In sixth grade, I strode into your bedroom to find you situated on your bed with your Stephen King book in hand. Eyes almost closed, but not quite.



Scruffy flannel pajamas snuggled your body. Antique quilts swaddled the bed. Your glasses had slipped to the bottom of your nose, like always, and you hadn’t yet shoved them back up.



Soft white light whispered to the shadows in your corner of the room. I didn’t say anything. Didn’t have to. But I needed to be close to you. At your side. A daughter needs her mother.

So I slid into your bed. Opened my R.L. Stine book. Exhaled.

It would have been different had we known what was to come; cancer.



At that moment, we would’ve had conversations about life. About close family I never had the chance to meet. About what you were like as a child.

You’d show your candor, your true colors. But that knowledge, that experience, would’ve come at a cost.

No quiet.

No calm.

No comfort.

But we didn’t know. Not yet. Instead, only our steady sighs and the shooshing of turning pages swept against our ears. Everything else turned silent because it was our space, our time.



Had we known, we would have gained something. But we would have lost so much, only to watch the clock.

Photo by Umberto Del Piano on Unsplash

First Breath Without Her (YeahWrite Microstory #262)

FlowerShe closes her eyes, drawing breath deep into her lungs.

The aroma of fresh cut grass touches her nose, a reminder that life doesn’t end with death.

A solitary tear escapes her eyes as her cheeks tingle with warmth from the sun.

And She said to Follow my Dreams.

I can remember it like it was yesterday.  I was sitting with my mom in white plastic chairs on her front porch talking about life.  I was roughly 21, so my true sense of life had literally barely begun to show itself.  I was probably more  worried about getting to the bar to play some Golden Tee with my brand new boyfriend, Justin, than to sit there and fully grasp the conversation she was trying to have with me.

“Don’t do what I did, Danielle,” she said, shaking her head slowly.  She took a long hit off of her menthol light 100 before finishing.  She exhaled and a cloud of smoke drifted over the porch railing, blue paint chipping of from bad weather over the winter.  “Don’t wait until you’re forty to figure out what makes you happy.”

“But I am happy,” I said.  And I was, or at least I was a superficial version of happy.  One where my judgement was both blissfully ignorant of how cruel the world can be and also clouded from too many late nights at Club Sin where I danced my troubles away over loud music and Jager Bombs.

“I’m serious, Danielle.  Find what makes you happy and do it.  But don’t just do it; do it with your whole heart.”  I rolled my eyes at her for trying to be way too serious.

But my mom was such an intelligent woman who only ever wanted the very best for my sister and me.  And she was often ‘way too serious’ in her conversations, but she was also full of wisdom and life lessons.

This happened to be one of those lessons.

You see, my mom decided when she was in her forties that she wanted to be a nurse. Helping people had always been her passion and it took her forty long years to realize her dreams.


After she graduated, she worked in hospice and loved every moment of it.  I had never seen her happier.  She would go to work and come home with a smile on her face.  She was happy like that until the day she found out she had cancer, at which time she was no longer able to be around her sick patients.  Having to quit being a nurse made my mom incredibly sad.  Her dream had been crushed by cancer.

Last week, on the four year anniversary of her death, that conversation from her front porch crossed my mind and I literally had a come-to-Jesus moment.

We need to do what makes us happy, no matter what that is, because we have no idea what tomorrow holds.  If we hold off on our dreams they will only ever be just dreams.  And I don’t know about you, but I have big things in store for my dreams, so not going after them TODAY isn’t an option.

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Gizzie, the Dog

The first dog that I can ever remember having was Gizmo, a pomeranian-pekingnese mutt.  She was the biggest ball of fur I’d ever seen and looked just like a gremlin, which is how we came up with the name.

I remember my parents found her in a K-mart parking lot, or something to that effect.  They tried to find the owners, but never did, so we kept her as our own.

I was around the age of five when we got her, or at least that’s how I remember it anyway.  I loved that dog so much, but put her through the wringer, let me tell you.

I used to dress her up in doll clothes and push her around in my baby doll stroller.  My mom said it terrified the poor dog, but I swear she loved it.  She would just lay so still, enjoying the ride (haha!).

I also would play hide and seek with her, meaning I would hide the dog, then try to find her.  Only I was little and would often forget where I hid the small, fuzzy thing.  My mom would find her in the towel cabinet, behind furniture and in various closets on a daily basis.

However; I think my most favorite thing to do with tiny Gizzie was to tie her up with my pink and yellow jump rope and “invite” her to watch me dance.  She was a gracious audience member, never barking or whining through the whole performance.

All joking aside, Gizmo was a great companion.  She never growled at me for all of my shenanigans.  Instead she loved me unconditionally every single day of her life.  She taught the importance of having and loving animals.  I still think of my sweet little ball of fur all the time.

Grieving to Relieve the Grief, or Something like that…

via Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. Earl Grollman – USA — algaonline

Empty Bottle

The wine bottle is half empty,

But it still doesn’t let me

Forget the painful past.

My cup has stayed  full,

As my mind has been pulled

Back to the breath you took last.

So I poor another cup,

As I try to add up

The reasons God took you away.

I’ll keep on drinking,

Until I stop thinking

About that painful day.

My tears just keep falling,

And my life has been stalling.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on track.

But today it still pains me,

That your smile; I can’t see

I only want my mom back.

Rushing Along.

Today I found myself getting upset at my oldest daughter over the smallest things while shopping in Target.  She wanted to take some extra time to peruse the shiny, beaded headbands, but I rushed her along.  She asked to look in the dollar section and I only let her quickly scan the aisles.  I kept thinking how much I needed to hurry.  I needed to get what I needed and get outta there.  But why?

Every skip, giggle and distraction was making my temper run hotter and hotter until I had finally had enough.  I yelled.  I told her she was going to spend time in her room because she hadn’t listened to me the countless times I asked her to hurry along.

As soon as we got in the car I started to realize my behavior.  I have only been going through the motions the last two days, barely hanging on.  I am just a fragile eggshell of the mother and wife I want to be, right now.

The depression always returns during this time, despite my countless efforts to distract myself.

But my kid deserves to be able to be a kid.  She should be able to look at shiny headbands -I know my mom let me do stuff like that.  She never rushed me along the way I do with Reagan.  Getting to look at the toys and treats is part of what makes shopping fun for kids.

What am I rushing for all the time?   Why do I hurry myself through life?  I try to remind myself to live in the present, but I’ve been failing MISERABLY at that lately.  I keep thinking about the past; dwelling on my own sadness rather than focusing on my daughters’ current happiness and that’s not what I want at all.

I looked at my sweet Reagan in the rear-view, her eyes saddened because of my behavior, and knew at once it was I who needed a timeout, not her.

“I’m so sorry for rushing you Reagan and for being snippy.  Mommy is really sad right now because I miss my mommy very much.  But that’s no excuse, so again, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Mommy.  I understand.  And I’m sorry you’re mommy is in Heaven.”  R  eagan looked up at me and her eyes met mine in the mirror.

“I love you, Reagan.” I said and I could see her smile return.

Once we got home, I opened the van door on her side and gave her the biggest hug.  She put her little hands on my face and said “We should swing today, mommy.  That will take your mind off being sad.”

“That’s a great idea,” I whispered before kissing her cheek.  I smiled at her and wiped the tears from my eyes.