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holidays: the rhythm of life

I sit here in the glow of a twinkling tree. It is my in-law’s tree. It is Dave’s parent’s tree. It is the tree of the only parents I have anymore. My eyes feast upon the bird feeders that gather feathery visitors of brown, yellow, blue, and grey. Flashes of red draw my attention to a couple-eternal of cardinals. Acoustic Christmas music caresses my ears, wrapping my heart in a bow. A melody of holiday angels. It is the first time this season I have let myself feel Christmas. Nostalgia drips from my eyes and rolls down my cheeks. My folded hands Read More

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tidings of comfort

When I think of God, I think of Love. When I think of Love, I think of Comfort. And when I think of Comfort, I think of the holidays. In the past year, we’ve lost both our pets. Our Christmas tree sits undisturbed in the corner of our living room, the sun through the windows its only companion. We don’t come home and play the game we so loved to be annoyed by: six ornaments rolling around on the ground, one broken, moving them further and further up the tree in some Jenga strategy to protect them from wagging hazards Read More

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the ghost of grief past

I am haunted by grief. Like a ghost that fades in and out of the bedroom corner, sometimes it is silent, hovering beneath the floorboards; but sometimes it is devastatingly near, ice freezing through my veins. Recently…I shiver. Last year, I watched my cat die a long, slow death. His silky steel grey fur turned bristlecone; his oversized athletic body turned gristly; his ferocious appetite for salmon turned into aching refusal to eat; his impeccable potty and self-grooming habits turned sloppy spills all over the house. The cat who walked around the block with us could no longer hop up on Read More

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here's to the dog

Here’s to the dog who transformed from a scared, skinny, reserved mess into a brave, athletic, playful son. When we first met you at the pound, we took you into the yard to see how you’d interact with us. As Dad threw a ball, rather than fetching, you cowered, trying desperately to disappear into yourself.  Our hearts broke at the invisible story that brought you to such a sad place. For years, we didn’t think you had a voice at all. Maybe your box had been removed? Dad would give me such shit for trying to teach you to speak. Read More

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here’s to the dog

Here’s to the dog who transformed from a scared, skinny, reserved mess into a brave, athletic, playful son. When we first met you at the pound, we took you into the yard to see how you’d interact with us. As Dad threw a ball, rather than fetching, you cowered, trying desperately to disappear into yourself.  Our hearts broke at the invisible story that brought you to such a sad place. For years, we didn’t think you had a voice at all. Maybe your box had been removed? Dad would give me such shit for trying to teach you to speak. Read More

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happy birthday Mom

Today my Mom would have been 76. She lived a big life. She drove a semi across state lines with no training, all for a bushel of nuts. She beat the sun up most days of her life. She drank her coffee with so much cream and sugar, it looked more like the remnant of a painter’s cup of cleaning water. She spent every Sunday morning doing all of our laundry. She gambled. First with pennies and quarters. But then as her bravery grew, so did the deposited coin. But always, always, she kept within her allotted budget. She went Read More

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eroding into beauty

With the death of my Mom, my anxiety found new life. Like any parasite from a host, it crept into my veins and fed off my sanity, growing in strength while I grew in weakness. Memories from this time flash all too slowly, too stubbornly, before my eyes. I remember the endless car ride back to her hospital in Chicago, racing against the clock of her pulse. Trapped in the suffocating space of my own mobile powerlessness, I physically felt death in my own body: heart racing, shortness of breath, uncontrollable fits of weeping, tremors that rocked my very foundation. I Read More

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her death. her life.

Two years ago today, my Mom died. One week prior, I received a call from my sister saying she was taking her to the hospital for flu-like symptoms. In the ensuing avalanche of diagnoses that tumbled over our hearts, my Mom was swept away within 7 days. Less than 168 hours. My Mom died as she lived. Fierce. Brave. Strong. With gumption and energy and wit and gusto and dignity and humor and sharpness. Though it absolutely devastated me and my family, my Mom died with so much life…and for that I am grateful. Nobody had to take her in. Nobody had Read More

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the space of hospitality

***This post is part of the June synchroblog that invited bloggers to write about hospitality.*** When I think of hospitality, I think of my mother-in-law: or Mom as I call her and know her. Upon arriving to her house, it is clear she has taken the time to lovingly designate space for us to be, comfortably and naturally. Furniture is moved so that our bed is accessible. Sheets and pillows are purchased and placed so that our skin is greeted warmly. Cups and beverages, with the appropriate spoon, are laid out on the counter so that our morning is seamless. Read More

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death of the mind

Today would have been my Dad’s 79th birthday, but Alzheimer’s took him away from us four years ago. To expose the devastating thievery of the disease, I wrote this paper while getting my Master’s in 2008. Allow me to pose a heart breaking question: what would it be like to die before one actually dies?  I speak of a death of the mind, a death of the soul, a death of the personality.  It does not matter that the heart still beats, the lungs still draw breath, the arteries and capillaries still circulate life blood.  A person dies before they Read More