It was his birthday, the first since his passing. He may have been my grandfather, but he was my hero. Growing up, my life was riddled with negative and abusive men, but he was always kind, loving strong, chivalrous. He was everything that you’d expect the perfect man to be. So, as you can imagine, his death has been difficult for me. I’ve been drowning in a silo of anxiety for months, but every now and then I get a breath of fresh air. Thankfully my husband and my baby keep me distracted and sane. Also, being a parent keeps you from grieving. It’s hard to wallow when you’re wiping a butt and playing peek a boo. I was finally feeling like I was moving forward, sort of. But I guess I wasn’t ready for it. August 2 would have been my Grampa’s 80th birthday! It hit me hard and I spent a few hours wallowing after my baby went to sleep. I have this teddy bear my aunt made me out of his T-shirts. It comforted me until my husband came home. You know that feeling when someone you’re comfortable with shows up and then all your emotion just spills out? Suddenly I couldn’t stop the tears. My wonderful husband laid down with me and rubbed my back while I sobbed, holding my teddy. My heart is so broken and full of regret. I regret those last few years of not seeing him, I regret not calling him every single day, I regret not telling him exactly how much I love him. Never ever let the people you love forget how much you love them!
I sat down at my desk, knowing that biology was the most difficult class I had; not because I didn’t understand the subject, but because of him. Every single day I had to sit there pretending that his magnetism wasn’t tugging at me, urging me to move closer to him. I didn’t know if he felt it, but I do know he acted as if he were clueless that across the room, I was yearning to touch him. Every time I talked to him I got that nervous stutter and my face turned bright red. Embarrassing. I couldn’t do that today. Today I needed to sit here and ignore the the drum in my chest.
My whole life, it has been my biggest dream to be a mother. I always thought if I met the love of my life, he would make me a mother. So I searched for the love of my life, ‘found’ him a few times, and I was wrong each time. Then a little over 5 years ago I found myself falling for my best friend, eventually married him, and knew I was finally with the love of my life. About 7 months ago, I found out I was wrong yet again. You see, the day my dream came true, the day I became a mother, was the day I had truly found the love of my life. I held this beautiful tiny human on my chest as she cried from birth, and everything inside of me exploded. My heart erupted with such a love that I couldn’t do anything but cry. For so long, I had searched and been broken trying to find the man who would be my soulmate. Turns out, it wasn’t a man at all, but she was inside of me all along. I finally had my dream. I held her close and stroked her back as she cried. I held the love of my life on my chest and said to her, “Hi Baby. I’ve been waiting for you.”
All my life, you have been my sickness. My plague.
I can’t be rid of you, and I feel you will be the death of me.
I am states away and somehow I still feel your control over me. I feel the eggshells under my feet and the rapid heart beat that keeps me on edge.
I close my eyes and see yours, angry. Sputtering over your latest annoyance. Spit hit my face as I watch your lips moving, quickly, shouting about a dirty plate. You don’t care.
You degrade me. I’m stupid, you say, lazy.
Banished to the bathroom, I pretend I’m living on a beach. Far, far away. I pretend I haven’t been sleeping next to the toilet, locked in this small room; but on the sand with the waves caressing my feet.
I’m still a child cursed by you, even as an adult far from you.
Every day is a different struggle, a different battle.
Some days I awake, a smile on my face, knowing I will conquer myself. Yet others I wake up knowing I have already lost.
I have been fighting this internal war my entire life; some battles I win, some I lose. But I know when I wake up tomorrow, the war will continue.
It’s never easy. Some days the enemy creeps up on me slowly. My heart rate will climb and I wind up stuck in my mind, falling down a rabbit hole of bombs. Each bomb is a different thought, situation, or thing that will surely be my impending doom. I am falling down the hole – grasping for anything to hold on to. I need something to keep from falling deeper and deeper…
Those days are spent with a broom and cleaning rag in my hands. I turn myself into Cinderella, keeping my hands busy to distract my mind from itself.
Keep the walls from closing in.
Then there are the good days. On the good days I am most myself. On the good days I am unstoppable. I deflect each attack and each bomb with my bare hands. Nothing can bring me down. I walk with my shoulders high, chin up, and a bright smile on my face. I am radiant, charismatic, and happy. So happy.
I wish I could win every battle.
I don’t know when the war started, or why.
I don’t know how to control it.
How do I stop the war?
Natural disaster strikes my body.
Blood boils and stirs my heart.
Embers crack around me, filling the air, stealing my breath.
But you save me.
Clasping your hand in mine.
Bringing me through the fire.
It is you who pulls me home.
With such shock, my heart skips a beat, as it always has. Though, truth be told, I knew you would be there.
Because in the midst of flames, I only hear your name.
Isn’t it insane how love works? I say that yet…no one truly knows how love works. We can love so many people in so many different ways; each love and relationship is different. The possibilities are literally endless. We love our family, our friends, our pets…but what about when we fall in love? I don’t mean lust or ‘puppy love.’ I mean the punch you in the gut, make you fly, ruin your life kind of love. Suddenly your palms are always sweaty, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat…it’s such a sweet nightmare. Have you ever been there? I have. Have you been there more than once? I have. Yet each love was different. Once you find that connection that feels like fireworks in your chest, you think you’ll never find it again. But I did. I never thought, in a million years, it would happen. Yet one day I found myself kissing my best friend and realizing I had been in love with him for years. How was that possible, and how had I not realized it before? It’s the kind of love story that slowly developed over time and then turned into this fiery, passionate, knee trembling, all encompassing love. I was baffled because I never thought I would love like that again. But it wasn’t the same, it was still a little different. My first love was like a movie in every way. It was all passion and drama all the time, I was addicted. I was a teenage girl with stars in my eyes for him. I thought he made my world turn, and for awhile he did. Eventually that relationship ended, as most do. I never really stopped loving him, and tried to make it work again years later, even though I knew it never would. Yet, I found another love.
So my question is this; once you fall in love that first time, do you ever fall out of it? Can you go from one to another without holding onto the first one a little bit? How do you let go of something like that? I think we choose to move on, and we choose to be with other people, but we never stop loving one another. Some part of that passion and fire keeps burning forever.
Like I said, it’s just that crazy love thing.