Thursday, April 22, 2010

Far Away


That's me at times.

Last night was no exception.

I was invited by my good friend Donna to attend Dr Oz's posh

Garden of Good and Evil Gala
in NYC.

Though very excited at the possibility of meeting Dr Oz and his beautiful wife, Lisa, I did question which side of the room they were going to seat me, good or evil?


While contemplating the fundamental dilemma, I found my way to an ornate and beautifully decorated table filled with fruits, chocolates, flowers, and feathers.  In less than two seconds, I had rifled through the table centerpiece and absconded with all the chocolates and effortlessly managed to never even touch the fruit...At this point I’m thinking evil side, right?

The event was fabulous.

Dr Oz was as endearing as one would assume and the wine flowed all night. Credit to the endless flow belongs to my new BFF Barry who cajoled our server into granting us two bottomless wine glasses.

Close to midnight I air-kissed a few new gala buddies “adieu” and heaved the huge goodie bag over my shoulder. Donna plucked a white rose and a white feather from our centerpiece and handed them to me.

“Here, take this” she said.

I was wondering how I was going to squeeze the items into my already overflowing stash. I looked back at her, perplexed.

“For Jena…” she said “her presence is so strong here tonight and I want you to take this to her.”

Now Donna knows how much I abhor going to the cemetery.  I just can’t meld the fact that Jena’s spirit still lives larger than life, yet her physical body is buried 6 feet beneath the earth.  That concept doesn’t gel for me. It never will.

Still, I took the rose and feather and promised to give it to my mother-in-law who religiously “visits” Jena.

I gave Donna a tight hug and kissed and thanked her for such a wonderful and memorable evening.

This morning came way too early and my head was hurting. I speculated Barry’s condition to be the same as I caught a glance at the enormous goodie bag overflowing with treats, lotions and assorted samples of really cool products I would never buy.  Then I see the rose and feather.


Listening to my iPod on low, I get ready for work.  My blackberry buzzes and it’s an email from Donna saying she had a blast last night and that she had Jena on her mind this morning.  The email is very touching and my eyes well up.

Now I have to re-do my make-up…again.

I put the phone down, grab a tissue and notice the song playing in the background. It’s Nickelback’s “Far Away
It’s one of my “Jena songs.”
The lyrics I hear are:

“...Keep breathing 'cause I'm not leaving you anymore
 Believe it
Hold on to me and never let me go...”

I wash my face and realize it’s going to be a “natural” make-up free it or not.

I clutch the rose and the feather, swipe my car keys and take a detour to work, via the cemetery.  I’ve been there twice and both times were for reasons that I couldn’t explain.

Within minutes, I pull into Jena’s cemetery, find her section and shut my car off.  My tears haven’t stopped streaming since reading Donna’s email and they roll faster the closer I get to where “Jena” is.  A few more steps and then I can clearly read her name etched in stone and I lose it completely.

This is why I don’t come here, yet for the third time in 3 years, here I stand not knowing why.

I look around and see “gifts” all around her tombstone.  I see pennies, cards, and bubbles.  I see remnants from the Junior Prom.  Mike and the Milton Girls must have stopped by to make sure Jena was a part of their evening.  They certainly are very special friends who'll never forget to include Jena in their lives and I love them for that.

I sit on the grass, in my suit, and I am just about to place the rose and feather among the other gifts when I am startled by my car radio that suddenly starts blaring.

I’ll give you one guess as to what song is playing….
...and one guess what the lyrics are.

“Keep breathing 'cause I'm not leaving you anymore
 Believe it
Hold on to me and never let me go”

I look up at the bright blue sky as see a bird fly above me.
I’m laughing and I’m crying.
I’m still holding the rose and feather and I start talking, out loud, to Jena

“Hey there Baby Girl, I’ll keep breathing as long as you never let me go, okay?”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm Back

I’m back...ya miss me?

Last we left I was under a bit of stress more than I can or should explain.

Suffice it to say I burnt my candle on both ends until I basically was left with nothing but a sad excuse of a stubby wick.  Go ahead and’s good for the soul.

Candle extinguished, emotionally drained, I was physically left susceptible to any germ-du-jour that came floating by.  I became the host of a week-long cold that was something out of a really bad NyQuil commercial.  I was so busy sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, sleeping for 6 days straight, I totally missed that fact that spring arrived.

The sun is out.
The buds are blooming.
It’s absolutely gorgeous outside.

I have been forced to learn along life's journey to trust Mother Nature and all her glory.  She continually proves to me that life moves on.  Winter will leave and the beauty of spring is guaranteed to arrive.  I get that now.  Change comes whether you’re ready or not.

So while I was trying so hard to conquer my world, my way; the world ever so shrewdly reminded me to s-l-o-w down and accept what is.

Someone once asked me, “Are you a good friend to yourself?”
My first reaction was, “Duh? That’s a stupid question.”
Then I realized it was a good question and I was a bad friend. I demand way more from myself than I would ever even ask from a friend.  I actually take pride in the fact I do that.   I am more like that Marine Sergeant from Officer and a Gentleman
 who pushes you to the limits of what you are able to do.
(Those of you under 35 may need to Google my reference)

Some friend I am.  I pushed myself emotionally, mentally, and now physically to the breaking point.

My body gave up and left me to battle my emotions, my inner turmoil and now the aches and pains of a nasty head cold with just tissues to ease the blow. (pun intended)

Once again I found myself looking out my bedroom window, not able to lift my head off the pillow, watching spring come to life.

By the time my head cleared, in more ways than one, I found my reset button.

I am looking forward to life’s adventure knowing nature’s got my back.  It’s okay to let some stuff slide, to not always know the game plan and to trust my instincts.  I look outside and see the sun shining brightly on Jena’s rose garden.

I smile and blow a kiss up to Heaven.

I grab my sneakers and decide to take a long run outside in the fresh air.  Don't get me wrong, I still need to conquer the world but I think I’ll stop and take the sights in along the way.

I can still do it all.

I am woman, hear me roar.