Friday, August 30, 2013

A Life with Purpose

I did a bit of writing this summer, and the Association for Research and Enlightenment published the piece I wrote on Daniel's birth.

Here it is:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I'm in the year of firsts since my mom died. November 18 will mark the end of them, but right now I'm only three quarters of the way through. My emotions are up and down, but I'm mostly fine.That's what my mom would want.

Daniel is starting high school, and Melody will be a senior with dual enrollment college classes as part of her schedule. This is the first year that grandma isn't either shopping for new clothes with us or discussing sizes over the phone with me. I talk to her about these changes. Daniel has a mustache, and my first-born is applying to colleges and writing scholarship essays. Seems so recently yet so long ago that we drove out of our way for organic baby food for her, and deals on Pediasure for him.

Last night I sat on the porch feeling like I hadn't really done much this summer. So, I wrote down in my journal everything that we managed to cross off the list, and it was pretty long. My summer photo album is filled with photos in various doctor's offices. Melody had her wisdom teeth removed, Daniel had multiple x-rays and specialist follow-ups. I had my yearly exams (oh joy) and labs done, too. In case it sounds like everything we did revolved around medical maintenance, I have to add that we swam a lot and Rich and I had two nights alone beachfront at a place only an hour from home.

Since we didn't make our usual drive to Illinois to be with my parents and family, summer did feel a little small at times. I did venture out of my usual routines a little, though.  I started attending the Unity Church that's only five minutes from our home. That first morning I almost didn't go in. It's in a pretty non-descript strip mall, and while I sat in the parking lot I imagined all sorts of negative things about the interior. On the phone, my daughter told me to just go in. I did.

One side of the room is filled with candles. There are sofas and chairs when you enter. The guitarist writes her own music, and it's beautiful. I needed to be back home in a church where meditation is a huge part of the experience. Unity fits the bill, and I'm very glad I opened that door.

I  met a family after the service who moved here a few weeks earlier. Their daughter Angela has Down Syndrome. As we talked, I found out that Angela and Daniel are newly enrolled at the same school. During the summer school session I saw her each morning when I dropped him off. Last Sunday her parents mentioned that they have no family here, no waiver services, and no one to they can trust to spend time with her while they catch a movie or get out alone for awhile. I extended an open invitation to come to our house, and gave them my Facebook info. We're hooked up now.

I know that one thing my mom wanted for me was the support of good friends. She understood my hermit ways, and knew (knows) how it doesn't come easily for me to reach out. I feel her nudging me and helping me with this aspect of my life. I know she's still my co-pilot when I need her. I don't want to hold her back from her journey with the grief I feel here on earth, but this is, after all, the first year.

Summer is over. I'll be going back to my job as a school diabetes nurse tomorrow. The kids will enter new phases in their lives. And just before Thanksgiving 2013, we'll mark one year since we said goodbye to my mother. I can feel the changes, and it's ok. Sad sometimes, but really ok.