03 May, 2018

Come what May...

03 May 2014

The light was pouring in
Angels by my side
Stillness in the air.

I gazed down on her peaceful sleep.
for what seemed like a long time
taking in her peace, her beauty, the sun, the moment.

the stillness became…
Well,   too much
No movement at all.
Where is her breath? I thought to myself
 as I watched her ribs for movement

Reaching down to stroke her back,
Making contact,
Instantly, I knew.
I felt it in the rigidness of her flesh.
Cold, wooden.

Death had visited

My baby no longer connected to her body.

The month of May, in the great white north, is full of new life, green, and hope.  At least for most people.
This May marks 4 years since my little girl died.  I keep thinking it is going to get easier.  Death. The cessation of living. Grief. And living through it moment by moment by moment.  My tears are cleansing.  I feel better after a good cry.  Writing poetry is therapeutic.  With that said losing a child is not for the weak of heart.  The pain is deep, and often raw.

As I travel though my moments and travel through grief I see different stages come and go.  I just continue.  This week I have been in a deep sadness-  and I am trying to explore it with curiosity and without judgement.

10 April, 2018

The Many Faces of Play #primalplay

Is there such thing as too much fun?
It's no secret that I love learning and developing primal living skills... so why not primal play?  Darryl Edwards is an amazing instructor and an amazing human.  - Thanks for a fantastic work out
Photo credits:  Eric Castle 
Hop like a bunny
Leap like a frog
Crawl like a bear
Bark like a dog

Simply feel happy
Enjoying primal fun
The hours fly by
And my workouts all done.

23 March, 2018

Meet ...Meetah

Tigre (my perfect, amazing and beautiful cat), Meetah our new addition.  Meetah is a rescue dog from a puppy mill in Wisconsin.  I literally picked her up out of her lifelong cage and took her home.  And she hasn't left my side.  That was a month ago. 
 It would be an understatement to say that she loves me. 
She follows me everywhere and cries if I am not in her sight.  Tigre loves her too.  He likes to cuddle.  She prefers me.  Always. 
 My family at nauseam, roll their eyes at her loving loyalty to me. 

PS  See all my silver hair?  Isn't it beautiful?  I have earned every d@m^ one of them.

07 February, 2018

Another Brilliant Soul.... Will be sorely missed.

My eyes were dim, my vision dimmer, 

My spirit one insolvent glimmer 
Unaware of whence it came, 
Confused by they that stole its name. .

Reason rampant eats it tail 
To leave no lesson in its trail 
By grace I saw one third could be 
All of one infinity. .

From perfect joy there need not be 
Wisdom or even memory. 
One thing then learnt remains to me 
Three spirits carve one soul of three.
. -Haitham Al-Twarijri

I miss you friend.  I loved the poetry you sent.  You are a beautiful soul.  Know that you are loved.  Go toward the light.  

10 January, 2018

My Loyal Friend

What is this thing we call death?
Our soul departing-  but where does it go?
And how do we get answers?
You were here… and now you are gone.
I know where your body went-  but where is your soul?
And did I end your life too soon?
Did I selfishly take something from you that was not mine to take? 
So many tears.

Honey, I love you.  I am sorry  I didn’t appreciate you enough in your early years.  You were always so loyal and loving.  You were a good dog.  You are missed.  

It was frustrating to me that you ran around town… but I realize now that you just needed to get your needs met- and running was one of them.   I bailed you out of doggie jail so many times that all the officers knew me... and YOU. 

You were with me through a decade of love, loss, happiness and pain.  Perhaps the most difficult decade of my life.  Even when I was difficult you were willing to love me.  You just wanted to be loved and accepted. 

I fear that I didn’t give you all the love that you deserved.  The truth is that I am really a cat person-  and you, a dog, were … well not a cat.  However, I do love you.  I feel bonded to you.  I am sorry if I was not always a great friend to you.  I love you.  I miss you.  Thank you for your never ending love. 

I hope for you … eyes that can see, legs and hips that will allow you to run fast and furiously like you did when you were young.  No more cancer, only light, love and peace.  I wish for you fields and mountain trails.  With lots of bunnies (who always get away because you don’t quite know what to do when you actually catch one).  I wish for you humans who will endlessly pet and massage you.  You loved that so much.  I don’t think I was adequate in that area. 

I do hope we can be together again.  Oh how I LOVED hiking with you.  May you be at peace my loyal friend.  I love you.  I love you.

Love, Heidi

18 December, 2017

Hope Floats

There are so many parts to grief.  Although I believe Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages is accurate and helpful-  when one looks at just the stages they are  a simplification of the process as a whole.  I have been through each stage-  some visit and revisit.

It can take a long time to sort it all out.
It is hard to believe it has been 3 years since my baby died.   She would be in Kindergarten this year. 
And as much as I long to see her bright eyes and hug her, I can not.
Today I am struck by a photo I took on her last Christmas.  Two little girls in their Christmas dresses.  Oh how I loved dressing my girls up. 
Today I am missing seeing my children together- playing, being silly,  running around being kids.  I often wonder what life would be like if she were still with us-  Today I am thinking specifically about how RubyCatherine and Elias’s life might be different?   And again I am reminded (by myself) to breathe. Love. Be mindful.  Live this moment... pain and all.    Joy will follow.

I wrote this tonight... I write the same poem over and over and over.  I just use different words. :)

sinking in pain.
I must pass through this shadow to gain…

To gain peace
To gain light
All my love uncovering
I brave the dark times
To expose my soul to the suffering

Experiencing All there is
I gain depth and compassion
A cup full of heartache was only part my ration

For, before I could suffer
A pain of this weight
I had to know,
Something {that} great.

My heart is full
And I love to its depth
This means a deep and wide breadth

I have my memories
I honor my bestowment
I don’t need much more…

For, I have THIS moment.

01 December, 2017

Share Kindness and Compassion this Season


n April 2013, I lost my wedding ring. It had been my grandmothers wedding ring- and she passed it to my husband Eric just before we were engaged. There were many repairs and new stones needed. Eric had the ring fixed up and sparkling like new when he proposed at Bridal Veil Falls in April 2001. 
To others my ring might not be something special, but to me it was magnificent. It symbolized very important people and meaning in my life. 
My grandmother, who I call SGA, Sweet Grandma Ardy. I remember seeing the silvery sparkle of her ring as we washed dishes. She always whistled as she worked. 
My husband, best friend, life partner. Eric Castle. I love that he cared enough to listen and know how special that ring was to me, that he took the time to drive to Idaho, get it and have it fixed up for me- all with out me knowing. A symbol of his love. 
About a month before I lost my treasured ring I was preparing for a 12 day raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I had a dream just before my trip. 
I dreamt I saw my ring slowly sinking in the green glacial waters of the Colorado. Bubbles, silt and icy green waters all around as it settled through the rough water. I can still see the powerful image in my mind. Yet, most significantly in this dream was the deep felt emotion. 
Interestingly enough, the emotion was an overwhelming peace. It was the feeling that everything is okay. Even if my treasured ring is gone, I have the most important part of the ring with me already, a kind loving partner with whom I can share life and beyond. For that I am so grateful. It gave me a chance to reflect on the symbolism of the ring. Love. Commitment. Those are two things that I still had- even if my ring was at the bottom of the river. 
But alas, it was just a dream. I still had the ring on my finger. The Grand Canyon trip went off with out a hitch- I loved spending time with my brothers on the river. On my way home to Minnesota I stayed with my parents in Idaho. My hands were very dry after nearly two weeks on the River. I took my ring off to put on lotion and walked away. I never saw the ring again. I had a theory that Ruby Catherine flushed it- because I turned the house upside down looking for it. It was gone. 
Of course I remembered the dream. And again I was at peace. It is not the heirloom jewelry that mattered. Its people, experiences, love, compassion that matter. I loaded up my two precious girls in the car, Elizabeth and Ruby Catherine and we drove back home across the country to Crookston, Minnesota. 
Much has happened in the space of the nearly 2 years in between then and now. Including the greatest loss of my life. My sweet Elizabeth passed away unexpectedly in her sleep just 3 weeks before her 2nd birthday in May 2014. Losing a child is something no parent should have to face. Pain profound. I miss her so much it hurts. I long to cuddle her little body and kiss her cheeks- I want to read her stories and teach her big vocabulary words and then proudly smile when she uses them. 
This holiday season has been a challenge, painful, yet peaceful. Christmas morning I just wanted to hold my Elizabeth as the magic unfolded under the Christmas tree. All season I have had the strong urge to give Lizzy a gift. In her short life she gave me so much. 
As the kids were playing with their new treasures I noticed a little note near the stockings, a clue, which led to a series of clues which lead me to a tiny box.
No! It couldn’t be. No, I thought. No. 
But it was! I opened the box to find my wedding ring. I slid it back on to my finger after nearly two years of its absence. 
Things are a lot different now. A lot. Yet, I still love Eric and am glad to be sharing my life with him. I have 3 beautiful children- one who is on the other side of the veil guiding me and bringing peace to my heart. 
So this year, my gift to Lizzy is the gift of kindness & compassion. To be given through acts of service and compassion. 
But I need help. I need help giving kindness, service, and compassion. I want it to spread and grow. So, I am asking friends, colleagues, neighbors, loved ones and strangers alike to help me. You. I am asking you! Help me spread Lizzy’s gift. Pay it forward. Lizzy’s most consequential gift to me is the profound peace she continues to bring to my heart. 
Let Lizzy’s Peace enter your heart. Please write to me about a kind act you did or someone did for you. Spread Lizzy’s Peace. 
I am a mother, a poet, a counselor, a teacher, a woman, an ordinary person striving to live in the moment. My youngest daughter, Elizabeth, brought a sweet peace to my heart from the moment I first laid eyes on her. In May 2014, just shy of her second birthday, my Lizzy died unexpectedly in her sleep. As difficult as the following months have been, Lizzy continues to bring me the peace that I need. Her spirit lives on. She is teaching me to live in the moment, to soak up the light when it shines. To brave the darkness allow the hurt to let my little light shine. She is teaching me to be more compassionate. To honor each moment I’m given. To bring out the best in myself and others. I believe all good things come from God. And Lizzy was certainly heaven sent. The purpose of this column is to spread Lizzy’s Peace, to take time to be present, compassionate and kind to bring out the best side of YOU. Please share your experience of spreading compassion and kindness or of your experience receiving kindness and compassion. Write to me at: thelambcastle@gmail.com

Come what May...

03 May 2014 The light was pouring in Angels by my side Stillness in the air. I gazed down on her peaceful sleep. for what see...