11 years ago today my 12 year old son died.
Thursday, September 8, 2022
11 years ago today my 12 year old son died.
Thursday, August 4, 2022
Menopause slapped me with a 20 lb weight gain, and I had to update my swimming wardrobe. So in April, before a trip to Tim's parents' house in Florida, I bought a Lands End tummy control swim dress. It covered everything I wanted to cover and squeezed in everything I wanted to be squeezed. Getting that thing on and off was like wrestling a walrus, and I had to resort to the pull-over method in order to pee in the pool bathroom, but I was pleased with my purchase.
With whatever breath I could manage to exhale while squeezed in my suit, I breathed a sigh of relief that Andrew is a boy and he likely won't give me as much of a hard time about my wardrobe choices as a little girl would. I've been down that road and it was brutal. So far, he hasn't seemed to notice that I'm older than his friends' parents, that I don't rock a bikini, or that I put my bathrobe on around 5 pm each day (ok, 4 in winter).
Tim, however, may have pushed things a little too far. After wearing thrifted brown and orange swim trunks for over 15 years, he decided this summer was the time to go wild with a new bathing suit before dry rot set in. I told him Lands End was having a sale, and he could likely find something for less than 20 bucks.
Imagine my surprise when, utterly clueless, he pulled out swim trunks that match the suit I've been wearing for 4 straight months. I've often said he would not notice my being injured if I weren't bleeding from the head, but now I wonder about even that.
And poor Andrew.
Do we wear these to the pool together?
Do we see if they come in kids' sizes and just embrace the WEIRD?
It's one thing when your mom listens to 80's music that makes your friends groan in the camp carpool. Or when she consistently has 2-3 inches of gray roots. But your mom and Dad wearing matching bathing suits?
What do YOU think?
(Photo credit to the 6 year old who could use his nails clipped)
P.S. do you think Tim will notice my new pajamas?
Monday, July 11, 2022
Do you follow writer/podcaster/thinker Kelly Corrigan? She has an amazing podcast, a PBS show, and several wonderful books.
On Sundays she has been reading eulogies aloud, and yesterday she read the eulogy my sister Liz wrote for Jack 10 years ago. I can't believe my precious sister had the presence of mind to write something so beautiful and eloquent just a day or so after Jack's shocking death.
Hearing it again reminded me there is still much to learn from my boy. I'd love for you to take a listen!
Friday, May 6, 2022
What an honor it was to speak at Full Circle Grief Center's Live Your Dash Luncheon!
This fundraiser helps Full Circle provide comprehensive grief support for those in the Richmond, VA area. When Jack died, I was in too much shock to even look for or access this kind of grief support. If you are grieving, or know someone who is grieving, I'd encourage you to see whether there is a grief center in your area. They often offer individual counseling and family groups and activities.
By just EXISTING, grief centers help acknowledge to our world that grief is a real issue that lasts well beyond the few days between a death and a funeral.
Something really special happened after my speech last Friday. The setting was a super fancy country club, and many of the servers were young adults. After the luncheon, 5 of the servers came up to me to share how my speech impacted them. We often wonder about this next generation, but let me say, they are all right! They were on the clock, working, but they let themselves open up and be touched by my words and then took the time to share with me their impact. Wow! I am so grateful.
The theme of the luncheon was Living your Dash, and it refers to the dash on a gravestone between the birth date and the death date.
I'be been putting too much pressure on myself lately about what I'm going to do with my dash during this short and precious life. It's overwhelming and I feel burnt out and ineffective.
Maybe you do too.
So today I will just try to do one small thing: be kind.
Friday, April 29, 2022
I thought you might enjoy reading my latest article on Today Parenting, about raising kids with a large age gap. Maybe Britney will call me for advice!
Monday, March 28, 2022
This is the face of a kid who did not enjoy soccer. But this post isn’t about soccer.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
I thought I'd share one of the most beautiful examples of holding space for someone that I've come across in my grief work. I hope it will inspire you today the way it did me.
Monday, February 7, 2022
I’ve mentioned before that I have decided quit waiting for enthusiastic buy-in from my husband.
It's frustrating to think it took me almost 30 years to figure this out. I had hints when it was time to get our first dog. The months dragged on as I waited for Tim to show a modicum of enthusiasm. Finally, a one year old chocolate lab fell in our laps, I arranged it, and Shadow joined the family. Guess who was Shadow's number one person? Tim. Years later, we went through the same thing with Charlie. What a love affair! If Tim talked to me and cuddled with me the way he does with Charlie, it would be Valentine's Day every day over here. I’m not saying I did these things behind Tim’s back. I got his less than enthusiastic, barely perceptible buy-in and then ran with it.
What made me think of this today? Well, despite my bad back, I swapped our kitchen and dining room tables by myself. It doesn't look great, and will probably only stay this way a week, but I don't care. I was feeling itchy in these four walls, and sometimes you just want to move shit around. When it comes to house stuff, if I didn’t get the ball rolling, we’d be in a state of stasis forever. Men, don't often wake up and say, "I wonder if that couch would look better by the window." My latest project is getting a tree cut down, and I've set a goal for myself to on figure that out this week. Tim will know, but I won’t wait for him to high-five me on it. Few things turn a man into an ardent conservationist or decorating purist than saying you want to cut down a tree, or, God forbid, paint wood paneling.
I'm not saying men shouldn't have a say in anything. I'm just preaching to myself here, REMINDING MYSELF not to use Tim's general lack of enthusiasm as an excuse, when I really could pick up that paintbrush, move that table, plan that trip, or do that next thing.
99.9% of the time, he likes what I've done. He becomes the dog's best friend. He appreciates having appliances that aren't broken. He thinks white paint really brightens the space. He’s glad we went on those trips. Now I know I’m probably mashing everything up because it’s Monday morning and I haven’t had my third cup of tea yet, but it kind of reminds me of fooling around. I may be less than thrilled about the prospect, but afterward I’m always glad to have participated. Sure, there’s buy-in from me, but sometimes the enthusiasm comes later.
Let’s hope Tim feels the same way about the tree.