Oh I’ve had a week. A week deep in thought, a week plowing through the fields of my mind. Do you ever have those times where you find your eyes have clouded and you start thinking about times, moments, people, events that shaped you so deeply but are now so embedded in your history? It has been that kind of week. Dreaming of places and individuals and still frame photos of younger years.
Thinking of past lives and past homes and past adventures that all took certain turns to lead me where I am today. If X hadn’t have happened, then Y would have, and perhaps the next step would not have been Z. I have thought about the death of my father and the departures I’ve made from past loves and the many childhood and young adulthood adventures I’ve had. Pondering the past work paths I’ve been on, from working in retail to shooting black and white portraits and live bands, to my work as a chocolatier and eventually putting all of that aside to build my business as a recruiting consultant and career coach. I’ve thought about the past places I’ve lived, from the double studio overlooking the Space Needle and Gasworks Park to the highrise in Stumptown during college to the giant old house I shared in Five Points to the little stucco home just a 2 minute drive from the Mesa, down the steps with my Rottweiler to the beach, and now this home I have owned for 10 1/2 years. I’ve been remembering the people and wonder where they are now in their lives, occasionally catching random glimpses and then returning back to my own reality. I’ve been remembering quiet moments on beaches, on airplanes, on city streets and times spent with people now so faraway from where I exist today.
And with all of that I think about the struggle I’ve been facing internally after the loss of our baby, with the loss of my innocence as a hopeful mother and the distinct reality that is this chilly day in November. I watch the trees rid themselves of their last layer of golden leaves and look over at my elderly mastiff, who is deep in slumber and has been for hours. Soon things will change again, and I will be looking back at today.
We’ve not given up on this journey to family even though this heartbreak has been bigger than either of us could have imagined. We’ve focused on reminding each other of our journeys, our successes, our sweet moments that we spend, those little ones that suddenly project upon the wall like slideshows from when we were kids.
Things look different now, and that’s okay. Many people we’ve known have departed, are deceased, or we’ve deliberately created space between in order to ensure our own peace as a family. We are that collection of our memories and while nothing can change the roads that led us here, the lessons still come at the most interesting of times.
I have known great love in my life, love of many kinds, from big and small friendships, to work friendships that saved my sanity, to romantic relationships who made me see the many sides of the world and helped me to understand where I thrive (and where I merely survive), to those brought about by DNA who have taught me that true family is not related to blood, to those who walk on four legs and are the most unconditionally true of all sentient beings, to the great love of ocean and trees and wide open spaces and faraway cities and food that makes you close your eyes when you taste it and art that makes you sigh with recognition and books and films and other stories which awaken the soul and moving your body in such a way that it opens you up from the inside out. I have known great love in my life, and will continue to.
So when the lens gets microscopic, and I forget about this beautiful, amazing, spectacular adventure of a life I’ve had? It’s time to pull back. It’s time to inhale. It’s time to run that tape playing behind your eyes and remember all the beauty you’ve experienced.
Even in this uncertain political climate we face.
Even in the struggle to go from two to three.
Even in all the imperfections of our daily world.
We are alive, we are whole (even when we think we are broken), we are beautiful.
And because of that? We can give back to the world. Maybe not in the ways we had originally planned, but in other ways that represent who we are now, in this moment, and who we want to be. Because while we may not have everything we want, we can still be thankful, and we can still live for all that we hope for, both for ourselves and the world around us.
I say it with my whole heart, as Maya Angelou told Oprah Winfrey during a particularly rough patch in her own life, “The rainbow is coming. Say thank you even though you can’t see it. It’s already there.'”
PS – Want to show your gratitude? Check out 21 Ways You Can Make an Impact