Severance

pencil drawing – by Sara

On a Wednesday morning I woke up and had a mom. When I went to bed that night I no longer did. For days and nights I prayed for her to die peacefully in her sleep. For weeks I tried to make her comfortable and feel as loved and cared for as humanly possible. For months I worried and cried and questioned and hated this death sentence that was thrust upon her. And for years my mom suffered and battled and suffered and battled some more. She suffered right up until her very last breath that I witnessed with my own eyes.

Never once in those days of praying, weeks of trying, months of worry, and years of suffering was her illness and prognosis ever talked about in a way that I could hold onto now. Instead each day I held onto the healing moments created from caregiving – the warm hugs she leaned into each time I helped her from a seated to a standing position and her  “I love you better” responses that she would recite with a smile after I’d kiss her on the forehead and tell her that I love her. In those moments that expression of genuine love and care was all that mattered.

But now she is gone. And the emptiness I feel around what never was feels so immense. I feel it in every part and every age of my whole being. It takes my breath away. The genuine love and connection that was felt in each small moment by her side feels severed now. And all of the peace I felt in caring for and loving her feels like it died with her. I don’t know how to exist in a world without my mom. We knew this was coming, but we never talked about it. And now I have to figure it all out on my own.

A Mom Shaped Void

An absence of words

engulfs this bottomless cry

born from the day

goodbye was thrust upon me

This wound may have

arrived with warning

Yet it sliced from within

so precisely and so viciously

a mom shaped void

The burning

questions, worries, doubts

unable to ever escape

my trembling lips

now hover timelessly

over every inch and every age

of my being

A haunting

permanent silence resides

where conversations

that never began

are now forever impossible

Stepping Away

Starting this blog almost two years ago required both courage and enough stability to respond to the internal wobbles and overwhelm that sharing openly and honestly about hard topics can bring. I have felt both courageous and incredibly shaky during this journey. Sharing the deepest and darkest feelings, thoughts, and fears that I hold inside of me is not an easy thing to do…even in this semi-anonymous blog space.

Yet here I am almost two years later, lost in struggle and staring at my white flag of surrender. I don’t really want to pick it up. I definitely don’t want to wave it. Hell, I don’t even want to look at it. But the cloudy-at-best purpose that I entered into this blogging world with two years ago has been consumed by a thick dark fog.

I am lost.

I can no longer see where I am going and what the point of any of this even is. I am lacking purpose, direction, value, and an overall will to continue here. I don’t understand all that I am feeling, but I know it isn’t healthy. Something has to change. Something has to give.

I cannot tell if this decision I am making at the moment is an act of self care or self destruction. Perhaps I will gain more clarity down the road. But for now I am choosing to stop – to step away. I am not quitting. I am not letting the darkness that feels stronger than me fully take over. But I am also not going to wallow in this dark space and continue to write and share what feels like endless meaningless drivel either.

I am intentionally resisting the strong urge to abruptly shut this blog down entirely. Instead I am going to quietly retreat and let my wishing tree go dark for a while. Maybe it will feel right at some point to return, or maybe it will feel right to permanently delete it all.

Perhaps…someday…until then…so long.

The Reckoning

A long hard look

straight into the eyes

Past the superficial nonsense

that preoccupies the senses

A truth revealed

from deep within

An image that words

can hardly conjure

A message that rings

from the place that echoes

This valley you reside

is no place

to welcome their peak

Scatter, vanish, dissipate

Protect them from

all that you feel

Shield them from what may be

Unknowingly, unintentionally

cast onto them

Because of you

Stillness

watercolor painting – by Sara

There is a brief moment right after a snow storm, before the sun and wind remove the fresh fallen snow from every branch and surface that it drapes like a blanket. These calm and quiet wintry moments beg me to come find them – to venture out in nature for a hike or snowshoe and witness a familiar scene wearing a fresh coat of new colors. The stillness of these moments inspires a stillness within, especially in calming places like this one.

see details about this painting on my Etsy shop

The Sound of the Imposter

“Who do you think you are? Your work has no place and no value outside of the walls you live in. It’s laughable – like a little kid trying to sell pages from her own coloring book. You’ll see. This will amount to nothing more than another mountain of evidence supporting the fact that you are nothing but a drain – on money, resources, and those around you.”

This is the loud voice I hear as I try to attempt something new for myself. I have officially opened an Etsy shop where I am creating original works of art for sale. I have no clear expectations for this shop – just a bit of a scrappy adventurous spirit doused with hope while swimming in a sea of murky doubt. When I advertise this site to the rest of the world it will be presented with a strong exterior of confidence that I belong here and that this venture will prove worthwhile. But this wordpress site, my wishing tree, is a place where I choose to be honest about what lies behind the masks I wear each day. So on this day, while my mask is adventurous, hopeful, and determined; underneath I am nothing more than a puddle of insecurity, shame, and feeling like an enormous imposter. I hear all of my doubts – all of my fears – all of my worries – all of my shame. It’s loud, it’s ugly, and it’s not going anywhere. I am afraid of how failure might impact me in this somewhat fragile point in my life. I am fearful that I may not be able to handle one more rejection. I feel the weight and worry of all of that, and I’m showing up anyway. I type these words with the cringe on my face that best describes how I feel in this moment.

Welcome to my new Etsy site:

ScenicHuesbySara

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScenicHuesbySara?ref=profile_header

The Portal

Round and round, back and forth, it moves in erratic loops. My eyes are drawn to it. It isn’t creepy to me as most insects are. It’s just a tiny bug crawling around on the floor of my therapist’s office no more than a few feet away from me. I hear my own voice in my head, curiously wondering where this tiny bug is trying to go. Then I wonder why I am wondering about the bug. I hear my therapist’s reassuring words that I am safe, reminding me where I am, and asking me questions I don’t know how to answer. I hear more words – they come from inside and feel like a reminder. “The bug is here – in your therapist’s office. You are in your therapist’s office too.” Those words seem to repeat like a mantra as my eyes continue to follow its unpredictable pattern across the floor.

I feel confused and scared. I can’t sit still. Something feels loud inside.

I see the bug. I know it is there. I know it is in this safe room with me. But that’s not what the young one inside of me sees. She sees the blinds in his bedroom. It doesn’t make sense. I look away from the bug to make the blinds go away. It works. I look back at the bug. The blinds come back again. I look away again. I don’t understand. I don’t know how to vocalize what is happening. It’s a bug on the floor in my therapist’s office. Just follow the bug. If you can see the bug then you are in this room with her.

I know I am safe here, but I can’t stop shaking. My body doesn’t feel safe. The young one inside of me doesn’t feel safe. Finally I reveal what she sees. She is confused. She thinks the bug and the blinds are the same – an indication that we must disappear from our body into them because something bad is about to happen. She thinks we’re not safe. She thinks we need to go away now. But I know it’s not the same. I feel my body fidgeting. I can’t stop moving. I can hear my therapist’s voice reminding me where I am – reminding me that I didn’t do anything wrong. I need the young one to hear that too. But she can’t hear it. She’s too afraid. She feels an urge to apologize and an urge to go away – somewhere far away inside of herself. I feel it too. I feel me. I feel her. I feel scared trying to hold both of us in this space. It feels slippery – like I could easily get lost here. I keep looking at the bug as if it’s some sort of portal of connection between me and her. But the portal feels hypnotic. If I look too long I start to believe what she sees too. In and out I move from my thoughts to hers, from my eyes to hers, from my body to hers. It moves faster and holds on longer and makes me dizzy and I feel sick inside. It’s hard to see. It’s hard to remember what is mine and what is hers. It blends. It confuses.

She begins to cry – big heavy tears. I don’t know why we are crying, but she does. She knows exactly why and that is enough for me. I let the tears that she’s been holding in for all these years pour out from me. It feels explosive, and I don’t have any say in what it looks or sounds like. I don’t like it. But in this moment we are as close as we can get. I feel everything she holds overflowing from me – everything she has felt and needed to release but never had a safe place for.

When the shaking and crying finally stops I breathe. Everything slows down. My awareness returns to the room and my sweaty body that sits in bewilderment at what just transpired. I feel embarrassed. I don’t fully understand what or how that just happened. I don’t want to look at my therapist. I’m worried about what she thinks of me. Shame tries to creep in and pollute this healing moment. Shame tries to attach this feeling to what it knows from other times. It tries to tell me that positive feelings of relaxation, release, or relief are gross and wrong. It tries to tell me that it’s the same as all the times pleasure was mixed with pain. It tries to convince me that I did something bad again.

My therapist’s reassuring eyes encourage me to look into hers, and her words remind me that I did nothing wrong. This helps to loosen this shameful feeling that sticks to me like thick tar. The shame doesn’t go away, but it doesn’t drown me either.

I feel something else too. I feel this young one relax just a little bit inside of me. It feels like maybe she’s been given a moment that she has desperately needed. She’s been waiting for this safe place to share what burdens her and shed these tears for a very long time. This makes me feel like maybe I did something right in my therapist’s office this time. And although I get a strong feeling inside that there are more tears to come another day it feels okay in this moment to close my eyes just for an instant and breathe. And that feels okay for the young one too.

Seasons #8

acrylic painting – by Sara

This series of art is inspired by the symbolic nature of the beauty within the changing seasons. It is a reminder to slow down, pay attention, and soak in the details of each moment. When I am in struggle painting helps to clear my mind and make space for thoughts outside of the ones that feel pressing and consuming. This painting presented a lighting and color challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found myself delightfully immersed in the variety of warm and cool colors found in this serene winter scene.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

Albert Camus