Last month I was neck deep in helping a non-fiction author get her stuff published, getting Wayfarer Resolve published and a variety of other tasks when my mother started a health crisis. 
Sadly my mother passed away 10/12/2018.  This led to a ton of tasks when I was not at my best.  Writing got set aside.  I don’t easily or lightly set aside writing because it balances and grounds me. 
Here I am a month later saying where did October and most of November go?  I know I went to my day job and worked through arranging the funeral, clearing out her apartment, and well you get the idea. 
I attended a book signing (my first) the first weekend in November.  The tasks associated with my mother’s death and estate are wrapping up but I’m left feeling unsettled, sad, and crabby.  I’m all for finding a nice recliner and curling up in a cave somewhere no one can bug me.  Reality is that isn’t going to happen. 
Writing is my sanity.  But I’ve not had time for writing.  This is never good.  I’ve got a manuscript in my bag and I started edits on it.  I’ve read on my phone using my kindle app to highlight grammatical errors I find as I read familiar friends (i.e. my published books). 

Over the last month, I’ve found little writing things to keep me sane.  This has helped with my grief and my stress.  I may not be able to climb into my comfy recliner in the luxury cave (yup totally have it designed with high speed internet and a large hot tub), but I am able to pick up writing tasks to ground me while I work through my grief.
Last weekend with other family members, we went through my sister’s house where mom lived prior to her health issues.  We sorted, took pictures, and discarded all of her things.  My niece struggled with memories and grief.  I shoved it all away, keeping the feelings squashed to get through the task at hand.  However, when I got to a box of stuff from her office, I discovered a stack of correspondence.  Some was letters from my sister who lives a few hours away.  The rest were all the cards her grandchildren had sent her.  She kept them all because the meant something to her.  
This simple thing – nothing worth keeping – cards with short little blurbs from family.  Yet I knew if mom were in the room, she would have said these were her most precious possessions.  This broke my reserve and brought tears to my eyes.  There was no point in keeping them but they spoke to me.
There are a few more tasks to work through, scanning pictures, figuring out slides, and so on.  Once we distribute her things among the family, her estate will be done for the most part.  The funeral and all the work will be behind us.  A part of me doesn’t want to let go of these last few tasks but I know like all the other times it’s difficult to let go – it’s time to let go.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

No, I’m not going to start spouting about a Clint Eastwood movie but the title seemed appropriate for all the things I want to talk about.

Vicki made it safely to Wisconsin and we’ve had a good visit with her.  I missed my other girls this holiday but know they had other responsibilities and obligations.  Ken’s family Christmas was good.  I have to say two of his nieces have done a great job raising their daughters – Tara and Marcia.  Their daughters were friendly, polite, and welcoming.  The behavior of these four girls reassured me that not all of our society is going to hell (see my post about Are you the One on MTV).  I had wonderful conversations with many of his family and enjoyed the time we spent with them.

Christmas day, Vicki and I organized my craft room.  It was nice to stay home and not have to drive anywhere.  We got all the yarn sorted into the shelving and baskets I wanted them in.  Vicki stole many skeins of yarn I had purchased but I won’t complain.  By the end of the holidays, I had two new scarves that are amazing.  The one I’m thinking of adding a button to and making into a wrap or shawl.  It is GORGEOUS, soft and warm.

Friday we ran all over the place.  We went to Shopko, Woodman’s, Joann Fabrics, Sorgs, my mom’s, my work, the university for Vicki to get her id and we picked up a friend.  We returned home to order supper and video chat with Virginia and Stephanie while everyone opened their gifts.  It was a twenty-first century holiday.

While at my mother’s, I found out my great aunt had passed away.  Her visitation is tomorrow night so I will be picking up my mom and sister to go to it.

Saturday Vicki and I cooked.  I miss cooking with her.  We worked together in the kitchen with me chopping and prepping and her cooking.  We made turkey meatballs for her and us, beef meatballs for Ken, and she made lasagna for us.

Sunday Vicki went home.  This always makes me a little sad.  My friend came over who lost her significant other in November.  She has been so busy, she hasn’t had time to grieve.  We talked at length about the death of her loved one.  I reminded her that she is going through the natural and normal grieving process.

After my friend left, I opened my email to wade through a day’s worth of emails.  I was thrilled to see an email from a friend.  Unfortunately, that email included the sad news that her husband had passed away. They just celebrated their anniversary with a renewal ceremony.  He’s been in pain and struggling with depression.  Within the last year, she lost her father to illness.  She’s having a rough time.

My heart breaks for my friends who are struggling with the losses in their lives.  Their grief is heartbreaking.  The loss they feel is sharp and painful.

Death is a demanding beast and it seems like I’ve been to a lot of funerals and memorials lately.  It is difficult to express the sorrow and compassion you feel for people and sound sincere.  I’m sorry for your loss is lame.  But what else do you say?

Sorrow and joy seem to go hand in hand this season.  It is a balance of emotions I guess but not in the way I think is healthy or positive.  For those who are grieving, I send them love and positive energy in the hopes that it gives them a bit of comfort.  In my experience, sorrow and loss is only dulled with time and patience.