This morning was back-to-school, back-to-work, and back-to-Monday.
It was also back-to-tears. I’m not quite sure why after so many dry months. I’m feeling wrapped up like a Christmas gift that was left behind the tree, and I need someone to come and find me.
Driving back home after kindergarten drop-off, a single tone of Angels We Have Heard on High forced me to blink several times in order to keep my eyes focused on the road. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve entered the season of angels or what, but I’ve felt borderline weepy all day.
Please do not misunderstand – I absolutely love this time of year. My heart sings with the ringing of the bells, and my soul invites the deep green of Christmas wreaths and mistletoe to come in and stay awhile, and the comfort of warm winter drinks fills my hands and heart on chilly, rainy days. I love that it was pure sunshine today when it should have been raining and that I had (have!!) work to do. I love that in a week or two’s time our home will be candle lit sparkling and colorful as we dust off old friends, special ornaments, empty stockings and stale candy canes from last year’s season. If you send us a holiday note or a photo, know that I’ll save it for years to come.
But today I let myself feel alone in the deep and icy knowing of how much I miss my sister who was taken from us over seven years ago. I still struggle to reconcile her absence with so much joy and fullness around me and I feel like this year maybe it’s just my problem and somewhere out there she is fine, just fine in the unknowable world of angels and mysteries and stories mixed with humanity and its realities. I just can’t seem to get around or through or beyond or over the loss very much today.
I finally accepted that I would choose to live my day within the loss, within its truth and within the real and dark place that is the death of my young and younger sister so many holiday seasons ago.
And I hate it. But I am learning to live with it.
At home we are teaching Miles about the power of words like “hate” and “thank you” and “please” and “love”.
I hate it. I hate that she died, and I hate that she is gone. I own the power of those words, and yet I am a person who feels really uncomfortable using the word “hate”.
We spent three bustling, kid-centric and kid-happy days in a peace-inducing place over the Thanksgiving holiday. An occasional boom from the horn of a cargo boat sounded, but aside from our own voices, it was a very quiet experience.
From my home office today I heard the siren of an ambulance and the clinking of a shopping cart being pushed down the sidewalk toward the store on the corner where collectors can make a buck for their recyclables. Cars sped by and the MAX train zoomed to the station not far from our house. Our urban home is wonderful for many reasons, but I missed the tranquility of a rural community today.
In the car I listened to holiday music that felt too beautiful with its timeless messages of friendship, love, and blessings. In the next few days I need to sing along to “I saw Mama kissing Santa Claus” and stay away from “We are the World” for a few days… I’m just too sensitive. Forget about “Blue Christmas” right now (sorry, Elvis).
While away for a few days this past weekend, I ran twice. On Thanksgiving Day, I headed out for a 5K on a rural community road under blue skies. A gentle breeze kept me cool. Suddenly to my right appeared a doe. Focused on the doe, a large buck startled me by crossing the road just before me to meet his partner. A second doe waited quietly on my left. I kept going, and they watched me run down the road. The next day, headlamp in place, I tucked into a 3.5 mile run at dusk. It was a bit eerie running beneath towering pines that create a shadowy tunnel in which to travel. But the peace and quiet were worth the tiny fear I felt when I couldn’t quite see what was too far ahead of me, nor could I identify which eyes may have been watching me from beneath the brush at the side of the road. I wondered if coyotes attacked humans, and later was assured they most certainly did not.
Back in my usual space today, I made time this afternoon for a few quiet deep breaths, before waking child # 2 to go pick up child # 1. They hugged each other upon sight, which turned my mood right around (though the tears threatened) and we got busy being a family tonight.
It is such a secret place, the land of tears. – Antoine De Saint-Exupery.