Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Saturday morning, Chris's grandfather passed away. 
His funeral is tomorrow, Thursday . . . well, today, I guess, considering that it's midnight.

Funerals are such strange things. An odd attempt to summarize an entire lifetime--a mind, a soul--in an hour. To honor them to tears and sentences that either resonate in your bones or sound so hollow. A light has been snuffed out. How do you put that into words? How do you adequately describe the one you've lost or speak into those left behind?
It doesn't bring them back.
There's forever an empty seat at the table in this life. You won't hear their voice, feel their touch.  An emptiness has been torn open and nothing can repair it. Sometimes you can patch it over time, but, under that band-aid, there is still a void. And you know it. You feel it. Some days it's simply more raw and bleeding than others.

I remember the day of my own grandfather's funeral nearly ten years ago (has it really been so long?). I was not close to my grandfather, though he was a good man. I remember waiting in the back room of the church in skirt I hadn't worn in years but was the only almost-formal, almost-somber thing that still fit (freshman twenty be damned).  My grandmother entered and was immediately enveloped by my aunts and she said, voice quavering, "There was construction on the road today.  They were just building like they've been building for weeks, and I clutched my steering wheel and wanted to scream. Don't they know?! Didn't they know Marvin was gone? Why are they still building?" She shook her fists as if she were fighting an invisible steering wheel. "DIDN'T THEY KNOW!?"

I think of those words, now, whenever my own world aches.
Doesn't it know? Doesn't it know the pain? Why is it still spinning? Why are the birds still singing? Why don't they stop? Don't they know? Don't they know?
But the world doesn't stop. Sometimes, it even seems to go faster, pushing us forward while we desperately try to catch our breath, calloused thing that life is. It doesn't give one stinkin crap about pain. It has things to do, molecules to arrange, seasons to line up. We only try to keep our head above the rising seas.
But doesn't it know?

I barely knew Luther, but the loss of his presence is palpable. The man was a true patriarch, adored by his family--his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren. Patriarch is the best word for him, I think. He led his clan, a solid rock at the head of the table, speaking grace over the holiday meals, watching, teaching. A patriarch.

I wish I had the proper source for this photo, but I know it was from a cousin's wedding a couple years ago.
I thought it summed up Luther and Melanie as beautifully as a picture could.
  I did not know Luther well, but I knew he was a good man. Steady, reliable. You could tell that just by listening to him speak. Even-toned, deep. If he sang, it would have been baritone.  He had a faint accent, just slight. Most Floridians speak like "Yanks"--Notherners--no twang, no drawl, straight with hardly an accent. We're too much of a melting pot to have a distinct manner of speaking like the rest of Southeast. But old Floridians--people with the swampland in their blood, people who have worked the land, breathe the land--they have an accent. It's not as deep as a Southern drawl or Redneck twang. It's subtle, but it's there.  Luther spoke that way.  He was third generation in the family farming business.  His grandfather and father had immigrated from Slovakia and settled in Central Florida, dirt poor, only to create a celery empire. Luther had Florida in his bones, but a piece of his heart was in Africa where he and his wife did ministry for many years.

You ever meet someone who's faith just radiated off of them? You never wondered, never doubted, what they believe? Luther had no fear in sharing his faith. He had no hesitation, no second thoughts. His faith came first, and so he boldly proclaimed the power of God and the need for salvation. The man appeared unshakeable.

His skin was permanently tanned but only faintly lined and his teeth were always shockingly white. 
He and his kin don't age.
Like at all.
Pretty and ageless. It's hard to keep up.
He struck me as a serious man--determined and observant--but not hard.  There was a great deal of warmth there.  He had a ready smile--white, straight teeth flashing--and advice or anyone who asked and some who didn't. He spoke when he felt the words needed to be said--not before.

He had large hands that I'm told were constantly fixing everything. In his spare time.  He built, flew, crashed, and repaired the remote-controlled model airplanes before drones were cool. 

Like I said, I didn't know Luther well. I do not feel the void as Chris feels the void, as his mother does, as his grandmother does.

I knew Luther adored his wife, that he fit her perfectly--it was remarkably obvious but you didn't necessarily notice until it wasn't there; it was as natural as breathing. Do you ever realize how remarkable breathing is? But we never think about it until it's gone. Until that one piece of the puzzle vanishes leaving a hole in the picture that used to be complete. Melanie is vivacious and expressive and loquacious and passionate--the woman is a lovable fireball encased in glitter and glam. Luther was quiet compared to his wife, and he was steady, practical. Where she sparkled in animal print, he wore simple, nondescript polos. Where she rolled with laughter, he had a deep, resonating chuckle that seemed reserved for only the best of jokes.  Fire and earth. For as long as I knew them, they seemed like the ying to the others yang--balanced together. Their passions and convictions, however were matched--you get them talking religion, medicine, healing, or Africa, and they are in line with one another, keeping matching paces in the marathon of conversation. And, oh, the deep, reverberating strength of those convictions.
They were sweethearts since high school, and that kind of bond . . . you meld together. You become a unit--individuals, still yes, but individuals so bonded to one another it's strange to see them apart. To think of one without the other.
Now, it's just Melanie.
Melanie to do alone what they used to do together and to do all the practical, little things Luther used to do. 
You don't realize how much someone does until they can't do them any more, even the tiniest things like charging batteries or rinsing cups.
The void again.
The emptiness.

I can't imagine Chris suddenly not being. Just not. It would be like someone ripping off one arm and one leg and saying, "Now continue walking and doing like you've always done--you're not missing that much." or tearing out my heart and screaming, "NOW LIVE!"
I don't know how I could. I know I must, and, eventually, I would, but, oh, the agony in between. The inability to move, but move you must.
Because it doesn't stop.
It doesn't know.

Still, there is the belief that there is another life, one beyond this one.
That the soul lives on in heaven or hell.
Luther was a believer. A firm, passionate, committed believer in the grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. So we have hope and faith that we will meet again.
That our faces will shine upon each other without any pain or bitterness or the limitations of human flaws. That Luther is now without suffering. After battling multiple myeloma, he is whole in a way he has never before been whole. More whole than we can imagine in this life. There's relief in that, hope, comfort. We cling to that hope in the void.

Because there's always light in the darkness.
There has to be.
The Light knows. It holds, it weeps, it comforts.
This life doesn't know. It doesn't care.
Light does.
Light cares immensely.
And it carries us through the void.

Friday, August 12, 2016


I'm still trying to figure all of this out.

It used to be so easy to write. 
When I was in middle school and high school, I got in trouble for writing my stories when I should have been doing homework. I had written and edited a novel by age sixteen and was working on its sequel.  I was given professional advice to get some experience and rewrite.

So I gained experience: I graduated high school after dual-enrolling, traveled a bit, graduated college with all of the usual and unusual (for me, anyways) misadventures, fell in love, got a job, got married, moved around, had more adventures, felt true heartache, faced uncertainties and fears, even had a couple close brushes with death.

And I have no words.
No brainpower.

I spend my days balancing dishes, laundry, meals, and a toddler.
I count down until the day I meet with my cardiologist to hear the verdict: do I still need heart surgery? How soon?
I find out in a week. Just one more week.
I worry about my husband, with his tinnitus out of control, with his specific environment and dietary needs. I want him to be okay. When he's okay, all of us are okay.  When he's not . . .
One night, Chris and Ronan were playing.  They love to play together. It warms my heart in that bizarre, precious way when you see someone loving your child way, especially when that person is your spouse. Yes, this is how it should be. This is good.
Then Ronan released a shriek of glee.
Chris came running out of the room, fingers in his ears, his face in pain, shoulders hunched defensively.
The air changed, tensed.
And Ronan followed him out, standing still, confused, in his bedroom doorway. "Dada?" Quiet, confused. "Dada?"
And I swept him up and wept.
Chris was in every kind of pain on one end of the house.
My heart twisted and ached on the other end, trying to read a book and distract our toddler who worships the ground Chris walks on.
This isn't how it's supposed to be. And it breaks my heart. I don't ever thing I'll forget that picture. "Dada?"
Chris came back. He mustered his strength and his love for that precocious man cub, and he came back and loved him.
Still, it shouldn't be like this.
We are trying to fix it. We don't know how.  But, my gosh and golly, we are trying.

So I wait for naptime where I can zone out on social media or watch Doctor Who through for this fifth time.
So I wait for bedtime where I can be by myself on the couch and rewatch the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester or something Whedon-ish and just not think any more. I don't even have to think about what's happening in the episode. I've seen it all before. Like three times. Maybe more. Good TV seems hard to come by, sometimes.

I don't know if I ever knew what I was after high school.
In high school, I had goals and dreams.

Now, it's just kind of about survival.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this.
My life isn't really all that bad. It's just a weird, hard place that we are both stumbling around in. Ronan runs through with joyous, determined abandon. Say what you will about toddlers, but they live passionately. It's a bright light.

I don't really want this to be a "mommy blog."
I don't really feel like a mom.
I feel like me.
But with a kid running around that I'm constantly feeding, entertaining, corralling, and talking to. I schedule my days around naptimes and whether they have a toddler-friendly environment (be that toys or chicken nuggets or whatever).
I'm a mom, and, even with two years of it under my belt, I'm still swallowing that identity.

I want this blog to be funny.
I'm told I'm a funny person. Dry as Nevada and a bit loony, but funny. And young, in a way. I still play video games and get excited about super heroes. I wear tee shirts with TV characters faces on them and prefer Chuck Taylors to high heels.
So I figured I'd do a funny blog about life and fandoms and our little adventures.

But I'm not quite sure I can muster funny right now.
I'm trying.
But I'm tired, and I'm not sure coffee can fix this one.

It's not that life is bad.
It's not, really, in the things that matter. I love my kid and my husband; they love me. It's juggling all of the stresses and unknowns. I don't like unknowns. I like to feel in control--have a plan. I like to feel I've done a lot on my own merit. But this? What exactly can I do? I can't fix my heart or my clotting disorder on my own. I can't control what happens or when it happens. I can't fix Chris's ears. I can't exactly go looking for a job. "Yes, please, hire me. BTDubs, I'm getting open heart surgery at some undetermined date, and I'll need 4-6 weeks off to recover. So shall we discuss salary?"
Yeah, that would go over REAL well.

So I sit.
I mom.
I wife.
I do.
I don't.
I wait.

I pray.
I pray a lot.
God has provided, God has been good. Just when we think we've reached the last shredded stand of rope, we find one more inch. We find a little breathing room. But we aren't healed. We don't have answers. That's okay, really. I wish Chris could get better with all of my heart, but that's not an answer we have right now. So we wait. We trudge on.

And I stare at the blank computer screen and wish I had something more interesting or witty to say.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Word According to Me: Motherhood


noun | moth-er-hood | \'mə-thər-hud\

 Definition of MOTHERHOOD:

A state of being in which .  . .
  • one does not realize she has to pee until she sneezes
  • an animal's identifying sound becomes more important than its genus. 
  • one is constantly late, losing something important, and exhausted . . . basically everyday life but with a tiny, utterly dependent tiny person(s) with extreme communication barriers who either don't want to get in the car or get out at the appropriate times. 
  • one's sense of peace is entirely dependent on the presence of a specially selected toy or blankie that tiny dependent person MUST have in order to function. Seriously, they just can't even. 
  • Mealtimes correspond directly with  times the miniature one is unconscious 
  • one has no memory or evidence of what she did all day, but she knows it was stuff. A whole lot of stuff. Important stuff, too, like washing clothes and dishes and keeping tiny person(s) and pets alive until assistance arrives.  
  • one exists almost entirely on coffee, laughter, tears, and snuggles
  • one cannot figure out why her skinny jeans no longer fit . . . and then she finds a toddler wrapped around her leg, and she remembers. 
  • children films previously enjoyable now bring her to tears.
    <I mean, seriously, An American Tail? They lose their five-year-old OUT AT SEA and then he has to wander around the slums of New York City ALL BY HIMSELF and, oh my gosh, I'm choking up just thinking about it. I can't, I just can't.>
  • tunes from previously stated films fill her brain more than the top radio hits.
    <I honestly have no idea what's popular right now, but I can sing the classic Winnie the Pooh theme frontwards and backwards.> 
  • one is more fascinated by bodily functions and secretions than she ever thought possible, but poop is really, really important and interesting, and why doesn't everyone talk about it? 
  • one spontaneously calls her own mother and apologizes for ever whining or pitching a fit EVER
  • never thought she could be so simultaneously frustrated, proud of, and in love with a totally flawed but totally wonderful tiny human being  . . . who will one day be a big human being . . . but she really hates to think about that . . . like, no, don't even start . . .