09 January, 2015

09 January 2015

My dog’s name is Honey, and let me tell you what… she is a honey.  Seriously a good dog.  Exactly one year ago today I took Honey to the Vet in Red Lake Falls for her annual Rabies vaccination,  in order to keep her inoculated I had to take her in again before one year was up.  
Today, January 9, 2015 I got on the road to RLF with Ruby Catherine and Honey in the back seat.  It didn’t hit me until we were all loaded in the car. The January sun was shining brightly and reflecting off the bright white snow just like it was one year ago today.
Was it the brightness blinding me or the tears welling up in my eyes?  The absence of my little girl is a pain that I can’t find words to describe. 
I re-lived every detail of the experience we had one year ago today.  I never would have guessed that Lizzy had just a few months left to live.  She was dancing in her car seat, she knew how to move.  We listened to one of her favorite songs Honey, Honey, by Abba from the Mama Mia sound track.  The girls loved that Honey (the dog) was in the car with us as we sang “her song”.

I miss you baby girl.  Mama loves you.

Ruby Catherine asked Santa Clause to bring her 3 things.  A baby, diapers, and wipes.  On Christmas morning she promptly let us know that her new baby doll is named Madison Elizabeth just like her baby sister.  She takes her doll EVERYWHERE, feeds her, reads her stories and changes her diapers.
As I walked into the veterinarian clinic, Honey, Ruby Catherine, and dolly Elizabeth were all with me.

06 January, 2015

A Simple ring- and Peace Profound

In April 2013, I lost my wedding ring.  It had been my grandmothers wedding ring- and she passed it to Eric, my husband, just before we were engaged.  There were many repairs and a 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 helping her wash dishes as a young girl.  The warm soapy water, seeing the silvery sparkle of her ring and listening as she 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 and get it, have it  fixed up for me- all with out me knowing.  What a symbol of love.

About a month before I lost my treasured ring I was preparing for a 12 day river trip down the Colorado 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 still see the powerful visual image from this poignant dream.  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 Colorado.

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 family, Bret, Brandon & Hanna on the river.  On my way back 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 the new words.

This holiday season has been a challenge, painful, yet peaceful.  Christmas morning I just wanted to hold little Elizabeth on my lap 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. I like to send Eric on quests all over the house for his birthday/Fathers's Day/Christmas gifts.  I guess it is my turn for an adventure running around the house with Eric and kids on the trail behind me.

Clue #1 read: On this Christmas quest be sure to do your best.  This gift is sure to bring a cascade of memories.

Cascade- water falling- I ran to the shower and found the next clue.

 #2 On your journey to find this gift you won't need hiking boots, but you did at one point.  I ran to my hiking boots and found the next clue.

#3 This gift is given on bended knee, much like Vajrasana (a yoga pose).    My yoga mat!

#4 By accepting this gift you acknowledge I made the cut (I ran to the kitchen knives drawer)-

#5 Up north on the tundra, that was not quite frozen yet, we made the pact in an edifice adorned with Forget-Me-Nots. (I ran to Eric's watercolor painting of the Anchorage, AK Temple where we were married, his wedding gift to me).

#6 With the vows, gifts were given, these bowls would not be enough to fill our love. The Alaskan wood bowls from Andy!  And inside the bowls was a little ring 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.  I think I was as excited to see it as I was that evening back in 2001 at Bridal Veil Falls when Eric proposed.  

Things are  a lot different now.  A lot.  But I still love Eric and enjoy 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.

My Christmas gift to Lizzy is the gift of kindness & compassion.  To be given through kind acts, service, compassionate caring toward people.

But I need help.  I need help giving kindness, service, 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.  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.


Enrique Nacho Tigre Fernandez Castillo de Jesus

I love this cat.  So much.   He is our family therapist, our entertainment, and my mid-life motherhood fulfillment.  And he is naughty... ...