Sunday, October 21, 2012

Craziness escapes from photographs.

The closer it gets to "those dates." The worse it gets. The memories, the questions, the grief.  I was online today and a family member posted an up-close picture of Pete. Its a beautiful picture of him. It captures his smile and his laughing eyes. However, I wasn't expecting to see his face and all the sudden there it was! It was like a punch to the gut.  It stole my breath. I almost dropped the computer and burst into a million tears.  It's unimaginable to think that seeing his picture could cause that kind of reaction. His beautiful laughing face., full of so much happiness and joy. I marveled in looking at his face and pictures of him and I together when he was alive. 
   Right after he passed I could NOT look at his pictures at all. It hurt too much. It made me nauseous. At the funeral home they had this huge life size photo of him. And I couldn't even look at it. It made me want to run around screaming.  I mean. I am sure that if I did, no one would have blamed me for doing that. But I couldn't move.  In many ways after seeing that picture, I feel in this moment that I have lost him all over again. Why does it have to be this way? Memories that flood my body and make it impossible to do anything but weep in missing him. I had hoped that by three years I could enjoy looking at pictures of him and sharing "good" times and stories together.  And I can, normally.  But since it is about a month until the Angel versary, and only a few days from the anniversary of him going into the hospital.  I can't seem to do any of that.  
     A friend of mine made photo albums for the kids, full of pictures of Pete and the kids and I.  I remember when she asked me to get some pictures together for her. I made myself do it because I knew how much the kids would love it. I could only glance at pictures of him. I ended up just handing her a box of pictures and said "I can't pick out any, feel free to just put which ever ones you think they would like." She made such a beautiful album. When she first gave them to the kids they really couldn't look at them either. Aryanna flipped through the pages, mumbled a thank you and put it on her shelf in her room. However as time passes she brings out her album more and more. It comforts her and she remembers moments when they were together. The pictures make her laugh and she remembers the fun things that we did together. I am forever grateful to my friend for so many reasons, but also for making these amazing albums.   The other night after I tucked the kids into bed I went back in to check on them. I found Aryanna asleep with hers. It was open to page of him with her sitting on his lap. It was propped up beside her and she was on her side. She had fallen asleep looking at a picture of him. I closed the album, pulled the covers up over her shoulder, and prayed that he came to visit with her in her dreams.
   I don't know why I had expected that at three years I wouldn't hurt as bad. I mean yes, in lots of ways We don't hurt the same. I think most widow's would say, that it truly doesn't ever go away. You just learn to live with the pain. And that's truly it. I have learned to live with his loss. And My kids have learned to live with his loss.  Everyone's grieving process is different. No one can ever understand your exact pain. But with grieving comes understanding for the other person's pain.  Like when I hear about a person who has lost a brother, or a parent, or even a grandparent. I have learned to be honest when I give my condolences. I usually say that while I don't understand your exact pain, I can sympathize with your loss and I am sorry for your pain. For each person grieving, the memento that they can't handle is different. For me it is a photograph. While others, only want to surround themselves with their loved ones pictures.
   I am grateful for all the lovely pictures that we have of Pete. I hope that someday I can pull out those pictures of him in frames that we had on our walls when he was alive. Someday I hope to surround myself in his handsome face again.  To look at his pictures  in length. Taking in every aspect of it. The place where it was taken, and why.  For now, looking at our children with his eyes looking back at me is enough of a reminder that he was here.  The memories I have of him in my mind, his eyes, his laughter, his smile. While this time of year is full of unexpected Craziness. I know that I am blessed for everything. His life, his love, and even tragically, his loss.  It was his life that blessed me. It was his life's exit that changed me. While I miss him every day with every breath. I have learned to live with the pain. Aryanna, Petey, and Chase Leo have learned to live with the pain. We don't want to, but we know in our core that he would want this for us. His life taught us to live.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Music for the Crazy...

I came across a CD that Pete and I used to listen to a lot. This time of year it seems to call my name. As if I crave it. Something about it draws me in and I cant stop until the sound of it touches my ears. There are many songs on this album that touch me for different reasons but one in particular seemed to stir my senses and be just what I needed.   The intricacy of this piece of music speaks to me in a way that words just can't. It touches my soul, my breath, my heart, my core. It comforts me and keeps me company. It shares my breathing space. I can focus only on it's complexity of each note and similar instruments. To the point of complete organized chaos. It distracts me and I get hypnotized by it. I can only think of  the vibration and how the sound touches my body. It Fills my brain, and I don't have to think. I don't have to feel. I can just be. There is no need for words. The is just beauty in rhythm and sound.
      The bass vibrates my chest. So that I can feel it thumping inside of me. I tap my foot in time with the music. Its powerful in its simplicity and complexity all at the same time. Maybe that is why I like it so much. It's like me Crazy and yet Sane. I leave behind my worries, and my fears. The unanswered questions that may never have answers. Time passes and stands still. Each time the bow is pulled across the strings it creates a new dimension of calm and complex. Key changes and  tempo changes, send chills through my body and I feel whole.
     What must it be like to have no knowledge of music. There is no need to see only feel. The bass, the treble, the feel of your hands on the guitar. The beauty of the violin. How it touches you and you don't even have to put your hands on it. I already know how it feels under my fingers. The strings smooth yet grainy. The depth in the instrument itself. Not just a single note but a cluster of them together in one slide across the strings.  The way it touches my ears, heart, and mind. To never play it the same way every time. The glory in listening to it live. It's always different  It's never performed the same way every time. Something you lose when a piece is recorded.  The power, the majestic sound rings in my ears. The tenacity in the performance, sheer joy and love that is portrayed in each musician. Their instrument is like their heartbeat. Like tunnel vision. Only the music breathes life into your core.
     This particular song has so many layers to it. Along with so many instruments. The mandolin, the violin, the guitar, how many can I focus in on at one time. It's the perfect kind of crazy. Organized and timed perfectly and in harmony. Complex, in tune, and layered with passion and heart.  Learning a new instrument is like grieving  At first it's a big old mess. Nothing makes sense. Everything is out of tune and sometimes you just don't know which end is up. However with practice, and patience. Your fingers get calloused to protect your fingers on the strings. Kind of like your heart. It builds its own callous. So you can learn to function again.  Callouses make your fingers tough and callouses on your heart show you what your made of. With each practice session you learn something new. How to hold the instrument so you don't strain your neck. How to tune it so you no longer hurt your ears and every one else around you. You learn to read the music.
Soon you play a very short yet simple song. The pride you feel in accomplishing that small task is enough to propel you forward to keep going back to your lesson.  Each week, something new. Often times you can get stuck. The piece is too hard. The rhythm is all off, and you break a string.  There is yelling, crying and possibly throwing things. Yet I remember why I loved to begin with. With tears in my eyes, I sit down to play. This time as I play I can feel myself settling into the piece. Passion fills my song and I play as if I have never loved or played before.
     This life takes patience and time and most of all love. Love for myself, love for my children, love for the man who now has angel wings and love for the man that angel sent to me.  For it was he who started it to begin with, when he left me here. I know, he never wanted to hurt all of those left behind. However. I now see that it was in his leaving that I had to learn to find a new song. One that would toughen me up in ways I never thought possible. Surprisingly,  it also showed me love, a new perspective, and a life I never thought I would have.  So while I sit here at times crying over the out of tune and lack of rhythm.  I know I find peace in its complexity and simplicity. Its the best kind of music around. Its music for the crazy, performed by the crazy.   Nickel Creek  "House Of Tom Bombadil"
* Complex and Sane* Nickel Creek "Pastures New"
*Close your eye's, breathe deep, and feel*