Waves

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Child loss and grief is like the waves in the ocean. There are days when you are standing at the edge and watching the water ebb and flow. You are noticing the waves and how they crash on the beach. You are aware of the constant presence of the water and the tides. But you can still carry on with your day always noticing in the background the waves at they get closer and closer to you.

Then one day you are in the waves and you are trying desperately to get to the shore and the waves keep crashing over you and you can’t quite make it back to the shore. That is how I feel in the month of November. The waves are crashing over my head. I am trying to surf the wave, but it keeps pulling me under. At the beach there are lifeguards to warn you when to come back in and to swim out to pull you in when you get caught in a rip tide. As you feel yourself going under in the waves of grief, reach out for help. Allow those of us further along on this journey to throw you a life ring and pull you along until you learn to navigate the waters and surf the waves. You don’t have to be strong and you don’t have to do it alone.

Sometimes I am the lifeguard and sometimes I am the one needing to be rescued. And all of this is perfectly fine. There are times I feel like I am drowning in the waves of grief. I have those people I know I can call or text and they will sit with me or cry with me, or let me scream and be there to listen. There are times I am the lifeguard throwing a life raft and being the one to listen to another mother lost in the sea of grief.

As the holidays are approaching and you feel like you can’t get out of the waves. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to do anything you are not ready to do. If you are not up to hosting a big dinner or event, don’t. If you are heading to a Holiday gathering and aren’t sure if you are up to it give yourself an out. Have a ride available and a reason to leave when you’ve had enough. Choose the things you want to do and feel like you can do, and always know you can change your mind. There are no rules and there is no rulebook when it comes to grief. We each have our own journey and our own own unique circumstances. It takes a bit of practice and some trial and error. If you choose to do it this year and it doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to do it again next year. Keep the traditions and things that feel right and try something different if you want to. There is no right or wrong way to do things. The choice is totally yours.

Self Care

As a bereaved parent there will be days months, times when you feel like you just can’t go on. When Mike died on 11/27/2016 in the first year it was the 27th of each month. You find that you count months since they died in much the same way you counted months they were alive. It’s been 2 months, 11 months, 18 months and then one day you find you count in years. You aren’t quite sure how you survived or how you went from 1 month to 5 years. And you aren’t quite sure how you survived any of it.

We all have those tough days, weeks, months. For me the month is November. You will be doing ok one day and then you turn a page and see a date written down or see a photo and your breath catches and you can’t breath. There will be many triggers and you will have One of “those days”. I call them “Mike days”. Those days when you want to curl up in bed and not get up. There will be those days when You think you can’t possibly live another day without your child. Yet we do go on and we continue to breath and to live.

On those days, you get to decide how you think, act, feel and react. You can choose to say “no” to invitations from friends. You can choose those days to do some self care and some self love and be gentle with yourself. Take some extra time to reflect quietly on the life of your child. Remember those times that made you smile and made you happy to be their mother. You can choose to do something that will honor your child’s memory. You can choose to call a friend and talk or sit quietly by yourself.

There is no right or wrong way to make it through those days. How you choose to honor and remember your child is totally up to you. Each year in the month of November I try to think of a way to live that honors my child. One year I wrote a story every day for the month to share Mike’s life with the world. One year I collected money and food and gave Thanksgiving dinner to 14 families. One year I did random act of kindness in Mike’s memory. There is no right or wrong way to do any of it. You get to decide.

On the days that are challenging and you don’t have the energy or stamina to get out of bed and get dressed to face the day I want you to remember that you are loved and you are valuable. Find some small act of self care and self love and do it. It might mean you get out of bed and wash your face and brush your teeth. Try to do something for yourself that looks like love to you. It might mean you go for a walk, or eat healthy foods. Celebrate the little things you were able to accomplish.

I find keeping a journal helps me. It gets all the thoughts that keep running through my head out of my head and on to paper. I can look at myself and my journey and see the progress I am making. Don’t make the mistake of comparing your journey to anyone else’s. Yours is uniquely yours. Your journey will be different than anyone else’s journey. Resist the urge to compare your life to any one else’s life. You are unique and wonderful.

As we approach the holiday season, remember to take some extra time and be gentle with yourself. Do the parts you think you can do. Just because “we’ve always done it that way” doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. You will know what is worth keeping and what you emotionally can’t do right now. Take time to evaluate and reassess. You might enjoy being with family and friends and letting them support you. You might need time alone, and there isn’t one right or wrong way to do holidays. The people who love and support you will totally understand and love you no matter what. I wish for you all a peaceful holiday season.

November

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November is quickly approaching. November is my least favorite month of the year. Mike died on November 27, 2016. I used to love Thanksgiving and preparing a meal or sharing with family and friends. I loved making the turkey and all of the trimmings. Mike loved thanksgiving dinner, especially mom’s Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to skip doing the big turkey dinner that year. I wanted to go out somewhere instead. Mike begged me to cook. He was working 8-4 that day and was so looking forward to mom’s Thanksgiving dinner after work. He wanted a fresh turkey because “they taste better” He told me he’d pay for it. I agreed and spent all day cooking and making all of the thanksgiving favorites for the family. Never did I ever dream that it would be the last day I saw my son alive. And I never got the money he owed me for the dang turkey!

For the last 4 years I have spent November just trying to numb and “get through” the month. I would work, come home drink wine to forget and go to sleep. The cycle repeated for the whole month until I got to December 2. I wasn’t totally nonfunctional. Year 1 1 wrote a daily facebook post about Mike and his life so every one could know him better. Year 2 I did random acts of kindness all month in his memory. Year 3 I collected food and monetary donations and gave Thanksgiving dinner to 14 families. I put in mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, gravy some other random treats and included a gift card to purchase their turkey and perishable items. Year 4 covid hit and I had nothing left by November. I did Sober October and when my friend suggested No drink November I said “no way, huh uh, not doing November without wine”. It felt like the longest month. I would scroll on social media and read everyone’s “30 days of thankfulness” posts and cry. I truly felt like I had nothing to be thankful for. One day as I was scrolling on Facebook an add popped up that was for a “wine free work week” and I signed up. It started on November 30. December 1 is Mike’s birthday. But I signed up thinking I’d at least listen and if I wanted a glass of wine when It was over I would have one or two. The first day the coach was asking why were there and what we hoped to accomplish. I typed in the Q & A “tomorrow would be my son’s 28th birthday, but he died and I am pretty sure I can’t do the day without alcohol.” She addressed me specifically and told me I was in the right place. Right then I made a plan on how too “get through” his birthday. I had a massage from my favorite masseuse. (that was already on the schedule). I took my younger son to Mission BBQ for ribs (Mike’s favorite), I went to a grocery store and paid for a birthday cake anonymously. I purchased a birthday card a gift card. I took them to the bakery and asked if anyone was picking up a birthday cake. I asked them to put the card with it and to tell them to open it before they paid for the cake. It turns out the cake went to an 11 year old boy who was stuck at home with a family who all had covid on his birthday. His grandparents did a porch drop off of birthday cake for him. I also sent legos for him and a fruit and bakery basket from a local shop for the rest of the family for Christmas . It was the first December 1 I spent sober in 5 years. I ended up joining the coaching program. I have grown so much since last year.

This November I am going in to it prepared with a plan for the month. A plan to do things in Mike’s memory to make the month better for myself and those around me who might be struggling. I have a goal of what I want to accomplish in the month and a plan on how to get it all done. I am spending 4 days of the month on a retreat with 10 women who I consider friends, but have yet to meet in person. They have been part of my life for the last year inside the coaching program I am doing. We have shared successes and celebrations, we have supported each other through losses, and job changes, and frustrations and we have been each other’s encouragers and help when we have times when we had a failure (or as I like to think of it an opportunity to learn). This year I still have some angst over November and every time I look at the calendar or see a facebook memory pop up I have to take a deep breath, allow myself to feel the feeling and I have to process the feeling. In the past I would have grabbed a wine bottle and numbed the feelings. But I have learned it is ok to have feelings and I have learned how to sit with those feelings and process them instead of trying to numb and ignore them.

There are always going to be those days that trigger us and send us spiraling downward. It’s the reality after your child has died. But there can be laughter, and love, and good times again. There is hope. For now you might not believe me, but one day you will find yourself smiling at a memory of your child and laughing as you hear his or her voice in your head telling you exactly what you need to hear at that moment. I wish you all a peaceful November.

What not to say to grieving parents.

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This post might be a bit controversial. And that is perfectly fine. It’s a tough one for me to write. I think it should be included in all those what not to say to grieving parents articles that I’ve read. But no one ever has said it before that I have found.

Right after Mike died when I went back to work some of my co workers were talking to me about Mike and the comment was made that I would see him again one day in Heaven. Another coworker said “Everyone wants to think they will see their loved ones again in Heaven. Yet we all know that it doesn’t work that way. Not everyone will make it in to Heaven”. That day totally wrecked my relationship with that coworker. I am still cordial to him and say hello, but I can’t get past that statement. I don’t share with him or have the same respect. To even make that kind of a statement to a grieving parent is not kind or helpful at all. The bottom line is as our Mother’s taught us if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. And perhaps he meant nothing by it. But if the is the case his timing was way off. He never met my son, had no clue what he was like past what I shared at work. To me it sounded as if he was judging my child and making the assumption he wasn’t in Heaven.

I have heard from well meaning christian friends “Did Mike know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior?’ I am pretty certain there are many parents out there who won’t find that question comforting. They are left with no idea how to respond. Perhaps they are christians who really truly don’t know the status of their child’s salvation. Perhaps they are parents with a different belief set. If they aren’t sure what their child believed this will not make them feel better at all. It only leaves them with doubt, confusion, and more questions.

Life is hard enough after your child dies to then have to worry and wonder where you child is spending eternity. Please choose your words carefully when you are talking to grieving parents.

Tough Tasks

I did not write a post in August. I was struggling with my own grief. This is my house. The house Mike lived and died in. I was left with a decision to keep, rent, or sell it. My younger son lived there when he graduated from college for 3 1/2 years, but needed to move to be closer to his work.

I wasn’t prepared to deal with the reality of having to sort through my sons’ belongings that I had haphazardly shoved in bins, boxes, and totes. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions and feelings that would bring up. Could I sell the house? Would I be loosing more of him? I spent every weekend sorting, cleaning, moving stuff from one home to another. Taking donations of things I no longer wanted or could use to donation sites around the city. I threw out some things no one wanted. I sold a few items and donated some to people I knew could use them.

It felt good to help others. It felt horrible to sort through Mike’s things and know he’d never use them again. I saved some things that normally I’d have put in a box and given to him to clutter up his house. The decisions to keep or not to keep were tough. In the end I wasn’t ready yet to throw away the kindergarten scrap book his kindergarten teacher made for him, or the 100 drawings and craft project he brought home from school and day care. The report cards and his high school homecoming king sash and prom moments. These are the things you are supposed to box up and give to your kids when they have their first home or baby.

The reality is no one will ever look at them again. I gave away his Hershey Bears Hockey Puck hat he wore to hockey games, I gave way the engraved beer stein he had from a wedding or birthday, or something. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away a single photo even though I have 10 copies of the same one. If the goal is to make it easier on my other son when I am gone I should throw them out. But in reality it is too hard on my fragile heart,. So for now they are in a bin in the garage waiting for the day I am strong enough or the day Mark has to decide what to do with them.

I will be honest I didn’t take as good of care of myself as I should have. I filled the empty feeling with pizza and chinese, and Royal Farms chicken and a glass or two of wine. So one day as I was depressed and crying I got coaching with my life coach who told me it was ok to be sad. I didn’t have to change any of that. She told me to just sit with the sadness and feel all of it. I did. I sat. I listened to my body and quit trying to quiet that inner voice with food and/or wine. Before long I realized that I was sad, and times were tough, but I’ve done tough before. I began to treat my body better. I made better choices than to numb with food and alcohol. I decided to choose to think it was ok to sell the house and the right family would come along at the right time and make it theirs.

So, as tough times come up, the first birthday, anniversary Christmas, special days. etc. It is ok to be sad. Feel all of your feelings then choose how you want to think to get through the days. Choose to treat yourself with love and care and tenderness. You can get through tough times. Call your friends and family when you need help. I texted my family and said “I can’t do this alone,” and they were there helping me sort, making me laugh at memories and photos we found. And encouraging me and letting me know it was ok to throw out the tattered up beach towel that isn’t useable anymore.

Thee will be a time when you are ready to sort through the clothing and let it go. Give yourself grace and time to get there.

You are not going crazy. You are grieving.

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After Michael died I found myself having an irrational fear of driving. Mike died in his sleep. It made no sense to me, but I would get on the highway to drive anywhere and my palms would sweat and My heart would race. I found myself scared of dying in a car accident. It was terrifying. I found I couldn’t concentrate on simple tasks. I would be in conversations with people and have no clue 5 minutes later what we talked about. I wanted to clean the house, do the laundry, and yard work, but I just couldn’t. I found myself doing nothing. At the end of a day I would look back at the day and wonder why nothing got accomplished.

I thought I was going crazy. The thing is I am not going crazy. I am grieving and grieving is hard work.

There are days you will accomplish everything on your to do list. And there are days you will feel like you accomplished nothing. Life is like that. Give yourself some grace and some space to just grieve. Know that you aren’t going crazy that you are grieving.

You might not be able to do everything you did prior to your child’s death. Keep cleaning wipes handy in your bathroom to do a quick wipe down when you don’t have the energy to do a full scrub. Keep them handy in the kitchen to wipe down counter tops. Use your crockpot to throw in some simple meals that can cook on their own. Get a meal planning service to deliver meals and groceries to your home that you don’t have to think much to fix a nutritious meal. If you can do it hire someone to mow the yard and do some of the tasks you just don’t have the energy to do.

Grief is hard, and grief is work. Give yourself the grace and space to grieve.

National Bereaved parents month

If you did not know that July is national bereaved parents month consider yourself blessed. I had no idea that it existed either. There is a month to recognize and educate the general public about child loss and the impact it has on families. If you know a grieving parent take a moment this month to check in with him/her. Let them know you remember and you care.

There is not a better time to remind others of some do’s and don’ts related to child loss

  1. Don’t tell them they should be over it by now. We will never get over our child’s loss.
  2. Don’t say “everything happens for a reason”. Sometimes the reason is life sucks and life is not fair.
  3. Don’t say “I know how you feel” unless you, too have lost a child. While these losses can be hard, the loss of your grandparent, parent, dog, cat does not compare to the loss of your child.
  4. Don’t say “time heals all wounds”. No amount of time “heals” this wound. It will get softer, but the wound never heals.
  5. Don’t say “at least they are in a better place”. To us there is no better place than to be here on earth with us.
  6. Don’t say “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”. We truly ae just hanging on by our fingernails and many days we can’t handle it.
  7. Don’t say “I couldn’t live without one of my children”. We weren’t given a choice.
  8. Don’t avoid them. Child loss isn’t contagious. Just show up.
  9. Don’t ask what we need. We truly don’t know. Just show up. Just say “can I bring you dinner tomorrow night?’
  10. Don’t say “when you are ready to get dinner let me know.” We won’t let you know. By the time we are “ready” the offers have all stopped coming.

But there are things that you can do and say.

  1. I am so sorry.
  2. I am praying for you (and do it)
  3. Tell me about your child. We love telling their stories! Even if you’ve heard them before. just let us talk
  4. My favorite memory of your child is………. We may have heard the stories before but we never tire of hearing our child’s stories. (many of my favorites start with Mike told me not to tell you this……………)
  5. I miss him/her too
  6. Nothing. Sometimes we just need you to show up and listen to us. Let us talk. There are no magic words, and we sometimes just need someone to sit with us.
  7. Give us a hug when you see us.
  8. Remember their birthday and their death days. Send flowers, Send a meal, Send a card.
  9. I am a phone call away. Call me anytime
  10. Stop by, bring us dinner, stay to clean a bathroom, mow the lawn. But don’t clean our child’ rooms or wash their clothes unless we give you permission to do so.

Life is uncertain and life is precious. Let’s invest in each other and make connections. Reach out to your family and friends. We aren’t meant to live in isolation. Share our lives, our love, and our losses. Together we can make a difference in each other’s lives.

Father’s Day

Sunday June 20, 2021 is father’s Day. Many men will be having a tough time with this day. Perhaps they want to be a dad, but so far they aren’t. they may have a strained relationship with a child, or they may have lost a child. They may have a strained relationship with their own father, or may have lost their own father. Choose to be kind to all of the men in your life this weekend’

If you know a Dad who is grieving the loss of a child be kind. Send them a note or text, or call to check on them. Father’s day will be tough for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first year or the thirty-first year. Those days always bring up intense emotions. Ask about their child who died. Share your memories and stories. Ask him to share his memories and stories He may or may not have other children. Include all of his children in your discussions that day. Allow them to talk about all of their children.

Don’t tell them you know how they feel if you haven’t lost a child. Don’t compare their loss of a child to your loss of a parent or grandparent, or pet. Tell them you care and you are here to listen if they wish to talk. Consider wishing him a Peaceful Father’s Day versus a Happy Father’s Day. It may not be a happy day, but it can be a peaceful day.

If you are a father who has lost a child, be gentle with yourself this weekend. If watching social media and seeing all the photos is painful turn off social media and spend the day doing whatever it is you choose to do. Memories of your son or daughter will undoubtedly fill your mind. Find someone you trust and talk about your feelings. Talk about your child and when anyone asks you how many children you have count them in your number. You are still their father. If you have other children spend time with them. Share stories of your child, their sibling. Some memories will bring up good pain. It is ok to laugh and remember the good times. Some memories will bring up bad pain. It is ok to cry. Men can and do cry too. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you are human. All of your feelings are meant to be felt and processed.

As you wake up and just aren’t sure what or how to do this day. Allow yourself to just feel whatever it is you are feeling. Close your eyes and name that feeling. Is it sadness? hope? guilt? Think about what it is you are feeling. Then tune in to where you are feeling it in your body. Are your palms sweating? Is your heart racing? Is there a lump in your throat or your stomach? Is it cold or hot? Once you’ve identified where you are feeling it take some deep breaths and see what happens. Does the feeling move? change? dissipate? Allow yourself to just feel all of it. Then set your intention for the day you want to have. What do you want to feel? What do you want to think about the day? You get to choose. If you choose to be sad it is ok. Life is like that. You don’t have to be “happy” all of the time. Life is full of emotions and feelings. You are meant to feel all of them. Feelings are not good or bad. They are just your feelings. Decide what you want to think that will make the day what you choose it to be. Then intentionally think those thoughts. You get to choose how to spend the day and how you think about this day. Your brain his amazing at how it can process all of this!

However you choose to spend the day know you are still a father. Loosing your child does not change that. You are and always will be a Dad whether or not your children live here on earth or in heaven. Practice some self love. Feed your body well, get plenty of sleep and do what it is you want to do to, remember and love your child.

I wish you all a Peaceful Father’s Day. I am sending you all love and strength to get through the day.

Allowing your other child(ren) to live

Photo credit Scott Bohlen

When Mike died I became a totally different parent to my other son, Mark. I was terrified that I would loose him also. I heard of parents who lost multiple children and my gut reaction was “Oh hell no. I am not doing this again”. Mike was a wonderful young man. He was a 911 dispatcher, he worked 2 back to back 16 hour shifts went home and went to sleep and never woke up. He was overweight, but working on it. He had recently joined a gym and was working out with his work buddies after work. There wasn’t a good explanation as to why he died.

While Mark was home over Christmas break I made him go to see one of our cardiologists (I am a cardiac nurse). They looked at his EKG and they did a stress echocardiogram and told me his heart was fine. For the first several years I obsessed over him. If I texted and he didn’t immediately text back, I would call him to make sure he was ok. I worried about him. I was terrified. He casually mentioned he’d like to learn to ride a motorcycle and I said “Oh hell no! you are NOT getting a motorcycle!” He’d say “Mom, I am an adult you can’t tell me no.” He wanted to buy a tiny subcompact car I worried and pointed out how small it was and If he was in an accident with a big rig he’d never survive. He pointed out it was safer than the piece of crap chevy chevette I drove in college with no air bags. He is the proud owner of a tiny chevy spark.

Then in 2019 I went to the national conference of The Compassionate Friends in Philadelphia. I went to a siblings panel discussion. Parents could ask kids anything and the resounding theme I heard was “let us live our own lives. If My sibling was still alive I would be going and doing all these things, but now that they are gone I am not allowed to go or do______________” One brave parent said “I desperately want grandchildren” and before she could finish her thought you heard a collective groan from all the siblings.

It was during that sharing session that I realized I can not live my life in fear of loosing Mark. By demanding he drive a certain car or not do what I consider to be dangerous activities, like walking down the street, I might alienate him altogether. I realized that day that he was grieving not only his brother but the parents he once had. Because after you loose a child you are never the same again. I developed more compassion and resolved to not forbid him to do anything or demand he buy the biggest army tank out there to drive around in so he isn’t in an accident that might take his life. I realized I made my choices and I had to allow him to make his own choices.

I still get a twinge of fear when I hear of an accident that has the highway shut down for miles, or when he steps on an airplane to travel I wait somewhat impatiently to get the text that says “we made it to Phoenix.” But I do my best to try not to tell him how to live his life. It’s tough, but I have to trust that I did my job as a parent and he will do his best to stay healthy and alive. I do a lot more deep breathing, pausing to feel and process all of those emotions instead of reacting to them. When the urge to say or do something to him about how he should live his life pops in my head I have to breathe and let the urge pass and tell myself he gets to choose how to live his own life.

I remember the advice I received when I didn’t particularly care for a young lady one of my kids was infatuated with. I was told “if you make a big deal of it, and forbid him to see her, He will just want to see her more.” I had to wait it out and let the young romance end in it’s own time. I still have to wait for Mark to make his own decisions in his own time knowing that all I ever really wanted was to see my kids grow up healthy happy and independent. I can’t take that independence back after I taught him how to be independent.

So my vow I made to my son is that I will do my best not to tell him how to live his life. And if he ever feels like I am too much of a helicopter mom he promises to tell me as nicely as possible to back off.

Mother’s Day 2021

Dear friends,

I want to offer you all a bit of encouragement today. Mother’s Day can be a tough day for many women. Women who wanted to be a mother and couldn’t, women who lost a mother, women who are grieving the death of one or more of their children, women who have children, but are estranged from them, women who are trying and waiting to become a mother. And the list goes on.

I lost my mother when I was 10 back in 1976. Mother’s Day has always been a tough one for me. As a nurse I always volunteered to work that day, or later in my career to take call for the new mom’s so they could spend the day with their new babies and families without fear of the day being interrupted. I stopped going to worship services because the obligatory sermon on Mother’s and the Proverbs 31 wife/mother was more than I could take. I have learned over the years that I get to choose how I spend the day.

Mother’s Day 2016 I choose to hike in the Grand Canyon. I started at 5:00 AM from the south rim. Hiked to the Colorado River and back out. Finishing at 7:00 PM. It was a gorgeous day and a gorgeous way to spend the day. I had no idea how different my life was to become. My oldest son passed away November 27, 2016. Had I known that it would be my last Mother’s Day with him alive would I do life differently? Perhaps. I am grateful that I didn’t know what was to come. I would have been in all out panic mode trying to change what was to come.

My son was a 911 dispatcher with a huge heart. He would probably have volunteered, and perhaps he did, to work for a coworker so she could spend the day with her children. I honestly don’t recall any more. Our lives will continue to change. If our children were still here perhaps they would have children of their own. Perhaps they’d have a job where they work weekends, perhaps they would have moved away and our Mother’s Day would look totally different. That is the way life is. And, thankfully, we don’t know the changes that are to come.

I want you all to know that even if your children are living in Heaven and not here on earth you are still their mother. You still deserve a special day of doing what you want to do. You get to choose how you spend the day. Some of you may be so new to this life that you don’t want to do anything special. That is ok. Some of you may choose to make yourself a special meal or go out for one. That is ok. You might decide to go hike the Grand Canyon, or go on a long walk or bike ride, or head to the beach. Whatever you decide to do for the day is ok. You might not want to gather with family or friends. You might find you need the comfort of being with people who understand and get you. That is ok too.

I wish for you all a peace and a day full of doing whatever it is you choose to do. On days when the memories come rushing in and I can’t stop them I may go to photos or videos and just cry for a bit and tell my son that I love him. I look for signs from him that tell me he loves me too.

Some of you might not believe in signs and that is ok. I personally, have a collection of coins, feathers and heart shaped rocks that always seem to show up when I need them most. I see a yellow butterfly and I say hi to my mom. I see an eagle and say hi to my son. I believe that our loved ones and our children can see us and send us signs that they are ok.

For a couple of years after Mike died I longed for someone to show up at my door with a child to tell me that it was Mike’s child so that I would still have a piece of him here on earth. It was my mother’s heart just wanting a bit of him. But as the years have ticked by that fantasy has faded.

As you do Mother’s Day in whatever way you choose to do it. Know whatever you decide to do for yourself this weekend is ok. It is your choice to celebrate, or not. Know it is ok to have your own back and do whatever you feel is comfortable for you. And it is ok to try out different things and different ways of getting through the tough days. You get to choose.

I wish for you a day of peace and good memories.

XOXO,

Mike’s mom