Right. Left.

“Beep! Beep! Beep!” I roll over and hit snooze on the alarm.  Joshua comes in dragging his star blankie.

“Moooom.  Can I sleep with you?” he asks.

“Sure,” I say and roll over to make room for him.

“Beep! Beep! Beep!” The alarm blares again.

“I want to turn it off!” Josh announces and hits the snooze button again.

“Beep! Beep! Beep!” it sounds once more. I roll over and turn it off once and for all but continue to lay there.  I’m exhausted despite the sleeping pill and full 8 hours of sleep I’ve had.  I feel dark and lonely and sad.

Time passes.  I don’t know how much exactly but I feel like we really should be getting up.

“Joshy, it’s time to get ready for school,” I whisper.

“NO!” is his immediate reply.

I roll over.  “I don’t really want to get up either,” I think.

Finally I look at the clock.  Oh yes.  We really must get up or we all will be late.

I roll out of bed and Joshy comes too.  I look out the window.  It’s gray and dismal, just like my mood.

I race around the house trying to get everything ready.  I get Josh dressed.  I dress Wyatt too because he’s taking too long.  All of the bread is in the freezer so it’s cereal for everyone. (Thank goodness because toast takes longer.)  I’m just so stressed about something but I’m not quite sure what it is.

Rush. RUsh. RUSH.  Run. RUn. RUN.  Ugh.  The older two are going to be tardy.  I yell and then I feel horrible.

We all jump in the car. We’re going to make it.  I drive them to school and drop them off.  No time to walk Wyatt to class.  I hate that.  Then we are off to pick up a cousin so they can go to preschool.

Preschool drop-off goes well. No hiccups. I rush back to the car.  Why am I rushing?  It’s that stress.  It makes me feel like I need to hurry but I don’t know why.  I race to Target for a couple of things then head home.

“I need to go for a run,” I think.  It will help.  But I don’t want to run.  I want to curl up in bed and cry.  “That means you need to run!” I think more sternly to myself.  I arrive home and walk straight to my room.  I pull out some leggings, a sports bra, a long sleeve shirt and a fleece headband.  I undress in the cold of my bedroom.  At least my shoes feel sunny.  Over the weekend I went to Big 5 with Pres to get him so Futsal shoes and found the perfect pair of running shoes for me. Bright purple to match my hair.

I lace up and head for the door.  I hesitate for a moment.

“I don’t really want to go.  It’s cold out there,” I think.
“Go,” something whispers from deep within and I know it’s right.  I strap on my armband and go.

“Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left.”  My feet say. I quickly find my rhythm. It’s slow and steady but it is forward.

“Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left,” becomes my mantra.  Just keep going.  Keep moving forward.  Soon I’m warm all over. My purple braids are bouncing, keeping rhythm with a new song playing through my headphones.

Before I know it I’m back home.  Three miles down in the blink of an eye.  I’m sweaty AND I’m stinky but I’m also smiling.  That’s something worth running for.

playlist

Me, my purple shoes and a kick ass playlist

The Upside Down

 

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Losing someone very close to you feels like you are living in a parallel universe.  Everyone around you is traveling along as usual and there you are trying to figure out why everything, and I mean everything, feels wrong.  Sure, your surroundings look the same but they feel different.

It reminds me “the Upside Down” in “Stranger Things.”  Physically everything around you is the same but it all feels awful.  The colors are off.  The sounds are wrong.  Everything tastes bland.  Your existence is wrong.  And you look around wondering how everyone else can pretend that things are right.

After my dad died I remember things being off for a while.  When my nephew drowned things were wrong for a long time.  But this, losing Nate, it’s a whole other entity.  My life revolved around my husband.  Everything I did, or wanted to do, I wanted to do with him.  Coming to grips with this life altering change is going to take time.   A LOT of time.

I’m now 8 months into this parallel journey.  8 months since I heard his voice.  8 months since I held his hand.  8 months without the person I loved more than life itself.  It’s been a rough journey but I have to say I am beginning to feel flickers of hope.  I have the desire to find joy again.

I am most certainly still riding the ebb and flow of grief.  There are still long periods where I can’t see past the pain but then it breaks, even if only for a moment, and I can see beauty again.  Someday  I hope to live where the sun shines again but for now I’ll keep walking towards the tiny stream of light shining through the forrest.  The important thing is that I’m still moving.  I’m still going, one step at a time.

 

Solo Theaters

Before I was married I most often went to the movies alone.  I had decided it was less stressful to go alone.  Why? Because I wasn’t going to let anyone down.  When I invited a friend to the cinema I felt responsible if it was a bad choice.  I felt like I wasted their money. Plus others often influenced how I felt about the film.  If I knew they hated it it tainted my enjoyment.

In my late teens  I saw all the movies that came out.  I watched 2-3 movies a week.  I had my solo routine.  I’d go to Chili’s, which was located next to the theaters, order chicken enchilada soup and salad and read a book then go to my movie.  It was so very enjoyable.

Sometimes I would go with a friend or a boyfriend but mostly it was alone.

After I got married I never went alone.  Mostly because I couldn’t stand being apart from my man.  Yes, I was one of those incredibly codependent people who wants to spend every waking moment with their lover.  That was me.  You should have known him.  He was that great.  I hated the idea of seeing a movie and not being able to discuss every minuet detail with him.

This past December I saw my first solo movie since before I was married and it was great.  It was something I knew my lover wouldn’t like and I knew he’d ruin it for me by analyzing it even though it wasn’t an analyze worthy movie.  I saw my movie then went to Thai food alone and read “A Christmas Carol.”  It was a delight.

I’ve been having a hard day.  I miss my love so much.  People keep asking if it’s getting better and the answer is a big, fat no.  Honestly, it’s worse now then it was the first month.  I was still in shock and not at all processing what happened.  Now it’s hitting me like a freight train.  Some days my mind refuses to accept it and some days I can only see despair because I’m grasping my new reality.

Today has been hard.  The kids are off for summer break and my happy ending of knowing the love of my life will be home at the end of a hard day is no more.  I have nothing to look forward to.  I get through because I have to not because I want to.

And then, like a tiny gift, the movies popped in my head.  My mom and mother-in-law have been taking the kids once a week and it’s been an incredibly important reprieve but I haven’t had anything especially exciting to do or look forward to until today.

I’m going to go to the movies again.  Solo.  Like old times.  Well, sort of.

It Can’t Be

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve written this post in my head many times but how can I begin to explain how upside down my world has become?

My very best friend, the love of my life, my favorite confidante, the father of my children, my lover and the person who made life worth living died. In March he was hit by an SUV at work in a snowstorm and he died the next day.

I’m living a nightmare. Each night I go to sleep and wake-up wishing I could go back to sleep. I don’t want to go on. Not without him. I spend my days muttering “it can’t be true. Not my love.” I will go on because I have three small boys and I have to but I don’t want to.

I had everything I wanted in life. I was happy. I had my own struggles, like we all do, but I was living the life I had always dreamed of. I worked hard at being content with what we had. When we had extra we tried to help others. We worked hard at having a happy marriage. We were so happy. So very happy. I loved him with my heart, body and soul and he loved me in return.

Oh God. How do you move on when all you want to do is go back.

I want my happy life back.

Death Early, Death Late

Death is a strange thing.  It’s the one thing we will all face in our lives.  It is inevitable and yet it is an unknown.  This morning, on the radio, they were talking about a college tour bus that crashed last year.  Ten people died.  Ten almost adults lives were ended.  As a mom I can only imagine the feelings of those parents.  And like many (if not most) tragedies it made me think of my nephew.

My sweet, adorable, perfect nephew drowned 9 years ago.   He was two.  Losing someone you love is always horrendous.  Losing a child is exponentially worse.  It doesn’t really matter if they were two or 22.  No parent imagines that when their wee little babe is born that that sweet little being will be gone before they are.  It’s just not how it’s “supposed” to go.  I was thinking about how painful it was to lose our sweet nephew.  All the loss of potential.  We never really got to know who he was and we never will.

I guess that’s the quandary my brain is attempting to work through this morning.  The parallel pain parents feel when they lose a child.  For those who lose a little one they mourn the loss an unknown.  When our little D died my heart ached for all of the nevers.  We would never hear him speak.  We would never see him as a boy or a teenager or a man.  We wouldn’t know how he felt about almost anything and the loss of potential still burns in my gut.

When you lose someone who has lived their life you feel some of that.  When my dad died it hurt so much that he would  never see any of his daughters marry.  My children would never know their grandfather, and oh what a grandfather he would have been!  But more than that I mourned the loss of his companionship.  It hurt that we would not be able to talk and visit.  I walked by his desk for months after his death and still felt startled when he wasn’t there.  I lost a known being.

And that’s just it.  Loss of the known verses the loss of potential.  I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how two different feelings can hurt so equally.