Missing You..Year Two

Dearest Andrew,

(Technically, I am a day early but when the words hit, they hit & not sharing them when they are full of emotion seems to defeat the purpose-so I am sharing a few hours early.)

Here I am, another year past without you. Two eternally long years that have gone by in the blink of an eye. People say “You’ve made it so far! You’re so strong!” You & I both know it’s not really been living. It’s more survival, a bleak existence of sorts. When I hear how “strong” I am, how I’m an “inspiration,” I wonder what those same people would say if they were a fly on the wall when I am home. Alone, lying in bed after work because I have no reason to stay up, or crying into the pillow because I’m exhausted from trying to be the survivor they see, the one who still misses her best friend so deeply that every day is such an effort she wonders why she is even bothering.

After two years, I keep waiting for my emotions to catch up to the cliches. “Time heals all wounds.” “Give it time, you’ve been through a trauma.” Time, time, time. I’ve had enough of this time. I’ve had enough of the pain, the tears, the “normalcy” that everyone else but the few of us broken by your loss have been able to return to.

As I lie in bed, still awake, despite being here for hours, my face crusted with salt from crying all day, which is almost a permanent feeling at this point, I remember the memories of that last week. This has been going on like a rerun for weeks now. I occasionally venture back to other days with you. Funny moments. Our arguments, which were heated & filled with passion for our respective opinions. How we were never afraid to be honest, good or bad, happy or sad. Except about how we felt towards each other. We had a deal. We wouldn’t talk about that. Neither of us could handle that at the time. But we spoke every day. Often. We knew everything about each other…good, bad & ugly. We loved each other in spite of all of it, & kept showing up. To nurse old wounds, make each other laugh or just offer dinner. To watch movies, snuggled into the couch. To be the closest friends two crazy people could be. To give each other unconditional love & acceptance because that is what we each needed at the time.

I’m not naive enough to sit here and say we were going to be “besties forever,” but we were perfect for the time we were blessed enough to share for as long as we were blessed to share it.

Perfect.

Well, perfectly messy. Perfectly crazy. Perfectly not perfect. We both had baggage we brought to the table each day. Lots & lots of baggage. So much, I’m surprised there was room for us to be in the same building.

The day you went home to Jesus, you left yours here. I’m so glad you no longer have those heavy burdens. Unfortunately, I now carry more. I wonder if you look down at me with frustration. I wonder if you scream down from heaven “I’M BETTER NOW THAN I”VE EVER BEEN! Let me go, silly girl.” I can picture you shaking your head at me, calling me crazy. I’m reminded of the many times you would open your arms to hug me after I’d had an extra crappy day. That is the memory I rest in.

After all this time, 730 days without you now, I have come so far, yet not moved an inch. I dread the idea of coming out of my grief & functioning like “normal” because then you are officially gone, although my head knows you left 730 days ago. I dread the idea of staying in my grief because every day is torture. I live in a state of purgatory in between. Some days I think I get too distracted & forget to remember you. But I haven’t, you just weren’t at the center of the day. How can I love others so deeply but feel like my heart died with you? My entire existence is an oxymoron.


In these letters I always tell you what’s new in my life. Today, I miss you as much as I did 729 days ago & I suspect will still be the same 729 days from today. At this point, I have learned that being graceful is more than being like Jackie Kennedy & that loving is more than being a parent. They are both more of being like Jesus. And like you were. As hard as you may have tried not to be, you were the heart & hands of Christ in the manner you handled people. I thank you for reviving a place within me that needed to have the passion fueled for His people & for accepting me as I was to be your friend. Thank you for allowing me to walk beside you for the remainder of your days. And I know that despite the expanse between us, you will walk beside me the remainder of mine.

Much love sweet Andrew,

Matilda

Worn Out & Broken Down

One of the things about behaving as if you have your life pulled together, is that the people around you begin to believe you just might. Then the only person left with the truth is-you. You are the one left feeling empty, alone, & isolated, because they see you smiling & participating & working & taking care of yourself in all the ways that we are supposed to: showering, bathing, brushing our teeth. 
They don’t realize that when the doors are shut & the lights are off, you’re left alone with those thoughts that never go away, the trauma that you continue to see over & over, the pain that keeps your heart raw, & the feeling that no one is there for you. And it’s not really that you’re faking during the day because brushing your teeth & showering & going to work & participating in social events are all things that are important & fulfilling & necessary to survive. BUT there is still this wounded side of you that is so beaten & broken that you wonder why you get up in the morning or what IS the purpose of your life? And until we find that answer, we question every morning. We question every interaction. We lack trust. We feel abandoned. And I would love to sit here & tell you that after almost 2 years of introspection & retrospection & seeking God & forcing myself to be with friends & Bible studies & social events, I would love to be able to tell you that looking upward towards the heavens, the answer is instantly right there…but it’s not. God doesn’t send us a text with our purpose or plan. He doesn’t email or call & leave a lovely voicemail. God doesn’t put out a holiday newsletter with what is up for us for the next year so we are left to our own devices, with the ultimate choice being our own (short of a divine interruption) to continue participating in all of these expected behaviors. Do they get us anywhere? As far as I can tell, only to tomorrow. Are we thriving & living a full life. I have no idea, but I don’t feel like I am.

Today is my 2 yr Divorce-iversary!!! Yay me! Life is going so well!!! I am fed up at my job, I haven’t had a date in decades, I spend every evening alone… GO TEAM SINGLE MATILDA!! I spent the day sitting at my desk crying.

I hate this time of year. From dec 20-feb 20, I just want to crawl in a hole. But work has me extra crazy. As much as I like my job, I’m really struggling in there. I have been for over a year so add that to this season & I feel like I’m losing my freaking mind. I try to keep myself optimistic & cheery but inside I’m sad, lonely, scared & crying. Well, today I’m outwardly crying. I don’t like being around myself when I feel like this so I try to minimize exposure for others & try to shut down as much as possible.


One of my friends asked me to seek out what God has to say about my emotional insanity. I argued with her & said it always comes back to me feeling like the child waiting for some attention & then being walked right by. I can stay optimistic for a while. A long freaking while. Months & months. I can play cheerleader for everyone around me & remind them of His plans, His timing, His love & goodness. But every time, I feel like I get overlooked. I don’t want to ask him AGAIN why he ignores me. Why my prayers disappear into an abyss. Why he lets me down. Why he allows me to hurt so deeply that I don’t feel like I will ever feel again. Why I can’t trust because of people he allowed in my life. I just want to be held & taken care of for once. No fighting, no struggles, no worrying about the next step. I’m tired of living in limbo over Dylan & wondering if he will always be wanting to kill me, will I have to watch over my back forever? I’m tired of watching Mark travel the world with the women he let in to break up our marriage. I’m tired of relationships with my sisters being superficial because I can’t trust them to take my safety seriously & not tell my parents what is going on in my life or where I live. I’m tired of not truly being able to trust anyone, even those I’m closest with, even myself. When is it my turn to feel safe and loved?

She then asked why I felt God has let me down. I prayed for Mark and Dylan for years & years. Way before things reached the point of no return. I believed in the power of prayer to heal my precious baby, to remove the baggage his birth mother had left him with. I prayed constantly for the man I loved to recover from depression & anger. Not only did he not heal them, he allowed them to destroy me. I’m left hoping people give two shits enough to spend time with me. I’m left questioning every single relationship because the people I thought would always be safe for me have been ripped away. I live everyday with a lack of security, a lack of love & a lack of trust. Plus that doesn’t even consider my wonderful parents, who would probably have rather aborted me but she was Catholic so they were stuck.

I don’t believe in myself enough to trust that anyone can handle my broken, or would care enough to try. I don’t like feeling unhinged, so I don’t. And then when the dam breaks, I am so unhinged I can’t get back together for a week. So I shut away because everyone expects me to be crazy & silly but that side is shut off & what’s left is negative & overwhelmed. Sometimes I am Thomas. I need proof, I need a miracle, I need a huge display that God is hearing me, is handling things & does actually care about what I’m going through. In case you are curious, today, I’m still waiting.

But surprisingly, I’m still optimistic enough & faithful enough to believe that there is a purpose, & that there is meaning & truth behind the trauma & devastation I have faced. And I believe that one of these days it will be revealed. So until then, I do feel forgotten & abandoned & alone. ALL of the time. But I have faith that one day I won’t.

Just Another Day

Today would have been me & Mark’s 20th anniversary.

Needless to say it did not hold the celebration I had long ago anticipated for us. He did send me a lovely text message that said “20th.. .sorry I didn’t get there.”

There are days when I look back at the 20+ years we spent together & I think of how I’m so lucky to be out of a dysfunctional relationship with that narcissistic man. There are other days when I look back & I think of the silly little girl that fell in love with that goofy boy who made me laugh all the time, protected me & defended me even as the dumb kids we were. How that naive 18 year old girl knew exactly who she was supposed to grow old with. I miss those moments.


I have truly loved two men in my life. Both of them are now gone.
Sure, I have cared about others, but I’ve only really given my heart away twice. As I lay here in a king size bed, filled with pillows & a giant stuffed Mickey Mouse, I wonder if I’ll ever love like I have in the past. I wonder if I will ever trust another that way, in a way that allowed my heart to be shattered. Twice. Will I ever trust myself to not pick the wrong guy? Will I ever ask another man to take on the freight train full of baggage that I feel I carry around behind me every day? Sure, I’m working through most of that, by the grace of God & with a lot of therapy. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not something that he would have to know about, understand, and be willing to deal with in some manner at some point. Will any man with his right mind be willing to take on the potential danger that being in a relationship with me could pose to himself? I mean, I do have a restraining order against my own son.

I don’t have any answers for any of these questions. I don’t even know if I care. Do I get lonely? Yes. But I’m not willing to settle. I feel like at this point in my life I have fought too damn hard just to survive to be willing to fall for the first guy that walks by and smiles at me. Anybody that wants to spend any quality time with me is going to have to be worthy of that time.  He will have big shoes to fill, a heart to handle with gentleness, luggage to help sort, laughs to provide, oh, and most importantly, he must love Jesus because Jesus is the only reason I still breathe.


So while Mark sits in his high-rise apartment in the big city, with his wealthy girlfriend/homewrecker, I spent the day with my church family and my roommate. I had a wonderful service at church, hung out with my baby buddy Huey, gave away a lot of hugs and smiles & received many more. I had lunch with people that have become family. It was long, it was delicious and we laughed until my sides hurt over inappropriate conversations. I watched cheesy Christmas movies & my roommate and I began to put up the tree. So my day was not filled with the celebration of a 20 year marriage with the man that I fell in love with at 18, but it was definitely still filled with love from the people in my life. And for that, I will be forever grateful.


This new chapter of my life has taught me where to find my strength, it has taught me that I am worthy, and it has challenged & rattled me deep into my core. There have been many many days in the last four years where I did not think I had the strength to go on. And I have proven to myself and to many others that I carry an immense amount of strength within me. And I know that I get that strength from my faith. But I also know that it requires me to tap into it. Even on my worst day when I don’t have the energy to shower or interact, I pat myself on the back and say “good job girlie, at least you’re still here.” I’m not the girl that walked away from her husband four years ago. I’m not the girl whose best friend shot himself in front of her two years ago. Not the girl whose son robbed her. I’m not the girl whose mother emotionally abused her for 40 years, I’m not the girl whose father never wanted her, I’m not the girl that was molested by her grandpa, I’m not the girl that feels abandoned all the time. Oh wait, that last one, yes, that I still do. But I’m still a newer, tougher, stronger, more in touch, more alive girl.

So chin up Buttercups. This story isn’t over yet.

29 & Holding

There is this woman I know. She has fluffy white hair. Her cheeks are dimpled. Her eyes squinty from losing her vision. Her back is a little hunched from walking with a walker for several years. Her knees aren’t springy. Her ankles retain water. Her mind alert. Her wit sharp.

I have known and loved this woman since the day I was born.

She is my grandmother.

Two days ago I received a text informing me that she has been hospitalized. She is being treated for a Urinary Tract Infection and Congestive Heart Failure. They expected her to discharge yesterday.

She did not.

Her kidneys are slowing down.

Today the update was that family is flying in from around the country & in the morning her children will meet with hospice.

As my cousins & I sat around her hospital bed this evening, we joked about which one of us was her favorite. Clearly, I was the winner. We told stories of things we remember from our childhood. We laughed at our silliness & the fun we had always had when visiting “ma-maw” & “pa-paw” as children. (Don’t laugh. I told you I was a corn fed mid-Western white girl.)

But what my cousins or aunts or uncles don’t know is the value this woman has in my heart.

Was she perfect? Nope. She is a liar. If you ask her age, she will tell you 29. Since I was a child, this woman has been 29. Lying in that hospital bed tonight was not a 29 year old. Lying there was my 91 and 1/2 year old grandmother. And all I could think about was all the moments I have had with her, and all the moments I wish I could have with her.

When I talk about being sassy or ornery or stubborn, I always say I got it from my grandma. She’s Irish. We don’t have the ginger hair but we have that ornery and sometimes cantankerous wit.

My grandparents house had comic books, (stacks & stacks & stacks!!!) a creek with a bridge over it, blackberry bushes, tons of land and a cement turtle we would ride to wherever we were headed that day. We had adventures every time we were there, catching crawdads in the creek, eating blackberries and hiding from one another. If I was alone I would read comic after comic. I would sort them out so I would remember which ones were read and which I had yet to read. I would organize them so neatly only to have my cousins visit in between me and mess them up.

She had a clear glass cookie jar on the counter we would sneak cookies from. She had teaberry gum. Her bathroom smelled like old lady rose soap, one of my most favorite scents now. They lived just down the street from a natural spring so we would take milk jugs and fill them with water. It was so crisp and cold we would drink as much as possible before leaving.

When I was in junior high, my mother quit speaking to her. When I got my license, I would drive myself to their house and eat lunch or hang out with them. She introduced me to one of my favorite movies, Brigadoon. It’s silly. But now more than ever, it will be special.  I got a job at a mall that backed up to their yard and I would stop by before or after work. I loved visiting with them. Rarely was I alone. Someone else always popped in.

After I moved out of my parents house, I remember she said to me once that she didn’t know how to save me from them. What I didn’t realize at the time…

She had.

Looking back, the fond memories I have in my childhood include my cousins, my aunts & uncles, my grandparents (excluding the child molester), my sisters & friends. Many of those memories happened at her house. My life was hard at home but my grandparents house was my sanctuary. They were my sanctuary.

So ma-maw, my wish is to see your fiery grin, to hear your sharp witted retorts and to kiss your soft cheeks for another 91 years. But if it is time for you to go home, to go see pa-paw, you leave behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. You have deposited bits of your heart & spirit into each of your children, grandchildren & great grandchildren. We will carry on the feisty Irish spunk in your honor. But you will be sorely missed because you have carried us along this journey for the last 91 years.

I love you Ma-maw.

Just One Person

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A few weeks ago the hospital I work for sent out an email asking for volunteers. We were participating in “Make a Difference Day” today by working at a local food bank. I asked several work friends to join but it ended up just being me.

Once inside, the director of the food bank gave a tour, explaining the process, where the food comes from, threw a bunch of staggering statistics about hunger and sent us to begin the day. She mentioned that she often gets asked how helpful it really is for groups like us to show up once a year and give a few hours. She said extremely. We bagged apples & oranges for school kids. We made bags of oatmeal for their breakfasts. We sorted food. We made backpacks for the kids with assorted meals that were kid prep friendly. Afterwards, we all just left. Climbed in our cars and drove away to our food filled residences. Well, some of us did. I drove to work and put in a few hours.

After working a few hours, I went with another friend to see the movie “Priceless.” It was remarkable. It is based on true events about a man that fights to save two women in the sex slave industry. My friend and I both began crying during the previews so by the time the movie was over, I felt like I had been crying for hours. I guess I had. Without going into the movie and spoiling it for you, because you need to watch it, I began thinking that he was just one man. What can he really accomplish?

I was reminded of this morning’s speech from the food bank director. That every volunteer helps feed those hungry babies. That my 3 measly hours helped to ensure that 380 backpacks were ready for this week. And that is nowhere near the 1500 they need for the handful of schools they are serving. As hard as we worked for 3 hours this morning, we barely scratched the surface of the needs of this area’s children. The 60 of us could have worked 8 hours and had them ready for the week with a decent dent in the process, but it would have required 60 of us for 16-20 hours to really get them ahead of the game. We will never see the face of the child that is eating our oatmeal, or feeding themselves dinner because mom is working, or God forbid, doing something awful. So what was the point of our time?

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Well, I felt better about myself momentarily. Up until I started writing this even. At this point, I just feel like a self righteous pious pig but stick around. I’m not done.

So am I just self righteous & pious? No.

Can one person make a difference? Yes.

All these posts, every word, every comma, every time I tell you that I love you, are attempts to make a difference. Every time I give a hug, volunteer my time, give advice (solicited or unsolicited), I am praying my heart for the broken is showing. Every time I cry in the car or silently in my bed or while I’m sitting at work because my friends are hurting, I beg God to help me be the light. To be HIS light. To bring healing to those in need. To open my eyes to the needs and pains of others so that He can use me~however needed.

Do I think I have it all together and that I know best? No. I do not claim to have it all together. I am far from perfect. I make mistakes. I am messy. I can be a disaster. But I am also listening. To you. To God. To my past. To your past. To what God wants you to know about you.

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Am I making the difference I hope to be making? I sure as heck hope so. I don’t think I’ve saved the world. But the mini impacts we each have every day still have the ripple effect. Every ripple creates more and more impacts going further, touching more and more lives. I will never know the full extent of my words, the hugs I give, the prayers I pray, the grace I show, the love I give. But even if I never saw one tiny change, even knowing I will never see one precious face eating the orange I packed today, I’m still going to show up for these moments.

Wait, if we are sharing our hearts, we are changing lives. They are more than moments, aren’t they? They are life events. They are extravagant celebrations. They are beauty. They are in the most simple form, love. And I know without a doubt that LOVE can change the world. One person at a time.

The amazing thing about our hearts? The more we pour out of them, the fuller they become and the more they hold. Go out and share your beautiful hearts. Make the difference you were created to make because someone is waiting for your impact to make their difference. One person can change the world.

Love you bunches.

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The Car

Have you ever bought a new car?

I have. Several, in fact.

I mean I have been driving for nearly 30 years. Really? Is this possible? (Picture me counting on my fingers here…) Holy cow. Yes. Nearly 30 years. Wowzers. Gross. Ok. Now that my age has caught up with the rest of me, let’s get back to discussing my car.

The car I drive now is a Lexus purchased 8 years ago by my ex husband & I. At the time, it was 4 years old. More math. That makes my car 12 years old. When we bought the car, it was for several reasons. It was safe, it has a great resale value, fit the needs of our family, and was cheaper than a new car from any maker.

So I began to think that maybe it is time to begin looking for a new to me car. I set up an appointment for yesterday after work. The car I was looking at would also be safe, have great resale value and was cheaper than the Lexus 8 years ago. And was a Mercedes. I promise, although it appears it, I am not pretentious. Money doesn’t matter much to me, but shiny things are fun. And I do love a pretty car. And don’t forget, I said it would cost LESS than my current car cost me 8 years ago. I enlisted the assistance of wise counsel. A couple I trust from church was asked to help with the process. He met me there and did the test drive with me, asked the right questions.

I began to falter on my choice at one point. I said “why do I need this car? What about that car?,” pointing to a Malibu. The salesman walked away for a moment and Lance looked at me and said “I have the thought that you are questioning if you deserve this car.” SLAM. Right in the face. Ouch.

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Thus began an hours long mental debate.

Sometimes someone says something to us that smacks of truth. I like to be that person for others. Verbal smacks are kind of my trademark. Just ask the besties. Getting them is a stinger. I wasn’t hurt by his words. I just had never thought of the concept of deserving a new car. I mean, it’s a car. I have to have one. Does it matter if it’s a Malibu or a Mercedes? No. Not really. But by the time I got home several hours later, I was a little crazy inside.

What is my motive for the Mercedes? What am I trying to prove? Who am I proving it to? Why not a less glitzy car? I began this exact conversation with my roomie. I got choked up when I got to the proving something to people part. I realized that buying a Mercedes had several elements involved. Yes, it would last forever. Yes, it would hold its resale value. Yes, it would be very safe. Yes, it has All Wheel Drive, which I prefer for winters. AND it would be my “I CAN survive!” to all the people who have pushed me down, then backed a tank over me to make sure I stayed down.

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Is the Mercedes worth pushing my budget to have? I truly do love the car. Financially, I would be fine. Decisions, Decisions. So I went to bed. It’s where I do my best avoidances.

I woke up this morning. Had a revelation?? Nope. Well, sorta. I realized that whether I drive a Malibu, a Mercedes or a 12-year-old Lexus has no bearing on my worthiness. My self-worth is not tied to a car. My self-worth is not meant to be tied to those horribly broken people who have hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally. My self-worth needs to be cleared of these wounds. I find that as I heal, I am more and more able to identify these triggers. I am able to take the grace I extend towards others & grant myself some of it. It’s not in a cup. I’m not going to run out by giving myself a little.

Now, for a little of my Jesus Freak. I can’t place my self-worth in myself. How’s that for skitchy? I know. My self worth has to come from a place of seeing myself through the eyes of God. Which surprisingly is how I try to see others all the time. Why would I change glasses when looking at myself? Why do I view others through the glasses with hearts, flowers and boundless love but when I look at myself, the glasses are full of disgrace, condemnation, and ugly? Is that what God would want me to do? No. In His eyes, I am perfect, flawless, beautiful and shining bright. Some would think “what a tremendous expectation to try to live up to.” Not at all. What it means is that regardless of my car choice, clothing choice, life choices, He will ALWAYS see me at perfect, flawless, beautiful and shining bright. That is actually freedom. That is embrace-able, it is healing.

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Oh, and about the car? Still not sure. I just know that whatever I do decide will be in MY best interest. Not in the interest of proving jack to anyone else. If you don’t like my car, don’t get in it. If it matters that much to you, it’s probably in your best interest to find another way around anyways.

Don’t get me wrong, some opinions matter. IF I am making a life choice that is dangerous, or planning to switch careers, move across the country, join a cult…seeking the opinions of people with wisdom is always a great idea. However, placing my value in their opinions is a terrible idea. People that love me will value me because I’m me, not because of my stuff. Just like I value them because they are them. Stuff is stuff. It breaks, gets lost and goes away. People are hearts, souls, and irreplaceable. People are precious.

Love your self. Love your peeps. Love the uglies. And give yourself a little grace. It’s a beautiful gift.

The 35th Birthday

Today would have been Andrew’s birthday. I “celebrated” by going to work & having dinner with a friend. There were no balloons, no gifts, no cake. Not even a mention of it by anyone today except by me at dinner.

I have been what I referred to as a “wild card” this month. Mark’s birthday was earlier this month. Last Saturday was 18 months since Andrew died. And today was his birthday. There have been a lot of tears. I have been what I consider grouchy. And I have been loving & giving. I have gone to my room early many days because I just didn’t have anything left in me, not because I was tired.

I still wonder how the people left behind are supposed to carry on in life like everything is happy & lovely when we have such a gaping hole left in our hearts. Not that I am not happy. I have very happy times. I find humor in life. I give hugs. I love people. I enjoy experiences. But there is always that hole.

So Andrew, tell me. Is there life after death? Not your death, sweetheart. I know there is for those that have died. Up or down, our choice. But is there life after death for those of us left grieving? What exactly is the process?

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The process for me has been a bit bland. I have forced myself to work everyday. Well, most days. I shower. I brush my teeth. I eat. I go to church. I volunteer. I go out with friends. I do the normal stuff I have always done. It’s in between those times that I find myself pondering what the next step should be. Is this the process? Is this what everyone does? I don’t know. I wouldn’t dare ask. I’m ashamed of my hiding. I’m embarrassed that I prefer to lock myself away at times than to speak to people. I am self condemning myself for still missing Andrew, being sad, lonely, wishing I had answers.

Answers. How I wish I had the answers. After 18 months, I still have no understanding as to why that night played out the way it did. I have no answers to the questions that have gone unanswered for a year & a half. If anything, I have more.

What have I learned throughout the torture? Lots of things. Do we really need to discuss that again? Fine. I will share one. It’s a recurring theme so don’t roll your eyes when you read it. It’s Love. It’s simple really. Unconditional, pure & genuine love. Don’t miss the mark by ignoring the brokenness of the people around you. We have the capacity to change our worlds just by giving our hearts away. I know that by trying to live my life with this type of love, I have changed my own life, for the better. I hope I have changed the lives of those around me for the better, as well.

Some of you have heard this story. But last week, a co-worker (a person that I feel is fairly unhappy in life. Is it just work related? I don’t know.) was at my desk talking about how I just strolled to my car in the rain. (Remember last Summer, I posted about playing in the rain?) So I mentioned that it’s just water. No need to get upset about it. She began to talk about an umbrella her parents had bought her years ago. It had her initials engraved in the handle. It had broken a while back & she was wishing she had gotten a new one. She had such a light in her eyes over this umbrella. She ran back to her desk & emailed me a picture of it. At my lunch that day, I got on Amazon & ordered the umbrella. When I got it this week, I went to work, left it on her desk with no note. She came running to my desk with the umbrella & tears in her eyes. She said I should not have done that, she knew it was expensive. She was awestruck that I would have done something like that. She went back to her desk & emailed me another thank you. I said I could tell it was special to her so I thought she needed to have a replacement. She said I have the most generous heart & that it has been so so long since someone had done anything that nice for her. I began to cry just as my boss, also a long time friend, came around to my desk. She asked what was wrong. I showed her the email & I said “That is just so sad. What is wrong with us?” I emailed my co-worker back explaining that I was in tears, because I had missed it. Because there are people in my life that feel unloved, uncared for & have no idea how valuable they really are. I told her that we all need to be generous with our hearts all the time with all people. My boss told me that the price of the umbrella was brought up. She told them that if I felt something was needed for someone, I would never look at the price. She said that they are all better people for having me in their lives. I cried some more.

I don’t give away umbrellas for the compliments or the credit. I give away umbrellas because that is what the heart needed. I give because I love. I love because God loves. I try to be aware & cognizant of the needs of people around me. If I can fill the heart or soul, I do. God provides the finances, the words, the opportunities. Sometimes that means I buy umbrellas. Or dinners. Or refrigerators. Or groceries. Sometimes that means I tell brutal truths, give hugs, send text messages of encouragement or bible verses. But I always, always, ALWAYS show love, grace and hope. My heart hurts for the hurting. I guess because I know how broken feels.

I’m not broken anymore. I am healed. With a few cracks. I am like an old house, with layers & layers of paint that have begun to be stripped away. I know that underneath all those layers, I am a beautiful, strong & sturdy home for broken hearts. I have an open door for anyone in need.

Happy Birthday, Andrew. Enjoy your red velvet cake. Jesus is the best baker. Your smile is missing in my day. The world is missing your heart. That giant, kind, loving, broken heart. Much love sweet friend.

For the rest of you lovelies, watch for opportunities to share your heart. It always returns two fold. At least. Love you all.

Soapboxing

In light of the numerous police shootings that have been happening, I must say, those men & women in uniform show tremendous strength day in & day out just putting on that blue. But, I would also say “strength” is a word that bears no weight in describing a police officer. I grew up with one dad on the fire department. I was exposed to civil service most of my life. I tend to have a great deal of respect for our first responders, their sacrifices. I have also seen the other side of them. I have been the person sitting in an interrogation room for hours while someone I loved was dying in the hospital, only to be lied to about the situation. I have an ex husband that was falsely accused thanks to a manipulative son playing the system. And the local department played right into his hands. This does not diminish the risk these men & women take every single day they get dressed & walk out the door. There are always a few bad apples.


There are people sharing story after story in my Facebook newsfeed about children with cancer, gun control, government ineptitude facing this election & lets not forget those cute dancing puppies or the goats that scream. Daily we face comments about how we need to hate or accept gender reassignment choices, gay marriages, black lives being snuffed out at the hands of police, police lives being snuffed out at the hands of black lives or the decisions our politicians are making. We are filled to our tear filled eye balls with stories about cancer stealing someone too soon, a woman choosing to take her own life rather than suffer the effects of her tumor, & pictures of children holding signs for us to “like” them to show support. Checking Facebook has become an emotionally exhausting process. I am either facing shame for agreeing / disagreeing with something or being tossed into the throes of sadness because another tragedy has happened.

In my humble opinion, we are looking at these stories from several miles away. We stand back where it becomes easy for us because we are judging. We are shaming. We are throwing blame around like monkey’s throw poo or babies throw food. The world, people, our friends, our families, our enemies need none of that. It all boils back down to one thing, what I stated in my original page. Love the uglies. See, if we were all loving the uglies, no matter what our personal opinions were, no matter the situation, so much would be different. Think this through…

How do you feel about yourself when you have committed a wrong doing against someone? This doesn’t have to be someone you love, we know when we are wrong. A little nibble of guilt begins to eat at us. What happens when we are forgiven for that wrong doing? Sure we may beat ourselves up for a little bit, but that forgiveness allows that guilt to eventually go away.

How do you feel when someone shows love or kindness? When someone goes out of their way to give you a hug? Or help you when you are feeling down?

There is an immeasurable change in our lives & hearts when we are shown grace, love, kindness & generosity. There is the same when we show it to others. See, the old phrase “what goes around comes around” usually refers to a negative behavior but it also applies to a positive one. When we show true, genuine love towards another person, we receive some back. Maybe not by that person. Don’t get lost here but that doesn’t matter in that moment.

As I scroll my Facebook feed, it also fills with repost after repost of positive sayings & uplifting encouragements. Some are trite overused cliches, not bad but a bit worn out. Some are peppy. Some are biblical. Some are filled with an underlying edge of bitterness or anger but outwardly demonstrate a push to survive a current burden.

I am left pondering though…do people feel these posts? You know. Do they wake up each morning with the mental mindset that “I don’t care if life hands me lemons, I will just make lemonade!” What happens when the day hands them the first lemon? As Tay-Tay says “Shake it off!”? Sure! And the second lemon of the day? Stand up a little straighter? Probably! Third lemon? Dig in the heels a bit? Maybe. Fourth lemon? Shoulders slouchy but moving forward. Fifth lemon? Throw your hands in the air & wave ’em like you just don’t care. Because at this point, you don’t.

Dang, now I really want some lemonade!

I mentioned this because many of us have days where it feels like everything we touch disintegrates into dust. We drop our coffee. Car runs out of gas. Late to work. Fight with a spouse. Kid fails a class. Traffic jams. Dinner burns. Dog runs away. Insomnia kicks in.


We need to respect the life of the person standing next to us. Maybe that was their day & they are barely holding it together. Showing an ounce of love to this person will propel them in a different direction. It won’t unfail their kid, but it will remind them that love exists.

Be the love the world needs to everyone in the world. So said Jesus, Ghandi & a bunch of other people that show up on my Facebook feed. And me.

Love you all bunches! Be a blessing to others. Love the uglies!

Abandonment Issues?


The thing about trying to be as real as possible when writing a blog is that at times not everyone is a fan of what you have to say. People are never going to love everything I post, but when my truth kicks someone in the gut, it leaves a size 9 welt along with some uncomfortable air between us. Or maybe I didn’t even post something but I know it could result in some confrontation or icky feelings. So my reaction to this ick? Stop blogging. It’s just easier than pissing everyone off. But then I remember what I said a few months ago. I LOVE the written word. I have a voice. And my heart is filled with love, not hate or condemnation, so what I say may hurt but most likely because it’s truth. And we all know that the truth hurts.

When I began this blog, aside from my being several sandwiches short of a picnic, my plan was to be raw & honest even if it hurt me, because my goal was to help another broken heart. So if I give up, I’m assuming all hearts are fixed. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they aren’t. If my words hurt your feelers, check the mirror. There’s a reason. I’m sorry you didn’t realize you were about to be “truthed” but I won’t apologize for my words.

And with that, I’m sure all 12 followers have walked away.

But if you are still hanging around, my truth this week was feeling abandoned. Last month Mark moved to Chicago with his girlfriend. Last week we closed on the sale of our house. Today is his Birthday. Lots of feelings surfaced that I never expected. I thought I was fine & ready for him to move away. Then I realized he has been part of my life since we were 18. Good or bad, 25 years is a long freaking time. So I began to panic at the thought of him being so far away. It’s weird because I don’t call on him for help, we didn’t involve each other in our day to day lives. But he’s moved away so now we can’t even if we want.

When I arrived at my appointment with Josie Tuesday she asked what was going on. I couldn’t put my finger on it. She said abandonment? I began to get teary eyed. I said after all the people that have left me, him moving should be easy.

See though, this is not a practice makes perfect concept to our lives.

This is a hurt.

This is an open wound.

It’s not a game.

This pain is true. Real. Ugly. And brings friends. Like “self preservation.” He’s a wall builder. To keep everyone at arms length so no one reopens the wound. “Distrust” arrived to the party & I went ahead & opened the door for her. I think it was her shiny dress. She likes to make sure that I eyeball all people through glasses filled with flaws, so I can anticipate the hurt. But I love deeply. So anytime a relationship shifts, my heart breaks, maybe a little, maybe a lot. Depends on who you are to me.

I feel abandoned easily because I’m always waiting for it. If you shift our relationship because of a new girlfriend or boyfriend, I assume I don’t matter enough to be put as a priority even for dinner. Sadly, this is usually reinforced. Hey, if I had a boyfriend, I may kick you to the curb too. But most likely I would try to include you with him. Because I want everyone I love to interact together so I can always be with the people in my heart.

Sometimes the shift is caused by something going on in the other person’s life. A personal struggle. Oh how I understand  those! But when it creates a long term distance in our relationship, my brain immediately determines I am unloved.

Once in a while life just causes a rift. Kids, divorce, marriage, school, jobs, etc… While I can certainly understand that things happen and schedules conflict, I really miss the times we were able to hang out. So my belief becomes I am unwanted.

I mention these scenarios, not to force guilt on people for causing my abandonment wounds to abcess but to explain that abandonment runs so deeply in me, likely because it goes back to my conception.

So how do I recover? I meet with Josie every two weeks. I pray that God reveals to me how HE has never left my side. I reach out to my friends & love them unconditionally for as long God lets me keep them.

Does that mean I never feel needy or clingy? Uh, nope! Totally do! Frequently. Today, even. But I’m a work in progress, not a completed work of art. Though a magnificent work in progress, in the eyes of God. So I will take it.


Lovelies, have a beautiful day! Bunches of love!

MY Thoughts About Deep Grief

This has been an ever evolving post. I began listing my thoughts & feelings back in June of last year. I wanted to be able to look back at this process and remember how I felt going through it. To see if I was actually crazy like I felt at times or if later those emotions would be understandable. Answer? Understandable. So here are my thoughts on deep grief:

A process understood by no one until they have lived through it. A “period” of your life when living is the most painful thing to do. A realization that your life will never be the “normal” it was before, & your new normal is unwanted. A time when people are uncomfortable around you, & your loss is more compounded by watching them walk away or feeling isolated from them. Being so uncomfortable in your own skin, you hate to be alone but are too depressed to reach out to anyone else. Listening & watching everyone else continue their lives while feeling cemented to your pain & yet being stuck in the need to remember leaves you feeling crazy & lost. Wishing & praying everyday for a rewind to never have that last moment with the one you love. Never wanting to admit that your feelings inside are so sad, so lonely, so uncomfortable because people may think you have lost your mind, so you smile & say the right words at the right times to make them think you are fine & progressing. Realizing that the “normal” you also died that day, to be replaced by a new version with a permanent hole in your heart & life. Struggling every day to find a place of happy existence. Feeling a disconnect even when with the people you love the most-like you are never fully present. Having superficial conversations when people are uncomfortable with any discussion that may include your loss or feelings about it. Learning to forgive people for their neglect of you during a time you needed them most. Learning how to reconstruct a relationship, even if it is only broken in your mind, in order to save it. Learning to do deep introspection to process & shelve the pain. Seeking God for purpose of the loss, purpose of the relationship, purpose of your life. Granting yourself freedom to cry, remember, love & long for someone. Recognizing that very little in this world is worth the loss of a relationship, so few things are worth a heated & ugly argument, yet also realizing that boundaries are necessary for your healing & learning to set some. Understanding how far a hug can truly go for someone. Realizing when others have a loss, that words are futile, lack meaning, & support really comes in the form of presence & depth. Allowing God permission to work His will in your life without trying to stand in the way-because you are too tired to do so. Learning how to love people’s uglies-because they are worth it. Struggling to practice self care-showers, rest, healthy food, exercise. Recognizing that some days, bare minimum effort is worth a gold medal. Understanding that you are now the stinky cheese with some people, and being ok with it. Getting used to having your emotions on display for all to see, because they are spilling out of you uncontrollably. Having your “filter” disconnected. Learning to enjoy that, just a little. Walking through the first year being the hardest-every memory in your head rears its glorious head throughout that time, causing reactions from tears to laughter & back to tears. Accepting how the second year still sucks but at least it doesn’t suck the wind out of you. Holding onto every single memento you can-toothbrush, random pieces of paper, the tape used to hold your nail on, the jeans still bloody, every picture ever taken-looking at them often & wondering if it helps or hurts but not caring because it’s what you need in that moment. Feeling ashamed of your lack of progress because some of the people around you need you to perform as before. Using the process to heal other hurts so when you finally reach a healthier place, all of you is truly healed. Releasing anything that is holding you back in life, old beliefs or old vows, so that you can let your heart shine into other’s lives. Granting yourself grace & forgiveness for taking as long as you need. Knowing when that time has been fulfilled & you can let go of some of the grief. And comprehending that doesn’t negate the relationship or the loss, both are still very relevant, but are no longer a crutch or a wall.

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the pain never really ends but that you can actually survive, laugh, be regular, just differently than we were “before.” But it also is ok to know that the difference is because you were able to love someone that will never leave your heart. While the pain seems overwhelming & unbearable, our greatest honor to someone we lose is to carry on with the memories we have & share our vulnerability when another person suffers a devastating loss by giving them the compassion we received or maybe didn’t receive but needed.

I have come a long way since that cold, horrible night last February. I don’t want to ever live through something like that again. But I know I am where I am now because God showed me mercy, showed me my real relationships, but more importantly, showed me who I am to Him. I am worthy of being loved again. I am perfect in His eyes. My heart is whole, & in a corner of it resides a special person that I was so very fortunate to love.