{April 30, 2013}   What Lies Behind Me

it’s scattered, this brain of mine

not sure where to turn and tired of walking backward

’cause there’s nothing there for me anymore

I see you in the distance, almost close enough to touch if I’d just reach out my hands

but i’m afraid I might not reach you

I wonder which is worse, reaching and missing or just plain missing ’cause I never tried to reach

you push me toward the light just by raising the blinds and you shine so bright

my darkness follows me, clinging to what I know best

my eyes steal a glance behind me Orpheus-like

and I curse this scattered brain of mine

At one point or another, it happens to us all. No one lives forever and every single one of us can be sure that someone we love will die.

It doesn’t matter whether we think we’re prepared for the inevitable, there is no amount of preparation that will ever make the death of a loved one easy to deal with in any way.

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my Mother last week.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Somehow that sounds so simple, “I lost my Mother”, as if I look hard enough I’ll be able to find her. Not even a Prayer to Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of lost things will ever help me get my Mother back. No amount of “Dear Saint Anthony please come around, something is lost and must be found” will lead me to her. If only it were that easy.

Of course I know where she is, she is in Heaven watching over me and there is nothing anyone can say to make me believe otherwise. Yes, it brings me comfort knowing she’s up there with the rest of those who went before her. I can picture her now, Nana and Grandpa, along with Uncle Mickey, Aunt Nene, and my favorite Aunt Gerry who spent most of her life in a wheelchair yet lived more in her short 40 years than most do in a lifetime, all gathered together to welcome my Mom home. Maybe she’s finally able to spend some time with my should-have-been older sister who lived just a few short hours about 10 years before I came along. And I can’t even begin to count all the other friends and relatives who’ve left this mortal coil much too soon.

Grief has been a constant companion for a good portion of my life, I’ve lost a lot of friends and family much too soon.

It connects us all. Grief, death, and all the stages that come along with it do not discriminate.

Death doesn’t care how much money you make, who you voted for, whether you keep up with the news or if you overshare on Facebook. Death comes for us all and we are never prepared for it in any way.

It’s only been a week since I lost my Mom and I am still raw. The funeral is over, the only thing I have left to do is finish writing thank you cards and the sad truth is, I still have a stack of cards I’ve yet to open because each one, while filled with words of comfort and sympathy, still feels like a scab being ripped off of a just-healing injury. And I know I have to get these things done as soon as possible but every time I attempt to open another card I have trouble seeing anything through the tears that come without my permission.

Yesterday I made a donation in my Mother’s name to the Family of Travis Alexander who, if you don’t already know, was brutally murdered by an ex-girlfriend who admitted that she shot him in the head, stabbed him 27 times and slashed his throat from ear to ear nearly decapitating him. She’s claiming self-defense, at least I think that’s her latest claim since she’s changed her story 3 or 4 times.  Anyway, my point is until this trial is finally over, the Alexander Family is being forced to relive this heinous crime every single day. How do you grieve when you are forced to sit quietly in court without showing emotion as the diabolical Defense Team kills Travis over and over again in an attempt to get their evil client a not guilty plea? How do you sit there and listen to lie after proven lie about your murdered brother?

As I mentioned, I made a donation to the Alexander Family in my Mother’s name yesterday. She and I would watch the trial together nearly every single day, even when she was in the hospital the last 2 weeks of her life. I included a short note expressing our support and mentioned how invested we had become in the trial, and how I believe in my heart that knowing my Mother as well as I do, one of the first things she did after entering Heaven was to give Travis a hug.

This morning I received an email from Samantha, the younger sister of Travis, thanking me and offering ME condolences on the loss of my Mom. After immediately bursting into tears I said a Prayer for her, and held that bit of comfort close to my heart. Comfort offered to me from someone who’s pain has been nonstop since her brother was found dead a few days after Jodi Arias savagely murdered him.

Grief puts us all on a level playing field. It’s hard, it’s painful, it’s every moment of every day. I’ve been told that it will lessen with time, that it will always be there but a day will come when I will think of my Mom with only Love and while I will always miss her, I will also know that she lives on in my heart until the day I too throw off this mortal coil and make it to the Other Side.



{April 28, 2013}   And All The Angels Wept


Yesterday we buried my Mom.

I lie, we didn’t literally bury her because she was insistent that we do not, I repeat do not under any circumstances even think of holding a traditional wake/funeral or she would rise up and kick our collective ass. Over and over. In front of the entire world. With every ounce of Irish in her. And believe me, my Mom was Irish through and through and damn proud of it.

Now don’t get me wrong, my Mom was not the type of Mother who would even think about raising a hand to any of us. She didn’t have to, all she had to do in order to take control of any situation was to give that look she had down so well and whoever was on the receiving end of it would stop dead in their tracks. And if it was one of us three kids that infamous Carey Death Stare was aimed at, I can say from experience, our lives would pass before our eyes. Or perhaps, being the only daughter and a middle child at that, I was just a crybaby.

For those of you youngsters out there, a crybaby is what the politically correct world  now calls “sensitive”. Alice didn’t take too kindly to politically correct terms, she called a spade a spade and a douchebag a douchebag because why waste words?

She wasn’t supposed to die, at least not yet. The facts might belie that previous statement, she was 84 years old, a breast cancer survivor, and a survivor of Hurricane Irene who somehow found it necessary to destroy our family home. But none of those things phased her in the least bit. She was a great believer in the old adage of picking yourself up, brushing yourself off and starting all over again. So that’s what we did. It took a little over a year to get the house rebuilt and my Parents moved back home the same day Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. Luckily the only damage they sustained from Sandy was a power outage.

So my folks moved back home and we were on the road to Normalville. Due to the craziness caused by Hurricane Irene my Mom and I had to put our usual twice-a-year Cape May trips off until everything was back to what passed for normal.

Toward the end of March we were finally able to book our long awaited week at our favorite place in the world, and we even got our favorite room at the Victorian Motel. We didn’t do all of our usual Cape May things this time, it had been 2 years since we’d been there and honestly we were so happy to just be in Cape May we did a lot of nothing, because that’s what we wanted to do. Oh, the unexpected snowstorm while we were there may have had something to do with our desire to do not much more than spend the week in our suite talking and talking and talking some more, although I must admit we did spend a lot of time watching that damn Jodi Arias trial while eating Fish and Chips with malt vinegar, one of our usual Cape May traditions. All in all, as usual, we had a wonderful time. Spending time with my Mom has always been my favorite thing to do.

About 2 weeks after we got back home, my Mom got up in the middle of the night, tripped on her slipper and hit the floor hard, breaking her shoulder. My Dad took her to the emergency room where they put a soft cast on and sent her on her way. Of course, in the way of the depression-generation, nobody called me till the next day. So she was home with her right arm unusable and I did my best to go over the house and help as much as I could, as did my younger brother Tommy. Two days after Easter Sunday I woke up in my old bed in the house I grew up in only to find my Mom unable to walk. She seemed confused and had a hard time talking coherently. We called an ambulance because we weren’t able to get her into my car and she was admitted to ICU. Apparently she had some sort of infection that was affecting her kidneys so she had to have a few dialysis treatments as well as a blood transfusion. Her broken shoulder was the least of her problems at that point but against all odds she rallied enough to shock the doctors and they performed surgery on her shoulder.

They couldn’t believe how she improved but we were all so relieved that she was fine we did what the doctors said and made arrangements for her to go to rehab for a few weeks for her shoulder. Her birthday was April 17th, 2 days before she was being moved so we celebrated quietly in the hospital, planning a real celebration when she came home.

She was taken to rehab on April 18th sometime around 9pm and I spent many hours on the phone that day talking to doctors and nurses and everyone assured me she was fine, nothing to worry about, healthy as a horse, and every other cliché you can think of.

I believed them all and went to sleep that night planning on waking early the next morning so I could go visit her in the rehab place.

At 5:20am my phone rang.

They were sorry to inform me that my Mother passed away at 5:15am on April 19th.

I am lost without my Mother, my best friend and confidante, and I miss her more than I could possibly imagine.

I have been Blessed to have been her daughter, and Blessed to know that I take after her in nearly every way, except for the part where Mom was 5’2″ and I am 5’9.5″.

I have her beautiful blue eyes, I have her red hair, I have her gift for wit and sarcasm, and I have had the privilege to have known the finest woman I’ve ever known. It gladdens my heart to know my Mom is in Heaven, my own personal Angel to look out for me.

I just don’t know how I’m going to get through each day without being able to talk to her anymore.

And the truth is, using the word “was” in regard to my Mom is tearing me apart.

I love you Mommy, and these tears I cry for you are not the tears of a crybaby, but the tears of a grown woman, a loving daughter, and a best friend. You always have and always will continue to live on in my heart.

et cetera