In the series Westworld, it was said there are only two things left after a sudden, devastating loss – grief and the loss. A couple pictures came to mind as I remembered. Shock opened a door, and I went through into a small dark box, bumping into the loss right away, then grief. My eyes and ears were of little use; feeling claustrophobic and safe at the same time. This is why I don’t remember most people who came, or the interactions around me; why it appeared everything good, was taken from me. At some point I found my way to the door and waiting there was a hazmat suit, making it possible to leave the box and move around, but still protected from the hazards of reality and all things new, clamoring for my attention. One very important rule of such a suit is to avoid punctures, but I’ve got to purposely make some, creating small holes near my mind and heart, letting them gradually absorb reality and release the sadness, anger, and fear that snuck into the box and straight into me. Confined, bombarded, controlled taking in and letting go; the process to heal the broken person still here.
When it comes to something new, there’s I know I can (no trying), think I can (try with hope), and I don’t believe I can (don’t bother). I remember a couple of can’t do it moments, one during childbirth (sorry, too late) and after climbing Flattop Mountain, in Anchorage (no helicopter rescue, so get yourself down). I’ve had some, know I can moments, like, I will be successful as a wife and mother, and going back to college to get my degrees in accounting. I have lots of, I think I can moments, not absolute confidence in myself, but enough. Trying goes hand and hand with the possibility of failure, but so what! For the things that really matter, I refuse to fail, relying on tweaks along the way and starting over in order to get it right. Have I ever totally failed at something? I don’t think so, because there’s one more, never-fail, solution in my arsenal – help from others, even if it’s just moral support. Trying doesn’t go hand in hand with doing it all by myself. Yeah, I’d have lots more to be proud of without any help, but I’ll choose success over pride any day.
I’ve been helping my sister prepare tax returns. My tangible tools consist only of a computer and two monitors. No need for a calculator, pencil, eraser, or paper. To use the programs I need from her laptop in Colorado, I use the internet swirling, and electricity winding, through my home. My personal involvement requires me to funnel the knowledge from my brain into my fingers. Pretty simple with the use of technology, letting me work quickly and efficiently. There was a time when everything was accomplished by laboring with our hands and, it takes time, was something well understood. We grew our own food in fields we nurtured; unprocessed, rarely sweeten with honey or molasses. We raised and butchered our own meat, fresh or smoked to keep through the winter. Our homes were built from trees, using axes, handsaws, and hand-hewn pegs. Where are the fields now? Polluted with chemicals, paved over for parking lots and multi-lane highways, topped with skyscrapers, shopping malls, and oversized homes? Much of our food is precooked and laced with sugar and/or chemicals to enhance flavors, prolong shelf life, and buy instead of make. Lands and hands, things to learn to cherish and use again.
On an episode of This is Us, a young girl was thinking about how we all sleep, rich or poor, and how we have other things in common, like things that hurt us. It made me think of the people who live on my street, who I see occasionally, but don’t know, all sleeping, starting their days, living their lives. There’s differences, but also similarities. Expand that view to the world and I shouldn’t find it so hard to think there isn’t other women like me, who have only sisters, or graduated from college after having their children, or was unexpectedly widowed in their mid-fifties, who live alone? Everyone makes decisions, struggles with one or multiple things, faces challenges, cries, or gets frustrated. Over what can be so different, but the feelings are the same. No one’s life is perfect, some closer to perfection than others, but there’s always room for improvement. And why would I want a perfect life anyway? Perfect means no flaws, no faults, unspoiled, seamless, which means there’s no room to learn, grow, discover, or change. It’s why we invented makeup and glue, why people become psychiatrists and hairstylists, why we need friends, and unconditional love.
I’ve been thinking about past dreams, and a few newer ones yet to be realized. Dreams from my teens were met – a family, home of my own, a job I was good at and paid fairly well. There was only one more after – to retire with my husband to the Adirondacks – partially met. Not too high and mighty on the scale of dreams, but at least I had some. Regarding their pursuit, they didn’t take much determination. I’m glad for the new ones, but my thinking takes me to never going to happen, followed by why should they, then why not? Because they just won’t. How do you know? They’re too wonderful to happen and I’ve yet to see how they will, something I’m pretty good at in other aspects of life. How to make things happen, rather than just letting them happen doesn’t seem to be in my wheelhouse. I’m better at practical, finding solutions for immediate needs; a doer, not a long-range planner, a realist, not a dreamer. And yet, here they are, dreams for the future, looked at through here-and-now eyes. Since there’s no minimum size requirement for dreams, I’ll break them down, accomplishing them in pieces!
I wasn’t close to my parents when I was young. They existed in my life, giving me things I needed, like food, clothes, and a bed to sleep in. I pretty much did my own thing, they did there’s, and I don’t think it’s because I didn’t want them to, I just don’t remember them wanting to. I only remember one time when my Mom asked to be included in my life, which was when I planned my wedding. It was hard after I had my own kids for them to stop being parents, but my husband did get to enjoy my Dad’s friendship for a time. I remember being involved in our kid’s lives on many occasions, whether for school, on adventures, or just working on the farm; we did things together. We became friends, but not so much friends that we didn’t see the occasional need to pull out the role of parents, even well into their twenties. I think often about how unfair it is for them to no longer have their Dad in their lives. But more than that. He wasn’t just a Dad, he was an amazing friend; Dad-Friend – one part given, one part chosen!
Insurance is something we can purchase to protect ourselves against loss, but it doesn’t really work as described. Insuring my car doesn’t guarantee it won’t be damaged, health insurance won’t keep me healthy, and life insurance can’t keep me alive. There’s rain insurance for outside venues, but it won’t stop the rain. What it does do, is help compensate us after we’ve encountered any number of events that negatively impact our surroundings, our things, and ourselves. Now, bubble wrap, while it doesn’t guarantee the items it’s wrapped around won’t get damaged, it is an attempt at protection before putting these items into harm’s way. I’ve been shipped enough bubble wrap over the years to wrap myself in several layers and still move around. It would definitely provide a cushion against bumps and enough crazy to make headline news, but that’s about it. So, what’s left to keep my heart and soul from too much damaged, as healthy as they can be, and out of harm’s way? It’s during, when we get the chance to make good life and life-style choices, love and be loved, ask forgiveness and forgive; what I would call the best life insurance policy on the planet!