A thing that I find funny, you know, in that funny-not funny way that things sometimes are in life (and death) is a little tidbit regarding my mom and my husband.
They both loved me (us) very much and wanted to take care of me (us) in the best way that they knew how. They just really disagreed on what that looked like.
So, while they could put aside their differences sometimes, they could also really, really, not get along at other times.
Now that they are both gone, we are going through some rough transitional times, but ultimately, it will end up that between the benefits we receive from Al’s disability and the income we will end up getting from mom’s estate, we will be okay. And it will be roughly in half as to who the support comes from.
So they will have managed to work together to take care of us “one last time,” in spite of their differences.

I like to think that they aren’t burdened by petty squabbles any more and can see each others’ motives clearly now. So that will help them to work together to help us as time passes. Between the two of them (and others, of course) we have a pretty damn good team working for us.

A new idea.

One wishes that it was possible to function easily in the world without money. Alas, it is very difficult. Especially when the financial situation changes very quickly and unexpectedly.

To that end…


Please help me help you help me.

No more, No less

This day is just a day like any other

even though a year ago I lost my mother.

It doesn’t hurt more today than it did yesterday

Nor, I imagine, will it hurt any less tomorrow.

Marking off days on some tally stick

Doesn’t really do the trick.

It doesn’t ease my sorrow.

It’s been a year.

We’ve made it through.

Survived each and every day of it without you.

Some of them really weren’t that bad

Many were  the worst and hardest we’ve ever had.

I mark this anniversary wearily.

I’m tired of the heartbreak and the heartache; tired of you being gone, really.

I take this moment to acknowledge how far I’ve come

in muddling through this healing process thing.

To acknowledge that I still have miles to go.

One thing I know for sure

is that this one year pales in comparison to our 34.

“If you get there before I do

Don’t give up on me.

I’ll meet when my chores are through

I don’t know how long I’ll be.”


I’ll see you again by Westlife (YouTube)

Love Me by Collin Raye (YouTube)

Gently treat my heart

Gently treat my heart

The seams are worn

and prone to fall apart.

This jagged, gaping tear of mine

has been crudely stitched together by the hands of time.

I am reminded of a year ago and before

When we always the possibility of more.

I tell you I love you, I say it out loud.

You tell me you love me in dreams and in clouds.

It’s impossible and it’s rough

to let that be enough

world, gently treat my heart today

for I have not the heart to play.

Preparations with Salt

This weekend we drove over to Newport, Or to have a memorial at the beach for my mom. It turned out great and was wonderful to see everyone. I decided I would make something for her. I was challenged by what to make. I didn’t really want to make a painting that would end up so charged with emotion that I would have to figure out what to do with afterward. I thought about a sculpture, but laws about not erecting permanent monuments wherever you go being what they are…. Besides, my mom felt that art should be impermanent. She would often use chalk on cardboard.


Then I remembered someone in my art class mentioning carving yard art out of salt blocks. So, I got one (or three).

these things are heavy

I thought that I would just use my Dremel, but these things are really a lot harder than you would expect. So, I got to borrow a bunch of my husband’s tools. First I tried to cut it in half. We thought we would drill holes in it and then use a hammer and chisel to crack it along those holes.

It was taking entirely too long. I’m sure it would have eventually gotten done, but we looked for a better way. We ended up using a saws-all to cut it in half. Once it was cut the going was a little easier. But not a lot.

Lots of tools 🙂

The salt got everywhere as it was chipped, chiseled, cut, whizzed, whirred, and ground off. I had one idea for the sculpture, but, as is often the way, the salt had other ideas. It decided that it was going to be a heart.

I gave the other pieces to the kid and he made one, too.

He had to go old school. Just like Michelangelo.

Later I let him use the Dremel. My mom gave me that, by the way.

I used it as well for the carving at the end. It’s great for smaller work like engraving words.

I liked this but it was really difficult to read. So I decided to dye it. My mom would have been very upset if I had used anything unnatural. I decided on food coloring.

and here is the one that the kid made.

So we loaded up the truck with mom’s ashes, the sculpture, us and our gear to head west toward the beach.


Sing Your Heart Out!

This morning I was all poised to scribble a hasty note with some quotes that I like included because I’ve felt kind of overwhelmed by all the things I feel I need to get done to the point where I’m not really getting any of them done. Including blogging, of course. My attention is flitting lightly from one thing I need to get done to another without sticking to any of them.

And then I read this:


and I listened to the song that she embedded in there and I think maybe I am focused again on what needs done first. I will still include the quotes because I think they are not inappropriate to the story.

‎”Life is a great big canvas,
and you should throw all the paint you can on it.”
~ Danny Kaye

“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that, so it goes on flying anyway.” -Mary Kay Ash

Thank you Universe for the gift that is that story and especially the song.

I highly recommend you read it and have a listen.

I love you mom.

Locked in my Heart

When I was a kid I used to always want to style my mom’s hair. I went through a (very long) phase where I was going to be a hair stylist. Even when I was in high school, I would braid my mom’s hair for her. I would either do a french braid for keeping it out of her face or I would do a bunch of smaller braids while it was wet to give her some extra curl.

In later years we talked about when you go to the salon, you don’t want just a haircut, you want the whole treatment. You want the shampooing and all of it. It makes it more of a pampering. She would joke and say how when I was little and wanted to brush and style her hair, she would feign reluctance. “Okay, I guess I’ll let you.”

So a lot of my memories of my childhood have my mom’s hair braided into them.

We had a request when mom died for a lock or two of her hair. I’m glad we did because I would probably not have thought of it. Today I finally had a few hours to myself and since school is out I didn’t have to fill them with homework. I decided that I would use that time to get mom’s hair ready.

I wrapped one end of each lock with embroidery floss and then braided it and tied the other end off with small bow. While I was doing it I was remembering all those other times and thinking how strange it is that this will be the last time that I do this. It began to feel like a ritual, like a ceremony.  I can see why there are so many rituals and ceremonies that involve preparing a loved one for burial. I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do all of it. But I am grateful for this small thing.

I’m honored to be able to do it one last time.

I’m also tying a Celtic Heart Knot to go with each of the locks of hair.

I learned this knot here. I think it’s beautiful.

This is the project mostly done:

Information Tetris

Sometimes you can have information, but it doesn’t really sink in for a while. Or maybe you have some info here and get some more over here…and it takes a while for those two things to sift down from your head into your heart to line up next to each other and makes sense together. It’s not unlike Tetris; little puzzle pieces falling down and needing to be fit together.

It’s no secret that my mom died recently. September 21st if we’re keeping count. Which, of course, we are. Less well known (though not a secret) is the manner of her death. I didn’t have the tools to say on Facebook or on here, in a manner that didn’t seem gratuitous or sensationalizing in someway, that my mom took her own life.

Really, she died of an illness. Just as if she had had cancer and it killed her, so too did mental illness and depression cause my mom to die. I knew that as soon as we pieced together the circumstances of the days leading up to her death. As near as we can tell, she felt herself losing control and made a plan to seek help. I was confused for a while if she had made a plan to seek help or if she had made a plan to kill herself. Because those two plans look very similar in this scenario. There was very little food in the house, she gave away her dog, locked up the house and car, and made her way to a hospital in the next town about 30 miles away.

In October I went to see a counselor. He gave me a piece of information that was helpful. He said that most suicides don’t happen when the person is at the very bottom of their depression. Because when they are at the bottom of it, they don’t even have the energy to put it into action. What happens is they start to come out of the worst of it and things start to look up-just a little. That teeny ray of hope gives them just enough energy to take action, but not enough yet to overcome the depression. That’s why, as I said to him, people often think but she was doing so much better, what happened to change that?

But it took a while for me to process what that meant for me and her and us.

What it means for me is that she made a plan to get help. She checked into the hospital hoping for some relief for the sadness and symptoms of her illness. When she felt like she was going to get that, it gave her enough hope to let go. Unfortunately, she figured out a way to accomplish it even while in a mental facility.

We didn’t tell our son anything about how she died. It was hard enough to tell him that she was gone without having to find a way to explain to him about suicide and everything else that goes along with that. We just told him that she was sick and tired and sad and that her body got so full of being sick and tired and sad that it couldn’t take it anymore and she died from it. Which is true. and when he gets bigger and wants to know more we’ll tell him. But, we didn’t lie to him about what happened. We just left some things out for later.

I realized over winter break that I was holding my mom responsible for choosing to leave us. It surprised me that I thought that. Like I said, I knew that she had mental issues and also physical health issues that added to her depression. I thought I understood that she was depressed and sick and THAT is what killed her. But it took some deep careful thinking after I came to realize what I was thinking to get over-through-around the feeling that my mommy left me on purpose.

She did not.

She sought relief and a sliver of hope got the best of her. I know that now.


A picture of a picture of my mom and her favorite dog Rusty



Sometimes leftovers can save your life.

I tend not to cook much during the week. Come to think of it, I tend not to cook much on the weekends either. But I do sometimes. This was the case the weekend before my mom died. In anticipation of the first week of fall term for me I made a batch of chili and a batch of my mom’s potato soup. Which turned out to be a really nice choice given the circumstances. So when Tuesday came and we were notified of her death and the ensuing chaos and confusion set upon us, we had a couple days worth of food the get us by.

mom's potato soup recipe

After everyone was notified, my friends took over the cooking duties. They made us enough meals to feed us for a couple weeks. Which was so great. Not having to figure out what to feed everybody was a relief. Of course, we still had to think up food for the kid, since he’s almost as picky as I am. But that was much easier to do. I love leftovers anyway. That’s usually what I eat for breakfast.

But I didn’t know that sometimes they could save your life…

or at least your sanity.



Today I am grateful for friends, food, and family.

Six Word Friday: For the Record

For the record I am mad.

Because the world does not pause.

Flowers bloom, the sun still rises.

Homework is assigned, laundry and dishes

are still accumulating and need washed.

10 days have gone by now.

my teacher said the word impermanence.

she said the world IS change.

maybe tomorrow that will help me.

today I am mad about this.

my mom died just last week.

groceries, toilet paper, chores and bills…

these are of no concern today.

and yet. Flowers bloom, Sunrises happen.

Glorious sunsets fill up the sky.

we are but grains of sand

would the ocean stop its waves?