I haven’t been around. Well, it’s been 14 months so it’s more like total MIA. If you read my blog, and you take time out of your own busy life to give attention to my little piece of life on the internet, I humbly apologize. It’s a total s**t thing to do, going AWOL on people who care. My last post was a phenomenal reach toward some of what I desired most and I feel like I blew it. This last year was just so much to handle. Not “too” much, because I handled it (though not always gracefully). just “so much…” I selfishly needed a break from doing for others and I had to wallow in myself for a bit…a year and two months is just a little bit, right? At least I got that part of my post right. I learned to say ‘no’ more often, I took more time for myself (though I didn’t jump into nutrition and exercise like I had planned…I started hiking recently, though!!), I went back to taking X-Rays per diem in my local hospital and I love where I work, now. I took up watercolor painting and let myself off the hook with all the “stuff” I “needed” to do: read all the books, yoga 5 days a week, become full-on vegan…
I watched a lot of YouTube (like, a lot), and vegged out and went to therapy (again). We adopted a kitten my son rescued from the side of the road We named him Hemingway), watched my niece give birth to my great nephew (and newest obsession, Carson or Nugget as I call him) and argued on Facebook about things I can’t even remember but felt passionate about at the time (and probably still do if I could remember what it was). I had a full year of nonsense…I guess it was exactly what I needed. I fell pretty out of touch with this side of my life, as in, I stopped writing. I promoted the book we published all through my father’s illness and while traveling the hour or so to the hospital where he was essentially wasting away waiting to go to a place he’d never see again…home. I put out cheerful videos talking about how wonderful the book was (it is) and how grateful I was to be a part of such a phenomenal thing (still am), and how proud I was to have been able to work with such fantastic people and authors (still the current highlight of my life next to the birth of my baby nephew). I tried to keep it up. I had every intention of going to bookstores and the public library and contacting the local paper, etc. The days after my dad died, well…they just started to bleed together. Then my motivation waned. Then died altogether. I lost touch with people who were important to me and who I thought I was important to. I lost motivation to be healthy. I lost motivation to care. I lost motivation to live fully.
Then, when I decided it was “time,” opportunities started to again make their way to me. A new non-profit opened up in the old post office near where I live. The new owner turned it into a coffee house. A very nice, large community commons where residents and business owners alike can come to commune with other like-minded people, drink great coffee or tea, have a bite to eat and enjoy a view of the Mississippi River. I stoked up the courage to ask the owner if I could have a book signing and reading there. We settled on a day and that day is tomorrow. I’m having an official introduction to the Anthology and a short reading and signing. A few details may not pan out like we discussed but I’m not going to let it discourage me. I’m excited and nervous and proud of myself for getting up and getting out and doing a little of what I said I would. I’m ok that it took me a year. Late is better than never. I’ll let you know how it went and hopefully have a video up. In the meantime, enjoy this post from a while ago that still sort of speaks to how I’m feeling and coping and planning to get on with life. I hope that, even though I fell off “the wagon,” I can encourage you to get back on. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it just matters that you try to recognize that you can make it happen. Strive for progress, not perfection.
Love you all and I’ll talk to you soon.
*Originally posted March 29, 2015
Big breath in…let it all out.
I walked out to my car for something and there is one bird singing its heart out in a tree. It’s misting a chilly rain, and I think “What’s he so happy about? He’s probably cold and wet. Silly thing…”
It’s 4:45 in the morning in a hospital ambulance bay, so what does he have to be happy about?
I often wonder this about people as I see them going about their days, sometimes their appearance being downtrodden, poor and blissfully ignorant of the things that should be making them unhappy. Yet, there they are. Smiling like fools at the cruel world of disassociation ignoring their shining faces.
Then, I remember myself. What I’ve been through, what my husband has been through…and our son. And I realize that I am one of those people; moving through daily life trying to see the best in it. Of course, not always; I have my days where I have to drag myself out of the “all hope is lost” abyss that I sometimes slip into. But, it’s often temporary and I am grateful. Grateful that I have the ability to choose a more positive path.
Back to the bird.
He doesn’t know there is anything to be unhappy about. He doesn’t seem to notice the cold misty rain, or if he does, he doesn’t mind. He doesn’t know it’s 4:45 in the morning, except that it will be dawn soon and another chance at a new day. He doesn’t know he’s in an ambulance bay at a hospital where death and negativity lurk around every corner. All he knows is the happiness and freedom to sit on that branch and be alive.
In my realization that he has many things to be happy about, one being the abundance of worms that are scattered about the pavement in seek of dryer abodes, having been driven out of their secret places by the rain, I realize that I have much to be happy about, too. Sure, there’s a lot to be sad about, but is that all I want to look at and think about?
Tragedy seems to follow my family, and I just don’t know how to process some of those things. After everything, and finally starting to gather the pieces to glue together, another tragedy arises; another loss. While I was having a fulfilling time in Chicago again this past weekend, my nephew and his girlfriend lost their tiny baby boy at 20 weeks gestation.
Why do these things keep happening? How do we explain them? How do we comprehend getting over the obstacles in our lives, let alone, the unfathomable losses? When the unthinkable keeps at us, how do we learn to cope? Do we just give up, draw the shades and climb back into bed pulling the blankets up over ourselves? No one would blame us…I mean, my own life seems cursed if you look at it like that. After everything that has happened to us, I wonder sometimes. But, I know that isn’t the way to live because it’s not living.
I had a long period of mourning. And then another. And then another. And, then again for something else…
It seems like all I ever have to report lately is tragedy and strife, but that’s not why I write and share with you. I want to share the things that happen, unbelievable as they are, so that you can know you are not the only one with trouble, angst, sorrow or difficulties. And, it is my hope that I can show you, somehow, that it is not all there is. You can survive. You can live.
I know how hard and unwelcome it is to listen to someone telling you that all you have to do is look on the bright side, have hope, believe that it is going to be better. There are just times in the dregs of life that you don’t want to hear that it’s all up to you….if you just want it badly enough.
But, I’m here to tell you, show you, urge you to know that all is not lost. There is hope. You are not defined by the things that happen to you. But, you can define yourself by the things you do about them. None of us choose to have horrible things happen to us (most of us, anyway), but we can choose what to do about it.
I choose to live. Not forget, but live on, and share my life with you so that you know it’s okay to live on, too. There are no exact answers for everyone to follow, every person and every situation is different, but there is so much inspiration out there from people who know what it’s like and who have conquered the worst things in life. You most certainly can, too. I am willing to do what it takes for myself, and to help you along the way. Are you willing to take a chance on finding happiness? You deserve it, you know. There are things to be happy about.
I do know this-I was just happy that night, walking in that cold misty rain, that I was able to hear the bird sing.
Thank you for reading and letting me share with you.
With much peace to you,