I moved out of Texas — a one-and-only time — October 10th of 2002.
I was back home by October, 2003 racking up 10s of thousands of Delta miles in the interim. (Also, thousands of rental car miles between Salt Lake City and Ashton, Idaho – one of the prettiest stretches of highway that exists.)
I missed my kids, my friends, my home, Texas… but I had been hell-bent to run from bone-deep grief. So determined, that I married a potato farmer and made that move to the farthest eastern portion of the Snake River Plain butted up against the Grand Tetons.
Jeff and I had a chemistry that was palpable. If that hadn’t been the case, I would have been home long before those twelve short months.
That year was a lifesaving gift. I made forever-friends and gathered family that I still consider family. My only regret is that I disrupted the lives of two sweet girls, Allison and Kelsey – for that I will always be sorry.
Why do I delve into this?…
This morning, I headed out to clean my garage… and my hands, of their own volition — free from any thought processes, started unpacking boxes from the Idaho move back to Texas. These boxes had been stacked in my garage all this time; I’d managed to shove their existence to the very back of my brain for 8-1/2 years.
So why unpack them today?
My guess is because my life will be entering a new adventure in the next year or so. I’m now engaged to one of the best men who ever lived. He loves me – sometimes I’m awestruck by how much he loves me. He loves me so much that I am for the first time in my life free to be ALL of me. And since some of this “ALL of me” is rather raw, I’m amazed he tolerates me at times.
My first husband, Gary, died almost twelve years ago. Jeff died more than three years ago. I still grieve for Jeff, and I will never finish grieving for Gary and the more than 26 years of full-to-bursting life we had together.
I’ve made mistakes on my long path of healing, but each mistake has taught me more about life, more about me. I’ll keep on making mistakes and keep on learning. Life never stops giving in that manner unless we quit receiving — this I believe with all my heart.
Well, the garage is cleaner than it’s been in years. Trash and recycle bins are brimming for Monday’s pickup. Boxes are stacked ready to go to storage. My hands are blistered, and this beer tastes great.
There remains one banker’s box from Idaho to explore. Maybe in another 8-1/2 years…
Last night my daughter, Rachel, three of her lifelong friends – Chris, Jesse, Mel – and I played dominoes and acted silly while drinking way too much… and then we drank more. I’m not sure we ever finished a single game, and if we did I have no idea who won.
Then we cried in memory of loved ones we’ve lost much earlier than death should have had the right to claim them.
It was one of those evenings that was relayed by my hippocampus into its forever and ever safe-storage in my cranium.
Rach and I crashed in the guest room, her bulldog Suri bedding down between my legs pinning me to the mattress. But who cares when you’re that inebriated?
At some point in the middle of the night, my body revolted and sent me to the porcelain throne, no doubt the only reason I was able to wobble into work this morning.
After washing my face and brushing my gnarly teeth and tongue, my incredible man made sweet love to me… completing this perfect memory.
The last thing I remember before the sandman visited was giggling and saying, “I guess I never grew up.”
One of the reasons it so absolutely captures my attention is that no matter how much I learn, there’s always more to consider, more to master. What could be more satisfying: knowing that no matter your appetite – consumption and digestion are encouraged! Aah… Continue reading →
“I thought of the stern Victorian determination to keep death in mind, the uncompromising tombstones: Remember, pilgrim, as you pass by, As you are now so once was I; As I am now so you will be…
Now death is uncool, old-fashioned. To my mind the defining characteristic of our era is spin, everything tailored to vanishing point by market research, brands and bands manufactured to precise specifications; we are so used to things transmuting into whatever we would like them to be that it comes as a profound outrage to encounter death, stubbornly unspinnable, only and immutably itself.”
– Tana French In The Woods
Death truly is the only thing in life that touches each of us – there’s no way to avoid it. It may appear abruptly with no announcement, or it may linger on the doorstep indefinitely before entering and destroying the peace in our house. However it may enter our lives, it’s a rude interruption. And especially in today’s world. We’ve lost a lot of our coping skills as Tana French so eloquently states. We’re often insulated from death; nursing homes, hospitals, no longer several generations in one home, less infant and childhood death. Despite all that, we will encounter death, and if we don’t deal with it in a mature manner, grief can be debilitating. Continue reading →