Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Loudest Silence of All

To hear his voice, just once more.
To see him walk into the house, just once more.
To give him a hug, just once more.
To have him tease me, just once more.
To get angry with him, just once more.
To tell him I love him, just once more.
To taste his cooking, just once more,

In Soul of Silas Movie
To have him enjoy his family, just once more.
To hear his stories, just once more.
To hear his laughter, just once more.
To have the phone ring, and it be him
To not have complete silence, oh so grim.
Rest in Peace

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Flowers For My Son

The flowers were on my kitchen table and as I ate breakfast I kept looking at them. In a few hours I would take the flowers along with the urn, with my son's remains, to the chapel at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community. Today, November 22, 2016 would be the memorial for my son.  The more I looked at the flowers and the tangled stems below, a thought came to my mind.

Life is like the tangle of stems beneath this flower bouquet.
Up above, the flowers in their glory must be like heaven looks today!

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Priest, A Musician, A Reader And A Cook

The Priest: My son passed away on October 29, 2016 and for his memorial Fr. Jacob graciously agreed to perform the memorial ceremony. The first thing he did was to sprinkle holy water and since I was sitting in the front row, I noticed how the water hit the picture and rolled down my son's face. It was as if my son had tear drops on his face. I wondered if he would be shedding a tear or if he was so happy to be in another realm that he had no reason to cry.

Father gave a wonderful homily but what I recall is when he said, "When we are born, God has a plan for us and when His plan is completed, he takes the person to be with him." Of course I am paraphrasing yet it did make me feel better about my son's death. After all, who am I to question what God does! Father also talked about his own sister who died at forty-four years old. He said that our first question is to ask why?  I agree; I did ask why. Made me feel better when Father said that he even asked the question why when his sister, a nun who did good works, was taken.

At the incense burning and blessing he asked me, Nicolette and Zachary to place our hands on the urn. I was very touched by our hands on the urn. It was as if we were sending my son and their Dad to a better place. Since it was a spontaneous action which surprised me, I did not think to have my son's Father also come place his hands on the urn. That would have completed sending my son off with a blessing!

The Musician: With a steady hand and a great voice, he sang hymns I had requested. A Closer Walk with Thee; Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd; Go in Peace; and the happy hymn, Soon and Very Soon. Some of the people began clapping in tune to the words, Going to See the King and I couldn't help but think that my son was on his way to see the King!

The Reader: A Young at Heart member did the reading from the Book of Prophet Isaiah 41:10,13. Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice. It is I who say to you, "Fear not, I will help you.

The Cook: It really isn't a cook, but a group of women that belong to the Touch Committee. They prepare food for the family of the deceased, arrange it attractively in glass ware, and serve the food to the people attending the reception. I am forever grateful to the ladies; preparers, servers, and clean up crew who helped make the reception a successful event.

Who would have thought that the priest, the musician, the reader and the Touch Committee would make my son's memorial so beautiful! Of course, family and friends who shared stories also had a lot to do with the success of the memorial. My wish would have been not to be at the memorial and that my son would still be alive. But, since it was not to be, I could not have asked for a better memorial for my son.

Goodbye my son,
may you rest in peace
in the hands of the Lord.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My Private Vision

The laundry room is in my basement or as some call it, the garden level room. I have lived in the house for fifty-one years and have never seen what I saw this morning. On my washer, a gorgeous braid of turquoise, bluish-grey and light lavender  popped up on the front of the washer. It was beautiful and my first thought was it must be my son saying good morning to me. Letting me know he is all right. The beautiful colors made me feel good. My curiosity got the better of me and I tried to find out how the light had reflected on the washer.

No matter which way I moved I could not find the source of the reflection. The further away I moved I either blocked the image or it continued to seem to swirl on the washer. After a few minutes I found the source of my vision. In one of the rooms where the sun was shining in, it hit the blue robe of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The large picture is from St. Peter's church in Greeley, Colorado and it belonged to my parents and when they left this earth, I inherited the large picture. It hangs in the unused room but this morning He let me know He is there for me. That picture sent a ray into the laundry room causing the beautiful, smoky looking colors.

My first thought was what a wonderful blog this would make. I came upstairs, found my camera and rushed back down to get proof of my morning vision. It was gone. There was no more sun hitting the picture and it had returned to normal.

Then, I thought, this vision was just for me to enjoy without getting a photo of it. God is good. He brings happiness when it is least expected. He watches over us and gives us hints of joy when we need it. Thank you, Dear God, I appreciate everything you do for me. The vision will always be in my mind and heart. Thank You over and over again for your kindness. I know my son is safe in your arms. Amen.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sleepless in Arvada

I never knew why my sleep patterns where so confused. No matter what I tried, there were may times when I could not sleep. It did not matter if I took a nap during the day, if I was busy all day, if I exercised or what time I went to bed, my sleep seemed to be interrupted. I blamed it on old age. Sometimes I would be on the computer at two in the morning, get to bed at four and get up at eight.

Every night my prayers would be the same: "Take care of my children. Watch over them and keep them safe. Watch over my grandchildren and do not let any harm come to them. We need all the help we can get,  Dear Lord."

On October 29, 2016 my son passed away. My thought was that now I would really have problems sleeping because I would be thinking about him. To my surprise, for the past twenty-two days I have gone to bed at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. and sleep through the night until 6:30 a.m. when I get up. I find this odd and when I told a friend, she said, "Now you don't have to worry about your son, you know he is in a safe place."

Subconsciously, I may have worried about him and had fears that something would happen to him. Now that he is in heaven, I no longer have to worry hence my sleeping all night without interruptions. Thank you God I appreciate any favors you bestow on me!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Conversations With The Dead

Yesterday I went to the mortuary to pick up the remains of my son. I was curious as to how he would be presented to me and if a prayer would be said. I entered the solemn room, was greeted by the kind funeral director and she took me to a room where I signed a release for the remains. I also received the death certificate. She handed me a black box, showed me how to open it and as I saw the remains in a see-through plastic bag a fleeting thought ran through my mind. Just like a cake mix. Instantly, I erased the thought from my mind and realized that it was what was left of my son, a small bag of ashes.

As she explained everything to me in a soft voice, all I could think about was that I would never see my son again.

He was gone. The son that I loved and the son that made me angry. She placed the black box in a black tote-bag and handed it to me. "Oh," I said, "He is heavy." She said that remains are more of a consistency of sand and not as we think of ashes.

I left with my son and popped the trunk open but I could not put him in the trunk of my car. I slammed the trunk shut and placed him in the front seat next to me. It seemed quite normal to talk to him. "You don't have to worry about putting on the seat belt," I told him. "Look Andy, we are in your old stomping grounds. How many times did you drive down these streets? I wish things had been different and you had not liked drinking so much. I could never figure it out as you probably remember how many times I was on your case. You know that through our arguments I hope you knew how much I loved you. You know Andy, I want you to know that if I did anything to cause you to drink, I am sorry.  You were my first baby and I remember sitting in a rocking chair singing Puff the Magic Dragon to you. When your children were born, I think you realized how much your Dad and I loved you. We are having beautiful Indian summers and today is sunny. You probably already know that.  Oh well, as they say, you are now in a better place."

I continued the conversation with "Have you seen Mom and Dad yet? Have you run into Scott? Andy, I will always ask the question, why? You had so much to live for but that habit of drinking had you in its grip. You know you will always be in my heart and now you are at peace."

At home I placed the remains on a table, and every once in awhile I would speak to him. At seven I said, "We are going to watch Dancing With the Stars and stop rolling your eyes."  I told him good night and my usual, "sleep with the angels." Strange how comforting it was to speak to him. Made me feel good knowing he is near.

"Perhaps they are not stars,
but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones
pours through and shines
down upon us to let us know
they are happy."
Eskimo Proverb

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Never Has A Penny Meant So Much

I find pennies all the time and they are usually on the ground.  Someone told me that it was departed souls letting me know they are around. I do not think much about finding a penny but this morning, as I came out of mass, I opened the front door to my car and on the edge of the driver's seat was a penny. If it had been on the passenger side, I would have thought it fell out of my purse. But, on the edge of the seat? That was odd. Strange that I did not see it as I exited the car.

Somehow I knew it was my son letting me know he is around. I checked the year it was minted and if it had been made in 1963 it would have firmed up that he was sending me a message. It was minted in 1987.  Yet, the year did not make me doubt that my son had left the penny. After all, he is an angel in heaven now.
I think there are presences out there
that we can't see or directly communicate
with that have benevolent influence on us.
Whether they're angels or something else I am not sure.
Misha Collins

Monday, November 7, 2016

Advice Whether Wanted or Not

My philosophy is more or less, in some cases more than others, to live and let live. Yet, I do have one piece of advice I would like to pass on to you. At the death of my son, I began looking for photos to prepare a photo board. I give thanks to God for the many pictures I have found. Before new technology of phones being cameras, I tried to snap photos of everything around me. Some of my family members would get upset because I was always taking pictures. "All right, already," they would say to me.

In this day and age there is no reason not to take photos and I do see people holding their cameras up as they capture something that appeals to them. I laughed at this cartoon from the Internet and thought how true it would be if cell phones were available then!

Image result for cell phone pictures of red sea crossing

For the past few days, I have looked through my flash drives and files and somehow, I have felt very close to my son. From the picture of his birth to the latest pictures of him in the hospital I have a good
variety of him as he grew up and became a man. I cry as I remember when the picture was taken and I smile at the memories of the good times we used to have.

 Above is his very first picture (which I did not take)
and the last photo I took of him with his daughter.
This is my advice to you: Take pictures every chance you get. Those pictures become wonderful reminders of the lives of family and friends. And if some day you want to prepare a memory board, see a friend or a relative as they were and spend time reminiscing you will have the photos at your fingertips!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friendship is God Sent

Some times one never realizes how many friends one has until a tragedy happens. Phone calls, texts, visits, cards and offers of help are pouring in. I have everyone on hold until my family arrives, and then I will need all the help I can get. I have been told, "We are ready to help!" One friend even asked if I needed help cleaning my home. Since I hate housework I almost took her up on her offer! 

Lunch dates where friends listen to my sorrow and offer words of encouragement are special to me. I was surprised to see the many Facebook comments and condolences. Having those wonderful wishes floating around me helps ease some of my pain.

I never attend the eight-thirty mass but this morning I was up early and decided to go. A friend sat next to me and invited me to breakfast. She said, "I never come to this mass but decided to get up early and here I am." We looked at each other because we both knew the hand of God was somewhere in the scenario. What would make two people go to a mass they never attended? How did we happen to sit next to each other? Whatever the reasons, here we were at La Peep's talking about religion, funeral plans, family, having a nice breakfast and a nice time. Her best friend is in memory care and I had just lost my son. We teared up a few times!

Never have I really thought about deaths, unless I happened to know the persons, yet I now know that I am not the only one hurting.

Having my son's name announced and seeing him in the Please Pray for Those Who Have Died in the church bulletin brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Running into special friends after mass helped to ease the ache inside me. I thank God for my many friends. I thank my friends from the bottom of my broken heart!

"What is a friend?
A single soul
dwelling in two bodies."

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Two Sons

Even though I gave birth to one son, I ended up with two sons. One was a happy, carefree person, kind and fun-loving. He loved his family; children, sister, brothers, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins,  and parents.  He was a joy to be around, he had a wonderful personality and a great sense of humor. He made friends where ever he went. The other son became hooked on alcohol and he was not nice to be around when he was drinking.

Today I am going to tell you about my talented son who loved life. No matter where he went, people would come up to him and greet him. He had a special talent in making beautiful pottery and his urn is one of his pots.

His family and I took many vacations together and he made those vacations fun. I recall the  Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico, several trips to Disneyland in California where he and his children would ride many rides, and a few trips to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He enjoyed the food, fishing, swimming and scuba diving.  I can picture him skimming across the waves with his son behind him on a water bike.  I have a picture of him where he caught a large fish off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. Once while in Puerto Vallarta, he made friends with Gambino, who adopted us all and treated us to a fun vacation!

A favorite spot was Estes Park where every Easter we celebrated the holiday. His daughter mentioned to me that, "Spending time in Estes with my family are memories I will always remember."

He attended the majority of the church bazaars and played many of the games. He loved holidays and getting together with family. He had a passion for cooking and watched the cooking shows on television and would invite his family to eat his fancy meals. Backyard barbecues were something he relished and so did his family. He was always being asked to make a large pot of green chili. I hate to admit that his chili was better than mine!

His father had played soccer, then my son played soccer and then his son, my grandson, also played soccer and they all wore number eleven on their back. Even my granddaughter became a soccer player! Andy was a soccer coach and it was interesting to see those young kids, now grown men, greeting my son when they met. He had a love for all sports and attended games where he would arrive early to enjoy tailgating with his family and friends. Every 4th of July he gathered everyone to shoot off fireworks while I worried an accident might happen.

He learned to ski at an early age and when his son learned to snowboard they were able to go up a few times to enjoy the sport.

When he was on the East coast he was hit by a car and did his recuperating with my brother and sister in law in New York. A report I got was that every Friday they would enjoy eating lobster. My brother, an artist, painted pictures on Andy's cast and where ever they went they were greeted by curious people wondering about the colorful cast. I heard about many escapades and one report I received from New York was that they had partied with the cast of Chorus Line!
Everything you have heard up to now are things I remember. His other life I would hear bits and pieces of his partying with rock stars in California, doing Karaoke in bars, learning to play the guitar, being in a movie and spending time with a friend in San Diego. On one of our last conversations he told me he had been to Puerto Penasco in Mexico and to Las Vegas. My grandson said, "My Dad lived a full life in his 53 years which is more than most people live in their whole life." I do believe he is right!

I do not think he had any idea he was near death. He had an appointment to get a tattoo on the Tuesday after he died. My grandson took the appointment and had a similar tattoo put on his arm in honor of his Dad. My son talked about looking forward to being in another film to be shot in Las Vegas.

I do know how much he loved his two children and his family but the alcohol had a firm grip on him. The one son, was loved very much and the other son was loved just as much, yet his actions were not. He is at peace now and I thank God for the time he let Andy, known to friends as Nick, spend time with us here on earth.

My son is off to a new adventure!

Something Interesting Happened Today

Around my house, I have a few pottery pieces my son used to throw. They range from large to smaller pieces. 

With the passing of my son, I decided to have him cremated and I thought it would be nice to use one of his pots for an urn. I looked around and found one that was the correct size. Some were too fat or too tall and the only thing lacking on the one I picked was a lid. I shook the pot to see if anything could have been placed in side and it appeared empty. I put the pot in a bag and took it to the Arvada Center where they have pottery classes and I thought they might make me a lid. I explained that my son had passed away and I needed a lid for the pot.

I will back up in my story to let you know that I ordered some prayer cards for my son. I chose St. Francis of Assisi. The prayer is Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace and I chose it because it is mentioned in the AA book and it is one of my favorite prayers.

As the two men who work on pottery looked at the pot one said he could make a lid for it while the other man said, "There is something inside the pot." He reached in and found a small crucifix and a tiny wooden book. The red wooden cover is less than an inch tall and about the size of a thumb from the knuckle to the nail.  I opened the book and there was St. Francis. Goose bumps formed on my arms and one of the lady's said, "Looks like your son agrees with your decision to use his pot for his ashes!"

Strange because I thought I had checked the pot to make sure nothing was inside, yet there was St. Francis inside the pot. My daughter said, "His spirit is near you." Gives me comfort that he is near!

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.