I don’t know if it is hormones, onion layers or simply human nature. There is no question that I feel more resolved and more peaceful today than I ever have. And now, even in those crazy moments, I know I can talk myself off the ledge and find my way through those moments of deep despair. Yet as much as I feel healed, the more layers I peel away, the more I see how deep my wounds really are.
To the bone they go.
And as I read back on the words I have written, I read through years of patterns, patterns and cycles. I read years of hurt and I read years of hope. Somewhere along the way, I figured all of my many written and processed words would eventually heal me. I know the moment. It was during college. It was warm, sunny and I was walking north on University Avenue, really far north, way past campus, and because I did not have a car and because I liked to walk, I was walking the three miles each way to my therapist’s office. As I walked and in a warm and sunny moment, I really believed that if I worked hard enough to get to those moments, that when I arrived, magically I would be healed forever.
Sure, I most definitely feel better. I also feel older and yes, I feel like my experiences have taught me a thing or two. I know by now that loud fidgeting done by others will always bug the crap out of me. Dave says my intense irritation is because I have this one condition where the affected cannot tolerate certain repetitive sounds. He is correct. Repetitive noises do annoy me, diagnosed condition or not. I also know that if I see a piece of cake, especially cake that I am not allergic too, I will be hard pressed not to eat the entire piece and if I do not eat it, I will think about that yummy piece of deliciousness until the moment it is gone or in the freezer. Seriously! I will.
Sadly, or maybe it is just life’s journey, I now realize that my words will repeat, my stories will change, yet will really mean the same as my feelings travel deeper, each time something or someone pulls the trigger. I know this because I believe my relationships, specifically the relationships with the family I was raised in and possibly the family I married into has a way to go before they are healed. And because these families are so much a part of who I am and who I want to be, until we heal, my words, their words, private, texted, blogged about, written or spoken out loud will ooze through the rotten flesh of our hidden sorrow. Until we learn to let go, forgive and allow ourselves to heal, we will be stuck. I believe we will feel hurt, assume the worst and see the worst until we accept the best. It’s just how it goes.
Thankfully my sister, Brenda (my biological sister), and I have been taking tiny steps year after year phone call after phone call, visit after visit to arrive at this very cool place, a place where we can disagree, love, listen, and a place where I know she always has my back. Brenda believes in me. Truth be told, even when things were rocky, Brenda believed in me. She always has. Brenda knows my heart and accepts the fact that I am very different than the rest of my family (except my grandma Koener). And oddly, I am different because I have always been the one who cannot sit still. Even crazier, I really think I am the one in Dave’s family who cannot sit still either. I cannot believe how long his family can sleep, when given a chance, or how they can read for hours and hours on end. I envy their ability to be still. Sadly, my inability to sit still has caused a lot of pain and misunderstanding. It is often assumed that I would rather be anywhere else than with my family. Maybe true [wink wink], but really it is the simple fact that I need to move. As soon as stir craziness sets in during a visit to my in-laws, nothing calms my soul like a quick trip to Whole Foods. When I visit my mom, I often try to talk her into a lunchdate or to meet me at Target, where we can walk the aisles together. I like to walk. I like to hike. I like to talk. I like to move. When one sister is content to spend endless hours and days in my kitchen dicing, slicing and blending raw food after raw food, I think my head may just explode. I know my kitchen is large and if I am in my kitchen, I do not want to be there long. When family comes to visit and wants to sit and admire the beautiful aspens, I have about five minutes before I want to admire something else. It is not personal. I like to move. Thank goodness my mother-in-law likes to get out and walk too. I want to move and even from far away, Brenda (and my mom) know I am probably walking up and down our stairs as we talk. Thank God she loves me for who I happened to be.
When Kyle was in the hospital, every waking and when-I-was-supposed-to-be-sleeping millisecond was spent caring for him. Caring for him so intensely distracted selfish-me from that small, dark and very sad hospital room. There were so many moments I felt like a deer in headlights, trapped and suffocated. If it were not for my deep, extremely deep love for that boy, I would have bolted. Ask Dave. Ask my mom. Ask Brenda. They know me. They know how hard it is for me to sit still. When I am backed against a wall, I want to scream. When I am trapped in a small room, I want to claw out my eyes. When the world fights to take away my little boy, I want kick someone’s ass, I want to throw something. And after spending hour after hour, day after day, second after second in the hospital and then at home with my very sick boy, my very sad and confused boy, my boy who was tethered like a Kevlar chord to my soul, I realize that I am still not breathing.
Sure, I am alive and I am breathing, but it has been a very long time since I breathed one of those really deep cleansing breaths. If I were to attempt a Yoga Breath, I promise you would hear me fail. After my Gallbladder surgery, the surgeon chastised me. “I hear crackling noises in your lungs. Your breaths are not deep. That is not good. You will get Pneumonia.” I do not breathe and this new, shallow, breathless healing is an added and thick, deep-fried crust to my already full and layered onion. Seriously, how many layers must one peel before they get there? And why? Why is it that once we have peeled so many of those layers, does some terrible crisis send us right back to start, back to a fresh new, layer-filled onion, Why?
On a day like today, when, for no reason, I feel mad and like I was sent back to “Start”, it seems like my healing is so far. It makes no sense.
So today, I am doing what I keep reminding my boys to do. “Boys, when you feel ripped off, mad or like life is not fair, instead of acting crabby, why don’t you feel grateful?” I really do say this and we have been talking gratitude all week long. So, thank God for Dave. Thank God he gives me space and lets me breathe. Thank God my relationship with Brenda gives me hope. My relationship with my sister makes me believe that one day my family can actually be in a room with each other and that we can be there together without the room imploding in on itself.
And right now when I need them most, thank God for old friends that become new. Thank God these same friends get it, and thank God they get it, because these same friends have experienced layers so similar to my own. Thank God for Happy Hollow Road, for giant marshmallows, kind words from Melbourne, splinter removers, flip flops in winter, Ann at Top Nails, sunshine and Summertime. Thank God for gold teeth, dream catchers, and those who care enough to save the gecko. Thank God for owls, last minute lunches at Rubios, and for every single park. Thank God for bike rides to Coldstone, gifted memberships to the Natural History Museum, Pogo Sticks, Red Butte Garden, Wawa and Harvs, and for badass young men. Thank God for summer art classes, talented architects, generous photographers, long drives, walk talks, homemade Ugly dolls and dreams of Bear Lake.
Thank God for the sisters of friends. Thank God these same sisters point me in the perfect direction. Thank God for open hearts, gardens, tree houses, homemade concoctions, buckets full of sand, beautiful paintings, and for the 1-2-3-wee-swing-you-high-in-the-air walks down Center Street. Thank God, a God I don’t even know is there, well, Thank God, I am able to move and that some of you realize that I have too.