memories…letting go

Hello, from sunny New Hampshire. It went by in a blink, picture perfect, brilliantly sunny, breezy, warm and luscious! 4th of July celebration and our annual trip to the lake. You see, this trip, we all knew, would be our last trip to this lakehouse. They have sold their beautiful lakefront home and are moving on! So, for over a decade, we have gathered and bonded and watched fireworks ignite. For over a decade, we made memories, and sought refuge and healing at this lake. For over a decade, we brought our families together to “make memories”. I photographed every single one. I took too many pics and annoyed the kids to no end. I thought the house held magic and hope and sunshine. For many, many years it did. Sadly, last year, my son’s last breath was taken there, at the lakehouse. It now holds precious memories and tremendous grief. I guess, perhaps, it really does give them reason to move on. So, the house was sold to a lovely blended family. They call it their summer house, the new owners. They will move in in a few weeks. They will now make their own memories there. Another testimony that life, goes, on. No matter what!
So, I knew this year would be different. This would be hard, scary in some ways. I knew, I am not the same woman who sat by that lake for years, dreaming, laughing, celebrating, living and loving. I also knew I had to sit in my grief and acknowledge that my son died there on Christmas Eve. There is no avoiding this horrible reality or not fully acknowledging it was very traumatic, devastating. This, sadly isn’t my first rodeo, I mean in experiencing or surviving sudden death, but, he is my first born child. You simply do not recover, you adapt. Any time I am asked or I feel forced to “let go”, to release him, I cry and feel sadness. Maternally, I instinctively want to protect him, hold him, save him. Letting go makes me feel like I abandon my baby, my beautiful son. My Reiki master suggested that I do a guided meditation when I arrive there. She gently encouraged me to find one on Forgiveness. Hmmmmm, I pondered that. She said to me. Forgive what happened there that night. Forgive him, forgive yourself. When you are able to let go and forgive him, he will then be able to forgive himself. You will release him, and you will be able to move forward. I had never truly thought of it that way. I was so focused on the pain and trauma in my heart. Then she said this. Instead of grieving and carrying all that anxiety and pain, why don’t you have a little ceremony. A celebration of his life! Honestly, I hadn’t thought of that either. Bring some of his ashes and sprinkle them in the lake. Tell stories of fun memories and send his lanterns up to the sky and think of him. Remember the person he always was, his whole life.
That moved me. It helped me re focus and gave me a purpose. It made my son shine in my heart and I was not consumed with his final moments there. I decided I could do that, hold a small, intimate ceremony with a few family members. His Dad was ok with it too. For me, I carry this boy in my heart, 24/7. It felt right to honor him with his family. I felt a surge of courage to climb the stairs to the guest room. A tiny part of me felt he was lingering there waiting for me.
I slowly walk upstairs. Me and Mike, we go to sit and grieve our son. We go where he took his last breath. We were not present. We were not there to say goodbye or hold him. The room is illuminated in the most beautiful hue of sunlight. So golden, it takes my breath away for a moment. I see his picture, it always takes my breath away too….
The breeze by the rocking chair is strong, cool and I swear it feels like heaven. I forgot how beautiful that room is. I forgot how the sun sets deeply there, warming the entire floor. I rock and stare at the picture his Grandmother displays. The little angel candle is next to him that I gave her to hold. He is so beautiful physically, I could stare at his face all day. I sit and rock, and the meditation plays softly. We both listen and cry and honor our child. It is peaceful. I can’t explain why, it just is so peaceful and serene. I feel love in that room. I feel the sun, the cool breeze. I feel him. The love he had for everyone. The struggle he silently suffered, trying so very hard to beat addiction. Forgiveness…..for me, it is hard, it is a constant struggle. We have no control over anyone, yet, as a parent, we must let go and forgive. Complicated, a day by day battle internally. What really impressed me was his Dad. He tells me, he forgives him, and he is passionate about that forgiveness. to me, he didn’t even seem to struggle with it at all. Simply, Amazing really. We sit and cry there for awhile. We mourn him so deeply, but love him even more than grief. He was a lighthearted, loving, caring soul. We miss him …. more than words.
That evening….the stars are sparkly, the fireworks are magical. A beautiful night on the lake, we feel blessed. We are surrounded by love and family. That is how we make it through.

So, we send up the lanterns, they soar up to the stars, we watch until we can’t even see the orange glow. Magnificient & they were beautiful. But, then again, so was he. They soared so high, into heaven, & I loved thinking about him and wondered if he saw them too. We sprinkled some ashes over the lake and I read a poem that I found and framed for his Dad & I love to believe that one day, we will embrace this:

~ What moves through us is a silence, a sadness,
a longing for one more day, word, touch and we may not understand
~ why you left us,
but, little by little, We begin to remember not that you are gone
but that you LIVED and that your life gave us
~Memories too beautiful to forget.

in loving memory of Michael Anthony.

I cried a lot today. It happens now, I noticed immediately after I return from vacations, when I come back to reality, & I return to my “new” life and to this house, the grief swells and overwhelms my heart. It is always painful, coming home and not seeing his smile and sparkly blue eyes waiting for us. He is loved, he is missed, every single day, I live with that now. So… I fully accept and share with people, how I survive each day. I tell them; This grief, longing, mourning…for my child,this is what I live now inside, I accept it fully. I don’t expect it to change, not as long as I live on this earth without my child. I walk straight into the storm of grief everyday. Some days, are softer than others. I am living day to day, trying my very best. I am grateful for any support and love I receive. Not many people will talk to me about my son or his death. I accept that now too. Some will never be able to comfort me or console me. I gravitate and seek out healers, survivors, other mommies that lost a child, anyone who can guide me on my path to healing. I am lucky to have found a few amazing women in my life. I truly believe, because of them, I have been able to continue breathing for 6 months. Thank you all. Each one of you is unique, special, appreciated, valued and validated. I am truly blessed to have a Mother in law who is an angel on earth. She is a true testimony of survival. She lost 2 of her 6 children. I have hope when I sit and talk with her. She comforts me and validates me and tries her best to help me accept and honor my son, her Grandson who she adores.
So memories, they come and go, but they remain forever inside us. Comforting to know, they never leave us…leelee Moments are just like that too. We embrace what we see. We let go alittle bit each day. I was never good at goodbyes. I get attached easily. I glanced one last time from the porch at the sparkling, pristine view of the lake and thanked her for her natural beauty, for all the happy moments, for the clear fresh water, for providing a place we all gathered together, family, friends, children, animals, fire pit, fireworks, amusement park, we had it All! & many generations gathered together, 14 years of memories there. I thanked her for all the moments we healed together on this lake and even witnessed our beautiful niece marry there last fall. The sun setting behind her and her husband. A moment, etched in time, I will never forget how beautiful that day was. We shared so much there, the very best, and ironically, the very worst, but we all held each other up. We all showed up and celebrated LIFE. I am pretty sure that is how my son lived his life. Certainly on his own terms, doing his own thing and being silly, happy and crazy. He loved his family tremendously. I was so proud when he sauntered into a room. He always lit it up. He kissed everyone and smelled like a rose. He was special, beautiful, genuine. He was good. Of course, he was abit mischievious and was the goofball, silly, a bit daring, and very cherished by his family and cousins. I am pretty sure he demands that we all continue to celebrate, love and make more memories…and celebrate him some way too. Maybe, we can find another lake to reunite at? I continue to ask him to guide me. To show me tiny little signs that he is with us, guiding us and watching over us all. I continue to find Heart rocks everywhere I go, thank you. I stare at butterflies, dragonflies and hear the turtle doves coo and I think about you, always.
Cheers to the lake house and all the love and sunshine it gave to us all. It’s beauty etched into our minds and hearts forevermore.

Love & Light

~leelee

a tiny drop, our hope

This post, I thought long and hard about writing today. Honestly, the whirlwind of emotions, the chaotic and at times painful process I was involved in, was very stressful & difficult to navigate. I even questioned myself, my decision to pursue a petition in court to seek visitation of our estranged granddaughter. You see, along with the pain and trauma and anguish of losing our son Michael to addiction, I was also dealing with him losing custody of his baby girl. Without getting into major detail, due to his drug use, the court had ruled for the mother to have full custody. Sadly, tragically, he never would gain that back. She, the mother of his child, fled and severed all contact with our family. I often described it as another loss. We bonded and drooled over this perfect tiny girl for 2 months in our home. In a blink, she was gone. She nor the mother, ever returned. I was forced to pursue the battle in court. Ironically, I filed a petition the day before my son overdosed. I was ordered to appear just a couple of weeks after that. I honestly, do not know how I mustered the courage or strength, perhaps LOVE does conquer all.
It was not easy. None of it ever is. The mother did not want us to bother her, to become part of this baby’s life. She has her reasons, I am sure, but, so do we. One day, I was leaving court. She would not speak or acknowledge me. She didn’t even offer her condolences. I left heartbroken and I was in deep grief. I drove out of the parking lot and looked up to the skies and at that moment, perhaps a leelee moment, I felt a shift inside my heart. I vowed to my son. I will do what you so badly wanted, but could not conquer here. I will find a way to your baby. I will teach her, love her and tell her all about her Daddy who loved her. No matter what it takes, that is what I would focus on. She would know you existed. She would learn how much you loved her, held her and was in awe of her. I never looked back after that. I just stood strong and proud and kept showing up.
Five months later, we are due to start a trial for visitation. Simply due to the fact that she would not budge, speak, or negotiate. I obtained a lawyer and was ready to plead my case. I showed up with my Army of strong, loving women. My sister, sister in law and daughter. We were determined. I was told to remain calm, keep my composure and call in my angels and spirit guides. After all, I wasn’t running the show! I wasn’t the one making the decision. God already had his plan. I just had to have faith in him. I tried my best to believe.
There was some drama, some accusations, my lawyer even told me at one point she had fled, left the courthouse? My nerves, adrenaline…well, you can imagine. I feared the worst. I mostly feared for my Granddaughter. It turns out, she didn’t “flee”, she was clean and finally her lawyer negotiated a starting point for visitation. She decided to allow me and my husband to see the child. A couple of hours, at a park, beginning on Father’s Day, no less. I stood there in shock. We did not have to sit and give testimony. We did not have to rip each other apart. We did not have to suffer and relive the nightmare of losing my Son and his baby? I had to pinch myself a few times. Life is not easy. In fact, it has been a whirlwind of disappointment and loss. This baby is our little drop of hope. This child is a part of my beloved, beautiful child. Perhaps, this is the start of something beautiful and rewarding. I vow to remain civil and focus on the truth here. We only wish to love, to spoil, to enjoy this child. She is the most precious gift we could have of my son. I realize, she is left here without her Father. I plan on loving her as much as she allows me too. I can only hope he is watching us, every step of the way. I pray he continues to guide me, as I have asked him each day. God, I miss him here, beyond what words can express. I am grateful today for enduring this battle. Only good came come of it now.

Love & Light~
Hope Remains….<3 in honor of my son Michael Anthony.

love you to the moon & back

Mamabear <3 xxx

living without you here

Good Morning:

First and foremost, I survived the dreaded, highly anticipated, first Mother’s day without you here. You gave me your sign the day before, a tiny set of angel wings I had lost while gardening last year. They just appeared in the corner of the yard while I was planting bulbs for you. So, maybe, my meditations, maybe, those little signs of you around us will keep me breathing and moving. You see, my Mikey, I try so very hard to stay present, to be in the moment, and not break down and surrender. I will admit, I bolted upright yesterday, a huge sob, choking me in my sleep. Perhaps, I dreamed of you…perhaps, the reality slaps me hard and I am forced to accept you gone from here. Somehow, I sucked it up, or pushed it down…and I got up and went into a hot shower. I knew your sister was coming to take me away for the day. She planned an extra special High Tea and lunch, followed by a hike in the beautiful woods of Avalon Park in Stonybrook. She insisted we go to the vineyard up the hill and have a glass of wine. I don’t say it often enough, that kid saves me, over and over again. She just knows, she feels and reads my heart, not many people take the time to do that. Honestly, my daughter, God bless her strength and her compassion and her love for me. Her wisdom is beyond her years. Perhaps, she inherited our female,family intuition. Perhaps, I’ve done a good job raising a beautiful, caring woman. She gently carries me through my grief and my heartache, filling our days with laughter and beautiful gifts and long walks. We kid each other about that hashtag – #Blessed, but, I know, without a doubt it’s true. I knew from the second I found out I was having her, I would be truly #blessed. So, she whisked me away from my private hell. The tea house was like a fairytale. It was something I would dream about, and there we were. Enjoying the “moment”. I glanced around this quaint restaurant and saw beautiful women, strong women, with their Mom’s, friends, sisters. I thanked her 100 times, it was THAT special. The sun was shining and we laughed how the weather forecasters predicted a horrible rainy weekend. She fed her ducks and geese and birds and talked to all of them, telling them, they were her friends. She loves nature, just like me. She and I hiked up the trails and chatted about her new love, her plans, and oddly, with her by my side, I feel the stress and anxiety subside. The heartache is there…but with her next to me, I can still smile and giggle and joke. She is showing me, teaching me, helping me to go on, to heal, to accept. I am very proud when I look at her beautiful sparkling blue eyes, that she also is grieving, and accepting, and trying to build and adjust to our new life. we just do it one day at a time.
We visited the Vineyard, and enjoyed a glass of wine, and took a walk to the harbor. Snapping pics, and drinking in the beautiful sunshine. It was magical, it was soothing and peaceful. She is all of those things to me. I’m fascinated by the fact that as we spent this near perfect day together. We both stopped and offered to take family photos of people we met along the way. I stared at their beautiful children. I stared at the beautiful couples and told them what a beautiful family they had. We were glad to capture a moment for all of them. Yes, I privately grieved mine..but I kept reminding myself, I had 31 years of Mother’s day with Michael…never, will they be enough, but, I had them and we were never apart. Secretly, I will wish for 31 more, but, I also stare at the two Hydrangea plants he gave me and think about my beautiful son. I can still hear him ask me. Mama Bear! What do you want for Mother’s day??..and I would say..flowers, plants! But! Don’t spend a lot of money. My Mikey, he bought me many flowers, many Mother’s day gifts and cards, his heart and love is such a beautiful part of him. I missed him every second, as I do everyday…and I suppose I will for the rest of my days. I went to church in the morning, trying to pray and find my peace. I sat in the pew and heard the pastor recite the people we pray for. On that list again, was Anna Lisa…..soon, we will find out if they are answered.

Love & Light to all the Mommies in the world

Love,
leelee