Monday, May 7, 2012

Flying Crazy...

I wrote this while flying to Las Vegas. I am just now getting a chance to post it.....

Nothing like missing my alarm, and receiving a phone call from my ride, that she is in the driveway.  Maybe that should have been my first clue that something about the day was off.  I was running around my room at 4:30 am trying to find something to wear. I felt like everything I tried on made me look dumpy. Finally I put on my old "stand by" At least my jeans were new. However they do need to be hemmed or else I need to grow. Maybe taller shoes would be better. But I didn't feel like wearing heels to hoof it all over the airport, at a sprint. So I opted for my dressier tennis shoes, if there really is such a thing. Alas everything is ready and zipped into the suitcase. Throw my make up into my purse. Since I am not driving I can put it on in the car. That way I don't look completely like I just rolled out of bed. Off to kiss the kids good bye.
      Kissing the kids good bye has been something that I have been dreading. At 5am they are still in a sleepy state. I tip toe into the boys room. Aryanna is on the floor in her pink princess sleeping bag, Cl is in his bed and Petey in his. I whisper in Aryanna and Petey's ears, I Love you so much. Be good and help with Chase Leo. I will be home in a few days. I lean over CL and give him lots of kisses and whisper I love you!  I hug my mother in law, and give J as kiss. I pull my suitcase behind me and out into the driveway with my friend patiently waiting for me in the car.  Load my bag, close the trunk, get in the car and away we go to the airport.
    Arrive at the airport, check in, print my boarding pass. Thank goodness for being able to check in via my iphone. I have about an hour and a half to kill before needing to be at my gate. So, I wander around to find something to eat and some cold medicine. I managed to get CL's cold.  For me I enjoy being at the airport. All the people coming and going. I feel like a grown up when I am there. I know odd right? I only have me to look out for. I feel very independent, and in some ways very proud of myself. Which may sound Crazy... but for me I never did anything with out Pete. I never would have gone on an airplane without him. I never would have thought that I would be flying off to a Global Business conference.  That I would have my own business, or have the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing. Being at the airport is almost my way of stepping back into who Kathryn is. As if I am looking into a picture window of my own life. Here I sit, with three healthy happy kids at home. My mother in law is with them, so I know they are safe and will have an amazing time. I look back in my mind to where I have been, to where I am now, and I see strength and growth. Along with Guidance from God and Pete.So I guess one could say the airport is my gown up spot.
     I realize that my time for reflection is over and I need to get moving. Off to the security check point. Luckily the lines aren't long and I make it to the other side without much trouble. Other than the fact that I had to give the security people my water. Since I can't take water from the outside onto the plane. Once on the other side of check point I buy more water, some cold medicine, some Kleenex, and a People magazine. Finally, ready to board. The flight attendant starts the boarding call and we all line up in reference to our boarding pass. It sort of reminds me of cattle in a cattle chute.  Once I am on the plane it is time to find a seat. This is the first time for me to be on a plane that is open seating. I am hoping for a window seat. After scanning the seats I come upon a window seat next to a nice young couple. However I now have to put my carry on in the "overhead bin" and crawl across the nice couple to the window seat. After the excuse me's and thank you so much for your help. I am buckled in and ready to fly.
    We are sitting on the run way and I make small talk with the woman next to me. I ask her if she is from Las  Vegas or if they are visiting. She says they are from LA but have recently moved to Indy and are headed to Vegas to celebrate their wedding anniversary.   After listening to her I realize something that hits me like a fist to the gut. Today is my wedding anniversary. It would have been 9 years.  I got hot. And restless. I felt the anxiety creeping in and the feeling of wanting to shout! "Oh my gosh...Today? Why today?" I mean I remembered that, when I booked the flight and I kept thinking 'what a great way to start a new beginning. New business, new relationships, new moving forward. However, it was in this instant I found myself wanting to run around the plane. That feeling that I really needed some air.  Why hadn't it occurred to me sooner?  It never settled. I mean, I thought about it, but the thought didn't actually touch me or absorb into me. In this moment the planning is over, the schedules have been written, clothes packed, orders in my carry on. House semi clean not as much as I had wanted, but at some point  there just isn't enough time. All the preparing is behind me. I sit here in this minute having a mild panic attack over just absorbing my reality.  It takes my breath, and it hurts, still. I mean why wouldn't it? I still find myself surprised. I wished I could have cried, but the tears wouldn't come. The plane started to move and the anxiety increased. As we got faster and faster I kept feeling the knots in my stomach get tighter and tighter. The bafflement of the situation. I love to fly. I have been looking forward to being on the pane and in the air, and here I am with this rage of emotion of nervousness and anxiety.
       My mind wandered to the kids and missing them, wishing I could hold them and kiss their sweet faces. I was home sick and I was only 100 feet off the ground.  Why? fear? Guilt?   Sometimes I feel like people are waiting for me to fail so they can say "I told you so." I just want to live and be free from this box. I don't ever want to forget Pete, or for anyone to think that I am trying to do that in anyway. I just don't want to constantly have this "widow tag" hanging around me all the time. Yes, I am a widow. But it doesn't define me.  It's not who I am, it's where I have been.  If you have known a widow or are a widow, you know the crazy you have been through or have been around. Its a survival word. I am a widow. I have lost the essence of who I was, the life I had, and the future I thought I was meant to have.  I may have lost all of those things. But I gained a new perspective. I gained a new identity, a new normal, and now, a new life for myself and my children. I have learned that impossible is possible, and that beauty can come from something tragic.  I know and feel that outside of the "widow and loss" box, I can peer around it and embrace the fun and light that we are meant to have. The fun that Pete would want for us to have.  To feel it, and absorb in and bring it into my being and into my children's lives as well.  I know my Pete, and what he would have wanted  for  us.  I just wish others wouldn't be so strong with their idea's of what's right and what's wrong according to them. They aren't any more of an expert than me at grieving.
       Yet, it makes me wonder, why can't I just say "Don't you want to see whats on the other side of grief? There is laughter, beauty, and life. And really Thank Goodness!!!  I need joy in my life. I need it for my kids to show them the beauty out of something horrid. What's wrong with saying  what I believe is right for us as a family? It may not be what you would have done, but for me it is how I  move forward. To change, to grow and to live. I don't want to stand still, and I am done with being surrounded in darkness. I still have moments that take my breath, but luckily I am at a place now where they are just moments and not constant. And luckily these moments aren't filled with the other extreme of not feeling anything and being completely numb. That blank spot in my memory where there is no computing. Remembering a time when there was too much crazy, too much sadness, and just too much. I couldn't see it, I couldn't absorb it.
   I told someone last night that I feel like I am finally waking up to my life. I couldn't see it before. I would meet people, but they didn't register in my vision of actually being there. Memories of things I can only vaguely remember if I push myself to do it.  I find myself thinking, that while moving forward is how you get through it,  I do have moments where I would rather just go to sleep. Just for a little bit. To rejuvenate, to revive. I can remember when things with Pete would be too over stimulating, and I would just check out. I would find a chair and sleep.  I find myself in this moment of remembering my anniversary along with those blank moments of wanting to sleep and just check out for a little bit.   I have been sleeping on the plane. So peaceful up on the clouds, but with every decrease in altitude I am feeling more anxious. Like again coming back into my reality. The worry, the scared, the materialistic ideas of not fitting in. I feel again like crying but can't find the tears. They seem to be lodged under my anxiety. I need to change my focus. To remember why I am here on this plane.
   Today 9 years ago I was at the beginning of one amazing journey. A journey I would not have traded ever! Although, I never thought I would be here without him. In this 9th year I am at the beginning of a new journey. To search and find my path. What I stand for, what I want for my future, for my kids, and for our family. I am so grateful for the timing. When I step off this plane, adventure, and personal growth await me. I can't wait to see how this experience changes me emotionally and mentally. It's been one crazy journey so far... but I move forward in faith  and in love, but most of all with Pete. I know he is standing behind me with a smile. I know I will achieve greatness for me, and, for the legacy he left behind.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Crazy glance at an amazing woman...

My Nana passed away on April 29,2012 She was 89 years old.  I wrote this for her and read it at her service yesterday. I wanted to share it with you.

Nana was brilliant. She did so many things to help others. One of her amazing gifts was teaching. She could teach in a way that kids and adults could understand. She taught me. Which is saying something. For those of you who don’t know me very well. I have a tendency to be a bit impatient, along with being very distractible. Especially when it came to subjects, such as math.  I hated math with a passion! My Nana, loved  math as much as I hated it. But, bless her. She took it upon herself to tutor me in math.  Nana said “math is like a puzzle, you just need to learn, how to fit the pieces together.” One summer, when I was probably in Jr. High. She would come to my house and work with me, in math and in history. I remember, she made a map of the different countries and put them on poster board. Then she got stickers (she loved stickers) that were of  kids dressed in clothing that represented the country they came from. After we would study about a country we would put the corresponding sticker on the corresponding  country.  I always enjoyed this part of the lesson. It was when we came to the math part, that I would start swinging my feet or want to go and get 18 cups of water. But, Nana would rein me in. She had that “School teacher look” usually that left me shaking in my socks. When that look came out I knew that my trips to the kitchen were over and that we needed to get down to business. Nana was patient with me, and Nana was kind to me, when I didn’t understand. While I may not have understood it then, I understand it now. She wanted me to succeed. It didn’t matter if I never loved math the way she did. She wanted me to know that I was smart and with her help I could accomplish anything. 
        Nana, not only had a passion for teaching math but she also had a passion for teaching music as well.  When I was in my mid 20’s I wanted to take up  playing the piano, again. So, I asked Nana if she would be up for teaching me. I would drive to Nana’s house once a week. I would sit at her piano and she would go over all the scales and the pieces she wanted me to work on. My favorite part of our lesson was when we would play a duet. Nana loved to play duets. I think that  was also her favorite part of our lesson. I loved to watch her play. She had such a light touch on the keys that I totally understood the phrase tickle the ivories. Her passion and excitement for music was contagious. After my lessons, I was often inspired to play like Nana did.  On more than one occasion I attended her mu fi meetings. The one that I remember the most was when Nana and Shirley Humfeld would play a fun and light hearted duet. I was in awe of how the two of them could play on one piano and not bump into each other.  Nana made it look so easy. For me she portrayed a side of her talent of classical music that was whimsical and vivacious.
         As kids Nana used to drive us all over the place. From grocery shopping to taking us to piano lessons. She would drive us down town for lunch, then back to her house for sleep overs. When we were with Nana we were always well fed. Nana was a marvelous cook. However Nana often made things in small quantities. For example her choc chip cookies, (a personal favorite) were about the size of a silver dollar. So you usually had to eat twice as many to equal an actual size cookie. Nana also had “Little” things in her house. Like the worlds smallest ketchup bottle, or teeny tiny Tupperware containers. When Nana would come to our house for dinner she always brought Pepridge farms dinner rolls. These were rather tiny rolls.  Nana seemed to be drawn to all things tiny in size. Which for us, was exceptionally handy, since we all were tiny in stature.  My sisters and I started referring to things as being “nana size” We used to tease Nana about her “Nana rolls” and her “Nana size” ice cream sandwhiches. She never seemed to take offense, She would just laugh along with us.  
       Nana loved to send post cards. It was always so fun to get my own piece of mail. Often times it was hard to read her wirtitng because it too was “nana size” yet, I was still very happy to have reicieved her post card. She continued to send them to me in all stages of my life not just when I was living at home. She sent me some while I was in college and eventually when I got married. When I started having children, I remember she sent me a card in the mail telling me how excited she was to meet the new baby. ( I still have it)
         Life changes but  to me Nana always seemed timeless. Nana encouraged me always. She marveled in my children and often told me how smart she knew they were. She loved talking to Aryanna. (My oldest). I think she was drawn to her because she was very “Nana size.”  I enjoyed being with her. Whether it be lunch at Applebee’s or polishing her nails. When tragedy struck in Novemebr of 2009. I can remember my Nana calling just to say Hi. She again helped me in ways that I will never forget, and I am grateful.
         To me, It doesn’t seem real. I know that my Nana, did live a long and fruitful life. She may not have been recognized enough for all the good that she did. She may not have changed the world, but she changed my world. She changed the world for all of those who couldn’t read or write. For all of those little lives that she touched when teaching music to elementary school kids.  She inspired me,  she encouraged me, and she loved me the way only a Nana can. Thank you Nana for all that you did for me. For all the unseen things you did, and for supporting me always. I love you and feel truly blessed and grateful to have been a part of your amazing life. We celebrate you.