Thursday, May 12, 2016

If I could give you another life

Tomorrow, May 13, marks the one year anniversary of a bright soul leaving our world. I can feel her loss more today than when I first found out a year ago.
Who was this radiant light of a person? A dear friend, devoted wife, and loving mother of two amazing children. She was my husband's brother from another mother's spouse and I loved her from the first day our boys introduced us.
We had different backgrounds and paths in life, but when we were together we laughed a lot and got along so well.  If we'd lived in the same town, we'd be at each other's houses all the time.
Her smile and her laughter....I can see the glow and hear the music when I close my eyes.  What amazed me the most: she'd lived a hard life, but you would never know this from her attitude. Anytime life through shit her way she managed to turn crap into gold. I've never seen someone with so much perseverance and positiveness despite their circumstances. Eventually, thought, if you throw enough rocks at a song bird, she'll eventually stop singing.
I don't know what happened for sure the last two years of her life, as I was fighting my own demons. From what I heard, they were pretty dark. We drifted apart only maintaining superficial contact via Facebook and an occasional text message. I had no idea things had gotten ugly.
We played Candy Crush Soda and would give each other lives on a daily basis. One day her picture didn't move from the level that I thought was super easy. Two days later, I saw the Go Fund Me post for the family. I clicked on the link and couldn't believe my eyes. It couldn't be true. Not her. It must have been an accident.
I texted her husband "What the fuck is going on?"
He responded, "I'm sorry, I wanted to call you, but I couldn't tell you over the phone."
An hour later my husband, toddler, and I were in the car headed north to spend the night with the family. The entire 1.5 hour drive all I could think was "Please be an accident and not what I think it is."
That night I spent hours talking to my brother-in-law as he caught me up on the last two years of their lives. How they'd been struggling with depression and all the losses she'd experienced in her life. How the demons finally had silenced the song bird. We cried in each other's arms. He knew I understood.
For weeks I would open the Candy Crush App on my phone and stare at her photo tile. No matter how many lives I gave her in the stupid game, I would never hear her laugh again or see her beautiful sparkling eyes.
Months later I deleted the app from my profile and phone. I couldn't take it any longer. The guilt crushed me. Why hadn't I reached out to her more? For heaven's sake, I wrote a book about my depression. The last time I'd seen and hugged her was when my daughter was born. For years she'd pestered me about when I would finally join the motherhood club. Her eyes twinkled with delight at the sight of me as a mother and holding my little girl.
The last heart-to-heart conversation took place in our back room. She held my girl and I quietly broke down. I told her I hated motherhood. She looked into my eyes and with the deepest sincerity said "Kids are a pain in the ass to raise and motherhood is hard. It sucks. That's why I got a tubal after my second."
Three years later, I look back at that statement and realize what she didn't say. When I look back further when her youngest was but a toddler, I remember her telling me of her struggles. Back then I had no idea what postpartum depression really was. I'd always associated it with the crazy women you saw on the news because they'd killed their children.
My friend loved her kids fiercely and I am 100% sure she would not have wanted to leave them. Just like a mother dying from cancer doesn't want to leave her family. Depression is like a cancer. It eats away all the joy and love in life and leaves a trail of unrelenting darkness and pain.
Having gone through depression (and still going for that matter), I see things differently. So many times, I've thought "If only I'd called her." I thought about it at least a thousand times the last two years of her time on this earth. But life happens. Baby cries. UPS man rings the doorbell. The cat pukes all over the bed. The smoke alarm goes off because the water on the stove you were warming for tea has completely evaporated and the pot is a nice shade of black....
But then I remember all the wonderful friends she already had around her in her town. Some of these ladies I've had the privilege of getting to know better in the wake of her death. She had an amazing support system of beautiful people. What makes me think me reaching out would have made a difference? The answer is I don't know and will never know. Beating myself about this won't lessen the pain or guilt.
I am only human and can only do so much. Sometimes all I can do is send a Candy Crush life and hope to make it to the next level.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Break time

Hello lovely readers,

After much thought I have decided to take a break from blogging while I'm in school. It's too much right now. This working full-time, going to school full-time, and being mom is making this mama cray-cray. My health comes first, than my family, followed by work, and school. With my mind pulled into so many directions I feel I can't create the quality content I would like to put out there.

The last few posts I've done here and on Portland Moms Blog have been about self-care. Me taking time off is the self-care I need right now. I can't commit to anything else until I have walked down that aisle with my diploma.

There are a couple of posts I have already committed to for Portland Moms Blog and then will be taking a hiatus from there too. In May I will be at Birth Without Fear Portland Meet-up with the gorgeous Sarah Swofford and her fantastic book From Ouch to Ahh, a guide to sex post childbirth. It's a treat you won't want to miss. I will be posting a book review soon.

Thank you so much for understanding. I will be back. Promise. Meanwhile go hug someone you love and give them a big wet kiss while you are at it.



Sunday, January 10, 2016


2015 came to an end while we were vacationing in the Olympic Peninsula for a week. We spent 7 days in a house right on the water, looking out toward the San Juan Islands. The view took my breath every time looked out the window. It didn't matter if we had rain, sunshine, or grey clouds, the scenery delivered magic every day.

I needed this vacation. After spending 3.5 months working full-time, taking 16 college credits, writing part-time, AND being a mom, my whole being needed a week to sleep in, hang out in pj's, watch the marine life frolic in the water twenty yards away from the glassed-in porch, walk on the beach, read, play games on my phone, do yoga, meditate, play with my daughter, snuggle with my husband, and do whole lot of nothing.

Last summer we took a week-long similar vacation on the Oregon Coast and we realized then that we needed to do this every year and with me in school, twice/year was absolutely necessary.

This week off was the perfect ending to my #31daysofselfcare, best way to start off 2016, and get myself pumped for another year. Here's a few photos I took. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Our beach



Heart Rock

Stone tower

Building sand castles with Boo

Olympic Game Farm

Evening view of Mt. Baker

In Victoria, BC (Boo's 1st time out of the USA)

The Empress

Bald Eagle

Frost Magic

Water fowl

Last morning view