The Fourth

I do love everything about the Fourth of July. From parades to cookouts to the red, white, and blue to the fireworks. I love love fireworks. But this year is different. My boys decided to spend the holiday with their father. With their grandparents, cousins, aunt, and uncle. And their father’s girlfriend. If I told you my heart is hurting, it’d be an understatement. It’s a physical space I once shared with them…to be honest, I’m feeling somewhat replaced. My oldest was allowed to bring his girlfriend and as a result was in his glory. And T..well T just goes with the flow. But me, being without them on my favorite holiday pains me. It’s so incredibly opposite of all that I wanted. And this emptiness can feel suffocating. The tug of emotions. Happy for them and for their father to have this time with them…especially D who rarely spends time with his father. And I am happy for my (ex) in-laws for they love having their family together. Yet, the core of me is sad. And I get that may be selfish. And I get that time marches on. And I get that it’s been nearly five years. But family is in my heart. It’s in my being. And I don’t think any amount of time will change that for me.

So today I will spend time with my parents, my brother, and his family. And I will give my three precious nieces a few extra hugs today. Their ever relentless love for me will somehow soothe my shaking soul I know. And will keep me from just curling up in a ball, crying myself into a defeated sleep to wake to a reality that will shock me once again. I know chances are each stumble, each fall, will only act to strengthen me in the end. And I am fighting to stay clear, to stay strong, and true. This Fourth of July is different yes. But I think it just may be a turning point.

Here

drifting in and out

seeing, only briefly

feeling, minutes

there’s hope..look

it passes by

i reach, but too late

or maybe it was just a shadow

the pain festers

it holds tight..and maybe it needs to

the salty ocean in my eyes

creates waves down my face

and my breath, i catch it sometimes

it helps to plant my feet..on the cold ground

and the dreams, the dreams mock me

i wish

for not too much right?

i hold a present, of love

and it sits waiting, waiting for you

to open

my heart patiently beats

while my lungs hold so much air

and my body tightens

that open field?

yes, that one

please meet me there

Faith

This is long overdue. An examination of my marathon. Writing, with my left hand, about each mile. What I was feeling, thinking, seeing. I did it. And now I am having a hard time with the “results.” At the advice of my yoga teacher, I named the race. Faith. Each mile I needed to somehow relate to faith. Mentally working through each mile may just give me my life lesson she had said.

And this is where I am struggling. It was mile 16 I saw my my sister-in-law, nieces, T, my dad, and my mom. My interaction was mostly with my mom however. T and my dad where standing back and up on some stairs. I wasn’t feeling very strong at this point or at least not as strong as I had in training. And from here it went downhill. After I saw my family, it went downhill. And honestly, I think it was more after I saw my mom specifically. Ugh. I became weaker. More in my head. Weak. Beaten. Defeated. Up until seeing my mom she had been sending me supportive texts. When I saw her, she was proud. She yelled out as I ran off “How are you feeling?” and T just happened to snap a picture the moment I turned to respond. The look on my face says it all.

So why after this point, the point where I should have felt an extra boost, did I lose energy?  I can still feel what it felt like now – the lack of energy. It was a gross feeling. It was so hard to keep moving. And truly I didn’t know if I could. I became my weak, old, self full of anxiety and panic. And that turns into a downward spiral. My brother was running also. He had been a few miles behind me. I called him to say I didn’t think I could do it. He told me to keep going, he’d catch up with me. I kept looking back, looking for him. He never caught up. But, the fact that he tried so hard still warms my heart. He was there for me.

I crossed the finish line that day. Not even close to the time I had trained for and expected. It wasn’t until hours later, I could reflect back on the race and notice the many gifts.

So faith. Faith in myself. In my strength. In my abilities. Trust in who I am. And probably most importantly, feeling confident in doing what I know is right…for me. Not doubting. Yes, faith.

Gone

Today I lost my childhood friend. In fact, he was my very first friend. 43 years old and now gone. I still have a cassette tape of him and I at age 5 singing our ABC’s. He always shy and me not so much in comparison. Despite decades of not really seeing each other, he always held a place in my heart. And today that was even more obvious. A tiny piece of my heart since truly the day I was born was held just for him and through all these years it remained just for him.

His mom last saw him reading a bedtime story to his daughter. My mom did always tell me his daughter was his everything, his life. Her words “he was a great dad.” His daughter found him this morning in bed. He wouldn’t wake up. Oh how my heart breaks for her. She can’t be more than 8 years old and has already experienced a traumatic loss.

As I remain in shock and so saddened, I pray that all of his wonderful qualities will live on through the love of his life.

Peace Johnny.

Connection

During yoga today, the teacher read an excerpt at the beginning of class and then once again at the end of class. It resonated.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brene Brown

The search for the quote when I got home, led me to it’s original author and a talk she presented on vulnerability. It was lighthearted but thoughtful. It’s about being authentic, and true, and of course vulnerable. I think it’s worth watching maybe even more than once.

 

During this talk she spoke of courage which reminded me of a quote that also resonated with me on Instagram about a week ago. How ironic that she was the author of the quote as well?

Being able to tell all the chapters of my heart can lead to connection when the person they are presented to has the capacity to open the chapters, read the chapters, and love me all the same. And of course vice-versa.

Here’s to courage, vulnerability, and connection.

Be

I’m trying, trying to demonstrate how I want my own boys to be

How I hope they will treat others…

But I am pushed back, not by them

I am not allowed to provide them the example I wish for them to witness

I have done all I feel I can, and then I try more

And my heart starts to ache, my breathing increases, but shallow

Don’t they deserve more?

Who are their role models?

How will they be better fathers and husbands if they haven’t witnessed a better example?

My purpose in my life was without a doubt to be a mom

And I will always work to be better at my purpose

 

Be kind, be considerate, be unselfish, be giving

Be love, be happiness, be compassionate, be alive

Be nurturing, be supportive, be forgiving, be strong

Be a hero in your future children’s eyes

….and do not allow a moment to slip by when you can be everything to them

 

Cautiously Happy

My whole life I was told I was unhappy. And to this day my mom defends this by saying “I wanted to know what I could do to make you happy.” She even went so far as to say “You misinterpreted things (I said) as a kid.” Umm no….telling me I was unhappy, telling other people in front of me I was unhappy is pretty straightforward.

So now I look back and think was I unhappy? Or was I just living out what she placed on me, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I do know I was unhappy she would say this. I was unhappy hearing it. But was the core of me unhappy? I believe I was heavily unbalanced and seeking. Seeking someone or something to sit on the other side of the see-saw so that our legs would dangle as we sat perfectly balanced. Do you remember sitting on see-saws as a kid? It was no fun if the other person weighed that much more than you because you were left stuck in the air. And if the other person weighed that much less, well your legs would hit the ground so hard and your knees would bend to an uncomfortable angle. But when you found the perfect match, it was, well, perfect. And fun.

As I am trying to move forward to a healthier place in my life, I struggle with being wholeheartedly happy. Understand there are countless moments that bring me happiness. But…I proceed with caution. Divorce hurts. And I was hurt by others during this time. As a result, my heart doesn’t want to feel any more pain. It has become afraid. And timid. It has cracks and holes and bruised parts that are so desperately afraid of someone else taking it and not respecting all of it’s broken pieces. Or not even considering my heart at all.

Yes I am happy, but only cautiously so. Wholeheartedly?…..one day.