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inaugural

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.

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treat it.

to everyone who has never been touched by suicide,

i get it.  i used to be like you too.  here are the most common views of suicide i either heard or personally held growing up:

that person is selfish
that person is crazy
that person is a coward
they wanted to die
they were depressed for a long time and finally went through with it
there are always warning signs, so people know it's coming
that it's preventable
THAT IT WOULDN'T AFFECT ME


there is this social stigma around depression, suicide, etc.  i can't tell you what it is like to not be able to talk openly about my husband's death.  to see people either openly or privately distance themselves from my pain, search for reasons that he did it beyond the fact that he was ill and we didn't catch it in time, connect dots that aren't connected.  all so they can convince themselves that they will never know the pain, and i honestly hope they don't- but it's possible they will.  i know people whose lives…

dating in 2016, also huge LOL at even posting this.

Half of me can’t even believe I am writing this post.  Dating is gruesome, isn’t it?  Like most of life, I suppose.
The weekend that Jim died I was standing there, a wreck, while my phone was blowing up.  Alayne goes “who is texting you so much?”
I respond “oh those are just my tinder matches” 
and I know that not everybody gets the hilarity and all I can say is until you are in the fire, you don’t see the need for a respite from getting burned.
anyways, i was talking to my therapist about dating and i commented “single, widowed mom, sole custody of two kids… it’s a tough sell” and it is.  
i have this story that literally leaves people speechless.  most people when they hear it don’t even really know how to interact with me much less get involved romantically.  and i know eventually it won’t be such a big part of my identity, this widowed, grieving mom, but right now it is and if i want anything to do with the person then it’s like they have to know it.  
again, it’s a tough sell. 

reflection.

i watched a video that my iPhone made, a video of 2016.  and it had just all of these beautiful and painful moments just wrapped into this four minute video.

the depth of my pain this year has been, at times, unbearable to the point where i wished for death.

but i saw so much smiling in those videos.  so many sweet moments and so many memories that happened when i was in a fog that felt all encompassing.



this year i felt the church's love in a way i have never before felt
this year i was able to take my kids on a disney cruise because of my co-workers at carters and the fundraiser they did for me
this year i was able to move because people came and packed and loaded me and helped with the cost of moving
this year my kids had a play set built for them while they were in another state
this year we imposed on people over and over again with our loud, yelling and crying little family of three
this year my daughter made beautiful friendships because people weren't afraid to reach …