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This is What I’ve been up to…

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Two Grandsons -4 months apart!!!!

Lucas arrived in January to our daughter and son-in-law…

 

Dawson joined the party in May, to our son and daughter-in-law.

These cousins are so cute, and has this Nana all in a swoon!!!

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Between Bookends…

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Mom moved into an assisted living facility this month. She turned 90 this year, and she’s been legally blind for several years so it’s probably overdue.

Still, it comes on the heels of me finding out I’ll be a grandma in a few short months.

I feel sandwiched in the middle of two life altering events. Mom easing into her final chapter, my grandson soon to make his debut chapter.

 The timing is odd, the emotions hard to describe.

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Birthdays of My Dad and My Father

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Dad’s birthday is today; gone now nearly 5 years, he would be turning 92.

He hated Christmas.  Apparently his birthday was forgotten every year in the midst of Christmas preparations when he was growing up.  The pain of being forgotten never seemed to leave him.  He would not allow us to put up a tree until his birthday had passed, and even then did so grudgingly.

I know now Dad’s Christmas experience is only a tiny window into his life story. More

The Lure of Suicide

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The world lost a great man when Robin Williams took his own life this week. A genius, really. But more importantly, we lost a man in pain. Someone who decided he and his family were better off with him dead.

It is human nature to want to fill in the blanks. Why did he do it?

Does it really matter? Do we need a reason so we feel superior that we didn’t do the terrible deed?

The bottom line is: Pain is Pain.

Desperate pain results in desperate ideas and choices.

 

When I was suicidal, More

Mommy’s Green Dress

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When I was a little girl, my mom had a beautiful green dress hanging in the closet of our guest bedroom. She’d worn the dress to parties in the post WW2 era. It was exciting just hearing her talk about the dances and parties.   I must have shown too much interest at some point, because I remember being forbidden from touching or playing with it.

Well, once it became taboo, it might as well have had a Denise-magnet sewn into the fabric. I really wanted to wear that dress. Green was my favorite color back then, so that made it all the more alluring. And that sheer fabric over the satin, oh how it beckoned me. Mom rarely got angry with me, but when she did, she meant business, so I only admired it from the closet door.

Until it became worth the risk.

The summer I turned seven More

From Estrangement to Reconciliation

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Estrangement stories cross my path often lately.  It’s a painful and sensitive topic, for both sides.  Some people are hurting because they’ve chosen to estrange themselves, others because they don’t understand why a loved one has estranged.  Still others long for the relief of estrangement, but the pain of setting that boundary is clearly too difficult.

The journey of coming to terms with why we need to estrange ourselves can be grueling, depressing, and exhausting.  Desire for belonging to family is strong, and it took considerable pain – and 3 attempts – before I was finally able to definitively draw my line in the sand.  More

Change Of Plans

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In 2009 my husband and I realized time was running out for taking a family vacation –at least for our existing family unit.  Both kids were seriously involved with their significant others and we knew it wouldn’t be long before there would be wedding bells.  Change was fast approaching for family as we knew it Happy for our soon-to-be-growing family, the vacation would be a bitter-sweet and symbolic farewell to the existing family structure.

Thus began the plans for what seemed like a fantasy trip for 4 to Scotland and Ireland.  None of us had been to Europe and we all agreed experiencing a bit o’ Irish sounded like a lot of fun.

The planning was both exciting and stressful, as vacations are prone to be.  However, stressful took on another level when my dad died during the planning stages and my PTSD symptoms exploded.  His death launched an entire new wave of nightmares and flashbacks.

I struggled mightily to focus on planning the trip, not wanting to disappoint my kids.   My mental state became fragile, my work suffered, and I spent many hours crying on the couch trying in vain to figure a way to escape my anxiety and not give up on the trip.

Somehow we got our itinerary finalized and bought the airline tickets.  Three days later the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland.  The volcano may as well have been inside my head because my brain felt like it exploded too.  I hadn’t realized how close to the cliff I’d been until the volcano blew. More

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