Fast Forward

Morning Pages, my journal, has become an important part of my morning routine.  It has been a place for me to share my joy and my sorrow, my anger and frustrations.  No one needs to see my words, ever, unless I choose to share.

The past blogs have been about a potential change in my life and how I processed it through words on paper.  I had to stop sharing when the pain became too deep.

I didn’t stop writing daily in my journal, however.  Over the past two months, there were moments of dread…hope…devastation… fear…realization…grief… acceptance…and now today patiently waiting to get to the other side.

Sprinkled in amongst the elements of change were moments of normalcy, even joy.

Life.

It’s all there.  Documented for me to review.  What I see is that, after scratching out all the anger (you can see it in my handwriting as well as in my words), I found my way to understanding.

My daughter is moving far away.  She is taking, with her, my job, my joy, my grandson. Change is hard on everyone.

She sat, calmly, while I cried.  She stood, strong, with her man. Time passed, and we didn’t talk about it.  Instead, we focused on the daily activities of the baby; superficial conversation to keep the tears from my eyes.   At one point, in my journal, I wrote what I knew I needed to write:  “Let go.  Let God.”  I put this in God’s hands.

It was at this point that I started listening, hearing words that weren’t spoken, out loud, but still so clearly evident.  My daughter. I started hearing my daughter. The words were there, behind her eyes.  A mom knows.  This was breaking her heart too.  But, she appeared, on the outside, to be happy about the opportunity for “an adventure” as she called it.

When I found my strength, she could let go of her’s.

She cried. “I’m afraid.”

“Me too!” is all I could say back.

But, at least we were talking together again. And then I could hug her and tell her how much I love her and that everything was going to be ok. And, I could once again be the support that she counts on with words of encouragement.  “This is an opportunity, a door that has been opened for you.  You would always wonder what was on the other side if you didn’t pass through this door.”

My journal documents the daily, gripping pain that I no longer shared out loud with her until it became monotonous even for me. My god, get over it already.  No one is dying!

And then, in the middle of the despair, my other daughter marries.  The clouds parted.  Joy and sunshine filled a few days. I practiced a toast over and over again until it became part of me.  Words of deep love for my daughter; my daughters. Words that tell our story:

“When their dad died, in 1994, we became a very tight unit.  We watch out for each other.  We help each other.  We have laughed and cried together, listened and loved each other through everything.”

And then, I offered up a toast that was more actual suggestions for a happy, successful marriage:  Watch out for each other.  Help each other. Laugh and cry together.  Listen and love each other through everything.

I looked at both my daughters, on this day, and saw beautiful women standing strong by their men.  And, I was a proud mom standing strong with my daughter; my daughters.

We have a bond. No move will break that bond.  But even today, as we count down the last two weeks before they move, I write again, “Let go.  Let God.  I feel I have.  At least, I’ve tried.  Letting go, doesn’t take away the grief.  It just removes the battle.”

Each day, my outward strength has allowed my daughter to grieve.  She is leaving a great job, wonderful friends, and lifetime of connections that has made her so successful.  She is allowing the light to shine on her husband now.  Her courage is amazing.  Still, she cries.  Seeing your daughter stand strong with tears in her eyes, is humbling. We have come full circle.  I smile.  I raised a daughter to be strong.  She is now giving strength back to me.

This Place

Journal Entry - July 30, 2015
Post # 10 of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

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Went for a walk in the woods yesterday and took a couple pictures of a hawk.  It waited for me to take each photo so of course I had to look up it’s message

  •  “You’re caught up in too many details, so step back so you can get a greater perspective on the situation.
  • Stay alert and focused on the task before you, eliminating as many distractions as possible.
  • Spend some time observing and studying the situation and when it’s time for action make it quick and decisive.
  • Be aware of any personal psychic attacks and be prepared to defend yourself.
  • Stop trying to change others or the situation and work instead on accepting things as they are.”

Well, doesn’t that message just about say it all, especially the last one.  I must accept things that happen.  I must not try to change them.  It’s not my place to step in front of someone’s life journey.   I know that.  I do.  It just really hard, though, when their decision affects your life. I will try to stay calm and observant.

I love my place right now but I am working to find another.  It’s time to reduce the rent and maybe live closer to one daughter.  There’s something telling me “it’s time.”  Time to not be living alone or at least quite so alone.  I look outside, here, and my heart breaks a little just thinking about leaving and I think of all those other times I have moved.  I wrap myself up in protective layers and just start packing – one closet at a time.  Sorting, discarding, choosing.  I take down my “home” – make it uncomfortable to stay in any longer; feeling so uncomfortable to stay that I can hardly wait to escape this place that no longer feels like “home”.  Then, I quickly get to the next place so that I can make it feel good enough to spend that first night.

Ok, I’m not leaving yet, but it’s coming.  I know it.  So, for today, I breathe in the air, take photos of the flowers and the animals. enjoy the quiet meditative peace that has been my backyard and send up praise to the powers that be that I was given this gift just when I needed it most.

This place has provided me with companionship even though I lived alone.

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This place guided me through a hard divorce and the sickness and death of my brother.

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This place gave me the strength to walk into a gym and hire a trainer; a trainer who was the brightest star I could have had cheering me on as I worked to put physical strength above wasteful, harmful pastimes.

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This place gave me a place to come to when I felt the pain of leaving a lifelong career.

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This place allowed me to find another job; one the filled that initial void and made me feel necessary, still.

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And, it was this place where I celebrated the announcement of my first grand baby.

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It was this place, where I’ve been alone, but not alone.  I’ve been surrounded by some kind of wonderful energy that has continuously shown me love, guidance, peace, and power!

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This place – Thank you, God for showing me the way to this place.

I Write, I Write. Everyday, I Write

Journal Entry - July 26, 2015
Part Nine of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

I write.  I write.  Every day, I write.  Yesterday was everything many dream of.  A quiet, peaceful day with nothing to do.  And I did nothing. Oh well, that’s not exactly true.  I cleaned my little home, then went for a walk in the woods.  Someone had told me that mosquitos don’t like the smell of vanilla.  I had to try that out.  Come to find out, it’s true! It’s a little messy, spreading vanilla extract all over yourself and I walked through the woods smelling like a cookie but it really does repel mosquitos!

Then, back here to just sit and decide what next.  I watched a lot of TV and then got sad thinking about my grandson.  If they move away, this will be my life everyday.  This quiet, peaceful existence…everyday…BORING!!!

I didn’t want to dwell on it.  I’m trying to let God handle it.  I went to bed early and slept until 5:30 am.  It felt great.  And now, laying ahead of me, is today.  It’s Sunday.  Nothing to do.  House is clean.  Plants watered. Weather beautiful.  I’ll walk the woods this morning and maybe again this afternoon.  I can’t spend money right now.  I need to save for other things.

It’s a strange time, right now, in my head.  I’m empty of light.  I read through other’s posts and I don’t care.  I try to think of something to write and I come up dry.  Empty. I wanted to be that person who could help guide others to the light.  Right now, I think “Find your own way!”  I’m in protective mode.  I’m waiting for the bomb to drop.  I’m working out how I’m going to respond on that day when I hear the words.  I’m trying to be ready in case God’s plan is to move them away.  Slow, deep breathes…Slow deep breathes.

When I walk the summer woods, it’s hot and humid and still.

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Then, in pops thoughts of a brother who died homeless, and an ex-husband who took his own life, and I feel guilt.  I should have done more, tried harder, been better.

I’m alone, right now, maybe because I deserve to be!

I need to STOP taking the blame…or the credit for every other person’s journey.  I am not that special!  Remember?  My brother and my ex-husband did as they did of their own accord.  To think that I caused it is being pompous.  Each of us has our own power to play out our life the way we want.  I, right now, have the power to get on with mine!  Find other interests, meet other people.

But, right now, I don’t want to.  Right now I am choosing to be alone.  I am choosing this!  It is not a punishment.  As I chose, yesterday, to sit and watch TV, I will choose today to maybe do the same.

We’ll see.

Who Would You Call A “Trusted” Friend?

Journal Entry - July 23, 2015
Part Seven of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

What are the characteristics of a “trusted” friend?

  • Someone who doesn’t judge
  • Who drops everything to be there when you need them
  • Who feels comfortable sharing with you
  • Who gives advice, gently, but doesn’t criticize if you don’t follow it
  • Someone who can make you laugh through the tears

So, why am I writing this?

I’ve, once again, pulled out the Animal Spirit Guide Message Cards by Steven D. Farmer.

To use these cards, you simply have to shuffle them until you feel ready, then pull one card that seems to call out to you for some reason.  All the while, you are thinking “Which animal spirit guide could help me right now?”

My card suggested this activity along with thinking about one or more people I would consider to be a “trusted” friend.  So, I make this list and think “Who fits this description?” The answer is my oldest daughter; no one else.  My sister comes close but, oh, she has so many problems of her own.  And, then, I think “Why don’t I have more friends?”

In high school, I hung with a small group of girls, part of a pack.  Not sure…no, I’m sure, none of them were real friends based on the list above.

Then, college – roommates…friends?  Well, we got along, if that counts.  I was in one’s wedding, another was in mine.  But the waters parted when I got a divorce.

On to work friends – We shared so much and I thought some were the best friends of my life until I left teaching and became an administrator.  Oh no!  I drank the kool-aid!

Now, friends – Two people I see once a month for lunch. another who swears she’ll reschedule a time to meet after she had to abruptly cancel one…three months ago, and some people at the gym who are friends…at the gym.  There’s a neighbor who watches my cat when I’m gone.  Does that count?

Look at this list?  I don’t really have any friends!  There is no one, right now, who I can talk to about my life except my daughter.  And, she is trying to cope with this change as well along with trying to stay excited about her upcoming wedding and attempting to piece together jobs that might add up to enough money to pay the bills.

In other words, everyone has issues, pain that they are dealing with.  Life is not easy for anyone.  So, going to someone and dumping your problems out to them seems like adding burden to their already weighted shoulders.

It reminds me of a time when I asked my brother if maybe he could show me how to hang wallpaper.  It was the first time I had ever reached out to him or anyone, really, to ask for help.  His  answer – “No, I’m already helping too many people.”

It seems like, pretty much all of my life I’ve been able to count on one person.  That person is me.  I will figure this all out.  So thanks, Spirit Guide Message Card, but today, I’ll pass on your guidance…unless you can help me find a real “friend”.

Maybe I Should Take Up Knitting

Journal Entry - July 22, 2015
Part Six of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change

When I was a teenager, my mom told me that I needed to take up a hobby; something like knitting, embroidery, or crocheting.  She said that if I didn’t, I’d be bored.  Well, I’ve made it for 64 years without any of that yarn but I may be nearing a point. I like having a project to work on and just like with a knitted sweater, I like having a way to give it to someone.

Since Sunday, and our return from the river camping trip, I’ve been working on a video using the photos and some live video inserts.  It should have been an easy task but it was made complicated by pesky copyright violations and 10 second limits on personal video inserts but I learned a lot and last night I was able to load it to Facebook.  As usual, I wish I had taken a moment longer and loaded it to Youtube, it would have looked better.  But, I got excited and anxious to share.  Oh well, it’s done and now I sit in wonder of what my next project will be.  Maybe I should have taken up knitting. 🙂

I sure did like the diversion from sad thoughts of my daughter and grandson leaving. I spent yesterday, then, with my grandson.  He played in the dirt in his pajamas because…why not?  Then, he ran around the house in just a diaper having the time of his life. He just didn’t want to get dressed. The beauty of it was, there was no need for him to get dressed.  Finally, when he realized that we couldn’t go to the construction site without clothes on, he willingly went upstairs.  Then, fully clothed, we took off early to meet up with his mama for lunch.  It took us an hour to go 15 minutes because we had to stop and watch an excavator dig up a sidewalk.  Then, we had to remove all of the rocks from the sand under our favorite swing, and then… swing, of course.  Finally, we had to check the progress on the buildings that are going up in the neighborhood. It was a perfect walk, a beautiful day, a great (peaceful) lunch.

I want my daughter and I to go back to that place, that time.  Instead, our conversation is focused solely on the baby.  What did he do today?  Any new words? Was he a good boy?  I ask nothing about the job interview.  She shares nothing about the status.  I can’t help her with her feelings. She can’t help me with mine. We’re just carrying the burden alone…and it makes me want to vomit. Part of me is saying, “Just go already. Just go!”  The other part of me is holding on to my grandson so tightly.

Why can’t my son-in-law find the perfect job right here? Why do millions of other people find jobs to be close to their families.  Instead, they are moving to be close to a brother he hasn’t seen in three years.

Their new baby…will I know that baby?  Will that baby know me?

I think I need to learn how to crochet.  Maybe those hobbies were  meant to help you cope with grief and pain and loss.  Maybe my mom was right. WHAT?!?

I Want To Ask, But I Don’t Want To Know

Journal Entry July 21, 2015  

Part four of how Morning Pages(my journal)helped 
me process through a change.

I want to ask but I don’t want to know or rather, I’m afraid to know the answer.  Are they or are they not moving away?  I don’t know.  To  me no news is good news?!?  I feel like I’ve been through this before.  Gut aches and tears, right there waiting for those words.

Instead, the text yesterday was “Our 12 week appointment went great.  All is well.  Heartbeat 155. J still think’s it’s a girl.  I think it’s a boy.”  And I’m happy for them and I want to distance myself from falling in love again.

My day with my grandson was wonderful, as usual.  He grew over the weekend.  Now he walks to the refrigerator and says “Milk”.  We spent the day doing little things; going to the construction site, watching a excavator dig a big hole, then swinging at the swing park.

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He sat in the swing so long that I thought he was ready to sleep.  So, I encouraged him to stop (“10 more pushes and then we’re going to stop.”) so we could actually get home for his nap.  The ride home woke him up enough that we had time for some lunch and the read several books before his nap.

While he napped, I worked on a video of this past weekend.  I had uploaded a song hoping it would be allowed.  The words were perfect.

Let The River Run

by Bob Seger

I’ve seen the top, I’ve seen the view

Lately, I find, not much is new.

And there’s always a hill out there beyond

Where I could be, where I belong.

Some always take, some have to win.

They leave you with scars, again and again

As they reach for the sky, only to fall,

They never change. I’ve seen them all.

Let the rivers run, like they always do

It’s not up to me.  It’s not up to you.

When we reach the end, when our time is done

Let us all be still while the river runs.

Let the rivers run from the great divide.

I’ll stay with you .  I’ll be by your side.

When we reach the end, when the words are done,

Let us listen well, while the rivers run.

 It’s a beautiful , truthfully peaceful song and I couldn’t use it in the video.  Copyright infringement.  So it’s written here as the message that came to me as I was trying to enjoy the beauty of the weekend that was so hard.

When my daughter and her family move, I will go sit by that river.  I will listen, well, to the messages that flow off the surface of the water.

But for today, I will go back and enjoy that little boy who is growing right before my eyes, and I will “let the river run, as they always do.  It’s not up to me.  It’s not up to you.

Last Thing I Wrote Was “Help Me Breathe” And You Did Just That

Journal Entry July 20, 2015  
Part Four of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

Been gone from here for three days.  Went to Dancing On The River’s Edge, our little tradition that started when my brother died.  Today, I return to dealing with thoughts of my daughter moving away but for three days, I had the beauty of the Wisconsin River, love of friends and family, a little good music, and mosquitos to take my mind off of it all.

I asked you to help me breathe.  You did just that.

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…Then, I was home; sitting, relaxing.  I get a text from my daughter with a request to watch my grandson a couple extra times in the month of August.  My heart says “Absolutely”.  My mind says, “Let her figure it out without me.”  And so the horror of them leaving replaces the beauty of the river, the peaceful flow, the incredible sunsets and sunrises, the sounds of the cicadas and frogs, and the music.

For a moment, I was breathing again. In amongst the stress and commotion of the camping trip, you helped me see that life exists all around me and it’s stunning and beautiful.  I just have to open my eyes and look.

Thanks for the reminder.