Time moves quickly; time stands still

Here I am- feeling utterly alone in my grief. It has been a long time since I came here- to the safety of this quiet space in which I can write- to unclog the tear ducts in my heart and in my eyes. The heartache of today is the one of every day for nearly five years; the loss of my most amazing, words cannot describe how unique- mother. I decided to come back to writing tonight to freeze time in this minute; to hold this single space in time–to hold onto the thoughts running through my mind and heart. My children are now 8, 8, and 4. My boys memory of my mother is fading and all my daughter has of my mother is the stories my dear amazing loved ones tell her.
I am filled with anger tonight as well as heartache. Why have I not been writing? Why haven’t I preserved my memories with my mother? Where is it all going- these memories? Not everyone understands this kind of grief; the kind that lingers and resurfaces. People certainly have the ‘time will heal’ statement down pat. Often people do not understand that the grief of being a mother without your mother– well that grief is always there; just under the surface…. lingering….
Tonight; that changes.

While I can’t change how fast the past nearly 5 years have sped by. Tonight. time will stand still as I remember.

I remember my mother’s heart. Her generosity. Her telling me to do the work I feel pulled to do and that the money will follow.

I remember the pride she said she felt when I finished graduate school.  I remember her telling me how fun it was to watch me play softball in high school. I remember I did not make the cheer leading squad and her telling me ‘your are not cheering about the results honey- but I am’.  She knew I had another path and that path lead to Field hockey and some of the most amazing days of my adolescence. I remember the softness and warmth of her smile and her hugs. Her smile was as big as the sunshine.

My mom taught me about ‘family of choice’. She taught me this very young – that sometimes the people we are actually related to – they don’t always show up for us when we need them– But our family of choice– they always show up. She gave me the best ‘un aunts’ I could have ever asked for.

Tonight. Tonight I feel lost. Filled with questions; who am I, what kind of parent am I? What kind of parent wold I be if my mom were still here?
I am so certain I would be so much better at this parenting gig if my mom was here. Her presence; it made me a better human being. She carried so much joy. She helped keep everyone’s compass directed at JOY and LOVE. The world is a muddy muddy place; with many distractions. She helped so many of us keep our compass focused on what truly matters in life; loving  and showing up for our people.

Tonight; I will sit in silence and breathe deeply for five breaths — just the way she taught me at the tender age of 8 when I was feeling anxious about my parents divorce. I will breathe deeply in to the count of five and exhale to the count of five. Then, I will do a loving kindness meditation, just as she taught me as well.  Her lesson always was– honey– be still and know– you are loved.


365 days

I am sitting on my mom’s pink chair that she had in her office, where she helped people every day as a therapist. It is quiet and all I am thinking is “I don’t want to write a thing, I have nothing more to say”. I feel numb today. I feel more loss and grief and pain, 365 days of living with out my mom than is conceivable to document in writing. I feel as if someone is sitting on my chest, breathing feels difficult; just as it did on the day my sweet and amazing mother breathed her last breath. I spent some time today going through some pictures; and the photos of her before she was sick and after she was sick were salt in my gaping wound. I feel like I want to shout from the roof tops all over again that this is NOT FAIR. LAst year at this time, I was 7 months pregnant. Today I played with my darling silly 10 month old. I look into my daughter’s eyes and feel a terrible heartache that she did not get to meet mom beautiful, smart and funny mom. It is a cruel twist of fate that my mom was over the moon I was having another child.  It is a cruel twist of fate – that each day of the entire pregnancy I was scared, tired and heartsick that my mom was sick. 

About today…. people were kind, and thoughtful and loving with their text messages of support and warmth. It helped ease some of the tightness in my being. Though; more than crying buckets today…. I found myself staring into things; the wall, the sky, the ocean, the ground. Staring, looking, searching for my mother. Everywhere I went today I was hoping to see some sign of love from her. And I found love in my children, my friends and my family of choice. It is not the same, though I appreciate it– it is not the same. Every day I miss my mom– the one person who knew the me-me. The whole me. And now; I don’t feel whole. I feel like a person who can’t breathe deeply, a person who can’t walk fast any more, a person who lost the giddy in her giddy up. While I can certainly rally for parenting time, I am not the same parent I was 366 days ago. I am slower, I am more deliberate, I am trying to be more present and I am just changed. This one year anniversary of my mother’s passing…. has left me in the same state of disbelief – same as the day before, and the day before that….my heart is broken. 365 days. It is way to many days not to hear ‘daughter, I love you”. 



It is coming up on the anniversary of my mom leaving, departing, setting her sick body free. I am in pain in my heart, and entire being. It is hard to breathe. It is hard to talk. I feel anxious and so sad and alone. As the day draws near I find my regrets to be the same. I find my pain has not decreased. I find my chasm of grief is simply held on the back burner…. But a small breath brings the flame close to my heart instantly. I still find myself numb ….. And with daily headaches.
I have a ten month old now. A lovely baby my mom has never met. It hardly seems possible. I would have and could have never dreamt that this would be my life. I feel the empty, lonely feeling of floating at sea with a piece of my soul missing. My best. Friend. My. Mother.
Yes. The year has been filled with heartache and pain and deep love for this new baby.
And the deepest loneliness… More than is describable in writing…. Or in words….more than can be uttered aloud.
It is stuck. In the silence of my heart.


Mother’s Day heartache.

Being a daughter without a mother is indescribable. The pain has been too great to type. I am fuzzy with sadness. Mother’s Day is here and my mom is not. I feel all at once like I will whither away into the cloud of sorrow. The only light I see is my dear beautiful and funny children. On days like this; I have all the why questions.
Why did this happen?
Where is my mom?
Why did such a healthy person get sick?
Why is there no justice for someone who did so much good for others and was such a beacon of light?
Why don’t I have my mom with me when I now have a daughter to raise?
When will this pain in my heart and clenching in my being decrease? And honestly – do I even want it to?
When will I be able to talk about it?
The Why questions do not really end for me? I am left here; on earth with only questions. And love. And abundance of love for my mom. And love that I miss receiving.
Again. The hole left by my mothers absence is more than I can describe to others and normally more than they can fathom.
Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet and amazing and loving mother; Donna Lee Aceves. I miss you greater than the sun and deeper than sky. Every day of my life.


Valentines day is not just for couples

February….. My mom was so loving and kind and caring around valentines day. When I was 11 years old for valentines day she got my brother and I Cabbage Patch kids–after that intense christmas where everyone wanted one and they sold out. And in college she sent cards and small gifts. As an adult she bought a book I would love and a Starbucks gift card. I just find all the love love love in this month wonderful and missing her greatly.
My mom loved Showing her love in ways both big and small. Last year for Christmas she bought me an amazing rain jacket and then… For Valentines — lovely floral rain boots. That’s the thing. She gets to know you– deeply– and she showers you with love and thoughtful gifts…. That make living without her breathing self – the worst pain of my life. It feel unbearable actually. Palpable.
Valentines day is not just for couples. It’s for all love.


Hitting the wall

People in my family seem to have hit a wall. They seem- much like me- to have hit the wall of how long they can tolerate living without my mom; their sister, aunt, friend, confidante, ear to listen and shoulder to cry on.
Their lives are … Running into the ground in one way or another. It runs the gamut from mental illness gone awry, aunts having a very hard time, cousins needing to be able to talk with someone, to me just needing a hug so desperately and having someone to talk with that knows me. We all seem to have this similar sense of waving a white flag that says ‘we give in; we need Donna- our loving confidante and person who sees the good in the world and can help you walk through the dearth and still see beauty. There is a sadness lingering for so many of us. And frankly – it is not so much that we need her – we want her light in out lives. We want and desire to see the world through her loving and compassionate eyes. I want to see my children through her eyes. And for me- every day- I want to see myself through her eyes.


How to explain?

Sometimes it is too painful to write. Sometimes it helps and is cathartic. Sometimes I want to remember the sad and painful things my kids are saying about missing their Noni. And sometimes I want to bury my head in the sand. A few nights ago during bed time prayers we got to the part where we say ‘and bless mommy and daddy and sister and brother etc’ and little 4 year old W says ‘but I didn’t want Noni to die’ and his twin Brother says ‘and she wasn’t even old’.
Nope. No she wasn’t.
She said the best part of being a young mom to me was being a young grandma. Every though I didn’t have kids filling was 35. I am finding with the boys; death needs re-explanations over and over. And then- when I think about it for myself- I realize that I too needs the same explanations over and over. I feel like I want to about from the roof tops ‘this is NOT fair’. Because its not. Cancer is not fair. And it doesn’t make sense. And as I tell my kids ‘it’s not right’. And we don’t have to like it. So every day we try to keep a little of Noni in our hearts. And spread that love around.


Moving on

I don’t know how people or I will move on from this sadness in my heart. I miss my mom painfully during this new year. We always made it to the beach in lovely January weather. We walked, we talked, we played with the boys in the sand. She (of course) captured it via her amazing camera lens and it would magic show up in a beautiful calendar the following year. I still have a headache. I still have a heartache. I still have – what feels like a piece of my soul missing.
My step dad has a ‘friend’. He is lonely and wants someone to talk with. His grief and my grief are so similar and in this regard – so different. Since I have a full house of kids I don’t find the need to fill the void my moms absence leaves.
I sit here with my cup of tea and feel it and …… Don’t need someone else to fill it up. My step dad can attempt to find a replacement for my mother – after 28 years – someone who can help ease the loneliness. There is no one – after 39 years of mothering- who can ease my loneliness for my mom. No one makes me feel so warm and loved. No one that could put a smile on my sons face like my mom. No one who knew me so deeply. No one who saw the good in a person first.
Yes. My heart is still broken. I can’t run on the adrenaline that my step dad chooses to run on to escape the pain and heart ache he must feel. I sit here, in the silence of my home, drink my tea quietly and feel it. It the deep dark crevices of my soul. I feel it.


Not ready for a new year

I do not want to enter into a new year. I don’t want to enjoy a year in which my mom has not been a party of it. This causes extreme heartache in the depths of my soul. As people ring in a new year with joy and exuberance – all I can think of over and over in my head is…. Please, no, make the nightmare end. Please, tell me this has all been a joke. Please tell me the bright shining light of my mother on this earth still will be with me. In the human form- in the talking or texting every day kind of form. Please tell me my mom will meet my daughter and watch my kids grow. Please tell me heart it will be okay. New Years is often a time of deep reflection– reflection of where you have come from and where you want to go with your life. Well, I don’t want to go anywhere. I have no desire for New Years resolutions, zero reflections, and honestly – I still battle with intense and painful anger. Anger and grief and this chasm of pain… They don’t seem to blend well with ‘starting anew’ in 2014. The only reflection I feel capable of making – is the one that reminds me of how important and special my mom made me feel, made others around her feel and how much fun she had in her life. It’s hard to sit and remember sometimes tho- it causes the missing her to tear through me like a knife. My mom had the best and most loving hugs and would look at you with deep kindness and patience. Her patience for me was amazing. It remains emblazoned in my mind and on my heart her deep deep love for me. Her deep love for my children. She made you feel like you so so special on this planet. I keep asking ‘why’. All the usual and expected why’s when someone so unique and special and healthy gets sick and fights cancer and doesn’t survive. How did this happen? How does this happen to someone who did everything right to care for her body, mind and soul? And then why did this happen to someone so so undeserving of being given a short life. I am still working on trusting love. I can’t quite seem to trust anything anymore. My mom trusted love and – well- what did that do for her? I know, it did a lot of things for her while she was sick.
I miss my mom. Her calming spirit and her genuine smile. I want a re-do of 2013. I need to do it differently. I can barely tolerate going into a new year when I want to re-do the last year if my my moms life. My best friends life. It’s so cliche- but- I just want more time. And I want to do the last year with more love and compassion and grace. I wanted my moms last year to be a better reflection of all the love she put out into the world and gave to others. I want her to feel how she has made so many others feel- loved to the ends of the earth. I wish people could learn from my mistakes. How blinded by grief I was that I could not remain in the present. And tho it is not helpful to judge my grieving self of 2013– I can not help it. While others ring in the new year with joy, I ring it in with such sadness it envelopes me. As I write I think…. Trust Love…. How do I do that? As I was thinking of a theme word for 2014 the only word that popped up was LOVE. I am not sure what this means for me. ( years passed have ranged from peace – as in have more peace, give others peace, manifest peace etc).
Love? 2014…. Year of Love? Maybe I can try it? With my mom as my guide…..



I have found it difficult to do proper self care when I feel so sad. I have found it a challenge to care about what I wear and how I look when I am drowning in deep grief. It dawns on me this is something I need to attend to. Something I need to take care of. But as I told my friend – it’s the last thing on my mind lately. The first thing on my mind is my three kids, then husband, then trying to keep house clean, laundry etc …. And then.. Way at the end of the totem pole…. Is what my mom would call ‘self care’. It has gone by the wayside for close to six months. Yes. My mom has been gone for close to six months. And it makes me throw up a little or severely gag even typing that right now. It makes my eyes fill with tears.
Anyhow. Self care. Trusting love. Being in the present. All of these things are on my mind. I am still angry. I am still pretty pissed off at the universe for giving someone cancer that took such amazing care if herself. The notion that my mom of all people got this strange and random cancer is absolute crap. This person that walked nearly every day, ate healthy, meditated regularly. Yes. It’s all friggin crap. Again. I go back to the darn headache. I have one. Every. Single. Day. And. If I did a bit better self care, I think the headache would go away. So, I am thinking about it. Less angry, less distracted, less mushy brain…. I think maybe if I am more ‘in the present moment’ – it might help. I dunno. I am just not sure. I know it works for many….. I’ll have to think on it. Think really hard on it. My mom said ‘incorporating something new is easier than trying to get rid of a behavior’. So maybe, if I try to add being present, my pissed off and sad brain will get a breather. Just a thought. Trust love.