Friday, March 25, 2005

Salvation

Once you have held someone as they die, your life is never the same. It can’t be the same again, no matter how hard you try. I have been with more than two people as they passed, but being with Sara and Mom . . . has forever changed me. Images are in my head that I just can’t shake, I can still hear the screams, I can still remember watching Sara’s body grow limp and vibrantly remember what I felt as Mom took her last breath. It is something I just can’t shake. In the past few weeks, I have tried my best to keep myself busy on this side of the little pond. It has not been an easy task.

I have gone back to teaching temporarily. One class, once per week, filled with eight brilliant minds. A small, intimate class filled with students that I have had in the past. They are well aware of all that has happened in the past few years. They are growing accustomed to my emotion filled outbursts, my stream of never-ending tears, and my lack of interest in our syllabus. I owe them much more than this, but I don’t have it to give right now.

My Aunt Kay is having chemo today. This is after several days being delayed due to her counts. We were all starting to become concerned as to how her body was holding up with no chemo. She needed the chemo, but the counts had to be at minimal level first. Either way, she couldn’t win. They have added a new agent to her treatment plan, Cytoxan. From what I understand from my Dad, it has made her violently ill. My heart goes out to her, she is so weak already, sometimes I must question what the hell is going on with this life. She is having surgery on April 13th in Tulsa. At that time, they will be doing a liver biopsy, a bone marrow biopsy, a lung biopsy as well as the scheduled double radical mastectomy. She will resume chemo as soon as she is given the clearance to do so. Radiation therapy will be done at some point, we are unsure as to if it will be during or after chemo has finished. At her request, I will remain here in Germany until after her surgery.

My Mom’s memorial service is set for April 23rd in the Boston area (Cambridge). Kay is insisting that we keep this date, even with her surgery. I am not sure how this will turn out, but we are still planning on it. Between my Aunts and my Dad, we are all trying to make this day a wonderful tribute to my Mother. She deserves so much more than we can ever give her, this day is our gift back to her. I know it is our wish to meet as many of you as possible, I will be posting directions and details as they are confirmed and we would love for you to join us as we pay tribute to my Mom. Please bring any photos that you would like to share, any special collections of writing, and/or any music that has special meaning to the memory of my Mom.

We are quickly approaching Sara’s birthday. It is a day that is hard for all of us, but especially for me as I thought Sara was mine. I honestly believed my parents got her just for me. She changed me, changed my outlook, changed whom I was destined to become. She taught me so much in her 24 years with us, I don’t know if I could ever do her justice by trying to explain it. For those of you that knew Sara before she became ill, you know what I am speaking of when I say her S-P-A-R-K-L-E (Tessa, done just for you). She touched anyone she came into contact with. She was identical to my Mom.

Lately, I have been trying to immerse myself into music. Music has always been a part of our family, as I have stated many times before, my Mom LOVED music. Her music taste was nothing but eccelectic. I am trying to find that passion again. In recent days, I have found a song that has touched me. In so many ways, it fits right where I am at this very moment. In other ways, it gives me hope of where I hope to be someday.

Well I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother standing by
With my brother standing by
I said Brother, you know you know
It’s a long road we’ve been walking on
Brother you know it is you know it is
Such a long road we’ve been walking on

And I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my sister standing by
With my sister standing by
I said Sister, here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

But sister you know I’m so weary
And you know sister
My hearts been broken
Sometimes, sometimes
My mind is too strong to carry on

Too strong to carry on
When I am alone
When I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone
When I've lost all care for the things I own
That's when I miss you, that's when I miss you, that's when I miss you
You who are my home
You who are my home
And here is what I know now
Here is what I know now

Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

Well I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Frustrated

Today finds me weeping. I have sent Emily on an overnight play date and my husband is out of the area for an academic conference. I am alone which right now is a very good thing. The tears keep falling and I don’t think I am much help to anyone today.

I have spent the evening responding to e-mails, trying to get my e-mail to work (THANK YOU AUNT KAY), yelling at the computer, and trying to stop the ever present tears. While I am no computer genius, I can usually figure out my own problems. Today I had to call my Aunt Kay and beg for her help. We still don’t know what is wrong, but by forwarding my e-mail to her by instant messenger and her logging into my e-mail acct., I was able to send all but one of the e-mail letters that I needed to. Frustrating day, to say the least.

It doesn’t help matters that all I want is my Mom today. My heart is crying for her today. I just want to feel her arms around me, hear her words whisper in my head "It’s going to be okay, Punkin," and I want to feel her heart beat as my head rests on her chest. I miss her. I need her. I want to be with her. She would make all of this right. She would take care of Aunt Kay. She would assure me that we can make it thru all of this as a family. She would hold me tight and make sure I knew she wasn’t going to ever let me go.

I need my Mom.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Vanessa

Mom,

I know you won’t ever get this letter. I know that Heaven doesn’t have postal service, UPS, or FedEx. I know that there is a chance you already know what is on my heart, but I need to be heard. I can’t call you anymore . . . but I don’t think my brain knows this because moments ago I picked up the phone to call you.

Lately, two people in your life have been on my mind. Well, three actually . . . but my thoughts revolve basically around two of them. Sara died on June 15, 2003, a day none of us will ever forget. It was Father’s Day and unusually cold that morning. Remember what Dad said? "An Angel took flight in the cold chill of the dark morning." Several mornings have been like that lately, brisk and damp. They bring back many reminders of that day.

After Sara died, we all fell apart, but you most of all. Your baby was gone. I didn’t truly understand your pain until Emily came along and the thought of losing her makes my heartache. I can’t and don’t want to imagine ever having to say goodbye to Emily, my baby. My heart hurts thinking of your pain, the pain you couldn’t share with us.

You took your emotions inward. Your pain was clear to all of us but you shut us out. We couldn’t help you, and you knew this. We couldn’t even help ourselves. How could we have been any help to you? You knew we wouldn’t ever understand. You stopped talking. Dad said the silence was worse than anything. He was scared for you, Mom. Did you know that? Did you know how scared we all were that we would lose you, too?

You found an online source to help your grief. We were elated that there was someone out there that you would turn to, someone you could trust with your pain. You spent hours a day chatting with others who understood the depths of your anger, your grief, your heartbreak. All that time we thought it was helping you. It wasn’t until after you died that we learned the truth. You spent countless hours in that chat room listening to others, guiding them in their own pain. You didn’t seek help. You gently held those who were both old and new in their grief. You saved those people. In turn, they saved you without ever knowing it.

You were loved by everyone in there, I am told. However, you handpicked the people who needed you the most. You took those people into your heart, and you gave them love and space. You allowed them to trust you, to find faith in you, to find safety in your love. You had this little group of people who you mothered and took care of. I asked you once what was so special about those selected people . . . why them? You told me they each needed something that you could give them.

That brings me to the first person on my heart today, Vanessa. Vanessa is on my mind based on a few things, but mainly because of what I found this morning. Mom, before you died, we all knew what you wanted each of us to have. You made sure that we all knew what personal item you wanted us each to have. At the time, I had no idea why you wanted me to have your prayer books. I knew that I had always remembered you keeping a prayer book, but never knew how many you have made thru the years. They are so much different from your journals. These are more of your soul, I guess. Maybe you wanted me to see what it meant to have a pure heart. Maybe you had a different reason. I am slowly getting thru them. I admit I am going thru them sporadically. Perhaps I should have gone thru them in chronological order. However, I keep finding things that make me stop and think. Just like this morning when I found a picture of the one you called "winged one." It was stuck in your prayer book with a quote and a prayer for her. My thoughts began to wonder about this girl, the one you loved so much.

You spoke highly of Vanessa. You called her "your winged one." I didn’t understand that, but you told me it was something she understood. She wasn’t that much older than Sara was, I don’t think. You told me that she had lost her mother just a few weeks before we lost Sara, but that she didn’t need a new mom . . . she just needed love. Love her? That you did! How many times did I call to talk and instead get told "Vanessa is having some rough patches right now, she needs me?" I won’t lie, Mom. It hurt then and I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand how you could love a complete stranger. I admit, I may have even been a bit jealous of this stranger.

Now, knowing all I do? Knowing what is like to lose your mother? I get it now, Mom. I understand and I take back every bad thing I ever thought about your relationship with her. If you thought Vanessa needed you? She did. Case closed. She needed you then like I need you now.

Your friendship with her ended slowly. You spoke to me about the pain of losing her, you said it was almost like losing Sara. You said it was best for her, for Vanessa. You said you needed to release her from the pain and release her back to living again. I wondered what you meant. I wondered what type of person she was. I wondered how she was coping with your choices.

Now, I wonder how she is doing. I wonder if she even knows that you are gone. I have her phone number. It crosses my mind to call her, but what would I say? How would I ever tell her how much she meant to you, Mom? How could I ever make it clear how much you loved her? Would she even understand what I was trying to say? That I was trying to say thank you for being there when you needed her most? Would she know as a daughter herself how much I appreciate all she gave to you during your relationship? Would she? I hope she would. If she is anything like you said she is? I believe she would understand this daughter’s heart.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Please

I do not have permission to be asking this, so I will not be releasing any information at this time. However, I do have a favor to ask of all you right now. Strangers, friends, family, foe...I am begging you to send good thoughts, good karma, good prayers, whatever you have, please send it to my Aunt Kay and my Aunt Sophie. I don't care how you do it or what higher power you do or do not believe in, just please help them out right now in whatever manner you can.
I will be posting more in segments as I can, I just needed to feel like I am doing something. Asking you all for help is the only thing I know to do right now. Please, I am begging on this one.