Archive for September, 2011

April 16, 2006

// September 13th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

 I’m soooo tired and I don’t know why. I want to sleep all of the time but when my head nestles into a pillow, any pillow, sleep turns to laugh at me and flees! I’m numb. I drag myself out of bed in  the morning and my first thought is always, “Can I take a nap today?”
When I lie down to sleep my mind takes that as a cue to start a trip without my body. I don’t want to follow. My mind takes me places I don’t want to return to. It tries to hold me in that hot room in July 2003. It sits me at Steve’s bedside forcing me to look at his still, pale face. It sings Enya’s Orinoco Flow as I try to look away. Sail away, sail away. My mind tries to keep me slogging through the mire, pinning my arms to my sides, trying to convince me they will never again be lifted in joy.
I’m tired of stumbling down that dark path. I want to find the path that’s bathed in sunshine, warming my heart. But instead when I go to bed at night I lie awake in the darkness, in darkness. My days are run on auto-pilot.
And again I’m fighting a cold, making me even more exhausted.
I’m missing Steve more and more. I don’t know which comes first…missing Steve makes me feel down or feeling down makes me miss Steve more.
Oh, well. I’m going to miss him no matter what.

Kisses from Braden

// September 13th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

What makes a family? When I was a kid family meant the people that came to you biologically through your parents and grandparents. Mine was pretty big. Mom had four sisters and three brothers. Each of them had at least two and as many as five kids. My three siblings and I have 23 cousins. Never a dull moment for the Toll clan during our many gatherings at Grandma and Grandpa’s house or a park for a huge picnic.
My family is a bit smaller {for now} than Grandma’s. We have five kids, three of whom have started their own families.
Ethan & Maddie being goofySome of our kids’ friends would automatically call me Mom when they first met me. I’d allow it but often asked them to call me Debbie [or Mrs. Haas if their parents insisted] because I thought it was an honor to be a mom, not an automatic just because I was a friend’s mom. Maddie was different. She started coming around when she and Jae were about 15 and has been a permanent part of our family ever since. I’m Mom to her, now more than ever.
When our daughter Amy married Jeremy he came with an instant son {Josh} to go with Amy’s two daughters {Kirstie and Kyle}.
Our oldest son passed away in 2003 from complications of diabetes. But he left behind an ex {Lori, who still calls us Mom and Dad}, a wife, and two sons.
A few days after Steve died, I told his widow, Nett, “You know, don’t you, that you will always be a part of our family?”  As our daughter-in-law she held a special place in our hearts, but since then, she has become a true daughter to Dave and me and sister to Amy, Nick, Jae, and Robyn.
Reading to ShelbyAlmost five years ago Nett was ready to start dating again when she met Jon, who has been an enormous blessing to our family! Right away we could tell that he loved Steve and Nett’s son Chris as much as he loved Nett. When they married, we counted Jon as our son-in-law. This past summer Jon legally adopted Chris, giving him a new last name, but never forgetting Chris’s roots.
In the past two years, Jon and Nett have also given us two new grandchildren; Shelby in 2009 and Braden in 2010. These treasures, including Josh and Lori’s son Jonathan, are indistinguishable from the other gems in our storehouse.
So…what makes a family?
 Blood and DNA are only a small part of the definition for us. More important are the spiritual bonds we feel when God places someone in our life that fits as well as any genetic match.

April 15, 2006

// September 8th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

All day long I’d been pacing around the house trying to keep myself busy, yet unable to concentrate on anything. All I could think about was escape. I felt a strong pull to just get out of here…but to where…and from what? I feel as though I’m trapped in an alternate reality of my own life.

 Late in the afternoon I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed my purse and keys and  lurched toward the van, destinations shooting through my mind…Jane’s house, the beach, Palm Springs. I didn’t know until the main road came into view that there was only one place for me to go. I drove the half mile to Nick’s.

He was surprised to find me at his door but, seeing my distress, he led me to the sofa where uncontrollable sobs wracked me. Suddenly we found our roles reversed. Nick, whom I held and comforted when he was a small child, now held me in his strong arms and let me cry my full.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”
 “Mom, you’re depressed.”
 “I’m not depressed!” I cried.

 But I know it’s true. I’ve been lying to myself as I steadily sink into this pit. I’ve believed I could reorient myself, find my own way out through prayer and meditation. But I’m only sinking further every day. I don’t know if this is grief related, or the clinical depression I’ve struggled with in the past, or if it’s a result of our family strife.

“You need to call your doctor, Mom. It’s time to get help and you know it.”
 “They’ll want to put me back on meds. I hate the way they make me feel. Like a zombie.”
 “Even feeling like a zombie for a little while would probably be better than feeling like this all the time. Right?”
 “I suppose. But, am I ever going to feel normal again?”
Nick didn’t have an answer for that.

He’s right. It doesn’t matter what’s causing the depression. I have to get help, even if it means feeling flat for a time.

Tonight I feel spent and still lost, but no longer agitated.
However I’m left wondering… when will I feel normal again?

// September 8th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Still looking forward…

// September 8th, 2011 // No Comments » // aging, musings

Getting older is weird. As we barrel through our 20s and 30s we know that it’s going to happen, but later. Much…much later. For the time being there’s so much to do {getting our careers on track, concentrating on our growing families, finishing an education} and we are perfectly distracted from the inevitable.
Then a certain zero birthday comes, or the youngest graduates high school, or maybe it’s that un-namable ache deep in your joints and you realize that the image in the bathroom mirror betrays the one you see behind closed eyes. When I hit my 50s my Grandma Toll’s words came back to me. “When I close my eyes, I’m the same girl I was at 21.” I loved my grandma and greatly respected her wisdom and folksy advice, but I was 23 at the time and what she said just didn’t make sense to me. I naturally assumed that I would feel the passing years in my mind as much as in my body.
I recently turned 58 and I now know exactly what Grandma meant. I know that the juxtaposition of the face I see in the mirror and the face I “see” when I close my eyes is exactly what Grandma felt. I have carried with me into my “Golden Years” the mind and personality I carried at 21, yet it has been tempered by the years of learning, growing, compensating, observing, and compromise.
I am not a scholar. I am not a sage. I am Wife, Mom, and Grandma. During my nearly six decades I have made countless mistakes and learned a thing or two along the way about that life that I’d like to share.
My husband Dave and I raised five kids, and welcomed their spouses into the family. When we lost our oldest to diabetes at thirty-one, we spiritually adopted his widow as our daughter and now consider her husband our son-in-law. We have 13 grandchildren {so far} and have been blessed to be an active part of their lives.
And although I find that, as Captain Jean Luc Picard once said, “There are fewer days ahead than there are behind”, I find that I am
Still looking forward…