Hello from the other side…

phone

I don’t actually like that song (don’t hate me!) but the phrase seemed appropriate.

Because my sister called me last night.

Okay, yeah, so I was dreaming…but nonetheless, she called.  I was learning how to snowboard in a very bizarre wintry world, when my phone rang.  I recognized her voice instantly and some more conscious part of me knew that this wasn’t supposed to be happening, that I had to keep her on the phone for as long as possible.

But we chatted – a real, legit, sisterly chat.  I don’t remember about what and it wasn’t for very long, but she sounded happy – her voice sounded healthy.

Her voice.  I’m not sure that there are strong enough words to express how much of a gift it was to hear her voice.  To have my subconscious drag up some memory of it so that I could listen to her for even the briefest moment…  There are pictures of her everywhere – on my computer, around my house, on the internet…I can see her whenever I want, but I can’t hear her.  Not in the same way.  I have one voicemail that I never deleted (thank goodness!) but really that’s it…

It’s sad to realize that you never stop losing someone.  You lose the person in whatever way it happens but, over time, you continue to lose them.  All the tiny details, the minutiae that made them whole, made them who they were, you can’t hold onto all of it as desperately as you try.  So, it feels like they are truly slipping away…

Until, suddenly, you remember.  You remember something and you realize it’s still there. Maybe you laugh.  More likely you cry.  But you haven’t lost them, not completely. And if your brain is being especially nice, you may even get to talk to them on the phone.

The Difference

White Sands Slope

 

These past couple of days, I’ve missed him.  Like an ache.  Even the word “yearn” comes to mind.  I’m a little sick and passed out for a few hours and there he was – in my dream. We were broken up but alone in a house and there was a moment when we were close and I just felt such relief, such comfort in that moment.  And that was it, dream over.

I’ve had a good summer.  I’m in a happier place and yet, the sadness has returned. Unfortunately, any sad feeling, especially one related to missing, seems to be directly linked to the sadness surrounding the loss of my sister.  So, once I miss him, I inevitably miss her.  It’s missing by association to the feeling of missing generally.  I slide downwards and then, there I am missing the both of them and wondering – what’s the difference?  Why when I miss him do I eventually miss her?  Why can’t my mind/my body realize that these are distinct situations?  He’s alive.  She is not.  He’s off somewhere doing something and as far as my belief system goes, she is not.

But they’re both untouchable, intangible, unavailable to me.  That’s hard.  Hard to accept, hard to wrap my mind around.  And both situations are full of looking back at the woulda shoulda couldas.  With him, I try to think – well, I can say I’ve learned about love – about the good and bad of both sides – of me and him – of the interaction.  I’ve learned and so the next time I love, maybe I can do better.  With her, there’s no next time.  No one’s going to enter my life as my new sister.  No one could.

But no one can replace him, either.  It’s not like the next guy is going to wash him away. I wouldn’t want that.  He helped form who I am today and I wouldn’t want to give those things up, those pieces of me.

It’s just the losing…the losing of someone who was so important, someone who influenced who you are. One day they were both here and then they weren’t.

There is a difference.  One is incomprehensibly worse than the other.  But the feeling of loss is on a spectrum and he sits along there just like she does.  And the loss of the two swirls together so that it’s hard to tell who is causing what.

 

Namaste

namasteI’m okay.

About four weeks ago, I realized that…or at least that I was on my way to that.  To a state of okay-ness.

I’ve continued to go to yoga (borderline obsessed with it) and to the gym regularly.  I was on a soccer team.  I found a bar that I like going to and feel comfortable at alone.  I’m finding ways to accomplish work goals and I’m slowly creating a game plan for my future. It may end up being the case that when I leave this city, I actually miss it…

This city has been a rough, bumpy time for me.  Moving here less than a year after my sister died, dealing with the deaths of other family members, getting broken up with…  And during all that, realizing that my job is not what I was hoping it would be…  I don’t think there’s any question that I’ve felt a little lost.

The breakup woke me up – was the tipping point – the last straw to a realization – that I was developing characteristics that I didn’t want to have, that I wasn’t being proactive but inactive in pursuing the life that I want, that I lost my sense of adventure and was no longer pushing myself to try new things, make new friends…

In the past couple of months, I’ve changed that.  I’ve started to gain parts of me back that I hadn’t even realized were lost.  And, I’ve made new friends.  One in particular a couple of weeks ago, that unbeknownst to him, gave me something incredibly special – a shirt with an owl on it.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that my sister was obsessed with owls – but she was.  So many owls!  I have at least three, four, five owl-related items of hers.  So, being given this shirt…  If I was sure of the afterlife, I would take it as a clear sign of my sister reassuring me that everything will be okay.  That I’m on the right path.  Since I am unsure, though, I just let myself enjoy the comfort of the notion without questioning the reality of it.

In yoga, at the end of every class – you lay in corpse pose (Savasana), a meditative, quiet pose.  As the teacher brings your awareness back, she usually discusses that in corpse pose you let your old self die and you are reborn a better version of yourself.  If only it were really that easy…but maybe it is?

It’s as if everything I’ve been through in the past…well, decade really…was pushing me towards this ledge…and instead of letting it all go and jumping off – arms wide open…I clung on to it all, kept myself from falling – saw it as falling, saw it as failing.  And, I’m still hesitant…I don’t think I’ve quite made the leap yet, but I’m looking over the edge and I’m no longer scared of not knowing what’s below, instead I’m starting to feel that excitement of the unknown that I lost a while back…  I can feel it burning in my belly, twinkling in my eyes…  I’m finding myself, again.  And gawd, how I’ve missed me.

It’s a strange thing to lose yourself…but it’s an amazing thing to regain yourself, even if it’s only a little at a time.

I’m going to end this post with my own version of the closing of every yoga class, because, well, it’s about honoring the light within each one of us.  I know it sounds a little froo froo, but for me, it’s come to mean being true to myself, accepting who I am but also working towards who I want to be, and acknowledging others doing the same in their own way. And even further, providing encouragement and support to one another as we try to become these better versions of ourselves.  (Yeah yeah – I’ve obviously become a yogi – so sue me.)

So with that:

The unique, twinkling, transforming light within me honors the equally unique, radiant, and powerful light within each one of you.

Namaste.

 

Set them free.

setthemfree1Today, I’m dealing with a different kind of grief.  One that I didn’t think I would ever experience again.  My boyfriend of over four years and I broke up.  And when I say that we broke up – I mean that he broke up with me.  I thought that he was my forever.  If I’m honest with myself, I still do.  I think he’ll come to his senses and realize that his reasons for choosing this don’t really make sense…that he’s rationalizing this all wrong…that he’s not doing me any favors…that this isn’t better for me.  This is not what I want.  I want to fight for what we have.  Desperately.

I wish he did, too.

When I thought of the idea for the image above, I googled the quote.  It tore at my already aching heart, because I only remembered the first sentence.  Not the rest.

“If you love someone, set them free.  If they come back, they’re yours.  If they don’t, they never were.” – Richard Bach

I don’t know that I fully believe that quote.  Doesn’t stop it from hurting, though.

I do want to believe he’ll come back, but there was so much finality to what he said and the way he said it…how long do I hold on to my hope?

My answer is: As long as I want.  It’s not that I’m waiting for him necessarily.  I’m also, and more importantly, waiting for me.  Giving me however much time I need.  I lost my person today.  And as silly as it is, I added to a list of things that I love about him.  I started it a while ago – thought I’d give the list to him some time.  Tonight, I added to it, almost frantically – like I was going to forget all of these small details, all of these pieces that make him up.  I don’t want to forget.  (Although, I will probably spend innumerable hours entertaining the idea by watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again and again.)

One of the things on that list is that my sister loved him.  This is no small thing.  That girl hated most of my friends.  HATED.  Could not stand the majority of people whose company I chose.  But she loved him.  One time, when we visited her in the hospital, she introduced him to the doctor by saying: “This is my future husband, if those two don’t work out.”

What. A. Punk.  Trying to steal my boyfriend.

Gawd, I miss her.

Gawd, I miss him.

It feels more than a little unfair that my sister is gone – I am pretty sure that under “sister” in the dictionary it states that one of her obligations is to help in times of broken heartedness.

I do realize that I’m trying to make this post “light” and “airy”…because I am trying not to feel what I’m feeling.  Trying to distract myself from having to deal.  (Can we say denial?)

Oh, Richard Bach, your quote tells nothing of the trials of waiting.  Of the in-between…of haagen daz and sad movies.  Of heartache and tears.  Of shouldas and wouldas.

Of loving and missing.