Family Picture = LOVE #SOL22 #Day 23

I don’t remember exactly when we took this picture but look at the joy on our faces. I think we are at Logan’s and mom absolutely loved going there. We often celebrated birthday’s there. I wish I would have written the memories down – to remember the moments more clearly. Yet, it’s okay – because I can see the love in this picture. The happiness. The connection. And that is what matters. Family.

Halloween #SOL22 #Day22

Dear Older Sister,

Do you remember how mom loved Halloween? Not just Halloween but all the holidays. Yet, she so loved seeing the kids get dressed up (and us when we were younger) and go trick-or-treating. She loved to dress up to – she didn’t do it every year but most years.

Do you remember when we were really young, and she made the huge kettle of spaghetti and acted as though it was brains as we and our friends placed our hands in there blind folded.

Do you remember bobbing for apples at that same celebration?

Do you remember all of the decorations mom would put up and if she couldn’t find them she would ask us to take her to buy more?

Do you remember the smiles, the laughter, the scares, the fun?

I do. I remember so much and so glad I have you, sister, to remember all the things about mom together. Her absence has brought us closer.


Your Younger Sister

Traveling Memory Lane #SOL #Day21

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Being back in Columbia Kentucky for my uncle’s funeral has brought back so many great memories. Driving on what used to be gravel roads and reminiscing about our childhood visits to this place that I once thought I’d move to when I grew older.

This place is small but beautiful. My grandma Ebilene lived in the country on Wheet road – yes the road named after our family. Don’t ask about why most of our family spells it Wheet and we spell it Wheat. I think my dad just changed it – a story to find out more about later.

The pictures of my uncle also stirred up great memories inside of me. Oh how we loved to visit.

Walking down the street with no one in sight and cruising from the square to the Speedway gas station was what we did for fun. Well that, and then eat – always lots of food – Everyone loved to cook a good meal and visitors meant even a BIGGER meal.

Mom so loved coming down here to see her family and my dad’s family. Though my dad and her were divorced, they always welcomed her with open arms and loved her dearly. She found peace when she would visit and though those visits lessened she would talk about her sister (who has also passed) and our cousins and everyone else.

This morning as I was thinking of mom I looked over at my dad and he was eating M&Ms. I had to laugh and realize no wonder us girls love our sweets. Mom would have a milky way in the morning with a diet coke and dad, well, M&Ms. It made me smile as I thought about the favorite sweets my grandma would make – her famous butterfinger cake and oh, how my half sister loved the cake with the pink icing. Sweets are a thing in our family and I’ve had to learn to put control measures in place- I only do sweets for breakfast on special occasions 🙂

Going down memory lane has brought me joy yesterday and today. Not looking forward to another funeral in such a short amount of time but holding my loved ones close to me right now, in this moment, and every moment.

Spring #SOL22 #Day20

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Spring is such a beautiful time of the year. As I sit here, listening to the key strike of my writing, I hear the birds chirping in the background, serving as my music this morning. The sound of these amazing creatures bring hope and newness – signaling that the winter is almost over. The cycle of life brings both beauty and sadness to this world.

Mom always loved the spring. She looked forward to being able to pot her geraniums outside on the front porch – but not too soon because you knew there would be a frost still – let’s be real – it’s Indiana.

She would anticipate sitting outside more in her fold up chair with her coffee, early mornings, just enjoying the weather.

She loved listening to and looking at the birds (but don’t let them come near her because that she did not like). Her favorite bird, the hummingbird brought her joy. I remember how much she loved her time at the nature center at Holliday Park – watching the birds and spotting hummingbirds. I had planned on taking her this past year but life got busy. I wish I would have slowed down and made that happen.

She loved to celebrate – Easter, my sister’s birthday, and Mother’s day – all in the spring.

She was excited to be able to grill out and enjoy hamburgers and hotdogs. Oh- and macaroni and cheese – not on the grill of course!

Spring brought her such joy and as I sit here I have a new appreciation for it myself. I relax inside my house on this chilly morning thinking about all that I have to be thankful for and all there is to look forward to with spring. I sit here, feeling the thoughts my mom would have had if she were with me right now at this moment. I sit here loving spring just a little more than I used to love it knowing that all the newness will bring joy during a particular rough time in our families life. Rough times are inevitable. It is the cycle of life. So how we greet those rough times is what matters – how we say hello to the part of life that hurts the most recognizing there is still more life to live and more love to give.

Another lost loved one… #SOL22 #Day19

My Uncle and Aunt

Yesterday, was 5 weeks since mom passed.

Yesterday, I found out my Uncle Condy passed.

In June 2020 our Aunty Betty, my mother’s sister and wife of my uncle passed.

How we used to love to go visit Columbia KY when we were little.

We’d eat the freshly slaughtered bacon, play slapjack, get our hair done, and laugh and talked forever – our aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins.

We’d go to the little store for cheese and bologna.

We loved being together.

Time came between us and we eventually stopped visiting as much as we used to do.

The last time my mom, sister, and I were there was for Aunt Betty’s viewing. Monterry, my husband, joined us. I had so much fun sharing stories about Columbia KY.

And now I find myself again, gearing up for a quick trip and wishing my mom were with me. She was the first person I wanted to call when I found out about my uncle.

Then I thought, I don’t need to call her because her, Aunt Betty and Uncle Condy are laughing up in Heaven living a beautiful life, without pain, looking down on us.

Love you all and love the memories that we had. Family.

Our trip together #SOL22 #Day18

Do you remember when you flew on the plane the first time (and the only time)? We were on our way to Disney World. I had won a trip through a contest that Channel 4 had and we went – for free! It was my first time to ever fly but not my last – I have flown a lot since then but you didn’t.

I don’t remember a ton about the trip but I do remember us being there together. I remember the rides vaguely (you loved the teacups), yet the memory that stands out the most was the breakfast we had with the Disney characters and they signed an autograph book that I had.

You were having so much fun and you took pictures of me with the characters. I was in 6th grade – probably too old to be loving it but I did and I knew you did so it made it all that more special.

We spent time together and you did everything for me on that trip. I hope we find the pictures and they help me remember that trip even more.

Oh how our memory fades but love becomes stronger with time.

Love you so much #SOL22 #DAY17

Sometimes I wonder if I shared with my mom enough just how much I loved her. I used to see her a lot but when my job changed and I started driving every day for my job I stopped going to Franklin as much as I used to go. She would text me and ask if I was coming down that weekend and I loved when I could say yes and I always felt badly when I would say no. She would always say I’d love to see you but I understand.

I hope the last few times I went down she could feel the love – shopping after Thanksgiving, Buffalo Wild wings, Greek’s Pizzeria, Hobby Lobby, Noble Romans, PET scan at the hospital, El Pueblos and the hospital room. I hope that my love shined through how tired and worn out I was when I visited.

I hope she felt the love. I know she felt the love. I could have said it more and have learned to say it more to those I love who are living now. Saying I love you is one gesture but showing I love you is what is most important. Both are necessary.

Love you mom.

Feeling close to you today #SOL22 #Day15

Today a friend shared that her dad had passed. My heart ached having recently lost my mom and the waterfall of tears just started to stream. Little things will make me cry, but this news was like I had been struck by lightning again – a jolt of emotions moving through my body just thinking of my dear friend and the heartache she was experiencing.

I had no words at all – just love to give. Her news hasn’t left my mind all day and yet her news made me feel closer to my mom in heaven. I imagined her being with me as I heard the news and she gave me a hug. I vividly saw her riding with me on my scooter at work (yes, scooter – me and my broken foot). I pictured her on the front of my basket as we glided around the corner – thankful I couldn’t go fast enough to use the breaks. I saw her in the front row as I presented to the board tonight. Then, when I got home and had my “driving shoe” that would stabilize my foot so I could drive – she was with me in the passenger seat as I drove in the neighborhood to make sure I felt comfortable to drive to work tomorrow. She was with me every step of the way.

I know what it means to not have a loved one but that loved one still is with you. Her love in my heart and her image in my head. My advice to my friend will be to let every memory flow in and out. Let it hurt. Let it be sad. Be okay with how you feel and recognize that her dad is with her – in her heart and mind. Hold on to those memories and write… write as much as you can so the good, the bad, and the ugly can go down in history and be there for you to revisit time and time again.

My day with my mom was beautiful – I know she was smiling and enjoying the ride.

Mommy, I was wrong – keep working #SOL22 #Day14

Mom worked at Cub Care up until a week before she earned her wings to Heaven. That week before when I was talking to her on the phone, she shared that she was tired. I suggested she not go to work. “You aren’t feeling well, just stay home and rest.”

She said, “I’m fine, I love being there and they let me sit most of the time.” I smiled at the fact that they loved her so much they let her work and sit and contribute.

“Okay mom but if you get to a point where you aren’t feeling like it, remember your rest is important.”

She eventually did decide to not work right before she passed. My mom was 81 and rarely ever called in sick. She would miss work if there wasn’t something important for us kids, but, based on what I know always showed up.

As far back as I can remember my mom worked hard. When she was a stay at home mom (pre-divorce) she worked hard to do everything for Allison and I. When she had nothing at all (post-divorce) she worked to find something to do. She iced cakes at Dairy Queen (and she was darn good at it). She worked part time at Marsh. She was an Instructional Assistant at Northwood and eventually also added an after school program: ACE (eventually called Cub Care) to her work. She didn’t love being social but she loved being around the kids and made some really good friends at Northwood.

I am so glad right now to say I was wrong mom (and you know that I didn’t like to be wrong when we would argue). I was wrong to ask you to retire from Cub Care when you retired from being an IA. I was wrong to keep nudging you for all those years. I always thought you would love to have control of your schedule but reality is that you loved it so much you were worried what life would be like without the schedule. And that is okay. I’m telling you now as you watch me from Heaven that I finally get it. I get why you kept working. Mama that was a huge part of who you were and that part of you lives within me as I continue to work hard at a place I love. Thank you.