Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Crazy Living


I woke up this morning after hitting my alarm a handful of times I was having a dream that I had to explain a math equation about mean, median, and mode. Which is super odd since math and I are not friends. But maybe it was my way of trying to figure out things that didn't add up.  Like the fact that I had to get my calculator out to figure out how many years Pete and I would have been married today. 19 years?! Wait? That can't be right? I decided that maybe I should go off my age instead. I was 25 when we got married and now I am 43. 18 years.... huh. I guess that makes sense then. But, 19 years! How can that be?  I thought to myself as I was making coffee, 19 years, is like what ones parents talk about being married. Not me? Really? I'm old enough to have been married 19 years?   Which brings us back to math. Even with a calculator, some things just don't compute. 

After getting the kids to school, I pondered what I should do with my day. I realized a nap was what I needed first and then more coffee. After my nap, I went in search of my wedding album. Why I do this to myself? I don't know. But for whatever reason, it felt important. So, I took a picture of some pictures with my phone, put the wedding album back where it was, and proceeded to make coffee. While sitting in my chair I scrolled through those pictures from my phone. I stopped on one in particular and looked at how young I was. How young Pete was. And, I thought to myself. What would I tell her? What would I tell 25 year old me? Unfortunately, I didn't have a response. 

As I went about my day, I kept coming back to this question. I even asked my networking group "What would they tell their 25 year old self, if they could?" Someone said they would tell themselves to relax. Another person said they would tell themselves that it would be ok. That when a crisis happens it would be ok in the end. Mostly people just laughed about how that was such a long time ago and we all sighed at the memory. But, I was still no closer to figuring out what I would tell her.

After multiple errands, traffic, endless red lights, and picking up the kids from school, I decided I would sit down again to ask myself again. I kept putting myself in that day and wanting to look at it with new eyes. If I could do the day again what would I say? I decided that I should have had the reception recorded. I had the wedding recorded but decided against the reception, thinking that it wasn't really worth it. While now, I wish we did. It's more footage of his life. More moments that he lived and how much fun we had. I think I also would have eaten more cake. Because lets be honest, who doesn't love good wedding cake?! I was thinking that if I had pulled aside 25 year old me and told her to hold on a little tighter, would I have listened to myself? Maybe?

Would I tell myself that people aren't who they seem? Would I tell myself to speak my truth sooner? Would I tell myself to make him go to the dr sooner? Would I tell myself to be afraid of the future? No, I don't think I would. I think in the end all I would really tell myself is that "You did the best that you could and that was enough."  Even though I lost friendships, family, people who I thought cared for me, but mostly I lost my biggest companion, and eventually I lost a part of myself too. She is buried right beside him. But, I wouldn't tell her that part. 

However, I think anyone who goes through loss, tragedy, trauma, crisis, loses themselves in order to find themselves. Because really, why wouldn't I? Everything changed. Nothing stayed the same. Overnight I became an only parent. I was both mom and dad. I was no longer a unit. I worked and slept parenthood. I lost my identity, I lost my song, I lost my smile, I survived for my three shooting stars, since last piece of Pete lived in the three of them. I don't think that is something that 25 year old me could have even comprehended. She needed those years with Pete to pave the way for what was to come. She needed Pete's love to show her what a good marriage and what a good husband was. 25 year old me needed carefree living. Go to work, go to school. Learn to cook, learn to take care of a house. Become a mother, play with babies, lack of sleep, love her husband, plan family vacations, balance date night, I needed to live. And While a lot of that living is lost in trauma brain, I know it happened. Just like Pete. He happened. He lived. Its because of that blissful day 19 years ago today that he and I became a we. 

I guess if I could tell 25 year old me anything it would be that we lived. I might tell her to laugh a little more and not take herself so seriously. And also don't be afraid of her magical gifts. I would tell her that she is strong and courageous. That big things happen in her life but she does just fine. Her children are amazing and she definitely wont be bored. I would tell her that Pete changed her life for the better, that he would always have her back, he would hold her hand when it was hard, he would give quiet encouragement, and he will without a doubt always love her. Plus, I would tell her that by the time she reaches the ripe age of 43, her magical adventure is just beginning. 

Here's to you Roo Roo. Your earthly time will always feel too short but I am grateful you spent your time with me. We had a blast! Cheers!

                            April 26, 2003          April 26, 2022

Sunday, February 20, 2022

A Crazy Purple Bus...

 Grief is forever changing. Just when I think I have it figured out, Bam! Its back. I don't know if its a *healing* thing? or if its just the nature of grief. 

I was feeling overwhelmed as I was planning what the heck I was going to do with my day. I have a million things I should be doing. I should be organizing, and I should be laundering. And yet, I just wanted to sleep. Actually what I really wanted to do was go on a trip in my mind. I wanted to visit my old life. 

I pondered this question for a few moments. Being an intuitive, I figured ya know? I could probably really do this. So I closed my eyes and I pictured the living room of my old house. With the rug on the floor and the big couch with the fluffy cushions. This should have been an easy to do. Considering I lived in that house for almost 20 years. But... it wasn't.  I couldn't see the living room like it was when Pete was alive. I took a deep breath, and tried again. It was like being a part of one of those flip books with the pictures in the corners. I could see it for a second and then it flipped back to how it was after he died. I could hold onto the carpet and the toys all over the living room, then blink.. And I was back to the dark hardwood floor with the brown rug. What the hell? Thanks trauma brain. 

The memory I wanted was Pete and I sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon watching football. However, it wasn't just football he would watch. No, no. He would switch between football and auto racing. It used to drive me a little batty. (I know what you're thinking.. that I was already batty. Ha!)  I wanted to sit on that couch with him and lie my head in his lap as the white noise of the crowd from the game or race filled the background. I would usually fall asleep to that sound. But it was the best nap. No anxiety over what I should have been doing. No kids yet to drag me away, just the two of us, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.  But, I couldn't get my brain or my memory to pull it forward long enough to have a conversation with him. It was only a glimpse.  I can see it, and I can hear it, but its off a little bit. I see the couch but with the hardwood floors not carpet. I see the Tv cabinet and the Tv is on. But the coffee table isn't the same, and the color of the walls are different. 

This is the part of healing that makes me want to run around yelling. I have done the work. I have been terrified, I have been scared out of my mind, but I have held it together. I have done the prolonged exposure (PE therapy) I have put my timeline back together. I mean I have one blank spot but other than that, most of it is back together. I have some missing memories when it comes to my youngest and those first few months of his life, well and even some years of the other two as well. But that's besides the point. The point was, I did the stuff that was supposed to help move the memories to the part of the brain that could digest the information. I created the roads in the construction areas where there was no road. All in hopes that healing my brain, my memories of my life with him, would come back. But, they haven't. At least, not like I thought they would. I can remember, but I can't. I can see it clearly but not clear enough. I don't want a snippet I want the whole thing. I don't know, maybe I don't need the whole thing. But I want the whole thing. 

Its in these peeks from the past that I think to myself. What the heck was the point? I did all that work. I cried, I raged, (ya know, I don't do anything half way.)  I begged and I spent a lot of time being mad that Pete left me here. In all actuality its not like he could have taken me with him or that he could have made his body work. He had to go, and I had to stay. But that didn't make it any easier to get through. It was me that had to tell the kids, it was me that had to face the fear, it was me that had to do the internal work to come out on the other side.  Like everything else along the way, I have learned to take a step back and see the whole picture. And really that's a big, cloudy, mud splattered, tear streaked window, to look through.  In reality the glimpse of clarity is better than the big fuzzy blobs roaming around my memories.    

Yet, I still find myself asking my brain, what about the memory, the whole memory of us on the couch?  To which I answer I guess its like getting on the bus that takes you from the carport parking lot to the airplane terminal. its only a snippet of life. Which reminds me of the story about the cab driver who picks up an elderly woman to take her to hospice. She asks the cab driver to take the most scenic route to her destination. Along the way she talks to the driver while she points out the house she was born in, the school she graduated from, the restaurant her husband took her to on their first date. The church they got married in, the hospital where she had her children, and the cemetery where her husband was buried.  Its no wonder that being a widow at the ripe age of 30 I often felt like I was an old woman. And like her, I had lived my life. ( or so I thought) It was a good life, but so short too.  At the time I didn't know anyone my age who had dealt with this type of grief, except for my grandmother, and she was 87. I used to tell people I was 107 and that I looked pretty good for being 107. However my grandmother was the beginning of my journey of healing.  I will forever be grateful to her for the things she taught me. 

At the end of the day, I could choose to let my loss, trauma, and heartbreak, make me bitter. I could choose to be mad at the world for the crazy shit they said to me, for the way they treated me, and for some of the ways they were sure I would fail.  I could choose to stay angry at Pete and at God. Hell, I could choose to be irate at my brain for processing things the way it has. Or I could choose to be grateful for the life I had with him. the joy of watching him be a dad and the way he delighted in being a family together.  I can choose to thank my brain for the work that its done to heal. I can choose to thank my heart for the way it has sewn itself back together. Even though there is a jagged scar down the middle. I choose to be grateful for life that has come from that healing. For me, I choose to be joyful in the glimpse of that memory even if it has taken 10 years to remember it.

 So instead of waiting until I am an actual old woman riding in that cab. I choose to get in my own purple colored bus with red sparkles. (Because everyone needs one, and its my bus) I will walk to the giant plush chair onboard, sit down, grab a cup of coffee that's waiting for me and look out my window. As the driver starts the bus I will watch out my magical window and marvel at the glimpses that come in. Brief moments in time. bubbles in the air as we drove in that yellow mustang, a bite of cake.  Sidewalk chalk drawings that Pete drew for the kids, a two tone truck in the driveway, a ruby on my necklace, earrings that he made me, a sketch imprinted in rock. I sigh and hold onto Hope, that someday I will have more than just a moment. I will have the whole Crazy memories, of life.  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Crazy Lady still Questions...

Pete and my 17th wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I have been wracking my brain trying to find something fun to do tomorrow.  I didn't want it to pass like just another day. Thankfully I belong to some of those widow support groups on Facebook and they have given me some good ideas. However, I still feel at a loss...

I find that the day before the "angelversary" of the event, is more sad than the day of. I think its the anxiety brain that is trying to prepare for it. So that when it comes, its not so much of a shock. I don't know... maybe its just me. But today has been more weepy than past years. Why this year? I ask myself, why not last year? Who knows. Either way, I feel sad, I feel empty, I feel raw.  Which makes me wonder to myself, why am I still sad? Or the better question to myself is, Why does it still hurt?  The rational side of me thinks, "well, of course you are sad."  However, I tend to have ridiculously high expectations of myself, and then feel bad when I can't accomplish them or that I "should" all over myself with things like.. "Its been 17 years already... you shouldn't be sad."  Or "Why aren't you using your gifts to talk to him?"  Yet, here I am asking the same old questions.. Why while admitting to myself that yes, it still hurts. 

Today I have been wanting to find videos of him. I take that to mean that I have healed to the point of wanting to see him in action. If you have been reading the "Crazy Lady" for awhile, you know that it took me awhile to look at his picture. For example the day of his funeral, one of his co-workers gave me a picture of Pete with his team and I wouldn't even touch it. Thankfully my sister was standing right there and she took it from him. But the thought of touching it, or looking at it up close, was as if his friend had handed me a photograph that was on fire with giant flames coming off of it! No way in hell was I touching that picture!! In those moments and situations, pictures of him were such a shock to my system. I literally felt a jolt of electricity. As if I had been struck by lightening.  He was so alive and intense in those photographs, it was like his eyes bore into my soul. But, since he was not longer physically alive and standing beside me, I just couldn't look at them. It was as if any remaining pieces of my heart that were still intact, shattered. 

My need today to find video of him is intense. I didn't really realize why until I was texting a friend about where the video might be. What came out in my text to her was that it wasn't enough to see his picture. I wanted to see him moving around and interacting. I wanted to see with my own eyeballs that he Lived. Not just that he died. I wanted to see those moments when he looked into my eyes and told me forever. I wanted to see myself walking towards him. To feel in my body, that this was once real. Not just a dream. Our wedding was beautiful. I had a fancy dress where I wore white cowboy boots underneath. My flowers were many shades of purples, yellows, pinks, and white.  My niece and nephew were adorable flower girl and ring bearer. A strategically placed ficus stood next to my older sister during the ceremony. She was in her first trimester of pregnancy with her first child. Luckily she made it through the ceremony without needing its services.  

I take comfort that I am in a place where I want to see him living. I want to see him enjoying his life. Which I am sure he does with us. Even though sometimes, I feel being a human on earth that he is missing it. When in actuality, he has the best seat in the house. He can be with us at school, in the car, at home, while we sleep, and when we go on vacation. He watches over us in more ways out of the body than he could in the body. Doesn't mean I don't still miss him. Doesn't mean I don't still wish things could have been different.  In the big picture I see him in everything along the way. I am grateful for the way my life has turned out so far. And I am excited about my future. I guess that's part of what makes me Crazy. I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm grieving, I'm healing. I miss his face, but I am happy for him too. 

   Given that our wedding day was 17 years ago, the technology was that video was still on VHS. I don't have a VHS player anymore.  I don't even know if those things still work. My fear would be, that I get a VHS player and put the video in it, what happens if the machine eats it? There goes my only video of our wedding. So, I could take a risk and watch it or I just let it sit in its box in pristine condition.  But, such is life. I can't sit on the sidelines of life and expect great things. No, I have to push through. As with Grieving and with healing.  

So where does that leave my day of wedding celebration?? I don't know. But, I will take the emotions as they come. Cry when I need to, laugh when I can, and smile because he lived. 

                                           April 26, 2003 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Crazy Whatever Wrapped up in a House.

People who say that moving is easy are even more crazy than me. Or maybe its just easy for people who haven't spent 16 years of their life in one home. Maybe that was my mistake I should have moved sooner. Unfortunately  it just wasn't possible at the time.  I was excited at first. A new home. A place that wasn't filled with grief and trauma. The house hunting was exhausting and at times I felt like I would never find the right place. Everyone kept saying, just find a place that feels right to you. My mind kept searching though because it wasn't just me it was my family too. I needed a space that felt good to them too. my kids are old enough that they will remember this part of their life. They will remember the move, the house, their rooms, the memories made. I know when I was 14 how important my room was to me. a space that was mine.  The other thing friends and family would say.. "You will just know." And in the end, I did know.  The only part that I really wasn't prepared for was the extreme sadness I would feel in leaving home.  I knew it would be hard. But, I didn't expect it to feel so much like Pete's death all over again.  

Maybe because it wasn't a normal closing. People sell their houses, pay off the debts, fix what the inspectors say needs to be fixed, then sign the papers, and receive a check. Mine didn't go that way at all.  two weeks before I was supposed to close the title company said my deed was invalid since the kids weren't listed as heirs. What the hell?! Since when do toddlers and unborn children get a 1/6 of property?  But, whatever.  So my amazing lawyer created a new document that added the kids. But that wasn't enough. Now I needed a protective order over my own children. And finally a hearing that appointed me as their guardian (apparently being their mother wasn't enough, I had to have the court tell the title company it was enough) So get the protective order, the new deed, send over new documents, attach Pete's obituary, (Where they got this vague obit from, is dumb, but again, whatever) Send them the right one, sign my name again, and get the go ahead to have a closing. 

Set the time of the closing, only to have it resceduled again, because paper work wasn't received during bank hours.  Finally the day arrives, I got stuck in traffic, and got to my closing 15 minutes late.  I walked into the office and the buyers realtor wasn't present and neither was the buyer. What the hell? come to find out, the buyer lives in Califonia and wont be there. But not only that, I found out the buyer was an investor. WTF. in one breath my hope that a family or empty-nester flies out the window. I wanted this house to be a home to someone who needed it, someone who could make it their home. I know I have no control over that. But its what I prayer for, it was my intention.  And yet again, I was met with "whatever."  

So, I sat down to sign my life away. When unbeknownst to my realtor we would be signing today but that I would not be receiving my check today. Umm what?  I was not about to sign anything without knowing where the final payment was coming from. Like Why would you sign a legal binding document and just "hope" that the final transactions would come through? That wasn't going to work for me. Needless to say I started to freak out. Everything that it took to get to that day was catching up and I was starting to hyperventilate. Of course I wasn't going to show that I was feeling that. So I told four people to leave the room while I talked to my realtor one on one. Once the doors closed, She said she had never had a closing go this way.  She told me that basically the only thing we were waiting on was the paperwork. the lender needed the paperwork to come in before they would disperse the profits where they needed to go.  We called the people back in, and the lender explained to me that everything would be signed then held in a locked area until they received the buyers documents. Once they had them in their hands they would file all the paperwork and wire the final checks.  Ok, I signed and went home to wait. 

 Friday morning after everyone was at school I went over again to the little house.  I had a few plants I wanted to split and take with me.  I searched the ground and tall grasses, the overgrown trees, and found a few of my favorite rocks. I dug up some roots, pulled a few bulbs, and left the rest.  Finally I sat down on the swing, and the tears started to fall.  I felt lost, empty, homeless, and heartbroken.  Pete wasn't in the plants, the yard, the house, he just wasn't there.  Even though I know he is anywhere I am. in those moments it didn't feel like it. Even though this little house didn't feel like home anymore.  I have a beautiful new house with lots of space that my husband and children love, it doesn't feel like home either.  I get it. You have to make it a home. I haven't had any time to make it a home. Its still filled with boxes, and the garage is so full you can't walk in it. My new house is fill of half projects with big ideas.  Even in the midst of it all, the rational side of me knows that this is just part of it, and that eventually it would all be fine. But to the emotional side grief, loss, and emptiness, sat in my lap, in my heart, and in my soul.  It felt very much like those last hours of his life. 

I never thought he would die. I never did. I thought he would be that miracle. But, he wasn't.  I knew it was coming, but I didn't know when. I knew the check was being wired, but, I didn't know when.  How long did I have to sit in this yard to cry? Seconds? minutes?  The day before, I sat alone in each room of my 1200 square foot house. I prayed God would restore my memories and I could recover the memories lost to trauma. I didn't want to just remember him being sick. I wanted to remember his laughter, his face, his smile. I wanted to remember the way he looked at the kids, I wanted to remember the way he looked at me. I wanted to remember our life together.      I sat down in my daughters room with the garden mural on the wall, leaned my head against the wall, closed my eyes, and tried to remember. It was like watching a movie. So many black screens, with colors and vibrancy thrown in. I remembered him in the rocking chair with aryanna, reading books to her while he was at work, I remembered joy, laughter, and sadness. Moments that I know where important but fuzzy, like I needed to just adjust the focus, but it wouldn't let me. I took a deep breath and thanked the room, the memories that did come through, then stood up and hugged each wall.  I walked into the boys room, marveled at the paint, sat down, and did it all over again. Then stood up, hugged the walls, thanked the room, and walked into the next room. I thanked each room for holding me close, for keeping my little family safe, for the joy, for the growth, for the beauty. But mostly as a whole, for raising me into the woman I have become.  I couldn't have done it without a safe space to call home.  

  I sat on those swings and remembered these moments then looked at the clock, I had to go to an appointment. I left my shovel in the yard, I left my broken trowel that snapped when I tried to dig deeper under one of the roots.  I went to my lesson, where I couldn't sing, just cry. Thanks so my amazing teacher she listened to me. She gave me encouragement, and told me that my feelings were valid, and that no, I wasn't Crazy.  I left her house feeling better. Until I got the call. The transfer was complete and my realtor would be by later in the afternoon to get the keys.   I raced back over to the little house, got my shovels, my plants, checked all the cabinets, then closed the door. 

I don't wish my life to be different. I have already done the "what if' game and it never ends up any better.I don't wish to live in the past, but the finality of it, knowing that it will never be the same, takes my breath. I can see the whole picture of then and now. I can see God's imprint everywhere. I see Pete just as present in our life. I have had so many amazing things come out of such heartbreak. And honestly I like who I have become. I don't think I would have arrived to the same conclusion had I not had all these experiences.  But, there is still pain, there is still loss, and there is still grief.  I keep hoping that it will get better. It does and it doesn't. I do know that I take comfort in knowing I am stronger now in this moment than I was then. I take comfort in knowing that saying goodbye to my home was not nearly as hard as saying goodbye to Pete. In the end its just house. Its just a yard.  

I know Pete isn't in the stuff. He is In my heart. In the kids. Not just in their energy but  really in them. He is in their laughter. He is in everyone who was ever touched by him.  I have learned its because of his love for me, for the kids, for our life, for the man he was and for the spirit he has become, that healing takes place. It's because of this love, that I can move forward, that I can love again. In every layer of letting go, he is in all of it.  Even in this new grief, this new layer of saying goodbye and letting go. I take these lessons, this grief, this goodbye,  like keys in my hand that I handed over to the realtor. After all Its those keys that gave me the courage  and the strength to do it.  These tears are gratitude mixed with bittersweet memories. I look down at the new keys in my hand. These keys are tarnished around the edges with a scar down the center, but they sparkle with magic and new beginnings. The wind blows lightly across my face as a single white feather floats down and rests in my hand.  I close my hand over it.  With bittersweet tears, a smile, love in my heart, that I open the door and cross the threshold into my new home.    

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bittersweet memories are Crazy!

I recently was told again that when things get hard in my life I seem to revert back to Pete's passing. And I am starting to really hate that analogy. Ya know maybe its because I know what loss feels like. Or that I am a walking nerve (another saying I have come to hate as well) because really whats wrong with being sensitive. Nothing. If anything more people could stand to be more sympathetic or even empathetic. I get it. I understand what its like to have the magic carpet ripped out from under you leaving a harsh reality in its place.  But I digress. 

My reason for responding as many have put it "in the past" maybe has to do with the present and past colliding. A close friend of mine just found out she is having a baby. I am over the moon happy for her. She and her husband will be amazing parents. Its like this bittersweet emotion washes over me. Maybe every other woman when they hear of another friend becoming pregnant has this same reaction. For me, I remember when I found I was pregnant with my first and nervous yet excitement I felt.  However in this moment I have sadness too. Another friend of mine said that its more like that  achy womb syndrome. The sadness that I can't have anymore children, and that I will never again get to feel the baby kick. Granted I am so glad that I don't have to deal with the nose bleeds, congestion, constant vomiting, sleeping sitting up, or making sure that I ate every two hours all night long to keep from throwing up at night. That awful anxiety, restless leg, and the worst nausea on the planet where nothing seemed to help. I don't miss that at all. But I do miss food that never tasted so good. I miss how everything was just hilarious, and the way Pete would look at me. Even though I was a beast, to him he said I was beautiful.  I miss the sparkle in his eye and his excitement in seeing the baby kick underneath his hands, or the ripple across my belly as baby would move and wiggle at the sound of his daddy's voice.   Maybe I have this achy womb feeling because Pete didn't get to experience it all. Or maybe that I didn't get to experience it with him.

Its hard not to forget. Again, I am grateful he got to experience it with the first two. I am glad I got to experience it with him. But, still I wonder.   If you have your spouse and they were there for the whole thing does one still have that feeling of "aww I remember when we were first pregnant?" Do you feel sad that you can no longer go back to that? Is it just an age thing? Realizing that you're getting older. That your kids are getting older? Do you feel sad that they don't snuggle like they used to? I mean they still snuggle but they don't just curl up like they did when they were babies. I don't know, maybe its just this Crazy Red Haired Lady. You know since I am after all, a walking nerve and I live in the past. However, I have come to realize how important raising kids and having a family is to me. I have come to realize how much I love being a mom and how much family time means to me.   For me, pregnancy was not nice. I was super sick with all three and my body never recovered from being stretched beyond stretched. You wont be seeing me in a bikini ever again. Can't say though that I am not jealous of the women who can. Yes, I know the body is an amazing thing and mine has been put through the ringer, and yes, I am grateful that it is still strong and that it looks as good as it does, but...my unrealistic expectations rear their head and I think to myself If I just worked a little harder, if I just tried a little more... Oh well, thats a blog for another day. 

I think maybe its just that my memories get in the way.  I'm sad that Pete isn't here to see the awesome family that the kids and I have become. I am sad that I can't just look over at him and laughingly say "hey, remember that time, I made you eat your frozen dinner on the back porch in the snow, because the smell of it was so bad it literally made me throw up?"  I don't wish a different outcome. I am happy with my life and I am strong because of it.  I am empathetic, I am sympathetic, and I am a walking nerve because of it. This life has made me who I am.  There are just times that I wish I could just pick up the phone and call him. I know he knows, I know he see's, but its the little conversations, the moments that are long gone, and the feelings that remain.  In the end I am happy for this new family and so excited to see the foods that she craves and how her body will change as she nourishes new life.  For this Crazy Lady I sit with my bittersweet emotions and pat the empty seat beside me. I close my eyes and if I sit real still, I am sure I can feel the brush of angle wings against my shoulder and laughter in my ears.       

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Crazy situations...

It seems that any time I try and write on this blog, my kids decide at that moment they are going to argue ad fight, or come and find me to tell me about some awful explosion that took place in the kitchen and needs my attention this moment. Meanwhile in my head all I want to do is write and create and get out these thoughts and feelings that overwhelming my body and my brain.  Why does it seem to go that way?

Its like when moms used to get on the phone to actually talk to each other, the kid then needed their constant attention because it wasn't on the child.  either way its maddening. I am sure i did it to my mom but in the small space we live in, it feels like the walls are closing in on me.  I feel like there is no where in this house that I can just be for a few minutes to breathe and think in silence. I used to go and sit in my closet or only write at night. But even now that isn't an option. The closet has become overrun with everything that doesn't fit in the drawers, since my dresser is broken, but we don't have any space to build the new one we bought, and the weather wont cooperate and just be spring already so we can build it.  Plus the kids know where to find me if I'm not in the bedroom. So its no long a spot of solitude.   I feel that my nerves are on the outside of my body today. Just everything that isn't said and is said feels like it actually touches me. I am weepy, irate, sad, happy, creative, and agitated. Even now, we have one tv in the living room the walls are so thin I might as well be sitting on the couch with them watching tv. It didn't used to bother me before. Now it does. my house didn't feel like I was living in a shoe, now it does. I used to find comfort here, and now all I feel is madness.  Its time to go. And yet this house feels like the ONLY home I have ever known. I was a young married woman here, I raised my babies here, I grieved Pete here, and I raised myself here.  This house hugged me when I cried, delighted when I was happy, and helped me create my inspiration and business. I learned, I changed, I grieved, and I gained a new perspective.  Sometimes I feel so mad that I have be trapped in this tiny space. I want to shout to other families who make raising a family look so easy. I want to yell to these innocent people "Your spouse didn't Die when you were at the ripe old age of 30. You never had to bring your tiny new born baby home from the hospital across the threshold of your house without your spouse to greet you with a hug and a kiss. You got to have your spouse hold you when you felt big and fat from pregnancy, change diapers, make bottles, clean house, mow the grass, fight with, love with, create with, grow with, parent with. Its not their fault they don't get it. But it doesn't stop the hurt, it doesn't stop the guilt I feel for being mad at the "prefect" family. It doesn't stop the annoyance I have when people look at my kids and wonder why they are such a mess. Why are they a mess? because I didn't teach them to do chores, and I didn't teach them not to make messes, I was too busy keeping us alive, and surviving. I was too busy loving on them, playing with them, crying with them, and growing up with them. And now its time that I wish for the love of God they would just put stuff away.  I have no one to blame but myself. And its just so hard.

Today I don't have the patience to teach them, today I want the house to be clean, and today I don't want to talk to them about what they should be doing. Why? because it takes more patience than I have today and I can't stop crying. I'm mad at Pete, I'm mad at myself for being mad at him. I feel guilty that I don't miss him, guilty that I do miss him, guilty for talking about him, guilty for not talking about him. Its so hard to explain. I feel God has blessed me with my husband now because he understands my "crazy" better than anyone even Pete ever did. That is not Pete's fault, its just who he was, and who I was.  Some would say I look to the past more than the present. I take things hard, I feel them hard, and change feels like Pete's passing. I try so damn hard to look at every aspect, and then feel bad when I cry, and sad when Im mad, and ungrateful for feeling everything at the same time. I feel that when I get mad at my "situation" or the feelings within myself that for some reason I am being ungrateful. That I should feel so lucky that things turned out as well as they did, and I should be so lucky that someone loves someone like me and someone in my "situation." As if I did something to make Pete go away. Are these things logical or rational? NO, but I feel them in myself, I have felt them from other people, people who said they loved me, who would support me, care for me when I couldn't see how I was going to make it through, and then turn around and tell me how lucky I was to be moving forward. For so long I have felt like a "situation" and when I get mad, and when I get happy, and when I get too tired, and when the anxiety takes over, and the anger takes over, I remember these feelings, the thoughts, that I should be so lucky. 

So then, I feel bad for wanting more. I want the "perfect" family. I was the success,I want a bigger space,  I want to help, and heal those around me who feel so much pain, who have experienced so much trauma, and when I can't help them, I have failed. Or when I sit at shows and none of my products sell, or I only sold four. I feel that I have failed, along with the expectation that I should be grateful that I had the opportunity to come to the shows, to set up my products, to buy the supplies, to create the experience, to thank all the people, considering my "crazy situation." 

When I am there at shows and  I don't move very much product. But when I am not there and my husband is, he sells my product. It makes me want to yell. What am I am doing wrong? He is at a show today, I am not. Why can't I be there, because I don't have enough help with my kids and its so expensive to get a sitter for 10 hours. Is it my attitude? is it my energy? I made it, I love my products, I did the research, I sang to them, prayed over them, and yet he sells my product better than I do. but again, there is the guilt and the anger, since in all rationality, I know that it takes time to build a business for yourself, to get your name out there, to get the people to try your product and keep coming back. Again the feeling that I should be grateful that I found a sitter, was able to pay the sitter,  to go to a show, to spend time away from my kids, and push for something more, something better.  When I have setbacks or the guilt or the anger, I try and stand back from it, and ask where is my lesson, what did I gain from this, I know there is a better way to do it. I tell myself to think positive, to change my words in my mind, to let go of the outcome. And I work extremely hard and pushing myself and telling myself that the next show will be better, that people who need me will find me. I put mantras in my head and shove out my disappointment. I know I am too hard on myself and have unrealistic expectations, but its so hard when I go to these shows and look around and see that my table looks like glitter threw up on it compared to the massage tables, and the Celtic patterns, and the "typical" things you think of when going to a new age fair.  Sometimes even among my people I feel like the odd one out. What is that saying about "Why be like everyone else when you were born to stand out?" I get it, but on days like today, with perspective and change swirling around me, combined with not enough sleep, too much guilt, and high expectations, my emotions are too much. They weight me down and tiny rivers run down my face. 

But hey, tomorrow is a new day to gain a new perspective, to create a new plan, to meditate, and to try again. I have learned that in the challenge and the mess its worth it. Its worth it to prove to myself, my children, my unrealistic expectations, and lets not forget the guilt, that I continue to push forward. I didn't give up, I didn't let fear win, I didn't let all those shitty things I tell myself or things that others have told me. I listened to my own drive, my own passion, my own heart and I pushed on. It may have started with grieving, but through change, growth, a magical bear, a family of squirrels, and a Crazy lady at the helm that we became more than just a crazy situation.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Crazy Birthday!

I've had it with my children today. I had high expectations and maybe that was the real issue is that I had expectations at all. Chase Leo is 8 years old today. 8? how can that be? For some reason this birthday just feels like a bigger milestone than the other ones. He has grown a lot in just the past year and suddenly he looks more like a little boy and less like a toddler. I wonder things like.. Am I sad because he is my baby and my baby is no longer a baby? Am I sad because I can no longer ignore the fact that he is growing up? Or am i sad that its the real reality that its been 8 years since Pete has been gone.    My tears have hit hard this evening. It has taken me all day, of shoving down old feelings and memories. I probably get the most frustrated when I can't remember things about Chase Leo's life. I remember his birth and I remember parts of being in the hospital and I know I will never forget bringing him home with out Pete here. 
  I think my high expectations started with school being canceled. Due to the snow and the ice I was glad that I wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn and get everyone off to school. However, I was looking forward to having time with Just Chase Leo. I had planned to surprise him and take him out to lunch during his lunch time at school. It seems that I don't get much one on one time with each of them. But knowing that his birthday is always so bitter sweet for me, I was looking forward to Mommy and me time. He had been wanting to see the new Paddington Bear movie. He had been so excited that this movie was coming out on HIS birthday!  So off we went to the movies.  But, it wasn't that easy.  Most of the morning was full of constant bickering and arguing. Chase Leo would get his feelings hurt because the other two would take something that he wanted. Chase Leo would do something to retaliate and then the other two would yell at him. He would yell back and then since he wouldn't want to get into trouble Chase Leo would then cry because he wasn't getting his way. This cycle went round and round.  it seemed that no amount of helping them work it out helped. Eventually I let them sort it out, which ended in everyone yelling over each other. So much for that idea. Finally it was time to go to the movie. But in usual squirrel fashion I didn't plan enough time for starting Ruby. Lately Ruby hates cold weather and is starting to break down.  She isn't going to last much longer, but like Chase Leo and growing up, I'm not going to be able to ignore her "troubles" much longer. We have already looked into buying a new one. I am getting off course. It wasn't so much that starting Ruby was the issue, No it had more to do with scraping off the layers of snow and ice.  Due to the crazy weather, the doors were frozen shut and everyone had to get into the old girl via the drivers side. Nothing like plopping down on the torn seat that has puddles of melted snow on it.  With the defrost set on high and the kids in their seats I began the tedious task of scraping the ice off the cracked windshield.  The problem is that if I spend too much time outside of the car Chase Leo's worry kicks into over drive. Even though he can see me, I am not physically in his presence, he can't reach out and touch my body.  Chase Leo being Chase Leo took matters into his own hands, unbuckled his 5 point harness (since I have micro size children they have to stay in their 5 point car seats longer than say the average child), climbed back into the drivers  seat and opened the door. In doing so the snow that was falling and swirling around blew into the warm car getting himself and the drivers seat all wet.
  "When are we leaving?"  he said.
 I yell over the howling wind through my frozen lips "Shut the door Chase Leo the defrost wont defrost if you let out all the heat!" 
  He shut the door but remained in the driver seat watching me.  I continued to chip away at the ice with the scrapper. Thankfully the defrost on the wind shield started heating up the inside of the windshield and the ice started melting. Within minutes Chase Leo opened the door again with it more snow came funneling into the car on him and the seat.
 "Mommy, we need to go, we are going to miss the movie!"
 "Chase Leo close the door, we aren't going to miss the movie!" He shut the door but not all the way. Continuing my fast pace of scraping and fighting the wind, my hands now numb from the ice melting on my gloves, I moved to the passenger side window, then to the back seat window, and on around to the other side of the car. Chase Leo opened the door again because now he can't actually see me since I am behind him " Mommy!"
 Losing my patience with the whole process and the fact that my face is frozen and so are my hands I shout "Chase Leo! Get back into your seat! Put your buckles on! Do not open the door again, for any reason!"  Chase Leo's worried expression droops as he shuts the door and climbed over the seat.  Enter Mom guilt.  Quickly I move back to the windshield scrape a giant piece of ice that had fallen loose off the windshield, open the door, and sit down on a melted puddle.   Wonderful!
   Finally we arrive at the movie theater. Everyone out and into the cold. The three of them are still bickering. However this time its about who is going to sit where. Th est thing about the movie was that everyone got along. So for an hour an a half everyone was entertained and happy. Then the movie was over and it started all over again.   Normally this might not have irritated me to the extremeness that it did, but today was different. Today was Chase Leo's birthday.  Today the thoughts were hard to talk back to and today I had new thoughts and questions I had't had asked in awhile. How could he already be 8 years old? Where did the time go? had Pete really been gone 8 years?
 How could Chase Leo have never met his dad? Does Chase Leo feel that he is missing out because the term "Daddy" hasn't ever been part of his vocabulary?
  Questions that don't ever have answers, so why are they there? Maybe the real question is why are they there still?
   Once back home everyone seemed fine until it wasn't. It was the same scenario. this person was mad because that one took his seat. This one was mad because that one wouldn't get out of the other persons room. Someone was yelling over a stool. I couldn't take it one more minute. into my room I went and the tears came. Tears for the kids who wouldn't stop fighting. Tears that they day wasn't as fun as I had hoped. Tears that all I wanted to do was go to bed. Tears for feeling bad that the weather had made us cancel his party, tears for feeling helpless when the kids just kept arguing of the most asinine stuff and finally tears that Chase Leo was 8.  Is it rational? No. But at this point I didn't think it mattered.
  If I look back at my day I know I have much to be grateful for. I am sure I am not the only parents whose children constantly bicker.  The correlation between Chase Leo and the car makes sense. Its hard to let go. It was hard to let go of Pete. Its hard to let go of the miraculous but so hard birth of Chase Leo. And maybe that's where the guilt comes in. I can't remember lots of those days. People came to see me, visit me in the hospital, bring me meals after the baby was born and I don' remember it. I ran in to someone that apparently visited me at home after Chase Leo and I had come home from the hospital. No recollection of that at all. Some would say its a gift, but do you have any idea how hard it is to not know your own memories?  Chase Leo was the last of Pete, and like my car, it was the first car without Pete. But in both situations Pete wasn't physically present for either one. That crazy change is a hard one. Each day is a blessing, each birthday is a milestone. Its one more year without Pete, but its also another year to be grateful that Chase Leo was born a strong, chubby, resilient child. Even though the four of us all have trauma from Pete's passing, we also have an unyielding love and courage as well. Change is inevitable as everyone says but its what you do with it that matters.  I will thank Ruby for being a good car and getting us places safely. I will thank God and the Angels for helping to drive Ruby all those times when I couldn't remember how I got from point A to point B. I will thank the family and friends who would sit beside me in silence because I had no words for the grief.  And I will gratefully hold Chase Leo in my lap with his legs dangling way over. Grateful for another year of watching him grow and change. Grateful for the joy in his heart, the smile on his face, and for the way he cares for people. 

 Although this day was full of a multitude of irritations, I know that Pete was close by. We were kept safe while driving on the icy roads, we had money to go and see a movie, we laughed and we celebrated Chase Leo and the gift that he is.