Friday, October 2, 2015

There Is A Storm Coming

It's almost your birthday again Momma. October was always your month. The weather has changed  from summer and there is a chill in the air, and in my heart. There is a storm coming. One that I cannot fend off alone.

As I go through the motions of eating, I cannot enjoy my dinner this night. In the wake of the taste of grief, everything tastes bland and lifeless. I close my eyes to try to savor the sweetness. It is no use. Everything is bitter. I feign happiness for my sweet, innocent daughter. But there is no happiness  for these tired eyes on this night.

There will be no calling her grandmother to brag on her latest achievement at school, nor any inviting to tomorrow's soccer game. There will be no laughing at horrible school picture faces or the resounding cacophony of my child's voice bouncing off of the walls of Granny's house. Your home  is no longer. It remains, but is falling into disrepair much like the unkempt weeds that grow across your gravestone, both too long unvisited. The house and your grave both hold hollow echoes of you and a cherished time gone by.

A time that held the greatest love of all, as the late Whitney Houston sang. A love I will cherish all of my days and one that I could never forget. A heartbreak that my heart cannot ever truly begin to heal. A loss so tragic that somedays, on the raw days, my mind still cannot begin to fully comprehend.

But comprehend I do. I have no choice. The chill sweeps outward from inside. A cold, suffocating wave envelops me as the tears run unchecked down my face. The realization has set in that my memories are all that I have. There will never be any shiny new ones. This is the fourth year that I have replayed the same worn memories over and again in my head. There will never be any more memories than what I have at this exact moment. I am heartbroken. Yet I have a lifetime full of memories, but it is not enough. It is never enough. I want more. I want more of you. But there is no you anymore, only what I carry in my heart and my mind.

I close my eyes and remember. One at a time I take out my cherished memories and replay them in my mind's eye. Mommy and Daddy kissing, the last hug on our visit before your final hospital stay, you imploring me to never let my three year old, now seven, forget you. Birthday shopping with you that last year to bring you into the technological age, and your birth date on a sticker from our last ever shopping trip on my computer tablet, a mere six weeks before your journey was at it's end. Precariously sealed in time with scotch tape, my attempt at preservation. Preservation of the proof of a precious memory. Something physical from that last birthday with you. Something that marks a specific moment in time and says that she was here. You were here together. You were with me this day.

On a day that I long to hear your voice, I close my eyes and try to replay it in my head. Only this time, I cannot recall your voice immediately. My eyes fly open, my breathing becomes labored, and I start to panic. The tears fall unabashedly down my face, as I try to remember your laughter, and I cannot. Time stands still. I can hear my heartbeat in my throat, as I  desperately play memory after memory in my head. I can almost hear your voice. But I cannot find your laughter. It is on the edge of my remembering, just out of my grasp. No, no, no my inner voice screams, you cannot have lost her laughter. It's in there, just remember. We have to find the laughter! I cannot lose another piece of her. I am hysterical on the inside as my grief ridden brain desperately searches for the laughter, her laughter. My mother's laughter.

The emotional storm rages as I desperately search my mental archives for the laughter. I find it, and as I replay the memory in my mind, there is no sound. It is as if the sound has altogether been stripped from my memory. I continuously wipe the tears from my eyes and face in an attempt to keep my daughter from seeing the storm raging within me, that is leaking out of my eyes.

Another piece of her lost today as another little piece of me died. I have lost my mother's laughter. "It was all you had of her, how could you lose it!", my mind screams at me. "But it's been so long since I have heard it..."another piece cries.  I am so very weary. So tired of all of the grief. So tired of the maelstrom of swirling emotions. Grief, guilt, loss, sadness, depression, exhaustion, bravery, strength, selfishness, and loneliness. Tired of feigning excuses tonight for the little one so as not to have to explain myself, and stir up her grief as well as my own. Trying to control this storm that always rages within me just below the surface, threatening to break free. 

There is always something constantly reminding me of you; a familiar smell, a rainbow or a butterfly, or your favorite colors. Eating dinner on your favorite color purple plate, just to feel closer to you when I feel the storm coming.

I miss you Momma. Just like storms that reach their shore, they rage awhile and then they are no more, so is my grief. At least kept at bay for a little while.

Good night Momma, I love you!

     -Your cherished daughter

Monday, May 25, 2015


I am constantly amazed by the amazingly strong, resilient wise old soul that is my child. My grandmother, Betty Bell Carnes, passed from this life this morning 9am. We spent the day with her in Charlotte yesterday. She waited for us to get there. I firmly believe that. I watched my child overcome her fear and minister to my Nana as if she were a 45 year old with a degree from seminary. She did not shed one tear. She has the gift. I see such strength and faith in my child. It rocks me to my core. Like I said she amazes me. She has inherited our heart and the gift of ministering to others. My Nana was a second mother to me. Nothing could have completed her journey in this life more appropriately, than having the last child that she helped raise, Hayden, tell her it was time to go to meet Jesus, that we all had each other, and it was okay. She told her to tell Granny hi and give her a big hug from us! I dreaded telling her on the drive home! So when we got home, I pulled her into my lap, and told her when previously in the day, she told me it was the best day ever? That it was for Nana, because she got to meet Jesus today! She started clapping in joy! She said how happy she was that Nana got to meet Jesus! Aaaaand we had a dance party to celebrate Nana meeting Jesus! With pink confetti! I will post service details once we know the details! Nana had a moment of clarity and woke up long enough to tell me, and I quote, " I love you, Goodbye! Tell everybody up there I love them, and don't you cry!"
***written on 03-22-15***

My Nana's Hands

Sorry I have mostly been MIA this weekend... I have had important business to attend to.... My Nana started in-home hospice this week. We made an impromptu 5 hour trip to Charlotte, NC. She is my mother's mother. She is the last grandparent I have still living. So in her honor, her ornery, spunky, spitfire of a little lady honor, I am sharing this picture with you. I have an obsession with hands, hand photos, heck my wedding vows were all about "the hands"... So here is my very favorite pic from these stolen two days with my Nana...

These are the hands that held me when I was only a week old
These are the hands that fed me when I was a baby
These are the hands that helped my mother raise me
These are the hands that brought me my favorite teddy bear in the wide world
These are the hands of the lady I called to run away to when my mommy was being mean to me
These are the hands that were in the audience at every important moment and milestone in my life patting me on the back with pride
These are the hands that held mine after I made my biggest mistakes and held me while I cried
These are the hands that pushed my hair behind my ear, stroked my tear stricken face, and told me it was going to be okay
These were the hands that taught me how to be a great lady
These were the hands that showed me by example, how to take care of a family, her family
These are the hands that showed me the true meaning of 'in sickness and in health'
These are the hands that taught me how to make pineapple, lettuce, miracle whip cheese salads to perfectly complement spaghetti
These are the hands that patiently dug out the recipe to her hot dog chili, to teach me how to make it, when I called from college
These are the hands that helped take care of her sick dAughter
These are the hands that along with my Pawpaw, called me their third daughter, because we were so close
These are the hands of a grandmother, mother and friend
These are the hands of one of my best friends
These are the hands that loved and treated my husbands children as if they were here own
These are the hands that helped raise my own daughter when I had to go back to work
These are the hands of one of the two women who taught me to be the woman and mother that I am today...
These are the hands that helped me to be strong as I laid my mother, her daughter to rest
These are the hands of my inspiration
These hands are irreplaceable
These precious hands...

*This was posted two months prior to my Nana's passing on 3-22-15.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faith and Prayer

This was written as a guest post for another blogger.  I am sharing it with you all  today.

Faith.  I have always had faith.  As long as I can remember I have had faith. Faith in myself, faith in my family, faith in the innate goodness of people, and faith in God. I was deeply involved in a youth group that taught a belief in a higher being and the basic truths of the bible. Big lessons were faith, hope and charity. I was raised to have faith.

My four and a half year old daughter asked me how do we know God is real? I explained to her that we just have to have faith, or to believe and trust in our hearts that he is real. I asked her how did we know that air is real? Because we have faith that it is.  How do we know that love is real? Can you touch it, taste it, or see it? No, we have to believe, or have faith that it is real. Even four year olds grasp the concept of faith.

My mother was a great believer in faith, hope and charity as well.  She loved her God, and was a very religious person.  We went to church when I was little, and then stopped going faithfully because of the commercialization and monetization of big religion.  Religion sells.  I was raised in a very faith filled, religious home.  My mother would give addresses to every local chapter of her state, when she paid her official required yearly visit as part of her duties of her being the state president of a particular social service organization.  People started to call her talks, "Carla's Sermons."  She was that devout, and loved her God with all her heart and soul.  She was one of those rare speakers, that God's message touched everyone when she spoke.  Often there were no dry eyes in the house. She shone with the love for her God. She grew up in church. She did not attend church regularly in her latter years, she did not feel it necessary to put on her Sunday best to impress people with their hearts in the wrong place, and she did not feel it necessary to put in her twenty bucks every Sunday, for her to feel like a 'good Christian.' She was full of love, and fellowshipped regularly with others to celebrate God.

My grandmother taught me when I was little, after I learned to pray, that you did not have to just say your prayers at night.  She taught me to pray all throughout the day.  She taught me that when you believe in God, that he listens to the prayers of his children all of the time, not just at bedtime.  She taught me that he is always there for us. She taught me to thank him for all of our blessings, not to just pray in our troubling times. They both taught me that God has a master plan, and prayers are not always answered.  Sometimes I thank God for that. Sometimes I just have to have faith that he knows best, and trust in him.

I was lucky, I  had two great teachers in faith and prayer.  A favorite prayer of both of theirs, was Footprints In The Sand.  I was tested when my mother became very ill.  She was very, very sick for a long time.  I prayed multiple times everyday to help her get better.  She had to endure forty plus hospitalizations.  It was very hard to watch her endure, what turned out to be her lot in life, her bad health.  I prayed more than I ever thought possible.  I prayed before, during, and after every surgery, every hospital, every infection, every amputation, every time her kidneys almost shut down, and when they did.  I prayed every time there was a new condition, illness, infection, disorder, disease, bacteria, and slowly but surely watched her health deteriorate over time. Praying for my sweet momma, became a more important part of my daily things to do list, than going to the bathroom.  I prayed that my work would let me take long lunches to go and be with my momma.  I prayed for her to get better.  I prayed for God to help her not be so depressed about her health, and to keep her spirits up. I prayed for her to not be one of the unfortunate ones that MRSA claimed as a victim. I prayed for no more strokes after the first twelve. I prayed for more time with my mommy, I prayed for my daughter to have more time with her gran-gran, I prayed and prayed and prayed. No more heart surgeries, strokes, polymyalgia rheumatic, diabetes, thyroid, sepsis, bladder infections, uti's, toe infections, leg infections, fungal, streptococcus, no more blood transfusions, no more surgeries, no more whacking off her dead black toes, no more debridement needed, no more equipment to suck puss out of her feet and legs, no more unbearable pain from the diabetic neuropathy, no more kidney infections and reduced function, no dialysis, no more going blind from diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.  I prayed for her to have to bear no more, or for at least God to  help her bear her load. My mother suffered so much here on this earth, in her poor little sick body, that when the time came, I prayed for her suffering to end. She was the strongest person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She bore her health with a smile. And then I selfishly prayed for her not to die. I cried and prayed for God not to take her.  I prayed to take back what I prayed for. Yes, sometimes God doesn't answer all the prayers of his children.

I prayed when I left the hospital on the night that was to be her last, for God to help her.  I prayed for God to help me.  I cannot help but remembering thinking after all the hubbub died down, of all the things you go through when a person dies, that she had raised me to be as strong as she was.  She had taught me to be strong, have faith and depend on God. She had spent her entire life preparing me for the moment she was no longer on this earth to take care of me.  Then later that night, after I finished dinner with my husband and three year old at the time, I got the call. Less than two hours after I left the hospital. Her heart had stopped again. That this was probably the end.  I had been there with her for two days, and the infection ravaging her poor little body had gotten worse and worse, to the point that she crashed after an x-ray.  As I watched the countless medical personnel manually pump her heart for over an hour, upon returning to her bedside, I felt a quiet, cool, calming peace come over me.  I had to be the one to make the call.  In my morbid fascination in anything and everything medical, growing up with two parents in the medical field, I had to witness every single second with her.  I had to be there. I had to touch her, hold her hand after we made the call. 

She was there and held me when I came into this world, and I had to be there, holding her hand, when she slipped out of it.  I had to make my father and brother come in to say their last goodbyes to her.  I was poised on the edge of a precipice I did not want to cross, but yet I pressed on.  I had to be the strong one. I am my mother's daughter. I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming sense of emptiness and pain that is incomprehensible to anyone who has not lost a parent.  I have lost grandparents, and it is nowhere close to the pain I felt and still feel over losing my best friend in life, my mother.  I truly believe there was a presence there that night flooding me with peace, to enable me to be the strong one.  I have only my faith to tell me it was real, but I know it as surely as I know my own name. I believe that God was there for me after my beloved momma passed away.  I believe he was watching over me on my drive home alone, while I was bawling my eyes out, and was having trouble seeing the lines on the road in the horrible rain storm.  I believe that he helped me pick the best husband in the world, that would one day be able to give me what I needed while processing this life changing event.  I believe that he helped me find the right words to tell my precious three year old, that her granny had went to be with Jesus in heaven.  I believe that God helped me through losing my mother, just like I asked him to.  I believe, like the line in Footprints In The Sand goes, that it was then that he carried me. I believe he answered my prayers, because I could not have gotten through it alone. 

I couldn't have gotten through the death of my Momma without my faith, and belief in God.  I fully believe in the power of prayer.  I believe that sometimes, maybe just maybe, God sends you signs when you need them the most. I believe that God answers prayers, and that sometimes when he doesn't, that we just have to trust that there is a bigger plan.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Visiting Hours

Dear Mommy,
         I am coming to visit you today! I know I have not been good about coming to the cemetery.  You see, it is so very hard.  I am sitting her crying just thinking about coming to visit.  There is something so innately wrong with you being in the ground and not here with me.  I love you so and miss you like crazy.  It seems like forever since I have seen you, since you have held me in your arms, and since you last kissed my hand. In reality it has only been sixteen and a half months since you passed away.  We moved to Kentucky six months after you passed, and then I broke my leg three months after that.  I couldn't walk on both feet for almost four months, and living in a different state with no babysitters, and one car made all the difference.  Maybe I needed to insulate myself, and become stronger before I came to visit you again.  Maybe I needed to let time pass.  Maybe I needed some distance. Just like the pictures of you that I finally hung in my hallway, I am ready to come to your earthly resting place and visit again.

Why do I feel so very guilty for only having been to visit you there a handful of times? I know you are in heaven, and I shouldn't feel guilty, but yet I do.  I have thought about it a lot.  I know I should visit more often, and I will now that I am ready.  It just seems wrong to me somehow to visit a cemetery to see you, rather than driving to your house. To look at a cold piece of metal with your name on it. To talk to the air, and hoping you hear me in heaven! To bend down and touch your gravestone, instead of rubbing your warm, soft skin.  To not have you still in this life, watching your beloved granddaughter grown up with me.  You should still be here with me mom.  You went too soon! When the band aid is off, some days the pain is still so hard.  The missing, the black hole in my chest.  You are still so much more to me than a cold hard piece of metal in the ground that I come to pay my 'respects' to during visiting hours.  But you taught me well, to visit and pay respects to your dead. So I will be dropping in today. 'Cause you are my dead.  Even though you went too young, you are mine! And today I feel drawn, compelled to visit you.

I wish you were here to go with me to register my daughter for kindergarten, to see my new house, to talk to everyday on the phone, or to even visit you in the hospital.  I would give anything just to visit you in the hospital, and sit quietly and watch you sleep one more time.   I wish I could talk to you about all the crazy and crappy that has been going on in my life lately.  And the good, there is so much good mommy.  Daddy and I have become close like you and I were.  We have been there for each other, and pulled each other through the last sixteen and a half months.  I know you know all this, because you watching, but sometimes I have to have a good cry and get it all out.  Today was one of those days.  Daddy called and asked if I wanted to go to the cemetery with him, and I said yes!  I cannot wait to come visit! I am ready and I am able.

So in the middle of my crying jag, the four and a half year old comes over, and I am bawling.  I told her I was missing Granny.  So she asks me if I want her to sing a song to cheer me up! I said yes! You see that is our thing, we sing each other silly songs to cheer each other up! It went like this;

Cheer up mommy, I love you, I know you miss your mommy, but I am still here, I haven't died, I love you so so much, I love you mommy....etc

And then there was dancing on bubble wrap in the living room! My four year old definitely has a handle on keeping it real! I know you were laughing from heaven! You loved dancing, so I know you were dancing right along with us! So I will be coming to visit today. And to close, I will leave you with one of my all time favorite quotes from Steel Magnolias, the movie;
"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!"

Love always
              -Your loving Daughter

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hop Libs Blog Hop Entry, Week 2

A Foolish Fox and Five Wishes Mad:)Take
A Fox named Marshall is chasing a squirrel named Corky through a forest.
Suddenly, Marshall Fox and Corky squirrel found an old Hair Gel and decided to rub it.
A genie pops up and says: I will grant you each of you wishes; three for you, Corky squirrel, and five for you, Marshall Fox.
Corky squirrel was angry with the Genies offer of extra wishes to Marshall Fox and decided to have the last laugh. Corky squirrel says to Fox: Marshall, you go ahead and make 3 of your wishes first, while I decide what I will use my wishes for.
Marshall Fox thinks that it is only natural for him to make his wishes first and begins: For my first wish, I wish all the foxes in the forest were female.
The Genie sliding his foot and *oh my goodness* it is done.
Then Marshall says: For my second wish, make me the most stinky fox in the world.
The Genie sliding his foot and *oh my goodness* it is done.
Next, Marshall Fox says: Third, give me all the pop tarts in the world to hiding.
*oh my goodness* It is done.
Then the Genie says: OK, squirrel, it is your turn to make your first wish.
squirrel says: I wish for a book.
*oh my goodness* it is done.
Marshall Fox says: I wish all the foxes in this country were females.
*oh my goodness* It is done.
Corky squirrel then says: I wish for a life time supply of garlic naan at the back of my house.
The Genie sliding his foot and *oh my goodness* it is done.
Fox says: For my last wish, make all the other foxes in this entire world female.
*oh my goodness* It is done.

Corky squirrel then says with a smile: I wish Marshall Fox to be FEMALE!
*oh my goodness* It is done.
And Corky squirrel drives away on the book silly.

Friday, March 29, 2013

First Ever Hop Libs Blog Hop

Hiya! Today I am having fun! I am co-hosting, along with another gal, Miss Cristyl, over at CHill Thoughts, the first ever Hop Libs Blog Hop, from my other Blog, The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps! It's super fun! All you have to do is, fill out your words, click create, and read your hilarious mad-lib inspired, hop lib! No writing, serious thoughts, etc, just fun like when we were 10! Just be sure to copy and paste you Hop Lib into a blog post, copy the URL and link up so we can see your hilarious Hop Lib too!! Happy Hop Libbing!

Please follow both your hostesses on whatever social media you prefer

You provide us with 26 little words in the blanks below and we'll provide you with your very own HOP Lib, a Mad Libs-style story, you can copy and paste into a blog post.  Please mention the hop and link back to us; grab our button and include it on your blog or in your post if you can.

Then, come back here and link up your post with your HOP Libs story!  Easy peasy, lemon-squeezy!

I'll be including my HOP Lib at the very end of this post, below the link-up, so that the surprise isn't ruined for you before you complete your own HOP Lib.

Your hostesses are:



The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps

Create your HOP Lib:


HOP Libs Blog Hop Word Game


Our HOP Lib is generated by Mad:)Takes - thanks for providing the fun!