My Mother, Always a Guardian Angel

This post is a Six Word Saturday contribution. Please check out Debbie’s source post here.

Today Andy and I are visiting my mom’s resting place in Clifton. Tomorrow would have been Mom’s 67th birthday. Since tomorrow’s weather calls for a messy, wintry mix, the hour commute to Clifton would be unsafe to travel.

My mother is never too far from my thoughts. This year marked some significant life events, and I wish she was physically by my side to celebrate with me. I take some comfort in knowing that my mom is always present in my life. However, the silence left by her absence feels too much.

As Andy and I visit Mom today, I’m going to remember her calm nature during our phone conversations and visits. I’m going to keep in mind how much Mom always wished for the best in my life. She is always my guiding light.

Note: Feature Image taken by Cherryville Photography

December 22, 2018: Change

Life moves in such a fast pace, it’s easy to lose touch with people you were once in close contact with. The reasons could vary: crazy schedules, moving far from one another, or simply not maintaining connections as frequently. Then suddenly, they’re no longer in your life.

Today I just discovered that a good friend of my family passed away. This person was very close to my aunt, and I would always play with her children growing up. We had a great relationship with them. Life moved on and I lost touch with them, but my family still told me how they were doing. It was good that they still maintained contact with each other, even though it wasn’t as frequent as it used to be.

I hope that her family finds peace and comfort during this difficult time. Life can truly change in an instant.

August 16, 2018: Remembering Aretha Franklin

Back in 2005 I was listening to Aretha Franklin while sitting in a Starbucks in NYC, in the Grammercy Park neighborhood. As I looked out the window, watching the busy city life go about their business, I thought, ‘One day I’m going to live here. I’m going to make it’. Two years later, that dream came true, and it set into motion the life experiences that have directed my life path thus far.

Aretha Franklin was a definite motivator in that goal. As I listened to her strong, melodic voice, I felt empowered. I can achieve whatever I set my mind to, just like her. It may seem very small, but it provided a significant impact in my life thirteen years ago.

Aretha Franklin is gone, and we will never hear her perform live again. Her powerful words will continue to influence our lives for many years to come, much like she influenced mine over a decade ago.

August 11, 2018: Too Quickly

The meeting at the Bronx fell through. I had a feeling it was never coming to pass when I heard no response from Johanna’s former house mate (the person who still has her things). The issue of who cares for a loved one’s possessions is a touchy subject, especially if the person has passed away, like Johanna. I worry about what will become of Johanna’s writings and poetry material. She didn’t leave a will. It was too early in her life to consider one, and when she realized that her time on Earth was drawing to a close, the end came quickly. Much sooner than everyone was prepared for. I still think of Johanna every day.

August 10, 2018: Different Connections

After work I need to contact Johanna’s good friend. We’re supposed to collect Johanna’s things in New York tomorrow, but I don’t know when we need to meet up, and the friend who lives at the apartment isn’t getting back to me. If I don’t hear from anyone I’m going to assume that I’m not needed. Johanna’s friends tend to get back to me very late, but it will be problematic if she waits too long. I’m hoping for the best.

July 31, 2018: Still Lingering

It’s been a couple days since ACTIONWEEK (the annual poetry therapy intensive) ended, yet I’m still feeling its impact very strongly. I go about my day, handle work tasks, yet the emotions that swirled around me that weekend still lingers. This year, it’s Johanna’s absence that makes things particularly difficult.

Johanna made it a point to attend the intensive every year, be at every session. Now, her thoughts and laughter are no longer with us. The silence that came with this realization was heard by everyone.

June 30, 2018: My Year So Far

When I had the idea of posting daily journal entries at the beginning of 2018, I wasn’t sure that I would make it halfway through the year. I enjoy writing, but I tend to ‘flake out’ of writing after the first few weeks. Yet, here I am, happy to say that I indeed posted entries every day since Jan 1st.

It’s been a pretty eventful first half of the year. My health needed great care, as my hand tendinitis needed to be addressed. I was afraid that I needed surgery, but thanks to an attentive orthopedist, I received 2 months of OT. It certainly helped my hand feel a little better, yet I still feel discomfort when I apply extreme pressure on my hand. Would surgery be the eventual option? It’s possible. For now, I keep my hand brace on at work all day, and I do my hand exercises once a day. And no knitting/crocheting for the time being. It’s a downer to sacrifice one of my hobbies for a while, but I tell myself it will be worth it when the pain in my left hand finally disappears.

The first half of 2018 also brought sadness, as I lost my close friend Johanna. She lost a very tough battle with breast cancer. Johanna was a true fighter until the very end, willing to apply every medical option available to her, until she was certain that there was nothing left to do. When I last spoke to her in early May, Johanna was coming to terms with the severity of her illness. As much as we didn’t want to accept it, she was approaching ‘the end’. Despite this harrowing truth, Johanna remained the compassionate, fun loving self that she always was. Johanna’s memorial was this afternoon, and while it was very somber, I will always remember her fighting spirit, and how she would’ve wanted me to fight for my goals and dreams.

2018 thus far has also brought happiness, since Andy and I have finally begun planning for our wedding. Losing Johanna caused me to think deeply about my plans in life. It can change for us at any time. A week after Johanna’s death, Andy and I began the process of contacting the church where we will get married. As happy as we are about this decision, it’s also brought some unexpected stress, and due to a last minute change we’re searching for a reception venue that’s affordable for our budget. Aside from this, we can’t wait to have the date set in stone.

So far 2018 has brought its share of experiences and life lessons, and the events will continue to unfold in the weeks ahead. No matter what comes my way I must stay focused on my dreams, and pursue the things I truly enjoy.

June 9, 2018: Gathering of Friends

Today my fiancé and I went to Queens to gather with Johanna’s brother and special friends in her life. It was the first time that I met most the friends in Johanna’s college and high school life. It was a very relaxed environment, a group of us gathering together to share stories of Johanna’s resilience and good nature. My poetry therapy mentor was one of the participants who gathered this afternoon, and it was great to see her again, after several months. We’re both hopeful that we will meet each other again soon.

Every time I visit New York, I’m reminded of how special this city is. I lived in NYC for a few years, and I learned a lot about myself during my stay. Johanna made my time in NYC very memorable, and she gave lots of advice in reaching for my goals and dreams. I really hope and pray that I can venture up there more regularly. Johanna wanted to see me thrive, and I don’t want to let that fall by the wayside.

May 31, 2018: A Month Away

Johanna’s memorial is a month away. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that she’s no longer with us. In the days following her death, I observe the beauty of the outdoors, or read different poems, and feel sad that Johanna can no longer appreciate these small things. The photos of Johanna’s life posted on several friends FB pages feature many areas in her life; so comforting to view her in many scenes of her life, yet a pang of sadness lingers.

I fully intend on coming to Johanna’s memorial. I notified our local Poetry Therapy community, and there is ample time for those who wish to attend to prepare. I’m hopeful that many people from our groups can pay their respects. Our lives venture down different pathways over the years, yet Johanna had a way of keeping everyone linked together.