Awaiting my daughter’s fate

Five years ago, my daughter was rushed to emergency surgery.  I was also in college at the time and was working on a poem for my creative non-fiction class. I wrote this poem while waiting to learn my daughter's fate. I am not the same person I was five years ago, but I wanted to share another part of my writing.  Poetry is not my forte, but this poem did represent what being a single mother feels like during a crisis; and sharing my poem helps me knock down the walls that still surround me.
Five years ago, my daughter was rushed to emergency surgery. I was also in college at the time and was working on a poem for my creative non-fiction class. I wrote this poem while waiting to learn my daughter’s fate. I am not the same person I was five years ago, but I wanted to share another part of my writing. Poetry is not my forte, but this poem did represent what being a single mother feels like during a crisis; and sharing my poem helps me knock down the walls that still surround me.

The Inferno Within

I stared into the empty waiting room,

Awaiting my daughter’s fate.

Two hours went by

Since they rushed her to the operating room,

The sound of the ticking clock

Pounded in my anxious head.

My young son was the only one around,

Seated innocently by my side,

Reading a book with his headphones on.

I did not dare burden him with my despair.

I sat alone with hope in my eyes and dread in my heart.

Years before when I dreamt of motherhood,

I never envisioned the loneliness and isolation I live now.

I imagined one parent to bandage our children’s “owies”

And a second to kiss them;

One to listen to their prayers

And another to turn off their light;

One to walk them down the aisle

While the other tossed out the rice.

Hand in hand, we would guide them through their life,

Proudly letting go as they headed toward their dreams.

Never did I conceive an empty house,

An aching heart, and three broken children.

What kind of man abandons his family?

I cook meals, help with homework,

Run them to appointments, wash their clothes,

Hold them tightly while they are sick,

And desperately struggle to make ends meet.

What dream of his could possibly replace

The needs and hearts of his own helpless children?

Don’t get me wrong,

There’s no other place I would rather be,

But it is nights like this that stir up my contempt and anguish.

I cannot help but believe my children deserve more.

The guilt sets in when I see my tired, weary son

Sleeping in the university library,

While he waits for me to complete my studies;

Or when he wants to watch a movie or play a game,

But my eyes, like a steel trap door, struggle to stay open.

I do my best to move on and leave the pain behind.

But a crisis or a trigger from the past will bring it all soaring back.

It’s the angst of knowing my children are scared and are hurting,

While knowing their father is too selfish to discern.

Every day as I grow strong, I hold their hands in mine,

And I realize it is all worth it, as I truly love them so.

I could never fathom leaving them behind;

Yet, my repulsion toward his apathy is profound.

And just like my daughter’s cyst,

I fear I, too, may begin to rupture.

I hold on tight and fight back the tears.

If I let go, I am afraid of what happens next.

But I must let go of these chains that bind me

To a coward and a louse.

The surgeon finally appears before me.

Good news! She is safe and sound ….. Relief!!!

As I walk into hold her hand and kiss her softly on the cheek,

I cannot help but see the other patients in recovery

With their friend and family gathered round;

And in my heart I am joyful and reassured,

But still somewhere deep inside me,

The toxic cinders from the past seem to smolder on,

Waiting for time to eradicate any embers left behind,

Opening the chimney for fresh air and healing to wander in.

Flashback to last weekend


My favorite memories are the ones with my kids. I do not think I’ve been happier than when I’m just sitting and watching my kids embrace life. There’s nothing better than hearing my children laugh. I am looking forward to returning to the beach with them; but hopefully this time without all of the rain. Who am I kidding? I live in Washington state, I’m better off just hoping for no fog.

Cape Disappointment: my photo essay

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Amethyst – power…protection…wisdom…healing



For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been feeling my best, but I’ve been ignoring the signs because I do not have time to be sick; so I do the best to pretend nothing is wrong in hopes that sickness will go on its merry way. There is so much I want to accomplish and being sick keeps me from getting things done.

Being a single mom, I truly do not have time for sickness.  I’m the one who needs to always have it together.  I’m the mom, not the child. Even though I have been struggling to breathe the past week or so, I made it to my woman’s book group Friday night.  I absolutely love my book group, as it is one of the highlights of my month.  I thought I could put on enough make up and if my daughter curled my hair for me, I would be able to make an appearance and no one would know I wasn’t feeling well.  It appeared I had succeeded until Malissa, a student I used to advise, walked up to me at the restaurant we were at.  She said she felt I needed something, and she handed me the most beautiful amethyst.  Purple is my favorite color, so I thought that’s why she had brought it to me.  However, she said it actually represented healing and she sensed I needed that.

I started to tear up.  What a thoughtful gesture; however, I never told anyone I wasn’t feeling well. Malissa is one of the kindest souls I know, and I know she will go on to be an amazing fashion designer, so I cherish the moments we have. That was one of the hardest parts when working with college students, they only come into your life for a brief time, but watching them grow into happy, independent adults has always been a blessing. I made the above photo as a thank you to Malissa and her intuitive kindness.

I wish I could say that I have improved, but as I write this, I’m actually waiting for my daughter to come home so I can go to the hospital. Nevertheless, the amethyst has brought me peace of mind.  When I was creating the photograph, I searched up what an amethyst stood for.  Healing was one, but it also stands for power, protection, and wisdom.  Maybe I needed the amethyst to protect me until I wised up and realized I needed medicine to get well. I need to remember that even moms get sick, and that sometimes I need to delegate and say no.  Everything I need to accomplish will still be there tomorrow.  Maybe while I’m recuperating, someone can figure out a way to clone moms, then I can sometimes take a nap without the guilt.

One last note, I made homemade chicken noodle soup in the crock pot this morning, so I have that to look forward to when I get home. Nothing is better for pneumonia than a beautiful amethyst, homemade chicken noodle soup, and hugs from my kids. Also, a little prednisone and a much needed Z-pak wouldn’t hurt either.

Found True Love at Last


Woke up this morning with an awful chest cold and all I wanted was to pull the covers back over my head. However, to my amazement, I could hear my teenagers already up and at it. How could I hide from a glorious Saturday and miss out on time with them; I decided this cold was not going to ruin my day. Thankfully, I remembered my loyal friend was waiting less than 75 feet away – as I approached my Keurig, I stopped to thank my friend Lesa for introducing us last Christmas. My Keurig and I have always had a positive relationship – whenever, I am sick, tired, or grouchy – my Keurig faithfully makes my favorite coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. I never knew a relationship could be this good; I can only hope that others can be as fortunate.

I have to spend the day reading about ethics for my doctorate course and writing a research paper. If only my professor knew that if every person could wake up to a hot beverage from their Keurig, they might enter the world a little happier and slightly more ethical …. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? Before I immerse myself in my ethics books, I will share my last home remedy of the day. My days are always better when I start them off with my hot beverage and some Rob Thomas. His and also Matchbox Twenty’s music always gives me hope and just listening to Little Wonders this morning helped me to see how something as simple as my Keurig and my beautiful children’s’ faces can make even a crummy day seem even brighter. Happy Saturday!

Little Wonders by Rob Thomas

Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you
And i don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to
We’ll get by,
It’s the heart that really matters in the end

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But i can not forget
The way i feel right now

In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours, still remain,
Still remain
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain

Dancing in the Rain


Words of wisdom from my son today. #TBT of our 2012 Christmas trip over Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. I remember that we had a horrible blizzard that week, and they had just re-opened the highway. Friends warned us about driving over; yet, when we got to the top of the pass, hardly anyone else was around, and it was just so beautiful everywhere we looked.

Hours before our drive, I had learned my brother had taken his own life. I felt like darkness was looming all around; yet, when we reached the mountain pass, I can still remember the warm glow of the light, as if he was telling us that he was okay – he was at peace. I wish I could have saved him from his darkness, but I will always remember the beauty of the light I saw that cold, December day, and I will always remind myself that when navigating through darkness, light will eventually start to appear.

In the meantime, I will always try to learn lessons from those darkest moments. The light will then be more rewarding once it arrives, and I will be able to share its incredible warmth with others journeying down the same path. I know it’s cliche, but I have always enjoyed life more by dancing in the rain.

25th Anniversary of my First Child’s Birth



Twenty-five years ago today I gave birth to my first child; I, myself, was only 25 that beautiful day. The day that I found out I was pregnant with him was such a shock and a blessing all in one since previously a doctor had told me I would never be able to carry a child to term due to problems that I did not even comprehend at that time.  However, the further I became in my pregnancy, I gained more hope that I would prove the medical doctors wrong and be able to have my beautiful child.

Six months into my pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia, which is a condition that is discovered due to high blood pressure and proteins in the urine. I was told I needed bed rest for the next few months.  I followed every order the doctor gave me because delivering my son meant the world to me regardless of the stress going on around me.  I actually went through 48 hours of hard labor before they discovered that he was crooked and his head was too big to fit into the birth canal; the doctor said that if I kept on trying to deliver him naturally that his neck could be broken and that it was time to perform a C-section.  I remember how terrified I was, but once I saw my gorgeous, blonde headed son, I fell in love with him instantly and the ordeals of the months before became a distant memory.

I am so aware of the mistakes I made along the way, but I was not that woman that I have become today.  I was a scared 25-year old, learning how to be a wife, learning how to be a mom, and learning how to navigate the world for the first time as an adult.  Every decision I made from there on was based on what I thought would be best for him.  Did I make mistakes? Of course I did, who hasn’t, but no one ever told me that the day you become a mom, no matter how young, naïve, or inexperienced you are, everything you do from the day forward – good or bad – will be used as a blueprint to praise or crucify you.

In the news, it doesn’t matter how old a person is – the press, commentators, talk shows, and so on, will always ask about the person’s mom – not the person’s parents or the person’s dad, but what was wrong with the mother.  Everything that is wrong in the world can be traced back to what the mother did wrong. This was something I was never, or will ever, be prepared for. Even when my husband deserted me and my three kids, I heard the whispers and the gossip, what did she do to drive him away? I didn’t even handle that correctly; I did the best to grasp together what pieces of a family that I had left and be both mother and father to my children. However, I was also judged for that. What people, and even my own children, forget is that my husband had not just deserted his kids, he had walked out on me. I am the one who fell in love with him twenty-years prior and chose him to be the father of my children. That first year as a single-mother my life felt like I was walking through a fog.  I remember some things people said, but even when I try to recollect that first year alone, it feels like a dream sequence that I can only pull bits and pieces from.

Yet, even that year has been held against me. As mothers, we are expected to respond perfectly to everything that is thrown at us. Others forget that we are human beings too – we experience fear, we feel pain, and we, too, bleed. My son, who turns 25 today, holds me up to those inhuman standards. He keeps a score card of everything I have ever done wrong; yet, I have never heard about what I did right.  He has never been willing to calmly sit down and ask me questions on why I did certain things.  Maybe I will have a good explanation or maybe I won’t, but at least I would have the chance to a trial before my conviction.


Maybe giving birth and loving your child isn’t enough to base a relationship on, but I believe it has earned me the right to not be wrongly convicted.   One thing I have learned along the way, is that people who want to be judge and jury and quickly toss you out of their life are hiding from their own skeletons, their own issues, their own ghosts.  If they allow a healthy conversation to pursue, then they may have to take some accountability for their own pain or even hold others that were involved in their life accountable as well.  Doing so would stir up memories and emotions they would rather keep buried, so it is much easier to blame someone who will love you despite the hate and anger you throw their way.  They are a safe scape goat for every wrong that has happened in their life.  But maybe, just maybe, that person could become the entry way into a world that could be lived without anger and hate.  My son has told me that he has let go of the past and that is why he chooses to have his father in his life and not me.  If this was true, then he would have also let go of the fear, the hate, and the anger

Fear is debilitating; it can take years from each and every one of us if we let it. Does it pain me that another year is passing without my son being a part of it?  Yes it does. What pains me the most is what he has let fear do to him.  He has let it stand between us, he has let it stand between him and his sister and brother, but most importantly, he has let it stand in between him and the incredible future I imagined for him.  However, despite what the rest of the world believes, mothers are not to blame for everything that has gone wrong, and as long as my son wants to blame me for everything, then I will choose to love him from afar. Not because I want to, but because I believe it is the safest choice for me and his siblings.

I will continue to live my life the best way I can and continue to have healthy relationships with his brother and sister.  He may have cast me out, but he cannot take away the incredible childhood memories I have of him, or the undying love I will always have for him.  The only gift I have for him this 25th anniversary day of his cherished beginning is my love for him and the fact that I will wait the rest of my life if I have to, for him to let go of his fears and let me in – one day at a time. Change does not come easy, but in the end it will be so worth it.

Castles in My Mind

I realize I have been sharing my personal essays a lot lately, but yesterday I had the blessing to read another writer’s blog. Her words touched me deeply. I have never read someone else’s words that described my last seven years as much as hers did. She captured every feeling I have experienced and she was able to do that with a brief, but compelling, beautiful poem. She gave me permission to share it with the rest of you; I really hope you will enjoy her artistry as much I have and that her words might resonate with you on some level as well.


Inspiration struck early this morning driving me from my sleep and directly to my computer. I had no idea what was buzzing in me to get out but I just knew something was there. I settled down in the peace and quiet of a new day in this New Year and opened to a blank page. Immediately I was a witness to what my fingers typed. Words were dictated through me. It was one of those magical moments when I truly felt like a vessel and I was happy to be at least cognizant to realize that what was happening was because of something bigger than me. It is a haunting reveal that has come from somewhere deep and wide. I wasn’t going to post this but then I changed my mind and so here it is:

I hold the key but you hold the door.
Which gets me the freedom…

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A Prayer for Victims and Perpetrators


Tribute to Charlie Hebdo victims at Place de la RÈpublique - ParisI was going to post part two of my love letter to Christopher Hitchens this week, but in light of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, I just couldn’t summon the proper spirit to write it.

I tried, but it all felt like a big “so what?“.

Especially in light of the pain the mourners in Paris must be feeling right now. The spouses, parents and children of the victims. People who heard their names called by their executioner just before God called them back home.

All I can do is offer a prayer – this one said by my ten year-old daughter as we said our devotions on the night of the tragedy.

She said, “Please help the people who did this realize how wrong they are to hurt others this way.”

I don’t Hitch could have said it better.

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