Sunday, January 6, 2013


A year ago today we visited the doctor and got the news that my mom had another year or year and a half with us. That day a year ago truly felt like an epiphany – suddenly realizing that I had more time with my mom. And this year has truly been a beautiful year, as I’ve spent time, so many sacred moments, with my family.

But this New Year, this Epiphany, feels a little less joyous, a little less promising. Instead of new beginnings, I’m anticipating endings. Most likely my mom will die this year, and that makes this year feel really heavy – I can’t even begin to fathom what that will be like.

Maybe that’s why I need this day of Epiphany more than ever – this day that commemorates Jesus being revealed to the Magi, the non-Jewish visitors from the east. This day that reminds me who Jesus really is – that Jesus came, that Jesus lived, and that Jesus replaced death with life.

This year I need to be reminded that life overcame death, that light overcame darkness. That life continues to overcome death, and light keeps overcoming darkness. That is my promise for this year, on this day of Epiphany. That’s the small flicker of hope that keeps me going when everything else is dark.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Tonight I had a nervous breakdown about my car radio. Or really about that iPod radio transmitter thingy that’s supposed to broadcast music from my iPod to radio stations that are normally all static.

I got this transmitter thingy for Christmas, and I was super excited about it. Finally, I could listen to all of my music at the touch of a button! Finally I wouldn’t have to burn a new CD every time I bought a new EP on iTunes! Finally my drive time would be awesome!

Right after Christmas I went to St. Louis for a week, to help direct a conference, so I never got to try out my transmitter thingy. In fact, I pretty much forgot about it – I was sucked into this conference. I had a whole week of meeting new people, listening to different speakers, connecting with old friends and keeping my part of things running. It was long hours and full days, so everything else was forgotten.

And then I come back, sleep deprived but pumped. And after spending a day with my family, I drive back to Oakland, excited to test out this transmitter thingy. Music! A pleasant drive home! What a treat after a long week of nonstop work.

But it doesn’t go as planned. The transmitter thingy creates a lot of static. I try every station I can and my beautiful music is interrupted by such grating noises that I can’t stand it. I scream and cry and curse this transmitter thingy, angry at the Amazon reviews I read and at the radio for being so damn static-y. All I want to do is listen to my Sara Bareilles without this irritating static drowning her out.

I pretty much throw a temper tantrum. I feel like such a child. What am I doing? Why is this such a big deal to me?

But it’s not really about the transmitter thingy. It’s not really about the interrupting static. It’s about the fact that I’m back to where I was before this conference – driving back and forth to my parent’s house, at least once a week. Back to spending at least an hour and a half round trip (if there’s no traffic) every week so I can spend time with my mom. Back to living in two cities, trying to be settled in both places.

But it’s not really about that, either. What it really is that while I was at the conference, it was easy to forget that my mom is dying. It was easy to pretend I lead a “normal” life, living in one city (instead of two), working one job (instead of two), with two healthy parents. I was so wrapped up in my job, and the flurry of people and the mountains of moving pieces that my mom’s stroke and cancer was hidden away in the back of my mind.

But now it’s back, front and center, and I can’t hide from it anymore. I’m back being a caregiver for my family – back to taking my mom to the bathroom, back to trying to wash the dishes before my dad gets to them so he’s in less pain. Back to waiting and wondering when the next shoe is going to drop, when the next MRI is going to come back showing new cancer growth.

So yah, I threw a temper tantrum. And I’ll probably throw a few more. I’ll cry and scream and want to punch something, because this is still so hard. But in the meantime maybe I’ll spend a little extra money to get a better music set up in my car, just to make things a little easier.