All morning I found myself humming the song “Just put one foot in front of the other” from the cartoon Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Over and over again I hummed and sang the few lines I remember from the song. “You put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.” It became a mantra as I tried to motivate myself to leave the house on another dreary, gray day. I was feeling pleased with myself when I actually did it and walked out the door.
As I let my mind wander with what was truthfully realistic for me to accomplish today I decided to stop for caffeine and gas, caffeine being the more prominent thought in my head. I left the gas pumping while I went into the gas station to get some tea and a couple of scratch off tickets. Back in my truck, I was pleasantly surprised when I scratched off one of the tickets and found I had won $3. Every little bit makes me smile. I started the truck and pulled away.
Immediately I heard a loud thunk; thought what was that and my brain started working again. At the same time I was stopping and other customers were pointing to me truck, I realized I had driven off with the hose still attached to my truck. Aw shit! I drove back to the pump and got out to see the hose just dangling from my truck. Somehow I managed to not break and sit down sobbing right there. I removed the hose, placed it next to gas pump and went inside. I almost collapsed onto the counter as I asked what I would owe or what paperwork I needed to fill or what I needed to do.
I came very, very close to babbling my whole story to the ladies behind the counter. The story of Russell, Walter, struggling with the holidays, missing the sun, longing for Costa Rica which I’ve never been to but dream of living in daily; the whole, long, sordid detail almost came tumbling out of me in great, heaving sobs. Somehow I kept it together and said none of the things pushing to break free from inside of me. I focused on the hose and what I needed to do in the moment alone.
I walked out with the manager who was very quiet. When we got out to the truck and I was apologizing profusely, I asked her what I needed to do – paperwork, payment, anything? She said usually she should have someone fill out paperwork but she wasn’t going to worry about it today. She told me most folks just drive off and that the hoses have quick releases on them. I thanked her and got into my truck.
It was in there that I collapsed. That hose was simply the final straw of the morning. All of it came flooding over me like a giant wave. The tears just poured from me as sobs came flooding out of me. I just sat there for awhile allowing it all to be released and felt and honored. Then I took a big, deep breath, wiped my eyes, decided that I would still go to work and not just go home and hide, and I drove towards the farm.
I am trying. I really am trying to keep moving forward with my healing. I do my best to focus upon the positive things that happen each day. I do my best to focus on the love in my life and the ways in which I still feel Russell’s presence. The little milestones or bits of sunshine that happen each day do keep me able to at least tread water in the rough sea of grieving. But the holiday season that started with Thanksgiving and our anniversary is weighing upon me more than I had anticipated. When just getting out the door to go to a job I love is hard, the time involved planning for events and shopping for dozens of folks seems monumental. The lack of consistent sunshine, always a winter challenge for me, seems like a voice saying “Just stay home where it is warm and safe and you can hide away from the world. The horses are fine. The farm is fine. You don’t need to go out. Stay here.”
But here I sit today, in my office at Avalon still humming to myself “Just put one foot in front of the other” over and over and over again. That gas hose was a gift that opened up the flood gates to my tears which needed to be released. And it opened me up to write again which has been something that has felt very far away for a few weeks and I’ve missed it. I’m planning to paint a new room addition today with bright colors. I’m planning to snuggle with my Willow puppy. I’m planning to have conversations about new possibilities for learning and growing with the horses. I’m planning to find listen closely to my heart and what it most needs right now, in this time, this moment. I’m planning to allow myself to simply be in the moments of the day and allow myself to float upon the waves of my life. All because of a gas hose.