For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Keep In Touch!

A few days ago I shared an article on Facebook called

"Ten Signs That Deceased Loved Ones Give Us To Let Us Know They Are Around"

I received messages from a few people who lost parents recently thanking me for posting it and wanting to hear from their loved ones and wondering if I had experienced anything myself.

I have had many instances that I believe were signs from my Dad.  I firmly believe he was able to communicate with us after his physical body left this world -  something I would not have believed before his death.  Some people are spooked by things like this, but I feel comforted that death is not final and our loved ones are still "around".

1) My first experience occurred about a month after my father died.  We had sold my parents' house in Vermont and had cleaned almost all of their belongings out.  I went to Vermont with my daughter Annie to attend a graduation party for my niece.  Even though the house was empty, Annie and I decided to sleep one more night in the house before the upcoming closing.  We slept in sleeping bags on the living room rug and watched "Pretty Woman" on my laptop.  It felt good to just be there.  In the morning, while Annie was in the shower I went upstairs to look around one last time.  As I was walking up the stairs, I smelled my Dad.  I stood on the stairs and breathed in the scent of his after-shave as if he was right next to me.  After a minute, I went upstairs to his office and wandered around.  On my way back down the stairs I stopped in the same spot and smelled nothing.

When Annie was out of the shower and dressed, the thought came into my head to show her the basement.  In all of the years we had visited my parents, she had never been down there.  It was an old house and the basement was full of bugs and spiders and cobwebs - it was where my Dad would go to putter around at night with his tools.  The new owners requested we leave the basement as it was - they wanted to go through my Dad's old tools.  We were just as happy not to have to clean it out.  I had been down there when we were cleaning out the rest of the house to see if there was anything I wanted to keep, so I knew what was down there.

 When I brought Annie down, we looked around once again.  Before we went back upstairs, she noticed something on top of a box near the stairway.  When my parents were first married, my Dad was a partner in a wrought-iron business.  He designed and made furniture and decorations out of wrought-iron.  Laying on top of a box near the stairway was one of his creations I had never seen before.  It was old and rusty.  It was a musical staff with notes made out of metal washers.

Annie was in high school at the time and was planning to go to music school for college.  She asked me if she could have it.  I firmly believe it was my father who put the thought into my head to take Annie to the basement because he left this there for her.  He wanted her to have it.
Nobody in my family had ever seen this in the basement before, yet there it was right out in the open waiting for Annie! 

Annie sanded it and repainted it, and it now hangs in our kitchen as a reminder of my father.

2)  In the months after my father's death, my brother was driving my dad's work van to make sure everything was working ok before he sold it.  As he was driving, the radio stopped working.  He tried to see what was wrong with it but couldn't figure out why it stopped working.  Then it started working again.  He told me about this and said he thought it was Dad fooling around.

A few weeks later, my sister, Lori, in Alaska was driving her daughter to the horse barn to tend their horse when her car radio stopped working. And just as it happened with my brother, it started working again all by itself.  She had heard my brother's story and wondered if it was my father.

About a week later,  I was driving Annie home from her music rehearsal in West Hartford and we were talking.  I was telling her what had happened with the car radio with both my brother and my sister.  At that exact moment, my car radio stopped working.  We looked at each other in amazement.  It couldn't be possible, could it?  After two or three minutes, we were close to home and I said out loud, "Ok, Dad, enough is enough!  Turn the radio back on!"  He must have heard me because it was back on within seconds after I said that.

3)  The third major "sign' from my Dad happened after he had been gone for more than two years.  I wrote a blog post about it back then:

  Click here to read it.

I haven't had any experiences lately that are as blatant as the ones I just described.  There were a few times I had dreams where I awoke feeling like I had just spent time with my mom or dad, and it was so nice, but these don't happen often.  One morning after a dream with my Mom in it I called my sister to tell her about it and she had had a similar dream.

I've thought a lot about death and spirits since the passing of my parents.  I am a believer that death is not the end of one's spirit.  I believe I will be with my parents again one day, and that makes the prospect of my own death (whenever that may be)  a little less scary.

Until then, Dad (or Mom), I'm here if you want to get in touch!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Everyday Life Through the Lens

Back when I was growing up,  we didn't have cameras with us very often.  When we did, it was used mostly for big events like proms and graduations.  I hardly have any pictures of my friends.  I went looking today and came up with a few, but the earliest was from high school.
And honestly,  these were almost all of them!  Sad!

This was Starlene.

Char and Julie





Barb, Beth, Erin and Mandy

Margaret and Mary

This is a little later on, but it is my softball team at work after college.

I wish I had more pictures of everyday life with my friends from grammar school and high school!  Even after high school!

We always complain about kids and their phones.  They are always texting, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

If there is one positive aspect of having a phone in your pocket at all times is that they have a camera in their pocket at all times!

Taking pictures of everyday life!

Back when phones had cards inside them to store photos, I used to take them out of their phones once in a while and back up the photos to the computer.  I'm sure they will love to look back at all of these fun times!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Life is all about balance.  

How much is enough?  Too much?  

Sleep.  Food.  Time.  TV.  Make-up.  Money.  Sun.  Leisure.  Work.

How do you know when is "enough".

I think one of the hardest things as a parent/sister/daughter/friend is to know when help is needed and and when it's not needed.  
When to step in and when to step back.  
When to leave things alone. 

It would be nice to have a crystal ball to tell us what we need to know.

It would me nice to be able to see inside a loved one to know how they really feel.  

But we can't.  And sometimes they just don't tell you.  
They think they can handle it on their own.  
They don't want your help.  

So you go through life wanting the best for your loved ones.

You want to be there when for them in good times and in bad.

Boundaries.  When are you overstepping them?

When should you break them down?

Sometimes it's easy to figure out.

Sometimes it's not.

So you just have to be there.


Because sometimes their pain isn't obvious.

And just being there helps so much.