Monthly Archives: November 2013

Grief: Relief and Release


It has been 12 weeks since Mom died and I’ve written about it here as the mood has suited me and I’m grateful that those missives have been tolerated by you guys.

I’m in a good space right now and I’d likely chalk it up to the impending Thanksgiving rush but I’m not so sure because I’m not really overwhelmed by The Holiday. Then comes Christmas and the new year.

While the coming celebrations will have challenging moments for us as tribe, they will also be experienced in completely new territory for me anyhow in terms of emotional and psychic (mental) space.

Holidays and celebrations for me were not easy.

When you live your entire life with a troubled someone who occupies an equally troubled space in your heart and your mind, that space becomes a third “person” so to speak. It becomes a shadow, an entity, a space — something you end up welcoming (not really) to the “table” because there is no way to avoid it other than via a total divorce. No one was willing to do that in our family; I can speak for myself that I clung feverishly to a hope that Mom would repair.

I state all of this with as much detachment as possible. I am void of judgment or of complaint. I am bothering to share this because of the simple fact that I know a few people whose parents have deceased this year, some after my own mother, and I want them to know this: it’s OK to feel a release or allow yourself relief that you don’t have to worry about them anymore. If you are grieving the loss of a person whose slow and protracted illness and caregiving occupied your mind and or body, or like me the sudden and earth-rocking loss of someone whose death was completely unforseen at least in the near term but in either case whose existence was tied to attendance in your life, it’s OK to be OK with the release of the worry.  Really, it’s OK. This is part of the process. We can exhale now. Be OK.

As I said, holidays and celebrations were not easy. That third “space” or “person” was fear or guilt or shame or sadness and hope over my mother’s state and her condition. For all my life, at least as much as I can recall, I was always concerned about my mother. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? Shouldn’t it? Since when is it a child’s duty to be occasionally charged or routinely in a passive state of being “on patrol” over its parent? She never asked help of me, though, it was just implicit. Frequently though she would say that I was a help to her, and if you’re a kid, you know that when you hear you’re being a helper you keep it up.

Living like that does shit to you. (Oops, I said I was void of complaint — but I really am, this is mostly reporting.)

Things were constantly such that worrying about her sobriety, safety, condition, whereabouts, status and then in the later years adding on her care, upkeep, attendant anxieties, predilections, tendencies and any other mechanism that revealed itself was a standard way of life. Even when we weren’t together, she was on my mind. I’ve stated this dozens of times. I have no regrets about caring about her although it did tax our relationship considerably. Last Easter was the first holiday I hosted at my home where I did not include my parents in any of the events. It was an emotionally difficult decision to make, but my father’s withholding of contact with me made it feasible and to me appropriate and healthy.

I would by lying if I didn’t wonder what they did for Easter. I had to hold my space; I had to grow up a bit.

So this year, it will be odd. We will be one space short at the table and two spaces lighter in my mind. The mental space has already started to happen, a fog is lifting. It’s like watching a ghost pack up its stuff: vigilance, fear, anxiety, woe, regret, anger and who knows what else that it has strewn about your psyche and heart, and put it into boxes to be taken away and to never return. I have observed the lightening of this space in an increased interest in my own family and domestic affairs — I kid you not! — I have had “attachment and brain fatigue” discussions and exercises over items in my home and I’ve unearthed several hundreds of pounds of items for charity. I’ve been able to attend to my family in ways I did before but with the presence of gratitude and love rather than a sense of obligation and “chore” that I’d had before. I was given my family that I created instead of the one I came from.

My mental clarity can best be described as like a “system defrag” back in the days of MS-Windows hard drive management. It’s like I couldn’t actually release the concern I had over my mother until she was actually and finally at true and undeniable somatic peace.

It didn’t come easily for either of us though — it took her death, and because I’m a truth seeker I suppose there is a lesson in it that is deeper than the obvious: nothing is in my control and I should occupy myself with the things that I can change (Serenity Prayer, anyone?). I accept the high-level lesson for now. Maybe that’s all there is to know.

A few people have inquired about my father: he is OK, managing and keeping busy. He’s a “bootstrapper” and has generally never had a hard time regarding himself. We went to a Mass of Remembrance last week and we tend to get together about every week. I will say no more; the rest belongs to him. He is making the stuffing for Thursday. That is some good stuffing.

Aha — I do know this: there is nothing I have to do at all about any of it. My ego can let go, or I can punt it, and its illusion that I had any semblance of influence over any of the affairs of my mother’s. It’s a tough thing to do: admit your impotence over the most important, first influence in your life.

Sigh. Sniffle.

Thanksgiving is basically here. Today my husband and I will bring up our spare table and chairs. After we drop off Thing 1’s forgotten gym uniform at school, we will go get the plastic flutes for the kids’ sparkling grape juice. I will find the extra salt & pepper sets and get them out. I will enlist my youngest son to make the place cards when he comes home. I will let him command the kid’s table and I will breathe a sigh of relief as I release my anxiety, my “third person” and be OK with it. I am ironically sad to see her go…

Mom, I’m sorry you had to go to teach me to finally let you live the way you chose. To finally get me to back off.

Happy thanksgiving to all of you; if you are wondering if you have any control over anything besides your own personal choices, take great peace and liberty in knowing the answer is: Absolutely Not.

Thank you.

Walk of Shame


I’d been up since 4:36 today. Despite the predicament of not knowing his whereabouts, I was in a cheerful mood.

The sun was barely up; the rosy-hued morning just cresting the bare trees. It’s a cold dawn in late November, the temps were down to the teens last night.

The boys see him first, “There he is, Mom.”

“He looks so smug, all slow and casual…” my oldest son says, a little sad that this is what’s become of our family.

My stomach churned inside itself as though a baker were kneading it to make a gut dough. I didn’t want the children to be exposed to this: his blatant flouting of the family trust, his perpetual shenanigans so close to the holidays. There was no avoiding it I s’pose. I was done lying to myself and covering up for him after all our years together.

“Do we let him in? I’m so confused by it all. Why doesn’t he stay with us? Doesn’t he love us?” asked my middle son.

“Let him in, but keep him in the hallway, I can tell by a sniff of his neck where he’s been and who’s been keeping him away and I want to look into his eyes. I want to watch him try to hide from me what and who he’s been seeing and who’s been making him so comfortable. Don’t tell your baby brother; he’ll be devastated. He just made Gingerbread cookies yesterday hoping to eat them with him nearby,” I said as I was packing lunches and pulling hats and gloves from the storage container in the closet.

“He’s not cold, that’s for sure. Not like he’s been out all night; nope. Someone kept him nice and warm…” said one of the boys.

He looked away; he couldn’t be bothered with any of us, really.

“Love? Did one of you ask about ‘love‘? He doesn’t love anything but himself. He never has. He’s like a robot — I just make a nice home for him, feed him, try to hold him — but he won’t let me, he wiggles out of my arms any chance he gets. He’s always looking over my shoulder for the next sucker. It really gnaws at your sense of family and place in the world,” I answered as I looked at him.

He heard everything I said. He looked right at me. His eyes laser clear, deep and green. It looked like he hadn’t shaved in weeks, his face was beautiful though, just gorgeous — it was the face I fell for so long ago. But I knew instantly when he slowly closed his eyes and turned his head that he was no longer interested in having this conversation. When our dog greeted him he showed complete indifference; he almost growled at him.

who could walk away from this guy?

who could walk away from this guy?

“Don’t you dare do that to Murphy! He worries himself sick about you! Sure, he eats what you leave behind, and he will gladly take your sleeping spot when you’re not here, but that’s because he knows I’m confused and sad that you’re with her. Don’t look at me like that….” I said.

What did he ever do for me? Oh sure, a slow meaningful glance now and then or a stroke of my leg, but I wasn’t appreciated. He treated me like staff.  I close in on him, sniff his collarbone and his shoulders. He turns his head, gives me the jaw, so to speak. I move to meet his face. We were an inch apart, our breaths heat one another, eyes lock.

I melt.

“You know we raked 30 bags of leaves this weekend — withOUT you?!? You walked right by them on your way into the housssse,” I hiss as I push him away.

he didn't help. never does.

he didn’t help. never does.

“I can smell her on you. Her perfume, fresh jasmine and essential oil-infused coconut balm that she makes and uses on her hands; she gave me some you know after we carved that pumpkin for her, it’s great stuff, I’ve started using on my face, I don’t break out … ugh! But you don’t care! Look at me!! Loooooook at meeeeeee you sonnabeech! Don’t you care about us?! WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT?! I called and called … you NEVER answer!”

Why do I bother?

Cold hearted, he is. I turn back to him, lock his shoulders in my hands but he wriggles himself free of my desperate grasp. I stand there, enraged at the insult. The boys are engrossed and ashamed at the same time.

My older son looks outside, then at the clock. “Mom, we can’t … the bus will be at the stop soon. C’mon, D. I can’t really start my day, my week with this stuff. This is between them. This isn’t for kids: we are not to blame,” he said, tugging on his younger brother’s backpack.

“That’s right, boys. This isn’t your problem. I appreciate you holding him back though. I didn’t want him to get one step further into the house without inspecting him. Have a good day. Try to forget about this. It’s none of your fault. It never was. It’s between me and him,” I said, glaring at him.

He walks away from me, coughing. Sometimes he can’t get away from me fast enough.

my brother drew this.

my brother drew this.

“Well, you sure haven’t been missing any meals!” I can’t help myself. My rage has kicked into full gear; I’m blind. I’m sure the boys can hear me with the door closed, screaming at him, crying, asking him to stay with us, to live with us, to stop going to her, them, for days on end without a trace of him.

“Did you know I asked her about you? She looked right at me and said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve seen ‘im since Saturday…’ It being WEDNESDAY…” he says nothing, just stares into the distance.

By now we’ve moved to the kitchen, just beneath my youngest son’s bedroom. I start in again. He gazes out the back door into the frigid morning, the sun is higher but it’s still dark.

“Sure. Just keep doing what you do… keep coming and going… at your whim. Meanwhile, three boys, a dog and I are here wondering if you’re safe, or if you’ve been picked up… will I get the call from the holding cells?, ‘Mrs. Field… we have him … again…'”

“You disgust me. I have to wake my son for school. Don’t bother joining me. If he asks me if you came home, I’ll tell him you’re here and that you’re happy to hear his questions…”

He slinked into the living room and sat in his special chair. He said nothing. He doesn’t engage me in these fights. He doesn’t care.



It’s not me, it’s him I’ve decided. I give up. He stays out all night. Doesn’t come home for days. The boys wonder where he is. I ask people we know if they’ve seen him — some have and some haven’t. But this morning… that walk of shame… I know where he’s been.

“Just let it go, Mol,” my husband said. “He’s a dick.”

“That’s right… he is a dick…” I agree.

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat 9: Trust #yoga #fear #love #ego


I’m going to try to keep this short.

I have been a yoga student for almost 16 years. I have taught children as a volunteer, I have taught friends as a gift and I’ve recently started giving private lessons.

I just returned from providing a private lesson to a good friend and her husband.

As I’m not yet certified, I feel odd asking for payment or even suggesting a rate despite my experience. But my friends have insisted.

For today’s session, I drove to her. The private time it afforded me back and forth in my car was so nice. I heard no requests for a cookie or a question about a video game. I just listened to my yoga music and stayed in my space.

True yoga is not about pretzel bodies, or heat-induced hyper flexion, or pinky-finger balances. It’s been so contorted (ironically) by the media and the craving of the masses to come up with something new — as if 5,000-year-old yoga and meditation on their own isn’t good enough; people have to go inventing new versions of it: yogalates and hot yoga… soon there will be pogoyoga on pogo sticks and YOLOyoga where you do poses on Jersey walls or during bank heists. “Stick ’em up into Virabradrasana I, I want your arms sky high and hold that for 50 breaths until my yogi and I can clear outta here… then take a five minute svasana. Go somewhere special in your heads, somewhere without demands on your life. Namaste an’ shit… y’all. YOLO.”

There is no mat for the egos. Neither the teacher’s nor the student’s. We all start from where we are at that moment.

Where we are –at that moment– naturally varies from day to day; minute to minute. What felt tight one moment might feel loose the next. What felt fine one moment might indeed ache the next. We must be present, honest and aware, in our minds and in our hearts — both as teachers and as students — to truly grow.


That my friends have trusted me with their health, bodies and their spirits (of their own or their children) is so humbling. That my friend’s husband smiled even after I pressed him further into a pose and told me where the “money poses” were for him… That he said, “I almost went there…” after we transitioned from svasana warmed my heart. It made my spirit soar.

People who take yoga lessons might think that they’re getting a great release, a wonderful lengthening, a challenge to their core or their legs and a 90-minute break from the hither and dither of life, but they’re not the only ones. For the teachers, the moments and space of trust and peace and company are truly: priceless.

I think that’s also why I am uncomfortable taking a fee for the lessons: what we share, what I give and what I get simply can’t be quantified… but I know its value.

I am forever thank-full.

Thank you.

Inverse Sunsets


Sunsets are usually considered the day’s yawn; power on its way out; a signal that the day is ending and it’s time for all God’s creatures to rest in their collective glowing embers.

This autumn’s sunsets have been particularly fantastic. My kids and I can’t remember a time in recent years when they’ve been more spectacular.

I’m always in awe of the sun’s ability at sunsets to beam through space and find a hole in a patch of leaves to brighten something eight minutes away in my backyard.

Here, the trees don’t look like they’re ready to settle in for the night; they look like they’re just getting started.


I’ve been preparing the house for my incoming family for Thanksgiving which has required me to be holed up inside all day.

My oldest son, who is 15, came down to the basement to fetch me, “Mom, I wanted to call you up to see the sunset. It’s like the trees are on fire.” He knows me so well. They all do, but he seems to have a sense of my abiding love for nature.

Eventide: my favorite time of day. When the faeries come out and magical things happen.

Thank you.