Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Tribute

My life is different than most people in several ways...
Not only did I mostly grow up without a mom in my life, I went through the
process of losing her twice. The first time to divorce and a move to
Nevada. The second time to Pancreatic Cancer in December 2006.

This is my second Mother's Day without her, and this year, I wanted to honor her life. This is my mom. She was beautiful, and I look a lot like her. I think these
photos of her on her wedding day to my dad reflect a time of dreams
just beginning...

I believe that my mom's greatest joy was becoming a mother. The picture
above is of her pregnant with me. She was so full of life and

She loved being in the water! We would go swimming all the time.
Being out in the sun and water took up many hours for us...she
would call my brother and I "fish" because we swam so much.

This was on a Girl Scout trip we took in the snow. She became a Girl Scout leader so she could spend more time with me. Some of those times are my favorite memories...dressing up like Barbie or Christmas boxes for parades, going camping...

After she moved to Nevada, my mom would send me letters. The end of this one expressed how much she loved and missed us. I would always look forward to these letters, especially during the early days of her being gone. I cherish these now.

I love this picture because we were all laughing. We took these during one of our visits over the holidays. She always wanted to have lots of pictures of us.

My mom had always wanted to go to Hawaii. She finally got to go in 2003. She took me as an early graduation gift (from Cal Poly). It was just me and her, out in the sun and water, just like the old days. But this time, we were in a new, beautiful place. We did every tourist-y thing imaginable! A luau, riding in a submarine (below 100 feet!), the island tour, plantation tours, Polynesian Culture Center, snorkeling, laying on the beach, eating out, shows, Pearl Harbor, a cruise dinner on the name it! We had a great time, and for her, it was a dream come true.

me and my brother

My mom also loved animals. She had four dogs and three cats when she passed
away. They kept her many of the years passed without her being able to spend much time with us. I don't think she really knew what moving away to Nevada was going to do to her relationships with her children when she initially moved. She later told me that she wished she could move back to California.
She never did.

I would not be the person I am today if not for my mom. I am a reflection of her life...
and a representation of her dreams.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama. I miss you so.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

gloomy day

I am sitting here looking out my window and all I see is fog. It is cold outside...not much like yesterday. Yesterday, I was at the beach in a sun dress enjoying the beautiful weather with friends. Today, it is not like that at all. I am contemplating a nap, but instead, I am here at my laptop, unloading my thoughts. I feel a bit like what is reflected outside. Truthfully, it is a week away from Mother's Day and there are moments that are starting to catch up to me again...moments that come when I feel most dry or alone. They flood in and I end up crying in the middle of my kitchen. I try to hide it and then God sends people like my friend Jeff to ask me blunt questions like "Have you been crying? Are you okay?" And of course, I cannot lie when asked that kind of question, so I unravel a bit and am no longer able to hide. Ha ha. Most of the time, I either don't slow down enough to let the moment impact me or I move on quickly to the next convenient distraction so I don't have to cry. But I do. I have to cry. I have to let the fact that I miss my mom come out when it needs to and it has to be okay. I often argue with myself that I just need to be strong and keep going because I have too much to do and I have to be strong so I can lead others, so I can give something away to those who need it more than I do. The truth is that if I don't allow myself to receive from God or let out what is bottled up inside...what I end up giving away is brokenness or I give all that I have left and run out of strength. God has been speaking to me about His Presence and staying there. I am finding more and more that I don't get far without it. My strength only lasts so long. My abilities only go so far...and then I let go of hope when things don't pan out the way I hoped that they would. But God calls me to hope. His hope does not disappoint. So, even in these moments, even when I feel so stretched I might break, God is my strength. And I can be weak in His arms. I am safe there. I don't have to put up a front and pretend to be okay. He knows. The truth always comes out, and if I hope in Him, He will provide. This day may feel gloomy in many, many ways, but there is a ray of hope beyond the fog and clouds. There is a ray of hope beyond the heaviness of this moment.