Song For a Winters Night

One year ago the music stopped. My parents loved music. We always sang. Around the house. In the car. They had beautiful voices. I guess maybe we took them for granted.

The last few days of Dads life we sang to him. I sang to him. I sang songs I knew he loved. And I sang Church songs to him. I would hold his hand. I would start to think it was silly, or I would start crying, and I would stop. Then he would ever so lightly squeeze my hand. He didn’t think it was silly. He couldn’t eat. And he couldn’t drink. But he could hear me. So I kept singing. Sometimes Mom joined in. And Karen too.

A month after he passed it was Christmas. It was cold and I had bundled Mom up and we drove to Chris’s Moms house for Christmas. Neither of us was really feeling it, but as we were driving home a Sarah McLachlan song came on. Song For a Winters Night. I didn’t really know the words but I started humming along, harmonizing. The only singing I really know how to do. Mom reached out to me then and said to “me you have a really pretty voice”. I brushed it off. Emotions were raw. But it was the last compliment she would ever pay me. It would be the last time we sang. I hang on to that compliment because the dementia made her give more grief than compliments the last few months of her life.

3 months later she would go in the hospital and not come home. The last week of her life so many people came to sit with her and pay their respects. She had had a stroke at that point and didn’t know they were there. And I was so angry. I wanted them to go. I wanted her all to myself. I would crawl up in the hospital bed with her and curl around her and sing to her. Elvis. Willie. Church songs. It didn’t matter. I wanted to pull her into my lap and wrap around her and sing. I wanted to hold her like she held me when I was a Freshman in college and suffering my first heartbreak. When she held me in her lap, much too grown for that, in the rocking chair on our front porch. I wanted time to stop and everyone to go so I could hold her like she held me. And heal her broken heart from losing Dad.

A few days later she was gone. And yesterday as I was driving, 1 day shy of the 1st Anniversary of losing her, that Sarah McLachlan song came on. I generally skip over Christmas songs when it’s not Christmas. But I let it play. And I hummed along. And I mumbled the words I didn’t really know, about wishing I could have you near, and holding the hands I love. And I missed my Mom. And I missed my Dad.

Then I came back to my camper and I played The Oak Ridge Boys. And I sang the songs I knew. The songs they loved. And I imagined we were all singing and harmonizing together one more time. And I held them near, one more time.

#grief #losingyourparents #imissyoumom #imissyoudad #oneyear #musicheals #wewerecaregivers #endalz #parkinsonsdisease #christmasmusic #songforawintersnight

The Blindside

The Blindside. A direction in which a person has a poor view, typically of approaching danger. In football, it’s generally the quarterbacks left side, as most are right handed, and he is protected there by the left tackle from approaching hits.

It’s kind of funny how we also say we have been blindsided, or sucker punched, when our feelings take a surprise hit. It’s such a real analogy though. Because we can be driving along, looking ahead, and a phone call or text message or email can arrive unexpectedly and the next thing you know you are doubled over and face down on the ground from the emotional hit. Blindsided.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. And I could feel all my armor going on. I could feel myself start to just block it out. Try to ignore it. Because my first thought was that life was saying hey, while you’re working through all your crap, let’s throw this on top of it too. But instead of going to all my old, unhealthy coping mechanisms, I reached out to two people. People who have held me up in the past and who could be counted on to let me spew my nonsense for a minute and help steer me in the right direction. And remind me to not let the old hurt steal my joy and the growth I’m experiencing right now.

My next thought was why do I have to be driving and not have my pen and notebook with me??? (Lesson to self, always carry these. You never know when you’ll need to work some things out.) But when I finally got back home, I got out my journal and made my notes on all the reasons that memory hurt me. So I could deal with the hurt. See the reality of the situation, and stand up straight and move forward.

And this morning I was up before dawn, watching the sunrise. And letting it fill my soul with possibility. And finally some peace.

#theblindside #suckerpunch #sunrise #growth #hotpinkhippie #travel #wanderlust #adventure #threedogsandablog #findyourself #rvlife #journal #makingmemoriesallovertheworld

What If You Didn’t Know You Were Supposed to be Scared

Yesterday was a weird day. I woke up with plans to drive in to town, 30 miles away, and go to the gym. But I just couldn’t make myself do it. I knew I needed to do something and I remembered I have my running shoes with me, I’m signed up to do an 8K run in Canada in August, so I thought maybe I should start running a little bit again. It’s free and easy to do around here.

So I laced up my shoes and ran all the little streets in the RV Park. That ended up being 1.5 miles, and I finished with some plyometric exercises on the kiddie playground. (Never an excuse that you don’t have equipment.) Once I was finished I noticed that the water was pretty still for the first time in a few days, I knew we were supposed to get rain later, so I decided to grab my SUP and spend a little time on the water. I didn’t even change clothes. Just walked over in my running clothes.

It was super peaceful out on the water and I knew I had been missing that and noticed I started to relax. As I was paddling back to shore I was rewarded with seeing this beautiful stingray. (photo above from the inter webs because I hadn’t even bothered to take time to grab my phone or anything) I even said “oh, hello beautiful” at the time as she glided underneath me and out the other side of my board in the super clear water. I felt like it was my reward for getting out on the water and for getting some exercise in too.

Later, when the rain started, I decided to look up stingrays because I knew it was one, but I didn’t know what kind it was. I just knew I had never seen one that looked like this before. Let me just say, I am super glad I didn’t know then what I know now about this particular stingray. Turns out it is a Spotted Eagle Ray. And they are known to jump out of the water, on two reported occasions they have jumped into boats, and on one of those it killed a woman IN THE FLORIDA KEYS. Ok, I’m in the Keys. Craziness.

But my point is, I knew none of this at the time. I just knew I saw this beautiful creature in its natural environment. I wasn’t threatened at all and I just marveled at it. And watched it glide away. I didn’t know I should be afraid of it, so I wasn’t. I was just grateful for the experience. If society, and upbringings, and just life in general didn’t tell us we should be afraid of something, would we be? Are we born afraid of things? No, we are taught to be afraid of the hot stove, or the hissing snake, or failure.

Not that those aren’t scary bad things, but how many of our fears are learned or fabricated? I mean, I’m scared of heights, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t always. Someone or something taught me that heights are scary. I had super big fears about getting out on the road and being a solo traveler. But I decided my fear was unfounded. If I failed, I failed. But if I got in there in the middle, and made it through the uncomfortable scary part, I would be so rewarded by the beauty on the other side. And so far, I have been.

And in case you want to read about the stingray, the link is below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_eagle_ray

#fearislearned #youcantskipthemiddle #brenebrown #risingstrong #spottedeagleray #nature #floridakeys #wikipedia #travel #adventure #hotpinkhippie #wanderlust #makingmemoriesallovertheworld #rvlife #sup

Learning to be Bored

I have a confession to make. I’m getting a little tired of the Keys. I know, I know. It’s blasphemy. But I feel the need to roam. The need to move. But what I really, really need is to learn to be bored.

Hear me out. I REALLY thought that I was very good at being alone. And I am. In a controlled environment, with all my stuff around me, and the ability to call on anyone at anytime if I want to get out and do stuff. So what I was actually comfortable with was comfort. Knowing that I didn’t have to be alone if I didn’t want to was what I was good at. As in, it was my choice when I was alone.

And now I’m here in the Keys where EVERYONE only wants to fish and drink. And everyone you meet seems like a friend at the time and they want to exchange numbers and say let’s go out on the boat. Super chill and you feel like every person is the most amazing person you’ve ever met. The only thing is, none of them really seem to mean it. I am 100% genuine when I say ALL THEY WANT TO DO is fish and drink. People genuinely live on boats anchored out in the water, and they never leave. They sit all day, music blaring, just doing nothing. (Some people really do work. And I recognize that. So those people, please don’t feel like I’m blasting you. I know I’m not working right now, so I’m not completely living blind.)

I’m not wired that way. I’m wired for movement. For busy. For To-Do lists. And that wiring isn’t good for me. For my spirit. I need, more than anything, to learn how to be bored. I need to sit my butt down here in the Keys for the next 2 weeks as planned, and BE BORED. That’s the only way I am going to be able to finally hear that voice inside of me that will let me know who I really am and what I really want to do. Y’all, I needed to come back here. I needed to in a way I can’t explain. To anyone. I was called to it. I was at peace the week I was here last month. Calm and quiet. And that’s what drove me to change my original plans (pesky To-Do list) and come back.

And now. Well. Now I’m getting uncomfortable. Because now I’m being forced to sit still. To not go and do. To be alone. WITH MYSELF. And what if I’m not as cool and awesome and funny and smart and amazing as I thought I was??? That’s super scary to me. It goes against every fiber of my being to do this, but now I have to make myself sit with the uncomfortable. Now I have to sit with just myself. And my thoughts. And get to know ME.

I really, really think it’s time we meet. No matter how uncomfortable and awkward it gets. (I’m the queen of awkward.) It’s been a long time coming.

#queenofawkward #hotpinkhippie #getuncomfortable #havewemet #travel #wanderlust #adventure #learntobebored #hippiegirl #rvlife #threedogsandablog #makingmemoriesallovertheworld