Haiku Heights – Nature

Pretty Shells

Pretty Shells (Photo credit: bensheldon)

Soft, coarse, speckled sand

Trying to hide from the sun

My fingers giggle.

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

Turtle lifts his head

wearily out of his shell

blinks and slides back in.

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

Pink shells of my heart

Warm my soul with gratitude

I  am at peace now.

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

Blue-aqua water

Look at my wondrous body

Come alive with strength.

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

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My First Experience with Death

Heaven

Grief Lasts A Lifetime

When I was very young my best friend Claudine and I sat on the floor of my bedroom and played with my two turtles. Apparently I injured the turtle ACCIDENTALLY. I didn’t know it at the time because my father played doctor and I remember the turtle’s frail neck had been wrapped with white bandages. He smelled like the red, antiseptic medicine that my mom used on my skinned knees. I don’t remember being particularly upset over the sudden demise of the turtle but I do remember that my dad, who of course knew it was dead, pretended to nurse him back to health, for me.
That same loving man, my father, died ten years ago. He died New Year’s Eve 2001 an hour before my parents’ wedding anniversary on January 1st. I remember that horrible night in excruciating detail, I was sitting on my bed and the phone rang and it was my mother. “It’s over, it’s done” she said and I sobbed for what seemed forever and grieved for a very long time. I still miss my dad, I will always miss him. Sometimes I do get messages or signs from him and I believe in that. How do you recover from someone’s death? You don’t. Not ever. There will be a new world for you and it will be divided into before the death and after. You are now a member of a new club for adult children who have lost a parent and it’s not a club you ever wanted to join. You have no choice. Intense pain and grief get less frequent with time but there will always be moments, at least for me, when the pain feels fresh and raw. I was in Targets six weeks ago and I automatically turned into the Father’s Day card section. I remember I stood still and openly gasped. I had to hold on to my cart to steady myself. Only then did I stop and remember I had no one to send it to. I didn’t have a dad who was alive anymore in the physical world. Tears filled my eyes and I left the store quickly; my eyes were so blurry it was hard to see.

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It’s Time To Skip, Again

My 2 children spontaneously hold hands and joy...

Fear: I know your name and how you make me feel. My fingers are deep in the inner pocket of my blue fleece jacket rubbing my thumb and forefinger over the soft texture again and again. It is part of my life and everyone’s life at some point. It takes a long time to get over it but eventually you have to and you do. It is like a lazy turtle hiding in its thick green shell and only slowly, with caution, it sticks it’s leery head out and barely looks left and right. It retreats, yes, we all do but we do come out again. Maybe it’s a little easier the next time.

Life is like that, everyone can be terrified at some point and it took me years to accept that it wasn’t just me. I am still cautious, I still get those annoying, tight anxiety strings that pull and tug until they think they can wear me down. I try to push back but sometimes I fail and that is alright. There are solutions because we cannot handle everything ourselves. We need other people or we need medicine or we need to write down our fears or do a collage to rid ourselves of the scary lion, in our minds, attacking its innocent prey. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves to jump or to take a baby step or to skip like when we were innocent children. Remember the feeling of skipping down the street with your best friend? Pure joy and innocence and no fear whatsoever. Maybe we can still be that person once in a while.

It is alright to make mistakes and to make them all over again. Some lessons are hard to learn but not impossible. I know that I feel that too. Some people hide it better than others, some quake, some sweat, some can’t speak for a moment but eventually you find your OWN path. Don’t think it’s just you because it isn’t. I promise. Think of someone who you think has absolutely no fear and then think again. Everyone feels frightened some time in their life. There are some of us that wear our hearts on our sleeves, like me. You can notice my feelings on my face ten feet away, at least some people can; others, don’t notice a thing.

Sometimes I have to play a game. You can play it too. Plaster a great big fake smile on your face and pretend you are absolutely confident. Once my college teacher called it “the confidence game” and I needed it as much as anyone else. It takes time to master it but give it a chance. You might be happily surprised.

“What if I fail?” asks the nervous me. “What if I made a really big mistake?”  I wept to one of my son’s teachers when he was in first grade, “Stand in line, she said “do you think you’re the first one to make a mistake?”  To me it seemed colossal and I did fret with worry but it made me think. My son is now eighteen and I still think of her words, I can picture the teacher’s red hair and the tears on my face streaming down like a small but steady waterfall. When I finally stopped weeping and gave her a hug, I left feeling a tiny bit better. As years went by I always remembered that and now I give other people the same advice I was given. It is okay to make mistakes, everyone does.

If I had any failures in my life most of them were because I was “scared to try.”  I look back at my life and think it might have been really healthy to have been fired once or twice, or scolded and reprimanded instead of TRYING to be the perfect me. My one badge of pride is that I did not pass on my own fears to my children. For this, and this alone, I have succeeded in a spectacular way. I have also forgiven myself for the mistakes I have made, because the decisions I made at the time seemed right. Now, knowing more and being older if I try really hard, I can make different choices. Not always, but sometimes and that’s perfectly good enough.