We used to nickname her pumpkin when she was younger

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

From the time Alysia was born to about the second year I worked in retail, I always prayed for a white Christmas.  Before retail had ruined me for Christmas, I wanted so badly the quintessential Norman Rockwell Christmas.  I wanted the scene to be like Thomas Kinkade's Christmas paintings with snow covered trees, skaters on a pond, warm glowing light streaming from the windows of a cottage in the middle of a quaint town setting.  For weeks I would obsessively check the weather network to see what the forecast was going to be for the week of Christmas.  I would get so mad if it was rain or fog and would get excited if I saw snowflakes.  I recall maybe 2 or 3 Christmases with snow in the past 20 years.  Maybe there were more while I worked in retail but by that point I hated Christmas so much I probably didn't notice.

The few weeks leading up to Christmas this year were horrible.  The anticipation of spending Christmas without Alysia caused me so much sadness, plus there was so much other drama, on top of the grieving process, it was so hard to cope.  I cried often at home, broke down at work a few times and had panic attacks in stores when trying to shop for Christmas.

One day I was at Superstore on Tuesday (student discount day) trying to get supplies for baking.  It was crowded with students and regular shoppers, the baking supplies were wiped out, and Christmas music was blaring.  I was feeling tears building up behind my eyes and that sensation started a panic attack and anger, so I left without most of what I needed and hopped on my bike to go home.  I was so angry and sad I didn't care if I got hit by a car on my bike.  I rode past three "sketchy" looking young men on Brunswick street and thought to myself I didn't care if one of them would jump me and kill me.  I just didn't care.  I wanted Christmas and the drama and the grieving to disappear.  As I rode past these guys, the middle one lifted an arm in my direction and...waved and said "Merry Christmas!" to me.  I said "to you too!" and I laughed at myself and I was angry and I was sad all at the same time.

I assumed these guys were bad and maybe they were any other time but this guy meant his Christmas greeting.  It wasn't sarcastic, it was genuine. The other two guys looked at him confused then looked at me with indifference.  It seemed out of character for him, if the other two guys body language told me right.  I laughed at myself for being so bitter, I laughed at God for pointing out how bitter I was.  I wondered if God touched this guy's heart to do this. I said to God "OK OK I got it." I walked in the door of the apartment and cried on Katie's shoulder for over an hour.

Christmas eve Katie, my mother and I went to Alysia's gravesite to put a wreath for her. It was freezing up there and we were standing in snow so I felt rushed to leave.  I felt horrible that I couldn't truly connect with my grief of Alysia not being with us for Christmas because I was constantly pulled in directions that weren't going towards her. Family drama and the general busy-ness of Christmas kept me away from her.

Christmas day we opened our gifts and then I started to get Christmas dinner ready...again no time for grieving, things needed to get done.  During Christmas dinner I sat  at one point while strained conversation was going on around me and looked out the window onto Brunswick St.  The curtains to our huge windows were open and I wondered when the poor people of the neighborhood walked by, would they feel sad and angry because they weren't sitting around a table of good food and family like what it looked like we were doing in our place.  From the outside, our little gathering would seem so "Norman Rockwell" like.  The Victorian windows, the beautiful tree with the pretty lights would look so "Thomas Kinkade" like.  They wouldn't know about us having lost our daughter-granddaughter, they wouldn't know about the drama. It goes to show how outer appearances are deceiving.

I then thought how I hadn't had time to really feel the absence of my daughter, my beautiful Alysia.  I started to get sad while gazing out the window and then I saw snow flakes coming down so gently, so beautifully.  I felt I was being embraced by Alysia, by God.  I felt like Alysia was giving me a gift of snow I wanted so badly for years upon years. For 5 seconds I was with Alysia and God in a complete state of peace and joy and then I was pulled back to the dinner table.

Today I wrote Alysia a nice long letter in my journal.  I was finally able to connect with her for longer than 5 seconds at a time.  Oddly enough I didn't find myself crying but found myself wishing her a beautiful day and found myself feeling strength and determination to get through the New Year. Things are changing around me and in me. I am a different person now. I have my bitter moments but I refuse to be a bitter character in general. In order to do this I need to weed out some of the negative influences in my life, this is my new year resolution. 

It is sad that Alysia's facebook only has 2 Christmas greetings, one from me and one from Katie.  I know people have been busy.  I've been busy.  It's sad though that this happens. Her dad is not on facebook anymore and Josh was away so I know they couldn't post on her wall. Part of my New Year's resolution to weed out negative things is to not do a Christmas like this next year.  Next year I will be going away, either to Ontario with Katie if we can afford it or just going away somewhere quiet...just Katie and I and Alysia's spirit.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blue balls of light

I realized I haven't written in my blog for a couple of weeks now...honestly it's because I just haven't been feeling myself with Christmas creeping up.  This weekend we are setting up the tree and stuff and I know this will be hard.  It's something I have to do though.  I have to face this Christmas season head on.  I will update my blog about this I'm sure.

I wanted to write about something completely spiritual though today because well...I guess I am being guided to do this.  Who out there believe in angels?  I would love to hear comments about this.  Who out there believe in the archangels?

I have always been attracted to the other realm.  I believe in angels, archangels, faeries, demons and other beings that live in other planes.  I believe we have the ability to cross over these realms with our souls.  The dream scape is a portal as well as during meditation or in states of being where we are relaxed or even scared.  I take my dreams very seriously, some dreams are just regurgitation from the brain but some are our souls connecting to the spiritual realm.  I've had a few dreams of Alysia and there have been messages in those dreams but unfortunately more often than not my dreams have simply been regurgitation dreams since she passed away.  Chaotic nonsense dreams... which even those have a meaning considering my brain is trying to process so much.

I consider myself spiritual, intuitive, empathic, connected to the other realm of beings, connected to the big picture, the universe, God.  My mind and heart are open to these things.  When Alysia first passed away, I saw her in so many ways, she was in crows, in ravens, in a butterfly, a lady bug, a caterpillar, in the sudden wind gust, in my dreams and then she disappeared...gone.  My heart ached and ached for her, I rarely received signs of her but then suddenly I am surrounded by blue balls of light, most of the time, everywhere...  At work, in the shower, at night, in the day.  The day after Alysia passed away, I was looking at her dad, Tomi as we were getting in his car and hovering right in front of his heart was a huge blue ball of light.  At the time I thought it was Alysia but now I wonder if it wasn't his mom.

I believe just after Alysia passed away she could play in the realm of this world and she did.  She came to us in signs through nature because she knew all of us left behind loved nature as she did (animals in particular for her) and knew we would connect to that. But now, she has backed off connecting to us this way in order for us to heal, to accept our loss.

I believe the energy of the departed soul "purifies" as it sheds it's earthly limitations (experiences, emotions, thoughts, etc) and enters into a state of pure love and light.  I believe these blue balls of light are her, Carol and my father. 

I've read that blue lights signify the presence of angels and the particularly strong and big blue ones are the Archangel Michael. I believe there are different levels of love and light in other realms as life is constantly evolving which would explain why some angels carry more love and light capacity than others. Oddly enough Archangel Michael has been mentioned a lot to me recently particularly through Alysia's friend who has a strong attachment to the archangel Michael and who also did a reading for me with Archangel cards.

I had an interesting experience the other day...but first I must tell of something that happened a month or so ago...I was at work at the circulation desk and across from me at the reference desk was a girl seated in a chair asking the reference staff a long question.  This girl looked exactly like Alysia from the side, same hair color, hair style, build, height (which is unusual since Alysia barely hit 5').  I couldn't help stare at her.  It was embarrassing.  I was worried she would look over at me and see me staring at her.  When she finally left I saw her face-on and she didn't look as much like Alysia and that relieved me somehow.  However that whole experience upset me for the rest of the day.

Last week I was going up to the third floor of the library and a girl was coming out. She saw me coming up the stairs and decided to wait and hold the door for me, even though I was at the bottom of the flight of stairs! I thought to myself how unusually polite that was and when I got to the top I said thank you to her. She just looked at me and smirked and went her merry way.  It wasn't until I passed her, seeing her profile, did I realize that it was the girl that I was staring at a month or so ago at the reference desk.  I knew right then that somehow Alysia in her current state (angel) whispered in that girl's mind..."just hold open the door for this lady, just wait for her" and the fact that the girl didn't say "you're welcome" but just smirked, convinced me it she was under Alysia's influence because Alysia is infamous for her little smirk.  At the time it floored me, it made me so happy.  That girl probably left thinking "wtf? why did I hold the door sooo long for her?"

Alysia is an angel now, Alysia is in those blue lights I see.  I have an entourage of angels both "ordinary" ones like Alysia and Carol and my father and the extraordinary ones like Archangel Michael.  I've read things like blue lights are a sign of deteriorating vision (mine has stabilized over the past couple of years) and some have said they are due to trauma to the eye (never happened and have had my eyes checked by a specialist recently due to a brown blob in my vision, specialist said "nothing wrong with your eyes").  So you know what? I'm going with my heart and believing those blue lights are from the angelic world.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy 21st Birthday my beautiful girl.

This picture was taken on her 19th birthday.  By the time she got to blow out her candles we had already started to eat her cake :)
21 years ago...  
To this day I woke up at 6am and was in labor with you.  You were born on your due date exactly at 12:00pm . It’s as if you were on an agenda.  “I will be born when I’m due exactly in the middle of that day. I have things to accomplish. I don’t have much time.”

I never held a baby in my life before you, you were so beautiful, so round, with lots of hair.  The nurse said I gave birth to an Eskimo, your hair was so dark and long and thick. You had a set of lungs on you that even made the nurse run to me in the middle of the night with you. “Take her!” she said “she’s keeping the other babies awake in the nursery!” and left me there with you screaming in my arms.  It didn’t surprise me when you were in a “Screamer Band” in your teens.  

I was so inexperienced as a mother but I vowed to always do the best I could. I watched you have your first belly laugh over nothing, I watched your teeth come in, I watched you walk at nine months, I listened to your full, well spoken stories by the time you were two, I watched you figure out reading at the age of two.  You were so precocious in so many ways.  You had things to accomplish. You didn’t have much time.

I watched you as you thought deeply over events in life. I watched you cry over hurt animals. I watched you stand up for the underdogs of the world. I watched your intelligence and sensitivity take over your emotions. 
I hugged you, I kissed you, I play-wrestled with you, I played jokes on you and once in a while I yelled at you.  We rarely fought, we were so close.  I watched you go through your teenage years in amazement as to how much more stable you were than I ever had hoped to be when I was a teenager.  

I watched you become obsessed with your passions. I watched you pinch your pennies. I watched you cry over boyfriends. I watched you become a beautiful young woman.  I watched you have dreams for your future in science. I watched you struggle with being an adult. I watched you as you lay in your coffin.  I watched you as they closed the coffin over you. I felt my heart shrivel.

Now it’s your turn to watch me. You watch me cry over you and all of my losses.  You watch me laugh at silly animal videos. You watch me as I read and get inspired for my goals for my future. You watch me struggle with living without you. Maybe you chose this short life before you were born so you could watch over me in my second half of my life. From this earthly perspective it just doesn't seem right that a child should watch over her parents. However, where you are now there are no such rules of time or order; there is just love.  Where you are now you embody complete love and light and can't help but watch over me because we are forever connected through mother-daughter bond and love.

Happy 21st birthday, my beautiful daughter, my beautiful Pumpkin. I miss you so much no words can describe.  You spent almost 21 years on this planet being my daughter and I am grateful for having that time with you.  I would rather have lost you than not to have experienced you at all but I would much rather have had you longer as my daughter than to have experienced this loss.

I send you hugs and kisses. I send you my motherly love that will never ever ever die. I miss you.

Xoxo Mom <3

Monday, November 7, 2011

What was that sound?

I remember the first time I laughed after Alysia passed away, the sound of my laughter startled me.  Did that come from me?  It seemed so far away from where my head and heart was that it belonged to someone else.  It was the strangest sensation.  For weeks that was how my laughter felt. At first I couldn't comprehend how one iota of me could find humor in anything and yet here was my body laughing at something.  How bizarre that is when you feel so disconnected from your body.

Over time when I would laugh or even have a good moment it no longer startled me, the disconnect was beginning to reconnect.  My mind and heart were also feeling the laughter and the good moment but then I would feel tremendous guilt.  What right did I have to laugh or have a good moment when Alysia could no longer feel those moments?  What right did I have to have a brief moment of happiness when I lost my only child?  What sort of twisted mother would ever find happiness under these circumstances?  Did I not have a heart?  Am I that cold that I could find a good moment, a good thought, a good feeling within these circumstances? Oh my God, did that good moment mean I am forgetting about her? Or I am squashing the grieving out of selfishness to wanting to be happy? Then the heaviness would set in, the mourning, the fear and the tears would come back.

After a while I would equate happiness with heaviness.  After going back and forth from happiness to guilt to sadness, eventually the feeling of happiness automatically came with sadness and guilt.  There was no processing between the two. So when a good moment was happening I would constantly feel a cloud of heaviness on my heart and a feeling of fear that I was forgetting Alysia and a feeling of guilt because I didn't deserve to be happy since the worst possible thing was happening to me and the family.

As I write this blog, I am having a strong moment, in fact I have had a fairly strong week and I write what follows knowing full well I could slip back at anytime.  They say time heals all wounds, and they also say that grief is a wound that people don't want to heal because it is the grieving person's way of feeling connected to their loved one who passed away.  So how does one balance this constant tug of war on the wound? The healing that automatically happens with time, the healing done divinely on it's own.  Just as a physical wound heals without our conscious thought so does a grieving wound, unless of course we keep reopening that wound because we are afraid to see it heal. Unless we keep reopening the wound with our conscious thought.

Once at dusk I was feeling that sadness creep up on me and quite frankly I was sick of it but knew I had to let it run it's course like I do everyday this happens to me but a little voice in my heart said to me "You have a choice, you can choose to let this carve a path in your psyche that every dusk is a scary time or you can choose happiness." Ha! Easier said then done...BUT I vowed to at least try, to at least trust that little voice and so I began changing behavior patterns...replacing some mourning rituals I developed with new behaviors.  It doesn't always work.

However, this past week I've felt a shift.  I hear myself laugh and it feels like it's coming from me! Oh and what's this? I am feeling happiness without the heavy guilt and sadness? I am beginning to feel more like me again. Again, I stress this is a good week, next week who knows? It doesn't matter right now because right now I am feeling happiness, I am actually looking to the future with hope.  Grieving is not linear, it's back and forth, up and down, inside out, outside in, it's forward in time and backward in time.  Each of those moments are real.

It is a relief to know that I can feel happy and feel hope without forgetting Alysia.  I still cried this past week but they weren't those heavy despair tears.  I still miss Alysia but that feeling isn't accompanied with wanting to not go on.  Somehow the swinging of the emotional pendulum is coming to a middle point where I can be happy and hopeful and still be connected to Alysia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is it Strength, Denial or Hypocrisy?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
Eleanor Roosevelt
I have received many messages in my inbox since I started writing this blog.  So many of you have written me to say how you admire my strength.  I have had people say I inspire them. I have had others tell me I inspired them to find their spiritual path. Some have said I give them comfort with the grieving of their lost ones.
Those messages seem to always come at a time when I need to read them the most.  I write these blog entries when I am feeling strong.  I write when I think what I have to say will help others but let me tell you all is rare that I do not cry at least a little everyday for my beautiful daughter.  In fact I decided I needed to write this particular blog right now....right at this particular moment of complete despair.

I previously wanted to avoid doing this because I don't want to give the impression this blog is for me to get attention or to get pity from people. I don't want this to become an "emo" blog. However when I read the emails I get from you I feel somewhat like a hypocrite. I don't deny I have my strong moments but I don't want you to think that I'm so strong that I don't have weak moments.

In fact, prior to this I was a strong independent type.  Now I lean heavily on Katie. Before I was fairly fearless, now I am afraid of dusk...not the dark but dusk.  The dark I sleep through.  Dusk, that in between time, scares me.  I become anxious and sad at dusk. Before my head was always in the future.  Now the future scares me.  I want to move on but am afraid to without Alysia. Thunderstorms make me uneasy. Sirens make me anxious.

The past couple of weeks with the shortening days have really affected me.  The last few nights I feel as though I have slipped backwards.  If you only knew how I lie in the bed crying so hard that I stop breathing.  How I cry so hard my heart physically aches.  If you only knew how during those moments I just don't want to go on. Does that sound like a strong person?  When I have these moments of hopelessness I wonder what the hell it was I was feeling before when I wasn't feeling so bad.  Was it strength?  Or was it just plain denial?  Am I able to fool myself enough to think I can get through life now that Alysia has passed away?  Am I that delusional?  When I lay in bed crying to the point of coming close to passing out, I don't see the light.  I don't see the hope. I don't see the love.  It is complete darkness. Sometimes I cry so hard my vision goes dark and I think to myself "is this what it's like to die? If so bring it on."

I'm sure this is not a blog entry many of you want to read but it is the reality of my grief.  I have moments when I want to die just so the pain can go away and I can go see my daughter again.  That's all I want in those moments.  I just want her back.

One night I had to go get groceries and it was dusk out and Katie wasn't feeling well.  I wanted to help Katie for a change because she's been doing so much for me. When I have those moments of darkness, she is there holding my hand, talking to me, loving me.  When I open my eyes, I see her blue eyes and feel her hand and hear her voice and she slowly pulls me out of the darkness over and over, night after night. Anyway so I wanted to do something for her.  I walked outside the apartment door and saw the dusk sky and I was very afraid.  I had a choice....I could go back in the apartment and tell Katie I couldn't do it or I could face my fear and go on.  Just make it to the parking garage, I would say to myself.  Once in the parking garage, afraid of being jumped or something ridiculous like that I would think, just make it into the car.  Once in the car and out in the dark, driving through the neighborhood I would say "just make it to the grocery store."  I drove and hyperventilated and cried and asked God and Alysia for strength.  I made it to the grocery store still hyperventilating.  Once I was in there a few moments I was ok.  The trip home wasn't as bad.

As dark as my moments are, I face them head on.  I will not mask them with antidepressants or anti anxiety pills. I know I am the type of person that needs to hit this grief fully conscious, fully vulnerable.  I will not drink myself into oblivion.  I will not allow it to stop me from doing what I have to do to survive in this world. Really what choice do I have?  My heart still beats so I guess I have to keep going.  Anyone of you would do the same. We find the strength somewhere.

True courage and strength isn't in the survival of losing my only child.  True courage and strength is living life to its fullest in joy and love even if I lost my only child...that is where I am struggling.  That is where I have my ups and downs.  One moment I am optimistic for the future, the next I don't want to go on without Alysia in my life. The last few days, being sick, shortening days and other reasons really brought me to a low I haven't felt since the first week she passed away. Despite this set back, I will face these moments.  Each time I do, I hope to get stronger so that I'm not just surviving, rather,so that I am fully living.

Thank you everyone for your notes of encouragement.  They pull me through more than you realize.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New Normal: A term I resented for a while

I have written a blog post this past week that hasn't made it yet to the blog.  It sits in my draft half written too hard to continue with.  Too hard to put up but I know it will go up eventually. I felt like I couldn't move forward with the blog because of that one 1/2 written post haunting me in my drafts.

On my day off today, it is raining and I felt the need to write about what I am feeling. It is the 12 week mark since Alysia passed away. I flipped through my journal and I saw these couple of sentences written 4 days after her funeral "Me again. I feel as though I am being stretched in ways that no human heart can endure. I hate this term "New Normal" that everyone is using...."

During the funeral week, Tom sr had us all over for supper.  There was Tomi, Josh, me, Katie, my mother and Tom Sr. and I looked around and thought to myself what a family of misfits...there was Tomi my ex, talking with my same sex partner Katie, there was my very French outspoken mother from Washington talking to Tom sr the shy very maritime-like ex-father in law.  Not long ago I was in that same yard with Tomi, Alysia, Carol and Tom sr.  living the "normal" life of a heterosexual married woman.  It is funny how what appears on the outside to be "normal" may not always be the case.

Just to get this out of the way because I know many wonder but my marriage to Tomi did not end because I am a "lesbian" as many would easily assume.  I don't identify as lesbian.  All I know is that Tomi and I decided to split up in December 2009 and he moved out in March 2010.  In December 2009 I began talking to Katie online strictly as we talked more and more over the next couple of months I found myself falling in love with her soul.  I never thought I would fall for a woman but there was something about Katie that pushed aside her gender and my heart fell for her.  There was no stopping it, it was meant to be.  I suppose the term I most identify with is "pansexual" where it is not the gender I see but the person's soul.  If Katie's soul would have been in a man's body, I would have fallen in love regardless. However at the same time I don't think Katie's soul could have been in a man's body, it just wouldn't fit.  So no, I wasn't a lesbian in denial in a 20 year marriage that would have made my marriage a lie.  My marriage and my family, was my identity.  I was a married woman with a beautiful daughter. my family gatherings consist of my ex-father-in -law who recently lost his wife and who accepts me and Katie.  I love Tom sr. very much and I was afraid to lose him when I told him about Katie and I.  There is Tomi my ex who was a very important part of my life for over 20 years who I still care for very much, here is my partner Katie who I love like crazy trying to fit into this family of ex's, there is Josh who just recently came into our little family but quickly became a part of it and there is my mother who has had so many struggles and who was also trying to wrap her head around this new family dynamic.

Almost 3 months later I still feel in between the old normal and the new normal.  My whole identity was stripped from me in the past two years.  I am no longer a hetero married woman with a daughter working as an Assistant manager at a retail store.  I am now a grieving mother, which at times makes me think that I am no longer a mother, in a same sex relationship working as a library technician in a university library.  How could one person's life be completely turned upside down yet still completely encompass parts of the old life in such a painful way.

The death of Alysia is forcing me to embrace a new normal that is very emotionally painful, very mind bending, very physically exhausting. At times I just want to run away, it takes far too much effort to make this all work.  Not just for me but for all others involved...every one of us has to wrap their heads around this new normal. A new normal of ex's, same sex partners, death, aging, financial strains and intense loss.  But I know that I, for one, also see moments in these family gatherings of love, hope, support, laughter, a deep understanding, an invisible connection.  At one of these gatherings at Tom sr's house I walked out of the bathroom and saw Carol sitting in her rocking chair.  It startled me at first but then I knew she approved of these new gatherings.  Not only did Carol approve but that invisible connection in my mind took the form of the love from Carol and Alysia viewing these gatherings from where ever they were. For Carol and Alysia, I would do whatever it takes to make the new normal work.

This was taken just shortly after the funeral. Alysia's grave next to her nanny's.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We had beautiful weather the day of the funeral. The day after the funeral it rained. The image in my head of the rain falling hard on the soft dirt of her grave, played over and over again. I'd stand in front of the big windows of the apartment and watch the rain fall. The loneliness of that image in my mind caused me to momentarily stop breathing. No one would be standing by her grave in that dreary wet weather to talk to her and I was so sad. I wasn't there to shelter her from the rain and wind and my motherly instinct was not understanding why I wasn't taking action. I knew she wasn't her body anymore. Knowings from the mind are completely different than knowings from the heart and soul. My heart and my mother-body wasn't knowing yet she wasn't her body anymore.

Most people who attended the funeral had dissipated back to their lives. It was quiet in my space while strangers walked in front of the apartment windows not knowing I was standing there grieving the loss of my only child. They were texting, running from the rain, doing drug deals whatever...their lives were still going, the earth was still turning, the numbers on the clock kept changing. Yet the time in my world had stood still, I was feeling in dead center of the universe as everything moved around me but I stood still.Why were these strangers still living and my daughter wasn't?  It didn't seem fair when I'd see the drug dealers walk by.  How is it they get to stay here but I don't have my daughter anymore? It made me mad but I didn't have the emotional strength to show it. I felt such defeat, I couldn't fight the world anymore.  I was done with it.

Watching the rain, was that God crying, I wondered? No, that was mother nature nourishing her child, the earth. I couldn't physically do that anymore. There will be no more suppers at our place with Alysia.It was unfair.

The weather affects me at the best of times.  It rains and is dreary a lot here.  I guess I was lucky in some weird way that she passed away at the best time of year as we have had good weather for the most part since and that has helped in my healing process. It allowed me to go to the park every day on my lunch hours and be with nature and take a breath.  I worry for the upcoming dreary months that can last right up until the end of June. I hope it won't be as bad as I think it will be for me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Those big brown eyes; are they yours or are they mine?
The image of you floating over mine in the mirror.
The words on the screen are not adequate to explain
why it is I am awake.
It is absurd for me to even try.

I stare at the walls of the night time room
I feel you in the reflection of the darkness.
As though I can reach out and touch you but
it is absurd to even try.

I close my eyes and I follow my heart
to a space of light where you are.
It is like trying to find you in the vastness of the universe.
It is absurd for me to even try.

Yet your presence is somewhere shimmering off of the air
right next to my skin, in my hair.
I feel you whisper but there are no words.
The tension builds inside of me from lack of understanding,
it is absurd for me to even try.

That vast void that once seemed to be my eternal destiny
is being filled by your unknowable reflection,
the reflection of you that I can not hold.
The void was the size of the universe and that is where you now dwell.
Do you think you can fill it?
It is absurd for you to even try.

But I don't want you to go
I don't want you to not try.
I will look at your eyes in the mirror;
live life so you can look through mine.
It would be absurd for me not to try.

I will reach out in the darkness
feel your hand on mine
even though my body denies it
my heart would be broken if I believed that...
it was absurd for me to try.

I will listen to your whispers
despite my not hearing what you are saying,
I will watch the dancing lights
and hope it is you
it would be absurd for me not to try.

How absurd of me to think I can
reconcile such opposing absurdities.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The funeral

Wasn't I just here just over a year ago...same funeral home, mostly the same people, same minister, same pew? Yes I was. I was just here for "nanny" Alysia's grandmother back in April 2010. I sat here with Tomi and Tom Sr and Alysia and Josh. I had just been with Carol it seems in her bedroom holding Tom senior's hand while she breathed her last breath after fighting cancer for so many years. Nanny and Alysia were close of course. It was a very sad day.

Carol in her last days couldn't speak so Tom Sr. had these pre-made pieces of paper that said "Yes" "No" "I love you" When Alysia walked in the bedroom just a day before nanny passed away. Carol handed her the "I love you" piece of paper to Alysia. It was heart wrenching.

Here I am again but this time it is Alysia up there in that closed coffin, only 15 months later. Inside that coffin is the slip of paper that nanny had given her "I love you" I put that in there for Alysia to find her nanny on the other side. So much loss and so many changes in the past two is it that I am still breathing sitting here in this pew? How is it a human heart inside this human body can endure so much pain and transformation in such a short period of time? I still don't know.

At times when I bike to work my heart is beating so hard, as it is already taxed from stress and sadness, it feels it will just stop from sheer fatigue. At times it is filled with so much love for this world and life that it gathers strength from somewhere. I don't understand how it all works.

The funeral was "nice" as far as funerals for your only child goes. The reverend was inspiring and did capture Alysia well even though he had never met her. Josh broke all of our hearts when he read from the book "How much I love you" I think the title was.

Alysia loved crows, so much so that I quilted a crow scene on a quilt I was working on when she was in junior high. She loved them so much that eventually she got a tattoo of black birds on her has links to Radiohead apparently but she never did tell me the complete story behind her tattoo. That was very private to her. All I know is that it had several black birds. Also, one of the reasons why her dad picked "Black Bird" from the Beatles to have song by his friend at the funeral. I had also ordered a raven necklace off of ebay several weeks before she passed away for her birthday in November. I never did get that necklace due to weird circumstances...but in hindsight I feel it was someone guiding me ahead of time to pay attention to ravens. I ended up canceling the order because it just wouldn't get to me in the mail. I don't think the point of the necklace was for me to have it but for me to pay attention to ravens.

Alysia's friend played his cello and I knew then that there was going to be a special connection between him and I and that was to come within days of the funeral and is still there today.

On the way to the burial Tom spotted a black bird high in the sky following the funeral procession of cars from the highway all the way to the grave site. This was no short distance. This was not a fluke, it was very intentional. Once the reverend began the burial rites (?) not far were ravens, including the one that followed us, in a tree squawking. Then one started acting really funny. Flying up and pirouetting downwards in a nose dive and just being plain silly for several minutes. We all knew this was Alysia somehow influencing the behavior of this bird. Even the reverend knew this. Once the reverend was done speaking and we all placed our flowers on her coffin we looked up and saw that raven soaring in circles above us, just riding on the currents of air, ever so calmly, so peacefully. Then it flew away and we all said goodbye to Alysia. They symbolically lowered her coffin 6 inches or so next to her nanny's grave. Her little body lays next to her nanny's body in the ground. Her spirit has found her nanny's spirit in the other realm.

I believe a person's energy lingers in this plane for a while after their death, they can use earthly creatures, earthly phenomenons to communicate to us. I felt her presence in this manner for about a month I think but then things changed. Her energy changed, her process of death was in a new stage. I will write about why I believe this in upcoming blogs.

Some people would argue this is a grieving brain holding onto anything that might indicate their loss isn't real. I've studied so much spirituality, experienced so many things during my life that I can not believe these skeptics. Yes the brain can do these things but there is a difference between psychological disturbances and spiritual occurrences. I had dark moments when I questioned my sanity as I said before but I always come back logically to the fact that we don't know everything there is to be known about life on this planet. Science has not reached the end of knowledge and a lot of branches of science are now questioning the multiple dimensions, the existence of a soul...things spiritual people knew for thousands and thousands of years...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The viewings and Alysia's miracle workings from beyond.

My fear of the visitation day was all consuming. Alysia was "resting" as of early in the morning so the family could go see her first. I drove there by myself after I put up major barriers around my heart and mind. I "steeled" myself, I put myself in automatic pilot but underneath that shut down person, was a soul crying to God for help to get through this. My body drove the car dry eyed and strong, my soul screamed and cried and protested what I was about to do.

I walked in the funeral home, the smell of flowers overwhelming me. My body dragged my soul into the room and I could see her from a distance. Some part of me screamed internally. I made it 3/4 of the way and I had to sit down. I could just see her laying there and her floppy bear hanging over the edge of the casket. I cried while Tom held me. I eventually had to make my way to her. When I finally did, she looked like she was sleeping. The sight of floppy bear made me cry for so many of us left behind, but especially Josh at that moment.

In life she always had this little smirk on her face (when she wasn't pissed off). Like she always knew something we didn't. Somehow the funeral home captured that smirk without us ever mentioning that about her and only seeing one picture. It was ever so slight but it was there. I looked at her and said to her "You never wanted to grow up. I guess you got what you wanted. That's why you're smirking." That little smirk gave me strength to get through that day.

It took me a while to be able to actually touch my daughter in that casket. It went in stages, I touched her hair first, then her forehead and was struck by how smooth her skin was, and how cold she was. By the end of my morning visit I could kiss her forehead and hold her hands. Sometimes I thought I could see her smirk get bigger or her chest move as if she were breathing and my brain would say...Trish they took out her lungs, she is not breathing. She is dead." My brain had to be brutal to me.

At the scheduled viewings I was overwhelmed by the amount of people there. I didn't realize so many cared about our little family. I was so touched by everyone that was there. There were so many people that it seemed to be a social gathering at times. I would glance at Alysia and she was by herself, my heart breaking, I would have to go over to her and keep her company.

Two miracles though came of the viewings both of the same sort but different people. I had a childhood friend, she was practically my sister, my best friend ever, who I had lost contact with for over 23 years. She never left my heart. She was always my sister. Her family took care of me when I was young and her family always had a special place in my heart. Luckily one of the sisters in the family always kept semi contact with me. Alysia never met her but heard me talk about her so much. I believe Alysia entered both of our hearts and "softened" them to the point where my long lost friend came to the viewing. I was so happy to see her! My soul, my inner child leaped with joy! I knew Alysia had something to do with this. I thank her everyday for doing this.

Alysia used to joke about my "ex-friends"...she just found it funny that I had ex-friends for some reason. Don't most people? Another ex-friend of our family found out about Alysia's death through a set of completely weird circumstances that could not be explained... being delayed at a garage waiting for a part for his car, glancing down at a sprawled out newspaper that happened to be open to the obituaries and seeing Alysia's obituary! He knew he had to come to the viewings. His wife however was away at an unreachable place so she wasn't there. I knew that Alysia wanted him to be there, she always really liked him but knew that having his wife there wouldn't be good for me, at least not at this point in my life. I haven't heard from either of them since but that's ok. As I am learning to trust in the timing of things. Even in the timing of my only daughter's death at the age of 20.

My fear of having the image of Alysia in a casket overshadow all other memories and images of her were unfounded but very real to me at the time. Although I can remember her in the casket, I actually have to pull it out of my memory bank. My thoughts of her for the most part, are of when she was alive... laughing, playing WoW in her bedroom, burning her food because she was impatient and set the burner to "inferno"...etc.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Your library will shake itself apart"

I have what seems like a contradictory collection of books. I have books on Christianity (Catholicism in particular), paganism (wicca and druidry and shamanism), books on New Age, herbalism, natural healing and other subjects. When someone looks at my shelf they will see "Witch's Kitchen" next to one of many versions of the bible I own. Tom used to say the book cases were going to shake themselves apart from some sort of spiritual warfare on the shelves. Most of the world wants you to make a choice on a specific "religion" or "spiritual path", most of the world can not see the truths in all of them. I felt many times forced in one direction or another until I gave up on all of it and buried my spiritual side for a few years. It wasn't until recently I began to allow that to come back. Was that for a reason? I think so.

I believe religions complement each other. I don't believe they are exclusive. Alysia was also recently taking interest in the spiritual world and took a course at Dal in Witchcraft I believe. Even though she had a scientific mind and wanted to study chemistry, she also was starting to think it impossible for this planet, this universe to be an accident. There had to be some sort of intelligent design behind it all. She wasn't clear, she wasn't sure but she was beginning to question. I was happy to see this unfolding.

However someone during the days of getting ready for the viewings was in our apartment and spied my books on the shelf and proceeded to preach that those who dabble with the occult bring misfortune to themselves and others around them. My heart sank, fear set in. I didn't hear much after this. This person was supposed to be there to comfort us but instead left me in a state of paralyzing fear.

I joke a lot about my other cat Cido as being really stunned. Well he is. He gets by on his looks I say. But that day, he watched this person intensely from a distance. Cido wouldn't come out when normally he is a friendly cat. I would glance at him and he was staring down this person. I felt Cido was my little guardian at that time.

When it was just me and Katie and the cats in the apartment that evening, I was in such a state of fear. I was believing I had caused my daughter to pass away due to my reading and practicing non-Christian things. I really felt that I was being punished for my lifestyle. As if God Himself saw my books and knew my beliefs in my heart and punished me by taking my only child. I was a complete mess. I was convinced it was all my fault. I was convinced I was evil.

Katie would say to me "no evil can come out of such a beautiful soul. How can you be evil when you see such beauty in the world?" I was so scared I wanted to burn my books, throw out my stones, be rid of anything that wasn't remotely Christian.

I cried and cried for a very long time that evening. It was one of my worst evenings. Later that night I woke up and sensed Alysia lying next to me. I "heard" in my heart. "He is just afraid mom. He was taught to be afraid of such things because they were afraid of female power. Do not give up on your beliefs. They are not wrong, they are beautiful. I love you." and that was it. I no longer had a sense of her.

I had fleeting moments of fear off and on for a week or so afterward but I quickly felt sure in knowing that what I believe spiritually is not wrong. I see no boundaries in spirituality and sexuality. So how could this be wrong? Of course Alysia would know there is no one path to God, there is no gender, race, social class where she was that night she came to me. Today I wear an amethyst stone for spiritual protection and awareness on top of my gold crucifix necklace. I don't care that it seems contradictory, because I see them as complimentary.

That was one of my first forays down the road of blaming myself for her death. There were others.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Terra and the days before the viewings

I should start off by saying that the other night I was up for most of it after having bad dreams.I wondered if this blog was a good idea, was it too soon to write about Alysia's death and my journey through grieving? However, I came to the conclusion I am to continue on with the blog, no matter how hard it is at times.

I've been journaling since the day after we buried Alysia which has been a great help in processing the grief. However leading up to then will have to be from memory and it is quite wonky. The days are a blur, time stands still yet goes at the speed of light all at the same time. I've realized since her passing that life is full of irreconcilable opposites or I guess that would be called dichotomies. Divine dichotomies even.

The few days leading up to the "viewings" were awful. Between picking out a casket, the plot, the flowers, pictures for the picture boards, digital pictures for the screen,doing the obituary and on and on it went were at once horrible and therapeutic. It kept my ex husband (Tom) and I busy. We were able to numb ourselves to get through this process. We had spent a night together reminiscing and sharing our pain. We were always friends after the separation but this brought us much closer as friends. Two people who have lost their only child. The child for who we stuck out our marriage for 20 years. That child now brought us back together in circumstances so difficult that we could either have hated each other or allowed ourselves to bond closer as friends. Luckily we were both on the same page. We needed each other to be on the same page for who else can understand our loss like each other does?

My fear of the viewings were so intense I almost asked that it be closed casket because I did not want the image of her in a casket be so engraved in my memory that it overwhelmed 20 years of other memories. Logically this does not make sense but at the time logic makes not a lick of difference. I was scared to death.

My cat Terra was our little family's buddy. When we were together, Tom, Alysia and I, Terra didn't have a favorite. She loved us all equally. She is an amazing cat with lots of character. However when Alysia was home we could always find Terra hanging with her in her bedroom. Terra was Alysia's buddy and vice versa. Of course Alysia moved out to be with her boyfriend, Tom and I separated and so I kept the cats.

During the days leading up to the viewings in my paralyzing fear moments I would cry so hard I could hardly breath, I would feel as though my heart would simply stop from the sheer heart break I was feeling. I did not know how my body could endure such horrid fear and heartbreak. Terra would always come up to me as soon as she knew I was crying and comfort me. Yes animals do this but sometimes before I would start crying she would seem disoriented, confused.It was like she was watching something in the room move around. I think she sensed Alysia, maybe even saw her. She would comfort me in ways that were not her usual behavior. She wasn't scared or upset, just different. She would then seem like her normal Terra self when I was done my breakdown. As if she accomplished what she needed to accomplish.

Some people may not believe in these things but I believed that Alysia was using Terra to comfort me. Katie noticed a difference in her behavior as well...especially the confused behavior. I often asked Katie (and still do) am I crazy? Am I just a desperate grieving mother holding onto signs that aren't really there? But she always assures me that she could tell I knew the difference between real signs and not making things into signs when they really weren't. This conversation comes up over and over again.

Knowing that Alysia was using Terra some how to comfort me gave me hope that Alysia was ok, that she was in a place that allowed her more freedom to be where she needed to be. It gave me confirmation of an after life. Sometimes I still have doubts and question signs but I suppose that is a good thing so I don't go crazy looking for her everywhere.

I finally want to say a thank you from the bottom of my heart to Tom (Tomi) for not being bitter towards our relationship situation and especially for being another source of support and comfort. You are an amazing man and friend. Hang in there Tomi, there is hope.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Just when life was getting easier.

The weather in Halifax, NS is not the best for most of the year... It is too complicated to get into but suffice it to say that my life had, more often than not, been an uphill battle that left me wondering if I had the strength to continue the fight for a life of happiness. Like the weather in Halifax, the sun does eventually appear and my life was finally starting to feel like it was on the right track. In early July I was loving/trusting life. I felt that I had a consistent year of good things in my life. I was truly feeling blessed.

Then on July 25th, 2011 my doorbell rang at 6am and my partner Katie got up and answered the door. She came back in to tell me two policemen were at the door and needed to talk to me. (As I type this my heart squeezes into a semi state of anxiety) I went to the living room and they told me to sit down. I thought something had happened to my mother, or my exhusband Tom or anyone else but Alysia but I looked deep into the officer's eyes and I knew right then what he was going to tell me. "I am sorry to say your daughter passed away of cardiac arrest in her sleep in the early morning."

Did I hear him right? Did time stop? Am I dreaming? Where am I? Who are these men? What are they asking me?

-Drugs? No, no real drugs. Maybe a little weed once in a while but no.

Did he say there was no physical trauma? Ok that's good. Did he say it wasn't intentional? That's good too. Did he say she just passed away in her sleep? I guess that's a good way to go.

Later that day I went to Point Pleasant Park with Katie. I don't know why. I felt like I was suffocating in the apartment. I got in the car and thought..."this isn't too bad. I can handle this." In hindsight I realize that I was in shock. We went to the park and I cried but I still didn't feel the brunt of it...that was to come, still is to come in so many different ways. It's been almost 8 weeks since she passed away, and so much has happened. I will try to post short blogs so not to overwhelm myself or you. For if you are reading this you have also either lost Alysia (Lia, pikachu, pumpkin, kitten) yourself or have found this randomly on the net because you searched for someone else who lost their only child. May God bless your beautiful hurting souls. Maybe you are just here because you know me and are wanting to understand what I am going through, how I am coping and to you I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know you do this not out of curiosity but because you care.

I want to thank from every particle of my being, Katie, who has been an incredible rock in my life. You are beautiful my love.

Finally I want to say that this will not all be sad as I want to assure you that I have had some amazing moments of peace and connectivity to Alysia and God in the past 8 weeks. There is hope...there is hope.