Tuesday, May 26, 2015



It’s official.We all LOVE NY!  Nikki and the kids joined me for a road trip. It was time for a break after all the stops and starts we’ve experienced since January 3rd. I can tell you with confidence that your children are not yet road warriors! As Nikki set the car in reverse to get us out of the driveway, Addy piped up with “are we there yet”. Five hours including four stops seemed an impossible goal at the time. After our first pit stop, Gammy decided to jump into the back seat and position herself between the two to provide bottle feeds, head rubs, binky reloads and DVD changes. It did bring the decibel sound of the crying down a bit and we arrived in one piece, along with a McDonald’s Happy Meal Pony toy (we had a weak moment and were trying to improve our pit stop time. NASCAR has nothing on us!) 

The change in geography did us good. We laughed. We laughed so much reminiscing about you. Feels so good to laugh—belly laugh, laugh till your cheeks hurt Laflamme laugh, Nikki’s storytelling is identical to yours. Truly felt like you were with us. Joy, Matthew. We actually reintroduced ourselves to joy and she welcomed us with open arms!

Addy did a lot of running around outside. So much for her to see; the barns, the pond, the acres of fields and all the beautiful spring flowers. Matty II is housed outside for the summer and has two blooms—one for Addy and another for Bear. I love watching Addy—the way each of her legs travel in a semi-circle in opposite directions as she runs. Did you hear her yelling “It’s AMAZING”? I thought I could hear you say "Mom, my kids are so special". We went to the park and the Bouncy Pillow in Accord and the Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie. Daily trips to Saunderskill were the highlight for Addy. Uncle Ryan makes her feel so special. He gives the same big, tight hugs full of love and affection that we grew so accustomed to getting from you. She told Nikki and me “he gives the best kisses”. She runs to him, he picks her up and snuggles kisses into her neck. She giggles and squirms and loves every minute. I’ve seen you give her the same kisses. They are the kisses I give her. She talks about you daily. The resilience of childrenfor now we can fill her heart. It’s the little bit later that I worry about.

Bear Bear charmed everyone with that big smile of his. Such a happy baby. He must have felt like he was in Crawling Boot Camp all week. Goal accomplished! Saturday Bob and I witnessed his crossing the finish line. It is pure bliss rocking that baby to sleep. I feel the last remnants of Matty in those moments. I don’t have a name for that emotion. It’s love, regret, gratefulness and longing all rolled into one. He loves his face and head stroked. He is so content to be sung to, enveloped in loving arms. Thank you for the gift of your children.

With all the good feelings that we experienced, the Universe decided to serve up the duality card on the ride home. Grief is giving me a much clearer picture of “what goes up must come down”. Nikki’s song, the song she chose for the two of you after your passing; the song that comes through as a sign from you to her so very often; Daddy’s song; the song that brings me to my knees and fills me with the deepest sadnessEd Sheeran’s Thinking Out Load played not once, but twice. The first time I heard the song I was with Nikki coming back from running errands. The lyrics and the melody fill every cell in my body with a deep, deep sorrow. My limbs feel weak. My head fills with a swooshing sound. I get so fatigued. I can’t help but cry this very primal cry that comes from the depths of my soul. My soul that is Earth bound, the soul that has temporarily forgotten its heavenly purpose for this lifetime—the soul that feeds the heart despair. I feel as though I can handle my grief. We had an exceptional 36 years together you and I. Gratefulness truly fills my heart. I just don’t know how to handle the grief that I feel for Nikki’s loss. The lyrics . . .

. . . And I can't sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks
And darling I will be loving you 'til we're 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23 
And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I'm thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
'Cause honey your soul can never grow old, it's evergreen
Baby your smile's forever in my mind and memory
I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it's all part of a plan . . .
Oh maybe we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are 

I’ve asked myself repeatedly over the last few days why I have such a visceral reaction to this song. It haunts me. It’s the inability to grow old together. The absolute shock of finding a love that completes you only to realize that it was so short lived. It’s the Memory when you really want the Forever. It’s the loss of something that was just so right. It’s the end of the physical part of love.  It’s the cherishing that completes the love. Wedding vows include the words to Love and to Cherish, but what do they really mean? When we cherish, we care deeply, we give a piece of ourselves to each other and that creates the ‘Us’. Our love becomes selfless. We are entwined in our love, we are one. We cherish each other daily by our words, our actions. A blessed marriage is one that keeps the act of cherishing at the forefront of the relationship. It’s the small considerations—the cup of tea in the morning, the “I love you” calls throughout the day, the daily picture of your babies sent to your cell to keep you connected. 

I know cherishing. You know cherishing. You lived with a wonderful example growing up. You learned how to cherish by watching Dad cherish me. You experienced how small simple acts keep the love alive and bind you as a couple; allows you to make a withdrawal when sailing in rough waters. It’s the loss of the acts of cherishing that I grieve for Nikki’s loss of you. I will continue to be cherished. Nikki will have the memory of being cherished. That is what I would like to fix. An unrealistic thought. Impossible. Out of my control but oh! So sad. Helpless, not something I wear very well. 

So Sweetheart, the joy is accompanied by the ache. This week—we’ve been given a glimpse of what our new normal looks like. 

I pray for your peace in Spirit. I ask that you bestow peace onto ours.
Love you so much—forever.



Sunday, May 10, 2015



My favorite Mother’s Day present from you, by far. You were 10 years old and made me breakfast in bed. The one thing I could never and still can’t stomach in life is runny egg whites. You just hopped into bed with me and with that pointy little chin, those big brown eyes and the greatest grin on your face you watched me eat every single last bite! The purest form of love from a child. You were so proud of your endeavor, a true gift from the heart and I just loved you so much for that wonderful effort. I can tell you now that it was the hardest breakfast to get down! My best Mother’s Day—when Dad surprise flew Jason home from NY to be with us. My worse Mother’s Day—this one. Another First. A difficult First. A double box of 3-ply with Aloe tissue First. I was caught off guard again. I see what I’m doing now. The event nears. I hold it at arms’ length. I don’t embrace it or get too close until it is almost here. I’m pushing the feelings of grief away and then a trigger sets me off and I have a complete meltdown. My trigger was a post written by Shelley  Ramsey “A Letter to Grieving Moms”. A beautiful post. An honest post. Every memory I did not want to face, faced me front and center. I relived your life from your birth to your death, your passing, your transitioning. I yearned to cradle your infant body, feel your tiny arms around my neck, watch you grow and flourish in your teen years, bite my nails and cross my fingers during your college years, see you blossom and grow into a fine man, a businessman as your work ethic and passion for the family business settled deeply into your bones. I marveled at the loyalty you had for your friends and the supportive circle that you developed. I rejoiced in the roles of husband and father that you accepted and wore so well and I longed to feel your adult arms around me. Not this year. Not next year. Just memories . . . and this is just Saturday, I had yet to experience the main event.

Awoke Sunday morning to a Facebook post from Nikki (yes, I know your feelings about social media but Matt it provides a place for comfort and support right now). The post was homage to you, your big heart, your ability to love and cherish and to show up late, always late after playing golf. There is sensitivity, love, humor and gratefulness in that post. A ‘solo’ Mom trying to find her way without her beloved partner. She has so much love in her heart and she is a special Mom that needs to be honored and celebrated today. You have left Addy and Bear in very good hands. Dad and I were brought to tears. The phone rings and it is Jason calling to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. Happy—not feeling it yet. I was blubbering when I answered and regretted that I was not able to be responsive to Jay. The sorrow that fills my heart for you seems to be forever fighting with the gratefulness that I feel for him. He understands. We talk about it. I don’t have guilt; I just want to find a way to give you each your due. Isn’t that what a Mother is always doing—looking to be fair among her children. Death does not feel fair but gratefulness does. It is healing. “In grief with hope”, my new mantra from Shelley Ramsey. And honey, that is how I am going to get through this journey.

Beth and Nikki, daughters in my heart, gave me the gift of words. Words that shook me back to reality, humbled me and a most precious gift that allows me to go back and read and reread whenever I need a pick-me-up or reality check. Yes, we did celebrate Mother’s Day because the source for celebration are my two beautiful, amazing men loved by two beautiful, amazing women and four beautiful grandchildren—beautiful inside and out. The inside so important. You all truly light up my life and consume me with gratefulness for the gift of Mothering this clan.

Your burgundy Henley was hugged and kissed a few extra times today. Your scent is still in the shirt. I feel like I am inhaling your spirit and your love when I hold it in my arms. I hold you in my heart Matthew. I hold your precious family and Jason’s as well. A very good Mother’s Day after all!

I pen this special meditation for us—a prayer if you will.


Broken love has four seasons

Winter’s gloom has a hold on me.

False faces hide the disappointment

. . . the grieving true me.

A vessel of hope shattered

Lost dreams, forgotten goals,

Shared interests, denial

Lay in pieces before me.

Emotions are dense, dull

I’m so tired, I need to find peace.

Dear Lord please help me.

I hear a voice that is gentle

As loving as can be.

“Dear Child

Acceptance and hope need only come from thee.

It is sad and it hurts.

Death stings like a bee.

Lost love won’t hurt forever.

Daily affirmations will help heal the injury.

Plant your seeds of strength and courage

A flower blooms in spring.

Replace your broken vessel

With a garden so alive, so colorful and free!

Wildflowers catch your spirit.

They will nurture your soul

. . . you’ll see.”

Spring is in the air – I can feel it.

My dance with hopelessness is ending

No need to listen to the song of fear.

I’ve planted my field with care and attention.

The sun, the rain and warm air are welcome.

I will let them feed me.

Looking forward to summer.

To feeling the breeze.

Nature is a soul teacher.

What lessons will she have for me?

Will she be silent and mysterious?

Are patience and trust the seeds she’ll sow for me?

Or will she be tenacious

Preparing me for the unexpected.

Willing me to stand on the two feet

The Universe has given me.

With fall comes the harvest

The bounty is spiritually full for me.

How blessed is life when you understand

The true gifts of Love, Hope and Charity.

I create a ceremonial meditation.

My mind is open,

My heart is free.

The future no longer frightening

We're on an adventure you and me.

Love you so muchforever.