Saturday, September 29, 2012

End Of An Era

The large play set in our backyard has been torn down. It's gone. Destroyed.

July 2006
I remember when my husband and I first bought this house, our first home. Our sixth baby wasn't even walking yet and we were confident enough to make this huge investment in our future. The play set was already in the backyard when we bought the house. But we made it one of our first priorities to fix it up and make it nicer and stronger. Safe from outside forces. A place where our family would be secure forever.

I look at the pictures of us painting the play set just six years ago. I remember how happy and full of hope we all were. The kids were so young, and we were all a bit naive. But we had love and I was confident life would be kind to us.

The play set is rotted now and with great sadness the decision to get rid of it was made. What happened?  We took it for granted that it would always be there even without our attention and dedication. We allowed outside forces to influence it's stability. We stopped caring for it.

September 2012
So with nothing more than some tears, a saw, and a crowbar the play set was torn down and thrown away. Despite its years of loyalty to the family, it's now been rejected. Thrown away like trash. I know that rejection. I'm living it daily.

I've wailed, cried, begged, pleaded, bargained and argued. All to no avail. There were nights I couldn't take the thought of the only life I've ever known ending that I considered ending my own life. But that's not me. I am in a kind of pain I never experienced before, but I won't abandon those who do still love me, want me, need me and depend on me. I can't be that horribly selfish to just walk away from a rotted mess. I will find a way to heal the rot.

If nothing else, the past 25 years have taught me that love is a choice. Every day we wake up, we have a choice to make whether to love or not. I'm not going to claim that I chose love every day. Too many days I chose not to allow it. But when push comes to shove, always choose love. Always.

There's a big empty void now both in my backyard and in my life. My heart physically aches when I look at it. It's a big open space and I have no idea what, if anything, can or will fill it.

Most of the old play set sits tonight in the burn pit awaiting a bonfire. A symbolic burning of the old and a hope that a new future will arise out of the ashes. Out of destruction comes a new creation.

But I can't let go of the memories. I refuse to believe that today's rot negates the happy memories we did have. Although the memories often bring me to my knees in tears, I won't let go of all of them. I have saved the boards where the kids wrote their names on the play set and hung them up where I'll see them daily. A new place and a new purpose. A reminder of happier times.

A reminder that there was love. And love still exists.

Monday, September 10, 2012

When Sleep Won't Come & The Nightmares Won't Stop

I'm so tired. Exhausted. Drained.  My eyes burn, my head hurts and my body is weary.  Yet I'm afraid to try and go to sleep.

I've tried all the tricks for a restful nights sleep; warm tea, a hot bath, exercise, reading, darkening the room, lowering the temperature. Nothing works. My brain is on overdrive right now and it won't shut down.

My body needs the rest, and once I lay my head down I will fall asleep. I'll probably stay asleep for about four hours. That probably doesn't sound like much, but it's much more than I've averaged lately. The problem is at hour four I'll wake up with a bad dream, some of my dreams even qualify as outright nightmares. Last week I called out in my dream and my 17-year-old came in my room to wake me up and be sure I was OK. How horribly sweet and horribly sad.

I don't need Freud or a psychologist to analyze my dreams. They are pretty obvious. I'm in a place in life I never saw coming, never expected and never wanted. I'm scared and uncertain of my future. I'm scared and uncertain of my children's future. Certain parts of my life are completely out of my control right now, and for a controlling person like me that is hard to handle.

As I walk the house and check on my sleeping kids at night I know logically we are safe. The locks are secure and I've added deadbolts to the doors. I've got two big dogs sleeping soundly, yet ready to sound ferocious at the first unusual noise. The danger though isn't in the form of a boogey man, but rather in the unknown.

In a strange twist to my insomnia and nightly nightmare dilemma, last night I finally dreamed about my mom who died about a year and a half ago. I've been stomping my feet since she died pissed off that she hasn't visited me in my dreams or in my waking moments. Finally, last night, in the middle of what was one of those dreams that qualifies as a nightmare, she finally came to me. What she told me in my dream has been in my head all day. Did she say what was the truth of the future? Or did she tell me what is already in my subconscious? I guess only time will tell. I do remember even in my dream being grateful for the opportunity to talk to my mom again. I only wish our conversation had been about a more pleasant topic. I realized as I awoke from my dream I was crying real tears onto my pillow. The tears were for my nightmare, my current situation and for my mom.

"The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets."
-- Poppy Z Brite

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Month

What I've learned in the past 31 days:

  • The moon taunts me as I lay in my bed watching the clock tick the minutes away. Yet the same moon calms me as I sit outside on the porch swing in the darkness.
  • Middle of the night TV is nothing but infomercials for exercise programs, diet plans and cooking appliances. If I wasn't so exhausted I'd find some humorous connection in that.
  • Cleaning and organizing every nook and cranny in the house is obviously me just trying to find control in an out of control situation. But it helps to at least accomplish something.
  • When you feel like you can't stop crying it's because there are so many tears built up inside you the dam has finally burst and all you can do is hold on tight and let the tears bust through and flow out.
  • Telling me a lie does not lessen or take my pain away. It increases it exponentially.
  • When actions and words don't match, the actions are the most meaningful.
  • "You live in the South, let people help you" is just a kind way of saying "Quit being so stubborn and let your friends be your friends!"
  • My friends have been my lifeline this past month. They have been willing to sit and hug me, listen to me, not judge me, offer advice or just shut up as needed. 
  • I really miss my mom. But I am totally impressed by the way my dad has been there for me in her place.
  • Decisions, discussions and actions based on emotions rarely work out well.
  • When I lash out it's because I'm afraid. 
  • Decisions, discussions and actions based in fear rarely work out well either.
  • Cucumber slices do not decrease puffiness in your eyes. But they feel cool against your eyes and are actually quite soothing.
  • Not eating and not sleeping will eventually catch up with you. I have wonderful students in my classes who not only catch me as it finally catches up and I start to pass out from dizziness, but who will hand me a power bar and tell the rest of the class to just keep going.
  • My job is one where I am constantly giving to others. I just don't have it in me to give right now.
  • Anxiety is real and it's scary.
  • The places your mind can take you in the throes of anxiety and depression are even scarier.
  • It's very easy to slide downhill. It's very easy to stay down. It takes work and commitment to climb your way back up. 
  • I may be very lost right now, but I have not forgotten who I am.