October 11, 2017
Everyday is the same as that day, no, not a reliving or an exact replica, but the same in that she is no longer here. That was the last day I saw her, peaceful, like she was taking a nap on the couch, nothing out of the ordinary. “She’s gone. You’re too late!” These words were followed by my brother trying to hug me as if that was the next right move on his part, or maybe it was what he thought I needed, maybe it was what he needed more than anything. No matter what the gesture meant, I cut the hug short. The whole time I was looking past him at her lying there in serenity, still full of the color of life… I will not miss this opportunity. I walked over and knelt down beside her, I gave her a kiss on the forehead and whispered in her ear (this was more for me than her), “I love you, Mom… and I’m going to miss you!” I brushed her hair back and stood on shaky legs, my vision blurred and I walked from the room, but it was more of a glide from that room, none of the normal up and down that is usually accompanied with taking steps but how hovering might look. Out onto the front porch where I had left my two boys. Neither of them knew what was going on. I grabbed them, one in each arm and I hugged them tight and told them, “Momma Sue is dead, boys.” That’s when tears started to flow and wouldn’t stop. The boys began to wail along with me, my body could do nothing but convulse as it pushed more and more tears from my eyes, it’s amazing how that amount of grief and sadness makes your body act as though it is vomiting, forcing your emotion to the surface. I’m not sure how long that lasted, but I remember trying to text someone and my vision was so blurred by my crying that I couldn’t type correctly and ended up having to wipe tears from my phone screen, just to be able to get a simple message out… “Mom’s dead”. The whirlwind and fallout, the full-blown aftermath of losing someone so pivotal is never fully understood until you experience it. Here we are a year later and there is still an amount of fallout that is present. Somedays it’s easier to walk than others, but we are still here. I’m sad today, but not unhappy. This evening we will attempt to celebrate her lasting impression on our lives. A year later and I still think about her hugs, when you get one every morning for about 4 or 5 years you tend to notice them when they just stop. I miss her, but I know she would tell me to “Stop wallowing in my sadness and move forward!” So that’s what I do. I try not to wallow in it, but persevere and move forward. Still here, still walking, still think about her and try to live up to what she thought I could become. I love and miss you, Mom!
August 3, 2017
I thought about this the other day and have now refined the thought enough to perhaps write something cohesive, so here I go…
I sat in my car watching the wind blow a giant oak tree this way and that and I couldn’t help but think of the the saying, “You aren’t a tree. If you don’t like where you are, get up and move.” But, I think that I have to be like a tree, not in the sense that I am firmly planted in the woes of my life, but that I can bend and sway along with whatever storm comes my way. Sure, there are large trees that snap and splinter when storms get too big, but they only break in the places they are supposed to break, in essence, casting off the parts that keep them from being able to bend as they need to. With each break, new life springs forward from where the old broken off branch once was, making the tree lighter for the next storm. My life rages with storms, they bend and sway me, but I have yet to be completely uprooted and destroyed by these storms. I have learned that I have to move with the troubles that come and go, the winds that blow through my “branches” and try to break me down, yet… here I am. Still standing and ready to face the next storm.
It’s just a thought, but one that I quite enjoyed pondering for a few days.
June 8, 2017
As we grow it feels like we fall away into our own melodious discord. Life comes full speed into our view and we get blinded to the paths that all others take, blinded by the seeming brightness of our own path. They always seem to cross again in either a place of sadness or by some strange coincidence. We get little interjections from our familiar past. Little interactions from old friends, or family that have fallen away into their own “grown-up” lives. But no matter the distance that we travel down our own paths, no matter what those paths bring into our view around their next turn, when we see these long lost friends on our own journey, it’s like stopping at a little diner on the side of the path and enjoying simple moments with familiar friends. Sometimes we just pick up where we left off, remembering the great and bad times we had together and sometimes we wander together into a possible future of doing more together again. Sometimes we just sit in silence across from these friends and enjoy their bright presence in our life, even if it is only a momentary stop along our way. The ones that mattered the most, still matter but their paths only cross ours for fleeting moments, reminding us that the past, present and future can still hold wonderful surprises… even when those surprises are just a visit from an old friend. I read a small quote years ago and have tried hard to live by it:
Never part without loving words, for we know not
when we will meet again in life.
While I don’t remember who wrote it, it struck a chord deep within me and made me think about what I do and say before I ever leave the presence of a friend or family member. And so, I do my best to make sure that all of the people I encounter along my path feel love emanating from me, both when we meet and when we part. Enjoy your path, nobody has the same one as you!
June 12, 2017
I wrote this yesterday afternoon and will most likely be ridiculed by some for its content, but honestly… I don’t care. Unfollow me, Unfriend me, I don’t care. This is the conclusion I’ve come to.
Hatred… why? What gain is to come from hating someone? What benefit does it have on you or me? Is there a benefit?
Recently, I have been made keenly aware of hatred as a group, as an individual, as a human. It’s pretty easy to just sidestep the places where hatred seems to be the most prominent, pride celebrations, political rallys, walmart… but really it’s visible everywhere now. Being as connected as we are hatred is blasted into our eyes and permeates our lives on an almost minute to minute basis. Some radical group spouting its distaste for a group of LGBT activists gathered together in a peaceful meeting, another religious group condemning some other religious group because of the actions of their minority and even down to the level of a person losing their best friends of years and years, because they finally realized that they are gay and their friends can’t accept them and hate them for this awakening to who they are. I’m tired of hatred! I’m tired of the backwards, hate-filled animosity for those we don’t understand or agree with, what a waste of energy. If it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown and smiles can symbolize love, then what effect is had on our spirits if we hate, instead of love? Is hatred the equivalent of a spiritual frown? It’s so exhausting. I’m not an idiot, I fully understand that one person writing a small blog post about something as big as hatred is not going to suddenly be the thing that awakens people to the terrible nature of their hatred… of our hatred, but maybe one person will have their eyes opened and that’s worth it. A person that I love, dearly, was exposed first hand to this hatred and I could see how it affected her, how it hurt her to realize that people wanted to hurt her just for who she is. I have another person that came out and lost many people, almost an entire family, that were a huge part of their life. It just makes me sad that people, who most likely will never even be affected by these decisions and parts of others that they have decided to accept and acknowledge, can be so hateful, so callous, so unloving. Love is the only cure for hatred, embrace that, accept that and accept these people for the wonderful humans they are.
May 26, 2017
I don’t often get to just stop, completely, and look at where I currently reside in my own life. I try to, but often get stuck in some thought that comes rambling into my head about something I have done, haven’t done, or must get done soon. Today though, today I did just stop. I looked around, took a few deep breaths and just enjoyed where I am. It was there, in that moment that I was able to see all the goodness and happiness that has flooded into my life over the last 6 months or so. People with the most gentle and wonderful hearts coming into my life and showing me that there is always more adventure to be had. My children commenting on how much they want me to be happy and how happy they are, even if it is hard right now. My family coming together to lift each other up as we wade through this heartache. There is so much good flowing into my life that I almost don’t know what to do with it. It seemed that goodness was something for others to have and to enjoy, as I watched from the sidelines hoping to someday have my own small taste of that goodness. Not anymore. Life is good, happiness is here and I’m not looking to the past for ways to correct my future. I am moving forward into this new life filled with this happiness and I’m embracing it with all my heart! Not everyday can and will be great, but when the great days happen they seem to spill over into the days following them… even if it is only for a little while at a time. I am overwhelmingly happy today and I hope that all of you find happiness as well!
May 2, 2017
I feel like I had been afraid for so long and so trapped in that fear, that I had given up on actually living. Sure, I would wake up, get the kids dressed, take them to school, go to work and go through all the other daily motions, but I was NOT living… I was barely existing. For years I thought, “It’s something with me, something I’m not doing right! It’ll be better if I do, this or that. I’ll change that part of me, then, then it will be better.” That was not the answer and I now realize that it never is the answer. What benefit did I have in killing off parts of myself? I was coasting through my own life, autopilot had been setup to make sure happiness was present in everyone else… but me. I sat on the sidelines of my life staring through windows that continually grew foggier and foggier and all but hid what was happening to me. Then, a rock was thrown through those windows, shattering the obstruction and allowing me to see back into my life and you know what, it feels good to be living again. I really had forgotten what it meant to live! To be happy and to enjoy that happiness, not to just make sure that others are happy, but to actually experience happiness again… it’s been a long time and it’s great to be back! I’m no longer willing to be passive in my own life and I am joyfully accepting happiness in every way that it comes. I think that this, right now, is what life used to feel like, or maybe just what life is supposed to feel like and I saw it from the wrong perspective. There is no part of you that is worth killing off for another person! I sat in sadness for a while and my insides kept saying, “Stop! Life is still here, it’s still happening and you need to be out in it enjoying it!” It felt like a small child tugging at my pants leg, looking up at me with longing eyes and a gentle smile, “Come live.” Finally, I stopped being sad, stopped being inside myself and took the little child’s hand and began to walk, with each step I grew. I grew into myself, the real me, not the husk that was autonomously going through the motions, the me that I am intended to be. I am alive and I will not waste another moment being someone else, no part of me is so broken or battered that I cannot rise up and live. I am happy now, truly happy, somehow in a happiness that I never thought I deserved, or was even possible. When you live life just trying to make sure everyone else is happy, you never stop and find any happiness for yourself, at least that was my problem… I can’t do that anymore, this is not just an “I won’t do that anymore” but literally I Can’t do that anymore, I have no desire or will to just float through life, skirting around happiness and watching others be in it. I’m here, life and happiness are as well and I’m gonna cherish every last moment.
– Christian Sanders
April 27, 2017
Waking life sometimes seems to be the longest part of being human, we all enjoy a good dream and wish for it to never end, but we must wake and live. Today, I woke and fully embraced life. I am prepared, sort of, for whatever this day holds, pain, joy, everything. I often find myself lost in the simplest moment, wanting to just stay there, but something comes a tears me away – back to reality – and I relish in that last moment I found complete solace, then move on into the next moment always trying to proceed with open eyes, so that I don’t miss that next bit of perfection. Slowing down is what I have to do in order to fully be present. I get in such a rush to get to some next huge thing and sometimes pass up the small, simple, joys of life… not today. My oldest son woke up today and smiled at me and said the most beautiful thing, “Dad, I really love you!” That moment set a great tone for today! How is anything else supposed to compare to that, why does anything else need to? In each moment, in each day, find your joy… sometimes it catches you off-guard and makes you stop; sometimes it doesn’t catch up to you until you are a few miles into the day and then it makes you stop and appreciate how wonderful that “little” thing really was. Don’t miss those moments, they happen more often than we will admit, but our tendency is to brush over them and keep moving. Stop. See them for what they are and have a wonderful day! You are surrounded by infinite possibilities for something wonderful, don’t miss them by being too busy.
April 11, 2017
When someone close to you dies there is a huge outpouring of empathy and talking about how wonderful the person was and what a hole they will leave in your life, very little of the talk is of much use in preparing for the impending fallout of a family member’s death. Only one person said something to me after my mother died that I have used in this first year after her death. She said to me, “This first year is going to be hard. It is a year of firsts without that person. Remember, when a new first happens you can fill that hole with the joyful memories of the past and add new memories to them! First doesn’t mean bad, just different.” This has rung true so far. She died one month to the day prior to my birthday, that was a hard one, it’s still very new and “fresh” in your mind and life. I woke on my birthday expecting the simple “Happy Birthday, Christian!” text that she usually sent… and I waited for it… and waited… and then remembered… and then broke down. I told my brother, “Just don’t have anymore birthdays, they are really painful without her simple messages.” This was said through tears, uncontrollable and saltier than usual it seemed. Next comes Thanksgiving and another family get together, minus one. It’s somewhat somber until everyone finds their new flow and realizes that this can still be a joyful occasion, we can still be joyful and happy in each other even without this person’s physical presence. Christmas. She always had a penchant for large parties and planning them, Christmas was… different. And now we come to today, the day before her birthday. My mother and I, up until I turned about 19-20, had a tenuous relationship. It wasn’t horrible, just different from many other relationships between mothers and sons that I have heard about. So, today I wake up and it hits me… I won’t get to tell her “Happy Birthday”, no hugs, no gentle exchanges of the love that had grown in us over the years… just a silence, deafening and huge. Probably filled with a few whimpers and sobs, as well as tears. The firsts are the hardest, but are what I think give me strength after they pass. The lead up to and journey through the firsts is hard, but on the other side of each first is a new day, a new moment, a new chance to live… fully. Firsts this year are hard, but are not the death of me. I’m surprisingly optimistic today and even happy, tomorrow may be different. So, I will put it here:
“Happy Birthday, Mom! I do miss you, but I am going to be fine. I love you!”
April 3, 2017
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Does it really? For no good reason I woke this morning at 1:09 a.m. and sleep evaded me for the better part of two hours before I resigned to the fact that it just wasn’t coming back. It’s been a long time since I just woke up this early in the morning and decided, “yep, I’m gonna get this day a goin’!” But, that’s what I’m doing today. Waking so early in the morning really makes my mind race. When I first wake it races with full blown confusion: Why am I awake right now? I think I woke up because I need some water? I should be able to fall right back to sleep… wrong. So, after mulling over those simple thoughts for about 30 minutes I start to wonder if there is something more that I am missing, maybe my brain knows something I really don’t?! I’m supposed to be awake right now, because… nope, no real reason. Now that I’ve gotten through that first hour of simple questions with no real answers, I move on to the more dire and pressing issues in my life. In the dark of an early morning room my mind tends to exaggerate every small little thought and worry into some gigantic and impossible dragon that I’m supposed to defeat, armed only with a stick and my wits. I worry, about my kids, my family, my day and pretty much anything else that I could possibly come up with to worry about. I start to work myself into such a frenzy that I realize, there is no possible way I will ever make it back to sleep this morning, I may as well just get the hell up and get busy, at least that will help to dull this grating noise caused by all these worries. And so, I do and I clean the house, quietly, so as to not wake anyone else that isn’t suffering my same early morning affliction. Then I sit and I write, no real purpose in the writing just writing to keep myself company I guess. Sometimes words, as they are escaping from my head and down through my fingertips, have a life all their own – going back and re-reading them often allows me to hear the multiple sounds they make and it is somewhat soothing. So, I guess this morning these words are just for me, just to keep me company as I stare out the window into the waning darkness of early morning and think to myself, “Today is gonna be great! Why the hell else would I be up so damn early?” I hope you all enjoy your day today!
March 24, 2017
Something happens, simple to the outside observer perhaps even of no real consequence, and it strikes a chord within me. I panic. Calm down, breathe, it can be handled. I look at the task with a sense of anxiety and responsibility that crushes me like a tidal wave, “How did this happen?!”
“I took every precaution.” I sit there, baffled by my seeming ineptitude, then a word… somehow a simple word picks me up and carries me to a place where the solution sits waiting, like an old friend. I set down, gently, next to the solution and realize my panic was only me. A sense of calm comes over me, washing away those anxieties and I put my hands to work. The solution always seems to be right there waiting on me to find it, I just have to stop and realize, my perception of this problem is what hides the solution. If a word can pick me up, then what does my action do?
Moving swiftly now, this isn’t as hard as it seemed before.