Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Girl in the Green Chair

Through her thick glasses, ever-sliding down her little nose, the four-year-old read a book quietly to herself.  Pigtails slightly crooked, seated in the seventies-defining, plush green chair, she could see into the kitchen where her parents were cleaning up from dinner. Something about that moment made her ponder something beyond the typical musings of a child that age, and she began to cry.  It was a quiet cry, not meant to garner attention, but carrying with it a true sadness.  Her dad, noticing the tears of his carefree daughter, knelt by her side and asked why she was crying.

"I don't want you to die."

It was an honest and simple answer.  She'd happened upon that moment everyone has when she realizes that, someday, she will be without the people who are the center of her world.  Her dad comforted her, and assured her that he would be around for a long time.  He insisted that she need not worry her little mind about such things, and they finished the rest of the story together.

As we get older, memories tend to fade, and the glimpses into our past become fewer and fewer.  Details blur, and some moments disappear altogether.  This memory is one that is as clear to me right now as the very day it happened.  I can close my eyes and be back there in the little green ranch on the corner of that dirt road.  There's a part of me that wishes I could find that old chair.  In a way, it represents a a piece of the comfort and security that's gone missing from my life, and I'd love to have a seat and pretend to be back there again...just for a bit.

Children, the ones who are lucky enough to grow up with loving parents, are grounded in the security of having people who will provide an endless amount of unconditional love.  I know that I relied on that security countless times throughout my life.  There was that time in third grade when a boy was making fun of my glasses, and I remember thinking, "Mom and Dad love me."  Those exact words went through my head, and the thought made me feel better.  I fell back on that security when I was adjusting to college and being away from home for the first time, when I became a new mother, and when I suffered a miscarriage.  Truth be told, that security has been an undercurrent my entire life and likely the reason I am where I am in life.  That little girl knew there would come a time when she'd be without that security, and she thought it would happen when they passed away.  It never occurred to her, all those years ago, that she might someday be estranged from her mother with no way to fix it, caught in a situation that would be entirely outside of her control.  Of course she didn't.  How could a child so young possibly imagine something so heartbreaking that her adult self struggles to understand and accept it?

I've done a great deal  of healing over these last few months, but events of late have reignited the pain that began almost a year ago.  Yesterday was one of the most painful days of my entire life, and the experience will be burned into my mind forever.  It had to happen, and I'd do it again if I had to, but I saw and heard things I wish I could forget.   In a way it feels like starting this all over again, but there's a difference this time.  I know the path I need to take to heal again.  It's already paved with family and friends, old and new.  There's a set of directions this time.  It'll undoubtedly have detours and potholes, but it's a much clearer route now.

The funny thing about growing older is that, while you start off life with one or two people who provide you with unconditional love, if you are as fortunate as that little girl in the green chair, you gather more along the way.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Well, hello there! Let's recap, shall we?

It's strange, really, that I haven't written anything here since July.  I was sure I'd be writing more once summer came around and school was out for a nice, long break.  I certainly can't say I didn't write at all.  In fact, I got quite a bit of footwork done on my memoir, planning and researching, but I did not pen a single blog post.  Not one.  When I think about it, I am pretty sure I was avoiding it, because I not only failed to blog, but I also stopped looking at my Twitter account where I keep up with my writer friends.  I stopped reading my favorite blogs and connecting with other writers. 

It is clear to m, now that we are back in the swing of a regular schedule, that I had to step away for a bit.  We are coming up on a year since things hit the proverbial fan, and for much of that time I was disconnected from my husband and kids. I was lost in a world of disbelief, crisis, and sadness I thought I may not fully recover from.  I had to take a break, heal as much as I could, and remind myself that there will be life on the other side of this tragedy.

Is the situation better?  No, not even close.  In some ways, it hurts more with every passing day, but we are learning how to live life that embraces the blessings we can count. 

I'm ready to get back into the blogosphere, and I thought that a little recap of some older posts would be a great way to rejuvenate my reader's interests while also introducing new readers to where it all started for this little blog of mine.  So in the style of Kasie Whitener, here goes:

  1. Dear Mom...  I wrote this at the beginning, and I took to down for a while, but it truly captures the essence of why this blog was born.
  2. My Girl:  So many of my posts were written in absolute sorrow, but I am pretty sure I smiled ear-to-ear the entire time I worked on this one. 
  3. Post I Wish More People Had Read:  This experience has been excruciating for me, but my pain and suffering is nothing compared to his. 
  4. Our Rocks:  My entire family would be far worse off without these two guys.  This post even ended with a little humor!
  5. Comfort:  This is where we are now, finding comfort in the positive, keeping memories precious, moving forward and finding joy in what we have in our lives. 
As I put this together, I had such a hard time picking just a few to highlight.  Each post is so close to my heart, and each is a piece of this journey that continues.  These are the ones I went with, and if they tug at your heart, check out the others.  You won't be disappointed.

It feels great to be back, and I think the best is yet to come!

Dear Mom...

Dear Mom,

I love you, and I miss you more than you may ever really know. I miss the real you, the one who is so very different from the unrecognizable person have become. I miss the little things, like the 2 phone calls every night. At times, I know I used to get annoyed by them because I'd be trying to get dinner ready and help the kids with homework, but I miss them now. They were normal, mother-daughter conversations, and I miss those. Whitney Houston died last week, and if things were normal, we would have talked about that. I would have reminded you that we listened to her tape everyday on the way to daycare for more days than I can recall. You would have reminded me that, during one of her tours, I asked you to call Whitney and invite her to stay at our house when she came to town, and we would have laughed about it. We didn't talk about it, though. There are times when you don't want to talk to me at all. Then, there are times when you are so angry and mean when you talk to me, and it crushes my spirit. I know that, right now, you want me to call you, but I am afraid. Throughout my whole life, you've never truly been mad at me, and it scares me that if I call you'll hurt me again. If I could talk to you, though, there are some things I'd tell you about.

The real you would be proud of us. You have always been helpful to people in difficult times of their lives, and that has rubbed off on us. You'd be so proud of the way we have tried to help you, the way we have tried to be so tough. We have spent more hours than we can count trying to find the help you need. We have continued to try, even though our efforts have made you hate us. You would also be happy to know that your daughters are taking care of their dad. He's simply devastated, and we are doing everything we can to comfort him and help him get through this. I know the real you would want that for him. You know how he is, so independent, and you'd be proud of how pushy we are being, forcing him to let us help him. I also think you'd be happy that so many people are reaching out to all three of us and making sure we have the support we need.

The real you would be sad to know that I have experienced the darkest days of my entire life because of the anger and hatred with which you have become filled. You would be upset to know that my birthday may never feel the same because of the letter you sent me this year, and you'd be embarrassed to know that you carry it around with pride. The real you would be devastated to know the horrid, damaging lies you are saying about us. If the real you could look at this person from the outside, you'd accept our help, because you wouldn't like this new person and you would want the old you back. You should know, however, that I forgive you for everything. I forgive the real you, because the real you didn't do any of it. I forgive the real you, but I may never get the chance to tell the real you that. I'm starting to think I'll never see her again. I hope I'm wrong.

I love you, Mom.