Friday, July 29, 2016


Football. ALS. A video diary to a son. Life, death, faith, fear, anger, sadness, distance, humor.

I was not expecting all that when I went to see Gleason

It's raw. Maybe the most raw film I've seen. The most real, true, heartwrenching documentation of a family going through hell and loving each other. The best example of the pain and love that goes into being a caretaker. 

It's not really about football. And it's not really about ALS. It's about a couple, and their son, and their family and friends, living life and looking to the future in the midst of a terminal illness. Its honesty is breathtaking. Its reality is painful. It all sounds so cliche in words, but it's just the opposite. It's the most vulnerable thing I've ever watched, and maybe the most beautiful.

Watch it. Bring tissues. Enter in to the intimate moments. Be a part of this unfinished story. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Does it ever?

Does it ever get easier?

Too many nights this month I've been up late crying, bawling, yelling in a whisper. Too many nights I've ached with missing you, knowing that you're still not here, and you're not coming back, and I don't have my mommy.

I thought, this far out, it would be easier. And it probably is - the daytime at least. But nights, when I slow down, when everything else stops there's still this ache.

I want it to stop, because it hurts so much. Monthly 17ths, and year anniversaries. Anticipatory grief of coming milestones. Memories of our last family vacation before everything changed. But I don't want it to stop, because I don't ever want to forget. I don't ever want to stop missing you.

I'm lucky, I think - you led me to a profession filled with people who care, and people who have been touched by grief. In my classes I'm not alone - so many of classmates know grief, and were led to nursing by their grief. I can share my story, and it's understood. I can cry and 34 caring people will be at my side in an instant.

I'm lucky, too, because I know that sometimes nursing isn't saving a life - sometimes nursing is about a good death. Living and dying with dignity and grace - that's what I want my work to be about.

But it's still hard. It still hurts like hell. It's still brings back painful memories to learn about brain cancer, feeding tubes, the physiological signs of death. How can I be hurting so much while caring for others in pain?

I don't know how to do this.

I miss you so much.

Does it ever get easier?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pain of new life

Mom, I have my orientation for nursing school tomorrow morning. The first real day of this new career, and you're not here. 

It's all because of you, you know. Your time in the hospital, in rehab, in the ER, in hospice. All those nurses who cared for you. Seeing them, seeing you - that's why I'm doing this. That's what led me here. 

I wouldn't be here without you, without your illness, without your stroke. But now you're not here to see it. That seems cruel. You are such a part of me, such a part of this. It hurts to carry that, to see this new hope and new life for myself out of all of my pain, my grief, my loss. 

But that's how it's supposed to be, I guess. The light in the darkness, the life out of death. The resurrection made real, made tangible. Somehow the scripture never captured the pain of it all, even in the glow of new life. 

I miss you, Mom. I've missed you more these past few months than I remembered I could. So many good things, so many new starts. Why can't you be here, with me in them? Why do you have to be so far away?

Friday, March 4, 2016


Mom, I saw a gecko today.
My husband and I are on our honeymoon in Kauai, and today we saw a gecko, just hanging out by a trash can. It was bright green, and almost too colorful to be real.

I have this distinct memory of my mom, after she came back from a trip to Hawaii to visit her best friend who lived there, when I was about 11 or so. She told me that she saw so many geckos, all over the place. 

Mom, Vinod watched Bunheads with me today, and he really liked it! Especially the dance we watched, in episode 2 - the one to honor Hubbell, set to "Picture in a Frame" by Tom Waits. 

When Vinod and I were first talking about Bunheads he asked me how many times I had watched it through. I didn't remember until later that when this show was first out I watched each episode once myself, and then watched it again with my mom, streaming episode after episode from ABC Family's website using this ridiculously long HDMI cable attached to my dad's TV. 

I loved watching Bunheads with you, Mom. How did I forget about that when I was telling Vinod about it? It was beautiful to share this show about amazing women, filled with beautiful dancing like you liked. 
I miss you, Mom. Even here in paradise, even here on my honeymoon. Things still remind me of you, and missing you still keeps me up at night sometimes. I think I'm glad that the memories still come, but they come so unexpectedly now that I don't always know what to do with them. 
It's beautiful here, Mom. I think you would really like it. I wish I could bring back pictures and macadamia nuts for you. You'd even like the roosters that roam around the island. 
I love you. I miss you. I wish we could share this with you.