Still Here

Grief is a strange thing. It comes back in unexpected ways and stops you in your tracks. All of sudden the emotion is there whether you are prepared to deal with it or not. We look for closure, for finalization as a bridge to move forward. However, as time goes by, I am left wondering if closure is actually a reality or if we simply learn to live with the heaviness while still embracing new life, new joy. Life doesn’t stop and so we must continue to move forward even if a clear path does not present itself.


Sunday, the last sail race of the season, was significant, yet again. The end of my sailing season and the beginning of Fall, marking transition and loss in similar and different ways for the second year in a row. Last years race was dark and stormy, mirroring the events that were happening in my life and relationship at the time. In that relationship, I had found a new hope and so the loss of that was significant. Now, I fear it may still paint some of my views on love and my emotional reactions to connecting with other people.


Recently, I was challenged to view connections with other people as lessons I learn rather than focusing on the loss that I experienced. So what did I learn? I learned to stand my ground, I learned to speak my truth even when it was constantly questioned. I learned that I wanted more in life, more in my relationship. I learned to let go of a toxic situation because I am worth more than that, I do not need to allow that type of energy into my life and by default my daughter’s life.


This year, was a clear, beautiful, sunny day with no wind. A new mirror of current events. I am far more grounded and centered, far more okay this year than I was at this time last year. I can see the light despite the pain and darkness I have experienced. In a strange way, “no wind,” seems like the perfect metaphor for a relationship that I have fought for on and off again for almost four years with very little forward motion. Without wind, there is no race. The end.


However, I am too close to the experience to process the lessons I learned at this time. Instead I find my heart wrapped up in the loss and lack of closure for both situations. I find myself hopeful but grieving. I find myself alive but broken. I find myself resigned and yet I can not quiet the fight that is constantly going on in my heart. Letting go without a defined sense of closure is hard to do.


I organize things, I fix things, I make things neat and pretty – I can not do that this time around and it goes against the grain of who I am at the deepest level. I love until it hurts, literally, I don’t let go. However, this time, I have to let go. I can not hold on anymore. If I learned anything last year, it is that I matter and that I am the one who determines my path, no one else. However, there is still a level of heaviness in that knowledge and always grief in letting go.


Some days, my heart carries this weight well and I am able to go about my day with a sense of purpose and hope in new things to come. However, on days when my defenses are down and the grief hits unexpectedly, I struggle to remain steady and hopeful. I will not remain there though, I have fought too hard and stood my ground too long to give up now. So instead, I carry the grief and loss, joy and pain, love and let go, hope and brokenness inside my heart as graciously as I am able to and I keep on moving forward.

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I’m still here, I’m still smiling, I’d say that’s winning.

xo

leah

Stumbling Forward …

Winter has always been a difficult Season for me … I live for Sunshine and the outdoors so the Winter months feel as if they drag on endlessly, this Winter was especially hard. In the Summer of 2013, my life changed drastically and the road that I had originally mapped out for myself became new and uncertain. I love change because it causes me to grow in new ways and expand my horizons, I hate change because it is brutal, painful, and pushes me out of my comfort zone.

I was living a “typical” life, a “normal” life and then I wasn’t anymore … My marriage of eight years ended and although it was a decision that I fully supported, it still left me in a state of chaos and all I could do was keep stumbling forward and stumble I did! I found that it wasn’t the person I missed but the tradition of it all that I missed. What do you do for the Holidays? What do you do on Sunday when everyone else is with their family? What do you do when you hang out with your married friends and they’re bitching about their husbands and you’re thinking, “the things that frustrate you are so minor, let it go …”

My divorce was the hardest thing that I have ever done and I am not being dramatic about that at all. I was always the “good girl,” I lived and still do live my life for the most part, to make other people happy and eliminate pain as much as possible. The truth sucks sometimes, the truth is painful and messy; it makes you want to run away and keep running. However, thanks to my beautiful gift, Madison, I was forced to stay in the pain and chaos and fight to make something beautiful out of all the broken pieces.

For the first time in forever, I had to stand my ground and speak my truth even though it was not what other people wanted to hear. I was scared and then I was pleasantly surprised … the love, support, and understanding that was given to us was amazing. The judgement I feared was so minor in comparison to the grace that has been extended to us. Fear makes you run and hide but it is not the choice you should make when you are going through a painful and difficult situation. We all need each other, letting go of fear and allowing others into our brokenness is one of the most beautiful experiences life has to offer. We are all broken, we are all stumbling, and when we reach out to each other in pain and with honesty, love is waiting there.

The Winter months were difficult, full of change, angst, and rediscovery; but then Spring … And I feel that we’ve all turned a corner. There is a new normal now, there is a new happiness and peace. And these words from one of my favorite authors explains it all so clearly and resonates with me so deeply:

“And sometimes, a woman decides to leave — not because she has given up, but because she refuses to give up. Sometimes she leaves, not because she’s confused or lost, but because things are just becoming painfully clear … And sometimes she leaves because in terms of parenting, she’s taking the long view. She knows that staying might help her children in the short run, but that staying — with everyone in his current state of being — would hurt her children in the long run. Because she never wants to tell her children that she compromised her integrity for them — that’s too heavy a burden for them to bear. They never asked for a martyr mother. And because she never, ever wants them to martyr themselves for marriage. Because she wants them to know that there is a chasm wide gulf between co-dependence and love.”  – Glennon Melton Doyle

Because sometimes in life, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same … I can’t tell Madison how to be a strong and independent woman, I have to show her by the way that I live my life.

And I have been blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by the love and support of such dear, sweet friends and I am amazed at the beautiful relationship that I have developed with my ex husband’s new girlfriend as we share the responsibility of caring for and loving Miss Madison – The word that comes to mind is GRACE. When you allow your heart to remain open in the face of bitter disappointment and pursue peace, you will be surprised at the results. There’s no such thing as “normal.” We are all living in the best way we know how, we are all loving as much as we are capable of, and we are all stumbling forward – So let’s just keep moving forward because at the end of the day, that’s all we can do.

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Love, Grace, & Peace to you … 

xo

Leah