It didn't really begin as a project, but has turned into one.
I've been writing down my thoughts for years. Many times I wrote just to "get it out there" and then tossed it out. Many more times I kept what I wrote. Over two plus decades I have accumulated dozens of notebooks, and in recent months I have been reading through them all.
So much learning. There's the learning that took place at the precise moments when I was doing the writing, the discovering about myself and more importantly I believe, taking the risk to put it on paper, to make it real. Then there's the learning that's happening now as I look and well, marvel at all that's there. The many, many, oh-so-many times I felt I was stuck, the near certainty I felt that the time would never come when I wouldn't be crying every. single. day. The belief that I would never feel "normal" (a term that has subsequently been tossed from my vocabulary). The fears. Such intense, invasive fears.
I am here. That elusive place where things are okay. I made it.
The journey isn't finished, or I wouldn't be sitting here writing now, would I? But the pain, the deep indescribable ache that was always present, always in my face, has lessened. A lot. Oh I'm weepy, but that could just as well be hormones these days - I am after all in those peri-menopause years.
There is the thanks I feel for my three kids, on so many levels. The journey I was on inevitably put each of them on one by default. The perfectly ordered life I embarked upon living as a twenty-year-old bride did not go according to plan. I confess, pregnant with my first child, I was one of those women who smiled at the mother of screaming youngsters with chocolate-smeared faces in the grocery store checkout line, patting my belly and assuring myself I will never be that way with my child. Fast-forward just a few years when I was that mother. I gave them Tic-Tacs or M&Ms or whatever it took - and smiled at the pregnant woman in line patting her belly.
Neither my kids nor I deserved how rough the road got, no one does for that matter, but I give them a lot of credit. There are things that spring from difficulties, pleasant surprises that turn up in the strangest places. Different as three people can be who came from the same gene pool, each one of them is sensitive, adaptable (!) and funny. My kids all have a delightful sense of humor, with their own unique stamp. Their dad was a funny, funny guy. He left this life far too soon, but he imparted valuable lessons only he could, and his spirit lives on through them. We didn't follow the yellow-brick-road (well THAT is an entirely different story) but we seem to have landed with feet firmly planted, ready for what comes next.
More gratitude tears for having someone to hold me. This whole healing journey was likely made a little bit longer because I did not have that support person to go home to. Yes, there were, there are, so many supportive and caring people in my life - that I am where I am today is testament to that. But to go through so much struggle and go home alone each day lent itself to a pain all its own. Now I have my husband (of just two weeks) who is there for me no matter what. The word that comes to me over and over where he is concerned is comfortable. There are many words, yes, for I so love words, but comfortable is a good place to start.