It’s that time of year again. December. Not only your birthday month, but the time of year notorious for families gathering. Yet another harsh reminder of your absence.
I often get stuck on the idea of stories needing a happy ending. Not grief. In fact, I’m not sure grief has an ending at all. Sure, some things become more bearable. But there are still those dates, those occasions when the sting feels fresh. Even some unexplainable times of year when you are suddenly acutely aware of that pain being just below the surface. Then you catch yourself subconsciously tucking it down, suppressing it to avoid the almost inevitable overspill of emotion that will erupt if you don’t.
The end of a year, yet another year accepting this reality. The pain from a life lost knows nothing of time.
It’s 11pm on a Tuesday night in late November. I lie wide awake with my mind whirling , as has become my norm in the past few weeks. The only thing quieting my frazzled thoughts is the subtle snore coming from my eight year old snuggled next to me. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be letting him sleep in my bed, but as I look at his little face, so soft and peaceful…I know these moments are few and fleeting and that soon enough they’ll be a thing of the past. In this moment I feel enveloped with gratitude, that I get to be his Mom; their Mom. That the one thing I’m doing right, is loving them.
On a personal level, this hasn’t been the best year. Not the worst year by any means….but certainly not the best. And the older I get, the more I recognize that stagnancy is almost worse than turmoil, than affliction. Because what often stems from the latter two is perspective; whereas the other tends to lead to a place of mediocrity of mind and soul.
I’ve so much healing yet to do and growing and brainstorming, it’s often overwhelming. But as this year comes to a close, I try to make peace with all of the things that didn’t come to fruition; with all of the times I misjudged and made decisions that didn’t flow with the current of my life, that led me upstream then back where I started…..and I forgive myself. Because sometimes that is truly all you can do. Love yourself enough to forgive.
This year has, however, brought me much closer to my boys; my heartbeats. Even on days I’ve felt like a complete failure, I closed my eyes at night knowing those little humans felt loved and happy and content. And that is everything. For them I am grateful and I am blessed.
In the coming year, my wish is to be the best version of myself not only for me, but for the little souls I’m guiding through this crazy thing called life.
Wall art in all its glory (Alberta Arts District, Portland, OR ~ November 2017)
I watch in amusement as the squirrely, tattooed driver (with an apparent love of country music) bobs up and down in his seat on the old, rugged school bus. The humid Texas air is whipping through my unforgiving hair. Bandera, Texas to be exact. A town I never even knew existed before this day in late July.
We make a quick turn onto yet another dirt road before the bus comes to an abrupt halt. The driver hops up and leads all of us eager passengers out of the bus before unloading the large blue tubes that will serve as our transportation for the next two hours down the Medina River.
The water is unusually low this summer, which is somewhat of a blessing for our particular group of inexperienced “tubers”, but unfortunate for our feet, which would end up propelling us through part of our course.
After our sloppy decent down the embankment and into the warm, shallow water….we began to find our groove (if I’m being generous). As I situated myself in my tube enough to find a happy medium between relaxed and efficient, I looked forward at the long stretch of still water, and then up. All I could see were rows and rows of tall, charming Cypress trees lining and hovering over the river, with peaks of sunlight flooding through. No sounds but the trickling of the water through the rocks and the slight brush of the trees.
In the day’s leading up to this excursion, my son’s and I spent a lot of time in San Antonio; a city with no shortage of people and things to do. This was the biggest vacation to date I have taken with the boys, including their first airplane flight, to visit my Sister in her new location.
If you have kids, you know that family vacation’s are a wonderful time to build memories, but also a lot of work. But in that moment, on the river tucked away from everything mainstream and distracting….all we had to do was float. Just float and move forward at our own pace.
And sometimes, that is all our soul needs.
My moto “live a colorful life” (Color Factory, San Francisco – February 2018)
Bookworm (Powell’s Bookstore, Portland OR 2018)
Like leaves in Autumn,
sure to kiss the ground
in a pit full of turmoil
is where I was found
They know of their fate
and yet colors they bare
I pick myself up.
I breathe new air.
Like leaves in Autumn,
making way for the new
sometimes after the fall,
comes the clearest view
Like leaves in Autumn
that change and depart
we shine, we crumble;
transformation is art