Today, writing calls. Really, it calls everyday, but I always seem to find ways to avoid my writing desk — which is sometime my bed, sometimes the Food Bar, and, actually, come to think of it, very rarely an actual desk — and put it off until the Call starts manifesting as what I can only describe as an anxious energy. And then I have to sit here and wrestle with these thoughts that I have nothing of value to say to you, and I might as well open my journal like I did in the third grade, but that doesn’t settle the anxious energy, so here I sit, and then, ahhhhhhhhhh, the energy starts to turn into something less stressful.
So for now, in an effort to keep coming back to this place I keep avoiding, I’m going to think of it as a treasure chest of sorts. A place where I gather and keep things I want to remember so that one day I can look back and remember the special moments that felt like something at the time, but what exactly? Maybe time will tell. Maybe not. Either way, I’d rather deposit them here than lock them away, or, worse, forget about them. The important thing is that I get here and put something here.
Today’s deposit comes in the form of a text I received from Kathleen on Thursday morning that I can’t stop thinking about.
I just had the most intense dream about you and your family. You were giving a talk at a conference (I was speaking after you) and you went up first. You started talking about your life but your voice was constricted and quiet. Then you say “and then in an instant everything changed…” And started crying. You couldn’t stop and your whole family came to the stage and they were hugging you and crying with you. I took the mic and said “this isn’t my story to tell but I’m going to help Lindsey finish it as long as she needs me.” Then Hunter took the mic and talked about how brave you are.
It was 2006 when we lost him. It seems like I talk about it a lot — his death — but, like my voice in Kathleen’s dream, something about it feels quiet and constricted. Or maybe the feeling is that, no matter how much I talk about it, there will always be something unresolved about it. It was ten years in February that he unexpectedly dropped to the ground and didn’t get up. It sounds tragic doesn’t it? It was. For all of us — and as it likely would be for anyone. Ten years feels like a long time, but also still very fresh. Sometimes I feel like we should be okay by now, and in some ways, we are. But in other ways, we, as a family, are changed forever. And admittedly, we’re still trying to find our legs. At least I am. And I’m trying to give myself the grace to process it and settle into how it’s shaped me as a person; but, I’m also trying to push myself to move past some of the ways in which it’s held me back. Processing in this way helps.
Doctors tell me I have chronic fatigue syndrome. That my adrenals are depleted and my body is in a constant state of fight-or-flight. I believe them. I can feel it in my body that I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. Fear takes over a lot and leaves me breathless, lethargic, cranky, and stuck.
I’ve always gotten myself together, put one foot in front of the other, and moved through. But fear always tags along, no matter how hard I try to lose him. I wish I could talk about this more eloquently, and that my writing didn’t feel so heavy, and even a little depressing, maybe? But, right now, I’m staying true to my story and taking it seriously. And this is the truth: I’m worn out, scared, heavy-hearted — which I don’t mean in a melancholic way, but rather, in a I-feel-verrrry-deeply kind of way — and am still mourning the loss of my dad while navigating the subsequent changes it’s created for my family. But, it’s also bittersweet, because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today had I not gone through that experience. Either way, here I am, sitting (nervously wiggling in my chair is more accurate) in my truth and writing the story.
If you’re here, thanks for being here.