Monthly Archives: July 2011

Tout Va Bien!


So, as I had hoped, I have done a lot of head- clearing on this trip. I feel like I have gotten parts of myself back….parts that I had forgotten how to tap into. Parts that, during the first six months of this year, I feared I might never find again. Alas, they are still here and just like riding a bicycle, turns out all I needed was a little practice to get going again.
In case you don’t know what I am talking about, 2011 has pretty much sucked BIG TIME for me, and for many of the people I love. The year started with a young friend getting very, very sick while visiting Paul & I from Florida. I adore this young man, and his 4 days in the hospital, 1000 miles away from his home scared me beyond belief. Teenagers are not supposed to get that sick….especially teenagers like Jacob, whose enthusiasm and love for life make my life a little more sparkly when he is around. At the same time, Paul & I knew we had to make a decision about our ancient dog, Sugar. She had gotten to the point where her brain was no longer protecting her from taking actions that could hurt her, so we decided to put her to sleep. And, to top it all off, my father shared the news that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. This was all in January…literally all at once. Then, my dad went in for surgery and spent a month in the hospital, only to seemingly recover, but, then pass away in his sleep a few weeks later. So, yea, to say it’s been rough is an understatement. I send daily silent prayers to the Universe for Jake, miss Sugar and try to focus on all the good I had with my dad. That has not been an easy task…and quite frankly, I was losing the sense of anything good before I came back to “The Beach House” here in Florida. I am trying not to have expectations about when I return to my everyday life….but, for now, all is well.
I won’t pretend that I went into this getaway without some guilt. I have always had a hard time putting my needs before other people and things. But, something in me knew it needed to be done, and I am glad I listened to that voice. While it felt self-indulgent at first, now it feels necessary. I also won’t pretend that I don’t realize how fortunate I am to be able to do this. And, I have a lot of people to thank for my good fortune. Mostly, my dad, but, also, my husband, our friend (and pet-sitter extraordinaire) Karen, our friends and family…especially Lauri & Jake, for spending easy, relaxed time with me floating in the pool and ocean, laughing and eating (healthy foods, of course).
What was it I was so afraid I might never find again in myself? A sense of gratitude, a sense of life making sense, a sense of enjoyment…a sense of it being worth trying to be happy. All of that was severely damaged. Has it all returned? For today it has, and I think that’s all any of us can ever ask for. A lesson I struggle to learn is that, too much is out of my control to focus on anything other than today.
And today, I am happy. And….tout va bien.


Beachy Keen.


So, here I am….at the beach, alone. Had a great time with Paul and Jason and friends and family who came to visit. I got Paul and Jason to the airport yesterday morning and came back wondering. Wondering why I wanted to be here alone, wondering what I thought I was going to accomplish and why it seemed so important to do. I realize that all of my wondering was about fear…..and the second guessing of myself that I seem to do quite often. I am happy to say that those fears have been put to rest and know that I made the decision to stay for exactly what I said: I need some time to clear my head. I need some time to focus. I need some time to grieve. Maybe other people are fortunate enough to be able to do those things while conducting their everyday lives…I cannot. I get caught up in minutiae, I get caught up in worry. I am highly aware that my being able to take this time is a true luxury and for that I am extremely grateful. Grateful to my husband for for telling me to stay and do what I need to do and going home to take care of the pets, grateful to my boss for allowing me the time off, grateful to friends who understand my need for some time alone and grateful to my father for giving me a place to do it.
It is rainy and cool here this morning…a lovely combination for July in Florida. The rain is soothing and I am watching the sky blend with the ocean in colors so muted and calming. It is exactly the kind of start to the day I needed….lazy and quiet. My mind has definitely calmed a bit since last night, when my fears of sleeping upstairs in the bedroom forced me to set up on the couch, with the TV on (I never fall asleep with the TV on). What was I so afraid of…..ghosts? Yep, I have never slept here alone, and have always been slightly afraid here, because it is empty so much of the time. Silly, but, I have the same problem at home if Paul is not there and did when I lived with Stacy if she went away. Don’t really know how I lived alone in Baltimore for 5 years in a 100 year old house. Somehow, I think I was bolder in alot of ways at that time in my life.
Worry and fear and sadness have become so much a part of my life recently, and often, I have begun to wonder who I am anymore. It’s funny, because for a long time, I was quite sure I had figured all that out. But, losing my dad turned alot of my thoughts and feelings upside down. Suddenly, I have lots of new things to consider. At this exact moment in time, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing….but, I know that all that could change later today. I think part of my confusion comes from my rather slow acceptance of certain things. Things like….changing my mind, opening my mind and realizing the possibilities. Realizing that I choose my approach and that I don’t have to let myself just be swept along through life. I had a conversation with Paul’s Aunt Leila last night, and she reminded me of that. I knew it, but, forgot. And, honestly, I don’t think I could have found it again if I was home, worried about the laundry, the bills, my brother, my job, my clients, walking the dogs, finishing the garden, or what Paul and I are going to have for dinner. Maybe I would have in time, but, I was starting to feel like time was slipping away…that I was slipping away.

Now, here I sit on a porch, overlooking the ocean, listening to the rain and for the first time in a long time, thinking of the possibilities and not the obstacles. It feels good.  I want to hold on to it, but, not as tightly as I have held on to my worry, fear and sadness. I want to believe that life goes on…in a way that honors those I love and myself. Somehow, I don’t think fearing I am going to get fired because one of my clients didn’t take an exam is quite the way, or that worrying or being sad all the time is it either. I want my dad to be proud of me, and I think he was. I think he was proud of the person I am, and I am proud of the person I am, too. I think I am a good person,and I try to always do the next right thing. But, the recent state of my emotions was pulling me further away from that. Maybe that is what I have been so afraid of…that if I didn’t stop and take a breath, I would become less me and more unrecognizable. Less grateful, less able to see the good and more angry, more scared. I don’t want my fear to take over. I don’t want to lose my heart. I think of my dad when he was sick and realize that if he can focus on the love and not the pain, then I can, too. I can choose to see obstacles as challenges, in which I get to prove something to myself, and not as immoveable brick walls. I can choose to see the opportunities I have right now and check them out and see what fits. And, like much of what I inherited from my dad, for that I am grateful. I think that if his approach to his life when he became sick was different, it would be even harder to see, but, I learned through watching him in action that you have to keep trying, and that even when parts of you won’t cooperate, you put others into action. What an example he was….what an inspiration.