Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Daddy

My father passed on November 11.  God that was an awful day.  Hearing/reading the words that my father was dead.  I was driving to work when I heard the news.  I thought I could go on with my scheduled day without issue.  I guess that was the part of me that wasn't really willing to process it.  Just go to work and check in later in the day with the family to make sure everyone is okay.  I really wanted and needed my mom at that moment, so I called her to let her know.  I didn't expect her to breakdown as much as she did.  I expected her sweetness and love and compassion, but not her heartache.  I believe that was the point I talked to each of my siblings.  Each of them feeling the weight of the very sudden absence of our dad.

I spent the next week receiving love and condolences and flowers and more love and a multitude of stories about who my father was to people.  How he affected their lives, how he helped shape who they were how he made them laugh how he supported them through so much of their journey. It was beautiful.  It was a week filled with mourning and pride.  

That week ended with a memorial that my sister Bertha  did an amazing job pulling together. We both unfortunately missed our father's funeral in Zimbabwe.  My mother came with me to the memorial in Ohio.  I thought it would be good for her to make her peace.   See my parents had not seen each other in at least 30 years, so I was nervous and anxious about how she would do at the memorial.  I didn't realize how much I would need her during that time.  

See, during the memorial and actually during the prior week I realized how alone I was.  I knew very few people at my own father's memorial.  I felt completely out of place.  Almost guilty as I sat with my mom.  I held her hand for dear life.  I had to get up to speak and be vulnerable in front of a group of people whom loved and respected my father.  A group of people who knew my siblings well, but did not know me.  My mother was my comfort and the one whose eyes I could look into as I stood behind that podium sharing my story of my dad.  My acknowledgement of our existence together.    

I grew up with my mom in the US and my siblings grew up with dad and my step mom in Zim.  I really just started to get to really know my dad over the last twelve or so years.  Getting to know who  he was.  What he thought was important. How he felt about me. How much he loved his grandkids. Our relationship was new.  I finally had my dad in my life.  

On social media, or phone calls from multiple relatives and family friends to the memorial...It was my painful reality.  I wanted to share my story online and post pictures of my mom and dad.  I had not been an integral part of the majority of my father's life.  For the longest time my father existed to me in my heart and mind and a few old pictures.  I grew up wishing and hoping and praying that one day we would be reunited.  I knew he loved me,  I just couldn't be with him.  I was his American daughter.  

A week after the memorial in Ohio, I went to Zimbabwe with my son.  It was a time to memorialize my father at home.  It was my very first time in my father's home.  His wife, my stepmother, was and has been the most accepting and loving step mother to me.  She welcomed me with open arms.  As I walked in the door and took in the space the once housed my father, my heart broke a little more.  I wasn't a part of it.   I didn't get to grow up in this house.  I walked around taking it all in.  Wishing for my dad to be there.  My sister and brother had been there for the last couple of weeks.  They were handling the difficult tasks that come with the passing of a parent.  They were impressive.  That week I met a large amount of family.  I had seen pictures of some and had random phone conversations with others...this was the first time I was meeting uncles and aunties and cousins face to face.  I was again made painfully aware of how much of my father's life I had not actively been a part of.    Please don't get me wrong, I LOVE my new found family. I love understanding myself more because of my family.  I love them all.  It's because of how they were toward me that made my heart break more.   I wanted my mom so much.  She was my safety.   I could put my head in her lap and cry myself to sleep.  I could talk to her about what our time was like with my father.  I could fully embrace my story.

My father was a great man.  I wish I had had more time with him.  I wish that I had had an opportunity to see Zimbabwe through his eyes.  I'm glad that I consistently heard how much he loved me.  


I miss my father...








Saturday, January 4, 2014

I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUCE THE BIRTH OF...

I started this blog entry a good four or so months ago.  I got as far as the title of this blog entry and the words below in red.  I sat for a few hours just stuck and not able to move past the word like.  How ironic, I finally publish a book, but I had writers block and couldn't write about it.

I woke up with this indescribable feeling in the pit of my belly.  
It wasn't illness or pain or even butterflies...And not the anxious excited butterflies, more like

Today is a new day.  Today I can share a little more about my book.  About my project, that took me an extremely long time to complete, BUT I FINALLY FINALLY DID IT! This was a passion project that wouldn't leave me alone.  

So why this project?  I am a mother who realized I felt like my own story as a mother was not relevant. Having conversations with other mothers made me realize I wasn't alone in my feelings.  Eight years, multiple revisions, ridiculous amounts of fear, a multitude of supporters, and twelve amazing stories later...I have published a book.

Getting women to focus on themselves is not easy, getting mothers to do the same is nearly an impossible task.  I had twelve mothers, including myself write a story about motherhood.  The stories ranged from birth and international adoption to the simple joys of being a parent.  
This work is something I am so proud of.  So incredibly proud of.  These women who were so brave, open and raw enough to share such powerful stories trusted me to do something positive with their stories.  Going into this project, I don't think I realized how important this work was.  

A majority of the mothers who participated in this project let me know after how great it felt to write their stories.  How much writing their own story made them realize how relevant they were.  When they finally allowed themselves to be self-centered for a moment, they felt really great about their stories-about themselves.  

The feedback that I have received from this book is beyond anything I could have imagined.   

A few testimonials -  "Reading Mother's Milk has helped me heal"/ "I have a new understanding mother!"/"I don't feel alone in my story anymore."  

I had started to realize that this work was/is so important and was confused why God gave it to me to create and produce.  When I look back on it, I realize that God gave me this project to heal my own heart.  Help me come to terms with my own story.  Be comfortable using my own voice.  

Although I held the book in my hand, I still couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it was complete. Fast forward about four months later (now), I am finally able to write about it. Today, I was able to let you know in my blog that Mother's Milk is an amazing book that I am responsible for birthing.  Using my author voice. Crazy!   

So please support this beautiful work.  Part of the proceeds go to help orphans in Zimbabwe.

And so it is...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

ANOTHER DAY INTO 2014

One day at a time is how life should be taken.  One moment at a time is actually what gets me through. Today was another day into the new year.  Sometimes the ending/beginning of a year can feel like a ton of pressure.  You either have to get that last bit of paperwork done before the 31st, finally complete your list of goals, get your new year goal list done, start your goals/resolutions/live up to expectations that you've set for yourself in your mind because you think that is what you are supposed to do and on and on and on and on and on....PRESSURE!

One moment helps me not feel so much of that pressure.  That pressure is what is causing me to feel the way I feel right now...weighted down and foggy.  Seeing glimmers of light on occasion and having moments that feel like i'm floating on a cloud...but then my reality sets in and I fall through the cloud and land on what feels like a field of light bulbs.  One moment at a time.  That's what's working right now.

This is my glimmer of light, this writing.  Finally publishing my book was another glimmer of light (i'll get into the more in another blog entry), but you can order it here: http://mothersmilkworld.wix.com/mothersmilkworld.

Making it one moment at a time.

Breathing...




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY 2014...

Hi everyone!
It's been forever, I know.  Extreme writers block and maybe life lobbing a whole lotta lemons my way. So here I am icing my bruises from those lemons.  Here's the thing, 2013 has brought a ton a beautiful/powerful "OMG" moments that have helped me realize some of my own strengths and potential.  It's just that sometimes its REALLY hard to celebrate life when someone you love is struggling through it.  It's hard to enjoy my life when someone I love has passed away.  The one who struggling is my mother and the one who has passed on is my father.  The people who are responsible for my existence.  My heart is struggling to feel really good and whole again.

I am grateful for my son, because he gives me the motivation I need to get up and function through these challenging times.  I am blessed to have family and friends because this road would be even more intense.  I will breathe through it all and reflect on the great moments.

That is all I have for now.  This is the most i've written in a long time.  I know it's not much, but it's healing.

Cheers to 2014 being about more writing, loving, traveling and surprising self realizations!