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Signs

John and I were just discussing the other day how, after Luke passed away, we spent every minute reading and researching about *Heaven* or what happens after you die. I had always believed in a life after this one, but John was a bit more scientific and struggled around the where and the how of changing planes, so to speak. We read a number of books by mediums, books by people who had made successful connections with their loved ones on the other side, and books by people who had near death experiences and could describe what *Heaven* looked like. What we really wanted was to understand how to maintain our connection with our boy who no longer walked on the Planet Earth. And to know that Luke was okay wherever he was. This. SO MUCH.

Signs frequently come up in grief books and talks as validation from a loved one that they are near by and thinking of you. When you first lose someone, I think you look desperately for those signs – a dime on the ground, a cardinal, a feather – these are considered traditional tokens from the other side. I joke about this now, but when Luke first passed away EVERYTHING was a sign, lol. Every song, every bird, every combination of numbers represented my boy trying to send a message to his momma. And that is OKAY. I tell fellow grievers that if it makes your heart feel a little bit better believing that something is a sign, then IT IS. Grief is a personal journey and anything that makes it more tolerable is truth for you. Lukester for me now is a blue jay – Canadian, loud mouthed, pushing his way into the feeder squawking as much as to say – Look at me guys! I am here! I love that kid and I love that darn bird.

I think the signs that catch you by surprise are the most satisfying for the soul. You know the ones you just can’t quite explain, but there it is? John and I have had a number of incredible experiences that have solidified our belief that Luke is still in our lives and messing with us.

It was July 2015. Three months after Luke had passed away and I was eagerly anticipating our upcoming visit with Heather Lee, a local medium. It was like we had scheduled a meeting with Luke and I desperately wanted him to come through and tell me he loved me and he was sorry. (Sidebar – so that didn’t happen. Darn kids. He did come through, however. See my blog, http://pattyinwood.xyz/are-you-there-luke-its-me-merm/ to read about this visit.)

In the week leading up to our appointment, I was making my regular daily treks to the cemetery. On one of these days, I happened to move a plaque, placed by Luke’s grandma by his headstone, to clear away some dead grass and lo and behold, a teeny tiny frog was sitting there. Now, if you know my son’s story you know his gaming handle was…. wait for it, Froggir. Little tiny frog hanging out at the cemetery – coincidence? I believed not. That little frog was there every day for the week or so before we went to see Heather, and every time I saw it, I smiled a little secret smile. I see you son, I would think to myself. It gets better. The day we were going to see Heather, it was a gorgeous summer day and so Logan and John and I headed out to Long Pond for a boat ride. We pulled the boat behind the Durango the few short miles to the water, backed it down the boat ramp, and got ready to jump in. And as I swung my leg over the side, I spotted it. Sitting smack dab in the middle of the boat… was a frog. I know, I know, its a lake, Patty, surely that can happen. But in the history of our adventures on Long Pond, some seven years perhaps, NEVER had a frog come along for the ride. Think what you want, but that it happened on this of all days? Luke. Definitely.

Luke and I have quite a connection over music. He likes to mess with me and throw *his* songs on when I am in the car or listening to music at home or school. I will never forget one particularly hard day I was at B.E.S. I had a student who was giving me a run for my money and to regroup during my prep period, I put on Pandora to relax and refocus while I graded some papers. It was my Dierks Bentley station – country – and about two songs in, See You Again came on. ‘Cause THAT’S country, lol. Oh, Lukester. I had a good cry and felt like my kid was saying, “Hey, you raised ME. This student is a piece of cake, lol.” It helped.

John feels Luke when he sees hawks. My man loves to golf and there is a red-tailed hawk that often shows up when John is on the course at Quail Hollow. It likes to perch on a branch nearby and look at him. John likes to talk to him when he is alone. I love this image. Sigh. <3 Once John was golfing with two of our bestfriends and the hawk literally followed them around the course, flying over them from hole to hole. Tim and TJ noticed the bird and remarked on how odd it was. John didn’t come out and say, uh huh, that’s my boy, because that would sound crazy, lol, but we were both in awe when he shared the story with me later that evening.

Last story. It was my birthday this week. Yep, another year older. Logan and his girlfriend, Cailyn, came out for dinner on Saturday. It was Cailyn’s birthday this week, too! We had elected to order from a local restaurant, Ladd’s, because the boys were in charge of dinner and this was just easier for them, lol. We ordered pizza and I had a hankering for Hawaiian. I love pineapple and don’t often order something that only I will eat, but hey! It was my birthday. We did that newfangled contactless delivery and John and Logan set up all our munchies on the table in the screened-in porch. Only problem was there were three pizzas, but no Hawaiian! Logan and Cailyn had their pepperoni, John had his Dishboy, and my pizza? Turns out the last one was a Buffalo Chix pizza – LUKE’S favorite! HA!!! Still f*cking with you, mom. Especially on your birthday.

So here’s what I need you to know: If you haven’t lost someone you love, you have just read all of my words and thought to yourself – this woman is certifiable! lol And you are allowed. Talk to me when death graces your doorstep. And if you have lost someone you love, you have read my words and know exactly what I am talking about. Trust in YOUR signs, whatever they may be. May they bring peace and lightness and maybe even a little laughter to your heart. Keep’em coming, son. From this world to the next – I love you. Xxx

I need you to know, Things that help

Who Knew

“You home/awake?”

Now, when my phone goes off at 8:30 am it’s something. I confess I am not a phone person – it doesn’t live in my hand and I don’t check it a million times a day to make sure I am not missing anything going on in the world, lol. When I am home it sits in a basket on the counter in the kitchen. If I hear it ding I will wander over and see what is what. Usually. My close friends and family will tell you that’s probably an almost never, HA! But hey, I am the one telling the story here.

So, as I was saying, I was sitting in my chair in the living room finishing off coffee number two when my phone dings. And then dings again. So I figure something is up and make my way over to the far counter and take a look at my messages. It’s Chris – one of Luke’s oldest and dearest friends.

“Hey Chris! As in you want to chat or you want to come over?” I replied. I am not surprised a young sir wants to visit or talk. As I have written before, many of the lovelies will come over or call me up when they want to hash out something going on in their lives. I don’t tell them anything different than their parents would… I am just not their parents, lol. And therein lies my popularity.

“I’m coming over.”

“Hey there… give me ten minutes. I will meet you out back.” What he doesn’t see is that I am still in my jammies and haven’t brushed my teeth OR put in my contacts and almost no one sees me in glasses these days. Well before I know it, I can hear footsteps clomping up the wood stairs and the screened-in porch door creak open. I quickly throw on a sundress (because what else does one wear to a morning chat session?) and head down to the main level. And there he is. Ruggedly handsome with dark curly hair, bearded up, and wait a minute… yep, smelling distinctly of *eau de Budwieser*, lol.

“Are we hugging?” I ask, although I am not sure I would have taken no for an answer.

“We’re hugging.” Chris gives me a very decent squeeze for a young person. I always say good hugging is a learned art and takes years of experience, but some of us are more gifted huggers, lol. We head out to the upper deck where it is shady and have a seat. Turns out Chris had spent the night with some Rutland friends. There were beers involved and he had crashed in town for the night. Smart move, I am thinking to myself. But hey, this kid has always been smart.

Iced coffee in hand, Chris starts to talk. And hey, this kid has always been a talker, too, so there is no shortage of conversation. We talk about everything under the sun – memories of growing up in Rutland, me being his librarian, a little about Luke, a lot about life, his job, his family. Turns out he didn’t need fixing, he just needed a fix – of us, of the Inwoods. And it was just such a good two or three hours. Honestly, I didn’t notice how much time had passed until I went in to get us all some water; John had joined us at some point. I eventually had to kick him out and send him on his way because I was taking a flourless chocolate cake to a friend’s house that afternoon and that dessert was not going to bake itself. We hugged, of course, amid promises of seeing one another soon. My fingers are still crossed.

What Chris couldn’t possibly have known was I was having a hard week. I look forward to the day when the Fourth of July doesn’t drag my heart down missing Luke and all the memories of the kids during year after year of our amazing small town celebrations. But it wasn’t to be this year. I was low, and truth be told, crying every damn day. Working out and crying, eating salad and crying, watering the flowers and crying. I just couldn’t keep my emotions in check. Even John recognized the direness of the situation and suggested we go up and see Logan – my surefire, feel better solution.

But after Friday morning, I felt better. Chris had come over and reminded me that my boy had one heck of a friend group and you know what I tell myself – if kids this great loved my boy, he must’ve been alright. By sitting in that wicker chair and sharing everything going on in his world, Chris made us feel connected and important and loved; like maintaining our relationship was a big deal to him. It is in those moments that John and I get a glimpse, even if just a small one, of life at 23. Turns out Chris wasn’t the only one needing a fix that Friday. I needed my 23 year old fix, too. Love you, buddy. Xxx

Things that help

Anyone Can Do One Day

If Luke was to create a Top Ten list – David Letterman style – of Things That Irritate Me The Most, ‘Being Told What To Do’ and ‘Highschool’ would both jockey for the top position.

Getting Luke motivated and out of bed every morning was my job. He stayed up way too late, slept fitfully, didn’t use an alarm, and never once in the history of his life, popped out of bed eager to start his day, lol. I have written more than once about my role in getting Luke on the bus or in the car and on his way. Sigh. Good times.

During the course of my morning Luke routine, I got in the habit of cheerleading Luke by breaking down the school year into manageable bites. At first, it was fairly large bites.

“Only 3 months till December break, son. Anyone can do three months.”

I would encourage him and cajol him into thinking that he could manage his suffering for that length of time. Problem was, those timelines became insurmountable in his mind, as his ability to deal with the consequences and negativity in his life declined. Pretty soon I was reminding him that there are only five days in the school week and “anyone can do five days”.

In Senior Year, Luke was at his lowest and he was feeling crushed by his teachers and administration and schoolwork. With his hope at an all time low, I would go into his room in the morning, shake his calf to stir him a little, and when his eyes would finally peek open, I would give him the only piece of cheerleading I had left.

“Anyone can do one day, son. Six and a half hours. You can do it, sweetie.”

And he would. He would get up and get showered, grab his coffee, and go to Wachusett. He would greet his friends in the hall, sleep though a class or two, wander the halls, laugh through lunch. And at 2:10 pm, or whatever time they released the students, he would exhale and spend the next 12 hours doing what HE wanted. Chillin’ with friends, shooting hoops, gaming. At 6 am the next morning, it would start all over again. He kept doing One Day, One Day, One Day for seven months. I think it is a testament to his damn stubbornness that he got through for as long as he did, lol.

So here’s what I want you to know: We are just finishing our second week of the Coronavirus Quarantine. Social media is flooded with folks struggling to stay at home or struggling to stay sane in this new normal. As the experts caution that we may not peak for another month or so, I would like to suggest we take inspiration from the Luke Inwood play book to get through this time. Start your day by reminding yourself that anyone can do six weeks of this. Or, if you have to, you can break it down, to just the day. Because anyone can do ONE day. And if even the day is getting you down, like a rainy Sunday in Week 3, try and get yourself back to your happy place: maybe it’s listening to music, or reading, or television. Maybe it’s hiding under the covers for longer than usual. Whatever it is, IT’S OKAY. On the days when you are not feeling your best, you need to take the time to scale back and find the joy again. Now is not the time to be Superwoman or Superman and show the world how amazing you are and how much you can do. Breathe. Live simply. Put the joy first and the strength will come. And don’t forget – Anyone can do Just One Day. Or a series of Just One Days if that’s what you need. #HoldOn

I need you to know, Things that help

Life

I couldn’t figure out what to write about this week. After all, everyone is up to their elbows in thoughts about TP and Covid-19. Did I really want to add to their sorrows? NO THANKS.

So, I hemmed and I hawed, and by this morning, I thought I had a clue. I sat down to write, but just then John rose from a deep sleep (ahem, thank you Dudeks, lol) and decided he needed fresh air and a brisk game of disc golf. Barre Falls is our favorite spot to do this, so away we went! We passed a glorious two hours amongst the rolling hills and waterfalls and made our way home shortly before 5. As we came around the corner on Wheeler Road, Sunset Farm came into view and just there, tucked in with all the grown-up Highland cows, I spied a sweet black baby calf. It was tiny! and as it galloped awkwardly toward its momma, John and I both giggled. It was so stinkin’ cute! And suddenly there it was! My inspiration for the day and for the next few weeks – LIFE.

There is nothing like the babies – baby animals and baby humans alike – to make us gasp and giggle and appreciate our world. They represent hope and faith and trust – All the qualities we need so desperately right now. The blog picture at the top of this post was a gift given to me by Farmer Johnson. If you know me or have followed my blog, you know how much I love this man and this farm. Everyday after Luke died I would walk past this place. It is stability for my head and my heart and reminds that day after day, “the sun still rises – even through the pain”. Life goes on. George (Farmer Johnson) wrote to me that the pic of the baby calf puts a smile on his face and it surely does that for me. I love you, George!

So for today, for these next few weeks, when you are low or struggling, pull up those darn cute pictures of kittens, or rabbits, or baby foxes. It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and lightness in your heart. Life is a miracle, friends, and perseveres no matter what we throw at it.

Just Google baby anything. It’ll make your heart sing. Xxx

Things that help

Shine On, Son, Shine On

We sat around the table Monday night, my angels and I. This is an incredible group of women – each dedicated to helping the lost souls who come to Hope Lives Here – all the while nursing hurting hearts of their own. They carry the sorrow of others and I am grateful to be in their company. Taryn, Kathy, Anne, Lori, Robyn, Nikki, Alison, Jen, Donna, Sheri, Bev, and Robin – I love you!

So there we sat. It had been a productive night and as we got ready to leave, Anne announced she had a gift for me. I immediately started to get a little anxious. My feelings have been out of whack since January and my instincts told me to brace myself.

“We know that an important anniversary is coming in a few weeks for you and we wanted to let you know we are thinking about you, ” Anne spoke as she reached across the table and handed me the present. With my head down, I carefully unwrapped the package. There was a cardboard box inside and it took me a minute to figure out how to open it. I slid through the tape on one end and reached inside to pull out what looked like a frame. Turning it over, I quickly read the words on the image in front of me.

Luke’s star is in Cepheus – also know as The King constellation.
Cause you can’t make this shit up.
#NoCoincidences

I couldn’t contain the sob in my throat. They had named a star after Luke. A STAR. I had never heard of anything like this and it was so perfect and so painful at the same time. Sigh. But isn’t that the way with grief?

Unless you have experienced loss you may not understand that sometimes it is the small acts of kindness that get to you the most. I can give and give and give… to my family, my students, my clients at HLH, and feel so strong, so together, but the moment that someone does something for me, I crumble. I continue to be shocked and overwhelmed to think that someone is taking the time to help me; to reach out to me; to hug me. Each one of these kindnesses makes me feel loved and held and this one was no different. What a beautiful gesture. Xxx

In that same brief moment when Luke’s star was revealed, I died a little inside. My angels will cringe to read this, but I know they will understand. Somehow as I looked at Luke’s name, a star in the vast beyond, his absence here and presence there – up near the Little Dipper – was slammed home. He is gone! My head and heart seemed to say in unison. He is really gone. And so I cried. My angels cried with me.

But what a perfect gift! Luke Inwood, my light, a damn fiery force on the planet Earth, now forever glimmering in the night sky. Haven’t I always said I will see you on the other side of the stars, son? And now, thanks to my beautiful friends, I know exactly where to go. Shine on, my sweet boy, shine on. Xxx

Milestones, Things that help

Mother Mary

This has been a hard week. It is not unusual in grief, to have a bad that day that is then followed by a series of bad days. After this past Sunday I did my darndest to pretend I was okay, but time and time again I found myself tearing up. Or outright crying. It was official. I was in “I miss my boy” mode.

Now it is not easy to say there is a benefit to being almost five years in my grief journey, but there IS comfort in the knowing. Knowing that when you are in the depths of sadness that it doesn’t last forever. Knowing that the pain, although fierce, is less than before. But getting yourself in a better frame of mind takes work. And faith. Doesn’t have to be in God or the Universe. It only has to be in yourself. In your ability to open your eyes every day, to fill your lungs with oxygen, to put one foot in front of the other.

Since losing Luke I have been inspired by Mother Mary. Whether you are religious or prefer to think of the Mary as a historical figure, her story is pretty incredible. Although I could construct an entire blog around the Immaculate Conception, it is her journey as a mother when Jesus begins his ministry that draws my admiration. Imagine how hard it would be to hear people speaking words of hate against your child. Imagine fearing for your child’s life. Her own family attempted to kill her son because they thought he had lost his mind. Did Mary beg Jesus to stop? Nope. By all recollections in both Christian and Jewish recounts, Mary stood by her son, supported him, followed his ministry. And as Jesus died on the cross, it was his mother who stayed by his side till his last breath. Sigh. What we won’t do for our children.

And then Mother Mary lived on. Day after day, year after year, without her boy. Missing a piece of her heart. It is thought she lived another twenty years before passing away. For those of you fortunate enough to not understand the magnitude of this, I can tell you living one day feels hard. 7,300 is a feat beyond comprehension.

And so I am inspired. On my hardest days I remember that I am not the only momma that has lost a child. There is a community of women that wake up every morning and do the difficult work of carrying on. I often go to my alter and look at my beautiful Madonna and ask her to fill me with the grace and strength to go on. I imagine her whispering in my ear… that I can do it, just as she did it, just as countless other mommas have done it.

So here’s what I need you to know: Just like in the Beatle’s song, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” My model of strength might be spiritual, but yours doesn’t have to be. If you are a momma missing your baby, find a woman who has walked this journey and let her story lift you up. I think about Judy O. missing her daughter, but greeting each day with strength and humor. I think of Rutland Momma, CherylAnn Gengel, impacting countless lives with Be Like Brit, all the while missing her daughter. Trust in yourself and believe that if they can do it, so can you. We grieving mommas are lost and found and continue on. We are a “woven net of broken hearts and we keep each other safe.” Together we get through. Xxx

I need you to know, Things that help

The Legend of Two Dollars

This blog is for YOU. You know who you are, but I do not, and actually, I prefer it that way. You are the person who for the past few years has surprised me time and time again when I visit the cemetery with your gifts. Tucked neatly under a grey rock are 2 one dollar bills folded in thirds. They show up when I least expect it and never fail to put a smile on my face.

That very first time I saw the money, I giggled. What in tarnation is the meaning of this? I spent a few minutes generating ideas of why the money had been left there. I thought to myself that perhaps it was over a bet – two bucks says I can make this next basket – for example and it was your connection or best memory of Luke. Or maybe, I speculated, it was money owed – Do you have two bucks, Luke? I need a snack from the caf. Or maybe Luke had done the borrowing – Pass me two bucks, I need my Dunks. All plausible/possible situations. I even unfolded the money wondering if perhaps you had written some words that might lend a clue to your identity. Nothing. So, after a few more moments of contemplation, I let it go and sat in the comfort of knowing that someone had visited where Luke rests easy.

I don’t know how long after that the next set of two dollars showed up. They were folded with the same level of care and placed perfectly on top of the first pair. My curiosity was peaked. I mentally tried to calculate if the deposit of money corresponded with college breaks and was being left there by someone home to see family. I was tempted to put something on Facebook or Twitter, but I decided that whatever the money was about was between Luke and you. I heard Luke in my head saying Mind your own business, Momma! lol

By the time Winter hit, there was a good collection of money. I didn’t want it to get wrecked from the weather, so I took the cash and a number of other trinkets people had left, and brought them home to the chest of memories we have for Luke in our basement. These mementoes, now to include the dollar bills, all have a special place in my heart. They each mark an important part of our healing process and this invisible connection between myself and the money and you was one I had enjoyed that year. As I closed the lid on the chest, I imagined closing a chapter and with it, anything to do with the money. I don’t think I could have been more shocked when fairly soon after the first thaw of Spring, two new dollars showed up to resume stewardship of Luke’s spot. What?! WHO ARE YOU DOLLAR DROPPER?!!! My heart swelled. The Legend of the Two Dollars was to continue…

Over the years the money has had quite the adventure. I have buried it before bad weather, it has blown away in a windstorm and been retrieved in the woods, and once, we believe kids stole a good chunk. 🙂 When a five dollar bill showed up on the empty marble mantel one day I thought someone was trying to copy the Two Dollar Dropper. lol. John and I were worried this would annoy you and we discussed removing the five bucks. But we don’t always carry cash and so I decided you were short on small bills the day of your visit and left the smallest you could. I breathed a sigh of relief when a mountain of single bills started to pile on top of that five. It was still YOU!

So here’s what I need you to know: I take a guess, every time the money shows up, as to who the Dollar Dropper might be. I guess, but I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that when you lose someone you love, your child, your greatest fear is that they will be forgotten – that a time will come when no one says his or her name. There is a quote that goes something like this:

“They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” Banksy

And I don’t want that for my Luke, for my boy the Legend, for the King. I can’t bear to think of the day when the words- “Remember that kid who died from suicide Senior Year? What was his name?” – becomes a real thing. And so YOU have given me the most amazing gift of hope and of faith: That someone besides Luke’s momma, that YOU continue to hold him in your heart, and will maybe say his name for a long time yet to come. Sometimes, two dollars are worth a million. I love YOU, Dollar Dropper. Forever Grateful. Xxx

Things that help

So This Is Christmas…

I read early on that when you lose someone you love that it takes in and around three years to start to feel some semblance of yourself again. That number bumps to five years when you have lost a child. John and I both set our eyes on that year, that number as a goal to get to. “If we can only make it to that year we will be okay again,” we told ourselves. Five years sounds so far away when you are first in the throws of grief. Every day is damn agony – the purest form of torture; of hell on Earth. How to survive one let alone one thousand, eight hundred, and thirty- two?

But by some miracle, you do. You get up every morning. You miss your child. You do your day. You cry. You go to bed. Repeat. And at some point, I am not exactly sure when, small moments of happiness sneak in. They are tiny pinpoints of light or laughter, fleeting, but still, a welcome reprieve from the pain. And next thing you know the waves of grief don’t drown you. It is more like the gentle lapping of the water on the shore. Constant, but softer, wearing down the edges of your sadness.

And so here I am. Just shy of my fifth year and it is true, I am feeling more like my old self. Christmas has always been a time of joy for me and these past few years it has been difficult to look at any part of it without thinking of Luke and missing him. But this year I feel a bit more at peace with where I am in this journey; of how I hold Luke in my heart. Grief is not like running a marathon where you get to the end and you look back and think, “Wow! Look what I endured! Look what I accomplished!”. Grief is more of a “Phew! Made it through that day; that anniversary; that Christmas.” If this is your first Christmas missing part of your heart, I am sorry. I wish I could tell you it gets easier. I do know we get stronger. I do know we get better at carrying our love and our missing. I almost never look back now – I just look forward, to the day when I will see my sweet boy again. And I remember the love.

Rivers and roads, my son. Merry Christmas. Xxx

I need you to know, Things that help

Mr. & Mrs. White

Some days your heart is just so full of love you want to BURST! This is me after a whirlwind trip to Canada for my nephew, Jacob and his gorgeous gal, Jaime. It was a perfect weekend surrounded by just the best family and friends. My sister and her husband, the incomparable Janet and Bill, were spectacular hosts and the wedding went off without a hitch. I may or may not have been the Master of Ceremonies, lol, an honor that I will always appreciate.

I think the biggest moment of the wedding for me came during the last speech at the reception. Jaime and Jacob were addressing the crowd and thanking all the people that had come together to make their day so special. The two were passing a phone between them, hello 2019! lol, and as Jacob went to take his turn, he told me later he saw Jaime’s name on the notes and was immediately overcome with the emotion of the day. Now Jacob is always very level and composed and to see this sincere expression of pure love, well, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

So here’s what I need you to know: Sometimes, in the darkness of the hard times in our lives, we lose sight of the love. The love of our partner, the love of our children, the love of our parents and siblings, the love of all our friends. As I sat looking around the reception room at all the faces just so happy for the newlyweds it struck me – We are each held dear in SO many hearts! I am, you are, we all are! We are all supported by our own personal community of caring. And how fortunate for that!! The key is to remind ourselves of this truth when we have a hard day. When the struggle is real, remember YOU ARE LOVED.

I know we all wish Jaime and Jacob much happiness as they start their journey together. And don’t forget the secret to a good marriage. 😉 Congratulations, my lovelies! Xxx

Things that help

Paging Dr. Bob

This week I find myself back in Canada. My momma had a second hip replacement surgery scheduled, (Yep, go number two!), and I offered to come up and help out. Truth of it is, I am really here more for moral support for my sister, Janet, who is a caregiver extraordinaire. My skills as Nurse Nancy are limited, but I can cheerlead the heck out of anyone, lol.

Watching Janet interact with my mom post surgery would impress anyone. Janet’s work history includes a long stint in nursing homes, but those of us who know her recognize that she secretly harbors a love of healing and would have made a most excellent doctor. She thrives following recovery protocol and keeping wounds clean and tracking required medication times. Any or all of these characteristics would make her the best Faux Nurse Ever, but it is her caring that is her most amazing resource. Scalpel? Check. Heart? Double Check!

Janet is equal parts tender and tyrannical, lol, and never stops thinking about what my momma is doing or anticipating her next need. She drives the hour to the hospital at an insane time of the morning so when Judy opens her eyes, the first thing she sees is a friendly face. She applies my mom’s lipstick and makes sure her hair is just right because it matters to her. Janet sleeps close by at night so whether it be a bathroom break or pain pills, she can take care of business. I love to Watch the look on my momma’s face as Janet pulls the covers up under her chin and pats the blanket just so before she rests. It just might be the most beautiful act of love you will ever witness.

So here’s what I need you to know: We all need a Janet. Especially after we lose part of our heart. Someone we can lean on in our most vulnerable state. Someone who is there for us even when we don’t recognize that we could use the help. I have had the most amazing souls take care of me since Luke passed away. My girl Lori, since Day One, has sent me texts full of hope, cards of encouragement, tokens of love and loss. She will look into my eyes or see the heartache on my face and send something my way. Each one has been unexpected and appreciated beyond belief. I love you, Lori! Most importantly I know Lori loves me. And that is what caregiving is all about. Sharing and showing love in every word and action. So, today, let’s give a shoutout to all the Caregivers of our World – to those willing to carry other’s woes on their shoulders; able to fix the boo-boos both emotional and physical; all the ones holding the pieces of our hearts together until we are strong enough to carry them for ourselves.

Dedicated to the best caregiver ever – I love you, Peanut. Xxx

I need you to know, Things that help