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Undulations Ahead

17 May

Yesterday I worked late. Yesterday I was joyful with the people I encountered, who encountered me. Yesterday I thought I would be OK today. Yesterday I was wrong. I awoke this morning, May 17, 2017 and was instantly hit with the flashbacks to this day four years prior. The day I lost my son. Being hit with flashbacks is not a new occurrence; they come often. The difference in today is that the mere fact of the date takes me down. If I use a fighter’s analogy, I am quick on my feet and able to dodge the hits, normally. And then today’s date comes around and I am laid flat–it is the one swift blow. Back to the drawing board of training, but first I must make it out of my bed.

Today I struggled to eat. The struggle is result of knowledge battling feeling. I know my body needs nourishment. I know if I don’t eat a migraine will be triggered. I know these things. And yet I feel only sorrow and somehow it tricks my body into believing it’s nourished. I feel the headache and yet the flowing tears beg more attention than the aching in the cranial region. I avowed all day long to get my self out of bed and take a shower, brush my teeth, get something done. In bed I remain, even as I type.

Flashbacks don’t always give fair warning; they sometimes hit out of nowhere and command the fierce attention of reverting back to the scene of the pain. So many moments to revert to. Too painful to even write them down, even just the slightest. It is the dodge of the hit that compels me forward. I cannot handle the pain (quasi nod to Carly Simon here), I cannot live in its presence. This just might be me; others might have a different method or capability. But mine is the inability to dwell in the place of remembrances—can’t do it and live. Hence my stay in bed today, my swollen eyes and my bad breath (courtesy the omission of tooth brushing in bed). *my apologies to those who sat with me in my bedchamber today, the odoriferous scene was not a pleasant one.

At least this date gives a fair warning of its coming, much like the signs I read as a kid in my Aunt’s Sacramento neighborhood, “Warning, Undulations Ahead” – the word undulation has since intrigued me, what a beautiful word. Did you ever consider the letter “u” could be so fancy? I just love it! That there, folks, is my best attempt at getting up. Dodge the hit and counter attack with a distracting nonsensical statement. You see the sun is setting and I am looking into the eyes of tomorrow, when I will again get up and resume the fight. So though at present it seems the referee will make the count to “three” alongside my repose, I am actually still in the game and so I must shakily forge ahead—undulations and all.

I hate today. I hate this story that is mine. But tomorrow I will love, and joy again I will find.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:12-13

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France in mourning

28 Jun

It is tough for me to explain, the juxtaposition of circumstance in which we (Brian, Esther, and I) have just lived.  For upon finishing up the memorial/burial services for our beloved, Cole, we had to continue on, “being strong”, to fulfill a commitment made prior to our loss.  This commitment just happened to be in France.

It was very strange to have such heartache within us, while engaging in new adventures with new relations…very kind and loving people.  At best, we remained “distracted” from our pain.  But every so often (daily in fact), our loss was inescapable.

For instance…

While touring the streets of Toulouse a man with a limp and a cane walked by.  I was instantly flooded with sympathy for my son, and hurt for the hardship he faced after his braintumor surgery.  My heart ached so horribly in that moment as I faced his bravery and HIS physical challenges, as seen empathetically through his eyes by way of the disabled man doing his best to navigate his physical impairment.

In another moment, while visiting Spain, I (metaphorically) stepped into the shoes of my siblings and felt the pain of their loss…the loss of their beloved nephew.  And in another town, I hurt for my mother who I knew was keeping my house (and pets) in order while we were away, yet was daily facing the undeniable reality of Cole’s empty room–her first grandchild, her angel.  And during the couple of times I was able to have a quiet walk on my own, I stepped into the shoes of the friend.  The impact of their struggle in learning how to be a friend to a fragile Cole (after his surgery), and the impact of his being gone that leaves its profound mark upon their young souls.

And of course there was (is) my own pain that is unavoidable and ever so ready in its reminder that I cannot “wake up” from this nightmare of a reality.  And then there is the pain of the sister, my beautiful Esther Rose, and the father, my ‘darlin,’ Brian.  If I could, for a moment, get away from my own mourning, theirs was present, visible, and in need of consoling.

It is a tough case, this loss.  For me, it hasn’t lessened my faith in G-d the almighty, but it has impacted my ‘faith’ in ways I cannot truly explain.  Just impacted, that is all…

After Cole’s surgery, though I ached (alongside him) for his physical, spiritual, and emotional struggles, I held on–so tightly–to the hope of his future, and I encouraged him often to see it for himself.  The scripture from Jeremiah 29, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”, I believed with all my being in relationship to my son.  I could almost taste, touch, smell, and see the prosperous future of Cole…his dreams of a wife and children fulfilled.  His gifts and strengths being of benefit to others for years to come.  His generous heart beating full strength ahead for years and years after the statistics of his type of cancer suggested.  His touch upon this earth not hindered in the least because of his physical impairments.  …I could see it all, and my faith was fully present within my hope.

So while I remain fully comitted to my faith in G-d, his word, his promises, and the hope we are offered in this life and the life beyond, I am just a bit impacted, so to say, from not only the loss of my son, but from the loss of hope I had been clinging to in relationship to Cole’s future.  …hard to explain.  Just as being in France, while in mourning, is difficult to describe.  But I feel a bit like a disappointment.  Like one of the stories in the bible, such as Job, that no-one wants to relate to.  That we all, at some point or another, would like to believe is more myth than reality.  I mean I had such hope…such positivity, such faith–and yet, here I am–we are, all of us, hurting from this story that none of us wishes were ours to tell.  I don’t want to be a modern day Job.  I just don’t.  I don’t even like his story of intense loss, complete faithfulness to our Heavenly father, and a bounty of new blessing bestowed upon him.  It just brings up too many questions of, “why?”

Oh dear, I am rambling…the result of horrific tales of travel (delays, crowded planes, flight cancellations, loss of luggage and sleep, etc.).  I apologize, though not enough to delete this post.  😉

Next up, Japan.  Brian and I leave on Monday.  But for today, though our luggage has yet to arrive, we are home–safe.  And I write while sitting in my son’s room–as close to him as I can be…for now.

Biarritz France

Musician and daughter (Brian and Esther), walking to the ‘gig’ in Biarritz, France

bbandrivkabiarritz1

France, in mourning. Brian and Rivka

Unintentionally Imperfect

28 Nov

I am sleep deprived today.  I was sleep deprived yesterday too, but today I’m “feeling” it.  The cause of my shut-eye deprivation was fear.  Grippingly, wrenchingly, nauseatingly, and awfully imposing was this terrorization of my soul.  Not to worry, my faith (which I have discovered is actually an action more than an idea, and translates as: trust in an unseen G-d and his Word as recorded in the Bible), has conquered my visitor from Hell.  Yes, the state of my being, while suffering the fool of being afraid, was something straight out of what my impression of Hell would be…a place devoid of the presence of my loving father.  Not a pleasure, I assure you.

I will bring you thru to the occult slowly, by traipsing back to the catalyst–which is actually quite wonderful and exhilarating…

My husband, Brian, and I have decided that an additional investment (aka:privilege), into our daughter’s education would be a worthwhile endeavor.  She is currently finishing up her second year of learning her third language, French.  And because she has weathered this past year and a half like a champ, we have decided to send her on a trip to France this January, during her one month respite from classes (though she will engage in studies while on her visit).

Now rewind to 1983 for the back-story which helps to illuminate my fearful state.  It was the aforementioned year and I was thirteen (funny, up until writing this post I held this memory as if I were 9 or 10 years of age…but now looking up facts smooths out the wrinkles of a hazy memory), for reasons still unknown to me now, I watched a movie about a little boy who was kidnapped from Sears while shopping with his mom.  And who was subsequently found murdered.  The little boy was Adam Walsh.  You might know the, made for TV movie, it was titled, “Adam”.  The account of this story of abduction rattled my young soul to the core, and its impact upon my mind was profound.  At that time I babysat my younger siblings (god brother and sister, for those of you who are thinking, “wait a minute, aren’t you the baby of the family?), with a new, keen awareness of evil.  I developed a philosophy and guideline for our public outings of, “If I can’t touch you, somebody else can!”, which I later applied to my own children, in their younger years.  Essentially, they were allowed to be within my arms reach and not further.  While raising my children I felt strongly that I’d rather lose them to a Mac truck then to have them (or me) live through the horrors of abduction.

In recent years, my aching heart is aware of stories of abduction through media coverage.  Specifically, the Chelsea King case.  There is a trail near my house that I like to walk the dogs on.  For some reason my heart hurts for her and her parents during one section of the terrain.  I always, and I mean ALWAYS, pray for the King family (and the parents of the perpetrator) during that leg of my hike…it’s kind of creepy, I admit!  In fact, there are occasions that I cannot complete that particular leg of the walk because my empathizing mind becomes too burdened by the evil which crossed the King’s path and fear then runs a muck within me.  You will still find me in prayer for the families, though my own insecurities are also being addressed at the same time.  And as fate would have it, I had the pleasure of interacting with the King family attorney this past summer.  He is a most gracious man with a truly empathetic and giving heart.  Anyway, this is my back story.  I do not normally walk in fear…at least that is what I thought.

In fact, this particular year I have declared, with my husband, it is a year of “NO FEAR”.  Now making this declaration seems simple enough…not so, not so.  For it has, in fact, acted as illuminator of the many, let me write it again, MANY underlying actions we take in life that are directly motivated by fear.  Example, when fighting cancer do not cook your vegetables…they are most effective when consumed in their natural state (what to do when raw vegetables are difficult for the cancer patient to ingest? Aaahhh Scary!).  And of course they can only be organic, and the quality of the soil and farm is integral to the nutrient content (but when one is on a strict budget, that rabbit hole has to be left for another fox to find…also scary).  Milk is bad and probably the cause of many illnesses (one friend of mine is convinced it is the origin of my migraine headaches, I am slightly afraid as I drink every last drop).  Cardiovascular exercise is important for longevity, but don’t forget strengthening techniques which help fight the naturally occurring degeneration of bone mass (if you don’t move you just might die–one day).  Don’t consume just any oil, it has to be cold pressed.  Or hard pressed, or who knows which one!  I don’t think you want me to get started on fish, the mercury content, and the wild vs. farmed issue.  How about the environmental issues.  Or sex before marriage issue, and the ‘must attend a university directly out of high school’ issue–or else!  Of course, at my age, the retirement fund and long term care insurance issues come into play.  As does the fear of disease and getting older.  Oiy Vay…fear has its roots in much of our life.  If we let it.  For the most part, I utilize my knowledge with a knowing that this physical life is a temporary one.  I do what I can, with what I have, and trust in the good Lord for the rest.  …and this last statement is coming from one (me) who thoroughly enjoys learning.

So with our 2012 no fear policy has come the facing of many root fears which have permeated our lives.  No matter, I like the purging…until this past week.  The week Brian and I decided to move forward with allowing Esther the opportunity to travel, on her own, to France.  As I shared our decision with a family member (whose travel booking advice I was after) she promptly suggested I, and Esther, watch the movie “Taken”.  Actually, I think I’ll expose her.  Only because she is such a squeaky clean individual that she needs a little soiling, just to keep the “chi” in balance. 🙂  It is my younger sister.  The one who suffered, as a little girl, the squeeze of my hand because I was under the influence of the Adam Walsh story.  The one who traveled, to France herself, when she was twenty, with a girlfriend.  So upon her advice I watched a 4 minute synopsis of the film.  And the wretched ax of terror hit me so hard I was shaking–honest–because this film has the underlying story of two girls who travel to Paris, are abducted and then sold into the sex slavery trade (last word hurts to even use–sorry, it’s late and I don’t want to take the time to correct it).  I was, after that, gripped.  My stomach was clenched with fear and my head a swirl with evil.  I somehow managed to get myself back to a quasi normal state, just enough to get some sleep.

However, the next night my daughter returned home from a work dinner party, where her 17th birthday was being honored.  Only instead of being showered with birthday blessings and wishes, she was being smothered with curses.  They went something like this, “Oh, you should watch that movie Taken.  You are so going to be taken, just like in that movie, because you are too nice.”  She came and shared that news with me as I was already tucked in bed and again at peace with her upcoming trip.  I will spare you from having to re-live the scenario with me, especially as the torment and mental torture I endured carried forth until the morning.  It was a horrific night.  And Brian, Esther, and I have had to thoroughly examine the circumstances of her travel arrangements, her host family, and the realities which come from living in an imperfect world.  Bottom line, our mantra of 2012 remains.  “No Fear.”  Because fear is a destroyer of life.  It might seem harmless while living in a vegetable, within imperfect soil, or even in the milk we drink (though the Center for Science in the Public Interest  doesn’t consider these things harmless, http://www.cspinet.org/).  Yet it likes to take hold of that which is biologically sound and squeeze from it the essence of being alive.

Though difficult as it may be for me to recover from my wrestling match with the devil, my daughter will travel to France this winter.  She will be blessed with as much opportunity as we can provide for her.  And she will know that no matter how hard it is for us, her father and I, to let go of her hand, we will allow her to bloom and grow.  And what of my little sis, my now-a-principal-of-a-high-school little sis, who first led me to the rocking of my soul movie trailer?  She is also the first to say to Esther, “just be aware and cautious, but most definitely go.”

This past year our Bent slogan was created because my husband has been suffering the fool of fear for a while.  I have been so tired from his own sleepless nights (as he insists upon my help through his torture) that I actually installed the “NO FEAR” policy as a measure of ‘risk management’.  This is probably my first time experiencing the robbing tactics of its presence.  And yet, today I purchased her airline tickets.  And today I share in her excitement.  …fear, don’t come around here no more.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

 

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