Processing

One thing I’ve realized this year is that I have done the majority of my processing by myself.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself around it – just thinking about it.

I have some really amazing friends. I have people available, if and when I call on them. There have definitely been occasions when I have shown up on doorsteps in tears, but more often than not, I have dealt with the bulk of this on my own.

Usually I am more dependent on others, more in need of hashing out every detail and getting affirmation from anyone and everyone who was willing to listen, more in want of advice and guidance from those around me.

But not so much this time.

Maybe because the way it all played out felt enough like middle school that I was didn’t want to create more of it. Maybe it’s because I felt alienated from an entire group of friends. Maybe it’s because I’m embarrassed by all of the drama. Maybe because I figure that everyone is sick to death of listening to me. Maybe because I understand that other people also have hard stuff in their worlds and I didn’t necessarily want to be my narcissistic self when others needed support. Maybe I imagined that no one could understand the absolute insanity of all that was happening.

I leaned on different people for different reasons: different pieces of the drama: like the friend whose son is also a felon or the friend who has offered spiritual guidance to help me remain standing.

I’ve written about it, receiving support from my readers, but so much of what has happened I kept under wraps in my writing because it hasn’t been appropriate to make some things public.

And things kept under wraps are things that I process alone.

It doesn’t matter why or why not. What matters is how I’ve done this.

Has it been good for me?

That’s the main question here.

Has it made me stronger or is it that I haven’t fully dealt with my shit?

I live alone. I do most things alone. I go to the desert alone. I don’t talk on the phone.

I am absolutely a classic introvert but I hate saying that because suddenly it’s hip to be socially awkward and avoid people.

I spent most of the year hiding out – avoiding the possibility of running into anyone that I might not want to encounter.

I feel like my trips to Utah have been the saving grace but maybe it’s been a really unhealthy way of isolating myself?

Because sometimes I am really lonely.

But I might be just as lonely if I had leaned on 50 of my best friends every day all year long.

And now I hesitate to reach out because if I am sick and tired of my world of shit, I can’t imagine how sick and tired of it other people are.

I like to think that it’s been really good for me to stand on my own.

I’m at the rambling point now so I’ll stop.

And most likely pack up the truck and head west.

 

Number 33

“I’m headed up Denali for a shift. If anything happens, I have the Outward Bound van stashed at _________’s place and the key is tied to the rear axle.”

Those were some of the last words I heard Mike say before he went up on Denali and died.

And today, of all days, my son popped in unexpectedly and when he threw his keys on my kitchen counter, I saw the number tag from that van that Mike had stashed in Talkeetna when he flew in to the glacier.

There’s no mistaking an old COBS key ring

I didn’t know it still existed.

My breath caught and I reached for it without a thought, mesmerized; flooded with feelings: physical stirrings, an emotional rinse; just a moment wherein I was completely taken over with unconscious memory.

For a brief moment I was transported twenty years back in time and I was outside that van, about to unlock it, and open the door onto the pieces of Mike’s life that were tucked away waiting for him to come off the mountain.

The smell that bowled me over when that door slid back was a combination of chain saw two-stroke gas, dirty socks, mildewed rain gear, and wood stove smoke. It’s the smell of my memories of Mike.

As I held the 33 in my hand, my brain was breathing in the fragrance of him.

And my sweet sweet boy said, “Do you want it mom?”

Never one to take anything from my generous children, I tried to hesitate, I imagined saying no thank you, and yet “yes” flew from my mouth completely unhindered.

And now it’s mine.

September 14

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Accident.

One year.

It’s been the longest, saddest, hardest, scariest year of my family’s life, and yet, it feels like it can’t possibly be an entire year since that night.

I haven’t really written many details about the accident or the fallout from it, out of respect for my son and the other families involved. I’m holding true to that but I will share what happened:

My guy and three of his friends chose a random place in the country to hang out and party. Then they all got into my son’s truck to drive home.

He hit a huge cottonwood.

There were broken femurs, a broken jaw, a broken face, a broken neck, and several other serious injuries. Children were airlifted to other hospitals. My son was transferred from police custody to the ICU.

He was charged with 3 felony counts of vehicular assault which each carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Add an aggravated DUI to that with up to a year in county jail for that one – and no, nothing could be served consecutively.

Meanwhile, his friends and their families were moving through the not so gentle aftermath of that night, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We went through the system, and yes, it is a very slow process.

Painfully so.

When we finally got around to his sentencing we had accepted a plea agreement from the District Attorney, which keeps him out of prison as long as he adheres to demands of his probation for the next 2 years. Also at the end of that two years, he will be able to say that he is not a convicted felon.

The State owns him, which is fine with me – he fucked up – but his life will not be shaped by a felony record.

Most importantly, his three friends are alive and well.

 

 

 

 

my dilemma

Someone I know and respect just posted something about the atrocities imposed on bulls as part of the bullfighting culture in Portugal.

Things we don’t like to think about.

But then there’s this…

When I was 13 and was still an innocent child and yet also a budding bleeding hearted liberal, my family went to Spain.

We travelled all over the country going to castles and vineyards and eating tapas.

My mother who was the most incredible tour guide ever, always wanting us to experience the true culture of wherever we were, announced that Bullfights were on the agenda.

She’d never had a bad idea before so we all said yes.

My parents were concerned that their daughter, Elly May Clampett, wouldn’t be able to handle the murders, that they had a plan for extricating me from the arena if it looked like I might run into the ring to throw myself in front of the matador’s sword.

I surprised everyone, mostly myself.

I fucking loved every second of it. A good bullfight is a glorious thing.

It’s insane. You are hanging on the edge of your seat from the second the bull is released into the arena.

Six matadors. Six bulls.

It’s horrible when you think about it – truly cruel.

And yet, I was cheering them on.

Then, just to add to the experience, my mom found out about an artist who had been a bullfighter and lived in a tiny old stone home within the walled city and he painted using bulls’ blood.

And he had taken in a young orphan boy named Frederico and raised him and we came home with a portrait of the boy painted with blood.

So when I read that bit on Facebook, I felt a little defensive.

Does that make me a bad person?