balls in the air

“Balls” in the Air

balls 2This baby thing is so tough. And I’m not even the one who’s pregnant! I’m just the grandma-to-be. Oh Lord! I wrote this in September on a return flight from St. Louis.

We are only 18+ weeks in and I am driving myself crazy. Right now I’m sitting on a plane with my stomach literally ready to “toss it’s cookies.” And there’s nothing inside. My nerves are shattered. Ashley has a doctor’s appointment and I won’t know anything until I land. So I sit here praying. Praying. Praying. Everything will be okay. Good. Great.

People tell me I carry too much of the load when it comes to my kids. I probably do. I don’t know how not to. I remember when they were little. When they hurt, I hurt. When they were happy, I was happy. It’s no different now. I think it’s harder. Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. So true. Don’t we all just want to see our kids happy? I know I do. When my kids ask me what I want for a gift for one occasion or another, I simply want to see them happy. That brings me the greatest joy.

balls 1My mom used to talk about having the “balls in the air.” They were never all “up there” at one time. I get it. God, I love when my “balls” are sky high. Means life is good. Everyone is happy. In a good place. I used to have Gregger to balance me. Calm me. Center me. I don’t. So I have to figure it out. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

I spoke with my “seatmate.” Rarely do that. Needed the distraction. Asked her how life was. Up and down. You know. Life with teens. I’d been there, done that. I shared. Hold on for the ride. It’s beautiful but bumpy. It never gets easier. Age doesn’t change a thing. You worry. You care. You hurt. You’re joyful. It’s part of the job description. Carry the load. I told her to cherish the highs. And ride the lows. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

As the plane landed my heart pounded out of my chest. I texted. “Landed.” And then I waited.Text me back. Something. Ding phone. Ding. Please. Something. Seconds passed. Nothing. It seemed like forever. And then. Ding. Not a text. A video. I clicked. Opened. And there it was. The beautiful sounds of baby L’s heartbeat. Thump. Thump. Thump. I listened. Again and again. A few tears slipped down my cheeks. Passengers stared. I didn’t care.  The “balls” were back up in the air for the moment. I’d take that. Happy moments. Blessings. 

balls 3

Letters of Hope

Letters of Hope Continued…

griefSo I’ve been looking back. Some may wonder why. Why look back on a difficult time? Why relive difficult moments? It’s part of me. Part of my life. Part of something I want to share. So others know they aren’t alone. And for those who are members of this “club,” I’m sharing the waves. The highs and lows of the second year. Reality. Feel. Fret. And sometimes fall. It’s all okay. Because at the end of the day, you will stand. On your own two feet. Stronger than you’ve ever been.

So we were waiting. And praying. And I was continuing to write Gregger. The words are unedited. They were a stream of consciousness. He was my lifeline to sanity.

May 22

Dear Gregger,

sunday fundayToday is Sunday Funday. But I haven’t had one of those since you left. I kind of hate Sundays anymore. I actually dread them. I think about how we would wake up, you would do your silly chores, we’d have our coffee together, and then go for our walk. I miss that. I really miss our time at Starbucks. How silly is that? But I loved that time. Our time to talk. Catch up. Talk about everything. Or nothing. It didn’t matter. I just loved spending time with you. Running all those silly errands. That meant more to me than some fancy dinner or a big night out. I don’t know if you ever really understood that. I just loved being with you. I see couples together and I miss that. Miss walking and holding your hand. Miss talking to you. Miss riding in the car. Miss everything. But Sundays are tough. So today’s one of those.

Ashley called first thing this morning and she was so excited. She was nervous but excited. I guess the eggs divided again, which is a good thing. Like I keep saying, I don’t really understand it all, but if she’s excited, that’s a good thing. Please keep watching over her. Hold her in your arms and keep her and those little eggs safe so they can be implanted in her body. I am praying with all my might. I look for you in the clouds. I see smiles and think it’s you looking down at all of us. At least I hope so. That beautiful beaming smile that just lit up the entire world.

I love talking to you. I feel closer. I hold your picture in my hands. I whisper to you. Others would think I’m crazy, but it makes me feel good. And right now that’s what I need. Remember to hold your baby in those big, strong soft hands of yours. I love you so much…until tomorrow…

May 23

Dear Gregger,

grief 2aI was such a wreck today. My nerves are starting to get the best of me. I didn’t realize that Ashley wasn’t going to hear anything until this afternoon so I carried my phone into every class with me. I NEVER do that. But I was afraid to miss something. She called and she’s so nervous. Excited. Everything rolled into one. This has brought us even closer than we were before. It is a blessing. I know it is. In so many ways. Tomorrow is the BIG day. They are implanting the embryos (or whatever they call the fertilized eggs). Then we pray again. Again and again. Over and over. With all of our hearts. I can’t remember how many days she has to wait but it will be treacherous I’m sure. She’s taking such good care of herself. You’d be so proud. She’s so much of you. You’d love watching her at work. I watch her and see so much of you. Her smile. Her way with people. Her joy. Everyone loves her. They tell me she is warm. Loving. Caring. Kind. All the things people told me about you. It warms my heart. And I tell them all that she is her father’s daughter. And that you would be so proud. Maybe that’s all the “smiley” clouds I see overhead. I hope so.

Hold your hands over her. Or maybe they are wings. I don’t know. You must be the grandest of angels. Take care of her. Keep her safe. I so wish you were here with me, but, if I can’t have that wish, I wish that you watch over your baby (and her “babies”). I love you with all my heart. Until tomorrow…

“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown. In my heart it don’t mean a thing.” So my child was grown, bigger and older, but in my heart, still my child. My heart simply wanted her to find the greatest joy. The joy I had found with her.

To be continued…


shining brightest in heaven

Stars in Heaven…Shining Brightest

Scan 17In these days leading up to the “anniversary,” I keep going back to the beginning. The moment I spotted Greg. And I just knew. 41 years ago. Bushy-haired guy, beer in hand, hanging at the pool. He never knew what hit him. And it hit him hard. He didn’t stand a chance. Locked him out one night. Talked the night through. One date. And the rest was history. Inseparable. Partners. Lovers. Friends.

My grandmother used to say, “You need to get down on your hands and knees. Every night. And pray. You need to thank God for giving Greg to you.” I resented it. I thought, “What about me?” Shouldn’t he thank God for me? Wasn’t I good enough? I didn’t get it. But as the years went by, I understood. He was one of the “good guys.” He was special.

IMG_1704It was the simple things:
1. Holding hands. Walking down the street. In the grocery store. In the car. Everywhere. It just felt good. Connected.
2. Helping out. Emptying the trash. Clearing the table. Picking up dog poop. Yucky job. But he did it. Sharing. Doing it together.
3. The Little things. Putting out my coffee cup. Every morning.
4. Laughter. Silly, goofy, simple fun.
5. Cuddles. Hugs. Watching reality TV he hated or shows we loved together! It didn’t matter.
6. Kissing. Before he left. When he walked in the door. And in between. I miss those kisses.
7.“I love you.” He said it A LOT!  On the phone, text, email, cards. He never let me forget it. His last words. They’ll stay with me forever.
8. Surprises. So many. Some for occasions. Some for nothing at all. That’s what made them extra special. That’s what made HIM super special.
9. My cheerleader. Greg was my BIGGEST supporter. Whatever I tried to do, he pushed me to be better.
10. My best friend. He listened. The good. The bad. The ugly. He didn’t always “hear” me, but when it was important, he stopped. That counted. I mattered. I knew.

me and greg 11People used to say, “You are so lucky. He’s so calm. Composed.” And I wanted to respond, “You don’t live with him.” That wasn’t fair. I was his outlet. His sounding board. Everyone needs one. He was mine. So WE were lucky. Blessed. He wasn’t perfect. Neither was I. “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” That was the two of us. There for each other through thick and thin. Richer and poorer. Sickness and health. Good times and bad. We lived through it all. And we made it right to the end. Smiling. Laughing. Loving. Always loving.


Rainy Days and Mondays

Rainy Days and Mondays

rain 2Feeling a bit melancholy on this rainy day Monday. I stare at the raindrops streaming from the skies and slip into a meditative state. My mind wanders. Memories drift in and out. I try to conjure a visible future. I’m stuck. I keep going backwards. All I can see is the past. Where I was. Where I still want to be. But I can’t go there anymore. I can visit. But I must move forward. I keep having flashes. Of Gregger. His goofy, but loving idiosyncrasies. I miss them most. But they make me smile. My sunshine on a rainy day.


  • his nightly call to me on his way home from work
  • his obsession with mail, getting to it ASAP when he walked in the door at night
  • dropping his clothes on the floor; shirt, socks, and underwear tied in a tidy ball
  • digging into chips and salsa EVERY night when he walked in the house
  • freezing his Crystal Light to icy perfection
  • making his special bagel with half butter, half peanut butter and jelly, perfectly spread to the edges
  • ice cream before bed (for years!)
  • driving back to check the garage door EVERY TIME we left the house
  • watching his morning routine (recumbent bike with sports page, coffee, shower, breakfast and out the door)
  • washing his shirts (Yes! I miss that) and timing them so there wasn’t a wrinkle
  • his deep breathing and raucous snores
  • his meticulous habit of using shoe trees to preserve the shape, prevent creases, and extend the life of his vast shoe collection
  • “sleep good, sweet dreams” (to me and the kids)
  • “I love you” before, after, and in between (the BEST)

rainGregger: Yesterday I needed to talk to you so badly. It was just one of those days. There wasn’t anyone else in my circle who could help. I needed you. You weren’t here. I’m having to deal with so many nonsensical things. Life things. Gregger things. But I’m learning. I want to scream out. Am I doing the right thing? Is this the way you want me to do it? UGH! I don’t want these responsibilities. But they are mine now. I will take ownership. I will handle them. You tried to teach me. I didn’t listen. I picked up bits and pieces. Enough along the way. I remember. I will make you proud.

The rain falls. I think of you. The days we snuggled. The days we did nothing. That didn’t happen often enough living in Arizona. I wish you were here. Today I am stuck. Tomorrow will be a new day. This is the way it goes. In, out, over, under, up, down, sideways, and back again. Life. It goes on. I just wish it wasn’t without you. Rain. Teardrops falling. I miss you. I will look for the rainbow and know you are smiling. It’s then that I will be smiling too.

rain 3

in a cinch

It’s a “Cinch”


I knew I hit the jackpot with Gregger for so many reasons, but what woman wouldn’t love a man who loves to clean! This guy was great with a sponge, mop, vacuum, toilet brush, and more! But, his favorite was cleaning glass! He would clean mirrors, windows, tables, etageres, or whatever clear products he could put his hands on until there wasn’t a streak in sight. But, he had a science, and you did NOT mess with the Gregger! Always, and ONLY use newspaper…UGH! This left my hands and nails black and dirty. Why not just use paper towels? Nope, newspaper it was, so the job was his! For years Windex was his product of choice, until Gregger discovered the ultimate Cinch.  cinch

You would have thought this was the end-all of all products on the market. We had at least five to six bottles on stock at a time in our house, and, seriously, our windows, mirrors, and glass did NOT get THAT dirty! All was good with the cleaning world as long as Gregger had his Cinch. It pretty much worked on everything, and our house was Cinched clean. Then the dreaded day came when we had to restock and the store shelves were EMPTY. Not a bottle of Cinch in sight.  I scrounged this valley in search of that ludicrous cleaner – from Safeway, Fry’s, and Albertson’s to Target, WalMart, Home Depot and any other store that may carry cleaner. I googled it, searched Amazon, and drove myself crazy. I had to break the news. Cinch was clearly off the market. Gregger was devastated. He tried brand after brand but continued to mourn his Cinch. I think he finally settled with some Costco brand glass cleaner that was satisfactory enough to suffice his needs. Either that or window cleaning had finally taken a much lower rank on his priority pole.

the-simple-things-in-life-seems-more-meaningful-now-quote-1Now, my world is just fine without Cinch, but imagine my exhilaration when I saw this big red bottle with that inscription on the store shelf the other day. I wanted to pick up my phone and call to the heavens, “Hey Gregger…CINCH is back! All is good and clean with the world!” I just grinned. It was one of those silly moments that would have made him so happy. He didn’t care about expensive presents, fancy dinners, or flashy things, but if I had brought home a case of Cinch, he would have grinned from ear to ear. I can see it, I can feel it, and I know he’s smiling now. Sometimes it’s the little things that bring us joy, give us hope, and help us make it through another day.

In The Midst Of Chaos There is Joy

In The Midst Of Chaos There is Joy

Life is short

My life lately could best be described as total chaos…I am trying to keep the pieces together, but every day a piece of the puzzle just doesn’t seem to fit in place. Whether it’s water flooding my hallways and kitchen from a broken line in my refrigerator, or pools of blood covering my floors from a bleeding dog, or another dog vomiting everywhere just as I finish cleaning up one mess after another, or the mundane routine of trying to keep bills in check, it’s just a little crazy. But, in the midst of all of this trivial “B.S.” I was blessed to be part of the “Teen Suit Event” at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale last Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful reminder that none of that “B.S.” really mattered at all. It put life in perspective and gave me a sense of purpose for a few short hours. This was not an easy decision for me. This was Gregger’s thing. I had to step into his shoes. I had to walk into those doors and not only recall the memories of last year, but actually “be him.” It was one of the hardest things I’ve done yet, but I was determined to do it, not only for him, but for me.

Greg 3I was pretty melancholy on my drive there. A few tears rolled down my cheeks as I remembered meeting Gregger in the parking lot last year. He was so excited to be part of this event. This was one of The Clotherie’s biggest fundraisers. Twice a year The Clotherie collected suits, sportcoats, and trousers to send to the Boys and Girls Club for this “Suit Event” for boys to wear to prom, graduation, or job interviews. Gregger was in high gear, dressing boy after boy, making sure they looked stylish, sharp, and dressed to a “t” in their new duds. He was like a proud dad with every one of those boys, and the boys were so incredibly grateful. While I assisted last year, I mostly reveled in Gregger’s passion; it just emanated from his soul.

little thingsBut this year was different. There was no Gregger. It was just me. I had to do this alone. I had to figure this out. I entered the room and tears immediately ran down my face. I wasn’t sure if I should stay or make a mad dash for the parking lot. I saw Gregger everywhere. But then I saw the boys. And I saw their smiles, their enthusiasm. My heart  melted and I felt my lips slightly curving upward; it was hard not to feel the warmth, the passion, the energy. At that moment, I knew I would be okay. I started suiting up the boys, pulling outfits, suits, shirts, and even ties. Gregger used to ask me if I liked this tie or that with his outfit…totally not my thing. But all of a sudden, I was picking out great ties to match shirts and suits and the boys were loving it. I felt like I was on fire. I didn’t want it to stop. The boys were so gracious. They were so proud. I just wanted to hug all of them and say “thank you” for giving me the greatest moment. Whereas they thought I was giving to them, they had no idea what they were giving to me…more than they could ever imagine. I smiled – a genuine, warm, loving smile that came from the inside out. I laughed. I felt happy. This was a good day.

So the chaos was behind me. It was still there when I got home, but that was okay. I was at peace and for a few hours I felt true joy.

Greg 22015-03-27 19.07.07 Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates LOVE.


(Gregger and the boys 2014)
Birds In Love - A True Love Fairytale

The Love Birds



This is the tale of two love birds, a tale of love, loss, and sorrow. A tale of fate, choices, and destiny that reminds us whatever the plan, there is no plan. Captivated by an early sunrise and the quiet solitude of the morn, I was startled by a thunderous crash outside my window. Afraid to look out, I slowly peeked out to find one quail fluttering to the ground in desperation, while another hovered over, bobbing it’s head back and forth. I literally felt helpless, but a rush of emotions and memories came flooding back to me. I don’t want to sound heartless, but I am generally not a huge bird lover. They kind of scare me. This was so different. These birds were so connected. The poor bird who survived was so distraught, so alone, and so lost without his mate that I suddenly forgot I was watching two birds. He circled the dead bird over and over again and then stopped. He stood over him, head bent forward and just paused. Then he would start circling again.

I walked outside not knowing what to do. The quail sauntered into the bushes when he heard my steps and then slowly made his way back to his mate. I observed from afar and my eyes filled with tears as I watched him circling again and again as if his mate would revive somehow. He would wail these sing-song sounds as if beckoning friends or family to join him but none came. I was so incredibly touched by the dedication, love, and commitment. Iimage realized that life is just as unpredictable for these poor birds. A morning that began with a carefree flight, wings spread in the clear, blue sky ended just as suddenly and unexpectedly with tragedy. They were clearly love birds, soul mates as this bird was still bobbing and circling on my patio seven hours later.

It reminded me of our day on the beach. We drove 45 minutes to Kaanapali with not a care in the world, seeking cloudless skies on the other side of the island.  We chose Black Beach because two days earlier had been so memorable…perfect waves, white sand, clear blue water. We hugged, we kissed, we said “I love you” and Gregger walked into those sparkling waters never to walk out again. Just like the quails who chose their path this morning, I think about the “what ifs.” What if we had chosen a different beach? What if Gregger had never gone snorkeling? What if the quails flew in a different direction? What if they flew just a bit higher and missed my clear window? But what ifs are pointless…the minister who spent the day with us August 30th made us promise to stop the “what ifs,” “if onlys” and “why didn’t we just.” Just like the quails who chose their path today, we chose ours. I used to believe that everything happens for a reason. I am still seeking whatever that reason must be. But like the love birds today, fate stepped in and life ended. No explanation, no time to prepare…just over in a flash. I sat and watched that poor quail all day long. I believe he finally gave up after about nine treacherous hours. I’m not sure where he went or why he decided to leave, but I continued to hear the wailing of those quails in my backyard all afternoon. I hope he found his peace just as I am slowly finding mine. When I believed he had gone, I chose to put his mate to rest so he could be at peace too.

At some time we all wish we could hit the stop button, pause, rewind, and have the opportunity to ask “what if?” But we can’t. I look to skies and ask, “Why Gregger? Why that day?” But there are no answers. There are only messages. Love unconditionally. Forgive. Be grateful for today. Cherish the simple moments. Live compassionately. Be kind. Live the way Gregger would have lived and find a little more peace each and every day. I think he would be happy with that and so am I.