Life, It’s All About Loss, Isn’t It?

Every day, we go through hundreds, thousands of small loses, I’m about ready to burst into tears so I know it’s true. It’s one of those instinctual, hit me in the gut feelings. My grown-up children left to go back to college today and even though I will see them in three weeks, it doesn’t matter. Children always leave you. People you love always leave you. Why is that not written in any manual so we can anticipate it?

From their first highly anticipated step, to their first day of nursery school

and first grade your child will always be leaving you. Yes, it is good and you have done a great job in raising them. You should be proud of their independence and pat yourself on the back. You have done a great job building their self-esteem and their confidence, but it still hurts like a knife twisting into your belly cutting bloody veins with a torture only known to parents.

We experience that hurt from the moment that they are born until the moment we die. Our children will never understand it until they, themselves have babies of their own. Don’t bother explaining it to them, my kids are used to my tears, they think I’m just the mushiest person in the world, and I am. But, in no way do they think that every time they leave I feel like I’m being stabbed or that my heart breaks a thousand different times, every time they leave, nor should they ever know.

You would think I would get used to it but it’s something I can never get used to. I remember my parents used to travel a lot when I was in high school, maybe even junior high and I would weep, standing at the kitchen table, looking down six flights as they stood waving until their taxi arrived.

I was inconsolable until they left. Then, magically, I was quite happy and calm and independent. Why the shift of pain so rapidly? I’m not really sure, I hated being left, abandoned. But, once they left, I was independent and had a great time. Freud anyone?

Once someone actually leaves, I’m fine. It’s the build up and the anticipation that always gets to me, always has. At my old age I don’t think my patterns will change but I always give it a shot. “I’m not good at good-byes” I say honestly to my children, they expect it, they know and understand. But, they will only truly understand when/if they have children of their own.

Maybe we will be lucky to be grandparents, to see our children have children. To see our grown-up kids do the precise things they chastised us for, that would be funny. Life is a circle, how we got so far in the game, I have no idea. I feel young, time escapes us, but as I watch my children grow into adults, I know too, we have aged accordingly.

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#FWF Kellie Elmore

Frühlingsblumen verschiedene Krokusse

Frühlingsblumen verschiedene Krokusse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Circle of Life: Death & Rebirth

This is the time for introspection, to put things in order not just for my house, but for me. My life lesson: I have clung to old friendships far too long, they are dead, like the crumpled crisp brown leaves on the yard. Friendships where I am the only one who is trying.  You can’t force a friendship and your real friends, your true friends are always there. “The past” is a nice memory not a basis for friendship.

It is the second week of November, I look out my window and see gray skies and naked trees. There is no more sun peeking from behind blue skies, I mourn the sunshine, the flowers, the bright, orange, red, yellow leaves of the Fall that used to embrace the trees. What was once my favorite season is now seen as the precursor to the worst season, Winter.

Winter is on its way, people are dismissive and say “add layers of clothing” as they stuff themselves into scarves and hats, mittens and feel warmer but not me and not anyone who shares the chronic illness of Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Disease. Those words taunt us, they are a  joke, a cruel comedy, a farce. Nothing helps, the winter chill goes through our bones and latches on like a one huge tick, sucking blood. We are always exhausted, we have no energy, we have what seems like the flu without the fever, every day of our lives. In the winter our bones and muscles are stiff, unyielding and painful.

Many times I don’t get dressed. My nightgown becomes my party dress and my pajamas serve as my jeans and sneakers. I know when I am in a ” Fibro Flare” when I cannot wear anything, that strains against my body. My body is bloated and the jeans make angry red imprints on my stomach even though they are the right size for me. If I have to be outside, as soon as I  come home I literally rip the tight, restricting clothing off, my bra, my pants and change into loose, soft pajama bottoms and a well-worn tee-shirt. It is only then I can breathe. To people with chronic pain, Winter is a slow death, a Tragedy.

After a long, bleak winter, when the temperatures get higher and we have weeks of rain, my body and mind change. My body hurts because of the dampness and the changing weather but my heart knows that soon I will see buds springing from the ground to show off the first fashions of Spring. One day out of the corner of my eye, I see several bright, green buds pushing their way from the deep, dark earth. It is the promise of Spring fulfilled, crocuses have pushed their way above ground: Hope. Once the crocuses have sprung forth, soon we will see the burst of color dancing before our eyes.  It is a ballet I love to watch.  I never get bored. In a matter of days the forsythia bush in my back yard has sprouted brilliant, bright yellow lights, buds and I know that we are safe and loved.

One day, the sun pulls out its lazy arms and stretches, beams its beautiful smile and soars to the top of a deep blue sky. It is officially Summer, It is time to Rejoice, to take advantage of every single day that we have been given, a reprieve, from pain, from gloominess, a treat. I enjoy the summer as much as I can. Even though extreme heat is not good for chronic pain patients, it is good for my soul to look outside and see the painting of flowers and sun and hear the laughter of children riding their bicycles in the neighborhood. The sun, makes me happy, it does affect my mood. It softens the world around us, like a soft, romantic filter on an otherwise hard life. I am grateful for the sun, every single day, it is time to Celebrate with friends: joyous laughter, food, children selling lemonade, dogs running around outside, people holding hands. This would be my final act.

Haiku Heights: Age

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th century, OP582 (Photo credit: Black Country Museums)

Old woman

Old woman (Photo credit: justin_vidamo)

Crept up,  wrinkles, jowls

gasping air, oatmeal, tea, cat

stranger to myself.

*****************************

Rocked, cradled, baby

back and forth, cooing songs, sad

Is mom my child now?

all photographs are the property of the photographers.

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Free Write Friday-Kellie Elmore: Coyotes Are Not Dogs

Coyote scouting around

Coyote scouting around (Photo credit: jibber11)

It’s high noon. Sun blazing. You awake in a field and birds are pecking your skin… GO!

I know that human people were making noise and complaining about us, we know, all of us. But hey, that’s what we do to survive don’t  they understand that? If they left their “fur babies” (what an obnoxious title) outside alone to play, than it’s anybody’s game. Can you believe there were towns that were thinking about hazing us? Actual plans to get rid of our pact. On purpose,  We are a species of animal, just like everyone else. People have dogs and treat them well, why don’t they respect us, the coyotes, the champions of the world? Snatching their little puffy dogs is just in our nature it’s not something we plan to do, it is instinctive. Can’t you human people consider that? It’s our food just like the food you crave.

We know that we have the been in the news, in the papers, that town meetings overflowing with people wanting to destroy us, make us extinct, that’s a little harsh don’t you think? We are just following our nature, is following your nature to kill and destroy us? That’s what it sounds like to us. I’m not going to lie, we do get some enjoyment of seeing the terror in your eyes at first sight but that is like a game for us, we really mean to do no harm. Just go calmly back inside. I know there was some person who said that you should come at us yelling and screaming, making noise and clapping pots and pans together but do you really want to annoy us? It’s your choice. I can’t promise that if you do those things we will back off immediately. Sometimes yes, sometimes,no. Here’s the thing, we are not dogs, we are not reliable, we are not dependable and we don’t like you or love you. We care for only ourselves, that’s right and we would never deny it. That is who we are. Do you get it now? We will never be your pets, your brothers and sisters, we are your enemies and we will eat your little doggies or your diapered babies as fast as we can grab them in our steely mouths and fly away with no remorse whatsoever. That is the nature of our life.

So, I perfectly understand that the crows are now pecking at my skin, it’s not a bad feeling, just a bunch of pinches and I know I will die. I don’t have a problem with that at all. See, coyotes don’t expect to live forever, problem free. We know we are here on earth for a short time but it is a time that we spend in adventure, a fast life, a one only based on our needs and wants. Am I happy a bigger lion caught meand brought down? No, I can’t say I am but it was inevitable and I understandable. It is what we do. The crows pecking at my skin, well, they are just doing their job, to survive, to eat their meals as fast as they can.

I’m dying now, I can’t move anymore.

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Coyotes running

Coyotes running (Photo credit: Nature Pictures by ForestWander)

Photos are property of the owners.

Too Many Children Dying (Carry on Tuesday:The best is yet to come)

English: The Circle of Life. Ceiling fresco in...

English: The Circle of Life. Ceiling fresco in the main hall of the Natural History Museum, Vienna. Deutsch: Der Kreislauf des Lebens. Deckenfresko im Hauptgebäude des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Age doesn’t matter, they are the sons and daughters of people whose names I know. They live in my town, three of these precious children have died in the last year. As I have said many times before, no parent should have to bury their child. It isn’t right, it isn’t fair, it’s unnatural. Worst of all when they choose to end their lives on purpose, how can you deal with that, how to go on?

The parents have all tried to do the right thing. Their children have gone to numerous programs, counseling, tough love, nurturing love, medication, psychiatrists, psychologists, special programs, rehab, AA,  etc. but they have fallen again and again from some unknown evil and ill part inside them that they cannot control.

Who is to blame? No one, I imagine. I’m sure that most parents will do whatever it takes to help them. I have a friend, however, who has done so much for so long, he cannot do anything anymore for his eighteen year old son. Sometimes there is a limit for the parents too. This boy has been through every program imaginable and yet he still wants to destroy things, set houses on fire, do dangerous drugs, put his own life at risk. He too, will be a statistic one day, he does not want anyone to stop him, he has made that clear. It’s like watching a black and white movie in slow motion, backwards. Violence will be involved in some way, I fear. It will not have a happy ending.

Are the adolescents to blame? They are almost adults, around the ages of seventeen to eighteen. Do we blame them for going back to lives filled with “the wrong crowd” drugs, alcohol, mischief? Yes, but we blame ourselves too…We should have done this or that but truly we did everything, heard everything that they allowed us to see. They have crossed the line many times before, how do you know which will be the last phone call, the last time you see them?

The last call you get from the police, the one that makes you bend forward and grasp your knees and fall to the floor, sobbing hysterically. Yes, that kind of crying. That kind of misery, pain, sadness that saws your limbs in half one by one, slowly. You only know how it feels if you have been through it. A friend of mine committed suicide in junior high, I heard about it on the school bus. I remember it vividly.

Don’t you see? The best is yet to come.  Any other day will be better than this one. Take my hand, take anybody’s hand and hold on, one finger touching lightly like a butterfly’s kiss or a strong handshake whose strength will never let you get away. Let’s start like that. You will always have one friend that is on your side.

If you are even considering taking your life step back. Step back now. We stand here as broken people, parents, family, friends who will never be whole again because others before you gave up or thought they couldn’t do better or thought falsely that nobody cared.  It’s a lie, all of it. We ALL care, even if we don’t know you, even if we have not met, we care enough to think about you and your family we know that your life is worth living. The best is yet to be, there is promise in the world, there is hope that tomorrow will be better. It couldn’t be worse, right? Please don’t quit today, call a friend, hug your dog, take a walk, tell your mom you’re scared, I’m sure she is twice as scared as you are. Try to hang on, NO, promise. Just do that much. To me, it would mean the world.

Leaving Us, Lost

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children will always leave you, from the minute you cut the umbilical cord until the day that you take your last gasp of air. When your child is born you are swept away with joy. Is it a boy, a girl?  You cuddle that dear baby close to your body and cover its head with sweet, soft kisses. Your life has now changed forever. You try to inhale the smells and remember them. Unfortunately, like everything else, we hold precious in our hearts, memories fade.

Babies turn into toddlers and their first independent steps they take away from you are greeted with great excitement and applause.”She’s walking!!” we say proudly to anyone who will listen but we don’t think about this as a step of independence, we are merely celebrating a milestone in our brilliant child’s life.

I can say, with confidence, that as much as you want that uninterrupted night of sleep, it comes with a price. You will miss those sticky grilled cheese hands and arms around your neck and those sloppy grape jelly kisses a lot when they stop. One day you are swinging hands in public, the next your child is muttering “that’s embarrassing.” and they pull away. The rules have changed, your children have changed, now you have to change, quickly.

Childhood is so important and then comes middle school and high school when your children are tweens and teenagers. Groan, I know. It is important for them to grow up and for you to let them. You will go through, as my husband called it “the teenage tunnel of darkness” hang on tight, folks, it will be a bumpy ride. The arguments, slammed doors, taunting, fighting, will probably make you feel like you wish you had the money to send your kids to boarding school, but they need to go through this to become independent and their own person. This is their way of leaving their comfort zone, by fighting and doing things you probably don’t even want to know about and they will lie as well. Your kid? Never! I said that too. Believe me, I don’t condone this behavior, but it smacked me in the face. Once, when I asked my son how he would describe high school he said : high school is one big lie.” I will never forget that. Ever. I was so stunned that I was speechless. Wrong time to be speechless, believe me.

I am grateful that my two young adults, 18 and 20 are so independent and comfortable with other adults.  For that, I thank the strong sense of confidence we instilled in our children and sleep-away camp. Our children begged to go to sleep-away camp where their cousins went, we agreed to give it a try. They LOVED it and so did we. When it came to college, it was easier, for all of us, having been separated before.

How we feel doesn’t matter in this equation anymore. It’s true and we need to accept it. My husband and I like being alone, together. It reminds us of the days before children without all the anxiety and stress. Staying home and watching television is date night, we don’t feel the need to go out, we can relax at home. Our babies are not babies anymore, they are young adults. Do we miss the love that they used to show us? Yes, I know I do. Things change, we have no choice but to adjust. It is not always easy; sometimes it takes a little longer than it should and yes, sometimes I cry in private.  Children will always have you in their hearts but they will leave to find and follow their own lives. When they leave, they are looking forwards to their new lives which leaves us, their parents, looking backwards for sweet memories.