Survival and miracles

Good Morning sweet blogland. I felt strong enough, and compelled and driven to write and share my heart again, here. Not an easy feat, being vulnerable and raw. Penning your innermost secrets, pain, and grief. I continue to do it, knowing it is a very important part of my journey. I continue to write because, that is what makes sense to me. I continue to write, so I look into a future, my future, one I don’t know anything about. You see, when my son died of an overdose last Christmas Eve, my world stopped. I didn’t know if I could ever take a deep breath again. Yet, I was able to sleep soundly. I didn’t know if I would ever feel joy or peace again. I found prayer and peace there. I found other mommies who lost their child too and we hold each other and support each other. I practiced meditation and self care. I reached out and volunteered and found joy in the simple act of giving. I filled a 500 page journal with my deepest grief, anger, fear, sadness, hope. I focused on just today. I reminded myself often, be gentle on yourself, your heart, your broken, wounded heart. I prayed for healing and relief. I cried more and let the tears fall. I quickly realized… as much as this hurts and no matter how scared and afraid I am, I must allow my grief to come. Some say, tears are cleansing. I get that. I don’t think crying is bad. I am surrounded by people who do. I am dealing better with that now. We all grieve our own way. In our own time. I am swallowing some of that theory now. When my Michael first died. I felt like I had 100 pound backpack on. 24/7. My own cross, the weight of his young passing. The overdose from Heroin. I carried it everywhere. The greatest fear is acceptance and the harsh reality of death. They will not return. He is not in rehab or detox or jail or living in a sober home. He died from drugs. There is no bargaining with God anymore. Pleading, threatening, begging, pretending, judging. Death is something we all will face. I never in a million years thought I would face a death of my child. Ever. Afterall, I am his Mama. I am bred to save and protect my children. I suppose, I will struggle the rest of my days with that. Powerlessness. Addiction. A hard pill to swallow, everyday. The demon, addiction, wins. I can’t put into words how devastating that is. I somehow thought, with all the love and rehabilitation, he would “get” it. WE would conquer and win. I was wrong.
So, I am beginning to educate myself. I crusade and involve myself with the staggering, startling and scary reality, The Heroin epidemic. It isn’t only “here” in NY. Sadly, there isn’t a state, a city, that hasn’t been poisoned and possessed with Opiod addiction. My son, quickly became a statistic. He tried 100 times to run from addiction, to chase it away, only to relapse and live in the pain. Some days, I try and imagine his inner pain, the physical need, his desperate attempt to hide it all from us. Today, I am able to remember he did his best. Over and over he completed detox’s and 28 day stays and sober homes and inpatient/outpatient, he tried his best. I think perhaps, I need to work on some forgiveness. I need to study the disease of addiction to fully understand his battle. You see, I have learned this much; it was NOT my battle, although, I felt responsible and determined to beat it, to cure him, to save him. Love, sadly, could not alone save him. I am thankful for the Love, as I believe, our bond is still intact, eternally.
I read his text messages a couple of times. He must have texted I Love You 100 times over a few months. & So did I. As painful as it seems, our Love remained even in his darkest moments. That brings me some comfort. I also learned, that Love remains and strengthens, every single minute, even after he died. Those ties are not broken, ever.
A few days ago, I asked him to stay close to me. His passing on Christmas Eve is difficult for all of us. I did not want to focus on the day he died. I will not judge and base his entire life on the day he overdosed.So, I quietly prayed to Michael. I whispered for him to walk with me through the holiday. I opened my blinds and saw a big Blue Jay sitting above the angel outside. I smiled for a moment. The blue jay flew to the bird bath and splashed for a minute. Hmmm, I thought, maybe that is a sign.
The next day, I opened the blinds and the blue jay was there, in the very same spot again. I’d like to think it was a sign. A deep calm had been with me for days. I again, was grateful for not falling apart.
The next day, his beautiful daughter came over to open gifts. Her big eyes and light hair and soft giggles warming my heart. The miracle, the gift, after all the pain and agony of going to court has ended. The love that radiates within is overwhelming, peaceful, calming and full of joy and beauty for her. Our Anna Lisa…She is precious and soft and innocent. I sat and reflected over and over. Do our loved ones sit above and are able to be with us? Do they all experience this joy and love with us? Did he somehow orchestrate the reunion of his precious daughter with us? Did he soften the mother’s heart enough to let us in? I do not know the answer. I may never know. I do know, someone, somewhere has given us back HOPE and Joy….she may only be a toddler, soon to be 3, but she has a beautiful soul, and she resembles her daddy in so many ways. I feel blessed. Something inside of me feels strongly that he was able to give her back to us. I believe his love transcended us all and we are extremely grateful to love her again.
So, call it a Christmas Miracle…or special gift. She is now a part of us.

Yesterday, we took his ashes to our families cemetery plot. I engraved his name on the stone and placed some of his ashes there with my parents and brother. I whispered to him yesterday. Someone told me you are with Nanny. If that be true my son, then I can rest peacefully, knowing you are by her side in heaven.
Till I see you and hold you again… Merry Christmas Mikey <3


hope & miracles

It was most unexpected. It was like a dream. You see, after battling in court for almost a year, standing next to her in silence and dealing with tremendous grief, a tiny miracle happened.
I don’t care to explain every sad detail. I don’t want to berate, accuse or dissect every word. It was hell, the stress and anxiety, enormous. Today, however, I just want to share abit of goodness. A moment of pure love, joy and a tiny bit of hope. I shared in previous posts about petitioning for visitation of my late son Michael’s daughter. She was just 2 months old when she exited our lives. They, the mother and daughter, left abruptly one day and never returned. She moved and blocked any and all contact with our family. This was shortly after the sudden and tragic loss of my brother to suicide. The next 2 1/2 years are a blur of grieving, discovering a hidden addiction, sadness and tragically another loss. I can’t begin to tell you the sleepless nights, the tears, the searing pain, the accusations and hatred that flowed. All of it unhealthy and unproductive. There were some days when I questioned if I had enough strength to endure another court date, another kick in the gut. I just kept praying. I would write and cry. I would plead with God and my son to guide me on this journey. I lay awake some nights alone, feeling so abused and punished. I desperately fought to be a part of this child’s life, my beloved son’s baby girl. He never got to enjoy her or father her. He lost his own life to an overdose. He lived in addiction, pain and suffered everyday without her. I…her Nana, desire to just… love her. She is the most precious, adorable little girl. She resembles him so very much, I still am in shock and in awe of that.
This past Sunday, out of the blue, her mother contacted us to meet our granddaughter. We were reunited with our precious little girl! I still feel shocked. It was like a dream really. I still can see her smile and her sweet disposition. She literally smiled the entire visit and warmed to us almost immediately. Praise be to God. I’ve had a whole congregation praying for us. I wrote volumes of letters to this little girl. I vowed to myself, my family, and mainly to and for my son. I would do everything I could to bring her back to us. To make her part of our family. I vowed to do what my son could not. Just when I was beginning to lose hope. Almost a year of being ignored, and battling the mother just for visits. I was repeatedly humiliated, accused, disrespected. It felt like a Springer episode in family court. It drained me each time. I was so sad and confused. Then…a miracle happened. I hope we have more visits. I hope she meets our extended family and wiggles that absolutely adorable wiggle dance she does when she gets excited. I hope she feels an abundance of love and safe and spoiled and special. Because she is. I once called her, our little drop of hope. I remember rocking her in her nursery. Listening to her sweet sighs and caressing her perfect, silky skin. She was perfect and precious. We had just suffered a horrible tragedy, losing my brother Tom, and she was this little ray of sunshine and hope. Anna Lisa, I prayed for you. I longed for you. I grieved for you. Now you are here! …hopefully, to stay and play and rejoice in the miracle of love & family. I long to see you again, and stare at you in awe. I hope to laugh and play and love you all over again.
~love, your Nana <3

Tiny drop of Hope <3

Fair, pale skin. Golden wispy curls
Big Eyes like saucers, just like he
Vibrant and happy, sparkling & giddy
God, so very much like you
She shines and she wiggles ever so cute
She is tender, gentle, sweet, like you
Wrapping her little chubby fingers around mine
My heart melted, just like the day I held you for the first time
& I smile inside, for the first time in awhile
That part of her that is you, is so very precious
I can feel you around her, around us. Thank you God.
I promised and vow to love her. For you, for me
forever my son. Thankful.
I look up to the heavens and hope you can see
That love is truly eternal, tis how I will honor thee

September morn….

I’m here. Hiding in the shadows. Doing my very best. Adapting, scraping by, surviving, hell yes. So…. My world, my new world, new life, and my new grief. Epic juggling act. I’m getting better at it, maybe. And, btw, my shit got real. For real. My Full plate, uh… yeah, you might say that. I’m breathing. Can I get an Amen please?. I’m humbled. I’m exhausted. I’m surviving. Clinging to the earth, hanging on by a nail. Life is very intense these days. Actually, All of it, is intense, exhausting, and at times, too hectic, too worrisome, too painful, too busy, too resentful, too hard. Yet… I trudge on. I work through these emotions daily. The tides of my existence now are hard to ride. The emotions raw and deep. I have painful moments, almost, too much to even let pour out on these pages. But, still here I am. I show up and I still keep doing. I crawl, claw, through each moment, all of them, as I always have, for anyone or everyone. For me and my beautiful son I lost. I try and be brave for us. I told my meditation teacher the other day. I wear his sudden, devastating passing, all his sins, his pain, his shame and his tragic death, like a heavy backpack. I drag it around me, everyday and God, I protect it. I honor it, him, every single day. I crash and fall asleep hard and my mind and body rest. Sometimes, I catch glimpses of him in my dreams. Sometimes, I wake up and I cry so hard, I scare myself. Sometimes, I sit the backpack besides me. I open it gently, slowly, weeding through this intricate web of addiction and it’s destruction. The disease of addiction. I scream inside at it everyday. How cunning and slithery and so hard to understand, and the harrowing task of me consciously accepting it all with such confusion and pain. The devastating, reality & tragedy of addiction. Everyday, I swallow that pill. Acceptance, powerlessness, and for me, his Mama, my personal failure. Failure to fix. The pain of losing on every level and then losing him. That blow is deadly, and it continues to flatten me and gut me. The monster of addiction lingers. Lord, help me let go alittle today. I continue to do my healing work. My art therapy, my journaling, my reading, meditations, support groups and meetings. I escape, the monster everyday, acutely aware that I allow it to still chase me! Sadly, I must acknowlege my grief, everyday, I do all this in private. It is a very lonely place. I don’t allow the sadness to encompass me, I just acknowledge it with love. My love for Michael. My undying, eternal love for my child. That, I am afraid, will never go away. Some days, the backpack makes me want to collapse. It is so very heavy, still. I write, read, cry, garden, dig and relish in awe of my gardens. My roses intoxicate me. My Mama’s garden in full bloom, bursting love at me! My like 12 foot Sunflowers…the richest yellow and abundance God can create out of a leftover seed…magical* and it’s
all in my front and backyard. I’m healed in and with nature. My Reiki master whispered that to me months ago. It’s true. Feet in the sand or grass, it is and will heal me and it is grounding me. Back to this earth, to this world. The world where a brokenhearted, mamabear, shall dwell. Missing him, so very much. Deeper than the ocean…higher than the stars. My love is keeping me alive today. Thank you universe. Thank you Michael Anthony. You are certainly with me today. Nine sad months today. I can hardly type it. When I do, I weep. When I awoke this morning, I collapsed in a pool of tears. You are my sunshine~ I told you that and sang that to you often, as a baby. You still are the sunshine in my soul~ but, I am sad today. and I think, words can’t describe his loss. My heart clings, it is so so so hard to describe. I feel it all. I just grieve and crawl some more. I think about him a lot. I drift for hours, through the years, memories, and the moments. I am still stunned. Perhaps, I will always feel lost here. When I have the time to be alone. I try to connect to him, the best I know how. I will continue to find him in the spirit connection. That is where I want and need to heal with him. I allow it to surface and spill out of my soul. I lean into my grief. I do not want nor can I escape it. Moments of terror, and flashbacks will occur. The pain sears your heart. I am slowly, painfully, accepting, acknowledging he is gone from here. That will hurt forever.. But, No, honestly, that does not go away. The longing for a beautiful fair haired boy with kaleidoscope eyes. I will forever wane, want, miss, kiss, acknowledge, remember, regret, and constantly reflect. I pray to him, for him, for us. Truly, I am lost without my son. He is more than missed. His death, has sliced a part of me away. I do everything in my power to fill that space. I fill it with love and forgiveness. I fill my life now with support groups, their foundations, fellowships, new connections, volunteering, fundraisers. I connect to others who have suffered the very same loss from an overdose. I study the disease of addiction, so I can live here and find some peace within. If you ever lived with addiction, the nightmare it is seriously traumatic daily. I get it. I try everyday to find a drop of hope and inspiration. I search for what sustains me now. I meditate and know that itsy, bitsy, teeny, drop of faith in God is radiating inside. It is circling me, protecting me, guiding me. I force myself to see and believe in heaven. I so desperately seek that clarity again. I envision that my beloved Mother now has him, with her, next to her. I was told that from a stranger, that she does. I cling to that thought and it comforts me today. I consciously crawl to The God inside me, asking him to guide and continue driving me forward. I pray to better understand and accept that I somehow find my way back, “home”. I always figure shit out, I’m a cancer girl, practical and a realist. I eventually need to work through stuff in order to accept and heal and move forward. After all, I’m the middle child, nurturer, solver, fixer. I journal and write about him constantly. It helps me breathe and connect every fiber to him. I ask him for guidance now. I go to court tomorrow, to fight to visit his daughter. Mostly, I am lovingly patient with myself. I’m all I got, right?. I acknowledge my purpose here. I ponder this thought… I have to leave my fingerprint here. My dream and goal is to show my daughter what strength and self care mean. I want to be a loving, giving woman. I yearn and strive everyday, seeking my new role, life, purpose. I chase peace, by giving, sharing, spoiling, travelling, ad to practice self care. I truly know that beauty still exists. I know that Love is what heals us, always. I want her to always strive to be HER personal best. To take care of her beautiful heart and mind and body above all else. Then she will spread her beauty to everyone she loves. Accept and love yourself my sweet DD, you have a lot to give this world. I love you endlessly.
So, I’m surviving, doing ALL of this super gently. Vowing to just take each day as it comes. He wants us to be happy and healthy. I still feel his love inside my heart. This day, is very hard today. Tomorrow may be lighter, softer. It’s just that my mind has now adopted the date. Like a time stamp. Everything stops for a moment. I am reminded, he is gone. Yeah, it sucks. It sucks so bad, I don’t even to attempt to write the darkness. It is like a monster. The darkness of young loss, grief, regret still looms inside and around me. I knew it would. Sometimes,it reminds me of the monster, the beast of addiction. Today, I only seek the light. To free myself of the perils and horror of addiction. I long to just connect with him, his higher self. It’s beautiful when I meditate and I Reiki and connect. It’s healing. I am able to open my heart and mind to him being around me. His light. God’s grace. Divine light that brings me a moment of peace and joy. This I am told is obtainable, attainable. I am moving towards it. Trusting to believe. There is goodness and love. There is beauty and joy. We chant in meditation
I Am Love ~
That headspace is a good place to start each day. When I make time to self love, I am better. I certainly focus better. I am able to let go easier. Of course…. Not everyday is “good” or even mediocre. I’ve learned to be patient, and it’s ok to cry and get over yourself. Just let yourself feel.
I just do my very best, the best I can do, today. I continue to water my own garden, sew my own seeds, and trudge on. I am very much a thinker. I take it in, and slowly, I dissect it. Somewhere, in between, I circle it, examine it, and try and make peace with so very much. It’s a challenge. I work at healing everyday. I continuously slay the monster in my head. The one that stole my child. It’s a personal battle. One that I lost. Addiction often wins. That is hard to allow. Hard to have my heart accept it. Hard to swallow.
I foolishly watched half of “my sisters keeper” the other evening. Oh, I definitely knew it was a huge risk. But, in my top 10 of all time movies. Her sister Anna talks about her sister Kate dying. She say’s. We never truly figure out why they die. We aren’t supposed to figure out death. I had a moment there, where it made sense to me. Stop trying to figure it out. ~ I’m sure trying.

Love & light

The peace prayer…

Good Morning

TGIF..and all that good good stuff. I have been thinking about sharing my thoughts, penning my woes. I have a crazy busy schedule, & much of this, is totally on purpose. Busy hands my Nanny would say make the mind quiet…
I just booked a weekend getaway, to one of our private islands here on Long Island. I can describe it as a secret gem. It is in the middle of the Great South Bay and the Atlantic…how much better can that even get??? really?!! These islands forbid any vehicles or motorbikes. They are remote enough, accessed by large Ferries, perk* the local town delivers anything you want via Ferry boat. Oh, and its super pricey. The fancy oceanfront house in peek season runs between 5-10K per week. Yeah, its that nice and secluded. When I think of Fire Island, (off season!) I think of total nature & serenity and quiet. Wild deer and birds and butteflies. No, I am not making this up. The architecture and design of these dreamy homes are unique and special. All the blocks connect byhandmade walkways. Each home has its own theme and name. Mermaid heaven, or Never Enough, or Tiki palace. So dang adorable, I simply can’t get enough. There are many private islands to explore and all of them are stunning. It is truly a photographer’s dream. So…The locals and the trendy young and rich City folks & foreigners & families pack up and go back to reality and school and life, and we sneak in! Perfect timing for sure.
That is when the Island shines for me…. raw and breathtakingly pretty. This truly is why I will always, love and call it home.
I can watch each sunrise and sunset. I can sit and reflect. Write, read, lounge, sip, grill and Nap! I require very little. I appreciate every little thing nowadays…I can smell the ocean and feel the sun already. Blinks 3 times.. whew, ok, back to reality Leelee. Just breathe.

I feel grateful for these getaways. I have acknowledged that travelling has helped tremendously with managing my grief. A new city to explore. No work demands. No social media or drama. I can absorb myself with gardens and flowers. Hiking and a new beach or gallery. Sampling amazing seafood and listening to soothing music. For a moment, I am amongst the living again and I feel free. I often describe grief like the ocean and the waves and tides. I accept, that every day, I shall grieve privately and I may feel sad for awhile. I am told, that is completely normal. It is safe to say, I have changed, and I don’t always feel “normal”, I just feel different.
I have been gentle with my heart. I have reached out for support. He led me to find beautiful Mommies that suffered the very same loss. I have found Reiki and Meditating and Yoga and journaling and profound books about healing, loss of a child, addiction and faith and God. This has saved me and become my mantra. I stare at his face, everyday. Yes, it makes me cry. Yes, it is hard and I feel so lost without him near us. He is physically beautiful to stare at <3…So, I am coping. I am honoring him and here's the thing; I have loved him every single minute, deeply connected to his heart. I am consumed with 31 years of Mikey and of all the memories and sadly, some recent flashbacks that are heart wrenching to relive. I share some of them sometimes with those that can bear my loss and pain. I learned that he is always & forever in my heart. That is where he stays. That is forever where your children remain. The reality of his loss, weighs heavy in my body, my soul, my eyes. Heart broken would be a good description of my insides. I say this often. I am trying my very best, just for today. I lean in and hold tight. I sleep hard now. He is in my dreams sometimes. I weep for him everyday..and talk to him in private. I am doing my very best today…. I am a survivor. Grief is a long journey, so I do not rush. I sit. I listen and wait for a sign or a lesson.
I guess what I am trying to say is, I am here. I am alive and I am surviving & trying to find my new place, here, on this earth, without him, for now.

Love & Peace