Missed Signals

Another sleepless night. My thoughts are with Dad and Mali.

We went to Dad’s home today. We picked up things that were our kids, pictures and things they made for him. We also picked out some things from his home as we have to have the house cleaned out by the end of the month.

It was a somber day. I watched my poor sister, devastated and still in shock, We lost Dad to cancer not even a week ago. I am helpless to asuage her grief.  I didn’t think he would pass on so quickly.  Nobody did.

I felt like a vulture going through his things. I would trade his things to have him back. Like our Mali.

I listen to his voicemails and I cry.

I don’t get how God can keep piling deaths on this family who seems to keep getting smaller and smaller.

Reflecting back on Mali’s death, I am going to share a thought that has been sitting in the back of my mind for sometime now. I think I have always known this.

Many people have said she was bullied. They didn’t know our Mals the way our family did. She was strong and would not tolerated that behavior. She would have called that out. She would have defended herself and spoke to either her Dad or me about it

What I do think was the straw that broke the camels back was her need to do well at everything she tried.

She was smart. She did well in school, she was a great debator, Ran track with all her strength. She played her violin with passion. Her softball skills continually improved. Giving of her compassion to help the less fortunate. All this plus trying to get awesome grades.

I repeatedly stressed the importance of staying close to the top of her class so she would get scholarships for college. I stressed the importance of having God in her life. She didn’t believe he was answering her prayers.  I didn’t want her to end up like me. On the 15 year plan for finishing college and finally getting a good job.  I made her life about myself.  For that I will never forgive myself.

She strove to excel at everything. She was already looking at Stanford for university.

The immense pressure she felt to do everything right pushed her over the edge. She felt like a failure.

I sit back and think about the note she left. She was sorry for being a failure at everything. Being perfect fueled her depression and anxiety.

Why did I not see this as a parent? I mistook her appearance as a hard charger. I forgot she was a kid.  A teenager, with many fears about life, her future.  Instead of being a comfort to her, I encouraged her thought process of perfection.

I am so ashamed of myself.  Instead of noticing the warning signs, I cheered her on.

Can I change any of this?  No, it’s too late  I have to suffer the consequences of my inaction.  By the time I realized there was a problem it was too late

It took almost a year to come to this.  I am thick in the head  I only hope that she will forgive my shortcomings as her Mom.

 

Death and a New Life

When Mali took her own life last April, the shock and finality of her actions sent waves of anguish over my entire family. Not just my family but our extended family.

She lived her whole life in 14 short years.  It still baffles me and can bring me to my knees in a flash.

My father in law passed away yesterday. He had been battling cancer for many years. He never referred to me as his daughter in law or I as my father in law  he was my Dad and I his daughter.  I will always be grateful for that.  The last 29 years he was my Dad.

Our entire family supported him through his time of struggle. Each family member reacting and responding to his impending death the best way they could. Some actively and others from a distance.

It reminds me that we are all human with our reactions to the dying. It doesn’t make us saints or terrible people who couldn’t actively participate to the way some may think is appropriate. Everyone grieves in their own way.

I was so privileged to spend his final night with him. He became unresponsive around 330 that afternoon. I got to speak to him on the phone about 20 minutes before he passed into the phase of active dying.

I watched old tv shows with him that night. I wiped away tears and kept his lips hydrated with my sisters chapstick. I talked to him. Sometimes begging him to open his eyes and talk to me one last time. I wiped his forehead with a cool towel

I prayed a lot of night.  I started saying the rosary, when his nurse came in to check on him and then pulled a chair up next to me, pulled her rosary beads out of her pocket and jumped right in to recite the 5 decades with me  I was so touched by this act.  She came back later and recited the divine chaplet of mercy with me.  We listened to classical music.  We listened to the two songs he wants played during his cremation.  I sang Ave Maria to him in Latin.  (sorry Dad if it was a horrible rendition) 😂😂😂

There is no way I can describe how being with him that last night than noneother than a privilege. He meant the world to me. I love him.

The one comfort I can draw from all of this is in my heart is I know he is with Mali now. It brings peace to me. He is with his family that proceeded him. What a great day in Heaven that is. Free of pain and with his loved ones.

Hug the people you love and tell them you love them every chance you get. Life is so short. 14 years or 77 years. It doesn’t matter about time. Only the love we have for one another. Don’t judge or put yourselves on false platforms.  Be kind to one another.  It all starts at home.  These are a few of things that Dad taught me.  How blessed am I?

 

11

As the 11 month approaches, looking back to the things that have happened since Mali left us have been downright hazy.

Reflecting on the last year has shown me that even in her absence I am still breathing. Autopilot is a real thing. It’s how I operate most days. Ambivalence, numbness, anguish have become a part of my vocabulary. So is hope, smiling and good days.

I cant seem to bring myself to sit in her bedroom. Untouched mostly from the day she left this world. It makes me melancholy and I don’t need help with that department.

Mostly I long for escape. Escape from this pain, from this house, from this city and everything that reminds me of her. This is naturally impossible while  she is always at the front of my mind. Trying  to push her away won’t solve my issues.

Life kept moving on. Mostly watching it as an onlooker and not particularly interested. This is probably not a good path either.  It’s safe though and doesn’t require much energy.

A close family member is fighting for their life. I am helpless to do anything but watch and try to comfort. I know what lies at the end of that path. I am terrified to go there.

I’m not sure what is worse, not getting to say the I love you’s and goodbyes or watching a close loved one suffer.

I don’t have the luxury of pondering that road at the moment. It’s fucked up that God doesn’t operate on my schedule. Instead he lays down more shit on my plate. I don’t think he realizes the plate holder is broken and out of superglue.

Spring is almost here. Robins have come back and have been cleaning the apples of last year off her tree. The green will be back soon and I am still here watching the wheels.

Apathy

There are times that I wish the Earth would stop turning on its axis.

I go through such emotion. They wax and wane like the moon. The joy in my heart even on bad days has disappeared. I think I have lost my faith.

How does that happen?  It’s a rhetorical question. It sneaks up on you tearing away at who you thought you were and leaves such a dark vast emptiness.

Even even in the darkness, I still hear many people.  They try so hard to coax me from the desolation that has shredded my family and faith. Yet even as I turn from God, his infinite mercy and love are still there. I can feel it.

Life is still happening. The lives of those that are so dear to me slip from me and I am powerless to stop that clock from ticking. Normal and abnormal life and death seem to pervade every crevise of my soul.

I am still here. I am still fighting. I am not weak.  Phrases I tell myself over and over.  A chant that keeps the key wound  in my own clockwork.

When there is one alone, [I say,] I am with him. Raise
the stone, and there you will find me; cleave the wood, and there
I am.” Gospel of St Thomas

In my heart I do know I am not alone.  The people I have been blessed with are here to guide me and to help me unravel the rubble I stand in.  I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

Acquiescence is not in my nature

Today is the 6th of January 2018. I have spent most of December and almost all of January in deep contemplation about my life.

What am I supposed to do now?  Who am I without children to take care of?  Was I really a good mother?  Where is this tide taking me?

These questions arise from a place I am not well aquatinted with.  I used to be confident and had clear direction on where my life is, where I came from and a general idea of where it is going.

I don’t think that person is complete gone. She just got souped and is trying to claw her way out.

Bits of her surface more and more, yet I remain slightly confused. Sometimes grief comes out of nowhere and bowls me over. Recovery from the grief is becoming easier.

The thing that really surprised me most about myself is how losing my precious Mali last April defined what I turned into. A grieving mother. So, focusing my attention solely on my own grief, I shutout everything else around me.

There is a spark however that is kindling in what used to be my heart. Almost as if Mali were telling me to get up and live. I feel guilty. Straight up. If I throw down my mourning would I be leaving her behind?  Who am I if not the bereaved mother?  Honestly I haven’t a clue.  What I do know is I am small part of this world and it did not stop turning just because I got pissed off at God for my misguided belief that He let that happen when He could have stopped it.  Pretty arrogant and petty of me.

The struggle to sort that out is hard. The answer lies inside of me. She is part of me and I am a part of her. She died. She will always be a part of me. The acceptance of her choice to complete suicide is starting to sink in. “I may not like it but I cannot change it”.  I stole that line from my ever patient Husband.

I read a passage out of the Gospel of Thomas. (The Vatican has decreed this Gospel as heresay so you won’t find it any Catholic Bible or doctrine) Therefore, I had to read it. (Rebel) It said, “Split a piece of wood and you will find me there.  Lift a stone and I am beneath the stone. The kingdom is inside you and around you”.  Something like that anyway. If Jesus really said that, it’s the most profound passage I have read in awhile. I am banking he said it.

So, long story short, I may not know where I am going but I am never alone.

Pax Vobiscum

Life Lessons on Grief

What have I learned as a result of my Mali’s death in April?  The simplest answer is nothing and more than I wanted to learn.

Primarily, I learned a lot about primal Celia. Operating on a very basic level with my day to day. Survival mode.

You have to eat.  Even if it’s something small. Most days I spend at least part of my day in a state of confusion and detachment. It’s exhausting and without eating something you can slip farther into the chasm you are already in. The conscious act of intake of nourishment forces me to be conscious of what I am doing, even for a little while.

Exercise. It takes you out of your brain. You again have to be semi cognitive to physically move for an extended period of time, chewing bubblegum and walking.  Walking until your feet ache and muscles you didn’t know you had hurt coupled with breathing makes you focus on something other than the fact you life is derailed.  Your former purpose has been chucked out the window like a tosspot.

Its ok to not be ok. Wearing a happy mask is lame. It doesn’t fool anyone and it’s exhausting. Asking for help sucks but it is also a reminder you are human.

Mind numbing activities such as excessive drinking only make it worse when you wake up the next day. The hangover is not worth the extra aggravation on top of you are still incredibly heartbroken and it hasn’t gone away.

Lean on your friends.  You know who loves you and will still be standing by your side while you rant, rave, curse, and cry.

Lean on the people who are walking the same road you find yourself on.  They are examples that you can live through the trauma of child loss.  The feelings I am having are not unique and someone has been there already.

Go to work and or establish a new routine. After Mali died, I moved to a different desk at work, changed the car I drive, cut my hair amongst the other things that no one really needs to hear about because face it. I am on the high side of 40 and boring.

There will be no more babies being made by my barren womb or lack thereof.  Responsibilities haven’t gone away.  We are drive by empty nesters.  The bills still have to be paid, eventually you have to go to the store.  Chore still need doing  Blah, Blah Blah ad nauseum.

I have no clue what life is going to deal out.  I honestly don’t care about the future of anything.  I am trying to just get by.  Maybe that will change with the New Year

 

 

 

Merry Christmas

Side note  I am a faithful practicing Catholic and my title was way out of order  I was referring to the materialism and secularism that has driven a wedge between love of Our Lord and the true meaning of Christmas  if I have offended anyone please excuse me.

Not sure if I have ever mentioned this mask thing I have going on sucks. That face you put on, fake smile, fake perky attitude is nothing but a huge fucking facade.

Christmas has been a test in how long I can hold that stupid fucking face. Knowing in my heart is the worst part. I know I’m being fake.  I can’t stand myself.

I tried very hard to show my children this year that life goes on and you can still be in awe of the holy season.  A person can function and go through the motions.  You can still be a family.

Unfortunately that missing person is the pink elephant in the room.   The emptiness and heaviness of our hearts is the loudest thing in the room.

So I raise a glass to you my sweet Mali. My duck. You will always be young and beautiful. I miss you so much I can’t even begin to put the words together. What I do know is that thin thread that tied you to me and me to you is still there. Someday it will lead me home to you.

 

 

Fog and The Things In It

We bought a Christmas wreath for Miss Mali. It sits on a stand by her niche in the mausoleum. I decided to decorate it. I put a few ornaments and a string of tiny LED lights. It’s the only decoration I have done for the holiday.

The wreath is already dry and crumbling. The needles drop to the floor with the slightest touch.

It reminded me of her short life, once vibrant and beautiful. Now, fading like the remnants of what was hers.  Her clothing and room no longer smell of her. The joy when she would enter a room is gone. I can’t hear her laughter anymore. She is fading.

Life is so short. Such a cliche. I suppose after 8 months moving on is the direction I should be going. I want to say I am in certain aspects. I seem to be at a crossroads. One foot in the past one in the present.

The world did not stop moving.

The season with its changes, the cold, the Advent, impending Christmas are overwhelming to me. I am merely a watcher. I am still waiting for her

Does a heart grow back after losing a child?  I am guessing the original grows a great amount of scar tissue. Rope like bands of cicatricial tissue that give very little stretch.

Reflecting on my own life leaves me at a crossroads as well.  My instinct is to run like hell.  Get as far away from this pain as I can.  Find a new life.

I am not sure what I am doing most days. I stand my ground.  I am fighting for my life now.  It’s a quiet fight.  The longing to follow her is not as loud as it was.  If I concentrate, I can breathe without despair.  The fog is still here however.  I hope the light I know and have faith in is on the other side of the tule.

 

Won’t Say Goodbye

I took a long walk on Ocean Beach in the Outer Sunset today. The churning waves of my blue pacific greeted me as she always does with cold water and a cold breeze.

Six months ago I sprinkled a small vial of my Mali’s ashes down at the foot of Taravel and the Great Highway.  Paddling her out to a soft part of the Pacific and letting that small part of her go.

It’s December now. I pay homage to the beauty and graceful soul she was. Collecting sand dollars that have washed up it hit me. That beautiful creature is gone. For a long while my heart breaks all over again.

That bitter cruel reality of her loss washed over me like the waves do. I can’t breathe.  For a moment the idea of slipping into the water and letting go of me crosses my mind.

All my hopes for the future with her are gone.  She is gone.  She is gone.  She is gone.

This last week has been spent reflecting on my life of the past and looking at the door to a future I really have no inclination of opening.  I know it’s there, that heavy door and I can accept that.  I am just not ready to open it and cross the threshold.

Mali, if you can hear me, I love you and I miss you.  This is a shitty hand and I am going to have to fold.  There are always other hands to be dealt, but, for now I am going to hang on to these cards and take you with me wherever I go.

 

Sunrises and Bucket Lists

I woke up this morning to a clear beautiful sky. The kind of sky where the night says goodbye to the rising sun. The gold yellow, pink, light blues of the sunrise briefly holding hands with the deeper blues and the last few stars of the night.

My thoughts are always with Mali. Watching a sunrise was on her spring bucket list that stays on my fridge as a reminder to live. Especially for her.

As we approach the 8 month mark I see how visibly I have changed. I am not so quick with my tongue (mostly). I am more quiet and introspective. I am quick to forgive. I am starting to feel hopeful.

Throughout this whole trauma of Mali completing suicide I thought I was just an empty shell. Even though my heart will never mend from her leaving us too soon, I find little things are starting to fill that shell. Service to others is a well that never runs dry

I am blessed.