Time flies when you’re…

…not looking.  Or when you’re looking closely.

My last child’s last regular track meet ended today. She qualified for the state meet (woohoo!!!!) next weekend so it wasn’t quite the last last meet, but I went into the meet yesterday knowing that it could be, and for a sports-loving mom like me, that was really, really hard, and really, really emotional.

My oldest child, now 33, kick-started my sports mom career when he was five and wanted to play soccer. There was no one to coach his team so I signed up, went the library, checked out a children’s book entitled “How To Play Soccer” and, thus, it began.  We (me and my little group of 5 and 6 year old kindergartners and first graders) didn’t lose a game that season, and actually ran plays and played positions, something the other coaches said they’d never seen at that level.  I still have the (deflated) balloon the team gave me at the end of that season, and I still cherish the memories of that moppy-headed group of boys who, in early September, simply ran to wherever the ball was on the field and started wildly kicking at it.  “Bunch ball” at its purest and best!

From soccer and tee-ball to club sports and AAU basketball, my older kids did it all….and I did it all from the stands with them. Their biggest cheerleader and loudest fan, I loved everything about those days and weeks and years (and years and years and years) in the bleachers.  It is really hard to watch it all come to an end.

Oh I know there will still be games (and meets) to attend, and there are still tons of young people in my life for me to go and watch compete, but it just isn’t the same. Next Saturday, when my daughter walks onto the sacred ground of track and field that is Hayward Field (where, as a scrawny, shy 11 year old girl at the 1972 Olympic Trials, I met my idol, Steve Prefontaine), there is no “maybe one more meet”.  Next Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 will mark the end of something that started in September of 1986…and, as with every other good-bye I’ve been forced to say over the last couple of years, I am finding it very, very, very hard.

Time flies – I just wish it didn’t fly so damn fast.

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Dream On…

I am a HUGE fan of the television show The Voice. HUGE…and only partially because Adam Levine is my pretend boyfriend. The coaches are so encouraging, the music is always fabulous (at least to my ears), and Carson Daly (the host) just seems to be about the nicest person in television today.  Yes, I am a fan.

As we are down to the final six (five after tonight’s result show), last night we got to hear each remaining artist perform two songs.  One of Pharrell’s remaining two team members, 17 year old Koryn Hawthorne, chose the Steven Tyler / Aerosmith classic “Dream On” for her second number.  After bringing the house down (seriously, watch the clip – it was so so so so good!), her coach asked something along the lines of “Who in this audience, after hearing that performance, is ready to dream on?”  Feeling as if I’d just been to Church (capital C – – like CHURCH in a black Baptist church), I enthusiastically raised my hand.  As I was falling asleep later in the evening, I asked myself on what dreams I was willing to switch the button to “on”…and that has lingered with me all throughout today.

Dreams are a funny thing. Those ones that accompany us in our slumber can be simultaneously thrilling and scary, funny and weird, and clear as a bell while thick as mud.  The ones that gently call us away from our concentration during our work days often feel unattainable but wickedly alluring.  I just heard the story of Noelle Hancock, a woman in Manhattan who gave up her $95K-a-year job to move to the Caribbean and scoop ice cream for ten bucks an hour….and she couldn’t be happier.  I’m guessing that “ice cream scooper” was not Noelle’s dream job (although that was my Noelle’s when she was young), but the life she’s created for herself in St. John’s certainly seems to be… and that got me to thinking, “What’s my dream?”

Not my dream job per se, but just my dream. What is my dream?

What is your dream?

Do we dare to dream our dreams?

Do I dare to dream mine?

I don’t have answers for those questions today – or at least not well thought out answers – but it’s stirring inside of my head and, if I slow down and sit with it for awhile, it turns out to be quite an exciting question so I’m going to take Steven Tyler’s advice, via a teenage reality show contestant, and “dream on, dream on, dream until [my] dreams come true”, or at the very least, at least until they’re identified.

Stay tuned!  And dream on!

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Ob-la-di, ob-la-da (or “Life goes on”)…

life goes on    Like Robert Frost, if I’ve learned any lesson in almost 54 years of living, it is indeed this:  life goes on…

…no matter what.

Even if the “what” is death…

…life goes on.

The sun rises and sets (at least I think it rises – I live in Oregon); the seconds, minutes, and hours tick by on the clock; the calendar pages turn; time drags on or flies by or sometimes does both at the same time. And with all of that “going on” that life does, I have choice to either go on with it, despite it, because of it, or all of the above.

I spent so much of my adult life waiting for that great thing that I thought was just around the corner – that thing that would make life complete; that thing that would mean I’d arrived; that thing that would make every other thing in my world just right. What an epiphany (sidebar: a good therapist is worth her weight in gold!) it was a few years ago to learn that “that thing” was right here all along – that “that thing” was my life, the life I was already living. There was no – there IS no – “just around the corner”. Life is here. It is now. It is today. It is this moment. And, yes, it goes on. It moves into another moment, another “now”, another “today”. Life goes on.

So I will too….

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da

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525,600 minutes, part two

Exactly one year. It’s been one year. 52 weeks.  365 days.  525,600 minutes.  I had him for a year, and now he’s been gone for a year.  One. Whole. Year.

As you might surmise by my absence here the last three months, the grief journey for me has become much more introspective, much more personal, much less public, and much more thoughtful (as in full of thought).  The pain and anguish that was so raw early on has healed a bit, partly because of this blog, a great therapist, and some amazing writers who penned some equally as amazing books on grief, and partly (mostly) because of Jesus, whom I see day in and day out in the words, love, kindnesses, and tears of the people I call my closest friends and family.  Sooooo, to my village, I say thank you….

For loving me.

For carrying me.

For crying with me.

For laughing with (or maybe at) me.

For meals.

For cards.

For visits.

For love.

For the past 525,600 minutes, and for the many ways you showed loved, compassion, and Jesus to me.  Thank you. Thank you, Thank you

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Nine months…

Nine months. That’s approaching one year. One year is that much closer to the inevitable “he’s been gone longer than we were together” thing I dread.  Well maybe not “dread”, but certainly I’m aware of it. Nine months also seems like such a long time. A lot can happen in nine months. A life can be created, grown, and birthed in nine months. A child can go from student to graduate in nine months. If you’re lucky enough to live where the seasons are truly experienced, you experience three changes of seasons in nine months. When I look at the past nine months in my life, a lot has happened – a LOT. Those of you who know me personally know this to be true.  A lot can happen in nine months. And a lot can just hang there too, suspended in time, not moving, not changing – just hanging. In these past nine months, I’ve come to accept that both are okay.

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It’s a lie…

… that “time heals all wounds” thing. It’s a lie.  I’m not healing. I won’t ever heal. My heart will always ache with missing Danny just as it will always swell with love for him. Those two things go hand-in- hand and while I’m not thrilled at living the rest of my life desperately missing every single thing about my sweet man, I’m certainly not going to wish away my love for him just because I hate going to bed every night.

Grief sucks – there’s just no way around that. Yet for me, the act of grieving – the intentional, purposeful work of walking this journey of grief – has become a spiritual practice over these last seven and a half months. Again, not easy and certainly not fun, but those intimate  honest, raw moments when the pain of profound loss drives me to my knees, God meets me there and reminds me once again that I’m not doing this alone.

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Seven months…

It’s been seven months (and one day) since my love left this earth for whatever is next. We’d been together for 13 months.  In February of 2015 (the 14th ironically enough), he will have been gone longer than we were together.  I try to find consolation in the fact that we did pack what many would call an entire lifetime into those months we had together.  I try to find consolation in the fact that he did keep his promise to me to love me for the rest of his life, but I seem to be stuck in this “we only had each other for a little over a year” place. Yes we packed a lot into that year and I am aware and appreciative of all of that – – of every single moment I spent as Danny’s love, but…

I want more than 13 months.  I want more than months period – I want years. Lots and lots and lots of years.

I want a lifetime of pictures of us to look at – pictures of us growing old together to place in the album next to the pictures from when our love was young and new.

I want memories of being hand-in-hand sitting on the front porch swing, strolling together down memory lane.

I want pictures of us on his 60th birthday (which would’ve been this last May 26th).  I want pictures of us on May 26th, 1921 – what will be my 60th birthday.

I want more memories.

I want more pictures.

I want more time.

I want him.  I want him back.  I want it to be December 10th again. I want him to come home with me so I can keep an eye on him and take care of him.  I don’t want him to be gone. To be dead.  I hate that word.  I want him back. Here. With me….

…and that’s just not going to happen.

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