.
reminder, bria, the world existed for years and years without the chaos of your mind adding its chatter to it
reminder, the world will continue to exist for years and years when your mind ceases to contribute

deep breath (in and out)
in and out
it's the beginning of the end
the end of the beginning
the prime of their life

we quantify and qualify
we measure and judge
as if 
as if we are the gods
looking down
preparing the peoples for their lives
how long did they live? 
too short, taken too soon

who are we to judge?
what is soon, what is long?
what comes next?
none know except those who have been

at times i long to join them
at times i grow so heavy
in and out, in and out
what do you have?
look at it in the eyes
feel the arms around you

what is here now?
is it good?
is it worthy?
does it have value?
in and out.
stay present my dear.

when you try to move mountains

i've been trying recently.  trying with great ferocity to force puzzle pieces into place.  to announce to others "I've figured it out, I've got it under control, don't worry about me!"

Addy is turning into quite a swimmer, my parents were visiting over the weekend and they were teaching her how to float.  "relax" they would say, "don't tense up, just relax" that's when we float.  fast forward to sunday morning, worship leader shared a story about trying to move the mountains and God just kind of being like "okay, listen can you just get out of the way so i can do my job?"

my focus has been off recently, i've been very inward focused, trying to coordinate my rubiks cube to my specifications, "okay to get yellow over there, let's move the green" but my efforts have been frustrated.  i've been searching for meaning when there is already meaning to be had.

today i am thankful.  thankful for fresh starts even after messing up.
for the joy in my heart that can only come from my creator

you guys, i have joy.  true joy, alongside the sadness.  and it comes when i relax, when i *float*

here are the things i don't have-

a decision from my grad school program
a full time job
a husband (LOL)
close friends in NC that are also moms
things that i thought would have fallen into place right now

and yet, i can sit here, and think i am joyful.  i am content, i pray for contentment guys.  i pray for joy in my circumstances.  i pray for a grateful heart that isn't too selfish to give back what has been given to me.

i don't want to miss the view because i'm too busy looking at the ground.
thank you God for second chances.
there is so much more sharing that goes on when it is difficult, is there not?  it's been a jumble recently.  

on sunday, alayne and i were sitting together and i comment "i don't know what i am doing" 
she replies, "this afternoon?"
i say, "with my life"

and never have i had such an organic interaction that is so representative of our two personalities.  i turned thirty on saturday and while many i think experience this introspective scope of life at thirty, i've been doing that my whole life.  

i mean, i think i was 25 or 26 when i looked up what day of the week my thirtieth would be so i would know when to plan my party.  this is my life, my mind can be a truly exhausting place to be.  i talked to my counselor about it and he stated that when you experience trauma or loss at an early age, it can be extremely difficult to have that immortality viewpoint that so many young people can hold on to.  while there is value in this for me, it creates a certain weight to each day.  a certain knowledge that time is so finite and what truly matters.

it's hard for me to watch tv without feeling guilty
it's hard for me to just relax without guilt

the answer of course is constantly, not enough.  

i realised recently, that this past year, i have put an immense amount of pressure on myself to make their deaths mean something.  the weight of that, of bringing meaning to the death's of two of my immediate family members has started to crush me.  i am following these rabbit trails and realising nothing seems to be adding up.

i am tired.  exhausted really.  
when everything happened, there was this spotlight that was thrust on me.  it was weird and bizarre but it created this complexity of "yes, this all must mean something, i must need to share it"

now the dust has settled, and i realise, i need to withdraw for a little bit.  i need to focus on my kids for a little bit, i want to be normal for a little bit.  i want to cultivate what is placed in front of me right now, because it's really, really good.

zooming the lens a bit, to what is framed in my view.  

wishers just keep on wishing, it just never comes to fruition

i wish i had more words to share.  i wish i could just flick a switch and suddenly "cue the lights" my life is set.  maybe i don't wish that, that was when the shoe dropped last time.

i wish i had words for what i feel in my heart, for how i am coping, living, learning.  for the dualism that consistently resides in me.  the great ache for those who have left, the ever expanding heart for those i have here.

i remember as a teenager asking my dad who he loved more, gail or my mom, he said, neither it's just different.  i didn't understand it at the time.  my love was ranked, qualified.  my best friends listed in numbers, my crushes listed from hottest to not.  it was oh so black and white.

now i rest in grey matter.
rest is the wrong word,
it's anything (but)

sometimes i yearn for the simplicity of black and white, for waking up, ranking my life in quantifiable and definitive movements.

life is so much messier than i expected

it seems cruel to miss this much.
you are always missed love, i hope you know that.
i hope you know we wish you were here.  i hope you know that i wish i was still yours.  i wish you would have given me a choice that day.  i wish you would have given me some inkling of what was happening.  i wish we had our house and our friends in ohio.  do you know how much you changed for me?  do you know how close you came to breaking me?

the moments that i miss with you come more frequently now, the anger is fading and instead i am left with faded memories.  what used to be sharp has been dulled with anger and pain.  what used to be clear is fuzzy from the damage done.  will it always be this way?  addy and i talked about going to malley's and getting your favorite gummy cherries, has it really been so long?  since i got you a savage biscuit because despite my prodding you never could kick that mcdonalds habit?

"you know what sounds good?"

you know what sounds good love?  you being here, for me, for your daughter, for your family.  i miss everything with an ache that will never fill all the way.  i miss you with an emptiness that will never come back.

life is so much messier than i expected

cleanup aisle 3.

to elly,

my baby.  i miss you fiercely.  right now i am pretending that you are merely in a different country, that the same stars and moon and sun that warm my life, warm yours.  that you are still feeling sand and salt and earth between your fingers and toes just in a different space.  sometimes it is easier to write as if you are abroad.

oh baby girl, my heart hurts for you.  sometimes it aches with not only the sorrow of losing you but it opens me up to the sorrow of every mother that has lost.  there is so much going on in our world right now baby, things you thankfully don't have to see or hear about.  we seem to have forgotten the value of life.  the inherent value of every individual that they have simply because they are here.

in that way, losing you was a gift that i never wanted.  when you have witnessed life lost- whether a slow fade or a quick snuff, it is not something that you take for granted easily in the future.  yet we have found ourselves in a society that does nothing but take life for granted.

oh elly,  my words fail me.  in my heart there are a thousand songs to sing to you, a thousand words to be spoken, a thousand looks to exchange.  in my heart there is the love i have for you with no place to go.  today i still feel those tenuous connections to you, the string that reaches between us, the very science of our molecules being forever intertwined.  i claim and honour that connection today baby.

elly there is not a day that goes by that my arms don't ache for you.  but while my arms are empty my heart is never without you.  and so, today like everyday

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

what you don't see

pictures are bizarre to me.  i almost think we were better off before social media started documenting everything.  it's hard to move on when you are so firmly rooted in the past.  

it is difficult for me at times.  we used to have family pictures taken every fall and then send out christmas cards.  i had planned on framing my christmas cards throughout the years.  planned on documenting in a firm and unmoving way, how our family and grown and changed.  i didn't see these changes coming though.  and it hurts to know there will always be people missing and it hurts to think that some people will look at future cards and see a replacement.

the truth is, that when you find love again, it doesn't fill those spots that the person before filled.  the space in my heart that jim loved was and is reserved only for him.  i will never again have those spaces filled.  our brains so often want to make sense and normalize it and so we look at things as substitutions, but it's not the case.  the difficult thing is, when you love and lose and love again, your heart has to swell, has to break open, has to create new space to be known, to be accepted, to be loved.  

being loved again does not replace my husband.  but i am thankful for a heart that has found itself big enough to swell.  i am thankful for a heart that has created more space.  for a heart that has said, "yes, i got hurt, yes i wanted to shrink, but i won't, i will fight through and i will love you too"  because the most profound beauty in life comes from love and i am so so so thankful to be granted the most insane beauty i have ever experienced in five different ways.  

a broken heart has created the most fertile and open ground for love to grow, and i remain thankful.
if year one was pain, year two is exhaustion.  it is weird being in these moments now, where everything is still so clear and fresh, and every moment is thought back as "this time last year, this is how much pain i was in still" "this time last year, i was doing this"

last year at this time, i was staring at these future moments with envy.  never in my life had i wanted to fast forward a year so badly.  and all of a sudden, i made it and like a marathon runner over the finish line, my body seems to have collapsed.  i have multiple health issues going on, my blood levels are off, i am exhausted at all times.  all of a sudden, my neurological and physical systems have caught up with my emotional and the battle is still brutal.

there is so much i want to accomplish, but these whispers of doubt are still finding their way into my head.
there is so much i can offer but i am exhausted running down avenues of sharing
there is so much i can teach but i still have to heal

i am still fighting the urge to run.  there is a huge part of me that no longer wants to make a home, anywhere.  right? when you've seen one burn to the ground it's hard to be like "well let's pour energy into that again"  there's part of me that wants to belong to no one, to be with no one, to live in anonymity.

i don't have a problem sharing my story with strangers, it's when i run into you again and again and again and i let you know other parts of my life.  like what i feel like now, how it looks when i parent my kids, the fact that i am struggling with my body image and gaining weight.  that's when it's difficult for me.  and now i am a year out, and the roots are starting again, and it's uncomfortable and disconcerting and scary.

and then i realize that i already belong to somebody.  and that i have been given two reminders on earth of that relationship.  addy and lane deserve a present.  they deserve a mom that can honor the past and hold the present close.  they deserve a mom that isn't running from ghosts.  they deserve a mom that can teach them to shut down the voices in their heads.  they deserve me at my best.

and let me tell you, if you scroll through my feed and my stories and you think "wow she is inspirational" let me tell you that's true.  but if you think for a second that there aren't days when addy has to come over and pat my hand and tell me "don't worry, we'll die someday and see them again," if you think for a second that there aren't times when my boyfriend has to hold me while i cry about my husband who is no longer here, if you think for a second that the pain is diminished, if you think for a second that i am strong all the time, you are sorely mistaken.

year two is here, but it is still a mother-fucking battle.

the summer of your back


three years ago, it was the summer of skinned knees for you.  i was pregnant with lane, we were in our stow house still, we spent so much time outside that summer, it was my last year nannying, so much nostalgia...

and you were constantly falling,  your chubby thighs, barely fitting into 18 month clothes.  you were constantly testing out your waddling turned to running skills.  you took most of the falls with grace, crying of course, but not letting them slow you down.

it seems time has slipped by again... it is hard for me to believe that was only three years ago when so much has come and go in between.  another house, two children welcomed, was it really only three years ago that it was just you and me baby girl?

now it seems i am only catching your back.  your blonde hair, rarely tamed, whipping behind you.  your legs are no longer skinned, instead they are carry bruises from the constant run ins your have with your environment.  these summers are slipping by, so quickly it seems.  your legs are starting to carry you away from me instead of to me, there is a wisdom in your eyes- rarely seen in one so young that has come from great grief.

we have been caught it seems.  you and i, in this great circle of summers together.  i know before too long, it won't even be your back i see chasing you around the playground.  it will be your shiny lips, caked in lip gloss you don't need, your too blonde hair with your too tan legs, it will be teenager addy, getting ready to go out with her friends, your summers won't belong to me.

and so for now, i will take what i can get.  for now, i will take your back.  in the future i will take your sassy mouth and bubblegum smacking lips.  i love you baby girl, here's to our fifth summer together- cheers.

your momma

limits, firm and soft.

last year i wrote about how i almost wished for scars from this journey, a physical rendering of how much pain i had endured.

over the weekend, i dropped my phone in the atlantic ocean, of course i did.  and so, i had a backup right?  jim and i had gotten brand new phones right before... right before everything.  and i've had his phone, just the same as it was when he was alive.  it was one of the last very physical remnants of his life.  i knew, i knew it had to be backed up, to be erased and then i could transfer my stuff to it.  i asked my boyfriend to do it, this impossible task of seeing years of memories.

i was laying on my bedroom floor, petting my dog, getting ready, 1 2 3 for the wave.  he came in and held me while it crashed and as i laid there in a very physical and real pain, i thought to myself, i remember when i felt like this almost all the time.

year two... year two is interesting.  i am exhausted almost all the time.  the pure stamina and adrenaline that kept me going that first year has depleted.  and part of me feels guilty, guilty when i drop my kids off and come back and crash.  year one was pain, year two is complete exhaustion.  and it's better, right?  i mean, it is better, i am better.  slowly.  but it's still damn difficult.

the correlation between physical and emotional trauma is so real.  i feel guilty because i feel like there's no reason for me to be exhausted.  like if i had been in a car accident, or a surgery, or a cancer treatment, then it would be ok, but to be exhausted because in a matter of eight weeks, i delivered a baby via c-section, watched her die, and had my husband die?  no that's not ok.

this world is so caught up, so caught up on meaningless shit.  and it makes me feel so guilty sometimes.  when all i really need to do is focus on my healing so i can provide a mom that is patient, a mom that is kind, a mom that has energy for her children.  when all i need to do is focus on my healing, so i can use my message to help, to heal others, to get my message out there.

money is as money is.  but let me tell you, you don't take any of it with you.

healing, comfort zone, and goooooo

my comfort zone was honed carefully.  as loud, brash, and outgoing as i can be, that is all my comfort zone.  i think it is easy to think of me as brave, or pushing the limits because so much of what i find comfortable is outside of so many people's comfort zones.

want me to public speak?  no problem
want me to share intimate public details of my life? yessir

but silly things, things you wouldn't think can incite moments of panic... those - those are my weak spots.

this morning i found myself in a kayak for the first time... ever.
as someone whose swimming skills consist mainly of dog paddling until a rescue boat comes, the idea of being MERE INCHES FROM THIS WATER was quite disconcerting.  i didn't always have this fear, but i definitely had it today.  it took about ten minutes of breathing and not focusing on the fact that i was comfortably resting in a boat suspended in MURKY UNRELENTING water.  never mind the fact that i definitely had a life jacket on.

one of my first dates with a guy we went to an ethiopian restaurant where i had to eat with my hands... outside of my comfort zone.  it's hard to actually eat and converse when you are wondering "do i look like a weirdo eating like this?"

loud, crowded places - especially with other people's children running around? not my comfort zone.

recently i started neurofeedback training, which if you are new to the concept, harvard and the mayo clinic have some awesome research in it.  i got my brain mapped and i can see this visual representation of my fight or flight.  i am still very much in recovery PHYSICALLY from the trauma that i experienced last year.  currently i am suffering from being hyper-emotional, rumination, visual processing, the list goes on and on.

and right, so often we associate depression with trauma and we think- okay if we aren't depressed, we must be ok.  because here's the thing, i'm not depressed.  i'm actually really happy and although i don't exactly love what went down, i have been provided for since and i choose to trust even when i don't see the whole picture.  but depression isn't always the most debilitating or severe of the symptoms we can experience with trauma.  (not that it isn't serious and/or should not be treated)

i have a hard time making decisions, i tend to jump into them and then wonder how i landed where i got or i want to defer to someone else to make them.  i have a hard time not being self-deprecating.  i can go from being really happy to being really stressed and it doesn't take much.  i am not very even keeled right now.

it's weird, mother's day weekend is the first weekend i have really clear memories of last year.  probably because it was my first major holiday and everything up to that point had been so surreal.  in  a way, it is almost harder than the anniversaries.  because to think back to "this time last year" is nothing but pain, nothing but suffering.

i remember distinctly, being with my friend stephanie on that saturday before, the sunday morning of.  i was a shell of a ghost.  a whisper of a vapor.

and i look now and sometimes it can be hard to not see how far i still have to go, to not be discouraged in how broken i remain, to not focus on my very real physical and mental struggles that i am still carrying day in and day out, to not focus on how quickly i am irritated with my kids, how i struggle with very real and necessary actions.

it's hard ya know?  it's still hard, the bruises are still there.  i don't think there is any easy way to experience and approach death.  but i'll tell ya what, when you've spent years buying into a certain way of belief and have that rug pulled out from under you, the landing is pretty cruel.

sometimes it's hard to remember that even halfway up the mountain still has a good view every once in a while.
sometimes it's hard to be thankful for how well i have been sustained
sometimes i just don't want to feel crippled
sometimes i just miss being strong, miss being together

this has taught me how to ask for and accept help.  how to be gracious to those willing to give and to also set firm boundaries.  this has taught me a lot.  lessons worth learning, but learned most brutally.

happy mother's day.

who does the future belong to?

the future belongs to those who are willing to fight for it.  the future belongs to those who say "i will take it"

too many times, we sit out.  that has stopped.
too many times, i take a backseat (let's be normal)
that time is gone.

my mom was special.  special to her core.  i was reading her journal today and just smiling at the prayers she wrote down, many were for me, many were for my dad, some were for the president and his wife by name.  never condescending, my mom was her own person.  i don't remember a lot about her, definitely not many details.

i remember what it felt like to watch her get ready when she would go out, i thought she was the most beautiful person i had ever seen
i remember her always reminding me how fortunate i was and how other children had less than me
i remember the feeling of her arms and how her smile would light up
i remember how we would always be late, because people were just drawn to her and she seemed to always have a crowd around her

there are hazy details that come together to make up my recollection of her as a person. she painted, she created, she was an excellent sewer, she loved music, she was cheap AF, she loved Jesus, but she loved everyone equally.

for a long time i struggled with whether my mom would like me if she knew me now.  would she like this girl in front of her with tattoos, who lets DAMN slip from her mouth when her daughter knocks the medicine out of her hand, who does life a little differently than most, would she love the girl who is a single mother?  would she love the girl who has struggled?  who has been depressed?  would she love all parts of me?

and today i realized, my mom was different too.  there is a general acceptance when you realize the person standing across from you also doesn't fit in.

so who does the future belong to?  it belongs to you.  it belongs to the person who thinks differently, who processes differently, who spends more time with a paintbrush or music or lithographs than their phone screen.  it belongs to the weird, the challenged, the gays, the losers.  it belongs to everyone who has felt the pressure of a category that doesn't fit their soul.  it belongs to the ones who go to school and get teased every day, it belongs to those that challenge their professors, it belongs to those who don't see any other options but to keep fighting.

it belongs to you.

and this is a list of the things that my mom and i have in common that i can list off, so when i am old and dementia sets in, addy and lane can reference it

a love of music
a general distaste for conformity
being a single mom
struggling with self-confidence (this is from hearsay on her part, but i think it's a good guess)
healthy eating
distrust of big pharma (LOL)

i love you momma, happy mother's day.
sometimes i feel so uncomfortable in my own skin.  staring down thirty and i still have a hard time saying "i accept."  i accept you, i accept me, i accept flaws and imperfections and meltdowns and and and and and.

it goes on and on, right?  always something new.  new blindspots are always illuminated (oh i didn't know).

it's hard to be enough.  i guess the truth is, i'm never enough.  it's why i don't get my worth from myself, it's why we always feel empty.

i think, to understand what lights you up, to know what makes you happy, it's extremely valuable, especially in current conditions.  i would say most people don't know what truly makes them happy.  social media would tell you it's probably food, a skinny body, or giving zero fucks.  and that's not possible right?  it will always matter what people think, because it will always matter what we think.  it's not the ONLY thing that matters, but sometimes i wonder if we are losing a part of ourselves when we feel the need to constantly show all of our bodies in a need to say "this is normal and it's okay" is it possible to be a body positive feminist and not show my stomach on my instagram?  are we, as females, losing something precious by needing to throw our bodies out in public in an effort to normalize how they look?  i haven't noticed a lot of men needing to do similar.

i guess my question is, are we still focused on the wrong thing?

at the end of the day, my body is just that, a body.  i've seen bodies expire, i've seen bodies break, i've seen bodies be tucked and toned and lifted, and at the end of the day, month, year, it doesn't do a damn thing.

is it your body that you need to embrace, or does it go deeper?  by focusing on the stretch marks, curves, and body hair -- do we lose sight of our humanity?  is our humanity truly tied up in our looks?  god help us if that's the case.  i struggle with my body, everyone does.  medications have made my weight fluctuate, i'm always happiest when i'm about ten pounds lighter than i am now.  but i'll tell you now, my struggles as a person, as a mom, as a woman- they are NOT my stretch marks, curves and body hair.

it's true that our looks do not determine our worth, but can we not stop there?  can we remember that it is not our humanity that is tied up in our looks?  can we push past the surface level (literally and figuratively)

your life is short.
your body will break.
what are you focused on?
be(for)e you
I didn't think my heart would ever find a home outside of itself
be(for)e you
I didn't know if my roots would grow again

you just take the coffee and mix it with the cream and it
it swirls
it melts

we all just want to belong to somebody
and it, it is strange to be loved
to be desired and wanted

to be looked at like you look at me
to be held like you hold me

when your heart has been stitched back together
painful stitch after painful stitch
you embrace when it swells past those stitches

with love
with hope
with the tentative promise that the future holds

all of a sudden (all of a sudden)
there's the dawn.

(tired of tired)

who said this was easy again?
who promised you the world would fold itself in and you could tuck it into your palm?
who said you could harness the wind, the rains, the floods?

living is not for the faint of heart.  life seems to be a never ending struggle of getting close to knocked out, only to pick yourself back up again.
life is admitting not everything is for you.
life is sometimes knowing when to bow out.
life is knowing you are meant for more but feeling stuck, feeling stagnant.

i've grown up always feeling different.  physically i was awkward, as a child and a teen, mostly limbs, skinny, curly blonde hair.  my friend from high school that i reconnected with said the thing he remembered most about me is that i would be hunched over physically and it reminded him of me being hunched in on myself emotionally as well.

there is a hilary duff movie called raise your voice (alayne you are getting a major shoutout right now) that alayne and i were obsessed with back in the day.  the main boy says to hilary duff "why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?"

and.... this is probably the most embarrassing thing i've ever written on here but i'm just gonna roll with it, now you all know i watched hilary duff in high school.

society tries so hard to make us fit.  to mold, to shape, to stamp us, one by one.  standardized sizes, standardized tests, standardized diets.  as if a clothing company can define us by a number written on a tag measuring a half an inch across.  as if a bubble filled in can adequately measure the wisdom hidden in a child's mind.  as if a doctor who never met me or seen my physical body can best tell me what to fuel it with.

my life has never fit the mold, and it doesn't seem like it's on any sort of track to start conforming now.  i may as well roll with it.  if you're going to be extra, you may as well be really extra.

the crazy thing is, my biggest source of doubt is myself, and i project it onto other people without ever actually getting their opinion.

so here, for everyone to know and see and witness and realize, here is what i want.  here is what i know i am created for and my purpose in life.

i want to share, i want to tell my story, i want to motivate, i want to connect with people, i want to share about what i believe because it's probably not typical, i want to provide an income for my family with my words and with sharing my heart because it is the most valuable strength i have, i want to finish my book, i want to go to grad school, i want to talk to people about nutrition and essential oils and meditation and the things that have helped me heal, i want to remind people that you are NOT your circumstances.

play to your strengths.

you have it rough?  good, it's a chance to mother fucking shine.  get it.
i feel mad, i feel abandoned.  why did you bring me into the desert to leave me now?  why sustain me only to crush me underfoot.  there are a million questions and the answers come slowly (if at all)
it's like lightning (everything illuminated) and then l i g h t s o u t

oh i (don't) see.  oh i (don't) understand.  oh i, i, i.
it's not about i
its about you.
i see the flowers, i know i am worth more.
i see the birds, i know i am held closer

the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want
he makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me besides quiet waters
he restores my soul
he leads me down paths of righteousness for his names sake
even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
i will fear no evil
for you are with me
your rod and your staff comfort me
you prepare a table before me
you annoying my head with oil
my cup runneth over
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

to my mom.

hi momma,

this morning when i woke up (too early as always) i just really really wished you were here holding me.  i wish i could hear your laugh and see your smile.  i wish i could see how we have the same mannerisms and hear how we have the same laugh.  i wish my memories of you weren't fought for through thick cobwebs.

mommy, sometimes i get so tired.  it's so hard doing this on my own.  sometimes i'm just tired of being tired.  every day is a fight, sometimes every minute is a fight, to not get overwhelmed, to keep going, to stay strong, to be brave.  sometimes i feel just as fragile as i did in the weeks after everything.

my faith gets so weak and it seems like it swings on a pendulum.  i wish we had assurance.  i wish i knew for sure.  i wish you could sit me down for a half hour and say "don't worry, it's all true and i have elly and i met jim and he makes me laugh."  i wish i didn't have to hear addy cry for her dad.

why do bad things happen? why is it grace through fire? why do tribulations procure endurance?  why why why?  do i sound like addy yet?

i want purpose.  i want to know we aren't abandoned.
please don't let me be abandoned.

i'm so tired of being left (alwaysleftneverleaving)

sometimes life feels like a sentence and not a blessing.


to my old love,

i knew you like the back of my hand.  i knew every path and every curve.  all the hangouts and all the special spots.  there was no where to go where i wouldn't have a memory, wouldn't have a trigger.  it wasn't you... (i promise)

in the aftermath, my love for you turned to suffocation.  E S C A P E.  and now my escape has turned to longing.  i miss you - my feet have turned restless, for there is always more.  (can i never be satiated)

it is the shallow plants that are easily pulled and i feel the tugs.  my roots are beginning and it hurts.  it hurts, my feet say "run" my heart says "i hurt" my mind says "escape"
who do i listen to?


i wish we could have stayed together forever.  will i always miss that part of you that's me?
will we ever get back together?


life goes on

whenever you encounter a profound tragedy, there are moments, when you seem to stand still while life goes on around you. and you look at these people, incredulous:

how do they move? (you think) for you are frozen
how do they smile? for you are sure your lips will never curve again
how does a laugh escape their throat so easily?  only guttural cries are heard from yours

it is a strange time, you are separate, held apart from society either in your own mind or in the minds of those around you.  since my story blew up so profoundly and was pretty present on social media, i remember feeling like a small celebrity, my friends would get asked "do you KNOW her?  how is she holding up??" i had strangers introduce themselves to me... 

and that's part of why i left ohio i think, just to breath, to be in a place where i felt like my tragedy didn't define me, it had nothing to do with the people in ohio and everything to do with me and how i was processing.  

and now, now is coming the part of the journey where i open up, in hopes that others will hear my story but more importantly, hear of the story of redemption.  there were so many moments where i wished for death, where i wished that i could be put out of my misery.  and i wish, i wish i could stand here and say "i understand now! i will explain to you why people go through hard times, why babies die, why kids get cancer, why the weight of the world is so fucking heavy" but that's not my job.

my job is to be still and know.  
to be still and know.

and that is one of the most important lessons i have learned in this, i have learned the power of being still, the power of being quiet.  you know what i heard most often "i wish i had something to say" but in all honesty, i didn't need words, i needed people to be still and know

know that i was in pain
know that i needed a shoulder
know that they loved me

and the beautiful thing is, those people were provided to me, over and over and over again, in my most desperate and quiet moments, people showed up.  and it took a toll on them, i had to allow myself to be a burden and that is an extremely humbling place.  

and even though that fire waged, even though the forest burned, even though it seemed clear life would never.grow.again.

flowers are starting to sprout.  there is life in the soil.

elly passed away on april 16th, 2016.  the one year anniversary of her death is sunday, april 16th- easter sunday.  at first, i felt it was a cruel joke, the date my life blew up on the only holiday we spent together as a family of five?

but i know, i know that there is no greater day to know.  to be still and know, that my daughter is in heaven, that she lives on even without my presence there.

and so this easter, i will rejoice, i will rejoice and look at the flowers blooming and gather them to my face and say "thank you, thank you, thank you"

this is kind of a different post, stay with me.

i feel compelled to share my story.  in the beginning it was to alleviate the pain, i was filled to the brim with hurt and there had to be overflow.  now it is the realization that this will always leave me different, the realization of how brief our time is on this earth, the realization that what we do with our time matters very much.

and so i write this to you my reader,

if you are sitting there, wondering, does what i do matter? would people miss me if i was gone? do i need to spend my days locked in a cage?

if you are sitting there thinking, i am too fat, i am too stupid, i am not educated enough, i have a disability, i can't succeed because my face, legs, stomach, brain, speech impediment, the color of my skin

if the doubt circles around your head like bats, swooping in as night falls

if the pain feels too much to bear alone

if you are stuck

to you i say, stay brave.  to you i say, lift your head.  to you i say, stand strong.  to you i say "you can" to you i say "you will"

if you wear long sleeve shirts in the summer, if you go to the restroom right after eating, if you don't eat at all, if you jump on the treadmill as soon as you wake up, if you take hits, if you drink too much, if you dropped out of school, if you had a baby,

to you i say- you can. to you i say, it's not too late. there is one thing and one thing only that can rob you of life, and that is death.  if you are here, if you are reading my words, it is not too late.

if you are taking off your wedding ring or putting one on, if you are getting final notices, if phone calls feel like sentences, if you are getting beat, if you are doing the beatings,

s t r u g g l e

then take my hand.  take my hand for you are my brother.  take my hand for you are my sister.  i stand with you.
i stand with those that are hurting, i will not turn my face away from your hurt.  i will stay until the wave passes.  i will stand in the fire with you.
to you i say-
you are loved.
to you i say-
you are wanted
to you i say-
don't give up

all my love,

I wanna talk about my days as a youth to you
Exposing you to all my demons and the reasons I'm this way
I would like to paint a picture, but it'll take more than a day
It would take more than some years to get all over all my fears
Preventing me from letting you see all of me perfectly clear
The same wall that's stopping me from letting go and shedding tears
From the lack of having father, and the passing of my peers
While I'm too scared to expose myself
It turns out, you know me better than I know myself

(when j. cole hits it better than you could)

to bria at 22,

hey girl- whew i am glad you don't know what's coming your way.  girl, you'd be running.  i wish life held different cards for you.  you are a bit of a lot of a little in a way.  your going to have a meltdown because jim won't try your first christmas dish because he hates cauliflower and you made him cauliflower mashed potatoes.  you two have a lot of learning to do about each other.  actually, you probably haven't even met him yet when i'm writing this.  well, it probably does no good, knowing myself you would probably disregard my advice anyway and do what you want.  

you are lost still girl, and you stay that way for a long time.  alayne doesn't even recognize you right now, she's worried about you.  i think everyone kind of is.  on christmas eve, you spent the whole night fighting back tears because you were so depressed.  that depression weighs heavy on you, your first year of marriage.  jim comes home more than once to you having a panic attack.  he sees you through it though, he loves you girl.  you can trust him.  

i'm happy to say you come out the other side.  i'm sad to tell you the circumstances that it takes to build your strength.  

your kids are the most beautiful and challenging thing you will ever see.  you're going to end up being a single mom.. bet you didn't see that one coming?  yeah...  it's a bit.  

you hurt a lot of people.  a lot of people.  there is a tornado aspect to your personality that just can't help herself sometimes.  a lot of people hurt you unfortunately, in that tornado is the eye of the storm of course.  it can be wounded.  don't stop letting yourself be wounded though, don't lose touch with the humanity of the situation.  don't lose touch with yourself, keep your pulse on what moves you.  

and girl, your lessons are learned with absolute brutality.  don't make life teach them twice.

bria at 29
"how will she open the presents we get her if she is in heaven?"
-when you encounter death at four

i sit here.  in sweats, hair pulled back, open bud light leftover from when jill visited me next to me.  memories have been coming more frequently.  today i had to take a break from work and pen a quick letter to jim because i missed him so much i couldn't concentrate.

life is so fluid, my life felt so concrete before.  i fought the most difficult battle of my life and the honest truth is, i'm still struggling in so many ways.  i don't know what i am doing, i know what i feel meant in my heart to do.  i don't have room to take much into account other than my immediate needs and the needs of my children.

i wish she had lived.  i wish i would have died instead.  i wish tough times guaranteed a smooth path. i wish i could hold her one more time.  i wish i would have gotten her that morning.  i wish her eyes could lock with mine again.  i wish she could open her presents and eat her cake.  i wish my wishes mattered.

in my weakest moments, i wish this story was someone else's to tell.

elly elly elly elly.

fool me once.

we all judge stereotypes
until we live them.

i am tired (you are too)
i used to have your best hours
now i have tired ones
your eyes are questioning

you scream most of the time
i am home
you ask for your babysitter
(don't you want me?)

am i still your mom?
do i still count if there is
always someone else feeding you
hugging you
kissing your wounds

now i seem to only cause them
i used to bandage
now i am worn to the bone
what is my role?
why does it feel like a
reunion when i finally get to see you

my heart is torn.
my dears (know that i tried)
know i did what was necessary
my dears, my dears
(i wish i was kissing your wounds)
my dears, my dears

i trust that the stars hold the secret
to our union, to our ever lasting union
and i know (because of elly of course)
i know that we are not limited by physical
space and time

your mom is always with you
when we sit on the couch in the morning
i focus on melding our energies together
(as much as possible)
i mentally focus on the atoms swirling
strengthening the bond

so that when we are apart
the strength is there
my stardust is there
keeping (always keeping)
you know that (wedding/funeral)

to elly

the ocean still kisses the shore no matter how many times it is pushed away
(paraphrased from sarah kay, no matter the wreckage)

personally i've never understood those people that say they aren't "beach people."  i get it, i get that sand sticks to you and the wind gets in your hair and lifts it up and puts tangles in it, i get that there is a quiet discomfort in being surrounded on all sides with a force that is much greater than you.  i think that's why i'm so attracted to it.

the waves are unrelenting.  never ceasing, they sometimes seem to reach their goal, enveloping the sand.  at other times, they seem so far away, leaving yards and yards of beaches for creature use.  the waves endure storms and at other times are as smooth as glass.

sometimes, i'll be sitting and a wave comes.  it will be innocent enough, out with friends, waiting for a counseling appt.  and the wave comes and i'm lost, lost in my thoughts, lost in my grief, lost in the ocean.

the pain will never truly heal, not in full.  we are damaged, incomplete people, unable to fully heal.  lately i've been thinking about my capacity of love.  since i was fourteen, i've had a very firm "f you" clause basically.  when you experience great loss in your neurological development years, it is impossible to not incorporate that into your development.

i was discussing this idea with my counselor the other day.  the fact that many tend to view my as more fragile after all of these trials.  i, at times, encounter a sense of "don't break her."  when i hear that, i just take a step back and think "what makes you think you can?"  if i haven't been broken yet, i can guarantee you, nothing except the remote possibility of something happening to lane and addy will.

sometimes when i am out with addy and lane, i let myself imagine what it would be like if elly was here.  what she'd be doing, what she'd look like.  she'd be pulling herself up, getting close to walking, her chunky thighs rubbing together, wild brown hair in a constant state of untidiness.  sometimes it hurts, sometimes it is comforting.


today it hurts.  today i miss you and kissing your cheeks and your thighs and your belly.  today i miss your babbles that would surely be pouring out of your mouth by now.  today i think about what it would be like if lane had his "baby" and addy had her sister.  we would probably be getting you ready to share a room.  i was so excited for my girls to share a room.

somehow i have to fight for acceptance that this life was not to be.  you know the idea of alternate universes where for every decision you make it spirals an alternate universe where that decision plays out.  sometimes i hope that's true.  that somewhere there is a universe where i get to hold you and kiss  you and see you grow up.  a universe where the five of us are together.  a universe that lets me get what i thought i was going to have.

but i am your mom baby, i am your mom and i will make you proud.  i won't let you or your siblings down.  i'm scared baby, i'm scared of your birthday.  i don't know what to do.  the day seems empty and hollow without you here.  from february  13 to april 28, i have a barrage of days.  five dates, five dates full of pain.  and i don't want to board that train.  the train of reliving the horror, i don't think i'd be paying honor to anyone by doing that.

i don't know if i'm strong enough for your birthday baby.  i miss you so much, i wish you were here to celebrate with me.  i wish i was making you cupcakes.  i wish i was doing your mermaid party.

i wish i wish i wish... i hope in the alternate universe you get all those things.  i hope that mom doesn't lose her patience much.  i hope you know how much i fucking love you and how that love lives eternally.  i hope you know that i consider it an honor to be your mom and that even though i don't mention you to everyone it is out of respect of a sacredness to our bond and the pain i endure for you.  i hope you know i never regret having met you and that i consider it an honor to carry the weight of you birth, life and death.  i will carry it well elly, because you and your life deserve that.

i love you.  i love you with the pain and the joy. i love you with the ache and the healing.  i love you with all that i have and all that i am forever and ever and ever.  you never truly belonged to me but we are tied together forever, my daughter.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

no matter how many times i'm pushed away, i'll never stop kissing that shore baby girl.
love always,
your mom.