Just where DO I start? It seems that so much has been going on in my world since the first of 2018 that I just have not had the time, the energy, or the inclination to blog about anything.
Mid-May to Memorial Day
In mid-May, I flew to Utah for to attend my grandson Bridger’s graduation from high school. I had the most wonderful time celebrating him and his accomplishments and spending time with family.
Bridger, the youngest child of my oldest child, my son Ryan, is one of those very special kids that has always brought joy to each person he meets. Honestly, I’ve never met anyone who knows Bridger who doesn’t comment on what a special person he is. His genuineness comes through in every conversation. He’s an adventuresome kid with a great personality and good looks. All of that only takes you so far. Thankfully, he is also very smart and he is a hard worker who is self driven. He plans on attending Utah State University in Logan, Utah, next year. I’m very proud of him and can’t wait to see what the future will bring to him.
|Grandma Sally with Bridger|
Bridger on the big screen
Son Ryan with Bridger and Daughter-in-law Sheridan
I must admit that some tears were shed when Bridger graduated. When he tried on his cap and gown, he gathered up his gorgeous curly long brown hair into a thick pony tail as he looked into the mirror and contemplated how the cap would stay on that head of hair. As he gathered up his long locks into that thick pony tail, I saw the nape of his neck and instantly saw the exact same looking curls as my daughter Julie had at her neckline. I then saw a pony tail just like one she would make on hot summer days. Those unique similarities caused me to become overcome with emotions. I sobbed. I must admit that I hated bringing a sad reminder to such a time of joy, but that is how grief hits sometimes. In the tears, I rejoiced that Bridger rocks that beautiful mane and knew that Julie would be so proud of his hair and would say that they were genetic twins when it came to hair.
I thought of the photo I had of Julie holding Bridger right after he was born. She was living in Salt Lake at the time with Sheridan and was attending the University of Utah. Now, eighteen years later, Julie is no longer with us to celebrate this occasion, but Sheridan is now married to Bridger’s father and Sheridan is the one assisting him in his graduation dress rehearsal. Sheridan met my son at Julie’s memorial service. I will always be so grateful for the deep and treasured friendship that Julie had with Sheridan that resulted in Sheridan joining our family.
And then, there were more tears on graduation day. Sheridan has loved Bridger so much and has so loved being his mom that she is really having a hard time with him graduating and going on to college. Her great boys, Max and Henry, are also a bonus that this family gained when Ryan and Sheridan married. Max, Henry, and Bridger are as tight as any brothers you will find. Yes, the smile on Sheridan’s face is bright and beautiful, but her eyes had great big tears falling from them. Mine did too. There is a lot of joy and love in this celebratory photo.
There were other great family times that I was able to have while I was in Utah spending time with my daughter and son and their families. Times like these are treasures.
|Son Ryan, Sally, daughter Keicha, and grandchildren Gillian|
Bridger & Regan.
I stayed in my very first Airbnb when I went to Utah. The place I found was in Layton, Utah, which is midway between where my son lives and my daughter lives. I loved staying in a place that became like a home away from home where I could stay up as late as I wanted, or go to bed whenever I wanted. When I got up in the morning, it was great to have a kitchen where I could fix breakfast and make some coffee. Also, I loved having a comfy couch where I could read, visit, or rest after a hectic day with the family. This won’t be the only time I use Airbnb.
Memorial Day is always a difficult time for me and for my family because my daughter took her life on May 29, 2010, on the Friday before Memorial Day. My children, and those whom love me most and are always the most supportive, know just how hard that weekend and the days surrounding May 29th are for me and family. I received many texts and calls from my family and friends asking, “Are you ok?” Or, “I love you. I am thinking of you.” I so appreciate the gestures of kindness, concern, empathy, and love.
Most years on Memorial Day I go to the cemetery to decorate the graves, or I try to do a special activity to honor Julie’s memory. This year, I decided not to do any commemorative activities, but instead, I decided to take the day as it came while practicing self-care.
On the 26th, I took some time to record my thoughts. I said I was raw. My emotions were fragile. I recorded how raw I looked and how raw I felt. In the rawness, I also recorded how I was rejoicing because I learned more from the great loss of a daughter about love than I ever could have learned any other way.
On that day, the 26th of May, I also rejoiced because I had yet another day and another summer to look forward to with hope and joy. I took the day to begin planting a bit more in my impossible garden. I had flowers to plant. That always brings me joy. In my devotions for that day, I was reminded that the Lord’s mercies are new each morning. I reflected on beautiful scripture card that I keep on my desk.
I love this verse. I am held by One whom will keep me from stumbling. What comfort this assurance bring me.
On Memorial Day itself, May 28th this year, we had a picnic in our little village where we live. The day was warm and sunny. A neighbor and his wife graciously set up tables in their driveway and in the garage where all of us in our HOA community could visit while eating great picnic type food. It marked the official start of summer. I was more than ready to see the season arrive.
As I toured my yard trying to decide where to plant flowers I had to snap a photo of this poor little tree because in many ways, this poor little tree is a perfect representation of the kind of winter I had.
I planted the tree, a more mature Alberta pine, last fall because I didn’t want to wait for a smaller one to grow. I had planted a smaller Alberta pine four or five years ago, and it had never been nibbled on by deer. I observed that mature Alberta pines were thriving all over the neighborhood. I even saw this label at a local nursery:
The label gives the name of the tree that I planted, and it states that it is good choice to buy because it is deer resistant.
I guess the deer in my neighborhood can’t read. Or, maybe they haven’t had access to the labels and lists that inform gardeners about “deer resistant” plants.
Several factors figured into the demise of this tree. We had a terribly dry winter. The poor deer were starving, and they were thirsty. My tree was most likely the tastiest looking tree in the neighborhood. It had been well watered, and the needles must have looked tender and moist and appetizing. My tree became a food sources for desperate animals.
Desperate creatures do desperate things. I felt like that tree through most of the late winter and and early spring. I felt events beyond my control, and people within my family of origin structure chipping away at me. I felt attacked and stripped as others nibbled away at me when I found myself in a situation I did not create and was powerless to change. Yep, that tree represented a lot of what I was experiencing this spring.
Quite honestly, during this time, I just didn’t feel like blogging. I did a lot of journaling. Writing always helps me when I am going through troubling experiences. Writing in my journal helps me because by writing in my own personal journal I can record my thoughts, experiences, reactions, feelings, and emotions in a safe place. Writing gives me a sounding board. Writing also allows me to sort out all of those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that assail during times of loss, stress, joy, change, or tension. Writing gives me a chance to reflect, to reconcile my emotions, and reflect upon what is going on in my life.
Somehow, I got through the difficult month of May. During the month of May, I also was able to celebrate the graduation of a dear grandson while also having the opportunity to spend time with children and grandchildren. May brought time plant some flowers, and to spend more time out of doors rejoicing over the beauty found in my neighborhood. This hillside is just around the corner from my home.
Just a mile and a half from our home is a beautiful spot that was once a sanatorium. It is now a retreat center, a nursing home, and the setting includes a cemetery and a church. I love to walk on the grounds. Truly, I am grateful to live in this beautiful part of the world. Spring, summer, and fall, I enjoy walking in the special places.
On the very last day of May, I stopped for a late lunch after running errands and had a serendipitous meeting with a high school friend, her husband, and friend of theirs when they happened to eating lunch at the same Panera where I stopped. We all lunched together, shared stories and laughter and marveled just how amazing life can be when we have chance meetings and are able to spend time together in rich conversation.
All in all, while the winter had been a rough one for me, and while May had certainly had its low points, it also mostly had some wonderful moments filled with love, family, friends, and milestones.