I asked my dad a couple of times before the one year anniversary of my mother’s death if he wanted to do anything on that day. The first time I asked him he simply shook his head. A week later when I brought it up he said, “No, it isn’t something to celebrate.”  I wanted to say I wasn’t thinking we’d go out to the bar or anything, but I let it go, knowing we each need to grieve in our own way.  When the date arrived I went to the store and bought one white balloon like the ones we released at her memorial service. I drove to the park where the service was held and I walked up the hill to the clearing where we all had gathered. I held the balloon under my arm, cradling it close to my body so the brisk fall breeze wouldn’t take it from me until I was ready to let it go.

I’m not sure if I went to the park to honor my mother, remember that sad day, or if it wasn’t really for more selfish reasons. Because the prayer I murmured out loud to myself that afternoon was for me, not my mom. I prayed that the anger I had been feeling since her death would go away once and for all, and I asked that my nighttime dreams be about my healthy mom and not my sick mom – the mom who’s suffering broke my heart over and over again, day after day during the last months of her life.

As the autumn wind swallowed my words I let the balloon go. It sailed almost straight up into the blue September sky. I stood squinting in the bright sunlight and watched as it rose higher and higher, determined not to take my eyes off it until it was lost from sight. Several minutes passed, and then, at the exact moment the balloon left my view for good, a hawk swooped in just over the treeline and flew directly over my head. It was the only bird within sight, the only bird I saw the entire time I stood on that lonely hillside. The hawk soared and dipped on an invisible current of air and I turned and watched as it flew in the opposite direction of the white balloon.

skywatch friday

How western is this shot? Buffalo grazing under a big old blue sky that goes on forever. This is in Yellowstone. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife, some moose in Grand Teton National Park, mule deer in both parks, a coyote trotting through the tall grass in the distance, but we did see plenty of buffalo wandering around Yellowstone, including on the roads holding up traffic! They got a lot of rain out west this year so the wildlife don’t need to come down out of the bush for food and water, good for the critters, bad for the tourists!

skywatch friday

Went out in my backyard, pointed the camera up, and took a pic of today’s bright blue summery sky. I love the orbs coming out of the sun. I know they’re just light reflecting in the lens, but I prefer to think of them as angels on their way down to pay us a visit. Perspective is everything. Have a great weekend!

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. ~George Elliot

skywatch friday

I took the photo above on the patio this morning. We’re in store for another beautiful spring day around here. Yesterday, Meagan and I had fun shopping at garage sales and a resale shop for Brooklyn. I must say, that’s the way to go, especially for toys and clothes that they grow out of so quickly. It’s starting to seem real for all of us, that this new little soul is going to come into our lives very soon. And yet we often seem to add, “if everything goes all right” at the end of a sentence when talking about the baby and the future. We’ve tried to stop feeling that way, tried to assume that everything will be fine this time, but I think the truth is we are all balancing precariously on our own individual emotional tightropes. Going through each day eating, talking, working, pretending everything is okay all the while afraid deep down that one more heartbreak may be one more too many. Sometimes I worry that we need this little girl too much, is it really fair to expect one small baby to heal so many bruised and battered grownup hearts? Then again, maybe we’re already falling. Maybe we’ve been falling since we lost my mom and baby Kiley, maybe the moment we hold Brooklyn for the first time each of us will finally find that soft place to land.

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. ~Henry Ward Beecher