Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Season's Beginnings

This week's theme for 52 Photos Project is "Season's Beginnings." This was the best I could do at finding evidence of fall. These are sweet gum leaves. They are so beautiful in the fall and they will get prettier in the next few weeks.

We spent the weekend at our little house in the country. The birthday celebration went very well. It was good to be surrounded by family on my son's birthday. My girls went to the cemetery the morning of his birthday and left sidewalk messages on his vault. When the day was done and most everybody had left, my husband and I and one of my aunts went to the cemetery to leave birthday messages.

Tonight, after missing two meetings, we went to the monthly meeting of Compassionate Friends. I wanted so badly to talk about how we left birthday messages on his vault but the group was a little larger than usual and I didn't butt in to say anything. I think this might be a new tradition for us, to write messages on his birthday and maybe even other holidays too. We left the chalk up there in a ziploc bag in case any of his friends come by and want to leave a message.

His best friend had a video of his two young children releasing balloons for his birthday up in Pennsylvania and other friends posted things on Facebook remembering him. It was a good day in spite of the sadness.

I called him Bubbie a lot when he was younger. For some reason that is the name that came to me as I was writing my message.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bittersweet Celebration

Today we ate celebrating what would have been his 25th birthday.

No, we didn't leave him hanging from the tree. I Photoshopped his grandmother out of the photo!

We will be surrounded by family and a few friends. We will share a meal in his honor. Later we will go to the cemetery to bring new flowers. We have sidewalk chalk and will leave birthday wishes on his vault. Though he is gone, he is loved and well remembered.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, September 09, 2012


 Doors to crypts in the Galveston cemetery.
The back door to my grandparents' house. Both were dead and gone when I took this photo. The house still stands but it is in a sad state of disrepair.

Lawsie! I was going to get this post up earlier in the week and never got around to it. And now so much more has come up concerning doorways (sorry, be prepared for a bit of rambling)...

We spent the weekend at the little house we have been working on repairing for several weeks now. We've had a lot of help. I have not actually had to do much (have not had the opportunity to do much). My husband has taken a couple of days to go up and help. My uncle has done most of the carpentry work. One of my husband's friends brought a trailer to our house Friday and took a load of furniture and stuff to go in the little house. I could hardly wait till "quittin' time" Friday afternoon so I could get myself up there too! 

We had stuff left from when we were going up there regularly years ago. We had to get a new sofa. I had end tables and a dining table. It is a small simple house so it does not need much. I want to keep it simple. 

We were going to bring my son's double bed up there for our bedroom but when we opened the door to his room to go in there and dismantle his bed, we both realized we were not ready to do that. We shed a few tears and sat down to re-evaluate our plans. We ended up borrowing a couple of twin size blow up mattresses for the weekend. I think I've now figured out what I want to do and we will bring his bed up there next weekend. We still need for his bedroom to be his bedroom and that means (to me) that there needs to be a bed in his room. I have an extra twin bed that I think I am going to set up in there.

Saturday of this weekend marked nine months since he's been gone. We had a quiet day of memories and a few stories about him as we worked around the little house.

On Sunday afternoon we went to the cemetery and sat beside his grave for a little while. The little house in the country is near a lot of my family and the cemetery is nearby and I have many other family members buried there. We had passed the cemetery a couple of times over the last couple of trips to the country but we always had someone with us or we were in a hurry to get back with something we were getting for the house. We were overdue to stop by for a "visit."

As I sat there at his grave, full of gratitude that we have been able to get the little house fixed up again and sorrowful that he was not around to see it happen, I was reminded again that that fear of loss and pain are not valid reasons not to love, or to live. My gratitude for having had him to love is far larger than my pain and loss now that he is not here. I used to scoff at the old saying "tis better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all." I understand that saying in a whole new way now. And I am grateful for the time I had to love him.

I posted part of this on Facebook, about fear of pain and loss not being valid reasons not to love and a friend commented with "I hesitated to press Like because of the poignant & extraordinarily personal & sensitive nature of your posting." The "old me" would never have posted something so "extraordinarily personal" like that on Facebook. Neither would I have written about it on my blog! I would have figured it best to keep things to myself and put my strong face on. 

I was using the notes feature in my phone to make a list of things we needed to bring to the little house next weekend. I noticed an old note from November 6th of last year. It is short but it was a precursor to the coming changes in me. It said: "Need help? Must ask." That was two days before my surgery on November 8th of last year, two days and a month before the death of my son on December 8th of last year.  

I've learned a little about accepting help when I need it. I've even learned a tiny bit about asking for help when I need it. I've been blessed with much support through this journey and I am grateful.

I have been changed by this experience and by the colon cancer diagnosis. On some days I feel like I have been opened up, in a good way. This weekend I was thinking how this past year has been the season of my "grand opening," another doorway of sorts that I have walked through. It's been hard, it's been heart-wrenching, but in some ways, it has been so good for me. What a paradox that is!

(My contribution to the 52 Photos Project prompt of Doorways for week 20.)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Clouds and Light

My father and I drove to "the country" today to help my uncle do some more work on "the little house." My husband had to work and so could not make this trip. I believe it is all coming together nicely. We might even be able to spend the weekend up there soon!

When we came back through town, I wanted to stop at the Salvation Army store. We are looking for a cheap (but good and clean!) couch. As I was pulling into a parking place, a customer was walking out of the store with one of the workers. They came out into the parking lot and the customer pointed to the sky and they both stood there and stared. I looked up to see what they were looking at and saw this gorgeous sight in the sky. My photos do not do it justice! It had rainbow colors but it wasn't a rainbow! I had my camera with me so I jumped out and started taking pictures. As I was taking the first few, the colors were fading and blending into a solid pink color. I have never seen anything like it.

The picture below is more like the color we saw. I tried to highlight the colors in the version above so the light would be more visible.
Also, I took this one when we came out of the store after about twenty minutes. It was beginning to fade away a bit but the light was still spectacular.

Below are a couple more pictures that I took (and adjusted the "levels" in PSE).

They look very much the same. I tell myself there are subtle differences in all the photos because of the way I processed them. :)

It was amazing to see. And it was fun to see the little crowd of folks who gathered around looking at the clouds and the light in the sky.

Here is a little something else I did with the cloud photo in PSE. I am not totally satisfied with it. I will probably work on it some more later. I think I'd like to print this one up on watercolor paper and write the quote in with a dark pencil, then scan it and make it a print. But my printer/scanner is on the fritz so this will have to do for the time being....