homes are interesting.  in america we put so much emphasis, even turning into a job title "homemaker."  and it's not a bad thing.  for me it immediately draws the opposite correlation of people in other countries whose homes are huts and what it means to them.  but that is neither here nor there and not what i was intending for tonight.

tomorrow marks five weeks since we started packing our stuff up and almost three weeks that we've been down here without the majority of our belongings.  tomorrow i will unpack.  my coffee mugs, my coffee maker, my blankets and pillows and throws.  my kids toys and stuffs, our pots and pans.  for me, being without the majority of my stuff in combination with also not having a home has been... more trying than i expected.  this is the first time in my life i have experienced homelessness.*

my house in ohio is packed up and ready to sell.  the rooms are empty, i imagine them forlorn, i'm not sure if that's the case.  i hope whoever buys it sees more happiness than we did.  the door gets literally and figuratively closed on the future i used to have.

when i visited NC before we actually went longer without having the majority of our possessions - but we knew where they were, at home, the safety blanket (or suffocating) waiting for us.  this attachment that we have to our possessions, to our things is so bizarre to me.  we don't take any of it with us.  that's part of the reason it was so difficult for me to look around and deal with all of jim's things, it just was this constant reminder of what we leave with.  why do we attach ourselves to things?

i heard this quote when i was in my early twenties and it has forever guided the way i strive to live my life

things are for use, people are to love 

i fail at that so often.  we treat our houses, our cars, our sofas on pedestals.  we freak out of it the kids scratch the floor or spill juice on the rug, remember the days of putting PLASTIC over the furniture folks?  when i experienced all of this it forever changed my perspective on things, ask me to name one thing i wouldn't give up without a second of hesitation to see my daughter's face one more time.  somehow when you've had a child die the thought of a kid scratching your car doesn't send you into hysterics.

yet still i find myself, wishing for my favorite coffee mug.  feeling very unmoored by the lack of my belongings.  my kids feel it too, tonight was pretty much our breaking point as a family.  and so #allthehardthings so that #allthegoodthings can come.

*please understand that i am in now way suggesting that my plight is the same of the souls that live every day on the streets, we have always had a house and a bed, i am merely speaking to the same connectedness i feel in my hearts to those that lose their homes, their refuges, their places of safety

live in the same building, but we got different views.

in the peaks of community isolation exists.

you know what i do when i see a homeless person standing by the side of the road?  I ignore it, stare straight ahead, pretend I don't see them.  I DON'T ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PAIN.  this has been on my mind a lot recently, probably because i know what it feels like when others refuse to acknowledge the scars you have and it blows.  

i saw a post on Facebook about putting together bags, just a glad ziploc with socks, soap, toothbrush, maybe a granola bar and a bottled water.  keep 4-5 in your car and when you see a person on the side of the road, hand them a bag.  you're prepared, you know they need the items, and it probably cost you like five bucks.  i plan on doing this tomorrow.  just getting the items, having them ready.  knowing that it's not ok to ignore pain.  

i share that not to say look at what i'm doing but more so, look at how ignorant we can be even in the midst of great suffering.  if you aren't suffering at all, i can guarantee you are throwing down some ignorance right now.  it is only in the midst of pain that we look around to see if others are being shot by the same arrows.  to see if the wounds that are marking us have other targets as well.  

our human experience is so unique and fragile.  your mindset is developed and honed and it is only yours to bear.  we can connect and come together and feel each other's pain and joy, but we must acknowledge that we are the only ones who see with our eyes.  others eyes see differently and that is ok.  

there is so much pain right now.  it seems the whole world is aching, with injustice, with pride, with rebellion.  my heart and mind are in turmoil for the future, for the present.  i do my best to stay in the immediate moment.  if it's not happening right at this second then i strive not to worry about it, your strength for the moments come as you experience them.  but even in the everyday moments i am met with pain, pain for others, pain for myself, pain for my children.

my heart is so very, very heavy tonight for our world.  
and so when there are no words, with my silence, i pray.

sometimes you're just sad.

there is a weight i carry, all the time.  sometimes i feel it more than others.  sometimes you just come home, wash your face and cry.  you think about the fact that you are in raleigh, out with people who you wouldn't have met otherwise and cry.

for me arriving here was this weird fruition.  although i would have never consciously made the sacrifices necessary to get me here, arriving here has been the completion of a dream.  a dream that i had outside of jim, outside of being a mom, just a bria dream.  and i achieved it, this whole week i have had this sense of accomplishment.  it was then that it struck me, i accomplished something i set out to do just for myself.

this life is so weird.  nothing lasts forever, no pain, no happiness.  you must always have one fist closed and one open.  there is no give without take.  you have a baby, but sacrifice freedom, you give up love, and gain energy for yourself.  a dichotomy never existing within but only without.

things fell into place this week in ways i can't explain.  i'll never forget right after jim died someone posted a Facebook update about how God helped them get patio furniture cheap.  and i was just sitting there like "yeah God must've been phoning it on the day my daughter died and you know every day a kid gets diagnosed with cancer, but yeah the creator of this universe, of dark matter and stars and other planets GOT YOU YOUR PATIO FURNITURE ON THE CHEAP! CAUSE HE REALLY CARES" and i hate that in a huge way, obviously evidenced by my choice of all capital letters.  because if God is who is proclaimed in the Bible, if a being out there created everything including this whole vast universe we can't even see, i just really don't think he cares about your furniture.  and so then i have this flip side where i can see things aligning in my life and half of me wants to sit there and be like "this is God!" but i wonder, why intervene in some and not others, and does the fact that things align now necessarily mean causation, did elly have to die for this to happen.

that's what my tiny, human brain struggles with the most.  not drawing lines of causation where there are none.  i just hope, i hope when i die that all my questions are so meaningless, the ramblings of a spoiled child who didn't get her way.  i hope we aren't nearly as intelligent as we think we are.  and what i hope for the most is that i get to hold my daughter.
and i even hope that he did help you get your patio furniture on the cheap.
because honestly what i hope for is that if it matters to us it matters to Him.


as i put very literal miles between myself and the pain of ohio, i took a deep breath.  i actually did most of the driving coming down, it wasn't intentional, but it was healing.  about halfway down i felt my chest physically relax, i thought about my daughter and my husband and realized over again that leaving the shadows doesn't mean leaving them.  i felt free.

the American Psychiatric Association compares surviving suicide to surviving a traumatic event, on par with concentration camp survival, bomb survival, etc.  the aftermath of living in that house was necessary for a time because i needed time to gain the strength to say goodbye, but it was very much putting myself in a prison.

i am in a season of pruning and my life just got cut back hard.  it's not the most fun i've ever encountered, watching shit blow up as i am powerless to do anything.  but the blooming that comes after a hard prune is incredible.  things are only made by their opposites, comfort does nothing for us.  it is the sharp edge of steel that refines, the harsh cuts of pruning that make blooms, the scrapes of sandpaper that make smooth.  do not strive for comfort, strive for greatness.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

time will tell if after pruning, i am able to return to the roots.  i have very little plans, choosing instead to focus on the immediate moments, the tasks at hand.  i have felt myself return unto myself in NC and it is a good feeling.  

i went to one last yoga class in ohio and the teacher said "your mat is a mirror" on my correction she noticed my flexibility but said i needed to gain strength.  i have thought about that a lot.  for years i viewed myself as inflexible, but this was and is inaccurate.  i was unable to see my flexibility and right now i have been unable to see my strength.  shrinking though, does nothing for anybody.  no one is enlightened by the shrinking of another human entity, no one benefits by you undercutting yourself and your abilities.  do not though, do not think that it will come easily, that your greatness will be recognized without strife.  be brave enough to stand in the storm.
nine years.  i have tried to leave ohio for nine years.

this weekend it becomes a reality.  no longer an ohio resident.
it breaks my heart a little, this split in my life.  what i had vs what will be.  for a long time i thought i would have both.  jim and i had talked multiple times about leaving, it just never worked out.  doors always shut that needed to be opened.  same for me when i was single.  i spent the first six months of my senior year of college applying exclusively to out of state jobs.

there is this tendency, i think, in widowhood, to feel guilty.  every time we make a change, especially one that would not be possible if still married, we second guess.  wait? did i want this to happen- did my subconscious somehow confirm what i wanted.

the reality is all your choices change after widowhood.  who i was with jim is gone forever.  one never walks through fire unchanged.  it is odd to see myself change so much in such a short amount of time.  of course i am in the biggest identity crisis of my life, who i was as a mom has changed, who i was as a daughter has changed.  i am changing and evolving and all of my relationships have changed and evolved as well.  some of the most difficult ones to navigate are the ones that only knew jim and i as a couple.

when you are with your soulmate they light up so many different facets of you.  but they don't light up every facet- it's not possible.  you are two different people with different personalities.  now that my energy is no longer diverted into the facets that were lit up by jim - i am struck with a very real sense of coming back into my own.  this is not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just a reality within a marriage and within the ending of a marriage.  you are a different person in a marriage and a different person outside of it.  to continue on as i was would be dishonest to myself and cheapen what jim and i had, as if i could have been that person without him.

it would be a dishonor to continue on in who i was, a slap in the face of who jim made me, what he brought out in me.  those parts of me are lost forever, lost in the deep of what we built together.

so now the new girl starts out.  for a couple more days i have one foot in, one foot out.  unable to fully embrace until i fully say goodbye.  boxes, boxes, boxes.  some stuff comes with, some stuff stays.

who i was is no longer, but she will always be a part of me.  jim and elly- i can't wait to take you both with me.

to my kiddos here with me, you.are.my.sunandmoon.  the complete opposites of and fiercest protectors of each other.  i hope i do you proud.  i promise the first boxes unpacked will be your toys.


everywhere i go.

everywhere i go i take them with me.  this ache that will never quite subside, it will always be felt.  what i hear so often is that i am strong but it's funny because i think the people who are strong are the ones who aren't afraid of my pain, who don't mind being scarred with me because the fire affects them too.

i remember there was a popular blogger who lost her four year old son in a tragic accident maybe two years ago?  i remember being horrified by it and literally thinking to myself "well... won't be reading that for a while"

sometimes the most difficult thing in the world is to watch those close to you suffer.  i write so much about being alone and feeling alone.  but there have been many who have chosen to stand in the fire with me, many who show up and show up even when i don't call back right away, even when i am spacey and overwhelmed by my text messages and don't respond back.

by leaving ohio, i am leaving a lot.  i am going to a tribe but also leaving a tribe.  it is hard, hard for me to leave.  i am sad and emotional and at times overwhelmed with the enormity of leaving all these people behind.  but then i think of trying to stay, of trying to rebuild here and i realize, it just can't happen.

also this is just a general FYI but if someone you know is hurting or going through a rough time, say something, say anything.  no- you don't have the right words, yes you might stay something stupid, but you will be forgiven for stupid comments and most likely provide fodder for the person who is going through the difficult time because it's always good to have a laugh in your back pocket.

silence is salt on an open wound.  and if you want me to give you a specific start with "i am so sorry, there are no words"