Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

As with most holidays, our culture has created a  tradition whereby holidays become associated with celebrations of no relation at all. For example, Christ's birth has become all about Santa and gifts. The death and resurrection of Christ has become all about colored eggs and an over sized bunny rabbit. Memorial Day seems to be about a three-day weekend and burgers.

There are men and women in war zones all over the world, protecting my very right to write these words and to live in this democratic society. Yet there is no significant way we, as Americans, do to make our gratitude known for all who have served in our military, past, present and future.

It's ironic, because I venture to say that the people who get a three day weekend are NOT those serving our nation. The males and females in the military are scattered around the world, seeing and doing things no individual ever should, existing in rough environments far, far away from their families. They aren't the ones enjoying the cookouts and long weekends.

I know our society isn't likely going to change its way to celebrate a holiday, but we can all take steps towards a change. Many of us have family and/or friends who have served in our military. Going forward, all it takes is a phone call or a text to express our gratitude. Love is a great ways to show appreciation, and it costs nothing.

God Bless America and all those who are serving our great nation, yesterday, today and tomorrow!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Memories of Mimi

I am so blessed to have one living grandparent, my grandma Evelyn Jorgensen, aka "Mimi".  I have so many memories of growing up with her in my life, so I thought I would share some of them for Mother's Day.

When my mom went into labor with Keith, I went to stay with my Mimi and Bapa. I recall her putting a steel washtub in the courtyard of the home I now share with my mom. She filled it with water and dish soap, and I was allowed to strip naked and take a bath out among the squirrels and birds. It was the best bath ever. I felt like a cross between a princess and Mowgli the Jungle Child.

She would come pick me up at my preschool at Jeffrey Mansion in a red pickup truck and a mink coat. The macaroni and cheese standard was set at the top with Stouffer's Mac and Cheese that she cooked in the oven, always having a bubbly top layer. I would take her concentrated frozen orange juice cans and she's throw it in a blender with some ice, and voila, a delicious orange smoothie. The poor woman was probably always out of O.J.

I spent most of my time either riding Charlie the Wooden Horse around the driveway or playing with a stuffed camel named Noodles who had long, spider-like, black eye lashes. To this day, I'm still searching for a mascara that could make my lashes measure up to Charlie's.

To sum it up, I was spoiled.

As I grew up, Mimi and I started developing a more mature relationship. I was standing in her kitchen when she asked me if I had fallen of the roof yet, and I had no idea what the heck she was talking about. I'd been having my period for years, but I wasn't one to play up in the gutters. I would visit she and my grandpa in Florida, and we would shop and eat and do all kinds of girlie stuff together.

I can't say exactly when we became good friends on TOP of having a great grandma-granddaughter relationship, but it happened. After my grandfather passed, I would go visit her in Florida, and we would have long talks over tea sitting in the living room of her condo. At some point we called our chats "pouring tea", as we were pouring our love and thoughts into each other. To this day, she still has a Willow Tree angel holding a tea pot that I gave her one Christmas. I have one, too. It always reminds me of her.

Mimi and I have done a lot of growing up together. We've had the pleasure of truly getting to know each other. I've heard her stories of growing up as one of ten children in a small town in Michigan. She doesn't travel anymore, but her stories keep the memories alive.

Our family's "Old Polish Chick" is 91 years old, and I love her so much. I just wanted to share a few memories I have with her. I am a better person from having her as my grandma.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Motherhood as I Know It

Ode to the empty armed mother,
Song to my wombless child,
Forever the gravesite watcher,
Sadness hits me like the tide.
I see his face in the trees,
I feel his life in the breeze,
Wish I could bottle his spirit,
His life I couldn't save in me. 

My son Gabriel, so long passed away, is ever a sadness and a blessing at the same time. I watch for him, almost like Rapunzel in the tower, only it is I who seeks his spirit, and wish I could send him that lifeline that was destroyed in my womb now twelve years ago. Such a glorious sadness, an unrequited love for something I wanted so much, yet the choice was not mine to make.

The exhaustion in my body after so many years of illness now knows that his passing was a three-fold result of fate. Had he been born, he would not have survived, nor, likely, would have I. And even if we both survived, we both would have faltered in the storm that has come these last twelve years.

A sadness and joy that is so difficult to describe, how one can feel them both simultaneously is a mystery I still can't solve. I seek him out in ever breath, in every moment. I know he's in me as much as my own soul is within me. Or I am within him. Perhaps my survival has been by nothing less than his life sacrificed, for my life survived.

No apologies for any sadness induced by your reading these words that help me heal and grow as I continue to cope with the loss of a child. Of actually two children, only the first was lost in those first weeks and became the "mole" in my partial molar pregnancy. Such things I did not know existed. I was told by a neonatologist around my third month that I had "a healthy baby growing in there". It wasn't until early in my sixth month that every maternal hope I had was dashed.

I am always processing this loss. Once a mother, always a mother. I know my baby boy lives on in me, as does he or she that left so, so soon. It was all ended way too soon. Mothers, hold your children close. Squeeze them an extra squeeze for me this weekend. I  know Gabriel would want it that way. Blessings to all on this coming Mother's Day.