Just one gal trying to find life's silver lining

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Doing what works

I have always expressed myself better in writing .

As a child I addressed questions about hard topics (boobs and boys) and not hard questions (birthday parties and Halloween costumes) with my Mom and Dad via letters.  I would write and give them detailed instructions on how I wanted a response.  Mom would take the time to follow the directions and would give me long thoughtful responses. Dad never followed the directions … he would write back on the same note when I asked him to use a new piece of paper,  he would write in the margins or fail to skip lines.  It made me crazy! I kept notes from both of them anyway.

I have always been drawn to art but am not a particularly gifted artist. My mother is a talented artist, she used to paint and draw beautifully. A lot of her love for art fell by the the wayside as she was raising us kids, although she did do some amazing scrapbooking when that was popular!

I take after my dad in the art department. We both love color and can appreciate beauty but aren’t particularly talented at creating art. So tyedye rescues me from my burning desire to create something pretty and colorful without having to be painfully aware of my inability to paint or draw.

I made tyedyed ties a few days after dad was diagnosed with cancer. We were planning a living memorial in the hospital and I thought it would be fun for all the boys to wear tyedyed ties and the girls to wear scarves. G-Bob and I sat at the kitchen table and talked about Dad and my family while I introduced him to the chaotic art form that is tyedye. It was great!

After dad was discharged we didn’t have the memorial and the white scarves I had purchased went undyed. I keft them in VA as project for Christmas.

When Luke passed the tyedye ties became important. So mom and the girls and I dyed our scarves so we would match as a family at the funeral. The boys looked amazing!


So three weeks later I find myself planing another funeral and this time more people need tyedye. We lost our dad but my grandma lost her son and his 8 siblings lost their brother like we just did 3 weeks ago.  So yesterday I made another run at making something chaotic and beautiful and like each of my dads siblings, the results are different and wonderful.

I spent 3 hours of soaking and banding


and dyeing and drying and rinsing and drying.



I thought about my dad, my brother, my family and what makes it all so important.

I dyed myself because I am messy.


I dyed the ground because this is all so messy. My dog dyed himself because this is all so fucking messy!


And then, I cleaned up and folded the ties and scarves and packed the ones we will need for the Virginia funeral.


The rest are safely at home for my other aunts and uncles. They will have tyedye for the west coast memorial.

So I revert back to the things I know work for me. I write and I make colorful, beautiful chaos. Things will get better.


Be Present

It has been a rough 6 weeks! I know we can’t always drop everything and be present for ourselves, our loved ones, our families and our friends. But sometimes life gives us the opportunity to drop everything and BE PRESENT. My father’s diagnosis did just that.

As we have grown up, it has become harder and harder to get all of my siblings together. There are 11 personalities, work schedules, social lives, significant others and classes to coordinate. Before this year, the last time we were all together was in 2008. Yeah you read that right … 2008.

My dad’s diagnosis made it painfully obvious that is was time to get us all together. For over a week, the 11 of us spent the better part of each day together. We talked, ate, drank, fought, cried, laughed and played together in our mom’s big house in the middle of rural Virginia.  Each of us found an opportunity to spend time with our Dad in the hospital and at home. We had time with Mom and time together.

I look back on those 10 days an think, that wasn’t enough time. 10 days seems painfully short and there were too many precious moments wasted on hurt, worry and sadness. Then I realize that if it wasn’t for those 10 days I wouldn’t have stayed up until 2am with Luke drinking beer and talking about life. I wouldn’t have been able to see how excited he was about becoming an electrician and how much he loved his life. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know the MAN my little brother had become. It was a small chunk of time … I wish I hadn’t been so tired from the hospital and traveling… but it was my chunk of time with Luke. I am so thankful for it.

So when I travel to Virginia on Saturday for my father’s funeral I will try my best to find chunks of time with my mom and the 9 siblings that are still here. We don’t know how long we have, so I am going to try and be PRESENT for the 72 hours I am there.

Wish me luck! It isn’t always easy to be a voice among many!