Processing… Please hold.

I got into a conversation with someone this morning, they were telling me of a conversation they had with my daughter.  Apparently there were things she didn’t want to talk to me about, simply because she worries that when I am stressed, I may not be able to handle it.  It surprised me to hear.  There is something strange and unsettling to hear that your child thinks you’re weak.  Or at the very least, sees a weakness that perhaps you don’t.  I don’t quite know how to fully process that.  But I know that I will.

It led to me thinking through all that I’ve been through.  My brain immediately went back to Ben.  The night we knew something was wrong and raced him, in the dead of the night, to the hospital. That drive will forever be etched into my brain.  The songs that played quietly on the radio, The ex’s steady calm.  Funny, the man would occasionally drive me crazy with his immaturities and lack of self control, but when everything fell apart… when the hour was dire… and we stood on the edge of a very scary storm… he was someone else.  Someone I respected.  I don’t think I ever told him that.  I don’t think I ever told him how, even now, after all this time… I trust him more than I trust myself.  That deep in my heart, he was my very best friend.  I wish I could help him understand how much I loved him.  I don’t think he ever really knew.  And telling him now would be taken weirdly.  I guess I can’t take back the words I never said.  We both had to take on and face the scariest thing we could have possibly imagined.  A situation where we had no control, we were completely helpless – our heart’s were in the doctor’s hands.  Doctors we trusted, because of an ideal in our heads – that somehow – doctor’s were infallible.  Oh how I regret feeling that way. I’ve never felt so ill-prepared when we learned of their mistakes.  And we were both hurt in the most unimaginable ways by it all. Scarred from the pain in many ways.

I thought back to the many days and nights where I would work and work and work… not because I’m a strange person who doesn’t want to have a life or free time… but because I knew it would put food on the table or give me the ability to get the kids gifts for christmas.  Those were the years when the ex and I would eat ramen or spaghetti o’s so the kids could have balanced meals. These were times when we had so much debt over our heads that we would have to ignore a ringing phone. There was always a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that the world would crash down around us because we couldn’t pay a bill.

I thought back to days when depression and stress rang so loudly inside my head that I couldn’t even see myself within the cloud I was in.  When I would lay in bed and hide from the world, because it seemed smarter than going out and being hurt by it. When a person loses sight of who they are, and it takes them as long as I have to re-find yourself… there tends to be some disconnects.   I’ve changed in big ways since I last saw myself.  So it’s sometimes hard to trust my own intuition. Thankfully, In many ways, those changes were good.  I love myself now, and I know I didn’t before. I’m more laid back about so many things.  Life is going to happen… you can stress about it, or you can try and find a way to enjoy it.  And now, more than ever before, I’m aware of how strong I really am.  I’m sure most people have no idea the amount of fortitude and strength they actually possess.

It’s interesting, the stages you go through in life.  For every stage of stress or hell, there seems to be an opposing, equally joyous time to remember.  I suppose my knowing that is what keeps me going, keeps me strong.  Because, you see… I can’t give up.  I won’t give up.  It won’t happen on my watch!  I want to see what happens at the end of the story – and we’re not there yet.  Not even half way.

I suppose it’s also why I’m upset to hear that my child thinks I cannot handle hearing whatever detail she’s working through.  Please child… I’ve walked through hell – I think I can handle a little teenage highschool drama.

Have a great day Neverland!

lipstick kiss

RIP Grandpa

My grandfather passed away last night.  He’s not the one who helped raise me, it was the grandfather on my dad’s side.  I spent a lot of summers at his house, helping out in my grandmother’s nursery (this is where my love of plants and gardening comes from).  I have many fond memories of my grandfather.  He’s been battling cancer and his death was one we’ve all been preparing for.  Last night, my dad called to give me the news.  He’d passed.  After I hung up, I sat there and thought about things… and the tears just started flowing.  I loved my grandfather.  He will be missed.

However…I’m feeling a bit of guilt.

He and I didn’t always get along.  He was a very blunt, very honest man.  If he thought you needed to lose weight, he’d call you fat.  Didn’t matter if there were other people around, or if the timing of his comments weren’t appropriate… he’d speak his mind when and where he wanted to.  There were many moments in those awkward growing up years where Grandpa hurt my feelings.  But all of that aside, grandpa was always there for me when I needed him.

The last couple of times that I saw him, he didn’t really remember me much.  He had an oxygen tank that he had to carry with him.  I think the reason I’m so upset about this is that the last time he and I talked… when he wasn’t sick… the last time we were together privately…the last thing I said was “Fuck You.”

I can feel it – your eyebrows just went up.  I know – it’s not like me to be so disrespectful.  it was maybe 5 years ago… After Ben died.  Grandpa was angry with me for putting the family through everything.  I had just started working at Microsoft and had called him to invite him out to dinner – my treat – and to share the news of my new job and just generally catch up.  He told me no.  He said that I wasn’t his granddaughter anymore.  He said that I was too fat, too ugly, and not worth it.  That I’d let the family down, that I’d let Ben down.  That the grief that I’d caused everyone for my own selfishness was more than he could take.  That I deserved to go to hell for bringing Ben into the world.  I was furious.  And shocked.  I managed to get a “Fuck you.” out before he hung up on me.

The contrast that life throws at us at times is interesting.  If I compare that last encounter to the fond memories I have of him and my summers as a child… they are DRAMATICALLY different.  Polar opposites.  And I don’t regret what I said that day.  He had no right to say even HALF of the things he said.  What I do regret however, is not circling back when I had the time.  Not trying to push past his anger and his grief to the grandpa that I loved.  Not getting the chance to really show him that he had every reason to be proud of who I am and who I have become.

I’ll never get to hear his version of the first time he saw me as a baby.  I’ll never again get to taste his cooking, or watch him sketch, or talk about cars or trucks or gardens.  I think I’d convinced myself that there was still plenty of time to come back and repair what had been broken.  I’m sad today.  There is a lesson here, it’s staring me in the face.  I’ve learned it.  Love your loved ones.  Always.  Make sure to hug them and tell them you care when they’re here.. because tomorrow, they might not be.

Hope you all are well Neverland.  Much love to you.

lipstick kiss

That strange unexpected moment when grief strikes…


I’m sitting in my office.  I have music playing at a low volume in the background.  My day so far has been busy, full of meetings, and reviews, lots of emails back and forth with questions and analysis of behavior or decisions that are being made by our leadership teams.  Overall, it’s been a good day, so far, but..

I’m feeling a sense of quiet today.  Actually, it’s been a couple of days of me feeling a bit quiet.   I’m not unhappy, although I’m sure some folks would question that based on my behavior.  I’m not though.  I’m just quiet, and introspective.  Been thinking a lot about my life.  I’m happy with life.  I’m content with where I’m heading, what I’ve seen and done, and the people who occupy my time.  Ben has been on my mind for the past couple of days.  I was in the car this weekend, heading to visit with a few of T’s friends when a song came on and it really took all I had to hold myself together.  All I could think about was Ben.  And it was one line in the song that did it… “I’m a broken heart, that’s still beating.”  It just enveloped me swiftly and suddenly.  One minute I was laughing and singing along to the radio, and the next, I was quiet and fighting back the tears.


I hate that grief does that.  You could be happily carrying on with life, and the next thing you know, you’re at the grocery store blubbering over the tomatoes for no other reason than a song they’re playing in the background.  Does it ever just stop?  I don’t know.  I remember, growing up, my mom would occasionally have days where she’d just be sad.  She’d be grieving her own son that she lost.  She’d look through pictures, hold his blanket, show me his ashes.  She’d hide her grief from everyone – except me.  I used to think that was why she still grieved… because she hid it and didn’t just embrace her sadness.  But I’ve done that… I’ve grieved openly… and I still have those moments.  I think that’s just how grief works.  It’s a mean, evil bitch of an emotion… And yet… without it, maybe we’d somehow forget the ones we’ve loved and lost?  Who knows.

All I can say is that I can’t wait to get home and hug my kids.  Time to get back to work.  Much love neverland.  Hugs and Kisses.

lipstick kiss

Perhaps it’s time…

I re-arranged my bedroom tonight.  It was nice to refresh the room a bit.  Think I needed it.  But something dawned on me as I was shifting furniture around.  I have a LOT of pictures of Ben.  They are scattered in frames throughout my room, and then there’s a large frame with a collage of them on the wall.  It used to be where I needed these pictures up.  I felt like I wanted them to surround me; Like it somehow kept me connected with the son I loved and lost.


Now, though, I find that looking at these pictures doesn’t give me the same feeling anymore.  Some of them still do.  I will likely always want a picture of his cute baby feet around.  There’s something so adorably sweet about baby feet.  But… suddenly, I want to keep my focus on the happy and positive.  The forward motion that I’m so desperately trying to continue.  The pictures now give me both a smile and an ache.  I wouldn’t take any of it back.  Somehow, even his death, was likely for the best.  Who knows what kind of life he’d have led.  His conception, his birth, his life and his death all had dramatic impacts on me, my family, my children and my friends in different ways and for different reasons.  We are all – in many ways – better people because of him.  I could never thank him for that gift.  If I take the pictures down tho, am I somehow dishonoring him?  Or will it somehow seem to signal that he doesn’t hold such a large place in my mind and heart?  I’m inclined to say no.  I honor him in other ways too, but the idea of pulling those pictures down, or even simply adding others to the collage frame feels off too.  I just don’t know.  Maybe I’ll take a staged approach with this.  One at a time until I find a balance that is right for me.  But how do you find balance with something like this?  How do you know what’s right when everyone handles these things differently?

Oh magic 8 ball of life… why must you keep giving such cryptic answers?

● Reply hazy try again
● Ask again later
● Better not tell you now
● Cannot predict now
● Concentrate and ask again