PAUSE

I remember the sensation of abject terror; fluttering heart and shaking legs as I looked over the valley. Once I felt steady, I pushed the edge of fear even more, and closed my eyes. Immediately the vertigo hit, the feeling rushing through me as I stood a few inches from the edge. I settled into the darkness, comfort in the familiar sound of my breath, settling my heart and bringing me to the place of knowing that I was so much more than the frail vessel poised on the edge of the cliff. If my body had fallen, my soul was prepared to fly. Little did I know how quickly that time would come.

A few months later I began the process of moving into my new home in Little Rock, Arkansas. Alone.

December 2, 2021 as I was starting to settle into my new life as a retired single woman, my titanium hip implant broke while I was brushing my teeth. I underwent a complicated revision surgery, spent nine weeks using a walker, and started carefully rebuilding strength and flexibility in my body. I had my legs knocked out from under me, physically and emotionally. I am discovering that there is a lot to learn from this plot twist. Lessons I thought I had learned were not deep enough.

I’ve plummeted to the earth more than a few times in my life, each time rising from the ashes stronger and wiser. This is the time of pause, gathering my wits about me, shaking off the residual effects of the crash. The threads of fear and confusion are like smoke slowly drifting into the bright light of clarity.

to fall so far into the dark

that the only way to live

is to launch from the ledge

and fly

heart open mind clear

(Phoenix Clarity)

The Mandala Year

It started with rocks.

Keely was coming to visit and I wanted to find a creative activity that we could share. I’ll never know where the idea came from, but I thought gathering rocks from the river together and then painting them would be something that we would enjoy. I found that mandala dot painting was a thing, so I bought some stencils, acrylic paint and dotting tools.

We spent hours on the deck, talking, painting, showing each other our work. There was a lot of laughter. It was one of those glowing golden days that will always be tucked into my treasured memories box.

August 2019 the day it all began

I became obsessed with mastering the technique of dot mandala. For six, eight, ten hours a day I painted dots on rocks. I took over the dining room table. I gathered rocks in town, when I traveled. There were rocks in the kitchen sink, stacked on the deck, piled in the spare bedroom.

I learned to start with a dot in the middle. I learned about the sacred geometry that is the basis of mandala. I learned which paints worked with the technique, which kind of rock surface was best.

I found the joy of creativity and art again.

My move to Pagosa Springs that year had given me the opportunity to create space for new. To throw out patterns and habits that reflected who I had been, not who I now wanted to be.

I stopped playing pickleball and immersed in yoga. I bought a drafting table, special lights, magnifying classes. The upstairs became my studio. I read about chakras and energy , and went down a path into what Steve calls “woo woo stuff”.

Kat and Keely helped me hide them in Little Rock and took a basket full of them to Louisville for distribution.

If you came to our house, you left with a mandala rock. When we went to Arkansas and Alabama we transported baskets of rocks. I gave them as gifts to friends, family, salespeople that I connected with, perfect strangers were given rocks.

One of my rocks is part of the memorial to Breonna Taylor in Louisville. I cried when I saw it.

Friends in Alabama hid some rocks along the TVA hiking trail. An old friend of Steve’s found it and they reconnected on Facebook as a result.

I ordered marble and slate tiles to paint for use as coasters. Then ceramic tiles for purely decorative display. I painted ornaments. Next came canvas.

When the pandemic hit, I was searching for ways to help. I donated tiles to a local restaurant to be sold, all proceeds going to help their staff.

Over 40 tiles were sent to Louisville as a fundraiser for The Louisville Youth Group, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

And then it happened.

This was my first canvas. I laid it on the table in my studio, which was stacked with tiles. As I was moving things around, I put one of the round tiles on top of the canvas and I did a double take. Because of the sacred geometry of the mandala, the lines and shapes worked to create a new mandala. A 3D mandala tile and canvas. My heart started beating faster and I knew I was on to something. I had come up with a completely different way to create art.

This is how the idea happened, I placed a tile on this canvas

There was a learning curve. The obsession deepened. Hours were spent “playing” with tiles. Finding which designs worked with what, how the colors blended or contrasted. How to put the pieces together securely but with the ability to interchange.

It’s hard for me to let go of these pieces. Each mandala is a glimpse into my soul. I paint with the door open to my mountain, the dogs sleeping, the horses letting me know every time I walk outside that they would like a cookie please. Noodles honks contentedly and noodles around in the pasture beside the deck. New Age music plays a background to the call of the birds and the skitter of the Abberts squirrels.

I paint my interpretation of the seasons in Pagosa Springs. I paint the flags of LGBTQ+. I paint my love of the culture of the Southwest. I paint gratitude and love and joy. I paint with a specific person in mind, hoping to infuse my art with my love for them.

I’m running out of wall space.

UPDATE: I’m now living in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can find my art at

The Bramble Market

https://www.thebramblemarket.com/

Dandelion Home and Garden

https://www.facebook.com/dandelionhomeandgarden/

Gravitate Towards Joy

The air has a scent of crisp green, even in the afternoon it still smells pungent and fresh. Is there a smell to running water? Is there a special aroma of river water tumbling over rocks ? The smell of wood smoke lingers in the cool mornings, fading to a tendril of scent as the day warms.

I don’t watch for snakes. However I am on alert for the neighborhood mountain lion and the pesky bear that has been bothering the horses.

One of the little hills on my walk

Between a hip that needs to be replaced AGAIN, a torn quad that has been an issue for over fifteen years , two replaced shoulders and a knee that’s trying to go wonky on me, I have been frustrated, sad, angry and resentful. The last time I went on a hike it resulted in the painful rolling walk that those with hip pain recognize. For two weeks I struggled with sleeping, moving, walking. Couple this with birthdays that seem to be accelerating at an alarming rate, and let’s just say I have not been a happy woman.

So no more hikes. No mountain trail running. Instead I walk. I honor and listen to what the pain is telling me. I don’t ignore the sound of my body telling me it is hurt. Forty years of martial arts made me deaf to the voice of my muscles, tendons and joints telling me that “more is not better”.

One thousand pushups on New Years Day 2010.

Shoulders replaced four years later.

A few months into Covid I decided to do a little trail running course on our property, using our two steep driveways and stairs to give me several route and intensity combinations.

No surprise I overdid it and found areas of hurt and damage that I didn’t know were possible.

I’ve been a martial artist my entire adult life. I know about injuries and I know what to do. Back to basics.

Mick laughing at me

I walk. I honor and listen to the pain instead of ignoring and fighting it (and making it worse). I don’t treat my body as an opponent to be overpowered and forced into compliance.

There are enough areas with an incline to get my heart rate up. Especially if I go up and down several times in a row.

Mick has learned to lay splat on the soft ground and conserve his energy as I trudge up and down the

Hill.

Incline.

Mountain.

Mount Everest

Keep in mind that the mileage on those little legs is always at least twice that of my legs. Sometimes I walk backwards laughing as he races to catch up after following scent on the trail. Raccoon? Fox? Skunk? Squirrel? Bear? Mountain Lion?

I know the little pug sees and hears my effort and is amused.

My comical little pug , We amuse each other, Mick and I.

My yoga place

Long flat stones surrounded by deep pools and tumbling water. A canopy of trees. Blue sky, white clouds. Green in every variation of green.

On the river? In the river? What is the proper term for this magical place?

Standing in mountain pose, hands at my heart, head bowed in reverence to this place, this moment, this experience . Breathing deeply while my eyes are closed I listen to my breath and find myself. Opening my eyes I turn in a full circle. Mindful. In the moment.

The sound of the Rio Blanco as it makes its way through the valley. Birds. Insects. The feel of the sun. Air in my lungs scented with pine and fir.

As I go through the flow of my yoga practice on the rocks there is a connection to creation that is profound and magical. It is the sensation of being perfectly present and in the moment. Hearing my breath, smelling sun water and air, moving slowly through balance and strength. I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this time. There is pure joy and contentment as the sun smiles on my face.

Walk lightly. Speak and laugh lightly, as much as possible.Go lightly along your way. Let go of heaviness. Seek that which is light. Gravitate towards joy. Your soul and body will lead you, if only you would listen.

Melody Beattie , Journey to the Heart

Rio Blanco

Life in Pagosa Springs

I walk outside and I take a deep breath. There is first the deep green cedar smell, wet and dense. The smell of the woods, leaves and pine needles on the ground for that rich deep note, then the bright smell of cedarwood baking in the sun. My woods, my trees, my home on the side of a mountain. I tell people it smells like vacation to me. It smells like the trips to the Grand Canyon as a child, or the lodge at Yellowstone. Tents and campfires. It’s a different wood smell than where I grew up in Arkansas, where it was hot and humid.

I look at my house, barely visible in the trees on the side of the mountain as we drive by on our way to the mailbox. Yes, I pick our mail up from my post office box on the side of the road. If there is a package a key is left in my box. I open one of the four big metal postal boxes in the cluster to retrieve our parcels. Sometimes I have several keys for several boxes. I order a lot of stuff online.

It’s like living in a postcard.

At first I wanted to stop at every curve and twist of the road to take pictures. There was this need to share, to show this spectacular beauty to everyone I know. Photos from my iPhone can’t capture the depth and vastness of the views. The deep blue of the sky contrasting with snow capped mountains. Green forests, aspens blanketing the mountains with fiery displays of orange and yellow in the fall.

Aspens. I love aspen. I have aspen leaves tattooed on my arm. Did you know that aspens are the largest living organism in the world? Each stand of aspen share a single root system. They are a family of trees, an entwined sharing family.

there are aspen in my yard

they quake in the wind

Soft fluttery golden coins

their markings like petroglyphs

a secret language on bark

singing as i walk

i hear what they say

touching with reverence

as I breathe deep into my soul

there are aspens in my yard

Yesterday morning I left the house with anticipation about the big change. The change that will turn the shades of green to a mosaic of color as the leaves turn. I felt and smelled it, autumn is in the air. Cooler air at night and during the day, heaters turned on now in the house.

Then yesterday afternoon I could see it. Leaves turning yellow. I’m like a kid with my nose pressed against the car window, filled with excitement. Look at that! Did you see those?

I haven’t spotted a bear on our property. Yet.

I know they are around, the neighbors told me they saw a bear in my driveway a week before we closed on my house last year. Great measures have been taken to protect Noodles, the dogs and the horses from bears. There are multiple strands of electric fence, sturdy panels and houses for the dogs and the pig to keep predators away. We have rifles in virtually every room. Just in case.

I took down all of the hummingbird and bird feeders. I do not leave food of any kind outside or in the cars. I don’t want to be on the restaurant tour for bears getting ready for hibernation. I read the articles about protecting my property from bears. Don’t have lever type handles on your outside doors, the bears can open them.

A bear was in my house in the 1970’s. A friend of a friend on Facebook contacted me after we moved. She used to live in this house. How cool is that? She sent me pictures of snow almost to the roof of the house, and a picture of a Game and Fish Van in the driveway. When we talked on the phone she told me the story of the mama bear that climbed in through the window of the sun porch. Three times. She said the claw marks should still be in the windowsill. I was so disappointed that they had been changed out when the house was renovated a few years ago.

Last week I made gazpacho. As I chopped the vegetables I had a bowl for Noodle scraps and one for scraps that Noodles won’t eat. My pig is a picky pig, with a long list of vegetables that she will not eat. I think there is something profoundly hilarious that my family and friends will eat vegetables that my pig turns her snout up at.

I thought I would throw the beautiful yellow bell pepper scraps into the tomato and cucumber concoction that was in the Noodle bowl. I took the bowl outside for Noodles, there was no way I was going to feed tomatoes to her inside. The floor would look like bad things had happened to some creature.

An hour later I looked outside. The bowl was sparkling clean. Laying next to it the bright yellow of the bell pepper. Noodles tastes haven’t changed.

I was careful to pick up the bell pepper. Bears you know.

It’s been a year since we moved. A year of changing seasons and an snowy winter. I didn’t know about roof curl and had certainly never heard of a roof rake. Snow drift and roof curl got within a few inches of each other on one side of the house.

Did you know snow blowers need chains? We gave up on two of our driveways for the winter and parked down at the street. I had never shoveled snow, and certainly never imagined that I would do so on a pile over my head. I had never sunk down to my waist trying to brush snow off a satellite dish.

I loved it. Talk to me in a few years and that excitement might have waned, but I hope not.

There is an art to how to open and close windows to capture the cool of the night for the day. There is no air conditioning here. On my tree laden slope my house is cool even on the warmest days. Windows open at night i sleep under a down duvet, forest smells wafting through the room on the breeze. When i get up, Imake the bed and close the windows. A routine now.

Layers are my friend. Leggings, a tank top, my ugly but oh so comfortable Ugg boots, and a flannel shirt are year round wear in the house. I wear jackets as sweaters if I amoutside when the sun goes down, even in July. I hiked the last week of August on the Continental Divide and wore long pants and a coat. The week before it was shorts and a t shirt.

It’s been a year. We have our favorite restaurants. We are experiencing the ebb and flow of tourists in this little gem of a mountain town. We receive our weekly newspaper and check to see what festival or event is coming up. Summers are big here, Steve finally gave up on keeping track of the cars from out of state. Texans are a big fan of Pagosa.

There is no cell service at the house. I am careful to give very good directions, because if a visitor gets lost they have to drive back to town to call. Internet and phone service are maddening terrible everywhere here. The lack of quality service is on the front page of the newspaper and a constant complaint in the Opinion Section. I drive to town to one of the coffee shops to upload my blogs. Several haven’t been posted because I gave up in frustration. The more photos or videos the longer it takes. Most mornings Steve has to reset the router to get the internet working.

We drove to town last winter to watch a movie, even though it was snowing heavily. Yes, businesses stay open here when it snows. So do the schools. We walked outside after the movie, the snow had stopped and the town was just gorgeous with Christmas decorations and lights on the snow. We walked to the Jeep, the snow squeaking under our boots. The snow plows had already cleared the road home. Restaurants were open and doing a fine business.

Pagosa Springs is less than an hour from Wolf Creek Ski. Snow is good for our town.

Something about this little town in Colorado that speaks to my soul. I felt it as I came over Wolf Creek Pass last year. I spent a lot of time alone outdoors in the woods when I was young. I am taken back to those good times here.

There is a joy to living in Pagosa Springs. The people we meet are here by choice. They have been coming for years during the summer, always with the intention of retiring here. Or, like us, visited once and knew that this was The Place. Many have homes elsewhere, but are drawn to Pagosa and live here part of the year. Our friends are classified as seasonal or full time. Younger people move to work minimum wage jobs just so they can enjoy the outdoor activities and beauty.

If it is possible for a place to have magic, Pagosa is magical for us. There is a different rhythm to our life now. We are outside more, breathing deep and filled with gratitude. Maybe that is what the difference is. We both feel gratitude not only that we live here, but that we are experiencing it with each other. When you start your day with love and gratitude you change. You change your relationships, your view of the world, and yourself. You can’t help but change if you start your day happy.

POSTSCRIPT: The lady referenced above in the story about the bear wrote this (it wouldn’t post on WordPress)

From Pat Barbee:

I can’t seem to post on the blog – I have a WordPress account but after the sign-in, the comment disappears; so I’ll try here:

As always, your posts and blog can transport me to a singular moment of time in my life. I can actually smell the air, trees, damp (or dried) pine needles, feel the chill. The flannel shirt industry had a good chunk of our business!

I hope when you meet ‘your bear’ (more when than if) the experience is safe yet exciting. I’m curious, have you had owls in the garage yet?

I’m still hoping to get up there but it’s a bittersweet desire.

I don’t know your stance on spirit (angels, ghosts, tactile memories) but I know they exist and I know it will be emotional.

My reply:

It is uniquely special to get to share memories and experiences this way. I’m glad I was able to convey what you also felt. That is a special connection.

How I would love to have owls in the garage! Maybe if we leave the door open they will come?

I can’t tell you how happy I would be to have you visit. Yes I am spiritual and believe that energy and emotions can inhabit places. I know the spirit of your family is here for sure.

Trees and Solitude

Post Facebook Day One. This is harder than I thought it would be. I had weighed the pros and cons, but I don’t think I put enough emotional weight on the side of the true friendships that have grown over Facebook. Those names with the profile pic beside them that I have conversed with now for ten years. Or some that I have become very close to in the last year or so.

First day, I am in tears reading some of the comments and responses to my decision to leave Facebook. Really. It’s 3am, and that is what I am doing. I’m giving it a couple of days to acknowledge those friendships, and then that is it. I break the connection.

But the fact that one of the first things that popped into my mind was to check Facebook tells me I have made the right decision.

The thing is, I’ve been thinking of Facebook as some kind of entity in its own, as the enemy. The time and emotional vampire. But much of Facebook is made up of friends chatter about their lives. I’m really going to miss that connection. It’s not just news and memes and arguments and rants.

My world will be smaller now in many ways.

Which is why I am doing this I guess.

Turning inward. Striving for silence in my head. Silence to think and grow.

There is a part of me that yearns to be a hermit.

This need I have for aloneness and silence goes back to my childhood and teenage years. I’d get up in the dark, quietly leave the house, saddle up my horse and leave for the day. I would ride trails into the woods with no idea where I would end up. Just me and my horse. I’d eat a peanut butter sandwich under a tree while my horse grazed, looking up at the sun through the lace of the tree leaves.

I thought about all the things that teenagers are obsessed with. Boys. Parents. School.

I found God during those times. I remember being so angry with organized religion. With being told what to do, how to think. This was during the 70’s and there certainly is a little of the free spirit hippy in me. Probably a lot more than I knew then. The seeds of my outside the box thinking were planted during those lazy summer days when I had the gift of boredom.

My parents struggled financially. There were many material things that I wanted and didn’t get. There were times when we had to wait a few days to get groceries. We never went hungry but the cupboards were pretty empty at times. That is probably one of the reasons I’m concerned about kids not having enough to eat, and the homeless. I know how close we were when we were kids. I know how close I came a few times as an adult.

But I had a horse. My parents couldn’t buy a horse trailer, or take me to shows. I didn’t even have a saddle for years. But my parents gave me the incredible gift of freedom, responsibility and trust by allowing me to take off on my own for hours at a time.

Of course it had to end. I sold my horse to buy a car so I could work. I got wheels and the freedom that comes with a car. My life became one of work and school and friends. Not a lot of thinking and soul searching. No laying in the woods under a blue sky. Humid, hot as hell with a lot of bugs, but worth every minute of discomfort.

Now I walk out my door, up the hill of my backyard, and take a seat on my porch swing. And there I am. Different woods and trees, aspen and fir rather than oak and pine, but the sun is filtered through the trees and I can breath deeply in a way that isn’t possible in a city. It’s not humid, the mountain slope and trees supply a cooling breeze and shade and the bugs are minimal. I’ve found the place that feeds my soul. Again.

I do yoga in my quirky little gazebo. I sit for hours on a mat, thinking. Meditating. Writing.

It’s the senior citizen version of the teenage Michelle. Both of us are trying to figure things out. The younger Michelle, so idealistic, rebellious, passionate about so many things. I had so much to learn.

Now it’s time to sit quietly and think. To look at my life and experiences and take the time to learn and understand, instead of just doing, and reacting, scurrying from one point in life to the other.

I can walk out my door, put a bridle on Bali, and ride into the woods. I think I will be finding some areas to lay on my back and look at the sky. And think. And to be grateful for this gift of place and time.

Twenty One Things I Learned After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

1. It really sucks to throw up after surgery. However, it is not so bad if you are still on pain meds.

2. When they tell you to bring a large shirt for after surgery they mean a LARGE shirt because that sucker has to go over a very large padded sling.

3. There is this thing called a “party ball” that is supposed to do a slow drip of pain meds directly into your system via a catheter inserted into your shoulder. It is supposed to last for 72 hours and slowly deflate. If it has not deflated after 48 hours it is not working. Therefore you missed the party.

4. Percocet is given with the warning that you must not combine with a Tylenol product. Percocet gives me a really bad headache. So bad that I couldn’t even think about my shoulder because my head hurt so much. When I called the nurse hotline I was told to take, you guessed it, Tylenol for the headache.

5. The nurse said day 3 and day 4 would be the worst because the “party ball” would be wearing off. Since the “party ball” never worked I spent time dreading a worst day that never occurred. The pain really wasn’t that bad and next time I’ll go on Tylenol much sooner.

6. It is very good to have a husband with a good sense of humor when it is time to get dressed or undressed when wearing a sling.

7. Do not EVEN consider putting on a sports bra.

8. It is physically impossible to put your hair in a pony tail when one of your arms cannot be raised above waist level. Getting your head down to the hand at waist level does not work.

9. Do not plan on going out in public if your husband has not had previous experience putting your hair in a pony tail.

10. Forget makeup. Forget blow drying your hair. For weeks.

11. If you put an onion or a potato on the blade of a chef knife and whack it, the vegetable will be cut in half.

12. Someone will have to cut your food for you at first. This is less embarrassing if you wear your sling in public as you are supposed to.

13. You are not supposed to lift ANYTHING . I DONT KNOW FOR HOW LONG BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT LET ME IN ON THAT SECRET YET.
Do not try to go grocery shopping by yourself for several weeks. You may think you can lift those long packages of chicken breasts with one hand but you can’t.

14. You know those plastic bags in the produce department that you roll down and then tear apart? You can’t do that with one hand. So you roll all the way down to your waist and place the bag in your hand which is in a sling. Be ready fir some strange looks.

15. Do not take Percocet before your first physical therapy session if pain meds make you nauseated. You will spend the hour with a ice pack on your neck and worry more about throwing up in front of everyone than how much your shoulder hurts.

16. Having a shower large enough for two people is a good thing. Having a husband that will wash your hair for you while in the shower is a very good thing.

17. You are told to keep your elbow close to your side at all times if you do not have a sling on. If you have a sling on, your arm is already in this position. This means that you sweat. It is very very difficult to wash under your arms when one arm cannot be moved. Try it sometime.

18. Sleeping in a recliner is recommended. It keeps your head elevated. Being in a recliner discourages rolling over while wearing a sling and messing up your shoulder and experiencing excruciating pain. Being in a recliner by yourself can make you lonely and sad.

19. Having a husband that loves you enough to sleep with his head at the foot of the bed so that he can touch you while you are in the recliner is awesome. Having a husband that will get up several times in the middle of the night to pull the recliner lever so you can get up and go to the bathroom is priceless.

20. Think through every action before you start it. (See number 13). Making pies and then realizing it takes two hands to put them in and out of the oven was not one of my better moments.

21. If your husband does not cook, it is good to have friends that come stay with you and cook for you. Thank you Kira and Rita Sharkey for cooking and cleaning, driving me to PT in the snow and listening to me whine.

Three and a half weeks after surgery I can say that while not fun, this has not been as bad as I thought. Next surgery on the right shoulders is in three and a half weeks and the left will not be up to full speed by then.

Pray that Steve and I can keep our sense of humor.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM

Aspens Aspens

It’s been a year. A year without your voice, a year without your laugh.

Those last months when your body was still with us but your mind was flitting between here and somewhere else were hard. The trip we made to Little Rock to see you was bittersweet. I’ll never forget the smile on your face when you saw Steve and me walk into your room. You instantly recognized us, which was such a relief. Then you started talking and I couldn’t follow. The next day you didn’t remember I had been there. In a way that was a relief, because I knew it was not causing you pain that I wasn’t there to see you every day. I still felt guilty, but not as much.
There were no more phone calls. You couldn’t figure out how to use the phone. If Michael or Tracey put the phone to your ear, all you were doing was parroting words. You couldn’t hear or understand me. That was so sad, but it prepared me for this year.

You may not physically be on this earth, but you are still with me.
Every time, and I mean every time, Steve and I walk through the house watching the sunset we talk of you. We remember your joy in the vibrant colors and huge scope of our Colorado sunsets. I remember you sitting on the couch in the sun room, watching the birds, nodding off to sleep in the sun.

We drove to Cripple Creek a few weeks ago. We remembered you looking out the window, riveted by the colors of the aspens in the fall. We laughed about your gambling “addiction” and how adamant you were that you needed to try out the casinos in Cripple Creek. I regret not taking you more often.

I sit in the living room and remember us painting it together. I was on the ladder, you were doing the lower part of the walls. I never told you about going behind you to get the parts that you missed. Remember all the houses we have painted together?

I’m not as directionally challenged as you were. Frankly I don’t think it’s possible to be worse than you were and still operate in society. But when I get turned around and a little lost, you are there with me giggling. And the first thing out of Steve’s mouth is “you are just like your mother”

I’ll always take that as a compliment.

We had friends over last night. They were sitting on your side of the counter while I cooked. We poured some wine for them and the memories flooded me yet again. I could see you sitting there, wine glass in hand, keeping me company while I cooked. I remember the laughter, the jokes, and the giggles. How fortunate I am to have had such a wacky mom.
So more people have heard about you Mom. More of your stories have been told. They don’t mean much to the people that hear them, I know that. But the telling is important to me. To Steve. To Keely. It’s the way that we continue to include you in our lives.

It hurt that you were not able to be with us when Steve and I got married. I know how important that was to you. But we felt your presence that day. We felt your joy and approval. I know that is just the first of many occasions that we will miss you.

I think I talk to you more now than I did that last year you were alive. On those long drives in the car going to Colorado Springs I tell you about what is going on in my life. I know you already know, but it helps to tell you. And of course I can carry on your part of the conversation because I know you so well. I can hear your voice “Well, Michelle….”

When I am alone in the house that is when I feel you close. I put on “your” music, Enya or Yanni, and as it floods through the air you are there. I cry. I miss my Mom. I want to hold your hand, hug you one more time.
I had the gift of time with you for many months while you stayed with us in Colorado. What a very precious gift that was. Steve got to know you and love you. Keely got to spend a lot of time with her beloved Grandma.

You knew that I loved you. I knew that you loved me. In the end, that was really all that mattered.

So Mom, this is your birthday. It is one year and a few days since you left us. So listen to me as I sing Happy Birthday to you, and know that I love you very much.

4th2009 001