Holding Space...


Sometimes I wonder if you will ever come. I have been looking for you for more of my life than I haven't been. I've thought perhaps I found you a few times, but quickly realized I was wrong. 

A few have come close. One was pretty spot-on. He was everything. Everything but mine that is. 

So I keep on. I'm no longer looking though. I'm not searching. I just am. I am content. Alone, quiet, evolving, awakening. 

Sometimes I am more content than others. Sometimes I am lonely and wonder what I am doing waiting around for some hypothetical dream of a man. It would be so easy to settle. I left another  perfectly beautiful man so I can wait alone. 

He was beautiful but not beautifully made for me. He could be mine though. He was mine for many years.  Just this week he told me, "I don't believe we are better apart," making it clear that he is still mine if I only ask. 

It would be safe and comfortable.  Yet, I know there is more.  There are men that flirt and I know I could also settle for one of those. Scratch this lonely itch. Yet I know there is more. 

I can feel you out there. I know you are there. And I think...if a man that wasn't meant for me was so wonderful and felt like such a perfect match, just imagine what the man God did intend for me will be like. 

So I wait. I wait and I do the work on myself so that I will be a good partner to you. I wait and enjoy this life and live in the moment. I wait and I hold the space for you. I hold the space that could so easily be filled with the wrong...wrong man, wrong situation, wrong timing. I hold the space and wonder where you are and what you're doing. I wonder what you've been through. I wonder if you're doing the work too or if you're one of those beautiful, rare people who haven't been through much and are amazingly intact. 

I wonder if I'll know you right away or if you will have to grow on me. I wonder if you'll know me right away or if I'll have to grow on you. I wonder where I will meet you. I'm assuming at work because I've told God I'm not looking for you and that he will have to set you right here in front of me. 

Regardless of who you are or what you've been though, I will continue to hold the space for you. I cannot wait to meet you. 




For the last week or so I have been way more fragile than I normally am. I find that I'm seriously emotional and cry easily.  Sometimes without any warning a wave just grabs me. 

It interesting to observe the way I've reacted to grief.  To my conscious mind I'm not really grieving. I'm peaceful with my Grandma's passing, even though I'm sad about it. 

Yet here I am. I'm reacting the way I'm reacting and all I can do is observe it happening. I'm sort of just along for the ride. 

In the first days after she died, I was very visibly looking to numb and medicate. I ate everything comforting I could find and went shopping when I shouldn't have and spent more than I should have. I wanted cozy clothes and soft, warm blankets. It was all about comfort, comfort, comfort. 

The following week, I was experiencing the grief in my body in a horrible way. I almost felt like I had the flu. I hurt, and I just wanted to lay down and be left alone. 

This week, I'm doing okay most of the time. I don't even consciously think about it most of the time. However, there are the tears. I can be doing something totally benign and not even thinking about anything sad, and tears will start falling from my eyes. Also, I feel so lonely and sad. I never feel that way. I love alone time and I love being single. But this week, I'm am super lonely (but not lonely enough to spend time with people though lol). 

I don't know, it's weird. People grieve in their own ways. It's interesting to watch my soul go through this grieving process when I don't even really feel like I am grieving. 

Just though I'd share. 


She did it!

She did it ☺️ My Grandma figured out how to visit me in my dreams. 💜

I was working at a nursing home (I think). I was bent forward taking care of a patient sitting down. I looked over to my right and realized my Grandma was sitting right next to me looking at me. I stood up and was happy and excited. I said, "Hi Grandma!" She just looked back at me and smiled and said hi. It was that simple. ☺️

There was one other scene but I can't remember the dialogue from it. All I remember from the other scene is that she appeared to have an old, faded tattoo on her forehead. It was so faded that it almost looked drawn on with water colors. It was like a crown of flowers. There was a large yellow rose in the middle of her forehead and then leaves/vine going off to the sides. It was really rather pretty.  

meaning of seeing a rose in a dream: 

Very fitting, don't you think?

 In another note, after I had woken up and realized that I had dreamed about her, I was so happy and was trying to go back to sleep. I was just falling asleep and had this quick little dream of a dragonfly flying/floating in front of me.

xoxo v.


Rest in Peace Grandma...

I remember how deeply the sight of the hearse bothered me when my dad died.  It's like the sight of that large, black car sitting by the door symbolized the finality of it all.  Today as I pulled up to the funeral home, I took some deep breaths and braced for the same impact of seeing the hearse that would carry my Grandma to her final resting place...but there was no impact.  It wasn't the same at all.

Once inside the funeral home, the air is always tense in the first handful of  moments.  Emotions are fresh and we are all feeling fragile.  I kept reminding myself that if I just hang on, the rawness of the moment will fade.  Inevitably, someone will say something funny or someone else will ask a question.  Before you know it, the heightened energy settles into a normalcy of comfortable conversation.

Last night at the wake, little did I know going in, but I was to be the unplanned breaker of the ice.  I had brought a heart-shaped stone that has on it something about families lasting forever.  I planned to slip it down beside my Grandma in the casket to keep with her forever (I have a matching one that I will keep).

Well, how was I supposed to know that she wasn't on some cushy mattress?  How was I supposed to know that she is only on a platform and that all around and underneath her is empty?  I thought I was dropping this down onto the mattress next to her, but instead it fell to the bottom of the casket with a loud "CLANG!" (think dropping a large rock into a metal bucket). At first I gasped, but then all I could do was laugh.  My mom came up and stuck her arm down into the casket feeling for it.  It was actually kind of funny and I felt better after that.

There were ten Grandsons and so they all lined up to be pall bearers.  Then those of us in the immediate family followed behind the casket and down to the hearse.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed by grief, I felt such a sense of pride and love.  I had a peace that things were exactly as they should be.  As Julian of Norwich said best, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."  I felt like we were taking care of the woman we loved and she was being honored beautifully.

As we made our way slowly toward the cemetery where she would once again sleep next to my Grandpa, I started to lose it a little bit.  When emotion comes, it's better to let it come and not to judge it.  Just let it pass through.

I decided to name one-by-one all of the ways that I am grateful that she is my Grandmother.  "I'm grateful that you're my Grandma because you taught me how to cry and be vulnerable, then stand back up and keep moving forward.  I am grateful you are my Grandma because you showed me the importance of taking time to pamper yourself whether you feel you can afford it or not (my Grandma used to swear by getting her hair done and she loved to go out to eat).  I'm grateful that you're my grandma because you taught me the importance of being creative."  On and on until I felt peace wash over me.

I always taught my kids, "Never be afraid to be the asshole taking pictures.  Eventually, people who judged you will be the ones asking for copies."  Well, today I was afraid to be the asshole and I'm grateful that my daughter listened to what I taught her.  She took some beautiful photos and I then came asking her for copies.  Life is for living.  It is about appreciating the moment that you're in and all of the beauty that can be found, even if it is wrapped in a sad moment.  Celebrate the relationships you are given and appreciate the moments the Lord has given you.  Love and be grateful.  Pictures capture the moments of our lives.  They capture the little moments of magic and rawness that would easily be forgotten if not for photographs.  Never be afraid to take the picture.

As I stood at the graveside listening to the priest say lovely things of comfort, I looked up and saw a dragonfly right in front of me on my cousin's shoulder.  I smiled and thanked God for it (because I always associate dragonflies with spirit) and it came and sat right on my hand for several seconds.  I took that as a direct sign of love and comfort.  That was one of my favorite parts of the day.

After the service, we all hung out and ate and just loved on each other for a few hours.  It was a bittersweet time.  There are some that are afraid that we will all lose touch now that Grandma has passed, but I firmly believe that will never happen.  Our family is too tight.  Even if we can only see each other once or twice a year, I believe we will always have that. 

 (Me, Emma, Courtney, Mom and step-Dad)



This life truly is all about perspective, isn't it?  I realized that the words "unfinished business" could sum up everything about my relationship with my dad.  Whereas with my Grandma, there was nothing left unfinished in her life or between us.  No, as I crawled down the road behind the hearse,  instead of it looming heavy and sad, the sight of it seemed regal to me.  It was a beautiful and powerful vehicle befitting the honor being shown to the beloved matriarch of our family.



I'll be seeing you...

It finally happened.  We've been dreading this day for years if we are honest.  My Grandma was ninety-five years old, so we've known it could happen at any moment for a long time now.  But today it finally happened.  My Grandma passed away.

As I type that sentence a fresh wave of tears and grief wash over me and I stare out the window.  I've never known what a world without my Grandma looks like.  The flowers still look just as purple and the sky just as blue.  How can someone so special leave the world and yet the world looks exactly the same?  

This is such a bitter-sweet moment because she has been longing to go for decades now.  Anyone who knew her knew that when it was her time to go, she would be doing cartwheels into Heaven. She was just so fed up with life...losing people she loves, losing her eyesight and her hearing, being less mobile.  She loved us, but mentally and emotionally she's had one foot out of the door for a very long time.

So with that being said, I'm happy for her.  This was a beautiful thing and I know she is so happy right now.  But for us?  Those left behind? Today our hearts are broken.

 as a working girl during WWII

It just occurred to me that I will never hear her voice again.  That makes me sad.  My Grandma has been ever-present in my life since the day I was born.  I grew up seeing my grandma nearly every day of my life during my childhood.  No exaggeration.  My family was very close and so I saw my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins often (usually daily).

Most families aren't that close and so don't understand what it is like.  Growing up like that shaped me and shaped my world-view of family life.  That's what I think family life should look like, which is why it is hard for me to be away from my kids or grandchild.

My Grandma had a servant's heart.  She poured herself out for her family.  Even if that meant she was a taxi shuttle for everyone that needed a ride to or from somewhere.  If her family needed it, she did it.  She would babysit, ferry us around, and come to every school performance we had.  I think she was sad, lonely, and tired most of the time.  Looking back, I think that my grandma's love language was acts of service and I honestly don't know how much of that was given back to her...so her cup stayed empty a lot of the time.

When I think of my grandparent's house, I think plastic Easter eggs on the tree branches, lilacs blooming, green grass as far as the eye could see.  Wandering carefree through the field and picking wild strawberries to eat as we layed back and cloud-watched.  Picking beans and peas in the garden.  Shucking corn.  Game shows playing on the TV and in the summer a box fan humming in the background .  In the winter, I have memories of the acres behind their house blanketed in white snow with the rustic old red barn in contrast against it.

Grandma's house meant cookies in the cookie jar (which I still have)...but don't take the last one.  Ice cream from the deep-freeze in the breezeway, but only a little bit.  And if you were good, you could have a small glass of Grandma's pop out of the little bottles in the fridge.

She loved to do crafts and work on puzzle books.  She would always let me sit behind her in her chair and "do her hair."  I'd brush it and get curlers stuck in it.  Looking back now, I know that was probably the only physical touch she was really getting so she would love to have me play with her hair.

She wore rain bonnets and carried hankies and called margarine "oleo."  She loved to go out to eat and shop.  My Grandpa drove her crazy, but she loved him.

She taught me how to sing "Mairzy Doats" ("Oh mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy...a kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?") and we would sing it in the car.

"Mairzy Doats"

I love her.  She was my one true thing.  It was as if she was always there and always would be.  I think I got a lot of my strength from her.  All of the women in my family are strong and I think they got it from her too.  I've seen her cry and want to give up many times, but she didn't.  She was a resilient, get-on-with-it kind of person.  She was always very pragmatic and kept it moving.  She has said to me more than once, "What choice do we have but to keep moving?" 

One consolation I have is that there was nothing left unsaid between us.  I've had several conversations with her about her passing.  Most recently, after my uncle passed away we spoke about it again.  She was so disgusted that "young people" would get taken but not her and then we both acknowledged that it likely wouldn't be long before she was taken from us too.

Me: "I'm going to be devastated when you go."
Her: "Oh for Heaven's sakes Ronica!  Don't you dare be devastated for me! I'll be so happy to go."
Me: "No, for you I'll be happy.  But for me, I will be devastated.  It will break my heart when you go.  Will you come visit me after you do?  Will you come visit me in my dreams?"
Her: [pausing in thought because this never occurred to her] "Well....I would sure like to try!  Yeah, if I can figure out how, I will certainly do that."
Me: "I love you.  And I will miss you."
Her: "I love you too honey.  But don't miss me too much because I'll be okay."

I've never known what a world without my grandma looks like.  The flowers still look just as purple and the sky just as blue.  How can someone so special leave the world and yet the world looks exactly the same?  Maybe it's because she isn't really gone.  No one is ever really gone.  She is still all around us, and always will be.

Laura Jeanne Linden
April 13, 1922 - July 27, 2017

We love you and will miss you.

"I'll be Seeing You"
Billie Holiday 

xoxo v.


My points of reference...

You know how much I love Christmas.  It's no secret.  But, I mean, why?  Why do I love Christmas?  Why does Christmas have such a spell-binding effect on our whole world? I've been putting some thought into it lately, and this is what I've come up with...

We like Christmas unchanged.  We like the same old decorations, cookies, carols, etc.  That's because Christmas is a still spot in an ever-turning world.  A place of refuge.  Like when a dancer is spinning and they pick one spot to focus on. It's that one point of reference to get their bearings when everything else in the world is moving too fast. 

Christmas is like an old friendship.  Old friendships are time-tested and comfortable.  They are the points of reference that we need when our world is moving too fast.

Allison and Maribel are two of my oldest friends (not that we're old ladies...that will never happen).  I have seen so much life with these women. Allison met me when I was 13 and Maribel met me right after I turned 18. 

We have seen each other thin and heavy.  Pregnant and not pregnant.  Short hair, long hair.  Every fashion trend in the past 25+ years.  We have celebrated the purchases of homes, births of babies, and marriages.  And we have held each other up through trauma, death, and pain.

They have driven for hours through the snow so that I wouldn't have to see my ex-husband arraigned in court for hurting my daughter all by myself.  They have babysat.  They have taken my children for whole summers and have acted as a second mother.  They have tolerated me when I am cranky and laughed until our stomachs hurt and we pee our pants. 

They are my people and I love them.   They are my places of refuge.  They are my Christmas. 

xoxo v.
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