When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

~ Kahlil Gibran, from"The Prophet"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

That word means WHAT?????

How extensive is your vocabulary?

Wanna get hooked on something productive while sitting at your computer?

Would you like to challenge yourself AND do good unto others at the same time?

Once you become really proficient in the English Vocabulary category, click on "Change Subjects" and dare to have your brain picked in other areas.  You can master the full list of Chemical Symbols, learn a few words in a Foreign Language, memorize all the World Capitals...

How many grains of rice were donated on your behalf?
Isn't this fun???

Thursday, August 18, 2011


time elapses differently for the bereaved
it often creeps

lime caterpillar at bronswood

as we sense the rest of the world rushing past us
we move slowly and purposefully through our days
with pronounced awareness of the fragility of life
and the significance of living in the moment

20 months today...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige

Words of advice for the mother of the groom.
Actually, pretty sound advice for most folks when it comes to wedding preparation.
Let the bride and groom do their thing!

And I absolutely agree ~ ~ ~ with the exception of the beige part.
I don't do beige very well.

As the big day approached, people repeatedly said - You must be SO busy getting ready for the wedding! What are you doing about "this" or have you taken care of "that" or aren't you worried about "this thing" and who is going to take care of "that other detail"?  

Seriously people?? My response continued to be ~
Gosh, I'm not really doing much of anything because it's not my wedding.
Dave and I had our day 31 years ago.

This is Chris and Tasha's day.
A day they've been planning and saving for.
A day that needs to be their own.
They should choose exactly what they want.  They're responsible adults.
I'm going to buy a pretty dress, a shawl to wear in church
some high heeled shoes, 
(and I'll practice walking in them!) 
and I'm going to go to our son's wedding.

But what about the rehearsal dinner?  How will you take care of that detail?
That's the responsibility of the groom's parents!

OK.  Settle down now.  
Chris and Tasha looked at a few places and chose one they liked.
The Claddagh Irish Pub
 - casual - fun -
No, we've not seen the place.  It's in Minnesota.
What's the big deal?  We trust them.

The food was delicious ~
corned beef and cabbage rolls and chicken/spinach melt sandwiches 
and huge onion rings coated in bass ale batter...
Plenty to drink.
A patio for the guys to have a cigar smoke afterwards.
See, no worries.

And bonus, I got to spend some time with all my handsome boys.

a group of guys who've been buddies for many years
  through grammar school and high school days and seasons of sports 

Prom 1999

young men who, during a few post-college years, 
played together on a fledgling softball team 
and often spent hours on our old wrap-around porch

And at the reception, the friend chosen to be the best man gave a pitch perfect toast that alternately poked fun at and honored Chris, with words that included remembrances of hours spent on that old front porch... growing boys whose bellies had been filled with my mom's breakfast twisters on high school late-arrival days, the ever-present jug of red Hi-C in the fridge... his toast bringing back some fond memories of my own.

SO... How did I do without Erin there? Pretty well, I think.
Was I able to see anything but that pronouced gaping hole defined by her absence?
Yes. There was beauty and love and joy and class and compassion and understanding.
A beginning, with two individuals joining as one.
Was I split in two? Yes.  Equally happy about this blessed union and broken-hearted that Erin was not there to share in the joy.
Did I cry? Yes, for a lot of reasons as the many parts of me collided.
Did I smile and laugh and dance like crazy in my bare feet?  Absolutely yes!

I missed her when the FAMILY photos were taken before the ceremony while I clutched the sunflower, filled with both happiness in the knowledge that our family was about to expand to include new members and at the same time literally sick to my stomach because she wasn't standing on that altar with us.

As the photographer took pictures of the wedding party, I wondered where she would have stood among the other bridesmaids, knowing how beautiful she would have looked in a plum dress. A perfect color for her.  A color she loved. As each couple processed down the aisle once the ceremony began, I wondered which handsome groomsman would have accompanied her.

And then when Sarah told me after the service that she had quietly said "eeeeeewwwwwww" when Chris and Tasha had kissed, I imagined the two of them cracking up on the altar had she been up there too, and it made me laugh.

The parts of me colliding...

But, because she wasn't there, she was there in the sunflower I clutched, in the gorgeous bouquet standing prominently on the altar that was then carried to a memory table at the reception, in the lime green ties the groomsmen wore and the lime table runners at the reception, in the sunglasses the bridal party sported when they arrived at the reception after a "happy" ride on the bus from the church... and in the "Have Fun" tag by Lisa Leonard that adorned Tasha's bouquet (clicking on photo will enlarge it).

She wasn't there... but she was there, in the only way she could be.
Chris and Tasha beautifully and selflessly integrated her memory 
into their special day.
Remember, I just showed up. They planned it all.

I am so lucky to be the mother-in-law of this bright, confident young woman who walked into Chris' life at a time when our world was already upside down, yet she never turned in fear from the challenges accompanying Erin's cancer and her subsequent passing.  I'm so grateful she knew Erin, and therefore can consciously carry her into the future and keep her memory alive.  She is unafraid to speak her name, and she does so while calling up humorous incidents they shared and can also vocalize a sympathetic understanding about our ongoing pain due to her absence.  Is it an accident that she is a radiation oncology therapist?  Chris didn't meet her at the hospital during one of Erin's treatments.  They met through mutual friends.  I continue to believe some things are not accidents.

The couple was poised and gracious and relaxed - before, during and after.  Tasha looked like a princess who had walked out of a fairy tale.  Chris looked pretty good too.

I did worry about one little detail.  One of the straps on my dress was a bit loose, and I was concerned about a "Janet Jackson" incident during the mother-son dance.  Not to worry.  Sarah, who had just gotten off the "happy" bus ride from the church, assured me she could secure the strap to my bra with bobby pins.  There were no safety pins to be found and she had about 95 bobby pins holding her hair up.

Would you trust this "happy" girl in the glasses with your dress?
Mom, I've got this!  It will be fine!  Why do you doubt me?
Gee honey, I don't know!

We chose Forever Young - the Rod Stewart version.  (Many people don't know Bob Dylan did it before Stewart.)  If you're familiar with it, you know it has a kick-ass rhythm.

The straps didn't budge.  No wardrobe malfunction.
I promised the "happy" daughter I would not doubt her again.

Did you ever really listen to the words of the song?  Most people just rock along with the music, singing - da da da da, Forever Young - Forever Young.
I think you'll agree, the lyrics are pretty appropriate.
May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever Young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
with a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
and in my heart you will remain
Forever Young

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever Young

Yep, simply perfect.
~ ~ ~

PS - Of course Keenan traveled with us.
He got to hang out at my cousin's house in MN with their dog and five kids.

He had trouble staying awake in the car on the way home - a happy, pooped out pooch!

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Word?

Simply perfect.
OK, that's two.
but, it was...

I have to get to work and my camera stinks and I don't have many good pictures. I'm putting out the APB for copies. I will share soon.

oh, just so you know

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So many thoughts swirling

June 1981

May 2006

Thanksgiving 2009

as we approach the HAPPY DAY

~ ~ ~

Fall of 1982