What Matters


When I was tossing and turning in the middle of the night I managed to doze off and then there he was, standing in front of me was my grandfather.  He looked amazing, so healthy and well.  His skin was smooth and a glowing flesh tone.  He wore a navy blue button down shirt, short sleeved.  He had an easy smile, a peaceful facial expression and he came to tell me that none of my worries mattered.  I didn’t only hear this I actually felt it and I was so grateful to him for this message, so comforted to be with him in my dream.  When he gave me this message I had a vision of this life being made small into a little compartment that I could hold between my thumb and forefinger.  Inside of that little compartment was a lot of noise and chaos and from the outside it was just a small bubble.  Then he reached into his pocket and took out a crumpled zip lock bag.  He reached into the plastic baggie and took out a broken piece of white cracker like a piece of the ones that are given out at Holy Communion services in Christian churches, a broken piece of Eucharist.  My grandfather reached over and put that broken piece of a cracker into my mouth and I chewed down onto it and started crying in my dream until I woke myself up with real tears.  My grandfather passed away 17 years ago and I have not had a dream with him in it for many years.  When he was alive he always wore short sleeved button down shirts.  I miss him very much and I appreciated seeing him in a dream, for a few moments.


Love Rocks

Daily Prompt: Viral | The Daily Post


This daily prompt challenge is to write a piece for the New York Post that will be the first many will know of me. When my son is prompted to write something about himself he sarcastically writes “I like cheese” and it annoys teachers and family alike. But as I sit here to write something from my heart one of the first things that comes to mind is “I love rocks.” Maybe that is because I have been on our family vacation collecting rocks for days but when I’m not on vacation I also pick up rocks from beside the river, on a nature trail or just outside my front door. My husband gave me a pendant years ago that says “love rocks” referring to our love or a shared love but it also applies to me in the way that I do love rocks. The thought of these natural objects having been here for hundreds,
thousands or millions of years before us fascinates me to no end. All of the passing thoughts, plans or concerns that the average person keeps in their head seem to shrink when I reflect on the many years and circumstances it has taken any one of these rocks to become the size, shape or texture that it is today. As we live our lives and think that the things in them are so critical, countless facets of nature are just being and many of them will continue doing so long after we are gone, much like some of them were doing long before we arrived. How many families has the hearty tree behind the time-shared lake cabin seen? That sturdy, majestic tree sits behind the cabin’s kitchen door, right where every family loads their food in and out of the cabin and like the smooth sea rocks on the shore, it will be there weathering winters and summers after many families are no longer vacationing at the lake cabin, or are even alive. Feeling the bark on that tree makes me nostalgic and I think of the people who were here before me and also ponder on those who have yet to start their journey here. Like the tree at the cabin, the rounded rocks I pick up in different places remind me of the passing of time and our place in it as people. I rub the smooth surfaces of the rocks and in my heart I feel like a little girl who wonders what it is all about. And I love rocks. -smilingbug

Love and Tears of Joy


When I saw the Daily Post’s topic about being moved to tears my first thought was about my children (which I wrote about) and my second thought was the time I sat crying from joy while looking at people in love, vowing their love to one another. It was a two days after the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and I came across this link to photos of couples getting married in San Francisco.


I was not a kid who wanted to grow up and get married or be a wife. I did not clip out photos of wedding dresses or dream of being a bride. Yet if I watch “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC I will shed a tear at the end of every single episode, no matter how annoying the bride’s sister was nor how endless the premise of the dress search dragged on. Even after all of the typical reality TV ups and downs in the episode, TLC shows that bride coming down the aisle and her father grinning, her mother crying, her partner glowing, it’s all over for me: water works. If you click on the link and see the faces filled with love and devoting their lives to each other are you moved to tears? -smilingbug

(photo above is from the BuzzFeed article referred to in this post, link provided above)

Moved To Tears


The last time I was moved to tears was a few nights ago when my son said “I love you,” to my husband.  These unsolicited “I love you’s” are maybe one of the best sounds on earth.  I got one about a week ago while in the living room with my son and I gave him a bear hug, feeling like my heart would burst from joy.  The “I love you’s” come out of nowhere and when you least expect it.  When my son did it to my husband, they were watching late night TV together.  My husband was using the opportunity to relax after a long day of work and dinner time chores.  My son was thrilled to be hanging out with his Dad.  I was sitting at the kitchen bar, tending to something on my laptop.  The only noise in our home was the sound of Tree Fu Tom (a Sprouts show for kids) and then from down the hall I heard my son’s little, happy voice say “I love you Dad,” followed by a pause.  Then I heard my husband’s moved voice say “Aw thank you son, I love you, too.”  I know my husband had a lump in his throat as he responded and I instantly got a lump in my throat, too.  My eyes welled up with tears and I felt the full force of the beautiful love shared by parents and children.  Having older children I am fully aware of how this love goes through different phases, evolving differently with each child.  When was the last time you were moved to tears? -smilingbug

Missing Someone


A young woman passed away last weekend unexpectedly while having a wonderful day with her family on a nearby lake. I saw her photo in the paper and one of her family members was quoted as saying “We lost our little angel…God took her home at a early age and we will miss her dearly.” I have thought of that family often in these days, have layed in bed thinking of that young lady and her loved ones. In an accident that took a split second, a father lost his daughter and a brother lost his sister, so many lives were changed forever. I thought of their birthdays, weddings, vacations, everything that will come in that family’s lives and how they will be missing her. It’s often said “they are with us in spirit” and I relate to that but it does not make any of the pain go away. Today I sat to look ahead at summer plans with our family and something I have tried not to dwell on is there, staring at me and not letting me evade it any longer. This is the first summer we will visit family and a very special aunt will not be there. Thankfully she lived a long and blessed life but I had thought she would be with us much longer. When my father-in-law wrote me a card after her passing he said that she left some big foot prints. Some people are one of a kind. A while after she was gone someone in the family decided to give me a pair of earrings that I gave to her years ago while we were on a wonderful trip together. (A trip I almost did not take because of the expense, thankfully I went.) She loved those earrings and I don’t think I’m saying that because I gave them to her. They matched her favorite colors well and she wore them often. My heart is conflicted when I look of the earrings now. As we fret over our busy schedules, our full plates and overflowing in boxes, life is going by one day and one month and one year at a time. This aunt did not let life pass by, she picked up the phone, wrote the email, sent the card, made the plans. Plus she did this type of thing with all of her loved ones including dear friends, children of dear friends, long time colleagues, all people she cared for…and there were many of them. Her level of caring was remarkable and don’t get me started on her sharp and clever personality. I only wished I had known her my whole life, she was my aunt by marriage and not for long enough. Part of me doesn’t want to do any of the things we used to do with her because none of it will be the same without her. But life is not about digging your heels in the ground, it’s about acceptance. They say the deceased would want us to celebrate their lives instead of being sad when they leave. Of course she would want us to go to the beach, play at the lake, gather for dinner at sunset. Even if we are missing her silly faces, her perfectly dry sarcasm and how much she cared. I will miss her so much this summer. Last summer as I said good bye she said “Now that you’re leaving I don’t know what I’ll do with myself.” Then she said with a straight face, “I can’t go to lunch with anyone, all of my friends are dead.” I laughed at her and continued to laugh all the way to my gate at the airport. Life is for living, loving, laughing. Thankfully we have this day to live it, to write that note, make that call, smell the rain, watch the clouds, love, laugh. -smilingbug

Death: Part of life but so painful


“You always think you have more time” I told my mother in law.  “No,” she disagreed “not at our age, people have died much younger.”  So sad and undeniably part of being human.  My brother in law recently went through the pain of losing his younger brother, the hurt from that loss unimaginable.  A long time friend in the community passed away recently and it’s still shocking to think he isn’t here.  Death is such a definitive part of life and yet it’s so difficult to reconcile.  Since our aunt passed away last week we have been walking around numb and dazed.  Monday and all of the responsibilities of life called so here we are, pushing on as everyone says “she would want us to do,” and of course as we must.  My Mom said “she was called back to heaven to do other work there” and I think of her having no idea she was about to leave and wonder how that can be.  It is so heart wrenching that she will not be with us that I don’t even want to think about future family time without her.  I know she would want us to have those times, celebrate life and be happy.  Maybe missing her so much is selfish.  Meanwhile believing in our destiny and putting faith in what God has planned for us is everything, so why then does it hurt so much, why aren’t we programmed to have a resistance to this sadness and heartache.  The human condition, I guess, the lessons and growth and reasons we’re here.  My husband said “it’s all part of the journey” but it didn’t make me feel better either.  During the night when I toss and turn, each time waking up and thinking “it’s true, she is gone” I think of the Mom in town who lost her husband unexpectedly last year or the children who went to school at Sandy Hook in December.  So much pain yet such a real part of this life.  My sister says to focus on the beautiful blessings around us and of course this is true, and I am so grateful, but it doesn’t lessen the pain.  She wasn’t my aunt for my life time and yet an amazing, loving person can touch your heart so deeply.  I’m the first to say “appreciate each day” however, the loss weighs a million pounds and it’s on my shoulders, on my neck muscles, behind my sore eyes.  Thinking of the last phone call, the last email, the last letter, why did that have to be the last one, but of course I know the rational reasons.  “My dear—…We leave on Friday—…I wish all of you were going with us—… Much love.” -smilingbug