It has never melted away…

Once upon a time on a cold snowy day four years ago, I got on my boots, hat, and gloves and walked outside in my back yard with a shovel. As an artist I was searching for an explanation to pieces of me I had lost. And I was going to create it using the frigid frozen snow on the outside to match the cold empty loss I felt on the inside…

My mother’s body died four years ago today, January 26, 2014 but her heart died April 28, 2012 when her sweetheart of sixty eight years went to heaven. I began lifting heavy mounds with a shovel, then on my hands and knees began packing the snow meditating into my creative process hoping to somehow connect.  My muscles strained from the weight of the frozen water. My body shivering. My breathing deep and rapid sent small clouds of steam that kept fogging and refogging my vision at each breath. The tall evergreens moved subtly in the wind and I could hear them whispering behind my back; I found myself looking up and around to see which was mocking me for being a grown-up “playing” in snow without a child.

Art explains without words.

It is a visual puzzle with clues and question marks spilling out to make some sort of sense of our world.

Most of the time we don’t know the message that our soul wants to surface–

but sometimes we do.

But it has to come out–somehow, someplace. 

The art piece began to take form as it turned into a snow sculpture of my recently passed mom, so very very happy holding hands with my dad, both dressed in angel-white snow but wearing actual pieces of their own clothing, I had saved.

photo 3

The piece began to take on a life of its own as my soul and their souls connected through art. My mother’s head tilted like it always did when she was photographed and her scarf fit over one ear like she always used to do, pulling it up to protect that one sensitive one from the cold.

photo 1(1)

My father wears that smirky-smile that goes straight more than up and finally looks complete with my mom next to his side. He was always so proud he got her! They both are waving like I remember so often when we would come and go from “our” home that we loved. When I finished the last of the accessories, placing mini-jam jar lids on for buttons, I stood back in silence. I was exhausted and chilled but feeling drips of sweat between my chest and under my arms–I also felt warm. The trees were silent. It was the three of us standing there on the planet waiting for something to happen. But nothing happened. So I gathered my shovel and walked inside.

I began to change out of my wet frozen clothes, put on a cup of peppermint tea, (my mother’s favorite) and get warm. As I began to do this, I missed the snow-people I had just placed a piece of my soul into. (This happens with artists and their creations.)

In the few minutes it took to change I ran to the window to make sure they were still there.

I needed them to still be there.

They were there…

What happened after this was quite extraordinary…

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When I looked out the window I noticed the shape surrounding the figures. While I was sculpting them up from the ground with tenderness and as I moved around gathering up snow, I had somehow surrounded my parents in a heart without knowing it. …Or they sent it to me. No matter, I could feel their love so expansive and genuine… They were still here not only in snow, but in spirit!


“How strange to build snow men of your parents who have died.”

But I am not embarrassed I created this.

It has been six and four years since they left for heaven

and I notice every single day.

They are always together and when I look at this I know it is true and it makes me happy.



Four years later I look back and see them…watching and loving us; still waving hello and never good-bye. This feeling has never melted even though in spring the snow did.

Hello back, mom and dad…I love you too—

So very glad you’re still here.


Creating a Ripple

Racking my brain…

My family is at the stage now,

of counting my sweet mother’s breaths…

But I live so far away I could be in mars. At least it feels like it!

I want to be with her for all the last breaths and hold her hand.

She has given me so much, I don’t want her to go.

My mother turns 89 the beginning of Oct.

I want to celebrate her life while she is still with us.


Then, I received an angel whisper.

An idea…create a ripple.

Every day for the month of September

leading up to her birthday on Oct. 1st

I am sending

all of her posterity

and brothers and sisters

a Fun Fact about her.

There are over 100 of us.

Everyone has LOVED it! 

Including my mother!

It allows me to do something for her

here on Mars.

It has allowed everyone to know facts about her

they never knew or remember back.

It has created a beautiful ripple

of her life which not only

encircles around her


encircles out

to all of us.

Here is a peek:

Grandma trusts all people!

At Ruth and Wade’s wedding reception Ruth told all of Wade’s friends where they were going to spend their wedding night, up in a little cabin in the canyons. That was a mistake! It was common in those days for friends to do a sneak attack on the new couple and knock on windows and yell silly comments. But Wade must have had a good friend who tipped him off. Wade got the last laugh when instead of going to the little cabin, he quickly changed the plans and went to his brother, Keith’s apartment. All his friends went to the canyons…but they weren’t there. Ruth wondered why they didn’t go to the canyons like they planned…

You can still have fun at the end of life….


Cancer’s score card added another tally. I am angry at Cancer. I hate it’s thievery with a vengeance!

I feel frightened as it steals yet

another innocent life.

I am sad.

Christmas time can be hectic and bothersome or

it can be quiet, soothing, and precious.

My friend’s life deserves the honor of the latter as I reflect on her goodness.

Today I play carols on low so I have to make an effort to really listen.

Today I wrap gifts slowly and think with gratitude about the person I am giving to, and smile that they are in my life.

Today I will bake and fill my home with soothing aromas of the season then eat comfort food and savor the taste.

Today I will hug my pillows before I fluff making the beds.

Today I will sit and look at my Christmas tree without any noise.

Today I will feed my forest family and take a walk no matter how frosty I feel, and smell the air, and thank God for the beauty of the earth right in front of my eyes.

Today I will listen to the dryer sound, sweep the floors and fold the socks and feel life in my home in the messes.

Tonight I will tuck my children in bed and lie awake and listen to their breathing.

Today I will place trust in my God who is in charge.

Today I will Believe

and hold tightly to Christmas…

in all its goodness and peace.

The Easter Chat

Sit close

my dear ones.

Please hear my words, even though I am tongue-tied

at what I am trying to express to you.

Many years ago, the Savior of the world

suffered and died for you, and me.

It makes my heart broken to think of it.

We celebrate it now, at the beginning of new life called SpringAt Easter.

But what does it all mean, really?

It is so hard to stop and think about it, and truly understand.

It is the most important moment of all existence!

Too bad we don’t really get it! 

Put simply, our Heavenly Father adores all of us so much but is so pure and special and holy that we cannot come back home to his presence unless someone who is like HIm and just as pure, takes all of our imperfections and somehow, miraculously transforms our ability to be able to return home and be with that loving Father in Heaven, once again.

Once again.


Does that mean we were once with Him before….

And somehow in that “before” place there was a plan which was carried through by this precious soul, named Jesus Christ?

That pure soul volunteered to experience every feeling, every problem, every sin, every torture, every illness, every bad choice, every single imperfection that has and will ever exist caused by the fall of Adam then be tortured for us, and then restore our chance by allowing us to have hope to live eternally. Then be Resurrected to show there is life after we die and we CAN live with Heavenly Father once again!

I know sweethearts.

It is hard for me to fully grasp the intensity of it, too.

Perhaps it is too hard.

But if someone saved your life or saved the life of someone you love. what is the best way to show your appreciation and respect for that person? To remember them always. And not only remember them but to try to be like them. And keep trying to learn more about them.

Let’s take it slowly and think of only today since it is the peaceful day after Jesus’ death.

Today is the middle moment, when the tears have been cried out after the agony of the Atonement and Crucifixion represented yesterday. Anger, as the ones who loved Him, must be pushed to a far away moment of grieving.

It is the time to be silent. The time to reflect on that life once inside that empty lifeless body which now has gone.

It is time to work.

It is the last time to  respectfully touch and gently clean and prepare that body similar to that time long ago, in a manger when HE first arrived.

It is the last time to kiss and caress, say expressions of affection and to shed a few more tears, to say good-bye…

and then

close the tomb.

Not realizing something WONDERFUL is brewing heavenward.

Today is the day when the spirit of the one who has gone on, lingers quietly around those He loves. His presence is felt in the quiet whispers of mourning, the silent ponderings staring into empty spaces of the soul, in embraces of comfort, in rest from emotional exhaustion.

The work is complete.

The burial is over.

It is time to return back to life and try to make sense of death once again.

To try to live life without someone who has changed your life forever…

And then

Easter morning


exactly in the same way

 every single morning opens

the day.

Wait, just one more time to visit the burial scene in the early morning to find comfort from the loss.

But wait…

Where is Jesus Christ?


He shows us HE lives.

The promise is complete.

We have HOPE for eternal life.

What else does this say?

Spiritual Death from the presence of God has been conquered

we can return to live eternally with him once again.

Don’t you see…

Death is not the end of all who die.

Our lives had a purpose long before and has long after this life is done.

We have a Father in Heaven who loves each of us

and waits for us to join him in the heavens!

Sit close my dear ones.

If there is one thing to discover

even though it is difficult to grasp.

Jesus Christ really did this.

And now what we do with this act

of the purest of all love,

is now

up to us!


The Last Christmas

Last year at this time everyone was bustling with the Christmas rush but I felt I was on a conveyor belt being moved by the push of the season, going through the motions but my head thinking of one thing. 

I remember a time so vividly holding my fresh new babies in my arms close to the lighted Christmas tree in the quiet moment of an evening feeling a swell of emotion knowing all the wonderful years of Christmas celebrations were ahead.

But what about the other thought. The thought that I was trying to push far from my mind but kept resurfacing. This would be my mother’s last Christmas.  The last Christmas! I remember rubbing her feeble hand, my heart breaking. NO! I don’t want it to be! This woman who lived the Christmas spirit every single day of her life. How awful to think she had to leave the world and not have Christmas ever again! This thought troubled me greatly.

But it came true. It was her last…

This Christmas I am squeezing on so tightly so it won’t go away like so many things in my life have done this past year. I have lived 2014 numb and heart broken but I am determined not to during Christmas time; for my husband and kids,…for Santa Claus… and for mom! It is my mother’s spirit I feel in everything I do, in everything I think of. I sometimes imagine she is standing next to me as I move along in a hurry trying to do all the things I expect of myself to do for the season.  I think she is trying to whisper to me to slow down and to enjoy what is most important; family.

But just recently, I know she whispered something new to me.

Something wonderful!

Something I take as my choicest Christmas gift.

“My Darling Girl!” I can hear the words pass my ears and travel deep inside my soul. “There is no such thing as a last Christmas! Christmas began in Heaven! Christmas is celebrated even grander in heaven than on earth.  The Angels sing! All creations celebrate this blessed event. A precious gift was given by our Father in Heaven to bless ALL of His children. Jesus Christ was born! That is why the earth feels holy at this time. That is the true miracle of Christmas. It is the memory of LOVE by our HEAVENLY FATHER!” 

I can hear her say, “Daddy and I are celebrating right along with you. Listen and feel with your heart, and you will know we are close by. Very very close…My big ‘ole arms are hugging you tight!”






The big huge hole

Journal Entry (6 weeks)

 Last night I was stricken once again with insomnia. Thoughts churned and churned and emotions came to the surface. I touched my mother’s “jammy” top which is now tucked under my pillow, instead of wearing it under my clothes. I thought about how everyone keeps saying nice things to me, “Oh your mom was almost 90, she lived a wonderful life.” or “Oh your parents are together once again.” or “It is so good your mother is not suffering any longer”  These are all great statements to hold on to and deflect the loss of death and spin it to a positive and then move on–for Pete’s sakes.


What doesn’t ever get said is that I am actually suffering the loss of an actual human being. A space once taken up on the earth that is no longer there. This human being was a physical presence in my life every single day!

I am now facing every single day as an ENTIRELY new experience without that person there. She is GONE!

She was there for 55 ½ years and 21 days and now she is gone…

The space that once held her on earth is empty.

She was my friend

besides being my mother.

She was my friend as I toddled through the halls of the yellow house, playing in the toy drawer under the oven and she would sing with me.

She was my friend when I colored in a coloring book on the bar as she chopped salad, or washed the dishes with that hand towel on her shoulder and we would talk of important things to a five year old.

She was my friend when we sat next to each other every night at the dinner table and I put my meat fat on her plate because I didn’t want it on mine.

She was my friend in high school when I began to menstruate, went out on dates, and cheered me on as a gagging song girl.

She was my friend when I was the only child home and spent a lot of hours with my mom and dad; even traveling together.

She was my friend while I vomited every pregnancy or when we sat on the floor as little ones crawled over our legs, played outside, or swam in the pool.

She was my friend when I’d call to vent about how tired I felt, how great something was, or just when I needed to be mothered.

She was my friend as I counted the very days to leave for summer and travel clear across country to see her and swing on her swing.

She was my friend even as I watched her grow older and slower and sicker and I wanted so much to take those things away from her.

 We listened to each other; we laughed, and cried together often. We shared millions of moments as friends do!

She was my dearest girlfriend.

And although she is happy someplace else,

I am feeling that huge empty space where she once stood on the earth that filled my life with a precious, trusting friend.

Yep, she’s happy. But do you know what—I am still sad.

I am lonely for her. I am still grieving for ME.

I am the one who wakes up every morning knowing she’s not there to talk to on the phone or come home to this summer and every summer from now on, or run to when I need her. Where do I go now?

I know she’s so happy to be with Dad. That is a nice comfort. I believe she is busy, she’s walking, she’s alive, she’s all good in heaven.

But I am still here—on the earth, in the same life, waking up each day being starkly reminded that my mom is not here anymore. My best friend is not here.

I will keep agreeing with all of you that she lived a wonderful life, that she is alright, and all is well—but do you know what—

right now,

I am not alright.

I am the one left now; left behind to face life without my life-time best friend.

I am feeling that loss every single moment of every single day.

One day mom explained to me how it felt when her own mother passed away—She said, “It created a huge hole in my heart which could never be filled.”

There it is….

My hole is deep and empty and although I will live my life seeking joy and thanksgiving, and stay busy every single second, I shall always always walk on earth, now, with this gaping hole right here in my heart because I don’t have my best friend and mom today to talk to, or come home to any other day I live here.

AND That is why I feel different than you!