Always Always Land

Many of you probably remember my dilemma over whether or not I should give myself permission to run headlong into my second childhood and get bippity-boppetied. Everyone who knows me was kind of dumbfounded that I would even hesitate over this opportunity. It was a bit surprising, even to me.

The night before my date with the pixie duster, I got a text from a friend asking if I was excited. I responded that I was, but, to be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt. I was happy and looking forward to it, but I don’t know that I could really say I was excited or enthusiastic or anything like that. In fact, I had a kind of flat feeling about the whole thing. There was something blocking me from completely letting go and getting giddy.

It took me awhile to realize what it was. My mom should have been there with me.

My parents called me Tinker Bell from the time I was born. My mother called me by that pet name my whole life. It was a special thing between us. We enjoyed a lot of great experiences together. Many of the adventures we had after moving to Florida involved trips to Disney. I pushed her around Epcot on a regular basis. She especially enjoyed the flower and garden festival. One of my all-time favorite memories of her was when I took her to see the Osborne Christmas light show at Disney Hollywood Studios. We were so happy that night. We visited Tinker Bell together in the Magic Kingdom and I have the photo to prove it.

It just seemed to me that, if I was going to go get tinkified, it didn’t make any sense that my mom wouldn’t get to share the experience. I realized that my hesitation about the experience had never been about spending the money or looking silly. It was really all about not quite knowing how to revel in this specific experience without my mother.

After I had this epiphany, I consciously decided my mother would have loved that I was being tinkified and she would want me to enjoy it for both of us. I decided to throw myself into the experience, whatever it ended up being. I would feel whatever feelings came up and I would just let the day unfold however it was going to unfold. I wasn’t going to try to form any expectations or manage the process. I was just going to live it. I was going to be excited.

I did make a couple of preparations. For one thing, I had two very dear friends accompanying me. I called them my “pixie posse.” They volunteered to come along and observe while I was still deliberating about whether or not to do it, long before I realized why I was so hesitant. They wanted to come with me to enjoy the day and to support me. I’m sure they were thinking it would be a fun outing for all of us. On the day of the tinkifying, I leaned into their love instead of wallowing over the loved one that was missing. I also wore my “mom” ring. Right after my mom died, I bought a silver and diamond ring sculpted into a heart formed by two angel wings. I wear it when I am going somewhere or doing something that I think my mother would especially enjoy or when I really, really want to feel her close to me. I knew my tinkifying trip was going to be just such an experience. I was documenting this whole experience on Facebook, so I posted a picture of the ring with an explanation of its meaning.

The day turned out to be wonderful. I did feel waves of momma sadness often during the day, but I’ve learned that sadness and pain don’t have to be the same thing. These waves didn’t hurt. I just surfed them when they crested and rode them to the shore. Then, I paddled myself back out into the happiness. For the most part, I spent the day feeling joyful, playful, free, giddy, and excited. I was Tinker Bell. I was rocking the Pixie Hollow world. When I saw the pictures, I felt pretty for the first time in my life. Not just pretty for me, but pretty… full stop. Momma would have loved it. It occurred to me that this is the way my mother saw me every time she looked at me.

When my brother read my Facebook post about the “mom” ring, he replied that I should keep the ring on always because my mother loved doing stuff with me. He also reminded me that Momma is with me all the time, in everything I do. I believe he is right. She was with me at the pixie dusting and she is with me in Always Always Land.

What have you done to make sense of living when a person you love has died?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at  

Have a thoughtful day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

P.S. I’m sending an extra special portion of love to those of you who might be having a difficult time facing the holidays with loss weighing on your heart.  It is hard, I know.  As a friend of mine tells me, it is important to learn how to be happy and sad at the same time.  I wish and pray for your happiness to find a place in your heart.

8 thoughts on “Always Always Land”

  1. I love that word tinkifying. It fits. It’s hard when you do something without the special one you’ve done it with in the past. I remember drinking coffee on my grandmother’s screened in porch with her and my grandfather. It was a fun time, especially in the spring and summertimes. We would watch all the cars racing up the street, wave to the neighbors, wait for the mailman, yell at the dog for barking at the mailman and so on. Nothing can take those memories away.

  2. When my mother died, I felt she was with her Lord and Saviour in heaven and was happy and living with Jesus, much better than here on our earth. God can take our sorrows away. What a beautiful time she is having with Jesus in heaven. This earth is just a stopping place for us until we again meet in heaven.

  3. Terri, I think you handled Always, Always Land perfectly. Life is so full of dichotomies. There can’t be life without death. Dealing with death is always hard in spite of the experience that most of us have by the time we reach our 7th decade on this earth. I do believe that the best way to honor our deceased loved ones is to continue to engage in life, displaying the wonderful tenacity of the human spirit. I memorialize my deceased loved ones through food – my paternal grandma’s brown sugar fudge & macaroons; my dad’s marinated shrimp; my maternal aunt’s snickerdoodle cookies & fried liver & onions. There’s always a place in my heart that I can go to when I need to.

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