Friday, July 1, 2011

"The only way out is through"

As I was sifting through old boxes, playing a game of keep or toss, I came across a stack of calendar scraps saved from years ago. A little 2005 square Mary Engelbreit desktop calendar, drawings with accompanying quotes to be torn off as the days go by. I don't know if I believe in coincidence anymore. Irony and deeply layered meanings, yes, I see it everywhere. Even in the form of a quote which surfaces the moment inspiration and soothing words are needed. Distracted from sorting, I absorb the pages, reading between the lines, dissecting text as if it were freshman literature. In the absence of an ocean, some words roll off the tongue and wash over us providing a similar comfort, renewal, and empowerment to take another step forward.

"Be not the slave of your own past ~ plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To see a world in a grain of sand & heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand & eternity in an hour." William Blake

"The only way out is through." Robert Frost

I wonder if there really is another end of grief, a way out, a way through. It's hard to imagine my days without grief, but then again it was impossible to imagine life without Cooper. Why is it so hard to let go. I don't think letting go of grief is synonymous with letting go of memories, but I'm having a hard time picturing it. I can't quite wrap my head around it.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Four years old in heaven today. It still feels as if I'm caught in a time warp, a wrinkle. His blankets have lost their scent & I can no longer feel the weight of his body in my arms. I can't imagine what he would have been like at age four. I see my friend's children at this age and try to picture Cooper running around, talking, playing, eating off my plate, but the image just isn't there.

Yet, in this space between yesterday and years ago our memories with him are very real and I find myself hanging onto them, gripping tightly.



Happy Birthday baby boy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sitting. Thinking. Waiting.

My Grandmother "Mawmaw Eva" is dying.

She is 94 years old. Nearing the end of life is not a surprise, but I am so sad she will be gone. She called me her namesake, Eva Michelle, and liked to use my full name often. We lived with her for a short time when I was young and I have lots of happy memories helping in the kitchen, snuggling up in her lap, reading stories, and taking naps or as she called it "resting our eyes." Mawmaw was the greatest nap partner because she didn't sneak away after I fell asleep. She actually napped with me and I loved that we would wake up together. Even now, all I want to do is whisper for her to scooch her over so I can lay beside her, staying there until she wakes up, but I know I can't make that promise.

She doesn't have the strength to say much and what is said lacks context. Staring in the direction of the window she asked "will he be there?" I don't know to whom or where she was referring, perhaps her late husband (Pawpaw) Doyle, her son (Uncle) Van, her great-grandson Cooper, her brothers, her friends, or even God? I have no idea, but yes, I'm sure he will be there.

She is and has been such an important influence in my life, present for so many milestones. I am elated that she was able attend birthdays, violin concerts, graduations, to know my husband, witness our wedding, hold her great-grand baby.

Grandma, Michelle, Mawmaw
Mawmaw & Cooper
Her breathing has slowed and I know she and Cooper will be together in heaven soon.

I went to visit the Gardens today, to sit on the rocks next to Cooper's spot. It is always so peaceful there and with much on my mind was a great place to just be. I was reminded instantly why we chose this place for his ashes. One of my favorite things is just past the roses and over the creek. There stands a statue of a family and a father holding up his son playfully. Reminds me of someone.

It feels strange to see her stepping out of this life and into heaven. There is so much about dying that I associate with Cooper and it brings all those memories rushing back. The smell of oxygen on her breath, making sure she's comfortable, pain free, lips aren't too dry, no bed sores or skin breakdown behind her ears where the cannula sits, listening to her breathe. It's all so familiar and not so scary this time around. I know what to expect and that makes me feel somewhat hardened.

During our visit Mawmaw kept trying to sing something and no one could figure out what song it was. She loves gospel music and hymns and since then I've had the children's bible song stuck in my head... Deep and Wide, Deep and Wide, There's a fountain flowing deep and wide.

I love you deep and wide Mawmaw. It's ok to rest your eyes, he will be there.