Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Story

*****Picture credit Bits of Truth

Recently, an old friend from college days emailed me and suggested that maybe I didn't appreciate what I had in my life. This wasn't a random email. We have been emailing back and forth and this is completely out of context. But it got me thinking. I have just finished reading I Am Malala. Certainly, I don't appreciate being able to turn on the faucet and get fresh water. I don't appreciate medical care available to me, or grocery stores or cars or schools. I take them all for granted. But my friend came down a little hard on me.
We've been out of touch for 22 years and he has no idea what has transpired in those years. Most people that know me don't know. In fact, there are only 4 people that know. Five if you count the one that's dead. But I don't.

It did get me thinking though about how judgmental we are of each other when we think our own stories are so much worse than the other person's. How do we know. And why is any one person's story worse than another's. Is it a competition? "Hey my childhood was worse than yours so I get to ...." What? Be more judgmental as an adult? Have a worse life as an adult? Fail as an adult? The truth is, we all experience things differently and one person's worst day might be mild to another. A bad day is a bad day, it doesn't matter what happened or to what degree. When someone shares, "I had a crap day," listen to them.

It's like pain. We don't all react to physical pain in the same way. I have one son that would want to go to the hospital for a splinter when he was young. The other son could have a toe nail hanging off and be bleeding through the house and not even know he was hurt. It's the same with trauma, painful things we have endured, trials by fire. We need to have more compassion for each other. What do we get out of judging each other?
Does it make you feel good? Not me. The next time you want to tell someone your story when they are sharing theirs, STOP. Listen to them. Just listen to what they are saying. They don't want you to solve their story. They just want to be heard. Don't judge. Don't share. Just listen. And when they are done with their story, if you can think of nothing else to say, tell them, "I hear what you're saying." Be a listener for a while and you'll be amazed at what you learn.

So my story? Stop. Listen. I'm sure you can hear it in the words I don't say.

Practice listening and compassion. I hear you. I care. It's what we all want to know. That we are not alone.

Friday, December 27, 2013

You Cannot Be Replaced


There was a time, when I didn't care if I saw another day.
I didn't believe anyone would miss me.
I thought my presence was worse than my absence.
Depression works that way.
It isn't rational.
It doesn't listen to people who tell you all you have to live for.
It doesn't care if you had plans.
It just doesn't care and it makes you not care.
Depression is like a heavy blanket on your brain.
You can't think through it.
Your brain can't function through it.
You can't see through it.
You can't feel through it.
You can't.
That's what Depression tells you.
You can't.
You aren't.
You won't.
You don't.
You are not alone.
There is a community of us.
You Cannot Be Replaced.
And when you think of it like that, that kicks Depression's Ass!
You Cannot Be Replaced.
You Cannot Be Replaced.
You Cannot Be Replaced.
That's bigger than the Black Dog.
Bigger than the blanket.
It's bigger than you and me.
It's something to hang onto when all the light is gone.
You cannot be replaced.
Remember....and be a survivor.
There is no one like you
You cannot be replaced.

****Picture from To Write Love on Her Arms
National Suicide Prevention Week Campaign

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mama 11-23-13

Where am I? My husband was here right by my side just a minute ago. But my daughter says no.
"Mama, Daddy has been gone sixteen years." I thought he was here right by my side. Where am I?

Someone has gotten married. I don't know the couple. The music is loud. I want to go home.
"Mama, it's your oldest grandson. You remember him. It's his wedding." I know him but he doesn't look like the little boy I remember. I want to go home.

I am angry. It is night. I want to go home. I don't know these hands. I don't know this girl that rubs my back and calls me "Mom." Surely my girls are younger. Where is my husband? He was just right here.

Where am I again? Do I need to pay for something? Do I need to be somewhere? Do I need to change my clothes? Will someone drive me? Where is my husband? Who's hands are these? I want to go home.

There, there is my sister. She looks old. She will sit with me and I will understand. She will help me understand what I do not. But she just talks and I can't hear over the music. It is in my ears and through my mind and I am so dizzy. Where am I? Will someone take me home? I just want to go home.

My sister is gone. I am alone. I shut down. It is all I can do. I want to go home. I am lost here. This is not my home. I do not know any of these people. I just want to go home. Where is my husband? He said he would be here. Always.

Someone brings me more wine and I drink it. It gives me something to do. It does not help me feel better. Where is my husband? No, I am drinking something brown and fizzy through a straw. My daughter is here. She sits by me. She holds me while I cry. Why am I crying? I don't remember.
I want to go home but when she asks, I tell her no, I do not want to leave.

My grandson has not spoken to me. Neither has his bride. Or maybe they have and I don't remember. Where is my husband. He was just right here. I want to go home. I'm ready now. I want to go home. Will someone take me home. I think my husband is waiting for me there.

I don't know these hands in front of me. They are old and wrinkled. They are spotted with age and bruised. Who are these people sitting with me? Where is my husband? He was right here beside me. He said he would always be here. These are not my children. My children are young. They tell me my husband is dead. For sixteen years. But I would remember. I would know. Where am I? Where is my husband? I just want to go home.

The Wrist

Callum bent down and took her hand softly in his. They were so small and soft in his large, rough hands. Pale and warm, he felt like there was a fragile magic between them, like glass, and if he moved too sudden or too far, it would shatter and she would disappear. Slowly, oh so achingly slow, he turned her wrist over and rubbed his thumb, just one, on her wrist, the one with the writing on it. He tried to read the words, the letters so foreign yet familiar to him. Her breath caught as his thumb barely stroked them. Their eyes met. There was only this moment between them. A small thread, thin as a silken strand of hair pulled them closer. His other hand moved just as slowly, touching her cheek as delicately as if she were spun sugar and  he were rain. His thumb touched the corner of her lips and he watched mesmerized as her eye lids floated down, her face turning toward his hand. The quiet stillness between them was filled with question. With a moment of hesitation Callum bent to where his thumb was on her wrist and kissed it. The sigh from her lips was music to his soul. Something he had never heard, not expected. He wanted to continue up her arm to her lips, but this was a dance she led, he would follow. And so he continued to plant kisses on her wrist until she pulled him to her and kissed him, hesitantly, right where his thumb had caressed her lips. She opened her eyes. There was something undeniable in them. Callum wasn't the only one that felt the fragile bond between them.

"What does it say?" he asked as quietly and slowly as he could, hoping to keep the moment alive. She looked down at his thumb tracing the words written there. They were a painful reminder of her past. But it was the past.
"It says, 'you are not alone.'" He nodded as if he understood. And Callum did understand. Maybe not what the words meant to her personally, but how they could be significant to anyone.
"It's beautiful," he told her, meaning the tattoo.
"Yes, it is," she agreed meaning the sentiment.

The magic still held them and she leaned into him. His thumb left her face, and his arm encircled her, only gently pulling her to him. She was feather light, leaning against him. Her sigh again spoke to his soul and he could only just stay himself from robbing her lips of all he wanted. Instead, he lifted her face, and with the promise of the gentleness and restraint shown in all his touches, he breathed against her lips, a whisper, the wings of a butterfly, a soft breeze. A promise was made. "You are not alone."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tiffany Blue

Tiffany Blue

Don't give me boxes with rings and diamonds the color of Tiffany Blue.
No, let that be the color of the water we swim in together or the dress I wear when we dance as husband and wife.
Don't buy me sapphires or rubies or emerald greens all tied up in blue boxes.
No, let that be the color of the sky we see as we peek between palm branches. Let it be the color of the sheets we slide beneath as we wrap ourselves together.
Don't tie up trinkets with bows of white and priceless gems of gold and platinum.
No let that be the color of the walls of our house, the icing on the cake for our twentieth anniversary, the first blanket of our grandchild.
If it must be a box of Tiffany Blue, let it be when I am too old, too gray, too brittle to dance, to laugh, to sing. Fill it with our memories of all things Tiffany Blue.