October 17

I posted this early on in the year. I’m posting it again because this time, I’m thankful for hope, even when it doesn’t seem warranted. And even if it turns out adverse. Sometimes it matters to go through the journey, regardless of the outcome.

I walked a labyrinth
and found him
standing in the sunlight
a Greek statue marking
the center of the garden

the day was quiet but
my mind was circling
confused
so when he smiled

evil beauty

I lost a piece of myself
without him knowing
without me knowing why

except perhaps
I was blinded
by the sun and hopeful
for something
I can’t really believe in
but like Pandora’s box

it’s the only thing I have left

I need to travel back
through the maze
retrace my steps to find
the broken pieces
now scattered over the years

I’ve learned to live
with less of myself
but I’m feeling too small
suddenly

too unseen

incapable of my own
distress
I need to throw off
this cruel longing
and instead find
the doctor
who will help me
put myself back
together

I’ve already sacrificed
my youth to others
my wisdom he has not
earned
doesn’t yet know
how to share
so although I’ve paid
my due

I will leave my tears
here
at the river
and find my way
to higher ground

June 2

It was a good day. In many ways. I sit here at my computer thinking about what made it worthwhile, even though it wasn’t overly exciting or special. But it had all the necessary stuff of life for me: beautiful weather, a little work, good conversations and quality time with people I care about. I’m lucky.

Today I’m usually reminded of someone I loved long ago. He killed himself on June 2. We were both 25 at the time.  I still remember the phone call and how the sun shone through the window on the counter top where I was standing in my kitchen. I remember how I turned absently to look into the refrigerator and how, in my memory, there was nothing there. I remember how hard it was to breathe while trying to understand the message I was told. He overdosed on some pills he had found in his mom’s medicine cabinet. He didn’t want to keep living. And in the moment I hung up the phone, I knew everything was changed for me. In that split second, I was a different person. It’s strange how some moments are trans formative. How we can look back at a single point in time and say, yes, that’s when my life took a turn.  His death stripped me of my naivety. I had never lost anyone so suddenly before. Especially someone who chose to leave and never return. That moment was my epiphany.

It was only after his funeral that I was able to see a different side to the man I knew. His mother told me of his battles with depression and alcohol, facets of himself he had kept hidden from me. Apparently, he had tried to commit suicide at least once before, when in his teens. He had grown up with abuse. Everything she told me was opposite of the person I knew. A guy who was brilliantly intelligent, funny, laughed easily, well-liked. He was set to graduate from college with high honors. He had plans to live in Alaska. He loved animals. And he loved me. His mother told me that in the time frame he and I were closest was the happiest she had seen him. The most well-adjusted. She had hoped he had turned himself around. But he obviously hadn’t. And her comments only added to the guilt I already felt. I wondered how I didn’t know or hadn’t seen any signs. I agonized over what I missed because I hadn’t been paying enough attention. I recounted every time I could think of where he asked something of me and I didn’t respond right. Of when he may have needed me and I wasn’t there. I wondered how I could have saved him. I hated myself because I didn’t.

It took me many, many years to finally stop carrying his death around with me. I let it define me for too long. The grief, the guilt, the anger. I carried it with me like a treasure I was afraid to let go of.  It wasn’t until I had a long period of hard times myself that I finally understood the low point someone can get to where death seems a viable option. One particularly dark day of a very long year, I finally understood how hard it can be to stay hopeful when life seems so set against you. But thankfully, I never gave in to that despair. I knew I had things to live for. I forgave him that day. And it became easier to move on. I finally realized that setting aside the weight of his death didn’t mean I would be forgetting or not caring anymore. I needed to let him go for me. His death was tragic, of course, but it wasn’t my fault. It was his choice, and I’ll always think it was a terrible choice. He’s missed out on so much. And he had so much he could have contributed. The world really is a beautiful place. Especially on days like today when there’s sunshine and ice cream and laughter and love. I’m thankful.

 

 

April 20

Happy Easter. If you’re a Christian, today is one of the major celebrations in the faith. The belief that Christ rose from the dead is the foundation of the entire faith. Without this as a central belief, nothing else really matters. If Christ wasn’t resurrected, then He was simply a pretty good guy. I happen to follow this faith; it gives me a sense of peace that I don’t find in other things. I think as humans, we all search for a connection or deeper meaning in our lives that is beyond work or achievements or money or power.

However, even if you aren’t a Christian, I think this holiday can still have importance outside of the Easter bunny and baskets and candy (all of which I also enjoy!). The idea of resurrection is the coming back to life after death. Instead of a literal death, how many of us have experienced death in other ways? Emotional deaths? Relationship deaths? I think it’s significant that Easter coincides with Spring and the renewal of life outside. I like to think of Easter in terms of my own self being renewed somehow. Instead of doing this kind of internal overhaul at New Years, I do some reflecting at Easter time. What kind of things can I let go of (bury) and resurrect into something more meaningful or positive? For me right now, it’s relationships. It would appear that breaking Valentine’s gifts, even accidentally, is a bad sign when you’re dating. And while I’m sad to have ended things with a guy I really like, in the long run, I believe it’s better for both of us. Our paths weren’t headed in the same direction so our expectations weren’t in synch. I think in adult relationships, honesty is key. And mostly honesty with yourself. It’s not always easy and a lot of times it’s painful, but it’s better to be honest about what you want and need than to spend too much time yearning for what is missing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the heart wants what it wants, but what it wants is not always the best thing for us.

So today I’m thankful I went to church, which I don’t always do. The message today was about hope. Fitting for the holiday and Springtime, but also fitting for me today. I’m holding on to hope.

April 2

I’m thankful for my journaling because it reminds me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. I wrote this poem back in late October on a particularly rough day. Thankfully, I’m no longer stuck there.

there’s a hole in my future
where all the meaning should be
piece by piece robbed by those
I trusted most
my little light smoked
softly out
I’m carried away by the darkness

Feb 18

20140218-212707.jpg

I was given this picture today as a suggestion for a post. It made me laugh. Obviously the person who gave it to me knows about my addiction to The Walking Dead. But I also like that people are reading what I write and thinking about it. I started this blog for myself and my own need to look for the good around me, but if it helps others do the same, even in silly ways, I’m cool with that. More than cool. I love it.

This photo does remind me that there is almost always a different take on every problem. It also reminds me that humor is essential to getting through difficulties. At least it is for me. I’ve written about the zombie apocolypse before in reference to the tv show. The ways the characters learn to adapt and survive are so interesting to me. But I’m fascinated with people that way in general. When I come across someone whose first instinct is to give up, it makes me wonder what he or she went through to get to the point where it’s easier to be stuck than to fight. Of course, fighting takes energy and the belief that there’s something valuable at the end of the struggle. And maybe not everyone has that innate instinct to survive like I do. But I think it can be cultivated. One way is intentionally looking for the positive side of things. Or if there really isn’t a postive, then learning to let it go. And I don’t say this lightly, from a life of hearts and roses. If you’ve read a few of my previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve been through some tough times. I’ve had moments where I have doubted my endurance and had to spend time wailing out my misery. And letting things go…oh boy. It’s been a very conscious effort on my part to learn that skill. I’m anxious by nature. And much too introspective to want to just let things go. My favorite questions always begin with why? But I’m getting better about not needing to know all the answers. Sometimes the answer is simply because not everyone thinks like you do. Most of the time, I’d say be thankful you don’t think like me. It’s exhausting.  But when it comes to being optimistic, I wish more people would share my thoughts on that. Not losing hope. Not giving up. Believing something better could be just around the corner is what keeps me going a little longer when the fight is hardest. What would you do? Would you run screaming for your life or grab a mallet and help me whack?

 

Feb 16

Sometimes you need to be intentional about making changes, moving on and letting go of things in the past. I’m all about looking forward today. Forward to brighter days both figuratively and literally…

candles that burn away memories
cannot be blown out with a birthday kiss
they must be folded neatly and put away
with the good linens
three wishes may never be enough

the clocks all move in centuries
according to your age
only children have no use for time

erase everything black from the pages
buy only yellow flowers for decades
without a sun

there’s music to live for
and spring rain to dance in