Looking Deep Inside….

Recently, I saw a man I had a great deal of respect for laying in a casket. His time here is over. Now, I am a firm believer that respect is earned, it not automatically given. Much like trust and loyalty, I hold this in high regard so if I respect, trust and am loyal to you, you have to be something special.

I have been very quite over the past week. I have been deep in thought and taking some time for introspection through this process. What am I doing with my life? If I die today, was my life worth living?

I have decided that some changes need to take place. Very few noticed that  I haven’t been talking as much. So if no one misses what you have to say, it really must not matter, so stop talking. If anyone wants to know what you are thinking, they will ask at some point, then I will talk until , just say nothing. If you implode, maybe they will realize that what you said mattered.

I am going to stop promoting a business that is not working for me right now. I will not bore people with what I am working on, I will continue working but once again in silence. I will only share it with those who care about it, not the public.  When you feel like you have little support, you do it for yourself not for others. You make what you like. You enjoy what you are doing even if no one stands and applauds. That is passion.

I am going to make the most of the days I have remaining. As I heard two days ago, we are all one step away from death. Do I want to spend the rest of my time chasing dreams that may not happen or am I going to do those things that stir my soul? I would rather stir my soul. If people like it cool, if not, that’s okay too.

I want passion, fun, life. I don’t want to spend all my time worrying about what I am doing wrong. I don’t want to try to measure up to what others think I should be, being the perfect daughter, sister, aunt, employee whatever…. I will never be the perfect anything. I promised myself a long time ago, no regrets, I don’t intend to have any. I will use the words “I love you” more. I will follow my passions. I will not allow myself to settle. I will be happy with who I am, what I look like at any given moment, what I love to do and who I want to be with. It is my life and I want to live every moment of it. I like the rush I get from trying new things. I like it when I am busy and my mind is racing a hundred miles a minute on something creative or constructive. I love that feeling. It is like jumping out of an airplane and free falling.

I want to live every moment, not just exist because, some day, someone will be standing over me and reminding people that this is coming to all of us some day.

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Six Years…

It has been 6 years. 2,190 days, 52,560 hours, 3,153,600 minutes, 189,216,000 seconds. That is how long it has been since my world changed.

I remember walking into my house after he had to leave me. The transition had happened. He was out of pain. I was in pain.

My mom was with me. My best friend was the first one to show up. I sat on the sofa holding my little dog. It was more his dog than mine. They were there all day together while I worked until he went in the nursing home then most of my time was I there.

I sat there as people wandered through my house. I felt nothing. I watched as they carried food into my house and they sat and talked and honestly, I didn’t hear a sound.

As night fell, I began to pray. I was praying to make it through that first night, just one night was all I prayed for. I laid in the bed that we had slept in together and I cried. I laid there for some time. I remember when I woke up and saw the sun, I said I made it through the first time. I was going to be okay.

I couldn’t go back in my house and I walked off 135 pounds just walking to kill time so I didn’t have to go home to an empty house. Just something to do became therapy, which became a habit, which made me feel better mentally, physically and spiritually.

He had made me promise him that I would be alright and on the days and months that followed when I wanted to give up, I reminded myself of that promise.

When it got unbearable, I decided to end my own life. I knew how I was going to do it, I had a plan. Nobody would have thought anything except that I had grieved myself to death.

On the same day I was going to do it, I was sitting in my chair and I got  a response from a post on facebook that said “I feel ya but that first part isn’t right.” I asked the person to explain themselves. The response “I personally think you are hot and gorgeous”. I remember screaming all over the house. A friend of mine thought that I was hot and gorgeous. Me. Nooooo….. but at that point, I had a reason to want to live again. This man was gorgeous. He was sexy as hell and he thought I was hot and gorgeous?!?!?

I had been flattered by men since my husband had died but this one was different. I had sparked to him the first time I had met him. There was something more to him. Something of quality. Something worth me getting to know him better. That was five years ago. We have been through a great deal together. I have fallen in love for the second time after I thought I wanted to die. He became my person. That person I want to share everything (and I do mean everything) with.

If anyone had ever told me that I would fall in love again, I would have slapped them. If they had told me how deeply I would fall in love the second time, I would have laughed. Yet, here I am.

For the second time in my life, I am in love with a good, honorable man. A man who cares for me. A man who treats me with love and respect. A man who treats me an equal, he doesn’t talk down to me because I am a woman.

Does he still think I am hot and gorgeous? I can’t answer that . Only he knows the answer to that. I hope he does. In my mind I wonder. I am not 20 and skinny. I am not a model. He sees his share of those. I am not the kind of woman men trip over themselves to get to know although, sometimes people tell me I get a second look from time to time. It would be nice to hear it from him from time to time,  that he still thought that.

Life has changed for me a great deal in 6 years, 2190 days, 52,560 hours, 3,153,600 minutes, 189,216,000 seconds. At times it seems like a lifetime and at times it seems like it just happened.

I had one love and we honored those vows to the very end.  I have just found a new way of living and a new way of loving. the heart can mend and it can love again if given enough time and patience.

 

I Will Always Love You….

My girls (my great nieces) are growing up so very fast, the oldest one just turned 13 in May. An actual teenager in Earth years but she has one of those old souls.

She is so wise for her age, wiser than me some days, as she proved to me today as we had a conversation driving up the road.

We were doing a photo shoot for her new CD. Everybody’s first response is that she is beautiful. She is, no doubt about it; she is gorgeous. She is also, smart, talented, funny, goofy, wise beyond her years, a loving person who wants to see good in everyone. She is strong in her faith. She will not do anything she finds distasteful. She is focused. She is driven. She will not put her name on something she is not proud of. She is so much more than what people see.

They simply do not know her like I do. She always tells her other sisters that I love her more because I have loved her longer. I love them all, in different ways. They are all so very unique. They all have their strengths and very singular personalities. I give them the attention each needs. It’s just that right now the focus is on the older one getting her CD done.

We were alone on one of my favorite crooked country roads. It is the second round of photos for the project.  Her parents leaving her in my care,  had left us  to do what we do because they had to take care of some other things. We were fighting for time, there was a thunderstorm not so far away.

We did the shots and as always, I had music playing from an old cell phone. The song “Forever Country”, which is a mashup of some classic country songs sang by some of the greatest voices from the past and the present,  came on. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9gAXwYZtfk

We were looking at the shots we had just taken, she has to proof each of them. As we stood there flipping through pictures, we began singing along with the song. At the end of the song the last song they blend in is “I Will Always Love You” came on. As they began to sing that part, she laid her head over on my shoulder and sang to me.

Of course, I cried. In that moment, I knew that I was loved as deeply and as innocently as anyone could ever be. She wanted nothing but to in her way tell me she loves me. She does all the time but that time was a little more special than all the times before. No one saw it, no one was supposed. It was a moment but one that I will hold in my heart forever.

Humbled….

When I came into work, I was kind of down. That is okay it happens. It was one of those really busy nights. That too is okay. Made the night go by faster.

Always when I am down, something happens to allow me to see the greater good in life. Tonight was no exception.

There was a man under a bridge at an odd time of night. When someone stopped and spoke to him he said he had left a certain city  and was going to a certain city. I don’t want to pinpoint so I won’t name the cities.

He said that his girlfriend was sick. He was trying to get to her. The only mode of transport he had was a bicycle and he had spent all his money to buy an inner tube for his bicycle.

His total trip is going to be 161 miles. He has ridden 75 of those miles, partway was mountainous terrain. He was give a ride to our office. He was given food and slept in our lobby.

I thought about what I had seen this night.

A man who loves a woman so much he will ride 161 miles to be with her when she needs him. Real love does still exist.

Another man who went out of his way to make sure the first man was not cold and hungry. Charity does still exist.

I sat here and I prayed for this man as he continues his journey. The woman he is trying to get to as she lays sick, I don’t know who she is but I prayed for her as well. Faith does still exist.

When you think about, the little things we worry about are just that, little things. It’s those big things that this man is facing that are the big things and after speaking with him, he is determined to reach this woman he loves.

That is a big thing, in and of itself.

And Then Came The Crash….

It has been a hard couple of weeks. Worked an extra shift, switched my schedule to photograph a wedding that cancelled my services 12 hours before I was supposed to be there, had a big to do at work, followed by working 3 straight 12 hour shifts when I should have worked two.

I am not whining (okay maybe a little) but that is much better than I felt earlier today.

Let’s go back to yesterday….. Zigzag lines inserted here.

We were honored publicly at work by our community, which is cool, unless you are introverted and the low chick on the totem pole.

We were standing inside and everyone was talking about this person being there for them and that person being there for them. I kept silent. I was asked if anyone was going to be there for me. Nope. Nobody. Nada. Zipola.

Not that I didn’t know pretty much everyone there. Some I was glad to see, some I could have done without; but none of them were there for me.

We were in the middle of a large group of people, with our backs to them. You wondered what was going on behind you. My guys all had to leave because the job still goes on no matter what.

When it was over, I wandered around alone killing a couple hours before going on shift. This is when I felt the crash coming on. I knew it was coming. I was exhausted. Hell, if everything goes well, I will be 49 in two days. I have to work but hopefully I will be around to do so.

 I thought about a couple of guys that I went to school with that had passed away in two weeks. I cried for their families.

One had been sick for a while. The other was sudden. They will not see another birthday.

I have not seen my people in a week. Well, my best friend I saw on Tuesday but to have contact with my person, my folks, my girls, it has been a week.

Although I test an introvert, I am more of an ambivert so I need that social interaction with those I love. I hinted a couple times that I wanted to spend time, only to be shot down.

To quote Kid Rock, I ain’t seen the sunshine in three damn days.

I have not been taking care of myself physically, I have been sleeping but not resting. I have been eating one meal in 24 hours. I have been having kidney issues from a trip I had to take for work and couldn’t use the bathroom for 6 hours. Not good for someone with kidney stones.

My job is both mentally and emotionally draining so some calls you sleep with, even though you don’t want to. I went to sleep today with my door unlocked and the keys hanging in the door. That is exhausted.

Today when I woke up, I cried til I thought there was nothing left. My sister texted me and wanted to know if I wanted to come to her house and pick up my birthday present since they were going to be out of town on Monday.

I didn’t answer immediately. So she sent me a facebook message. Okay, drag yourself out of bed. Make your body move whether you want to or not. You need food it has been 15 hours since you ate. So I go over, I walked into her house, listen to her talk to someone on the phone for 15 minutes while it sit there with my arms crossed across my body telling her I am practicing for my funeral.

Then the six year old showed up. We listened to music, we swung on the swing set, we took a walk and picked wild strawberries.

We had food, we played frisbee and of course it landed on the roof. With some help, she climbed the ladder and got it, proclaiming as she worked her way down the ladder that she wasn’t afraid of heights.

I  asked her at one point to tell me the secret of life, somewhere along the way, I have lost it, if I ever knew it, so she told me a story about nice people who live in the woods.

When I got ready to leave, I told them to have fun at the beach. She told me she would bring me back a seashell for my birthday but she WOULD NOT tell me what color.

I came back home and went back to bed. I slept another 6 hours. In less that 20 hours, I have slept 16. I know a change is going to have to happen.

I feel like I am letting everyone down. I feel alone and isolated. This is not good for my mental health.

For now, night shift brain has kick in. It is the middle of the night. I am wide awake and the person I love is sleeping (I guess) so I sit here and I cry.

The crash finally came.

I’ll Always Be That Girl….

I’ll always be that girl that when she flirts, she does it awkwardly.

I will always be the girl with the loud laugh.

I will always be the girl who will say she is sorry when she feels uncomfortable. Until tonight I tried to flirt, I botched it up, I said I’m sorry then I said No I’m not. I’m not sorry.

I will always be that girl who has dreams big as the sky.

I will always be that girl and who will work tirelessly to meet those dreams. She will never give up on them.

I will always be that girl who is in competition with herself and the reflection in the mirror. So busy with being better than she was yesterday to worry about if someone is doing it better.

I am that girl full of fire, passion and curiosity who will never let anyone see that part of her.

I am that girl who loves deeply and beyond measure and is not ashamed of that fact. If you are my person, my family or my friend, I will love you with everything I have.

I will always be that girl who wonders if she measures up  in his eyes. He sees much more beautiful women than she (she feels like she is just vanilla, average).

I will always be that girl who know  her fears, her dreams, her hopes, her passions. I will always be that girl that never stops trying.

A True Love Story…

He was born in a blizzard. They had to plow in to get his mother to the hospital. His father drove the truck that cleared the path to the place where his son would be born.

That son would only have his father for nine years. Then death would rob this child of that same father.

He would grow up an only child, who lived with his mother and his elderly grandparents. His mother had to survive on the slightest of funds because she was legally blind. He never had the finest of luxury as a child. He did however have the most important things; love and support.

As a child, he was sickly. He would play radio station on his front porch and as an adult, he made his living in radio and in emergency communications. People who did not know his face, knew him by his voice.  He was THE voice of the area.

As a teen, he was lonely and unsure as most of us were at that age. He worked and he went home. He never dated.

He was quiet and shy. He said what he meant and he meant what he said.

Then one day in a local grocery store, he met a young woman. She had just left church. She was wearing a pink floral jacket, a pink skirt, a white blouse, white shoes and starfish earrings; at least he told her that later, and in that moment, he knew that was the woman he was going to marry.

He never said anything to her that day. She would meet him in passing on a regular basis. They would talk but she never thought anything of it. He never let on that there was any interest on his part.

She didn’t realize at the time but he was courting her, pursuing her, waiting for the right time to make his move. She was dating someone who was treating her, well not the best. She was being cheated on, lied to and mistreated. She knew that there had to be someone better out there but because she was made to feel ugly, she stayed.

When she finally had enough and overcame those thoughts being planted in her head, she broke up with the person who called her fat all the time.

The funny thing is she got flowers from both of them the same day. One she was leaving and the other was waiting to sweep her up and begin to try to heal those wounds.

For a year, on every special occasion, she got flowers. If she was sick, flowers were sent to the place where her mother worked. Her mother called the florist and asked about it and she was told not to worry, that it was someone who would love this girl and would never hurt her.

He would show up at her church and her brother in law would poke her in the back and say “there’s your boyfriend”. She would just blow it off. She figured if he was interested in her, he would just say it.

Finally one day, she got brave and sent him a balloon, just on the hunch from a friend.

She waited after she sent the balloon and with in hours, she got 3 red roses with a note that said “Have to be out of town, will be in touch when I return”.

Three days later, he called and asked her out for the next weekend. She said yes.

On their first date, they shook hands.

On their third date, he kissed her.

On the side of a mountain, he told her he was in love with her.

On her birthday, her presented her a heart shaped diamond served on her favorite dessert. In front of the entire serving crew, he asked her to be his. She of course said Yes.

In that same little white church, they said I do. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health, til death do they part. He was 32, she 24.

They settled into a very ordinary life. It wasn’t one of great adventure. It was more of comfort. They worked hard and honestly, loved harder.

They never were given the gift of being parents.

They never really got out of the honeymoon phase because they only had each other.

For eight years, things sailed along smoothly, then sickness crept in. First his back, then his heart, a diabetic ulcer and finally cancer.

Over ten years, she slipped from his wife to his caregiver. She never once regretted it. She never once gave a second thought to being his voice, his feet, his hands, whatever he needed. She was there to supply it.

Many times, he apologized to her for being sick. Knowing that their relationship had changed. He once told her that if she needed her womanly needs met in a way he couldn’t meet, she could go and have those needs met with his blessing. She told him that she loved him and that was not how things were done when you truly, madly, deeply loved someone.

She was by his side when they told him that the cancer was there. She was by his side when they told him that it had spread. She was there when they said there was nothing more they could do. She made the doctor tell him as she explained that their time together would be short.

She was there when he couldn’t feed himself anymore. She was there when hospice came in and asked her to let them stay with him and she left only 30 minutes per day. She was there when that next breath never came.

She was there when the filled church paid respect to the man she loved. She walked from that church numb. She couldn’t let anyone see her cry. She cried a plenty but not in front of anyone. Her heart had been ripped out and thrown into a six foot hole.

She was there for that first night alone, when she prayed for the sun to shine, she knew she would be fine if she just made it through that night.

That was almost 6 years ago.

She was there today at the cemetery. Today would be his 57th birthday. She took him flowers this time. It was all she could do.

She has learned to live again. She has a new normal. She is learning who she is. She has learned to love again.

She knows that she was loved, completely, once in her life and honestly, some people never get that, they look for love everywhere and they never get to experience what they knew.

You see, I know their story very well, for that she is me.