Gazing out an airplane window, looking for you

I used to be afraid of flying – never wanted to look out the window.  But, since I lost my precious son – the worst has already happened to me.  I just don’t have the fear anymore.  Maybe I just don’t care – but here I am looking out the window (Sorry, it is a dirty window).  I am looking for you, Son – signs, anything.  Each cloud formation, each ray of sun – I search.  Is that you?   I miss you.

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WildFlower Farewell

I am afraid I do not know the name of this purple flower, but I love the colorful blooms.  It is a hardy, tall fellow – standing up to Virginia drout and sun.  My husband and I sat on our “memory”  bench and enjoyed the last of them

Now there is a huge dragon fly in our living room.  I believe this is a powerful, positive blessing and we will help guide our little visitor safely outdoors.

Casualties of Grief Part 3

Holidays and Parties – for me – are definitely on the casualty list.  I used to love parties and family gatherings.  In the fall, we would always build a huge bond fire and invite family and friends to the farm.  We would eat my husband’s chili, roast hots dogs and marshmallows – just enjoy.

I have not hosted or attended a party since losing my son – I just struggle being around groups of people.  Truthfully, I cannot get “in the mood” to host a party and I don’t want to attend some one else’s party and bring down their mood.

Has anyone else experienced the awkwardness of the grief journey?  The isolation?  When I encounter people, acquaintances who either do not KNOW or I do not see on a regular basis – there is an awkwardness in our interaction.  I can tell it is on their mind and they feel uncomfortable – and I feel uncomfortable.  Conversation just feels “forced”.

Holidays and party days are ahead – AGAIN.  If I muster the courage to accept  invitations, will I would be socializing with people I have not seen since my son’s memorial service?  Will they feel uncomfortable?  Will I be a dark cloud on the party?

I cry privately.  I grieve privately.   I work to always maintain my composure in any public situation.  I do not want to burden others.  What to do?  Go?  Say no?

In a huge hurry

Met a new friend scurrying down my drive way.  Don’t worry.  I gathered my little friend up and moved him to safety.​  As a child, I remember my Mom telling me these little Woolie worms could predict the severity of the weather based on their color.  Can’t remember exactly, if it was black or orange that meant a bad winter.  Maybe it is silly to stop my car to move a little fuzzy caterpillar, but – hey, GOD made caterpillars too – and besides, it is healing to stop and visit with nature for a little while.  The grief is always with me, but moments like this strengthen me.  Does anyone know what kind of little critter this is??

My mind comes and goes

I am a responsible adult.  I work hard and I care about doing a good job.  I need to stay current in my field, so I am attending a professional conference.  The speakers are very knowledgeable and interesting.  I focus intensely on their speech – then moments later I find my mind has wondered off!  This is the typical conversation between WORK ME and my NAUGHTY mind:

WORK:  “Naughty mind.   Get back here and focus.’

NAUGHTY: “OK – I am focused on the speaker.  He has brown hair.  He looks like a horse trainer I saw last week.  I wonder if my horse….”

WORK:  “Stop that!! Get back here and listen.  This is important.”

NAUGHTY:  “Oh, Yes.  OK.  It is important.  Hey, did I finish that assessment due tomorrow.  That is important.  I need….”

WORK:  “Now cut that out!  This is crazy.  You are a dedicated professional.   Discipline!!  Be disciplined and listen!!”

NAUGHTY:  “Alright already!!  I am listening.  Chill!  Oh look, there is a picture of a kitty in the presentation….”

WORK:  “I give up!  Where is the coffee?”  

I don’t think I want to talk to mind anymore today.

Guilty, hasty, ouchy

You ever have days you just can’t win?  At the last minute, I needed to take my husband to the doctor.  I had to call work and let them know I would be late.  Then, I felt guilty about leaving my work team hanging – I am old-school dependable.  I am ol’ reliable, at work 20 minutes early.   But not today.

My husband kept apologizing for needing me to drive, no matter how much I assured him it was OK.  “I love you.  I want to drive you.  We are a team.”  Then I felt guilty for making him feel guilty.

When I got him back home safe and sound, I felt guilty that I had to make haste and rush out the door to work – no time to throw the ball for Charlie dog or rub a puppy belly.  They both looked so sad!!

That is my vicious circle.  When I am at home, I feel guilty for missing work.  When I am at work (two jobs), I feel guilty for neglecting home and farm chores.  When I carve out ME time to ride my red mare, I still criticize myself for the To Do List I haven’t finished and the floors I didn’t mop.  Then, I work myself into a silly state and get in a huge hurry.  What does that accomplish?

I hurried by the gas station and slammed my finger in the car door.  How dumb was that?  So now I feel guilty, hasty, and ouchy!  Why do I do this to myself?

But, I am still going riding tomorrow!!

Say hello to my little friend

I love critters, most critters.  Let’s face it – I don’t love ticks and horse flies.  But I am good with spiders and snakes and bats, oh my.  

This little fellow is just a dandy little spider, doing his spider business – eating bugs.  I know some people don’t like spiders, so I do apologize if this photo unnerves anyone.

Listen,Listen

As I blogged in the past, there are many casualties of grief.  Horseback riding was one – for me.  In the last months, I have tried to get my saddle time.  While it has been good to be back on a horse – we weren’t a team – not connecting.  My mare would hollow out, jig, toss her head – not good.  My ride last weekend jarred my back – and seriously had me thinking about giving it all away.  I have been riding for nearly 50 years – I can’t quit like this.

So, I prayed.  “God, please – I don’t know what to do.  Help me.  What is wrong with this hateful red, mare.”

The only word that kept popping in my thoughts – Listen

Well, God, I am listening – that’s why I am praying – tell me!!

Listen

AAARGHGHH!!

Listen.

OK, thanks to my loving Spirit Sister, we changed the tack – maybe the saddle was pinching?

Still, nagging voice – Listen.

This morning, after a sleepless night – I hauled my horse to the near by park.  That voice was hounding me – Listen!!

AAARHHHGGH!!  The anger, the frustration – what does that mean????

I just broke down, hanging on my horse’s neck – sobbing.  I hugged her head and pleaded, “Tonka, I am so broken-hearted.  Please, Tonka, I need you.”

This time, I understood the voice – Listen to the horse.  I looked into her eyes and knew that I put too much in the saddle.  I don’t mean just my extra chubby butt.  I mean I took all my pain, grief, sadness, darkness, rage, and frustration riding with me – I piled all that onto Tonka’s back.  As I clung to her neck, I asked her to forgive me.  I promised her today, it would be just my chubby butt (again, I apologized for the chubby part). No more emotional junk.  I felt her lean into me and sigh.  

Today, was the best ride in 31 months!  Today, Tonka and I connected.  When a horse and rider connect, it is beautiful, powerful – it is spiritual. 

I believe the Great Spirit blew HIS breath into the nostrils of the horse – he gave them life so they could held guide us.  In the woods today, surrounded by creation and truly connected with my beloved mare – I know GOD was there and my prayers were heard.  I am so thankful.

After a 3 hour ride, I smothered Tonka with kisses and scratches and stuffed her full of apples.  She was so relaxed, I could feel her relief.  Finally –  I listened!!!