Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the thankful feast

IMG_3536 There is already tinsel strung all over town, but I'm still soaking up the gifts of Thanksgiving. This years feast was different in many ways. We stayed in Texas and hosted a small group of friends here at the house. It was our first year to not be with our family which felt strange, but, surprisingly, it also felt exciting to be in our house and not have to travel. Our best friends in town, Whitney & Chris, came over with their family and everyone divided duties on the cooking.
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The girls played and twirled around in their fairy wings from Whitney's momma outside and managed to entertain themselves which was sort of miraculous. I loved setting the table and fussing around the house the days leading up to the main event. The weather couldn't have been nicer and even allowed us to enjoy our new patio furniture. Conversation was easy, food was divine, and so on and so on. The only thing missing was a call from Marilyn. Holidays can be especially bittersweet when you've lost someone and that sinking feeling kept creeping in even with all the joy in the air.
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What keeps bringing me back to the now and drawing me back to the joy is my family. I'm incredibly grateful for my husband and my baby, so grateful for my family back home, and grateful for my new family of friends here. Whitney's daddy said grace as we all held hands (even the littles) on Thanksgiving and I was steadied by his words and by the feeling of family and support around us.

I read this, by Anne Lamott, about saying grace… "We savor these moments out of time, when we are conscious of love's presence, of Someone's great abiding generosity to our dear and motley family, these holy moments of gratitude. And that is grace."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

big easy express

The baby sitter arrived and we set out for a rare Sunday afternoon by ourselves. We'd planned this day before everything happened and now it seemed even more important to get out of the house for a bit. Windows down to let the cool wind whip around us. It felt beautiful as we drove along.
We had tickets for a screening of Big Easy Express at the Texas Theater. It's a wonderful old theater in kinda a funky part of town. The music in the film was such a wonderful distraction from our heavy hearts. I couldn't keep my foot from tapping as the bands played together on this wild train ride across country. Edward Sharpe, Mumford & Sons, and Old Crow - quite the rag tag caravan of folks and they were awesome. Real music, real songs, and adventurous spirit. I escaped in my mind and traveled along, dreaming of "running away with the band," just like I did years ago watching Almost Famous. Even when I'm down and in the worst of times I can be pulled up through music. At least for a little while. The film is really great and you should totally see it if you can. Maybe you'll want to run away with the band along with me!

/// In these bodies we will live. In these bodies we will die. ///
Where you invest your love, you invest your life. - mumford + sons

Friday, November 2, 2012


There are those big moments in life you'll never forget and yet you don't want to remember. Time stands still and objects are a blur. I got a call from Trevor last Thursday that changed everything. He said his mom, Marilyn, had been in a car accident and she didn't make it. The panic in his voice and the pain in his words ran through me and dropped me to the floor. The word "no" kept coming out of my mouth. Over and over and over again, it's all I could manage to say. As I waited for him to get home, my body just shook.

I'm not even sure now how to describe the last few days other than hell. When someone dies unexpectedly, there is no celebration. No party to rejoice in their life. It just feels too sudden and too painful. We were filled with sadness and yet we did pull together and lean on one another as a family. We did tell some stories and share memories of Marilyn. Family members and friends wrapped their arms around us and prayers were felt from all directions. It helped. The calls and the texts and the friends showing up from far away. The outpouring from everyone really and truly meant more to Trevor than I can even express. We needed all that love. After arriving in Atlanta we went into planning mode. Making arrangements and decisions I never dreamed we'd have to make. You see, Marilyn was the glue. She was the one that always made things run smoothly. The one that kept their family together and the one that knew what to do. So many times we wanted to reach out and ask her what to do. I did feel her though. We stayed with Trevor's grandparents and I felt her in their house. I felt her everywhere. I felt her cooking and her decorating and her laughter in the next room. I just felt her. Trevor was so strong. He spoke at the service and truly did his momma proud. Everyone She would have been so proud. After going strong for those few days, we came home and collapsed. My body ached all over and it still doesn't seem real. It was almost harder to come home though, because it's like now what? Time to grieve I suppose. Life is so very precious.

The last time I saw Marilyn was her visit here. She got to see our house, and cook for us, and see our life here. Most importantly she got to be with Miriam and hug her and love her. A few beautiful days of uninterrupted time with her granddaughter. All I can say is it was a real blessing. She loved that baby more than anything. Truly. Marilyn brought Miriam this cute little toile purse on her visit. Inside was an elmo phone and goodies. Miriam adores it and takes it everywhere! It's little things like that that keep reminding me of her. After her visit here I randomly sent her a photo-book of pics from the visit. Her husband gave it to me while we were down there. It's not something I normally did, but for whatever reason I put it together really quick and off it went in the mail. Last night I listened to our answering machine. A message from Marilyn after she got the book played. To say she loved it is an understatement. She oohed & ahhed & cried a little on the message (so Marilyn) and said how much she loved us and loved being with us and how she couldn't wait to come back. I'm so glad I sent her that book. I hope she knew how much we loved her.

This morning I asked Miriam if she knew who's birthday it was today. She said… "mine." I said… "no baby, it's Grand-Mares birthday today. She would have been 64 years old and she loved you so much." I wish we could wish her happy birthday today. I wish we could talk. I know she would tell me some funny story and make me laugh. I wish she could have seen Miriam in her cupcake costume the other night. She would've got such a hoot out of it. I wish she was here for Trevor and Lindsay. I wish Miriam would remember her as she gets older, though I know, with all my heart, a piece of her light is inside my baby girl. She sure lit up a room. I wish I could touch her and I wish she'd come back.
I promise to tell Miriam all about you, Marilyn. You will be her guardian angel, watching over from above. I promise she will know you and know your spirit. I promise to take care of Trevor and be by his side. I promise we will remember you, feel you, celebrate you, and love you always and forever.

The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand,
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land
The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains…
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
{not sure where it came from, but this poem was on the fridge at Marilyn's parents house}