Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

The Ways to Say Goodbye

Remember these lovelies from Thanksgiving? My dad’s parents, my Popa and Dodie.

Tonight Dodie is not doing well. Today I was called to come and visit because her precious time is ticking away.

I adore my Dodie. She made the simple things seem so very glamorous; eating chips, drinking coke and playing cards in the motor home. The motor home was parked in the driveway but that didn’t matter, it wasn’t the house. We would make up stories about where we would drive….Europe, China, the moon, all while sitting in the driveway in Plano, Illinois.

When we went out for Chinese she didn’t order sweet and sour pork….she ordered shrimp with lobster sauce? Lobster sauce? Is it made of lobsters? My six-year old world didn’t know such a thing existed.

My 7-Up always had cherries.

Making it a glamorous Shirley Temple.

Tonight she is tiny, shrunken, moving onto her next world. She sleeps, breathing tiny little breathes.

I sat by her bed and told her about the time she bought me ruffled underpants and let me eat two hot-fudge sundaes.

I was three. I flashed my ruffled underpants to the entire restaurant.

I think it was one of the best nights of my childhood.

Tonight I placed a lion and frog magnet on her hospital bed and told her Samantha needs a Grandma in heaven to let her eat two hot-fudge sundaes.

She is a good Dodie- dancing on top of her feet at age four, I would look up at her face. I was dancing on top of the world. I was dancing on clouds.

I am 40….and that memory 36 years ago still makes me smile.

Thank you Dodie. Sleep well tonight no matter where you decide to be. Don’t forget to let Samantha dance on your feet.

I love you.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Thank you….

We raised $900.00 for Miracles for Mito at the 40th disco extravaganza.


In one night

Cause our people rock.

At the end of the night the bartender took all of her cash tips and poured them into the Miracles for Mito box.

How amazing is that?

Sometimes this Cause feels very selfish because I get to constantly bathe in the goodness that you people are.

So I’m bathing.

My toes are all pruny
But I smell good…..fresh and clean and full of hope.

Thank you .
Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

The Turning

I did it….

I turned 40….

And apparently my mouth grew 10 times its size. Look at that mug! Clearly I’m having a good time; surrounded by my tribe, embraced by the people I love.

I danced out on the floor to I Will Survive with my friend Heather. Heather is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor. Out of the blue, I kissed her cheek (wine makes me kissy) and grabbed her hand….

“Heather,” I said, “we will survive, we will, we have to.”

We looked into each other’s eyes and gave a knowing look….one a mother without her child and one a mother facing a horrible disease. We have to survive.

And then we kept dancing…

I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive

Maybe this is why ancient tribes gathered together to dance, to leap in the air, to feel alive, to feel their heart beating, to forget that tomorrow they might be eaten by a lion, to celebrate.

I need to go out dancing more often.

The candles were lit on my beautiful, 4 tiered chocolate cake made by my lovely friend Charise. As happy birthday was sung, I kissed my husband, “I don’t know what to wish for,” I said.

“Wish for a happy life,” He said. I looked at my tribe, gathered around us, cheering us on through thick and thin, holding us up so many times I feel like I’m walking on air.

“I already have one.”

40….bring it.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief


Here it is…..

Our Miracles for Mito logo.

Thanks to our buddy Luke Wennik, our graphic designer who has volunteered his time, talent and gave us this logo.

Thanks to my ‘sister’ and new Mito President, Laura who brought us Luke and is keeping us all focused.

We chose the butterfly because it evolves from a catepillar to a butterfly, the way we have all evolved from this disease. We also chose the butterfly because it moves through the air, the wind, it floats between the ground and the sky….it is really not a part of the earth we walk on and everytime I see a butterfly, I think of Samantha.

The butterfly is made up of two hearts.

Because she is always in our hearts.

And because it was her tiny heart that gave out.

The squiggly in the middle of the butterfly is the mitochondria. The reason for this whole foundation.

I love it.

It makes me proud every, single time I look at it.