Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wondering Why

Not in the sense of, "Why did Mom die." It was time, it was good, it is good. She is with Jesus!

It's not an obsessive thing but lately I keep having thoughts pop up about why I did certain things the way I did. They made sense in the moment but would I do it again in that manner? I think of things like hauling Mom along to choir for so long. Would I stay home from choir or something else if I had to do it again? I needed choir and could rarely find someone to stay with Mom but the thought still pops up. Little bits of flotsam and jetsam making their way through my mind.

Thanksgiving was not at all difficult in terms of thinking of Mom or remembering Mom. We didn't talk about Mom but we don't need to.

Flower photo-I still have roses in my back yard:

You've got to love trees that change color in fall:

And, can you believe I'm up to 11 days in my 365 days of Thankfulness blog? I argued with myself a couple of times but in the end found my thankfulness.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just a little funny

Tonight at choir we started a new song for Christmas Eve. It's different, it's hard, it's got strange ways to do words, it's got latin, it's got somewhat eerie harmonies. I'm not "getting" it yet. Neither are a lot of other choir folk! So, as we wrapped it up I commented to those around me, "I just remembered, I can't sing for Christmas Eve. I have to stay home and take care of Mom." Ahahahahahahahahaha, my friends laughed with me. It was good.

Happy Mom, with her twin:

(her younger son's wedding)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Come On Over!

To my new blog!

I'm not going to be closing this one right away, and maybe never. I am ready not to be so intently focused on grieving and working through grief. I'm sure I'll have more grief moments to think about so I'm leaving this blog open.

Thank you for joining me and supporting me in my grief and moving through it.

The new blog, as you've probably guessed, is about Thankfulness.

Come on over!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I'm glad we, as a family, and we, as a nation, take a few moments to be thankful. I think I'm going to try to have 365 days of thankfulness posts either here or on facebook. Can't decide.

I'm thankful for family. I'm thankful to live where I do. I enjoyed balmy 70s and snow capped mountains in the space of 3 days.

I'm thankful for menopause, if that's what I'm entering. Not having periods every months has been more than delightful. It's a relief and I'm so glad. I hope the non-cycles continue!

The bell choir fundraiser went very, very well. Many of our crafts and our cookie mix in a jar sold and we had the biggest start to our fundraiser that we've ever had. The money raised goes toward paying a clinician for our spring ringing, housing that person, and other related expenses of the spring ring.

And, some photos:

This is heading north on Hwy 101 along the California coast just a few miles north of Ventura.

The reason I could take that pictures is that traffic was moving at about 10 mph. Fortunately it only lasted about 20 minutes at that pace! All the way to Santa Barbara speeds were well under the speed limits until we reached SB and had 3 lanes again. Then it was zippy.

I am thankful to have car, roads to travel, family to visit, and the means to do so!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Three days without internet

is like two weeks confined to your house! I'm glad my IP resolved the problems without having to come into my house or push me into a new provider.

On the grief front.....I seem to be revisiting some of the more difficult memories. It's probably thinking ahead to holiday family time. I'm mostly remembering to allow myself to feel the feelings and then let it go and move on.

Work is crazy busy and has been for about a month. I have two more IEPs to go and then can breathe through December before more IEPs. Happily for me after the new year it's one or two/month rather than one or two/week. This year's wrinkle has been parents not showing. I'm averaging about 60% reschedules which makes everyone crabby.

Our fall fundraiser for bell choir is finally here! We set out our wares tomorrow between services. I've been knitting and have made some fleece baby blankets and look forward to seeing what everyone else has been making.

Fingerless gloves for my classroom assistant's birthday:

Fleece baby blanket:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good News!

Sis' lab results are back. Good news! Clean margins and no cancer in the lymph nodes. Whoohoooooooo

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I am so behind

with Everything!

Ugh, work. I have to work on some things from home today, a lovely day off. But if I don't I'll be in trouble tomorrow afternoon. Assistants have a bee in their bonnet to move the room around and I'm not quite ready for that. Their ideas mesh with what I was thinking for next year but if we do it for this year that's fine.

Ugh, housework. I'm already procrastinating and it's not even 9:30 in the morning. I've let the house go for months and now I'm paying for it in overwhelming amounts of cleaning to do. One thing at a time, Lori, one thing at a time. The first job is going to the be the kitchen. I need to get some cooking done and can't with all the clutter I've left around.

Yay, knitting! I have so many projects I want to do but am coming to terms with the idea that I'm not the fasted knitter in the world, even with the looms. I'm trying to line my "want to do" list up with the time I have to knit.

By request from a friend with two preschoolers:

Monday, November 9, 2009


And some rest, I think.

The last week and a half was busy at work. Flurries of meetings, flurries of paperwork, flurries of to do lists and preparations. I had the usual work plus the work of getting two days ready for a sub. I'm sure most teachers think it's more work getting ready for a sub than almost anything else.

Then, Thursday was Sis' surgery for breast cancer. The surgeon says the partial mastectomy went well. Sis is doing well recovering from surgery and waiting for the next step. She'll know Wednesday whether the surgeon removed all of the tumor and if the area has clean margins. Then she'll get her referral to an oncologist and will know what happens next. She's expecting radiation and hoping for no chemo.

I was able to spend the last four days with Sis and her husband. All in all they and everyone else are handling the scariness of cancer well. Lots of prayer, lots of well wishes, a shower of cards and phone calls. Sis had trouble sleeping after the surgery. It was mostly not being able to get and stay comfortable but some influence of pain meds.

Our younger brother had t-shirts made. Here are me and Sis with me in my "Team Cindy" shirt.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just another week...

It's been a busy week at work and will continue busy through November as we have IEP after IEP. I either have intense allergies or a cold right now. I suspect I'll be at the doc's for sinus infection in a few days. It's pretty typical for me this time of year.

I'm trying to decide on a loom knitting pattern. I want to make a large lap blanket. I have the yarn but not the pattern yet.

I think I'm fully stabilized grief-wise. I feel good about feeling more even and balanced emotionally. I still can get weepy at the drop of a hat, particularly when I'm tired. Overall I think I'm doing pretty well.

Sunrise, Friday October 30:

This was for a friend of a friend, lol. It knitted up quickly. The request was for a red hat and I thought interesting yarn was better than plain. As it turns out it was very hard to find nice red yarns this year. This is Maple Crimson by Red Heart. It has stripes of red with a dusty green, red with blue, and red with crimson. I like how the hat and scarf turned out as does my friend and her friend! Yay!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm either fighting off a cold or coming down with the flu. Neither thrills me one bit! But, I'd rather have either now than when sis is having surgery or undergoing treatment.

From the driveway this evening:

And the front patio:

And my favorite hanging sun. Needs to come down for the winter soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maybe some procrastination

I definitely feel the end of this incarnation of Blog. I'm not quite ready to bring things to an end. I'm picking at Chapter 24, Saying Good-bye to Grief in Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright. I have many of the signs of moving forward and yet quite a few lingering grief related oddities.

Moving forwards: Reduced crying....very much so, want or able to help others in similar situation, eating, sleeping patterns returning to normal, not as tired, patient with self, discovering new personal growth.

Not quite there: concentration difficulties. I find this most annoying. Getting through worship without crying-I can't even begin to think when that might happen. I do it now but only with a lot of gritting of teeth, breathing, and sips of water.

As I look to closing* this blog I think I'm going to keep a new blog for moving forward and keep this open a bit for those lingering areas that the author says can take up to 2 years to fully resolve. I think I know who I want to talk to about books or studies to give myself a bit of structure. *The blog will stay up but won't be actively used.

Recommendations from the author in this chapter include eating well. Food may not taste good but eat anyway. Stay fueled to stay healthy. Exercise. It can reduce stress and provide a time and means for socializing. Rest and sleep. I'm finding that I still crave more sleep than I anticipate. I'm trying to get to bed earlier and honor those times when my body says, "Go to sleep right now!" A confusion about sleep is that I'm in a stage of life where I wake up more frequently-usually because I'm hot. sigh. I'm not sure what is lingering effects of grief and what is peri-menopause.

I can say with confidence that raw pain is very much gone. I have "grief attacks" but they are fewer, less intense, and I'm not as surprise by them. I can also say with confidence that I can and do live in the sure hope that Mom and other loved ones live at peace with my Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ. I too will join them in eternal praise! Hallelujah

Some photos from this week:

Sunrise, on the way to work. Clouds courtesy Hurricane Rick

5:30 p.m. same day, Monday, I think, Looking east near work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The End (of the book) Nears

Sort of. I don't want to read chapter 24. It's Saying Good-bye to Grief. I don't want to finish it-not because of the subject matter but because I had enjoyed reading, thinking, and writing.

I guess I should look about for another book that makes or helps me think and do this again. I do feel the end of this blog coming. I'm a bit sad and a bit glad.

The very last chapter is Trauma-The Deepest Wound. I've skimmed the chapter and I don't think I need to read it closely or respond to it. So, Chapter 24 really will be the last chapter. sighs

These roses are at the side of the house visible from the street. They are a very rich deep red. Quite pretty....until you get up close. I don't know if the bush has powdery mildew or something else or if it's just that rose. At any rate they are striking to see from the street.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Fine Fall Day

I met sis in Ventura today and we enjoyed a couple hours at the Harvest Craft Festival. Many fine crafters had displays that filled three buildings. I enjoyed walking, looking, and chatting. We both had a lot of thoughts about presents for our Christmas Elf gifts but for all that we didn't buy very much.

After lunch at a Thai/Peruvian restaurant (we went Thai) Sis went on to Lancaster to visit with family and I stayed a couple hours to visit the San Bonaventura Mission. It's one of the smallest in the California Mission system. I'm hoping I have enough material so that my students can do their 4th grade report on this mission. One of my goals this year is to design a report format and gather materials that are suitable to my student's abilities rather than making all of us plow through the high level of materials we saw used last year.

The drive home was beautiful. Fall is splendid in California's own quiet way. There was only a little traffic and few crazy drivers. I noticed a lack of big trucks that made freeway transitions so much easier than usual.

Mission San Bonaventura

Just after Gorman heading North on I5. My photo doesn't do the golden color of the mountain side any justice.

Sis brought these chrysanthemums last weekend. They are the similar in color to Mom's grown outside our backdoor when we were small. Mom's were the same color family but in a lighter least in my memory.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peace in the midst of heartaches

I think perhaps that is going to be the lesson I'll be learning this year. Sis called yesterday with the news that her biopsy was positive for breast cancer. I want to be unglued but none of us need that and it doesn't feel very trusting.

I do know that with the good medical skills and the healing of the Lord of Life there is every expectation that Sis will live a good, long life.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just when you think you're doing so well.....

I had a wonderful weekend with sis. She came over to help clean some more out of Mom's room. We cleaned out bathroom cupboards and then tackled some boxes. What a treasure trove. We found picture albums, appliance manuals (Mom kept them all), and the most interesting-papers and photos from early in Dad's career. Sis took a stack of photos to make copies for us and brothers and for Dad and his wife.

I thought we did pretty good. We didn't get too nostalgic and I didn't feel sad. Until this morning when driving to work. Something made me think of Mom and I had a small meltdown. I'm sure this is reasonable and to be expected but it did surprise me.

Not the best Dad picture but he always makes a face somehow when he's getting his picture snapped.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good to know.

I've noticed something this week. When I'm tired, or rather, overtired. I tend to fall back into emotions of previous hard times.

My mind wanders, whose doesn't? I recently found myself quite weepy over a memory. While that's ok it made me wonder why I was crying. I've come to the conclusion in the last two days that it's the fatigued feeling. I lived there for the last two years while Mom lived with me. Everything I did was overlaid with fatigue. It makes sense to me that when I'm overtired the feelings of that time come up more easily and more intensely.

That's good to know.

Grammy with her 3rd grandchild.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Retreats, Revelations, and Candy Corn

This weekend was choir retreat. It was a wonderful retreat. We sang good music. We had a marvelous speaker. And we had fun moments together as a choir family. On top of all that the weather was cool and I wore blue jeans both days. It was such a treat. We were at 3000 feet near Oakhurst, CA (gateway to Yosemite). The trees are beginning to change color and the lower shrubs are in their autumn garb.

I had a couple revelations this weekend about how I'm feeling. I've had in the back of my mind that I feel untethered. I decided this weekend that is exactly one of things I've been feeling lately. It's not that I feel disconnected but more intentionally drifting. I'm close enough to people and routines not to have lost connection with my life but I'm happy to be floating a distance away. I knew once I wrote about this it would be difficult to explain. Part of this is feeling a lack of obligation. For the most part if I don't want to do something I don't. At the moment this mostly affects attending covenant group and Bible study type functions. I think I might be avoiding closeness and not wanting to reveal where my heart is tender.

The other thing I noticed this weekend is that I feel more peaceful. At one point I remember thinking, "I haven't felt this way since my 20s and early 30s. " I think it may go back to the lifting of obligation. I'll have to think on this more because I like this feeling. It's not only peaceful but almost grounded or centered.

I'm wondering if cherishing this peaceful, grounded feeling also has to do with the false anxiety of migraine meds and the physical changes of peri-menopause. My migraines are changing or the particular meds I used aren't working as well for me anymore. The medications don't quite relieve the migraines and leave me feeling anxious, panicky, and jittery. I seem to be in a near migraine state all of the time in which bright or flashing lights, and sharp, sudden, and loud noises can push me into a migraine instantly. It doesn't take any duration of a stimulus to trigger a migraine. I suppose I ought to hurry up and see the doc again.

I'm having mini-flashes in my progress through peri-menopause. They are at the same time funny and annoying. It's hard to know what to wear and I find I need layers that can come on and off easily. I feel more hot than not and was perfectly happy wearing a tank top and jeans this morning when most of the women were wearing 2 layers-some with sweater or jacket over that. It is funny to see the other women in choir get a chuckle at me in a tank fanning myself in a 65 degree room. ;*D

I tried using a knitting rake rather than a circle loom to make a hat this weekend. I found using the rake more difficult but liked the result a lot. I was able to use decreases to shape the hat and look forward to playing with this technique.

Here's the result:

And here are the materials:

Monday, September 28, 2009

More on Saying Good-Bye

I'm still on Chapter 22 of Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright. I've been stuck on this "Saying Good-bye" business. I don't feel like I need to say good-bye to Mom. Maybe it's the Christian understanding that it's for a little while. This is not a good-bye because I'm going to see you later. On my last day or the last day we will be reunited with our fellow believers who have gone before. I have no urge to say good-bye because that was the first thing we did when Mom died. Maybe it helped that for weeks I knew the day was coming and maybe it helped that each day I saw Mom closer and closer to death.

I still feel a lot of pain thinking about those days and weeks but the window of time that can bring up the pain of experiencing her dying and my grief gets smaller. It's at once smaller and more intense. Saying good-bye is not any source of pain. Good-bye is where joy lives. Mom's death means Mom is alive in Heaven with Jesus, our Lord and Savior. She is safe, whole, healthy, happy, and worshiping the Lord God Almighty in person. What a thrill to know with all my being that she is there!

I do understand that for many people this is not the experience of grief. That there is no joy mixed with sadness. The same journey of grief is taken and there is no hope of a tomorrow by faith. So with the sure hope of my journey someday ending with my home with Jesus where I will one day see my Mom and all who have gone before I am ready to turn the page to Chapter 23 and find out "How Your Life Will Change".

This is from a visit from Mom's brother and sister-in-law and nephew along with her twin and family. It's about 21-22 years ago judging from the size of my nephew, in the back row with the cat stuffed animal.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Necklace Scarves

This one is set aside for a gift and the one just like it on the loom. Then I'll get back to fundraiser looming!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Headaches, hiding, and permission

The headaches have abated somewhat. I realized I may be been adding to them by my fear of the generic meds not working. There is a process to get meds that work approved and I'll pay a higher co-pay but it's better than headaches. Pita, but that's more on my doc's part than mine.

Mostly what I feel like lately is hiding. I don't want to socialize. I want to come home and hide. It may be headache related or maybe I'm having an introversion attack. Don't know.

I do know that Chapter 22 of Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright is titled, "Saying Good-bye." I'm so not there. He recommends writing a letter to express what I've learned from grief, what's been difficult, what my loved one meant to me, and what I think we didn't get to finish. Well, hm, blog anyone? I'm not thinking I need to write Mom a letter to help me work through my grief. I'm more feeling that at this point it's a matter of time.

Also in this chapter are two questions. One is, "Have you given yourself a certain amount of time to grieve?" The other is, "Have you given yourself permission to stop grieving at some point in the future?" Those give me pause for thinking. I don't think I've set a time. I more think as the author advises that an open ended end to grieving is more natural than setting a timeline that may not meet my needs.

On permission to stop grieving...I hadn't really thought about it. I figured that the intensity of grief would gradually decrease, as it has, to the point where the grief is harbored with memory rather than something considered daily, weekly, or monthly.

So, there are two good-byes to get to. One is the good-bye to Mom, the other is to grief. The chapter holds more but I'll have to get read it again before I have much to say. I'm still pondering the two questions rather than the two good-byes.

It was Confirmation at church this weekend (how totally non-traditional of us to not have it on Palm Sunday, Pentecost, or some other spring date!) I missed the service because of a ripping migraine. I thought I'd post Mom and Aunt J's confirmation photo:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh gosh

It's almost been another week. I was hoping to read another chapter and have something to write. I'm on day 9 of migraines. 3 meds later and they still are not solved.

I have been knitting. During the day I can knit quietly on the couch with a very simple pattern.

This is a "necklace scarf". It's a very quick and easy knit on one of my smallest looms.

And another in black:

And, the one started this afternoon in "stained glass":

I have two more colors to try. If I can't read and think at least I can knit something simple.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The eyes have it

For most of my adult life I've been sure I looked way more like Dad than Mom. And it's true, I do. But the other day I was fishing an eyelash out of my eye. As I backed away from the mirror I got of glimpse of myself-just my eyes. I may have been 6 or so inches away. Surprise! Mom's eyes looking at me. The color is different. Mine are blue and hers were green but so odd to see so clearly-these eyes are from Mom. I'll have to dig out a couple photos and crop to the eyes to see if it's as obvious as I think it is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Memory? What memory?

Last year at work was crazy busy with IEPs. I lost count of how many I wrote and hosted. I know that covering my 12 IEPs and 2/3 of the 30-40 speech IEPs kept me in IEPs at least once and often twice a week. I'm the special ed. teacher and I write the IEPs (Individual Education Plan). (This is an important statement.)

A student moved away-to another school in district and is now back. I remember sending off his file with notes on assessment and, "he needs an IEP asap, so sorry, family moved."

I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for a copy of the IEP since he re-enrolled at my school. Finally it shows up in our computer IEP data files program. I'm reading it thinking that I can easily implement this IEP. I wonder who wrote it and why am I not familiar with whoever thinks like me?

Then I check the multipurpose and notes pages. I always put "meeting minutes" type notes on the "notes" page and a summary of assessments plus an expanded write of up present levels of performance on the multipurpose page. So, I think other people might do the same. No notes, ok, no problem, some IEPs are straightforward. Multipurpose page? Yep, oodles of notes. Mine. Assessment data, present levels, yep-all here. (Important statement from above, "I write the IEPs"-one might think I remember them.)

I only have the vaguest of memories of this IEP. Certain things are familiar but that I wrote an entire IEP and we held a meeting and signed paperwork is gone from my head. Five weeks after Mom died I had held the annual meeting for this student.

It's a bit crazy feeling to not remember. I keep telling myself it was the grief and the stress I was under last year. It's normal, it's normal, it's normal. Still feels freaky.

As far as I can tell other goofy, freaky, or weird grief and stress effects include this and probably other memory gaps, having difficulty with forward planning, the oddest lack of a sense of time, and losing things. I've been loose with time management for a lot of my working life but I always get done what needs to get done. Now I'm fighting to make sure I get done what needs to get done, scheduling it, and documenting what I'm doing.

I've always misplaced things but could normally find them. Just in the last 24 hours I've printed two sets of papers for different groups of children and can't find them. And the lack of a sense time passing? Never has been me. I've always been punctual. I've always known about how much time has gone by. I've always know what day it is and what day of the week it is. Don't always know the date. Now? Um, no.

Wednesday evening is choir. Wednesday evening has been choir for about 15 years. Two Wednesday's ago I knew it was Wednesday but it felt like Tuesday. (don't even ask what Tuesday feels like) I knew I had to go to choir but I also knew it was Tuesday. So, I got in my car and went to choir. As I pulled into the parking lot the right amount of cars were there but they looked wrong. I almost turned around and went home but decided to go in just in case half of my brain was right.

Sure enough, it was Wednesday and we did have rehearsal, and I stayed even though it felt like Tuesday.

So, here I am thinking I'm moving forward pretty well and, yes, I am. But there is a lot of evidence that grief and stress have changed my brain a bit. I'll be happy to get to a place in the future where my mind isn't playing tricks on me and that moving forward from grief doesn't have so many residual effects.

This Mom photo...I've had several people tell me not to keep photos like this one that remind me of how mom was toward the end of her life. Like I'm gonna forget this? I get it-remember and remind myself of who she was not what disease made her. Displayed photos are of hale and healthy Mom. But, this Mom is part and parcel of the grief, stress, and moving forward. I need to remember, too, why my grief is what it is and why it's ok that I struggle with memory, planning, and time management. It's ok.

Pointsettia, to give me a time reference on the above photo. Dec. 08.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Well, ok then....

Read the details.....Some how, regarding letting go, I missed this, "regrets, unfullfilled expectations, anger, the lifestyle you used to have, or even a routine." None of these ring true for me.

I think for me it's more basic. It is the "stuff". What to do with the things that belonged to the woman most precious to me. Perhaps the key is in not rushing myself. Over and over the author reminds me that it's my grief, my time, my process. Letting go, like everything else, will happen when it happens.

From spring '08, I think it's lysianthus but I'm not sure. I am certainly drawn to purple flowers:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Letting Go

This is the 2nd part of chapter 20 of H. Norman Wright's Experiencing Grief. Mid-chapter he talked about time frames to be aware of and earlier in the book it was to know that anniversary dates of all kinds can be difficult.

This is the first time he's approached letting go. The time frame mentioned is 12 to 18 months when good days outnumber bad days. I think I'm already there. I still can't get through church without tears but I'm ok with that. I can control the tears a little more so I don't soak 4 tissues-just one. It's those darned 3rd or 4th verses of most hymns!!! Today we sang, A Mighty Fortress which is not one of my weepy songs. It could be but I'm not going there.

So, letting go. I thought I was okay with the concept and how I'm doing. I'm not as okay as I thought I was but I recognize this is a process. I mentioned to my sis that we never finished cleaning out Mom's room. I'm not really in a hurry. I more wanted it on her list somewhere.

I'm not sure what letting go looks like. Does is mean her room is packed up? Does it mean I've repurposed her room? Does it have anything at all to do with things? My time is much the same in schedule as it always has been but I have much more free time. That doesn't feel so much like moving on as a natural change.

I guess I'll be finding out as I go. On to digesting the next chapter.

A young Mom, if Sis is an infant this is 1960:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time flies when you're back to work....

I can't believe a whole week has gone by without a post. That means I've not been reading several blogs either. I'll see what I can do to catch up with both of those situations tomorrow.

Random photo of a sign I liked in New Mexico:

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Sometimes reading Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright is like reading a checklist. Yep, experienced that, and that, and that, and that. Sometimes it's a series of "aha" moments. Chapter 20 will probably be revisited quite a bit. I may read ahead and come back to it.

What I learned in this chapter is that at month 3 you might get hit by grief as if it were new again. March wasn't exactly like that for me but pretty much all I wanted to do was sleep. I think it's a version or expression of grief that fits what the author describes. At months 6-9 you might be experiencing a weakened immune system due to grief. Holy cow! The human body is complex and amazing. The author continues with the caveat that if you're honest in your grief and "doing the work" of grieving and not postponing it the immune hit can be avoided. Might explain the ongoing fatigue of the last couple years. hm. I think I've been pretty healthy this summer and as school starts. Still more tired than I like.

Other specific points in time to be ready for are the anniversary of the death-not there yet but do have holidays to get through. Next labeled are "grief bumps" at 18 months when you find you have mostly good days the sad days can hit harder. And coming up "letting go". I need to reread that part of the chapter. Pretty much everything after 6-9 months needs reviewing and rereading!

This is Mom and her twin. I mentioned when I visited my aunt that Mom didn't seem to like to knit or maybe didn't think she knit well. I don't remember much of her knitting but she did knit a very bright blue striped afghan that lived on the couch for our teen years. I have it somewhere around here. My aunt's reply was that Mom knit very well and used to make dressy gloves. I can guess how difficult gloves would be and it makes me happy that Mom knit. I wish as she raised the 4 of us she would have had more time to knit and to teach us beyond the basics. Maybe we didn't show much interest. Who knows.

Left-Aunt J. Right-Mom

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It seems I should have a lot to say lately but since work has started I'm just tired. I think it will get better. I have quite an adjustment from summer in my sleep habits. The school year is starting better than the last. So, all in all I'm hoping to start reading and posting "on topic" soon. Sunday wasn't that far away but it feels like it!

We've created more purposeful boards than last year. I'll have to take some pictures one of these afternoons. And, it's surprising what hanging up the alphabet cards can do. The kids really like them. So do administrators!!!!!

Wind sculpture, outside in a garden near/at a church in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fruit Memories

I know I've mentioned apricots but they are just a part of Mom's love of fruit. She ate fruit, grew fruit, and canned fruit. I have a jar in my kitchen window that says, "Summer, 1979." (just the jar-it's empty!) Mom taught my sister canning and the two of them canned hundreds and hundreds of jars of fruit, jams, jellies, and butters (like apple butter, pear butter). Dad built shelves over the washer and they were full three layers deep and two layers high.

Did I learn any of this? No, but sis would teach me if I asked. Sis canned quite a few dozen jars of apricot jam with the apricots from my backyard. Mom loved that jam. We put it on toast, in oatmeal, over ice cream. Mm, Mm, Mm.

Apricots were some of the last food that Mom ate-pureed. I still have 2 quarts frozen apricots, blanched and peeled, in my freezer. Oatmeal season is coming and I think I'll eat it up this winter.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Capturing Memories.....

I've been wondering what I'll do when I feel "finished" with the bulk of grief. What happens to this blog. Do I close it but let it stand? Do I print it out and delete it? Neither!

Chapter 19 is about Capturing the Memories. Fading memories of a loved one can cause anxiety and fuel grief for some people. I don't feel that way. I don't think 50 years of being loved by your mom fade too quickly.

On the other hand I love the idea of writing my Mom-Memories here. So at some point in the future I'll convert this blog to Mom Memories rather than things mostly about grief with knitting, flowers and work thrown in for good measure. I think the flowers are about mom.

The author relates a story about a man who decided to write down 1000 things about his wife. He called his collection 1000-One Liners. I like the idea of writing down a slip of a memory or a longer story. At that point I think I'll be able to share all of this w/family. Haven't done that yet.

At that point I think I'll open a second blog for me and my stuff. I feel better! I see the end of this blog in it's current incarnation and haven't seen what to do next.

Such a helpful little book!

More photo fun-click on the photo: There's a reddish caterpillar or worm on the center of the front flower.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chapter 18

In H. Norman Wright's Experiencing Grief is about handling special occasions. My first thought was that I think we all just get through them. The advice here is to know that you're likely to get a "grief attack". Think ahead and think through how the holiday usually goes and whether or not you think you're ready for the usual. Let people know if you want to make changes. Be gentle with yourself and don't take on all the holiday socializing if you don't feel ready.

Difficult days will be traditional holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Discuss with family, discuss with family......

I think ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas and want to avoid. The last couple years these holidays were such an ordeal. I was either hauling Mom, uncomfortably, and all our gear or hosting. While family did everything they could to make things easier it was never easy either way. So I have that overlay on what seems could be more emotional holidays than usual. We've been through Palm Sunday, Easter, and our birthdays (mom and I are a week apart). I was ok with the church occasions until I other people needed to express their sympathy (or pity). The birthdays were easier. I got special treats, cleaned up and put flowers at the gravesite, and then went on vacation. Seemed to work.

I know we'll all get through the upcoming holidays because we've made it through the previous ones. But I am going to take some time to think through what I think will help me and take a deep breath and tell family.....via e-mail. yes, yes, I'm a chicken!

This is a "Julia".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some butterflies

Because work has begun and I'd rather it hadn't!

Giant swallowtail and monarch.



I discovered today that I can talk more easily about grief, loss, Mom. And, it was easier to talk to a friend about her parents' declining state. Progress. It feels like breathing cleaner air.

oooo...for extra photo fun click on the middle picture to view it huge. You can see the proboscus, the butterflies legs touching spider web, and raised veins! Kewl

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tipping the balance

I'm realizing that I'm living less and less in grief and moments of grief. I have more and more flashes of insight that I'm happy. I'm sure this will be stressed and distorted once work starts but I'm so glad to be here. I never thought it wouldn't come but I'm a little bit surprised that living with grief is starting to turn towards renewal.

I'm also seeing more and more the cyclical or spiral nature of all the aspects of grief things that trouble me much and things that trouble me only a bit. I recognize more quickly what sets off bouts of tears and can put the memories and feelings into perspective. Most of the time anyway!

I still have 5 chapters left in "Experiencing Grief" but I feel less rushed to finish before summer is over. Good thing. Work starts Wednesday and I'll be going out Monday and Tuesday to get a sense of what needs to be done first.

I've had my niece and nephew visiting for most of a week. We went to visit my sister this weekend and went to the Natural History Museum. They have a "Butterflies Alive" exhibit. Good thing sis was there because the kids tired of the butterflies long before I did. She took them through the other rooms and wings of exhibits.

This is a type of "sulfur" butterfly. I'll have to look up the exact type. (and spelling)