You Don’t Know

nooneknows

Ooh, my Muse has awoken with a suddenness that has left me kind of stunned this morning.  Usually, I get an inkling that I’m moving towards writing something.  Not today.  One moment I was getting ready to leave for my day and the next the words started writing quickly and fiercely and rawly in my head.   I  listen to that Muse and act upon her invitation to heal.

“You Don’t Know”

Unless you have walked a path similar to my own, experiencing the sudden death of a loved one you don’t know, nor should you, the steps of this twisty path I wander.

You don’t know what it is like to go from one moment to the next wondering what might trigger sudden, unstoppable tears.

You don’t know what it is like to seek to find goodness and joy in life simply to hold onto it as a beacon of light against your own inner darkness which threatens everyday to suck you into it permanently.

You don’t know what it is like to think you’re making good decisions, the best that you can in any given moment, and then days, months, years later be racked with guilt because what if they weren’t the right decisions.

You don’t know what it is like to try desperately not to play the “what if” game over and over again.

You don’t know what it is like to want to be around people then as soon as you are want to be alone.

You don’t know what it is like to pick up the phone to tell your person something great or something tragic and then stand there, with phone in hand, wondering what to do when you remember they are no longer here.

You don’t know what it is like to hug your kids because they still just can’t understand what has happened.

You don’t know what it is like to live with the memory of having been the one who had to make the final decision and sign the papers to let your loved one go.

You don’t know what it is like to want to give your kids the best gift you can, knowing deep down nothing will ever be enough because you can’t give them back what they have lost.

You don’t know what it is like to go from abundance to scarcity to abundance to scarcity over and over again as you try to figure out your life now suddenly alone.

You don’t know what it is like to have to ask people for help for things you should be able to do on your own but simply can’t right now.

You don’t know what it is like to seek new avenues of growth and healing that seem to click but then fall through as one more dead path forward.

You don’t know what it is like to feel like a failure for no clear reason but you just do.

You don’t know what it is like to want to keep your kids as close to you as possible while also cheering them on as they grow and find their own, very uniquely separate paths from you.

You don’t know what it is like to think “Hey I feel pretty good right now and I’m rocking life.” to then have the next moment feel like you’ve fallen off a cliff and you’re stuck in cuckoo luckoo land again.

You don’t know what it is like to no longer love holidays or birthdays or special celebrations no matter how much you want to.

You don’t know what it is like to think “I’m getting my new life together and things are looking good.” then just days or week later wonder how things could be so far from that.

You don’t know what it is like to have grief settle into your body like lead as your grieving heart seems to infuse every muscle, bone, and tissue.

You don’t know what it is like to want to try new things but also be afraid of getting hurt because you’re all that’s left for your kids.

You don’t know what it is like to begin the process of transformation, celebrating every aspect of new life, new dreams, new goals and feel sadness because you can’t celebrate with your love.

You don’t know what it is like to have so much that was left unspoken, unhealed, and undone and struggle to let all of it go.

You don’t know what it like to watch your kids struggle with the same.

You don’t know what it is like to want to live a life focused on gratitude, joy and light  and also have your heart remind you that darkness and grief are part of the ongoing dance of life.

You don’t know what it is like to want to work hard and create wonderful new things but you can barely get off the couch still somedays.

You just don’t know.

 

 

Spring in winter

spring2     Winter – Day 66/89

Today feels so much like spring I am having a challenging time wrapping my brain around the fact that it’s February. It feels like the end of April. With flowers blooming it looks like it too.

As I wandered my property with Rue and Hinata today I was reminded of the first day we saw this place. I remembered that it was on the Spring Equinox 13 years ago. I’d seen the ad for this place for several months but never thought to go check it out. I’d looked up where it was and the fact that it’s on the same road as PT’s (a strip club) kept me from looking. Plus the thought of prepping a house to sell with 3 kids under 6 was wayyyy too daunting.

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That Spring Equinox the kids and I were returning from the zoo and I thought “what the heck, let’s just drive by and see. The price is too right to at least not check it out.” The house had little appeal for me, but I instantly fell in love with the land itself. You can’t see the house from the road and it’s like being in our own little valley. The daffodils were blooming along the walkway, the grass was green and the giant tree in the back yard (my first magic tree) was amazing. I knew we had to come back with Russell and check it out, which we did a few days later. It was a done deal after that.

I’m very thankful for these memories today of other Spring Equinoxes I have loved. With that being the anniversary date of Russell’s death now there’s a sadness in looking towards the first day of spring. I am grateful to my core for memories of joy and for the incredible blessing of having days like today in the middle of winter.

 

spring

Lifetime Ago

ortho

Winter – Day 38/89

Today is the day!  My son, Demetri, is getting his braces off, almost 2 years to the day that he got them put on. Amazing!

Demetri’s appointment to get his braces on 2 years ago was one of the last things that Russell and I did together as parents. At least one of the last extra things, outside of everyday life. I remember us all coming together for Demetri’s appointment and Russell and I talking in the waiting room while Demetri got his braces on. It seems like just yesterday and also a lifetime ago.

Well I guess in some ways it was a lifetime ago as I feel like I am living a new, different life now. It is a life of walking more in the shadows, of being aware of the power of both the light and dark to transform us. It is a life of being deeply aware of the possibility of everything changing in a second so embracing the now is that much more important. It is a life of seeking new passions and new purpose that somehow also weave into life-long held passions and purposes. It is life of being aware of things on a much deeper level than I’ve ever been.

I’m very happy for Demetri today and extremely proud of the ways he has followed his orthodontist’s instructions enabling him to get his braces off months ahead of schedule. What an awesome human being Demetri is and I am thrilled to be his mom.

#embracingwinter
#thistimethismoment

Inhale, Exhale

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To breathe – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.  Sometimes, oftentimes, that is all I am confident I can do. It’s what got me through Russell’s traumatic illness and death. It’s what got me through the days, weeks, months of shock that followed. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale – over and over and over again. Standing still, eyes often closed to picture my breath, letting go of any and all expectations upon myself but to focus on my breath.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

I find myself turning to this again as I prepare myself for Kateri to move to her new job in Hampshire, IL which is about 5 hours from home. She will be working at a horse farm with a talented rider and trainer who she greatly respects.  It is a wonderfully grand adventure for her first move away from home.    Just writing those few words took longer than it normally would as I had to stop and breathe – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

As thrilled as I am for this new opportunity for Kateri, an opportunity that fills her with confident excitement, the thought of not seeing her everyday threatens to drop me to my knees.  Being with my children everyday, being able to hug them and talk with them everyday, has been one of the key pieces of my healing journey.  To not have one of them here is almost unfathomable to me.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

The moving out of a child is hard for all parents I am sure. We want them to grow and fly free. But we also want them to be close by, able to be hugged at a moment’s notice. We want to see them become strong, confident adults while also wistfully longing for the days we could still hold their hand in public.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

I am experiencing a rawness, a view through a darker lens as I am poignantly reminded that I alone am the parent helping launch Kateri into the adult world and will be doing the same with Soren and Demetri in the next several years.  I am reminded more deeply, more singularly that as my children leave I will soon be alone. All of the dreams that Russell and I shared for “when the kids are grown” are no longer a possibility. They shattered into a million pieces when he died.  And in the preparations for Kateri’s move I am made vividly aware that all dreams are now just my own. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

Layers upon layers upon layers of emotions I’ve been feeling these past weeks have left me near mute.  I haven’t been able to write about it much less talk about it.  And I haven’t even wanted to – for my own sake as well as Kateri’s I have chosen to stay in the moment, embracing and loving every precious one as the gift that it is.  I’ve chosen to wait to share my story so as not to draw away from Kateri’s joy.  I have chosen to see the awesomeness of this new path for her and help her find her way through her own fears, worries and questions. I have chosen to love this time for all that it is – the joy and the sorrow, the looking forward and the looking back, the mystery and the known, the tears and the laughter.  All of it is part of one magical whole. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

As the words bubble up inside of me, ready to spoken, I focus again on my breath, the most powerful tool I have to stay balanced and grounded.  With tears flowing down my cheeks and a smile on my face I trust the path I am on and the one that Kateri steps onto today.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

My children – my greatest gifts

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Ack, I almost forgot to write today.  I’ve already made it 3 days in a row this week and I want to commit to writing everyday. Actually I AM committing to writing everyday, at least a little bit, because writing here does so much for keeping me moving forward. I am seeing my blog posts like stepping-stones that I am laying one at a time on the path in front of me. Step by step, inch by inch, I see myself clearer.

Tonight I am filled with gratitude for the wonderfulness that is my 3 children.  I don’t write very often hear about them because this is the place to tell my story as I experience my life.  I try not to tell other people’s stories or assume that I could possibly know what they are feeling or experiencing.  I leave it to them to tell when and if they want to share.  It is theirs and it is best to stick with telling my own.

Tonight though I am filled with such awe and love for all 3 of my kids that I need to just share a little bit.  Each and every one of them reached out to me, requesting to spend special time with me alone.  This from 3 teenagers – Kateri is 19, Soren is 18, and Demetri is 14.  I’ve reveled in my time alone with each of them; being together, sharing stories, memories and ideas, making food, eating food, talking, laughing, dreaming, and helping each believe a little bit more in ourselves.  Joy, just pure joy having these special moments with each of them, per their request!

I have always been “in love” with these wonderful people who I am deeply honored to call my own.  There is nothing I love more than spending time with them.  They are smart, loving, compassionate, respectful, fun, and amazing people.  How I ever got so lucky to be their mom is beyond me!

Watching them grow and unfold in the past year and half has been a thing of mystery for me.  I have watched as they have tried new things, met new people, learned to put self-care first and family a close second, been faithful to friends, made choices true to who they are seeking to become, found strength inside themselves they never knew they had, been willing to reach out for help as well as consistently reach out to others in need, and loved me and each other through it all.   I’ve always loved watching them grow and learn, but this past year and a half has been an exceptional time of witnessing their inner awesomeness shine through.

I walk, with deep gratitude, alongside each one of them as they are finding their own way in this world.  I walk with them trying to allow them to make their own choices and help them figure out the hard parts that sometimes arise from those choices.  I trust them to always have my back and the backs of one another.  I have more fun adventuring with them and learning about the things that bring them joy than I ever thought possible.   Hearing each of them excitedly share with me something new they are trying is wonderful.  Knowing that they believe I will always love them and support them no matter what helps me believe I am doing a whole lot of things right with them.

The stories of their lives are still theirs to tell.  I’m just happy to say that my story has them in it if every single day.  To love our children is a given I think.  To like our children and have them like us right back – now that is pure gift!