Monday, October 28, 2013

Aims, ambitions, and goals in life...?

The assignment is to write a paragraph detailing your aims, ambitions, and goals in life.  Then, figure out how much progress you are making towards them.

I have never been particularly goal oriented.  I am much more free spirited.  If I had a goal or goals, I guess they would be to help others, children in particular, to travel, and to find ways to not carry the wounds of my family's past into my future.  When I was in college, getting ready to graduate, I wanted to go into the Peace Corps.  I thought, if I don't get in, I would move somewhere warmer than Maine and do something with kids.  I was rejected and so I moved to Virginia and ended up working for St. Joseph's Villa- the longest continuously operating children’s nonprofit organization in the country.  I worked for the Dooley School, aiding for elementary aged students who had been kicked out of public schools.  I also worked a little at the homeless shelter.  During my schooling in Maine, I worked in a Nursery School as an aide for kids with special needs, I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter as a kid worker.  Additionally, I have had a chance to travel throughout Europe and Australia, as well as a little bit through South America.  As for healing the wounds of my family's past, I have learned to understand that the verbal abuse that rained down on me during my teenage years was born of a twisted desire to keep me from harm.  It came from the fear my grandmother carried in her heart that I would fall victim to some of the same awful things that she did.  I have forgiven both her and my mother.  I still strive to find ways to let go of the confusing mental tapes they implanted as a grew to adulthood.  So I suppose, when things are totaled, I have done a pretty good job of reaching my goals.  For now, I want to find a way to get through the grief of losing my husband to cancer in the healthiest way possible.  I want to be a strong, loving, positive role model for my children.  I desperately want to get to a place where I am open to love again.  Right now, my goals have to do with surviving, healing, facing pain so that I don't hide from it but heal within it, like a piece of iron in a forge.

That might be more than a paragraph. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

when Volcanic tears surprise me

He was my
now my every day
is empty
Not completely
just harshly devoid
of sweet caring
gentle support
loving caresses
insider jokes
and insider fights

now, inside
just hurts
so I try
lighting candles
to visualize
my insides
burning down
to compost dust
our love a kind of loam
building a base
to be nutrient rich
where something
new someday
something special
something small and real
a tender tendril
a quiet green growth
might poke through
something to clear the air
offer beauty
carry comfort
engender empathy
into the empty

Saturday, October 26, 2013

soft breezes after all

when things are moderately quiet
and the wind blows sweetly
most of the dishes are done
bedtime comes softly

there may be a moment
where the storm inside settles
at least a little

the small stuff they say not to sweat
can that be the cleaning of sinks and floors?
can it be that we order out most nights?

the dogs wrestle and growl and make weird
small snippy noises
the refrigerator mumbles a muted
single noted tune

my daughter drew pictures all night
my oldest argued about homework and still
it got done

there were movies and video games
baths and mayonnaise hair goo
mud masks, candles,
lavender bubbles and books by Vonnegut.

there isn't a single thing
totally whole
like the wind
the moments are coming softly

Perhaps the power to find myself
to find some peace
to find a home
without him

Perhaps it is possible
in the peace of a moderately quite night
after all.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


When does it end?  It doesn' just gets easier to manage.  Or at least, that is what they tell me.  And then it comes to light that the stupid things I have been doing, they have been enabling me to hide from my grief, postpone it...but like it says in Tear Soup, if I don't face it, then it will just crust over and get more messed up than it should have been.  Acknowledging this, I feel...a little less fear, but a lot more pain.

The reality is that there is nothing to hold me up as I go through this...there is me.  There is no one here who loves me more than anyone else.  Do not let your thoughts go to my kids.  That is different.  I know and love that they keep me smiling and alive and moving forward.  I do not take them for granted, nor do I discount them in any way.  It's just that it is a different thing I am talking about.

I think of John so much more now, that my stupid choices are done.  I think, too often, "I'm sorry" that the deep path to my grief?  Sorrow?  Some version of regret?  Feeling like there is nothing to fight for isn't right...I have the children we created, I have perhaps half my life left...I have to believe in myself, but without John that is quite difficult.  And every time I reach for someone else, and they help me, or I reach for them and they don't need me or reach for me the way I need them to, it gets harder.  I guess I have to stop reaching...but I need to be clear that reaching is not the same as asking for help...I don't, yet, know how to tell them apart, or to explain the difference...but I see the separation.

I suppose I need to be fixed from the inside.

But who can do that?  How can that be done?  The only way is for me to fix myself.  To open the door to the pain I have been afraid of, that I have been blocking...but the problem is that the pain I have been blocking is too big to live with.

If I hide from my grief, I am afraid it will get so big  I cannot handle it.  If I allow it to come through, in its entirety, I fear it will destroy me.  I have to say "goodbye" to the first person I KNOW would love me no matter what.  There is no one, not mother, not grandmother, not father, no one...that I truly found a way to believe in that with.  Until John.  And he is dead.  and now I have dating sites, dog poop, diapers, lesson plans, responsibility, pain, fear, loneliness, loss, I have life.

Without him.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

working on my credo and my "commandments"

I believe that "religion" should be a set of values, ideas, or aspirations that set you on a path toward being the best person you can be.  I believe people should try to perceive and to create beauty in the world.
Beauty is not how a person or a thing looks.  It is how you love and how you speak and how you walk.  It is the way an experience or thing affects you, makes you stop and appreciate its existence.
I believe that belief is not what you find written by someone.  It is what makes your heart relax and what touches your center in a way that opens everything inside you to hope.

I believe that to let the rain touch my pores, to let my heart connect to the mist that caresses the crevices of each mountain nook, to take the time to notice the sunrise and the way the air can smell like different seasons allows me to live, without judgement, regardless of answers. 

I don't believe there really are answers.  There are questions cradled in the glowing sunsets, the sparkling sunrises, the crackling fires, and the smooth sleek tumbles of river waters, in each sorrow and joy we experience.

I believe there is nothing but what is here and can be felt, or created between each of us, be the pairing human, ursine, aquatic, somehow sentient, or solid and of the earth.

I believe it is for each of us to Find a path.  Hold a hand.  Touch something other than ourselves.  These simple things are what I believe in.  These connections.  These moments of clarity that breathe comfort into the indifference or pain which all too often engulfs us.  I do not believe There is a god or God, no Goddess or gods judging us, loving us, choosing among us, helping or hurting us...there is energy and I believe that this energy can sometimes respond to us, in different ways. There is expansion, growth, destruction, pain, death, sorrow...and love. If there is anything akin to being saved, it is feeling, finding, accepting LOVE. 

There is Divine Connection.

My idea of 6 Ethical Commandments, or perhaps Guidelines
1) Treat all life as sacred
2) Show compassion in all you do.  Remember to include in this both yourself and those you dislike
3) Speak and act honestly whenever possible
4) Accept and respect the idea that there are very few right and wrong thoughts/actions; rather, most  
    often there are ones we do understand and agree with, and ones we don't
5) Be brave enough to ask for help when needed- allowing others to do for you is a blessing because 
    it fosters Divine Connection
6) Share whenever possible, for this also honors Divine Connection

Sunday, October 20, 2013

so many thoughts, without him...The house that love built.

In my Building Your Own Theology book "We behold the stars and write our own meanings in them"

On meditation:  it is to live with insight, tethered by reality and to reality, while still finding grace and peace and happiness.  It is not an escape or a denial, or a special place.

As Bhante Sujatha said today, you cross a river on a raft.  The idea is to be grateful for the raft that got you here, and leave that vehicle at the river bank...walk away from it, you do not need to carry it with you as you proceed.

And then, inside myself, the quiet is something I treasure, but do not always seek.  I acknowledge and embrace the idea that there is no wrong way to grieve, yet when I seek happiness, I feel as though there is betrayal there.  Again, I think of him...I know that this is wrong.  He would not want me to feel that.  Yet, how can I feel happy without him by my side?  How can I feel comfortable and confident in a search for happiness when I know all he wanted was to live forever, to be involved in the happiness and the search for as long as the search was possible?  Yet, when I stop and think, he did that.  Just not for as long as he had hoped.  For really nowhere near long enough.

So I search my soul, and I see I carry loneliness.  There is also a deep and painful sorrow.  Bitterness.  Anger and fear.  And then...there is a vast space inside me where there is nothing.  When I find myself coasting through this internal desert, that is when I can laugh and smile.  I do so, however, without foundation.  Yet, I can still do so...

Thus I find myself wondering about that emptiness...that void.  And perhaps that is the place he lived inside me.  That is the part of me that he made his home.  That is where he built a house for love and hope and trust and kindness.  Because before him, there were many people and moments that showed me those things, but there was not enough to create a stage, to build a skeleton or framework.  And now that he is gone, that space is still there.  I do not believe (perhaps it is more that I desperately hope?) that it will ever go away.  Since it was created, it now lives.  Yet it is vast.  And now it is mine to create.  Or rather to decorate?  We were not together so very the scheme of things.  I had him by my side as my partner for more or less 12 years.  That amount of time is incredible vast, in comparison to what I had prior...yet it is tiny.  And so, without him, I find that it is not so full of things that I can move forward comfortably with what he left me...I wonder if that is the difference between me, and widows who had their love for longer?  I wonder if that is why some can comfortably and happily go for years and years without feeling the need for someone to be by their side.  But I feel like I was cheated from so the rug was taken out from under me...I had just really begun the journey of believing that I would be loved by someone special no matter what.

What I want most of all, is to honor the fact that he loved me.  I want to show myself that much love, too.  I know he would want that.  He always did.  He hated when I was in pain.  He hated even more being the cause of that pain.  I look at his photos and see so many smiles.  I remember when he would cry.  I remember when I would push him to admit to me that he was terrified of leaving, of dying.  I don't think anyone else saw that.  What a gift!  That he loved and trusted me enough to let me see his fear and pain, if only for a moment.  What an honor.

His friend tags photos of him with #badass.  And he was, in so many ways.  He was MY bad ass.
street luge
 And my sweetheart, my savior, the owner of my heart, the man of my dreams, a pain in my ass, the most oblivious person I have ever known, the best lover I have ever had...he was exactly what I wanted.  Our love was real and messy and wonderful.  And now it is gone.  I know it never really will be GONE, but it is not here, it is not now.

And I think that to honor him, I must embrace my pain and anger and confusion and sorrow, but mostly I must learn to live in that empty place that he was trying to make a home.  Because that is where the best of me lies.  I just have to wade through everything else, all those other feelings, to figure out how to get there.  I have to use those things, and more, to decorate in here.  Because to do other than that, well, that would be to deny him.  And I will NEVER deny him.  I will never replace him.  I will search for love.  I will search for ways to love myself.  I will search for others worthy of my love.  Because the most powerful and meaningful thing in life, as far as I am concerned, is loving and being loved.  So that will be my legacy to him.  I don't think I will get there right away.  I am still in the muck and mire of screwing up and being selfish and foolish and messed up...and that is okay.  that is part of the construction.  If I could acknowledge that my amazing love for him was imperfect and messy and hard right along with all the lovely and amazing and sweet and sexy and true, well, then that is how I will build this new house.  The one that feels like it has no foundation.

Because really, it has one.  It has an amazing foundation.  It is the house that love built.  It is the home inside me that he helped to start.  Would I rather he was the one there building with me?  Oh HELL yeah...but I don't get that.  However, to allow it to fall to ruin, to give up, to cave in...oh, that would be so wrong.  It would be so very disrespectful to him.  And on this journey, I know I am likely to make wrong choices and choices that are harmful to me in some way.  But I will NOT disrespect him. Not if I am aware of it or if I can do anything about it.

This pain is larger than anything I thought existed.  And the only reason I know I will get through it well and with love, is because somewhere, somehow, he is with me.  And I know I am strong, I am a warrior...but HE was and will always be a bad ass...and he is in my corner.

after skydiving..note the necklaces

Thursday, October 17, 2013

nothing shattered

let it go
let it slide through
your fingers
and watch it fall
to shatter

there's a quiet hum
while you reach for things to make the pain
more physical than
and suddenly
the outside begins
to whisper
as the rain rolls in

squeezing my eyes shut
biting my lips
curling my toes and really?

nothing matters
there is nothing
i am nothing
i have nothing
and it is no one's fault

and that
makes nothing

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

too much, too real...i have nothing

this just fucking sucks.  I feel like karma has to be kicking my ass.  and I know I did some stupid bad shit, but not like this!  and then I think about my kids.  what the hell did they do, to lose their dad?  it's just so hard to think outside of the story I thought I knew, where I was the lead.  we are all the lead in our own life story.  of course.  except for how self centered and selfish that seems.  and I just keep coming back to the idea that it doesn't matter.  nothing matters.  nothing.  and nothing is real.  and i realized, crying in the shower, that I only truly had him by my side, in a way I trusted and believed, for five years.  he had cancer for the last two and a half or so.  in that small time we did have, my mother died, i had three babies, gained 60 lbs, had my school under review with a crazy messed up principal at the helm...he never stopped being attracted to me...trying to be there for me...loving me...

he sucked.  I need to be honest.  he got turned on whenever I was close, but he was horrible at saying kind things to me.  I literally had to teach him, almost word for word, the sweet things he could say.  He never even really used my name, which was something I have always loved, my name.  He didn't say it often, he didn't type it often.

He was also amazing...he never pushed or demanded or whined about anything I wasn't ready to share...but the long and the short of it is that I did not have enough time with him

And how do I go through life feeling like that was not a punishment?  It was not about me.  okay.  I do get that....but then why couldn't I have found someone else to love?  I loved him, he loved me...and all I want is to take a knife and carve out my heart, my center, my soul...because he is gone.  yet knowing how positive and strong and amazing he was, I cannot allow that desire to even begin to manifest.  yet not allowing it to do so feels like a betrayal to how much love I felt, feel, for him.

I hate this.  I cannot say it enough.

and I also do not want to be alone.

and I hate the stupid idea of having to "date" again...what a load of shit.  I want to kiss and hug and make out, and let someone touch me...and if they can make me think, and laugh, and hope, and tingle, then maybe they can meet my kids...and after that, who the hell knows?  becuase how fucking long will it take to make all that other shit happen at the same (basic) time!?  If I believed in "god", which I don't, this is where I'd say "for god's sake", when the hell do I get a break??

The other thing I keep thinking, is how there is so much in my life, but simultaneously so much nothing.  I am "on" from 6:15 or so in the morning until 7:30 or 8:00 at night, if the kids more or less go to bed without a struggle.  I have three nights a week, right now, where I am doing something for me- for my soul, my pain, my creativity...but even those things are hard to keep up with.  because if I had my way, I would have quiet time to cry and sleep and cry some more and remember him.

I sincerely wonder if that is a good thing to desire.

What I know, is that there is nothing.  There is nothing for me.  I am speaking of me, the Woman, not the Mother.  The mother part of me is doing okay, is seeing the lovely value of the amazing friends watching my babies and being good influences, trying to live with the anger rules, trying to show Aiden how much I love him by articulating that love is shown through NOT hugging when he doesn't want a hug, through random gifts, through tiny gifts of peanuts and being willing to not force him to hold my hand when I wish he would just never let go.  He has to grieve John in his own way and I can't make him fit my heart or timeline or anything, really.  I just need to always be in the sidelines showing him I care.

I mean the Woman...that part of me always doubted...she has been betrayed and hurt and broken in so many ways in so many places...why is it that this is a truth for so many of us?  I watch characters kiss on t.v. shows and my whole body aches for some sort of physical connection, tenderness, love...and I have so much painful jealousy of those who have that kind of link, especially when they don't acknowledge it.

And so I say again...I have nothing.  I feel like just too much nothing.  Not only do I wish I were and miss being the most important thing in someone's life, but I wish I had someone to focus on, to love, to turn on, to keep safe in my grown up arms...I wish I had someone who sought my shoulder and my understanding and approval, support, something...I wish I mattered in that special sexual secret sensual way.

John's love was a gift.  He sucked and he was amazing, all in one package.  I never ever would have traded him.  Life took that choice away from me...and I don't know what the hell to do with the remnants of that....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

what if it doesn't matter?

tearing at things that are only
partly there
and all the world around you is calling
for you
to fix this, make that better

the place where things should be able to be
is a very large hole
so what, pray tell, is the next

This hole ingests
things that care
the parts of me that find a way to hope
but then,  the fact is
that empty space
calls for something
to fill it

and what fills holes better than
amounts of hope

and hope made flesh
gives gifts that grow, multiply

So it seems
what I need is
made flesh

till time stalls and something sad
seeps into every single cell
and there's
no flesh

but the memories that fill me, memories of him,
make holes
in the whole heart
that he helped heal

So my only question now
now what?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

mangled and incomplete

I told someone recently that it feels like I am dying.  And it does.  Or at least I imagine in some ways it might.  It's as if all the things that made me, not so much who I am, but solid, are being pulled away.  Like I am a magic trick, the one where the tablecloth is pulled out from under you and all the dishes stay standing.  But instead of being pulled out swiftly, the threads that support me are constantly being unraveled. They began with the diagnosis, in October of 2010, three years ago.  When John died, the candles in the center fell and now, in addition to my tablecloth being unraveled, everything is on fire.  Things are still recognizable.  Some things are still lovely.  But mostly the tattered and charred and smoldering bits and pieces leave me confused, scared, angry.

I try to think of who I was, in his eyes.  And I don't really know.  So I try to think about who I was when I met him, but that would be backtracking on a significant amount of progress.  Although I do wish I could tap into the joy I felt at finally being able to teach my own class.  That was an immense and wonderful feeling.  So I try to think of the things that I embraced through our relationship.  I feel like so many of those things are beyond ethereal...traveling was a big one.  I had gone through Europe in a whirlwind tour that was a dream come true that I never ever thought I'd realize.  Then, I took myself to Australia to get my SCUBA license on the Barrier Reef, I tried surfing, rode in a Tiger Moth, went skydiving...What a treasure and magical gift those adventures were.  I got to announce dive shows to literally hundreds of people at Thorpe Park in London while he set himself on fire and did goofy dances day after day.  And our honeymoon was in South America, the Galapagos Islands and Machu Pichu.  That was something we had talked about, dreamed about, when we were dating and I was living in La Plata.  We were emailing a lot at the time, living two hours away.  A relationship through letters and phone calls, and weekends full of passion and playfulness and desperation.

I can't afford to travel anymore.  I have no one to watch the dogs and it would mean tickets and accommodations for four.  I barely make enough to get bills paid and take a few trips to Luray Caverns, see a few movies, and buy clothes for their growing bodies and my fluctuating one.

I was loving Tae Kwan Do at the time and learning to bounce on his trampoline team.  Now, not only do I not have the time for classes, I had a hard time finding a martial arts studio I liked when I moved here.  Plus, my damn body hurts!  My knees are the worst.  And as for flipping again, I couldn't keep up pace with simply bouncing at this point.  These things feel a little more like excuses than the money issues, I have to admit.  But I do feel like right now, I have three days of activities during the week, and church on Sundays.  That leaves Monday, Friday, and Saturday to rest, spend time with the kids, do what seems like three hundred loads of laundry, go grocery shopping, and try to do some tiny little version of cleaning something in the house.  I can't add anything else right now.

Who else was I, that he fell in love with?  It was so much easier to maintain a smile and a laugh.  I feel like I still laugh a lot, but there is this deep dark gray that lurks under the covers.  Even if you can't see it out there, it squeezes everything inside me.  All the time.  I was not naive.  I had already experienced quite a lot.  But there was a tenderness to my hope.  I haven't really let go of hope.  But it doesn't feel tender anymore.  It feels mildly bitter, it feels frayed, certainly subdued, almost violated.

It is too early to look for someone to walk beside me, to hold my hand, to help things feel lighter.  To help me laugh.  But I think of my babies and how much easier it is for the younger ones to accept a big change and how hard they might fight someone coming into our family the longer they have only me to rely on.  And I think of the fact that I am 39.  Perhaps 40 would have been a hard age to face even with John alive and well...but it doesn't seem that way when I think back.  What feels scary is that I am a 39 year old widow with three small kids, 60 extra pounds that won't go away no matter how well I eat (thank you, stress...and wine), and far more than what feels like my fair share of baggage to wade through.  Who the HELL would be willing to wade through all the crap I carry to jump into life with me?  With anyone who carried this much?  Maybe if I was younger...or if I were older and the kids were older, almost grown...or if I was my strong and healthy weight?

But these are all "what ifs" and I don't normally do those much.  I never saw the point.  So there is another change.

I do feel like I am the woman he loved died with him and was burned up as his body was incinerated...pieces of her, melting into him.  And I feel like I am still burning up and I am metal in a forge...and life keeps whacking the hell out of me, a blacksmith with a hammer and no clear plan of what they are making.  I want out.  I want to be done.  And I can scream all I want from inside the flames, but there's no one who can hear me. 

Besides, I don't want to come out all mangled and incomplete.  So I have to stay in...I have to stay feeling like I am dying till the fire burns out. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

moving forward, moving back...mostly deflated

For a while, I was laughing and smiling and moving along pretty well.  And then I realized the crutch I was using was not something that was mine to use.  So I put it down.  And when I did, I looked around me and saw, so deeply, that John was not there.  My insides crumbled again.  But when you are a mom and you support your kids all alone, you don't get to stop.  So I kept moving. 

There are small things that help with that.  But damn, this hand is f*cking hard to play.  Today, I stayed home and did 5 (yes five) loads of laundry, made pancakes for breakfast, another batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, cut up fresh fruit and cheese to have with carrots hummus and cheese for lunch, watch Star Wars 4 (again) with the kids, and literally just crawled through an empty shitty lonely day.  I think of all of you out there that have someone beside you.  Even if they are annoying and frustrating and don't get it a lot of the time, you are still not alone.  And those of you who would tell me that I have kids, you just don't understand.  If you stop and think a moment, you would know that is not what I mean. 

The washing machine seems to have a leak of some sort.  As does the faucet in the kitchen sink.  And no matter how much I bust my ass, nothing is ever clean.  

In my support group, there is this sweet woman who brings her husband's shirt.  It is just one of his t-shirts.  Nothing too special.  But she sprays it with his cologne.  And so it smells like him.  And she said her daughters (who are older- I forget how old, teens?) come in to her room sometimes to get a sniff.  She said she heard the one who is married talking about what she is going to do when she loses her husband because he doesn't wear cologne.  She wondered if she would end up rubbing his deodorant all over a shirt.  And that is just what I was thinking while she was talking, because John didn't wear cologne!  So tonight, when I got in my jammies (a new red, silky nighty I bought myself) I put his deodorant on.  Because of course I haven't gotten rid of it.  At first it didn't really smell like him, but now that I am sweating a little, it sort of does.  It is bitter sweet.

And our homework was to write a letter to him, to our husbands.  Just the statement made me cry.  And I wrote it last night.  I haven't sobbed that hard since the week after he died.  It's not even that I don't know what to do without him.  It's more that I don't WANT to know what to do without him.  I want HIM BACK.  We were not a perfect couple.  We had work to do.  But he loved me so much!  And I have never felt love like that- no matter what happened, I trusted him, believed in him, I knew he would be there for me.  And now all I have is an echo of him in everything I do.  I suppose I'm honored to have that, but it's just not enough.

The other thing, since I put that crutch down, is that the anger is visible below the surface again.  Close enough that it rears it's head a couple times a day.  It isn't as nasty.  But it is still as strong.  

I remember how I felt on our wedding day, in small ways.  I look at our pictures, and I remember feeling so full of joy, I was buzzing...every part of my body felt like it was alive and full of everything powerful.  I was excited and I knew that nothing was going to work out perfectly and it would all still be beautiful because I was walking the path to meet HIM.  He was so different from anyone I had ever known, from anyone I ever dreamed would love me.  I didn't have to be tough or cool to impress him.  I just had to be me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

trying hard

the evening drizzle is cold enough to sting
in the aftermath
the cricket songs are continuous
the soft breeze creates gently dancing tree shadows
on my neighbors wood fence

I dream of moving
but there is so much
I would have to pack
I remember maneuvering his wheelchair
through houses we were shopping for

My baby says he misses daddy
My oldest asks if I am used to being without him yet.
No, I say.  No, I'm not.
I am, he says. 

I awake covered in pee,
I make everyone breakfast but me
grab my coffee and a Luna bar
and don't stop moving from 6:20 a.m. till 9:15

strange things
break me
at moments I can't predict
but mostly I can smile and play
while inside my heart curdles
because each moment, good or bad,
moves me away from him

How is it that he is not here? 
I don't understand that.
I live it, I just don't understand it.

sometimes I wish I could light myself up
like a cigarette or a candle or a fire work
burn and glow and send smoke into the atmosphere
and be done
I'd leave trailer lights behind the eyes of anyone who saw me
and I wouldn't have
to try

beginnings of my credo?

Beauty is not how you look.  It is how you love and how you speak and how you walk.

belief is not what you find written by someone.  It is what makes your heart relax and what touches your center in a way that opens everything inside you to hope.

Greatness is not being right or being followed or admired.  It is knowing what is right and standing up for it, while not allowing your stance to be on the backs of anyone else.

let the rain touch my pores.  let my heart connect to the mist that caresses the crevices of each mountain nook.  these are the places that allow me to live, without judgement

There are not answers.  There are questions cradled in the glowing sunsets, the sparkling sunrises, the crackling fires, and the smooth sleek tumbles of river waters

I believe there is nothing but what is here and can be felt, or created between each of us, be the pairing human, ursine, aquatic, somehow sentient, or solid and of the earth.

There is power in each of these things.  Some carry power in words, some in caress, some in strength and solidity or in their simple existence.

Find a path.  Hold a hand.  Touch something other than yourself.  These simple things are what I believe in.  These connections.  These moment of clarity that breathe comfort into the indifference or pain which all too often engulfs us.  There is no god or God, no Goddess or gods judging us, loving us, choosing among us, helping or hurting us...there is energy. There is expansion, growth, destruction, pain, death, sorrow...and love. If there is anything akin to being saved, it is feeling, finding, accepting LOVE. 

There is Divine Connection.


Monday, October 7, 2013

wishing for the woods

I am so tired.  I feel numb and hollow and lost.  I hate going to sleep at night because I know it will bring another day that I have to fight my way through.  I can't keep up with anything.  I have this friend who is a lawyer and several years back she was in a horrible car accident.  This was before we met.  They didn't know if she would live.  After recovering, she had so much pain for so long, they ended up needing to do this operation to implant a device that sends pain medication through her system at regular intervals.  You would never know there was anything wrong with her.  Plus, her third and youngest son is one of the kids that has the type of peanut allergy that, when combined with his asthma, could kill him, and almost has on several occasions. 

What this seems to have done is create this very intelligent woman who has a huge heart and a phenomenal talent for saying the right things at the right times.  At least to me.  I remember when John was first diagnosed, she used to pick up Aiden and take him to preschool with her two boys ever day.  One day, I got Aiden to the door and things were crazy as I was trying to get stuff organized to get John to NIH for his chemo and we weren't even close to being ready...she stopped me and told me in this amazing and awe struck tone that I get the kids waffles for breakfast every day and keep things going.  I was all "yeah, and?"  She told me that was huge.  That it was normal and one of the hardest things ever when you are dealing with they type of thing we were dealing with.  I had never thought of that.  She stopped me in my tracks.  Something in her eyes made me take the compliment, even though I didn't really get it, and something in her voice gave me a deep comfort. 

And now I get it...the fact that I am getting them their V8 Fusion every day, that I talk about getting protein and fiber and things like that, even when dinner is not so stellar (most nights), that I give them whole food vitamins...that we have clean (albeit unfolded) laundry at all...these things are so huge.  Gargantuan.  Because all I want to do is find a rock to crawl under.  No, some woods to go hide in. 

I want to set up a tent with no one around for miles.  I want to hike so far that my legs buckle, I want to be in the middle of nowhere so I can take my shirt off if I want and feel the wind and sun on my body.  I want to be rained on.  I want to get my hands and feet all dirty and muddy.  I want to have the smell of green things filling my nostrils and my pores.  I don't want to have anyone to talk to.  I want to be able to cry to the stars and even wail and not worry about who hears.  I want to strip and swim naked at night with the moon shimmering wavy on the water...I want to hide.  And I don't get to. 

So I write.  And stare, and struggle to find my smile.  And put one foot in front of another.  Over and over.
something like this could be a good choice...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

like a bad dentist visit for my soul

I struggled so much this week.  I have let go of some of the inappropriate things I was doing for support.  They have been replaced my nothing but myself.  So the barricades are down and the waves crashing onto my shore are threefold what I thought I would face.  Or something like that.  Either way, I had three anxiety attacks in one day, found myself breathing deeply to avoid yelling, and finally had to take a mental health day on Friday. 

Today was like being dipped in Novocaine and drilled on.  We went to Adventure Park for a birthday party.  Last time we were there was the last little playful adventure we had with John.  I remember how hard it was to maneuver through everything with him on the wheel chair.  I remember constantly having to lift his left arm and put it in his lap so that it would not bang on things.  I remember how crooked his smile was, with the muscle weakness intensifying, and how hard that made it for me to truly enjoy his smile.  Then we went to the memorial service for my friend's father.  I didn't cry.  I did get tears in my eyes.  The quotes that she and her husband ended their speeches with  wonderful.  The service wasn't too long.  But my head was spinning, leaving me a little dizzy.  The exhaustion that lays on my shoulders feels elephantine.

Somewhere in the deep center of my chest, I think I can feel the place that proves I will get through this period of pain.  I can't really explain that.  Nor can I really reach it.  But it is there.  And if I am wrong, and it isn't there, I have to make it.  I have to build it into that tiny hollow space, make it grow and get stronger, choose the color, the size, the shape...

Aiden asked me this morning if I am used to not having Daddy now.  I told him I am not.  He said "I am."  We talked about how he will miss his dad at different times throughout his life.  We talked about how we had different relationships, that he was their dad, but my husband.  He was my favorite grown up human being in the world.  And Neil has been talking about his dad, too.  He has said that Daddy is in his heart, that he doesn't want me to to die.  My little three year old is thinking of these things at random moments in our day.  Plus, at the service today, Aiden was asking questions about if what was coming was going to be like when his dad died.  How is it that I live in this bizarre, alternate reality?  I never had any sort of plan.  I never said that I wanted a guy like x, y, and z.  I didn't have a plan for how old I would be when I got married, how many kids I would have, or any of those things.  I never even dreamed of what my wedding would be like, until after John proposed.  But I never expected something like this.  And I just do not know what to do with this. 

I do not want to be alone.  Not for five years, not for eleven, most certainly not for my life.  But I just don't know how I will ever find someone that will love me through the ruins that surround my heart.  Through the insane anger that seems to permeate everything around me.  And at the same time, I do not want to be with someone, like in Some Kind of Wonderful, for the wrong reasons.  I would rather be alone that with someone who wasn't kind enough, patient, committed, funny, smart...whose crazy fit my heart well enough to reach the gaps in me.

And I have no clue how to find that kind of person.  I have no clue how to be a solo mom. I have no clue how to keep the house clean, the laundry done, be a wonderful teacher, keep my temper in control, care for the short, I have no clue what I am doing.  I have no clue who I will be when this part of my journey settles enough that I can see around me.  I wish I had someone here, close enough to me, to help me remember some of the things that I want to be...but we all have our own journeys.  And many people love me.  But none enough to accurately help me with this.  It has to be me.  And I have learned to love myself and live well on my own in the past.  It's just that now I have three kids,  a teaching career, and soooo much more pain I have to deal with.  I have a good archetype to work with, a good foundation.  But I have no mason to help me build.  I have no guide, no compass, no active team of workers.  I have lovely random patrons and momentary hands to join my cause.  I am incredibly grateful for those...

But I am lonely, and I have many broken parts, and I am scared.  And angry.  And it is so damn hard. 

And it doesn't matter.  I have to keep going...I have our babies to care for. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Will I ever be done?

too much time
feeling the lonely aches
not enough time
letting the pain through

till too much
piles up
and other things drift away
all of a sudden
the world
               without him
seeps in

Reality creeps into
every pore
till there's no room left
for the tears I hadn't known
I was holding
inside.  Like someone turning
on a faucet
they come
and they don't stop
not for anyone

All the layers
of empty and full
twist and curl
combining in my head
writhing and convulsing
some alien creature growing

A woman says she is no longer
who she had been
which makes me wonder
who I am becoming

and how I will know
when I
finally have

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

eternity in a moment

empty yourself
like pouring water from your soul
into a small and fragile cup

each moment that passes
is a moment farther
is a moment more
is a moment of strength

at times I am more empty than I
thought I would ever be able to bear
at times, I am so full I am an electric wire
overloading, sparking, smoking

what I want most of all is a hand
someone to reach out inside the insanity
offer balast
steady the tipping and trembling that touches
each moment
each breath

The only hand that matters
is mine

but mine are fluttering in vague patterns
not knowing what to do with themselves
dancing off rhythm, knocking things over

and what stands before me
not what I expected...

I bite my lips
I sing a song
I change the diapers, kiss the booboos
and wonder

When I will wander
into a place of wonder
where someone, somewhere
will care
for me enough
that my hands settle softly at my sides. 

It should only take a moment
In the scheme of things

Something to look forward to...?

My homework assignment for my widows and widowers group is to write a list of things I can look forward to.  It seems that the idea is to in I need to understand that there aren't many things to look forward to within this gray cloud that I call life right now.  But even inside numbness, one can think of things that make them smile, focus on them, and deliver them to yourself.  I have been accessing a variety of awkward things that have helped.  Not all of them have been healthy.  And when I think of this assignment, I keep hearing crickets.  But I need to try.  I want to try.  I will try, because it would be like a gift from John.

So...good poets borrow, great poets steal.  Therefore, I shall take the list we were given, and tweak each one to make it mine.  I will make an honest attempt at leaving out the unhealthy things, and the things that would seem completely unrealistic for me.  Even though when I think about this, all of it seems pretty unrealistic.  I will try to let that go...

Read something off my kindle every day- whether it is a couple poems or a few pages in one of the books I started and have not embraced

Memorize an inspirational quote and repeat it to myself throughout the day

Sit outside in the evenings, if even for just a moment, and breathe in the dark

Buy myself flowers once a month

Light candles and/or incense every night

Remember to listen to music when I cook, bake, clean, or fold laundry.  Listen to lots of music, in general

Go to a movie without the kids once a month

(this is directly from the list)Select a picture postcard of Frederick and send it to a friend to encourage them to visit

Watch a movie with the kids, put the computer down, eat popcorn and snuggle.

Bake a special treat for myself and the kids, and plan a time to sit and enjoy it

Send a tiny, secret gift to someone I love...(I need addresses, people!)

Make a luncheon date soon with a friend and put it on my calendar

Pick out some jewelry or other small, nifty trinket to buy myself as a reward for getting through.

Listen to some more Eddie Izzard

Keep taking hikes with the kids

Buy myself a lotion that smells delicious and use it in the evenings before bed

And then I am supposed to have a summary statement.  

I suppose I would like to remember to reach out to friends and find ways to stay connected.  I would also like to do things for myself that make me feel beautiful and special.  I want to try to get out to do things on my own that I have always loved.  I want to remember to savor the beauty of the outdoors.  Nothing will take away the pain of not having John in my life.  But there are many different things that do make me happy.  I am not truly alone.  He would want me to be as happy as I could be, he always wanted me to love myself and to find joy.  There will be a small part of me that is always broken, because it is the link that tied me to him.  Just because that small part lies shattered, does not mean that I need to be broken in all areas...I will find a way through this only if I allow myself to make mistakes and simultaneously love myself for every step forward, flawed or not.  And it will be good to make loving choices along the way.  It will be good and it will be a way to honor the love he felt for me.  I think it would make him proud...