Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Focusing....a few weeks late

*  I originally wrote this a month ago, but like all of my writing these days, it sat in draft form til it was outdated *

Last week, sitting in front of a class of first graders, I silently pleaded with the document camera to focus. Focus so that no more sticky 6 year old hands would shoot into the air so the innocent eyed owner could declare that the words were blurry again, and again, and again.....  It didn't focus.  Up shot 24 anxious little hands.

Fast forward to today where I am trying to push the focus button on my life....and on the thoughts coming out of my head.  Instead of crisp, detailed words, I'm battling a blur of unkept emotion streaming from an unclear series of events.

Pre Sabrina, didn't believe in signs.  Post, I believe strongly in signs.  Some may view it as a stretch to find connection with those who have moved beyond our human existence.  Perhaps that's true.  Perhaps it's a way for the psyche to deal with empty and new.    Many know of a moment I woke up in the midst of some extraordinarily trying times, 'hearing' Chris' voice.  Urging me to listen.  I didn't.  I. Did. Not.  I did not understand how imperative listening could be.  Back tracking....after Chris died I felt him, his being, in my house for days after.  I felt him on my skin, in my heart, holding onto my spirit.  Until one morning, I woke and he had slipped away-again.  It wasn't that I let go.  Surely it wouldn't be because he wanted to go.  Absolutely, it was time for me to begin taking steps forward, toward the life I needed to create.  As long as he held me I wouldn't have moved.  I would have stood motionless in those moments, afraid his spirit would be shaken free by sudden movements.  He helped me begin my road toward the immense crevasse of grief which would eventually lead toward my own healing. And, yes, once again, I hesitate to realize the involvement of my own psyche here. Yet, now, I listen.  Intently. Often my signs are found on the radio, a commercial, the music playing in the background of a busy bar.  Sure, it could be coincidence.  However, in my heart, I hear his affirmation and guidance in these moments. Most recently, I heard a song playing on Maya's IPad as she sat at the kitchen counter.  My heart had been heavy as I sorted through some of life'  I hadn't heard the song in years and as it played the tears stung behind my eyes and my heart was heavy.  In that moment, in those tears, I found my footing.   Perhaps the whole encounter sounds religious.  For me, it's spiritual and just plain human.  In the past 6 months, I've opened my eyes more to these moments, savored the affirmation on my heart and smiled more got many reasons...

What's amusing to me is that, despite all off this, often, I find myself adding a disclaimer to Chris' death.  We were 'only' married 5 1/2 years.  We were 'only' together for 8 years.  Only.  Meaning that his death meant less than had I lost him after 10 or 20 or 50 years.  There in is the catch.  Fifty years was what I had intended.  In the balance of life I've fought the idea of the loss as a failure.  Despite this, I would choose that path every time.  I would choose that loss every time.  I would choose my life, as chaotic and heavy, full and rewarding, every damn time.  Even the tears.  Who knew I'd become such a crier.  It's seriously a bit silly at times.

As a most recent bystander to loss, it has amazed me how deeply I feel for another's grief.  My own scars apparent as I navigate the perfect words to say or the perfect way to help.  But, there is no perfect.   I find myself drawn into the abyss of reassuring that life will resume as it once did, but in reality it never will.  Obligations remain, life's players stay the same, yet nothing resumes as it once was.  Grief so grossly violates the path of life and forces you down the fork you would otherwise have ignored.

At the crux, easily I could see myself walking through life focused on how I was screwed, how I didn't react fast enough, how I doubt I'll ever quite be enough for my kids, how I've dealt with horribly narcissistic people the past 5 years.  In order to grow and allow space for happiness, I have to let go of the negative, of what's causing drag and leaving the taste of failure on my palate.  Truly, living is an awfully big adventure.  Focusing....

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weight of a Soul

Rain fell softly against the deck's plastic roof, echoing vaguely through my head.  The blades of grass, damp with rain, blending together into a dark green haze speckled with the remnants of fall. The agonizing scream echoed off the trees, penetrating the leaves as my brain registered the origin as my own trembling vocal chords.  Then it stopped and the silence of the day returned with the pattering of rain, while the scream secured itself in my soul, anchoring its conscious existence to my heart.

Then it registered, my capri pajama pants, the eggplant tank top from my last pregnancy, oversized WWU sweatshirt and my glasses.  Teeth and hair unbrushed.  And no bra.  Why didn't I put a bra on?

My bra, my contacts, a hair brush and clothes .  I need them to cover my naked vulnerability.  When your heart is ripped from your chest, that's what's left.  Naked, vulnerable and an unidentifiable emotion filling my chest so completely that it makes me feel empty.

I look at those around me but all I can see is him, collapsed in the shower, the signs of death which made my heart race.  I feel the hair on his chest as my trembling hands compress his heart, begging the blood to flow through his veins while my raspy voice counts loud enough to be heard by the calm, female voice on the other end of the line, my phone perched on the corner of the bathtub. The bathroom steam escapes into the rest of the house, death slipping down the stairs, a dense fog pervasive in every inch, overcoming everyone bound by its walls.  My prayers alternate between begging Chris to stay and pleading with God to keep my children innocent of the visual that is permeating my skin, affixing itself to the dark corners of my soul.

And then I'm back.  Explaining it all to myself.  Rationalizing the events as though there was no other way for them to transpire.  The ragged breath escaping my burning lungs as I suddenly realize I've been holding onto it for much to long in the exhausted grasp of my soul.  I laugh too, at the realization that I'm unsure about what to do with all of this except slip it back into the bifold files from whence I drew it.

Four years and the question that orbits in my psyche is what have I learned.

The self-deprecating, pitiful part of my soul says nothing.  Four years in and my heart is etched with mistrust and pain so deeply that the sinews of my old life hardly hold it together.  Perhaps insurance would call it a complete loss and I wonder if I carry enough coverage to replace the damaged pieces.  If only it were a flat needing repair. Perhaps that would make this ride smooth...a simple repair to the external vessel. However, in reality, the vessel is the least of my concerns.

Each day I expect my psyche to stop searching for him .  Instead my pulse races when a man, two machines over at the gym, looks up and I see an uncanny resemblance to Chris.  Sure that I am alarming him, I try to focus on my workout only to realize I'm staring again.  But what would I say? You look like my dead husband seems a smidge creepy.  I drive across town and see a truck identical to the one Chris owned when we first met and I almost miss my turn as my inner voice encourages me to follow, just in case.  In my house I grasp for the energy he left behind but my hands come up empty. In the life we once shared exists very little of him.  The life itself evolved out of necessity and even the position he once took pride in has been consumed by the void of what's left.

Starting from scratch.  Closing the book or turning the page.  Figuring out how much weight a soul can take.

I'd like to say, then a smile creeps onto my lips and I trust.  In fact, I typed that first but realized the lie that resonated in my words.  I will say there is a vast dichotomy in reality and expectation.  Despite this, life truly is a landscape smitten with steep mountains and palatial valleys.  Though I wish I could reverse the events of November 17, 2010, the blessing of being on this vast Earth and allowed to savor this life through my breathtaking children doesn't escape my soul.  Through them I hold on to everything that is authentic.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Call me...maybe?!?!

Call Me Maybe blared on the I Pad from the back seat of my filthy expedition, for the twenty or thirtieth time, as we journeyed back over pass, back to life-away from our twenty-four hour trek to the lake, the woods, the fresh air and friends who know our idiosyncrasies.  

I giggled as I pondered my current life and listened to my kids sing every lyric, wondering if they have any clue what they are singing about.

I laughed myself because returning to my house is an emotional process., which truly isn't funny-but aren't most of us happy to return to our sanctuaries?  So much sh** has gone down behind my green front door... last summer I was going to paint it orange.  I was under this delusion that the direction of my life would alter if the door I walked through each time I entered the wooden confines of my memories was painted a different color.  After contemplating this minor change one day, I shrugged and haven't looked at the paint can since.

Sometimes walking through this front door reminds me of all that has been here and all that has gone... sometimes the air feels heavy in my lungs and sometimes I merely glance around as the weight of the walls bear down.  

Call Me, Maybe?  maybe...  I probably won't answer.  If you are closely acquainted with me or my cell phone, you know that phone calls are scarce and texts are verbose.  When my phone rings my pulse quickens and I contemplate quickly tossing either my cookies or my phone out the closest window.  If I take the time to dial your number, answer.  It took a lot for me to call.....  It's possible a professional should address that.

Really though, the song caused a much deeper moment in the twenty-fourth repeat than I anticipated.

November 17th it will be 4 years since Chris earned his wings and I was thrust into widowhood.

A month ago was the one year mark of living as a single mom.....again, after my marriage self-destructed.

This was a year of self discovery, some self celebration as well as a healthy dose of self loathing.  Though I'm fiercely independent and find moments of solitude necessary in filling my own cup, I'm also missing the phone calls intended for me.  You know the ones, the daily check ins, the quick I loves yous.  Don't judge, just sayin'.  At the same time I've discovered that dating is not for the faint of heart but that's a story and a lesson in self to divulge another day.  I love fiercely, only let go with great difficulty and hold on to those who have held a place in my heart because they are few... is that a character flaw?

Ok...what's the point?  Right now, I'm not exactly sure what the point of this post or this moment is.

Sometimes it's about holding on, watching the horizon, slipping my hand into hope, loosening my grasp on things that need to breathe, and putting my sails up-hoping to catch the wind.  Sometimes it's about watching the storm approaching, hearing the wind coming high up in the trees and finding something to hold me at center.

Contemplating 38 years on this Earth, a new career, growing kids, singlehood, and the overbearing load of responsibility, I'm attempting to come up for air and take in the peace, the moments of joy, and release the sadness.

Where I used to write so freely, I now find the words stuck between my thoughts and my fingers in this place where emotions wash out to sea.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Here's to Truth

There are moments when eyes and heart deceive the brain to interject a false reality.  In those moments the spoken word of truth often dissipates the fogginess to reveal what is true despite the desperate attempts of the heart to shield itself from the certainty of desolation on the pages where it hurts to look.


I'm getting divorced.  I've been getting divorced.  Finalization of dissolution is imminent.

Perhaps if you're reading this and you hadn't noticed the absence, your chin dropped.  More likely than not, you know or perhaps were at least mildly curious.  I don't air my dirty laundry on Facebook or spend my days creating a false pretense by which to slam those with whom I am no longer. Instead, this reality, like many others, was mine to keep and the future wishes of happiness sincere.

Even now, details are moot as the reality has crept into existence.

I wish no ill will and do not long to make anyone's life miserable or laden with rumors.  There is only truth and two people hold that key.  For the rest of you, I hope you hold love, compassion and hope.

I have found this truth difficult and lonely.  Fully does my brain realize this is my choice.  I made this choice with a thoughtful mind and heart, however, my heart doesn't always agree with my brain in moments when I am lost in my stark white reality and wishing for a softening of the blazing sun as it sets yet my heart is lost in vast, gulping sobs of pain causing an utter faintness in my breath.

Here's to truth.  Not a celebration of certainty but a step toward a softer reality.