Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sunday was a tough day -- probably one of the worst days I have had since Mom died. I don't know why, but the grief was erupting inside me and I had to let it out. So, I drove down to the lake. And I wrote God a letter. Very slowly and intentionally I penned these simple words:

Please help me.
I miss her so much.
I hurt so badly.
I am lost but searching.
You spoke to me before.
Please speak to me again.
Help me to see.
Open my heart.
Guide my hand.

It was a bitter cold day. But the sun shone brightly through my car window. I allowed the sun to soak up my prayer and dry my tears. Then I drove home and cried some more.

Today is Tuesday. I had an eye appointment at Sears Optical and was a little excited about getting my first pair of glasses. As I was leaving the store, not thinking about anything in particular, God responded to Sunday's prayer in a most unexpected way. These were the words posted on the door:

Skeptics may see this as a mere coincidence. But, there is no doubt in my mind that this was a message from God. When God talks, she has a way of making her voice known. It is like being struck by a powerful wave of knowledge. You don't believe. You simply know.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cleaning out my office today, I found a list of all of the countries my mom visited. Her and I made this list one evening only a couple weeks before she passed. I am so very thankful that we did this.

Mexico 8X

Spain 6X
Peru 4X
Costa Rica 3-4X
Morocco 2-3X
England 2X
New Zealand

Though Mom loved to travel, I distinctly remember her telling me one day last winter, "A trip to Monkey Joes with grandkids is better than traveling anywhere in the world."

This picture was taken of my mom and I on our last trip to Spain in 2008.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Today is my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary. I really wanted to do something special to commemorate the day. But, things didn't turn out as I had planned. I submitted their anniversary information and wedding photo to the Kenosha News so that they could be included in the Sunday write up. But, because I mentioned that Mom had passed away, the Kenosha News called me and told me that they couldn't run it. That hurt more than I imagined.

Wesley Methodist Church is going to include a simple write up in the service program tomorrow. And, I am bringing flowers for the alter to commemorate the day. I am sure that will be lovely.

I am also going to give my dad Mom's journal entry from October 26, 2012 — their 49th Wedding Anniversary. I hope it will warm his heart to hear how much mom loves him.

Below is a picture of my mom and dad on their wedding day. I don't know what I did to deserve such wonderful parents. I love them with all my heart.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I celebrate you today and every day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Have you ever done something that you thought was a good idea at the time, only to find out later -- well, perhaps it wasn't? I suppose everyone has. I'd like to share a recent experience of mine.

As many of you know, my mom kept journals. These, of course, are sacred treasures to me. Although, I am not devouring them at the rate that I thought I would. It is simply more painful than I thought it would be right now. Anyway, I did read my mom's last journal -- the one that started in December of 2012 (right before she learned of the cancer) and ended only weeks before she passed.

I decided that I was going to read this journal backwards. I figured that it would be too difficult for me to relive the last year of mom's life in linear fashion, with the cancer progressing. I thought it would be easier and more comforting to me to make the trip backwards -- starting with the cancer at its worse and ending with her being cancer free (or at least unaware of its presence). I was wrong. It turns out, mom seemed more at peace in the final months of her life, even as she knew her death was approaching.

I would like to share with you one of her entries. She wrote this less than two weeks after we learned the cancer had metastasized to her brain. At this time, her mobility was very limited. She needed a walker to go even short distances. But, she was determined to get her exercise in! (I know that she wouldn't mind me sharing this, as she had also written in her journal that she wants to continue talking to everyone, even after she dies.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Everyday is a gift. Some gifts are "better" than others. Today came with a gray wrapper - RAIN and CLOUDS. If I had judged gifts from my mom by the wrapper, I would never have opened them. She put things in brown paper bags and stapled them shut. Christmas, too! Inside were always beautiful, hand-made things. LESSON: Open the gray day and see what's inside. As soon as I finish my tuna-on-toast breakfast, I'm going for walks in the hall.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I will not be participating in the Relay for Life this year. There is a part of me that wants to apologize for this. But, if you could call me on the phone, I know what you would tell me.

You would say,

"Kerry, you can do the Relay for Life another year. Right now, you just need to take care of yourself. Please, you have been through so much in the last couple years. Just get a good night rest, pack your things tomorrow, and get ready for going to the cabin. Go and have a fun. And, when you walk down Camp Highland Road, think of me. I will be with you."

There may not be a luminary with your name on in at the Relay for Life this year, Mom. But, a light like yours will never burn out. I carry it with me, always.



Friday, July 19, 2013

Before Conrad started Kindergarten, I worked at home every Thursday and Friday. It was a very special time for me. Not only was I able to enjoy my career, but I could be with my little guy at the same time. Every Friday evening, after my "grueling day at the office" my mom would stop by to pick us up. We would go out to eat somewhere simple, like Arby's. Then, SHOPPING!!!
This summer my employer has been very generous, allowing me to work at home on Fridays. It is a joy to work in my home office and hear Conrad's playful chattering in the background. My dogs lazing at my feet. My cats nosing around, too. Then, I hear the side door rattle and eventually open. (It has a tendency to stick.) The dogs bark. And, for a few seconds my mom is there.

Her shoes clunk against the wood floor. There is breathful exasperation. (She always hated how that door sticks.) Then she sings-songs her "hellloooo!" It is my mom. She has come home! She is standing in the doorway -- "Puppers" and "Mogli" running to greet her. She never sits. She just stands there patiently waiting -- cooing to the dogs. Examining the latest and greatest contraption that Conrad presents her with.

And then, as quickly as she came, she is gone. And I sit and I cry -- longing for what will never be again.

People tell me memories are wonderful. They say they will bring me peace and happiness. 

But, right now, I don't feel it. I only feel the loneliness of an empty doorway.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No one ever told me grief would be like this.

No one ever told me that...

The first thought I would have upon waking is, "My mom is not here."

The last thought I would have before sleeping is, "My mom is not here."

I would see the sun, but not feel it.

I would hear the laughter, but not embrace it.

The sound of your voice is what I would miss most.

The silence would sting so badly.

Nothing would matter.

Life would lose its purpose.

Time would not heal the pain.

The things I once loved would no longer be mine.

I would die too.