things she wants to say.

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It's in the remembering that we live braver, hungrier and more convinced of hope and grace and beauty swallowing.

I have noticed small bright pink post it notes lying around in the same spot.  At first glance, I paid little attention, but a stack began forming messy demanding better attention.  For days I moved right passed the tiny little heap until my walking by caused a couple pieces to stir and drift off the counter top onto the wooden floor.  I have a tendency to sort of stack papers.  It’s my way of cleaning the kitchen or anything actually.  My process is quite simplistic.  Dispose of as much as possible as often as possible.  I tolerate clutter in a compartmentalizing sort of way.  Or maybe it’s procrastination.  The latter is honest response.  Compartmentalizing simply sounds more together, in control and sophisticated.  As a telling side note, procrastination is mode of operation for me.  It is a chronic characteristic I am working out of my life.  There simply is not enough room in the life of a single parent for much procrastination.  Bright pink landing on wooden floor.  The contrast unmistakeable in both size and color.  Leaning over to reach the few fallen, I could see that each brightly colored little piece of paper held scribbled words, messages deep and searching.

A daughter wandering through day, lost in thought and dream of a life different, the undisturbed continuing of the life she knew.  Sometimes dishonest with her smile bright and affectionate, hiding when she hurts or needs or wants but thankfully, bleeding out words that grab to find home in her heart wishing to grow only darker and deep.

“I wish I could tell her all the things I’m doing.” “She’d smile real big and be hugely proud of you, sweetie.”

Still reforming and in the piecing back together in beautiful miracle the life so disturbed by one quick blow, we wade through the unknown and questions lingering.  The trust that weans in days lasting too long makes us stronger together.

One easy to recognize evidence of her heart once devastated now growing stronger in the day to day is her courageous heart.  She’s braver in the bleeding, risking for reward and foregoing shadows.  On the basketball court for the first time, lined wood giving direction to game and position, the sound of soles shuffling, a ball bouncing, hands raised, the game still so foreign to her, I saw her heart laid bare.  She positioned herself vulnerable in front of yelling parents and strange onlookers for shared experience and enjoyment of game and friends.  In the confusion of plays and rules and game, she jumped right in determined to know and participate.  For her, it’s discovery, of who she is undeniably and deeply wound within the DNA.  It is also an aim at who she wants to be and is traveling toward.  All in the game, in the experience, she’s finding and becoming.  My heart soars quietly sitting in the stands each time.  Camera clicking.  Recording her evolution.

One day Elizabeth Marie will look long behind her and gaze upon a field of flowers in the wake of her pursuit.  In ways out of my reach, she is cutting a path for us all, not around, but straight through heart and mire and questions with unfitting answers.  Their hearts remain resilient even in the distance and miles away from that life.  Just last night, we talked about her notes and basketball.  She smiled honestly in the sadness revisited.  But together we left it again coming and going as visitors both stronger.

“Nothing will ever replace her.  The thought of losing mommy will always cause sadness, but both the memories and the life we live will always be brighter.  Promise.”

the beholder.

“If we shield the canyons from the wind, the beauty of a new creation may never be gained.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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Grief never goes away.  To be repetitively honest, I hate writing about it.  Pull the covers back waking to a day supposedly new but eerily much of the same.  Grief wears deep ruts into life and moments lived.   Sunken parts of life pushed in by the weightiness of loss and maybe more so, what is scattered and disjointed remaining hold water stagnating and aged.  Like a rut on a path pushed lower than leveled earth and dirt leading through day and life.  An old friend’s words, dust soft on window blinds, the quiet of night, the hustle of day.  Grief, the most consistently sensed thing in life.  Present though I rudely ignore.  It doesn’t matter.  It didn’t ask for permission.  It doesn’t knock when entering my house.  Grief dwells.  And in day and in night, I repeat.  Words, explanations, descriptions.  I whine and complain and struggle to be free, to be like I used to be.  It’s hard not being who you used to be or reaching for it.  Vacillating between you then and you now.  Memories and familiarity and tomorrow and foreign swing me back and forth.

Then and now. I am both.  I am neither. I am lost and I am found at the same time.

Grief will not go.  It demands attention and forces emotion provoking ugly and inviting the gross, inexpressible parts of me.  In places raw and undefined we must walk revisiting ground not yet completely grown together loose like a dirt filled hole.  Some days are strewn together like a string of lights hanging freely in the air glowing carefree and hopeful.  I look over my shoulder and think, “Wow, I really am standing a long way away from that darkest day!  I have indeed somehow moved quite far!”  With courage taller and stouter and braver then, even the night lights up lively.  I see it, full and changing but better and inviting.  Puzzle pieces troubling and unfit, joining rough edges together.  Miraculous.  Grace.  Happiness.  A bulb goes out in random order.  It’s untelling and unanticipating.  The air lit excited dims and cools.  And I remember the wound still agape.  The memories burn seeping out.  Life is more vacant leaving space for thoughts to roam.  It is here I realize grief never leaves.  Watching us move through each day spying for the moment, waiting for its turn to interact.  And I wonder if grief will ever leave or has it fused into our DNA so closely knit into the fabric of who we are, I am, indistinguishable from happiness and joyfulness forever filtering life?  I don’t know.  It is here now and looks to be fairly stationary and set.

I am neither convinced this is good or bad.  Maybe indifferent, in reality-ful and meaningful ways ...good ways that feel bad like a vaccine conditioning your body to adapting infections.

It leaves me weaker but strengthens me. I feel like a babbling fool unable to shut up about losing, the loser complaining about the conditions keeping him from the win.  But in my babbling, I learn new words that are not my own.  They’re hopeful and deeper than any disturbance rustling around inside.  So this is who I am unshielded from the wind drying death, carving deep lines into my heart.  A new beauty growing.  Creation of something, someone very much like me but a life and death difference of a person.

The new must come.  It will no matter.  We are forced in life to be newly growing and stretching into the unknown, the untrodden or newly withering drooping closer to the dirt that will one day cover us.  Life and death are always roads traveled.  One can be alive, while not fully, but dying in memories and regrets and mistakes.  And so it is as simple as this: push forward into the unknown or die slowly in the dirt familiar.

Life belongs to the beholder, the traveler, the one who does not let go of mercy’s long reach.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most Hight will abide in shadow of the Almighty.  (Amen) Psalm 91:1


[gallery link="file" columns="5"] Warm door knob waiting on cold nights.  Waiting.  Wanting.  Welcome.

Walls whisper greetings and memories both enchanting and unnerving.  Home is where the heart is and where treasure buried deep feeds the soil of one's heart, always and forever.  Some run fleeing the scene of life colliding in plain sight of a remembering rear view mirror.  The past on fire burning pain, the smoke rising shamefully.  The smell of soot and ash unwashable and unbearable.  So they run hard and fast for day different than past.  The rush away only thins blood and makes wide the wounds.  They run with covered faces, smiling.  Memories remain, smoldering heap of moments wished to be forgotten, strained to be lost.  Deep it feeds the soil.  The door knob always waiting to be opened.

Here's what the wise know:  Everyone breaks.  Some learn to break well.  The pieces collected buried purposefully and they feed the soil lush with newer life.

Home for me is quiet.  I always know who I am there.  The ground always warm with blood and tears and smiles and fears conquered.  I laid love there in the earth.  Fed the soil, waited for new birth.  A brother once alive taught me to live, swinging the bat through the cool, crisp fall air at countless pitches thrown by the man who made me better but has disappeared, supper ready always on time by the woman who first showed me to love through, a sister lifting my shadow to the size of a hero.  Home.  All of these and more.  Soil in my heart and bones.  Carried to day now.  Present.  Dwarfing tomorrow to a resolving happiness.

This land knows me well.  In ways I will always allow, it owns me.  When we embrace my feet on its ground, I remember well who I am and who I can be.

Pine needles and leaves.  Bruised ground where a wood stack once rotted down.  A chimney leak unsolvable.  Bricks the color of Mexico.  Life staked to an unwavering trust in faith, hope and love.

This is where I live.  The home that made me.

Truly it is good to be home.