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.