Monthly Archives: July 2016


I think that’s the best word for this entry. It started on the airplane, when I left my FitBit charger in the seatpocket. That’s on top of leaving for the airport without my laptop – fortunately GG was able to get it to me in time. When I was driving in the rental car to the hotel, I realized that in the past three years, I have lost everyone that was part of my family unit in Seattle. Two to death and one to heartbreak. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me as if it were some sort of revelation. Perhaps, like so many things since the 12th of June, I’ve simply been slower to process.

I drove across the mountains yesterday, to find Raven’s grave. I couldn’t sleep much so by 445AM, I had made plans with my former teammate (little C) to leave within the hour and go. I am really grateful that I didn’t have to make the trip alone. I had promised GG that if someone offered to go with me, I would accept that help. Driving up over the Snoqualmie Pass and down through Ellensburg and beyond to White Swan, I remembered other trips with my mom, Raven, Lawyerella and of course, Henry and George. The cemetary doesn’t have a proper address, which now makes sense. It is deep in the reservation, miles off the paved road and in the middle of a fields stretching in every direction.

I had a difficult time finding his grave and finally found the spot amidst two of his uncles, where the grave was newer than the others and the empty wreath stands were still standing. It was the only new grave and on the back of the small wooden cross, in faded marker it stated only the name Demmert. There’s no stone and the three graves surrounding his also have a similar cross, with the same scrap of ribbon and the name Demmert on them. The other three had faded out metal frames with barely legible index cards in them with the name and dates of the occupants.

Out in the middle of that open space, with all of the grasshoppers constantly fleeing in front of you, and the hot sun, I didn’t find any peace or closure. Only the profound sense that I would never go there again and this wasn’t his home either. When I stopped analyzing whether or not this was the grave, the tears began and they were many. I don’t feel any better for having seen the place and I don’t feel like any questions have been answered. I do know that he is gone.

That’s really what it comes down to, that in so many ways, those I have loved, are gone. I know that there are other people in my life that I love and are still here. But the family that I thought I had and would always have, is gone. That’s a difficult and unsettling feeling. I know that in the weeks to come, I will have to work through that loss and find my way through the grieving. I also know that I have reasons to be grateful and reasons to love and be loved.

When we got back, I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. That carried over into today and after 3/4 of the day, I skipped out of the sessions and went to see Jan and Keri and be surrounded by all of their fierceness. There’s something to said about being able to collapse against strong people and let a small amount of your feelings out. I know that I have struggled for a long time with letting people know what I am feeling, out of concern how it might impact them. Useful for staying self-contained, not so useful for mental health and authentic relationships with people. What I am saying, is that when you see me next, I might just be a little wobbly and it will be very unsettling to me. In turn, I will thankful that you simply allow me to be wobbly in your presence.

Multi tasking

Dinner is cooking, the first load of laundry is in the wash and I am taking a moment to get my thoughts in order. Of those three things, maybe the thought rodeo is the most difficult.

It was really beautiful weather today. The dogs and I walked GG to the train station and then went home via the park. Of course, the beautiful weather attracts lots of picknickers which are a nearly overwhelming temptation for the dynamic duo to practice their sneak up and go for the food tactics. They did well today, there were no reports of picnic muggings.

I fly to Seattle on Friday and as it gets closer, I get more and more stuck in my head. I’ll drive over to Yakima on Saturday to Raven’s grave. I know it is going to be a really hard and terrible experience. But I need to do it, otherwise it won’t seem real. I need to do it before the beginning of NerdCamp – which starts Sunday, otherwise I will be really anxious the whole week. I’ve learned to face the things that I fear most right off so that I can put the anxiety behind me. It isn’t courage, it is a coping strategy.

Then there’s all the little things. Now when I go to pick up the mail, there will also be mail for him. Over the years, I have saved my voice mail messages. Luckily there were plenty in there from him and also one from my mom. Yesterday, I ordered them burned to a CD so I can have them in my hands or rather the cloud. And also now because I don’t need to keep my US phone number anymore. I’ve had the same number since I met Raven so he would never have to memorize another. He doesn’t need it anymore so I guess that means I can stop holidng on to it as well.

I was accepted for a volunteer project with Kenya through my work. In the beginning of August, I’ll be assigned as a mentor to help the as yet unknown people start their own business initiative. I’m glad I was accepted, I feel overwhelmingly that I need to be building things right, doing something with all of this emotion. The initial duration is through November and then it will be examined for continuation. The logical step after that would be an in-country project. I’d like to go back to Africa, to see more of it.

While I am in Seattle, GG is going to be in charge of the zoo. On one hand, I really appreciate that she is willing to take on the challenge and on the other hand, a tiny part of me worries if it will dent our relationship 😉 I don’t think it will but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t worry about things like that…

Oh, yes, it is officially relationship status now – she changed her FB status – which is apparently how you know. Of course, I am not on FB so I needed a more low tech way to have the communication shared with me – via WhatsApp 😉

Okay, I think it might be wise if I paid attention to what I was cooking…

One slow motion step at a time

I am realizing something about myself right now. Everything is taking me longer. I have a harder time focusing, my mind doesn’t run as wild as it normally does and physically, I am exhausted. Even though technically according to my Fitbit, I am sleeping more through the night, the sleep isn’t very good since it is full with strange dreams.

So I am trying to focus on very little, the basic priorities and what can I spend energy and emotion on. Just until I can get my super powers back. I don’t think I am detached but rather disengaging for a while. Like the normal things that would make me excited to do such as Women In Tech code camps, volunteer work, etc, I just don’t have the interest in them right now.

Truthfully, I don’t find it a hardship to simply be at home and in my little oasis. Sometimes just finding my way to the parking garage is too much stimulation. I think what might help a great deal is a proper vacation, far away and without much to do. However, that’s at the end of August so still a bit of a way to go.

I am keeping this short because I am tired today, I wanted to checkin and let you know that if it seems like it is taking a long time to get a reaction from me, this is why.

The First Chapter

I took this picture in November 2008, 5 months after we met. Raven was fascinated with the fact that George came from the Yakima shelter – he felt like that was their big bond. Two lost boys. George was 3 here to Raven’s 8. I remember buying him this coat because he didn’t have a good one for the winter that could handle his outdoor habits.

Raven and Lyla November 2008 006

I had no idea at the time that I would end up getting my foster parent license twice to bring Raven home. I had no idea that in the years that would pass, being his mother would teach me to love unconditionally, to believe anything was possible and to realize that to take care of him, I would need to learn to take care of me. I didn’t know that being his mother would make me closer to my own. I didn’t yet know that being an advocate for him against really terrible odds, I would be preparing to be that same time of advocate for my mom when she got sick. I knew that our family was definitely going to be different – but I had no idea of how different.

Raven, it’s your mom writing. Since that absolutely terrible day when I got the news, I have locked the heartbreaking thought of your loss deep inside because I knew I couldn’t give it the place it needed. I still don’t know how I am going to. Today is the 1st of July and I marked this day as the one that I would really begin to acknowledge that you are gone. And it isn’t just off to another foster family this time or group home because you were ready to move on. This time, you are beyond reach.

I am so mad at you. We spent so much time learning to tell each other how we felt and I am not going to change that now. I bet you also knew that this would be something that would make me mad. As a matter of fact, I hope your last thoughts were a combination of “Oh, shit, is my mom going to be mad at me” and knowing as always how much I love you.  And I really hope that there is some sort of after life and Miss Mary has you firmly by the arm. Because you don’t get to escape love and family that easily.

As your mom, I expected to have some experiences that probably other families didn’t always get to try. I was right and we made it work, because we belonged together. I think you learned that after realizing that no matter where you ended up, I would always find a way to visit you. It almost became a game – seeing the look of surprise on your face and hearing you ask me “How did you ever find me?” and taking great pleasure in giving you the standard answer “Your mom will always find you, DUH”. Even the Atlantic Ocean couldn’t change that.

I didn’t ever expect to have this experience. You are my Raven, the boy with the iron core. This wasn’t the way this should have turned out. We had a life planned for once you were 18. You would have been home again, with us. I don’t know how I am going to tell the boys, especially George, that you are not coming home.

You have broken your mom’s heart and I don’t think it will ever mend. I love you and we’re not finished with each other.


Your Mom