There’s so much of the past three years I want to write and I plan to write it all but where to begin?
It started with losing Tammy–a person who helped me become the woman I am, who always saw the best in me and let me know it. She was much too young, it was so unexpected, and before I could catch my breath, I was faced with the decision to put down my dog, Why?lee. Why?lee was seventeen at the time and we’d spent fifteen of those years together. It was brutal, but at his age, I knew it was coming. Three months later, my horse Tristan had to be put down suddenly. He was twenty eight and we’d spent eighteen of those years together. Despite his age, I was unprepared and completely wrecked.
Two months after that, I had a miscarriage, and in another two months I was pregnant with twins, our cars broke down at the same time, my pregnancy was a nightmare of violent illness every single day for seven months. I got so dehydrated from vomiting, I had to go to the ER for an IV.
Then we lost Kerry–one of the best humans I’ll ever meet. I wasn’t actually related to him, but he was soul-family to me and he will always be one of my highest role models. And then we lost Brent, a good man and a good friend, for devastating and unfathomable reasons I still can’t wrap my heart around.
The past three years I’ve felt like I’m always just one half-step away from a complete breakdown. It’s too much. Too much loss, too much sadness, too much worry. I am unimaginably grateful for my friends and my family, my amazing neighbors who just keep showing up even though I struggle to reciprocate, for this beautiful place where I get to watch my three, precious babies experience so much joy and wonder. Because it’s been some of the hardest living I’ve ever had to do.
Looking back, it’s easy to see that I was not, in fact, a half step away from a complete breakdown. I fell right over that edge and did have a breakdown. A breakdown doesn’t necessarily mean a complete inability to function. For me it looked like a lot of cancelled plans, a lot of not responding, not sleeping, not brushing my teeth, not taking enough showers. I stopped trying to process my grief. I stopped making plans and trying to connect. I stopped reading. I stopped riding. I stopped everything. I’d forget my thyroid medication, forget to eat, forget to respond to texts. My whole life became one minute to the next, one foot in front of the other, one absolutely necessary task at a time.
And now I’m here, having drifted so far only to come right back to the same realization that I had in the midst of my cancer treatment–this is my life and time presses on whether I’m truly living it or not. I have lost so many but there are so many who are still here. I am still here. And for what? . . . if all I do with my time is shuffle one minute to the next? I need to write out this dark chapter so I can finally close it.
So I’m straightening my shoulders and picking up the reins (and my pen ; ), even though I haven’t quite decided where I’m going yet. I know I’m ready to leave here. I’ve turned a corner and whatever comes next, I’m meeting it head on . . . in clean clothes . . . with my teeth brushed . . . and my lipstick on.
One thought on “Where to Begin?”
You have captured that essence of a breakdown that doesn’t look like a breakdown. It validates for many that we keep going when we are so brokenhearted, yet we are not okay. And at times people don’t recognize it. I went thru this losing Phyllis and for months times I just could not stop crying at times. And losing my Mom so suddenly, at times it also seems “surreal” with many losses, you wander in a landscape of unfamiliarity with beloved touchstones in your life gone. And yet as you write, we go on, life does not stop and flows around you, like a river that carries you ever forward, even when you beg it to stop, briefly to find your bearings. And at times we find our bearings, staggering under the weight of loss. And as Wordsworth writes, “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, We will grieve not, yet find strength in what remains behind…” all those enormous, encompassing memories of joy and love we had with those now gone will always be with us for when we move from grief we find they are our strength. They are in our our hearts, our bones, our spirits…our breath. They come back to us in someone’s laughter, a turn of a phrase, sitting and watching a sunrise or sunset and suddenly they are beside us in our memories….
When my mother first passed away and my grief was raw as she was so far away. I missed her being in my life “physically”. Now so many years later, she is always with me as there is no distance anymore. She is with me in my cooking, my friendships, my creativity, my love, my laugher, and yes at times my anger. I see her at times in my dreams where we have long conversations and sometimes, just sometimes I can feel her hand upon my cheek in a loving caress – some may say it is just a gentle breeze but I know exactly how my Mom brushed my cheek and know she is still there, still watching over me.
So you have again, captured what I felt like in the first years of some terrible losses but didn’t really know – LOVE YOUR WRITING HAVE MISSED IT!
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