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remembering

erin walker 1977-1994

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994

~~>–<@>–<~~

You know what I think about the most on today’s anniversary? That next year it will be 20 years since the accident. Twenty. It has been longer (even now) since then than the number of years I knew Erin and had her as a friend.

I am no longer the 18-year old girl I was when this accident happened. I am nineteen years older. I am less innocent. I am a lot more jaded. Yet, there’s rarely a month that goes by that I don’t think of Erin and wonder what sort of 30-something woman she’d be now. What she would think of current events, fashion choices. How she’d be as a mother – because I know she’d have been a mother by now and I would have loved to have watch her children grow up. Even though I don’t want any of my own. Even though I am not particularly a fan of children myself… it’s just something that has been on my mind lately. Probably because I am surrounded by mothers – new and old and at my age everyone seems to have kids.

My mother and Heather grew up together. They had children. Erin and I grew up together, though I guess we never finished growing up since her life was cut short at only 17. These two women made such an impact on so many people. They are always remembered fondly and people smile when their names are mentioned. I still have trouble talking about either of them with the father and brother who were left behind. I am still not comfortable bringing up memories or their names even though others do. It’s just not something I feel like I can speak about. But the need to talk is there.

I’m often surprised by how strongly I still feel this loss all these years later. It doesn’t seem like 19 years ago. It seems so much closer than farther away. Still, to this day. I suppose this was my first really traumatic moment in my life and it will forever be seared into my mind.  When you’re expecting someone to show up at choir practice because you’d just said “see you tomorrow” the night before… and you’ve never had anything else this shocking happen in your 18 years of life… it sticks with you.

I wasn’t blood family, but that’s not always the only way to define family. Erin was special to me and such a close friend. I still wish she could have been in my wedding in 2005. I’m still bewildered that she wasn’t. Sometimes I still think she’s just a phone call away (or, I guess in this day and age, a text away). I think she’d have loved texting and instagram and be annoyed by facebook like the rest of us are.

I still feel so much all these years later. I suppose I always will. I don’t only think of these two in October. Erin is always on my mind. I oddly always think of her mother when we make Kraft Dinner (Heather made the BEST Kraft Dinner I have ever had!) and when I see really great photography.

19 years later and you are both still missed so much and loved so very, very strongly.

(Next year I swear I will have a recording of this song to go with the post. A real one. It’s my goal.)

memories trapped in photographs

My parents have been staying with us since Thursday. This resulted in many baked goods, a lovely home cooked meal and some quality time with my parents. It also saved them from spending tons of money on a hotel when they come to town. Even though my parents think they are being burdens by staying with us, they really aren’t. I don’t see them much anymore since they moved and my place is big enough that we can all have some space when we need it.

At least I didn’t think it was too bad having them here, hopefully they didn’t think it was awful staying here.

Jinx and even skittish Sophie enjoyed the visit as well. Helps when Grammy and Grampy are constantly feeding them treats. 😉 Jinx is a mopey gus right now and really sucky for cuddles. He’s been following me around and pawing at me to pet him all afternoon. He even came upstairs with me when I went to take a nap. I guess he really liked having them around. Sophie was saucy and flirty with my father. She wouldn’t always let him pet her but she LOVED to talk to him. RoooRoooOoooing and barking when he’d come by and she wiggled and wagged and trotted around after him. She doesn’t speak a lot when there are people around she doesn’t know or isn’t comfortable with, so I could tell how much she liked my father by how verbal she was with him. More-so than with Shawn (mostly she tells him off when he puts on his belt in the morning. Don’t know what that’s all about.)

It was nice having my parents here and still having my christmas stuff up. This is also the first time in years that I had all my decorations up past December 27 or so. Shawn and I took everything down yesterday afternoon and now the house feels so big and empty. Even more empty with my parents gone!

I had every intention of having a family photo taken while my parents are here. After all, life is precious and you always want to keep current memories alive. But of course I totally forgot to take photos with my parents and I’m really bummed out by that. So, I decided to try and recreate the visit from memory.

Mum & Dad visit, January 2013

At least I have fruitcake to remember this visit by. Yum. 😉

appreciate

Yesterday I forgot to take my lunch break. I ate throughout the day, while at my desk, but was so busy it wasn’t until I was on the bus home that I turned to Shawn and said, “Hey, I forgot to take my lunch today!”  I wasn’t the kind of busy that stressed me out, I was just busy enough that I was able to get from one task to the other and the other (of course all these tasks ended up preempting my original plan of filing & cleaning off my desk). Little urgent things kept popping up over the course of the day and well, I just forgot to take my break.

So today, I’m taking a break. Mostly, I just wanted to sit and truly enjoy my lunch made up of leftovers from last night’s delicious meal.

Roast by Mummy. Sides & Mashing by Dad & Shawn. Eaten by ME!

My parents are visiting this week and staying with us until Sunday. You have no idea how delighted I was to come home from work last night and have them cooking dinner for us. It was ready not too long after we got home and it was DELICIOUS! This is a good reason for your parents to have a key to your home. For times like this when they show up in the afternoon and you don’t have to meet them somewhere to give them a key. They can just let themselves in, greet the dogs, unpack their things and start cooking you dinner. 😉

Much to Shawn’s chagrin we had roast beef. Mmmmmm. It’s actually my early birthday dinner-slash-Christmas dinner since I didn’t see my parents over the holidays and I won’t see them at the end of this month for my birthday. Oh how I loved every bit of it. I even had TWO helpings. I guess I over ate, but I didn’t FEEL bloated or too stuffed. I felt great after eating it. We don’t make roast ourselves, mostly because Shawn doesn’t like it and secondly because, well, I don’t feel like making this big of a meal for only two people (even though I can live on the leftovers forever!)

Sophie is also appreciating this visit as it means she doesn’t have to get crated when we leave in the morning. My father was up and downstairs when we left, so Sophie could continue sleeping on the couch. 😉

My idea to start of this semester (which is how I think of the “new year” hoopla) is to try and appreciate all the little things, the simple things and try not to become too enraged over things I can’t change. I can’t fight peoples’ battles for them, I can’t change procedures at work that are set in stone. I need to be less cynical and jaded and annoyed by things.

The last few weeks of friends who have been ill or passed away have started putting things back into perspective for me. I lost some of that after we came back from the strike. Way too much bitterness seeped through and although I started off aloof and not getting involved, I let that go and started with the rage and annoyance again.

I appreciate my family and my friends so much. I want to do more things to show them how much they mean. Can I do this? I hope so. I have made so many other changes in my life recently that I have stuck with almost 100% (I’d say about 90%), eating habits, exercising habits, etc. I can change other habits too.

I’m a very happy person these days, even if I don’t feel like it once in a while. I have a lot going for me and I want to appreciate THAT, too. I want to be able to find the joy and hope in every day like I used to (even though I was depressed). Every day I want to think of something I am thankful for, appreciative of, that makes me happy.

Meanwhile, I’m going to appreciate every single piece of left over roast beef that’s in my fridge until it’s gone. I am going to appreciate it SO much. And by appreciate I mean EAT. Yum.

head space & heart ache

I have been in a weird head space for almost a year now. Everything is so dissonant and out of joint and I can’t figure out how to fix it. Part of it is work, I have so much going on in my head about what I need to keep track of and it’s causing me to lose sleep (I was up at 4 am this morning and haven’t been able to sleep since – not even a nap). As soon as I close my eyes, the voices in my head get really, really loud reminding me what I’ve forgotten, or what I have to remember to do. There are things currently in my life that are just pounding on my brain and I can’t shut them up.

All day today I have been fretting about this stupid trip to Russia that my boss is going on. The saga has been a daily part of my work life since mid-August. It’s driving me crazy!!  If I’m not worried about this, I’m worried about my class and the research paper I have to write and hand in my November 9. I was supposed to work on it all last weekend but I did nothing but panic each time I thought about it and convince myself I am just going to fail so why bother.

In the middle of all this worry today I realized something even more important than travel visas, expense reports and school work… I completely missed October 22 $ 23.

I. Missed. October. 22 & 23.

These are not dates that ever go by without notice. They are seared into my soul like Christmas dates, or my birthday. I can’t even believe that the dates passed and I didn’t think twice about it because the last two months have just whizzed by and I can’t ever remember what date it is anymore.

When I suddenly realized the date today, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I couldn’t breathe.  I felt dizzy (and not because I’d been up since 4am). I am honestly distraught by this and feel like I am the worst person in the world.

October 22 & 23 are such important dates in my life. No matter what’s going on in my life I always stop and think about those two days in 1994. I can’t believe this anniversary of the passing of my friend and her mother just slipped by me this year.

Where the hell was my head? I was at my BodyTalk session on Tuesday night. It was the 23rd THEN. I don’t even think I realized the date. That’s not like me.

We’re almost at 20 years since that accident happened. I don’t want to forget. I didn’t forget, really, but I did. I feel horrible about this and I know it’s not the end of the world, but for me… for something that has been such an important part of my life, for something that has had such an impact on my life… for it to just pass by without my notice? It feels like part of my soul was removed.

I don’t care if that sounds dramatic and over the top. Right now I am feeling so many things, so passionately I just can’t keep it all in.

How the hell could I forget something this Big in my life? I’m sorry Erin & Heather, I truly am. Even though I think of Erin on a regular basis (how would she look? What would she be doing? What would she think of this, that or the other?) I feel as though I let her down. Hell, her birthday in August whizzed by, too. I didn’t even notice the days. What is wrong with me this year?

So I’m going to post my annual post here, at the bottom of this one – on the wrong date – because I need to post it to soothe some of the voices right now. I need to offer my tribute to the spirits and let two very important people know that they are not forgotten. I’m just in a strange head space.

~~>–<@>–<~~

erin walker 1977-1994

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994

~~>–<@>–<~~

seventy

July 12, 1942

I wanted to post this on July 12, which would have been my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary, but I didn’t have time to sit in front of the computer and blog. Apparently when one works for a living, work tends to get in the way of non-work and after spending all day at the computer, I just don’t feel like doing the same when I get home. Alas.

It hit me at the start of this month that had my grandparents still been alive, this would have marked their 70th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately my grandfather passed away right before their 67th anniversary and my grandmother 10 months later. I still think of them every single day. I still get the urge to call my Nana when we have a small lull in the afternoon at work. It always catches me short when I realize I can’t do that anymore. Three years might have come and gone between losing my grandparents but after 33 years of having them in my life, pretty much daily, it’s a hard habit to kick.

My grandparents did actually get to spend 70 years together, since they dated for three years before tying the knot. Imagine. Seventy years with the same person by your side for better or for worse. Seventy years getting to spend each day in the company of your best friend. I can only wish that Shawn and I will have that, but we were older when we met, and I don’t know if we’ll be blessed with 70 years together or not. If we even reach our 67th anniversary, we’ll be 96 and 95 respectively. I can’t see us living that long! I’m not being negative, it’s just such a huge thing to get your head around, that one day you might be 4 years away from being alive for a CENTURY!

July 2, 2005

In this day and age when people seem to treat marriage like dating, like it doesn’t mean as much as it should, I think people who reach those marriage milestones of 20, 30, 40… 67 years are just so lucky. I feel like people just don’t get married for the right reasons anymore.

I’m saying this not being a huge fan of marriage. I mean, I didn’t grow up dreaming of my perfect wedding day, or the dress I’d wear. I never dreamed that one day my One True Love would come sweeping into my life and pick me up off my feet. Shawn and I never thought we’d get married, but one day it just felt right. So we did. I don’t like church weddings. I think the Church puts too many limitations on marriage. I like the idea of Hand Fasting (one word?) and tying two souls together. I love that marriage is a promise full of love and hope.

People seem to love differently today than in the past. I can even tell a difference in just the last 20 years, but it’s certainly obvious in the 70 year gap between my grandparents and today. I can’t explain it in words, but the kind of love and relationship that my grandparents have, that even my parents have, is so rare these days. I like to think that Shawn and I have that kind of love and partnership. I know of some friends who certainly do. People who spend their lives together because they love each other, not because it looks good to get married. I have friends who aren’t married to who have this bond, as well. You don’t have to have a piece of paper to prove your love.

I miss my Nana and Poppop so strongly and at times it’s still sort of overwhelming. There’s a little Mexican restaurant Shawn and I discovered a few years ago that’s just across the street from the senior’s apartment my grandparents moved into in… 2004? 2003? Hmm. Anyhow, they’d moved from their house of 60 years into an apartment and for some reason I always get hit by this wave of sadness when I see it now that they are gone. I don’t get that same punch from passing by their old house – a house that I spent MUCH of my childhood growing up in. That could possibly be because the people who bought it completely remodeled it and added a second story, etc. Actually, THAT really bugs me. That they CHANGED the house I loved so much. BUT the apartment just makes me miss them so very much. When we eat at Tamales I can see it just across the street and I feel melancholy but also a little happy as it makes me bring up all these memories of my grandparents.

My POINT, I guess, is that I was very aware of this year and this July being the 70th wedding anniversary of my grandparents and I am missing them a lot once more. I have been so lucky to have had them in my life for 33 years. I really, truly am lucky. They were wonderful, loving people. Strong and funny. Friendly. Big hearted. (Hart All Over as my grandfather, John Hart, would say).

They helped teach me what it means to love and be loved. They showed me what it takes to make a marriage and relationship work. They, along with my parents, helped mold me into the woman I am today and for that,  I shall forever be thankful.

Seventy years of love. You can’t get much better than that.