I have always written, journaling my days from the age of about 12, upon receiving my very first diary. It was lovely, with a red faux leather cover complete with little heart shaped padlock.
“This is where you put your thoughts.” I was told. “This is where you can keep your secrets safe.”
“This is your life story.”
And mostly, I wrote about cute boys, and teachers I didn’t like, and teachers I did, and how awkward it was to be a 12 year old girl who had reached the height of 5’9”, wore glasses and braces on her teeth and wanted what every other gawky teenage girl wanted at that age. To have a best friend, to be included with groups of other kids, to not be singled out for being odd or weird or different.
And that pair of navy blue leather wedge shoes – I wanted those more than anything.
And I journaled it all.
And here I am 40+ years later, doing the same thing. This blog is my journal, and to take time off from writing, it doesn’t happen often. But over the past two days I’ve done a lot of heart searching.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for the kind thoughts and prayers and condolences. Andy was a wonderful young man, and because my aunt and I are so close in age, he was right in the same age group as my sons, so more THEIR cousin than mine. They are devastated. The last time we were together as a big extended family was the family reunion we had in Idaho about 4 years ago. There have been many remembrances going back and forth of those white water rafting trips and how much fun they had. Crazy antics from these boys who loved being together. Andy will be sorely missed, and yet these memories will always have him smiling and laughing and living life to the fullest.
My own thoughts have been up and down. So many folks saying “Sorry for your loss….” and my heart felt guilty that these condolences were coming to ME..because the loss belongs mostly to immediate family. Andy’s parents, Joy & Scott who I love so dearly. And to Andy’s sister, Bethany who is heartbroken at the loss of her best friend – her little brother. Over the past 48 hours I’ve wanted to take all of these mis-directed condolences and send them where they belonged, but I realize that it IS my loss as well.
And until I recognize that and feel it and accept that it is not only Joy and Scott and Bethany’s loss – that as an extended family, all of us together have had this blow, I can’t get past it.
I have buried a child, but I can’t imagine having to bury either of my sons. And I know that the death of an infant is different in many ways from the death of a grown son, but it has brought to me just how fragile life is and that we do not have each other forever in this life. Accidents happen and it is almost more devastating than any disease because there is NO CLOSURE.
I’ve been talking to Andy in my head for two days. And the photos and messages that are coming through Facebook as everyone posts their memories and condolences both on his page, on Bethany’s page and on Joy’s page are why I just had to take a break.
Arrangements have been made. The memorial service is October 1st. I’ll be leaving on our Quiltville Caribbean Cruise that day, I’m actually flying to Fort Lauderdale next Friday. I was unsure what to do, but through talking with family, and knowing Andy, he would tell me to GO ON THE CRUISE! So I’m going. Of course the cruise must go on. And it will begin to heal my heart.
My mom was worried about the airfare getting her from Boise to Minneapolis on short notice and so I offered up to get her a ticket with my air miles so that we “BOTH” can be there. She will go for the both of us and I took care of the ticket. It was a small thing, but it makes me feel better that I was able to do something that mattered.
Sometimes taking care of the things we CAN take care of and focusing on one thing at a time that you CAN do is a way to work life back to normalcy.
There has been time for this.
Sadie and I have taken some long walks. I enjoy the sounds of nature, the breeze through the trees, the crunch of last year’s leaves underfoot. And I can think. And sort out. And refocus.
All I want to do is wrap my arms around my aunt Joy and let her know how much I love her. I’ll plan a trip when everything has calmed down. I know the hard part for the family will come when everything has settled and life supposedly goes back to normal. Or the new normal. I know that birthdays will be hard. Anniversaries of death dates are also hard. It’s been 34 years and believe me, it doesn’t go away. You don’t forget. We can be a support system when these dates come around. I will not forget.
Sewing helps. The repetitive motion of needle pulling thread through fabric. One stitch at a time, working my way slowly from corner to corner, quiet with my thoughts. So many hopes and prayers and tears poured out into this binding.
Color in this photo isn’t great, but the morning light was lovely.
Sunshine and the hope of a new day.
If only these scraps could talk.
What a story they would tell of every day life and all it comes with, good and bad.
And the back, with a stripe of “something else” because there just wasn’t enough of that floral.
Sadie and I will head down the mountain today. And hopefully find GAS in North Carolina. I didn’t even hear of the gas shortage situation until last night, as the news and everything as been kept off.
I had stopped at my normal half-way point on the way up here on Saturday to find all of the pumps at the Sheetz station closed. I thought it was an isolated incident. Having enough gas in the van to get me to the cabin, I had told myself that I would just fill up on my way home.
Now I’m hoping I can find a station that HAS gas as I have less than 1/4 tank. There are a couple of gas cans in the shed for the motorcycle and four-wheelers so I may be topping off with that just to make sure I get home with enough gas to get me there.
By Sunday this better be cleared up because I’m on a driving trip to Delaware.
I know this was wordy. I feel better for having written it. It’s always sounded so glib to me to say things like “Life goes on.” But the truth is, it does. And it will continue to, whether we decide to join in on it, or hole ourselves away, removing ourselves from it.
Quiltville Quote of the Day.
Vintage Star Quilt found in Texas.
Today I am looking for the good in the world and finding happiness in little things.
Gas shortage or no gas shortage.