For Dad

On this day last year, my Dad was with us on the beaches of the Oregon Coast; his first trip without his sweetheart.  It was an adventure to visit family and see the ocean.  He and Mom had dreamed of going when she was well again. 

We left a box filled with words and pictures of happier days in the sand, buried in the shadow of a huge piece of driftwood we christened Bonnie Rae’s Window to the Sea.  It was a moody, misty, ethereal day that I will never forget.  

One year later, my Dad is still struggling to create another life…without her.   It touches me to share this poignant and inspiring journey with him. 

Today I want to tell him how much the gift of his life and love means to me.  My world without Mom is as hard as I imagined, but Dad is always there; open and anxious to talk and to listen.

Trying to put my thought down on a Father’s Day card wasn’t working so I took to this blog to record what is in my heart.   This is my attempt to write a poem for him for Father’s Day:


Being the parent left behind…
I know about this

Loving, listening, hoping now for two
So often feeling a poor substitute
The consolation prize

You are the source..the Keeper of Home.
Constant, unconditional tenderness
Mixed with longing and
your forever love for her.

Pieces of her best dreams left behind
in the hearts of your children
Eyes shining, you remember with us 
And bear witness…
She lived.

The mourning dove sings and
Together we dance
To the music of family and 
The Promise of reunion.

Every day you show us the way. 

I love you Dad.


Vanquishing the Mubblefubbles

Looking out Judy’s window

The Mubblefubbles have been hanging around me (think albatross) for months. Definition:  Depression of the spirits for no apparent reason. Melancholy, also Blue Devils, Mulligrubs. 

This nearly extinct old term jumped out at Ron when he read that it was a synonym for mulligrubs.  He says that I am the only person he has ever heard use that word,  I learned it from Mom.  She used it as a verb as in mulligrubb-ing.. And she also understood how debilitating and/or cathartic mulligrubbing can be.

I have been blaming the weather for my funk …the cold, the gray rain, and OMG, the wind! The howling, violent, blow-your-house- down obnoxiosity makes me want to huddle in the crawlspace next to my furnace.

But I suspect the weather is just an annoying manifestation of what I have been feeling inside; unsettled, lonely, restless, and still unsure whether life will ever feel as right and happy again. I miss Mom.

That is why I need SUNSHINE…bright, blinding promise wrapped in clear blue skies and the warm loving embrace of Mother Earth.

Today marked our warmest day yet in the shadow of the mountains. The sun is out and the Cove irises are standing tall in my yard with their faces upturned to grab every gorgeous ray and so am I…metaphorically and well, literally.  

I know  people who worship at the altar of rainy days…dark, drizzly, wet and moody. (some of them lurk within my own family…gasp!) but I AM NOT one of them. 

I will let you know what a few days of sunshine does for my p-s-y-c-h-e.  It won’t make everything right again, but it will change my perspective.  And that is a start…


Lost Horizons

The look in her eyes said it all.  The disappointment, the fear, and the hope underneath that we would still love her; still see her the same way.  Cheyenne is our baby; the youngest of our yours-mine troupe of eight  daughters. Yes…Eight.

She and I have this running joke that she is still only nine years old, her age when we first met almost 10 years ago.  My teasing always makes her laugh, but is our stupid way of acknowledging our connection. Last year, I decided it was time to advance her pretend age and I sent her one of those little kid cards for a 10-year old.  Yesterday was her birthday…she is 19.

Between the sweet corn fritters and shrimp scampi, we learned she is also 9 weeks pregnant. As her Dad went silent, I choked back tears for reasons I still can’t entirely explain.  It was not a joyous announcement.  More of a confession, “I didn’t make it”..  She has knowingly or not sabotaged her dreams and some of ours for her died as well.  

In the seconds that followed, I thought:

Oh my god, she is so young
Now I know why her boyfriend Ty, proposed in Disneyland last week without asking her Dad’s permission first
Is this what she was hinting to us three weeks ago?
This will hurt Joni, my oldest, who is trying to get pregnant while watching everyone around her do it by accident
Abortion?  Adoption?   Have all the options been discussed?  Considered?
I am going to be a step-gramma again… yippee!!
There is a new little spirit that is going to be part of our lives…I wonder if Mom knows her or him?
Could it be a boy? Ty is a boy. He is proof that boys do exist; that people can have boy babies…
Is that what my premonition was about three nights ago?
Why am I fighting back tears? Am I so menopausal, I cry at everything?
Where did the little girl with the muffin top tummy go?
So glad we are here to help, to prepare, to babysit…I wonder if Carter’s is still open?
Oh my god, they are so young.

We stood outside the restaurant, wishing time would rewind, wondering how we ever got to this place.  “Well, I don’t think we will ever forget this birthday” I said.  We hugged and she promised to call Annika to tell her the news.  I was so grateful that we had come in separate cars.  Her Dad and I almost got our doors shut before we both started to cry.