• Family,  Grief,  life,  Love,  Motherhood

    Lipstick Legacy

    I have it now; this little blue mug that says “MOM” on it all uneven like it was mass printed and sold for last minute gift-buyers on Mother’s Day sometime in the 80s. Maybe my Dad got it for her from me, their new baby, between sleep deprived shifts at one of his several jobs and maybe it made her cry the way you do when you’ve earned something that has not been easy. Mornings were quiet in our little cabin. Dad needed to sleep after his swing shift and Mom readied herself in the early, dark hours to join the other commuters on 101 by sunrise. Sometimes she would…

  • Community,  Family,  Grief,  hope,  life,  Love

    On the First Anniversary

    People talk about the first year as though crossing that threshold is a thing. I used to hate it because it felt like there was an expectation that a person would be done grieving after a year. But I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s actually a hope for comfort. As if once you’ve made it a year, you will keep making it. You’ve proven to yourself that you can breathe, you can laugh, you can enjoy being her daughter even when she isn’t here the way she should be. One year ago, on June 19 my mother took her last breath. I waited up with the rest of…

  • Cancer,  Family,  Grief,  life,  Love

    The Women

    Their voices are like echoes – one speaks and you wonder which body it belongs to. Their humor coordinates and though each has a slightly different take on the world, they understand each other and laughter comes easy. I was born into a family run mostly by women; strong, sweet, funny, brilliant women. My great grandmother, Betty, had one gorgeous, blue-eyed beauty she called Carole during World War II and then didn’t have any others for almost 20 years. Carole gave birth to her daughter Tracey just a couple years after Betty gave birth to Beth and Becky. And then 25 years later Tracey had me. In and out of crises, The Women get…

  • Christian Living,  Grief,  Jesus Christ,  life,  Worship

    Death, Where is your Sting?

    I sit in the back of the room because we are late – again – and because there is a table here with room for coffee and coloring books. I am tired. Deep tired. Tired of the platitudes and the things that are not working right now, but I come because I’m also hopeful. Because getting up on Sunday morning and walking into a church building is a liturgy in itself for me. It’s a pattern I am hoping will sync me into something (I’m not totally sure what yet). The message is about Jesus so the music is about Jesus and it’s lovely. But a lyric hits the screen…

  • Cancer,  Grief,  life

    O2 and Breaking Bonds

    We visited my husband’s cousin a couple weeks ago – an amazing woman with whom we spend far too little time – and her eldest son who is currently brainiac-ing it up at Berkeley. I asked him a question about atoms and that afforded me a private chemistry lesson; he’s a great teacher! Briefly, as a side, he remarked about O2 (“Everyone knows O2.” Ha. You’re cute.) We breathe in a whole concoction of chemicals, but oxygen is the one which reacts in our bodies and feeds our blood cells and allows us to function. And it is bonded. Oxygen – breathable, life-giving, necessary oxygen (O2) comes in pairs. Each Oxygen…