East Ridge by Sydney Chaney Thomas

When you are grief stricken and vulnerable it’s easy to tell who is there for your good and who is not.  There are people that are suppose to love you, but do not, this is a fact of life.  And I have allowed close to me those who have actively worked against me, and a few others who have displayed such a blatant disregard for the feelings and well being of my family, that I am astonished by their actions and lack of compassion.  I won’t go into too many details here, but they know who they are and exactly what they have done.

As I walk this path, there are many surprising twists and turns along the way.  I’ve written before that I am overwhelmed by the love and support showered on my family by our many friends, loving neighbors and my large and extended family since the unexpected death of my husband in July.  Sadly, there are a few people who have taken advantage of the situation and have not been so kind.

The Christmas before last I spent three weeks in Truckee.  This is typically my favorite thing to do.  We’ve spent most of our Christmas’s there over the last ten years and I love decorating the tree with our collection of snowman decorations, and skiing on Christmas Day and all of our many traditions established over the years, but in 2014 I was working on my heart.  I read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the second time and I realized I had lost my heart as a guidance system in my life.  So, I spent a lot of time that vacation reading and writing and thinking about my life, which I often do, and specifically my heart.

One day, the girls went snow boarding and I went to a yoga class in Truckee.  The studio  was very warm, the floor was covered in rose pedals and tiny white candles were placed all around the perimeter of the room.  As the snow outside was falling, the instructor did a pose with us to open our hearts.  I thought this ironic since it was what I had been reading and thinking about.  After the class and all of that day, I could literally feel my heart melting.  It was a strange feeling and I cried a lot that day.  I decided then that I wanted to keep my heart open, as the Alchemist advises, so I would not lose my guidance system and therefore access to my true self.

The next day I went skiing with just Paris.  It was ten degrees below zero at 7:00 a.m. when I had walked the dog, and it was not much warmer by mid morning.  It was so cold that we had to stop at the small lodge at the top of Northstar for hot chocolate.  Paris being a teenager was wearing a fleece jacket.  And as we were leaving the lodge to go back out into the cold she asked me if we could trade jackets, and being her mother I handed over my warm down jacket without thinking and wore hers.  We had run into our friend Brad Helms and the three of us left to ski the blacks on the backside of Northstar.   With fresh snow and the low temperature the conditions were perfect and we skied all of the afternoon.

I had never been so cold, but it felt good.  It felt completely purifying, like the cold could kill every single thing that could ever be wrong with you.  Later, I read an article that cold therapy is now being used to treat many diseases and I wasn’t surprised because I felt on that day my heart had been completely healed and I could be open to whatever came next in my life.

That was not quite two years ago, but it feels like an eternity.  I am stunned that so much has changed since that day, but the decision to keep my heart open has remained and because of it I can feel when people are hurting me.  I no longer stuff it with a Snickers bar and pretend it’s not happening.  I bravely feel it and it hurts like hell.

The good news is, now I know who these people are, and I can protect myself and my family.  And if I want a Snickers bar I can have one, not because I need one, but because I want one.


3 thoughts on “Betrayal

  1. Sydney, I am so shocked and saddened by this post…I can’t imagine who would be so unkind to you and your beautiful girls after your tragic loss. I DO hope that you consider ME 1 of your true friends, who had tried to be there for you. I am in Spain right now:-) and not home till 10/9 but you are all in my thoughts and heart. Take care my dear friend, Judith


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