Alaska. The name rises up like a word of power, a word of promise. Pristine, clean, home of the Aurora Borealis. It has called my name, a siren song to my heart, for years. I remember the first time I even considered visiting. Mike and I had gone to a travel convention, stopping at the various booths to learn about Spain, Mendocino, Costa Rica. As we walked down one of the halls, I looked up and spotted a giant poster of Alaska. Denali loomed huge and majestic in the background. Its wildness beckoning from beneath the clouds. I felt a ripple move through my body as the vision tugged at my heart. I grabbed Mike’s arm and pointed, “Yes, yes! That is a place I must go. We must go.” I had just been writing about it yesterday morning. How it had become a place that I still wanted to visit but would no longer be able to do so with my husband. And, if I went, I would not camp as we’d originally planned, but rather join a cruise, with its safe, comfortable way of viewing the wilderness. But then later that day, out of the blue, my brave, world traveling, daughter asked if I’d be interested in going with her - to Alaska - for the June 24 summer solstice. She knew I'd longed to go there, a friend of hers was from there and had encouraged her to visit. His family owned a bush plane company and would
You are the obstacle course I avoid, The detour I make, The abyss I elude. Because it hurts so much to think of you, and to not think of you. I haven’t figured that out yet. You are in a place of limbo, I’m afraid. I sit here this morning writing about the new things I am working on, projects and plans I am starting to look forward to. I am aware that change keeps rolling on regardless of what I want. Although, each morning I wake up and you are still not here. That has not changed. There are times now, sometimes long, sometimes short, when it feels ‘normal.’ I have my to-do lists, my appointments and chores. My outings and pleasures. I smile, I laugh, I even mean it sometimes. But as I go about my day, making my plans, filling out my calendar, it strikes me that missing you is trapped in my body, all the time. Even if I’m not thinking of you, my missing you lives on: In my clenched jaw, In my aching shoulders, In my cramped belly, In my thudding head, In my ramrod back, In my tight throat, In my panting breaths. So, I take a deep, deep breath. I stretch my arms. I shake my hips. I twist my spine. Not to shift you out of my life, but to somehow find a way to move forward with a bit more space, a bit more ease. There is no choice I’m
https://youtu.be/KWFWvcdQJO0 Stunned Heart Into the freezer. Hit me with the numb gun Safer there. No thoughts there, Time is frozen there. No moment after. No walk down the hall. No sitting in the chair. No looks of sorrow and dismay. No I’m sorry, so sorry. I’m sorry, so very, very sorry. My heart is stunned, frozen. Don’t take me there. Don’t say the words. Don't take my hands. Don’t say the words. Then perhaps it won’t be true. And I can take these past few months out of deep freeze. And go on As if nothing had changed.
It has taken me eight months to find the heart to order a copy of the coroner’s report. It was hard enough taking each step forward, without having to be dragged back to those first horrific days and weeks after he’d died. With a bit more distance after these months, I thought it was time, not just for me, but for the rest of his family as well, to try to understand the truth of what happened on that operating table. Fourteen pages of body parts and words I couldn’t pronounce much less understand. Hard to look at all of that and try to imagine that this was my husband, had been my husband. And the memories that tumbled in after that nearly crushed me: They’d kept him at the hospital for several days before they released him to the coroner’s office. They’d kept him in the morgue for weeks because they were back logged with other more urgent cases. My sweet husband’s body lay cold and alone, while we waited and waited for him to be released back to us. I didn’t even want to consider what it meant, what they would need to do, in order to conduct the autopsy. My husband had become bones and organs and body parts, measured and weighed and dissected as they sought to reveal what happened. The day I packed up his 'travel kit' and photos for them to cremate him with. Him with his family, our favorite vacation, our wedding day. How
A week ago I wrote about fear and losing the battle to it as I contemplated going to an open mic. After last night, I am stepping back and questioning whether it was fear that held me back. Several friends suggested that there might have been a reason, a soul reason that I didn’t go. Maybe the reason had more to do with timing, or situation …. or desire. Let me share the context to last night first. In July of last year, just two months after my husband died, I said 'yes' to joining RED, a woman’s creative circle. Founded by Christina Dunbar, who’d coached me through bringing "Skins I Have Worn" to life, RED was created to be a safe space where women could share, explore, dare, and workshop their creative expression. What was especially important to me, was that we were invited to participate from wherever we were. Some women were developing projects, some needed a creative sisterhood, some wanted a safe space to try something new, to discover what else they were capable of. For me, RED was a lifeline. In the beginning all sorts of judgement came up. I was envious of the women who knew what they wanted and were using this space to go for it. I was worried that when women heard I’d lost my husband, they would pity me. And it was hard to accept, with my type A personality, that I was simply not in a place to take on a new project. But once I
This is not the post I wanted to be writing at the beginning of the year. I wanted to start the new year filled with hope and the promise of better things to come. I had started looking forward to possibly writing a book and perhaps performing again. I was starting to feel the bubbles of creativity, life, possibility. And then last night happened. I had heard about an open mic opportunity at the Rapp Saloon in Santa Monica. I’d been wanting to get out in front of an audience again and here was an easy, sweet opportunity. Three miles from home, show up at eight to sign up, read a poem. In retrospect, not such a big deal, and yet… Somehow this molehill grew into a mountain – not logical, but then fear rarely is. Over the course of the day, I agonized over the decision. Worried about it being at night, finding parking, even fussing with the parking machine. My rational brain said – take an Uber. You know you want to do this. What are you so afraid of? It’s not like I hadn’t read my work, or done an open mic. But obviously that had nothing to do with it…. The difference this time was that I let the fear win. I conceded. Gave in to safety and comfort and then berated myself for that choice. So not only had I given in to my fear, but now I beat myself up for that choice. I’ve