Category Archives: Remembering

To dance with my father again

Dance w my father again

If I could get another chance

Another walk

Another dance with him

I’d play a song that would never ever end

How I’d love love love

To dance with my father again

~ Written by Luther Vandross with Richard Marx

Another chance…

To celebrate a birthday with you.

“Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you.”

To sit by the ocean with our cooler and sandwiches, and talk. 

To walk, holding hands.

“Are you ready? I’m right here. Here we go…” 

To hug you, and be hugged back by you.

To be led by you.

“Dad, I don’t know how to dance like this.”

“I’ll lead. Just follow me.”

How I’d love love love

To dance with my father again.

(Photo: 1993) My dad, 9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008

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Son and Moon

Thinking of Sam today and everyday, March 2, 1998 — April 30, 2007

Son and Moon

It is my death before my death, my time before my time
It is my loss, my grief, my son, my way…
So let me revive him, and bring him back
What harm is there in allowing me this?
To see him in the moon and the sun
Or in the green eye of a living thing
To keep him alive in a nest in a tree
Or wrapped around my finger in a silver ring
So indulge me as I move in time
Holding moonlight in my hands, as he spills through my fingers
Watching spots of sunlight play, while he dances in the shade
Talking with the bright green lizard, who spies me with his little eye
And tells me he sees me too, and that he knows what I know:
That he’s my son, my light, the moon in my hand
My time before my time, my eyes, my way…

April 30: Ten years

April 30 seems to always be the most beautiful day of the year. There has been only one rainy April 30 in the ten years since Sam’s death. Again today, with no rain in sight, I am reminded of that perfectly beautiful, blue-skied afternoon, April 30, 2007, when he collapsed on the playground at school. While everything around him was gleaming, green with new life. Blooming, bright with new color. The sun, so strong and optimistic that day, that it seemed—in that kind of light, nothing bad or ugly should’ve happened.

Though it did. And Time keeps moving on. The sun keeps shining. The sky keeps turning blue. And new life keeps buzzing and blooming. But today…today is the tenth April 30, the tenth year. An impossible fact: More time has been spent without him, than was spent with him. He was only nine.

Today, I had wished for the sky, instead of the bluest, sunniest blue, to be the darkest of grays. For there to be rain. Non-stop. All day, all night. For there to be thunder too. Angry, roaring thunder. How can this be? Instead, there were gentle breezes rustling the trees, coaxing music from the wind chimes. Again, I learn to accept. Another blue-skied April 30, gleaming with new life, blooming with new colors. And be grateful to have made eye-contact with my bright Green Bean hiding in the jasmine.

I see you.

And I see you.

Joy

Dad and the boys, beach 2003

Dad, Joey, and Sam, 2003

Months after Sam’s death, and shortly before he was gone too, my father, always trying to cheer me on, reassured me that I’d find joy again. I disagreed. I didn’t want joy, happiness. I was consumed with grief, and wanted to die too. He worried about this, I’m sure, which added to his grief.

What I’ve learned about joy over the past eight years:

It’s one of the hardest things you have to do—find joy again, after loss.

It’s never the same kind of joy you felt before, when he or she or they were here, alive.

This joy lies in between the grieving and the living; that middle place where grieving and living coexist.

And in this middle place you find the still point, the peace.

And you find peace when you do whatever it is that makes you happy, no matter how ridiculous.

And whatever it is, it will be enough (for the time being).

And enough is the key.

What else is there in this life?

But the scent of your favorite soap. The sound of a snoring dog. The taste of butter and honey on a waffle. The lunch hour you spend laughing and talking with a close friend. The incredulous smile on the elderly man’s face when you hand back his lottery tickets, after the wind grabbed them away from him in the grocery store parking lot. This moment in between the grieving and the living, when you are running, chasing, and stepping on flying wisps of paper, that is the still point.

And enough, for the time being.

Peace.

My dad (9/1/1935 - 1/9/2008)

My dad (9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008)

What I learned from a soldier

Dad

In Memory of my father, Don Everett  (9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008)

What I learned from a soldier…

About strength
It’s okay to cry…

About caring
Take your vitamins… Stay away from dark alleys… Watch your back… I love you…

About illness
I’m so sorry you’re sick… I’m very concerned… Have you been eating right? Taking your vitamins? 

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Reggie, my heart therapy

Boys and dog

December, 2005, Sam, Joey & Reggie

He sees me

June 27, 2014. He loves a freshly cut lawn. He does a down-dog-stretch before squeezing through the rectangular flap of a door. Outside. Sniffing a path, he finds a patch of sun and flops onto his side. Lying still for a minute, he soaks up the warmth then rolls onto his stomach. Sphinx-like, his front legs out, chest high, ears alert, nose twitching, reading the air. He starts when a dragonfly skips by him, and I laugh. I’ve been watching him from the patio, learning from him how to be in the moment. He sees me and stands up, tail wagging. Making his way back through his magnetic door, he prances over to me and presents himself for a back rub.

I knead him from ear to tail. How’re you feeling today, Reggie? He is entranced. When I stop, he licks my hand. More, please. So I continue, and he seems to smile. I check beneath his fur. The infected lesions are healed, but the scabs can still be felt along the length of his spine.

I took him to the vet in May, a few weeks after I posted this:

I got my coffee and noticed then, that my dog was staring up at me with big apologetic eyes. Not for the death of my fridge, I’m pretty sure. Although he does sense when I’m sad or stressed. No, he was apologizing for the big, messy, grassy, puddle of puke on the carpet.

“Aww, Reggie. It’s okay,” I told him. How could I be angry at that face? Meditating and writing were moving to the bottom of my list. Deep breath.

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Think of the “Like” button as a “Support” button

"Like" Button

Happy stories, sad stories

Happy or funny stories compel people to “Like” and “Share” them. Inspirational, uplifting and amusing stories sometimes go viral. That’s the incredible thing about the internet. It can inform, inspire, entertain, and connect us.

But, it is counterintuitive to “Like” mournful stories much less “Share” them. Isolating further the one who is sharing from the most desolate and lonely place.

The following quote is from Why I Want You To Like That My Baby Died: Supporting Grief Through Social Media by Devany LeDrew, which I found here.

“When I post about my grief, your like is a silent nod of acknowledgement. I understand that you may have no words. While a heartfelt sentiment is best (even a ❤ or typing my daughter’s name is comforting), I know that you may be pressed for time or struggling with what to say. Clicking like makes me feel less alone.

“If I say I miss my daughter, you can like that. I give you permission. I know that you don’t “like” my grief. Instead, you are letting me know that you remember her instead of just scrolling by.”

Stories of death, especially the death of a child, are dark, taboo even. And have been, since…well, always. It is the scariest notion any parent can fathom. My child died and I am still afraid of this unfathomable idea. Afraid it could happen again. But being afraid doesn’t help, or keep us safe, does it?  Continue reading

Deanna

April 22, 2014

World

Poem #22: “Earth”

On a bike ride
we found a lost ball,
a huge plaything
cornered by the wind
in a drainage ditch.

Caked with dirt,
we noticed it looked
like Earth,
A blue marble
under the grime.

Sam begged to keep it.
So we brought it home,
hosed it down,
cared for it, and the Earth-ball
shined again.

It blew in the wind
and orbited the fenced yard.
I can still see him catching it,
holding up the planet,
laughing—

He had the whole world
in his hands.