It’s been almost exactly one year since I last wrote here. And in that year, my life has changed a whole lot. Some for the good and some for the not-so-good. I’ve learned some very hard lessons during the last year, a couple of which I could have happily done without.
I decided not to write anymore. And then, months later, I decided I needed to write, but could no longer find my voice.
Over time, the fog has begun to clear, and I think I am starting to hear my voice again, so I’ll begin here.
It will be my group therapy, except that I’m not paying for it, it’s by no means private, and I can’t see anyone else sitting in the circle with me, nodding their heads as I tell my side of the story.
But I know you’re there. I can feel you. Okay, I can’t feel you, but the site tracks visitors, so I’m pretty sure you’re out there somewhere.
Here’s some of what I’ve lost, and what I’ve found, over the last 365 days:
I found that moving your family to Southern California during a 7-week bout of walking pneumonia is hard work.
I found that kids are as resilient as people tell you they are, but that doesn’t make starting over at a new school easy. It’s like putting a puzzle together in the dark, every day, for months on end. Every so often there’s a bright spot, but it’s more like being at the eye doctor than it is dancing under a disco ball.
I lost my Mom. It is the very reason the axis my world spins on has tilted forevermore, and why possibly my voice has changed like a warbley teenager’s. Everything has just gone deep. Many a post will come on and around this very sad subject.
I lost myself on the way to losing my Mom. I knew I was getting lost, I could feel that I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t recognize myself, and I wasn’t genuinely connecting with some very important people in my life. I was there but I was not present. But I couldn’t stop it from happening and I couldn’t find my way back until Chicago gently helped me see that not only was I losing my Mom, and not only was I losing my way, but that those very important people around me were losing too. They too were losing my Mom and they were losing me. They were losing times two. And that realization is what helped me fight my way back home.
I found out how liberating it feels to cut ties with someone who has proven herself unworthy of holding the other end of my heartstrings.
I found that I could save a young life with my bare hands.
I lost a few pounds. Just kidding. I gained a few. More than a few. I blame the comfort foods and the sadness. It’s hard to burn carbs when you have to remind yourself to breathe.
I found that friends who love you and know your heart instinctively do the right thing when they hear/feel/see it breaking. The right thing looks like texts, emails, calls and cards. It looks like your favorite flowers showing up unexpectedly. It looks like local friends who innately know that I will say no to lunch and a visit, so they don’t ask if it’s okay, they just show up with chopped salads and gentle smiles. And it turns out the right thing looks like a hand-written letter and a pair of leopard print wedge heels. Who knew?
I found that in a sincere (if highly misguided) effort to Be Super Mom While Sitting At The Bedside Of My Own Dying Mother, ordering one hundred poinsettia stamps does not in fact ensure the mailing of Christmas cards. Secondarily, I found that sticking said poinsettia stamps on bills in February is sort of depressing.
I found that the puppy still wants a walk even when it’s the last thing I want to do, and that taking him is good for us both because it forces me to inhale and outhale at a time when holding my breath and clenching my jaw seem to be more the norm.
I found that Nine and Eleven are hungry, and have homework, and want to laugh with me, and that the traveling husband needs me in more ways than one, and that cooking, helping, giggling and connecting are all better than worrying and crying and staring off into the distance.
It’s not a short list, and it’s not a complete list, but there it is. It’s a start. A step forward, which for me at this point is a pretty big deal.
I’ll be back, as there is a lot more to write. After all, it’s not every day that free therapy lands in your lap. And when you’ve spent the better part of a year getting lost and you realize you’re finally somewhat found again, you should probably take advantage of any therapy you can get.
I think I can feel you nodding your collective head.
See you soon.