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Friday, April 28, 2017

Mike & The Mechanics - The living Years

This is a Classic song, I use to sing it at the top of my lungs in the car while driving to work, Good times!

Sibling Situation

It's sure going to be very different from now on without Derek in our family, he was aware of how each family member worked and what they needed from him. He saw how different our family history was from the first 3 kids growing up to the last 3 kids still growing up.

Derek had the gift of making our family dinners turn out wonderfully!
He saw the importance of living with grace and forgiveness, he made it easy to talk to him about anything and I will really miss that.....
I can't talk to my sister Dana like I did with my brother Derek. In fact I think my sister is one person I never talk to in our family. I am not sure how that happened in the end and when looking back I have no idea why.....
I mean Dana and I have had a long odyssey in our history as sisters as we grew up side by side. I guess it could be a number of events, or a number of things that went wrong between us?
Yet even when we were kids it was difficult to be close or be friendly with each other.
I guess now almost 40 years later things haven't changed very much with us struggling to understand each other?  
and I will miss Derek for many reasons, one being he was our common ground, our help in being around each other. 

I can remember my sister switching off to me during our mother's massive stroke with all the dramas of those long 4 months in the hospital in the summer 2011. She never talked to me directly ever again, so it must have something to do with those days back then...
I just don't really know.
Maybe I should ask her? It's never clear to me if she is talking to me or not....
I was thinking eventually she would come back around from whatever upset her against me, yet even during Derek's funeral I could feel her strain, her not wanting me to touch her so I began to realize that just because we are sisters never meant that we were friends. I can look back a million moments growing up together how true that fact is. I gave up trying so hard to have her look me in the eye back in those emotional hospital days of out mother's recovery. She made this wonderful poster for National Sibling day recently, not having Derek here anymore to help us all get along will be the hardest part of the future I think......
In my sister's poster I find common ground with her, for I love our brothers too, I love her as well but I won't make her uncomfortable by trying to hug her when I see her again. I think I understand now that she can still be my sister without my ideas of sisterhood being put upon her and annoying her so much.

At Derek's private family viewing time I saw my whole family there and I was filled with such love and grace! I am glad I know them and they are in my life, I don't need to make them be like myself in order to feel close and strong together instead I know I am already standing on my own 2 feet with the magic that Derek gave me to live on with out him.
He knew how to support his family while maintaining his own happiness and enjoying his good life.
From that I have learned to look at our sister differently, for we both really loved our brother and having that in common can help us face the future in a better way .......perhaps.......

Derek grins big saying "Well You and Dana are like the same person really."  I choke on my water bottle and he laughs whole heartedly as I hesitate reply back "I guess....we have some things in common I could see that......maybe." He keeps laughing as I try to smile back in wondering what is so funny?

Thursday, April 27, 2017


           I will always remember my first panic attack......
It's one thing to read books, articles and listen to people sharing what it's like having phobias, anxiety attacks and depression. The first time I saw my husband have a panic attack he stared right through me not realizing that I was right there. I was looking all around me as I was so confused by this so I asked him "What is happening right now?" 

He brought the topic of panic attacks to my attention back when we were first married, so I knew when I had my first attack what was happening to me as I slide to the floor gasping for air!

I have listened to many podcasts on the social expectations that bring out such fears in us which creates such a sense of helplessness and a sense of endless struggle in trying to live, trying to survive out in a world that we can't control.

As a young adult I felt like my life was not in the hands of anyone else, not trapped in any choice I made because I had dealt with those emotions and thoughts back in high school when I was extremely trapped and depressed.  I use to be so afraid of growing up, my mother never said anything good about adulthood, so my sense of panic was comforted through praying all the time especially when I felt out of control of anything changing as I grew up.

When I realized that no one can tell me what my life should look like, that no one can make me do anything I didn't want to do, I broke free from that fear of the future. I spent a big part of my life being happy and grateful to be my own person.

I will always remember my first panic attack, it was when my best friend Benny died from a sudden heart attack. 
I had gone to her home and to her family to help her husband moved from their now sad home. 
I had already made those plans with her before she died, so my panic attack came while I realized that she should be there with me packing up boxes of her very own things.

 My first panic attack was very painful in struggling against the way I had once thought about my life, and now such a very important person like her was taken away from me. I couldn't do anything to fix it. All of those plans we had were gone. Our shared sisterhood and stories stopped there in that moment as I felt dizzy and weak, as I cried myself down to my knees.
I knew that by allowing myself to feel everything all at once and thinking over all that is lost and all that is changed the panic attack helped me face my future as the fear washed over me. As the story of my life was now forever changed. I sat there on the floor of her basement all alone in that truth, in that pure panic.

I also learned that the floor is the safest place to be when having a panic attack, I like how solid and strong the ground is while I lay there awhile until I come back to myself again.

It was very hard to have my best friend die suddenly, and then it was truly shocking to have my brother die suddenly a couple of months ago.

So I have come to realize that there is no escaping my panic attacks, I should let them play out as time has changed once again. I simply let the pain burst forth taking my strength away. For I am not in control of this story anymore, actually I never really was......
Panicking is a real feeling of facing the truth. Crying is a release of this truth and all the pain it holds. 
Freezing up or falling to the floor isn't anything to be ashamed of, in fact it's just a safety move for protection in a horrible time.

For I will never be able to burst through my front door ever again exclaiming "Derek! Ya came! I was hoping you could make it! How wonderful to see you!" in that cheerful happiness as the BBQ smoke fills the warm summer evening air as He gives me a big hug and chuckles at my joyful greeting, knowing I am always so expressive and so grateful to have him over! He smiles on in my many memories like this.....

The truth in that this will never happen again brings on those panic attacks. The fear and the truth get all mixed up with each other I think....

I believe that the human heart and mind knows that when everything is happening at once, when everything is struggling and trying to survive, the race against time that nothing is ours to claim or control, panic kicks in, our reaction to this whole event is a powerful motivator to change or to learn a new way in adapting to such stressful sorrow.
For good or for bad we have reactions that surprise us in facing life's many stories. 

I have learned to simply let the tears fall like rain, let it go as it takes all my pain to the floor and when I come back to myself I realize my personal fears are very real in me. I need to get back up on my feet and be brave once again.

After one of my panic attacks I often understand how trapped I honestly feel. That I will always be stuck across the wide open lake away from my brother Derek who I imagine is out there camping against the mountain side in his happy place.... while I had once so easily sat next to him over the family dinner table teasing and talking with no fear of the future back then.....

Life is full of memories and emotions, of hopes and dreams as we face our panicking fears, as we live on through out the years, perhaps ironically Life is no match for death and we are made wiser for it.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Living Backwards

I have seen my life flash backwards every time I face a trauma.

I have seen my own face in the mirror every time I remember I looked slightly different while growing up.
I have seen my time stand still, my realization of close calls with death only to have it all flash before my mind.
I have seen my understanding of the world change many times, the first big event is when I saw the stars under the midnight sky while crying in my car all alone feeling like a failure in debt out on my own. I was suddenly struck by the fact God isn't anything like I had been told and I wasn't a slave to system of society. My whole world view changed and I was made wiser and stronger for it! I was simply, truly free!

I have seen my communities change over time.
I have seen my landscapes move on.
I have seen my awareness grow deeper into standing up against the things I don't like in life.
I have seen my memories teach me something bigger then just the story I know.

I have seen my brother Derek in my dreams and we never can speak to each other, I was sitting beside him over a campfire that we actually had done back in the day while camping with our Mother and little brothers. I said out loud "I need to warn him now! I need to tell him how he will died! Maybe we can stop it from happening!?!?" Everyone sat there around the camp fire as if they never heard me and a reply a voice I hadn't heard before said "That is against the rules. You can't cheat like that."
I woke up with a start of such real fear, realizing that I had seen my life living backwards.

I have seen my life story change so much, I have seen my plans for the future go right out the window.
I have seen my family grow close or grow apart, I have seen new lives born and old lives die. I have seen my own age add up quickly to this very day.....

I have seen such magical moments, known such unconditional love and was gifted true grace!
I have seen that by looking back through time I create a better peace for my mind.

I have seen my brother Derek here and there in little or big ways as living forward has me looking back again to his waving at me from across the lake.....

Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun

Monday, April 24, 2017

Walking Aware

             It was a sunny Saturday mid-morning as my husband sat next to his Dad while his brother BBQ up some good eats in our tailgating spot for the next BSU football game. I liked hanging out under the tent next to the street surrounded by hundreds of people dressed up in orange and blue. (Of course the only part of tailgating I liked was the foods and friends)

Now back in those days my brother Derek was attending classes at BSU the very same time and He had just moved into his very own apartment across the Boise river in the really nice part of historical Boise. 
I had loved his new place the very moment I first saw it for it was very classy!  He was very proud of his first place that as he showed me around he explained it was mostly for older quiet couples, since they liked him in the interview process, he had promised to be very respectful and not have raging youthful parties.
 And since He could ride his bike to the college campus every day, he would hang out there with all of his friends anyway. So his new place was simply perfect for him! It was so beautiful as well with a courtyard and small swimming pool. Almost every apartment had flowers in pots and bird feeders hanging. I truly thought it was a perfect place to live in the city limits....

Derek was always cooking up something while we visited that late summer/fall, he joked with me the first time I showed up with a box of dishes I thought he could use in his new kitchen, He jokingly said "I wasn't sure if I should tell ya where I lived.....knowing you would be popping over like this all the time." I replied back with a smirk "Whatever, I have a life too! I can't just come over here every day...I mean I busy too Like well, I am gardening or walking Oscar every very important homemaking stuff I have in my life! I can't just pop over to eat your homemade yummy tortillas HA!" I took the plate he gave me with such excitement for they always tasted sooooo good! while
he smiled and shook his head. 

It was such a great location when he lived in the heart of downtown among the old mature landscaping and the classic styled buildings. 
I had told him all about our constant tailgating as the fall football season kicked on, we talked about all the best food dishes for such an event. Those were really good times back then, his first days in his own place!

I told him how proud I was of him for moving out on his own. 
I added "Mom isn't happy about this at all. She kept saying that you are going to come back home after this school year is over....and I thought that sounded like a huge hassle." 
Derek looked at me with a knowing look and thoughtfully said  "Nope, I am never moving back home." 
I left nodding proudly and chuckling at our shared understanding over how our mother always had such a hard time with any of us leaving home. She was always getting mad at our father who thought it was weird for us to still be home in our early 20's, for if she had her way we would all be neighbors on that farm.
So I joked back waving goodbye to Derek stating sarcastically "Well, At least you weren't disowned for finding your own place HA!" I winked as he nodded back and waved from his new front door.

The sizzling of the BBQ and tailgating activities had us all laughing and talking when Derek rode up on his bike, I was so surprised and thrilled that he had joined us for awhile, I dished him up a plate of goodies talking about how I cooked up the bacon for REAL bacon bits not like the prepackaged bacon bits in the store that taste horrible. He agreed with me stating "Ya can't cheat on the bacon bits, they are the main part of the dish!"
It was a fun tailgating afternoon as he ate with us and joked around awhile before heading back out on his bike.
My husband said "That was sure nice of him to swing by, are you guys becoming friends again?" I shrugged and smiled explaining "I don't know, I am just so very very proud of him for moving out on his own. Life is going to get so much better for him now......I think he's very happy about it all too."

I walked by the Boise river the other day realizing it feels like yesterday when he walked me through his first little home, and I remember laughing so much over his coffee table that was a big cardboard box turned upside down with a handkerchief laying over it. He explained "Hey, It works great! If I have to pack up again I will just turn it over and fill it back up."   

I walked by the Boise river in the same area of town where in our late 20's we sat a moment together watching the humming birds come by to feed on his balcony.

I walked on really missing my brother Derek.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Collective Soul - The World I Know (Video)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ghostly Aware

My brother's funeral was held in our old childhood church. it was the perfect place for such a sad time. I never had to ask "Where's the restroom?" or "Where's the fellowship hall?"

I knew this church like the back of my hand, it was my second home while I grew up. I loved it there so much that I often volunteered for extra responsibility, extra time coming in early and leaving late in decorating for the Harvest Festival, or the Elderly Valentine's day special. As a young woman I taught kindergarten, never missed my nursery duty dates and was a JV leader cheering on Wednesday night's games for my group of young almost teenager kids. All the while growing up side by side Dana and Derek, it was back in those days of chaos and struggle that Derek and I continued to attend the same church where all our friends were as our parents found a new church to attend. Since I was 18 years old I declared myself an adult to my parents in one of our many many arguments and disagreements. They simply had to let me drive myself to church with the occasional companion, my brother Derek who had just as many friends as I did back at the church we grew up in.

I was 22 years old when I realized that I could never be a hypocrite, it was such a struggle to please people and still honor God with my honesty. So I stopped attending church all together and I have been amazed by the freedom, by the better understanding I have of God now.....

.....and yet I was very comfortable returning to the very same church of my crazy Christian past....

I found myself lost in remembering the good times instantly, I walked through the doors of place that I had once been so safe in, so happy to hug and pray with my friends...the good times won out for I was lost in remembering my brother most importantly. I felt so close to him while I was there again.

Like a flash of light, as if someone turned on a light bulb of an old memory in the moment I step into that church in the very same spot of 25 years ago "Hey Deb, I'm in here." Derek points into the big classroom we shared through those years of Jr/Sr high school Sundays. I saw him carrying his bible case with a happy smile greeting his friends as I blink again, it was gone.....yet the door way into the dark room was real.

Everything was triggering flashbacks that felt so real because it had already happened.

So in my mind's eye I could see it as real as any moment in time! and it was truly comforting.

How powerful is such grief and loss, how strong is our memories? That in returning to the very same place once again will have them coming back to life strongly in my mind! I was in awe of this!

         I stood smiling to myself all alone a few times as I saw him, as I heard him just like it was yesterday and not really 20 years ago.....
"Debby! Tell Mom I am outside playing volleyball with the guys." Derek pushed open the back hallway doors out into the bright sunny light of that very real looking Sunday afternoon memory as I walked by and I nodded at him with a smirk, as he disappeared carrying the volleyball in his arm and then I just stood there in awe of once was as the very same doors never moved.

"Hey, hey hey Where's Derek? Your sister is on the warpath over the soccer game outside, they need him to come out and calm her down to explain the rules again." I giggle and nod as I go find Derek, he's filling up his water bottle in the kitchen as I swing by explaining through the open counter space of the fellowship room to him on the go "They need ya outside right a way, Dana's freaking out on them about the real rules or something." He chuckled and nodded as I walked on to find my own set of friends.....

I spent some time by myself when I first arrived to our childhood church, because my mind was sparking out all these old forgotten moments in my life, simply by stepping back into very same square footage of this building we grew up in I was able to see it all so clearly once again. I needed to slow myself down to breath better, I needed to let the lights flash on and off as they did as I walked down the hallways of such rich history....

I called these moments "Ghost memories."  For they were real in my mind's eye as the landscape had freeze framed it's self and I was overwhelmed by how clear, how sharp these moments were again!

I took a deep breath to begin the ceremony, to drink in all the love everyone had for my beloved brother Derek. To let the sadness flood my chest and have me melting into the memories.

How could someone so happy and clever be gone so fast from all of these magical earth's stories? 

I cherished it all that day of my brother's funeral,  I felt like a ghost chaser for a bit, Only I was chasing my own real memories that lit up as if someone had turned on the lights, then instantly fading as real time met face to face with my many many tears.

I took a deep long breath as I left the restroom in the back of the church, I was about to round the corner of the long stretch out hallway to greet the exiting crowd from the end of Derek's celebration of life service.
 Only to pause a moment as I heard someone running up behind me, I glanced over my shoulder as 16 year old Derek tapped my shoulder smiling big at my complete surprise! 
He laughed out loud saying "HA! Tag your it!" just like back in those lazy carefree Sunday afternoons when we had the whole place to ourselves between church services for many fun run around games like that, he ran by me with that clever grin then faded into hallway wall....

I fell back into the other side of the same hallway in my own real time and in my own tears, for I was simply ghostly aware.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Collective Soul - Needs (Video)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Last Thankgiving

Thanksgiving day had me super excited and happily packing up my casserole and hubby to head over to Derek's newly remodel and fixed up home in Meridian, Idaho.

Derek opened his front door smirking "Of course YOU are early...." I burst out with such happy greetings! I loved how he welcomed me with hugs and happiness too.
It was a cold gray windy day as Derek kept working his deep fryer for the turkeys to cook outside while we all visited in his warm cozy living room that opened up into the kitchen nicely.
I joked around and helped him in his kitchen as our family began to arrive and as the day unfolded such yummy foods!
While our other brothers arrived in playing the shooting game again, while our mom rested on the couch with hot tea and appetizers I sat visiting with her at times, while Tony and our Dad talked politics and while our Davey helped get food to the table, we all enjoyed such a yummy family dinner that day all together, all happily getting along and having such a good time!

I had decided to take some pictures that afternoon, it was just so nice that all 4 brothers of mine were there since working jobs often take them away from holiday events. I felt truly blessed and truly happy to be in Derek's wonderful home, to have such a good time working together/helping each other set up a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

My husband snapped this shot of Daren, Davis, Mom, Douglas, Derek and I all together, Derek and I were laughing when the picture was taken......I had no idea this was going to be the very last time I ever saw fun loving brother Derek.

Mom said out loud at the full dinner table "I would never make my kids eat anything they didn't like." Both Derek and I burst out in protest and laughter at how funny it was that she would say this when eating horrible things was a big part of our childhood punishment. We remember what our parents often forgot about those days almost 40 years was nice to have such a good friendship in my brother Derek.

I sure do miss him so!