Strolling with the Ghosts

If you do not know by now, I am a country bumpkin.  I was born in the country and that is where I belong.  I love being in the country – and I am definitely not a city dweller.  Traffic, people, noise, bustling about – not for me.  I would rather be on a tractor than an expressway.  My visits to the city are rare and only when I simply MUST.

Because I love my job and, well, frankly, I like paying the mortgage – I obeyed a supervisor command to “Go to the city”.  So here I am, back in Richmond, VA today.  I parked in a central parking deck and decided to walk to my meeting.  I walked by VCU/MCV Medical Center and it hit me like a lightning bolt.

So many ghosts here – both young and old.

When my son was just a little boy, he was so very ill.  He was here at this very medical center so many times.  While strolling with the ghosts, I stopped on a street corner where my son and I shared a hot dog and a soda, awaiting test results.  I can picture his little face, looking up at me – questions I just couldn’t answer.

I strolled along a little farther to the entrance of the Medical Center and I stopped to recall several visits.  Sometimes we came out crying.  Sometimes we came out smiling.

I saw young college students wearing their VCU gear, and I flashed forward to my son in college at VCU.  He walked down these streets, through these doors as a very sick little boy – and then again as an adult – a young college student full of promise and dreams.

VCU launched his career – he became a great doctor.  Many people are alive today because he was there to help them.   He bravely participated in helicopter rescue and on scene emergencies.  Yes, that gives me comfort – but, I am ashamed to admit – sometimes it makes me angry.  Why couldn’t some one help him?  I stop myself.  I try to disrupt those negative thoughts as quickly as I can.  I cannot go there – not now.  Not while I stroll among the ghosts.

I think I will walk past his first dorm building, and maybe take the longer stroll to his first apartment building.  Torture?  Yes.  Healing journey?  I pray so.

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Had to pull over

Just driving when Smoke Robinson came on the radio with “Tears of a Clown”.

Now they’re some sad things known to man

But ain’t too much sadder than

The tears of a clown when there’s no one around”

I felt like he was singing to me and I just had to pull over.  I just finished a presentation for work, a group of about 15.   It went very well.  Everyone laughed and complimented when the presentation was over – I was professional and effective.  I made them laugh.  I played the clown.  Now, I am in the car on the side of the road, crying.  But it’s OK, I needed this cry – and I am going to wipe off my face and drive on.

Dreamer of Dreams – Frozen

I always considered myself a dreamer of dreams – willing to try new things, to step outside my comfort zone and “make” changes.  Before the darkness came, I had so many dreams, things we were going to do.  Then everything shattered.

Now I seem to be frozen – stagnant.  I am not happy in my current state, I have dreams of change, but I don’t seem to be able to put any action to them.

I talk about my exciting “business idea” and I live that life in my head – but that is all I do. I know I need to make some changes – I can’t stay here in the dark – but I am struggling.

When I was in basic training at Fort Jackson way back in 79, (Yes, I am a veteran – US Army) I remember we would finish our forced Marches by climbing a hill we lovingly dubbed “Drag Ass Hill”.  It was steep and sand!  For every step forward, you would slide half way back.  It took dogged perseverance to get up that hill, and a drill sergeant chomping at my heals, but I made it.

Now, I feel like I am on Drag Ass Hill, without the youth and strength and motivation to keep climbing.

But, I need to suck it up – and take a step.  Just a step – GOD, I need a push!!

 

Rocky in the Clouds

Last year, our dear Rocky crossed over rainbow bridge.  Rocky was such a sweet, scruffy mutt. As a wee pup, some wicked soul threw him from a moving vehicle.  We were happy to rescue him and fortunate to have him for 11 years.

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Today, as everyday, I was missing my son so much – and look – a doggie cloud!!  Rocky came to lift  my spirits!!

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The Life in my Head – Part 1

OK, maybe I should not admit this, but I live a completely different life in my head.  OK, in the physical world, I drag my worn carcass out of bed and go through the motions of the day.  I hide my grief and depression behind the appropriate smiles and conversation.

But – in my head – my life is completely different.  I carry on conversations with people, saying what I really want to say in the physical world – but cannot.  What can I say, I like living indoors and cashing my paycheck.   But in my head, I really give people what for!  In my head, I grieve out loud – I hide nothing.  I scream and sob – in my head.

In my head, I am not the old, worn, gray haired woman in the mirror.  In my head, I am still MOM.

Never Life

My child is in the After Life – and I am in the NEVER Life.

I NEVER wanted to survive my child.  This is the worst thing that I NEVER thought would happen.  I will NEVER stop crying.

I am trying to cope with the loss I NEVER wanted to face.  I will NEVER be the same.

I will NEVER “Get over it” and will NEVER stop wanted to slap people who say I should.

I’ve lost the person I NEVER wanted to be without.

In one phone call, I heard the words I NEVER wanted to hear and I can NEVER forget.

I NEVER thought I would survive, and maybe I won’t.

I will NEVER be “MOM” again.  I will NEVER hold him or hear his voice in this lifetime.

I will forever miss the cards, texts, and phone calls that NEVER come.

I struggle to make it through the holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries I will NEVER celebrate again.

I have become a person I NEVER wanted to be.  I realize now, I truly NEVER understood the pain of others before.

I have done things I NEVER wanted to do – and said a good bye I NEVER wanted to say.

I will NEVER stop loving and missing him.  I will NEVER stop speaking his name and talking about him.

I will NEVER let go of GOD’s gentle hand.  I will NEVER forget GOD loves me.  I will NEVER stop trusting GOD.

 

 

Living Ala Carte

I am not trying to encroach on anyone’s belief system or heritage or culture.  I am not trying to “become” something I am not.  Honestly, I am so broken, I cannot be what I was – so I must be something else.  I am just trying to survive the most devastating, painful loss – the loss of my child – a loss so deep and unimaginable and all-consuming, it has no name.

So, I am seeking enlightenment.  I am picking up pebbles of knowledge and wisdom and comfort to build a new pathway.  I may pick up a “pebble” from a rap song or the writings of a Tibetan Monk or the passing comment of a Catholic Priest or the prose of a cowboy poet.  In addition to my Christian Bible, my foundation, I am currently reading books by Native American authors as well as the writings of a Vietnamese Monk.

I respect the journey of others, and the paths they take are the best for them.  I am on my own path, and I am grateful when I can learn and find comfort in the journey of another.  I hope, someday, I will be able to lift another traveler on their journey, and hand them a pebble with love and understanding.

I am not “claiming” any convention or label.  I am seeking GOD.  I am seeking HIS guidance and comfort and wisdom – not man’s religions or labels or groups or boundaries.

So, I am learning to live my life, travel my path ala carte – sampling the wisdom of all.  Taking a little bit from each.  Some will be right for me and will add this pebble to my pathway.  Some will not be right for me and I will release the pebble – NOT THROW IT, just release it.

My heart is set on GOD and my mind is open.  I respect different views and different paths.  Love and kindness and acceptance are powerful aids to all travelers on this spiritual journey, especially those in pain.

Dial Up

Earlier, I shared my struggle and desire to “reconnect” with GOD, loved ones, ME.  It is a slow process.  Sometimes, I feel like I am making progress, then some memory or maybe a small comment triggers the pain, the tears and I relapse and disconnect.

I certainly struggle to connect with sleep, which I why I am rambling on now.  Although, I do seem to be able to connect very well with ice cream, chocolate, coffee, and bacon.  Yep, I am definitely connected with those.  Oh, and bread.

I feel like the rest of the world has high speed, and I am still on dial up.  I can almost hear the tones of the modem.  Of course, out here in the country, there are times when it may as well be dial up.

But, I am not going to give up.  GOD is with me – HIS rod and HIS staff, they comfort me – and tomorrow is another day to try.

I pray you all have positive connections too.

Mad as HELL at ME!!

Another revelation or a bit of grief evolution.

I realized something in the wee hours of the morning, when I really wanted to be asleep.  I was thinking I was so frustrated with a loved one for lacking self-discipline and continuing unhealthy habits.  Then my mind wondered to another person I criticized for sloth; and yet another who described me in a unflattering way and stung my feelings.

Suddenly, I realized – I wasn’t frustrated with these other people at all.  I was mad at me!!  I am mad as hell at ME!!  I am mad at me for not exercising self-discipline and losing weight.

I am mad at me for lounging, wasting time and being slothful – when I have chores to do, tasks I once enjoyed.

The only reason the hurtful description cut me so deeply, is because I believe it – I look in the mirror and all I see is tired, fat, and old.

I am just angry at me.  I really don’t like that old lady in the mirror.

These others have no power over me – and I have none over them.  We are each the potter’s hands, and I am not the potter.  I cannot make someone else make better choices and clearly I am not making the best choices for me.

Matthew 7:3

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

GOD, please forgive me for wrong thoughts.  I clearly have a beam in my own eye and I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work on pulling it out.  OK, so HOW?  Grief is so heavy, it ways on me.  When I want to exercise or clean the garage or clean out the tack room – I have all this extra weight, both in my heart and on my bum!  I am wide awake at 5 am, but I struggle to drag out of bed by 6:30.  It takes all my strength to work all day and then do just my daily chores– let alone major cleaning and upkeep.  My brain keeps cycling back to, “What’s the point?”  “Why try?”  “It hurts!”

Come on ME!! Get it together.  What would I say to ME – if ME was my best friend?  I would say, “It’s OK, don’t be so hard on yourself.  I am here for you.  I care. How can I help?”

Well, ME –  maybe instead of trying to fix everything all at once, just set three tiny goals – for a 24-hour period.  OK, here goes, after I get home from work and do daily chores – I will also complete three tasks from my To Do List:

  1. I will sweep the feed room.
  2. I will give Baby Dog a haircut, at least around her backside.
  3. Tomorrow morning, I will make sure to be up by 6:15.

With GOD’s help, that all seems doable, not too overwhelming.  Oh, and maybe I will give me a little hug.  I think ME really needs it.