Category Archives: truth

part 3 of 4: the inconsolable soul – numbness

Sorrow is knowledge, those that know the most must mourn the deepest, the tree of knowledge is not the tree of life. – Lord Bryon

i took my break.  i told andy that we would get through the summer and reevaluate our situation.  andy agreed.  i went through stages of intense crying and apologizing.  the more tears that fell and the more i said i was sorry, the more i realized how much i was hurting andy.  i did my best to hide the tears from him.  i cried a lot in the shower.  i took really long and really hot showers.  the noise covered the sobs and i was able to have my outlet and andy didn’t have to watch me cry –  again.

those five months of intense treatment were catching up with me.  i was able to process what happened because while it was going on things happened too fast and really left no time for coping with each failed treatment.  i was able to analyze our movements and our numbers.  i was able to reflect.  i cried a lot.  i would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and the realization would hit me.  i would roll over and cry into my pillow while andy slept beside me.  sometimes he would wake up enough to roll over and pull me close.  i was able to breathe and i started putting my life and my soul back together.
i was off pretty much all of the medicines and i felt myself slowly coming back.  i could look in a mirror and see the life coming back to my eyes and feel a little bit more like myself.  no more hot flashes.  unfortunately my hair stayed a frizzy fluff ball.
during infertility treatments, timing is obviously everything.  because of that timing and the type of infertility treatments we were doing, we quickly learned that spontaneity and intimacy were gone – just bury it in the back yard.

dealing with infertility is very much like dealing with the stages of grief: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  i guess because in a way, it is a loss. it is real, heart breaking, soul shattering grief.

denial/isolation:

we dealt with this early on.  maybe not the denial part because all of this was pretty hard to deny!  but the isolation part really hit us. we found that being around certain people hurt more and if we controlled that, it seemed that life hurt less.  it wasn’t that we thought that we could cause the pain to cease to exist, but we thought sparing one ounce of hurt would break our hearts less.

with the group of 4 couples, in a way, you could say that we isolated ourselves when i sent that letter asking for space.  we were told that nothing would change and that i was wrong for insinuating that things would change.  whether we want to admit it or not, life experiences like marriages and pregnancy will change group dynamics.  it might not be intentional but those changes will happen. when we noticed those changes within our group, we slowly withdrew to allow even more space (for them as well as us) and unfortunately after a while of declining invitations, we stopped getting them all together.  i tried to stay in touch with people individually sending private messages when life happened (birthday’s, Christmas, death in the families, etc), but after a year or so, i was told that “it is kind of obvious that you don’t want anything to do with us” and was asked to stop sending birthday wishes and Christmas cards.  at the end of the day, i still try to keep up with our group of 4 couples through other people or personal messages sometimes.  in isolating ourselves we didn’t stop the hurt because that came even when we were in a room alone, but it dimmed it just a little and that little bit helped.

Anger:

anger was the biggest obstacle for me.  i was angry at myself and i was angry at God.  there were times i was angry at andy but those times faded quickly and i placed the blame and anger back on myself.  this anger was present from the emergency room visit and escalated into a rage over the course of the year.  my anger was directed at myself and i replayed everything in my life, wondering at what point my ovaries stopped working and asking myself what if.  what if i knew what was going on before we got married?  what if i did something wrong to cause them to stop working right?  what if?  i was lost in a world of ‘what could i have done’ – i wasn’t just lost, but consumed by it.  i looked in the mirror at my reflection with hate and couldn’t wrap my mind around why andy didn’t have the same glare when he looked at me.

**I am writing this knowing that some people may be upset by my perception of this, but this is how i felt in the moment.  feelings that are still very raw for me.**

most of my anger was directed at God.  i was pissed.  it wasn’t fair to me that we were “faithful people” that prayed, but i felt like we were being punished.  i felt like if i had done something better in my life, or with my life, maybe things would be different.  that maybe if i had been a better person, God would have allowed my ovaries to be good.  it wasn’t fair.  each and every day i was reminded of how unfair life was when i turned on the news and saw women killing their babies.  or women strung out on drugs getting pregnant in the blink of an eye.  when people who didn’t want those babies got them so easily and i wanted one so bad, i was willing to put myself mentally and physically to hell and back.  it wasn’t fair and i blamed God.

my faith, that had been pretty rock solid growing up, was spread thin.  really thin.  almost transparent.  i was really questioning why i believe what i do.  i was questioning if i still believed.  i was questioning if faith was real and if God was real.  i was searching for answers and couldn’t get past my thoughts that if God allowed this to happen to us, or made this happen to us, was this the God that i wanted to believe in.  i wanted to believe in a passionate, caring God that cares for his people.  with all the heartache, i couldn’t feel him caring.  i could no longer feel his presences in the wind.  i could no longer feel his arms around me in an invisible hug.  when i needed to understand why and feel God the most, i couldn’t.  not only was i abandoned by my ovaries and my hopes of being a mother, but God left me too.

i searched for him in all the places that i could look – if I was going to be enraged with him, i wanted to feel him because that meant he was near and that he could feel me.   if he could feel me, then i could inflict pain back to him like he was doing to me and andy.

we went to church each sunday.  sometimes i didn’t want to go, but i went.  i wanted my faith to be strong again.  i wanted people to ask me why bad things happen to good people and be able to rely on my faith for an answer – not bitterness attacking God.  i went to church.  the place that i should have felt God without question.  i was wrong.  i felt love from the people that went to the church and in hindsight, i could feel God in those people, but i couldn’t see that at the time.  but i couldn’t see or feel God from the pulpit.  i was sitting there each week wanting to see God and instead was yelled at and told that i was going to hell because i wasn’t singing.  lets face it, i don’t sing well.  i don’t.  i am not going to act like i do.  if i do sing, usually i sing quietly.  but to be told before each song that i had to sing, made me mad.  so now, not only did God give me bad ovaries but God gave me a crappy singing voice.  and now, apparently, i am going to hell.  it wasn’t a picture of the God i wanted to believe in.

maybe it was because i was already so critical of God and so angry at God, but i felt like all of the sermons were based on God hating some group, or telling me that i wasn’t good enough in God’s eyes.  that isn’t what i needed or wanted to hear.  what i needed to hear was that we are all broken and that even in our brokenness, we were still made in God’s image.  that faith goes beyond our understanding, our dreams and our needs. that faith pushes us to be better, to get better and to get beyond.  i needed to hear that God loved me, not that he was judging me.  i needed to hear that God’s grace rained down over me when tears poured down my face.  to let go of the anger, to be at peace and to give myself grace.  i needed to hear that it was ok to be angry at God as long as i kept talking to him.  i needed a place i could go on sundays to escape all of my negative feelings that i had during the week and to feel God.  i needed to hear about the God that i grew up believing in that was compassionate and loving.  that is what i needed to hear.

during all of this, i was working with a youth group.  it was through them that my faith flickered.  i surrounded my heart in ice to protect me from any more disappointment and it was those youth that started chipping away at that ice.  i latched onto those kids as if they were my own because, in a way, they were – and will always be.  they made me laugh and, for a moment, my anger would fade and i would laugh.  they made me so very proud.  they played sports and instruments and we tried to support them outside of church.  they took an active role in participating and they put up with me. they allowed me to interrogate their friends and, in their own way, would ask for advice.  they would ask questions and discuss faith questions.  their blunt honesty put an new spin on the faith that i was trying so desperately to reconnect with.  on a sunday, they were my sanity.  they were my angels that kept me from getting so lost in the darkness that i didn’t want to come back.

it was during this time that i learned of several other friends having infertility issues.  i made it a point to reach out to them.  with one in particular, we made it a point to go to dinner and be away from it all.  just a girls date night.  during dinner, we would take a few minutes to catch up.  we would fill each other in on life as we knew it.  there was always that moment where our laughter died down and we looked at each other.  the subject of infertility would come up.  she would ask what was new and i would fill her in on our story and  i would ask her how she was doing.  i leaned on her and still do.

in my anger at myself, our situation and at God, we decided to keep a lot of our story to ourselves.  it was too raw to really talk to most people about it because a lot of people just didn’t understand.  it was too hard to be able to admit how broken i really was.  how to admit that the vision that i had instilled in my own mind was unraveling.  how to admit that i was mad at God. we wanted to be able to control who had what information because, after all, it was our story to tell.  it was also too hard to deal with the look of pity.  people say that look doesn’t exist, but it does.  i was at a funeral and someone came up to me and gave me that look.  i said hello and she grabbed both of my arms and said “i am so sorry.”  i knew that she was genuinely sorry for us and meant what she said, but for starters, she should have never known – someone gave her information that she should have never known.  secondly, that look of pity – that look of, ‘i know what you can’t do.’  i know that you can’t create a family for your husband.  i know that you are broken beyond belief.  we also didn’t want people to know because we had hoped that treatment would work.  we hoped that if we kept it to ourselves, we would be able to “announce” a pregnancy to the world instead of having everyone know when our iuis were and knowing when the pregnancy test would be.  since it was based on timing, it wouldn’t have taken too long to figure out and we didn’t need the added stress of people knowing when to expect good news or bad news.

another thing that made me angry were people taking their pregnancies and their children for granted.  it wasn’t that it just made us angry, but that it shattered us into a million pieces.  we would have been thrilled and we worked so hard for it and nothing.  one of my friends told me that she was nervous that i would be upset at her when she told me that she was pregnant.  i will admit that my heart skipped a beat, but at the same time, i was overjoyed for her.  my only request was that she know how lucky she was and how fortunate she was to have this life growing inside her – to take the good and the bad and embrace it.

bargaining:

i bargained a little bit i guess.  i told God that if he allowed me to just have one baby i would do better.  i asked him what it would take.  i prayed and begged.  when i was home alone on saturdays (because andy was in school), i cleaned.  i would put my headphones in and listen to ‘doubting thomas’ by nicklecreek over and over while i cleaned and prayed.  i would sing  scream the lyrics hoping that it would help me move past the bitterness and the anger.  i would scream the lyrics and start crying hysterically listening to those words.  the words that were very much who i was.  i often found myself in the laundry room with my back against the washer sobbing.  i often found myself in the most normal situations sobbing – completely broken.  i don’t know if it was all the medicines coming out of my system or just every once in a while the reality hit me like a ton of bricks.  i didn’t bargain for long because it got me nowhere.

depression:

when the anger faded, sadness filled the void.  i don’t think that we ever went into depression.  we were sad – yes, of course.  but we weren’t depressed.  we wanted to act like nothing was wrong and sometimes we could, but the truth was that it hurt.  there were some days that we couldn’t get cereal from certain stores because that aisle shared the diaper aisle and that was just asking too much.  i remember going to the store to get one thing and decided we needed poptarts.  i was in a hurry, grabbed them and when i turned around, i was looking at baby food.  i started crying in the middle of aisle 8.  we had good days and we had bad days.  we were very honest with each other about this.  all it took was “this isn’t a good day” and we knew what we needed to do to help the other one out.

acceptance:

i am going to get off topic right now and say that i have never liked this last stage of grief.  because i don’t believe that acceptance is really the end result.  i feel like with each loss (in the situation of a person passing away or the loss of dreams and hopes) there is no real end.  i think that you move beyond the first stages and you enter a stage of “mostly ok.”  it isn’t that you fully accept the situation but that you move past the rest.  acceptance is such a strong word.

the thing about grief is that it sneaks up on you.  even when you feel like you have gotten past the first four stages and move into the fifth and once you feel like you get through the fifth stage, there are triggers that will take you back through all the phases again.  the stages might move a little faster and don’t take as much time to process them through to the next, but all of those stages resurface.

since the word is acceptance, we have accepted a few things.  we have accepted that even in our own personal grief, we can still have joy.  joy for other people and joy for ourselves.  we have accepted that even though we were thrown unwillingly into the infertility club, that we will survive.  we have accepted that other people are going to take things for granted and our feelings will be hurt.  we have accepted that people will unknowingly ask us why we don’t have children.  we have accepted that people will ask us questions about when we are going to get pregnant.  we have accepted that even in the depths of the darkest place we have ever been, the world will continue on around us, regardless of our grief and loss of what could have been.

I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it. – Kristin Arstrong

nov. 2013

 November was a long month in many ways.

my mom and dad both have birthdays in November.  dad the 5th and mom the 18th.

mom and dad awards

(my mom was awarded nurse of the year!  ok maybe not but she should be!  she was awarded for being at the hospital for so long)

i cried my first time (maybe second time) at work (i mean really cried) because i was so angry at a mean person who wouldn’t stop yelling at me it just frustrated me to tears.  it was also a time i was reminded at how awesome it is to work with wonderful people.

one morning we got a call that my aunt ann passed away.  November 19th.  (i am going to get on a soap box for a few minutes…sorry in advance – listen to your doctors and communicate with your family).  ann was my only “real” aunt.  my mom was an only child and my dad only had the one sister.  sure i had several great aunts but she was my only real aunt.  i have so many memories of her – good and not great.  i can remember when we stayed in tn for part of the summer that sometimes we got lucky and would go to her house to eat dinner and spend the night (if my grandparents had meetings).  we would make personal pizzas from scratch and would set up our tables (ironing board with a sheet over it) and would watch movies with her.  it was something that we didn’t get to do often, but will and i enjoyed it when we got to.  i remember baking with her growing up.  i remember helping at the green house when i was little (planting and helping deliver).  i remember many conversations with her and her support.

there are some iffy memories in there too that aren’t as positive…i remember the time that i offered to help her at the green house after we moved and she snickered and laughed at me because it “wasn’t my thing” and the unending comments about city people and country people.  but in a time of mourning and death i think it is customary to try to push those out of ones mind.  looking back those things don’t change the fact that she was my aunt and i loved her and i will miss her.

the other day we were standing in the green house and it was very surreal (as death is to me) knowing that she isn’t coming back.  i looked around and part of me was mad that she didn’t take care of herself better and that she wouldn’t listen to what the doctors told her and she was so guarded with her personal life that nothing we could say would change her mind about that.  that was who she was and at her funeral that was the message that we got.  even in her stubbornness she was who she was.  in those moments of anger it made me think of her funeral and at her funeral we laughed.  we told Jamie to keep it light and real and he did.  it was the most beautiful memorial service and the perfect send off.  in the good and not great, and the anger and laughter, and expectations met and not met there was love and at the end of the day that is what i choose to cling to.

ann

my aunt was an organ donor at the time she passed away and i was the one that talked to the screening people at the donation organization.  i am an organ donor because i like the idea and thoughts behind it.  i will be honest i never really knew what that meant.  i never really thought about what that means for the people that are left behind.  while i understand completely the need for the questions i was asked, somewhere in the middle of the million and a half questions i thought i have no idea on some of these answers.  on my soap box i would like to tell everyone and anyone who will listen – talk to your family…make sure they know your history and wishes as detailed as possible.  after i got off the phone (an hour conversation) i was exhausted.

will came for the memorial service (actually the service was delayed 10 minutes waiting on him since his plane was delayed.  we took him to the farm and it was so funny.  the ganged up on him and tried to take the treats.  i will post pics of the farm in another post.  but here are a few with the family.

DSCN7456 DSCN7458 DSCN7462

it snowed.

DSCN7465 DSCN7466 DSCN7468 DSCN7470 DSCN7472 DSCN7473 DSCN7480

church harvest auction with guests jed and lisa.

DSCN7430

thanksgiving happened. it was later this year and to be honest it was bad.  it made me lose a week before Christmas and that was so bad.  we went to charlotte for thanksgiving and it was great to see family and friends.  andy was glad to see tall buildings.  we got to see cj and ellen which is always fun and an adventure.  i had another allergic reaction to thanksgiving dinner but i was prepared and had medicine on hand to stop the itching.  i think i have it narrowed down to what dish i am allergic too, but still researching that.  who knows?!  cj wanted to take pictures with my camera.  i only had a mild heart attack when she almost dropped it so from now on if she has my camera the strap has to stay around her neck (she is ok with this).  she took mostly blurry photos and picks of people’s knees but with a little help she can center people and take a good photo.

DSCN7485 DSCN7491 DSCN7493 DSCN7504 DSCN7507 DSCN7519 DSCN7533 DSCN7553

we also went black Friday shopping.  it was great to be so close to stores…

we also got our tree from the church and brought it back to tn with us.  it was really funny watching all of the cars go back towards charlotte with trees from the mountains and we left charlotte and took our tree to the mountains.  it was very scary for me.  i had a slight freak out when we left charlotte and could envision our tree rolling off the top and taking out all the cars around us.  so i kept an eye on it.

DSCN7574 DSCN7575 DSCN7576

we made it home with no trouble.

the only other thing i can think of is that andy trashed ace of base (i love ace of base and am still slightly upset over that) but, that pretty much wraps up an exhausting November.

based on a lie

so they say that marriages based on truth and communication will last.  i heard that in our marriage counseling classes before we got married and i have heard it from friends that were married before us.  i heard it from people who experienced failed marriages.  trust.  that is the foundation for a happy and healthy marriage.  so in our marriage we have really strived to be honest with each other.  up front with what we are thinking and feeling.  we try not to sugar coat things so that the truth can be accepted as what it is and interpreted as what the other means which prevents trying to decipher if there are hidden meanings.  i feel like we have done a wonderful job with this.  sometimes we say things and they might sting a little bit, but in the end we (i will take this time to speak for andy…hopefully i am right and he feels the same way) take what the other says to heart and after reflecting on it we are able to see that the other person wasn’t trying to be intentionally mean but instead was trying to be clear and honest.  it is something that has worked well in our relationship and marriage and then i found out our marriage was based on a lie…

we were talking and after some wild tangent (i am sure) we started talking about our wedding and that progressed into our colors – black and blue.  i knew for a long time that i wanted our wedding to be simple yet elegant and i wanted that theme to radiate throughout the day.  i knew i wanted to use my favorite colors and that they would play right into it.  blue and black.  i will add here that andy was on board for pretty much whatever.  he was very hands on during the entire process and never really questioned my desire for black and blue.  he was on board.  i remember one of the first things people would ask me about was the colors.  i would tell the person black and blue and would get a funny look and would be asked what shade of blue?!  i guess because there are so many different shades of blue people wanted to know exactly what shade so i started answering black and blue – smurf blue.  that seemed to make people happy.  at some point in time i heard andy tell someone that our colors were black and panther blue.  my thought was that for people who lived around here that was a good description of the color and people would know exactly what shade that was (esp. going into stores looking for that specific shade of ribbon, ties, candles, bags, etc).  it just became part of our wedding planning to toss in panther blue.  it offered clarity to others and eliminated further questions and responses.

_DSC00631 _HJG4848 _HJG5059 _HJG5245 _HJG5253 _HJG5254

i am now learning (after years of blissful marriage) that andy really thought our wedding colors were black and panther blue (because of the panthers – not because that was the best way to describe that shade of blue).  our marriage started out based on a lie.

are we doomed because our circle of trust and honesty is broken?  was it just a misunderstanding and we will be ok?  will we need therapy to undo what has been done?  does this start the beginning of a battle that will last for years over who interpreted our colors correctly?

DSC_5261

questions questions questions…..

the country: a beautiful thing

growing up we took a lot of family vacations.  i say a lot but i have no idea how many we really took because when you are younger things seem more often.  i know that we travelled all over and i am amazed at some of the places my parents have told me i have been but i don’t really remember.  some of the memories i have of those vacations are of me and will running through museums trying to get through them as quickly as we could so we could move on.  i remember waiting on my parents (who according to my younger self) were the slowest people in the world.  it was a race to get back to the hotel/camp ground to go swimming in the pool.  ah the joys of family vacations as a child.  when we loaded up for vacations as teenagers it was more of the same, but instead of running to the end, it was more avoid and hide from my parents (who according to my teenager self) were the most embarrassing humans alive.  it was a slow form of torture.  looking back i realize that it was actually (dare i say) fun.  now looking back it makes me a little sad.  not only because of the carefree vacations but because i missed out on a lot of things because i was too hurried to really look at the things in the museum or appreciate the sites.  i was too busy making fun of things that we had to do to really absorb it and the history.  as a teenager i was so annoyed that i wasn’t with my friends that i missed out on a lot of great experiences.  i might have been physically there and going through motions but i didn’t really “get” it – whatever “it” was.  this is true for our trip to washington dc, the nasa space center in fl, countless museums across the south, the cherokee reenactments etc. 

that rambling leads me to this:

i grew up in the city, yes i spent time in the country visiting family on some weekends and in the summer but let’s face it…i’m a city girl.  there are times i pretend that i am a country girl…like when we go feed the animals and i move a branch out of the tractor path and act like the world stood still until those tasks were accomplished.  i pretend that i know what i am doing when i grab the horse’s halter to put fly medicine on her face – but in reality i am thinking “please don’t pull me through the fence.”   i pretend that i trust pancake when i think he is really plotting against me (especially when he flattens his ears).  i pretend that pancake has come a great ways and it is all because i am a self-proclaimed donkey whisperer.  i pretend that if it wasn’t for me and andy, argyle would be so skittish around humans that he would be considered for the rodeo.  i pretend that when argyle goes to his new home (whenever that might be) that i won’t miss him because he is just a horse when i actually think that i love him and there is a great possibility that i will cry when i drive up and he isn’t standing in the field with his lanky legs running to the fence to greet us.  

i pretend that i have always enjoyed doing these things…but i haven’t.  i can remember when i was growing up and was “forced” to come to tn with my family.  it was a time when i was starting to really have a social life outside of neighbors and family friends but wasn’t old enough to stay at home so my parents did the responsible thing and took me with them.  i drug my feet the entire time.  i longed to be with my friends in the city and hated that i was missing all of the latest things.  i was worried that my best friends would replace me in the 72 hours that i was out of their sight.  i missed the beauty in feeding animals with my grandmother.  i missed the knowledge in riding around town with my grandfather making deliveries and picking up boxes.  i missed the freedom in running through a tobacco field looking for tobacco worms.  i missed the experience of riding on the tractor around the farm.  i missed the familiarity of walking through the barn yard with the cows.  i missed the understanding of why we picked and shelled beans and cut up apples.  i will take a moment to make it clear that i did all of those things and for the most part i plastered a smile on my face but it isn’t until now – years later – that i fully grasp what i was missing out on by not truly living in the moment.  i didn’t take advantage of the situations and now that we are living here there are things i wish i could do again and wish that andy could experience because they really were life changing things – if i had only let them be.  no one in my family grows tobacco anymore and when we pass a field i am reminded of running through the rows and looking for worms.  it makes me sad that andy may never see one and get to step on it.  we won’t be able to walk into a barn and smell the dried tobacco.  i missed out – i took for granted those experiences because i wanted to be somewhere else.

i have been thinking a lot about all of this in the past year and have come to the conclusion that if i would have moved to tn earlier in my life (or if i was born and raised here) i would not be as appreciative as i am today to be doing the things i am doing.  if i lived here when i was in high school i would have applied to college and moved far away because i wouldn’t have appreciated the experiences that this little town has to offer.  i would have been the first of my class to skip town and get on with my life.  i would fled and never looked back and honestly would have never realized what i was walking away from. 

it took moving to the country to realize how much i took for granted and still take for granted.  i feel like i am more aware now (as compared to when i was younger).  i see the outline of the mountains in the morning sun and notice the way the sun highlights the ridges.  i see the clouds casting shadows in the valleys.  i laugh when argyle leans into me to be rubbed like a big dog.  i practice tough love when i take the feed buckets away from jack and pancake.  i practice tolerance when the horses try to steal each others sweet feed.  i sit in awe listening to the creek at night in the cool mountain breeze.  i enjoy riding around the farm looking for baby cows and wild turkeys.  i do all of these things now with a true appreciation and it isn’t because i am a farmer or a country girl, but because i don’t want these experiences to pass me by again. 

living here in the country with a second chance: it’s a beautiful thing.

rambling thoughts: clouds storms and long drives

a smell, sight, touch, or sound can take me down memory lane in a heart beat.  or hearing a phrase that makes me think of things from the past can take me back.  sometimes it is a time of year that sends me tumbling off the trail with former memories.  these certain things put me on a path of wild and random (sometimes incoherent) thinking and i play the what was and what is and what if and what’s to come game.  sometimes my brain feels like a little hamster running on the wheel you think and think but really it gets you no where except stuck in a loop scared to get off and wondering how long have i been at this….

this time of year i think a lot about leslie (i think about her all the time as it is but as we get closer to the heart of summer i find my self thinking more and more about her).  i remember the trips we took and the things we bought.  i remember the last encounters that we had and the conversations that we had and the profound effect that she had on my life and how much impact her family has made still in my life.  something about this time of year makes me miss her more.

i think more and more about old friends and about relationships i have had and the adventures that we have been on.  some thoughts and memories make me incredibly sad and others made me laugh out loud.  i think about all the summers spent playing with will and vicky outside until after dark and our “bat club.”  i think about all the summer camps that i spent with katie and the youth group and making sure that katie and i shared a room and coordinated our outfits and packing list and that when we weren’t at camp we still had to be together.  i think about summer crushes (one that turned into love and marriage).  i think about all of the things i thought i would have done and wished i did and actually did.  i think of the person that i hoped to be and the one that i actually am.    i think….

the other day andy was at a meeting so i decided i would go feed pancake alone since it would be too late when andy got home.  it had been raining (i think we got 3 inches in about an hour – water was rising and roads were flooded).  i loaded the dog up and off we went to feed pancake.  for once i wasn’t punching a clock.  so i drove.  i only know 3 or so ways to get to the farm and as i was driving i kept getting derailed.  i would go as far as i could and have to turn around because of flooding in the roads.  i went all the ways i could to get to pancake but i couldn’t get to him – so i just drove.  it made me think of a time (when i could fill my tank up with gas, take seven dollars into the gas station and walk away with change) when i would just drive around to clear my head.  i used to drive to process thoughts and clear my head a lot.  i blame my dad for that.  (sorry dad).  driving to the farm already made me think of dad and driving around made me think of the times that he would come ask if i wanted to go to dairy queen for a blizzard.  i would think: ice cream?  sure!  we would go and instead of going the direct route we would drive down towards albemarle – typically turning around at the same gas station.  some times we would go just to go…i don’t know the real reason we were driving just that ice cream was involved.  other times we would go because i did something wrong (that was never stated but i knew) – we would get past the point where i could jump out of the car and walk home and dad would talk.  or if he wanted to have my attention to mull something over he would say what he wanted to say and we would ride in quiet processing everything.  once we got to the gas station we would turn around and go get blizzards and everything was forgiven and forgotten and processed.  i thought ice cream healed all…but the older i get the more i think that it was the drive that healed.

when i realized i couldn’t get to pancake because all my options were gone i headed home.  as i was driving home i saw lightning and black skies and i was headed right for it.  i was driving into the storm.  i couldn’t help but think that life was completely like that having to “drive into the storm to go home”.  i couldn’t help but think of the times that i have known about a storm and could see it from the distance and driven straight into it.  confrontations with friends that i knew had the potential to turn out horribly but they had to happen.  conflict with different people at different jobs.  fights with andy or my parents or brother.  situations that the skies were so black and hopeless but i had no choice because i had to get through them to get home and to a resolution.  when we have no choice and we see the lightning and hear the thunder and know that things are going to get messy we have to drive on and we do…we go through the storms and end up at home – sometimes a little battered and bruised and sometimes our homes aren’t as stable or sturdy as they were…but our foundation is strong and we make it.

misc 013 misc 014misc 015

when i got home.  i had battled rising waters and thunder and a spectacular display of lightning and a spastic dog.  i dealt with my failure that pancake wasn’t getting treats from me before bed.  i struggled with wrapping up my disjointed racing thoughts about driving and storms, hopes and dreams and failures, memories and life in general.  physically i was exhausted from a long day and mentally from processing so many thoughts and memories in such a short time.  i pulled the shivering dog out of the car and unlocked the door.  before i stepped over the threshold i looked at the sky.  the blackness was breaking up and the clouds were moving on except for one…

misc 005

i laughed and thought how fitting that i drove straight into dark weather and made it home through the storm and waiting for me was a cloud with a silver lining…

(some of us are just going through figurative storms but remember those who are dealing with literal storms in moore, ok)

it never goes completely away

i’m not old (well if you ask the youth at church i am) but i’m really not old.  anyways i have learned in my short life that there are things that happen that you never really forget or that refuse to go away completely.  memories of those things sometimes fade but rarely do they just disappear regardless of how much pleading and wishing you do they remain a part of us.

my post yesterday was about leslie and her birthday.  i will be honest and say that when i found out she died i didn’t know how i was going to make it through the rest of  high school and to continue with that honesty i didn’t know if i wanted to finish high school without her.  but i pressed on.  my memories of her are fading.  i remember that we would meet before classes and during lunch, but those memories are lumped all together into one big blur.  but there are memories that are so vivid i can close my eyes and believe that they happened a few minutes before.  like the week she died.  i remember all of that week and her funeral.  i remember when we went to the beach together.  i remember prom promise.  i remember my birthdays with her.  those memories will never fade (i wish some of the sadder ones would fade a touch so it wasn’t a dagger in my heart each time) but they remain.  i am glad those memories will never leave me.  i am glad that i can remember her with our friends from high school and that i can still see her smile and see her rolling her eyes at me.  and those memories are what i cling to when i miss her the most.  sometimes they hurt but it is us – me and her and our story.

there are other things in life that don’t completely go away.  me and andy play the”what if” game a lot (ok well i force andy to play with me).  we talk about what if he stayed at western, what if i went away to college, what if we told each other earlier that we liked each other, what if we moved as soon as we got married, what if…there are things we talk about in our what ifs that haven’t completely gone away…missed chances in our relationship as friends and as significant others but we know that those things are there and they won’t completely go away.  there is nothing we can do to un-do the past but that is ok.  those things that happened or didn’t happen have shaped our relationship to what it is today and the love that we share.

memories are fading of lies i have told people, friends i have lost (to death and to changing lives), things that i once thought were important, places i wanted to be and go.  and while these things fade i know that all it will take is the sound of a song or the smell or a flower that will bring those memories back to me and send me into a fit of “what if”  and i will silently think to my self what could have been and then the thought will flutter to the back of my mind where it will stay until the next time for they never really completely go away.

bitterness party of 1

ok wow look at me 2 post in one day…but this isn’t a good post this is a post that i need to vent and why not write (since this might be a new thing for me).

right at 5 (our time) andy’s phone rang and it was little rock.  this was one of those phone calls that he had to wait on (he got an e-mail to expect the call) so  all day we have both been praying like crazy and our minds have been going crazy with what happens next.  well, the call came and it wasn’t good news.  i mean i guess in a way it was good news because that means that we can fully decorate for Christmas (we are still deciding if we are going to do a big tree or a little tree) that makes me happy.  it also makes me happy that we won’t be leaving and trying to move over the holiday.  it makes me happy that maybe we can find something a little closer to our families.  it makes me happy that we got to fly together and see part of the states that we haven’t seen together.  and it makes me happy that we were able to go through this together with little bickering and a lot of love and support.  it makes me sad and mad also.  it makes me sad because we have to stay in our current situation which doesn’t make us feel warm and fuzzy.  it makes me sad because we don’t get to buy a new house right away and we don’t get to “move” together (with a moving truck and everything).  it makes me sad because i know that the church was really cool and the people seemed really nice while we were there.  it makes me mad that they said no.  it makes me mad because i know that andy could have done a great job and that he was qualified to do the job.  it makes me mad that we flew all the way there and gave up a weekend (my mom’s birthday weekend) to go there and spend time apart instead of taking an “us” vacation.  it makes me mad because we have to start back at square one.  it makes me mad because i feel like we were led on.  but when i sit back and think about it we did pray that if it wasn’t right that it wouldn’t work.  and we prayed that it would be clear if we were meant to be there and obviously we weren’t.  with the rollarcoaster of emotions that we are both feeling right now we know that we are in this together and that there are possibilities out there and that the right thing will happen.  we know that we love each other very much no matter what happens.  andy is my hero and i am constantly amazed with his strength and love and passion in all that he does in life.  we will close this door and not dwell on it and not let it ruin our holiday season or dictate who we become.  we will let it shape us and we will move on.  in my honest humble opinion little rock is missing out (but we still pray that they find the right fit for them).

side note on friends

over many years i have heard a lot of definitions about what a true friend is.  i have seen a lot of examples of good friends and not so good friends. 

 it has been my experience that a true friend is one that you can sit down with at dinner after 6 months and just pick back up right where you left off. 

those true friends are a gift from God.