Cold, black, anguish, loneliness, anxiety, entangled, imprisoned, afraid, fumbling, death, lost, hopeless, weak. Forever. Eyes closed, stumbling over every block. Every fear. Every hurt. Every trauma. Lost. Never to be found. Eyes shut so tight I see stars. I am cold. The chill is bitter and it’s freezing every bone in my body. Will I survive? I can’t open my eyes. I can’t. Even if I could it’s so dark I will never be able to see. There is nothing to light the way. I feel paralyzed and yet I move. Stumbling, falling, crawling. Like my knees, my heart is bruised, bleeding and wounded. I wear a mask made up of false securities. I keep my eyes closed. Don’t look. There is nothing to see anyways. Panic sets in. How will I find my way through? It’s impossible. I can’t do it. The fear is holding me hostage. The only thing more daunting than leaving is remaining. It’s unbearable. The darkness is swallowing me. I can feel it pulling me under like a forceful current into the dark abyss. One finger. Place one finger on the ground. I feel the ground. It’s so cold. Another finger. One hand. The other. The ground is getting warmer. I can’t see, but I can feel! I can feel my way through. It’s the only way. I pull myself up. My feet are now touching the ground. My legs, a gelatinous substance, miraculously keep me steady. I still can’t see. I reach my hand out and feel giant walls built around me. The walls are rough and riddled with cracks. I handle them ever so carefully. As I tenderly move my hands over the wreckage these walls consist of I realize I can use them as a map of sorts. With eyes closed, I allow these walls to guide me through and forward. It’s getting warmer. I touch the ground with my calloused hands. There are deep grooves here also. They too are charting the way for me. As I continue feeling my way through the darkness I find my bearings. I feel warm. My body is warm all over. It hurts to keep my eyes shut. I’m so afraid to open them. The darkness just might swallow me whole. I have allowed intuition to guide my way through thus far and I find myself on steady ground. I trust these thoughts. I open one eye. Two. I am swallowed whole! It’s warm. It’s bright! My eyes adjust. It’s light! Everything is so clear. My path behind me, before me and ahead of me has been illuminated right before my wide open eyes. I look around and take it all in. The hurt, the pain, the trauma. They safely guided me to this place of warmth. When I couldn’t see the way, I felt my way through. I felt it all. As the feelings flowed through me and out of they propelled me to this beautiful, breathtaking light. The light flowed through my wounds. My heart. It’s open. It’s healing. It is full of light. Warm, gold, happiness, jubilation, peace, life, free, confident, strong, grounded, hopeful. Always. As I stood in the sun I realized that just as these attributes have always been who I am, so has the light. All I had to do was open my eyes. The eyes to my heart. It was in my darkness that I found my light. Only to remember that I was never lost and neither was my light.
To the mama in quarantine,
How are you? Are you okay? How are you holding up? Are you drinking enough water? Are you making sure to eat? I really want to know. I know what’s going on with the weather. Yes, I saw that crazy political post on Facebook. Yes, Target was out of toilet paper again. I don’t care for small talk. I want to know the honest truth of how you are. I don’t care how ugly, obscene or “inappropriate” your truth is. I want to know it all. I am here. I see you. I am you. I know how much you love your babies. I also know the sound of their voice is like nails on a chalkboard right now. Which I am sure you have in your home because you are now their teacher. So, not only is their incessant chatter driving you to the brink of insanity you are now responsible for their education. You are amazing. I know you don’t feel amazing. Your hair is greasy and you have indistinguishable stains on your cute loungewear. Those little fuckers. You would think with all the hand washing going on it would be nearly impossible for there to be stains anywhere in your home or on you. A mom can dream right? I know how hard you work to keep your home picked up and tidy. I am fully aware that those dishes are piling up and in spite of your best efforts the sink will never be empty right now. That’s okay. Your home is messy because your children don’t ever leave right now and your sink is full because you are cooking three meals a day. And we can’t forget about the snacks. Oh, those fucking snacks. I know you are wondering if your child is an alien because the amount of food they can consume is a phenomenon. Rest assured, they are little aliens. You love them anyway and you find yourself on Pinterest searching for the healthiest snack and the cutest way to present it. Girl, throw some celery and peanut butter their way and let them create something. Count it as art for the day. One word: DOORDASH. You’re amazing. I hope you are beginning to see just how amazing you are. I know how much you love your husband. I also know that some days you want to throttle him because he left for work and left you home with the tiny aliens. And if you have teenage aliens? He’s an asshole for leaving for sure. 😉 You know he has to go. You are even thankful. But you are also a little resentful. That’s okay. I know as much as he tries to understand he just doesn’t. He’s not a mom. The weight he carries on his shoulders is so much and you honor that. The load you carry is just as heavy. I hope you honor that. You carry that load along with the multiple loads of laundry. Can we talk about the damn laundry? How is it possible that you have as much laundry as you do and these tiny aliens haven’t left for months? Another fucking phenomenon. I know your partner worries about you sometimes and wonders if you are depressed because you are tired a lot of and express that often. He’s just worried. The truth is you are fucking tired! You remind him you are raising and educating his children during a global pandemic. It’s okay to be tired every damn day right now. It’s okay that some days your motivation seems to be missing in action. It’s not. It’s playing hide and seek with the tiny aliens. It will surface. I promise. I know how much you miss going out and getting dressed up. I know it sucks that no one gets to see that sexy shade of red lipstick you purchased on a wim at Target. I also know that the highlight of your week is heading down to Target. I know that seems depressing to you. It’s okay. Girl, get you an iced coffee and strut up those isles like it’s a catwalk and you are the star of the show. Because you are. I also know how much you miss your friends. You crave connection. Your children and husband cannot provide the type of connection you need. You need the women in your life. I long for the same connection. Please make sure you make that time for yourself. FaceTime is a wonderful tool. I have been spending a few days a week chatting with girlfriends and it’s life giving. For both of us. I know how fearful of the future you are. I also know that you are fully ready for whatever comes your way because you are a damn Oracle and you are in tune with your intuition. What a phenomenon. I see where you little aliens get their magic. You don’t know what the next year will look like. Hell, you don’t know what tomorrow will look like. That scares you a little and it’s incredibly overwhelming. But your faith is beautiful. Your perseverance is something to marvel at. Your ability to rise with the sun each morning and choose to see the goodness life has to offer is inspiring. Your light is luminous and your spirit is breathtakingly magnificent. Even on your hardest and darkest days, especially those days. For there is a woman who allows herself to just be. In all her obscene, messy, raw, and vulnerable glory. That is the woman who is teaching her children how to navigate 2020. And more importantly, life. I love that woman. I hope you do too. She’s fantastic. She is the woman who will check in on her friends even when she is struggling. She knows sisterhood is everything. She doesn’t like small talk. She craves real and messy. She is you. She is me. You aren’t alone my friend. I am here. I always want know how you are. You will be okay. We will be okay. We can do hard things. Hang in there. I love you.
Signed a fellow mama in quarantine
The following is a journal entry from this evening. I’ll provide a little bit of background before I share the entry. I have been going through an amazing process of healing with an amazing woman. She is helping me dismantle so many years of limiting beliefs and ancestral trauma. This last week we discussed the women in my family. The following entry is my brain processing all of the information that I took in. As I read over what I wrote I laughed a little because the revelations or “AHA” moments only carry one sound, “DUH!” I can honestly tell that you that often times the things I have been so afraid to confront have resulted in that response. Sometimes it guts me from the inside out and other times I laugh at myself and think, “THAT is what you have been avoiding?” Before I get to long winded, I will just share the entry now. And if you are currently working on healing your heart from trauma, I see you. I honor you. The light in me recognizes the light in you.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 New Moon
I am my own now. As Julianna guided me to say those words I started to cry. Up until that moment I had never uttered such words before. It was foreign. I am my own now. I am my own now. What does that even mean for my life moving forward? Years and years of generational beliefs released in the amount of time it takes to utter five words. Here’s the thing about generational and ancestral DNA, it was never mine. It was never theirs. And still it’s handed down like fine china. It’s who we are. Right? I don’t know how many times I have heard myself say, “I am who I am because of the women who went before me.” That’s the thing. How could I be something that was never me to begin with? The bitterness? The suffocation? Every time I shoved my feelings down deeper? Or the fact that I am familiar with the salty taste of my own blood because I bit my tongue so hard it bled? Each time I have muted myself to make others more comfortable? I have done this since I was a little girl. We are strong women I was told. If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. Keep your suffering quiet. That’s what women do. Deny yourself every day. That’s what good Christian girls do after all. Feel nothing. And when you do? Be quiet. Swallow the lump in your throat. That’s far easier than opening your mouth and using your voice. Don’t make waves. It seems these beliefs run far deeper then my own mother. Or even her mother. These skewed narratives have been apart of our DNA makeup for a very long time. Too long. The moment I released these ties to these women in my lineage I felt an immediate sense of relief. I am my own. Over the last few days I have been so emotional and incredibly sad. Sad that these women who lived before me have been so shut down. When things became uncomfortable for my own mother she left. That is incredibly heartbreaking. My sadness very quickly turned into rage. Holy fucking rage. I am here present day wading through the darkness and the rubble to heal what they could not. To be my own. To heal for them. To heal for myself. I am doing this incredibly difficult work so that one day my great, great, great granddaughters can be proud of where they came from. So they will truly know that they are were they are because of a woman who became her own. A woman who healed the ancestral cycle. So they will never suffer in silence. So they may never deny themselves for any person, religion or thing. So when they do suffer (for we are human after all) that it’s done in the loudest, most obscene manner. So they never know the taste of their own blood in their mouths. So they may KNOW themselves. So they use their voices. LOUDLY. So they never have to wade through the wreckage. So they know their worth. So they realize they don’t need to make waves because they are the god damn ocean itself. SO THEY ARE THEIR FUCKING OWN. Just as the woman who cried over those very words and felt the relief for the women who would long come after her. “I AM MY OWN” will be the words echoing in the hearts and mouths of these women for years to come.
A few weeks ago I shared with you all that I have been working my spiritual ass off to heal parts of myself that have been closed off and blocked for a long time. About a year ago my anxiety started to rear its very ugly (and uncomfortable) head again. I have struggled with anxiety at various times in my life. Here’s the thing about anxiety. It’s an alarm. It’s my body’s way of getting my attention. To wake me up. Instead of hitting “snooze” on this inevitable alarm system I decided to get some help to dismantle these wounds. A couple of weeks ago I was doing “the work” and I found myself in a giant wound. My self expression. Or lack there of. At some point in my life I stopped allowing myself to dream up beautiful and extravagant things for myself. I can recognize when the original wound was created. I was a little girl. This wound has festered and carried over into my life as a woman, a wife and a mom. I have lost myself in my family and all the responsibilities that come with those titles. And that’s the thing, wife? Mom? Those are just titles. They are not who I am. Anyways, that was a very long winded way for me to express to you that I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote yesterday. Writing has always been something that I love. LOVE. My husband encouraged me to share it and so I am going to take a leap and do just that. I am not sharing this for accolades of any sort. It’s merely me jumping in feet first and sharing a piece of myself that has been closed for a very long time. And if you are touched or moved by my words along the way than that will make the vulnerability worthwhile. That’s another passion of mine. Helping others. Truly seeing others. Letting them know they aren’t alone. So here goes.
Saturday, July 25, 2020
“There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter the world.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Solitude has been something that I have avoided for a long time. I have always felt afraid of solitude. The echoes of past wounds are deafening. Any time I have been able to catch a few moments of solitude that’s when it happens. An orchestra sounds. All my thoughts, fears and dreams would, and do come blaring in like a symphony. A symphony of chaos. It’s overwhelming and I have avoided it all costs. And for far too long. I am choosing today, here and now to find moments of solitude for myself. Maybe that’s been the problem all along. I’m not spending enough time in quiet contemplation. Maybe, just maybe these overwhelming thoughts and emotions need their own voice and they are taking any opportunity they can to get my attention. They are competing with each other because they can never get a word in edgewise because I am the one who has shut down. I am the one who is refusing to spend a moment in quiet solitude. Maybe if I am deliberate about this time of solitude I will create a stage of sorts for each and every thought that enters my mind. Maybe if I get lost and allow I will find myself and in turn create my own orchestra. My own unique symphony. A symphony of wonder and amazement. Maybe the chorus will heal me. Maybe the solitude will help me piece myself back together again. The music of my own creation will be what fuels me and guides me back to myself and my dreams. And even my fears. Because given the space to just be I will realize that there is room for it all. And what a lovely sound that will be. Solitude will be the place where, for the first time I will hear it all. And I will sing along to my own song. The song of my soul and the longings that reside within. There in lies the magic that the quiet offers. Herein lies the truth, I have nothing to fear and I never did.
Nothing brings a group of people together like the grief over someone well loved and revered. Someone like Kobe Bryant.Read More...
New Year’s resolutions have never really been my thing. I guess I have always been judgmental to some degree of people who make these resolutions. I mean, how many people actually follow through with their list of commitments and intentions in the New Year? And for how long? A few weeks? Months maybe? I resigned myself to the fact that I was a cynic and would never be one of the millions of people to put pen to paper with each coming year. The truth is my judgment wasn’t really directed at anyone in particular of course. That’s the thing about judgment. Who was I really being judgmental of? Yes, you got. Me, myself and I. Yes, I am the one who doesn’t follow through with my own goals! So this year I have chosen to make a list of intentions for myself. I like the idea of setting intentions for myself so much better. I have made a list of things that I would like to accomplish this year. One of the things that made it on to my list of intentions was to write more. To be more creative. To be intentional with the time I make for this creativity. This will be a place where I share my heart about life, love and everything in-between. Join me as I try to make sense of this human thing. And dare I say, I had a blast making a list of intentions for myself. I totally get it now. I’m so sorry to all the people I have judged over the years. It was never about you anyways. 😉
I have been thinking about writing about this particular subject for some time now, but to be honest admitting that you are often times lonely feels terribly tragic and sad. Especially when you are a mom. Right? I mean the very definition of the word “lonely” is “sad because one has no friends or company” or “without companions, solitary”. It seems to me that the antonym to lonely is mother. My constant tiny companion and lack of solitude suggests this to be true. So how, when a woman is surrounded by humans all day, could she possibly be lonely?
I spend my days homeschooling my daughter, helping my husband with our business, doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, running to the dance studio, cooking, and more cleaning. I often wonder when I lay my head down at night how I could possibly fit one more thing into my day, but there it is. That one extra thing. The lonely ache. Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my life. I love my family. But when I became a mother no one prepared me for the moment that I would be lying in bed next to my husband while he slept and feel, lonely. I’m not really sure that is something you can prepare someone for. Along with sometimes feeling lonely comes the feelings of guilt. How could I allow myself to even entertain the notion that motherhood can feel isolating at times. I mean this is what I wanted right?
I’m not really even sure I can adequately express to you why I find myself feeling lonesome at times. Maybe it’s because I spend my time encouraging and listening to my family and rallying around them to breathe life into their dreams. As moms, we carry the weight of our happiness and if that wasn’t heavy enough we carry the weight of ensuring our children have the tools to someday embrace the idea that their happiness is their responsibility and theirs alone. Or maybe its because there are times as a mom I don’t feel I am seen. You know. Really seen. I am a mom. I am a wife. But those are not the only things that I am. I am kind. I am generous. I am compassionate. I am strong. I am intelligent. I am a woman outside of these beautiful souls. Or maybe because, no matter how hard he tries, my husband is not here all day and sometimes he just doesn’t get it. He’s not a mom. And if we are being truthful, I am so thankful for that. He works so hard for our family and gets up each day and leaves us to go make a living so that I am able to stay home and raise our family. But at the end of the day he just doesn’t always get it. No matter how open his ears and heart are to me, until you become a mother there is only so much you can understand.
I know I can’t be the only mom who feels this way sometimes. Maybe we find ourself on isolation island because it seems motherhood has become a race and competition of sorts. Where love and support are supposed to be we are met with judgment and ridicule. I don’t know what could be more isolating than that right there. Or what about the belief that moms are not supposed to hate motherhood or God forbid, in a fleeting moment, their children? How lonely to think we are the only moms to have those thoughts. Or maybe it’s the honest confession to being lonely that makes us feel like we are on a desert island. We remain isolated because we believe the lie that we are the only one who could possibly be lonely amongst a room full of the family that we created. I’ll give you a few seconds to go ahead and laugh. You done? No? Ok a few more seconds. Now, that we got that out let’s get serious again. The road that we call motherhood is never straight. We will encounter bumps, ruts and detours and often will wander on Lonely Lane. The good thing is that we won’t stay on that road forever. Eventually we will be led back or taken to a . We just have to allow ourselves to ride it out. And when you find yourself on that road please remember to look up. What you will see is other women just like yourself. So give a smile and a wave and remember that you are never alone on this journey. Don’t believe the lies of loneliness. There is an elite group of women who are feeling the same way you are and they want to remind you that you are loved, you are seen, you are amazing and you are understood. And besides being lonely isn’t the worst thing to happen in the world. We are souls having a human experience after all. It’s just another part of our journey. It means we are alive. Ain’t nothing tragic about that. Surrounding all you amazing mamas in so much love and light.
When turmoil hits I often think of that proverbial puzzle. You know, the one we liken our lives to once we have it all figured out, once all the pieces fit together leaving us with a picturesque view of the ocean or a snow laden mountain top. So what happens when life happens? When our life is blown into smithereens right before our very eyes? Our once perfect picture is stained and unrecognizable. We don’t know where to begin. We try frantically to create a new picture. To find new pieces to fit together to give us the same sense of security and hope we once felt. We see the pieces that once were and we shutter. They are ugly. They are painful. They are grotesque. They are dark. They are hopeless. They offer nothing to us. Except the painful reminder that life will never be the same. No, those pieces will never be what they once were. So we begin to move through the rubble of our lives and attempt to re create. To reinvent. To reestablish. But can we? Can we actually piece back together something that is irrevocably damaged? Can we recreate it to be exactly what it once was? No. Our lives will never be the same. We will never be the same. So what do we do? We start over. We take a step back and survey the wreckage before us. The shattered remains. We realize that the puzzle will never again look as charming and delightful as it once did. We begin working. We begrudgingly grab the remains and wonder to ourselves how pieces so small and so ugly could actually create something worthwhile. Something whole. As we move and work we notice that the puzzle we are creating is coming together. Piece by piece we are creating something new. Something abstract. Something different than we have ever known or seen before. We step back and admire our work. And that is when we get it. We understand. We acknowledge that our work was created from the rubble. And it is with this recognition that we see. We see our new reality. And we are full of gratitude. Why? Because we know that our beautiful, abstract puzzle is whole. And we have an even deeper knowing that our ruin and destruction is what created this beautiful masterpiece. We understand that if our life had never crumbled beneath us we would not have been able to create such a piece of art. I think that is the answer to life’s biggest puzzle. Finding beauty in the ashes. Choosing to see that the heartache we endured was meant for our highest good. Choosing each day to wake up and to continue trusting and having faith. Understanding that life was never meant to stay the same. Change is bound to come. Some change gently arrives and then other times, it violently crashes into us swallowing us whole into the waves of grief and loss. During tumultuous moments we need to remember that they are just that. Moments. Sure they can last years, but when the shift happens and our hearts have expanded we will sit down with a cup of coffee and take a deep breath. And with that out breath comes the acknowledgment that we survived. We made it. We are renewed. We are whole. We are changed. We are grateful. And we laugh. A hearty, full laugh. Why? Because we had the audacity to question our strength.
Food. That very word elicits a certain sense of exhilaration and enthusiasm in my soul. I love food. I love everything about it. From the planning to the execution and then to the ever so beloved task of consuming, I love it. A healthy, conscious way of life is very important to me. Choosing food that nourishes both body and spirit is essential to my over all well-being and happiness. I know for a fact that a slice of chocolate cake has the power to change your life for the better. I believe that when we saturate our food with love, acceptance, and gratitude it will nourish our bodies on a level so raw and so spiritual that it has the ability to heal our bodies from the inside out. Mealtime should be a spiritual and reverent experience with laughter and love being the main ingredients. Along with loving our food experience, being aware of where our food comes from is so critical as well. In America, we have grown accustomed to eating food like products. We have health food sections and our organic food is so expensive it’s no wonder folks feel overwhelmed with the idea of eating healthy. Simple and raw have been replaced with GMO’s and chemicals. We now live in a world where we fear getting cancer when we bite into a piece of fruit. Becoming aware and mindful of the food you put you into your body and where you procure said sustenance can radically change your health and experience with food. Nestled in the heart of every city is a farmer. One who toils day and night to provide beautiful food for others. My family’s favorite day of the week is Saturday. We wake up early and head down to our local farmer’s market. My daughter plays with the other children while my husband and I shop for our week. Supporting our local farmers has become so important to my husband and I. Becoming familiar with the food I put into my body has inspired me to cook more and try new things. Which brings me to my reason for this post. Beets. Up until a few years ago the only experience I had with beets came from a can and the only description as to what they were was provided by my father who emphatically despised them. Beets have become sort of an underdog in the vegetable kingdom. They are only remembered for leaving you with a metal and bitter aftertaste in your mouth. But they are so much more than that. They are sweet and earthy. When I consume beets I feel as though Mother Earth is whispering all of her secrets into my ear. Beets remind me how connected I am to the Earth. Beets ground me. My most favorite way to use beets is to pickle them. Who doesn’t love anything pickled? Pickling beets showcases these underdogs in a whole new light. So without further adieu, I will share with you a wonderful recipe for these humble gems from Alton Brown.
Yields: 2 (1-quart mason jars)
Roasted beets, recipe follows
1 large red onion
1 cup tarragon wine vinegar (I just used white wine vinegar)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 medium beets, cleaned with 1 inch stem remaining
2 large shallots, peeled
2 sprigs rosemary
2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl toss all the of the ingredients (from the roasted beets ingredient list). Place into a foil pouch (I placed the pouch on a cookie sheet) and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the Roasted Beets and slice thinly. Arrange in 1-quart jars alternating layers with the onion. In a small pot boil the rest of the ingredients and pour over the beets. Tightly lid the jars and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 7 days before serving.
I found this recipe on the Food Network’s website. If you feel nervous about trying these earthy treats I hope you give them a chance. And more importantly I hope my words have sparked in you the inventiveness to be creative in the kitchen and to remember that love is the most essential ingredient to infuse into your dish. You can obtain the most magnificent ingredients, but without love they are just that. Love is the sacred salt needed to create lasting memories and health. Bon Appetit!
Growing up I never imagined a life without both my mother and father in it. As a young child I imagined how my life would be. I would get married, have children and enjoy family dinners and holidays with my children’s grandparents. I imagined what my parents would be like as “Grandma” and “Grandpa”. So when my father died at the age of 52 it threw a wrench in my well thought out plan. I was 21 years of age and had only been married 5 short months. How could this happen? I had envisioned the future since I was a little girl and now I was trading family get-togethers for a family gathering with a funeral coordinator.
My dad died on a chilly day in October. Halloween to be exact. I was picking my children up from football practice when I received the phone call that no 21 year old new bride would ever expect to get. The man on the other side of the phone informed me that my father was in critical condition at St. Bernadine’s hospital. As the tears streamed down my face I questioned how something like this could be happening. I was supposed to be celebrating Halloween with my family. Through sobs I pleaded with the kind man to give me more information. He politely told me that was the only information he could offer and that I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I quickly made arrangements for the boys and proceeded to the hospital with my husband. When we arrived the receptionist led us down a white and terribly sterile hallway that seem to go on for miles. When we got to the end of the hallway she proceeded to lead us into a special family waiting room. Growing up with a mother who cared for terminally ill children I knew exactly what this room represented. I refused to enter. To this day I do not know how my husband persuaded me to walk in. But there I found myself sitting on a hard chair in an extremely cold room wondering if my father was alive. The doctor and his team arrived moments later. It felt like hours. He sat down and looked at me. He was silent for what seemed like an eternity. The silence was deafening so without thinking I opened my mouth and blurted out the words, “Is he alive or not?” Taken back by my brazen attitude he replied, “No. We did everything we could, but his heart was just too weak. He suffered a massive myocardial infarction.” Considering my heartfelt commitment to “ER” I knew that was the medical term for a heart attack. In that moment I was hoping I was dreaming and I that would wake up with a vague memory of George Clooney in a white coat wandering through a television set. But it was not a dream. It was a nightmare. A nightmare, that within the amount of time it takes an individual to utter 19 words, became my new reality. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. How was I going to tell my 17 year old sister? My mother spent nearly 25 years married to this man when they decided to end their marriage. How was I going to tell the woman, who created life with this man, that she would never see him again? I was paralyzed. It was sheer supernatural forces that lifted me from my chair. When your world has crashed in all around you there is only thing to do. Go home. And that is what we did. The next month was spent going through mounds of paperwork and a lifetime of memories. The day I laid my father to rest was the day I buried my soul.
My experience over the months that followed my father’s death is personal and I have shared it with few people. Up until this moment in my life I had never navigated through turmoil without the aide of a substance. Anti-depressants were my therapy. I did not want to go down that road this time. I was not fully aware of the journey that I was about to embark upon, but I knew that I wanted to truly experience every stage of my grief. I told my husband my plan and that at some point I would come to him and beg him to take me to the doctor to get a prescription. I informed him that no matter how desperate I became he was not to let that happen.
My first panic attack happened while I was watching American Idol. I thought I was dying. I could hear the contestants trail off in the distance as I quite literally crawled up the stairs to our bedroom. I couldn’t breath. It felt like ice was coursing through my veins and the walls around me were closing in. My husband followed me upstairs and met me with a cool rag. He placed it on my forehead and gently held space for me as I found my center. Once calm, I fell asleep to have it all start over the next morning and it continued for weeks after that. I went from being a happy, carefree spirit to one who lived in constant fear of dying. I was afraid to drive. My solitude had always been a source of inspiration and renewal and those feelings were now replaced with fear and anguish. My husband became my chauffeur and whenever he left the house I went with him. This went on for months. This was all so hard on my husband and yet he never left my side. He held space for me. He believed in my power even though at this time I could not comprehend that infinite source. I became isolated and depressed. I didn’t want to live. The pain and anguish was unbearable. This was no way to live. Who was going to save me from this pit of despair that I was in?
As I surrendered to the idea that I was going to live the rest of my life in between anxiety attacks something happened. I became pregnant. We weren’t even trying. I was then struck with even more panic. I was in no way ready or willing to bring a child into the hell that I was living. As I let the news of new life sink in I realized I had two choices. I could continue to let fear control my life or I could pull up my bootstraps and trudge through the shit. I had no other option. With loins fully girded, I began my journey of healing. For my husband, for my children, for my unborn baby and for myself. The promise of new life was just the inspiration I need to find myself again. She was the motivating force, but I had to do the work. I had to be the one to save myself. No one could do that for me.
As the months past and my belly grew so did I. I woke up early one morning and was greeted by the sunrise. Along with its grandiose greeting the sun brought with it a beautiful reminder. It always returns. I closed my eyes and let the warmth envelope me in hope and faith renewed. I felt alive for the first time since my father died. I had learned something invaluable through my anguish. I learned to just be. I learned not to resist my emotions, but to invite them. I learned to see the despair with new eyes and perspective. My suffering reminded me that I was indeed alive. I had learned to let the grief was over me like rain. I still had rough days, but when those days came I knew that they would pass. My feelings saved me. They taught me how strong I am. They taught me to let others in and help. I started to face my fears one by one. In becoming reacquainted with solitude I became friends with someone who I thought I would never see again. Myself. She was always there. The soul. My soul. She was the voice I heard in those dark nights. She was the one who was gently beaconing me to look within. As American poet Robert Frost says, “The best way out is through.” And that is the only way I was able to heal. I had to walk through the turmoil, I had to crawl through the heartache. And at some point I found my bearings and I could see light. It was dim, but I could see it. So I ran. I ran like hell to it’s warmth.
It will be 7 years that my dad made his exit from this world and looking back over these years I can see how clearly Divine my experience was and that I had a host of angels guiding me through it all. Through these years I have learned what faith really is. Faith in my Higher Self. My dad is not gone. His soul is very much alive and I believe him to be my special angel who guides me and protects me. I give great thanks for this experience. It was through my father’s death that I was born. Born to live the life that I was meant to live. Which, in my opinion, far exceeds any vision that I could have ever imagined for myself. I love you Dad.