Monday, June 30, 2014

B sides

I think I have done this before, but it is always important.  Today, perhaps even more so, because I felt so lost, so unfocused, so lost

I want to remember that, even though things are beyond overwhelming, messed up, and hard, I have so many things to be grateful for...

I had a man who loved me deeply, a marriage full of trust and talking and deep connection
I have three amazing kids who are gorgeous, smart, feisty, and loving
I have some sweet, amazing friends that surprise me on a regular basis with their generosity
I have the possibility of my own home looming, with a yard and a porch for my swing and a small deck
I have a secure job
I have a love of reading that comforts me and takes me away
I have a love of writing that helps me find outlets and connection and hope
I have been blessed to travel to amazing places and do some crazy, phenomenal things:  I have been      skydiving twice, got my SCUBA license on the Barrier Reef, been to several European countries, visited    and explore the Galapagos Islands, wandered around the ruins of Machu Pichu and other amazing places in  Peru, announced a dive show in London and at the Michigan State Fair
I have a neighbor who is happy to not only help catch my dogs when they run, but come by and help with my  lawn
I have an amazing church that opens my heart and mind on a regular basis

This list is big picture.  I left out the details that would make it quite long.  I know that I hurt and that is important to allow that hurt to BE...if I ignore it, all it will do is come back stronger.  I need to remember how strong I am, how much I have made it through, how much support is there in surprising ways, how much love I had and have...Each of these has a flip side.  I acknowledge those sides.  But I will continue to fight to focus on the B sides.  The really cool ones, the ones that were a little bit of a mix, that took more thought to come up with...that's where I am going to try to focus.  And I will NOT get mad at myself if  need to let the hard stuff through.  That's part of it...that's making a new B side mix.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


the night air is warm
so when I reenter my home
the air inside tingles
like water

I am in the hollow of the night
and I reach to you

I am ashamed I haven't done this
over the last year

Like a fisherman
who routinely throws back
his catch
but who is starving
I know that wanting you
and wanting to release you
have opposing and equal value

I fight my daily dichotomy
yet I see it struggle and writhe
in our oldest son

He wonders about the ability
of carbon to be both coal
and diamond

He sees Bigfoot not as a legend
but as Sasquatch to be searched for

He craves a life of science
and shuns mathematics, reading
yet can excel in them all

His tender heart
folds in
crawls through crevices
of pain and loss
that no eight year old should know

I, in turn, hurl frustration at him
with words that carry more anger
than I would ever touch

I battle a desire to teach him
to cling to the positive
in every pain
and embrace the lessons of life
like a warrior wielding a weapon
of loss against a demon of desire

No loss is too great to overcome
No desire too great
to negate

So we are at an impasse
The two of us

Each of my three holds a crystal part
of my heart
And his
His is the crux of it all
and his
His is the most vulnerable

So I guard it like a dragon
and like a dragon
at times my fight
is too full of fire
I set aflame
the things I desire most to defend

And like a woman
I wish to manifest strength
and love
in a way
only a mother can

Which all takes time

So my role, it seems
is to make my mistakes, fire born
and loss laden
and watch things unfold
keeping my heart and my

Saturday, June 28, 2014


The word "lost" tonight seemed to me to carry a variety of different connotations.

You can get lost in your thoughts.  You can get lost in memories.  You can get lost in your house, as in the old Sniglet: destinesia- the act of walking into a room and forgetting why you went there.  You can feel lost because you are without a partner.  You can feel lost because you don't know where to begin...I could go on...

I'd like to be playful and light of heart.  Right now, I just feel Lost.  Capital "l".  I feel as though I have done a decent job surviving this first year of being a widow.  And now, I face another year.  And another.  And I can't just wallow forever.  Two friends of mine with different types of tragedies made separate but similar bad choices for three years as they coped.  I feel like I could use that as a guide.  But then I think about how I am 40.  I think about how hard it is to even just take the kids tiring it is to keep an eye on all three, make sure they are fed, they don't fall in the canal, they don't kill each other, they have fun, laugh, and stay healthy, take regular showers and baths...Every dish washed is up to me.  Every dog walk, every mess cleaned up, every meal, every fight to be refereed, every'd think hugs would go on the good list, and believe me, they do!  But when they fight over my hugs, when they want my hugs NOW and I am already doing three things, or when I just want to sit and have some quiet time where I don't move, but they want me to come upstairs for another hug...or they all three want to sit next to me, but I just don't have three sides.  And so I offer to put the littlest little in my lap, but then the middle one wants to sit in my lap, and the oldest is getting elbowed and shoved in the fight for the sacred space so he leaves saying he will NEVER sit with us again.

And I have to find the strength to pack and purge without others, but I just haven't found it.  Having someone there to talk with me and help makes all the difference in the world.  But asking so much so often is just so hard.  So I am lost with that as well.

The rub is, lost or not, I'm the only cartographer qualified.  And what I have to accept is that I WILL LET YOU DOWN.  The "you" there, is me, John, the kids, and probably everyone close to me.  I simply cannot do it all.  I will do my best, but sometimes my best is drinking wine all evening and reading a powerful book.  How I wish I were able to find the strength to put down the wine, and start running.  Walking,  Doing yoga nightly.  Doing something to lose the weight and drop the crappy habits.  I know I have it.  But currently, it seems to be lost.  And so the losing, of the weight and the unhealthy addictions that have been my crutch, seems the only lost that I really want but cannot reach.  Yet.  I will say yet.  I won't give up.

It's just I have to begin.  And I seem to have lost my way in this labyrinth of responsibility and inaction so that I'm wandering in circles.  I have moments of strength and clarity and action.  But then in my maze I turn and face a hedge.  So before I retrace my steps and get myself slightly less lost, I sit down, have a drink, read a book...get lost in myself or a fantasy world.

But I do have courage.  Because I have that tiny voice that says I will get up and try again tomorrow.  I ascend my stairs looking at the pictures of my kids, my husband, our life together.  I trail my fingers on the tops of the frames sliding the dust to a point and rubbing it off to float feather like to the ground.  And sometimes, I even let the anger in.  I'm angry I have to do it all myself.  I'm angry that I think that, because I do have a lot of wonderful friends who offer to help over and over.  And I'm angry that I have a  small voice in my head that wishes I could just give up and be with him.  And I'm angry that I have to do this without him.  And I'm angry.  And lost.  And courageous.  And sometimes, when I look the other way, I know I am hopeful.  Because of him, I am hopeful.  I am afraid of dating and trying, but he showed me that there are good people out there.  And when I stumble and question myself, I promise to try to look back at my too short time with him and remember:  he loved me.  Deeply, imperfectly, and honestly.  And perhaps that will be my beacon.  I don't know how the love of a dead man can guide you, but it is all I have.  And so I follow, one foot in front of the other, and do the best I can.

Friday, June 27, 2014

when seen right

I read "The Fault In Our Stars"...and I have been reading short stories.  I like longer books better...I feel cheated and left behind with short stories.  This is a new development.

"I was left on the shore with waves washing over me, unable to drown." --John Green

I sit there, on the shore, with small sand stones making puckered imprints on my ass
the salt air drying my skin
loving the monotonous motion of the waves
they come back
as does the strange desire to move forward
and go nowhere

I am unable to answer the question
of what I want
so I continue to walk
and step and move forward
unless I'm moving back
a side effect of living, this back and forth motion
going everywhere and nowhere

and I feel like I am floating
flotsam and jetsum
floating wreckage
but also things cast overboard
as a way to save what floats
even after damage
for something to salvage

the rub is, the surviving ship
is a side effect
the wreckage
is side effect
am a side effect
of cancer
of life

of wanting the universe to see you
of wanting to see the universe

to be seen
to see

and yet
sight isn't
a side effect of anything

it's a touching
deep inside
where waves wash over
parts that are invisible
sight, of a sort, done with your heart
can save you

The little things

sometimes, I feel like I have to have the "right" words to post here.  I'm not liking that.  I think of the Momastery blog and I wish I could be as honestly silly and loving and true as Glennon.  Maybe it is just that I am in the middle of my mess, while she is on the outer rim?  I don't know.  I don't feel funny.  I feel angry and lost and frustrated and disappointed.

I tried my hand at the "dating" thing...with a very very nice gentleman.  We talked for weeks on text and on the phone and it was very nice.  We had one date.  I had one single night when I was a frustrated bitch...not even sure I really reached "bitch"ness.  But he severed ties.  I had told him that if nothing else, I thought we formed a friendship.  When he gave me his "fuck off" mail, he told me he had no interest in being my friend...he has enough close friends and had no interest in another.  Which tells me that all the sweet things he said were made up...and or that he was far weaker than I'd even worried. He told me he will no longer ever respond to any contact I may send  How lovely and strong and...oops.  I mean, not.

It makes me feel sort of despondent...I say "sort of" on purpose...because the feeling isn't quite that large, but it's there.  And I think of John...and I think of how I felt about other guys when he was alive...and I find myself wondering if I am even interested in dating for in, ever.  I loved him.  Through my toes, I loved him.  I had no interest in anyone else while he was well and with me...I have a strange, deep longing to connect with those he cared close friend of his misunderstood this.  Understandably.  But he, too, cut ties.  The same with this dating attempt did...

I don't know what I am doing...I wonder about moving I try to be the person John would have wanted me to be?  I don't know how to do that...I imagine he would like for me to get into diving and trampoline enough to coach.  That is not my thing.  It never was...and I feel insanely guilty about that.  And then I think that he would just want me to be happy.  How.  The.  Hell. Do.  I.  Do.  That...without him??

I realize I know nothing.  I realize I feel more strength in my gut than I used to, but still not enough.  I realize that I am better at a couple little cooking for the kids and keeping my temper way more even...trying to model patience inside anger and frustration for them...I am deeply proud of that because it is a huge battle for has been a huge battle.

I grasp at the little things:  I walk the dogs and Neil takes Sammy's leash and we hold hands.  He saves worms.  Or he and Cilly both come, taking turns walking the little dog, deciding themselves when to share the tether.  I have Aiden and Cilly doing morning work to keep their brains keen on school.  It isn't much, but it is something.

I'm still lost.  Still not doing as well as I'd hoped, as well as it may seem on the outside.  But I guess I am doing far better than I could be, too...there is that, at least.  I'll try to focus on the little things.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

different kinds of floating

there is floating
like flying
a freedom
an exhilarating sense of being
beyond a need to be

here, I see a floating
like a boat whose tether
was severed
there is no storm swirling winds
to throw and toss your bits of varnished wood...
not any longer
there just

...a quiet sense of non-movement
while drifting
a slow up
a lack of compass points
a poor connection to others
that isn't like
that freedom
but like walking in the woods, turning around
and then,
being unsure
where you feet
had been pointed so
you just
go forward
inimitable steps, moments, motions
which sometimes fail to matter
because still
when you look up
the clouds are kissed with pink
and the bird song never stopped.

There is only so much you can do...

It is now almost 1 year and 1 month.  Today, I had a very good, special friend help me go through the stuff in my closet.  The amount of video tapes and photographs was beyond impressive.  He had a lovely collection of Olympic pins and other sundry items...I look forward to putting them in some sort of display.  I figure at least some will go in Aiden's room, others will go in the living room.  I donated clothes and tripods and various electric cords and such.  And the room now smells like John.  I found a couple hats.  A friend who lost her husband about a year or two before John left told me how she kept all his hats.  I didn't get that before.  I do now.  His hats smell so much like him!  It's rather astonishing.

And then there is the fact that I will have my first "date" in years on Saturday.  I think this fella understands what it means to love someone who will always have special parts of her heart assigned and connected to another person.  John is gone.  But I will never let him go all the way.  He is the father of my babies.  He taught me to believe in many many good things.

I spoke with a Korean neighbor last night.  (Made me think of my little sister).  She said a couple things, the first of which was about Karma.  She asked me if I believed in it...I told her I used to, but with John's death, I don't know.  I feel like he was amazing...imperfect, annoying, and amazing.  He did his best in every way with everyone he interacted with.  For some people, that looked, well, rather lumpy.  With others, it was a family type connection.  With me, it was everything.  But he didn't drink ,didn't smoke, never did drugs...and got brain cancer.  He would joke about how, if he HAD been a drinker, perhaps he would have killed the brain cells that decided to go rogue.  She said that Karma didn't work that way...she told me that Karma was the force that brought bad energy back to bite you...and it sent good energy into the universe.  She also said that if I ever doubt myself, to think about how Karma brought me to John.  And if I believe he was good, then I must then accept and acknowledge the love I brought John.  She said that he had me.  And that this was a good Karma sort of blessing.  It made me think of all the things I did for him when he was, well, dying.  I loved that man.

I am thinking about what it means to move forward.  I am feeling a different brand of sadness...something slightly more dull, but not less full.  I need to rediscover my own way.  While still holding him, but also letting him awkward a job is that??

But I keep swimming.  And I keep smiling.  And I never fight the tears...I can do those things.  So I will.

Friday, June 6, 2014

strength inside broken chains

there's a song that asks
where do the children play

and it rings in my ears as I travel
because what I had
is like a swing
with a broken chain
dangling crooked
on a lovely summer day

such a sweet, supportive
playful thing
imperfect in its ability to pinch your fingers
while sending you skyward
upward to a magical mysterious
magistracy, almost...

I would love
to get on again
and the wind sings
to the end tendrils of my hair
spinning them in circles
carrying dreams out of my eyes
that never left
my lips

till my children come to play
and sit upon my ankles

they remind me

the way "nothing gold can stay" by Robert Frost
reminds me

is a word for chairs
and filing your taxes

Life well lived
does not fit that word
a Cinderella slipper
and I won't cut off my toes
to fit that slice of glass

So every possibility
however far fetched
is played out
every broken heart string is
strummed on
to send vibrations down spinal chords
instead of music chords
till I remember

quite clearly

it is not just a journey
about me

we are in this together
which is how it should be.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

sometime wishes

I don't often write a title first
But tonight
the wishes are in control

I feel things burning in me
a fire crushing thick wood
sloughing away layers
as snakes shed their skins
old and dead and small giving way to another one
to burn that away, too, in time...

I'd like a crow bar
to wrench open my chest
to show the world
the way that pain and strength
mingle on the dance floor of my soul

I am broken and lonely and lost
and a voice, tinier than I would like
whispers that I can get through

Mostly I remember that once upon a time
I was outside
and someone reached out to me
someone offered me a hug
someone listened to me
someone touched me and melted things
too long frozen

If only our raw and beating hearts
could search out each other
leaving behind hollow bodies
to find ways to crawl out of the lumbering
muck, inch our way to something
brighter, drier, cooler, soothing

And like homing pigeons
crimson and dripping
the hearts would return
to tell us that our secret
silent sometime wishes
have been answered.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

snapping steel in silence and hope: breaking chains

I want the sounds to come through my fingers
The motions to move my sadness in a sweeping motion
 Across an unseen sea
An intangible, unreachable, almost-stranger touches parts of me
That have more need than baseball has peanuts
And hard parts soften
I see edges of things that have been covered
In painted pictures of magazine pretend perfection

What I had used to hold me just right
And I didn’t even realize it

I wish I could stand on a virtual mountaintop and
Sing for everyone to hear
Remember how sweet imperfection is in its reality
How real comfort is
When it has hands to hold yours
Callused and dry or soft and warm is irrelevant:
A hand is a hand

Inside here, moments collide with months
Need and longing and desire are poured into a blender
And crushed to pieces
So small they are indistinguishable
One from the other
One inside the other
Each beside each other

Instead, give me rainbow patterns
Of tie dyed magic
Misted into melted moments of
Real, rigid pain
Of trying so hard that parts of you, metallic and thick,
That were never meant to, bend
Twist into circuitous curls

And so you wear the strange decorations
Trying to sort out need from want from longing from hope
Knowing they are all too closely related
To break apart cleanly

Perhaps the lesson here, as I keep looking for one
Is that nothing real

Breaks off clean.