The penny collector…..a year has passed

one cent

Good Morning, Dad….

It’s the one year mark today.  I can’t believe it’s been a year.  And I can’t believe I haven’t written in five months. I have so much to share with you.  But first, let me just tell you how much I miss you.  How not a day goes by that I don’t tell someone about you.  How I STILL pick up the phone to call you.  How much I miss your laugh.  How much I miss hearing about how many reps you did at the gym.  How much I miss having you as my cheerleader.  I miss all of those things.  Every Single Day.

And in the same breath as missing you (mainly because I don’t think I really take a breath without missing you), I think of all the things that have gone on in this past year, and I smile about so much.  Just as you would have wanted.

BUT FIRST, a story about the day after you died……

The day after you died, Danny and I were sorting through some of your things and found ourselves in the basement looking through boxes of paperwork (I’m not sure why you had check registers from 1979, btw,but you did).  As we moved all those boxes, we found more boxes behind them.  Inside of those hidden boxes were pennies.  We all knew you had a large penny collection.  But really, a large penny collection can mean so many things.  As it turns out, your collection was OUTRAGEOUS! You had 600,000 pennies, dad.  SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND. I mean, seriously.  That’s crazy. We knew those pennies couldn’t stick around any longer.  They had to go to the bank. Danny and I joked this was your last word about exercise to us. “Oh, here you go, kids……time to carry 3 TONS of pennies upstairs and to the car.  And then carry them again into the bank. Oh, and while you’re at it, you’ll have to unroll them all, because the bank doesn’t take rolled coins anymore.”  So Danny and I (mostly Danny) carried the pennies upstairs and to the car (we took four separate trips to many banks).  We didn’t realize the fact we had to unroll the pennies until we got to the bank.  So we stood at the change machine and set up shop.  We broke open the pennies into big containers and then dumped them into the machine.  Over and over and over again.  Until we broke the machine.  And then we went to a different bank.  Until we broke that machine.  And then we ended up at a bank in Alabama.  Where we broke that machine.  And then back to the original bank, because they fixed their machine.  And then we broke that one.  It was insane.  But all the while, YOU continued to connect with people.  Everyone was curious about our penny collection.  And so we told them about you.  And they walked away with the biggest smile on their faces.  And I gave little collections to kids that came in the bank.  When we broke the change machine at your home bank for the last time, I gave your favorite banker one of your lucky pennies to remember you by.  She loved you.  And me giving her that penny will come back around to more recent days (that’s foreshadowing, which Danny says I’m not very good at).  But really, the story of the penny I gave to the teller will become a story later in this letter to you.  Before I get to all that, let me just say that depositing 6K in pennies is a wild journey.  One of the best parts is that the change machine spit out the wheat back pennies, and those were always your favorites.  And mine, too.  So we’ve been able to share those wheat backs with your friends and family.  I even got a tattoo of one.  In your memory.  Every time I pick up my guitar to play, that penny is looking right at me, and I love it.  You’re with me.  Always.

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photo by Neilson Hubbard

Okay, back to present day……We’re having a baby

We’re pregnant, dad!  26 weeks and 1 day to be exact.  I want to tell you the story of all the fertility stuff in a letter one day, but it’s so long and involved, I can’t get into now.  I can’t believe this kid doesn’t get to meet you.  I can’t believe you don’t get to meet this kid.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that for months now.  There’s no wrapping my head around it though.  You’re going to be an amazing story to this child.  In the meantime, here’s a photo of all the medicine I took to have this baby.  OMG.

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Here’s all the medicine we injected into my little body to have this baby!

On making a new record….

I had anxiety about the one year anniversary of your dying.  I didn’t know what that day would look like.  So I decided to record a new album, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the recording process today.  I feel so close to you.  It’s a pretty confessional record.  In the vain of this blog, actually.  (you inspired me to do that, by the way).  I’ve never been so excited about a project.  You know why?  Because I have a producer that is rocking my world.  And I have musicians I’m meeting for the first time that are totally getting what this project means to me, and they’re playing their asses off.  And, most importantly, I have you with me.  Literally.  I have a little altar set up with your ashes and photos and a candle.  And I have this tattoo.  And the songs.  It’s not a hit record, by all means.  It’s beautiful though.  Raw.  I can’t wait to share it with you.  It’s for you, dad.  It’s for the rest of the world, too.  Because I think the rest of the world can connect with these songs in some way.  Thank you for inspiring me, dad. You’ve made me a more connected and thoughtful musician.

And isn’t it cool the way the life cycle is working?  I’m here making this new thing with a baby in the belly and you’re in this jar next to my work station.  The cycle of life.  It really is beautiful.

And so today I’m going to record with the amazing band I’m working with.  I’m probably going to laugh a lot.  And cry a bunch, too.

And back to the penny I gave your favorite banker……

Once your taxes and all that fun stuff were completed, it was time to distribute the money from your bank accounts as the final thing on your “to do” list.  So I wrote the checks from the account and distributed them to the family.  Although it wasn’t all that much money, it was still significant.  So I wrote the checks and everything was fine until I received notice of bouncing one of the checks.  I was STRESSED, because I had worked so hard to do everything correctly.  Lo and behold, the statement said we were one cent short in your account.  ONCE CENT.  ONE PENNY.  I laughed so hard.  So I called the bank and spoke with your favorite teller.  She remembered me giving her a lucky penny and immediately deposited it into your account.  And so it goes.  You continue to be helpful and make people laugh.

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Okay, it’s time to get to work in the studio.  Dad, I love you and miss you.  I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  I feel you with me now more than ever. I cannot thank you enough for being the brightest shining star….

I love you.

c.

Here’s some of the photos from your final days that still help me heal from all of this……

 

JOY

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Good morning, dad!

I woke up this morning, and before opening my eyes all the way, opened a book of Mary Oliver’s poetry.  She reminds me of the miracle of all that is life.  Of all that is present in my world….whether it’s dead or alive.  And then I put the book down and look at the view from my bed and I see the mountains and tattered prayer flags and snow and sage brush.  I am myself for the first time in eight months.  I sleep again.  I’m in Taos. You know how much I love it here.

So I woke up and read Mary Oliver and had a spectacular view of the mountains and prayer flags, and got out of bed and put the kettle on for tea.  It’s early.  Lucy is with me, and she’s frolicking in the snow.  I think she feels like herself for the first time in eight months, too.  Daily walks into the hills across the street from where I’m staying.  And just being with me.  She’s happy. And there’s nothing like being with a happy dog.

I’m spending three weeks here.  It’s a solo writers retreat. I’m surrounded by beauty.  My best friend and her husband live in the main house and I have a little apartment just next door.  The light is beautiful.  And when the sun starts on it’s way down, the glow on the mountains makes my heart jump.  And then it’s night time.  And the stars are unbelievable.  There’s no light pollution here.  Just stars. And the howling of the animals of the night.  And I go to sleep early.

I spend my days writing.  Mostly working on songs, but the occasional journal entry, too.  I’ve spent very little time on business stuff. Keeping my brain clear for the writing I want to do.  For the longest time, I’ve felt bad for not having new material.  I mean, it’s been years.  But now, I just remember who I am.  I’m pretty slow when it comes to writing songs.  I’m not one of those people that can wake up in the middle of a tour and whip out a song.  I’m not inspired on the road.  I’m tired and disconnected on the road.  Except during the actual show, when I come alive for a few hours.  But then the anxiety creeps in.  And I have to face the people.  It is my choice to put myself out there to the world.  To be vulnerable.  It’s who I am.  But with that comes a lot of chatting after a show, and while I so rarely feel anything but love toward people at any particular moment, it’s the end of the night, after talking with 5o or more people, that I feel like there’s nothing left to give.  I have nothing left for myself.  So I sit up in bed, anxious and missing home. It’s just the way the road is.  I think a lot of musicians feel it.  I think a lot of musicians probably don’t.  I also think it’s important to pay attention to this stuff and make life decisions based on how we spend the majority of our time.  This brings me to my next point….

Dad, I’ve decided, after April, to take most of 2016 off from the road.  I want to create and connect with home.  I want to have a garden and I want to sew and make my own dresses and have time with Miss Lucy into her old age.  I want to be more relaxed about all our fertility stuff.  I want to have a home life with Danny. I want to have quality time with people.  Not panicked time.  I want to ease back into my relationships and not feel like I’m rushed to see everyone at a particular time while I’m home.  I just want to be home.  And I want my friends to know I’m home.  So I can be helpful in their lives. I want to volunteer at hospice.  I want to take care of my body and eat food that I make for myself.  And sometimes, I want to sit on the couch and watch romantic comedies all day long.  And I want to record a new album.  I’m so excited to release new work to the world come 2017.

My heart is so open right now and I am full of joy.   When I’m in Taos, I’m taken back to when I was 25.  SO FREE! (and so broke).   But reminded of how lucky I am to have experienced such a strangely beautiful place for a few years.  And now I come back and feel grounded and inspired.  My friends here have made beautiful lives for themselves.  I’m in awe of the quality of their existence.  They chose to push through here.  To be survivalists until they became settled.  And then they became home owners and found partners and many of them had children and those children are the most adventurous kids I’ve ever met.  They spend their lives on the river and on skis and in the woods hunting rattle snakes, and camping and hiking.  They spend their lives like their parents do.  With a true connection to this earth.  It’s just what Mary Oliver talks about in her poems.  It fills me with gratitude and makes me thankful for everything I have been given in this life.  I’m so glad you were my dad.  I believe you looked at the world through miracle glasses.  And while a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss you so badly it hurts, there’s also not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for all the years we had together.

Tonight I will raise a glass of milk to you.  Because that’s what we do for you.  And it makes me smile so big it hurts.

I love you, dad. And I am healing.  Thank you for teaching me about joy.

A few photos from Taos:

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The Holidays, Hormones, and Husbands…

Good Morning, Dad….

I know….it’s been FOREVER since I wrote to you. I tried around Thanksgiving and simply couldn’t do it. I’m here now though…..sort of.

Thanksgiving was beautiful.  Rick was here.  Mom and Jeff were here.  Danny’s family and friends.  Thirty some folks in all.  I felt present and happy.  With that presence came missing you.  I’ll admit, I cried a few times.  But that’s okay. It’s all about the firsts.  I’ve already written about that.  But we’re still working our way through the year, and there’s still a lot of firsts to come.  And dad, everyone keeps saying you’re always with me, and while I sometimes THINK I feel you with me, I’m actually not really sure.  What does it feel like?  When are you here? Right now you feel more absent than present.  Maybe I’m just tired and unaware. Maybe it’s just a phase.  But really, maybe I’m just fucking exhausted.

On Sleeping

I took some sleep aids for a while to try and sleep, and while it seemed to “work”, I’m not sure it REALLY WORKED.  Like for real WORKED.  I think when I take a sleep aid, I just don’t remember not sleeping.  And that DOES have it’s benefits.  I don’t feel as anxious about not sleeping, which is good.  But I also don’t feel rested.  Ever.  I need to work on the sleep thing.  Do you know what the not sleeping is doing to me?  Well, let me start by saying I can’t remember how to sing certain things. It’s like I have something neurological going on.  I can’t remember certain words.  Like I kept calling our Thanksgiving puzzle (yep, we have one of those), a pillow. And then I was getting the colors of the puzzle confused.  I kept calling purple red. And yellow orange.  But back to the singing.  It’s my favorite thing in the world to do.  It’s second nature.  I sang before I talked. It’s what I do.  And now I can’t remember notes. I have to think about it.  I’ve never had to think about it.  It’s all muscle memory to me. The following other things happen when I don’t sleep: I have no patience, I blame the way I’m feeling on everything around me, I fight with my husband, I cry all the time, I feel anxious, I feel depressed, I don’t exercise, etc…… And then with all of these reactions to no sleep come more reactions…..it’s a never ending loop of being too exhausted to deal and then being anxious about it and then not sleeping again. I’m sure it’s a lot like being a new parent…..except I have no kid to show for it.  So there’s that……

HORMONES!

Just got going again on all that.  Right now I’m on the injections that remove all the estrogen from my system.  Do you know what that does?  It sends me into temporary menopause!!!!  SO FUN!!!!  And do you know what that does?  It makes me NOT SLEEP! AND, I get hot flashes! OMG! BRING IT ON! MORE!  And this is the time I clean out my system, so no sleep meds.  And I’m ramping down the caffeine.  And in one more week…..no wine.  I don’t drink much, but I like my morning cup of coffee and I like my wine with dinner.  Those are two things I like. Or love.  I love them so much.

On Being Married.

Being married is hard.  Being in any partnership is hard.  Danny is an amazing husband.  I know that.  I also know it’s difficult to recognize all the amazing things when I’m exhausted.  I can’t decide if what I might feel in a particular moment is an underlying issue that’s surfacing from lack of sleep, OR if I’m just a crazy nut lady that has no grasp on reality.  Maybe a mix of both?  Dad, I need guidance on how to be a better wife.  Danny and I are totally fine, by the way.  I just know I’m not easy to be with these days.  So I’m trying to figure my way through that.  I think I’m just afraid of everything right now.  And so all my reactions are fear based.  And that makes those reactions RIDICULOUS.  All part of the grieving process I suppose.  Like laying in bed at night thinking,”Why would he want to be with me right now?  I’m a crazy person.  I better get my shit together so he doesn’t leave me.  Wait, I’ll go start a fight with him.  Wait, that’s a horrible idea.  Okay, I’ll go start a fight.  THANK YOU FEAR!”

WWRD (what would Rich do)…..I think WWRD is a wonderful section for this letter blog, don’t you think, dad?

Dad, I know what you would do.  You would exercise.  SO, that’s what I’ve decided to do.  Starting today.  I’m going to run again.  I love running and somehow it’s become a stranger to me.  I’d like for me and running to be best friends again.  And I also would like running to love my knees. I’m also starting to practice yoga again.  Yoga changed my life (you already know that though).  The fact that I’m motivated to do either of those things in this moment is a miracle.  Thanks, dad.  Wait, that’s it….here you are….right with me…..in this moment…..telling me to exercise!  You’re so awesome!

On the Music Front….

I’m not going to talk with you about this yet.  But there’s big things a brewin’.

The Holidays

Mom and I put up a Christmas tree!  We did so on the first day of Hanukkah.  So we made a beautiful dinner on our new grill (thanks mom and Jeff!), lit the Christmas tree, lit the Menorah, made candles, listened to the “Hipster Christmas” music channel on Pandora, and exchanged gifts.  It’s was beautiful, dad. I need not tell you how much I miss you during the holiday season.  Remember how Rick and I would ALWAYS find our Christmas presents?  We tore the house apart looking for them. We were such brats.  You were so patient. I remember the year Rick got that robot that had an eight track player in it! What was that thing called????  Do you know what I’m going to miss?  Shopping with you on Christmas eve.  We were so good at that.  And honestly, those Christmas eve’s with you are some of the best memories of my life.  I loved how we sat and drank coffee first.  And we talked about our plan for the day.  And then we would execute the plan flawlessly.  And we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt.  Oh man, I miss you.

Random Thing:

This blog is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read: http://lizgalvao.tumblr.com/post/30461401480/lets-make-fun-of-anthropologie-furniture

Welp, it’s time to get back to my day.  I have a show tonight. And tomorrow night. And then Rick and the kids are coming! I talk about you all the time, dad.  I tell stories about you.  Anytime something happens that reminds me of you, I talk about it.  I swear if I heard your voice right now, I’d sleep like a baby again…..

I love you, dad.

 

 

On all the Firsts…….

Carrie on her birthday!

Good Morning, Dad!

Wellll, I returned from Europe six days ago and and leaving for another tour in about an hour.  I’ve been wanting to write to you for such a long time, but things have just been too busy.  But, oh my, you have been on my mind.

You know what?  Everyone keeps telling me about how hard the “firsts” are going to be, and, well, they’re RIGHT.  SO HARD.  I celebrated my birthday, and it was absolutely bitter sweet.  I mean, Danny took me for a beautiful adventure through the countryside of England…..what’s better than that?!?!?  You know what’s better?  Having Danny take me on that adventure AND hearing your voice sing me happy birthday, and getting a card in the mail from you that I know you took hours to pick out, and telling me how proud of me you are.  I guess I realized I no longer have that person that is ridiculously proud of me!  Only dad’s can be that proud. Plus, what’s a birthday without a dad?  Still a birthday, I know.  But it’s just not the same.  Nothing is ever the same.  But I really did think of you a lot.  And cried a lot.  And just let myself feel a little shitty, while at the same time laughing and celebrating with Danny.  It was a great day, and to be honest, it feels good to get these “firsts” over with.  Here’s a picture of how excited I was to visit this awesome castle:

Carrie on her birthday!
Carrie on her birthday!

And then there was yesterday.  Our one year wedding anniversary.  Let me just say, it was a fantastic day.  We had beautiful community time with our most amazing friends, went swimming, ate green chile stew and a bunch of other celebratory food, etc…On a side note, did you hear me?  We’ve been married ONE YEAR!!!!  In celebration of our paper anniversary, Danny and I attempted to make each other origami figures and failed at it, and then opened the special wedding box.  This box consists of a bunch of pieces of paper with everyone’s name that attended our special day.  Along with their name, it said how that person knows us.  All of those pieces of paper were strung up around our Huppah.  It brought such a sense of connectedness to our wedding day.  So we took all those papers down and put them in a box to open on our anniversary.  That’s what we did last night.  And it was AMAZING!  We loved it.  And then I got to the card that said,”Rich Elkin. Carrie’s Dad.”  Oh boy, dad.  Oh boy.  It took it out of me.  I am so thankful you were with us on our wedding day.  I’m so thankful you walked me down the isle.  I’m so thankful we got to dance and laugh and be silly.

Our paper anniversary
Our paper anniversary

*ON GRIEF*

Hmmmmm…..I think I put most everything that’s been going on in the above couple paragraphs.   I’ve been thinking a lot though, about how, since you died, I am so much more aware that I’m only a visitor to this planet.  And I love that feeling, actually.  It makes me live better.  It makes me live more presently and with more awareness.  I feel more connected.  I feel a deeper sense of purpose.  AND, I’m understanding that grief doesn’t only happen when someone dies.  Grief is all around us, in all different sorts of situations, but I think we sometimes forget that.  My friend is about to have a double mastectomy and I keep thinking about the grieving involved in such a thing.  Something so personal.  Something so about being a woman.  Wow.  I mean, really.  It just gets me thinking about it all.  About the loss of  relationships, about moving, about losing a job, about all the fertility stuff……it’s just crazy to think about how resilient we all are, right?  GO US!!!!!  WE ARE SO COOL!!!!!!! (we need to remind ourselves though).  OMG, dad, did you just LOVE that pep talk?  You TOTALLY would have given the same talk to me!

*ON TOURING*

Oh man, our European tour was so beautiful.  The shows, the countryside, our time together.  Danny is a beautiful soul and he played beautiful shows and there’s no better word than beautiful to describe everything I just described.  And now I’m back to Europe with Sam Baker…..TODAY!  I’m leaving TODAY!  AND, guess what? Mom’s coming with us.  How fun is that going to be?  We’ll be in the Netherlands for one week and England for a week.  Another thing you taught me……don’t wait to do shit……just do it.  So mom’s coming. YES!

Well, this is all I have time for.  I could write to you for hours…..

I miss you, dad.  So much.  That’s all there is to it.

Here’s some awesome tour photos…..

Danny on his birthday
Danny on his birthday

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You would LOVE Europe!

Koos is keeping us SO safe over here in the Netherlands.  Getting us safely place to place and being joyful company.

Good Morning, Dad!

It’s been a while since I’ve written. Life has been busy (in a good way)!  I woke up so many times throughout the night thinking of you, and realized upon waking this morning it’s September 16th. It’s been three months since we said goodbye to you.  I’ve been inspired to write to you many times during the past month, and every time I think about it, it feels too difficult.  But today, it feels right, so here goes…..

*ON GRIEF*

I received a book from a friend called “A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis and it is the most healing book to me.  I got all teary eyed from the very beginning.  He said. “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” This is so very true to me.  Really.  It is.  That’s exactly how it feels.  And I think this feeling starts to dissipate, but at the beginning, it’s unbearable.  I highly recommend this book to anyone that has lost someone close to them.  Thank you to my friend Carolyn for sending it to me.  I believe C.S. Lewis was doing what I’m trying to do, which is to find healing in the writing.  He was SO GOOD AT IT! Thank you Mister Lewis for the raw emotion you expressed so perfectly.  I am inspired by you.  Trying to figure out where God is in all of this is the hardest part for me.  It’s difficult not to think God is such an asshole sometimes.  And that sounds harsh, I know.  But who hasn’t felt that way before??  Where is GOD? Why did you die, dad? UGH!

*TOURING*

DAD! You would love it here.  I always wanted to bring you on tour with us….especially over seas, but never got around to it.  SO, I’ve decide not to waste such time anymore.  Mom will be coming back to Europe with me for my next tour here beginning on October 19th!  I keep gently reminding myself to make things happen NOW instead of making excuses of being too busy, or saying we can just do it next year, etc…..We just never know what will happen, right?  For now though, Danny and I are in the Netherlands playing beautiful shows.  You’ll be happy to know, when I first landed in Amsterdam, I thought to call you.  You always liked when I checked in straight away.  You always wanted to know I was okay.  And safe.  I am.  We have the most kind driver named Koos.  He’s getting us to our destinations safely.  Next up, we fly to the UK for a couple more weeks.  Then flying home on October 12th.  Then flying right back here on the 19th with Sam Baker (and with Mom!).  WHOAH WORLD!  It’s good to back out and singing.  It would make you happy, dad.  OH, and we’re here celebrating the release of Danny’s new album, so I’m just singing with him (which you know I love).  BUT, I had one festival performance of my own and I shared the song I wrote for you. Every time I sing that song, I can feel you with me.  It makes me want to sing it all day long.  I miss you and love when I feel you so close.

*YOUR CELEBRATION OF LIFE!*

WOW WOW WOW.  Thank you to everyone that helped me write your celebration of life ceremony.  I took pieces from all the suggestions y’all made, and it was a joyous occasion.  I hope you think so, dad.  I mean, how could it NOT be joyful?  It was all about you. And your best friends from childhood are just the most wonderful group of guys.  And, all the cousins were together in one place for the first time in probably 20 years!  You were always so good at bringing people together in life.  In death, you do the same.  Thank you for encouraging me to have life long friendships. AND, I think all the cousins will get together next year again. We will continue to have joyous occasions in your memory, dad.  On a side note, we scattered your ashes on second base of the little league field you grew up playing on and it was so great.

*ON HAVING A BABY*

Well, in three months, we lost two pregnancies and you, dad.  We’re hopeful though.  Found our new egg and sperm donors and are moving right along.  Jeeeeesh……….what a ride this has been.  Taking a break from all the hormones for another six or so weeks.  Will be back to normal just in time to start on all the hormones again!!!!!  I guess we have the choice to lose hope or have hope……so I’m sticking with having hope.  I’m sticking with believing it will happen.

*SENSE OF PURPOSE*

I’m still working on this one.  I’m excited to be home in November.  Excited to be still for a little while.  Excited for rest.  I believe this is when the light will shine on the thing it is I’m meant to be doing right now.  I know music is part of that, but I also think getting involved in helping others with grief is a part of it.  I’m not sure what that will look like.

I guess it’s time to hit the road here in he Netherlands.   I wish you were here with us, dad…..

I love you.

Our very amazing host in Elmshorn, Germany
Our very amazing host in Elmshorn, Germany.  Thank you Rolf!
Elmshorn, Germany - Rolf's beautiful getaway. He calls it Lomaloma.
Elmshorn, Germany – Rolf’s beautiful getaway. He calls it Lomaloma.
Danny meets our fearless driver's grand baby......OMG.....adorable
Danny meets our fearless driver’s grand baby……OMG…..adorable
Otis Gibbs playing in Eindhoven, The Netherlands at Meneer Frits.....one of our favorite venues.
Otis Gibbs playing in Eindhoven, The Netherlands at Meneer Frits…..one of our favorite venues.
our gracious canal boat tour guide before playing in Warmond, The Netherlands
our gracious canal boat tour guide before playing in Warmond, The Netherlands
Our canal boat trip in Leiden, The Netherlands....so amazing.
Our canal boat trip in Leiden, The Netherlands….so amazing.
Koos is keeping us SO safe over here in the Netherlands. Getting us safely place to place and being joyful company.
Koos is keeping us SO safe over here in the Netherlands. Getting us safely place to place and being joyful company.

Baby Quilts and planning your celebration of life……

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Good morning, dad!

I find myself writing to you in my darkest moments.  The moments that make no sense.  The moments I can’t stop crying. And really, I feel broken.  I’m waiting for the void to be filled up with all the wisdom you passed along, but right now, it’s just stocked full of tears. I am officially sad. There’s no other way to put it. I’m sure writing your celebration of life ceremony isn’t helping.  And you know what the hardest part is?  I keep wanting to call and ask you what I should say.  It’s so difficult to put you into words, because I’m not sure words exist to describe the amount of joy and goodness you added to the world.  So I’m stuck.  I keep meditating on it and I keep finding pennies on the ground…..so I know you’re with me through this.

SO, I’m going to reach out on this blog and ask folks for their help in writing your ceremony.  If anyone has suggested poems, for instance.  Or even a reading from the scripture (as long is it’s not too Jesusee……you asked that this shindig not be religious)….I’d love suggestions and thoughts from the folks reading this blog.  Please feel free to message me or even comment.  Your comments might help someone else at some point, too.  And that takes me to my next thought.

As I was cutting the fabric to make two baby quilts late last week, I got the call from the fertility clinic letting me know we’re not pregnant anymore.  So there’s that.  The quilts are gifts, so I wasn’t jumping the gun or anything.  I’ve learned my lesson on that front.  But it got me thinking about a lot of stuff……like WTF is going on?!?!?!?!  Did I do something bad when I was young and it’s coming back to me now?  Did I do something bad in a past life?????  Why is 2015 proving to be such a shit show? And I realized the reason for all of this.  And I believe it’s the reason for all bad things happening.  I am becoming a better person.  I am more empathetic.  I can help people more than I could before. I’m a better listener.  I don’t always know what to say, but all of these things that are happening make me so much more present.  I swear I can hear every heartbeat right now. It’s nearly unbearable, but it’s also making me stronger and more connected to the universe in a way I didn’t even think was possible.  And I’m looking forward to the day when things quiet down a bit.  But now is the time to embrace all of this with openness and pureness.  And once again, you continue to teach me, dad.  And what a beautiful gift that is.  What a beautiful gift life is.

In a nut shell, here’s the scoop:

  1. I’m writing your celebration of life ceremony and would love to hear from the folks reading this blog to help me with poems, scripture, stories about you, etc…
  2. We had another failure on the fertility front and it sucks.
  3. I’m making baby quilts for my awesome friends that are having babies.
  4. You continue to teach me so many things, dad,  and I’m thankful.
  5. AND, danny and I got a new mattress and I love it and I still don’t sleep, but I still love it (that’s just a side note….I didn’t mention that in the body of this message, but it’s a nice thing to celebrate!)

It’s been about six weeks since you passed. You already know that, of course.  I keep trying to not keep track of that part of things.  It doesn’t really matter how long you’ve been gone, I guess.  The fact is, you’re gone and I miss you and I will always miss you and I’m so sorry you got sick, dad.

I love you.

c

p.s. Thank you for always letting me scream madonna songs at the top of my lungs.  And not just me, actually.  Thank you for letting me and all my best friends scream songs at the top of our lungs.  I wouldn’t be a singer had you not allowed that.  And my friends wouldn’t be patient mothers.  So thanks.

National Chicken Wing Day

Good Morning, Dad!

I had all intentions of writing yesterday, but it was national chicken wing day, and I was so busy being excited about my wing dinner, I forgot to write.  You know how much I love wings, so I’m sure you understand.

All is settling down here, dad.  I’m feeling a lot better.  I look at photos of you each night before bed, and I put a tiny bit of your ashes in a locket that I wear all the time.  It rests on my heart chakra….right where you belong.

I was sad for you to miss national chicken wing day, but I’m not sad for you to be missing most other news.  Jeeeesh.  The killing of Cecil the Lion is all I can bare.  Then add Donald Trump to it, and, well, the world feels terrible. I feel like I can write the news each day before things even happen.  Some awful shooting, some horrible presidential candidates (I won’t name them here, but really, people can fill in their own blanks.  Being that you were apolitical, I won’t get all preachy when I’m writing to you.  You heard plenty of my opinions when you were alive, and since I’m a hippy, free spirited folk singer, people probably already know which way I lean).  Any who…..the news.  You always hated the news. I know there’s probably lots of good news, too.  I wish it was talked about more.  I just don’t care what mega stars are getting divorced.  Seriously.  Who gives a shit? Tell me who’s doing good in the world. Help me do good in the world.  And on that note…..

On the Music front…..one of my main struggles since you passed is understanding sense of purpose in my musical life.  I mean seriously.  I spend most of my time on the road, away from home, away from the people I love, away from miss Lucy the dog, away from having the garden I can’t have because I’m away, away from the chickens I also can’t have because I’m away, alway from being able to help a neighbor, away from being able to volunteer…….I can go on forever.  What I do on the road seems so trivial compared to an existence I can have at home, BUHHHHT  just when I was about to throw in the towel and figure out how to be home all the time, I received the most beautiful e-mail from a woman named Paula.  I don’t know her, but she was at a show of mine this past year, and the letter she sent reminded me that music can be so healing. I don’t normally share stuff like this, because bragging isn’t my way in the world, and this feels a little like that, but for the purpose of explaining this to you, I’ll just share one little quote from her extremely thoughtful message.  She said, “So, you and your art have traveled with me from despair to tranquil happiness. Your voice – shit, your magnificent pipes, have been my soundtrack to healing. ” And just like that, I’m ready to play more shows (that barely anyone attends), because you just never know, dad.  You really never know who might be there and who might need to hear that show in that specific moment in time. Life is so awesome like that!  And although my plan is to play  less and be home more, I’m actually excited to write again and record a new album, which you would have worn out on your boom box.  You had a boom box! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I do want to thank Paula for her message.  I hope I can explain to her how much the timing of it matters in my life.  Thank you for your honesty, Paula.  And dad, you should watch over her. She’s good peeps. Oh, and I’m singing with Danny at Strange Brew in Austin this Sunday.  You never went there, but you would have liked it a lot.

On the fertility front, Danny and I are rockin’ it.  Progesterone shots in the ass that are mostly fine, but I sometimes have moments that make little to no sense at all.  Example…….I was in a very adorable little shop in Charlottesville the other day and I just looked at Danny and said, “Everything in here is so beautiful.” And I started crying.  Right in front of the pottery and the post cards.  Crying. Tears running down my face.  Danny is so cute in those moments. He makes the perfect amount of fun of me and gives me a hug and shuffles me out the door.  Dad, he’s taking real good care of me (although he’s down to the zero nicotine on his e-cig, and between that and my hormones, we’re two crazy people). BUT YAHOO FOR DANNY!  You were never addicted to anything, but let me tell you, it is nearly impossible to quit.  You’d be so proud of him.

On the crafting/home DIY front, I finished painting the little rental unit and  decoupaged the light switch covers.  I also took some photos.  See:

light switch covers
decoupaged light switch covers
Re-finished white cabinet
Re-finished white cabinet

I think that’s all for today.  Life is good.  I’m easing back into this universe at my own pace and I still have moments of such sadness, but they feel different now.  I don’t feel as panicked. And I’m sleeping a little better.  And I saw you in my dreams for the first time last night and it was awesome. Thanks for showing up.  You were always good at that.

I love you and miss you, dad.  And I’m always crying by the end of writing to you.  I hope no one ate your angel wings on National wing day…….

xo.

c.

p.s. Here’s a little photo series of you and Austin the day before you died.  This is how amazing you were (and SO FUNNY!):

austin dad 1 austin dad 2 austin dad 3