Smiles and Sorrow

What a tough week it's been.I'm not even sure I know how I'm going to blog about this. Part of me keeps thinking that I need to stop writing about this because this blog was supposed to be happy and funny and all kinds of other things. But the truth is, I feel like this needs to be said. It's not always happy, it's not always fluffy but it's real.There have been a lot of ups and downs these last few weeks. The biggest ones have surrounded mami. The three month anniversary of her passing was last Monday. It is so weird to me because 3 months doesn't seem like long. And yet I feel like it was a lifetime ago that I held her hand and watched her take her last breath. I am still struck by the "damn! She's really gone!" feeling at times. I don't necessarily have words to describe what that looks like at the moment. Other than the deep sense of loss that one cannot describe.

I think people expect me to just stop thinking about it, to be able to systematically turn this "thing" off so that I can return to my regularly scheduled program when in fact, all of the programs on the television have been cancelled. It's just not possible. I wonder if it would be best to retreat. To smile outwardly and when people ask me how I am doing, reply in the way that they'd prefer that I replied: Great! But those that know me know that's not me. So, If you are looking to figure out how to "deal" with me, I guess understand that it's only been 3 months and be patient. I'm still me and I am still fun and loving and happy. But not always.

It's occurred to me three paragraphs into this thing that this is the beginnings of what the grief counselor suggested I write: a grief letter. I'll stop here and get back to that part later because I honestly don't think I'm prepared to write that yet. Back to yesterday.

I had plans to go to church. But the frog princess woke up @ 2:30 a.m. She was up for an hour. Some part of me feels as if she woke to soothe me. I've realized lately how connected she is to my emotions. Like her mami, she is a comforter. This makes me love her even more (as if that's possible). That threw the morning schedule off a bit as she slept until 7 and by the time we got out of bed (because we were there for another hour as I tried to sneak in a series of 10 minute naps as I distracted her with games and books). Breakfast had been pushed back and by the time I looked up, there was no way I could get to church on time. It didn't help that I slipped back into bed and cried big fat tears. The Man was there to offer up a shoulder to cry on. And he took care of breakfast while I took a 15 minute breakdown moment. I feel as if I woke up with tears. When I was filling the tub to give the baby a bath, it occurred to me that mami gave her her first bath in that tub and I just broke down. We reset the day but it was okay. I had come to terms with the fact that things weren't going to go according to plan.

After a long frog princess nap, we packed it up and drove to the Publix to get balloons. There, a man with kind eyes filled my balloons quietly. He looked right through me and it was an odd feeling standing there waiting for my balloons that were going to heaven. I asked if I could put my notes in the balloons before he filled them and he said he'd try. He didn't ask what it was about. Just said it was a creative idea. Something made me feel as if he somehow could see my sorrow through the smile I gave him every time he looked up from his task. His name was Christian and the symbolism wasn't lost on me. We drove to the cemetery with 2 extra balloons that would stay on the ground. One for mami and one for abuela.

As we were making our way to the gravesites, The Man asked if the frog princess was going to keep a balloon. My first thought was no. Then as if she was standing next to me, I remembered that mami would never have anything and not share it with her. So, I resigned myself that one of those balloons would stay on the ground as a gift from her mama on this special day. It took The Man a while to untangle the balloons. Once he did, I tried to find a position where I would be able to let them go and not get caught up on a tree. After some deliberation, I let them go. It's funny because I didn't want to let them go though I knew I had to. I was reminded of the process of letting her go all over again. There was apprehension, sadness, questions as to what would happen next.

Just as before, I felt joy when I released them. A happiness that bubbles up in your heart and flourishes in your throat. It might not have a voice but it delights you nonetheless. My sorrow lifted with the balloons. Not all of it but, enough to let me appreciate the blue sky above, the peace that was growing within me and the fact that this was just another day for which I had to be grateful for.

I am sure mami got her delivery in heaven. I felt her smiling down at me with a mischievous grin that makes me wonder what it is that she finds so funny. Mami couldn't really keep good secrets from me so, I'm sure I'll hear what it is soon enough as I asked her to let me know when she got the balloons in heaven. Mami, I'm waiting...

Check out the video of the release: Balloons to Heaven

Giggles and Hugs (and a pinch of sorrow)

There are a million things to do.  A million tasks that must be completed.  But, I would be missed if I did not pause for a moment and reflect.  First of all, I must say that the tasks are all bullshit.  On my death bed, I won't think: shit! I wish I'd had time to scrub that toilet that one day of that one month of that one year so long ago! But perhaps, I might remember the giggles of my little girl as we played this morning or how ecstatic she got when we jumped in the shower (it's like a water park to her!). I am stressed.  I sat down tonight to get working on some flowcharts.  But to be honest, my mind is packed with thoughts and feelings that are not letting me concentrate on the task at hand.  I am reading a book called Focus at the moment which I hope will put me on the right track.  But, it's more than just not having focus.  You see, today is the 2 month anniversary of my mami's death.  I sit at my desk surrounded with images of her.  And I remember so much all at once.  Her smile, her greeting to me (she'd always say: hello little one).  Her spirit.  I also remember her work ethic but most of all her very clear perspective on priorities.  We were always it.  No questions asked.  No stopping to pause and wonder if that was the right answer.

One day I hope my frog princess can say the same about me.  That she was always the priority in my life.  It's making me rethink the Evo and the iPhone.  Making me wonder if I should really get that iPad2.  I want my child to remember my eye contact, not the sight of my phone or whatever other distraction I might find in the course of a day.  All I want is time with my child and time to get through this grief.

To say that I miss my mami is the understatement of the millennia.  I have so much going on and her advice was always readily available to me, no matter what.  As I walk through situations I hear mami's voice in her dismissive tone usually saying: leave it alone or let it go, but I still want her words. Her presence.  Yes, I know she is "with me". That she's in a better place.  But to be honest, that shit doesn't bring much comfort.  I mean it does but at the end of the day, it doesn't make me miss her less.  It does not, by any means of the imagination, buffer the pain.  Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that it does.

Every night, the frog princess and I pray.  And I always start thanking God for whatever it is that I am thankful for on that day.  I always thank him for my baby girl.  And some days, that's all I got.  My gratitude session is followed by prayer and petitions.  I don't wish for my mom back (Stephen King made sure of that because all I can think of is Pet Cemetery and who wants a crazy zombie mom, you know?).  I don't pray for anyone to take her place (that's all kinds of impossible).  Some days, all I can pray for is help and then a quick thanks.  Tonight, I should've prayed for a miracle on this flowchart.  I think I'll go pray for some divine intervention on this after I post.  I pray for God to ease my pain and the pain of those closest to my mami.  I pray for God to help me understand her absence and accept it.  I pray for other people afflicted by cancer.  Pray for health and all kinds of other good stuff.  It's important to me that I continue to pray for others. Some days, I just have the thought and strength to pray for God to let me make it through another day.  I cannot imagine what things would be like if I didn't have my frog princess. Can't imagine the additional hollow I might feel. I am so thankful and blessed that my mami got to meet her granddaughter.  Before she got sick we were driving one day and mami said: I always have prayed that God would let me see my grandchildren.  Though I could not have predicted what was coming, I remember thinking: why didn't you pray for more? But, that's the character of my mother.  She was content with what she was given and pleased when her prayers were answered regardless of what was to come.  Mami didn't want fancy cars, a big house, expensive things to fill it.  Mami wanted her family.  More and more I find myself thinking that that's the route I want my life to take as well (not that I have ever been a materialistic person, mind you).  My mind is filled with so much emotion right now, I can't pluck the thoughts so perhaps I will call it quits for the time being.

In the meantime, I will not regret choosing to spend time with my child today instead of tackling the task list.  Tomorrow, I may do the same.  Who can resist giggles and hugs, especially when they so efficiently ease the sorrow?