Sisters

11.png

I used to write, all the time.
Poems, journals, songs.
It used to ease my troubled mind.
Ease wounds of the past that spiraled out of control
with each family members passing, the spiral winding.
Pieces of a broken child,
frightened life never reconciled,
and a mother that never had the help she required
or the forgiveness from me that she probably desired.
Secrets that family spoke of in hushed tones,
and some denied out of very existence
in their world of truthful resistance.

I ran away
But not from family
Not from my sister or brother.
Not even from her, our mother
I ran away so someone would run after the broken child who’s wounds wouldn’t heal.
Who’s scars ripped and bled all over easily when that pain was revealed.
Growing up feeling unwanted,
with the screams of yesterdays echoing in my head,
and injuries inflicted hidden from public misled.
I ran because I wanted someone to care that I ran.
A few did, and the others made me out to be evil incarnate
for “leaving” family behind like I had a masterful plan.
Little did you know how little I knew
of what family really was supposed to do.
That hugs didn’t have to hurt.
And words weren’t supposed to belittle and bruise.
It was much later I realized family was a word I misused.

And then it became easy to run.
Others opened arms to be a family to the child with broken dreams.
Most them having been broken and also undone.
Searching for family to heal their wounds too.
As years passed it became harder to try to come home to all of you.
Everyone was family but yet strangers to me.
Little did you know that I’d have a hard time talking to you.
Painfully shy and lost for words, I swear it’s true.
I always hoped you’d fill in the void and seek me out and make me stay,
make hear what you had to say.
We were all broken in all our own little ways
and we all tried to pick our pieces up and mend our souls
to move forward forging our own paths but still un-whole.

What I’ve learned is that we have all grieved not having each other.
Or grieved the family torn apart.
I grieved in my own way missing my sister, my brother.
You in yours, and her in hers
we tried our best to live in some way.
Our parents passed from this life with their own wounds
still wide open and bleeding upon us.
Leaving us to heal and stitch and break wide open.
Time and time again always in motion.
From dust to dust
Now you both have left me,
brother years ago and sister you today.
And the floodgates have opened yet again with rivers of tears I hide away.
Because only we knew, only we were there.
All the years we let be lost to each other.
Of pride or ego or was it something more altogether?
Did we see the reflections of the past when we looked in each others eyes?
Even now the tears well up deep inside.

My brother, we took those wounds and bled all over what we touched.
A chosen few wiped the blood we spilled and stayed.
Giving only love, despite what we shed and let lay.
They healed our wounds and showed us what love was.
Many thought you were the fortunate son.
Because you were the strong of the three.
You ran but revisited often.
Healing what you could and leaving the rest be.
Then retreat back to your home when needed.
I wish more of you had rubbed off on me.
I just ran and ran never knowing how or what to be.
Our sister, she stayed behind wishing the same as I
That someone would call,
would visit, or notice us at all.
She and I never knew how to move on..

Sister, I ache for you, and your loving heart.
You never ran, instead you hid and stayed
but to the rest of the family you never really felt a part.
Your love for your children and their own knew no bounds.
It is there where your broken heart lived,
where you prayed for family healing to be found.
A generation of sadness, tears a common sound.
In the end your life was lived for them,
The children you bore,
the grandma you had become
Not for yourself, but to help them overcome.
My heart is glad we could finally see just each other in our gaze.
Took a long while for us to get past the sadness,
and angers haze.
There’s never enough time though, is there?
I guess post life we’ll have to finish all the repair.

So nephews, what have I learned in all of these years?
What wisdom can I impart to help through all of our tears?
Our Mom, your Grandma, had wounds too, huge ones that bled on us.
That broke us, molded us and shoved us out into the world.
And that blood fell from us and landed on you.
But she needed love and she needed healing too.
So did we and now so do you.
The generations before us need the wounds to close.
as do the generations that have and will follow.
Time to end the cycle that left us all mournful and hollow.

I’m sorry:
To my Father who to this day I still don’t understand
or know for sure your part in the play that was our life.
To me you were a sad bystander who did little to change or take a stand.

To my Mother for learning too late that you were me and I was you.
That you were pregnant late in life at a time when post par-tum was new,
and still misunderstood.
And instead of helping,
others just hushed the incidents away
believed you would somehow be ok.

To my Brother for never telling him nearly enough how much he meant to me.
And that most of my anger and distancing
was just misplaced adolescent jealousy.

To my Sister for leaving her alone in her sadness for far too long.
And not being the sister she needed to stay strong.

To my family for needing to heal and grow
before being emotionally able to finally come home.
It wasn’t really ever any of you.
It was me not knowing how to heal or pick up a phone.
Or how about breathing, or how to forgive.
Or how to seek for you to forgive,
my part in perpetuating a generation
of sadness and pain, even forgetting at times to live.

I miss my family more than words can say.
I miss those who have passed and gone too far away.
My wish is for generations of hard feelings to be mended,
and distance between us all be transcended.
If for no other reason, then at least for the children who remain grieving,
upon the tear swept day of my sisters leaving.

Let’s not let the generations that follow,
become as empty, nor as hollow.
We’ve suffered silently apart to long
not letting the sorrows of the past be gone.
Let’s let her legacy
and that of our brother,
Be of healing and helping
one another.

Your Aunt, your cousin, your great aunt, your great cousin, and always your family…
With all my love,

Suzi

My Sister, Linda
R.I.P. 06/03/19

Loki Moment

 

This is rare, all of this. Loki isn’t a window kitty, that was always Tinka Belle’s thing. And Loki is notoriously bad at self cleaning but Tinka Belle was meticulous. They were like ying and yang, two sides of a coin. It seems that Tinka Belle is not only letting her presence still be known, but also SEEN. 

Thank you my little Belle for helping your brother stay clean. We miss her so much, and so her presence is a comfort, especially for him. He’s been kind of lost without her.

On a brighter note, Loki’s medication was cut in half and so far he’s not doing too bad. He’s not cured, he will always have IBS issues, but he’s alive, happy and thriving right now. Our hearts are grateful for every day we get to spend with this silly boy❣

 

 

 

 

Point Pleasant NJ Family Vacation 2017

b4fea1ec6a476805a3a585cb9d81a437

Day 1 🌞🚙🌤️🍕

Thank you Mom, Dad, Tori and Barry for making this all happen!

We’ve been waiting for this kind of vacation a long time! And the family was waiting for this reunion for 12 years! That was the last time they were all together as a family. So this was super special. The ride there was beautiful. And you’ll hear that word thrown around a lot in this blog post 😄 So we drove from Virginia Beach to the Jersey Shore (Point Pleasant NJ/Beach) and we had great weather for the drive and very few stops. We were just excited to get there.

 

When we arrived, not everyone was there yet and wouldn’t be until Tuesday. We stayed at the Sand Pebble Motor Lodge in the Victorian. We were upstairs in a three bedroom suite (which was in itself two floors). We stayed with Keith’s parents, his brother Barry, sis-in-law Tori and their two littles (kids). The place was HUGE. His brother and fam was on the second floor of our suite, they had a massive bedroom with a king size bed, a huge bathroom with tub and a HUGE walk in closet that was actually used as the kids playroom, yeah it was that big. We think it may have originally been a small bedroom that they converted into a massive walk in closet. We were downstairs, where there were two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom and kitchen. The living room was pretty big too. The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc…. Keith’s big brother stayed downstairs in another suite (the steps in the first pic below show the entrance to their suite, we were on floor 2). Their suite was also roomy, a big two bedroom with large kitchen. 

We arrived around dinner time and so we just had pizza and enjoyed time with family. After dinner we took a walk down to the boardwalk (which was open till midnight) to walk around and get some desert.

 

 

Day 2 ☀️⛱👙🌊 🚂

Sunshine and blue skies! Time to hit the beach!!! The beach was nice. When staying at the Sand Pebble you can get a discount for tickets to Jenkinson’s Beach. Now this was something I had never heard of, people owning parts of the beach and you paying to get on their beach. Here is VB we don’t have that. We either have public beaches or private beaches that you can only access if you are staying someplace on that beach. 

The beach ended up being $2 a day per person after the lodge discount. Not bad I suppose. It pays for having a clean beach, and lifeguards everywhere. You feel pretty safe at this beach. It was beautiful!!

We went our own way for a bit and ended up at a cozy diner, Beach Diner and had a quick dinner while watching the trains go by. 

Afterwards we headed back down to the boardwalk for the kids to all ride rides (lots of good ones for the kids), play carny games and get desert at the The Black Anchor Coffee House, which was delicious!!!!

 

Day 3 🌤️📷🥗

Most of this day was just very family oriented. We took family photo’s and just spent time reconnecting and connecting. The day before Aunt Kate (Keith’s Mom’s sister) and her hubby Uncle Mike also came down and joined us and took family photo’s for us. 

 

20139800_10214038203848984_7427863810638183604_ns
Aunt Kate & Uncle Mike

We all went out to dinner at Frankie’s. I had a salad and was disappointed they didn’t even have bread sticks let alone bread. But my salad was good! And everyone just enjoyed spending time with each other. After all, for some it had been 12 years since they last saw each other. Keith (my hubby) had not seen his oldest brother Scott in 12 years! Scott and Nauko’s oldest was just a baby boy when he last saw them. And I had never met them. They live all the way in Washington State. So this really was a special time for all of us!

 

Day 4 🌥️📷🐸🦉🐧🐢🐠🐡🦐🐍🌦️⛈️

Jenkinson’s Aquarium was how we spent most of the day. It was a pretty laid back day with a few raindrops. And the start of some thunderstorms. It was a good day for an indoor experience. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To be honest, I really thought the aquarium was just going to be a roadside afterthought kind of place. I was even worried I would see mistreatment,neglect or bad conditions here. But it was the complete opposite. They were cleaning all the time, the animals looked happy and well fed. And happily I found this place to be very conscientious about animal welfare and sustainability. They had displays everywhere for conservation, animal protection, rescue, preservation and keeping the waterways clean of debris. I was pretty impressed with this little aquarium. They care a lot about their residents and the animal world. 

ps….their seal, Luseal wasn’t always alone here. Luseal is a rescue and so was the other resident seal. Sadly Luseal’s companion passed away recently. From what they said they are hoping to be able to take in another rescued seal.

 

Day 5 ⛈️☔💦🥙🚂

Rain, thunder, lightening, downpours! But it was still a pretty awesome day. We hung around the house for a while and hung out with family and then met with one of Keith’s old friends and her hubby for dinner. We had met once before and have been Facebook friends, but I haven’t seen her since Keith and I first got together! She even got married since then and moved out of Jersey to PA and then back to Jersey. So it was time to catch up! Unfortunately for whatever reason, we completely forgot to snap any pictures. But it was a fun evening playing catch up at Beach Diner with good friends we don’t get to see often enough!

And we did make tentative plans to get together some time during the holidays! And next time, we will take pictures!!

 

Day 6 Headed Home….☀️😢🌊⛴

All good things I suppose have an ending, or at least a, till next time. And we’ve already decided there will be a next time. We have solo trip plans and plans that involve group vacations back to Point Pleasant. We also determined that we can’t let so much time go by with us not seeing the littles. Keith is godfather to the two littlest niece and nephew and since they are in New Jersey and us in Virginia, we decided we need to start meeting at some half way points, even if only for weekends here and there so we can all see each other. Time slips away and we may ourselves eventually move further away so we have to find the time and take the time to spend with family while we can!

20031881_10214043454300242_3701065418716069989_n.jpg
Look close, there be a dolphin swimming! We saw dolphin pods and I saw a whale!!

We grew closer to family who are in Washington State too and we may even move there one day soon, who knows. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to live and Keith’s job could potentially come up with a transfer there.  But either way we have to make it happen that we see each other more. Kids need family bonds and although it’s hard when people are so transient now and tend to live in other states, or even countries, to make the effort to remember that kids needs to know family.

We all had a quick lunch together back at Frankie’s and then a quick run back down to the boardwalk for us to grab this massive apple (we had at the beginning of the trip, soooo good!) and some taffy, as well as a new wall hanging for our ocean(esq) living room!

It was especially nice for Keith, Scott and Barry’s parents to see us all, and see us all together. Time keeps moving and before you know it, 12 years have gone by.  I think we all learned a valuable lesson while having a beautiful and memorable family vacation!

💙Till next we meet….

boardwalk-point-pleasant-beach_0 (1).jpg

Garden State Of Mind

15170858_10211519256036863_5353102814193770921_n

I’m back from my Thanksgiving getaway to my In-Laws in New Jersey! I hear so many people talking about their bad relationships with their husbands family and I have to tell ya, I’m blessed in that department. My husband’s family makes my heart smile. You know that warm fuzzy hot cocoa, soft blanket & great book kind of warm and fuzzy. They feel like home 💗

15192554_10211519254916835_5089845975959491374_na

They came in to town and our plans had us leaving the next day for New Jersey. Yep, 369 miles to get me, and that was just one way. We went to dinner at Cheeseburger In Paradise, one of my favorite places. And it’s all because of pickles! They have the best fried pickle chips ever and they are served with a delicious sauce! They put a new drink on the menu, Spiced Berry Sangria and I’m not much of a drinker, but this was seasonal and very very tasty. Nice for a family toast!  I highly recommend this restaurant. It’s a beachy themed sports bar/restaurant atmosphere. The food is reasonably priced and service is always great.

This wasn’t a touristy trip at all. It was filled with family, great food, a fun event and a fabulous movie! We spend a lot of time in the car. My brother-in-law and sis-in-law and their kids live about a half hour to 45 minutes away from my In-Laws house and we went out that way twice. But the drives were nice. The weather was chilled but sunny for the most part and autumn was full bloom. Took some pictures from the car…

I love New Jersey. It’s rich in culture and heritage. Diner’s are still all the rage in Jersey and that is most excellent. The diner is to Jersey what a coffee shop is to Seattle. It’s where you go to eat a meal, have coffee or two, or three and just have conversation. Diners have regulars, so if you are one, you likely know many of the faces you see when you come in. It gives a community feel to the neighborhood. In a world where many neighbors don’t know your face, in Jersey diner patrons see each other and greet each other. Add to that, all the trees, the hilly terrain, brick houses and of course the hues of autumn were gorgeous with the blue sky and sunshine as the backdrop.

 

Fantastic_Beasts_and_where_to_find_them_logo.pngWe went to see a movie that I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to see!! I’m a big Potterhead and was so excited that we were going to see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them!! I’d been reading the reviews and some were mixed. I think it came down to people expecting it to be the same as the first in the series. But how could it be. It was a different time, different cast, different mood. The book itself is a different mood departure from the what the films were based on. This is by far my favorite of the series. And as my husband said, Newt Scamander is my spirit animal. If I went to Hogwarts, I am very Luna Lovegood. But closer even than that to my personality is Newt Scamander. He is the animal rights activist of the wizarding world. And Eddie Redmayne was brilliant in the role. The supporting cast was pretty darn awesome too. I love love loved this movie!!! newt-scamander After the movie we went out to dinner at Houlihan’s . Good dinner, wanted cappuccino’s but they were out, settled for coffee then some much needed sleeps, the next two days are a lot of driving and busy busy busy….

 

 

 

15267563_10211519254596827_315458637007970055_na

Thanksgiving Day began like usual. It was a tradition in my family and in Keith’s to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There’s something wonderful to be said for traditions in families. Traditions make life just a little warmer and memories that much more special. So in my fuzzy slippers and with a cup of coffee I sat and watched the parade surrounded by all the memories of days gone by in that cozy home where my hubby grew up. And although my hubby couldn’t be there because of work blah blah blah, this was the next best thing.

 

Then it was off to dinner!! It’s a tradition that my sis-in-law & bro-in-law do Thanksgiving. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. They have a feast of deliciousness. And Tori’s family joins us and so good food and good company is the blessing of the day! But, I have to admit I spent most of the day with our nephew and niece 💗 They kept stealing me away to play, which was by far the BEST part of the whole trip! They are at the age that the distance and time between us doesn’t make them forget bonds that were formed. Keith and I have lived away from all our nieces and nephews and it can be hard to form good bonds. It’s something we’ve learned that is a really important thing to focus on. If quantity of time is unrealistic, then quality of time must be foremost.

So we all at well and enjoyed the day. I was missing my hubby and missing Ippo (our dog that passed away in September) and of course our kitties. But being around family makes the missing pieces feel not as distant.

The next day we headed back out that way again for Hugs For Brady Holiday Light Show at DeVry University. It was their first year and it was for a good cause! They had a lot of activities that kept the kids happy and having fun. It felt like a carnival without the rides. But they had a bounce house/slide and face painting along with other activities that kept them amused and us entertained watching them have fun. The lights were beautiful once the sun set. And at the end there was a light show we sat down for. That, they have some kinks to work out. It was a great way to spend my last evening in town though. Surrounded by family and enjoying an event that helps kids.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m sad my hubby had to work but it was nice having his family all to myself for once. Living too far away for frequent long trips back to our hometowns and families we have to take advantage of all the moments we can. And usually I let my hubby monopolize his families time because he doesn’t get to see them as often as he’d like, but this time they were all mine. And to them….

15078900_10211397174464900_2495502994842037443_naa