A holiday-time primer or voice of positivity this writing is not, so for those who need that type of morale-boosting, turn on Hallmark Channel. For anyone else, thank you for reading, and as always, “Don’t judge. Don’t fix. Just read.” ~P.
December 6, 2019
I don’t feel the need to smile now for an indefinite length of time. There is no more purpose for it. For three years, 38 months to be exact as of today, I’ve been propelling myself in grief, alone into an unknown, unpredictable future: blindly, unwillingly, publicly, shamelessly. Full stop now. My heart can slow it’s beating, nearly go dormant, it only needs to keep me alive just enough to get through days, months, and years to come without foreseeable love in my life. Who can live without love?
My precious border collie puppies, Lennie and Suzie, born August 6, are four months old. Half of their lifetimes thus far, they have been with me as my chosen companions. This week, they are no longer part of my family. Full disclosure, this I now know: Lennie and Suzie were great dogs, but I was not great with them. Taking proper care of them left little time for anything else, and my fast-growing inability to balance everything on my own combined with my failure to become a “dog person,” meant I had to make the decision to re-home them. It’s done, each is now placed in their forever home.
My soul now feels like a lost dog. If you see my soul, please help it come home. Where is “home” anyway? My soul has nowhere to call home. The person who it lived with and who it was for, died three years ago. Now, it is wandering lost and has nowhere to be itself, to have rest, to be alive. Everything you see on the outside is facade, worthless, and devoid of meaning. I’m dead on the inside.
Yesterday morning, as I sadly walked with Suzie for the last time at wood’s edge in my backyard, I looked down and was surprised to see coming into focus short strips of brilliant blue color, all neatly arranged amidst dampened mulch and curled fallen leaves. My eyes adjusted to take in what was a grouping of blue jay feathers. Each one had distinctive, undeniable blue and black markings, many with white tips. In my life’s journey, feathers have been following me where I go, found mostly as “bike magic” along cycling routes of the past three years.
However, this day, as I felt the weight of my world crumbling on top of me, it was “life magic” as these unique feathers popped up at my feet, having had somehow found their way to me, and now, holding me together, just. At first, I hesitated from disturbing them, but then instinctively knew these were for me to collect.
Blue Jay feathers now added, displayed in my children’s pottery creations found in my kitchen on a corner shelf.
The rest of the day, I pondered and researched the symbolism of finding these particular feathers. Their description and meaning was complex, but what clearly spoke to me immediately was reading that blue jays represent a feeling of safety and protection. Since the day of Jon’s death, I have become completely unprotected, and rarely do I feel truly safe. These raw truths are now bared and revealed. His painful fight with cancer propelled him to his denial of death for so many reasons, and this very hurtful one, because he knew my children and I would be entirely exposed without his being here and without having his trusted mindfulness. Why am I shown this now in memory and present time? What is it that I require protection from anyway?
I know damn-well why, because of what has come into my life and happened over the past three years. Simply put, it has been uninvited guests, surnamed Trouble, appearing in a family lineup of forms. Trouble never comes as your enemy, rather, it arrives with a soft knock on your door and asks in a child-like voice if it can come in. It then proceeds methodically to play with your heart, distracts you from your work and goals, and puts blame solely on top of you for falter if you have any doubt of it’s helpfulness or glimpse it’s true nature. I know Trouble. I let it in.
Jon kept me safe for over 20 years from Trouble. I relied on him with my complete trust to keep our children and me safe, and I am learning now in my solo choices and decisions, painfully, through these repeated failures of attempts to find peace, calm, and clarity, that I do not have what it takes to prevent myself and kids from harm. Besides Trouble, what I also do keep finding are these feathers, and I’ll take what I’ve read about their discovery as a purposeful intervention to redirect my attention in one more adjustment to change and the continuation forward into the unknown. And I need to say, even though going forwards is a desired direction, so often sideways is a sad result, and that’s another topic entirely that has been weighing heavily on my mind.
What I decided this morning, mindful in the face of more loss, is as a “dog person,” I am not, but as a “blue jay person,” just, and maybe somewhere within the details of symbolic meaning and my now believing in what kind of person that is, there I will find my soul and home again. For today, 38 months and counting, I awoke to the sound of my voice pronouncing in the darkness, “Hi, my name is Paula, I ride bikes, sometimes clipped in.” ~P.