From living legend to legend. 

Today marks one year since the last time I spoke to my mom. We talked about the usual day to day, catching up on life. She told me about her recent stress test that showed no immediate concerns. Five days later I would learn she suffered from a fatal heart attack. So much for stress tests. 

A week ago we learned that Auntie Gemma died. Another sudden and devastating loss. This is life, I know. 

While my dear uncle remains in the hospital fighting to overcome kidney issues (after surviving a stroke, heart attack, cancer and Vietnam!), I cherish his lucid (awake) moments and recall many sweet memories. 

Some people are iconic, whether it’s a patriarch or a matriarch or just a stolid member of the family. When one falls, there is always someone just as strong to carry on the legacy. It’s like a royal dynasty. Well it is royal isn’t it, what’s more important than family? 
All the family and friends and even the celebrities and musicians we felt like we knew… All the ones that were living legends… And became simply, legends. They left their mark, on one or many. 

It’s hard to let go though… To let them be legends. We want them back, we want times to be like they were before. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to release the grief. Support and love from those around get us through our difficult times. 

There’s no clear path, no getting “over it”. There is only a new way of looking at life, at your surroundings. Every day I find a new perspective, the one that keeps me thankful for the love and life I am blessed with; the one that shields me from bitterness and resentment. Every day I look at life anew. Every. Single. Day.

If you are hurting, I hope you can find the strength to get through today, then tomorrow, then the next day. And the inner peace to feel loved, to realize your blessings, and of course, to smile….

Adrienne

Advertisements

Cobwebs

Dusting off the cobwebs… in the house, on the blog, inside my mind.

Therapeutic words have been replaced with tears. The joy of the season is struggling to overcome the sorrow in my heart.

Two of my favorite things to do in life: shopping… and giving. There is one less on my list. One less grandma card for the kids to make. One less card to buy and send. One less phone call to make.

In the past, December has always brought posts about joy, love, this incredible time of wonderment. This year all those things still exist, but with one less to enjoy it with.

I want to write about all the happy things that happen every day. Yet somehow the one looming sadness is all that comes to mind.

I cry… when I fold a fitted sheet because my mom showed me a gazillion times how to do it and I still can’t get it right; when I make meatballs; when I hear the song “See You Again”; when I hang an ornament, look at a photo, recall a memory. So basically, a lot.

The conversation generally goes:

How are you? I’m ok. (Lie, sort of)

I am not ok, but I am. This state of imbalance is uncharted territory.  I can’t even seem to get through a morning car ride or stroll without tears rolling down my face. (WTF)

Recently, I was in NY to take care of estate business. A woman helped me with my mother’s accounts and I think of this complete stranger every day now. She too lost her mom. 13 years ago. Friends have shared their grief and explained to me that the hurt doesn’t go away, you just learn to live with it. Yet, until I spoke with this woman, whom I had never met, it was not clear to me. I have been wondering when I would feel like myself again for months. I finally realize, I will never feel like I did before July 18, 2015. I will always be me, but I will always feel like something is missing. I will always miss my mom.

This marks the first Christmas without her, so it’s a tough one. I am forever grateful for my incredible family: three healthy kids, a loving and supportive husband, dear friends and relatives near and far. The love surrounding me is immense and it will persevere. I just have to hold those I treasure a little tighter.

Wishing all a joyous season. For the grieving, I wish you peace and strength. Love will see you through your time of grief.

Adrienne

IMG_0565

 

I’ll take that hug with a side of laughter please…

Taking advantage of the better things in life… kids, sunshine, summer.

IMG_1925

The thank you cards are sent. The household is sorted through. The ashes are scattered. The seemingly endless To Do list is completed and thus the intermission is over. There was life with mom. Now there is life without mom.

School starts next week. We’ve been back from NY for a few days and mostly I feel like – well it’s hard to explain. I feel uncertain, cloudy. Yet, in my heart, I know I will survive this.

Lovely words, heartfelt emotions, sympathy cards, late night chats. These have started me on my journey past grief. And hugs. Hugs are the hardest. I simply cannot hug a person without a lake forming in my eyes. Very much a part of the process. Very much the opposite of me. It’s a new day.

Just a select few of many:

The day we scattered Mom's ashes...

The day we scattered Mom’s ashes

Maria was lovely….truly. I am grateful that she was part of my life. I tend to turn to quotes during times of sadness or anger, I found this one and thought it fitting.  I know nothing can help but time, but maybe it will help a little.  I love you and miss you!!
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Sometimes we’re broken only to discover a rebirth in our lives: a new way of thinking, loving, and cherishing everyone, and every moment we’re blessed with.
I believe you will find the strength that your mom saw in you. And when you do, you’ll realise that the spirit of M is ever-present in your daily life as you hear yourself laugh, and see glimpses of her love in Blaine and the children.

c255394cbd7b197b255032a710f39746

My favorite.

I have a million things to be joyful for and only one to be sad about. And while it is a deep sadness, the love surrounding me will swallow my grief little by little and it will be OK. I will be OK.

Adrienne

When Tomorrow Comes

Today is my 39th birthday. One month ago, I expected to be planning a day with my kids and a night with friends. By now I would have received one (or three) birthday card(s) from my mother because she sent everything early to make sure they reached the recipient on time. Bless her soul, she was the only person I ever knew who was diligent in sending cards in the mail on time.

I have spent the last three weeks sifting through the contents of a house that held 65 years of a life. My mom’s life. The overwhelming amount of “things to do” makes it hard to just grieve. That will come when life settles back into itself. In the meantime I must move forward and tick off item after item on the to do list that should be labeled: “What to do when your mother dies and you are the only child.” It’s daunting.

I look back and can’t believe I’ve made my way through this household of stuff. Things. Almost everyone I talk to about this has now decided to do a massive spring cleaning. I say, do it. I can’t wait to get back to Trinidad and throw away or give away all the stuff. So my kids don’t have to.

While sifting and sorting, every third thought is – I can’t believe this. Because at every turn, I find something she meant to do, something put off for tomorrow, something planned. The suddenness of it all is still unthinkable. I don’t understand my feelings. Parents are supposed to go first. We know, maybe we prepare, but we can never grasp the loss until it happens. And then, there is this space. It’s empty and cannot be filled. I am no longer whole. How can that be?

I wrote a little something to say at my mom’s memorial service…

A little girl born in Miglianico, Italy, Maria Concetta Lo Russo brought joy to her parents Antenisca & Tomasso and her big sister Bianca. At age five, she moved to America with her family and spent the rest of her childhood growing up in The Bronx.  

As little girls, Maria & Bianca would fight as siblings often do but remained close throughout the years. 

When she became pregnant she moved to Long Island to be near her sister, brother-in-law, nephew and parents. And at 26 years old, she became a mother. 

She was a lover of all things related to the Mets (specifically Gary Carter & Mike Piazza). She adored Humphrey Bogart’s movies, Bob Dylan’s records, and Barack Obama’s everything. She introduced me to Scrabble, Cary Grant, and Abbott & Costello. She loved music and often put on a record while getting ready for work in the morning.  And her collection of elephants is unparalleled. 

She was independent and content to be on her own. But she loved her family and although she always said she wasn’t good with kids, she was a star with ours. She offered patience, love & hugs for Aidan, Emily & Juliette and would have done the same for Logan.   

She taught and allowed me to make my own decisions in life, supporting me at every turn. When I moved out of NY, she traveled to see me and when I moved out of the country, she got her passport and visited as much as she was able. 

She loved pearls and her favorite color was pink, soft and beautiful just like she was.  

My first best friend, my biggest fan.

Maria, Mary, März, Cet Cet, Zia Maria, Grandma, Mom, 

I choose to believe you are in heaven watching over us, smiling & laughing as our children  make new memories. We wish you were here with us, that you had more years to spend more time. But this is out of our hands. We will treasure the times we’ve shared with you, the infectious laughter we can still hear, and you will be remembered. Always. Through us, you will remain Forever Young. I love you mom.  

And now it’s tomorrow.

Adrienne

scan0003

Because she was your mom…

A message to my mom & aunt:

I dreamed of Nana last night.  I think she comes to me when I need her most.

In my dreams of her, she has always come back to us.  It’s never like she has been here all along.  Sometimes she is the grandmother from my youth (healthy & round) and sometimes, like last night, she is frail and needs my help.  Mostly, I helped her in the grocery and then at a very long dinner table of random friends & family.
When I woke up, I smiled (and cried a little).  I feel better today – I knew I would.  It’s not my tragedy and my world continues. But I always feel warm & fuzzy after dreaming of Nana.  She still teaches me so much about life.  I know you both will always miss your mom.  I miss her too.  I’m glad I get to see her when I’m sleeping.
I love you.
While many are going through trying times, one in particular really hits home.  A friend of mine can no longer continue with her pregnancy, she was due days apart from me.  This sad news came on the same day I discovered the gender of my own baby.  Hers is not my story and therefore not mine to share.
How is it possible to have such joy, excitement threatening to bubble over, and simultaneously feel such sorrow.  I empathize.  No matter what is happening in my life, great news from a friend always truly brightens my day.  Unfortunately, the flip side of that is true as well.  Disheartening news darkens my day.
I know I was not meant to carry the weight of the world.  Instead, I share extra love for those that need it most.  I pray for their strength and ability to get through difficult times. And I thank the powers that be for my amazing support system: my family and dear friends far & near, my incredible husband, and my sweet loving kids.
And I dream of my Nana.
Adrienne
on the couch with nana 3_2

Magical.

More reflection.  As we come off the high of our amazing trip to Disney World, we head right into the Christmas confusion and excitement.  The trip was amazing, spectacular, magical – all the fun adjectives you associate with Disney.  Christmas with kids is just wonderful.  I am overjoyed this year to be blessed with a baby on the way.  Thankful doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The day of my last post, I received sad news.  A friend who was due two weeks after me lost her baby.  I cried for her.  Correction: I sobbed.  This morning I couldn’t help shedding quite a few tears as I thought of my sister – less than a year ago, she lost her only daughter.  This is the first Christmas she will experience without my niece.  And although she is blessed to have three sons and a gorgeous granddaughter (my niece’s) I can’t help but grieve for her still.  I’m sure we all know a friend or a few going through difficult times…

I realize it’s all a part of life.  People lose friends and family.  All the more reason to be grateful everyday for the life you have been given.  Send some extra love this season, give someone an extra hug, think peaceful thoughts.

Merry Christmas.

Mickey Christmas

Adrienne