Trust

As I pick up the pieces of my broken heart, I remember that I have been here before.  This is the same feeling of fear that I experienced right before I jumped out of the airplane over Davis, California the summer before I met my husband, or the years rafting through the class 4 and 5 rapids, and the year we did Picket Fence together down the Rogue River, and my husband capsized in a kayak, or the year we were skiing Kirkwood in a snow storm and accidentally had to take our four year old, Siena, down a treacherous black diamond ski run.

On that day at Kirkwood, I leaned down with the wind and snow blowing so hard it stung my face, and whispered to Siena that she could do this, and she did.  She pointed her ski’s down the mountain and I stayed close to her because it was becoming a white out.  She made it safely to the bottom, and later we sat together having lunch in the lodge, with our friends the Hoover family, and watched the storm rage on until snow hit the roof tops.

What I remember and hold close to me now, is that she trusted me completely, and she trusted herself, and she went on to become an amazing skier and a very brave person in general.

 

 

Loss

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I lost my husband two weeks ago. And even though no marriage is perfect and ours certainly was not, I am finding the pain intense and almost unbearable.  I look back at the photo above and remember the hope and promise of the early years and my heart literally breaks in two.  There are no words to describe how it felt to drive with my younger daughter 15, to find my older daughter 17, so I could break the news to them together.  My precious Siena was texting and playing music while tears streamed down my face.  She looked so happy and I knew my words would change her life forever.

Now I wake at 5:00 a.m. and for a brief moment I don’t remember what happened, and I think it is just another normal day.  I can hear the birds chirping and my little piece of heaven awakening beyond my window, and then I remember.

The days ahead will be difficult, but I look forward to them, and one day waking in the morning without crying.  

Rest in peace my dear.  You are in my prayers.

Love Heals

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Cerro Pampa Polo Club
Over the last nine years my family and I have attended the annual Oyster Cup at the Cerro Pampa Polo Club, it’s not what you think, but a family friendly event for polo players and their family and friends.  And dogs.  After dinner there is usually dancing with the kids, dogs and friends.   And we all wear our ponchos.  Nothing could be more fun.  The first year my youngest daughter was six, and I brought along my house guest Dagny who was a kid then, but now has a baby of her own.

This is always my favorite day of the summer.  I love sitting on the polo field and watching the horses and riders thunder by.  This year it was just me without my husband or kids.  And I have to admit I was crying on my drive to the ranch.  And naturally, I really was a bit of a downer, and I apologize, but I was on this day, and all of the others, held up by the love of my friends, family, neighbors and even people I don’t even know.

Our home looks like a flower shop.  We are still receiving flowers and cards.  They say when tragedy strikes we find out who our real friends are and I have to say, I had no and I mean absolutely no clue, how many real friends we all have.  It has been truly amazing.

The other day I opened a package and it was a silver bracelet with a charm that said, “Everything is going to be OK” and yesterday I got a beautiful letter and a check in a ridiculous amount from a subcontractor of my husbands.

Thank you to my Alpha Phi sisters who have been by my side constantly, here in the Bay and when I was in Oregon for a soccer tournament days after my husband died.  My dear friend Maureen attended every game and brought me coffee.  And my best grade school friend let my daughter and I just lie on her sofa while she came up with the funniest stories of our childhood to make my daughter laugh, and my neighbors who fed the many people who stayed at our house for days and days and comforted my daughters.  And my best friend Deb who has been burning a trail up to see me from So. Cal every chance she gets.  And my sis and sweet brother in law who loves movies took me to see the movie North By Northwest (1959).  And all of my aunties who call me constantly from Toronto.   And Tony at Santa Maria who hugs me every time he sees me.   And the Hoover family who took Siena to their home in Maui for a much needed break.

It goes on and on…

I am deeply grateful and appreciative of the outpouring of love that my children and I have received.  Love really does heal.

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Wide Open

Berkeley’s 4th Street, July 25, 2016
On the day my husband’s heart burst I was having lunch with our 15 year old daughter.  

We were on Berkeley’s 4th Street eating Sushi at Iyasare, where I took the photo of her above. We talked about how feelings are the language of the soul.  I told her I wanted to understand how she felt, and asked that she describe her feelings to me, and in a very open and articulate way she did. I remember the day as full of white light. It was very hot in the East Bay, but 20 degrees cooler through the Caldacott Tunnel. The fog had just lifted, but the air held the molecules of moisture in a light mist, this is the same phenomenon that gives San Fransisco the lavender lighting that painters and artist go there for. 

At the time, I had no idea how meaningful this conversation would be.  But as I navigated the days ahead,  I made an effort to not resist my own feelings and to actively feel them, and honestly they hurt like hell.  It felt like hot coals were burning inside my own heart.  Still, I refused to close my heart no matter how much it hurt, because I did not want to wake up in a month, a year, a decade, and still be in this same place of emotional pain.  

I did, however, have moments of grace, and I wrote the following in my journal the day of the funeral.

August 3, 2016

“This beautiful sunny morning I awake in the guest room, with the creek alive outside the open window.  The air is cold, but golden.  I feel so blessed for just this – the eastern sunlight on the trees and the clear blue sky.  I hear a phone ringing in the distance. The garbage truck pulls up with it’s familiar clank, clank, clank.  I walk downstairs and can feel the cool and smooth floors beneath my feet.  My home is full of the most beautiful little girls; Sara, Zoe, Maddie, Brianna, my niece Sophie and my daughters.  I don’t know what will happen next, but I know we will all be safe, and held in God’s love.”

In the days since, the pain has lessened, and I have felt so many different emotions.  I watch them as they come and then pass.  I don’t hold onto them, but feel them completely and listen carefully to what they have to say, then release them like a conversation.  They are after all, the language of my soul. 

 

 

 

History Repeats

Having lost my father at nine, I met the news of the sudden death of my husband with terror.  It brought back every painful horrific memory of my childhood, from my mother selling our farm and giving our black lab, Sport, away, to my leaving my best friend Hilary behind, and moving to a town 45 minutes away and into an apartment complex where there were no children, but only the sounds of bees buzzing and Water Gate droning on and on through the open apartment windows, all of that long summer.

My mother’s garden, the dozens of barn cats, our dog, the sheep, the cows, the horses, the hay bales, the frogs croaking at night in the pond surrounded by mint and black berries, the squirrels outside my window, the raspberries by the back door, the flowers and hazelnuts, and on and on, were gone.

A recipe for what not to do.

My children will stay in their beautiful safe neighborhood with their sweet friends that we have known since they were born.  They will be at their cabin in Tahoe skiing at Christmas like they have always done.   And we will go from there.