Tag Archives: grief for a dying loved one


It’s a dreary rainy day outside today.  So instead of being out adventuring we are inside finding things to do.  It makes me anxious.  It makes me miss my mom.  It makes me think about all of the Mother’s Days over all of the years and wonder…do I need her more today than I did before?  Is there a time that our needs lessen or do they just change.

As a child we are unaware of just how much we “need” our mother.  We take advantage of everything just being there when we want it to be.  We don’t realize the sacrifices made.  Yet we need them.  Every day we need them.  For the very most basic life-giving things, we need our mother.  IMG_3528

As a teenager we start to feel more independent.  Like we are actually an adult.  We act as if we know it all and we feel invincible.  We start to act as if we don’t need our mother.  As if we just love them but can make it.  And then, a small act of unkindness and we run filled with tears and fury to the one place that is always consistent, always there.  We need our mother.  Those feel like great big huge needs and they overshadow all of the adult actions we thought we were making.  scan0096

Then off to college.  We are on our own.  Truly.  Our basic needs every day, we take care of ourselves.  We don’t rely upon our mothers for life-sustaining needs.  At least not as we did before.  We are growing up. We are making our way in the world.  And yet, in the quite recesses of our minds when we make the big mistakes, the wrong choices, and even when we do something great or make the right choice, there is our mother in the back of our minds…cheering us on whether good or bad, moving us forward with love.  And again we run to her, in need of our mother.  Still not yet understanding how great her place is in our lives. scan0093

Then we are married.  We call our mom daily for advice.  Our girlfriends seem  to drift ever so slightly away and the calls to them turn, more to our mother than to our social group.  We find that being an adult is not what we thought it was in our teenage years.  We realize that all of those things we thought we could do, so independently are sometimes actually very hard.  In those moments we turn again to our Mother for love and support.  For the whispering of confidence and the outpouring of support.  We start to wonder if maybe she hid her fears and worry.  mwed

And then…It happens…We become a mother.  It is now that we truly understand.  It is now that we thank our mother with a true and honest form of gratitude that brings tears to our eyes and heartbreak to our soul.  Why did we not see this before and tell her everyday all along the way?  So we try to make up for it.  And in every action of our own for our children we see her.  We feel her.  We need her.  We are learning and she did it perfectly so it is to her advice we turn. It is to her we learn.  Our Mother. 100_1239

My story changes here.  I had just begun to tell my mother how much I appreciated her.  I had just begun to understand.  I had only started to say Thank you.  The true thank you from the bottom of my soul kind of thank you that she deserved.  I had only begun.  I had just started learning.  Learning how to care for tiny people.  Care for those people the way my  mother did for me, long before I could even remember.  I needed her so.  I needed her to help me bring my sidekick #2 into the world and I needed her there to teach me.  To help me learn to raise these little ones to be great, kind, loving big ones one day.  I need my mother.  I need her so much sometimes that I feel her void like an angry volcano in my soul.   IMG_3594

And then I wonder, as I watch those I love around me.  What will I do when I am older, my kids are all grown and the house is quiet.  I will surely need my mother then.  I will need her to help me fill the silence. I will need her there to share my love with.  I will need her to have the conversations and to help make sure my dress is just right when my sidekicks are walking down the aisle.  I will need her there to share tears of joy when grand-babies come to play.  I will need her then too.  If I had her then, I would have great big years of memories and won’t those memories just add to my love? Or do they add to the heartache and the missing of our Mother later in life?

I think it is this…we need our Mother.  No matter the stage of our life,of the time we got to spend.  We need our Mother from day one to our very last day.  Mother.

I wish I could tell you today just how thankful I am for you. I wish I could tell you that I see the sacrifices that you made me for me.  I wish I could thank you for all of the fibs you told me just to help keep me happy in a world that is so cruel.  I wish I could tell you I’m doing it right. I think I have this Mothering thing down….most days.  I wish I could tell you just how much you taught me.  I wish I could tell you that I want to be just like you and I’m trying.  I am trying really hard everyday to do just that.  You did good Mom.  You were the very best and I am so thankful for you.  I need you today. I hope you know that.  I need you every single day.

I love you!  Happy Mother’s Day (and Birthday soon!)gscan0115

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Dreaming of Beauty…

I look up to the woman before me. With wide eyes I see such beauty.  Her textured hands full of beauty and grace, the small black watch fitted over elegant lifted wrist bones. She smiles at me and it reaches her eyes.  The wrinkles in perfect form on either side of her mouth.  She laughs and it fills my soul. I know behind that laugh is beauty.  It is strength.  It is long searched for and missed in its absence.  It’s her eyes though.  The beauty and strength that show in each and every burst of bright wide blue light.  The presence of love in every tiny pixel.

It’s her hair.  Fixed or unkempt but her color makes me feel joy.  Even when the roots grow a little long, I don’t see them, I just see her and just how she wishes her hair looked every single day.  She has the perfect figure.  It’s soft at times but her hugs are magic.  Healing…happy..wonder. She is class.  She’s beautiful.  Like a magic star in a unicorn sky.  She…the most beautiful woman in the world.  One day…I hope..I pray…I wish…I believe…I can be just like her.

How I feel about my Momma.

How my daughter feels about me.

Genetics are strong…so is love….

Why doesn’t our vision stay the same, unmasked, untainted when focused inward?

Hoping to see what my daughter sees…for me…for my mom…for my daughter…to show her that today and always she is beautiful. A magic star in a unicorn sky.



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Adventurer in Pearls

Today while driving Sidekick 1 asked me this question, “Why is God taking all of our people right now?”  I didn’t know how to answer her.  It made me feel very sad.  I don’t like posting all things gloom and doom but it has been a very rough month at our house.  We are currently in the process of sending one more very lovely lady to Heaven.  It’s hard not to ask why God is taking all of our people right now.  It’s hard not wonder if there is something that I have done wrong.  It is hard not to question my own strength.  It is even more difficult to watch the ones still here with me grieving and struggling.  The hardest part..is watching others suffer and not being able to help them.

I am personally thankful for all of the time I have been able to spend.  All of the lessons I have been able to learn.  Thankful for the memories, the stories and the time.  The greatest of generations is moving on.  What lessons can we take with us? What can we learn from them to make a better tomorrow?

I just keep thinking of my time spent, and I am so thankful that I spent time with loved ones, eyes open, heart open, and embracing the moments.


This grandma of mine has come to me through marriage.  She is the one and only that I got to meet in my time as a Boxall.  She has brought so much into my life and I feel blessed to call her mine.  She is a woman of grace.  A woman of class.  She is the woman who when I was young I would have looked up to in awe. I still look up to her in awe and hope that some day I can have just a smidgen of her in me.


She was always presentable. She woke each morning and dressed in fashionable clothes.  She kept up with times and ensured she dressed it.  She always had jewelry on and most often a scarf.  Nice shoes and perfectly curled hair. If you really paid attention you could smell her fragrance, always clean, always floral.  Her nails and hair were done weekly and it showed.  She was beautiful, stunning, a woman through and through. Even my sidekick could see it.


She had presence and beauty.  She stood and walked tall.  When she entered a room you saw her.  Beauty and grace.


I loved sitting with her.  She loved having the kids come to her place.  She always complained that it was too small, and she wanted more room. What she would do with more room, I have no idea, but she always wanted it.  I think it was because she was accustomed to things and liked them that way.


She loved having the kids come and play.  She loved to hear their chatter.  She always thought they were the smartest and “so advanced” for their age.  She loved watching them dance and play.  I love how proud she was of my children.  My children were proud of her too.  They love her.  They loved to visit and spend time in her tiny place.  They loved drawing her pictures on post-it’s.  You would think grandma thought they belonged in a museum the praise she gave them.  I am surprised they didn’t end up on her wall.  She had a talent for displaying items as art.


An example…In her room there was displayed a cow bell.  I loved having her tell this story because she would laugh the whole way through. On the night of her wedding their friends took them out for night.  They lived in Yuma, AZ so they were close to the border in Mexico.  They spent much of the night across the border.  She said she danced and had fun but her husband was anxious to get home.  She too, but in her story it was always her husband who was begging to go.  They were kept out the entire night by friends.  She said when they got back home to bed the next morning they laid in bed and found themselves itching.  Their friends had put some powder in the bed that made them itch, so they decided to turn the mattress over.  Upon turning over the mattress they found a cowbell had been securely fastened to the springs in their bed.  She goes on to tell how difficult it was for her husband to get the cowbell off of the bed because it was wired on tight.  She laughs and laughs.  Hanging in her room still to the day is the cowbell and the memory of the wedding night to the love of her life.  I love that sass, that charm.


As fancy as she was she always knew how to enjoy a party.  She loved her Chardonnay.  She also loved beautiful old music. She was funny.  She would make jokes and razz people.  She always made me laugh.  One night when we went to visit and sat to have a talk, she tapped the top of her knees and said, “It’s a girl party, now what should we ladies talk about.”


She had a beautiful home surrounded in my favorite things…real leather bound books.  They were so beautiful and she was so proud of them.  This is just one way we were kindred spirits.  I spent a lot of time with her one week when I went up to check in on her when her daughter was on vacation and we talked about those books in length.  She showed me her favorite and even offered for me to borrow them.  That was a sure sign of trust.  I didn’t, as I knew the love she had for them, but the honor I felt that she would have let me take one of her precious books was something I will never forget.  She told me so many stories that week. I wish I would have written them all down but I was too busy laughing.


She was a top realtor in the state of Idaho.  She worked hard and was really good at her job.  She loved it and wasn’t ready to retire. Her business sense, her understanding of people, and her work ethic made her successful.  She truly listens and watches.  I can’t remember a time that she ever interrupted me when I was speaking. This is a talent and something totally genuine about her.  I would guess that her skills in this area led to her success.  That and her honesty.


She adventured in life.  She is the adventurer in pearls.  She traveled with her husband, she spent time with her family. My husband spent a lot of time with her in his youth and I am thankful for her influence on him.


She is quite the competitor though too.  I saw this in her stories, in the way she lived her life, and in the way she related to others.  She always wanted to “give” the best.  She didn’t realize that she already did.  She gave me my mother-in-law.  She gave me my husband.  Through them my children, one of which is named after her.  Really maybe they both are.  The way she lived her life and her last name.

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I am so thankful for her example.  She showed me that I can be bold and beautiful.  Smart and humble.  Kind to others but care for oneself.  I want to be just like her when I am older.  Lucky for me I have my Mother-In-Law.  A lady rich in class and kindness.  One that I am so blessed to have and lucky to learn from.


So to all you classy ol’ broads.  I know the best!  Take a lesson.

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Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

It has been three years since you left me. Three years since I last talked with you. Three years.  So much has happened in these three years.  So many things.

  • Your grandson was born.  He’s incredible Mom.  He’s funny and sweet.  He was born without you.  He had his first bath without you. He crawled, he walked and he is finding his words.  He had 2 surgeries and one very scary time in the hospital with an illness.  I needed you.  He needed you. You weren’t there.
  • I quit my job.  The one that I loved.  I am home now, with my kids who need me more.  You would be so proud of me.  You always told me that I would be able to make it work and I do.  I work a lot of a little jobs but we make it and my kids are happy.  I figured it out now, even though there were so many times I grabbed the phone to call you, to discuss, to talk.  You didn’t answer.
  • I’ve run hundreds of miles. I’ve flown thousands. I have taken lots of classes and read lots of books.  I would have loved to share my journey with you.
  • I’ve written more books, and have a story that is actually published.  You didn’t get to read it.
  • I’ve learned to cook so many things that you would have loved to eat.  My small one loves to cook too.  You never got to try them.
  • I’ve moved.  I live in a home that I love, in a place that I love and that you would have too.  You’ve never been in my home and I have no memories of you here.
  • My Honey Cuffs are helping kids.  You helped me make the first one, but you didn’t get to see the patent in my hands.  You didn’t get to hear all the people they have helped.  You missed this.
  • Art has  new job too.  He’s good at it.  I am proud of him.  We would have even more in common and something to talk about.  We can’t share this.
  • Your granddaughter can read now.  She dances lovely.  She loves to sing and is so sweet mom.  She would make you laugh.  She hasn’t got to hear your laughter in three whole years.

I haven’t got to hear your laughter in three whole years.  People say it gets easier.  People lie.  I have learned to adapt my life.  It’s just my life now, with a piece missing.  A mostly complete puzzle.  I notice the piece is missing. I imagine what is there and I put that forward, a whole puzzle to the world. That piece is still missing. I always miss you.  Some day’s it is easier than others.  But there are times, Mom, times when I want to scream. Times that I feel are just so hard that my soul seeps right out through my eyes.  Times when my heart misses you so much that it balls up in my chest and I realize in those times that life just isn’t fair.

Sometimes the hard times come when I am least expecting them.  Sometimes it’s when I am cleaning my house.  When I am dusting off your ashes.  Keeping them clean so that somehow in my heart I can feel like you are watching over me, over my kids, but sometimes it just feels too hard.  There shouldn’t be dust on you.  You should be here.  I am thankful I have that memorial in my home.  My most treasured place includes you, my mom.  But then I miss you, we circle, and I just feel like crying again.

It happens every time my sidekick makes a wish.  Pennies, stars, eyelashes, and candles. Every one is a wish for Mimi to come back.  Every single one ends in tears.  How can I teach about dreams and hopes when I always have to say, “try again”.  How can I say it’s a beautiful world when she remembers everything. She remembers you and she misses you.  We all miss you.

It happens when I smell something that reminds me of you. It happens when I read a good book that I want to share with you. It happens with I get worked up and angry over something someone said and I know you would have a reasonable suggestion for interpretation that isn’t evil.  It happens when I drive, when I used to call you.  It happens on the boat. It happens when I sing, dance, or play your guitar.  It happens when my kids do something awesome that I know you would have liked. It happens today, on your birthday, on mother’s day, on my birthday, and the whole Christmas season.  It happens all the time. I miss talking to you. I wish I could talk about you more.  People skip the subject, they don’t want to see me cry.  They don’t want me to be sad, but the reality is, I like to know others remember  you too. I need to talk about you.  Three years gone. Three.  Where have you been?  I still need my mom. You have missed so much and we miss you too.

I love you Mom.




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The (hi)Story of My Tattoo

I didn’t think I would ever have a tattoo.  The very thought scared me.  Once I planned to get one and pulled my sisters along for support only to leave the tattoo parlor without a tattoo while my support system each left with one.  I just wasn’t ready.

But then….my mom died and the thought of a tattoo in her honor started to make sense.

I am not sure what my hesitation was, maybe the fact that I was told my whole life that they were “wrong”, or maybe that I was worried I would be judged as a rebel or bad person, or maybe it was the permanency.  Probably all of that together.  Slowly though, my hesitation started to pass and I thought of a tattoo more and more and the fear of judgment less and less.


In my typical approach to most things in life I started to do my research.  Where did the idea of a tattoo really come from?  Why is it considered such a rebellious culture? Here is what I found.

Tattoos have been found on mummies over 8000 years old. The tattoos helped historians as they worked to identify where the mummy actually came from.  They were able to identify consistencies in the tattoos to place a specific mummy with a group of his own.  Even older there have been statues and even possible tattoo tools that point to an even earlier beginning.

The word Tattoo comes from 1776 Tahiti where islanders “painted” their bodies and returning English travelers brought the word and the permanent ink back with them.  The Art of Tattooing found itself in the Victorian High Society.

Tattooing continued through history, sometimes revered and at other times considered “risky” or “rebellious” behavior.  It continued strongly within travelers, researchers, and military as representations of where they had been, what they had done, and who they were.  Sailors often were tattooed with an anchor to represent their time at sea.  Crusaders were tattooed with a cross in order to ensure they were returned home and given a proper burial.  This was consistent with other warriors, fighters and travelers throughout time.

The negative history is also there too.  Although the Biblical reference is not originally for the tattoos as they are today-there are many dark stories.  Throughout history many groups have had tattoos forced upon them, most memorably Nazi Concentration camps.   The numbers were used as the identification for the wearer.  As negative as this history is, many survivors now wear their tattoos as a badge of honor and strength.  Family member descendents have even been noted to copy the number upon their own body as a show of support, strength , and honor.

The common thread through time is that tattoos show where a person belongs.


I know where I belong.  I feel it in my heart.  I know my family and my history.  I am now the mother of my own family that will continue to grow and move down the line.

I can hug my father, can hold his hand and feel that connection. The world can see where I come from as my father and I stand side by side.  But,  as I reach to the other side for my mother-I find myself flailing.  I needed that connection. It was for me.

My sisters and I made a plan.  We found the best tattoo artist,  and sent a few things over.  The necklace she had given us prior to her passing-angel wings.  The colors from a card she has sent that told us we mattered.  Most importantly, a copy of her writing saying “I love you, Mom.”  He placed them, perfectly on our shoulders and we now have this common mark.  A description of where we come from.  Of who we are.


If you ever consider a tattoo, I wouldn’t advise you to take the approach I did.  It really is just a  tattoo.  If you want one, do it.  If not, don’t.

As my Tattoo Artist said, “Every Tattoo is a story-a memory. Even the bad ones.”

I wish I had more memories with my mom-years more.  I miss her everyday.


That is my tattoo story.  Every one has one.  I am reminded of this more and more as I look at others and their stories upon their skin.

For you mom.  I love you too!

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The Caregiver

Someone very close to me is going through a very difficult time.  I am seeing things through a whole new perspective-through her.  As a mother, I am given such high regards for the position that I hold. Making a choice to be a “stay at home” mom or to be a full time working mom is most often supported, either way, in public settings.  As a mother, it is understood, when we need to take a sick day, either from work or from friends, to care for a little one who’s feeling under the weather.  It is also understood, when we need to take a break to accept a phone call from school or from the child themselves.  When we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders as we worry about what preschool our child should attend, or how we are going to make it home in time to make a healthy dinner, we are supported, understood, and often praised.  Even taking a moment in the middle of the day to break down in tears from the stress of it all-we are not judged.  For this I am happy.  However, there is another point in our lives, where this same support should still exist, but because of the times of transition, it just isn’t so.

This, is the end of life caregiver.  I am watching as this woman that I love, I will call her Dee, has learned that her mother’s time will be coming to an end on this earth (she is elderly, but I see the correlation with those who are terminally ill as well).  I have stepped up, to the best of my ability, to provide support and love, but I am finding that I am seeing such inadequacies prior to this time.  Dee often calls me, to check on how I am doing, how my children are, and is a sounding board when I am making decisions about their day to day care.  I did not, however, provide the same support to her.  Dee has been the primary care giver for her ailing mother for the past 10 years.  Every morning, her first task was to check on her mother’s well-being.  Not so different from daycare, Dee has been tasked to find and provide the best living environment, with the highest quality staff to watch and care for her.  Just as I, miss opportunities to go out with my friends for a late night dinner because my child is under the weather, she misses traveling to a talent show out of town, because her mother is ill. She is responsible for ensuring that there is food and nourishment, that she is clean, has the opportunity to shop and get her hair fixed and that her place of living is clean and safe.  See the similarity?

She doesn’t, however, get the support and cheers from the world about how amazing she is and she certainly does not get the support and understanding for the weight of the world that also resides on her shoulders.   She doesn’t get the support and understanding that she not only works full time, but is a full time caregiver and needs the same support.  She does not always get the calls of encouragement, or the checking in and sounding board, that I am now seeing she would need. After all, I need it in my caregiver status.  I am stepping in now.  I realize it now. I see it. So my only choice is to do what I can do now.

I am also looking at her situation, Dee as she loses her mommy, and I can’t help but think of my own.  Dee has been given a timeline.  An opportunity for her to say everything she wanted to say, an opportunity to say goodbye. I did not get this.  I have the guilt of things unsaid.  Does that mean that it’s better to know?  I am not so sure.  Dee is starting the grieving process all her own.  Yes her mother is still here, but she has her moments feeling this grief and reacts just the same as I did, when I lost my mom.  Maybe only weeks or months, but still, that is extra time of sadness that certainly affects her life.  It is even more challenging, as her mother is elderly and in these last moments, is not of sane mind.  So everything that she is saying to her mother, the most important things, her mother may not be getting.  These words are only for her.   I do hope they provide her comfort.  I am sure that somewhere her mother is hearing it, just as I am sure my mother does on the other side.

I am sending my support to those end of life caregivers in the world, especially my Dee.  What strength you have, what energy.  I am amazed by you and I hope to do better for those in the future who may need me.  I will call more, lend more support, and cheer them on as they walk the difficult journey.  Cheers..

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