Blue Frost Gatorade, Memaw and a Hospital Tour.

"I'm going to step out and get some water."


These were the only words I could muster out loud to the group as I awkwardly interrupted the hospital tour of the birthing unit this morning.


I coached myself, much like when I give blood, to breathe deeply and put my head between my knees. It was all too much though, the interrogating lights in the delivery room, the hideous stirrups tucked under the bed, the cords and monitors hanging so invasively near as if they were pretending to be interesting books on a night stand.


Whether it is the pain of the event I truly don't know yet, but more so, I am aware in this moment of the longing inside of me to be taken care of, a place to hide and have someone safe come and rescue me.

The problem is I am not one who often allows myself to be found when I am afraid.


So, after exiting early from the evil tour, I sit in the car with tears running down my cheeks, as Andrew goes into the grocery store to attempt to buy me a little comfort.


I want Frost flavored blue Gatorade.


Simple. It reminds me of running into the ocean or of playing in the snow. If I close my eyes and I take a sip and hold it in my mouth, I often think, that was like skiing or surfing in my mouth. It's brilliance is not in the product but the feeling it incites in me. Somehow it sweetly brings me back to play and feeling carefree and happy.


We drive a bit in silence until he offers his thoughts.


"I was scared looked like you were going to cry in there...the feeling like you have always parented yourself through these times, but this one is too much?"


This is what you get when you marry a therapist. Yet, his words were too poignant for my normal rebuttal and my tears quickly affirmed his insight.


But what if you have had many parents parent you? What if coming from a broken home meant that you were only allowed to be a kid in certain people's presence for only permitted amounts of time? I can't call up all the women or men who spoke into my life, cared for me in different I ask them all to come to care for me now?




That is the phone number that saved my life growing up. Even though it is not the number Andrew called to reach my grandparents, it was their number for so many years, one of the only consistent things I knew if ever I was in need.




I needed my Memaw. Her safe, sweet voice is etched in my mind and I can hear it before she ever picks up the phone. I know the smell of her house so vividly that even thousands of miles away I can recall its comforting attributes and they bring me warmth.


So, as Andrew dials the number and I hear such a familiar sound, my tears cascade down my face in relief because I know now I will be comforted.

Burying the Last of the Four

My grandmother’s funeral has begun, I can picture all my male cousins in black suits carrying her casket down the aisle near the altar. The same mosaic stained glass image of Jesus towers over the back of the Holy of Holies.

We always attend mass when we return to this little town. In my early childhood, I grew up going every Sunday to this place, playing recklessly with my siblings around the huge Southern oak trees. If our parents talked too long, we knew where my grandparent's empty grave plots were near the back of the church and we would gather there to climb on them and wait. Those grave plots have been filled over the past 30 years, as I lose a great grandparent or grandparent. Today marks the fourth and last grandparent on my paternal side. It seems finished and deeply empty to have this fourth and last tomb filled.

I know the funeral service will begin by the eerie silence of the massive space being broken by the organs blaring sound or the squeak of a kneeling bench being pulled down by the late attendee. I can hear the monotone voice of the priest as he begins the mass, the lingering smell of incense waved over her as she is prepared for burial.

It is all so clear because I have been there to bury my dead. I know the mechanics of a funeral procedure. Yet today, I am sitting 6,000 miles away from this service, encouraged not to fly because I am trying to build a life within me. It is heartbreaking to be separated from this event, yet I know I am being committed to my family’s create life even in the face of death. And whether it is with pregnancy, laughter, or simply breath, I know my grandmother would be leaving us all with this wish: Live well and create however you are able; for what is life if it not fully lived?