Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Grief and comfort; these two things usually go hand in hand. When someone is in pain from grief, it is human nature to want to reach out to comfort that person.

I have joked that when it comes to grief, I live in denial. I don't know if that's what it is exactly, but pushing the reality of the loss of a loved one out of your mind and your daily life is probably more like it. Some would argue that it's not healthy, but it works for me. Trust me, I have plenty of days of tears and being immersed in the reality of it all. I just choose not to remain there.

It was learning by example, I'm sure. I watched my Mom do it (and my Dad not do it) when my sister died. I knew that I could never get through a day if I let myself go where my Dad did. Everyone handles things in their own way, though, so we tried to comfort him the best way we could.


I'm sure that word means different things to different people. For my Dad, we quickly learned that it didn't mean talking about my sister, Renee, or even telling funny stories about her. For Dad, it meant listening when he needed to share, spending time with him, and eventually, it did include stories and laughter in remembrance.


One year ago today, I sat in an empty hospital room next to my Mom, who had just taken her last breath. Mark and Renee were trying to make their way up to Atlanta to be by my side, and I had never felt so alone in my life. There was a knock on the door, and in walked the hospital chaplain. He was a very sweet man who had been asked to come in to comfort me. I am ashamed to even admit this, but as this kind, gentle man attempted to comfort me in prayer, I was angry. Angry at God for taking her from us, angry at God for not allowing her passing to be in the comfort of our own home, and angry at this dear, kind chaplain for trying to comfort me. I feel so terribly guilty even sharing that.

On a humorous side note, Mark always teases me that I should have been born into a Jewish or Catholic family with all of the guilt that I carry. Since I am neither, what in the world is my excuse? Ha!

Pushing the guilt aside, I realize that those feelings of anger were fueled by my immense grief. Deep down inside, I really was gracious and thankful for the chaplain's kind words of prayer and comfort. At that very moment in time, though, just moments after my Mom's passing, our ideas of the definition of comfort were not on the same page. Just like my Dad didn't like hearing funny stories about Renee, I didn't want to hear that Mom was finally with Jesus. Finally? She was only 70 years old! Was that too long for her to be with us on this earth? Even the mention of Mom and my sister, Renee, being reunited in Heaven didn't help. Perhaps it was too soon for me to find comfort in that? Maybe in different circumstances or at a different time it would have been welcomed?


Once we left the hospital and began to share the news of Mom's passing, comfort came to us in so many forms.

~Words of love and support on our Facebook page and this blog.

~A home cooked meal with brownies for dessert to entice me to eat when I couldn't even think about putting anything into my tummy.

~Beautiful flowers, baskets filled with nourishing treats, cookies, and chocolate dipped fruit.

~The most lovely cards, which made me cry, yet feel so loved.

~Being taken out to dinner even when I didn't feel like going.

~The generous gift of plants and trees so that we could create a memorial garden in Mom's honor.

~A simple phone call to let us know we were being thought of.

~The flowers in Mom's memorial gardens blooming.

~Laughing with Mark and Renee as we shared stories of our very own 'Wilson'. Unlike my Dad, talking about her did make us feel better.

~Hugs. Lots of hugs.

All of these things did not make me angry, and in some way or another, I found comfort in each one of them. Matter in fact, I don't know how we would have gotten through this year without them.


And today, on the anniversary of Mom's passing, there was the gift of this song by Jason Mraz. If you've taken the time to read my rambling babble up to this point, please take a few minutes out of your day to listen to this. You will understand why I am asking you to do this once you hear his most beautiful lyrics.

Just like my Dad eventually found comfort in the funny stories of my sister's life, I realize that finally, I am open to different forms of comfort. Today, I am comforted by these lyrics, which are such an example of how Mom felt about life...and death.

But if love
If love is all there ever was
There will be peace on the other side
Years go fast
Live each day like it's your last
Me I'm gonna go out dancing
'Cause when I die
I'm know I'm gonna fly
Into an angel's hands
You are loved

You are loved
You are....loved

Yes, today, through my tears, I can imagine her, delivered gently into her Heaven by her angel's hands. She's been reunited with everyone she loved so much. I see her tending to her most favorite flowers and trees. She's not in pain. She is loved.


You are loved. That is my comfort today.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Perfect for Eduendos....ha!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunny raindrops on daffodils after our day of severe weather. There is beauty behind every cloud!

In da basement. Tornado Warning time!

Tornado watch, heavy downpours, and a river through our Back 40. Just another day at the Hollow Tree!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Friday, January 13, 2012

A most beautious sunset as viewed this evening from the front porch of Hollow Tree.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Trying out the new phone!




It's a bouncing, baby...

Oooooh! Mama's new phone is here!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Flashback Friday~Tattoos

When you are four and a half, tattoos are a huge thing. At least in our house they were, and it got to the point that Renee was so good at putting them on that we just gave her the tattoos and let her go to town.

One summer day, she called to me from the sun room in our house in New York.

"Mommy, come here! I want to show you something!"

When I walked out to see, I noticed a tiny little tattoo on her hand. I mentioned to her that I loved the hearts, but she said, "No! There's something even better than that!"

After picking myself up off the floor, I called Mark at work to tell him that we had a creative, budding artist on our hands. Who else would think about encircling their belly button (perfectly straight, mind you!) with a purple and pink flower tattoo?

Looking at this photo all these years later still makes me laugh. Thank goodness for photographic evidence!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Poppy

Today, on January 5th, 2012, my Dad would have turned 82 years old.

Happy Birthday to the best Merry-Go-Round riding buddy, ever.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Things I have learned in 2011

2011 began as as the new year always does. There was the closing of one door, the opening of another, and of course, the celebration of my birth.

Then, our world came crashing down with the sudden loss of my mom. We knew that we were fighting a losing battle with her diagnosis of acute leukemia, but certainly weren't prepared to lose her the way we did. Almost a year later, I can still remember sobbing as I waited for the valet to bring my van around so that I could make the drive home from the hospital, alone for the first time in two years.

It's funny how experiencing something so devastating can open your eyes, heart, and mind to new moments of learning opportunities. Some of them might be meaningful or life changing, and others? Well, they just might make you laugh and fill your heart with light and love, which is exactly what you need when your heart is filled with sadness.

So, without further ado, please allow me to share some of those things with you!

I have learned that flowers from friends really can brighten a cloudy day.

Splurging on a tasty lunch for the birthday boy is worth having to eat grilled chicken for the rest of the week.

When your kiddo says that she wants to attend something called 'Momocon', you read up on it, and figure out a way to make a last minute costume out of sheets of foam and purple hairspray.

There really are quiet places to rest in Walt Disney World.

Ed truly is Superman!

You are never to old for a little game of Follow the Leader.

Life, in itself, is always an adventure. Those who travel along with us make it even richer!

Butterbeer is as delicious as everyone always promises.

There is nothing that a gihugic turkey leg won't make better!

Gifts are often more about the love you share.

You can never put enough Kahlua in a Tiramisu birthday cake for a friend who has a daughter in college!

Sharing the Disney magic with friends you haven't seen for more than 10 years is a gift to yourself.

Husbands who happily play dress up in front of masses of people are super sexy!


you just can't...

get them to...


to pose for a serious photo!

12th birthdays are especially joyous when surprised with giant sombreros and spent with amazing friends!


it takes more than one time to learn...

that it's just easier to join in the fun!

Family isn't always about blood.

You are never fully dressed without a moustache!

It is as wonderful to get a surprise as it is to give one.

20 years later and I love him even more.

Surround yourself with those who make your heart happy.

Those who leave this earth are always with us; if you look close enough, you will see the hints they leave for us.

Gifts aren't always of the material sense.

A memorial garden which blooms in the winter can lift one's spirit to the clouds!

Some people, and friendships, never change.

It is quite possible to love someone more than life itself.

Driving to Philly and surprising your parents will be their best Christmas gift. Ever.

Driving to New York so that your daughter can surprise her best friend by picking her up early from school is what smiles are made of.

Making new Christmas memories with dear friends is very healing to the soul.

Being included in their holiday traditions is even better!

Santa and the Pajama Fairy really CAN find you, no matter where you are on Christmas Eve.

If you can't be with your friends on New Year's Eve, Skype is the next best thing.

Some traditions never change, and never should.

Birthday morning breakfasts are perfection when nestled in a recycled, plastic Mickey dish, served up with love by your sweetie.

And just to remind me to always keep my eyes, ears and heart open, when I walked out our front door this morning, I saw this.

Right next to it, I saw this.

Daffodils and hyacinths in January? Popping up out of the ground right next to this special stone Mom and I found after my sister died? An extremely strong message to me, I'm sure.

One day at a time, indeed.

Perhaps that shall be what carries me into and through 2012. Bring on the New Year!