While enjoying a hot shower on a dreary Saturday, an obnoxious knock persisted on the bathroom door. It was the kind of knock that instantly triggered the thought that someone must be hurt. It was quick, loud, and seemingly urgent.
To set the scene, before entering the shower, Steve was working on a project. The boys were busy trying to solve their Rubik's cubes. All was calm in our world. Certainly nobody would miss me if I hopped in the shower.
knock . . . knock . . . knock . . .
While a knock on the door when I am in the shower is a regular occurrence, this knock was different. I immediately thought something happened to Steve; nail through the finger, splinter, or some other home renovation catastrophe.
I quickly reacted by yelling, "YES," certain someone was bleeding and desperately needed me.
Ben answered, "Mom?"
"Does Wolverine have 3 or 4 blade fingers?"
Thinking to myself, are you kidding me? I resisted the urge to scream those sentiments through the door.
After a long pause and a silent sigh I replied, "I don't know, Ben."
He continued, "Who has more blade fingers, Wolverine or Freddy Krueger?" Because he had to know the answer right then and thought for sure I must have it.
"Ben, I am not really sure."
As much as I long for a quiet, uninterrupted shower, I know our home will grow quiet over the next few years. For now, I will enjoy the fact our boys come to me, even if it is to discuss who has more blades on their hand, while I am in the shower. Since that seems to be the best time to have a discussion on the matter.
For the record, Wolverine has 3 blades; Freddy Krueger has 4.
It is hard to believe this March will be five months since losing you . . . and by the looks of this blog, my creative outlet, my world stopped after you passed.
On dark days, if I allow myself, I cry. I cry for my mom and my aunts, who no longer have a living parent. I cry for my boys, sad they only had you for a short time. I cry for myself, knowing that when I drive near Oxford, I have one less stop to make. I miss not having the chance to enjoy one more cup of coffee with you.
However, in the nearly five months since you left your shell on this Earth, life has gone on. You would be happy to know we took that trip to Disney, as you wished. All of us. We went to the mountains, went to the beach, and wrapped up another wrestling season. Life hadn't stopped, just my desire to share.
I took a brief mental hiatus to grieve and process the void you left.
But I am back. Ready to share again.
I know documenting this life, our life, is something I want for the boys; to remember all the times, whether good or bad. Happy or sad.
In your honor . . . with love always.
The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.
-Edgar Allan Poe
It should be no surprise I write to honor her . . .
It was the first crisp, fall day that we had, Monday, October 16, 2017, we were called to gather at her side. Some of us traveled minutes, while others traveled for what seemed an eternity. She was dying, and we were asked, by her, to come say goodbye. While the goodbye was unspoken, the reality of our purpose in her presence was clear and mindful.
Her body was failing at a rapid rate. The reality of her life ending was upon us.
We spent that evening loving and laughing, enjoying the company of one another, appreciating and honoring the matriarch of our family. Mom-Mom hugged everyone, smiled when she could, let out a laugh here and there, and even recorded a final snap-chat. She enjoyed what would become her last meal, the flavorful dish of stuffed peppers; a comfort food for her.
I learned over the course of two days spent with my family, that we all grieve differently. Some take the lead, emotions hardened to the profession that they have done for so long. Regardless of the patient and the personal ties that connect them. Others avoid, unable to accept what is before them.
Whether it was age or the time in my life, I will remember my grandmother's passing more than all the others who passed before her. Being hands on during the process of a loved one dying is exhausting, yet something I will never forget. We cared for her, surrounded her the entire time with love and laughter.
When my time comes, I hope I am blessed with the same.
In her final moments we honored her life with the most surreal of silences.
Final breath taken.
Final heartbeat heard.
She was at peace.
The day after, a sun-filled cool autumn day, we carried out the duties of preparing for her funeral. Each of us handling a different task, I was honored to be able to help choose her final flowers.
She would have loved them.
Eternally grateful for having you with us for so many years.
All my love,
Bed in Summer
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
-Robert Louis Stevenson
I have vivid memories as a child going to sleep during daylight hours in our house on Mermaid Blvd. I remember peaking out the window to the street behind our house, as my friends continued to play. Bedtime was early as our Mom, single and working at the time, needed to maintain a schedule for us and her sanity.
Nowadays, as a parent, I relish the times we are able to lay in bed, darkness slowly falling unto us as we fall into a deep slumber. Many a nights we are up way past an appropriate bed time, enjoying the company of family, friends, and one another. But as the long summer nights get shorter and shorter with each passing week, so does my patience, and the desire to have some sort of resemblance of a schedule grows.
Luckily, we captured many memories in photo this year, as yet another summer has passed without much narrative.
Two months have come and gone, and just like that we are on the verge of ushering in sun filled days. Here is Spring in a snapshot!
We couldn't be more pleased with our project. Jamie took care of us from start to finish. The job was finished in a timely manner and with loving care. We (Steve) is super excited to organize this spring!
After nearly forty years as a nurse, she has retired. Nancy Chandler has left the building. #boom
Congratulations on your retirement Mom! What a nice celebration with your family and friends. We love you and are so happy for you!
He weighed in a little light and had a belly ache. We thought it was nerves. He worked his way through the morning, one point scored on him over the course of four matches. Last match was tough, against his teammate and friend, and it would determine the champion.
We are proud of him and his determination.
Turns out it wasn't nerves after all . . .
Tough little guy!
Watch Ben quickly get out of a precarious situation!
Traci, a wife, mother of two boys, Special Education teacher, and sole proprietor of Eco Alternatives LLC.