Let Some Grief Into The Spin

A monarch butterfly hovers over my windshield as I stop at the corner on my way to the doctor. It takes my worry with it as it flies away, but leaves me thinking of her.

Maddie bittersweetly grasps a funny cat stapler at the store and says, “Mommy, we don’t have anyone to buy this stuff for anymore.” We laugh at the stapler and smile thinking of her as Maddie puts it back on the shelf.

I scroll through texts looking for some good ol’ fashioned snarky exchanges. Thank heavens for colleagues that would’ve gotten along famously with her. I imagine her joining in and chuckle.

There are many of these moments that seep in and work to make the cracks in our hearts a tad wider. So many.

We find that we don’t point them out anymore. We don’t talk about them. We really don’t put our grief out into the world anymore. There’s a moment here or there but the outside world isn’t stopped any longer and it’s almost like you feel like you’re being silly to throw some grief into that spin.

But. Sister, Sister, Daughter/Niece- that’s been our crew for a long time now.

Take away a sister and our trio becomes a Mother-Daughter duo.

Still with lots of love. Definitely less snark though. Even if we throw it in, it’s just not the same.

It will never be the same. It will be just as special. We have to work to make it so. Maybe some of our grief actually helps keep the world spinning.

The memories, the smiles, the tears, it all keeps us going, as hard as it may be. So we need to share it. As silly as it may make us feel.

Because maybe, just maybe, what grief leaves behind doesn’t make the cracks wider, but works to fill them in?

I’ll aim to give that a try.


An Aunt for the Ages

There can be no words when the world stops spinning and yet they sometimes fight to the surface in such a scatter that it would make her orderly self cringe in dismay.  She would be grabbing each one, grunting, and placing it into its proper spot, with a typed and perfectly placed label. For that, alongside a million and eighty other reasons, we love her.

Love. Not Loved.

Because love does not stop when the world stops spinning. We couldn’t lose her spirit even if we were broken enough to try. If you take a glance around you will know that love, you just have to stop and notice. You may shed a tear, but my hope is that these moments will wrap your heart and make you smile.

When I go through photos and can find a shot of her with each and every grand-niece and nephew in the same nestling and nurturing pose.

When I think of This Little Piggy and “Wee Wee Wee, all the way home.” For never a little set of feet did she meet where that did not happen.

When you see any arrangements of brightly colored flowers or a neat precision cut expanse of grass.

When you’re passing a conversation and hear a sardonic and sarcastic, but dripping in love, response.

When we see a blouse of any combination of red, white, and black and strangers cannot seem to understand our chuckles.

When you feel the urge to purge or organize or label anything and everything, know that is her.

When you’re struggling with anything and you remember unwavering support and know that in your corner you have a behemoth.

When the members of our family hang their stockings this Christmas and every Christmas to come and know that each sequin was stitched by hand for over 40 stockings.

When I look at my daughter and see Ingi in her eyes and know that she will carry her name for all of her life, nestled neatly between the name that chose her and the name that defines our family.

When I see any crazy cat lady paraphernalia, which may surprise anyone who hasn’t had the fortune of witnessing this craze first hand in recent years.

Each and every person who has had the fortune of knowing this lady is better for it. There are so many of these moments we all have to share, whether out in the world or in our own hearts. So please, think of her and smile.

I am grateful for the chance to be my mom’s chauffeur because as a result I have been able to not only help these two soul sisters spend time together but have been able to count my aunt as my friend. In recent years my memory bank is full of lunches, shopping trips, and craft shows. Lengthy emails, funny texts, and snarky conversations. My daughter has been able to build memories at Ingi’s house that she will treasure and for this I can only be grateful through the tears and have faith that our already patched and mended hearts can break and heal once again.






Passed the Past?

Somewhere between day one of my world shattering and day five, I headed down to the hospital cafeteria to secure some sustenance.

My mom was taken by ambulance from her home one normal morning. Her blood pressure was tanking and she was in sepsis. Had sepsis. At sepsis. I don’t remember how the ER doctor explained it. Either way, that was day one.

What ensued can only be described as world shattering as we watched my amazing and resilient mom go through organ failure and begin that ICU dance.

Five steps back, one step forward, two steps back, half a step forward. Whatever contributed, be it prayers, strong German blood, stubbornness, love, or miracles, we seem to have our mom back.

The road will be uphill, but she’s in the driver’s seat now. And we are blessed.

Which brings me back to my sustenance. One large bland piece of pizza and some cookies lay on my tray. I also scored a nice cold pop as the vending machines are those healthy kinds.

My body is in the first floor in the cafeteria, but my mind was up on the seventh with her. Until I saw this:

That part of my mind snapped back down to me. Could be it really never leaves. I groaned out loud and snapped a picture to share with any other deep seeded editors out there in the world. There could be so much to fix. I’m so glad I found the napkins as well.If you can’t find laughter when your world is falling down, you may never get a chance to rebuild it.

So Much More

She is so much more.

She is more than this machine, that machine, those machines.

She is their friend.

She is more than this tube, that tube, those tubes.

She is their aunt.

She is more than this count, that count, those counts.

She is their sister.

She is more than this test, that test, those tests.

She is their grandma.

She is more than this procedure, that procedure, those procedures.

She is our mom.

She is so much more than this germ, that germ, those germs.

You see, she’s still here,

But she’s








She is our world.

And we would like her back please.

Are They Learning?

The bell rings at 2:45 and I am often on my way out the door, bags in tow, no later than 3:00, in order to hit the reset button on my mom role, which begins promptly at 3:15.

So it is mornings when I get to meander through Room 15 and take stock of the chaos from the day before.  I make my way counter-clockwise, through the dim room, turning on each lamp as I go.

I see the pile of pencils on the bookcase. Cast offs saved by the kind-hearted custodians.

I see the book pile on the back table. The librarians remembered to find the left out books at the end of the day.

I see the read aloud all set out on the chair for the start of the day. It’s a fun one for before testing this week.

And then I find the first Dixie cup. 3×4 it reads. I don’t have to look very far to find some more. Tucked into nooks and crannies at all sorts of odd angles. A sign of learning that makes me chuckle.

Power Towers are stacking games to reinforce multiplication facts. My third graders have been stacking extraordinaires.  At some point the stacking game got stale. The Pringles cans got turned upside down and a single cup placed on top. Voila!  Target practice tower. Facts are furiously answered and a frenzy of cups goes flying to be the first to knock down that lone cup on top.

To the outside eye it’s a chaotic possible waste of time. To my meandering morning mind, it’s a sign of kids’ taking learning into their own hands and getting so caught up they miss the wayward flying Dixie cups.

And I for one, think it is glorious.



To the Victor Goes the Spoils

Many fought a valiant battle. Post after post of canines. Post after post of felines. The tug of fur has been going strong for almost a year.

We would pause and then ultimately keep on scrolling by. Until the scroll paused. And then stopped. We took the leap. We waited. We paced. We heard back.

We were too late. Adopted out to another family that filled out their paperwork just a tad faster. His little smooshy face would be another family’s little smooshy face.

So the scrolling continued once again. Until it stopped. Until we leaped. Until we waited. Until we paced. Until we heard back.

We piled into the family car, crate, food, water, toys. Prepared for the journey to bring him home. Anticipation  dancing through the air the whole way there.

The cry that commenced the moment he entered the crate until we got home was impressive.

The pounce and curiosity that burst out of him all night was altogether amusing and terrifying.

The warmth of the purr and contentment in my arms right now is the salve to the break our hearts. There is no better sound than that of a happy little smoosh plopped in your lap.


Welcome to the family, our very own little smooshy face.


The Tug of Fur

Two furry beasts had graced our abode for thirteen years. After our furriest beast broke her heart and then ours, we started the furry tug of war.

We would pause the tug of war for a few brief moments. First a hamster hiatus. Then a guinea pig break. No dice.

We commence the push and pull.

Dog, cat, dog, cat, dog, cat, dog, cat.

dog and cat?!?! Oh, hay no! 

Cat, dog, cat, dog, cat, dog, cat, dog.

Well. Hopefully the tug of war finally has a victor.

Today we aim to travel to the South and return with a tiny furry beast to add to our family.

Who won?

You’ll have to wait and see.