; (the semicolon project) ;


I discovered the Semicolon Project when I saw a wrist tattoo…of a semicolon.  Being a grammar nerd/English teacher, it popped out at me.  It’s not about your mama’s grammar, though, it’s about the notion that writers use semicolons to indicate that their sentence isn’t yet finished; there’s more to come.

You can google the Semicolon Project…it explains the metaphor idea as one of hope and continuation.  The website says: drawing a “Semicolon” on your wrist can act as a constant reminder and prevention strategy to help you come to your recovery, after all, you are the author of your life and you should choose not to end it.

How dazzling, how simple, how profound is this notion of the semicolon as a symbol of hope, as a promise of unfinished living, as shorthand for” I have more to say, to do, to be”.

My daughter sabotaged her most recent in-patient attempt that I mentioned in  Beware the Walrus, after suffering through detox, again. It’s more the norm than not – we have missed her presence for so long, having only brief reunions with the girl she was, the woman I suspect she is trying to be.  She,too, has missed much- her twenties, the transitions her dear friends and family have made, the holidays, the regular days, the highs and lows, the love of her life, the dog, the cat, her baby niece, her nephews, her own coming-of-age.

For me, there’s always an empty space, always something missing, including every mother-daughter connection we had – clothes, food, gossip, trash TV, inside jokes, pet peeves, eye rolls, raucous laughing – the love and sharing that were the essence of our singular, unique, one-of-a-kind, impossible to replace bond that I took for granted would always be there, every day of my life.   It’s so hard to believe that I’m ten years older than the last time she really knew me, or I her…since she looked long into the abyss, and the bastard looked back.

This simple, but oh so powerful mark is my reminder now, on my wrist, in my heart.  She is still here in my everyday thoughts and hopes, still within reach, and I can wait until she decides to continue her story.


…I miss the air   I miss my friends   I miss my mother   I miss it when life was a party to be thrown but that was a million years ago.

I can’t be the only one who shoves in a cd or i-pods up and sing-sobs every time I’m alone in the car.  Can I?

This week, my symphonious flagellation of choice is Adele’s cd – 25.  I can sing-sob through every stinking song, but A Million Years Ago sticks a knife right through me.  For all the blessings in my life, and there are plenty, I’m here, writing this, because I can’t shake the fear and grief and sense of loss that has turned everything gray.  It’s so selfish and whiny and weak that some days I’m not even speaking to myself over it.  So I drive and sing-sob.

I miss the air – that sensory sweet spot of space and possibility.

I miss my friends – especially those who knew my daughter before, those who are so far away either in time or in distance.  Fact, I miss her friends, and her boyfriend – who has hung in through hell, high water, and beyond endurance, and who probably feels this ache more deeply than anyone but me.

I miss my mother.  June 5 would have been my mother’s 88th birthday.  We buried her ten years ago on June 5th, because she died in February when the ground was solid ice.

I dreamed of Mom last week.  I often do, but she has never appeared to me in a dream as she did last week – she was exactly as the final time I saw her face – in the ER, disoriented, debilitated, wide-eyed with confusion and terror, unable to speak. It was just as gut-wrenching ten years later in my dream.  Worse, she was crying silent tears, and I couldn’t get her to tell me what was wrong.  When I woke up, I knew what was wrong…what is wrong.  One of her daughters (my sister), and two of her granddaughters are in extreme and deadly crisis.  This dream utterly deep-sixed the small comfort I’ve drawn from thinking “thank goodness, my Mother never had to know any of this”.  Who was I kidding – Mom knows, oh sweet Lord, she knows.

I miss it when life was a party to be thrown…  Raising the kids was the most incredible, happiest time of my life…every day was intoxicating in its possibility.  For all the seasons of life and glorious transitions that I, her father, her step father and step mother, my sons, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, niece, twin nephews, family, her Greek sisters and friends, and her long-devoted boyfriend have experienced, my girl, our girl,  has been frozen since her late teens in the see-saw cycle of addiction.  I’ve only had brief glimpses,  but I swear on my life, there is, within her, the bright, effervescent young adult woman, daughter, sister, aunt, girlfriend with a strong, confident, compassionate, outgoing joie de vivre fighting to be free,  to live, to overcome this  ruthless life-sucking soul-stealing relentless bastard disease.

I miss her most of all.