I searched my hometown for a trace of me…but not a whisper remained.
I searched my hometown for a trace of me…but not a whisper remained.
She’s been quiet for a few days, so I was surprised when she whispered, “You know I still love him, right?”
“Yes, She. You remind me every day, several times per hour.”
“Well, what are you gonna do about it?”
“Nothing. I’m going to do nothing about it. I accept that you still love him. He’s been good to you and I understand why you trust him, and you don’t trust me. But that’s not my problem. It’s yours.”
“Wow. You have gotten hard and mean. You used to cry with me.”
“I’m not hard and mean, it just feels that way to you because I used to give in to you every day. I can’t do that anymore. I’m all cried out.”
“I can’t keep torturing myself with accepting unacceptable behavior. He knew what he was doing when he tore us apart this time, no doubt. Of course, I’m sure he didn’t know that it would be the last time. I don’t think that I even knew.”
“Why is it the last time?”
“She, do you remember last 4th of July? We had just moved in the new house. I dressed up in my red, white and blue to go to the block party. When it was time to go, I was already exhausted and couldn’t make myself walk out the door. He left with some neighbors and I could finally breathe again. We sat with the puppies and took pictures all afternoon, so happy to be free for a little bit.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“Well, I’m sorry, She. I don’t want to feel trapped and exhausted all the time.”
She is acting up tonight. Granted we had a rough time last night, and an overly complicated day, but I really can’t handle her fears, on top of my own anxiety.
I whispered to her, “Behave, little one. Please.”
The day began with a phone call from my younger sister.
We have been looking for my dad, a mentally ill, homeless, alcoholic for over thirty years. Checking for at least a death certificate, looking for closure.
My sister has had contacts in the military looking for any information for over a year and today, on Dad’s birthday, she received the information.
Dad is dead. He died alone and homeless in 2000. Buried in a poverty grave by the military.
It hit me hard, even though I had felt that he was gone, I was never sure.
My sister has his Death Certificate and his military records, and we now know where he is buried. The military is even going to put a marker on his grave.
The inner child, She, is taking it much harder than me and while closure is a relief, it’s a rough time to throw more grief into our fragile infrastructure.
Right after I heard the news about my dad, I had an appointment with a local domestic violence shelter and showing up was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can admit to my family and my friends, my readers and myself that I have suffered and accepted abuse but reaching out to total strangers for a support group has taken me almost a year.
I made the appointment the day before my house sold and I decided to go anyway, if only for an exercise in courage and to give them a copy of my book, Women Who Think Too Much. https://books2read.com/u/md0J5d
Well, they can’t give out their address, so they gave me a meet point and told me to call them when I arrived. I made it there ten minutes before my appointment and called them. No answer.
I started to panic, but I took a deep breath and I prayed. I managed to sit there for forty minutes, calling back every five minutes. Never got an answer.
I left there disappointed, but so proud that I had overcome the anxiety to show up. She even stayed calm, which was surprising. I think she was mourning Dad and wandering in her own little world.
Wow. Why does she jump in my face as soon as I wake up?
Well, before I handed her over to God, she was in charge. Now, she’s not in charge. She still pops in and tries to mess with me, but I can see what she’s doing now, and I can deal with her fears and calm her down.
Imagine tumbling down a waterfall compared to being pushed in the pool. I’m still getting wet, but I’m not drowning.
This month will make me or break me. I have thirty days until my house keys go to a new owner. Thirty days to take my courage in hand and reclaim my freedom.
Freedom from the past, freedom from material things that weigh me down, freedom from this little girl’s fears. Freedom from this crazy cycle of leaving him and going back to him. He will never understand why I leave him, and he will never take responsibility for his addictions. That’s okay. I don’t need him to validate me today. I’ve spent my entire life trying to explain myself to a man. Game over.
Thirty days to put my faith in God’s plan into action. Just take the right next step. Repeat.
She wants me to hold still, she sees doing nothing as safe when it’s the most dangerous choice of all. Life happens whether you participate or not, resist or hold your breath, become paralyzed by your fears, life, it will just keep happening.
Why not choose my path? That is the least I can do to give God something to work with, trust His grace, breathe and make choices.
A lifetime of letting life happen to me must end.
She’s getting a crash course on growing up, owning her fears and overcoming the past.
I have babied her for way too long.
She must be tougher than she appears, or she would have blended with me by now. Well, I’m stronger than I appear too. And my God is stronger than everything.
She was waiting for me when I woke up this morning, so before I even had my coffee, I had to deal with her.
The first words I heard were, “What are we gonna do, what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do?”
I yelled at her, “Stop!”
We just sold the house yesterday, and after a few hours of anxiety, we came up with a plan. She was completely comfortable with everything we decided. Now she’s hysterical.
The plan is the best one I could produce to satisfy her anxiety and mine. No more houses. No more boxes. No more clutter.
We will have enough money left over from the sale of the house to buy a small pull trailer and travel for a year or two, but it’s a long way from signing that contract and getting rid of all the stuff that is weighing us down, to hitting the open road, free at last.
This morning, she’s acting like we never agreed on a plan at all.
I think she stays awake all night freaking herself out while I’m sleeping. I told her, “Stop focusing on all the work we have to do in the next month and focus on the fact that God has given us a chance to live our dream. I know you don’t trust me yet, so just look forward to the adventure and trust that God goes before us to pave the way.
She’s back, but she has an entirely different attitude.
I’m sure God had something to do with that change.
She asked if she could hang out with me today, and while she admitted that she was sad, she said we could do something that made us happy.
So, I said she could stay. I know, I’m taking a big chance, but we’ve been together since I was born, and I do love her.
She has given me some of the happiest moments of my life, especially when she comes out to play with the grandchildren.
I’d been missing her anyway, not her emotions, just her company and her playful attitude. She’s the one who taught me to chase butterflies and to climb trees.
We sat down and tried to decide what we would do today, something that wouldn’t upset either of us.
I went upstairs to get a book and I saw a pile of my mother’s letters lying on a table, waiting months for me to scan and share them.
I was going to write today, but with the water department digging up the road in front of my driveway and an appointment to show my house at 1:00, I’m a little distracted. (Yes. House Fifteen for sale after barely a year.)
The minute I saw the letters, I knew what we would do today. I picked them up and read them as I walked downstairs. (I know…another crazy idea, stairs and not paying attention.)
As I read the notes, they brought tears to my eyes.
The pleasure of hearing my mother’s words speak to me once again, touching the paper she had written on, envisioning her sitting at her tiny kitchen table, with me on her mind, removed everything that was hurting me.
Touching the letters, physically pulled her back into my life for just a little bit.
I am so grateful because of all the things I’ve lost from moving too many times, I still have every note and card she sent me.
Her love and her admiration poured over me and I felt it as strongly as if she was standing beside me.
When I ignored her, she got restless and I had to ask her to go back to sit with my mum in Heaven. Yes. That’s exactly where God placed her when I released her to His care.
At least I am learning to share my personal space with her, without getting bull dozed emotionally.
l have been learning to set boundaries this past year and I think I left her for last because I knew she would be my greatest challenge.
Funniest thing about this day, thanks to Mum’s notes, I’m writing after all.
By Jodie Lynne
Soft baby ringlets sweeping across her face
Glancing but once to make certain
he’s still in his place.
Her shining dark eyes smile from afar,
So confident, this angel who hasn’t her own fear,
For fear there’s no reason, her goal is quite clear.
Till the slip of a sneaker sucks her foot in the mud
And his arms reach around her,
As he sweeps her up in his hug.
He lets out a sigh, saved her from this fall.
She wiggles out of his tender embrace
Now more than ever she runs with such might,
Determined to catch the quacker
Who’s just taken flight.