My 51st… and my 1st birthday/Mi 51°…y mi 1°… cumpleaños

A short post today to acknowledge my 51st birthday here on this earth and, of course, my first birthday without my firstborn. Lots of people have been sending birthday greetings oon Facebook, but I haven’t been able to look at them yet.

Una entrada breve para reconocer mi 51° cumpleaños aquí en la tierra y mi claro, mi primero sin mi hijo mayor. Muchos/as me han mandado saludos de mi cumpleaños en el Facebook pero todavía no los he podido ver.

I have very few words today to express my deep sorrow. I know many accompany in this grief today. Chris most likely wouldn’t have been with me today as he would have been on his biking adventure along the Mississippi. I would have probably missed him anyway and been a little bit worried, though I had trained myself not to worry…too much. Worry is not helpful. Even so, I miss Chris more than words can express.

Tengo muy pocas palabras hoy para expresar la pena profunda que siento. Ya sé que muchos/as me acompañan en mi tristeza. A lo mejor mi hijo no hubiera estado hoy conmigo porque hubiera estado andando en bici por ejemplo Río Misisipi en estos días. Seguramente lo hubiera extrañado y hubiera estado un poquito preocupada, aunque me había entrenado a no preocuparme por él… mucho. No ayuda preocuparse. Aún así le extraño a Chris más de lo que puedo expresar.

Today different friends are keeping me busy. I’m going to the dentist. And I’m looking through some old photos. These two are from when I turned 40. We had a lot of fun.

Hoy hay diferentes amigos/as que me están cuidando. Voy al dentista. Y estoy viendo unas fotos del pasado. Estas dos son de cuando cumplí mis 40. Nos divertimos mucho.

I still remember so clearly that I had been dreading turning 40 but then my friend’s husband died unexpectedly and they had two small children and I decided I had a lot to be thankful for because I had gotten to spend so much more time with my kids. And I am so incredibly grateful for the 22 years and 24 days I got to have Chris with me here and the 9 months I got to carry him. All of that time was a blessing.

Todavía recuerdo muy bien que tenía tanto miedo de cumplir 40 pero de repente falleció ella esposo de mi amiga y tenían dos hijos pequeños y decidí que tenía mucho que agradecer porque había tenido la oportunidad de estar más tiempo con mis hijos. Y sí estoy muy agradecida por haber tenido pasar 22 años 24 días con mi hijo más los 9 meses que lo llevé en el vientre. Todo ese tiempo sí fue una bendición.

Today mostly I’m sad. I wonder how many more birthdays I’ll have without my baby. I know I’ll always remember more how many birthdays I’ll have without him than my actual age.

Hoy básicamente estoy triste. Me pregunto cuántos cumpleaños más tendré sin mi bebé. Ya sé que siempre voy a recordar más los cumpleaños que voy a pasar sin él que mi edad verdadera.

But, I’ll share with you here a dream that Chris’s friend’s mom had shortly after Chris died. There are lots of things I can’t explain or understand about all of this, but I do know this dream sounds just like what Chris would say.

Pero quiero compartir un sueño que soñó la mamá de un amigo de Chris. Hay muchas cosas que no puedo explicar ni entender de todo esto, pero sí sé que este sueño parece exactamente lo que diría Chris.

I was sound asleep, but was roused by a voice and vision of Chris. He said, “This is Chris, I need you to tell a Jack that I love him….that it’s all about love….that love is all that matters.” I believe he was answering J’s question about the meaning of life. (She hadn’t known these were her son’s questions to Chris).

Estaba bien dormida pero me despertó una voz y una visión de Chris. Dijo <<Soy Chris. Necesito que le digas a J que lo quiero… que es todo sobre el amor… que sólo importa el amor.>> Creo que estaba contestando las preguntas que tenía mi hijo sobre la vida. (Ella no sabía que estas eran las preguntas de su hijo para Chris).

Chris said not to fear death, that it’s only a moment and that …..I’m struggling for words….because he put it so beautifully….but he spoke of the beauty beyond our physical lives. I understood so well in my dream state, but struggle to convey this properly. He is in total love and peace and was telling J not to be afraid.

Dijo Chris que no había que temer la muerte, que es únicamente un momento y que… estoy luchando por encontrar las palabras adecuadas…porque lo dijo tan lindo… pero habló de la belleza que es más allá que nuestra vida física. Lo entendí perfectamente bien en mi sueño, pero ahora me cuesta decirlo bien. Le estaba diciendo a mi hijo que tuviera miedo.

Chris then told him to keep reading and to keep studying. I guess J had apologized for not reading a book that Chris had recommended.

Luego Chris le dijo que siguiera leyendo y estudiando. Parece que mi hijo se había disculpado por no haber leído un libro que Chris le había recomendado.

I’ll leave this post with two of Chris’s poems from the book of poetry dedicated to me and that he printed only for me. Another gift he gave to me that I can share with you.

Dejo esta entrada con 2 poemas que escribió Chris del libro de poemas que me dedicó a mí y que sólo imprimió para mí. Otro regalo que me dio que puedo compartir contigo.

And some pictures of my beloved.

Y algunas fotos de mi querido.

Peace. Paz.

Chris’s Gift to Me: Biking Un regalo de mi hijo: andar en bicicleta

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that my older son Chris died in the Mississippi River. Today is the three month sadiversary of when he was found. The sorrow is nothing I’ve ever imagined and I’m really struggling. There really is no way to sugarcoat this. I am however, grateful for a gift I’ve been given. I think of it as being from Chris and from God.

Si has estado siguiendo mi blog, sabrás que mi hijo mayor falleció en el Río Misisipi. Hoy marca el tristeversario del tercer mes de cuando lo encontraron. Nunca me pudiera haber imaginado la profunda tristeza y es bastante difícil seguir adelante. No hay manera de que lo pinte de algo diferente. Pero sí estoy agradecida por un regalo que he recibido de Chris y de Dios.

I’ve been biking a lot this summer, especially since I got my new bike. I’m finding it alleviates some of the deep bone aches in my body, at least for a time, and though I’m not sharing my rides physically with Chris, I imagine he’s with me cheering me on. I’m discovering places I’ve never seen, and I thought I knew this city well. I’m finding some solace in sharing a piece of the passion Chris felt for biking and understanding what a blessing it really is.

He estado andando mucho en bici este verano, y ahora más que tengo mi nueva bici. Veo que me alivia algunos de los dolores profundos en los huesos del cuerpo, aunque sea un ratito, y aunque no comparto físicamente las vueltas con Chris siento que me acompaña y me anima de alguna manera. Estoy descubriendo lugares que no sabía que existían y éso que conozco bien la cuidad. Me consuela saber que estoy compartiendo aunque sea un poquito lo apasionado que estaba Chris con el ciclismo y entendiendo la bendición que es.

My sister mentioned this at Chris’s funeral and I remember it, too. When Chris was about 5 he found a screwdriver, took off the training wheels from his bike and started riding. He used to ride and ride around our back yard. I just remembered that. And when he was a teen I told him he could only ride with a helmet so he would sneak from his dad’s… without a helmet. He had started to wear it regularly. I asked him because I told him we had enough brain stuff going on with his grandma and his dad. We didn’t always agree on everything, but we were always listening to each other, even when we weren’t listening well.

Esto lo mencionó mi hermana en el funeral y yo también lo recuerdo. Cuando Chris tenía 5 años encontró un destornillador y quitó las llantas extras de su bici. Y acabo de recordar que él daba vueltas en el patio con su bici. Y ya de joven le dijo que sólo podía andar con casco y no le gustó así que andaba en secreto a veces. Recién había empezado a usarlo regularmente porque le dice que ya teníamos mucho de cerebros por lo de su abuelita y de su papá. No siempre estábamos de acuerdo con todo pero sí nos hacíamos caso, aún cuando no nos escuchábamos bien.

So now I prepare myself for my trip down the Mississippi next year. I ride alone sometimes and often with friends. I’m wondering how we can get bikes and helmets for the adults of Tapestry because I want to be able to ride with them, too.

Así que ahora me preparo para mí viaje por el Rió Misisipi el año que viene. A veces voy sola o con amigos o amigas. Me pregunto cómo podemos conseguir bicicletas y cascos para la gente de Tapestry porque quiero poder andar con ellos/as también.

When I ride I especially feel Chris with me when I feel the breeze and when I see something beautiful or interesting, something new for me or something odd.

Cuando ando el bici siento que Chris está conmigo cuando siento el aire y cuando veo algo bello o interesante, algo nuevo para mí o algo raro.

I still can’t believe he’s not here on this earth with us anymore and yet little by little I accept that. And then I can’t believe it again. And in the end it is so.

Todavía no puedo creer que él no está con nosotros más y de todas manera lo acepto poco a poco. Y ya después nos lo puedo creer de nuevo. Pero al final y al cabo así es.

And I got my tattoo yesterday. And so I carry Chris with me in my heart and in my tears. I added the Chi Rho to Chris’s original design because both Chris and Jesus are with me. And I already knew Jesus was taking care of my baby when I couldn’t.

Y ya tengo mi tatuaje. Así que llevo a Chris en mi corazón y en mis lágrimas. Añadí el Chi Rho al diseño original de Chris porque tanto Chris como Jesús están conmigo. Y yo ya sabía que Jesús estaba cuidando a mi hijo cuando yo no pude.

And there’s nothing really I can do. I cry. I write. I wander. I bike. And I’m grateful for this and for the loving care shown to me by so many.

Y realmente no hay nada que puedo haber. Lloro. Escribo. Ando en bicicleta. Y estoy agradecida por todo esto y por todo el amor que me han mostrado tantos/as.

Peace. Paz.

My Workout/Andando en bici

Just a quick note today. Today l biked with another pastor friend from Hopkins to downtown Minneapolis and back. Here are the stats:

Una breve nota hoy. Hoy anduve con un amigo pastor desde Hopkins al Centro de Minneapolis. Estas son mis estadísticas:

Distance/distancia: 18.50mi, time/ tiempo: 01:41:54, pace: 5:30min/mi, speed/velocidad: 10.89mi/h.
http://mapmyride.com/workout/2367823499

20170731_170500.jpg

It rained in Hopkins while we were in Minneapolis so we stayed dry. Llovió en Hopkins mientras estábamos en Minneapolis así que no nos mojó la lluvia.

I still wake up aching every day. Each day still feels like an eternity. I still don’t know how l can possibly keep going. But I do. I’m finding that biking helps. I often ask what in the world was I thinking committing to the trip down the Mississippi next year, but I suppose this is one way God is leading me into little tastes of… reprieve? relief? not sure of the word…from sorrow.

Todavía me levanto todos los días con el cuerpo adolorido. Cada día todavía parece una eternidad. Todavía no tengo ni idea de cómo puedo seguir adelante. Más sin embargo lo hago. Parece que me está ayudando un poco andar en bicicleta. Muchas veces me pregunto qué estaba pensando cuando me comprometí a andar en bici por todo el Río Misisipi pero parece que es una manera en que Dios me está dejando saborear un poquito…alivio, no sé las palabra adecuada…de la pena.

So I ride, hang out with Austin and family and friends, write some, work some, wondering when some peace will come, if ever.

Así que ando en bici, paso tiempo con Austin, mi familia y amigos y amigas, escribo un poco, trabajo un poco, y me pregunto que si me llegará paz en algún momento.

Thankful for those things I just mentioned. And my kitties, too. They are my constant companions. Chris was allergic, but he really liked them, especially Gracie because she’s a very calm kitty. Socky is more demanding. Chris used to laugh because l took so many pictures of the kitties. They miss Chris, too.

Estoy agradecida por las cosas que acabo de mencionar. Y también mis gatos. Son mi compañeros constantes. Chris les era alérgico pero le gustaron mucho, especialmente Gracie porque es más calmada. Socky es más necio. Chris se reía porque yo sacaba tantas fotos de mis gatos. También le extrañan a Chris.

I suppose tomorrow I will have another day much like today. Time is now irrelevant. Each day seems like an eternity. And I think of my son with flowers in the river, his tree, the tears that flow from my eyes and my broken heart. And I try to be grateful for the many blessings I have.

Mañana tengo otro día así, supongo. El tempo ahora es irrelevante. Cada día parece una eternida. Y recuerdo a mi hijo con flores en el río y en su arbolito y con las lágrimas que fluyen y con mi corazón roto. Y trato de estar agradecida por las muchas bendiciones que tengo.

20170731_204011

Peace. Paz.

Somehow…/De alguna manera

Somehow…I think I’ll get so much done in a day… like I used to. I get invitations or there are things I want to or need to get done. I’ll mentally make a plan. And it just never happens that way now.

De alguna manera pienso que voy a lograr tanto en un día…como hacía antes. Me invitan o hay cosas que quiero o necesito terminar. Hago mis planes dentro de la cabeza. Y ahora nunca sale como yo pensé.

Somehow…I sleep but wake up with my sheets and covers all twisted and my mind tells me every morning that Chris is gone now.

De alguna manera… me despierto todos los días con las sábanas y las cobijas hechas un desastre y me dice la mente todas las mañanas que ya no está aquí Chris.

Somehow…I get out of bed with my aching body, my body that feels so heavy and that doesn’t even feel like my own anymore. Somehow…I do some kind of morning routine, dress, drink my coffee, eat a little. Somehow… it’s 9 am when I start and all of a sudden it’s 2:30 and I have no idea how that can be so.

Dé alguna manera me levanto en la mañana con mi cuerpo adolorido, mi cuerpo que ahora es tan pesado y que no siquiera parece ser mío. De alguna manera sigo mi rutina diurna, me visto, tomo mi café, como un poquito. De alguna manera… cuando empiezo son las 9 de la mañana y de repente son las 2:30 y ni siquiera entiendo cómo puede ser.

Somehow…I’m writing and preaching and singing and teaching. Somehow….I sometimes accept invitations.

De alguna manera…escribo, predico, canto y enseño. De alguna manera…a veces acepto invitaciones.

Somehow…I’m riding a bike in memory of my beloved son. Somehow…I’m going to ride the length of the Mississippi, might mystery.

De alguna manera…ando en bicicleta en memoria de mi amado hijo. De alguna manera…voy a andar por todo el Rió Misisipi, misterio poderoso.

Somehow…I’m still breathing through all of this sorrow. Somehow…

De alguna manera… sigo respirando en medio de tanta tristeza. De alguna manera…

Keep up with the bike ride here/sigue el progreso del viaje en bicicleta aquí:

https://www.facebook.com/Chris-Stanley-Mississippi-River-Memorial-Ride-2018-1925187301099554/

 

 

Dreams

I used to wake up remembering having had vivid dreams in color. I can even remember a couple of dreams from my youth. I once had a dream about the cartoon characters from Mad Magazine chasing me around my house. I hid under the kitchen table and I looked over and the red-headed one with freckles was sitting next to me and it scared the bejeebers out of me. That was the only time I wet my bed since before I was two.

I had another dream a number of years ago. Chris, Austin and I were walking along a river and I was holding their hands because it was dark. The next thing I knew, one of them was missing and I couldn’t find him. I can’t remember which. As I’m frantically looking for him, someone grabs my hand and I startle awake. It turns out I had grabbed my own hand.

When Chris disappeared, I stopped remembering my dreams. I’ve only remember two or three since that time. But I’m sure I’ve been having nightmares because I wake up and my bedding is all twisted up and my body, especially my back hurts. Actually hurts.

This is not unexpected, I guess. This has been traumatic for many reasons… Chris being lost, not knowing how he ended up in the river and having no acceptable explanation, believing Chris had been physically hurt in the water because of where he went in, and of course, Chris’s death.

I have now received the autopsy report and I will just say that his beautiful body was broken, most likely I would think, by the concrete aprons at the bottom of the falls. This was not so surprising, I guess, but hard to read.

There was one dream I had recently where I actually laughed. I don’t really remember why, but I do know that laughing now feels to me like a foreign language I’m supposed to learn.<br>But I am sharing this post because of one dram I had in particular, and because Chris documented his daily dreams for quite awhile.

A few mornings ago, I was dreaming that Chris was in a hospital in a coma for some reason. He’d been there about 10 days but I hadn’t visited him and I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t gone to see him. I woke up confused and then remembered Chris wasn’t in the hospital. He had died.<br>If you read my posts, I’m sure it’s quite obvious I am struggling with all of this. And though I am so incredibly sad, I somehow have to hold on to some kind of hope because that’s the only way I can hold on to my loving memories of Chris.

As a pastor you might think I turn to the Bible for comfort. It’s not exactly where I conscientiously turn. I have verses and songs and stories that run through my head. I believe God knows my sorrow and cries with me and with Austin and with all those who grieve this tremendous loss. And I have many around me who share their prayers and where they turn to in Scripture to find comfort.

Right now, where I actively turn is to Chris’s writings. He seems to have a pretty clear-eyed view of the world, the beautiful and the ugly, and there is still so much hope and light in what he writes.

So when I had this last dream, I read through many of Chris’s dreams in his journal. He dreamt about so many of his friends, his family, girls.

Here are a couple of his dreams that are so Chris they make me grin in the little spaces of my heart where there is still some space to do so.

And finally, here is one more, a dream  Chris had about heaven.

I don’t know what heaven might be like, really, but I do believe his body has been made whole and that he is frolicking with the saints and resting in Jesus’ loving arms. And somehow I still believe that Jesus holds me in his loving arms, too, and that he’ll have to be holding me for a very long time.

Peace

You can’t fool the youth of today…for Zach

My kids never really swore in front of me. I don’t swear all that much. Sometimes, when I’m pretty angry. But not often. I wouldn’t let Chris play music with profanity so I could hear it. Not my thing. 

And because Chris was passionate about his beliefs, and he might say the same about me, we would argue sometimes, especially about the f-word.  He would say I gave power to the word by not using it and I would say it was more powerful when l used it because l only used it on rare occasions. I’m sure Chris swore when he was with his friends, but there is not much swearing in his poetry. 

(We were at a youth and family gathering once at Camp Amnicon when Chris was in junior high. I went to check on the kids all hanging out for ages in the sauna. Just as I opened the door, Chris blurts out to another kid, “Shut the f$%^ up.” To be fair, this was a kid that could be annoying. The kids all looked at me and I looked at Chris and just shook my head. And another friend said, “Nice, Chris.” And I shut the door and I’ve laughed every time I’ve told that story because it was so unexpected and he was so embarrassed. 

Now since Chris disappeared, I have mostly tried to hold on to things that bring me some little bits of piece. My activism has basically been reduced to listening with sadness at healthcare being cut, people being deported, others dying from overdoses and suicide, the dismantling of environmental protections and what I see as an erosion of the already fragile rights of many in our society. 

I haven’t been able to “go there” yet. When things get too argumentative the little bit I listen to the radio or when I see things on Facebook, I have to tube out. And I so want to be there, but as another activist friend of mine recently wrote to me… baby steps. If I don’t take care of myself now I’ll never be able to be there for others. Feels selfish though I know it’s what I have to do. 

So I haven’t posted yet some of the, what I might call edgier poetry that Chris wrote. But today I’m taking a baby step because Chris’s friend Zach and his family are suffering, along with other families across this nation, because of a gross injustice. And so tonight I share a little bit of what I think Chris might share with his friends if he were still physically with us. 

This first poem is a critique of our society. Chris used to say to me that my generation really messed things up for his, and he was probably right annoy that in a lot of ways. 

Chris recognised the injustices of our world. He had to learn about the privileges afforded to him because of his gender, class and skin color. But he was, indeed, learning. And like so many of his generation, he put his body on the line to walk with those who are oppressed and suffer more injustices than he did, because in the end we did suffer some injustice. (I’ve written some about this previously and I’m sure I will again).

These pictures are from the Climate March in NYC after which Chris became a vegetarian because of you’re going to march you have to change things in your own life, too, and from some marches around Minneapolis..

With Zach at the Climate March, 2014

He was so hopeful as he was on his way:

And right now, it’s hard to carry this optimism.  It’s sometimes hard to remember that it just starts with a few. And right now, I know that my community is holding me up and they’re showing up where I can’t. And Zach’s community is fueling him with love right now, too. 

Some who have been blinded are starting to wake up. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. And that light is love and hope and solidarity and faith, even when it’s hard to see or feel or believe. 

But I truly believe that love is revolutionary. By love we cannot fail. 

Peace. 

How can this be?

A relative was killed by a police officer last night in Minneapolis. Chris’s really, really good friend’s step-mom called 911 last night because she thought someone was in distress and now she is dead. 

Read a report here

And I can see why she and Chris would have been connected: Video presentation

I’m not even sure how to continue this post now. It’s about another family’s loss, and it is about my family’s loss. And as my first nations friends have been teaching me, we are all related. 

As you know if you’ve followed my story these last few eternal months, I have been mourning since my son Chris’s disappearance into the Mississippi River in April the 10 days he was lost and then when his body was found May 4th, the official date of his death. 

Zach, the young man who is in this article, was one of Chris’s best friends. They met in junior high and were buddies ever since. They played lacrosse together, got into shenanigans together, and were there for each other. Zach came home from college when he heard Chris was missing. 

From Chris’s house

Zach’s dad was the one who initially introduced Chris to meditation and meditation changed Chris’s life. From what I understood, Chris had even attended Justine’s meditation class. 

All three were with us in the terrible days of Chris’s disappearance. I hadn’t met Justine until a prayer vigil for him at the river when he was missing, but then she reached out to me and let me know she was there with me. She and Zach’s dad and I were going to get together soon so they could share some of their experiences with Chris with me. 

She was a person who carried peace with her and shared it generously. I could feel that. I met some women at a vigil held for Justine tonight who knew about Chris because Justine had led a meditation session in his honor soon after Chris’s death. They told me it was beautiful. 

And so Zach has lost now two of his best friends in a matter of a couple of months. My heart aches for him and for his family. My heart selfishly aches for me, too, because I hadn’t yet gotten to know her and to feel the connection that I know she had to Chris. 

Before Chris died, I was very involved in social justice issues. I haven’t been able to be very active or vocal since my heart was shattered. But now I must speak and I must stand. I don’t yet know what that will look like. I will follow the family’s lead. But I will be there for them as much as I can just as they have been here for me. 

What will it take for our nation to stop shooting? What is the deep-seated fear or anger or pain that causes police officers to shoot their guns at people? 

As so many have said to me, I don’t know what to say. There are no words to express my sorrow for this beloved family. I can only be with them as my tears mix with theirs and as the Creator weeps with us at the loss of another beautiful soul. I’m hoping that Chris is meditating with Justine in heaven and that they are both watching over their family that is suffering. 

I’m sharing this poem that Chris wrote because I want to hope we can fuel this world with love in memory of our dear lost ones. 

And because I don’t know how to pray tonight…

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26

And finally, this poem I turn to often these days, because these coming seconds, moments, days, weeks, months, will seem unbearable art times. 

Peace, though it is hard to find tonight.