When I picked up my pen (uh, mouse) to begin this blog, I had no idea how long the conversation would continue. In those dark days, I had no words. Yet, I had plenty because, well, that’s how I roll. Sometimes they made no sense, even to me. All I could do was send my soul out to the universe in kooky missives that, gratefully, you read and shared back to me. It’s been two years this month since that first blog post, and it’s only now, as I survey the emotional landscape, that I realize those words were actually breadcrumbs strewn toward the land of the living. They helped me leave behind the expectant vision of two old people rocking on a front porch that clearly would never be, and somehow steadied me on the path I now walk alone.
“The most painful state of being is remembering the future.” Kierkagard
Don’t get the idea that these last two years have been clarity-filled light bulb moments. There hasn’t been an overwhelmingly gung ho determination to race through a bucket list. Full disclosure? Most days, I’m not too sure of anything at all. I just bluff pretty damn well. Okay, there was that time (twice to be exact) I came out on the winning end of a them vs me go-round with car dealers, especially the fight for Blueberry 2.0. And of course, there was the reluctant (what’s not to like – it was free) trip to CA, where in spite of myself, I had a good time. I even wrote a pretty damn good review for my client. Bonus. Christmases have passed, so have Easters. Valentine-less Days and birthdays without my man. But lonely I wasn’t. Surrounded by super great adult kids, gorgeous, blooming grandkids and amazing friends in abundance, I can only be grateful.
“Life must go on; I forget just why.” Edna St. Vincent Millay
My husband changed me. His cancer changed me. His loss changed me. Life changed me. Joyce Maynard’s book, The Best of Us, hit me hard with its naked honesty. “The voice of that woman I was, who used to be in charge of her life, is now ruled by an illness that does not reside in my own body, has not disappeared. It calls out sometimes and sometimes practically screams: What about me? Where did my life go?” Yup, I get that. Written about her own husband’s battle with cancer, as well as the wonders they were able to pack into life before, Joyce’s words exposed her pain as well as love grasped and lost. It also spoke to her humanity and a self’s need to ‘be’. Her story is unfinished. Her life, work and words go on — as do mine.
In these past two years, toy soldiers marched on to new fields (or shelves), and toy planes were installed in an aviation museum. Our little redheaded guy, taught at 3 by grandpa to dribble a basketball, entered high school this year. And our stunning only grandgirl, whom he taught to drive, inspired toward Broadway, and nagged to use her beautiful voice, will soon be a married woman. (Don’t even get me started about the four growing-like-a weed little dudes) Missing my partner-in-crime, I morphed our business into a ‘just me’ writer/designer gig. I revamped ‘our’ nest, beginning with the fireplace I now turn on with a click of a remote. And was I ever happy to swap 20 year old carpeting with uber chic coastal wood, enabling me to ditch a carpet stain scrubber for a simple Swiffer. But the coup d’gras was single-handedly packing up and selling my 93 year old father’s house two hours away, springing him from rehab and installing him in a very nearby assisted living — all in one month’s time. Booyah!
Your heartbreak is your map. It will lead toward your purpose and your tribe. Glennon Doyle Melton
If all the words poured into this blog have taught me anything, it’s that we are all alone — together. My thoughts are hardly unique. Everyone on the planet shares the same feelings at different times, in different forms. We have the same emotions, the same needs, and fears. Grief, love and joy exist in every human and words express those emotions in every language. While my way of framing thoughts and emotions are not singularly unique or even eloquent, it is mine. With each post I learn there’s always more to say. More reflection, more questions, more answers, and more life. While I’m not the guru of anything, or a writer extraordinaire, I just always hope that the words I spill out at least make more sense than Mad Libs.
“Bear witness. Be willing to write a new story.” Megan Devine
Losing someone we love is a singular pain that can neither be erased nor ‘fixed’. Healing is an inside job. There is no fair trade for a lost spouse, parent, or child. All anyone can do is to be present, bear witness. We may not be living happily-ever-after, or at least the way we imagined it, but my guess is that there really isn’t one. We just live the ‘after’ and make it as happy and fulfilling as we can. Orson Wells said that “If you want a happy ending, that depends on where you stop your story”. Our stories continue and so do we.
As my words enter another blog year, I thank each of you who’ve unwittingly stepped into my story. Like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates you never know what you’re gonna get but if it makes you feel better, neither do I. From grief to hope, odd-servations to politics, it’s not always an easy ride but it’s always real and usually funny because I just can’t help myself. These offbeat writings may have a life of their own, but I feel so grateful and blessed that you continue to share this crazy ride with me.
And since we’re in this together, whenever a blog post rings a bill — have at it. Use your words and share bits of your story – or your mind. (anything except alternative facts. wink, wink)
Words are powerful. Please bring yours.