Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief


In the last two months, two of my Loves have been told they need to prepare for the imminent reality that they will die.

It’s okay if you want to stop reading now… judging.

The worst is that they are young, Moms to Littles…..little Littles who still need their Mamas.

I laugh at that last statement. I am 44 and still need my Mama.

I sat today with my cousin as a vent pumps air into her lungs. Her adorable Little Little sat cozyed up at the foot of her wheelchair. Little played with a plastic butterfly she and her sister made to decorate the window. She would set it on her nose, her mom’s foot, her head. 

You must prepare

Some people are good at preparation; they organize, schedule, set meetings before a meeting, post meetings to discuss a meeting. 

I am no good at preparation. I am more of the ‘I know you’ll love me when you meet me and we will fly by the seat of our pants!’

Perhaps I will be standing at the Pearly Gates, looking for my overnight bag….St. Peter will say ‘Did you bring anything?’ Pack a bag?’

I will sheepishly say I forgot my bag and can I go back and retrieve it? I will only be a minute, I forgot my razor. 

Perhaps there is no shaving of the legs in heaven. 

According to some, I might be going the other way, in which case, there would be continuous shaving of the legs; without soap…and a dull razor. 

I really don’t mean to make light of this. Aside from Samantha and Jack, nothing has made our precious time on this earth more real than these last two months and these two Mamas. Granted, the circumstances of our life has made me more comfortable around death but nothing can deny the fact that this is horribly, tragically unfair. And I find these women incredibly brave. 

I do not know how would I prepare. I do love life. Life is fun. I love wine and chocolate and cheese and kisses and a belly laugh. Perhaps I would pack these all with me in my preparation. 

My friend Heather, fellow lover of life and fellow lover of wine took a sip of a fine Cabernet on her last Thanksgiving and spit it out. It no longer tasted good- it no longer mixed with chemo. 

Maybe that was when is was okay to prepare? 

I personally, have always used wine as a gauge to life 🙂 

My grandfather, lover of many things naughty claimed he would rather die than give up his cigars. I don’t really think he meant it but it left great dramatic effect. He too loved life, or maybe creating a ruckus. 

Perhaps the preparation is for us. The ones left behind. We talk of closure and reconciliation; preparation for a journey someone else will take. 

What would be packed in our life satchel? 

I drove back from my visit with my cousin with my brother and dad. The sun set over a pink sky. My dad asked a funny question. “where will you be the second day you die?” 

My answer is easy, “I will be with my children.” 


Doesn’t matter….I probably won’t be prepared and without a razor. But maybe there might be something as good as wine and kisses and a good belly laugh. 

To my Mamas and their Littles. 

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Because Nothing Rhymes with Teen

I take issue with this whole decade- the entire ten years. 

Because nothing rhymes with Teen. 

Except keen and mean and bean. 

How am I supposed to find a meaningful mantra based on those words? 

For instance, I am about to turn 44. My 44 mantra is “44! Shut the front door!” 

Because 44 is on the verge of being an adult which is unbelievable to me. How could I possibly be an adult. Hence my surprise…..“Shut the front door!” 

And it’s cute, because it rhymes, or maybe it’s not cute but it’s my thing. 

43 was “43, what am I supposed to be?” 

I am still looking to answer that question so if you know and would like to fill me in, that would be great. 

But 2015? “2015 is gonna be keen!” 


“No one should be mean during 2015.” 


And this goes on for a whole decade! No wonder I have felt out of sorts; looking for answers, cleansing, meditating, wandering, searching….I have no yearly mantra. 

Christmas, New Years and my Birthday; they all come within three weeks of each other; leaving me with a holiday hang-over. I have told my parents they should have considered better family planning to make me a content, well rounded, holiday-balanced person. 

This falls upon deaf ears. 

2015 is gonna be keen! 

We opened the door on 2014, let the old year out and the new year in. We do this every year- leave the front door open for a couple minutes to allow the changing of the guards.  This year it was really a good thing, we were in a condo with three sweaty boys, we needed a little fresh air. 

365 days is a long time- a lot of living happens in those days; we grieve, we laugh, we fall in love, we give birth, people die, we say hello, we say goodbye. We live. 

I was in yoga the other day. It’s hot yoga and I sweat like a man. At the end of the class, our teacher gives us a cold cloth soaked in lavender water.  I love this part of class and I wait for that cool cloth like a monkey waits for a banana, love that part of class. Everything is gonna be alright, I have a cool lavender cloth to make me smell good and mop up my man sweat . 

It is at this time, after I’m all stretchy and stinky, that our teacher says something profound. This week it was about the new year….If we knew everything that was going to happen, we wouldn’t need to experience it. There would be nothing to learn, explore, or gain. So often it is the surprises of the moments and hours, the unexpected twists and turns that give our lives meaning to our journey and make our lessons come alive. 

The New Year comes in all fresh and clean, like that lavender cloth on our tired heads. But who we are is not made up in the sum of 365 days- it is moment by moment, hours, laughs, tears, turns that we forget and turns that forever impact our lives. 

And with some research, I did find my mantra. It is unassuming and leaves no expectations. In fact, it speaks nothing but the truth. 

2015, I do love my caffeine. 

To a new year.