Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Wishes

I've always wanted to be present when TP graduated from college, got married, and was pregnant and gave birth (making me a Nana!).

These wishes/dreams/hopes will now never become a reality.

My mom died before she could share those events with me.

I'm alive, but I can't share those events with my daughter through her own choices.

Does she even realize the feelings of loss I am going through? Does she even care?

I love you, babe. I pray for your future - for your safety and health and stability and for the welfare of the baby.

God bless you, TP, and keep you safe within His graces.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fond and Difficult and Bittersweet Farewells

My husband's folks leave in the morning. We've had such an enjoyable time with them. They are wonderful people, and great parents and grandparents.

Today was a special day for them, as it was Grandparents' day at DQ's school, so there was a continental breakfast, followed by the jazz and concert band concerts, and then a Mass. Afterwards, they took DQ out to lunch at her *favorite* restaurant, and then took her shopping for a graduation gift. Tonight, we grilled chicken outdoors, and spent the rest of the time talking, laughing, playing cards, and praying. It will be difficult to say farewell tomorrow, as it won't be until September until we see them again.

Tomorrow, I plan to get some paperwork done and phone calls for legal advice. I have to finally clean out the bedroom which housed our eldest daughter and get stuff packed up and placed out in the pole barn so that the room can be painted and used for another guest room/study. I've been thinking about rearranging it a little so that it can be my study - it would be a pretty room in which to do my writing, which is going to be taking up more of my time now. So, it will be another difficult farewell tomorrow, as that bedrooms' purpose ended way to soon, and the many memories within its' four walls still echo and pull on my heartstrings.

Tomorrow, I place down the money for the acceptance fee at OSU for DQ - and she received quite a nice scholarship from them!!!! And even though she has about 5 more weeks before she graduates, I am already in the process of saying farewell to her childhood and hello to her adulthood with such mixed emotions. She's going to go far - with her writing talent and her her desire to make a difference in this world! It is exciting to watch her grow up into such a kind and generous and sensitive young lady who has so much to offer in many different ways.

So, mixed emotions prevail once again. But that is what life is all about. You embrace the sadness with the joys, and somehow you hold your head high and praise God for all that He has given to you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

On April 29, 1908, my dad was born. He would have been 101 years old this year. He died after he had just barely turned 80, just 1 day shy of my 34th birthday, on May 9, 1988. He's been gone almost 21 years.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I miss you lots. I wish you would have had the chance to know my girls - you would have loved both of them and spoiled them rotten. It meant the world to me how much you loved my husband - you saw in him all those wonderful qualities which make a decent human being. You saw that he treated me with respect - and you wouldn't have had it any other way. In fact, you wouldn't have let him marry me if there was even an ounce of disrespect evident within him. You saw that he was on his way to being a good provider for me and our future family - and you were proud of his efforts to achieve those goals, and it made you rest easier knowing your baby girl would be well taken care of (not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well). You saw the he was kind and tender towards me, and would never harm me physically or with emotionally or verbally. You TRUSTED him to take care of your most precious baby girl. So, when my guy got down on his knees and asked you for your blessing to marry me, there were tears in your eyes when you said "yes" because you knew I had chosen well. You knew that this guy would put me first, no matter what, and that he would never be selfish or cruel or manipulative or threatening. And, you were at peace with our marriage. You said on our wedding day that it was one of the happiest days of your life. You gave us that most wonderful gift of all - your approval and your confidence in our relationship together, which has lasted for almost 34 years.

Thank you, Dad, for all the things you gave to me. And thanks for the sacrifices you made for your family, and for the community as a firefighter. I miss you, I wish you were still here, and I love you. I especially miss that song you used to sing to me which you made up especially for me, and which I sang to my girls right before bedtime "she's my baby, baby girl - I love my baby, baby girl." You sang that to me one last time right before you died, when I was holding my newborn baby in my arms. We wept as you sang it to me and to her, as you and I knew it would be the last time I would hear it coming from your lips. Those words are embedded in my heart and soul, and hopefully, they will remain forever in my kids' memories.

Say "hi" to mom for me! Someday, we shall all be together again.

Sacred Loss

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. . . they are the messengers of unspeakable love." ~Washington Irving

Sunday, April 26, 2009


"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." ~Renoir

I'm grateful for the beauty in my life right now - my family, my friends, and my faith in God. The pain will pass, but the others will remain true and constant to me, never letting me down, never abandoning me, and always loving me.

We're having a wonderful time with my husband's parents. DQ made a great dinner, and we went to our favorite home-made ice cream place afterwards. We're doing some landscaping around the house. Danielle is starting her new job today! Afterwards, the "women" are going shopping - DQ needs some accessories for prom and Nana needs to pick up a few things for grandids' birthdays and graduations which are coming up - while the guys play golf. Tonight we'll play cards. This morning was spent on the screened in porch, talking and reminiscing about "old times", sharing memories and hopes for the future.

Thank you, God, for all that you have given to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eventful Week

Well, it's been an eventful week. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say I'm exhausted physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Tomorrow, my husband's parents are coming for a 5 day visit, which will be lots of fun. The house isn't quite ready for them, but it looks good enough. DQ is going to be quite the "chef" over the weekend.

My business is booming, thanks to two new associates I hired. Now, I'm looking for a billing clerk/receptionist, and it shouldn't be too hard to find onw.

Please keep my family in your prayers. We shall prevail, but we certainly could use some strength and comfort right now. Thank you.

Friday, April 17, 2009


This is dedicated to Ruth, my best friend, who died 13 years ago on April 20th. This was her favorite song when we used to "hang out" together in college.

Ruth was such a special lady, warm and loving, sweet and gentle. She was a minister's daughter, and we were total opposites, but we loved each other dearly.

I've never, ever been able to find another "best friend." She's irreplaceable. So, we are indeed, BFF.

Ruth - thank you for all that you brought to my life. I miss you, and I look forward to the day when we meet again, in heaven. I love you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break Continues

Today was spent working on paperwork (ugh), and writing my CWO column for May (fun). DQ is helping me with spring housecleaning this week, and today her chore was to clean out the china cabinet. This evening, I went to Eucharistic Adoration - what a beautiful hour it was, spent in the quiet church which smelled heavenly from all of the Easter flowers. My prayers were simple ones, and as always, asking for God's will to be done.

Tomorrow I have oral surgery at 10:00, where the doctor is removing a melanotic patch from the roof of my mouth. A biopsy needs to be done, and I won't get the results for a week (I detest waiting). He's virtually assured me it's not cancerous - but I still get a little anxious with this kind of thing. After that, I have another doctor's appointment to make sure my meds are doing what they're supposed to be doing. And then - it's off to the mall to do some prom-dress shopping! DQ already has the dress chosen off the website - now, let's just hope it's in the store. Then, we are going to the bookstore and to Home Depot and a couple of other places before going out to dinner. I want to go to Red Robin, but we may end up at COSI (I've never been there, so I don't have a clue as to what their food is like). Hopefully, the roof of my mouth won't be too tender from the surgery, or we may end up at Dairy Queen where I can just have a malt!

Then, Thursday and Friday will be spent on spring housecleaning. We're preparing for my husband's parents visit here in 10 days, plus DQ's graduation in about 6 weeks - so there is quite a bit to do around here. I sure could use an extra pair of hands!

The good news is that my husband still has his job - we breathed a huge sigh of relief after receiving word from his boss. This economy is so shaky. I can honestly say that my business is still doing well, and I pray for its' continued stability.

So, I'm off to bed. I may not write for awhile as I'll be quite busy for the next week or so - but I'll try to post a picture of DQ's prom dress when I can. God bless!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A year ago. . .

A year ago, TP moved out. To this day, I still can't believe it. This year has had its' ups and down. And I still miss her so incredibly much.

She has chosen a difficult path.

She knows we will welcome her back home, with open arms and a loving embrace.

She knows I still cry for her every night, and I still keep her in my prayers.

I light a candle for her twice a week at church, for her to find her way home.

This is the last post about TP until she comes home again. I just can't bear to write anymore about how she has been torn from my life.

TP - I love you. I miss you. You will always be my daughter, no matter what; and I will always be your momma.

I'll be waiting for your phone call. . . or for you to magically appear at my door someday. . .

Until we meet again, babe.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

A joyous and blessed Easter to you and yours.

Our plans are quite simple. Mass at 11:00 at DQ'S godfather's church (he's a priest), and then out to brunch with him and his family. There will be an empty chair for the first time this Easter, a visible reminder of TP's absence. I miss her so much, and I pray for her health and safety and her ultimate return home to us and to her Lord. I hope all of you have a special time with your families! God bless!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break

Today was our first day of spring break. DQ slept in while I ran some errands, then we had to go to Westerville for a doctor's appointment, then back home to go to the 3:00 service for Good Friday. Tonight, my hubby and I relaxed - the house was quiet and peaceful with just the 5 of us - the two humans and the 3 bichons! DQ went out to dinner and a movie with a friend.

The good news is that DQ got a job as a server at a Christian assisted living facility! She's very excited about it, and it's in a great environment. The next few weeks will be busy for us as we prepare for the many events which will lead up to her graduation. Next week, we are taking a day to go prom-dress shopping - making a full day of it with shopping and lunch. Fun! It's kind of bittersweet as this will be the last time I get to do this with my girls, but they are moving into different stages of their lives. Then, in 2 weeks, Nana and Papa will be here for five days, and will go to Grandparent's Day at DQ's school. Of course, there will be plenty of golfing, eating, shopping, and playing cards. We love it when they come to visit us! After that, DQ will be involved with the play at school, and we have to get out her invitations to the open house after her graduation. She graduates on May 30th, so I have to hustle and get her pictures together for her display table, and get the house totally cleaned from top to bottom! Overall, she's doing VERY well - she's happy, healthy, and can't wait to get to college!

I'm expanding my private practice - it won't be "private" anymore. I am adding two contract people to help with my caseload - I have people virtually on waiting lists right now, or I have to send them elsewhere for treatment, and I don't like to do that. I have built up a strong and excellent reputation in my community over the past 20 years - and I didn't want to jeapordize that by turning people away, so thus the decision to expand. I am going to have an "open house" in May, where I introduce my new employees to the professional community and the community at large. I was going to hire TP as my receptionist, but unfortunately, she is no longer interested in that position due to her decision to stay in Michigan. So, I plan to talk to a couple of people tomorrow and then make a decision of who to hire by next week.

I was going to rearrange the basement into a small apartment for TP, but I won't be needing to do that anymore. Instead, I think I shall get rid of the old furniture down there, and decide if we want to put a pool table down there, or make it into a workroom, or just get some new furniture and keep it as a tv room.

Life goes on. It still has a huge hole in it, but it's time to focus on the good things still left in my life - my husband, my other daughter, my faith, and my vocation. But I still miss TP incredibly. . .

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

I am so grateful for the precious gifts of Good Friday.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Today was the day

Today was the day that you were going to be headed home. Last night was going to be your last night at your job, and you were going to leave the empty promises and the arguing and the drinking and the emotional/verbal abuse and stress behind, and come home where you could live without stress (which is so important for you at this stage of the game). But, somewhere along the line, people gave you advice to "work things out", to give him "one more chance"; or more promises were made and you believed him yet again.

You were shocked when I said that if your dad EVER called me those disgusting and vile names that your boyfirend calls you, that I would be out the front door in a heartbeat, never to return. You said "Even if you LOVED him?" And my reply at that time didn't cover everything I should have said. I replied that I would leave him because I have self-respect for myself and wouldn't stand for somebody to treat me with such contempt and disrespect. What I should have also said is that if anybody treats you like that, calls you names like that, consistently breaks promises and lies to you, constantly threatens to break up if you don't do what he wants you to do - then it is NOT love. It is abuse, it is control, it is manipulation.

Let me ask you this. Has he made you a better person? Are you a better person now than what you were when you first started dating him? Are you still going to church? Do you still have the same values? Do you treat us and your sister with respect and kindness and concern? Are you still unselfish like you used to be? Do you respect yourself? Have you turned your back against all that you were taught? Have you disowned your life and the people in it prior to meeting him (and that includes your very close friends)? Look at the people you hang around with - do they have goals in their lives, are they successful, do they go to church and have activities with their family members which center around their faith, or do they party and smoke and gamble and drink a lot? Do they have meaning in their lives, or are their lives devoid of substance?

You were once a 4.0 student, with a huge scholarship to a top 100 university. You had plans to become a pediatric nurse. You were active at church. You had great friends who supported you and loved you. Your community was there behind you all the way when you were so gravely ill, and they cheered when you went into remission. You were active in many groups and clubs which emphasized scholarly ambition and your faith and your values. What has this person brought into your life? Look at the difference between your life now and your life then. And then ask yourself - "is this the kind of life I want a child to be brought up in? " It would be a life WITHOUT purpose, goals, or a strong church community - and WITH stress and chaos and arguing and not being able to have needs met (physical, spiritual, emotiona, psychological.) You are MY child, and this is not the kind of life I want for you. Of course, it is your decision to make, but what about your future child? Which kind of environment do you want for him or her?

How I wish you were on the road right now - coming back home. We would welcome you with open arms and loving hearts. Tonight, after Holy Thursday services, I will stay for Eucharistic Adoration. I will pray for your safety and for your health. I will pray for your return home to us and to your Lord and to your faith. I will pray that you will find the strength and courage to disengage from the people who are causing you so much harm and who have turned you against us so badly. I will pray that you will break free from the chains which bind you right now. I know it may take months or years for your return. But, during this season of the Easter miracle, I will pray for a miracle that your heart will be softened, and you will accept our invitation to come home, where you will find love and respect and tenderness waiting in abundance for you.

Happy Easter, sweetie! We'll miss you at Mass, we'll miss you at brunch, and I'll miss making up a basket for you this year. But your presence will still be with us in our hearts, as I hope that ours will still be with you. We love you.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Letting go and letting God.

Setting boundaries.

Detachment. This is the key to achieve peace in the midst of pain. Detachment from somebody else's problems is a key tenet in AA. It is written in their literature that "Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. It is simply a means that allows us to separate ourselves from the adverse effects that another person's choices can have in our lives." (Thanks to Allison Bottke for this information, which can be found on page 131 of her book "Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children").

It's been a long three years, and the last year has been especially difficult. My husband and I decided last week that we needed to "detach" and let our oldest suffer the consequences of her choices. We couldn't force her to accept our help or our love anymore. She is on her own now. We love her unconditionally, and will be here should she ever need us or want us back in her life again. The choice is hers to make - and we will welcome her back with open arms. But we can't have her in our lives as long as her choices cause "collateral damage" to us in the form of manipulation, lies, disrespect, taking advantage of us, causing harm to herself and to others through her behaviors, and staying in a relationship which is harmful to herself on many levels - physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. This harm has caused damage to her self esteem and her self confidence and her ability to assess what is healthy and unhealthy in relationships. This harm has caused her to turn her back on her grandparents, her aunts and uncles and cousins, her family (we as her parents as well her sister), her values, and her faith. It has caused great pain in the lives of those who love her dearly. She has been poisoned against us by many people - people who do not know the whole story or who do not have her best interests at heart or who are selfish and want to control her, and people who don't understand what it's like to almost lose a child to a physical death, and then have to face losing that child yet again but this time to a spiritual and emotional death.

She knows she is loved. She has a good strong foundation to return to. She misses us and loves us. She needs us now more than ever. But she is afraid she is going to lose something which she never had to begin with - the love of the man with whom she desparately loves but who doesn't know how to love her in return in a healthy and selfless way. How can love exist between two people if it is based on fear of losing the other person, if it's based on threats of leaving the other person, if it's based on broken promises and lies, if it's based on degrading comments and rippng the soul out of the other person? How can love exist if there is no genuine respect, if there is no desire to place the other person's needs ahead of your own?

She needs to figure this stuff out on her own. She needs to recognize that she deserves to be loved the way in which God intended her to be loved. She needs to discern what God's will is for her life, and follow His path with her whole heart and soul. She has a choice - she can do that in a safe environment, or she can do it in an environment which is filled with fighting, fear, rage, and abuse.

She rejected the offer of our safe environment. It hurts us to imagine her there in her current environment - stressed out, afraid, angry, upset, threatened, manipulated, controlled, abused - and we can't protect her anymore. Her lupus could flare up at any given moment due to the stress and the condition she is in. We can only pray that she comes to her senses before it is too late. We miss her. Our arms ache for her embrace. When she came home for her birthday, she was so happy to see us. She gobbled up the attention and the love and the food - all with a big smile on her face and with lots of hugs and "I love you's" being said constantly. But, she is a different person when she is "under the influence" of the other environment. It's like she is a stranger. She lashes out at those whom she loves the most - her family and her God. We can love her unconditionally, but we can't accept the way she treats us, and we can't accept the way others are treating her.

So,we have detached. It kills us. But, God is there to help us through - to find the peace in the midst of the pain.

We're here, babe. Watching, waiting, praying for your return. You are still our beautiful daughter who is so precious to us. You deserve to be treated with gentleness and tenderness and respect and dignity. For that is how your father has always treated me - and I want the same for you. And that is how God wants it be for you, too. And so do Nana and Papa and Danielle and BJ and Janet and Grandma Sarah. . . you get the idea.

Someday, I hope to feel that familiar squish-the-life out of me hug of yours. I hope it is someday soon. I'm praying for you, for your health and your safety, and for your strength and determination to get back on the path you have wanted to be on for so long - getting a nursing degree, using your God-given talents rather than letting them go to waste, and making your own decisions based on what you've been taught rather than what others have tried to take away from you. You're a strong-willed young woman - so use that will wisely and for God's glory and for your well-being.

Take care, sweetie. I love you with my whole heart and soul - that will never, ever change. The offer still remains open - with all the "fringe benefits!" God bless you, and keep you safe in his graces.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Celtic Woman - Somewhere

Someday, somehow, somewhere, my Sara

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Check out these links!

My monthly column will appear tomorrow at Diane Viere's blog, located at . It is entitled "First Friday's with Val", and it is about my experiences with having a prodigal daughter.

My monthly column is now out in the April Edition of CWO. This fantastic ezine is located at .

I've had a lot on my plate recently - and will soon fill you in on all the happenings. Happy Spring!