death · Spirit · truth

Mom-Mom…

img121Not knowing yesterday morning what was in store, I ended my journal entry with the statement that He is “always good”… Fitting for someone who used that line as an honest pillar in her life…

Right now… Now is the time I could easily say, “I don’t know what I’ll do without her”… But that’s not true at all…

Because many, if not most, will miss Delores Winder… The prayer warrior… The one who could heal with the power of God… The one who helped change people’s lives… The one with a powerful, powerful story and testament of true, authentic healing… The one with so much wisdom and love…

But, well… I’ll just miss Mom-Mom… The woman who was my grandmother… The woman no one saw but her family and close, close friends… The one who taught me how to bake, write letters to people and always took the time each year to take my sister and I on vacation with our grandfather… “One day all you’ll have left are these memories of us together,” she would constantly say…

I’m going to miss Mom-Mom like crazy… She was one of the only people that drove me absolutely insane at times, but I still loved her like no one else…

We were so much a like… Bossy, controlling, know-it alls… We both needed to have the “right” answer all the time… Haha!…

She would say, I pushed her buttons a lot… Because if she didn’t have the answer, and I knew deep down there was another way or a better way, well we would argue about it… And I would go on a quest to find it… At first this was a struggle… Me wanting more truth than I’d been given, her telling me that was it… Me believing there was more, discovering the more and then giving it to her…

After a while, well she finally just wanted to know what I’d learned… So we could talk about it together…

So to say I will miss the wisdom God gave her, the way she prayed and the things she taught would be untrue… Because Mom-Mom spent her time pouring every ounce of what she had into mine and my sister’s very beings… She knew that one day she would be gone and we would need it all… To teach others… To love others… To help direct people towards the Holy Spirit and His inner healing…

And so I believe that’s what makes this year so significant for me yet again…

Since entering the nursing home in January, I’ve really had no contact with her… And as pieces of my identity, security and confidence have been shaken from me, well the best choice I’ve found is to just follow God’s lead… Even when I can’t see… And though it’s truly been a shaky year, I believe she would be happy to know that her death hasn’t shaken me at all…

Yes, yes I am very, very sad… But I’m not broken or broken-hearted… More than anything, I feel firmer than ever…

And so I guess, well… I just want to tell her thank you… From the bottom of my very heart, thank you for loving me the way no one has ever loved me before… Thank you for believing in me and what God has given me to do in life… Thank you for teaching me how good God actually is… Thank you for the ups and downs in our relationship, they truly shaped me… Thank you for being my best friend…

And more than anything, thank you for showing me that life cannot be lived to it’s fullest without being healthy and whole from the inside out… That our spirit, soul and body have to be in alignment with Him… And that inner healing, well to me is just another way to say, “it’s time to cultivate life”…

Mind · soul

Moments…

A year ago I decided to focus my life on living in the moment…. But as I began to live in the moment…. Well I got caught up in the fact that I wanted to live in the moment… It almost seemed like I had forgotten to just do it…

And I’d ask myself… How will I know if I am living in moments and not stuck in the past or future?…

But here I am a year later… And I guess I’ve taken the advice of a great friend who encouraged me to allow moments to be like eating something with the right amount of salt… Without salt the dish isn’t right… But with it… With the right amount the dish is complete and you don’t even think about the salt being there… You just eat it…

And that’s how I’ve been living life… I’ve forgotten about ideas of living in the moment… How to do it and why it’s important… And I’ve just been doing it… I don’t even think twice…

And in the midst of it all… well someone else told me they want to create memories… Moments for their daughters to remember them by…

So when I found myself in a hollywood costume exhibit on Friday… Well I didn’t think I would be grateful for moments… But I was…

As I walked through the exhibit, I began to realize that dad is the one who taught be how to appreciate movies… And not just any movie, but great films…

When I saw Tyler Durden’s costume from Fight Club and Aton’s costume from No Country for Old Men… I realized the reason I even know what those movies are is because my dad asked me to watch them… And I did…

And in those memories are moments that were created…

Like the moment dad said “you wanna watch Fight Club?” And I said, “well what’s it about?” And of course his response was, “well that’s the first rule about Fight Club. I can’t tell you about it.”

In that moment I was so irritated but now I’m glad that I have that moment…

And then were costumes from the Rocky movies and superhero films… Costumes from Titanic… My favorite film that my dad took me to see…

And there were costumes from Oceans 11… One for each male character… And those made me miss dad just as much…

Because all of those films… The ones that I so willingly saw… Even when I didn’t feel willing… Well they are part of moments I’ll never get back…. But I’m so blessed to have them…

And right now… As I teach a 5 year old what “I’ll be there in a moment” means… Well I’m grateful that I can teach him that…

That I can explain a moment isn’t a certain amount of time… It can be long or short… Full of second, minutes, hours or even days… But it is a moment… And it seems so much more valuable and important when looking back because it is very alive…

And in expressing all of this… Well is makes me feel so grateful that I have moments…

To me… They are one more thing to be rich with… They are one more thing to consider a blessing… One more thing to consider invaluable… One more thing to keep me full and satisfied on the inside…

Because no one and nothing can take the place of them… And no one can place a price tag on my moments…

And I’m ok with that…

Confidence · truth

The Memory Tree

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Since I was around the age of 15 I’ve complained about one thing… I didn’t think we had any family holiday traditions….

I’d look around at other families during the holidays… I’d see their festiveness and annual excitement and I’d think “gosh, I wish my family had some tradition”….

So as I got older I’d try and find ways to create some tradition for my family… Like Christmas Eve dinners at a nice restaurant or opening presents a specific ways…

And my family would always get annoyed with me…

And I guess I basically believed that my family was so boring and so out of date… And that we didn’t do anything truly cool or traditional for the “Winders”….

So it was ironic tonight… Tonight as I was hanging ornaments on the tree… The tree mom kept bare until Bridge and I got home… So the three of us could decorate it together….

And as we were decorating… Mom said “this tree is a memory tree. I think we should call them memory trees”….

Now every tree is different… The decoration process I mean… But ours… Well ours is unique….

For every place we’ve ever traveled together as a family, mom has purchased an ornament…. We have snow skiers from Crested Butte, Vail and Keystone… Football Santas from the years we went to NOLA for the Dome… Several starfish from the beach…. Christmas in NYC…. Disney Princesses….

And then we also have ornaments for the activities we did… Cheerleaders…. Ballerinas… And of course BAMA football…

And then there are the ones made to put pictures of us in when we were kids…

And of course their are the handmade ones from preschool…. Mom loves those the most….

And we can’t forget “the three bears”…. Not sure where they came from… Or the toys that mom turned into ornaments because we loved them so much….

And true to Andrea form…. Each ornament has a date on it… The year we got it… And some of an extra kick like “ECA”….

But the beautiful thing was… As I unwrapped each special ornament… I began to realize mom’s words are so true…

Our tree is a memory tree… Because it’s full of moments we shared as a family… It’s a reminder that we went “there” and did “that”….

And with the absence of dad this holiday… Well the tree and the ornaments are that much more special and close to my heart…

And in the midst of all the decorating… I got lost in the moment and realized… We do have a tradition…

And all of those years I spent wanting one… Well we were creating one as a family… And now we have this beautiful tradition…. One that I hope to pass down to my kids and grandkids…

I get that some people like their ornaments to look the same and fit a mold of specific color…

But I feel like ours is just right… Because we are the Winders… And we have a beautiful story to tell through our memory tree…

And in a few years… When we look back at the Empire State Building…. Olaf… And Mary Poppins…. Well… We’ll know that was the first Christmas without dad… But more than that… We’ll be able to remember that was first Christmas we changed the name of our tree….

And you know what…. I’m more than ok with that…

death

Month Six…

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July 2nd… August 2nd… September 2nd… October 2nd… November 2nd… And bam… December 2nd is here…

It’s been six months… six months since dad’s been dead… and some of the months have happened without me thinking about the day or realizing “today is month number…”

But today feels different… And it’s for so many reasons… Mainly because the doctors said he might make it to Christmas…

Well…. here we are… we are 23 days away from Christmas and I am fatherless… A miracle didn’t happen and modern medicine didn’t save his life….

And it hasn’t been a bad thanksgiving at all… I board a plane today… Heart full of love from everyone I saw and all that I experienced…

But it still doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s not here… That I will leave mom here… Alone… Again…

And she’s in so much pain… And there’s really nothing I can do to make the pain go away….

I continue to realize there’s nothing I can do every time I hear her say her heart is broken…. “it’s just broken.”… she says…. She says it’s broken and she knows life will go on and she will heal… But for now the pain… the pain she has to live with is so much…

Mom says that there are just so many hurdles in front of her she has to cross… That there’s just so much responsibility in front of her now… And that she just misses dad so much…

And it hurts my heart to know she’s feeling pain…. and that I can’t do anything about it… There aren’t any words I can say…. There’s nothing I can do to help her mend her broken heart… I can love her and hug her… But I just feel like that’s not enough….

And then she has to carry so much now… But in the midst of it all… Well my mom fascinates me because I don’t see her falling apart at every corner… She’s together in her own way….

And I know people have said the holidays are hard… But they haven’t been too bad… And maybe it’s my outlook… my perspective… But I see things differently… And I’m choosing to live in each day and just enjoy the fact that we are together as a family…

But I’ve had my moments… Like last night when I thought my dad had scared my sister… But then I quickly remembered that he’s not here and she was just scared on her own…

And of course I think living out in Cali makes this reality a little less for me… But it’s all still reality…

So I genuinely hope… today… six months from the day that I watched my dad die… Well I hope it’s filled with love and hope and goodness… Even if I don’t experience those things… I hope others do…

And I hope my mom doesn’t feel so much of a mess… That she can move through today with her spirits lifted….

And I know it sucks… Death isn’t a friend… But I do respect him for the job he does…

And more than anything… I just want my mom to be happy and her heart to be full again… I want her to be taken care of and loved…

That’s what I want…