Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy, Merry, Joyful

Happy, Merry, Joyful!
Tis the season and I am all of the above. So  happy to have my children back under my roof, the silence is sometimes so LOUD I cannot stand it. I will take the loud, full house any day over quiet!
It was a Merry Christmas eve celebration once again in the Hellier house. Our open house tradition  began when Ted  and I were newly living together and has endured over the years....Almost 30 years now. We LOVE having all of our dear friends gather together, it is always a special eve for us and oh so full of JOY!
Joyful, for quite a few years now we have gathered at our friends home in Cape Elizabeth for an evening of great company, good food and Caroling! Ted and I always enjoyed and looked forward to our annual Caroling event.  When Ted was sick, this group of dear friends came to our home and we sat around the fireplace and sang our caroles as always. Ted  always in great voice was not as strong that year, as he was quite ill. He requested  "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman"  and thank goodness John Stuart carried us through. It was a lovely day, and thinking back I think we all had thoughts that this may be our last all together. Since that day 3 years ago, Pammie Mullen has not let a caroling gathering go by without singing Ted's favorite, This year, was no different... Pam & Peter hosted us once again... I am grateful for all of our dear friends who keep his memory alive.  A lovely way to wrap up a year.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday BOB!
Today is my dads birthday. He would be 80 today. I remember every  Bob thing. 

He was smart, funny, kind, sarcastic, quick witted,  artistic, sensitive, sweet, and loved by many.

Whenever I smell a pipe, hear Earth Wind and Fire,  Blood Sweat and Tears, Doobie Bros, Grateful Dead, or Harry Chapin, watch Monty Python, or late night TV,  a baseball game, or watch my nephews play little league, I am instanly taken back to the days of my dad. 

                    We were so alike in many ways. Growing up the only girl in my family, I constantly butted heads with my dad about equality. It was hard being a girl with 3 brothers... different rules, and I wasn't having it! The moment I moved out of the house, the head butting stopped and he bacame my best pal, biggest cheerleader and supporter. 30 years is a long time, but the heart never forgets. Happy Birthday dad.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Keeping him in my heart for a while

There is a  song by Warren Zevon and my dear friend Michael Rancourt sang it at Ted's memorial service... I am ever grateful for his lovely version... it was amazing. If I could figure out how to post it here I will, but for now I'll give you Warren's version.
Ted and I would have celebrated 26 years of marriage and 29 years together. I miss him madly. His laugh, his wisdom (yes, he was wise), his kindness, his friendship, his love, his ease, his handy fix it all, make anything capability, his ability to difuse me and our children when angry, his partnership, I miss his presence.
When life events are on the horizon, I become super emo... my achy heart, right in the way. I have no way to stop mocks me, it is right there looking me in the face, and I have no way of escaping it.
I find that after 2 years I  still find myself with a huge hole in my heart. I expected it, but I also expected it to mend a tad. So I find the true story of grief is a hard, hard story to tell. For those walking a similar walk,  I am bad counsel. I have no wise words, no timeline, no easy fix. My truth is that there is no universal answer, timetable, schedule. And damn it I wish there were! Each person with a great loss has their own story. I am not saying that I am unhappy, I have so much to be happy about and grateful for. I just am wondering when the giant ache of missing Ted will subside just a little.
 I have no idea when I  reach that part of the story.  I am waiting for that. I  do know  that it comes. Ted will always be in my heart,  I would just rather remember with laughter, some tears but not the painful heartheavy,  achey kind. And maybe that never goes away. I have no clue... I do know others have waked this way, but like me,  their story is unique to them. So I wait, as I know it will come. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Happy 60 Cappy!

We celebrate without you, but you are always with us. The remodeling tasks are not as fun without you! This marks the 3rd birthday without you here... I hope you are raising a nice cold one and listening to some Mountain and Marley! I love you my dearest and miss you madly. Growing old will be so strange without you.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Empty house, full heart

It's August already...the time has flown by this summer. Big changes on the horizon. My baby leaves for college in days,  and for me that means empty house. I have been in denial a tad. Having my children in the house means never a dull or quiet moment. The silence may be deafining! I am so excited for my boy... leaving Tuesday...the  endless possibilities in front of him. You're welcome Goucher College... he is one special kid... wise beyond his years, smart, kind, funny, sarcastic, easy going, quick whitted, sensitive, empethithetic, athletic, cool and calm and up for anything!
I know everyone thinks that of their child, but this guy... well, he has grown up fast. He was home when Ted was sick, and he has had to rise to occassions no child should have to. He has been a huge support to me, a great diversion for me and a great joy. So my wish for him is to go to MD, enjoy every moment, unencumbered by sickness, obligation, responsilibility and concern.
Go do you. Oh boy! My heart is full...I am so very proud, and honored to be your mom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

From love comes greatness

I have had the extreme good fortune over the past years to have some of the greatest conversations with some of the coolest, smartest, most insightful, funny, fun, talented young adults. My children,  children of my brothers,  children of my friends and friends of my children. I don't know when exactly it happens, 15 or 16, but these babies and toddlers have grown into some of my favorite people. I don't know why I am so amazed, I have watched many of them grow up. I have known their parents for most of my adult life, some since childhood and some since our children were wee.

 I am so proud of these young people and who they have grown to be. They are sparkly, smart, artistic, athletic, thoughtful compassionate, thinkers, movers, story tellers. They are caring, compassionate, hard working, shakers, changers and difference makers. I so look forward to hearing what they are up to, where they are traveling to, working at, working toward and yes some of them are already mothers and fathers themselves. So amazing this thing called life. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by loving caring people, who create more loving caring people, well, I call that a gift. The world sometimes feels cold and crazy, but with all these young folks moving on into the world, how can there not be hope.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


It seems impossible, that 2 years have passed since we said our final goodbyes. I choose not to celebrate the anniversary of Teds death, it seems wrong to celebrate that. It's not celebration worthy.  I am not saying that the day is not important, it most definately is...the day is important, because it marks the day Ted was released from pain and suffering. So I will celebrate that. And on this day that he was released, I will  celebrate his life, his legacy his fun loving, easy going Tedness.

The heart has memory that the brain does not. It seems it knows far in advance the giant void it has in it,  and for weeks it quietly tugs, like a child on your sleeve. My heart knows before my brain when events,  milestones,  occasions are on the rise. It gently reminds me of the enormus hole it is managing to function with. It reminds me to go there, you know there... where all the hard memories are. I try not to go there too often.  If I let my self go there I can fall deep into the pain, heavy, full body ache from deep inside, breath taking sorrow. And I do go there for just a bit, from time to time, because it is inescapable, and I stay there  for just for a moment, because I have to honor when there, comes here. Pain is part of healing, I can't escape the pain, but I can controll it. So after a good emotional cleanse, I move from the sorrow and sadness and heaviness of Teds death to the joyful happiness that was his life. I recall all the wonderful times. All of the people he has touched, and I cry some more, but different tears. It feels lighter,  my heart still heavy... but heavy with memories, and love for what he gave to us.  And I am grateful for it.

I will not lie and say that the 2nd year is easier. In fact I found it much more difficult than the first. The reality is ever present. Things settle in but the alone feeling does not go away. That is hard to settle with. But I can say that there are more days than before that I can actually mention Ted's name without my voice catching and holding back tears...that is Big. I am moving in the right direction.

So today on the anniversary of Ted's 2nd year of no pain, I will celebrate. Tonight at 6:00 T-Moe's Lacrosse team plays in the Western Class A Finals. The winner of this game moves on to the State Championship on Saturday.  I will stand in his spot, cheer for his boys and know that win or lose, they played their hearts out. How fitting on this day, for Teds boys to be playing...the game he loved. I know he will be cheering loudly from his spot.

Monday, June 8, 2015

3rd Annual LaxFest

On this past Saturday, the South Portland Lacrosse Boosters held the 3rd Annual Ted Hellier LaxFest.  A festival named for my husband, a man who loved the game, played in college, who was a diehard fan, and a beloved  coach. The first Annual Ted Hellier Laxfest took place 2 weeks before Ted passed away. He was at that fest. Although he was tired, and very, very sick at this stage of his illness, I could not keep him home. He was hellbent on getting to the fields to be there and watch some good lacrosse. He did not last long that day, he tired easily, but he was there for a couple of hours and that  was a gift. He was so touched that his friends, players and fellow coaches wanted to rename the Split Lacrosse Tournament, the Ted Hellier Laxfest. He was extremely humbled and all his friends joked that "it's not  every day you get a fest named after you!"  An all day event, this festival of lacrosse, is not about winning or losing, but just for the love of the game.

Running a "Fest" is a community effort. The planning stage begins in January, (and quite frankly, it could begin  the day after the Fest) with bi-weekly meetings. So many moving parts...teams  invited to play, sponsors sought.  It takes lots of funding to run a fest...tents, porta potties, golf carts, radios, referees, water, ice, gas, T-shirts,  hats, banners, printing, trainers, all these items that need to be paid for up front. Items are needed for the raffle table, food vendors,  lacrosse vendors... and the list goes on. Voluntters Needed! Lots of Volunteers!  And it seems we can always use more than we have signed up. Many of this years volunteers were there from 6:00AM-5:30PM. And although we were a tired crew at 5:30PM, we were feeling the high of a successful event. Notes were made on where to improve, and how to better the fest for the nest year. How to build this fest into the premiere laxfest that it can be. And at the same time raise funds to continue to grow the South Portlands Lacrosse Program.

In 2014, a year after Teds passing, the South Portland Boys Varsity Lacrosse Red Riots  became the State Champion Red Riots. The boys on this team were the players that he coached in the first ever youth teams in South Portland. A program that Ted ran for years. He would beg,  borrow and quite possibly steal equiptment from anyone who would give it to him. He would dole out sticks, helmets, gloves, and pads to those who did not have them, all he asked is that they return them, and if they decide to stick with Lacrosse, to donate their old equiptment to the program.  His goal was to build a program, so that our boys and girls were introduced to the sport before High School. He talked about the talent of the class of 2015 often... such good athletes, nice young men, high lacrosse IQ, team players, etc... That is how he taught them to play, as a team. I remember him telling the boys  often, that one person does not win or lose a lacrosse game, you win or lose as a team. He also spoke often of the rising freshman class.  A group,  in his estimation that would surpass the talents of the boys on this 2015 team, and this is one very talented group of guys!  I am looking forward to watching that group of lacrosse players.

I know that Ted is pleased with the way this larosse program is growing. They have worked hard to go from a 4-8 season in 2012 to the 11-1 season thus far in 2015.

I am proud of what Ted started, 9 years ago,  and with the continued help of this amazing community, we will continue to grow the sport in his honor.
From deep in this Hellier's heart I thank you.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The end and the beginning

It is June...the end and the beginning. So many things happen and have happened in June over the past years, I am feeling the imense hugeness of it all. It's the end of my baby's High School days, the end of watching him play High School sports. No more stay-cations in the back yard, waking him up for school, (on time, but him still being late!) inappropiate drawings on his chalk board wall. The end of having a full house (for that matter the end of living in this house!) So many lasts. I am full of emotions.

The graduation June 7... such a big deal, and the first one without Ted. I know he is always here as our Spirit guide always, and I do love that, but I am feeling selfish and will miss him squeezing my hand as the tears flow over how proud he is of this boy of ours. I am sad that T-Moe will not receive a giant Ted hug, and a Ted talk (the original) on how to behave at parties and events to follow. At Eliza's graduation he was in full father beam mode... so proud. Just days after he was diagnosed, so it was so nice of him to get that lovely moment with Zaz. I am sad that Ted and T-Moe will not have that together.

Ted Hellier Laxfest, June 6...he has a fest named after him, yup he does. He was so touched when they named it for him. It was not a wasted gesture. Ted was humbled beyond words and so truly honored to have a lacrosse fest bear his name. A portion of the money raised at Laxfest goes toward the Ted Hellier Memorial fund, which to date has given  500.00 scholarships to graduatung Seniors, will be sending a HS goalie to camp, has funded equiptment for Middle school goalies, and payed for preseason playing time for the Championship SoPo Varsity  lacrosse team.  It is my job now to keep Ted's name alive and memories ever present.  To" be Relentless" as Ted would say. He was such a  fan. So if you are out and about check out the Ted Hellier Laxest, and see what this awesome game is all about!

The playoffs TBA but soon in the weeks to follow... yes this is his team... and he would be over the moon with joy! These guys... such fine young men all of them, have played so well, played like he taught them, they are one heck of a team. I know he is quietly standing away from the crowd at each game as he always did. I feel him there. But again... selfishly wishing to see his face across the field, concentrating on the play at hand.

The House that Ted built....a beautiful home that I have been lucky to live and work in over  the past 9 years. Ted & I ran both of our busunesses here, had many a huge party, hosted countless children, exchange students and family here. But without Ted and our children here, this awesome house is just too big. So on June 8, I will be putting our lovely home up for sale and hopefully some awesome family will fill it with the love it was built with.

Peg's Pond House on Barter's Island in Boothbay... Ted's kingdom... and his final resting place (yes we have a cemetary on the property and one of Teds wishes was to be here forever. And he is, his presence fills the house with love and Tedness,  from the minute you walk in you can feel it! He was working on renovating when he got sick, and with the help of our truly awesome kind, generous, amazing, fun, hard working friends, we are almost done and it will be ready to rent in mid July... a labor of love and a nod to the man we all love and miss dearly.

Flag day, June 14... Ted's holy grail of a holiday, and one that has most imprinted on his son... all flag all the time... he is a die hard like his pops! I find it no coincidence that 2 years ago Ted passed on Flag Day was his holiday! I will be in Boothbay on this day... working on his kingdom and raising a green bottle, feel free to join me, i will have the greenies with me! Next year I am bringing Flag Day back! Mark your calendars!

And of course June 17...the anniversary of Ted's passing. It seems impossible that 2 years have gone by without him on this planet, by my side,  in out home, on the field, with his children and drinking a Heinie with his friends. He is forever in our hearts and missed by so many daily. I just want to thank you all who miss my man, and for sharing your sadness. Somehow it makes me feel better knowing you all miss him as much as I do. Thank you for the love.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

For all you Mothers

It's Mothers day! Today I honor all  the lovely woman I know,  who have had great influence on my life. Call them what you may,  Mom, Mother, Mamma, Ma, Mumma, Mommy, get my drift. No matter how you say it, the word  really means UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!  My mom loved me uncondiotonally, she loved each of us through the good, the bad and the ugly. She taught me so many things, but mostly how to be a good mom. I hope I am doing half the job she did. All the amazing women in my life are truly kind, caring, thoughtful, amazing moms. Which makes me think they too had that unconditional thing going on. Being a mom is one of the most rewarding, scary, hard, amazing things that I have ever done. Until I had Zaz & Moe, I never knew how much I could love one being. I was lucky to have the most loving caring husband, I loved  him more than anything. But the love for your child... like nothing I have ever experienced. And after my first, I was afraid I would have none left for number 2, but oh how wrong I was. I would lay in down for both of my awesome children. They are so completely different in every way and I love  all their ways! I could not imagine my life without the joy of these 2 amazing people in my life. So thank  you Eliza and T-Moe for making me a mother, you have taught me so much and  it is truly my greatest pleasure being your mom.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wishing you were here

Spring 2015, and Eliza has begun her Junior lacrosse year. She is a starting player this year and I am so proud of her. She works hard at everything she does. I wish her dad was here to see her start this year. He loved her like crazy and was so proud of all her accomplishments. He was especially proud  when she decided to quit ballet which she had done for 11 years and play his sport, lacrosse. She played throughout HS and quit midway through  her senior year due to coaching conflicts. She decided to walk onto her college field for tryouts and made the team as a Fresheman. She saw some playing time her first year, and Ted got to see her play. He was tickled. He would be out of his mind that she is starting this year and getting lots of playing time. I know Eliza misses his sage advice. I am no substitute when it comes to all things lacrosse, I am a huge fan, but my knowledge is limited. They would chat each and every morning when he was sick, both early risers, a 6:00 call was always answered "good morning Za Za," by her dad. I know he is watching and wishing he was here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Joanie!

January 8, Joanie's  birthday ( AKA my mom). She loved being the center of attention.  It seems impossible that she has been gone for 3 years now. Crazy how time passes yet I still feel like it was yestrerday that she was just here. I miss so much about my mom, but mostly I miss hearing her voice, her laugh, a giggle really and her sneezes. Nothing is more comforting than the sound of your mothers voice when things are upside down in your world. I miss just calling to say hey when having a bad day. I miss her laugh, such a feminine girly laugh... I do not laugh that way, but she had a distinct,  Joan way of laughing and yup her sneezes, she sneezed like no other. If you can all say along AhhhhhhhhTissue in about 5 octives higher than your natural voice, then you nailed it! Always made me laugh.
I was so fortunate to have such great parents, of course when in my teens I dont think I thought them so cool, but all my friends loved them. And as I grew into adulthood, so appreciated every bit of them. I remember calls to my mom to just say "oh my God, I am so sorry"  about a thousand times when Zaz & T-Moe were babies, toddlers, pre teens, you get my drift. You do tend to appreciate them even more once you have your own. And how many time do I wish I could pick up the phone just to hear her voice? Well every day these past few years. She walked my walk and again I wish I could say "Oh my God, I am so sorry" As I think back to when my dad passed at 50  ( I was 25) I don't think I had a clue how difficult it was for my mom.  She was a strong, funny, kind woman and I miss her dearly.
 One of my last pics with my mom. I had the good fortune to travel with her to was a bitter sweet vacation.

I always thought I looked like Bob (my dad) until I saw this pic... 

Joan  would dislike each one of these, but  I love the stories behind each one... before my wedding, with Eliza after her first surgery and shortly after  one of her many craniotomies

at T-Moes Christening

I cherish the memories.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Auld Lang Syne

"Should old aquaintance be forgot and never come to mind. Should old aquaintance be forgot  for Auld Lang Syne"
I  have never really known the exact  meaning of this song, but I like to think it means remember all friends and loved ones, for old times sake. All those who are gone. All those who were at one time close friends, but are no more. All those that are present now. Remember them,  all of them for old time sake.  Move forward to the new, but always remember the old. So as I move forward to the new year, I remember all those who have gone before me, and all the amazingly wonderful times we shared. 

The wonderful life I was lucky enough to share with Ted.  How very fortunate we were to find each other. Some people never know such happiness. 

My life in Cranford on Cayuga road with my mom & dad, who gave me the gift of laughter and sarcasim, wit and kindness. I am grateful for such a happy childhood. 

My childhood friends Michelle & Michael , so fun, and funny and beautiful and handsome and taken before they could grow into cool, fun, amazing adults. I learned young the value of true friendship.  

My grandparents, Nana & Pop-Pop, she taught me how to enjoy cooking and  how to make people feel special. My Pop, took me to boxing matches and would always remember me and bring me figs and "chinese apples",  from him,  I learned the importance of  thoughtful little gifts.

My Nana D, taught me to crochet and sew and as I was learning from her, I never imagined that I would make a career in the arts through fiber. But I knew I enjoyed the making.  I am grateful to her for opening that door.

Peggy Clausen, the most awesome mother in-law. So gracious, kind, smart and non judgmental. I strive to be like her.

Lina, my dear friend... so smart, way cool, very talented and so tiny! I miss her wise words daily. I hope to one day be as wise. 

Mimi Dornblaser... another  smart lady,  Teds aunt and keeper of all the Hellier scoop! From Mimi I learned the importance of family history and  connectivity. 

Ted Hellier, Steve Onos, Tim Salce, Paul Black, all these fathers, great fathers, good husbands, amazing men. All well loved in their communities, talented men, artists, builders of community, lovers of life. From them I learned how precious life is, how short our time is here and the importance of being present. The effect of doing good, however loudly or quietly you do it.
So as I sit here in this wonderful home that Ted built, wondering what 2015 will bring,  I hope to, be kind, live in the moment, touch hearts, be happy and DO GOOD!
Happy 2015!