Saturday, December 31, 2011

Birthday Wishes from Friends and Family

Happy 30th Birthday....Remembering E.T. toes, SNICK, cross-country skiing, dress up, and so much more. I miss you so much Andie.
Love ,
          Eddie :0)

          Happy 30th birthday!  Your mom has put together quite a celebration!  We are all here to enjoy each other’s company, share our memories of you, and of course to devour your mom’s amazing cooking.  She’s serving posole, your favorite.
God has you in his arms and we all have you in our hearts.  Your missed!
Love you,
Lisa and family

Happy Birthday Andrea, remembering you today and everyday. I hope that you are teaching the angles how to be pirates and keeping watch on your mom.

Grandpa and Mari

 My friend Ami gave me a card she made.  It says:

I have not turned my back on you
So there is no need to cry.
I'm watching you from heaven
Just beyond the morning sky.

I've seen you almost fall apart
When you could barely stand.
I asked an angel to comfort you
And watched her take your hand.

She told me you are in more pain
Than I could ever be.
She wiped her eyes and swallowed hard
then gave your hand for me.

Although you may not feel my touch
Or see me by your side.
I've whispered that I love you
While I wiped each tear you cried.

So please try not to ache for me
We'll meet again one day.
Beyond the dark and stormy sky
A rainbow lights the way.

--Author Unknown.

You told us--"If I'm smiling, you should be smiling too."

I feel you missing me as much as I miss you.

An angel watches over me.

I'm not sure when I'll get there kid.  I still have lots to do.

Love you--Mom

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

December 31, 2011
Two twelve a.m. December 31, 2011 I cannot sleep.  I make myself a cup of tea, pull the chair up to my desk, check Facebook.  There is a post from your friend Edwina.
Andrea would be 30 years old in less than 2 hours. I miss her so much. The tears are rolling down my face as I type this. for the 2 years before she pissed away she always told me two things,"i will never get a chance to have kids" and "i won't live to see my 30th birthday." It hurts my heart to know she was right. Andrea you are missed by many. Happy Birthday. I will love you always.
Edwina Pezoldt-Smith oops blurred vision from tears I meant passed not pissed.
3 hours ago · Like · 1

Your cousin Lisa sends you birthday wishes.  She writes

“Why is no one sleeping??”

And a birthday wish—“God has you in his arms.  We have you in our hearts.”

I need to find the box of pirate paper plates and napkins for tomorrow.  They are buried somewhere in the garage, along with all your papers and possessions I am storing.  The garage is full, overwhelming.  Searching, I find a pile of notes I made, and printouts of things you posted on Facebook, MySpace, your Tweets.

I find something you wrote on April 9, 2009.  April.  Five months before you died.

Future…new option for me.  I realized during my break that I’d been living in anticipation of dying…I’ve thrown out the earlier calculations that I wouldn’t make it past 30, and at my 27th birthday dinner, I proposed a toast to the future.  I mentioned how happy we’d all be the day I turn 31…Now there’s a milestone.  My friends dread turning 30, when I think my 30s will be the happiest decade of my life….

I am up because Steve and I were playing Scrabble serenaded by the sound of dishes in the washer.  The steady syncopated beat and swishing water.  We play a relaxed game.  Make up our own rules.  I do not know why we keep score.  Playing Scrabble with Steve is never about the winning.   He has fallen asleep in the chair in front of the fire.  Stella lays out flat as she can make herself absorbing the warmth of the tile hearth. Sadie sleeps beside me at my desk.

I also find your Beatrix Potter baby book—A Tale of Baby’s Days.  I open it and find two ultrasound photos—one taken on October 7, 1981.  The second December 28, 1981.  Your Certificate of Baptism from Saint Anthony’s Church in Kent, Washington on February 20, 1982.  A list of THINGS TO PACK FOR LAMAZE BAG (KEEP WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES).  The first thing on the list is Focal Point.

I need that focal point now.  Where is it?

In my handwriting I added to the list—extra pillows, wash cloth, footies, Baby Book. 

A card that was attached to a bouquet of pink roses from your dad.  To the Treasure of our Hearts.

An envelope.  3-16-84.  Andrea’s First haircut.  I have a few locks of your hair.  Something of you.  I held that envelope in my hand.  Could not open it.  For some reason all I can think of is my trip to Poland several years ago.  The room of hair at Auschwitz.    How I could not move, was paralyzed.  The locks of hair brought the magnitude of loss, of the atrocity home to me.  I put the envelope down.  I cannot open it. 

My hospital bracelet.  Yours.

The card they had on your bassinet.  Date of Birth 12-31-81.

Time:  7:37 a.m.

Weight 7 lbs. 2 oz.

Length 20 inches.

Valley General Hospital Certificate of Birth.  This document should be carefully preserved.  It is your family’s heirloom record of the facts pertaining to your child’s birth.

Baby’s left footprint.  Baby’s right footprint.

Your first smile was on January 29, 1982.  4 weeks old.  On March 29 you rolled over from back to front.  On May 31 your rolled over front to back.

On April 1, 1981 you laughed out loud for the first time.

On August 7 you got your first tooth.  At six months you sat up on your own.  At 7 months you crawled.  At 11 months you walked alone.

Sometimes I feel you missing me.  Or is it just me missing you?

I stop.  Close my eyes.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.

It is you missing me. 

You, holding a My Little Pony up to your face in the snow.  Smiling a smile as big as Kansas.  The caption reads “If I am smiling, you should be smiling too.”

Enough of this. 

It must be 32 degrees outside.  I hear the hot tub pump come on.  I strip.  Leave my clothes in a pile by the patio slider, wrap myself in a big beach towel. 

Immersing myself in the steaming 100 degree water, I melt.  Float in a womb of warmth, feel the breeze brushing my hair, caressing my cheeks.

30 years ago I laid alone in a hospital room at this hour, laboring, waiting to give birth to you.

Focusing on my focal point as contractions seized my body.  Breathing in.  Breathing out.  Resting in between.

7:37 a.m.  December 31, 2011.  Thirty years have come and gone. 

There is no place in your baby book to record your death.


Whatever you decide to bring, pack lightly. 

The journey is a long one. 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl. 

Happy Birthday.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The eve of your 30th Birthday

December 30, 2011

Sadness stalks me.  I feel its breath on my neck, traveling along the crease where my earlobe meets my head. It paralyzes me.   I cannot scream.  My vocal cords will not work.  Tonight I have no energy to fight.  My constant vigilance, avoidance, cost me.  I’ve just begun the tally.   I count each tear as it falls onto my lap.

Tonight I will give in to this stalker.  I no longer want to be the prey.  Let it have its way with me all it will.  Devour me with the fervor of a hungry lover.   I writhe and revel in sweet surrender.

This will not be the last time we meet.

Tonight I feel like I have been transported back to past, to that afternoon the Graham Firefighter told me over the phone, “I’m sorry.  There was nothing we could do.  I’m really sorry.”

Tonight I feel like I felt at your Memorial Service on the steamship Virgina V.   I wore sunglasses to hide the fact that I was crying.  You cannot hide sobbing.

Tonight I want to hold my breath until my body screams “Breathe . Breathe .” and I tell it no.  My body will take over, win the fight.

Tonight I want to stand outside naked in the rain and scream until my throat is raw and I cannot make any sound except a whimper.

Your Birthday.  On New Year’s Eve you would be 30.  Could you just imagine the party we would have? 

I decided to have a get togethereven though you won’t be here.  I am making you homemade flour tortillas, posole and pirate cupcakes—vanilla ice cream on the side.

I guess maybe I should get some balloons.  Some Happy Birthday Banners. 

Aren’t the pirate cupcakes enough?

Always more.  Always wanting to do more to show you how much I love you.

Remember your 5th birthday.  We were living in UW student housing out at Sandpoint in Seattle.  I made you that dinosaur piñata you wanted out of newspaper, flour glued over balloons.  I couldn’t figure out how to attach the head to a really long neck and join it to the body.  I painted it a royal blue color.  It was a miracle the whole thing hung together suspended from the ceiling its dinosaur neck drooping, threatening to fall off.  All your friends were blindfolded and batted at the thing with all the force a five year old could muster.  No matter how many blows were dealt, it would not come apart.  In fact we had to take it down and stomp on it to finally get it to break—which totally defeated the whole candy flying purpose of a piñata.

Birthdays were special times.

They always will be.

Sweet cupcakes now laced with salty tears.

Do you remember that book we both read?  A Girl Named Zippy?  I picked up The News Tribune from the driveway yesterday.  On the front page was an article ‘Zippy,’ the girl killed by a tree  I immediately thought of you, the book, and how we laughed and talked about Zippy like she was member of our family. 

The story of this Zippy in The News Tribune  only makes me sadder than I already am.  A 9 year old girl died on Christmas day.  She was riding in the back seat of her parent’s SUV when a 15 foot long, 1 foot across section of alder tree broke free during a windstorm and crushed the family car.  Her father, who was riding in the passenger seat in front of her, suffered a broken neck.  Her two older sisters have  scratches and sore necks.  When the car came to a stop Zippy’s mother got out, climbed in the back seat, and held her dying daughter.  She held the child she had given birth to as she breathed her last breath.

“I don’t know how soon a person can get over this” the paper quotes Zippy’s grandfather as saying.

I want to call him on the phone and tell him.


That is the myth.  The expectation.  Take an acceptable amount of time to grieve, and then move on.

Sadness stalks me.  Grief its co-conspirator.

An acceptable amount of time to grieve.

How soon can a person get over this?

Why should anyone expect them to?

It is your birthday tomorrow. 

Dark chocolate mocha cupcakes are baking in the oven, filling the house with promises of sweetness.  Later I will frost and decorate them for you.

Tomorrow I will get up in the morning and light 30 candles.  I will watch the flames flicker as I try to remember every birthday I celebrated with you.  When there is almost nothing left of the wick and wax, I will blow them out and make a wish.

Then wait for the guests to arrive. 

Happy Birthday Andrea. 

                                                Love you—


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve 2012


December 24, 2011

The best time to see Orion’s belt from the Northern hemisphere is now.  Late fall and winter.  Every year.

But you have to go outside to see it.  You have to leave the camaraderie of candle lit table and picked over dishes of cooling duck, wild rice, roasted vegetables.  You have to leave the comfort of laughter and mingling conversations over coffee and Norwegian sugar cookies as everyone waits to see which package belongs to them, what is in it.

I wait to give my gifts. 

I am not an outsider here anymore.  But is the first time I have met Stephie’s boyfriend Zach’s family—at least all together.  I am overwhelmed, retreat to my womb, the kitchen.  This is where I comfort and create.  I sighed as my hands slipped into hot sudsy dishwater.  I held onto a stack of dirty plates, felt the weight of them pull my biceps. 

Steve came in.  “Whatcha doin’ in here bayyybeee?”  He is full of “Christmas cheer”. 

“I thought I’d do the dishes.”  The plates rested on the bottom of the sink now.  I lifted my hands, searched for a sponge a rag..

“You don’t have to do that”.  He told me. 

“I want to.”  I answered.

“I’ll help.”  Steve grabbed a dishtowel.  “Okay.  You wash, I rinse and dry.”

Zach’s dad turned on the electric organ in the living room.  Full blast.  The floor vibrates with sound.  Four or five people are pushing sound effect buttons while someone pounds out multiple notes in no particular order. 

Was it one steel guitar or two joining in?  I could not tell, as I stood there paralyzed in a cataclysm of sound. 

“I’ll get your coat,” Steve said.  “Now would be a good time to go look at all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.”

I nodded my head yes.

Steve grabbed me firmly by my upper arms, kissed me on the forehead.  “You wait right here.”

In the cold, wet air, I caught my breath.  Two houses down, an older gentleman—a grandfather, a father, a brother (I did not ask and do not know)--stood drinking a cup of something hot.  I could see the steam spiraling from the cup.  He was looking up at an inky star studded sky.

On a plaid folded blanket, on the lawn, a young girl of 12 or 13 sat.  Her head tilted back.  She too was scanning the sky, trying to find exactly the star the man was pointing to.

I stopped.  Looked up.  Tried to see if I could figure out what the man was pointing at.  I could not.

“Why are we stopping?” Steve asked.

“I don’t know.”  I answered.  “There is something in the sky.”

I was jealous.  Jealous of this moment this man was having with this young girl on a starlit Christmas Eve night. 

I interjected myself. 

I want to say curiosity got the best of me.  That is how I will tell the story to everyone else.  But you, you know the truth, don’t you?  And the truth was I wanted to become part of their moment.

As we approached the man and girl I said--with a perfect mix of tentativeness and tenacity, “Excuse me.”

The man and the girl looked at me, questions in their eyes.  Before they could fully form them, I asked “What are you looking at?”

“Orion’s Belt.”  The young girl said, turning her attention back to the sky.

“Orion’s Belt?”  I asked.

“Yes.  Those three bright stars make up Orion’s Belt.”  I followed the length of his arm to the point of his index finger, caught a glimpse of what he was showing me.

“Thank you.”  I said.

“See?  Right there.” He continued.  “One, two, three.”

One, two, three.  Alnitaka, Mintaka and Alnilam.  Orion’s Belt.

“Darn—wait.” He said.  “In a minute you’ll be able to see all three again.”  A cloud was passing over Alnilam.  “That will pass over in a minute.  Those clouds have been passing over the belt all night.”

Trusting in something bigger, more predictable than me, trusting this stranger’s knowledge, and trusting Steve, whose hand was holding mine, I stood, eyes focused, scanning for bright constellations, a bright star.  A guide.  To lead me through this night.  This night of a thousand memories of you.

Orion’s Belt.


I quietly left after I located Orion’s Belt.  I felt as if I had stolen into enough of moments from this man and young girl.  To stay any longer would have been an intrusion.

But if I had stayed longer, he might have  pointed out Osiris.  I saw Osiris then, although I did not know that was what I was seeing at the time.

                   "Osiris's coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris's star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), significator of his birth."
Barbara Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (749)
"So this was the harbinger of the annual inundation of the Nile through her appearance with the rising sun at the time when the inundation was due to begin. The bright star would therefore naturally become, together with the conjoined constellation of Orion, the sign and symbol of new vegetation which the Year then beginning would infallibly bring with it."
Dr. John Gwyn Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and His Cult (157)
The sign and symbol of new blah blah blah which the Year then beginning would infallibly bring with it.

The sign and symbol of new.

the Year

then beginning



bring with it.

Osiris was an Egyptian God.  The God of afterlife, the underworld, the dead.

The appearance of Osiris is associated with the cycles observed in nature.  Osiris brought the hope of new life after death.

New life after death.

That is my gift to myself this year at Christmas.  Permission to live and grieve at the same time.  To find the balance, if there is one. 

In this I learn what I always tried to teach you—the greatest gift is always in the giving.

Peace is a gift I can only get if I give it to myself. 


It was a gift I always wanted for you.

The streets are quiet.  All but a few are where they are going to be tonight, Christmas Eve.  Steve and I have the sidewalks, the  lawn of the Capital to ourselves.  We stop, jointly critique each home’s display for its balance and aesthetic qualities or unbridled tackiness.  We admire Christmas trees, backlit by living rooms filled with friends and family and crazy relatives. 

Standing on the sidewalk with my hand in Steve’s, I would not trade places with any of them.

Back at Stephie’s the 20-30 year olds are out smoking cigarettes and visiting on the front porch. 

“Are we holding up the present unwrapping?”   Steve asks. 

“Nope.”  Zach answers.  “Let’s do that now.”

I have already given and received my present.

Tonight I saw Osiris.

Tonight I see a new life after a death.

Tonight I take unbridled joy from the greatest gift of all—the giving.

                                      Merry Christmas Andie