It came from a song. I have the hardest time singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” It is not because I don’t know the words or that I can’t carry a tune. This is a song about longing, wanting something, or someone or an event that for some reason you can not have. Or maybe you once had it and now it is gone. Or say as in my case I believe it is where I will someday see the face of my kid sister, long since passed away, waiting for me on the other side of this life. Every time I start this song, I stop myself. I feel my emotion catch in my throat. I feel small, alone, and abandoned. A friend asked me today why I never finish this song. For the first time in a long time I told someone why.
I am a broken soul. Most days with a little flair and a jingle or two most people don’t see through the cloud of smoke I lay out. Loss of a loved one is the toughest things that we as survivors have to live with. Tears spill because love cannot be kept. Sometimes all of that love that I am trying so desperately to contain breaks free from my heart and rolls down my cheek. Love
I never realized until today how often I don’t finish this song. This song reminds me of what once was but is no longer. It is a wish, a dream, a fear, a hope, a wanting. It is beautiful. It is haunting. It makes me happy on a good day and crushes me on a bad day. I have a habit of singing in public without invitation. My quirk, my passion, my link to sanity. I promise you that I can sing. I sometimes embarrass the people I am with but singing makes my soul feel alive. If I can make one other person’s life better even for just a span of a moment I feel like maybe I am seen, that what I do matters, that I have a reason to be. For a very long time after my sister died, I felt empty. Singing changes my aura and fixes my broken.
I try to go somewhere every Saturday. I must start this song every adventure and leave it mid verse. Somewhere in the presence of my own grief I forgot that this song means other things to different people. It is not my song and if I am going to start out on this journey I need to get to the end of the yellow brick road. So live like no one is watching, love with everything you have, make those memories and finish your song.
Sometimes on this journey we cry. I hate to feel like I am going to cry. Crying makes me feel vulnerable and weak and needy but sometimes on this journey we cry. On my last trip around WWs I had a coworker who went above and beyond what a casual friend does for somebody.The times we had, the fights, the tears, the laughter; ordinary at the time, precious to recall now. It’s strange how coworkers can become like family to you. How friendship can make an unbearable job an easier ride through Hell.
I was afraid to join the local Y. I was down my first 75 pounds. I was eager to try out water aerobics but timid about actually joining a “group” activity. Mrs. C not only talked me down from my ledge of fear; she happily told me she would go with me as many nights of the week as she felt up to. I am around the same age as her children and if truth be told I felt like she was adopting me. I loved her for that. She always treated me like I belonged to her. I got scolded when I was rude, encouragement when I faltered and a shoulder to cry on when I just had to let out the emotions that come flying by when you are doing a great job as an active WW. ( yes, that is sarcasm) Through it all she believed in me.
Mrs.C passed away in July. I am sad. I want giant gumdrops (one of her favorites), I want, I want…I want not to be sad but it is a part of life. I already miss her more than I will ever be able to convey here. She was a great friend to me. I will carry all that she taught me until the end of my days.
I wish I could ease the pain of your goodbye for the ones you loved. I can’t; the only way to the other side of grief is to go through it. You are loved. You are missed. I wish you peace. Until we meet again, my friend.
I love my Pops. Everyone who knows me knows how much I care about this man. People often say to me how strong I am or brave or what courage it takes to face his illness. I never know quite know how to respond to that. I know if the tables were turned and I was the one who was ill my Dad would be there. It is the character you build with the help of your parents that makes you the person you become. My parents had their faults, who doesn’t? They also tried very hard to instill certain values in us girls. Work hard, love with an open heart, be kind to people, listen, be understanding. Give of yourself not because it is expected of you but because want to share who you are with others. Nice counts.
My Dad never graduated high school. He was from an era in time when quitting school to seek a job to help your family was encouraged. I am sure my grandparents would have loved it if all of their children had stayed in school and jumped for their share of the American dream but dreams don’t put food on your table. My Dad has always had a strong sense of taking care of one’s own family. Do what needs to be done so they are provided for. He was a great provider. I can remember him having two part time jobs to help round out his full time job just to make ends meet. My mother was really unable to hold down a job for any significant amount of time. Her mental illness always got in her way. Crippling her ability to cope with every day duties of keeping the house and kids in line. Often my Dad had to be both parents.
My Dad never gave up on my mother and loved her devotedly until the day she died. Funny, he doesn’t remember her now. Sad for me; blessing for him? Who am I to say? I only know in my heart I am glad my mother did not live to see my Pops robbed of his memory. She nearly lost her mind after my sister passed away. I sometimes think that’s why her health declined so fast after Breny died ; she was broken. Both of my parents were clingy after her passing. My phone would ring off the hook. They would often call me to make sure I was Okay. Annoying then, but now I realize how hurt they were by her passing and how afraid they were for me and my other sister. Loss was not easy for either of them.
I deal with my Dad’s loss everyday. He is still here, yet he is not. As the days go by I know my time being with him, laughing, living, crying and just being his kid are on the decline. He will not live forever despite my best efforts. I have become the parent to my parent. My parents taught me what to do. There is no bravery involved. Only love…and love can do anything. Love the people in your life while they are still here to share it.