- "this is us" spoiler alert, if you haven't caught up...start at the third paragraph)
finally got caught up on the TV show "This Is Us." I
the episode that aired after the Super Bowl on
is the episode that reveals how one of the main characters die... and
it shows the surviving family members 20 years in the future and the
various ways they "remember" the loved one, each in their
own way. The wife has a ritual where she makes his favorite meal –
and just spends the day hoping to hear or see a message or something
that shows her – he is still "here."
I watched on this Monday night, it did not escape my attention that
the next day was Tuesday, that this week would be 19 years since my
mom died, and I, like Rebecca, would be remembering, watching,
mom died on February 9, 1999.
It was a Tuesday.
I always try to
have the day off and have my own ritual and try to do something that
my mom would like.
Even though February 9 is the actual
anniversary, it's always that Tuesday that hits the hardest and lays
my heart wide open in sorrow AND in gratitude.
Tuesday, I wrote in my journal and as I flipped open a book that I
try to read every day ?,
I noticed a paper that is in the book, but I don't usually use as a
was a photo copy of a picture of my mom and me. My mom is dressed in
a Jackie Kennedy inspired outfit and I am next to her looking like I
am not exactly enjoying my, what looks to be made of scratchy
What I zeroed in on in this picture was how my little hand
was wrapped around her already visible, but not nearly as bad as
later, arthritic finger.
is little in this world that has filled me with so much anguish AND
so much love, as my mom's hands.
over how much pain she endured. And love because they were the hands
of a person I loved so much and who loved us and gave so much to us,
even in the midst of pain.
marveling a bit at this picture and the fact I was ever that little
and that close to her to grasp her hand so tightly,
thought ---there it is---My message from heaven --- finding this
picture stuck in a part of a book, and my mom saying, "I am
still here. "
I took a picture of the picture and made it my
phone screen saver, so that every time I picked up my phone that day
I would see us together.
went about the rest of the morning, got ready for work and started my
workday at the counter where we buy books.
There was a stack of
books that had already been dropped off by a customer before I got
there. Her name was Patsy.
finished evaluating the books and paged the customer. After a few
moments I saw a lady making her way to the counter. I asked "Are
you Patsy?" She smiled and nodded. I made her offer, she
accepted it, and as I held out the pen for her to sign her buy slip,
her hand appeared out from the long sleeve of her winter coat to
reach for the pen.
as she struggled to grasp the pen with her arthritic fingers and
slanted swollen knuckles and then started signing her
had to turn aside as I held in both the tears
that had sprung up and the "Ha" of a laugh...
that Helen Jean, my mom, just wasn't done talking to me yet!
wanted to double Patsy's offer on the spot! But, instead I just gave
her a big smile and a heartfelt thank you for selling her books to us
(on this day, in this hour). ?
her way back out of the store, she stopped to pick up her boxes and
as I handed them to her, her hand missed the bottom of the box and
clasped mine, almost as tho we were holding hands. She said "Oh,
During my last hour of work a co-worker who is a huge fan of the Game of Baseball finished a buy and asked if I wanted a special edition newspaper filled with pictures of the Cubs winning the World Series. We looked thru it together and I said... I'm getting a little verklempt just thinking about how magical that last game was... I went to put some records out and saw a customer wearing a Bryant Jersey and as I passed by him I said, "We were just reliving that last game!" "It was a great one!" He said with a smile." I was in the back room, getting ready to leave and was paged to the register. Ugh. I called and was prepared to give the "I'm done...not here" response, when the co-worker from before said, "There's something you need to see up here." I went to the register and he pointed out the window... showing me this:
I turned around and the guy with the Bryant Jersey was nearby. "Is that your truck?" I asked. He nodded. "Wow! That's commitment! Can I take a selfie with your truck?"
I came back inside and he was headed toward the door... I then noticed that he not only had a Jersey on, but was decked out, head to toe, Cubs Jersey, belt buckle, shoes and socks! I said "Thank You! That's the Best Thing I've seen all day!" And I shook his hand.
It's a good thing I saw this car while it was parked and I wasn't driving... I may have crashed my car doing a double take or trying to get a picture! The great thing is... I posted on Facebook about seeing a FireFly and marveling at the wonder of those bugs and my friend Mary commented:
"May today be filled with uplifting sightings and events, and this evening be filled with a bevy of fireflies!"
Talk about an uplifting sighting!!!
Directions to here:
Don't tell Boots or my Boss, but since the Cubs won the World Series...
Every customer that is wearing anything to do with the Cubs, gets an automatic 10% off when I'm running the register.
"When you get where you're goin'... Don't forget turn back around. Help the next one in line... Always stay Humble and Kind."
On the Eve of my 53rd celebration of having you as my mom and our 18th Mother's Day of you journeying on ahead of us...
I am hoping that Heaven has a picture window.
I hope that you can see how this picture has changed.
How these Grands of yours have grown,
how many wives and husbands have been added,
how your Daughters and Sons have become awesome Grandmas and Grandpas
and how many Greats those Grands have added.
My goodness how this picture has grown!
I'm pretty confident that there IS a window...
or at the very least a mirror.
Because I see your beautiful smile,
your humble gentleness
and your wonderful kindness in each and every one of them.
We all love you
and We all miss you.
Happy Mother's Day Mom.
Directions to here:
The above quote is from the song Humble and Kind made famous by the country singer Tim McGraw. But, you know what? It was written by a mom. Lori Mckenna is a songwriter and she wrote it as a simple prayer and a list of everything she wanted to make sure to tell her kids.
Facebook can really knock the wind out of you.
I was checking my newsfeed and about to go on with my day, when I
read that a family member had passed away.
Potter was one of the most kindest and gentlest men I've ever known.
saw the words on the screen and I said out loud "No! Not, Bud! I
wasn't done with Bud!"
One of the
reasons I've wanted to move closer to family, is to be able to spend
more time with people like Bud. He knew all the family that I had
never met or was too young to remember. He knew their story and he
had his own stories...and although I saw Bud from time to time...I
never got to sit down and just listen to him.
Great from that Greatest Generation has crossed over to meet the
I'm sure if you follow my facebook page, you can see that I think selfies are great. So much that I've been rockin' them and cuttin' off heads since the days of 110 instamatic film.
2016. A lot has happened in my head, in my heart, in my family and in our world. I have been reading a lot. Writing a lot. Thinking a lot. Growing a lot. I've changed.
One thing I've zeroed in and focused on is practicing mindfulness. Zeroing in and being awake to the present moment and being aware. Being present. In the Now.
There must be at least a hundred blog posts and stories I've wanted to share with you that I have either written and haven't posted or written on paper and haven't transferred to screen, or recorded vocally on my phone, but not transcribed, or formed in my head, but not sat down to communicate.
And that brings me to the idea of the meaningful selfie. There have been moments in the last year...
that I have not wanted to forget. "Ah ha" moments. Moments filled with happiness, sadness, joy, fear, sorrow, silliness and gratefulness. In these moments, I've tried to remember to snap a selfie....
to be reminded and to see... what that moment looked like. I am a visual learner. A memory keeper. I want to remember.... What joy looks like on my face, what fear looks like, what gratitude looks like.
A visible reminder of What the "now" looks and looked like.
Once I get this page back up and running,
I hope to share some of those many stories and blog posts with you....
but for now... I'm introducing the idea of the meaningful selfie.
(too bad it's such a scary one ;)
Here's the story behind this selfie....
For two years now... I've known that it is time for my life on Main Street to draw to a close and that I need turn and face north. (That story is a whole other blog post).
So, in September... I and the other residents of our apartment building got a letter from the landlord that he had sold the building to the Carmel Redevelopment Committee. (yes, Main Streets fate is as bad as the name of that committee makes it sound) However, I was not blindsided... I was not frantic. Sad...
yes, Of course. I LOVE this building. I LOVE this apartment. I LOVE the lives that have crossed paths living here.
I do not want this building to be demolished. But, if you know anything about what has been happening in any corner of Carmel,
we all knew it was coming eventually.... And, what a few years ago would have devastated me,
was not a huge blow,
because I had already made peace with the fact and resolved that my time here was coming to a close.
We were originally told we would need to be out by Dec. 31....
giving us a three month window.
But then, we were contacted by the City and told that they were extending our leases into the new year....and the very earliest would be Spring of 2017...possibly summer or fall.
So, the elephant was still in the room...
but not standing on our chests. We eased on the fretting and packing.
We went on vacatons. I went to Baptisms. I went to parties. I went to Sunday dinners.
All the while I kept purging and packing...
One neighbor went ahead and pursued other housing and just last week moved to another place. I was amazed at how quickly it all happened for her. But, I decided to spend December working on Family Christmas video and New Year's Party plans and then,
when the Sunday Dinner Martha's go off on their winter vacations...
I would hermit myself in Indy and focus on packing, hoping to move in April... And starting a new chapter around my Birthday... Happy New Year to me!
So, imagine our surprise Wednesday night...
when we who are left on Main Street found a letter from the Committee in our mailboxes...
stating that the new date is NOT the spring as were had been told... but it has been changed to Jan. 31. !!
Needless to say....We are not happy.
The moment you realized you've been screwed and double screwed.
(so that's what that looks like)
Directions to here:
Never, ever believe anything a politician or a Real Estate Developer tells you.
I was standing at the register and could not contain my happiness and joy at the news that my brother found out, that after a long summer of thinking that cancer was in his lungs, a biopsy determined it was not cancer, but instead it was a lung infection.
So, rather than dancing and shouting my Hallelujahs and scaring customers who lined up to pay for their books,
I took a pen and notebook and drew out my excitement,
set it in front of me and smiled at it every time I felt like shouting:
That was a little over a year ago. In between there has been celebrating, holidays, doctors appointments, scans, waiting, wondering, Sunday dinners, laughter, devastating news of others with cancer, funerals, births, more doctors, some aches and pains, birthdays, vacations, doctors with differing opinions, more scans, more waiting, more wondering, sunny days, rainy days, more opinions, more waiting...more wondering.
The wondering and wondering and wondering.
Through all this our thoughts run the gamut of emotions. I don't know about you, but it is unfortunately easier for my brain to revert to doubt, caution and fear...
rather than hold on to the good, positive and hope.
I've read some about this and realize I'm not alone.
There is a thing called the Velcro/Teflon affect. Which basically says our brains hold on to negative experiences like Velcro - they tend to stick.
and our brains treat positive experiences like Teflon - they tend to slip away.
I am really trying to practice staying mindful and be intentional at turning this around. Sitting with and being with what comes, the possibility of good and the possibility of bad... and letting it be. But also, having a mindset that rests by holding onto the hope and acceptance instead of the doubt and fear.
So, this week...
I am making this Exclamation Point the "lock screen" on my phone...
Using it as a visual and constant reminder to my brain to be mindful to hold on to hope...