“I am Here.” This is the answer I most often give when anyone asks me “How are you doing?” Stating I am here is the best, most accurate, most real answer I can give in this time and in this moment. It is also the easiest answer to give as it is the clearest thing that I can think to say. I am here means I am present right here, in this time, in this moment.
Other answers such as “I’m okay”; or “Awful”; or “sad” or “feeling good”; or “Meh” (a common response right now) or really anything else just can’t quite encompass what I experience most of the time right now. It is rare that any one response can sum up all of the swirling, foggy, complex, simple, multifaceted things I experience each and every moment of my days. I most often feel as if I am in an ocean with lots of waves. Sometimes they are gentle waves I can simply float on and breathe deeply while staring up at a blue sky. Other times the waves are forceful with fierce undertows that I can barely stay above water as I try to ride them out. Simple answers no longer seem adequate as I travel in this ocean.
I also find that the language I have understood all of my life no longer seems adequate or even really makes sense. To say I am okay most often leaves me flustered and laughing. Because being okay now is nothing like what it meant to be okay before Russell took ill and died. I find that word has so little meaning or perhaps too much meaning that I can’t really use it very often anymore. Even the moments when I feel “okay” – not spinning, emotionally calm, breathing deep – I am so very aware of the kraken at the bottom of the ocean that I float upon waiting to wrap tentacles of grief, anger, depression and utter frustration around me. So I will sometime just say “I am okay, but not okay, but okay.” Clear as mud huh? 🙂
When people ask me “How are you?” I appreciate their concern and honest willingness to really know how I am. This question, though, can often leave my brain locking up completely or scrambling around in at attempt to figure out how I am before answering. There is an almost manic energy that overtakes me when folks ask this. Or a deep frustration as I can’t answer the question. Being foggy brained and unclear in how to move forward in some things remains a fairly dominant experience for me.
The kids and I continue to be gentle and patient with ourselves, encouraging each other to stay in the present moment and be very honest about what we need in each time, in each moment. We are healing. We still have moments and sometimes whole days that we simply can’t face more of the world than each other. We hide away in our house or we spend the day with just each other. But even these hide away moments are shorter and fewer between. And they don’t seem to grab a hold of us causing an inability to talk like they used to. We do all have many, many times that we simply hit a wall and have to leave a space.
Staying in the moment is by far the safest and smartest thing for all of us to do in this time and in this moment. All we can really handle is the here and now. Looking too far into the future causes way too much anxiety and none of us is 100% sure what we want to be doing months from now. Looking into the past, especially since our journey in Cuckoo Luckoo Land began is way too crazy making. We still glimpse both forwards and backwards, but most often strive to stay in the here and now.
We are having more moments of finding simple joys in life. There is excitement around Kateri’s and Soren’s upcoming trip (they leave Thursday) to meet my parents in Italy for 17 days. While there is significant anxiety around aspects of this trip for all of us we strive to name those anxieties, take a deep breath (or 20) and move onto the next step of the journey. Demetri and I are planning some special meals out and fun activities for just us while they are gone. Demetri and Soren have discovered a game (DC deck building) that they find great pleasure in playing together. Kateri and I are loving doing NIA with Carrie Magill. I find myself during these times at NIA dancing my way back to myself in many ways and pouring all of my emotions – grief, confusion, anger, hope, love and more – into my dance. Soren most enjoys dong tumbling and gymnastics with Xander at the Vlastos’ barn. He also talks anyone and everyone into playing with him at whatever park is close by. Kateri and her horse, Walter, are closer than ever and there are new things she hopes to do with him this summer. Our puppy, Rue, is 100% the best decision we’ve made in the past 2 month. She is an absolute delight. I am finding great moments of peace in sitting under the magic tree at Avalon with whoever wants to sit with me. I also feel healing coming up from the earth itself as I weed and plant and dig in Avalon’s memorial garden that I have now claimed as my own, slowly making it into my butterfly dragon garden. Threads of light and love and hope in the midst of the darkness twine into our web of healing.
I had so much more I had thought to say but the words seem to have floated away out of my brain. So for now I will just say I continue to feel love and gratitude for all who hold us up.
I AM HERE!
One thought on “I am Here”
Lara, I have seen so many people die suddenly and unexpectedly recently. It happened again this week when my husband’s cousin, 50, died while mowing the lawn. My step-sister, 54, died in her sleep. A local police chief died while shoveling snow. A classmate’s husband, your husband. My eyes are opened to sudden, crippling and incapacitating heartbreak. Nobody expected these deaths. To just answer that you are here is wonderful. It is a simple blessing just in itself. Don’t struggle with how to answer. If you don’t know, then say so! Eventually, it will turn to an automatic, “I’m better.” Healing will continue. And someday, you’ll confidently answer, “I am great! How are you?” We are so glad you are still here 🙂 Stay in your moment and ride the wave.
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