All the feels

We went back east a couple weeks ago – we walked into all things familiar. My hair instantly frizzed upon exiting the airport, my ears were assaulted by car horns and sirens, and my nostrils filled with bus exhaust. It was oddly comforting. Every face looked and sounded the same and the hugs, although tighter and longer, felt the same. There were a few eerie moments – moments we were reminded that life has moved forward for everyone even if ours stopped back in 2015. It is entirely out of self preservation that we are here, this space of alienation. It has allowed us to function with little emotion and skirt by these last two years without crumbling. I recently read in an amazing [read: FREAKING AMAZING!] book that the first year of grief you walk along numb and unattached [check!]. The second year, all the shit you pushed down down down begins to surface. Not just a twinge here or there – more like bursting into hysterics because you can’t get the ice tray to crack, or screaming at inanimate objects for running into you when in fact they are in the same spot they’ve always been. My heart is colder than most so I’ve stretched it out an additional year. I rarely cry too which means my hysterics involve throwing things [like ice trays], cursing in patterns that make little sense, and kicking dressers that jump out of nowhere. To describe an ache for something, something you never really had is the most difficult thing. The yearning is powerful, it can be a monster dragging you down and around emotions you once thought hidden or absolved.

I once wrote how the dichotomy of death and life existing at once and altogether shared, is…surreal. It’s changing us – it’s changing our world and relationships. Relationships come and go – some run dormant for years only to be picked back up when needed most – it is all part of our story. The pain we experience, the ache of loss whether in relationship or in death – is an ache to explore. We chase moments and memories and seek familiar feelings but in a new reality. Every day is an opportunity to accept a new set of circumstances and be honest with ourselves, honest about the raw feelings, honest about the fear and the what ifs. There is always hope – there is always the idea that someday, even if we’re 80, loss and the reasons why, will finally make sense.

I think these last two years have made us homesick – not for a place but for the people that make a place, home. We realized we are parched – emotionally speaking. The amount of love that rained down on us in Maryland was incredible – we were watered and cared for and every last bit of us, dusted off. We left, our souls filled to the brim. Even the briefest of conversations left their mark and we are so thankful for our friends and family back east. You all know how to make two worn out people feel loved and missed in the most epic ways.

“it’s the tragedy of loving, you can’t love anything more than something you miss.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

words | on anger, with a little humor

THIS is true – it is raw and may offend –  all reasons why I love it. 

“…people don’t want to look at the hard things. And that goes for me, too. Angry and afraid are unattractive things to be. I don’t particularly enjoy them in other people, and I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be brave and likeable. Fear and anger are itchy and uncomfortable, and I have treated them like something I could avoid. Like they were just a shitty acrylic sweater I could choose not to wear…

…Have you ever been angry? It doesn’t do anything for you! It’s like having a little rotten core hiding in an otherwise perfectly beautiful apple. It’s like when you order a coke at McDonald’s and you take a sip and you’re like, WHAT IS THIS and it’s Sprite instead.

The cure for grief is not “be not sad” and the cure for anger isn’t “be unangry!” It’s feeling all of the things, even the uncomfortable ones, without judging yourself for them.

Your job, when bad shit happens, is to get through it however you can. It is not your job to make your life more palatable for other people.

The world will go on, despite your despair. And you know what that is? LIFE. And like our gym teachers told us when we got pegged in the face with a kickball, life is unfair.

What our gym teachers did not tell us is that it’s totally okay if you fucking hate that and want to just scream cry in your car sometimes! It’s okay if sometimes you hate your friends for having things you don’t have anymore, and then you hate yourself for hating perfectly nice people who love you, just because their husbands [children] are alive! That’s okay!

You will be happy again (and sad again, and angry again, it’s a process?). You will find glittering moments of joy, and you will learn things, and you will be completely lost and found again, over and over and over.”

– Nora McInerny Purmort

It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying is Cool Too)

words | books

One of my favorite books is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – I am in the process of reading it again. It’s a novel you can pick up at different points in your life and receive an entirely different message. It’s a beautifully sad story, and in its sadness, somehow uplifting. The way he uses words and phrases – it’s like a dance. There are so many lines I love, this doesn’t even scratch the surface…

She wants to know if I love her, that’s all anyone wants from anyone else, not love itself but the knowledge that love is there, like new batteries in the flashlight in the emergency kit in the hall closet.

“There were things I wanted to tell him. But I know they would hurt him so I buried them, and let them hurt me.”

“I like to see people reunited. I like to see people run to each other. I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change. I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.”

“They say the human heart is the size of a clenched fist – so I spent all my mornings and nights kissing your hand in hopes that your heavy heart would feel something again.”

“I knew that our time together was almost over, I asked her if she liked sports, she asked me if I liked chess, I asked her if she liked fallen trees, she went home with her father, the center of me followed her, but I was left with the shell of me, I needed to see her again, I couldn’t explain my need to myself, and that’s why it was such a beautiful need, there’s nothing wrong with not understanding yourself.”

“I missed you even when I was with you. That’s been my problem. I miss what I already have, and I surround myself with things that are missing.”

“I wanted to tell her everything, maybe if I’d been able to, we could have lived differently, maybe I’d be there with you now instead of here. Maybe… if I’d said, ‘I’m so afraid of losing something I love that I refuse to love anything,’ maybe that would have made the impossible possible. Maybe, but I couldn’t do it, I had buried too much too deeply inside me. And here I am, instead of there.”

“After a time, I had only a handful of words left… Does it break my heart, of course, every moment of every day, into more pieces than my heart was made of, I never thought of myself as quiet, much less silent, I never thought about things at all, everything changed, the distance that wedged itself between me and my happiness wasn’t the world, it wasn’t the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don’t know, but it’s so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.”

“Feathers filled the small room. our laughter kept the feathers in the air. I thought about birds. Could they fly if there wasn’t someone, somewhere, laughing?”