Over the Christmas Holiday, the kids and I took a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean. My favorite part was watching sunrises and sunsets on the balcony with Nora. The warm air, light reflecting off the water and clouds. In those moments it was just about being together and savoring the trip we’d been looking forward to for so many months.
Friday May 19th, 2017
Today two pieces of mail came into my typically quiet Safeway mailbox. One was a regular white envelope bursting at the seams with return address from the local courthouse. I had a suspicion it had something to do with my recently finalized divorce.
The second envelope was a handwritten card from a friend in Alaska.
My curiosity was piqued. Sitting in the car with the rain coming down on the windshield, I opened both envelopes in my few moments of afternoon quiet before picking the kids up from school.
The thick courthouse paperwork was the complete Decree of Divorce. Notarized, signed. Totally official. There were also 10 or 15 pages of legal mumbo jumbo about custody of our kids, who gets what, etc. If a marriage license marks the beginning of a journey, this this thick stack of papers were the official end of that journey.
The signatures brought me back to the 1/2 hour in court a judge, a mutual friend, made our divorce official. Where Patrick and I sat on our respective sides of a small courtroom with our respective lawyers. I sat there, feeling the weight of these pages.
And studied the blue notary stamp on the papers I had signed- these signatures which make it-our break up- all finalized in Legal World.
Then the cream envelope which contained a handwritten note. “Thinking of you this week as it nears the anniversary of your mothers passing. You are in our thoughts.” One year prior I painfully had to say good bye to my mom. How was it possible that she was really gone? The thought took the breath out of my chest. My body came from her and now she was gone.
The decree in one hand, the condolence card in the other. At one point in time, perhaps I considered divorce papers as mostly an ending. To end the marriage. And yes, maybe on that court date it felt that way. And at the time of moms death, it felt like nothing but an ending. But as the saying, all endings are beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
Lost Between Two Homes
St. Mary’s uniform shirts. The white church day ones. And the the red everyday ones.
Black gym shoes. Play shoes to run around in the neighborhood in. Boots that fit. Stuey’s green paper route bag that he bikes his paper route with.
Hair brushes, socks, warm jacket.
Time. A sense of stability.
Gym shorts. Toothbrush. Notebook. Favorite blue mechanical pencil.
Library books. More library books.
More library books.
Friday afternoon switchovers are exhausting. After trying various mid weekend switchover times, Patrick and I decided on Friday afternoon. This helps not break up the weekend.
One of my kiddos tells me they would rather be at dads house. Dads house is better. I”ve learned that this is the Friday afternoon blues, exhaustion. And to not take anything said seriously.
I let them know, ‘that hurts my feelings’. And then let it go. Can’t hold onto words which I know they don’t mean. They are doing their best and I am doing my best.
Every family has low moments of the week. Even when there are two adults in the house, there are hard times in every family, I remind myself. Every family is unique.
Friday 3:30 pm. School pick up. Then paper route.
Then kids watch a movie together as I prepare dinner. I am gentle as possible with myself. Love, forgive, love some more, forgive some more…
The kids sleep in till 7:30 on Saturday mornings. Almost 11 hours of sleep. Much needed sleep makes everything better on Saturday morning.
Flying into Anchorage, I never tire of the majestic views. Even though I was born and raised here, the scenery always takes my breath away. The land, the trees have turned significantly more yellow, brown, orange in the 10 days I was away. There are extensive mud flats in Turnagain arm from the outing tide. Its grey and cloudy and yet all just so dang gorgeous.
This morning I unpack my bags. North Carolina beach sand, so fine in nature coats my books, clothes. I hear the light sound of sand dropping into my bag as I unravel white athletic socks. I dust off the light layer of sand on my yoga blocks. The next time I do yoga, I know it will feel different. New. Because things inside me have shifted from my week in North Carolina.
Before I put my yoga gear back in my yoga room, I light a small wrapped batch of sage that I bought in North Carolina. Around the room I swirl the sage, small tiny curls of smoke into every corner. It helps clear out any old energies from spaces.
I went to class thinking I would learn lots about the asanas, or yoga poses. What I ended up learning was that the best learning has to be felt, has to sink into your being. Change your existence or perspective in positive ways… Which is what happened in North Carolina.
I left the retreat with a better sense of my breath, of my foot steps on the earth. I’ve slowed down some and can feel myself better letting go of things that no longer serve me in life. Taking a few more pauses throughout my day. Checking in a bit more with myself. I learned that that asanas are just a small part of yoga, what the western culture thinks of yoga. I’m being gentle with myself to digest it all in time. No rush at all.
It is nearly 8 AM and very dark outside. The start of fall was 2 days ago. A time when nature lets go and begins to ready for winter. Suddenly Fall is very much upon us. My favorite season of the year.
Raleigh, NC airport.
Getting my bearings after going through TSA and having my water bottle taken away. There is an unusually big crowd at a gate directly in front of security. People surround a big window overlooking an airplane. Standing on chairs, iPhones out. A quiet crowd. What could be causing such a pause in this crowd, I wonder.
Maneuvering my way through the group, I catch slivers of images between the onlookers. Military personnel in color guard uniform. A few men in suits standing on the hot tarmac. I catch an image through someones iPhone.
A hearse waiting next to the jet.
Silent crowd, people watching. A sniffle behind me.
As someone moves aside, my view clears. A lady in black and red dress with sunglasses on stands on the tarmac near the color guard. I can’t help but assume it is the wife of the deceased.
Casket comes rolling down the belt from the plane. The color guard carries the casket draped with an American Flag to the hearse. The casket slides in.
Pause. Color guard does a formal military salute.
Eyes on the casket and the hearse. Door closes.
Hazard lights on, the hearse slowly pulls away.
Nothing feels the same.
Life is so brutal. So raw. So beautiful. So fragile.
Nothing feels the same.