There are good days  They are sporadic.  Bad days, a melted version of what was once me needs scraping off the floor, to be remolded into some semblance of once what was me. Good days I get out of bed, get to work and try to smile. That’s it.  Everything is bland and I notice very little around me.  At the very least, I am standing.  That is a victory.

The smell of her in her clothing, a song, the way the sky looks can totally wreck my day or make me grateful for the 14 years of pure love we shared.

She was the most gentle, compassionate person I ever knew, her love knew no boundaries.

I miss us.

A year and change has passed since we lost her.  We are buying a new home.  The process of preparing to leave the house she grew up in, laughed in, cried in and died in sucks.  A part of me feels like a traitor.

Every cupboard I clean out, the things I toss away remind me of her.  When I run across anything that was hers I set it aside.  I can’t bear to part with it.

I have not started on her rooms and closets  it’s too painful.  The future without her is painful.

Even though she left a letter for us, there will never be an explanation of why that wonderful creature is not here with us that I can accept.

So, here’s to an attempt to moving forward instead of standing in the quagmire that has swallowed us up.




Wakes and Funeral Masses

One year ago we were leaving the funeral home, post wake for our Mali, to prepare for her funeral Mass the next day.  I don’t remember that

Before the wake started I remember my sisters getting the funeral home ready for the wake. My children setting up photographs and a dvd.  My work family blowing up balloons to release during her wake service. So many balloons.  Hundreds.

I remember saying the Rosary led by Fr. Morgan. I remember the hundreds of peoples faces who came to her wake and hugging a lot of them. I remember Mali’s violin professor Stacey Sip and Lana playing violin and piano together but I don’t know what song it was. I remember Stacey weeping as she slid her bow across her violin.

I don’t remember how all these memories are tied together.  They were like flashes scattered in my brain

If Joe hadn’t taken pictures of the Funeral Mass I wouldn’t remember as much as I did of it. Ave Maria was being sung from the choir perch by a single voice. The homily given was so profound by Fr. Morgan I thought my heart would burst. The weeping of her class from O’Gorman HS on the Blessed Mother’s side of the Cathedral broke my already broken heart

I remember the casket to my left where my daughter lay and thinking how badly I wanted to crawl in there with her.

One year later the fog still settles in but I can breathe.

There are so many people who have walked into my life who have lost their children too. They have guided my path when the path was not obvious. My friends who carried me when I couldn’t walk.

Are things better now?  No is the only answer I have. I am trying to learn how to live without her and I hate every minute of it. I detest it. I want to wash it away like dirt from my hands.

God has plans for each of us. Learning to suffer with grace and not be bitter is a hard lesson and I have not passed that class yet. I have no idea what his plan is for me

I miss you Ducky. I don’t think the part of me that died with you is coming back. That’s fine with me as long as we’re together.



The bitter emptiness that pervades my innermost core is unbearable most days.

A routine of getting up, dressed and off to work can persuade me into putting down this veil of darkness into the world of faked happiness of productivity for at least 10 hours of a day.

I mostly just long to be happy. I cannot muster up the courage to fit through that door today.

Endless time spent putting on this  masquerade for the benefit of whom? My family, work, trying to be social. Why do I have to be so emotional?  Why can’t ice and metal replace this aching heart of mine?

I can ruminate endlessly about this state I am constantly in. I can’t tell how much of it is self inflicted or the weight of the burden I carry.



This is it. We’re standing on the precipice of one year without you beautiful face, that smile, your laughter.

I miss those giant brown eyes and that sharp sense of humor comparable to any salty sailor that ever rode those grey ships on the oceans.

It seems like yesterday you were sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting for me to come home. You bounding through the door straight to the fridge or pantry.  Your experiments all over the place in varying stages of completion.

I miss our Saturday’s together. Going to Mass together. Making up our own lyrics to music. Face diving into each other’s beds to crush each other.

I could go on and on about everything I love about you.

I could go on about the shattered heart, emptiness and ache. Sitting in a bedroom long deserted by its former occupant. Your things left just like they were the day you died. I think so much of me died with you.

Despair is my company now. Sometimes I wake up happy like before you died and then I remember you aren’t here and those shades of color dissipate.

I know now that I will never get over you. Thank you for the fourteen years we had together. Thank you for being my child. I loved being your Mama.  I will always love you. Everyday that passes is one day closer to being with you again.

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?



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.


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