Be Confused

Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn new things.

Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal.

Be frustrated, it’s where you start to make more authentic decisions.

Be sad, because if we are brave enough we can hear our heart’s wisdom through it.

Be whatever you are right now.

No more hiding. You are worthy, always.

– S.C. Lourie

The Strong Ones Break

The strong ones are the ones who have

Learned how to break.

From break-ups to breakdowns

To break-ins

Where people have unexpectedly stolen

Our hearts.

We have felt ourselves crumble

Into dust.

At risk of being blown away

By the changing winds of our lives.

Yet time and time again we

Glue ourselves back together again.

Hope, faith, and tears create an emotional cement

That strengthens the remaining cracks in our psyches.

We rise over and over again from the ashes like Phoenixes.

Reborn, recreated and restored.

The Last of the Year of Firsts

This week the year of firsts came to an end; first Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. without my mom. It was a bittersweet day on Wednesday, relief knowing the first year, which I had always thought would be the most difficult, and sadness knowing I had gone a whole year without being able to talk to my mom the way I used to. There was also a sense of pride in knowing I had come through it pretty much intact as well. Yes, I’ve had my moments of being puddled on the floor, but I’ve discovered that those moments pass and that I’m strong enough to go on with my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, and it’s been the most important education of my life. I think the main lesson has been the need to not give into the fear of the unknown. There were so many times during my transcription course when I didn’t think I could go on, it was too hard, and I just doubted myself so much it nearly paralyzed me. But I also knew that my mom would want me to continue and fight through it, so I did, and now I’m working again. That’s been immensely important for my psyche and self-esteem.

When my mom died, I had largely shut myself off from the world because of my stuttering. Part of the reason was that I had been so burnt out taking care of my mom, that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with my speech issues anymore. The other part was my neighbor who had brainwashed me into thinking I was disabled and unable to speak for myself. It was only after he assaulted me, which I now feel was an attempt to convince me that I was helpless to do anything about his advances because I needed his help in order to function, that I realized I had to stand on my own. Stuttering or not, I had to face the world head on and not hide anymore. I’ve had some missteps since then, but now I feel solidly on my own path to where I was meant to be. And even though I know my mom isn’t physically with me anymore, I know that no matter where I go, she is always with me in spirit. I know that even though she is far away, she is still closer than I think.

The Old Tree

apple blossoms

You’re not very pretty

Said little girl to tree

Looking at the hardened buds

That’s all that she could see.

They surveyed one another

In the warm spring air.

The tree old and grizzled

While the girl was splendid and fair.

There is magic yet within me

The ancient wood explained

All I need is the warming sun

And the chilly April rain.

The little girl scoffed and left

Not believing what the tree said

To the girl, the tree didn’t resemble life

The bare branches to her looked dead.

But when she returned in three days’ time

A fantastical sight did she behold

The tree in wondrous splendor

It left her speechless to behold

For each of the buds on the tree had burst

Into blossoms rosy and white

Its secret revealed for all to see

She was awestruck at the sight

Resting her head on the trunk

She silently apologized

The tree in response told her instead

Let this lesson make you wise.

Do not judge by appearance alone

You never know what’s inside

Even the ugliest of forms

Have beauty trapped inside.

And while this is old adage true

The reverse can also be

Beauty can hide the ugliness

It’s all in the way you see.

If It Fits, I Sits

I got a box in the mail

Just the other day

Scissors revealed the contents

The rest was thrown away.

Just as I thought it was finished

That it was all said and done.

A loud whiny meow from behind me came

And cat and box become one.

When he first started to climb

Into the box so small

I had to stand and laugh at him

He couldn’t fit at all.

But then the cat gave me look

And though no words were said

He communicated that he would fit

And the box would be his new bed.

I watched his bones begin to melt

He impossibly liquefied

And as the cat scrunched himself in

I laugh until I cried.

The moral of the story

Before this poem, I quit

In cat-dom it’s entirely true

If a cat fits, it sits.

The Miracle recovery

This little guy has used up one of his lives. The vet said he probably had a blood clot and his full recovery and regaining the use of his back legs is remarkable. He’s doing great again. I feel so lucky to have been given at least a little more time with him.

Funny story: Last night I checked up on him and he looked at me like, “I’m fine, mom. You can quit checking on me every half hour.” 🤣🤣

When Is It Time to Say Goodbye?

The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster for me. My older cat, Patches, has been having a very rough time since Sunday.  That night and most of Monday, he didn’t eat or drink anything, and he just stayed in his bed all day. So tearfully I was planning on taking him to the vet on Tuesday to have him examined. But then late Monday night he started eating again, so I started feeling hopeful. However, I did go to bed not knowing if he would be with me in the morning. Not only was he still here, but he was also eating and drinking and mooching treats. But his back legs weren’t working correctly at all, and he was having extreme balance issues. But he seemed to be getting stronger, so the Tuesday visit to the vet became a plan to go today. Today, he has continued to grow stronger; he’s still wobbly but not nearly as bad as yesterday. This is where the questions begin. Is he suffering? I don’t know, most likely in some ways, yes. Then there’s the whole quality of life versus quantity of life debate that’s been raging in my mind. I don’t want him to suffer, but I don’t want to cut his life short, either. It’s just so difficult to not be selfish and keep him around just so I don’t have to lose him. I mean, I know he’s 17 and nature is going to run its course, but man, that selfish side just wants to wring out every second I can with him. It certainly doesn’t help that the first anniversary of my mom’s death is rapidly approaching and the idea of a resurgence of grief over her swirling with fresh grief if I lose him is overwhelming. How much pain and sadness can I take before I crumble into dust? But then I think about how he depends on me to do the right thing no matter how much it breaks my heart. I just have to wait and see how he does in the next few minutes, hours, and hopefully days.