Dilemma

I have a piece of artwork that has got me in a quandary.

It’s a painting, done by a friend, that is beautiful, that is huge.

And that is so connected to him; he gave it to me in the woo-ing me back stage. I had mentioned once in passing that she was an amazing artist and that she had done this one…

And we all know what happened after that.

There’s some additional history to this gift that I won’t get into, but suffice it to say there’s a second one out there too.

So I hung it on my wall here because the space screamed for an extra-large piece of art.

But in the process of getting over him, I took it down.

And now it’s propped up against the wall in my house while I ponder on hanging on to it even though I have nowhere truly safe to store it.

But I do love it so.

For now, though, I I walk by it and think, “Oh yeah, there’s that fucking painting.”

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.

 

 

 

 

Too little too late

Still in the thick of the anniversary month, but it’s coming to a close.

To celebrate, I’ve broken my foot, received a notice that I might owe my ex-husband $4000, and, got an email from MXB offering to talk.

A year ago, I repeatedly tried to get him to talk to me about why he was treating us the way that he was. What happened to make him turn his back on us as if we’d never existed? How could he justify moving on immediately with one of my closest friends? Why did he tear us apart instead of handling things with integrity and compassion.

I’ve tried a few times over the last year also – when things came up.

You know, like finding out about him hitting on our married friend.

Anyway, this is not to rehash.

So the other day I get, totally out of the blue “Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I am open to talking now.”

Sorry it took so long? It’s been a fucking year.

And, “I am open to talking,” not “I would like to talk.”

Big difference there

God how I have wanted to hear what happened, wanted to hear that he really did love me, loved my family. I’ve wanted a gut level apology for the shitty way that I was treated.

And yet, with this email came an unexpected reaction – I don’t care any more.

I realize that I’m not going to get what I want, what I need. And even if I do, what good is it going to do me?

And do I still need or want it?

Not really.

And I question, isn’t the timing a little coincidental – he and that good friend of mine just split.

What a surprise that didn’t work out (she says with deep sarcasm.)

So I thought, is there anything that he could say that would make any difference?

Nope.

Is there anything that he could say that I would even believe?

Is he still a chicken shit?

So I wrote back that the time for and my interest in having that particular conversation have passed.

And with the push of the button marked Send, I freed my heart.

 

This is happening right now

I settle into my chair under the stars and suddenly Elvis is barking incessantly at something.

He’ll bark at the neighbor dogs occasionally but I’ve never heard him do this nonstop, rhythmic, “barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark…”

I call him and he doesn’t even pause.

Okay, obviously there is an animal over there that my dog is antagonizing.

Fuck.

I have to run inside, grab my phone, slip my flippies on, and run across the yard to see if I am about to be eaten.

Of course, I was worried about Elvis too.

I’m thinking, “Is this going to be my cougar encounter that I’ve been dreaming of (or dreading)?”

And then, the meager light from my phone reflects off of two white stripes in the darkness.

My brain works faster than I ever thought possible: skunk, dog, has he been sprayed already, I don’t smell it, hunh my foot hurts, skunk between me and elvis, do not, I repeat, do not want to get sprayed tonight, I cannot smell like skunk, fuck, I can’t go to work, so many skunkings, remember tessa when she rubbed against you, whatever you do, don’t let him touch you.

I start calling Elvis, with a sense of urgency in my voice which cripples him into submission, on his back, with a hard-on.

At the skunk’s feet.

The skunk turns around and Elvis cowers then finally comes running just as that tail lifts high in the air.

I wanted him to hurry but I wasn’t about to pick him up. I still couldn’t tell if he’d already been sprayed or not.

We tear up to the door and Elvis is a nervous wreck and I make him lie down so I can sniff him, which freaks him out even more.

Then I let him inside.

He’s so wound up from all the excitement that he runs laps around the couch for a solid 3 minutes.

And I think, “Ouch, my foot hurts.”

And I look down and the damn thing’s blowing up like a balloon and turning black and blue before my eyes, and there is a lot of point tenderness, and…

I don’t have a fucking clue what happened.

Not one bit.

There was a moment facing off with the skunk that I noticed it hurt but I wasn’t aware of anything that I had just done, but I so crazed about the beast that maybe I just don’t remember.

I can’t figure it out. It has changed shape over the last hour – it’s gone from an overall swelling to a rising mountain of swole right by the raven.

(please know that I know that “swole” in only a word if you’re 16 in hillbillyland.)

It’s got a solid 2 inch diameter – you’d think I’d have some idea of what happened, but I really don’t. It’s all a big skunky blur.

All I remember was the sight of those two white lines.

family

I just want to say that I am one of the lucky ones.

I am spending this week with my parents and two of my kiddos. We are together 24/7. I am even sharing a bed with my mom. The boys and I had an adventure today then came home and spent the evening with the grandparents.

There has been laughter and quality conversation and sharing and honesty and openness and sincerity and love.

What there hasn’t been…

Strife

Family “dynamics”

Stress

Disagreement

Arguing

Traumatic triggering

Anger

Resentment

Passive aggression

Disgruntlement

A desire to be anywhere else

I dig my parents.

I fucking adore my kids.

There is no where that I would rather be this week. Any week. Any time.

There are absolutely no people with whom I would rather be.

I have the most amazing family in the world.

I know that this is rare – that so many families have undercurrents of shit.

Not us.

And I do NOT take that for granted in any way.

I say that we are lucky but the reality is, when you put this many fantastic people in the same place at the same time, you can’t help but love every second.

#sayingaprayerofthanks, #lovemymommyanddaddy, #mykidsarebadass, #mydadisafuckingriot, #momsmybestfriend, #howdmykidsturnoutsowell?