Aware

via Daily Prompt: Aware

Today’s word of the day is: Aware. Awareness. It sounds like a good thing…to be aware of things but right now, I’m thinking it’s really close to the word beware, like, too close.

To be aware and present, to be mindful… it’s not all Buddhists and lotus flowers and Nirvana. It’s some of that…

It’s also pain. It’s suffering. It’s me, lying in my bed trying to curl up into a ball… becoming a tourniquet to prevent my heart from bleeding out onto the sheets. Who want’s to do THAT laundry? Not this girl.

I digress, I don’t want this to be a bummer post. I hadn’t realized how scary/upsetting my last post was but based on some feedback, it was bad and now I’m afraid to go back and look at what I wrote! I guess I was NOT very aware that day.

I am taking better care of myself. Taking meds when they are supposed to be taken, getting all of my insulin doses in, going to bed at a decent-ish time… I’ve even laid off of the Justice network, well, cut back considerably.

What about fun stuff? Glad you asked. I upgraded my phone… it was that time and I really surprised myself! I went with the iPhone (of course) 7. Plus.

omg

Seriously, I was as shocked as anybody.

For one thing, the phone is HUGE. I never thought it practical to have a phone so fucking big, it doesn’t fit into your pocket… well, it fits in my back pocket. I love the bigger screen. I’m sure I thought I could see fine on every other phone I’ve ever owned, but holy. shit. It’s so much easier to read and text (bigger keyboard)!

A cool feature I found are the “live tiles”. The wallpapers move. It works with photos too! I was taking pictures of the cats and I noticed when swiping between the pictures, I could actually SEE the cats turning their heads. It scared me at first. I thought maybe I was having  a dizzy spell… but I figured that couldn’t be it, know why? Because I’m taking care of myself! 😀 I showed Don, to make sure he saw it too. He did and told me to hold my finger down on the photo. I did and was blown away. I’m pretty sure I remember back before the phone was even released, Apple airing a commercial about the live photos but I didn’t really understand how it worked or why you’d want it. I still don’t know how it works, but it’s pretty freaking cool.

In addition to the phone, the sales girl was talking to me about headphones. Remember the number one drawback to the iPhone 7? No headphone jack. I don’t know what I was flipping out about. I should’ve figured Apple had my back. There is an adapter included. Crisis averted. In addition to the adapter, they’ve included their own set of earbuds with the appropriate connector for the 7 plus. For these reasons, I initially declined a second set of earbuds. Why I decided to do “this” when I had a time constraint is beyond me… oh yeah, I have a little bit of an impulsive side. So, honestly, this time crunch was working in T-Mobile’s favor and after hearing how much I’d “be saving because of the super low down payment” I conceded. Did I mention I had to be somewhere??? I wasn’t even really sure what all I’d done but I needed to leave.

“Can you sync these phones up for me?” I asked

“It’s in your Cloud” she said.

“Are you sure? I don’t exactly trust my Cloud…”

“It’s all there” she assured me.

“It’s just, I have pictures of my sister on this phone and she passed in May so I won’t get any more…”

“Ya know, let’s back it up just in case. Everything SHOULD be there but…”

“Thanks”

Since it was going to take awhile, she agreed to get everything set up for me. Case and screen protector on, earbuds sync’ed up etc. All I had to do was come pick it up when I was done with my group.

I signed (my life away, I’m sure) paperwork and flew outta there.

When I got home that night, Don wanted to know what all was in the bag. I wasn’t even entirely sure. I sat down and started to pull things out.

“What is this?” He said.

“Ear buds” I replied.

“These are Beats.  Beats by Dre.”

“So, if you know what they are, why are you asking me?”

“Do YOU know what these are?” he asked

“Ear buds”

“No. Well, yes but these are the top of the line. These are EXPENSIVE. Like, Natalie expensive.”

“Ok…”

“I’m just jealous is all.”

I take them from him and look them over. They were nice. Very nice. They are ear buds but you don’t have to wedge them into your ear holes. They perch just outside of the ear canal and hook over your ear so you don’t have to worry about them falling off. They are wireless. The sound AMAZING.

beats_by_dre_powerbeats_2_wireless_9

I kept turning the box over, looking for a price but there wasn’t one listed.

Well, I found the receipt today. Holy … Yeah, they’re Natalie expensive… and, I’m keeping them.

“Music is what feelings sound like”.

I didn’t really mean to turn this post into a plug for Apple or Dre but… it’s the majority of what I’ve been aware of lately.

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My Christmas Miracle…and Michael Jackson!

I expected this Christmas would be hard. Almost unbearable, even. But it’s just one day. I can make it through one more day, that’s what I told myself.

For some reason, I’d compartmentalized my grief to just Christmas day. I don’t know why I thought I’d be “fine” until Christmas day but it doesn’t really matter.

It started on the 19th. Monday. The seven month mark since Natalie’s passing. I went to sleep with a sense of dread that Sunday night and when I got up Monday morning… I felt broken.

I’m pretty sure I was late to work, it’s hard to drive while crying. I probably should have pulled over but I kept trying to talk myself into being okay. “It’s just another day” I told myself. I have work to do, I have things that need my attention and while I do honor my grief, now is not the time. I thought it was a fairly decent pep talk…

Pulled into the parking lot, tried to swallow past the lump in my throat and went inside.

I walked around back and saw dad standing there. I quickly fell apart. “Just breathe” he said as I buried my face in his sleeve and tried to stuff what emotion was overflowing back into this cracked chalice.

Later that night I called my mom. Everyone was having a horrible day. It’s because it’s the 19, I decided. Tomorrow would be better.

Ha! Nope. Tuesday was worse and Wednesday worse than that. The Christmas music, the decorations, the light displays, the gifts… she loved it all and I felt like I was dying.

Yep, holidays are hard but THIS? WTF was this? I had this image in my head of a cartoon Goofy. He was at the top of a mountain, skiing. He went downhill so fast… off a cliff, I think.

“EEEEEHHHHHOOOOOOOOWWWWWW”

Natalie and I loved that part! It was a cartoon. Goofy was, goofy and we didn’t have to see him lying lifeless in the snow after that surely fatal jump.

Monday was the top of the mountain and December 24th was the drop off. It just sped towards disaster.

I expected Christmas eve would be hard. I couldn’t really fathom the kind of hell that this has been. Each day took another hit, punch, kick, scratch, chunk out of me…

I slept most of Saturday day.

Saturday night, as we halfheartedly opened gifts with forced smiles, we all expected Nat to come barging in, as she did, arms full of gifts and eyes full of life.

I can see her as I write this. Arms outstretched, ready for embrace. An unconquerable spirit… Voice just as powerful as the day she was born…

Anyway.

Christmas day I felt like I’d been in a boxing match. And lost, badly. I didn’t want to do gifts again. I didn’t want to get out of bed again. I wanted to be Grinchy and left alone. My tooth hurt, my body ached, my spirit was fractured.

And I have a daughter. A daughter that was in part, named after Natalie.

So I dragged myself out of bed. Popped more Tylenol and cracked my last Mt. Dew.

“How about some music” Tayla asked.

“Sure”

I don’t know what station she had it on but it was music from the 1920’s. I gave her a thumbs up and she passed out the gifts.

After everything had been unwrapped and “ooohhhed” and “ahhhed” over… Tayla went to her room and immersed herself in her drawing.

She left her phone though. Her phone playing the 20’s music. I didn’t mind, I liked it but it quickly faded to the background of my consciousness as I turned my attention to other things.

I don’t remember my exact thoughts, only that they were about Natalie. WHERE was she? I still haven’t fully grasped the fact that she’s gone…

And that’s when it happened.

This station we’d been listening to, this old time-y radio station started playing The Jackson 5. Michael Jackson. Oh how she loved Michael! She even had a MJ DOLL. And what song was playing?

I’ll Be There

You and I must make a pact
We must bring salvation back
Where there is love, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll reach out my hand to you
I’ll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found you
I’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on (holdin’ on)
Yes I will, yes I will
Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, girl, is all I’m after
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to protect you (yeah baby)
With unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found you
I’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on
Ooh ooh ooh
Yes I will (holdin’ on, holdin’ on)
Yes I will
Don’t you know baby I’ll be there
I’ll be there I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Just look over your shoulders honey, ooh!
I’ll be there, I’ll be there,
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Don’t you know baby
I’ll be there, I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Oh oh oh oh I’ll be there, I’ll be there

“Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter”. That’s the message I keep getting. That’s the part of the song that caught my attention.

I started to cry out of happiness and sadness.

I’ve been thinking all along that I wasn’t going to make New Year’s resolutions but I’m starting to rethink that. Nothing major but maybe keeping a “joy journal” or a gratitude list… something to remind me that she wants me to be happy. She’s here and wants to help.

It feels like an insurmountable task but one that I must at least try.

Merry Christmas

6 Month Anniversary, part 2: Afterwards at Shar’s

I’d planned out the day. I knew Saturday was going to be tough. We had the service in the late morning and then I’d have some down time which I desperately need but couldn’t allow myself to have. Not Saturday. My plans to clean and write and read and journal… a mustard burp in the wind. (Where did THAT expression come from? I don’t think I’ve ever said that before in my life…) I couldn’t muster the strength or energy for anything but lying in bed and staring at the pictures of Natalie, uncle Jeff, grandma and grandpa- all next to the Noah doll. Hm, masochist much?

Thankfully I’d already made plans on Friday with Shar. We were going to watch the season finale of American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare and the premier of the “Killing Season”. Now you might wonder why I’d watch so much violence and gore… it takes a lot to take my mind off of Natalie and the horror of this reality. And, to be completely honest, I like to be scared. Reasonably, scared. Not like “hey, we just watched an hour and a half of a documentary on LISK (Long Island Serial Killer) are outside smoking and SOMEBODY, I’m not going to name name’s… friend’s brother… comes charging up the back step and scares the shit out of us!” God… Seriously, after that? I was afraid to go from her front door to my car. Then I had to drive IN THE DARK to get back home and get from the car to my apartment without  being hacked to death and thrown into the bushes for some golfer to find several months later… What? Of course the TV isn’t fueling my imagination… Pfffp.

Now during the show, there were a few crazy things that went on. The first being when we looked up the initials. A few days ago, Shar got on her computer and went to YouTube and Natalie’s account popped up. Now, they met a few times but I don’t think she ever showed up to Shar’s house. Even if she did, she certainly didn’t use her computer. How she was able to get there, I have no idea. There are 62 videos. Shar clicks on the first one. It came up with static and said “Sorry, this video is no longer available due to copyright infringement” with the initials UMG. They didn’t mean anything to me right off the bat. I asked my mom, she didn’t recognize them as anything significant but we all agreed Nat was/is trying to get a message across. I was talking to mom about it in the car, hung up and when I looked up, there was a car with the license plate UMG. Made a mental note to google it but forgot. Until Saturday night. Tons of stuff pops up when you google UMG. One of the first few though, take you to a website “Universal Music Group”. I’ve never heard of this company before. I don’t know if Natalie was in contact with them or wanted to be… Shar monkeyed around a bit on the site and clicked on something (related to Natalie, I don’t remember what) and was taken to the music video of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”.

After that, we go back to watching the show. A girl named Amber(?) was being interviewed and she said “I just want to know who killed my sister”. Then the tv froze. Shar had paused it and told me to took at the lamp in the corner of the room. I turned my head and saw this lampshade hula-hooping! Around and around it spun. I wasn’t doing that before. It wasn’t near a vent or heat register. It was perfectly still, like a lampshade should be. We just sat and watched it until it slowed and stopped. “It stared right when that girl said she wanted to know who killed her sister. Did you try to find out who sold Natalie the heroin?”

“Yeah, with NO help from her!”

Then I started shouting at the ceiling “You have to help me! All of the mediums we’ve been to tell us you refuse to let them know who is responsible! Meet me halfway.”

I go back to my carrots and Twizzlers, don’t judge me.

Finally, I get a text from Jess. She was checking in and wanted to know how I was doing. We talked a little bit but I wasn’t fully attentive as I was watching this A&E show. She tells me she keeps reliving it and having to call my dad and tell him.

This was something I didn’t know.

She told me about it and I didn’t think my heart could break into any more pieces but I guess- never underestimate the power of circumstance. It broke again. And again. And again.

We finish the show. I go home. I chat with Tayla for a bit and I am so exhausted, I am confident as soon as I lay down, I will fall asleep. No down time between the ears. Perfect. Until about 11:30 pm, then it all ganged up on me. The funeral home. The service. THE DAY IT HAPPENED. I’d so hoped I was over the screaming part of my grief… Nope. I woke up screaming and sobbing. I cried myself back to sleep only to repeat the process two more times.

Sunday sucked. Just walked around like a zombie, periodically bursting into tears with no apparent trigger. I just feel so fucking hollow. I never planned on losing Nat. That’s not the natural order of things. She and Justin… we’d all be together for a long time. That’s what’s supposed to happen, right? I know, “the cause of most people’s unhappiness is the picture of how it’s suppose to be” but this isn’t like I wanted to win an award or I wanted that person to do xyz…

Today, today doesn’t feel much better. And maybe it won’t until after Christmas. Or after New Year’s. Maybe it won’t ever happen. I don’t mean to be such a downer… I want to have hope and faith… She just loved the holidays SO MUCH… to not have her buoyancy, her charisma… it’s just tough.

End the Epidemic Expo- Recap

Oh shiitake mushrooms… (My way of saying I messed up on Sunday and I’m sorry, see how much shorter it can be?)

I started this blog six months ago and have written faithfully, twice a week. I did it when Noah died. On Mother’s Day. Right after Natalie died. What could have possibly kept me from the practice that I hold so dear?

Disappointment. Sounds pretty lackluster but I assure you, it was a SPECTACULAR disappointment.

I’ve spent the past several days looking for my spin doctors. After spending the better part of three months pushing myself to get this “End the Epidemic” Expo going, I’d expected big things. Or, at least bigger things.

Here’s how the day played out:

Saturday a.m. I am up and moving by 6:00. I type out a very rough draft of the timeline for the days’ events. I am a little panicky about the open slot from 4:00-6:00 but overall, impressed by how much came together.

Call from dad.

“Can you swing by the shop and pick up the little table and chairs that sit outside? Mom wants them for her tarot reading.”

There is some finalizing of details and the enlightenment that we don’t have to wait until 10:00 or 10:30 to start setting up.

“Great! I’ll see if Justin can help with that part then.”

A little time goes by and there is a follow up call.

“Ang has got a ton of stuff. My car is packed. I can’t fit one more thing inside. Can you find out if someone is coming over to help haul the rest of the stuff? I think Barb was going to help out…”

I call Barb. Voicemail.

I nervously hope she’s not answering because she’s driving.

I send a text, not realizing that’s probably worse.

I call my mom. Voicemail.

Text. No reply.

I’m supposed to pick up Shar at 9:30 and I still have to make copies at Kinko’s.

She can meet me at Kinko’s.

I forget to make the fucking copies.

I sit in the car, not knowing if I should go to Minneapolis to help the set up or head towards Eden Prairie for the rest of the display stuff.

I figured since I hadn’t heard anything… things had gotten figured out.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Just as we’re pulling into the church parking lot (a little after 10:30, expo starts at 11) the phone rings.

Honestly at this point? I don’t even remembered who called. The just of the convo was there was too much stuff to fit everyone in the vehicle and Mary Grace (17 year old cousin in from TN, super sweet & incredibly talented) needs a ride.

I turn the car around. I look at the time and it’s 10:45. I start laughing. A big, full, hearty laugh. Tears were not far behind, I was laughing that hard. Shar and Tayla look at me with a mixture of curiosity, amusement and a little bit of fear.

“What is so funny?” one of them asked.

I coughed the words out like a cat with a hairball. Between bouts and new waves of laughter, I say “It’s 15 minutes until show time and we’re driving AWAY from the church.” It reminded me of the time Don and I took a road trip to see my grandma. The nine hour drive ended up closer to 14 hours because we got lost in Iowa. Seriously? How do you get lost in IOWA? Anyway, the was an electric blue house that we’d passed several times before. Once we rounded the corner and saw the white trim of that fucking blue house… Don started to laugh. Hysterically. “We’re never going to find it” he said. “We’re never going to get there. May as well get comfy in the car, we live here now.” So, it was THAT kind of laughter. The laugh of desperation.

I pull into my parents driveway and see a large SUV with all the doors and trunk open. The two little wiener dogs come outside and spill down the steps, anxious to greet us.

Barb is inside, sitting on the bottom step of the staircase, shaking her head.

I start to call for mom.

“There’s still two more crates downstairs that need to go…”

I pack the two containers in the back and that’s all I can take. I can’t put the backseats down because I’ve got two kiddos in the back.

So I floor it, go as fast as I can (within the legal speed limit, of course) and we make it back to the church by about 11:30. My only saving grace is that the itinerary I posted earlier didn’t show much of anything scheduled until noon.

Finally through the Sanctuary doors to find things… looking pretty good. A lot of stuff is set up. I grab a card table, tablecloth and set up my own stuff while trying to slow my breathing and reminding myself I didn’t need to rush anymore.

The first speaker is scheduled from 12:30-1:00. By 12:20, I haven’t seen or heard anyone come into the church. I’m starting to get nervous.

Instead of Natalie’s music playing, it’s some kind of religious muzak. The 14 foot (approx) big screen is still rolled up (instead of a slideshow of photos of Natalie or the music video for Soldiers of Love by Sade).

There are people in the church, maybe a dozen? They are all here to help us set up, offer services or be emotional support (or all three)

“It’s five minutes until the first speaker is scheduled to go on… where the hell are they?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s here. He’s here. He uh, locked his presentation and notes in his car. The locksmith will be about 20 minutes.”

FanFuckingTastic.

I had someone else scheduled to go on from 1:00-2:00, so my stomach is knotting up. In a weird way, not having anyone there was a saving grace. There was a lot of flexibility.

Locksmith shows up, speakers grabs his stuff and does his thang. He was from Progress Valley and knowledgeable with how the brain reacts differently to opioids than other drugs. It was fun! As odd as that sounds, it was interactive, informative, engaging, so interesting. I learned a ton! He spoke to our small group, which may have been smaller than 12 as people rotated smoke breaks…

The next presenter, from Valhalla Place, I was so excited to have come. I’d only met her once before and it was very brief but she is so good at what she does! So much to offer and share. She had to be somewhere at 2:30. I don’t remember what time it was, but it wasn’t looking good. Until a couple of coworkers showed up and were unwittingly volunteered to take her place. Because the day got off to a rocky start and we didn’t start on schedule, time slots were running into other time slots.

Jesse Seward, the musician who came to perform (and later I found out, actually knew Natalie) had also come early to help us set up. I had him down to sing from 3:30-4:00, he thought it was 3:00-3:30. There is a minor hysteria as I’m searching the church for the pianist (whom I hadn’t met, didn’t have a name so how would I know him/her if I saw her?).

The volunteers heard they got bumped back to 4:00 and had to leave. I wanted them to stay but there still wasn’t anyone there, not who didn’t come with us… I told them I appreciated their willingness to come and apologized for the confusion. He told me he felt bad and told him (in part to reassure myself) that this is merely a learning experience. It’s not going to run perfectly the first time out on the floor…

Jesse sang. It was beautiful. My phone ran out of memory and I didn’t get any of it.

 

“If anyone needs me, I’m going to my car to cry for five minutes, have a cigarette and come back in.”

There were a lot of sympathetic nods.

Tayla asked if she could come with. I told her of course. It’d been a long day in those few hours.

I get to the bottom of the stairs and start to push on the door when I heard a sickening crack and a thud from behind me.

Tayla had fallen down the stairs. She didn’t get up right away and she seemed very, out of it. She kept falling asleep. She didn’t look good. Someone suggested I take her to the E.R., sadly, this was the high point of the day for me. I was ready to change the name from End the Epidemic to End the Expo!

We drove to Fairview Southdale hospital where we received the fastest visit in history. Seriously, it was so fast, I considered pushing her down a bigger flight of stairs. Just kidding. Mostly.

I dreaded going back to the church. To dealing with the emptiness. The deep well of sadness that was threatening to overflow.

We were pulling into the parking lot just before 6:00 and almost everything was packed up. People were leaving, the people who came with us. “There just wasn’t anybody there” someone said in response to the question I didn’t ask.

I dropped my head back and saw through the partly dark clouds, a rainbow. A rainbow that I saw both end of. It felt right, to see it but not in response to how the day went.

It wasn’t just how much time I spent making the flier or how many people got them, it’s that almost everyone was EXCITED to come. “I’ll for sure be there!”, “Oh man, I’ve got a couple of friends who NEED this, we’ll be there”, “This is a wonderful thing you’re doing, see you Saturday” … it just didn’t make sense that from 11:00-6:00 no one. showed. up.

In the car on the way home, Tayla asked me if the day was a complete failure.

“Ya know honey, it kinda looks that way doesn’t it? But we don’t always (in fact, rarely) see how our actions or words might affect someone. At the very least, there are now seven more people who have Naloxone and can possibly save a life. I personally got a lot out of the first speaker. Who knows what someone else may get out of having gotten a flier? They didn’t make it this time, but maybe it planted a seed… maybe they acknowledged on a very small scale that they have a problem and need help… You just don’t know.”

So that’s the story I’m sticking with…

What Can I Say?

I’ve been thinking about today’s blog on and off, all day. What should I write about? What do I have to say? What can I offer? It doesn’t feel like much… In terms of writing I mean. I feel panic a lot of the day. A pressure in my chest about what’s left to do for the expo (a lot!), have I made all the calls? Covered all the bases? Weekends suck as far as trying to get anything done- few people hold business hours on Saturday and Sunday.

I am afraid. Afraid of not being able to pull this off. Of putting so much of my heart into this, at nobody showing up. Of October 16th, when it’s all over and I lose another part of Natalie, again.

I’m struggling to find balance. I’ve been run, run, running until I crash. And then start over. I need to learn organization. Time management. Meditation. Calm. I’ve worked really hard at seeing beyond just black and white.

We’re trying to get a CD put together and I’m reminded how far her talents stretched. How many genres she reached. How much she accomplished… And I think of how much more could have come.

I struggle to find meaning for her life, meaning that extends beyond her death. She brought happiness to people. Inspiration. Hope… and if that’s all I do in my lifetime? I’d consider it a life well lived.

-Photo by Kate Powell

Am I a Masochist?

I’m really starting to wonder…

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Me

Masochist:

noun
1. Psychiatry. a person who has masochism, the condition in which sexual or other gratification depends on one’s suffering physical pain or humiliation.
2. a person who is gratified by pain, degradation, etc., that is self-imposed or imposed by others.
3. a person who finds pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.

I’m asking myself this because of a series of events that happened today.

Sometime during the morning, around 8 o’clock, I made a playlist. I copied the lineup of the Overdose Awareness Vigil and put it into my phone.

Here’s the playlist prior to the vigil starting:

Katy Perry – Unconditionally
Susan Boyle – Wild Horses
Lukas Graham – 7 Years
Ruth B. – Lost Boy
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Adele – Remedy
Katy Perry – Rise
Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men – One Sweet Day
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Wiz Kalifa – See You Again
Janet Jackson – Together Again
Dani & Lizzy – Dancing in the Sky
Everything But the Girl – We Walk the Same Line
Daughtry – Home
Puff Daddy & Faith Evans – I’ll Be Missing You
Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone
Idina Menzel – Let It Go
Demi Lovato – Stone Cold
Tenth Avenue North – Worn
Prince & The Revolution – Purple Rain

I’m pretty sure it was Boyz II Men that got the tears going and Wiz Kalifa that kept them flowing. Puff Daddy proved instrumental (pun not really intended, but whateves…) in the transition from crying to sobbing to screaming. I grounded myself to the car until I could pull myself together.

At least I could take a small amount of solace around this thought:

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In case there is anyone out there who STILL DOESN’T KNOW, I HATE the Beatles.

I hate the news too.

That evening, I started talking to people about the Jacob Wetterling case and how awful it is that Danny James Heinrich will not face murder charges. I know the family signed off on it. I probably would’ve too, if it meant getting answers I’d waited 27 years for. I think… and I think about what I would’ve done in Patty’s position. Why? I’m grateful to not have to be in that situation, why do I keep trying to imagine what it’d be like on that side of Hell?

And I over schedule myself. A lot. Tomorrow morning I’m expected at a Recovery Breakfast at 7:30. Like a.m. As in the morning. Couldn’t we have a brunch instead? It’s not even so much the hour but having to fight traffic to top of the earliness. I need to get going on that invention idea for a horn that honks at the people behind you and also has an extendable middle finger to salute any deserving drivers…

Implement Evil Idea and watch the look on my face.

I also told someone I’d drop off needles for the exchange program. In Brooklyn Park. It’s a bit of a hike.

I have therapy on Thursdays too.

Fridays are my writing group.

Mondays are open mic night at Acme, after I work.

Tuesdays I usually work and then have group.

Wednesdays are my volunteer day

And then it’s back to Thursday.

I don’t HAVE to be this busy. Like I said, I think I may be a masochist…

therapy

Another Loss

The picture of her is blurry, I know. Fuzzy or out of focus, I know. I’m using it anyway, maybe as a way to let go -just a little bit. Dull the pain, just a touch.

Like most of the state, I heard yesterday about Jacob Wetterling. Don had called and when I answered he said “Did you hear about Jacob Wetterling?”

“No. What?”

“They found him.”

I was holding my breath and waiting for more but nothing came…

“Dead or alive?” I asked.

“Oh, dead.”

“Shit!”

“That’s not why I’m calling though…” and I didn’t hear or don’t remember what he said after that because nothing else mattered. Not in that moment. In those few moments, I remembered Jacob. His aunt taught my home economics class in middle school. I was about the same age as Jacob when he was taken. I, along with everyone else, waited for news of safe return of the boy with the bright smile and yellow t-shirt.

A statement released by The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center said in part: “We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way. … Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished. It shines on in a different way. We are, and we will continue to be, Jacob’s Hope.”

Really? Deep grief? Still? It’s been 27 years… It sounds harsh, I know… I think I was trying to be optimistic? As backwards as that sounds. I guess I was hoping that after a certain number of years, it wouldn’t hurt so much… I’m sure finding the remains brought up all sorts of horror I don’t want to imagine…

We went to Natalie’s friend’s house yesterday to clean her stuff out of his garage. I figured it would be emotionally draining and it was. I only broke down twice though. Once when cleaning out her nightstand and I found a couple of pictures of Tayla as a baby and the other time, when cleaning out her desk and I found one of the books I had a story published in and a hand written letter I’d sent her in November of 2010.

For six hours we sorted, moved, piled and hauled. We finished up (for the day) at 6:00 pm and I was a zombie. I drove home in silence and once upstairs, I flopped onto the bed. I balled up a couple of her shirts and held them to my chest and buried my face in them and tried to remember her scent.

Don made dinner. I wasn’t hungry but ate a little bit. I don’t remember what triggered it… whatever we’d been talking about, he said something, something “once in a blue moon”. The song she sang for the high school talent show, Blue Moon of Kentucky. I heard her voice in my head and felt her absence in my heart.

I cried. And cried. And cried until I couldn’t breathe. I went to bed. Of course, I couldn’t sleep. I turned to Facebook. News of Jacob Wetterling was everywhere.

In many of the comments I read in reaction to the news of finding Jacob Wetterling, almost everyone said something to the effect of “at least now they have closure”. I guess it sounds like a good thing but after 27 years, to find out this is how it ends? I think I’d rather hang on to hope, no matter how slight.

Today, I worked. I was still tired and achy from yesterday but it wasn’t busy, I didn’t have to do much. Afterward, I’d made plans to meet up with Shar. On my way there, I heard that song “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. I listened to the whole thing without even tearing up! I was proud of myself… for about two seconds.

The song after that, was “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Haley Reinhart. The significance of this song comes from a session of healing I took with my mom, lead by Laurie Wondra. She told us that the frequency of Reinhart’s voice was optimal for connecting with angels or spirits on the other side… man, I really hope I’m remembering this right… Anyway, I cried in the car. The crying turned into screaming. I screamed and screamed. NATALIE! No! Nooo! This is NOT the best time to be flying down 35E at 70 mph when you can’t see shit… but, I didn’t have much of a choice.

Thankfully I calmed down by the time I got to Shar’s. My throat hurts, my emotions are stirred up and I’m left remembering Justin’s phone call to tell me Nat was dead. Why couldn’t she have been in a coma? I wondered over and over again. Because I wanted that hope…

I guess hope is my new drug of choice.

But now I have to have hope for other people. Help them to have hope for themselves.