June 27, 2012

the tragedy is not knowing


Images run through my mind.  Memories.  Words that replay in my head.   
Images... that are no longer part of my reality.  
Memories... with loved ones I'm no longer able to share.  
Words... I understood as promises that turned out to be illusions.

We all have them, to one extent or another.   It's what we do with them that determines how they shape us.

Lindsay*Jordan* said...  with Mom's death date just a couple of days ago, I can't forget about it. Every year I try to forget and ignore, but every year Parker wants to talk about her and everyone posts something about it on Facebook. It's not easy for me to move on. Everytime I think about her all those images just come running into my mind. It never gets any easier. Got any advice for that?

Lindsay, when your mother, my sister, died suddenly in a car crash, my world came crashing down with it.  It was like every memory of my childhood was erased (my sadness) and every hope for the future was stolen (your sadness).    

Even after all these years, I still NEED to call Stacey sometimes to brag on my kids or complain about my day or cry on her shoulder.  But in all fairness, I had her for 28 years.  God gave me closure with her the night before she died. (Did you know that?  Have we ever talked about that?)  I KNEW her, maybe better than anybody, and though I MISS HER terribly, as do your grandparents and your dad, we realize that you and your brother are the ones who suffered the true loss.  Remembering her is the toughest for you.  Parker was too little to remember, too little to understand - he just wants to know ABOUT her.  But YOU... Lin, I'm weeping as I write this because YOU were just old enough to remember the tragedy, just old enough to remember what life was like with her and then without her, but you weren't old enough to have KNOWN her, and THAT is the tragedy.

So what's been running through my mind for the last couple of days is:  You can't seem to forget her, but because you didn't REALLY know her, you can't seem to remember her either.  .  In a weird way, it's like your faith. (WHAT?)  If all you know about Jesus is that he was crucified, and the only time you make him part of your life is during communion when you focus on His death... well, eww.  How much impact does that have on you, except to make you feel sad and a little guilty?  Very little, I think.  It's in KNOWING who He is, in choosing to live the way He calls us to live that allows us to move past the "death scene" and into LIFE.

It's the same with your mom.  You can't just forget her.  Every time you look in the mirror, she's there.  Every time you talk to me, she's there.  Every time you go to Nana & Papa's house, she's there.  But all you see is the tragedy, because all you really remember is her death.   Yes, I know you and I have shared a lot of stories about her, but it's time to know WHO she was, to choose to live the way she wanted for you, to move past the "death scene" and be grateful for life.

I can't give you memories, but I can keep giving you stories, and I can share her heart with you and what she wanted for you.  (Incidentally, they're the same things I want for you too.  We'll let this unfold as it will.)  I hope you know how much you are loved and how much you have to look forward to... and how amazing I think YOU are.

For now, we live in a broken world, filled with every imaginable pain and suffering.  Children are thrown in dumpsters and left blinded and alone.  Young men die from brain tumors.  Young mothers are killed in car crashes.  Love breaks our heart and we are never the same again.   

And all I have to say is:  We have two choices.  We can LOSE hope or we can BE hope.  

About your mom:  She was crazy about kids.  Her favorite jobs and activities always included children, and all she ever wanted in life was to be a mom.  She was that little girl who played with dolls constantly and slept with 28 stuffed animals and babies.  She LOVED your dad.  LOVED him.  But you and your brother were her pride and joy.  I'm going to ask Papa to send you a book called "Jantzen's Gift" because it's an amazing story, and reading it will help you know your mom's heart a little more.  Love you, Lu. <3

June 25, 2012

all of your life advice...

"You have to write something. I gobble it up. You are my life inspiration. I plan on running my house and raising my children almost exactly like you.  (Deleting her comment about getting advice elsewhere.)  Meanwhile, Kacey and Kevin are two of the most amazing, well-rounded individuals I know. And even though you were on a budget and lived like the Amish, your house was my favorite place in the world. Still is. So in summary, write whatever you must, as long as I get all of my life advice..."

My precious niece, Lindsay, left this ridiculously "can't-possibly-live-up-to-her-expectations" comment on my last blog.  And while I can't argue about her description of my kids - they ARE amazing and well-rounded - the idea of getting all her life advice from me is daunting. 

For today, Lin, you get this life advice:  NEVER MAKE THE EASY CHOICE.

About anything. 

You know the episode of Seinfeld, where George decides his life sucks because he always makes bad decisions?  

George : It's not working, Jerry. It's just not working.

Jerry : What is it that isn't working?

George : Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but ... I was perceptive. I always know when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong.

Waitress : Tuna on toast, coleslaw, cup of coffee.

George : Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing's ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of tuna on toast! Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, with a side of potato salad ... and a cup of tea!

Elaine : Well, there's no telling what can happen from this.

Jerry : You know chicken salad is not the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of tuna, 'cause salmon swim against the current, and the tuna swim with it.

Yeah, this is kinda what I'm talking about, only without the coleslaw.

If you don't want to do it because it's too hard, that's exactly what you need to do.  Cook or grab take-out?  Cook.  Walk away from the new jeans or buy them on credit?  Walk away.  Watch tv or work out?  Work out.  Study for an A or wing it for a B?  Study.   Be comfortably introverted or walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself?  Make a friend.  Accept what's in front of you, or wait for what you know is right?  Wait.  For heaven's sake, wait. 

I'd love to be able to tell you that's what I've always done, but OBVIOUSLY it's not.  I have MUCH TOO OFTEN taken the easy road, sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of impatience, sometimes out of thinking it wouldn't matter in the long run.   I can tell you from more years of experience than I care to admit, I have always regretted those decisions.  But the times I have been intentional... the times I have been disciplined... the times I have thought through the consequences... THOSE are the times I can look back on and see the results and know I did the right thing.

Make the hard choice.  Yep, it's not usually the most fun, and it's often difficult.  Hence the words "HARD choice".  But today you'll have taught yourself a little discipline and tomorrow you will like yourself a little better.

Although I still don't make my bed, even though Mom required us to do so every day growing up.  I just don't get it.  Like Jim Gaffigan says, "It doesn't make sense.  It's like tying your shoes AFTER you take them off."   But even though I won't MAKE the bed today, it's Monday, which means I WILL wash the sheets today.  Even though I don't wanna.


June 14, 2012

here's to pushing

This blog, much like its author, is in transition.  I'm trying to decide what to do with it.  For the last 3 years, I've continued to TRY to find humor in everyday life, but I don't seem to think much is funny anymore, outside of my Facebook conversations.  

I've toyed with making this a Childbirth Blog or a Parenting Blog or even a Real Food Blog (though I'm not quite ready for that one yet), but everytime I start to write and I think, "Who am I to be writing about this?" and that causes me to put down my imaginary pen.  

So, back to transition.  In childbirth, transition is the most difficult part.  There's intense pain and inward-focusing and often screaming.  BUT, once it's over, you push out something wonderful.  Or at least something human.

Here's to pushing.