I Want to Call My Mom: What is the Area Code in Heaven?


I want to call my mom. Better yet, I would like to have a cup of coffee with her and sit with her in the breakfast nook of our house on Maxwell (in Cheyenne).

I miss her. It is an ache I can not explain nor put into words. All I know is hearing her voice on this earth made everything okay. I did save phone messages from her that I replay often. But it isn’t the same.

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Arlington National Cemetery Arlington Virginia

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Backside of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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Front side of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I galloped into this area with typical Meg enthusiasm and shouted to a tourist with a camera, “Is this the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?”  He gave me a stern look and the universal shush signal with a finger over his lips. Suddenly, I realized this was a sacred place in terms of being silent.  Not sure if I described that well. But I knew suddenly that you are not supposed to make noise in this area. I guess coming right from my mom’s funeral/inurnment, I was in a noise making way since the funeral was a quiet exercise in introspection and reflection.

I took some photos  here and then walked back towards the path to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. I saw a rain print of a bird on the stone path. It rained heavily before my mom’s funeral as we sat in the Arlington National Cemetery parking lot. The rain stopped and the sun came out for my mom’s funeral. I almost expected to see a rainbow. Instead, I felt one in my heart. So many colors inside my soul, bright and buoyant.

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This is a stone in my neighborhood, far from Arlington. I pass it on my daily walk. It is located in an overgrown garden of a giant Southern house desperately in need of a paint job.  An old black lady stands on the porch with her broom and sweeps the dust off in summer. She waves to me and my son. The stone says, ” If tears could build a stairway and thoughts a memory lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.”

This line is from a longer poem:

If Tears Could Build a Stairway

If tears could build a stairway
and thoughts a memory lane
I’d walk right up to heaven
and bring you home again.

No Farewell words were spoken
No time to say good-bye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knows why.

My heart’s still active in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one can ever know.

But now I know you want us
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store.

Since you’ll never be forgotten
I pledge to you today
A hallowed place within my heart
Is where you’ll always stay.

– Author Unknown

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Sign near Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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In courtyard near the Columbarium at Arlington national Cemetery after my mom’s funeral.

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In front of my parents’ grave-site although it is not exactly a grave. I call it ash cubby).

When we drove into Arlington it was raining. We had to use umbrellas as we got out of the car. My nephew smoked a cigarette outside the car while we waited for the rain to pass. it was pouring, pellets dropping on our forest green jeep. We were parked in the lot for funerals. We were far from tourists. In drizzled on us after the hard rain passed. We went inside.

We followed the black government plated sedan to the funeral site.

The rest was a series of acute blurs that drift into memory thick — unannounced.

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I believe in angels; I have to.

This is my house not on Pinterest!


This is my house not on Pinterest!

Living room window. I love the late afternoon sun and how it makes the room light up with a soft pink glow.

Do you use Pinterest? Frankly, it annoys me. It is like a collection of what people like. I feel frustrated most of the time when I am on it. It makes me feel like I need to get busy cleaning or crafting or being inspirational.

My friend and I have thought about doing a Pinterest board of our messy homes. We are both moms to young children. At best, after my house has been thoroughly cleaned, it looks nothing like a Pinterest photo.

I guess I don’t like Pinterest because it induces so many feels of inadequacy in me. No thanks. I already am way too hard on myself as it is.
Anyway, it is a great place to get ideas. I always wonder who these people are that live the Pinterest life. Like who does their cleaning? Is it a maid? Housekeeper? Husband? And what motivates them to be so crafty? Are they distracting themselves from a real problem? Then I realize there is no way to really find out who is behind the pin that has me thinking all these deep thoughts because it is repinned so many times.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I am distracting myself from grief. I recently had a birthday and instead of being happy on my birthday, I was incredibly sad. It took me the whole day to pinpoint exactly why. It was because this past birthday was the first birthday without my mother. She passed away on Christmas Eve. The reality of her death and the fact that she is really gone has hit me hard this month.

We shared a birthday (her a birth day) for almost four decades. I miss her so much and there is so much I want to know about her. So many stories I kick myself for not recording or writing down that she told over and over and I barely listened to them because she told them to me so many times.

This photo was taken in 2003 on Christmas Eve. My father passed away in December of 2003. This photo was taken at my best friend's house.

This photo was taken in 2003 on Christmas Eve. My father passed away in December of 2003. This photo was taken at my best friend’s house.

I’ve been looking out my windows a lot lately wondering where she is. Where can I access her? People are so kind to me about my grief. Sypathetic. Some empathetic. I know in my mind I am not the only woman who has lost her mother. But I feel very isolated in my pain.

I am thinking about starting a Pinterest board on death. Yes, seriously. I often post my blog posts to StumbleUpon and I always wonder why there is isn’t a topic for grief or death. I guess it is something people don’t classify easily. I still can not classify what I am feeling.

I am reading books with the theme of loss and death in them. They give me comfort. I recently read “Still Point of the Turning World” by Emily Rapp. This is what I wrote on Good Reads about it:

I was fortunate to read an ARC of this book. This book was beautiful. The author is a Wyoming native so I enjoyed reading about references to my home state. Her son, Rowan had Tay-Sachs disease. He recently passed away. She has a popular blog (Little Seal) about her journey with her son.This book came into my hands shortly before my mother passed away. It was a serendipitous gift. It provided me such comfort as I often read it under the covers with a flashlight in my own cocoon of grief. Emily Rapp is a talented writer who is able to immerse the reader into her story without being overly sentimental or completely grief stricken. I recommend it highly. It is not just a book about loss, in fact, it is quite the opposite; it is a book about love and life.

I also just finished “The Long Goodbye: A Memoir” by Meghan O’Rourke.  I enjoyed this book. The author’s name is Meghan and my name is Megan; her mother died on Christmas day and my mother died Christmas Eve. I would recommend this book as well.

I am currently reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  I love this line in the book: “Just as I’d seemed to be doing okay after my mom died. Grief doesn’t have a face.”
I love this memoir. Cheryl Strayed makes writing a memoir look effortless. As a writer, I know it is not effortless, but a skill and a craft.

View from my living room of my porch

View from my living room of my porch

Art Is Created from Great Storms


I think I put too much pressure on myself that every blog post has to be written like an essay or written as creative nonfiction worthy of publication in a literary magazine.  I take myself way too serious sometimes.  I am currently dealing with the loss of my mother. I don’t really even know how to express the grief I am going through.

I have been posting photos and mini blog posts that reveal nothing.  Yet at the same time I want to share with the world what I am going through. I recently told a mom acquaintance at Mommy and Me Gymnastics that my mom died. This need to tell the world so they understand the fragile terrain I am walking on is overwhelming. I almost want to wear a sign around my neck that says, “Handle with care. My mother died.” The grief work I am doing is so intimate it is hard to express it in words. I have my mother’s ashes on my mantle and will drive them to Arlington Cemetery  in the coming months. From what I understand, it takes months to schedule a funeral at Arlington. My mom will be buried with my father’s ashes (Korean War Veteran) who passed away in 2003. Both of my parents passed away in December.  In the meantime, I have been lighting my Christmas lights that are intertwined with my favorite set of Christmas lights around fake green garland that snakes across the mantle in our family room. They look like sugary colored crystal balls.  There is a star that lights up that I have connected to the Christmas lights. Two Santas my mom gave me anchor both sides. In a way this lighted mantle is my memorial to her.

My February Memorial Mantle

My February Memorial Mantle

I did manage to take down the Christmas tree sometime in late January.  I took off all the ornaments and un-twirled the lights — my toddler helping me as I walked backwards around the tree. After taking down all the ornaments and the lights, I took a moment to look at the bare dried up tree. It was striking in its beauty — the absence of the decorations — the absence of my mother. I made a connection that there was beauty in looking at the bare tree — its bare beauty.

I have had many moments like this where a great calm overcomes me and I am left to marvel at the sensitive, fragile beauty of life. Then there are the moments of ocean deep sorrow.

This photo is from a recent trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

This photo is from a recent trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

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Footprints in the Sand
The Atlantic Ocean — Kill Devil Hills, NC

I will share this: I got down on my hands and knees (crying, of course) asking God to help me through this difficult time.  I have never actually got down on my hands and knees before in total surrender, although I have heard of people doing it. I realized this burden and sadness is too heavy for me to carry.  So I asked God to carry it for me.  My mother has not been buried yet. We are waiting to hear back from Arlington Cemetery when the funeral will be. My mother passed away on December 24, 2012.

The month of January seemed to move by slowly, yet I hardly remember it.  I did not move; I was stagnant with acute pain and a deep sadness. Where did the time go?  I have been grieving and getting by. I have enjoyed the time I have with my son as I am a stay-at-home mom.  My son is painting right now. He asked me, “Help me paint Mama.,” gently grabbing my left hand and looking at me with the love a child can express through a  simple gesture such as this. I said to him, holding his hand in my palm, “I am painting here while I type. I am painting with words.”  Now he is creating his watercolor masterpiece as I try to paint a picture of what I have been going through.

My son painting with watercolors

My son painting with watercolors

February photos 2012 003 February photos 2012 006My son and I made a gallery of his paintings. He told me where each painting should go and in what order. For now, I am taking it one day at a time and honoring the grief. I am ready to paint my own canvas and allow the colors to choose themselves. It is a process and art is always created from great storms.