Sunday, April 30, 2017

Grief and Legacies

I was 19 years old and puffy faced from crying, my arm had been numb for about an hour but in order to have feeling in it once more meant I would have to let go of my mother's hand, and I couldn't do that, not yet.

She was asleep.

No... that's the lie I told myself.

She was in a coma and probably wouldn't have realized if I slid my hand from hers and shook it until the pins and needles passed, but I would know. I would know that those precious seconds had ticked by where I wasn't comforting her... another lie, comforting myself... and I couldn't bear the thought of wasting a single moment, not when I had wasted so very many with typical teen angst and misdirected anger.

I remember thinking how small she looked on her bed. She was only 5'2 but there was always this grandness about her, this overwhelming presence of love, compassion, and kindness, she always seemed so much bigger. She had been my world, but now she looked like a fragile doll.

I don't recall who was in the room, likely my grandparents, uncle, aunt, random family, all holding a silent vigil as I sat clinging to my mother and whatever time we had left together.

This was so unfair.

It was unfair that she had battled brain tumors on and off her whole life.

It was unfair this last one struck when I was 14 and altered my life, seemingly overnight.

It was unfair this had happened to one of the kindest most genuinely good people.

It was unfair that she couldn't be the same woman she had been for me my first 14 years.

It was unfair she could barely walk, couldn't work, couldn't remember, couldn't live the life her peers were living, the life she had been living.

It was unfair that she fought so hard for so long.
It was unfair she was still fighting.

I asked everyone to leave, I needed a moment with my mother.

"I am so sorry. I am so so sorry. You deserved a better daughter. I was so angry, am still so angry, but it's hard to be angry at a disease and so I was angry with you. Please forgive me. I love you, will always love you, will always remember who you taught me to be. You did your job, I'll be okay, I promise, you can stop fighting, I'll be okay."

I wanted to climb in bed with her, I wanted her to wake up and stroke my hair and tell me it would all be okay as she had done my whole life. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare, be 14 and realize it was all a Christmas Carol style lesson in appreciating what I had. I wanted miracles to happen, wishes to come true, prayers to be answered.

I wanted my momma.

(I still do.)

I remember only bits and pieces of that week.

I remember begging the man at the book store to help me find "Love You Forever"  because it had to go in the lilac purple coffin my mother now laid in. I read it over and over and cried.

I remember the food, as southerns are wont to do everyone in the county seemed to filter through the doors, bringing casseroles and condolences.

I remember thinking, "This is it. I'm an orphan now. Yes, all of you stare at the poor orphan, judge her for being a shitty daughter and now unable to make amends."

I remember being angry that it was sunny and bright the day of her funeral. I was shattered and broken and had cried until I could cry no more, the sky should weep for her too.

I remember crying all night, nearly every night, for months on end.

I remember feeling guilty the first night I didn't.

Grief is a funny thing. At first it pins you down and tightens around your chest until you can't breath, until it feels as if it has squeezed your heart right out of your chest. You then have to walk around with this gaping hole, this wound that refuses to heal, this giant missing piece of yourself, and still live your day to day mundane life as if you aren't broken and empty. Eventually you realize you went one whole day without thinking about it, and you are then crushed by guilt. You're given platitudes and cliches by well meaning people but you begin to discover time does NOT in fact heal all wounds, you just learn to work around them.

You do better though, weeks may pass without tears, but grief will not be tossed aside so easily. When you are in the absolute best mood with all of the greatest things happening grief will rear its ugly head and smack you down. When you are at your lowest low, heart sick and barely functioning grief will come along and rub salt into every wound. On a random Tuesday at Chipotle grief will show up and you'll find yourself sitting alone, ugly crying into your sofritas burrito bowl for seemingly no reason.

There is no "getting over" grief. There is no "being done" mourning. There is no "moving past" the pain. You can learn the tools to grieve in a healthy way, but you will ALWAYS miss that person.

My mother will never attend my wedding, should I ever get married.

I will never have that fun adult relationship so many of my friends now have with their mothers.

My mother will never again wake me at midnight  just to be the first one to sing me Happy Birthday.

Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Fourth of July, will be without her.

My daughter will never meet her grandmother, who I think would have been the most amazing Mimi.

I do what I can to keep her memory alive. As Witchling grows I will tell her stories about the Mimi she never knew, I will do everything in my power to make her as real for Witchling as I can.

I guess maybe that's the point of my post tonight. I'm honestly not sure, I didn't start out with a real direction. I don't talk much about my mother publicly, and never really about her death, but with Mother's Day coming up I'm a little out of wack.

I digress.

I have promised to tell Witchling all of the stories of my mother that I have, and have asked others to do the same. I believe that is our true legacy, the stories others tell about us.

I think the Doctor said it best, “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

(Per usual as of late this rambling emotional mess was posted from my phone, please forgive any typos, random autocorrects, and other various mistakes.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

All the squishy bits...

Is there anything more terrifying than sharing the vulnerable pieces of yourself with someone new?

... I'm sure there are but that's not the point.

It seems crazy that we hand people these treasure maps to ourselves, but the x doesn't mark a chest of gold and instead leads to all of the most fragile parts of our psyche.

We trust these new people with the very parts of ourselves that were once betrayed, fingers crossed that this time it will be different, that this person won't add their own brand of heartache and baggage.

I'm not even talking about romantic relationships, or not totally. We do this with coworkers, new friends, even family members we begin getting closer to. Over and over again we open up, often just a little at a time, and have to hope for the best.

I hate this, and I am honestly really really bad at it. I find it so hard to really trust anyone with anything other than the superficial dribble of everyday life.

Sure, I open up here... under a pen name... with very few links to my real, actual life and people I really, actually know.

Recently I had too much wine, and opened up to a new friend waaaay more than stone cold sober Libby would even day dream of doing. With a laser pointer, pretty highlighters, graphs, flashing neon signs, and one of those airport guys with the cones I showed this person so new in my life a few of the soft squishy bits I prefer to keep hidden.

It didn't seem like much, they made the right sympathetic and supportive comments and will likely never think twice about it, but it is terrifying to me, and will cause my heart to randomly and unexpectedly race on and off for weeks to come.

Not only did I give them ammo, I gave them big, shiny targets.

That's part of life though, of truly living, you have to let people in from time to time. You have to trust your own judgement and their goodness.

(Forgive the typos and errors, this was another late night ramble made on my trusty phone.)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Ramblings in the dark...

It's been a while since I've posted.

Hell, it's been a while since I've written anything.

I've tried to find a way to neatly sum up all that has happened in my life over the last year but, for the first time in my life, words have utterly and completely failed me.

Maybe one day I'll get there, maybe one day I'll wake up knowing exactly how to weave the tale of my journey into becoming a single parent.

Maybe one day I'll suddenly find the words to explain the new scars on my heart and soul.

Today is not that day.

Words are these amazing, living, evolving things that we use in so many unique and fantastic ways. Used at their best they tell beautiful stories, encourage others, declare new love.

At their worst?

Words used as a weapon cut far deeper than any blade, poison the mind, destroy the soul, dismantle trust, crush hope.

Used at their worst words can create wounds you fear will never heal.

I am not those wounds.

I am more than the words used against me by others.

I am more than the words I use against myself.

I am just as much of a product of words of encouragement and strength as I am the words meant to harm.


I am MORE a product of the words of words of encouragement and strength than I am the words meant to harm.

They still hurt, I still find myself looking down expecting to see blood because surely anything that is this soul rending should manifest physically. How can so much pain exist without proof of existence?

Nights like tonight, when it's quiet and still and I'm still reeling from emotional sabotage from "well intended" family members (a story for another time), I find it hard to remind myself I am more than these scars.

I've come so far though. Piece by piece I've begun to let go of the mix-matched baggage of my past. With each beat up bag discarded I find myself happier, healthier, stronger, lighter.

Despite tonight's bout of despondency I am happier than I can remember being in quite some time. Things are better now than they have been in quite some time. My future is brighter than it had been for quite some time. 

That's right my loves, I am still ever the optimist and even a set back such as this will never change that. I still believe life works out as it should and that each heartache and misstep are nothing more than building blocks in the foundation of who we are meant to be.

(Forgive the rambling, it's been a weird day. Forgive the typos and errors, I am snuggled in bed using my phone and should be sleeping.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Life Lessons

community [kuh-myoo-ni-tee]
noun, pl. -ties.
1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the): the business community; the community of scholars.
4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.
5. Eccles. a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.
6. Ecol. an assemblage of interacting populations occupying a given area.
7. joint possession, enjoyment, liability, etc.: community of property.
8. similar character; agreement; identity: community of interests.
9. the community,the public; society: the needs of the community.
So now that we've gotten the denotation out of the way let's think about the connotation, how this word makes us feel and what we think of when we hear it.

You thought I was dusting off my soap box didn't you?

Why focus on the negative? The thing about making mistakes is learning from them.

Lessons I've learned along my path:

1. If it doesn't fit, don't force it, this does a huge disservice to everyone involved. Which leads to...

2. Things take time. The Grand Canyon was not formed overnight, the giant redwood's did not reach their awe inspiring size in a matter of weeks, and Rome wasn't built in a day. As "progress" makes so many things in our lives ready at a moment's notice we forget that the reason there are so many cliches about patience is because the best things in life are worth waiting for. My own waiting period taught me:

3. Maturity is important in so many different ways. Spiritual maturity should not be discounted. How can we be sure what we need from community, and what we want to contribute to that community if we don't know what we expect from ourselves? Yes, said group of like minds should help us grow, support us in our learning and help us up from our failures but if don't know to want that how will we know when we've found the right one? I don't think one ever "reaches maturity" though, I have encountered life lessons over and over that are meant to teach me:

4. We are always evolving, always learning. I was reminded just last night that life tends to be a "the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" kind of experience. The beliefs I held 10+ years ago when I started on my path have changed, some I've cultivated, some I've discarded, some I've learned were out right wrong. This isn't a bad thing, in fact I think it's one of the most beautiful aspects of my chosen faith. Growth is encouraged, and no honest, heartfelt belief is condemned. I've said it before, and I'll say it a thousand times more. Anything you believe that makes you strive to be a better person to yourself and others is a Good Thing.

There are more, so very many more things life has taught me, sometimes more than once. If anyone knows of an herb to cure hard-headedness let know because I tend to have that problem. Learning when to let go always seems to trip me up. At least I've finally realized letting go is acceptable in the first place.

Until next time, give yourself a break, I bet even Gerald Gardner learned a few things the hard way.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Cleaning

It's time for a little spring cleaning on the blog! Never fear, we'll be back with your irregularly scheduled content before you know it. I may even have a couple of surprises in store.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Rant

There has been so much hatred spewed across my news feed lately it breaks my heart. Some of it has been so disgusting I feel ashamed to even know these people, much less be related to them. I've made a few posts, and nearly made this one but I can't. I can't see it go ignored by the people I wish to affect, and everyone knows minds are never changed through a social media argument.

So I'll post it here, because it's something I just had to say.

By hating each other the bad guys win.
By seeing people as their race, nationality, and religion and not as human beings with the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us the bad guys win.
By letting fear divide us instead of uniting us under the determination to make the world a better place the bad guys win.

Racism is not and never will be acceptable, no matter which race you target.
Bigotry is not and never will be acceptable, no matter which difference you target.
Being a dick is not and never will be acceptable, no matter what.

Just stop. Stop and think of how it would feel if someone spat on you because you were ____. Fill in the blank. White, black, male, female, Christian, Jewish, straight, gay, it doesn't matter, that type of behavior is abhorrent and should NEVER be okay. EVER.

I feel like a broken record, I'm sure you're as tired of reading it as I am seeing the stories about women being attacked on public transportation because she is half Iranian and was wearing a scarf because she was cold. I'm sure you're as tired of my rants as I am reading about people fearing for their lives, the safety of their children, wondering is their homes, their places of business, their places of worship will be attacked by people that let hate rule their heart instead of compassion. I bet you're as tired of seeing my name pop up in your news feed as I am seeing story after story after story of people being treated as less than human, of politicians talking about making Muslims carry special identification, of American citizens - people born right here in the US and people that have served their country in the armed forces - being told to go back to their 3rd world shit hole country.

When you stand behind your religion as an excuse to hate people, any person at all, you are no better than Daesh.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Raise them to know that there are no gender barriers or roles...

... and they can do anything they want to do in life.
- James Guerry

The day I decided what Witchling's name would be I set her up a gmail account. Now, I realize that maybe it was a little early, I was barely 20 weeks pregnant, but after losing my mother and everything that she'd touched I have become a little manic about making sure Witchling knows as much about me as is safe to share. 

She doesn't need to know about, well... basically anything from age 18 to 22.

I want her to know how I think, what my opinions are on different things, and some of the things I think are important to know. Plus I know me and a baby book just really wasn't going to happen. With the email I can send her thoughts, her accomplishments and milestones, things I want to make sure she knows if I'm not around. So I started a numbered list of things I wanted to make sure she knew, and that's where we come to the point of today's post.

Yesterday I read an article on a mommy site that was a letter from a mother to her daughter detailing all the important things to remember as the girl grew into a woman. I have read several of these lists, and many of them I copied and send to Witchling in her email. This one though? I disagreed mightily with most of the things this woman felt were important. Her list made her seem shallow and bitchy and I certainly did not send Witchling a copy. 

I (politely I swear) disagreed with the author on the mommy blog's Facebook page and replied to some of my Mommy Mafia's comments on the whole thing. Imagine my surprise when the author, her husband, and her friends flooded the comments section with rude and spiteful comments, including one by the illustrious author herself telling the lot of us to fuck off. 


Suddenly the comments were disappearing left and right and we all found ourselves banned. 

Yes dear reader, I have been banned from yet another Facebook page. Apparently I am just not appropriate for public consumption.

So what are some of the things I want my daughter to know?

1. It's always okay to ask for help if you don't know how to do something. It's never okay to make fun of someone who is asking for help when they don't know how to do something. Be patient, and never act like helping someone learn something new, even if it is simple, is a chore or a burden. Always remember that nearly everything you know (including how to poop in the toilet) had to be taught to you by someone. 

2. If you kill people with kindness there is less of a mess to clean up afterwards.You alone are responsible for your thoughts and your actions. How you treat people, doesn't matter if they are good or bad, reflects on YOUR karma, no one else's. 

3. Embrace your past. All of it. Every victory, every defeat, every hurdle, every loss, every joy, every painful mistake, every lesson. If one single thing were different you would not be the person you have become, or the person you are meant to be. 

4. The keys to life are compassion, empathy, and being open-minded. There will be people that do things differently, it's fantastic how many different ways there are to accomplish the same task. There will be people who think that their way is the right way or the only way, don't be one of those people, they are so focused on proving their superiority to others that they miss all the wonderful things those people are doing. Make no mistake, always stand up for yourself and your ideals, but never try to force them upon someone else, it never ends well and everyone loses. 

5. Never be quick to pass judgment, you have no idea what type of day, week, month, year, stress, disability, mental or physical illness, abuse, loss, grief, suffering, etc. that person is going through. 

6. Be kind to those who are unkind to you, but don't let yourself be a doormat. Being kind doesn't have to mean you take what they dish out and ask for seconds. Be kind enough to let them go if they are a bad influence, be kind enough to tell the truth, be kind enough say nothing, be kind enough to let them take responsibility for their own actions. 

7. Know that no one is happy all the time, including you, and that's okay, it makes happiness all the more valuable. Let them/yourself feel their/your feelings, don't dismiss them as trivial or unimportant, there is a reason for those feelings. Don't lose yourself to them though, it's a hard road to come back, and that's experience speaking. 

8. You cannot control how other people act, what they do, or how they treat you. You can only control how you act, what you do, and how you respond to their treatment of you. 

9. Rudeness is NEVER acceptable. Ever. I don't care if you're having the worst day of your life and your entire meal order was wrong, you be polite and use the manners I have every intention of raising you with. 

10. Own nightgowns. Seriously. They are freeing and make you feel a little bit lady-like. 

11. Know there are people you will have to cut ties with, it's okay. It will hurt, and it's hard, but sometimes it's your only option. 

12. Know that sometimes people will cut ties with you, it's okay. It hurts, and it's hard, but have compassion for whatever issue they are working through that makes them feel it's their only option. 

13. Life's hard. You will fail sometimes, but it is only a tragedy if you learn nothing from your failures. No one is perfect, if we were chances are we wouldn't be here. 

That is not all I have, some things are too long, others too personal, but that gives you a good idea of the kind of things I think are important to impart to the next generation. If we spend more time teaching our children to care about everyone, including themselves, we don't have to worry about thinking we need to tell our daughters other women will try to tear her apart. 

Last bit of advice? Wear sunscreen.