Tomorrow Ben would turn three. I've realized for those who have lost loved ones...the pain…
Hello friends, I can't believe its been over a month since my last post! This has been for several reasons, including (1) it was our first holiday season without Ben and it was tough to know what to say, (2) this past month has been the first time since Ben passed away that we could finally rest in peace as a family, grieve and start to heal together, and (3) apparently, according to my youngest daughter, R, I have become a hermit and true introvert! The girls and I were sitting in my bedroom reading together, as we often do late at night these days, and R looked up from her book and simply states "You know, mom, you could never be on Ninja Warrior!" I look up laughing, "Why?" She responds with giggles, flexing her biceps, "Because you aren't tough enough! All you do anymore is read, read more and write." Pretending to be offended, "Thanks a lot! But, you know, strength comes in many different shapes and sizes." Granted, I've lost a lot of weight since Ben died, but this is the fittest I've been in eight years -- I'm even back to running again. But, I understood her viewpoint, since I've retreated into myself a bit, reading, writing, existing solely with my family. Movie/Wii nights, nighttime snuggles with the girls, long walks with the family, including our blessed gift from God - Harley, our golden retriever pup, who was bred to be a therapy dog.
November ushered in one of the most trying months of my life - it was the month that solidified that the "me" in my core, which I so desperately needed to be, had been long lost and urgently needed to be found. It was a month which taught me that life can bring complete destruction in ways, so you have to be able to find strength, alone at times, solely within yourself. God, peace, a place of complete stillness. When all else seems to fall away, you will always have your core strength. Sometimes this mission entails a self-imposed seclusion, so the spirit and body can heal, grow and find a path forward.
This brings me back to the weekend that I landed with the girls in Colorado on Saturday, November 8th, which was neither our first nor last big Leap of Faith. Boulder will forever hold a special place in my heart. It welcomed us with open arms - majestic mountains and trails, where we hiked to flesh out all of our worries, fears and heartaches that next Sunday, and a fresh snow on Monday, marking the beginning of a new period of purity and grace for us all. Our lease in a town further south wasn't supposed to start for another week, so we couldn't move into our new home until Wednesday at the earliest. So, in the aftermath of our quick flight out, which was expedited by one week, I had decided to take the girls for a long weekend road trip to Boulder, a town I'd heard about in my college running years but never visited.
We sat huddled together in Panera on that cold Colorado Sunday after our arrival. We were all ecstatic to be starting our new " family adventure" (as we'd named it during our family-focused October discussions about whether we wanted to move for a fresh start or remain in Connecticut, weighing the pros and cons). The girls were sifting through their new Pokemon cards, trying to explain the game to this "mom of an older generation," who doesn't at all understand the Pokemon craze.
"Mom, do you want some of my cards?" my oldest daughter asked.
"Will they give me special powers?!" I inquired, a rush of child-like excitement pulsating through my body. Can I be a child again, and believe in special powers and magic shields?
"Oh, yes mom, they will!" she exclaimed.
I'm going to need many super powers to get through this next month, I thought. So, I began picking out the coolest-looking cards I could find. I should have used a criteria other than graphics and color, since I ended up with cards such as "Rhyhorn," strong, but not too bright, this Pokemon can shatter even a skyscraper with its charging Tackles. However, I trusted my trainer, "Shauna," could whip them into shape.
I still carry those Pokemon cards in my purse. As I looked at my girls across the table, in our new home state, away from more trauma that I had learned two days earlier was brewing, I breathed a sigh of relief, You are safe. They sensed, however, that mom would need some extra strength to make it through (and I knew they were right, having already thought through what would ensue the next weekday), so these cards were a special gift shared between mother and daughters.
I look forward to sharing more about our holidays in my next few posts, since parsing it out will take a bit of time and thought. In summary though, since its been so long, we are doing well. The month of December ushered in our first real month of healing, so I feel like we squeezed five months of healing into one month. Yes, there were rough days during the holidays (hence, my hesitancy to post during a season of joy), but many more good days. And, that's the direction in which we need to be moving - toward the good days outweighing the bad.
Though belated, I hope everyone had a wonderful, peaceful holiday season. God bless -