Sunday, September 1, 2013

An Open Letter to My Friends

Hi folks, Valentina here...we interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to bring some blog posts from Z-Girl. We've told her it's okay to write about her personal experiences of late...we'll be back soon.

Just so you remember how cute I am.

To my friends,
Let me preface this by saying first and foremost thank you to all people in my life with the label of friend. To me, time and  distance don't matter so much as sincerity, and in the vestiges of my youth found carefully tucked away in shoe boxes (letters), in scrapbooks, or simply saved in larger boxes--I discovered thousands of proof points that I am indeed a very fortunate person with loyal friendships-- my definition of love everlasting.

I'll also say, to those inclined to reply to this blog post publicly or privately, with words of "it will all be okay," or "everything will work out," or what I've found to be the least helpful phrase "move on", please don't. I don't need to hear those words. This is the beginning of multiple posts about this life transition I'm facing, and I share it from my heart. The worst thing you can do is pour salt on these emotions with commentary that serves no purpose (in my opinion). Say it to the wind, but don't say it to me.

So many memories have danced through my mind since June, when my dad made the announcement that he bought a new place in Pittsburgh. This meant putting our MD area family home of almost 30 years on the market. This is a paradox, and as some of you may know I continue to be fascinated with the paradox. In my rational, logical mind I know this move from the Ellicott City home is necessary. Situated on an acre of land, three stories and 5 bedrooms, it's just too much for my mom and dad to maintain. It is need of a facelift and some TLC on so many fronts. But the gravity of the entire situation--the move out of the house and the move to Western PA, coupled with my mother's rapidly declining condition--are a lot to take at one time.

For this post, I want to thank all of the people who have offered help. Those who came and hauled furniture and trash to the dump, or stood at the foot of the ladder while I emptied out two attics. Who wrapped fragile items and packed boxes. Maybe instead you are a friend who checks in on me regularly via text to see how I am. Or one who rides the train with me to work, and listens with a thoughtful ear. Or calls me while commuting,  just for a chat. Perhaps you too are going through something similar, so you offer support and acknowledgement. The list goes on. I just want you to know, each of you--I couldn't have made it through these last 6 weeks without your helping hands and open hearts. Thank you. Sincerely.

And then....
I think somewhere in a fantasy, at the point we would prepare to move out of Furrow Avenue, there would be time to strategically go through the countless boxes of letters I archived. All the items my mom saved from our childhood, all the family treasures she so lovingly preserved. The reality though is that quick decisions have to be made: charity pile, trash pile, save pile. I lost a lot of sleep after discarding scads of hand written letters from the 70s and 80s. Even after the piles were sorted, I could reach my hand into the garbage bag and pull out something worth seeing again. Like the postcard my Grandma K wrote to me after we purchased the Yamaha piano:

Dear Laura,
I hope that you will practice the piano every day. Playing piano is one of the nicest things a young lady can do.

I have hours of work to do to make sense of what I now own. To digest what I trashed. To accept all that is happening--beyond the memories, and into the here and now. The tears keep flowing. I know this is normal, and really, not uncommon for many of those who may be reading this post. I ask that you keep in mind, we each experience these life events in our own peculiar way. 

My upcoming posts will present my perspective. As they say--take what you like, leave the rest. 


  1. I love you Laura. Sending you love, love, love. ~ Mary Kate

  2. Dear Laura,
    I've been through so much of what you're describing and I know the weight you feel, the burden and ache of your heart. I lost my mom when I was only in my 20's and helped my dad through selling the family home and later becoming his advocate and guardian as he aged. There's nothing easy about. What I can say though is that amidst the stress and sadness of watching your parents age and letting go of *stuff* there are snippets of joy that will remain with you forever. Like your grandma's note.

    One of the things I keep close to my heart is a conversation my dad and I had shortly after I had helped him move into a nursing home. I was riddled with guilt, felt so sorry for him losing so much of what I thought was important. But as we sat outside in the sunshine, he said, "Sweetheart, as long as I have you, right here and now, I have everything I need."

    God I miss him. I miss his optimism I miss his advice. I just miss him.

    So I won't say it will be okay and it will get better.
    But I will say, hold what's important close. Now and always.


    1. GG, I know that you are all too familiar with this transition, and the heartache that accompanies these days. I will hold tight to the memories, and am so grateful that right now, despite the move I do still have my mom and dad here to talk to; we've done a lot of reminiscing together and that's been therapeutic, especially with my sister visiting from N. Ireland. I have so much gratitude as I look through the documents and photos and items stored away in drawers or the attic...sometimes we can forget how rich and full our lives were back in the day...perhaps this is just what I needed at this time of my life, to keep me grounded in all that I have experienced...
      I know how much you miss your dad, and that you--in your own story and your own words--echo the sentiments of gratitude and of sorrow. Of joy and loss.
      My mom would have loved the Glorgirly blog, and read Katie and Waffles posts every day--if it were a different time. Instead, I tell her stories. She doesn't really know who these cats are, just that you are a friend of mine and they are your babies. So thank you for allowing me to call you a friend. Peace...

  3. Laura - these moments in time cause such a range of emotion and there is no way to process the feelings with any yardstick of logic. We all stumble through the transition of life in our own way and all the words of love, support, and comfort from your friends are there for you to use as you see fit.

    My heart is with you and I am grateful to know that you are able to revisit and appreciate the rich and full moments you had back in the day to keep you grounded in the present.

    1. Deb, Thank you for your thoughtful words. I often stumble through transitions and find that giving myself that grace helps me in the long run.
      Having great friends--around me and on the blogosphere--is a treasure.
      I've much to be thankful for: past and present, and an equal amount of hope for the future.


Leave your paw prints for us to read...