Depth

I read this on a page in FB called Introvert Nation:

“I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on inside your head when you don’t even understand it yourself.”

On a total side note, I think I’m an introvert…just sayin!

Anywho, I decided to do something I used to do (in the dinosaur ages, so it seems). I used to write in a more “today” kinda-way, with a sort of pondering/meditating to the flow of the writing piece. Although I really enjoy writing in any kind of way.

In my FB Memories a video popped up from 3 years ago. It gives 5 points that encouraged and prompted me to “guide” my thoughts. Encouraged by Natalie Goldberg when she said, “if you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.” Here goes…

1) Own Your Own Happiness” – I’m 52 years old. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done. I can’t please all of the people, all of the time. It’s exhausting! Critics are everywhere. I’ve been a professional and a stay at home mom. I’ve had my children in public school, private school, homeschool. I’ve been crazy out in the world and settled and homie (some critics would still say that I’m still just plain-ol-crazy…hey, they might be right!). Just to name a few things…and I’ve been criticized for every single one of them.

2) Challenge Your Own Story” – I hate the word “victim”! I dislike being pitied! I’ve been molested, raped, assaulted, beaten, BUT I refuse to let this define me! Each “season” I’ve lived and, by God’s grace, have come THROUGH has made me who I am today. However, I will not stay quiet about who I am and where I’ve been. No shame in my game! This season of my life has me sunk in deep sorrow and grief from the loss of my beautiful daughter. I deal with crying all the time, thoughts of suicide, PTSD, panic attacks…AND I’m not ashamed to talk about it or write about it. I don’t need to hide (unless it’s a really bad day, then I’ll be under the covers for most of the day).

3) Enjoy the Journey (NOT just the destination)” – Today is a gift! Be fully present. Enjoy the baby years; the toddler years, even the teenage years of your children. Enjoy those soccer games, baseball games, valet, recitals. Enjoy the house full…the empty nest will come soon enough. Enjoy that you can jump and run and eat whatever you want, cause, people, I’m here to tell you that “season” comes to an end really quick. Enjoy the sunrise, that sunset…the moon and the stars. Enjoy that cup of coffee, that donut or that salad. Don’t miss today while you are stuck in the past or reaching for tomorrow. Celebrate along the way! There is JOY in the process.

4) Make Relationships Count” – Trust even when you’ve been betrayed. Don’t carry others mistakes to the new relationships. Don’t get “historical”, stop keeping lists. This person is here for this moment in time. Friendships are messy (this is a continual struggle for me…still), but still be open to friendships. Know the difference between friends and acquaintances. Some will stay for a while, others just for a moment, but each will leave an imprint on your life journey.

5) Balance Work and Play” – Everything is not serious everyday. Take time to be silly. Take time to laugh. Take time to dance. Your “job” will continue even without you. For 10 months my entire focus was my daughter. We colored, played dots, got pedicures, took naps together…I will NEVER regret having put everything on hold. I’ve been told that now it’s “my time”, that I’m free to do things I enjoy. Guess what? That was “my time” AND life was still happening…it did not stand still. Things were accomplished in those 10 months that stories are of. No mega trial brief could top that time with my girl.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Thank you for “walking” with me. One step at a time is all it takes, and if you need to sit, that’s ok, too 🙂

My Beautiful Girl

My Beautiful Girl (Angie) was born June 3, 1986. She was named after her paternal grandmother, whom she loved. I wonder if they are singing together in heaven? Abuelita Jelo loved to sing.

All of my pregnancies were difficult. I had two miscarriages before we had our first born prematurely, with minimal issues. Then I got pregnant with Angie and the difficulties continued with the added trauma of having a drunk man fall on me late into the pregnancy. Angie was born between 6-7 months (don’t remember exactly) with difficulty breathing due to her underdeveloped lungs. She was placed in an incubator and given medication and care for her tiny, frail body. Angie didn’t get to come home with me because she still needed to stay in the incubator a little bit longer. She finally came home with lots of instructions and medications. I am so thankful for my sister who loved both my children as if they were her own. She helped me care for this tiny girl. Angie would “forget to breath”, she still needed to have Mommy breathe for her. She had to learn to breath on her own. This caused for her brain to be deprived of oxygen, which in turn caused further developmental delays. Those were, I thought, difficult days.

Sometimes I just need to remember. Sometimes I just need to “tell” somebody about her. Sometimes saying and seeing her name brings so much comfort and joy.

ANGIE, my precious little girl…fearfully and wonderfully made. Each day a miracle; each day a gift. Each day a milestone; each day defeating the odds. Each day of your life is engraved on my heart and mind. AND each day you are gone brings heart ache and pain. I will miss you until the day I have you in my arms again ❤

 

The Unexpected

The quadruple bypass had been a total success. The family began to let their shoulders down and breath a little easier, until…that first meal! Those infamous cornflakes – tasty clusters of flakes, yet deadly to a paralyzed, empty stomach. The first spoonful hit the stomach producing nausea, stomach cramps and pain, making the stomach bloat with extreme speed. The symptoms had now become agonizing with no sign of relief. Rushed to the OR! Doctors in desperate search of what had caused this drastic turn of events, and trying to figure out how and why this was happening while he was slowly making a positive recovery from his heart surgery.

The family lingers in the room waiting for an update. The nurse comes in and says, “He’s losing a lot of blood. Are any of you able to give blood for him?” We are willing. After some tests, it turns out only two of his kids are a match. One has been using so he’s out. The youngest of them all is taken to the room where she’ll sit as the precious life giving liquid flows out of her veins.

Waiting and more waiting. Finally, a doctor approaches. “We did all we could…” Words that you hope would only be said in movies, but no, this is real. Before any emotion can be shown, the doctor whispers to the widow, “If you want to take him now without waiting, we are going to have to wheel him out as if he is still alive. Otherwise, you might not get him for days, or even months due to all the red tape.” She, “strong-as-nails”, her norm, says, “I’m taking him now!”

The family is then asked to “stuff all their feelings and emotions” and act as if nothing has happened.

The gurney in front, the family behind…as if…all is good.

The body is delivered to the family home, and is customary in that culture, they will dress and prepare him for the all night wake.

Two of his five sons and his two daughters enter “that room”. He is wrapped in sheets. They approach and start unwrapping…GASP!!! UGH!!! The sight, the smells, the liquids! “How? why? Could they have closed him up? Can someone else do this? This can’t be happening!”

One white shirt after another, stained…useless. “We” aren’t equipped for this?” “This should be done by a funeral home.” Nope, this is us and this is how we roll…yeah…swallow that!

Somehow, he is prepped and ready for the all night wake and viewing of the tons of mourners that will come and pay their respects. Rosaries, prayers, coffee, chatter. Tomorrow, he will be carried through the streets of his village, ending at the cemetery with the proper burial. Then the people will scatter, life will continue as usual…

BUT those four “kids” will live with those images of their Dad. Neither will talk to each other about it; neither will talk about it to anyone…because that just how this family rolls.

The Unforgettable Crate

It was a crisp December day. The beehive buzz around the village was thick. One of their own would be arriving today. Not with the usual fanfare, however, this arrival was one robed with the blackness of grief and sorrow. The house had been readied for the owners arrival. This time, however, the bedding was not washed and pressed because it’s owner would not be sleeping in her bed. The front room was set up with the customary stands and candles to hold the all night wake.

The unmarked van turns the corner.  Could that be? People straighten up and stand, a sign of honor and respect. The youngest daughter waiting to sign the paperwork indicating she had received the “cargo”.

The van parks to the side of the road. Back door opens. What?! A wooden crate?!?!?!

The youngest daughter paralyzed at the sight. Nausea threatened to make her loose whatever she had managed to eat. “Nobody told me…! I just can’t…!” her thoughts shattered by the pounding of a hammer…P-O-P! P-O-P! P-O-P!

AND so it went…FOREVER…and ever! Each “pop” releasing a nail. Nail after nail that held this crate together, pounded…releasing each nail, and with each pound her heart sank deeper and deeper in pain and unbelief.

She stood paralyzed by feelings of sadness and anger. A slow rage boiling inside. “This is a human body, for God’s sake! She might be lifeless, but she still deserves honor and respect!”, thoughts screaming within.

Fulfilling her mother’s last dying wish came at a great price, both emotionally and financially. But here they were. It was what it was…no turning back!

Images that stay; that haunt; that you wish you could erase. And, so life continues…but you can never see a “crate” the same again.

Blissfully Lost

Las dos amigas out for a time of pampering. The plan was set, the guys would eat and watch the soccer game while the girls get a day of rest, relaxation and pampering. Kiss, kiss and off they went.

The taxi driver didn’t seem to be “in service”, but then again everything moves slowly in La Paz. I guess that’s why one gets away. He finally agreed to shuttle them to their destination. Girls talk and talk, and giggle ready for their pampering. The driver, on the other hand, seems lost. He asked, one too many times, “What does your phone say?” to which the reply was always, “we have no WiFi”. Finally, at their destination!

The “look” of said oasis promised much. As they walked in they were greeted with sour looks. So much for “walk ins welcomed”. Icily turned away, “no room in the in”. A ray of hope rose in the horizon as one of the clients showed the discouraged amigas another location, AND it happened to be “right around the corner” (hold that thought). Off they went, with their plan “still” in place…pampering!

Blocks, and blocks, and blocks they walked…umm, “are we there yet?” There it is! Yes! The sign on the door shattered their plans, once again, “we’ve moved to a new location…” Taking this as a “sign from above”, they decided to head back to meet back with the guys.

Lost, yup, they were so lost. Walking, walking…hey, so I guess they did get a massage – of their feet…haha!

A wonderful little boy showed them the way. Yes, they are finally at the malecon (walk way by the beach). From here they can find their way “home”.

~~Blissfully lost, not a care in the world. The company of a caring and loving friend made all the difference. The talk was deep and fun. There were tears and much laughter. Somehow, I wish we were still lost…blissfully lost!~~

Smell

Our senses, amazing God given gifts. For example, take the sense of smell. Certain smells can transport us to a time of pure joy and bliss while others can bring us to places of pain and agony. Some smells can make your mouth salivate at the pure thought of taking a bite of that feast set before you, other times it can make you nauseated and gag at the very whiff, remember the Putrid Smell?

Two houses are etched in my mind. On my way to the bus stop, I’d stop to “pick up” a couple of friends. We were in Junior High (eek, ok that brought back tons of other memories. I sense another post…).  Debbie’s house was bright and had the “smell” of “home”. Warm and cozy, her Mom always preparing something hot for her to eat before heading to school. Always sending her on her way with a hug and a kiss.  Linda’s house was dark, she almost had to sneak out so as to not disturb the coldness. That house felt empty and void.

Certain flower fragrances transport me to the first funeral home I ever attended. Just one smell and I’m sitting in those horrible hard benches, with that open casket which held the shell of the body of my 26 year old brother. Every fiber in my being feels exactly what I felt at that moment.

The stench of alcohol assaults me with thoughts of that man taking my innocence; of that man who beat me to a pulp; of that time I almost didn’t survive.

Interesting how the senses work. Where do “smells” take you?

My Grieving Friend

I saw her. Her steps were heavy. Every move cautions, as if each move threatened to shatter her brokenness. Somber, every facial line etched deeply. Her frame and movements seemed ancient compared to her real age. Her beautiful body bowed, like she had just been hit in the stomach and all the breath was zapped out. She seemed unapproachable, quiet…her mind far, far away.

She spoke softly, almost in a whisper, almost as if she didn’t have enough air in her lungs. I had no idea the sorrow and the pain she held deeply, reverently. We would sit for coffee, often. At times she spoke, but mostly she listened. There, yet, absent. Her red lipstick always on point…she needed color, somewhere…anywhere.

Cautiously, briefly, she opened a window of her soul to me. We entered a sacred place…her garden. Filled with color, serene, holy. In the midst of her vibrant garden was a memory garden filled with the most mundane of things, yet each was set with purpose, with care. A bench, a bird bath, a cross, an angel, and lots and lots of miniature roses. Oh, the tears, the memories, the talks that garden held. We stood in silence, it was a sacred moment. She shared that her 21 year old son had gone off an embankment; that she had to identify his remains; that she missed him; that this was one way of honoring his memory. I gasped, I couldn’t say a word, but felt privileged that she had allowed me into the sacredness of her pain.

Many, many years have passed. I now sit in my own memory garden. Mine has rocks with messages, butterflies and plants that attract butterflies. My daughter loved butterflies. I put a rock with her name on it…something about her name.

My dear grieving friend, how much you taught me through your silence ❤