Monthly Archives: August 2015

Of Energy and Love

Is love energy?

All the people I’ve loved in my life? I still love them. Boys who broke my heart. Boys whose hearts I broke. Friends I haven’t seen since I was a kid. No matter how a relationship ends, the love doesn’t go away. If it did, there would be no such thing as a broken heart. It hurts because we love. Still and always. And when we see someone we haven’t in ages, that instant spark is the love surging out of the little space it waited in, just as bright as it was way back when. Maybe it’s changed a little. We all grow up and become someone else. But it’s there, for me, absolutely

Energy. Water. Constants that can only change form, not be created or destroyed. Vast, but finite. But love? Is there a finite amount to go around? Is it like energy and water, existing at  constant rate? Maybe, once we’re gone along with all those who knew us, all the love we shared gets put back into the pool to be used by others. And if we, like everything else in the universe, recycle, maybe that love just gets carted along back with us, ready to be dipped into as needed.

I thought I’d write this post as a way of working out my thoughts to my own satisfaction, but this one is eluding me a whole week later. So I’m asking you your thoughts, if you have any on the matter.


Filed under Family

From Water Muse to the First Law of Thermodynamics

It has been two months since Chris died. In that time, I’ve done a lot of crying, grieving, and thinking. The water muse post of a couple days ago was sparked by a friend, and remembering the water muse I used to claim lived in my shower. Chris told me there was science behind that, and I looked it up. It’s really cool.

Like energy, water already exists in one form or another. It can’t be created from nothing. It can’t be destroyed. Consider the fact that the human body is more than 60% water. Blood is 92% water. Our brains and muscles are 75% water. Bones, believe it or not, are about 22% water. So if we are made of these things that can’t be destroyed, only changed, doesn’t that mean…something?

“We are stardust.” Chris and I had that discussion once. We spent a whole lot of time together in the car, in a gajillion waiting rooms, at home, and had some really great discussions. I keep thinking about the way he felt about death, that we don’t cease to exist but simply change form in some way. I dig the science behind it, and I can see where this primordial knowledge bound in energy and water might get translated into God and angles, ghosts and even zombies. In my last post, I said I was more a creature of whimsy than science, but I find that’s not actually true. I need science to back my whimsy. I might run with it, and turn a gathering of negative ions into a water spirit, but I can do that because I know the science behind it.

Blind faith. I can’t do it. I don’t claim to know any certain truth about whether or not there is an entity we call God/dess, but I am certain that there isn’t a single person, ever, who is capable of truly understanding the mysteries of our universe. Blind faith is required, and I just don’t have that in me. Whatever is out there, in here, is unfathomable. A nebulous force. A single entity. A collective consciousness. For all we know, our entire universe exists as a complex cell in some greater being’s hand. There are more synapses in a human brain than there are stars in the sky. Can you even fathom that? Then what makes anyone think they can contemplate the universe and come up with any one truth? That’s when the hands go over the ears, the eyes close, and “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you!” comes out of mouths.

Before Chris died, I was content to admit I don’t know and never will. Modesty is for suckers, yes, but I’m not a fool either. I accept my human shortcomings and live life the best way I know how, trusting that whatever force is at work in the universe, sentient or not, isn’t going to hold my lack of understanding against me.

Since Chris died, more so than when Brian died, I have better come to understand why people cling to religion and God/dess and the blind faith necessary to accept. I can understand the need for that sort of peace. And I understand the very human need to believe in facts handed down by some higher authority. It lets us bypass the unknown, the unfathomable. “They” understand, and that’s enough for many. I wish it were enough for me. It’s not. There’s something to this “energy cannot be destroyed,” thing. I believe that it means my son moved on, became part of something bigger. I believe in the universe, that there is more to it all that meets the eye. I have also learned, truly learned, to never say never, and that even having answers doesn’t change the fact that I miss him. I miss his hugs. His smile. I even miss his chaos. Anything is better than the hole punched through my being.

This is all leading me to another thought, about love. I think I’ll let it marinate a while, see what comes of it.



Filed under Science

Of Water Muses and Immortality

(First in a series of thoughts leading to thoughts.)

Water. We are from it. We are of it. Life began in the sea.

It’s no wonder we humans are inspired by water. I’ve often said I have a water muse living in my shower. All my best stories come to me there. Bits and pieces work themselves out. Raising four children, I attributed it, at least in part, to being the only time I was truly alone with my thoughts. As it turns out, there is science behind it. (Thank you, Christofer!) Negative ions.

Among other things, negative ions…

  • enhance mood
  • stimulate senses
  • improve appetite and sexual drive
  • stimulate the reticuloendothelial system (a group of defense cells that enhance our disease resistance.)
  • promote alpha brain waves and increased brain wave amplitude, resulting in a higher awareness level.
  • enable the body to better absorb oxygen into the blood cells
  • oxidize serotonin
  • filter airborne contaminants, thus providing relief for things like allergies

Cool, huh? There’s more. Ion counts in fresh (ie, the country) air is 2,000-4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter (pcc.) “City air” can have less than 100 negative ions pcc. I guess getting out to the country isn’t just about avoiding traffic. Now consider that at a large water fall you can find 100,000 or more negative ions pcc. The water muse is born!

I’m not alone in feeling more creative in or around water. In fact, this blog post was sparked by a friend who said much the same thing. Most people feel more mentally and physically refreshed by being near the ocean, a waterfall, or even, like me, taking a shower. It’s not a coincidence. All of these areas have a higher concentration of negative ions to positive ions. It is the force (aka, energy) of the falling or splashing water that causes neutral particles of air to split, freeing electrons that attach to other air molecules causing a negative charge. All this “good energy” flying about makes us feel all around better, more creative, more positive.

Have I lost you? Cool as it is, it does get rather technical. I am a creature of more whimsy than science, myself. We are indeed creatures of the water, made of so much water bound into bodies with only so much time as such. When I’m sitting by the sea, overwhelmed by words, characters, stories, emotions making my fingers itch, I’m more in the mind that there are freewater spirits splashing out of the ocean, speaking to those bound within me. “We’re here! Waiting! Boundless and wild! Come hear our stories. Take them back with you. Go ahead, it’s fine. We have lots more.”

All the water that will ever exist in the world always has in some form or another. It always will. Like energy, it can’t just vanish. It only changes form. Maybe the water inside me now was once part of a great, primordial ocean on a distant planet. Or raindrops that filled it. Or the ice on a comet. Amazing, right? Fantastical! So, then is it really such a stretch to imagine these negative ions as water spirits instead? What the hell, right? Science and whimsy enhance one another. It’s mutual respect that makes it all work.

I have more thoughts that lead to other thoughts on this. I guess you can figure out where they will lead. But that’s another blog post, for another time.



Filed under Science

To believe, or not to believe…

I’m the whimsical, sparkle-queen of optimism. My kids grew up believing fairies lived in our gardens, in the woods behind our house. Dragons, bridge trolls, any manner of magical creature wasn’t just a story, but a fact of life. Yet we have never been a religious family. There was a time we tried, because that is what one did when raised a reluctant Catholic. If you ask my kids now, one will claim atheism, two will say they don’t know what they feel, one will claim she’s agnostic with a strong spiritual bend.

Chris was a very spiritual guy. He believed that this thing often called “God” is all around us, all the time. It’s nature. It’s science. It’s the earth and the sky and the stars. He believed there is a connection to all things, and the evidence is there for anyone who takes a moment to notice. All he believed was, in fact, science based, including whatever comes after this life is done.

We are energy. Energy cannot be destroyed, it can only change form. That, in a nutshell, is his proof that we go on in some aspect. What that form is, he didn’t know. I don’t. No one does, not even those who claim to have the one truth of all things afterlife. There’s only one way to find out–to die, and to stay dead.

As I’ve written before, I’ve had some experiences that I can’t deny, even if I can’t explain them. Like the rings on my Cheshire Cat cell-phone case. I’d been crying all morning, not an unusual thing, but life goes on and dishes needed to be done. I took my rings off and put them down like this, on top of my cell phone, so I wouldn’t forget to put them back on:


recreated for obvious reasons

Turning back to get them a few minutes later, I found this:


Note, I was alone in the house. No cats in sight, and the cell phone and rings were directly behind me. I am 100% certain I didn’t put them down this way, because when I first put them on top of the cell phone, one of them slipped off and I put it back on top of the other. Let’s say one slid off and onto an eye. It would have had to have some momentum to send the other one to the other eye. That’s a whole lot of work and a lot of suspension of belief to accept. And yet, I know this happened. I didn’t slip through an alternate reality wherein I’d set my rings down that way to begin with. I didn’t black out, rearrange the rings so I could believe my son was, in his prankster way, telling me to stop crying. But was it him? Even though it’s way less of a stretch to believe so, I am skeptical.

Many other things have happened. Wow, so many. Things I can’t explain away as coincidence or wishful thinking. My son is working hard to let me know he’s not only ok, he wants me to be ok. And yet still, I’m skeptical. Me! The woman who still believes in fairies! So I told him, “Just have someone say [redacted]! If someone says [redacted], I’ll believe!”

And wouldn’t you know, the very next day, a friend emailed me and signed her name [redacted.] How much harder can he work at this? Why can’t I take the comfort I want so badly to take?

Chris didn’t have it so great. The last ten years of his life were full of so much mental and physical pain. He often felt lonely, even though he wasn’t alone. There were happy times too, but the last three weeks ending as they did keep the despair in the forefront. I want so much to believe that he’s free of all that shackled him in this life, having an afterlife better than what he had and not just ashes in the roots of a tree. So why do I keep making him prove it? Over and over again. My mind is so open to all things. I never say never. And yet…why not with this?

I have no answer. I don’t expect you to, either. Whether you’re devoutly faithful to a religion, spiritual, scientific, all have theories but no one knows. I am, however, interested in the experiences of others, if you wish to share.


Filed under Family

Dear Brian

It seems you’re finally off the hook

I’ve a new ghost to haunt me, a new ghost to

visit with in dreams, a new ghost to

infiltrate every word I write, every thought

I have. Thirty years

is a long time to stick around.


Are you finally free? Or have you been

all along? Can you truly be free when

there are those left missing you?


Funny, how I think of you both in such terms.

I thought it when you died–Free!

And it was my first thought for him, too.

Why does life have to be so hard? Is it

organic? A consequence of being human. Or is it

societal? A construct of rules and mores never meant for our kind.


“You were born too wild for this world.”

I wrote that once, to you.

“You were born too brilliant for this world.”

That is what I wrote for him.

Wild. Brilliant. Can anyone be “too” of such things?

Why does that make one unable to cope? Unable

to be happy? Something’s not right, and I’m pretty sure

it wasn’t you, it wasn’t

him, it was

all the rules penning you in.

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Filed under poetry

Positives Pulled From a Negative

Christofer’s memorial happened last weekend. I hadn’t realized the stress that put on me until Friday, when i just wanted to call it off. I, my whole family, have been grieving for nearly two months now, and it felt like opening the wound all over again. Not to be gross, but going with the wound analogy, it was more like draining an infection. Maybe it had scabbed over, but still ached something awful. It hurt, draining it. Bad. But when all was said and done, it was really, really for the best.

Some people I would never have thought would come, did. Some I expected to be there, weren’t. All in all, it was a packed house of people who love us, who love Chris. There was so much love and light in that sweltering train station, no one cared they were swimming in their own clothes. Whether or not you believe Chris was there with us, no one can deny how his presence gathered all that love now radiating out into the world. And that’s a positive pulled from this negative.

I didn’t write anything for the event. I started the show with the Rilke poem my friend brought to me the day after his death and then let everyone else speak. I’ve been writing and sharing here since the days following his death. Saturday was really for those who still needed an outlet. Family, friends, professors from WCSU, co-workers from Curaleaf. Some joked, most wept at some point. The beauty of their words touched everyone.

At one point, I saw a group of boys–young men–together, Chris’ friends from childhood, who hadn’t seen one another in years. They joked and laughed, hugged and wept. I could almost see Chris standing among them, smiling. And that was a positive pulled from this negative.

A young man called me a couple of weeks ago, asking about the memorial. He was once a world class martial artist who can now barely walk from room to room without assistance. He told me about the day Chris went to see him, bringing his bow, arrows and a target. His friend couldn’t lift the bow he’d once been master of, let alone pull the string. Chris put his friend’s hands on the bow, put his own hands over his friend’s, pulled the string for him, and let it fly. He did it over and over again, giving back to his friend something he’d forever lost. That is love. That is Chris. Hearing this story, one Chris never told me himself, was a positive pulled from this negative.

Sharing my pain has brought people into my life, people I would never have otherwise known. Some of you might be reading this now and thinking, “Does she mean me?” The answer is, “Yes, I do.” Friends of his, old and new, I’d never have met or reconnected with, who’ve shared with me pieces of my son I didn’t know about. Stories of his beauty I’d never have heard. People going through similar events who’ve connected with me. who I already cherish. Shared sorrow creates bonds as strong and as deep as shared joy. Others who simply sympathize, whether connected through a friend or family member, or randomly on the internet. Chris’ death has shown me people I’ve known and loved for years in an entirely new light. These are all positives taken from this negative, and I’m so grateful.

Taking a positive from any negative lessens the power of that negative. I’ve always believed this to my core. It’s not betraying love, it’s validating it. It’s not forgetting, it’s remembering in the most loving way possible. To say there is nothing positive about my son’s death is not only a lie, it’s harmful. Would I give back all these positives and more to have him back? Absolutely. But that’s not an option, so I’ll take every one of these positives, and all the others that come my way, and embrace them with all my heart.



Filed under Family


I see pics of families online, their smiles and

good times, funny moments and

trying ones, first days of school and

last days of summer.

I smile fondly, share vicariously in their fun,

But my first, unkind thought is always

“Why do you get to keep yours and I don’t?”


Filed under poetry


This is Christofer’s tree:


We planted it, and his ashes, in the front yard. Close family, and friends like family, were here. Small, intimate, sad and touching.

It’s a Sun Valley Maple. Someday, it will look like this:


It’s not what I wanted. I wanted an oak. That seemed a bit cliche, but I wasn’t sure what else fit. Chris was strong and beautiful and withstood so many storms without breaking. But I wasn’t completely set on it. My mind was open. When we discovered that we’d have to wait until next spring for an oak tree, we looked around for something different. Nothing jumped out at me, not even the Sun Valley Maple, until I saw the one we bought. Here’s why:


See that? Three splits instead of the typical two. It “spoke” to me. It looks like a Norse rune, though I couldn’t remember which one. Chris was really into runes. When he was younger, being blonde-haired, blue-eyed and over six feet tall, he was convinced he had Norseman blood mixed in somewhere. It was half-joking, but only half. When I saw this tree, I knew it was his. I meant to look up which rune looked like an upside-down leaf rake, but never got to it. Until yesterday.

While putting something away in the closet of his room, the rune book slid off it’s precarious perch. I figured I’d look it up while I had it in my hand, before I forgot again. Maybe my brain had stored this information in one of its many folds, nudging me to choose that particular tree but…


What was Chris if not protection personified? That’s just who he was. But it goes on to say “Control of the emotions is an issue here […] New opportunities and challenges are typical of this Rune, and with them will come trespasses and unwanted influence […] Algiz serves as a mirror for the Spiritual Warrior, the one whose battle is always with the self.”


I guess the tree really did speak to me.

You can go through life pushing off all the little messages that come through, or you can look at them, see them for what they mean to you, and absorb. Sometimes I feel dumb, reading so much into everything, but isn’t that what I do as a writer? We add in these little signs and symbols that some readers will never overtly get, but will be pulled in anyway. They make the story richer, give it depth. It’s the same with life, no?

Note: I said this wasn’t going to turn into a tribute site for Christofer; I suppose I was wrong. Kind of. This started out as a “cool Chris” event I wanted to record, and ended with writing. Writing is life. Presently, Chris is influencing everything that flies forth from my fingertips. I suppose it’s a natural pairing right now. 


Filed under Family, Writing is Life