Round and round we go

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken 
Before the years can make it wise.” 
— Sara Teasdale (The Collected Poems)

On occasion, there are birds that fly into the tall windows of our office.  Walking back and forth to my car, the sidewalk will be littered with song birds.  I’ll circle as far around them as I can, so I make a circle path.  But to avoid stepping on any one of them, I also have to look at them.

And I’d rather not.

So I give as wide a path as I can to not step on them, while still seeing them out of the corner of my eye.

That’s kind of how it is with writing right now.

I’m warily circling the thing that I want to talk about or that I’m feeling.  I have to keep it in my minds eye, but I don’t want to get too close to it, because then I’m confronted by the small, beautiful thing that’s broken.

Last night, I confessed to my husband that I’m still scared.  I’m scared of what happened to him, and sometimes it still bothers me.

And he said “well.  I’m here.  And I have a job.  And this dog” who snuffled loudly and then took more blankets away from me.

Those are all true things.  But it doesn’t stop me from being scared.

Someone else told me “It(what happened to you) was a lot at once.  And big stuff.  So it’ll take time.  As an overachiever I can see how you’d be expecting to be moving on by now…measurable results don’t apply in this type of situation.  It’s a play it by ear sort of thing, unfortunately.”

So we’ve got this jumbled up mess of feeling angry with myself for not snapping suddenly back to normal after the danger has passed, being traumatized by having to confront a loved one’s mortality, feeling unstable at having a sudden loss of dependable income, feeling frustrated at constantly having to ask for help because we still only have one car.

I’m mad at helplessness.  But I’m not helpless.  We’ve persevered.  I’ve gotten up in the morning.  One of the few things pulling me through has been simple routine.  Get up, get dressed, go to work, go home, make dinner, unpack a box, go to bed, rinse, repeat.  By simply moving forward, it helps to not dwell on what’s happened.

And I think of what we’ve survived in the almost 3 years we’ve been married:

5 deaths

2 cars being totaled

Moving

Selling a house

2 job losses

When you look at those stress scales that show you how much stress you’re under and its impact on your life, we’re in the top tier.

And yet…

We’re still here.

That should be triumph enough.

-C

Advertisements

Moving on up, out, and onward

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.”
Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

We have moved.

That is, to say, my husband, dog, and I have moved to a new neighborhood.

It is supposed to perfect.  Land of milk and honey.

Instead, it has been land of:

being carjacked

getting fired

getting screamed at by our crazy neighbors

land of panic attacks

land of hiding inside because we are just so dang TIRED of all of it.

So here we are.

In a great house.

In a great neighborhood.

Where if I could figure out how to take someone whose communication style can only be described as “loud” and make them understanding, I feel I could bring about peace in the middle east.

There is no sympathy.

There is no empathy.

There is no understanding.

I have hidden from this journal, friends, because written what I feel hurts too damn much.

Writing what I feel breaks my heart.

I don’t think of myself as a coward, but here, here after all we’ve been through, I want to build a pillow fort under our dining room table and drink bourbon til I pass out.

Which was last birthday, helpfully dubbed The Manhattan Project, and I won’t be trying that again, thank you.

The only reason I’m writing right now is I’m 3 gin and tonics in and I’m just so tired.

I can’t even ask for help any more.  How could anyone help?  How can you help someone who day in and day out feels their life slowly falling through their fingers. How do you help someone who got their husband a dog to help him through depression and now that dog is the reason for THEIR depression?  How do you help someone who just wants SOMEONE to understand that, right now, they CAN’T be happy, they CAN’T help you, they CAN’T host you they CAN’T do anything except shower, put on make-up, and go to work and pretend everything is ok.

Everything is NOT ok.

It is not ok to feel like this.  I’m not going to hurt myself.  That sort of thing is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  But some days…

Some days I just want to run away.  I want to hide.  I’m TIRED of facing my troubles head on and coping.  I’m tried of making everything think I’m ok.

And there are a few people…very few…

who see through the facade.

And they ask.

And I tell them to go away.

I don’t call them. I don’t write. I don’t email. I don’t talk.  Because they know.

They know, just by looking at me.

That it hurts.

It hurts too much.

And I can’t talk to them because when they see…

I break down.

I can’t afford to break down.  I can’t afford to lose it all right now.

So I have stolen moments in the night.

I go in the bathroom and cry.

I go downstairs and I cry.

I wait 5 minutes before I go in the house and cry.

I hide in the car and cry.

Because my husband…

he could have died.

It is 2 months after the fact.

After someone put a gun in his face.

And we keep going through our day, as though it hasn’t changed us.

“You know, I always thought it’d be cancer.  Never though it could be at the end of a gun.”

And we laugh, and grow quiet.

Because it could have been at the end of a gun.  A man, who doesn’t do anything more dangerous than play video games.  Could have died.

For the sake of a car. A cell phone. And a laptop.

Now I want to take risks.  And I know its not safe.

I want to sky dive.

I want to do things that I’d never normally do.

Because any moment could be our end.

And this should empower me to yell back to our neighbors.  It should empower me to be braver and smarter and more alive.

But there’s still the fort under the table.

There’s still the safety of the bed.

And it is EVERYTHING i can do to not crawl back under there.

This is why you should be kind.  To everyone you see, everyone you interact with.  You should be kind.

Because they could be falling apart.

And you’d never know.

-C

Would that I could…

With nothing of effort, just a little murmur of sound, Smith lifted his body gently from the ground into the warm air.

He soared up quickly, quietly-and very soon he was lost among the stars as Smith headed for outer space…

Chrysalis – Ray Bradbury

Would that it were that easy.  With the barest thought, no effort, to look heavenward and soar.  Instead, during this time, I feel as though gravity is heavier, just for me.  That the earth has decided to pull me down harder, and that there is no escape.

4 deaths.  I have lost 4 loved ones, one every 6 months.  I am fatigued of grieving.  Of every sight causing pain (and love, such strong and amazing love.)  I am tired of loss, of change, of uncertainty.  Nothing feels safe or permanent.

I’ve retreated into creature comforts.  Crayons and coloring books, soft blankets, clean sheets, perfumes heavy with summer flowers, and hot cups of tea.  Searching for peace is hard to find, when there is no peace inside.

For I know the plans I have for you…

It’d be nice if I knew them.  It’d be nice to feel more confident in

…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

But that is faith.  Faith in anything.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this

 And I will wait for the still, small, voice to help guide me onward, outward…and upward.

-C

2014, we hardly knew ye

I was going to do a big long thing about 2014, its devastation rolling over the land like landslide full of plague rat zombies coming for your face.

But no.

I’m not going to let 2014 end like this.

2014 started with my breaking my thumb and ended 2 deaths, several hospital visits, and countless setbacks later.

You know what 2014?

Screw you.  I’m gonna party you out like its your fricken wake.

So, instead, 2014, a eulogy.

Dear friends,

We are gathered together to bid farewell to 2014.  As we usually do at the close of someone’s life, we try to look back on the things that were wonderful about them.  Sure, they were a jerk at parties and ruined your time.

Sure 2014 overstayed their welcome.

But lets remember that great things about 2014.  Because nothing, in a set of 365 days, can be all bad.

So 2014, you were a jerk.  You brought despair and sadness, setbacks and difficulties, pain and sorrow.

But you also brought the most amazing Standing Rib Roast I’ve ever made.  You brought me Guardians of the Galaxy, the best(most fun) space movie since Star Wars.  You showed me that I still have great photography skills, creativity, and can sew a mean River Song cosplay dress.

You brought changes I wasn’t ready for and didn’t give me change I desperately wanted.

But you were still there.  Which, I guess is what friends are for.  So 2014, instead of mourning you, with sorrow and gnashing of teeth…I raise my glass to you.

You were one hell of a year.

2015, my friend?  Learn from your siblings’ mistakes.  Let’s make tomorrow something we’ll be proud of next time this year.

-C

My mother’s handwriting

I have always had terrible handwriting.  When I was in gradeschool, my mother despaired of me ever writing anything legible.  It didn’t really matter to me.  I could read my notes, and really, my notes were there for me.  The act of writing them is what helped me more than going back and reading them anyway.  But I always admired my mom’s handwriting.

I’ve never seen anyone with handwriting similar.  Its not a beautiful cursive script…its sort of angular and…pointy.  Her “s” especially is a little flat on the type.  Her printing is legible but distinctively hers.  I love my mother’s handwriting.

My Oma has been placed in a nursing home last weekend after passing out at church.  I got the news as we were pulling into my own church parking lot.  I walked in.  Sat down.  Told my brother.

The first hymn began.

I promptly began to cry.  My husband ushered me out, bought me flowers and champagne to prep myself for yet another hospital visit, yet another emergency.

I had to go to my Oma’s with my mom to pick out her things, and on her counters I saw Oma’s grocery lists.  She taught for 30 years and has perfect school penmanship.

Littered on the table where my mother’s notes, reminding her to take her pills, who was coming to visit.

And I know someday I will go to my mother’s house and find little slips of paper and clean them up while I pack her things.

I will despair at never seeing her handwriting again.

My uncle has died of a brain tumor.

My grandfather has pneumonia, the doctor’s say it doesn’t look good.

My Oma is in the nursing home, her memory leaving her in bits and pieces day by day.

My mother is in pain, watching her mother suffer and trying to organize her life around that suffering.

My dad’s cousin is slowly dying as a brain tumor eats away at her.

Again and again and again I get the news…the phone call…the email…this is it.

This is it.

This is it.

What is it?

It is death.  It is coming in drips and drabs.  It is hiding behind holidays and lurking in the corner of your mind.  And I see it in little slips of paper, little lists of chores that won’t be finished and groceries that won’t be bought.

I feel as though I am immune to feeling anything for it all  any more.  There’s no more surprise in it.  There’s no shock, any more, just another item on the list.  In handwriting only I can read, I suppose.

I love these people all so much.  And I don’t want them to suffer…but they will.  I can only try to ease their pain.

Thanksgiving passed and I have tried to be thankful…I tried to make my own lists…

I am thankful…for one more day.  Every day is one more day.  For that I am thankful.

So now, as I turn to Christmas, I turn too, to my favorite Christmas song.  I am tired of despair, I am tired of sorrow.  I want a Christmas of brightly wrapped gifts and carols sung around the piano at Christmas.  So I will make my Christmas and try to fill it with as much love as I can.  And it may be a small amount of love.  That Advent Candle light may not shine as brightly as usual.

But I’ll light it anyway.

If your heart is sad.  If you’re missing someone, and so deep in your despair that “Merry Christmas” falls like ash on your tongue…listen to the bells…and maybe that’ll help.  Below, I recorded myself singing…less for you, more for me.  Singing helps me get through some of these times.

And I’d like a record of something that comforts me when I’m sad.  So its less for you…but…maybe it’ll help you too.

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

I don’t own the rights to it.  I’m not getting any money…just a little something to hold on to.  I feel like sending it out there is like sending out a prayer.

http://clyp.it/k1hzacvz

Also, if you want to read more about the poem that inspired the song http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Heard_the_Bells_on_Christmas_Day

-C

November Thankfulness…a start

First post of November…and its November 11th…

I was going to spend the month of November writing about things I’m thankful for.

Then my Oma got worse.

My car died.

Twice.

And I found it hard to be thankful.

But today, I’m going to try again.

Today I am thankful for tea.

I’m thankful for friends helping me learn the importance of taking a break with a cup of tea.

Of the process of making, steeping, and drink it, which takes longer than you’d think, but is worth it.

I’m thankful for flavors and thankful for the accessories and the peace sitting down and making a cup affords you.

I’m thankful for lots of big things, of friends, and love, and family.

But today, I’m thankful for the peace that I find in a steaming cup that is fragrant with fruit and herbs.

It is small.  But today its enough.

-C