Dear Mom

Today is April 30th, one day before your birthday and three months since you passed. A little less than a month ago, as I was writing you a letter I thought about this day and panic set in. How was I going to survive, not only the three month anniversary, but what should have been your 52nd birthday the very next day?! May, I have predicted and continue to believe, is going to be the month from hell. The end of every month for the rest of my life is going to suck because it will mean one more anniversary; one more reminder. Then we kick off May with your birthday and Sunday, May 11th is Mother's Day. With all these important milestones looming I decided to plan a trip.

This morning I am flying to Savannah. I am staying on Tybee Island. Why Savannah? Johnny Mercer is from Savannah. He wrote the song "Moon River," one of your favorites. In memory of you and your birthday I am going to stand on the banks of the Moon River and celebrate you. I have to go because my ride is here but I couldn't leave without telling you Happy Birthday! I hope wherever you are they still celebrate birthdays. I couldn't imagine a heaven without celebrations. If that is so, I know you will have a party unlike any I could ever give you. Here's to 52 Mom. I love you!

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It's snowing. Again.

That crunching sound you hear? That me. In front of a fast-moving train.

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Congratulations to Kate!

You're 90% of the friend you once were!

You go girl! We're all proud of the progress!!

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New to me

I loved Anna Nalick's first album. Today, cruising around YouTube, I found this song. I have to confess that I'm addicted to it already.

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Today the Universe said...

...Kindness always wins, Stephanie.

Always, always, always.

The Universe

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Dear Gwen

Thank you for making it possible to answer all my emails! Without your casual invitation to hockey all those years ago, I'd never have finished answering my work email from March. All I can see as the announcers say "Forsberg" is his beautiful face skimming over the ice in Philly.

I owe it all to you. Go Avs! Go Caps! Lord, I love HOCKEY!

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I have a new theme song.

I think my 1950's kitchen is inspiring me. I listened to this song again today and I have to say, it's everything a person needs!

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Dear Mom-

Two weeks ago, Dad drove up from Grandma's house to spend some time with me. It was exactly what I needed. Although I offered him the bed he slept on the pull-out couch in the living room. I felt so bad. The mattress looked so uncomfortable but you know Dad. He can sleep anywhere and after taking a Tylenol PM I didn't even hear him snore.
I can tell retirement suits him. He no longer has a problem sleeping in. Although he arrived on Wednesday I decided to work Thursday and take Friday off.

He joined me for lunch at the cafe and then visited with Larry for bit. After work I ordered a pizza and we watched a movie. Not only did the pizza arrive twenty minutes late the crust was burnt. I was furious! As much as I order from them...Shoot. Never again.
Friday morning Dad and I got up around 8:30 and took the train into Washington. The weather was perfect! The blossoms were gorgeous. I wish you could have been with us. You would have loved them. Washington with the cherry blossoms in bloom is magical.
Sitting on the steps of the Jefferson, so Dad could rest, we watched the cutest little princess climb up and down the steps in her taffeta dress and pig tails. I always said I wanted to adopt an Asian baby and seeing this photo I don't see how anyone could argue against it. She was so cute! Her parents had the video camera running non-stop. She seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
Although you can't see them in this photo, she had tennis shoes on and before her parents removed it, a white sweater. I love it when kids wear mismatched clothing. I think it makes them more endearing.
Continuing our stroll around the tidal basin, Dad and I spotted a beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom. Crossing the street for a photo we saw the statue pictured below. Although I have lived in DC for over three years I never realized the statue was a representation of George Mason. For some reason I always thought this statue represented Longfellow. Anyway, I couldn't resist posing with George, especially a George that was such good friends with "The George."

Making our way around the tidal basin we also stopped at the FDR Memorial. Do you remember the first time we walked through? We were with Jerry. It was during our trip in September of 2004. I interviewed with Longstreth and then we marched in the NMAI grand opening. That is one memory I will always cherish. Thank you for making that trip with me. It influenced my life in ways I couldn't imagine at that time.

I took this photo of Dad at the FDR in front of the waterfalls. I love this picture. I posted it in my cube at work. All my coworkers have commented on it. They were all impressed with him. They think he's sweet. I have yet to post a photo of you though. I want to get the photo of you and I at Joshie's wedding framed. I think that would look nice on my desk but I just haven't taken the time. Maybe I'm afraid of the questions or the things that people will say in response.

Of all the buildings in Washington, the Old Executive Office building formerly known the State, War and Navy Department building, is one of my favorites. It was designed by Alfred Mullett in the Second French Empire style. Every time I work at the Decatur House I stroll down 17th, making my way back through Lafayette Park so I can pass this building. I often think it seems out-of-place in Washington; a lot like me. The truth is, I don't know where I belong. I remember you often felt the same way. Hopefully you are content with your situation now.
Last night as I was sobbing in the bathtub, I am not sure why but this seems to be the place I break down the most, I questioned, "How could God take my mother? How could He do that? Especially when He knows everything?" The thoughts became progressively worse and more selfish, "Why would He do this to me? Does He hate me? Why is He punishing me this way? Why is my life so difficult? Why aren't things working out or at least improving? Why? Why? Why?"
I know its useless to even question. I have rarely received answers before but I have received a sense of peace; a feeling that everything is going to be OK and the universe is progressing as it should. I have not felt that yet and the delay is only generating more frustration and anger. Combine this with my purely selfish nature and you have one angry, bitter, frustrated woman who is tempted to lash out at everyone and everything.
Stephanie called last night and I think I dropped the f-word more times than I ever have, because we both know how much I loathe that word, as I was venting my frustrations to her. I apologized afterward and thanked her for being such a good friend; because she is.
She said a few things last night that made me think about my faith; or as everyone seems to think the lack thereof. Despite all the things I have tried to do right in my life; serving a mission, attending church faithfully, working in the temple, its not enough. It seems my faith is insufficient and perhaps, as several people have suggested, this experience will strengthen my faith.
I honestly feel I am at a crossroads in my life and the scariest part is I am not certain which road I will choose. I know I have not become the woman I imagined myself to be. The life I invision for myself seems out-of-reach and life without you just sucks. Since I can't bring you back sometimes I think, "what's the point?" If things are never going to improve why bother?
Dad's favorite answer seems to be, "you never know what tomorrow will bring." Well, I'll tell you now yesterday didn't bring much and today hasn't either and I seriously doubt tomorrow will be much different. It doesn't matter though. I will get up tomorrow, rain or shine, I will go to work, breathe in and out, even though I could care less about that, come home, make dinner and watch a movie. Thursday I will repeat the same routine all over again.
I hope things are different where you are. That you don't feel pain. That you aren't restless and unhappy. I hope you are surrounded by family and people you love. I just wish I knew; knew you were alright and that you still cared. That you haven't forgotten us and you miss us too.
Until I see you again I will always miss you. I love you Mom.

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Dooce posted today about an exhibit she found stunning. I have to say that I agree. You can find it here.

Please know that the series is called "Life before Death" and features portraits of subjects on both sides of that title. I find the works stunning in their simplicity and humanity. There is something inherently beautiful in each of these bodies we have, even if we have trouble seeing it.

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