Who Cares About Death?

21 Dec

 

Even for a fairly verbal person like myself, its hard for me to write down what I want to say today. Life, death, the cycle of life itself, it’s overwhelming and mystifying if you really stop to think about it, I mean, who knows for sure what happens after we die? Does our soul, our energy remain? If so does it eventually dissipate into the universe blending with all the other energy particles, gasses and matter? Is there some magical place called heaven we reside in and live the good life with out pain and suffering and no more lessons to learn? Is there nothing? I don’t know the answer to that, and quite frankly regardless of what any religion tell us, neither do you. Not for certain anyway. Belief and facts are not the same. The truth is, it’s not even important what lies after, because regardless of what happens after our hearts take its final beat, we can’t change it or stop it, or fight it. Death is certain to everyone, and what happens from there no one knows for sure. Religions obsess over it, people live their entire lives in fear of it, people fight and debate over it, but really what’s the point of all that when the outcome will be the same either way and nothing is going to change that? What matters is LIFE and how we spend our time here….the people we love, the kindness we grant others, the lessons we learn, and the wisdom we pass down. That we can change. That matters. That’s the whole point. My mother left this life 4 years ago today. I held her hand and watched the last bit of life flee her once bright eyes as she quietly made her exit. Where she is doesn’t matter. Death is not more important than life. Her time spent with the living mattered, and all that she taught me and gave me and showed me. I hope she is watching over me, and I want to believe I still feel her energy present now and again but truth is, that may be wishful thinking. Ive tried not to dwell or miss her in the last four years because to focus on the void her soul left rather than the life she lived, is in my opinion a sad sin. Her leaving made me realize the life I was living was being wasted on things not worthy and pursuits unimportant. Every second counts. Everything that we do counts. What we share counts. What we learn counts. The love we generate counts. That much is certain. Those things are real, and will carry forth long after we die. The afterlife is uncertain but the impact we have in this life is clear. So in memory of my mother carol, I’d like to encourage anyone still reading this, to go on and live that life of yours. Live with out fear, share what you know, open your heart to a little kindness and learn what you can and teach it to the next soul. That, I am certain, is real and has meaning.

RIP Carol, wherever you are. Thank you for all you’ve given me to give to my daughters and son as well.

Thank you for reading and please share with anyone who needs to remember to be Alive and present.

copyrite livelaughoveliquor 2015

photo is of my daughter Delilah, photo credit Sheila castellano if Red Barn Photography in hills borough NJ

 

Screw Resolutions – 2015: How are you going to spend your time?

31 Dec

Screw Resolutions – 2015: How are you going to spend your time?.

Screw Resolutions – 2015: How are you going to spend your time?

31 Dec

Screw Resolutions – 2015: How are you going to spend your time?.

Screw Resolutions – 2015: How are you going to spend your time?

30 Dec

time

I know I haven’t written lately. I couldn’t. And I cant get into that now, but someday I will, I promise.

But for now, my thoughts are directed to New Years, a passing of time, an indelible marker in our lives, a clear segment that delineates one point in our lives from the next.We don’t realize it when we are younger, but its all about time. Recently, a very wise, insightful and imperfect friend and I had a conversation that is haunting me. He spoke of time, and what it means to spend it on someone. Bear with me on this.

When we are younger, time seems infinite. 20 seems like a loooooong way away, 40 seems even further, and 60 is unimaginable. Most of us don’t even give the concept of time any consideration, and if we do, we think we have lots of time left in our lives, plenty of it. We spend our time playing learning, growing, and having fun as a child, carefree and never thinking about it as a commodity or something to be given away or traded. Most of the time, we are killing time in our teens, waiting for bigger things to happen “Cant wait to get my first car” or “Cant wait till I turn 21, go to college, get married, etc.” Time is spent wishing for bigger things.

Moving on to our 20’s, we will spend our time with anyone fun, vibrant, good looking, entertaining, or interesting with out a thought. Like a millionaire throwing around dollar bills at a nudie bar, we have plenty of time to spend on trivial shit, and its fun to do so. It doesn’t really matter how we spend it, as long as we are enjoying ourselves. In our 30’s we spend our time building our “empire”. Chasing the ultimate house, squirreling away our nest egg, our stock portfolio, our designer handbag collection, obtaining big boy toys, etc. Our time is focused on the build  and the acquisition. Maybe its spent planning your dream wedding, building your perfect McMansion, picking out that granite for the big remodel, raising your beautiful family,  shopping for matching outfits for that family Christmas card photo shoot,  and searching out the latest and greatest video games/toy for your kids to have the picturesque childhood you always wanted. Make that money, watch it burn, as the song says. Spend your time generously.

By the time we hit 40, we realize time is short. We get stingier with it. Friends pass away suddenly, with out warning, healthy one day, gone the next. They have no more time.  Marriages fall apart. Jobs come and go, the company down sizes, and you’re in foreclosure. Life starts smacking you in the face. Your husband leaves, or your dealing with addiction, or your kid gets knocked up, and the other one is arrested for something humiliating, your dad tells you he’s gay, whatever the crisis, there is always a crisis.  It makes you realize, all that time you dumped into building these things was great while it lasted, but nothing is safe from life’s cruel jokes and ironies. The rug gets pulled out. Even if your “aha” moment is from watching someone else’s train wreck, and your lucky enough to never experience the heartbreak and agony of your own, you start to realize that your time is finite, and your most sacred commodity. Unlike money, or a home, or your stock portfolio, or  anything material for that matter, you can not get more. Once its spent, its gone forever. The gift of our time can save someones life, or change it, or make them feel loved or unloved, or worthy or unworthy. Time is our dearest possession, and we just don’t know when we are going to cease to have it.  Time with my deceased mother I will never again get to spend. Time spent as a mother is finite too, as children get older and need you less and less. Time spent nurturing a friendship, or fixing a broken relationship, or nursing an elderly parent or making a craft with your kids kindergarten class is a GIFT from you to the people you chose to love and spend your time and energy on, because you can’t make any more of it, and you can’t get it back, and it may be of short supply, you just don’t know when you’re gonna run out of it.

So this coming New Year, choose your time wisely. Make sure the person, energy spent or behavior is worth it.  Choose your actions seriously. Don’t waste time on people who don’t understand that you’re giving them something you’ll never get back. Don’t give away your life by engaging in meaningless situations which cause you damage and drain your most precious commodity. Don’t entertain friendships that rob you of your time and leave you empty. Debit your time to people and actions that honor it and understand its a valuable, endangered  resource. Make your time count, and make sure who you choose to spend it on loves and appreciates you for it, because time is a limited gift and you never know when its time for your heart to take its final beat, and just like that, your time is up.

So how are you going to spend your time in 2015?

 

This post is dedicated to two people. My friend Coleen Rice Medinger who passed away unexpectedly last week, and whom I will never have time again with. Coleen I enjoyed the gift of your time, and what you shared with me during our mutual struggles with infertility.

And to my imperfect friend, a very flawed man who knows who he is. I appreciate your time, thank you for trusting me to spend it together.

 

Copyrite 2014 livelaughloveliquor.

Thank you for spending your time reading my words, allowing me to connect with you, and please share if it touches you.

 

What is the Meaning of Life?

29 Mar

blogwaterpark

I’m not sure if it was my mother’s death that prompted it, or perhaps being on the wrong side of 45, but I make no secret about that fact that I am experiencing a severe mid-life crisis.  It’s not just the fact that I am wearing powder blue eye shadow like its 1975, or that I bought a snappy little convertible Audi (red, of course) or that I have re-discovered the push up bra.  While those things are obvious (and pathetically cliché) in all seriousness,I have also found myself searching to live a more  thoughtful life.  As the mother of young children who is often tossed back and forth in a sea of banal household routines (lunches, laundry, drop off, pick up), sheer utter chaos (9pm Sunday night someone announces they need 17 egg-shaped, nut free, homemade sandwich cookies to contribute to snack tomorrow) and extreme forms of torture (ever step on a lego during a midnight bath room trip??), it is easy to reel in the years on auto pilot, doing but not seeing, acting but not feeling, living but not aware.  I’ve been making a true effort to absorb more of every thing around me, live vividly (thus the blue eyeshadow, perhaps?????) and really be thoughtful of what is happening instead of just being in robot survival mode.  Not easy, but I’m trying.

This week for spring break, my friend Sheila Castellano and I took a last-minute road trip to New Hampshire for a mini vacation. Five kids in tow, we decided to hit an indoor water park. The kids were thrilled, and we were stoked to see they served booze so we could enjoy an adult cocktail while the darlings splashed about. The day was exhausting.  4 flights of stairs up and down for the water slides, (helloooo, I’m 47 years old!) running here, running there,  swimming, jumping, following the little darlings everywhere with scarcely a time to enjoy a cocktail or the grotto like hot tub provided for adults. I’m not going to talk about how one kid almost broke a nose, or how one dropped a deuce in her swimsuit, or the other that had to be rescued by a life guard, but  I do want to share  a moment of clarity I  had, in an unlikely place.

The girls favorite part of the water park was the wave pool. Graded like a beach, every 10 minutes or so a horn would blast warning its occupants that the pool would simulate the breakers of the ocean. Pulling you in, spitting you out, back and forth, being tossed around, the girls would squeal with delight the minute the horn sounded, and run for the “shoreline”. I had just sat down after 8 or 9 consecutive trips up the stairs with an inner tube on my balanced on my head, my thighs were throbbing like jello.  I was about to order a glass of wine, when they scampered up to me, each grabbing a hand, begging me and dragging me towards the man-made shore.  I begrudgingly hauled myself up on my still shaky hamstrings, and hobbled in. The waves started and they each held on to my hand, jumping and howling with glee. As the intensity of the waves grew, we got drawn in deeper, and they clambered closer  to me, eventually climbing me like a water-logged tree trunk. One little strawberry blonde, slippery, meatball in each arm, they held on to me for dear life as we were tossed about  in water up to our shoulders.  My legs ached with the burn of 1000 stairmasters, while one of them grabbed my ponytail like the reigns of a horse, and the other dug her toes into my hipbone, as if it were a rung on the ladder of her own fleshy tree-house.  I was standing there praying for it to be over, when I remembered my promise to be more mindful. Instead of waiting out the torture, I stopped, took a deep breath and FELT what was happening. In my right arm, the little one moved in and grabbed my cheek, planting a wet kiss on me while laughing and squirming with delight.  At my left, the big one was yelling “More! More!” and was beaming the most genuine, delightful grin. They giggled and chuckled in my ear, and it was a moment of pure joy and childhood elation.  As I watched the girls in their delighted state of euphoria, a warmth spread inside of me. Like a  slow-moving wave, I felt my affection for them grow inside of me, and just for a moment life shifted into slow motion, and time stood still.  I saw them in all their innocent splendor, the joy they felt just “being”, and my love for them exploded. Something clicked and for the first time in my life I was AWARE of what unconditional love felt like. Just pure 100 percent love. Not love because you expect love back. Not love fuel by sex. Or money, or power, need, or reciprocation. Not a desire to fill a void left by my own childhood, or to make up for what I never had.  Just unfiltered love.  Not loved tinged by fear: fear of the unknown, fear of uncertainty, or mistrust, or of being alone or what is going to happen when it ends.  Genuine, unadulterated, 100 percent pure love. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved them, but that love was over shadowed by other emotions too – at their birth there was also wonder, fear of the unknown, worry about health etc.   Even though it runs in the background,   love get swallowed up by daily activities, and  is overshadowed by responsibility.  But at that  moment  love came shining thru in the foreground, and everything else stopped.  The ache in my hip. the pull of my hair, my weariness took a back seat. Warmth, and gratitude came rushing at me as the clock stopped ticking, stars smiled at me, and something spiritual tapped in. At that moment I was grateful for every choice I had made that led me to these children. And in the middle of the White Mountain Valley of New Hampshire, in a 2nd rate water park  at 47 years old, I felt blessed and God spoke to me and said, “This my dear, is the meaning of your life”.

Amen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to give up my Sephora addiction any time soon, but I can promise you this: I’m going to take more deep breaths, live a vivid life and just FEEL things more often. I hope you do too.

Thanks for reading and thank you to all that repost this on facebook or share the link with friends. xoxoxox

Copyright 2013 livelaughloveliquor

Today: Not the Kind of Anniversary You Celebrate

20 Dec

A year ago today I watched a heart so dear to me take its final beat.  There was nothing I could do for her, I was powerless to stop the disease that took over her frail and suffering little frame. I feel fortunate that I was there to see her through her passing, holding her hand and softly encouraging her to let go, just as she was there for me so many times through out my childhood, in illness or fear. I wasn’t her favorite child, I knew that. We fought many a fight, failed each other many times over, and we certainly had our differences but I loved her none the less.  And I miss her. I feel like the last year was spent down a rabbit hole of uncharted territory, a shift in the path of my life  that only another motherless adult could understand. A series of feeling  (and trying to fill) empty little holes her departure left me with,plagued with questions I’ll never get to the chance to ask and haunted by inside jokes that will no longer be understood. We had a history, unique to us, good and bad, and its mine alone now as she is not there to  share it with me any longer. I  grew up Catholic, but I’m really not even sure what I believe any longer – whether she is some ball of energy, a light at one distant end of the universe shining brightly like a star…..or perhaps sitting with a divine  being in a better place enjoying the rewards of a life lived by virtue……or perhaps she is here with me now, on some unseen plane in some  unknown dimension parallel to us, watching me as I type, looking out for me as some sort of guardian angel and spiritual protector. Or maybe she is just gone……which is what it feels like. My life will never be the same with out her, my emotional “safety net”  is gone. I can never again ask her who was a lefty in my family, as my daughter is, or how to make those Ukrainian sauerkraut rolls she made, or to ask her to come over and watch my kids for me when I am sick or tell her I love her or even accuse her of never loving me back.  All those chances are gone and everything that has been said, has been spoken, like it not. I still haven’t written thank you notes from her funeral and I have 7 boxes of her belongings in my basement that I get the shakes from just looking at. Her passing has made me hold me own children so dear, and value the unique relationship I have with each of them. I am far more conscious of the course of our time together and how I want them to remember me, and embark upon their own journey as mothers.  I know whats important in the mother/daughter dynamics because I no longer have that chance to change it on the flip end with my own mother.

Her passing also taught me that life is short. She died at 66, my father at 67. I am working hard to make the most of it, and have cut out a lot of dead weight that dragged me down. I don’t tolerate bullshit. I’ve realized that people don’t have to be related to you to be your family, and have some dear friends who have been my life boat. I’ve been surprised by who has been there for me, and by some who have never even acknowledged her death with a simple “I’m sorry for your loss.”  Its been one of my biggest emotional growth years since childhood, and not because I was striving for that, but simply because I had no choice but to suck it all up and cope, although I will admit that this summer I came as close to a nervous breakdown as I’ll ever come.  I’ve learned so much about myself and what I want my life to be about.  I’ve stopped waiting “for the right time” and just go for it now. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and I know that now. I’m more honest with myself, and with others about how I feel, and I don’t care who it scares and who’s boat gets rocked by it. I’m truer to myself than I’ve ever been. It’s been hard for me to write, writing requires me to tap into a place that is deep and I just cant seem to get there with out thinking of all that I’ve lost when she died, and all that will never be again. Most of all, I just ache and miss having a mother.  As raw as that is, it’s the truth.

So Rest in Peace Carol, where ever you are. I cant listen to Pearl Jam with out thinking of you (and feeling a slight tug of humiliation thinking about you rocking out at concerts) nor can I walk into  church, eat a bag of “wise” potato chips, or smell gardenias with out recalling my childhood and the memories you gave me. I see bits and pieces of you in each of my children, and in myself as well. Sometimes when I listen to myself speak I hear your voice and when my ankles crack as I go down the stairs I see your form. So many little echos of you surround me, which I suppose makes it hurt all the more. Rest well, Mother and know that despite our tears and fights and short comings, I really did love you. And I know you loved me too.

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T’was the GNO Before Thanksgiving…….

21 Nov

Girls Night Out! GNO!!! GNO!!!!!

T’ was the night before Thanksgiving
And all thru the house,
Jose Cuervo was waiting, that unfaithful louse,
Our make up was applied over wrinkle cream with care,
In hope that Captain Morgan soon would be there,

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
With ne’er a clue of their mom’s plans ahead……
With momma is her high heels, she is taking no crap,
she s looking like a hottie and knows just where its at….

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I rose from the sofa….is my ass getting fatter?.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore my gel manicured pinkie nail and almost fell on my ass

The moon on the breast of my push up bra, ya know?
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, (insert perverted Bevis and Butthead laugh here)
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a Honda Odyssey, and the friends I hold dear,
With our designated driver so lively and quick,
We all talked a good game about getting some dick (not)

More fun than a tupperware party , the moms they became
And whistled, and shouted, and when the bouncer knew them by name;

“Hey, Justina! Hey, Betsy! Hey, Sheila and Nancy!
Hey Carolyn, Hey Dolly, and Charlene, dont you girls look fancy?”

To the top of the bar, grab a stool so you dont fall
tequilla + heels = disaster y’all

DRINK UP MY BITCHES, HAPPY GNO TO ALL!