The past two days temperatures sky rocketed to 66 degrees. Mabel and I walked twice each day. It was refreshing and beautiful.
In the middle of the night there were thunderstorms that were so loud they woke Nora from sleep and me too.
This morning I woke to an inch of snow and ice on the ground. It's 33 degrees.
Needless to say, I'm home with 3 sick kids and I feel awful too. Eyes are watering, throats are hurting, coughs are productive but deep and Mabel is doing the cry.
As I woke up this morning, body aching and exhausted I couldn't help but think back over the past couple of days and find them ironically comparable to my life, and probably yours too.
One day it's beautiful. The sun is shining, your spirit is renewed and the warmth of the day makes you feel like you can conquer anything thrown your way. You have energy, are content, happy even. Sometimes without warning, in the dark of night, the storm hits. It's so terrifying, earth shattering and unexpected that it wakes you from a deep sleep; a slumber that you've been in for maybe months. It is eye opening and heart breaking. Life changing. And then, the ramifications of that storm freeze. No matter how much time passes, whether it's a single night or many months, possibly even a total year-you are still feeling the desperate consequences of the storm.
The sun shines, of course.
And I enjoy it. I long for it, wait for it, bask in it. But yesterday I was reminded that in the core of who I am, I will always feel the intricate pain of our lives changing a year ago. I cannot put precisely into words the events that haunt me or the moments that are still completely heartbreaking. But I can say that as happy and joyful as I am from day to day-there will always be the pain of the trauma. Emotionally, I only breakdown every now and then. I feel strong and secure in the choices that were made. They had to be made, after all. But when Mabel is sick, I'm not feeling well, and other stressors of life pile up around me, I crumble under the utter sadness of it all. I feel incredibly sorry for myself and usually take a solid day to just let it be.
I'm so angry that on top of the worry and task of caring for Mabel; constantly watching for signs that things are changing, or when a sudden illness strikes-
I also have had the messy remains of my marriage to clean up. What people maybe don't realize, even the other person involved in the situation in which they quite literally walked out on is that divorce doesn't bring much finality. Maybe to the person who walked away; the person who left the mess. But to the person left standing in it, the stress day to day is overwhelming.
What I feel like is most unfair is that I deserve to have ONLY the worry of caring for this little girl while she is living. I deserve to sit and hold her, love her, rock her, walk her. I deserve to focus only on that new cough or her fever and not the million other things that a day brings in our life.
And beyond me, SHE deserves that.
I deserve to enjoy Nora and Braden. I deserve to spend time alone with them and read to them. Listen to them, play with them, cook for them. I deserve to mother them in a way that I desired and dreamed of doing.
And THEY deserve that too.
Those things were literally ripped away from me without me having a choice. It was like life-rape.
When one person gets to literally shatter your dreams, leave and not look back, never give answers as to why, and not care who they're hurting in the process, it is beyond emotionally damaging. And it's infuriating.
Nora crawled in bed with me a few nights ago and sobbed like I haven't heard her cry in a very long day. She cried about details of the day her dad left the house and about how she feels. I won't go into detail because it was very private and sacred between the two of us. But I will say that I was so proud of my girl. She is brave and wise beyond her years. She is insightful and spiritually very enlightened. She spoke of forgiveness and the inability to do so at this time. She spoke of being hurt and of empathy. I did as I always do and encouraged her. Promised her that our God always brings good from the pain. That He promises to stand with us and never leave us. And that He will help her heart to heal and forgive. She fell asleep in my arms and when she woke, she was lighter. It was visible. She is strong, like me. And yet she needed the cry.
Yesterday so did I. So I let myself do it all day. And although I do feel better today, the pain and the trauma doesn't ever escape me. I can move forward and enjoy this beautiful life but parts of it will always be tainted and tattered by the events that have shaped me and led me here. Grief, my constant companion, accompanies my life like a sweet symphony. Sometimes changing, sometimes quiet, but always here.
Even if I don't like the rapid changes that occur, sometimes day to day, I have learned to accept them. I have learned to walk in them and am trying to do so gracefully and intentionally. The winter days have been long and taxing for my spirit. The spring days ahead will hopefully bring restoration and wellness for all of us. For today, though, the fresh fallen snow on the ground is a gentle reminder that there is always a chance for life to start fresh, clean and new.
Better days are always always ahead.
The sickness will pass, the sadness will pass, the heaviness will pass.
Disease will pass, worry will pass, and even life...will pass.
But I'm in it all today, whatever it is and whatever it means, wholly.
"I formed a question of my own in my mind and without ceasing my direct stare I spoke to the wolf, asking my own question:
"Wolf," I said, "your people are hunted from the air and poisoned from the earth and killed on sight and you are outbred and stuffed in cages and almost wiped out. How is it that you go on living with such sorrow? How do you go on without turning around and destroying yourselves as so many of us have done under similar circumstances?"
And the wolf answered, not in words, but with a continuation of that stare,
"We live because we live."
He did not ask questions. He did not give reasons. And I understood him then. The wolves accept the life the are given. They do not look around them and wish for a different life or shorten their lives resenting the humans, or even fear them any more than is appropriate. They are efficient. They deal with what they encounter and they go on. Minute by minute. One day to the next..."
--Louise Erdrick, The painted Dream.