Words

 

It’s all been said before.
You’ve heard the words.

“Relax.
Go with the flow.
Just focus on today.
Take one moment at a time.”

Right? Right!

Words!
Just words!
No one can tell you how to handle this.
No one can feel what I feel.

Everything will be ok.
 Just breathe!
Focus on this moment.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.

But everything doesn’t feel ok.

It’s hard to breathe.

I can’t focus.

I am worried.

Ok.
I will listen.
I will be by your side.
Cry, if you need to.
I’ll hold your hand.
Scream if it helps.
I’ll understand.

Sometimes,
Silence
Is the best advice.

Sometimes,
Being present
Is the best friend.

The words will always be there.
They linger in the air
For just the right moment.
When I’m ready
They’ll be heard.

What Really Matters?

IMG_9485This older me, this wiser me…

looks back before I head into this new year.  This older me, this wiser me reflects on one simple question:  “What really mattered in my life?  What really mattered?

Was it to be popular with others my age (first in school, then in my job, then with other parents, and on and on)?  I wanted so much to be popular.  Did that really matter?

Was it to have nice things (clothes, cars, houses, furniture)?  I longed for nice things, worked hard for nice things, my whole life.  Did those things really matter?

I did so much in my life.  I always wanted more.  I had a career, a marriage, children.  I raced from task to task, wanting to be the best for each of them; always longing to be better than I felt I was, feeling less than perfect all the time.

Did it matter?  Did it really matter?

This older me, this wiser me looks back and thinks…

What really mattered was the laughter, the love, the hugs, the conversations, the moments of pure joy.  None of these things had popularity or fashion or money requirements.  They came to me free of charge with only one requirement; I had to give these things back to others.

This older me, this wiser me…

found peace inside, and with that peace came this simple but profound understanding.  I realized, as I looked back on my memories that when I laughed, others laughed.  When I hugged, I got a hug in return.  When I listened to others, others listened to me.  When I shared my moments of pure joy, it made others happy and they, in turn, shared their’s.  When I gave love, I got loved right back.

So, what really matters in this life?

How about if you STOP!  Stop trying to be… and do… and want… and need… something more. STOP! Stop wishing…and hoping… and longing…for something you don’t have. STOP!  Stop believing that being popular, having a great job, making lots of money is what matters…because… it doesn’t.

In the end, the older you, the wiser you will look back… at the laughter… the love…the hugs…the conversations…the moments of pure joy.

And, they were all free to give and freely given in return.

So, this older me, this wiser me says…

This is my gift to you for the new year.  You don’t have to wait to be old to be wise.  Right now, today, you can bring laughter into your day, you can hug someone and listen (really listen) to someone.  And then, try sharing a moment of pure joy.  See for yourself.  See if, by doing these things, you find love.

And, that, my friends, is what really matters…to love!

 

 

Never Leaving Home

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I left a place that I called “home”
But realized that “home” is not a place at all.
A place is rooms with carpeted floors
A box with windows and paint on the wall.
A “home”, on the other hand,
Is much more than that.
A “home” is pictures, and gifts,
and stories from your past.
A “home” is the collection of treasures
from your children’s younger days.
Those things they wanted kept safe
When they moved away.
A “home” is those stubborn plants
that survive!
They must want to be with me.
They’re still alive!
“Home” is a typewriter,
an old-fashioned pair of shoes,
a harmonica, a magazine rack;
things I could never bear to lose.
“Home is all those things
that I was willing to pack and carry away.
Then, quickly take them out, place them around me.
And then I realize
“Home” never moved away.

Out Of Darkness

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It’s been years now; twenty-one to be exact, since I was shocked into the realization that you had decided to leave.  You left!  Done.  Over.  Your “Life” would breathe no more.  Your “Life”, finished.

I screamed, “NO!”  I sobbed and, through the tears, I raced…raced to grab your girls.  Raced to hold them, to let them know that I was still here.  I didn’t want to let them go. But “Life” moves on.

People wanted to talk.  People needed me to answer questions.  People wanted to cry with me. In my head, I’m thinking that they also wanted to judge me.  “This is your fault!”  But instead, I heard people say “I should have known.”  “I should have seen the signs.” “I should have reached out.”  “He called me yesterday and I didn’t have time to talk. I should have taken the time.”

Time passes.  “Life” goes on.  Events happen that you should have been present for.  Your girls graduated from high school.  They went on to college.  You were not there to help them choose career paths.  They, each, spent a semester in London.  I worried for both of us for their safe travels and returns.  You were not there for their college graduations either, or to help encourage them through job interviews, or to move them time and again from apartment after apartment and finally to real homes.  I walked both of your daughters down the aisle on their wedding days and you missed the birth of your first grand child.

You missed it all…or did you?

Twenty-one years have passed since you left.  You didn’t even say “Good-bye.”  Everyone has a “Life” journey.  Were you supposed to end your’s at that moment?  Were you supposed to just disappear?  You know, your choice changed our “Life”.  Your decision changed our journey.  You know, we still remember you.  We still grieve your choice to leave this “Life” behind.

Yet, out of the darkness, your girls have grown strong, supportive, resilient.  Out of the darkness, we still hold each other tight.  We want to believe that you have been there still.  Out of the darkness, we, now, see you in a different kind of “Life”.  We think it was you who kept them safe in London, helped them find great jobs, made sure that the sun shined bright on their wedding days.  And it is you, now, who watches over your grandson. who is the joy in all of our lives.

Out of the darkness,  we know you are there and we love you…still.

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.

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.

Morning Pages Become “Mourning” Pages

They came into the house together, my daughter and son-in-law.  Why?  It didn’t take long to find out.  They had news they needed to share…together!

They were offered a job.  They’ve accepted.  They’ll be moving away in October.

My initial thought was “I want to throw up!”

Instead, I picked up my grandson and gave him a hug.

I’m going to miss taking care of you three days a week.  I’m going to miss watching you grow.  And then, I walked away for a moment.

I wanted to just walk out the door; go home, crawl in bed, pull the blankets up over me…but first, drink a bottle of wine!

Collect yourself, Jane.  You need to let them tell the story.

And so, I walked back into the room.  Then, I found a way to say the right words:  “Life is short.  You have to do the things that make you happy while you can. This is a door (an opportunity) that has presented itself.  You’ll spend your life always wondering “what if” if you don’t walk through that door.  This will provide you with life lessons.  It’s meant to be.”

God, please help me to truly believe all of that.

I cried but hugged them both

Then, I found a way to drive home.  There, I sat with a glass of wine and a stomach ache.  I kept repeating the words I had found to say to them.

  • Life is short.
  • Everyone should do things that make them happy.
  • This is a door.
  • They would regret not walking through it.
  • This will provide life lessons.
  • It’s meant to be!

I prayed to God to just let me fall asleep

I slept.   And then the next morning, my clock radio woke me up to this particular part of this song by Rascal Flatts:

What hurts the most was being so close
And havin' so much to say
And watchin' you walk away
And never knowin' what could've been
And not seein' that lovin' you
Is what I was trying to do

The words say it. I’ve tried to tell my daughter before but it always came across as unsupportive. I want to support.  I thought I had been supporting.  They are walking away from nearly two years of open arms childcare.  They’re walking away from a willingness to continue indefinitely. I was ready to  welcome child number two.  I thought I was loving them the deepest, most profound way I possibly could.  And they are walking away from it all to live hundreds of miles away.

I wrote the words of the song down

in my morning pages and just sat there, looking at them.  And I cried again as I wrote the whole event out in longhand, dumping it onto paper, with all the anger and grief that filled me, hoping that I could find some relief from the pain.

After three pages, I wasn’t crying anymore.

I had moved on to the reality that my daughter is pregnant, has a two year old little boy and she is now moving away from her family, friends, a job she loves, and doctors she trusts.  Her burdens, right now, are heavier than mine.  She doesn’t need to carry me as well.  Stop crying in front of her.  Let her talk about her fears.  Be her mother!  I was able to support her through my divorce from her dad, his death, multiple boyfriend breakups, buying her first home, getting married, having her first baby.  I can support her through this.

She is trying to be a support for her husband.  She loves him and her family.  That doesn’t mean that she no longer loves me.  It also doesn’t me that she is walking away without appreciation for the things I’ve done over the past two years.  It’s time to let go.

And so I closed the journal

with a new resolve.  I closed my eyes for a minute.  They were burning from all the crying and too little sleep.  When I opened my eyes, I said to myself, “Alright, it’s time to open your arms up to your daughter this morning…

With a vow to help her walk through that door.