Tuesday, February 16, 2016


One of the first things I did after Joe died was redecorate our bedroom. Each time I walk into that room where I stayed with my husband in his final moments, I am thankful for the family and few close friends who came over and helped to rearrange furniture, pack up clothes and other items, and paint. And paint. And paint.

By the time we were done redecorating, the once beige tones of our bedroom were shades of purple and I was on the hunt for some items to fill the empty walls.

Within a week, I found the perfect painting on Etsy. Not only was it purple, but it fully captured everything I was feeling. It was called Unbroken and the painting was by a woman named Jennifer Leigh (@JENNIFERLEIGH01). It was of a tree blowing in the wind - bent and bare - but not broken. It was how I felt then and how I wanted to be as I moved forward in my grief.

So I bought it and I hung it (or rather I had my brother-in-law Chris hang it) above my bed. There it has stayed for more than 4 years as a testament to this difficult journey I have been on.

"Unbroken" by Jennifer Leigh

This morning I was feeling especially worn. Bent. Bare. Windblown. On the verge of broken. Before I left the house, I snapped a photo of "Unbroken" with my iPhone. It was on my mind all day.

My thoughts have been constantly turning to my G-Mom. Thankful for her faith and wisdom. Hating cancer all the more for yet another reason. Coming back to the story she told me when I visited her last week about how she would worry about rain at a baseball game when she was younger and her mom would tell her "You can't change the weather. Find something else to do."

Stripped bare, but Unbroken.

The call to a mental health professional on behalf of my sweet five year old son, who is bearing the huge weight of losing his dad so young. An appointment I wish we never had to put on his schedule. The uncontrollable tears that came after, tears for my little guy and all that he is dealing with as he grieves his dad gave way to a measure of calm with some wise words in a text from a good friend.

Completely bent, but Unbroken.

There were unstoppable tears as Greg Dulli cranked out My World Is Empty Without You in an IHOP parking lot in Irvington. Even with the promise of a great new relationship on the horizon there are these random and paralyzing moments during which I miss the intimacy and strength of what was before. It's hope mixed with grief in the most raw way possible.

Windblown, but Unbroken.

My body screamed tonight with every step on the treadmill - an accelerating urge to stop and call it quits built as the miles ticked off the screen in front of me. Somehow though, my heart and my mind wouldn't let my legs give way. They know that in less than 9 weeks Boylston Street awaits and the only way to conquer THAT is....

Completely worn, but Unbroken.