Watching Over Bella In Her Sleep
“All babies are beautiful, but not as beautiful as my baby girls.” That’s what your Grandma Angelucci said every time she fussed over you. That peach fuzz sprouting from your little cue ball head was barely there by your first birthday. “Is she ever going to have any hair?”, they always asked. I know I’ve told you these stories a hundred times before, but I can’t help thinking of them today. I was proud, so proud of you. Your grandma and I used to make ribbons into bows and stick them with a tiny piece of scotch tape to your baby soft skin and the tiny wisps of something soon to be, well, because I guess the pink dresses weren’t enough for all the little old ladies to tell that you weren’t a boy. You always looked so beautiful, even bald. You still look just as beautiful today, sweetheart.
“Are you ever going to cut her hair?”, they’d say as they stared through the top of their bifocals with a judgmental tone in their voice. As if allowing your hair to grow beyond your waist was some form of punishment or child abuse. Most people were amazed at your beautiful hair, and complimented you in a much nicer tone of voice. It was like looking at you had reminded them of their daughters and granddaughters. A lot of them called you Rapunzel as they pulled on your braids just to make sure they were real. “I bet that’s a lot of work taking care of all that hair”, they’d say, and I’d answer them as I ran my fingers across the baby curls I’d never cut and had waited so long to brush. We sure spent a lot of time together taking care of your hair, little girlie. Reminds me of holding you in my arms while you were still small enough to lay across my lap in your rocking chair. You sure loved to be rocked to sleep. I never wanted to move you from my arms to your bed, so you’d just sleep for hours as I stared at your beautiful face. Angel baby. That’s what I’d call you because you looked so peaceful when you slept.
I’d never seen such a radiant bride. Your wedding day seems like just yesterday. You were glowing and so happy. You truly looked like an angel. I love that photo of you standing in the field of cornflowers as the sun was setting. Your hair looked like a crown in that late afternoon light. Your photographer sure did an amazing job capturing your beauty. Oh how I wish I could go back to that day. How I wish I could have bottled up the happiness we all felt. How I wish we were there today, sweetie.
I can’t help but see you every time I look at Mia. She’s grown up to be such a remarkable young lady. You should be very proud of her and yourself. She is just as beautiful as you were at her age and still are, sweetheart.
I still can’t believe this is all happening. I wish I would have asked you about your wishes sooner. I wish that I knew what you wanted, sweetie. Oh please, just give me a sign. The hospice nurse said it’s just a matter of hours now. If only you’d wake up just once more so I could ask you. Oh Mom, what am I going to do? I know you’ll help me decide.
Oh, my sweet precious baby girl. You never even had time to grow in any of that peach fuzz after chemo. If only I could hold you in my arms and rock you like I used to. If only I could take away all your pain. I wish I could see that smile in your eyes just once more. Wake up, angel baby. Please, wake up for mama.
The pink dress you picked out looks just lovely on you, sweetheart. You look so peaceful, just like an angel. I can still see that sweet precious face of my baby girl cradled in my arms, sleeping for hours in that rocking chair of ours. Oh Bella! How am I ever going to live without you in this life? I miss you! I miss hearing you laugh and seeing your smile light up the room. I miss your hugs and I miss wiping away your tears. I know that you’d wipe away my tears if you could.......... I just can’t bring myself to walk away from you not knowing when I’ll see your sweet face again.
I sure hope that you know how beautiful you looked today......even in death. I sure hope that I did the right thing, sweetie, by deciding to donate your wig to Locks for Love. It’d be a shame for your hair to be buried, here, with you, knowing that you’d have wanted it to be a blessing to someone else suffering like you did. You always looked so beautiful, even bald, and you still looked just as beautiful today. You always will in my eyes, especially when I see you someday in heaven. Sleep sweet, angel baby. Mama loves you to the moon and back. Give your grandma a big hug for me, okay? I promise I’ll look after your baby girl for you. Always.
I wish you were here, so I could fall asleep in your arms. My heart feels like it’s being pulled out of my chest. I miss you so much. Watch over Bella as she sleeps next to you. Take care of our precious baby girl. I love you, mom.
A Normal Life
I am born.
I go to school.
I get my first girlfriend.
I break my arm.
My dog dies.
I cause trouble with my friends.
I go to college.
I meet a girl.
I get married.
I get a dead-end job.
I have my first child.
I have two more children.
I get divorced.
I get drunk.
I get drunk again.
I get fired from my dead-end job.
I get drunk some more.
I lose custody.
I am drunk.
I get behind the wheel.
blink blink blink
blink blink blink blink
I close my eyes.
Big birds are out for flight
And little kids are out too, alright.
Blooming with the shades of blue
The sky of my nation is clear,
Like the ocean of atlantic
Where one dreams to sail into.
Its robbed with pearl river
First birds, then kids glance with shiver
With threats and fear
With their lives about to tear.
It's smoke all corners
Heavy to breath and see
Lets make our way to homes and flee
as far as we could be.
Their stood pillars where kids hid around
And trees where nest were safe and sound
There was once a time
Where you looked at the beautiful sky
This moment its even more intense
Red over blue prevailing thereby.
Cycles in Blinks
The light of the world shines in her stubborn eyes. Her head is filled with voices.
"I want to see my granddaughter!" A deep booming voice erupts in her ears. She instinctively opens her eyes and turns.
She can't breathe. Her squirming arms fling through the water, trying to grab something, anything. The water isn't her friend anymore. She shouldn't have forgotten her life jacket.
Suddenly her arm hits something, or something grabs her. She gets pulled up and opens her eyes to see her neighbor.
The water foamed and bubbled on the side of the puny sailboat. The sails were all out, and the boat was speeding along. It was one of the greatest feelings in her life.
"As you know, we have to cut more members than we would like, and unfortunately we don't have a place on our team for you anymore."
"It's okay coach, I understand".
She wipes the tears as she leaves her coach's office. Well, technically that wasn't her coach anymore.
"You have to stop blinking everytime I attack, you won't be able to parry in time"
"Sorry Raves." She adjusted her blade in her hand and focused on the purple-haired senior in front of her. They moved forwards and backwards while their swords clash back and forth. Raves suddenly jumps forward, her blade swinging down on her....
Dressed in black, she watches her Uncle's body, begging it to reawaken.
"4 years and you still can't hold your sword properly" he spat watching her go through drills. "Ravs was a terrible mentor for you"
She doesn't respond.
The letters flutter like snowflakes as they fall from her hands.
She stands on the edge of the cliffs, looking out.
The sea calls her.
Slowly she follows.
Where else could she go?
She hears her parents call her name as she vanishes.
Surrounded by those who love her, she shuts her eyes for the last time.
The last thing she hears is her grandfather entering the room.
His weak voice saying
"I want... I want to see my granddaughter."
The Lives We Live
An angel. That's the first thing they called her when they all gathered around after the nurse had placed her in her mother's arms. The family had filed into the hospital room, and her grandmother said: "What a perfect little angel."
"We're naming her Cheyenne," her mother said.
"Well you have a beautiful life ahead of you, Cheyenne," her grandmother said to the tiny pruney face framed in pink cotton. "You couldn't have been born into a better family."
The 2018 Chevy Impala glided into the driveway and Cheyenne jumped out of the back onto the smooth blacktop.
"Love you, Chey, see you later," said her mother before putting the car into reverse and whizzing away.
Chey trudged up the steps of the brightly decorated colonial-style house and let herself in. A ShihTzu came careening around the corner, its feet sliding all over the wood floor, and it jumped at her hands barking like there was no tomorrow.
"Is that you, Cheyenne?" came her grandmother's voice from the kitchen. "Your mother's running a little late this morning, isn't she?'
Chey ignored the question and sat down on a nearby sofa, pulled "A Wrinkle in Time" out of her backpack, and began reading. Her grandmother came to the doorway a few minutes later and hovered there until Chey felt she had to acknowledge her presence.
She stood leaning against the doorframe with a hand on her hip.
"You're just going to ignore me, then? After everything I've done for you?"
Chey just stared back blankly.
"What's this book you're reading anyway?" she asked, striding over and plucking it out of her hands. Chey huffed in frustration as she watched the pages close, losing her place. Her bookmark was still resting on top of Hurley, the dog, who'd curled up next to her and fallen asleep.
"Why are you wasting your time on this when you could be studying?" her grandmother said, casting the book onto the couch.
"It's summer break," Chey said, confused.
"You should be studying ahead for next year while all of the other kids are wasting their time on fantasy stories. That's how you get ahead Cheyenne, and I want to see you succeed."
Chey just looked down at her hands.
"I'm going to have a talk with your mother when she gets back," her grandmother said, storming back into the kitchen.
She didn't get the chance to that day, however, because Chey's mother simply pulled into the driveway and honked a couple of times when she came to pick her up.
Chey's heart raced as she stood in front of the mirror and smoothed the whispy hair back from her face with one more application of hairspray. For as much fun as the rest of the night was going to be, nothing would beat the moment when she walked out of her bedroom door and down the stairs - the geeky Hermione Granger turned to the drop-dead gorgeous prom queen. And Kirk would be there to see it.
"Are you coming, Chey?" her mom called. "You've kept him waiting 15 minutes now."
Of course she had. It built up the anticipation of the moment. Taking a deep breath, she grabbed her Michael Kors purse and opened the door. She had a clear view down to the foyer where Kirk stood at attention, smiling up at her. To his left, her dad had his arm around her mom and they were both beaming.
"Sorry for the wait," Chey said.
"It was worth it," said Kirk.
He kept staring at her as her parents took some pictures and wished them a fun, safe night and reminded them of their curfew which were pushing back 1/2 hour from the usual time because of the special occasion. They were just about to walk out to the car, when Chey's grandmother pulled up.
"You look beautiful, Cheyenne!" she said, walking over to them. "I'm so glad I made it here in time to see you. And who's this young man?"
"This is Kirk," she said, then tried to urge him over towards the car. He, not knowing what to do and wanting to be polite, wasn't so quick to move.
"Well, Kirk, I'm Cheyenne's grandmother, so I have to ask what your intentions are with my granddaughter."
"Come on, grandma," said Chey. "We're just going to prom together. It's not a big deal."
"No, I have a right to know," she said, the pronounced wrinkles between her eyebrows and below the corners of her mouth deepening.
"I'll tell you more about it some other time," said Chey, grabbing Kirk's arm and dragging him away to the car.
When they were inside and the doors were closed, Kirk looked over at her with a puzzled expression.
"What was that all about?" he asked.
Chey sighed and leaned her head against the headrest.
"Just my grandmother being nosy and opinionated again. You can start driving now. The sooner we're out of here the better."
"Are you alright?" asked Jim.
Chey looked up from the table, startled out of her musings. "Oh, yes, I'm fine."
"Just thinking about your grandmother?"
"Yes, well, I was just thinking about how I didn't cry at her funeral. I haven't cried all week, actually. Does that make me a terrible person?"
He laughed. "I've been feeling guilty about how much of a relief it was when we found out she'd passed. Especially after hearing more stories about her life."
"Yeah, I didn't know about the poverty she'd grown up in. It's no wonder she wanted all of this for me," she said, gesturing vaguely around their perfect little suburban home.
"What is it that you want?" asked Jim.
"I've been thinking about that a lot the past few days," said Chey. "I didn't realize how much of an influence she had without me even knowing it."
"I've been trying to tell you," Jim said. "She's had her nose in our business since the first time she met me."
"Yes, you and every other guy I ever dated," said Chey. She sighed. "I'm just so far into my career already. What about student loans? What about all of time and investment I've made?"
"If none of that were an issue, if you could do absolutely anything you wanted to, what would you do?"
Chey paused. "Honestly, I don't want to wait any longer to start a family. And ..."
"I know it's ridiculous, but I want to try being a writer."
Jim nodded like he'd already known.
"Then let's spend some time over the next few weeks figuring out how to make that happen."
Did they know how much time she'd spent on that manuscript: how many late nights she'd labored over the project after the kids were in bed, drafting, editing, and researching?
As she scanned over the publishing house rejection letter, she felt like screaming. Her family had sacrificed so much for this a crazy dream of hers - they'd downgraded houses, neighborhoods, cars, clothes, spending habits - all so that they could live off of Jim's income. She thought of the life her kids were missing out on because of her selfish decision to leave a thriving career and live in a fantasy world where she actually had a chance at becoming a successful author.
But then she remembered her own childhood: summers spent with her grandmother and school years spent with tutors because her parents were too busy to help with homework. It wasn't an entirely selfish decision; it had allowed her to spend much more time with her kids and she was happy with that.
But what about her writing? Was it really that terrible that no one would publish it? She put her face in her hands and sobbed, trying to remember the reason she'd wanted to write in the first place - the wonder she felt when a story could whisk her away to another world and the bravery of heroes that she found so inspiring. Where was that inspiration now? When her grandmother had died, she'd just gone straight from trying to please her to trying to please publishers. A new resolve filled her and she looked around the counter for her laptop. She opened up a new document and started writing, channeling all of her emotions and experiences into characters that came alive like no characters she'd ever written about before. It didn't matter any more whether or not the story was ever published; it would be beautiful, and it would be something she could be proud of.
When Chey's children and grandchildren, friends and fans all gathered to celebrate her life after her passing at 97 years old, people not only talked about her powerful writing, but about the brave, kind sort of person she'd become as well.
As her granddaughter said, standing tearfully at the microphone: "She inspired so many people to think intentionally about where their lives were headed: whether they liked the direction or were acting out of obligation to themselves or someone else. She was watching out for us when we weren't even watching out for ourselvse - like an angel."
No So Perfect After All
A child is born. A mother cries. An absent father flies away.
A happy child. A perfect family. A mother, a brother, a new father.
A screaming child. A broken body. A lack of answers.
A hospital stay. A surgery. A scared family.
A diagnosis. A genetic disease. A dying child.
A family struggling to adapt. A terrified daughter. A lack of hope.
A year of pain and fear.
A child with an all A report card. A girlfriend. A future.
A college experience. A marriage. A child.
An ICU. An aortic dissection. A failed surgery. A deathdate.
All black at the funeral. A family without a daughter. A child without her mother.
A not-so-perfect family after all.
Bridget Hansen is born on August 14, 2008 at 10:38 PM. She is extremely premature, born at only 27 weeks. After three weeks in the NICU, doctors are optimistic about her future. She is taken home. Her family is overjoyed, for she is the first child.
Bridget's younger brother Ryan is born. She is very happy and instantly bonds with her infant brother.
Bridget gets pneumonia and missed junior prom as a result. She is devastated, but is released from the hospital in three days. Her friends remind her that she can go to prom next year.
Bridget is accepted to the James Madison University. She breaks up with her boyfriend of 8 months because they are attending colleges on opposite sides of the country. She quickly makes friends with her two roomates, Layla and Jordan.
Ryan commits suicide, leaving Bridget in a state of intense depression. This affects her physical health, leaving her in the hospital for 4 days due to a lung infection. Layla and Jordan get Bridget a dog to help her cope with Ryan's death. She names the golden retriever Bailey.
Bridget meets Mark Walton at a Christmas party and falls in love. They have their first date at a local coffee shop. Meanwhile, Bridget's father's health is deteriorating.
Bridget graduates with a degree in earth science and moves into an apartment with Mark, who is persuing a graduate education. She is hired as a consultant at a conservation organization. Bridget's father dies of congestive heart faliure at age 57.
Mark proposes to Bridget in a park, and she says yes. Mark graduates and is hired as a physician's assistant. Bailey gets cancer and has to be put down. To dull her greif, Bridget adopts an australian shepherd puppy who she names Daisy.
Bridget and Mark get married. It is a happy occasion. They honeymoon in Australia, where Bridget becomes pregnant.
Bridget faints and Mark rushes her to the hospital. She has severe anemia and hypertension. Despite the doctor's best efforts, she loses her unborn baby. Bridget and Mark move to Oregon to try to get away from the sadness.
Bridget starts her own business called Shoe Guru. She hand paints shoes and sells them for a high price. Mark is promoted and is now working the evening shift in the emergency room.
Mark confesses to Bridget that he had been cheating on her with a nurse. He expressed shame and remorse, so Bridget forgives him. Mark switches to the daytime shift upon Bridgets request.
Bridget is diagnosed with septicemia and is admitted to the hospital for two weeks. Mark comes to see her every day. She is realeased from the hospital, but is still weak.
Bridget is diagnosed with stage 4 leukemia. Mark leaves her, knowing that she will soon die. He begins dating the nurse he had an affair with.
Bridget dies at age 32. Her mom is the only one present. She takes in Daisy.
Turn Left at the Crossroads
She comes to a crossroad, she has options, she can fly abroad, take on debts, but follow her dream, she looks at her parents, her brothers, guilt takes over, and she picks the easy option. She turns right.
She comes to a crossroad, she can marry now, and she loves him. She will need to get a job, not her dream job but she can help support him. He wants her to have a good paying job, she can't let him down. She picks the easy option. She turns right.
She comes to a crossroad, she should leave him. The job is stressful, she is in and out of hospitals, he is cold, she's alway alone. He tells her he loves her, then drinks and leaves her crying. He mocks her, judges everything. Divorce is bad, if she leaves her family will judge her. She picks the easy option. She turns right.
She comes to a crossroad, she wants to die, she should tell someone, buy why? Her family is never happy, her husband has been fired again. Her grandmother shot herself, her thoughts get worse. She should ask for help, tell someone. That's shameful, no one should know. She picks the easy option. She turns right.
She comes to a crossroad, its her last chance. She feels nothing but the need to die. She is drowing, lost and cold. She masters a fake happiness and lives day to day a walking corpse. She picks up a knife, places it agaisnt her wrist, shame, so much shame. She drops the knife. Weeks go by, she feels nothing. She should ask for help, its her last chance. She feels like she has slipped beneath the mud, then she sees something bright. She picks a different option. She turns left.
She comes to a crossroad, she has been getting help, her eyes are opened. She can't stop herself, she must find her own happiness. She chases it on her own. She must choose. Does she travel abroad this time or stay here in the dark? Heart beating she applies to the job. He tells her to go. She picks the scary option. She turns left.
She comes to a crossroad, it's been a year, she only meant to spend a year in China. She reaches out to her husband. He rarely wants to talk. He cheated in the first week but she has tried to look past it. She wants to stay another year, he gives her a choose, come back or stay and get a divorce. She asks if he thinks they have a chance, and he says no. She picks the only option. She turns left.
She comes to a crossroad, she left him, she is happy, she has chased her dreams. She traveled the world, made herself anew. She can say no, and she can say yes. She faces all her fears and ignores those who tear her down. Someone messages her, she knows this man, a boy she knew ten years ago, he was her best friend. Should she give him a chance? Its an unknown, he could hurt her, but she is stronger now. She picks the unknown option. She turns left.
She comes to a crossroad, she has many options, many chances. She doesn't want to die. She wants to live, its not so hard any more. She can take any road. She picks a new option she turns.....
choices depression love new chances