Saturday, May 30, 2020
I last wrote in April. It is now May (just two days away from June). We are still doing social distancing due to the Covid19 pandemic that has taken over our world this year. But we slowly . . . slowly . . . are moving back to some sort of normal living. Or, I guess I should say towards a new way of living. A new normal.
And I think I am afraid.
I mean, I am ready for it. Of course. Aren't we all? But there is a strange comfort that has taken over in the past two months. And the future is still this crazy land of unknowing. A land of unclear circumstances and a different world than it was 3 months ago. Boy oh boy - is it ever.
Phil is still on reduced hours and salary. Working only two days a week and receiving 40% of his pay. It has been a really difficult time for him. Anxiety is high. Patience is low. Being unclear on the future of your career is a pretty scary scenario. He has found a few projects here or there around the house to work on during this time, and I absolutely love when I hear him say that it is the first time in a long while that he has been able to enjoy our yard (he usually travels heavily during the summer and fall months). So, all these things are the positive to life during a pandemic. But still, the worry over finances, our stability and his emotional stability is heavy.
And the lack of control. That is the hardest thing.
I have thrown myself into art. Creating. Things to sell. Doodles to draw. Journals to create. Classes to plan. Art to make. I sit in the living room and face out the front window of our house, and stare at our strategically placed bird feeders and all the birds who visit, then look down and focus everything I have on the project on my table. I have found a rhythm to the work I am doing, and find a great deal of peace in it. And have managed, quite often during these times of creating, to alienate myself from everything happening around me. That last part is probably not the best thing for me or my family. But I feel right now, as if it is the only thing that I can control.
Because lack of control sucks.
I kind of had an epiphany this morning. I sat at my art table, looking out the window while working hard at completing another journal that I could sell on Etsy, and thought about Phil, who was on a bike ride at that moment. I thought how nice it would be to be outside. Yet something inside of me told me that I have to keep working. Keep creating. Keep making things to sell. Keep going. Onward. Then I realized why I have been doing this - pushing myself and not allowing myself time to enjoy simple things like a walk outside or time in my backyard.
It is because I feel like I have lost all control. And continuing to make art . . . that is the only thing I can control right now.
I started to think back - to really think about how long I have felt this way . . . this lack of control.
I think it all started when Laura got sick.
Crazy, you know? How much life changed when that happened. And how EVERYTHING changed. EVERYTHING.
I can't help but remember that when she got sick, it was the first time I (or we) couldn't fix something. I lost control. Completely and totally. Of everything.
And I feel like I haven't had it back since then.
Of course, there are times and circumstances when I have. But in my heart . . . and I guess in my head, too, I feel like since she got sick, I have been just going through the motions of life without much say and with absolutely no control. I have just been doing what needed to get done, just because I was supposed to. The truth is - while going through all those motions of things that need to get done, I have been in a fog.
When Covid19 hit . . . that was a whole other cluster fuck (sorry. . . that is the only word that came into my mind right now.) And once again, control . . . the little bit I managed to develop since Laura's passing . . . was again gone.
So, I have thrown myself into trying to save my business. I have thrown myself into every little part of art that I can. I have avoided the hard conversations and avoided the stress and avoided a lot of things . . . and I have tried to be gentle on myself, going through the motions of whatever this is right now.
It's not easy, you know?
But I believe and have faith that some day soon, I will make it out of this fog.
It is golden hour right now and my sunflowers are about a foot tall. They look so happy facing the sunshine, patiently waiting for their time to bloom. I am waiting for my time, too. . . for the sunshine to hit me and for my lungs to fill up with air and that amazing exhale to come and to feel, finally, like I am out of the fog.
It will happen. I just have no idea when.
Wishing you peace, dear friends.
Friday, April 10, 2020
"No," I answered.
"Don't you think you should?" she asked.
"I don't know," I answered.
My friend. She knows me. She loves me. She knows that writing is my therapy. She knows that it is what I do when I am working through challenges in life. "Don't you think you should?"
She also knows that if she plants that little seed in my ear, it will more than likely grab hold of some part of this brain and grow it's little roots in every part of my being . . . until . . . I write.
I am not writing right now.
Because, for the past 11 years, I have taken pride in always finding a way to the positive during rather dark and dismal times. Yes, I do that. I try to see through the challenges and find the silver lining.
But right now, I can't do that. Because right now, the emotions I have swirling in my head don't seem to have silver linings. And that sucks.
Sure . . . I can write about how awesome it is being together; my kids, husband and me. I can write about how much fun it has been having family dinners again, and all being under the same roof all day long, and watching (truly . . . looking out the window and watching) Spring arrive, and cooking again, and playing games, and watching movies . . . taking time to do all the things that we wish we had time to do, but never have. Yes. I could fine the positive in it. And I do. I see it. I feel it.
But . . .
I am scared.
No . . . we do not have the virus. And holy crap - I thank God every day for that. But even though my immediate and extended families are not suffering . . . (and believe me, I truly do count that as the #1 blessing) . . . I am scared.
I am scared for my husband - who has spent the last 22 years giving his heart and soul to an industry, and having no idea what is going to become of this industry when it is all over. Yesterday he received his second reduction in hours and pay since this Covid-19 virus surfaced. This second blow . . . it hit him hard. I am scared that he is going to fall into a depression that I cannot help him through - because I may very well be right there next to him in it. I am afraid that when this is done, he will have to find his way to a new career, and I can't imagine how scary that may be for him - a father, a husband, a provider. I am scared that he is stressed to the max, and from my own little bubble - I don't have any idea on how to help him.
I am scared for my daughters. For their health, for their lives, for their education, for what the memories of this time will look like in their life stories.
I am scared for the friends whose jobs have been completely furloughed and whose livelihoods have been brought to a complete halt . . . friends who are trying so very hard to begin their next chapters in life, and who can't take those steps so necessary for themselves.
I am scared for family who is in the THICK of this virus on the east coast. I worry for them daily . . . no . . . hourly . . . . and only find relief when I can see the whites of their eyes during a daily nighttime Facetime call when I see that they are safe.
I am scared for my mother. My in-laws. All those who have fragile health, as it is. And worry - what if they catch this awful thing . . . how can we keep them safe? Are we doing all we can? What else can we do?
I am scared for my little shoppe. An art shoppe created by me and my sister. A shoppe we worked so hard to create. A dream. A shoppe that has saved me for the past year since my sister died. A shoppe that, in my heart of heart, is not going to survive this. And coming to that realization . . . oh, it just sucks.
I am scared for our country, for the economy . . . and for all the other little businesses in our world that will not make it. All the other little dreams that may be shattered because of this.
I am scared. Just plan scared.
And uncertain. And stressed. And overwhelmed. And tired. And fragile. And . . . lost.
I sit at my table in the living room every day. This is my new "art shoppe". I am so grateful that Phil doesn't mind that I have taken over this space in the house. It is full of the most colorful chaos . . . just like every well functioning art environment should be. I don't know what I am doing here. I sit at my table and make journals, draw, do whatever I can to just . . . feel . . . something other than fear. Some days I can get far enough away in my creative thoughts to forget what is happening outside that window. Other days, not so much . . . as I sit here, shuffling art supplies and printed papers from one pile to the next. Just to do . . . something. Some days I stare at a leaf outside - the very same leaf everyday - that has hung on to the tree right outside my window all winter long. I stare at this little leaf as it moves with each gust of wind that passes it and I will it to just . . . hang on. Because I feel like that, too. Like we are all just trying to hang on.
So . . . No. I am not writing, right now.
But maybe . . . just maybe, tomorrow I will.
Thinking of you all, dear friends.
And sending you peace.
Monday, February 24, 2020
Sometimes, it hits me like a brick.
Like a fucking huge ass brick that is coming at me 100mph.
My sister is dead.
Shocking . . . to say it like that. So direct. So final.
But it is the truth.
And sometimes, it hits me just like that.
I walked into my house yesterday to this . . . her wedding dress.
In my living room.
My brother-in-law wanted me to have it - in case my girls wanted it for either a part of their own dresses some day, or maybe their babies christening gowns. Or something.
The thought was one of kindness and generosity.
But still, it fucking hit me like a brick.
Today? Why today? And why did my own husband just leave it there for me to see? And why is it such a big deal to me?
Because . . . it hurts.
It hurts every damn day.
It has been 434 days since she passed. (No, I am not keeping a tally going . . . I promise. I just looked it up for this post.) But, it has been 434 days since she passed. And it has hurt for 434 days.
And that, my friends, sucks.
Every day I wake up (and yes, I thank God for that . . . I really do). I shower. I put on make-up. I do my hair. I go out and try to make it a good day. But every day, I am changed. And I cannot figure out who I am supposed to be right now. All I know - is that this is not how it was supposed to be. She was my person. And she was supposed to be here with me, walking through life, for another 40 years, at least. Through college visits and wedding showers and sitting at the church with me when our daughters say "I do"- passing tissues and crying our eyes out. Through caring for our mother, and some day (God bless her) burying her. Through vacations together and final home sales and baby showers and laughs and joy and tears and pain. And the downs and so many ups of life. She was supposed to be here with me. Through them all.
And she is not.
And my friends, at 434 days out . . . it still sucks more than I can even say.
And I am trying. I am trying so very hard.
But I don't know what this life is supposed to look like without her - and quite frankly - I don't like it one bit.
So for today, I feel the hurt.
I let it come in and I allow myself the feels.
I cry. I dry the tears. I write about it (because I honestly have to). And then I keep going.
Because that is all we can do.
It hurts. It hurts like fucking hell.
But, I am doing it. Wedding dress and all.
434 and counting.
Lord, give me strength.
Thank you, friends. Much love.