My Son’s Stepmother Passed, and I am a Weepy Mess

One would think this wouldn’t affect me so, but it is complicated how our hearts handle death.

My son is in his upper twenties now, but I look back on his childhood days with a grateful, yet sometimes guilty heart. There were tough days sprinkled in with the rambunctious adventures of my firstborn. His father, Danny, and I divorced when he was just a toddler.

Danny and I fought like cats and dogs, pardon the cliche. But it was rather terrible. A grand stress in a very difficult situation. We had very different ideas about what was “ok” for our son, and what was NOT.

Insert Beverly here.

Danny met Beverly when my son was just a toddler, still, and my first impressions were, well, they are odd. Danny had been dating a LOT and this woman was nothing remotely like the young, loud-mouthed, “street-wise” messes he’d been parading by in two-week near-marital then crashing relationships.

Dragging my toddler right along with him to meet these “new mommies.”

Until Beverly. She was much older than him, very quiet, and very present. Suddenly she was there. And my toddler boy, a raging ball of happiness and energy and mischief, had a motherly presence when he was at his father’s.

When the fights between Danny and I arose; it was Beverly that took the phone, spoke calmly, always had a loving response to my fury, and stood strong in difficult moments. When there was bad news, it was often Beverly that called me. When there were concerns about my son, Beverly and I often had these conversations.

Her peaceful presence was a blessing to us all.

Now, Beverly was not a perfect person; she had her flaws of gullibility, sometimes accepting things that were not healthy or good, because she saw and loved the good in everyone. Sometimes her passivity was too much, but I respected her for her kindness and her intention.

The diagnosis of cancer, very aggressive and progressed, came less than a month ago…and now she is gone.

Yesterday at noon, this kind, compassionate, ever-present woman in my son’s life, the wife of my ex-husband (we are now friends and get along beautifully–the difficulties of raising a child together now over), mother, grandmother, and quiet, sweet-spirited woman, took her last breath riddled with cancer cells and weakness.

And I have been weepy.

She treated me with kindness, love, and compliments–even when I was unlovable.

She changed my sons diapers, bathed him, worried over him, attended with me his graduation–and for her love for my son, I am grateful.


I wish I had been there
to see you reaching out
wooden fingers
An empty casket arm
trying to bridge the space
Between your brokenness
and His glory.


I am glad He took your hand.
Your dust swept away…
may black-winged birds be light
and quick with your soul!

He’s been waiting for you.

–From In Memoriam, Christina Ward

My blessings, prayers, thoughts, tears are with my son today as he mourns his second mother, and for Danny, who very deeply mourns his wife and perfect partner today.

And I am weepy.

Hug your loved ones–and tell them what you love about them. Time is precious.

Yikes Y’all, The Spring Hell is HERE

Bring on the Ailments, the sunshine, the mouse, and the broken clock!

Brown and White Bear Plush Toy
https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-and-white-bear-plush-toy-42230/



Just to be clear, I am not a hundred percent sure what day it is, and that is just being completely honest. I know that my boyfriend took me to the emergency room and that we were there for an extended period of time and got home very late last night.

I was certain that clock on the wall in that tiny ER room was broken…no WAY it was nearly 11 pm…no WAY! I thought it was in the afternoon. When Robbie told me what time it was I argued with him and laughed at him.

My face felt fuzzy. We were there because on Easter Sunday I had started to have trouble walking. The entire left side of my body is numb, limp and it’s affecting my walking. I also feel fuzzy-headed, a bit confused. BP up. Potassium low. CT scan normal. They ordered neuro-follow-up (finally) to rule out MS. Fun times huh?

The helicopter was awesome! I have never seen one of those things so close up. The propeller spins so fast but when you try to video it the blade looks like it is turning so slowly. That is so bizarre to me. They were there to pick up a patient. The landing pad was right outside the lobby.

I video-ed the helicopter for the grand babies—who are at their home right now—who missed Easter with the family at my Mom’s because the have Hand Foot and Mouth Disease!! Ugh. My poor babies 😦

SO I was at the hospital TERRIFIED because I have an anxiety few people know about–I am mildly emetophobic. That is the fear of vomit or vomiting. So you can imagine a trip to the ER is difficult for me. We were there for almost 10 hours. I survived it. It was hard. Hard.

Come home to my daughter. And. My. Son. VOMITING.

And they have both now been sick for going on 15 hours. I drove my wobbly ass to the store today and bought Lysol, soup, Pepto, and crackers and have been giving them water and Pepto (the ONLY thing they can keep down) while keeping at arms length and washing my hands and spraying the hell out of everything with Lysol.

And they have been TROOPERS. Not ONE complaint. I feel so bad for them…they’ve been SO sick.

Oh the mouse??

Yes, my son, the father of the beautiful baby girl and toddler boy with Hand Foot and Mouth? Caught a mouse today…was the bewildered victim of their large and playful dog Ollie who captured the poor critter coming out of the laundry room today…I am sure after the week they have had over there with two sick small children and no sleep…that it was the comic relief they all needed.

WE COULD SURE USE SOME COMIC RELIEF OVER HERE.

Thank you my loyal readers for allowing me these brief moments of venting over the woes of my last few days. I hope the stomach bug has passed by your house and you and yours are not dealing with any sicknesses. My current issues are many as I deal with the issue in my neck, awaiting a chiropractor visit next week, an ortho visit in a month, and a neurologist visit (if I can even afford to go) soon to see if I have MS. The bone spur and disc issue in my neck and the nerve that is going haywire in my face is causing me a lot of pain and the whatever that is causing my left side of my body to not work right is really scary. But at least they have ruled out a stroke. Health issues are very upsetting and can dominate your thoughts, keeping you from being there for your family in the way that you want to be. And now I am ruminating–forgive me.

Many blessings to you…have a wonderful night. I am going to head over to my https://medium.com/fiddleheads-floss account and post some updates there….till next time fiddleheads!!

~~Christina

Chronic Pain: Just DEAL With It??? 10 Ways HOW

 

A friend of mine recently said to me while we were discussing my experiences in living with chronic pain and how difficult it can be for others to understand, “well, it is a “thing.” Yes, chronic pain is a “thing,” and it is something many of us live with daily. Maybe you power through and keep on working, or you find yourself parked on the couch day after day, feeling like life is simply passing you by.

Life does not have to just pass you by.

We all do our best to “just deal with it,” a phrase we hear more often than comfortable. And in the throes of a nationwide opiod epidemic, some of us do so without medications that would have been a standard treatment. Other medications, not necessarily pain medications, are often prescribed, counseling or physical therapy recommended, or occasional steroid treatments.

 

The source of chronic pain often goes undiagnosed, which can lead to anxiety and unease. “What is wrong with me?” becomes a dominating thought.

There is hope.

But managing chronic pain is more than doctors, pills and therapy. It is developing a support system and a lifestyle that allows you to continue living your life to the fullest that you are able and having people around you that love you in spite of your limits. Here are a few tips to managing the pain and living life off the couch of despair.

 

 

Managing Your Pain

 

  • Yes, see your doctors and follow their advice. It is not a final solution to what you are going through, but they can offer medications, therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic, or possibly surgical options. Do not carry a shame or guilt about pursuing these options. You are taking care of your health the same as you would any other disease or condition. Understand that they may not be able to cure you of your condition.

 

  • Be honest with your family and friends. Let them know you are struggling with pain and that it is affecting how you go about your daily activities, how you participate in social engagements, and how you feel from day to day. Try to understand that they cannot feel what you are going through and some skepticism is understandable. Be careful not to burden them with complaints, but he honest. If there are people in your life who criticize you, berate you, or abuse you for what you are going through, perhaps it is time to distance yourself or burn a bridge with those people. You need a supportive community, not one that makes you feel less of a person for what you are going through.

 

  • Develop healthy coping skills. This is not the time to abuse alcohol, pain killers, or other unhealthy means of dealing with your pain. Self-abusive activities will only worsen what your body is already trying to manage. Find things that alleviate your pain and listen to your body. Understand that our approach may have to be alleviating or tolerating your pain, not ending it. Chronic pain is just that, chronic. If walking helps the pain in your hips, then make the time to do it. If Epsom salt baths or using your TENS unit bring you relief, then make the time to do it Taking care of yourself is crucial to living a more comfortable life.

 

  • Don’t beat yourself up over your limitations. Pain changes people. You realize you have limits, but this does NOT mean that you do not have purpose, value, and deserve to live proudly. While your pain may limit you, it does not define you. Try to focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t.

 

  • Ask for help. This may seem simple, but some people try to do everything they used to do and make living with the pain much harder than it could be. Let some things go if need be and ask others to pitch in a little more and lighten the load where it is most cumbersome.

 

  • Find joy wherever you can. Joy, smiling, laughter, even in small doses can help you to feel alive, content, and change your perspective on having a bad day. Embrace these moments and cling to them!

 

  • Try to accept that there will be good days and bad days. Maximize on your good days and be patient with yourself on the difficult ones. You didn’t ask to be in this position, and you may have no control over the circumstances, but you do have control over how you respond to it, how much mental attention you give it, and how you can stay positive.

 

  • Listen to your body and respond to it with kindness. Sometimes pain signals are for us to slow down, stop using that are of our body and let it rest and heal, or the signals are simply misfirings that will fade on it’s own. Do not ruminate or inflate problems that may be temporary. Focus on something else the best you can until it passes.

 

  • Say NO. There are times you just, cannot. It is ok to be present when you can, but you know that you can’t always be at that meeting, or that party, or get-together. It is ok to be absent, without guilt. If you were sick, you’d have to bow out and this is no different. Sometimes you just can’t be there…and this is OK.

 

  • Finally, if someone tells you to “just deal with it,” tell them: I AM.

 

It’s Time to Take Back Your Life
Life can be difficult, but it does not mean it is impossible.

 

Living with chronic pain can be difficult, isolating, embarrassing, and debilitating. If you know someone experiencing this, try not to judge or be unkind, or worse, to gossip about them to others. We ALL have our burdens to bear and we handle them in vastly different ways, the best that we can. And again, to those of you living with this condition: Stay positive, you have VALUE, and your pain does not define who you are.

AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

 

 

 

A Stunning Prose piece, Recurring Dreams Of a Happy Child

Of Water and other Dreamy Things

I  had the BIGGEST IMAGINATION when I was a child. One recurring dream I had was that our house was full of water and I could swim all around in it like a big aquarium. Now, I am sure there are all kinds of interpretations of this, but for me…it sparked this lovely piece of prose. Enjoy!

Water Bubbles Under the Sea

Of Water and Other Dreamy Things

 

          I used to dream of water. Not the kind of water that winds down hills, shifting itself, a great endless slinky stepping across land to a vast and hungry sea, but a strange, floating, weightless water that filled our tiny house from wall to wall, window to door, toy box to floor. Iridescent blue, glowing, breathing, holding great bouncing bubbles in its belly, it welcomed me. Moonlight crept in the windows, wrapped its arms around each bubble, and danced a quiet waltz down my arms, across my back, and into my floating brunette spirals.

          I swam from room to room. From my bedroom I swam, down the quiet hall past my brother’s room with the great clown walls, past my parents ’room with the drawers of pencils and paper and the gray flat table where Daddy drew lines that made buildings grow up, to our white-flushed simple bathroom. There I’d float before the mirror, a tiny princess. I’d brush my teeth and get ready for school; my jeans legs pulling on easily without the usual tug and jerk. Jeans weren’t heavy in liquid dream. Mom didn’t have to shove her arm up the pant legs to tuck in the extra length., knuckles scraping knobby bone. My sleeves hung like moss, a velvet hug on cool skin.

          I used to dream a lot of things and not always in my sleep. I used to hear monkeys in the woods. They sang to me as I sailed on wooden swing, feet stretched toward sky, waiting for the night to bring its firefly dreams. A crimson sky would yield once more while toads tucked themselves safely under stone.

          I used to dream. I was a magical child.

If you enjoyed this, please like and comment, and check out these prose pieces as well:

“Clarity,” Winner of the Arrowhead Awards Best Prose Work, 2004

Today~

Horizons

A difficult Funeral, Beautifully Expressed by Imagery-Rich Poetry

We’ve all had to attend a funeral. It is a difficult thing to do, especially when the person we love has died suddenly or at a young age or both. When I found out that my Aunt Donnise was ill and in the hospital, I went to see her. My Uncle was understandably distraught. She died a day or two later and I am told she was reaching out her hand into the air and speaking of Jesus.

During the time tWoman in Black Long-sleeved Cardiganhat this was happening in my life, a song was very popular and getting a lot of airtime on mainstream radio. This song, Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, gave me great comfort in an odd way. The poem I wrote of attending my Aunt’s funeral was greatly influenced by this song, and also by another song by my FAVORITE band of ALL TIME, Rain King by the Counting Crows. You will see in the poem a line in quotes from the My Chemical Romance song and a reference to black-winged birds from the Counting Crows song. I hope you will check out these two brilliantly written songs, and I hope you will read the following poem that I wrote about my Aunt Donnise’s funeral.

In Memoriamraven-988218_960_720

 

Giant pillars stood there
rooted in their weaknesses,
wearing their faces of sin.
Tears like ashes
spread across their cheeks.
Smiles, no one wanted
to smile.

Pillars wrapped in cloaks
of brick and color and voice.
Their stained-glass faces
depict gifts I still
don’t deserve.

(“Paint it black and take it back.”)

I walked in,
crows on my shoulders
feathers in my skin
dust pouring out of my eyes
and watched them speak of you.

I wish I had been there
to see you reaching out
wooden fingers
An empty casket arm
trying to bridge the space
Between your brokenness
and His glory.

I am glad He took your hand.

Your dust swept away…
may black-winged birds be light
and quick with your soul!

He’s been waiting for you.

If you enjoyed this original poem by Christina Ward, please leave a like and/or comment and check out these that you may enjoy:

Desperately Seeking Oblivion

Holiness ~ a poem about Grace

Gone ~ A poem

If you have written any poetry in memory of someone you love, you are welcome to add a link to a comment!! God bless, and hug your loved ones. Our time with them is short.

~Christina

A poem Inspired by the Green Lacewing – Your garden Helper!!

Green Lacewings are a delicate insect with intricate lacy veining on their wings. You may have never noticed them before. If you see them, be happy! They are a very beneficial insect to have around your garden because of the garden pests (insects and larvae) that they predate. So munch away at those pests dear Lacewings…today we celebrate you through this whimsical poem…

See the source image
Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing

See the source image
Alpine Asters

The delicate smile
Of a green lacewing
Landing there, on
An aster reaching
Toward Heaven.

A union made
By chance of the breeze,
Nature’s own, entwined,
Tickled with the soft,
Cool dews of April.

If I could become so small
As to land upon flowers!
To flit about in that freedom!

If I could climb into
your copper eyes,
Would I remember
How it tickled me so?

If you could please,
I’d like to visit the garden.
I need to feel the whisper
Of your wings
As we dance among
The bees.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy the poetry here at Fiddleheads & Floss,  please be sure to like and follow. Have a wonderful day!

~Christina Ward
poet / blogger / nature enthusiast

A blog suggestion for my fellow nature enthusiasts: https://ncnaturalist.wordpress.com/

Hoppy-Toads in the Summer ~ a poem

 

Black and Brown Frog Sitting on White Concrete Floor

I don’t know about you but when I was a child the summers were magnificent. Long hot days spent out in the yard, playing in our sand box and on the swing set my daddy built. He also built our sandbox which had a second floor with a tire ladder to climb up. There was also a circular arrangement of logs he stood up on end and held together with a chain that made a spiral staircase. He painted the tops of them different colors. We’d play “Cops n Robbers,” chasing each other through the tall grass, June bugs slapping against our shirts. We drove our Hotwheels in the sandbox, wetting the sand with the garden hose so we could build things out of the wet sand. We chased butterflies, followed ants, captured caterpillars and begged mom for a Styrofoam cup or a jar to put them in. We rode our Big Wheels, our bikes, and our scooters.  The sun set late. If we were playing down the street, we’d come home when the street lights came on. This later time of the day was the perfect time to find what we called hoppy-toads. If you’ve never gone hoppy-toad huntin’ in the waning of a summer day, then I implore you to take up your bucket and give it a try. Enjoy this ode to the hoppy-toads that lived in our yard and brought me great joy as a child.

Hoppy-Toads in the Summer

 

Hoppy-toads grow fat
tucked behind cool gray
stones and fragments of brick.
A yellow bucket nestles
there, waiting. 

Determined,
I take up my bucket
The white plastic handle
Digging into my arm.
I set out.


I lift each rock carefully
Disturbing the grass
Unveiling worm and cricket.
I search for them
In the cool, dark places.


The edge of the driveway
No stone unturned
But to no avail.
I set my eyes on the
Row of bricks beside our house.


Finally, a fat one leaps
But I am fast.
I scoop him up and
Plop! He squats into
The corner of my bucket.

Hoppy-toads like friends,
I think, and search for him
A mate. A companion.
The third brick hides her.
Plop! Into the bucket she goes.

Desperately Seeking Oblivion

pexels-photo-1292838

Desperately Seeking Oblivion

He wants to taste it,
quick on the tip of his tongue
sliding with ease
down into his gut…

Someone should tell him to stop
swallowing it whole.

A strange enigma,
[oblivion]
tasting like nothing,
encompassing, delivering, numbness…
a capsuled oasis in vast desert
to which all will dig and crawl
our tongues in our hands.

Sometimes the depth to which he thinks
is too deep for him to take…

So he swallows down, an
emptiness that won’t settle.
Again and again it rises
hissing in the back of his throat,
an esophageal argument
without victor.

He swallows it down again.

Thank you for reading my poetry. Be sure to follow, and check out my other poetry posts. 

Christina