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happy new year!

Monday, January 5, 2015

IMG_3772

i brought in 2015 with sake bombs and kisses and some of my very favorite people, and the sun was shining on new year’s day. christmas was really pretty great–abundant and for the most part relaxing. my son turned two. i cried a lot but it felt better than being numb to miss lucy, to be sad and angry, to release. i’m starting to get glimpses of just how closely i’ll carry her my whole life, starting to feel this permanent warm dwelling for her in my heart where the numb has been. i’ve said before that it’s like being pregnant with sadness and love, aware even when unaware. maybe i am also starting to get used to the feeling of being a stranger: half of my heart searching out the mystery of eternity, half of my heart here on this weird planet that floats in the stars, fully here and wanting to take all i can from the time i have. i think i’ll eventually feel more sure of the things unseen, a stronger and more peaceful cohesion, but i have work to do and time to wait before i’m to that place. (can i mention here that grief is so filled with paradox? for everything i write, i feel this “wait, but”–and an opposite emotion arises. every day is different and i am randomly blindsided, i go back and forth between the stages so fluidly…i think that’s why i haven’t blogged much.)

 i wanted to write a few words about where i am and a few things i’m looking forward to, in no particular order and in varying degrees of importance. so here goes, 2015–this year i’m excited to invest in tobin’s mind and creativity, excited that he’s ready for even more structure and stimulation. i’m excited about la parfait jars in the pantry full of healthy food; i’m excited about replacing towels and saving up for enough new flatware to feed an army, about making our guest bedroom cozier and bringing people in as i feel ready. (hosting has been hard. having to be “on”. fighting anxiety. i have struggled, but i’ve also felt a rush of love to be generous and full of hospitality and i know i’m on the road to having an open and welcoming home, that this is one way what happened has changed me for the better.) i’m excited about cow hides and some new plant friends for our room. i’m excited about yoga. i’m excited about my business, growing both professionally and in leadership. i am excited to reach for higher things in my spirit, my mind, things beyond what i was raised to take for granted. i am excited to have adventures and TRAVEL, finally!

i find myself taking on new challenges slowly. even planning a dinner date is hard at times, much less a business venture. i’m afraid because action brings expectations and responsibilities that i might be too weak for–i am often feeling like i’m letting someone or myself down as it is. but i can do my best, give myself grace, and be thankful that there are things i still feel interested in enough to take that risk. one step at a time. i find myself ready to leave dishonesty behind. i have learned that honesty is aggressive; i used to see it as merely passive, just the absence of lies–but it actually takes an incredible amount of presence and energy. i’m finding myself equal parts appreciative, and skeptical of internet friendships and audience. i feel drawn to blog more in 2015 because i have benefitted from others who share, but that’s about all i’m sure i’ll go forward with at this point. my grief isn’t validated by the attention it receives or doesn’t receive.

so. HOME. HONESTY. HEALING. HAVING ADVENTURE. HUSTLIN (white mercedes in 2015?!?) i will raise a moscow mule to the letter “H” it appears. hope you all had a beautiful christmas and new year; thank you for coming along with me.

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29

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

29

walking through a place where i feel like i have very little to give, and yet i still want to be the best mommy to T, kind and compassionate to J, caring and present in my friendships, an energy-giving employee, etc.

walking the balance between these duties and desires, and the reality of grief: holding it together for a time and then, like a muscle cramp, tensing up into this excruciating mass for hours or days or weeks where i can’t be what i want to be.

like it or not, 29 finds me on a dark, wild road, nonetheless lit with sure sparks of hope and beauty. i was given a gift (someone so uniquely lovely, special and joyful) and i will honor her and let her life change me. this year will be messy, it will soothe, and then i’ll go on until it gets messy again.

here’s a playlist in honor on my 29th for when you’re in the car feeling free, or in the bath with candles…

listen on spotify

my silver lining – first aid kit

let ‘em say – lizzo

you got it on – justin timberlake

girl in the war – josh ritter

glamourous – fergie

snow queen – she & him

i – kendrick lamar

everything is everything – lauryn hill

warm foothills – alt-j

party – beyonce

from eden – hozier

firework – katy perry

fall back down – LIGHTS

stay alive – jose gonzalez

goddess – banks

the story – brandi carlile

beautiful dawn – the wailing’ jennys

wish the wind would blow me – bob schneider

diamonds – rihanna

JOY – ellie goulding

the heart of life – john mayer

7

Happy Birthday Lucy Garland

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

nika

there’s a fair amount of awkwardness in grief. learning what you want to share, whom you want to share it with–i’ve fumbled, i’ve regretted being vulnerable; i’ve wanted to close up. i fill journal pages and i wonder if i’ll ever want to read them again, splattered with tears and sloppy angry words. i fear being known as the girl who lost her baby. and yet, i want to tell my story–i want to scream it. THIS is what it’s like–this is a taste of what the past 9 1/2 months has forced me to know; this is a taste of what the week before my dead daughter’s third birthday is like and how i am coping.

in november i had to choose whether to embalm by baby, or cremate her. do you know what that really means, what those processes actually entail? do you know what it’s like to know your toddler is over two hours away from you, getting an autopsy? to think it was hard for me to watch her get a shot when i took her to get her 2-year well check.

i had been to like three funerals for older individuals before last november, so i had no idea how it all worked. that there was a cement vault the casket rests inside underground, safe and enclosed. hence i had to ask my therapist, almost embarrassed with horror, “can snakes get into lucy’s casket? can bugs? how long will her body stay preserved before she starts to…” and i couldn’t say the word.

i had to choose a monument by myself because jonny couldn’t bear it, and i could no longer bear lucy not having any kind of memorial over her plot. i felt like i was neglecting her. my best friend laura stood by my side and we wept together, by the tiny temporary marker with lucy’s name. we walked the cemetery, measuring and looking at different shapes/fonts/designs. and so the week i should have been designing a third birthday party invition (last week), i was designing the very opposite.

and then, this weather. this summer to fall transition i wrote about in lucy’s birth story. overdue weather. waiting weather. i look at pictures of myself pregnant with her and wonder–if we knew the future, how could we bear it? i think of myself taking fish oils, stacking tiny cloth diapers, washing organic onsies, immersing myself in peaceful birthing books. i think of wanting so badly for her to come OUT into the world, so that i could hold her and know she was safe; now, i want her back inside my womb. sharing blood, feeling her flip and hiccup, protected from germs and all the imperfections life throws at us as soon as we’re home from the hospital. (or sooner for many of us, however i personally loved every second of the hospital. the fuzzy blankies and baby hats, the skin-to-skin, the room full of flowers and balloons, the flood of beloved faces coming in between my naps with honest abe’s and homemade granola bars and juice stop smoothies. her birth day and the days following were the best days of my life.)

this weather reminds me of lucy’s two trips to the pumpkin patch, of the halloween party we threw for friends and she wore her favorite penguin jammies the whole time, of her beloved $1 trick-or-treat basket full of “tandy”. the pink chuck taylors under the tulle of her mermaid costume.

it’s weather towards a dark tunnel, already a respiratory virus going viral (ha) on my news feed. months of cold and dark. november 22 rolling around again.

after a pretty charmed life i had all my teeth knocked out by death’s blow. i’ve learned that i am strong, but also that i am weak: i can be numb and distracted which is miserable in its own way. or i am an agony spiraling and spiraling, not able to rest or rally…exhausted, ragged, crazy, pushing everyone i love away.

AND SO.

i needed something more to get me through this month. before this time, i haven’t been ready to administrate anything in lucy’s honor, but honestly i found myself so desperate to know we aren’t alone and that she hasn’t been forgotten. desperate to honor her with something nurturing and happy, something reminicent of her spark and her fun and her LIFE. and so this whole idea, Happy Birthday Lucy Garland, was born.

a few years ago i met a girl named kori rider on a trip to california. she was tiny, blonde, and freckled, with the cutest constant smile and dimples. she’s a crazy runner/surfer/go-getter; she teaches spanish in santa barbara; i liked her instantly and never forgot her bright energy. we have been facebook friends, then not long ago she joined instagram under the name @nikacollective which i vaguely remembered was the charity she had started. as the wheels in my mind had started spinning for lucy’s upcoming birthday, i decided to check it out. i scrolled through kori’s feed and then looked at the nika collective website. i had to act fast if i wanted to pull something off, and i knew in my heart this was it–i didn’t want to connect to a huge charity and feel like a face without a name, i trusted kori, and nika had a fresh, fun vibe, bright like lucy’s. i knew that helping kori’s charity would allow me to nurture children who exist in real life, with dirty feet and tummies that get hungry, who sleep at night in their own little beds: children like my children, except in conditions i would never accept, because of poverty. (add poverty to the list of things i hate. a wretched ripple effect of brokenness.) and so i am asking all of my friends, and my friends’ friends, and really anyone touched by lucy’s life, to join me in supporting nika collective in lucy’s honor.

nika works with a community called nueva vida, in ciudad sandino (a district of managua.) many of the homes there do not have windows or doors. mothers not only face limited economic opportunities, but they also have no safe place to leave their children even IF work was available. if you haven’t had a chance to check out nika’s website, here is a copy of what they’re about:

The word Nika is short for Nicaragua.  Being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, it is all too easy to allow ourselves to imagine a people and landscape void of hope and full of sorrow, which is far from the case.  It is a country rich with deep smiles, joy and laughter.  We have fallen in love with its people, communities, faith and sincere way of life.  We have not fallen in love with the extreme levels of poverty and need, nor the incredibly high rate of neglected and abandoned children.  In Greek the word Nika means to conquer or to be victorious. We are a collective that is passionate about combating child abandonment and neglect by working with women in Nicaragua to conquer the inequities of poverty and emerge victorious.  By employing women to create Nika Products, from hair ties to bikinis, we create new income streams so that they can feed their children, while also using the proceeds from your purchases to: 1) Give micro-loans to start businesses through our news Micro-Finance Program; and 2) To help children holistically through our children’s programs (We hope to start Nutrition and Daycare Programs as funding allows, through our Casa Nika program.)

100% of the proceeds donated for the Happy Birthday Lucy Garland event will be utilized towards developing casa nika. a space for this purpose been purchased, but there is still so much work to be done before it can become a daycare for children whose mamas need to work, a refuge for orphans (they’re working with the group Mi Familia to become a government-certified safe place), and an environment where children can be nourished with healthy food and love.

if we could raise $100,000 between donations and trucker hat sales, lucy’s name would be put on the door of casa nika. her favorite things would be incorporated into the design (think yellow walls, etc!) in addition to letting yellow balloons go/giving them away/using them in some way to spread joy THIS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 (or planting a yellow flower if that’s more your style!) will you help me make this happen? anything we can do will help nika and i am so excited to see how people are moved to give in lucy’s honor. remember to share your balloon/flower photo on facebook/twitter/instagram and hashtag it #lucygarland #vivetusueno so i can see each one, and so that we can raise awareness for this amazing non-profit.

instead of being lost in darkness this week, i have had the sweetest bright graphic of a yellow balloon in my mind. there is life in this. there is joy. i don’t speak trite words about heaven because it’s everything to me: if it’s real, she is there! she is very much alive and aware and knows what we’re doing out of love for her. i think she sees the beauty she’s immersed in reflected in our fight against brokenness, in our desire to do something GOOD for the women and children of nicarauga. hopefully soon she’ll see her mama meeting all the nicaraguan children in person, who were blessed because of her short time on this earth.

thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me fight the dark. thank you for reading my thoughts even when they’re hard for me to share, hard for you to read. thank you for celebrating lucy all across the USA.

happy birthday sweet baby. you love, you bright light, who said “i a blessing” the week before you died because we KNEW it and made sure you did too. so indescribably special. my soul prays that to you, if you can hear, or asks God to tell you for me.

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yellow trucker hats can be purchased HERE.

tax deductible gifts in the form of a check can be written to:

 Pontis, Inc with Nika Collective noted on the check. (The people at Pontis are super loving, honest, good hearted people that serve selflessly in Nicaragua.) Checks can be mailed to PO Box 905 Summerland, CA 93067.
 
if you don’t care about your donation being tax deductible, you can click on the donate button HERE and the gift will go straight into nika’s account. kori is currently working with their fiscal sponsor to see if they can put a tax deductible option on their website!