“Stay in the manure as long as you fricken need to. Anyone who thinks that grief looks pretty and can be tied up in a little box and is linear hasn’t been through it. Grief is messy and unpredictable and non-linear. It’s really good one day and like hell the next day. There is nothing you need to do.”
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
As long as I fricken need to...
I received a voicemail a few days ago which in addition to the multitude of other saved messages I have from you people I treasure deeply. This one I transcribed; these words I needed to hear and to remember. Thank you Anne Gillespie for saying:
As long as I fricken need to... What I want to tell you today is that I just want to go home. I really really do. I just want to go to my home. That home. The one that is lost forever and now is being scraped away. That’s what I want. I want this experiment to be over and things to go back to “normal”. I want my bed, my sheets, my creaky staircase, and my infestation of stinkbugs in the bedroom. I want my leopard chairs, my silver spoons that are the perfect size for a serving of agave in my coffee. I want my beautiful stove, my claw foot tub. I want my windows. I want my meditation loft and my purple office. I want to sit in there and contemplate the world and my life and think about how lucky I am to live in such a place. That’s what I want.
Bargaining, you say? Is that the stage I am in? As I expected, I cycle through the stages. Certainly has felt a lot like the “Depression stage” especially at the end of the day when I am tired. Just how many nights can one not sleep well and still expect to function? Yes, my sleep is getting better. No problems falling asleep most of the time – the wakeup hour seems to be getting little later. Didn’t get out of bed until 6am today. My doctor offered to give me something for sleep. I declined. I don’t want chemicals to fog up my already foggy mind. Sobriety gets in the way sometimes… Actually, I am grateful for my sobriety. If I weren’t sober, I cannot even imagine how horribly disastrous this whole thing would be. My program and my peeps there carry me. You all carry me.
As I said in the beginning the “one day at a time” motto gets me through. So many tasks lead to other tasks which lead to other tasks which… So I gently bring myself back to what is in front of me right now. What needs to be done now? Yesterday, I finally scheduled my author coaching groups through the end of their sessions. This small task took me weeks to do. For some reason, it completely dumbfounded me. Running people’s credit cards for payment was daunting. I did that yesterday as well. Taxes? OMG, that is too much right now. Thank God for the extension. I can’t even remember all the forms and receipts we are missing from charitable contributions and independent contracting.
We are now in the short count down to moving out of here. 3 more days and we go to the trailer. I love that trailer – and it will take getting used to. We are still figuring out power, Internet, water and sewer needs. And, we are still planning on bringing her down to our land. I am going to attempt to stop calling it the “site” as dear Lynnie pointed out. “Our land” is a much more loving and nurturing description than “the site”. Thanks Lynn – for so much more than that too.
Lynn and Laurie gave us their house for 6 weeks. We have been living in this glorious, peaceful and huge space for most of this time – and it’s been extraordinary. As much as one can settle in someone else’s space, we have settled. We now know which light switch does what, I finally know how to turn off the burner (DON’T ask…), I have gotten used to the mattress, I LOVE the shower. The generosity of the McHeffey’s is mind blowing. You McHeffey people made a monumental transition much much easier. Thank you forever from the bottom of my heart.
My dear friend Susan will arrive in a few hours. Talk about a solid friend! Susan was the first real friendship I had in Conifer, maybe even in Colorado. Shortly after David and I moved to the mountains in 1999 when I was a brand new Realtor (I know, can you believe it?), I saw her beautiful face for the first time. She and I were rookies, attending training together and bonded quickly. I knew I had found gold when we she and I threw a party for another co-worker. I was running late coming home (big surprise) and Susan said she would go over to my house and vacuum and get things ready. She also opened my frig without asking and answered my phone for me. I fell in love with her immediately. Her level of assurance and was refreshing. Only the most comfortable of friends would do that. So today, she will calmly help me sort my piles and my moods. Thank you Susan, I adore you.
Yesterday, I received a gift from a high school friend who has been a constant presence and support since the event (Thank you Facebook). She sent a fuzzy blanket from Pottery Barn with a sweet note: “Something for Kristen & David to help you feel cozy and snuggly! Thinking of you from Florida. xoxo Jennifer, Keith and Bella” Soooo nice. Jennifer and I barely kept in touch over the years, only seeing each other at reunions and sending a few notes on Facebook. And, now she has shown up for me big time. I am eternally grateful to you Jennifer.
Another childhood friend sent a very large check yesterday. I can barely be with that… We have determined to say “YES!” but sometimes the generosity is overwhelming. I am learning many lessons in receiving for sure.
Instead of holding our typical women’s group meeting where everyone gets to share and be heard, my friends rallied behind an edgy & wild photo shoot on Sunday. A gorgeous picture Dusty found of a woman wearing a fabulous dress in a burned out forest inspired us. To say goodbye to the foundation which is being ripped out as I write, I frocked up courtesy of another great act of generosity – a donated dress by Haley’s Closet in Conifer. Lainie painted my eyes smoky. Jessica was the photog extraordinaire taking a mere 600 pictures. My ladies found cool spots, posed me, carried my shoes, wiped my tears and shed their own. Big huge love to Jessica, Dusty, Susan, Lainie and Sheila.
My friends know that I have always been a proponent of “allowing all of it”, and now they continuously remind me to allow the same for myself. Anne’s words above came at the right time. My continual exploration in this process is to be where I am and not make it wrong. Would we scream at the land and say, “hurry up and heal”? Well maybe, in our sorrow. But would we truly expect it? My land is scorched, the trees blackened, the earth parched. You can’t walk across it without getting covered in ash and soot. Can I tell it to clean itself up NOW? And, then there is the proverbial butterfly in its cocoon beginning as larvae. I must remember, if you cut me open too early, I will not be ready. I will be unformed mush and I will perish. How about, I heal at the pace of the land.
I will take my time. I will celebrate the darkness of life. And, I will experience others pain who are not so fortunate to have such supportive people surrounding them – those who are alone in their angst, who have had great losses, who still ache and wail. I will honor my process for them too.
I am not interested in making myself be other than where I am. This could be the greatest lesson of this whole thing. Yes, I taught that, wrote about it, spoke about it – yet I was still my own worst critic (as I know we all are). Now, I am being forced to remember my teachings. There is beauty in darkness. Our culture wants to hurry through grief and wrap it up in a neat package. We have the tools; we have the technology so we think we should be somewhere other than where we are. Fine for you if you can move through things that quickly. I choose not to. I choose to see the beauty in the world – and I choose to experience the horror. I choose to allow my dogs love to fill me up – and I allow my loss to empty me out. I choose all of this for as long as I fricken need to.