Thursday, December 28, 2017

Tis the season for tradition

It has happened for me, each year since 1985. That feeling...longing for  those who are not here with  us during the  holidays. When they come, I get all the feelings...you know, sad, happy, joy, heartache, but I must say these days the biggest feeling I get is comfort. An overwhelming feeling of being wrapped in a sweet, love filled blanket. When Ted & I married and then had children we blended each of our families traditions. Christmas eve, was his. Since 1997, we have had a Christmas eve open house at our home, an early evening soiree. It was Teds family tradition, and now our Hellier family tradition. I swear, at certain moments in the eve, in my mind and heart, I can see and feel Ted holding court in the kitchen! (The man loved to holiday, and he did them so well) All of our dear friends continue to show up on Teds favorite eve, sharing good tidings of comfort and joy. At the nights end, my children and I  take stock of who was there, who we missed, who we got to chat with, who we hardly had time to talk with or who was there, but we totally did not see!  We love the night, and are so grateful for all of our friends who continue to share our tradition and who have made it part of their family tradition.


 I find continuing traditions connects me to Ted and my Mom and Dad. Their place in my heart always, ever present...and certain celebrations... bring them right to me!

Christmas season in general, that is a Dad holiday... I won't say Bob LOVED  Christmas, but some of my favorite memories and traditions come from my dad. I will share a few here. Bob did nothing before Christmas eve... well, except the making of his fabulous Peace and Joy light signs... in the 60's and 70's my dad would get a piece of plywood, spell out the GIANT words in big magnificant light bulbs and then make a peace sign... I LOVED THOSE SIGNS! I think I was channeling my best dad when Ted & I made our giant peace wreath.


But getting the tree, shopping, wrapping, you know all the biggies, that was a Christmas eve event. For years (like, until I was in my 40's) I thought getting and putting up a tree on Christmas eve was an old Italian tradition. For as long as my dad was alive, that was ours. We would get a tree early christmas eve... bring it in the house, let it settle in, and then a few hours later begin the decorating!  Years later I asked my mom about the tradition  and where it began... and she said it was a "Bob" tradition... my dad didn't want to spend lots of money on a tree, so he waited until the last possible day. And can I say, the anticipation of that day... OUT OF OUR MINDS...me and my 3 brothers... it was MAGICAL!

And the shopping for gifts... also a Bob tradition on Christmas eve. After we purchased the best possible tree left on the lot, and put it up... he would take me on his shopping extravaganza! Just me and my dad... we shopped for my mom, and special gifts for my brothers...it was always and adventure. As I got older,  my dad would wait for me to get home from college, NH, or Maine, where ever I was living, so we could get our shop on! (we did it until his last Christmas in1984 when he was too sick to make it out...I remember that year clearly,  Christmases as I knew them, would never be the same)
And then the wrapping. (or lack there of) Of course cheap Bob  did not want to PAY for wrapping paper, so he crafted his own... truly beautiful, funny works of art.  And Santa gifts in my house...unwrapped, thats how you knew they were from Santa!

From all of  those traditions... we have created our own.
Ted and I caved on the tree thing... our kids wanted it up before Christmas, so we get it a week before and leave it up for a week after.
Almost all of our ornaments are handmade which we all made each year to hang and gift.
We would get all of our shopping done in one night, though not Christmas eve, that was party night, but usually around the 20th... one day of shopping together and then dinner and drinks after... We Loved that tradition.
NOT WRAPPING  Santa gifts, my dad, TRULY GENIOUS,  all the big gifts, bikes, snow boards, doll houses, hamsters, sports gear... those difficult to wrap things...SANTA!!!
And the other gifts... handmade paper.
I continue those traditions, with a nod to the master paper maker!




 My mother did the lions share of the Christmas shopping, and house decorating on Cayuga Road, she LOVED it... shopping was her thing.  She was a thoughtful gift buyer, always thinking  of what would truly make each of us shreik with glee. As she got older and compromised because of brain tumors and many craineotomies  her gifts became a little crazy... but still she shopped. I have to say... those gifts... some of our favorite family moments, wondering what she was thinking as she was purchasing, and the looks on our faces as we opened them... so funny, and usually they were extremely large, extremely ugly or extremely not reflective of the recepiant at all. But we loved them all the same.



When she decked the halls, she would bring out the family decorations, wreaths, stockings, and Christmas up the house (until the Christmas eve tree event). Each tear, a fight about the Christmas tree beads... only she and I loved them, my brothers and my dad did not!  Each year when I joyfully trim the tree in my own home, with my vintage glass beeds, ( as the box my brother made a zillion years ago reads) it brings me back to family heated discussions on why they should or shouldn't be on the tree, I put them up without a fight, but always I am brought right backt to Cayuga Road.
And her Navity scene... the envy of my children. When my mom remarried she had a lovely Navity set. My children loved it and were kinda mad that we did not have one. Upon our return from a visit with my mom, Eliza & T-Moe set to creating a beautiful scene of their own. Barbie, Ken, Rescue Heros,  various animals,  playschool barn and a golfball, were the key players of their scene.  To this day my favorite decoration. Now 20 somethings, my children still set it up... it is the best! My mom passed away in 2011, the day after Christmas... I believe she was holding on, so as not to spoil the day that she so loved.


Traditions, I love them so, they send me right back, they warm me, bring tears, smiles and such a feeling of pure love and joy.  My children are tradition keepers, I love that about them both... I envision, a future with their version of our traditions that have been built over the years  and I look forward to each and every tradition filled year. Whatever your holiday and traditions... I hope thay are fabulous and spent with all you hold near and dear.




Saturday, October 7, 2017

It's been a while



So, years ago I took a metalsmithing class with the oh, so talented,  Susan Bickford. I learned lots. I had been dreaming of mixing metal and fiber... I made the jewelry in photo then, it  now seems like eons ago. But still I dream of metal and fiber. Sewn and hammered, riveted and wrapped, wool and jersey, repurposed, brass, copper, silver... so many ways I have dreamed. I was in the studio today, pondering what to make, I am a maker,  I love to see the maker's mark on things made by the hand. It has been a while... I am feeling inspired. It will be a surprise to me... I hope what I have been dreaming and sketching... is good... you never know... I will see where it takes me!


28

     Happy Anniversary Ted! 


 This would be, as you would have said, our 28th year of "Wedded Bliss". That was always your answer.
  It was a weekend long wedding, such amazing memories of that weekend with our friends and family. My heart carries amazing memories of our 26 years spent together.        

I will raise a glass tonight to us... tomorrow will watch our boy play fall ball, you would have so enjoyed that as part of our celebration! We were good together. I miss you like crazy. Always in my heart.








Thursday, September 14, 2017

Happy 62 Cappy!

62, its your 62nd Birthday! Seems so crazy to me that 5 birthdays have come to pass. It truly seems like yesterday that we celebrated you in true Ted style. Surrounded by love... your family and friends. You did so love a party! I wish we were doing it this way today. 

We have missed celebrating you these past 5 years. 

At the risk of being repetitive, I think of you each day. Each year my wish is a little less pain in my heart, but now at year 5 I'm thinking that will never go. I'm ok with that. I think if we did not love so greatly, then the pain would not be so great. And I would not have changed a thing. (Maybe the plaid shirts, with striped shorts, but that's it) You loved me, Eliza, Moe, our families, and all who knew you with such Big Love. It is so true, the greater the love, the grater the loss. 
Missing you today and every day Greatly.


                                                               
57th birthday.
50th

Saturday, June 17, 2017

1460 and no plan



Oh June...
Upon your arrival I am immediately reminded of what lies ahead...Ted Hellier Laxfest (5th annual) a day of celebrating the game he so loved) Flag day, (Teds high holy day!) Fathers day, and June 17. I feel your presence creeping up as May winds down. Unexplicable bouts of sadness, crying for no apparent reason, an emotional roller coaster. And then it occurs to me that June is on the rise and it all makes sense. It will be 4 years (1460 days) since Ted has not been sleeping next to me, 4 years of amazing things our children have accomplished. I witness it without Ted by my side, beaming with joy and smiling that beautiful mustached smile. I do feel his presence, but it's not the same. After 4 years I still miss him like crazy, I still sometimes have the feeling like he's going to walk thru the door. I have become quite good at camouflaging the huge Ted chamber in my heart, but it's always right there, and when it's covered I'm good, but often, I feel like I can physically touch it, like giant hole, where everything Ted lives. I literally put my hand to my chest to keep it all in.

I had lunch the other day with a friend who lost her husband a year ago, we talk about our loss and grief and where we are in that process...we wish there was a book, with hard fast rules. This process is so very different for each of us, yet so the same. We are oddly comforted by this sameness.

 It is an odd journey for sure. The roads unfamiliar, the map not clearly marked, and definitely unsure where it all leads to. Where there were plans, I now have none. I wing it, my new mantra "its all good". For the first time in my life I have no plan. Ted and I had plans, but things have changed, I truly have no idea what lies ahead. Truth be told, that's a little scary. I'm a girl who likes a plan. But it's all good... forward movement.

Ted and I were together 27 years, 27 really good years, we loved each other, loved our children, our friends, and our family. And we really liked each other and each other's company. We did our own thing, but always made time for each other. I miss the conversations, the coming together after a work day to catch up, talking about our kiddos, our day, and just the daily happenings. I miss talking about our future. (back to that plan thing) it's just not the same planning by oneself, no one to toss ideas around with, I'm a dreamer, planner, I don't know now what my dream is, it always had Ted in it. And that, after 4 years has settled in hard. Mind you I have always been strongly independent, I don't mind being alone, I'm not lonely, I am truly so fortunate and, to quote Ted so "Lucky" to have so many dear friends, whom I love and who have been present for me in so many huge ways, these past 5 years. I have 2 amazing children , who bring me vast amounts of joy, and a family that has always had my back. I am now,  after 1460 days, trying to figure out what my new dream will look like. It's all good, I have a pretty great life, it just aches to know Ted is not taking part in the conversation. I will look for signs, it's how I roll these days. I know he's with us, I just have to be aware.

So today I will honor Ted by being happy! I will go to a lacrosse game, (we have friends playing in the state finals... Ted will be there cheering Gavin on... as will I,  just from different seats! ) And later on I will raise a nice cold Heinie, to a life well lived and a man HUGELY loved and dearly missed.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

New, Nouveau, Nuovo, Happy, Heureux, Felice!



2016... You were a year! You made me think deeply, feel deeply, laugh til I cried, cry til I laughed, experience joy and fear.  Here are a few things I will take away from you, some I will leave behind and some I will and take into 2017.

HAPPY...
 for:
... My amazing children who daily make me proud to be their mom... (even though they give me grey hair...) I wouldn't want them any other way.
...the simple pleasures you brought me
...the gift of patience
...the friends who helped me pack, move, sell one house and renovate another, motivate me, kept me moving and once again lifted me up and pushed me to the finish.
...David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Leon Russell, Buckwheat Zydeco ( Stanley Dural Jr) Maurice White (EWF one of my faves), Paul Kanter, Glen Frey.
Your exit in 2016 made me so sad to see you go, but for all the years of listening pleasure you gave me and for all the amazing music that makes up the soundtrack of my life...Big Happy
...the presidental election, yup, that. Though not happy with the end result, happy for the enlightenment, so that in 2017 we move forward with more kindness, compassion, activism, and accountability.
...Ted... always in my heart, and ever present. I was honoured and blessed to be able to spread a little of you this year with some of your favorites... and you did not let us down... the signs...AMAZING! Amy, Captain Rich, Melis, Rich, and the gang on the boat, a little Casco Bay love for Ted, thank you for allowing me the moment to spread a little Ted from  your boat in our beautiful part of the world. Therese, Marie, Angela, Didi, Laurence, Eileen, the perfect spot in Provence for Ted and the heart signs EVERYWHERE, so grateful for the love and kindness and your willingless to share your time with a little of Ted! Mags, Amy, MaryJane, Allie...Teds Cove... just amazing really, the heart, the harvest moon, shooting star,  little dipper... stars alligned in Ted's kingdom! His favorite place, I will alwyas carry these memories, thank you all for allowing me the moments to share Ted with you all and our big beautiful world. For remembering him with me, missing him.
I will take all the Happy, lots of HAPPY in 2017!

FEAR...
... for our country
...for my fellow humans
... for our global community
... for our planet
... for my friends in the fight of their lives,
I would love to not be fearful... I'd like to leave fear behind in 2016

HOPE...
...That there truly is a cure for cancer. So many friends in this fight in 2016.
 Marilyn, Patrick, Susan, Irena... you are my HOPE... your remissions,  truly  my favorite moments of 2016!
And to all my friends in the fight... I am in your corner, I am hopeful, I have seen good things after the chemo ravage... I admire your strength, tenacity and grace and pray for the cure.
...That there are more good people than bad, and the negative hateful images we see on TV,  in war, in unexpected places, in politics are not the view of the masses... I hope, I hope, I hope. I will bring hope to 2017

SORROW...
...So much sorrow... all over our world, so much sorrow. I will keep sorrow though, as with great sorrow comes great healing and hope, and compassion and power to make a change. We have all had personal sorrows, experienced the global losses.  I wish sorrow on no one, but to experience such sorrow, makes you appreciate the simple little pleasures and the ability find joy in the tiny moments. So I will keep Sorrow in 2017.

HATE...
...So much more than I ever knew in 2016... I was horrified, saddened, angered, and so disappointed.  ...No place for it EVER, in any year, any time any place.  Hate can stay in 2016.

JOY...
...in art
... in my friends successes
...in tiny special moments
...in surprising friends
....Bring on the JOY... look for it, seek it out, find it, be it. Put yourself in the position to feel it. JOY, lots and lots of JOY in 2017.

FRIENDSHIP...
...You can never have enough friends
... keep the old, make new
...be open
...don't judge
...be a good one
 Friends true friends, support, lift, encourage, cheer, cry, and are present. Be a good friend, make new friends in 2017!

LOVE...
...It really is all you need
... 2017 be filled with love
... for your family
... friends
...strangers
...our planet
You get me. Hard to be loved if you do not spread love. BE LOVE, BIG LOVE in 2017!

PEACE...
...my wish for all
... in war torn areas
...with inner demons
... in your heart
To all, bring on PEACE in 2017.

GRATITUDE...
... this word... really expresses my feelings for all of you in my life. But especially since 2012... you have all shown up, embraced, lifted, carried, and ARE the LOVE. My family is truly grateful for all of you in it. I hope we show you the same. Gratitude and stay in 2017.

HEALTH...
...we take it for granted
... in good
... in bad
... in recovery
... in remission
Be good to your body.. honor it, take care of it. I want to keep GOOD HEALTH in 2017.


So there it is...another year... my wishes for this shiney new year are simple really. I look forward to what you bring... I pray for all of the above and the strength and power to execute it all with grace.
2016 made me realize how many folks there are in this world who do not feel like me, and I was blown away. The hatred, bigotry, and ignorance that was so frequently publicized and televised during the past year. The vast number of folks who hate, because of color, sexual orientation, disability, gender, religious belief... and on and on. For me ... so disheartning, I truly thought we were more evolved!
So my plan...kill em with kindness, and good, and love. Be happy, be joyful, appreciate each other. Show compassion, show 2016 what a year should look like... 2017... I'm counting on you!






Thursday, December 8, 2016

A reminder... and a good one!




My friend Joanne, a friend from childhood posted a little reminder the other day on Facebook. Jo's brother Mark, (aka Mini Mark, aka Max, Maxie, depending on which part of his life you knew him from) passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. I'm paraphrasing but it goes something like this....

 "If you know someone who has lost a loved one or  very important person in their life, and you're afraid to mention it because you think you may make the person sad by reminding them of that person... you are not reminding them... they have not forgotten, they will never forget. What you are reminding them of when you mention them, is that you remembered that the person lived... and that is truly a great gift."

I might add to that,  there it is never a bad time to let someone know that you did not know that their person had died, or that you have not seen me to let me know how sorry you are at the loss of my husband,( father, friend, mother, brother, sister, grandparent...  whom ever).  Or you just didn't know what to say at the time... there is NEVER a bad time to let the surviving loved ones know you are missing, thinking, sending love. 

And may I also add,  for me, personally, don't feel bad if you did not know of Ted's death and you ask me how Ted is doing... I know it's an awkward thing, I have had to respond to this remark more times than I have ever thought possible, and the person who asks ALWAYS feels so awful. Please don't, I know you asked, because you knew and loved Ted, ( or me or Zaz or T-Moe) so I'm sorry that you didnt know and that I am just letting you know now. And when I get teary, well, I think I always will, and I'm not speaking for Jo here, but my guess is that she does too. You  don't ever get over the loss, how could you possibly get over the life of someone you loved so very much. You do move forward, you do enjoy your life,  as they enjoyed theirs. You honor their spirit, and memories. And you share stories, so they are always present. I NEVER, EVER get tired of hearing a Ted story, or a story about my Dad, or my  Mom, my Nana's & Pop-pop, Uncle Sonny, Aunt Marie & Aunt Terri, Uncle Alvin, and my sweet  friends Michael and Michelle, NEVER! So share, remember, and keep their memories in your heart.

As I head into the Christmas and New Year... I am always reminded of Ted's LOVE of a good party. So we PARTY! Our traditional X-Mas Eve Open House has continued in true Hellier form, and it is a beautiful reminder of a life lived fully.
May your holiday season be JOYFUL and FULL of LOVE, HOPE and HAPPINESS...
BIG HUGE LOVE Y'all!