i feel mad, i feel abandoned.  why did you bring me into the desert to leave me now?  why sustain me only to crush me underfoot.  there are a million questions and the answers come slowly (if at all)
it's like lightning (everything illuminated) and then l i g h t s o u t

oh i (don't) see.  oh i (don't) understand.  oh i, i, i.
it's not about i
its about you.
i see the flowers, i know i am worth more.
i see the birds, i know i am held closer

the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want
he makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me besides quiet waters
he restores my soul
he leads me down paths of righteousness for his names sake
even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
i will fear no evil
for you are with me
your rod and your staff comfort me
you prepare a table before me
you annoying my head with oil
my cup runneth over
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

to my mom.

hi momma,

this morning when i woke up (too early as always) i just really really wished you were here holding me.  i wish i could hear your laugh and see your smile.  i wish i could see how we have the same mannerisms and hear how we have the same laugh.  i wish my memories of you weren't fought for through thick cobwebs.

mommy, sometimes i get so tired.  it's so hard doing this on my own.  sometimes i'm just tired of being tired.  every day is a fight, sometimes every minute is a fight, to not get overwhelmed, to keep going, to stay strong, to be brave.  sometimes i feel just as fragile as i did in the weeks after everything.

my faith gets so weak and it seems like it swings on a pendulum.  i wish we had assurance.  i wish i knew for sure.  i wish you could sit me down for a half hour and say "don't worry, it's all true and i have elly and i met jim and he makes me laugh."  i wish i didn't have to hear addy cry for her dad.

why do bad things happen? why is it grace through fire? why do tribulations procure endurance?  why why why?  do i sound like addy yet?

i want purpose.  i want to know we aren't abandoned.
please don't let me be abandoned.

i'm so tired of being left (alwaysleftneverleaving)

sometimes life feels like a sentence and not a blessing.


to my old love,

i knew you like the back of my hand.  i knew every path and every curve.  all the hangouts and all the special spots.  there was no where to go where i wouldn't have a memory, wouldn't have a trigger.  it wasn't you... (i promise)

in the aftermath, my love for you turned to suffocation.  E S C A P E.  and now my escape has turned to longing.  i miss you - my feet have turned restless, for there is always more.  (can i never be satiated)

it is the shallow plants that are easily pulled and i feel the tugs.  my roots are beginning and it hurts.  it hurts, my feet say "run" my heart says "i hurt" my mind says "escape"
who do i listen to?


i wish we could have stayed together forever.  will i always miss that part of you that's me?
will we ever get back together?


life goes on

whenever you encounter a profound tragedy, there are moments, when you seem to stand still while life goes on around you. and you look at these people, incredulous:

how do they move? (you think) for you are frozen
how do they smile? for you are sure your lips will never curve again
how does a laugh escape their throat so easily?  only guttural cries are heard from yours

it is a strange time, you are separate, held apart from society either in your own mind or in the minds of those around you.  since my story blew up so profoundly and was pretty present on social media, i remember feeling like a small celebrity, my friends would get asked "do you KNOW her?  how is she holding up??" i had strangers introduce themselves to me... 

and that's part of why i left ohio i think, just to breath, to be in a place where i felt like my tragedy didn't define me, it had nothing to do with the people in ohio and everything to do with me and how i was processing.  

and now, now is coming the part of the journey where i open up, in hopes that others will hear my story but more importantly, hear of the story of redemption.  there were so many moments where i wished for death, where i wished that i could be put out of my misery.  and i wish, i wish i could stand here and say "i understand now! i will explain to you why people go through hard times, why babies die, why kids get cancer, why the weight of the world is so fucking heavy" but that's not my job.

my job is to be still and know.  
to be still and know.

and that is one of the most important lessons i have learned in this, i have learned the power of being still, the power of being quiet.  you know what i heard most often "i wish i had something to say" but in all honesty, i didn't need words, i needed people to be still and know

know that i was in pain
know that i needed a shoulder
know that they loved me

and the beautiful thing is, those people were provided to me, over and over and over again, in my most desperate and quiet moments, people showed up.  and it took a toll on them, i had to allow myself to be a burden and that is an extremely humbling place.  

and even though that fire waged, even though the forest burned, even though it seemed clear life would never.grow.again.

flowers are starting to sprout.  there is life in the soil.

elly passed away on april 16th, 2016.  the one year anniversary of her death is sunday, april 16th- easter sunday.  at first, i felt it was a cruel joke, the date my life blew up on the only holiday we spent together as a family of five?

but i know, i know that there is no greater day to know.  to be still and know, that my daughter is in heaven, that she lives on even without my presence there.

and so this easter, i will rejoice, i will rejoice and look at the flowers blooming and gather them to my face and say "thank you, thank you, thank you"

this is kind of a different post, stay with me.

i feel compelled to share my story.  in the beginning it was to alleviate the pain, i was filled to the brim with hurt and there had to be overflow.  now it is the realization that this will always leave me different, the realization of how brief our time is on this earth, the realization that what we do with our time matters very much.

and so i write this to you my reader,

if you are sitting there, wondering, does what i do matter? would people miss me if i was gone? do i need to spend my days locked in a cage?

if you are sitting there thinking, i am too fat, i am too stupid, i am not educated enough, i have a disability, i can't succeed because my face, legs, stomach, brain, speech impediment, the color of my skin

if the doubt circles around your head like bats, swooping in as night falls

if the pain feels too much to bear alone

if you are stuck

to you i say, stay brave.  to you i say, lift your head.  to you i say, stand strong.  to you i say "you can" to you i say "you will"

if you wear long sleeve shirts in the summer, if you go to the restroom right after eating, if you don't eat at all, if you jump on the treadmill as soon as you wake up, if you take hits, if you drink too much, if you dropped out of school, if you had a baby,

to you i say- you can. to you i say, it's not too late. there is one thing and one thing only that can rob you of life, and that is death.  if you are here, if you are reading my words, it is not too late.

if you are taking off your wedding ring or putting one on, if you are getting final notices, if phone calls feel like sentences, if you are getting beat, if you are doing the beatings,

s t r u g g l e

then take my hand.  take my hand for you are my brother.  take my hand for you are my sister.  i stand with you.
i stand with those that are hurting, i will not turn my face away from your hurt.  i will stay until the wave passes.  i will stand in the fire with you.
to you i say-
you are loved.
to you i say-
you are wanted
to you i say-
don't give up

all my love,

I wanna talk about my days as a youth to you
Exposing you to all my demons and the reasons I'm this way
I would like to paint a picture, but it'll take more than a day
It would take more than some years to get all over all my fears
Preventing me from letting you see all of me perfectly clear
The same wall that's stopping me from letting go and shedding tears
From the lack of having father, and the passing of my peers
While I'm too scared to expose myself
It turns out, you know me better than I know myself

(when j. cole hits it better than you could)

to bria at 22,

hey girl- whew i am glad you don't know what's coming your way.  girl, you'd be running.  i wish life held different cards for you.  you are a bit of a lot of a little in a way.  your going to have a meltdown because jim won't try your first christmas dish because he hates cauliflower and you made him cauliflower mashed potatoes.  you two have a lot of learning to do about each other.  actually, you probably haven't even met him yet when i'm writing this.  well, it probably does no good, knowing myself you would probably disregard my advice anyway and do what you want.  

you are lost still girl, and you stay that way for a long time.  alayne doesn't even recognize you right now, she's worried about you.  i think everyone kind of is.  on christmas eve, you spent the whole night fighting back tears because you were so depressed.  that depression weighs heavy on you, your first year of marriage.  jim comes home more than once to you having a panic attack.  he sees you through it though, he loves you girl.  you can trust him.  

i'm happy to say you come out the other side.  i'm sad to tell you the circumstances that it takes to build your strength.  

your kids are the most beautiful and challenging thing you will ever see.  you're going to end up being a single mom.. bet you didn't see that one coming?  yeah...  it's a bit.  

you hurt a lot of people.  a lot of people.  there is a tornado aspect to your personality that just can't help herself sometimes.  a lot of people hurt you unfortunately, in that tornado is the eye of the storm of course.  it can be wounded.  don't stop letting yourself be wounded though, don't lose touch with the humanity of the situation.  don't lose touch with yourself, keep your pulse on what moves you.  

and girl, your lessons are learned with absolute brutality.  don't make life teach them twice.

bria at 29