Sunday, November 04, 2012

Home again...the journey continues

 Pictures from the time away.  This is a picture of me, my sister Marty and my Aunt Barb with the wonderful couple who rented the room to Sarah and Christopher when they stayed in La Spezia while going to the Cinque Terre.  They took such good care of Christopher and us after Sarah died.  We stopped to see them for a short visit on our way to Riomaggiore.  They speak little English, so our visit was sharing some pictures and lots and lots of hugs and them so.
 Little did we know as we were traveling to Cinque Terre that a landslide had happened on the walk of Love-between Manarola and Riomaggiore, just a few days before we came.  That meant the entire walk between the 5 cities was closed and still is now.  We heard that 4 Australian women (in their 60s) were injured and we think that one died afterwards.  This we found out and saw in the newspaper as we stopped to see the couple above.  At this point, we didn't even know if we would be able to go to Sarah's memorial if the walk was closed.  I know each of us was deeply affected to hear this news and leave there to take the train to Riomaggiore.
 We came to Sarah's memorial plaque area shortly after getting settled.  The walkway was closed right after where her plaque is at Pont Bonfiglio.  There were many people trying to understand what was happening as different signs were posted.  There were many people who had traveled to this land to be able to walk the trails and were having to take trains instead from city to city.  This meant there were alot of people on the trains and even walking around at the place where her memorial was.  We talked and shared with many people about Sarah while we visited each day.  We placed a picture of her last picture on the jar below so people would know what Sarah looked like.  It was a tender moment watching my husband-touch this plaque.  He only met Sarah and Christopher briefly before we left on the first trip.  We were just friends through the Area Vineyard Pastor's association at that time.  He had such tenderness in his heart as he touched the plaque of the "daughter he never got to know". 
 On Sept. 27th-the 5th anniversary of Sarah's death, we brought flowers to put at her memorial.  Our dear friend Paula had gone into the city to buy flowers for her and also her husband's cousin-whose place we rented, put together a beautiful bouquet of flowers that I am carrying from her own garden for us to put in the vase.
 Here is the plaque area with the flowers we brought as well as the glass jar of rocks, sand, feathers and beach treasures I brought and placed behind the jar from Sarah's beach here in Ohio.
 This is at the train station as we got off to go to Sarah's memorial.
 This is a picture of the memorial site where her plaque is located.  It is right between the 2 tall palm trees.
 We were blessed to spend a few hours with Franco, who was the president of the Cinque Terre at his home.  This was the most treasured time to hear his heart about almost losing his own life before a liver transplant and also to hear about the landslide in Vernassa and thinking he lost one of his sons.  He also spoke with deep love to us for knowing each of us after Sarah's death.  He is the one who wrote the poem on her plaque and had the ceremony when we went back in 2008.
 Right across from Sarah's plaque is a large compass on the ground with North pointing directly at Sarah's plaque.  This touches me deeper than words can say-for those of you who know me through my name truenorth78 and the Compelled to True North ministry.  Seeing this for the first time when we went in 2008 touched me so very deeply-more than any words can say.


 It rained at different times--this is looking up to where her plaque is and where the compass is on the ground.
 These are our 2 dear, dear friends--Paula and Mauro.  She has helped in the most dear ways since meeting her in 2008.  She is my hands in carrying flowers to Sarah's site and checking it for me.  She takes my mother's love there as often as she can.  What a gift to a mom who lives on the other side of the ocean....
So, here I am....a few weeks after getting back.  The return home had me getting sick with Bronchitis, my aunt sick and my little sister getting sick again--almost lost her.  It was a difficult re-entry....We had a powerful trip.  We did finish the cruise we had to leave back in 2007 when Sarah died.  I am still mostly at a loss for words.

I know that it stirred up more than I realized it would and emotions that have been more than difficult to process and understand.  It was like being tramatized all over again, so in some ways, I was caught off guard.  I knew it would be difficult and did my best to prepare, but is impossible to know what will be brought back to the surface.  It is hard to have this place of death so very far away...and then to go there and find that many people just still are remembering Sarah so often.  The priest who did the ceremony when we returned told me he has just remembered Sarah the day before in he knew it was the anniversary....that touched me so deeply.

I am better now that I am realizing and finding words now.  It is just the most awful thing that could happen and it happened in one of the most beautiful places with the most beautiful people...and it just is hard to make it digestable.  Grief is raw again...deep, searing...just awful....the images are fresh again...real again....

I am very glad to have gone---I now have the name of the man who risked his own life from the coastguard to contact to thank for holding her in the rough seas.  He knew if he didn't, we would have lost her body to the sea.  I have a friend I have met since Sarah's death whose son died from a rogue wave in Australia and they never found his body....I think of her as I write these words....

So, the journey now continues...I hope to go back again as it truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  My sister and I were talking that it is like in Chronicles of Narnia to go there--it is like going through the wardrobe...and then coming back to this world I live in---so very different from is like coming back out of the wardrobe.

I miss that land, that place....every day.  I have a hard time processing that....understanding that she just left life here so very quickly while in a place far, far away....

My mother's heart aches...for me, for Christopher, for her friends...for all of us who lost a treasure that day....

She is well remembered there...and honored by many.  I met tour directors from Germany who knew of the tragedy back in 2007, who tell the story to the groups they bring to this land.

I wish it was different....but it isn't.  That will take some time again to live with that.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Leaving soon...
Am always glad to get started after weeks of thinking about it.
I think I showered and packed the last things all night in my sleep...should make it maybe easier to sleep on the flight over.

My heart is tender, sore, aching...remembering...ugh...

5 years ago we left for a wonderful vacation and had such good plans to meet in Rome and Venice...and never did it happen.

Now to go back and to honor your celebrate your life dear Sarah...

God, please help us all.

Hold us close.

Keep us.

going now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

a bottle of beach treasures to take to your spot, the area where the plaque leave there in honor of you.  Glass and feathers and sand and even some of your ashes...lavender...treasures you loved and even the white stones you would gather and keep.  a red glass and cobalt...and other colors...small shells...bits of treasures... represent our land in this land you took your last breath. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

only 10 days away from the 5th anniversary of your death.

As people ask for words of how I am doing...I find myself like this picture--saying something...then wishing I could cross it out--and restate...just thin on words to describe this journey.

I am learning how to speak-like an infant learns to speak words to ask for what they want, or to point to things that they need...but sometimes, like now...I know I am in a sacred spot of wordlessness...and it is ok.

I don't have words to describe the sacredness of being able to go to the very place she died and be there on the actual date of her 5th anniversary.  I don't have a place to go to at this point where she is buried...which is very ok for me as I know it isn't time yet for that-if ever.

I can go to our beach and know that in the midst of millions of grains of sand, some of her ashes are there.

This will never make will never have closure...I have ceased looking for that.  Instead, I have learned to walk it out.  Learned how to better nurture a sore mother's to turn and go away from the crushing wave of grief...and to least on most days.  And on the days not so good, I have learned to just be.  And to know it will pass...sometime.

So, for those of you who want to know my words...there are not any that work...or fit...and so the quietness is ok...I am ok...I hurt like hell and also have the most grateful heart ever for being Sarah's mom...the best job I ever had.  I miss her more than our language has words to write or speak.  I long for the time to see her again---and hug and hold her close.  At times I can feel her presence and smell her smell...and hear her laugh..and her voice...and just savor those quick moments...

I will spend that day-at this place, savoring the wind, quiet, maybe paint...maybe swing in the swing.  just be there...sitting...lingering...being there.  glad to be hurry...sacred place of her death. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

 Just am a bit overdone inside...I have walked almost 5 years of this loss of dear Sarah now...I am not any better at handling it when the grief of it all overwhelms me.

Words don't seem to form up or come into sentences to explain what is happening inside of me any better...maybe not as often do I get to this place of being just wrecked inside.

As I laid in bed this morning asking God, "what is going on in me that I can put into any kind of sense to myself and my husband and even others not knowing what is going on in my heart and soul....

I felt like God showed me how when I got into the briars last week...and couldn't get them off me...they just stuck on my pants, my skin and irritated me...that is a good way to describe how you can't seem to get it off...and it is uncomfortable and irritating as hell!

 I want to get to the other side of my pain in me without having to have that deep and aching and agonizing cry and letting it all go....and writing and just sitting in it....
That place just is so lost...I can see the other side, but there is no mentally jumping over this.  I can feel the full ripeness of this place and just want to not go into it.  I hate it.  I hate the loss...I hate having the sorrow of it.  I hate how tossed my mind gets in it...the craziness of it.  I just want to release it in somekind of way that doesn't cost my heart so much.....
God, I am asking for a gentle way to process this place.

 Tomorrow is September...and the memories of loss and sorrow come.  It just does...and is...still so hard...




what a journey....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Almost 5 years now walking this journey of life now with Sarah in heaven.  Getting ready in about 5 weeks to travel back to this land where you died.  I have met many people in these years who too have lost their most precious child--whether young or almost as old or older than me...

As I near this 5 year mark, I find that words are harder to in a scrabble game--waiting to find the right letters to make a word you don't even know yet you will use....

I find these letters not making sense---much like the journey of grief is...many days doesn't make sense at all.  I find myself looking at these squares, trying to find meaning, a word to describe my tender heart...something that will bring understanding to what makes no sense at all.

I am glad for the blank squares--sometimes those work best of all...I can make up a word that fits when nothing in my life seems to fit.

I am sore in my heart these days--sore for my friends who have lost and have birthdays with no one there to blow out the candles for the day at hand...
sore for friends who have to honor their own day when their child left them too.

Sore for my own family who also misses Sarah...and will journey with me and this land that somehow holds something so precious.  A journey that may make no sense to many, but the most sense to me. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have it so easy to put together the words like the ones above to describe your heart...Life is not anything like this, but today it makes sense to try to pick up letter by letter...and place it somewhere to make it make sense...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I am getting my heart ready to go back to Italy in September to honor the 5th anniversary of you leaving us Sarah.  We watched one of the DVDs from when we were there after you died.  It was the first time we finally watched it the other night--Uncle Tom, Aunt Marty, Aunt Barb and Rick and I...

It had been such a crazy and crushing time--coming to Italy via the trains and planes from Turkey when we found out you had died.  Trying to get to the Cinque Terre and Christopher...
...and we went from taking so many vacation photos and videos to living through the most crushing time.

Uncle Tom was taking some video of Michael-the man staying in the room across the hall from Christopher bringing us another gift of food--he didn't even speak English, but his kindness to us over those days was like gold.  While U. Tom was taping, around the corner came Lara, the funeral director's daughter who helped us so much during all this.

She was caring the box with your ashes in it to she had just rode her motorcycle from Livorna,where you were cremated,  and now was bringing this small white box filled with you so we could bring your ashes back home.  Her face was so precious to see again--the great sorrow she had broke all of us. It was terribly hard to watch...and remember the very awful moment of holding that box, still

How could it be.

Still no words...

We prepare to go back the same places and spot you died.  It is so very hard to lose you so far away and to wonder where you went....I am thankful to have Marty and Barb and Tom and also now Rick again going--this is a journey we were on together...and somehow needs to be the trip of us again--maybe hoping to mend some of the brokenness in our hearts.

To see some of the dear friends we have made while there, who became the balm for that part of the road.  I know we will be richer for the journey.  Help each of us prepare our hearts for these days away. I know we need to pack our is needed...and go and be present to the sorrow and grief.

How does one make it 5 years without your most precious daughter...breathing slowly, deliberately...stepping so gently into each day.  Leaning on those close and reaching out to other's hands who have lost and no words are needed.

I got a comment on one of my older posts yesterday from someone who just lost their son: "I lost my beautiful 23 year old son just 6 weeks ago. I've been searching the Internet for blogs and websites that will show how other parents have survived. I wanted you to know that I added your blog to my page"

I have been touched by this...and brought back to the earlier days when even that breathing took great effort...and have been praying for this one's journey.  

I hate this journey...I hate my story...yet, it has colored me more than anything...anyways--I don't get a one asked me what I would think of it...

I always did prepare myself once I had a child that she was never really mine...just on loan...a most priceless and precious gift...and I always treasured the fullest...

Sweet girl of mine...It is quieter quiet in memories...miss you.

 This is a picture of Sarah--holding a small bottle of wine--in their room in Le Spezia.  So very vibrant-so full of life and living.  So quickly gone.  So very missed.  A toast to you sweet the most precious life you lived.  May we live well in honor of you. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

mother's day journey 2012

just a journey of pictures in my heart this year.  5 different years gone now.  i miss the stories of our life.  i just miss you.  i walk better now, but sometimes my balance fails me.  miss what might have been.  aches in a deep chamber of my heart where joy should be.  carefully picking the words--careful of my heart.  the journey hurts and takes a long time to stand back up.  lonely for you-for a normal day that seems insignificant-with no plans, just being together-doing really nothing important. 
miss your impact on who i am--and me on who you were and could be if all hadn't changed. 

but it did.  i am here in the present, but the hallway leading to where you were is always near me, i can sense it always so close.  i peer down it, sense the quietness, the dust of echos...hollow. 

the reality of it can truly crush me.  dangerous to go very often, will rob the wealth of today.  craziness in that thought--can't have both.  life is hard that way-hard to manage and heal and live.  challenge to my sore brain. 

can't seem to find a good ending to this, so will just end.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

quiet journey

just a heart missing you dear sarah c.
somedays it seems like you have been gone so very long.
then i get an email from a friend of yours or some kind of contact...a soft word spoken, a look that says more than words...
and I am stopped.
I quietly move through those next moments...aware of your absence...aware in a full way.
i know many miss you.  many think of you each day.
i am glad for that.
i love that you were deeply loved and remembered.
then i remember that it is for all times, all of this earth life.
i will never get to call you and tell you this person mentioned you, remembered you...
not till heaven, i guess. hard to imagine when i miss you.  it seems too far away to find and then i am thinking you are there...and that means you are far away...
my thoughts get smeared in me, they fragment, they don't make sense for awhile....
i am lost for a bit.  i know these places, been here many times.
and then i keep breathing and stay carefully in my place.  i hold on..and choose not to go too far down this lane.  it is a familiar place of ache.

too long for the living to miss the one you loved so well.
too long to keep making new memories that don't include you.
it is a war sometimes, a war that takes, doesn't give.

just miss you.  been too long.

Friday, February 03, 2012

has been a mild winter so far.
water has not even had ice on the edges much.
can smell a sense of spring in the air. 

am restless for this new land I feel I have crossed into.

trying to see with wide open eyes, clean ears for hearing, hands open to touch and receive.
smelling the air for new.
keeping my senses alert.