April Showers

After a 7-month hiatus, I’m back!

I’ve spent the past 7 months with my brother. We have been helping each other go through the whole grieving process of the death of our Mom. She died unexpectedly on September 15, 2012.

Let me back up a little and share with you that the year 2012 was a year I will never forget.  I will always remember it as my year of loss.

On April 22, 2012 I had a miscarriage. Five months later my Mom passed. Three days after my Mom perished, my sweet boy bunny “Salt” died. On December 1, 2012 my forever friend “Boomer” (Australian Cattle dog) suffered a stroke and died. Three weeks later my other precious boy bunny “Flopsy” passed away. I wondered when all of this loss was going to end. I cried every day as I mourned the loss of my loved ones.

To top it all off, at the end of November I went in for emergency biopsies and was laid up until December 28th while I waited for my leg to heal up. However, during this time of loss, a week before Thanksgiving “Jessa” came into our lives and brought LIFE into our home. Over the next several posts I will be sharing stories about “Jessa” and what she has come to mean to me.

Until next time,

Celia

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White Christmas Record (originally posted December 25, 2010)

I enjoyed writing this post in 2010. Since then, my mom passed on September 15, 2012. I want to honor her memory by posting this again. ~Celia

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What would Christmas be without listening to this record? My mom played this every Christmas ever since I can remember. I have put off playing it until today. Why?

There are so many memories wrapped up in each of the 12 songs on this record.  Some of the memories bring great joy while others bring deep pain. I am already getting a huge lump in my throat as I begin writing this post.

Where do I begin? As I listen to Bing singing I’m transported back to my dad’s farm. For many years he would construct a huge star and then place blue lights on them. He would then place the star on top of our house. Next, he would put the Christmas lights up. I imagine that my mom also helped him, especially as his health declined during the last few years of his life. I was always mesmerized by the beauty of the lighted star. It reminded me of the Star of Bethlehem and the anticipation of the wise men in search of Mary’s boy child.

As I listen to “Adeste Fidelis” I can see my mom making peanut brittle. I looked forward to this Christmas treat year after year and she didn’t disappoint. She also made fudge and Christmas cookies along with other holiday treats. It didn’t matter how tired she was, my mom was faithful in making Christmas special for us. It was not uncommon for 30 to 40  people show up on Christmas day. My dad loved the holiday season and loved having everyone (family and close friends) share in the festivities. I never realized how taxing all of the preparations were for my mom. She never complained. She just made it memorable for us year after year.

As I listen to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” I remember how I would look up into the clear Arizona sky in search of Rudolph’s red nose every Christmas Eve. I would then go into the house and stand transfixed before the beautiful Christmas tree that my mom meticulously decorated without fail. There were always many gifts under the tree. My dad loved to lavish gifts on each of us.

“It’s Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas” takes me back to my excitement as I looked forward to my brothers and sister coming home for Christmas. I’m the youngest and they had gone off to war, got married and were leading their own lives with their families. In some ways I grew up as an only child because there is a big age difference between me and them.

“Christmas in Killarney” conjures up the mouth-watering aroma of the turkey in the oven, the cornbread stuffing, and the pies that were lovingly made by my mom. She made Christmas meals and memories that I will forever cherish.

These moments that I’ve shared with you happened nearly 40 years ago. Since that time several of my family members have passed on. My grandmother is no longer with us. 31 years ago my dad died. His love and excitement for the holiday season lives on in me. I always feel close to him during the holidays even though I miss him deeply.

I’m thankful for the laughter and the tears of Christmas memories as they are woven into my life’s tapestry. Although in some ways I dreaded listening to my “White Christmas” record I’m glad that I played it. While listening to the songs it brought back the sounds of the laughter of loved ones who are no longer here and for a moment in time we were all together again.

Mele Kalikimaka,

Celia

Thanksgiving (originally posted November 28, 2010)

I posted the following letter to my Mom on November 28, 2010. Since that time, my mom passed on September 15, 2012. I wanted to honor her memory by posting this again. She will never be forgotten and is deeply loved. ~Celia

Dear Mom,

Although I didn’t see you on Thanksgiving you’ve been with me all week as I began to prepare for this year’s Thanksgiving. Each day as I worked on tasks I remembered how you would get things ready when I was a little girl. As I baked the cornbread for the stuffing I remembered you preparing cornbread for our stuffing year after year. As I chopped the celery & onions I remembered you doing the same for countless Thanksgivings. The aroma of sage took me back to all the years you would have the whole house filled with that wonderful sage scent which filled our home. As I sliced apples with Maria for our apple pie I was taken back to the times you would make pies for us. Putting together the ingredients for the pumpkin pie filling reminded me of the time that my tuxedo cat Stanley decided he needed to sample the pie before Thanksgiving. I still laugh every time I think of seeing the cat’s paw print on the pumpkin pie!

On Thanksgiving morning as I prepared the turkey and stuffed it with the cornbread stuffing I thought of all of the delicious turkeys that you prepared for us throughout the years. I have fond memories of all of the times we had Thanksgiving dinner outdoors because the weather was so beautiful. As a young girl I never realized how much work all of that was for you, Mom. I always appreciated everything you did to make our Thanksgivings special but I didn’t realize how physically taxing it all was. As my muscles ached while I worked on Thanksgiving tasks, I watched my daughter as she played her favorite games and shows on her laptop. Yes, I’m tired and my muscles are hurting and achy but I do this so that she will have memories of Thanksgivings past and I smile because I know that there will come a day when she, too, will realize all of the hard work that is the labor of love I did for her year after year on Thanksgiving and she will appreciate it as she prepares Thanksgiving dinners and memories for her children.

Thank you, Mom!

1978

© 2010 Celia Marie LLC.

Veterans Day Tribute (Originally published 11/11/2010)

I used to walk across the dirt road to check the mail at least once a day, sometimes more than once, to see if my brothers letters had arrived. Our mailbox rested upon an antique tractor. I am a farmer’s daughter. I was a young girl proud of my brothers who were in Vietnam during the Vietnam Conflict but I was also worried that I may never see them again. I longed to see their faces and place my hand in theirs and feel their strong, protective arms around me in a bear hug. I faithfully watched the news on TV to hear any updates on what was happening overseas. I would run to answer the phone to see if perhaps one of my brothers was calling.  At school I would often daydream during class wondering if they were safe.

At last my walk would yield a long anticipated letter in the mailbox. Thank you Mr. Postman. The foreign stamps on the envelope intrigued me. The familiar handwriting of my brother, Dan, was written on stationery with a map of Vietnam in the background. I would embrace the letter, then kiss it and give “thanks” to God for keeping him safe thus far. The Beach Boys “Don’t Worry Baby” would play in the background on Dan’s reel to reel tape player as I read his letter over and over.

That was over 40 years ago but as I write this I remember like it was yesterday. There were many more letters to wait for. Many more phone calls yet to answer. Many more days wondering if he would return home. Many tears shed and many prayers offered up for his safe return.

He did come back and I once again felt his hand in mine, his big, strong protective arms around me in a bear hug and his kiss on my cheek. While we laughed and listened to music together he would sometimes tell me stories of his time in Vietnam but he would also say that there were things he could never talk about. He now suffers from Agent Orange complications. Although he bravely and quietly battles these complications he focuses on his career as a realtor and his calling as a pastor.

My two other brothers also returned home safely.  Today I was blessed to have my brother, Pat, visit with me sitting at my kitchen table sharing memories over cups of steaming Gevalia Kaffe and freshly baked Banana Nut Bread.  He is a security guard. I have wonderful memories of my other brother, Richard, taking me to Mimi’s Cafe for my birthday and sharing a special Thanksgiving meal at my home a few years ago. We keep in touch through email and Facebook messages. He is an attorney.

My three brothers, my sister and I – 1979. Copyright 2012. Celia Marie LLC

To all veterans and all active duty military currently serving the land of the free and the home of the brave — I salute you. Thank You for your sacrifices. God bless you all. God Bless America.

Happy Mother’s Day – Originally published on May 8, 2011

Celia’s note:  Since the time of this writing my adoptive mother passed on September 15, 2012. I love her and miss her very much.

Originally published on May 8, 2011:

Today is the day that I honor two mothers — my biological mother and my adoptive mother.

My biological mother was 14 years old when she gave birth to me. She was the age that my daughter is. Since my biological father wasn’t there to encourage and help her because he denied that he was my father, my biological grandmother was there for my 14-year old mom as she went through the labor and delivery process at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. She decided to give me up for adoption. I have never met my biological mother.

When I was 18 months old a couple from Coolidge, Arizona saw me at an orphanage in Tucson, Arizona and the man (my adoptive father) fell in love with me the first time that he laid eyes on me. He and his wife (my adoptive mother) went back to their farm in Coolidge and discussed their plans to adopt me. The woman (my adoptive mother) shared with me that as she knelt by her bed and prayed for guidance she felt a warmth start at the top of her head and travel all the way through her body down to her toes. She shared with me that she felt peace about adopting me. That is how I came to be a part of their family.

My adoptive mother took another woman’s daughter and loved me as her own daughter. I will always be grateful to her for her sacrifice of love. She already had 3 natural-born children plus a step-son. She was ready to take on a full-time job but my dad wanted to adopt. This meant that my mom had to wait another 16 years before she could claim the desire of her heart to work full-time.

As she waited those 16 years she had medical complications arise. Serious medical issues. At the same time my dad began to have heart attacks. At the age of 14 I was now having to take care of my dad while my mom lived separately from us. It was a challenging time for us. Three years later my dad died of a major heart attack as he waited for a heart transplant at the Tucson Medical Center.

I was 17 and as soon as my mom could make arrangements she sold our farm and we moved in to a house in Coolidge. Her medical issues worsened and she decided to move out-of-state. I moved in with friends so that I could finish my senior year at Coolidge High School. I was very hurt and felt abandoned as I grieved the loss of both parents — one by death and the other by her choice to leave. I was very angry with my mom. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I realized that my mom did the best she could.

If you’re reading this and have a broken relationship with your mom I understand how difficult it is to forgive. I know what it’s like to be rejected and abandoned. It hurts. It really hurts. E-mail me at celiamariellc@hotmail.com if you would like prayer for your broken relationship with your mom.

Due to respect of her privacy I am only free to share that my mom and I are in contact through mail. She is a survivor and I love her very much. I treasure every amazing memory that I have of our life together as gold.

I mentioned earlier that my daughter is 14 and I can’t even begin to imagine her being a mom at her age. She is just beginning to discover her strengths, talents, abilities, and hobbies. I want her to enjoy her youth for as long as she can. I want her to have many memories of me being there with her and for her. I’m not the perfect mom. When I mess up I sit down with her and let her know that I’ve messed up (even though she already knows) and I tell her that I’m sorry, ask her to forgive me and she does.

There is no perfect world with perfect mother/child relationships. But if you’re fortunate you’ll have the kind of transparent relationship that is built on love, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. Let the realization that “she did the best she could” free you to move forward in love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Love,
Celia