Tag Archives: healing

Daily Prompt Challenge: Connect the Dots

Image“I knew in a heartbeat that the last chapter of our lives would be spent together.”  – page 82, third full sentence.

This is an excerpt from a story I wrote. The book, My Secret: Memoirs of Love & Survival, was first written as a personal diary, and then it was reformatted for paperback publishing in the fall of this year. I wrote it as part of my own healing process, without any expectations. I had no idea that others would read it later on, and find reflection and healing for themselves. The words above were written as I reflected on the day that I stood reunited with my best friend, giving myself completely in his embrace.  Life had sent us traveling down different roads for a very long time. We were high school sweethearts when we were neighbors growing up, then he and his family moved away when we were 17. We reunited for a short time when we were 21 years old, when he came home to visit me, and we had a life time of love in those few days. He and I had conceived my oldest child during our affair, and I had no way to tell him because he lived in another state and no one knew how to find him.  Years went by, and my heart was filled with the love of being a mother. Eventually, I became lonely. I settled for less….marrying another man.He wasn’t the one I needed, but I had three more beautiful children with him. I wanted to be the wife he needed me to be, but that meant killing every aspect of myself, without dying.  For 17 years, I died a little everyday. I mourned the loss of my self. Some people call this process “depression”.  My husband convinced me that I needed psychiatric help, and at some points I was even medicated for this.  The medication never lifted my spirits, it simply caused me to feel the death I  imposed upon myself. No one seemed to understand that all I needed was to be myself.

Two years ago, the secret of who really was the father of my oldest child came out. It rocked the planet. The miracles that unfolded were put in black and white.

Since then, I’ve relearned how to be myself.  There were many things I had to relearn as I healed. Only one person could have understood everything I needed, and that was Aaron.  Still, when I look back on his return into my life, I tear up.  I prayed to be able to find him, and then at just the right moment,  he found me.  You can bet that as life unfolds, I will be writing part two of the book.  The miracle isn’t “finished” yet.  It’s progressing in God’s good timing.  My job right now is to learn patience.

So many times in the past two years I have witnessed God, in ways I never expected to see God.  Rediscovering myself has given me the ability to love myself, love others, and it has strengthened my faith.  The real me loves being alive, and experiences a revival everyday.  And I thank God for every tomorrow, because I get to wake up next to my best friend.

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The healing power of dignity

This morning I’ve been reflecting on things that have changed within the past month. There’s been a lot of good happening around me and Aaron lately. When I look at all of them – job changes, Aaron healing since his teeth were extracted and him having to get acquainted with a denture and his new smile – I see a common theme resurfacing over and over. Dignity.

Aaron said something profound the other day when we were visiting with some friends who own a horse stable. It’s no surprise to get a call from them every weekend with the invitation to share in some smoked barbecue and outdoor music. This past weekend, we were asked to come out, and a visit was long overdue, so we went and soaked in the energy of all the animals and friends. Every trip down the road to visit this place feels better than a vacation hundreds of miles away – good energy, good people, unconditional love…you don’t want to leave. On this day we were watching how the farrier, the husband of my friend who teaches riding lessons, was handling one of the horses. This one was a rescue that we’ve blessed to watch from afar as this couple brought him back from deaths door, to be the healthy, spunky soul he is now. When he first arrived last summer, he was withered away – a skin-and-bones animal. He had lost his spirit and was dragging his head, almost lifeless. It’s hard to believe that just three months ago, the same creature we were watching had no life behind his eyes. Now he is full of life, full of energy, personality, and all he needs is a gentle hand to train him to be ridden. It’s a process that begins and never ends with love. Aaron and me were leaning against the ring, watching as the farrier let the horse get used to the weight of the saddle and reins while being led on a long lead rope, and then after some time, the farrier mounted, and the magic of that unspoken communication became visible. “Horses are just like people. It’s amazing what a little dignity can do.” Aaron said.

I recognized the miracle of gentle nudges and guidance this animal was getting. I felt the same from Aaron, and from my family, and God, as I recovered last year from the emotional and physical scars that were left after I escaped my abusive ex-husband. As I leaned on that horse ring and watched the horse breathing in and out, nostrils flaring and anxious sweat pouring, learning to trust a human being again after having been so betrayed…so hurt in the past….I knew. I remember a time just two years ago, that I would break out into an anxious sweat if I entered a store, or had to look a man in the eye. I remember what it was like to want to trust someone that much, yet being terrified of doing it…but then doing it any way, coaxed and encouraged by the people who loved me.

As I was leaning on that horse ring next to my life partner and best friend, I understood the depth of what a gift it is to look beyond what we see and simply love someone. I looked at Aaron and had to smile, because I saw our miracle.

It’s so easy to be fearful if we look at someone’s past and judge them based on it. It’s a divine show of respect, to give someone the right to be loved. It takes just as much courage for us not to judge the lonely and the scarred as it does for them to step out into the world. It’s character building, to trust someone before they have earned it.  That is what it’s like to give dignity to one of God’s creatures.

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A letter to my 17-year old self

This is inspired by the Brad Paisley song Letter To Me.

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Hey P…. You probably don’t recognize me yet, but you will one day, because you’re going to be me.  You’re so full of life! I know there are times when you feel like you can’t go on another day, because some people you love don’t understand you…believe me when I say, your family will do anything they can to protect you if you just let them.  You don’t feel like it right now, but they’ve got your back. Your Dad loves you more than he can say. Trust me, in about 25 years, you will find out how much. Your Mom was your age once, and she admires you for being so strong and brave – even for your recklessness.

You see, passion doesn’t come easy to some, but you’re hungry for it, so you walk without fear of the consequences,  where some angels fear to tread. I’m not just talking about you being an EMT in the rescue squad. I know, some of the places you go in the ambulance are in the worst parts of town, but I’m not talking about patching up gunshot victims or doing CPR countless times only to learn that God takes us when He wants us, and we don’t have the means to change that….I’m talking about boys…about sneaking out at night – which your mother knows about, don’t be fooled by her unconditional love and acceptance.

I know you’ve been writing stories since you were 10 years old. I’ll tell you now – don’t stop!  People may like them or they may think what you’re writing is stupid, but it doesn’t matter… you’re going to get better.  Keep an open mind, keep using your imagination, and use that ability you have to remember every word in a conversation. You’re going to lock the important details in your mind, and one day what you write is going to help a lot of people.

You don’t know it yet, but you’ve already met three of your future life partners!  One you only knew briefly when you were in the 4th grade….I wish I could tell you his name so you could avoid him, but you have three beautiful children by him… and I wouldn’t change that for anything. The other two live within walking distance of your house. They are as opposite to each other as the night is compared to the day.   The one who people see as descent and good, because he doesn’t do drugs or get into trouble…to the outside world he’s good, but when the chips are down, when things get dicey….he’s going to leave you stranded.  It’s the “bad boy” that no one expects to amount to anything, because he gets into all kinds of mischief,  who will surprise everyone by stepping in….and without hesitation, or expectation, he will walk beside you where angels fear to tread. You’re going to reconnect at a time when you need each other the most…and he will be the one who will love you faithfully, with more loyalty and regal appreciation than anyone else can. I wish I could tell you his name…. so you could avoid two decades of heart break. But if I did, your children wouldn’t be who they are, and they are perfect.

If you get this today in 1987, its a Thursday and you’re going to school at CHHS. It’s your senior year. You’re first class of the day is Choir, with Mr. Clements, and you’re going to stay after school to practice on the flag team for the upcoming Christmas parade. You have a project in Chemistry, and your football-jock lab partner will want you and the other smart partner to do everything, but go easy on him. There’s only a minor explosion when the beaker is corked and then heated, and the rubber cork gets lodged in the ceiling. Spend some extra time with that tall, skinny boy at the bus stop every morning, and give him a smile when you see him.  You don’t know it, but he needs your smile, and he loves you and your small family more than you know. He’s going to be very important to you one day.  He’s going to move away soon…he may have already told you by now and you’re wondering if you’ll ever see him again. Trust me, you will. And he will change your world in the best way.

People who you think are your friends now…most of them won’t stick around.  You feel it in your heart though – who your real friends are. The world is going to change in so many ways… but thankfully those people won’t.  You’re going to lose your faith one day, after being hurt one too many times, but you’ll find it again.  Remember to be open minded, and don’t be afraid of your intuition. You’re going to use it in many ways.  Right now you are wondering if you should quit the rescue squad. You think you’ve done so little that your time is not worth it…you’ll quit when you have to, but you’ll remember every face of every patient… and there will be a day when you will need to use everything you’re learning now in order to help people in ways you can’t imagine, and I can’t tell you because that would be saying too much.

I’ll close this with a gentle reminder…. to keep loving.  Learn as much as you can from your Mom about Type 1 Diabetes…spend as much time as you can with your Great-Grandma N., and listen to every word that your Grandma B. says…

Love, Penny…. 2012.

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Letting love be the voice…

A week ago, Aaron endured major facial surgery. He had all of his top teeth removed (8 surgically and 5 simple extractions).  It was something that needed to be done for a very long time, and the time was finally right for him to take off from work and do it.

In the days prior, I remember being worried about the long term affects – how losing his natural smile would change his voice, his ability to sing, and if it would hinder his self confidence. I worried about his immediate needs – diet, mostly.  One thing that never occurred to me was how we would communicate that first day, after he woke up from surgery. Maybe it’s because we have an unspoken communication. It’s something that we never put much thought into, before last week, and when the surgery was over and Aaron’s mouth was full of gauze, it kicked in. Like everything else with us, it was natural.

One thing I’ve always been able to do with Aaron, that I’ve never been able to do with anyone else in my life, is look him in the eye and pay close attention.  I think that comes from missing him for twenty years. Now that we’re together and I wake up next to him every day, I’m afraid if I blink, I’ll miss something!  Maybe beyond that, is a small amount of intuition that stems from loving each other for so long. I’m not talking about the passionate love we share now. I’m talking about the contentment your soul feels when you’ve found a missing piece of yourself in an instant best friend –  when you “recognize” someone the second you meet them, and life is better after that moment just because that person is in it. You finish each others sentences, you breathe deeper because you can feel their heartbeat even when that person is far away…and you don’t need to speak out loud to communicate basic needs, wants, worries, concerns, or pleasure.

We became closer the day of the surgery.  We held each other one last time at the door of the dental office, kissing each other one last time knowing that kisses would be different from then on. I felt his heart beating inside of his chest and prayed that the surgery would not be an unbearable shock to his body – for his blood pressure to stay normal. He breathed me into him. We listened to the birds chirping in the trees behind the office, and then we walked in – both ready.

When I stepped in and smelled the distinctive smells of the dentist office and I saw the chair, suddenly nothing else mattered to me except Aaron’s health. That’s why he was going through with this after all – to remove bad teeth so his overall health could be better. I could have cared less about whether or not he sang ever again. I just wanted him to be OK.  I saw how nervous he was in the chair right before he was numbed up, so I started to focus on calm energy. The plants in the room, the painting on the wall – anything to calm me down so that Aaron might feel it.

The way the room was arranged enabled me to stay in eyesight of Aaron during the entire procedure without being in the way.  This was good. He didn’t want me to be far away, and I didn’t want to leave him alone. As with any crisis, when the surgery began , priorities started to get in order. No more worrying about bills. You could feel it in the air. All we have is each other. Thank you for being here.  An unspoken thought, sent and received by both of us simultaneously.

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An hour and a half later, it was done.  His blood pressure was fine. Relief washed over me as he stood up and walked with me to the car. The worst part of his part of the ordeal was over. My work had just begun. I knew the best thing for him was to get him home where I could take good care of him. It was during the car ride home that the old intuition kicked in. Entire conversations were given in quick, deep glances. A look and a nod said what needed to be said. Hand me some more gauze please. I’m thirsty. Did the numbing stuff wear off yet? I love you. Thank you. 

By the next day Aaron was able to talk again (and I was able to understand him). The swelling took four days for most of it to go away. His face never bruised. The doctor had done a wonderful job.  There were many things to be thankful for in this Journey.  Mostly that Aaron was going to have a chance to live a longer life, because the decayed teeth that had caused him so many physical ailments were now gone.

I’ll never forget this experience.  I learned so much about true love when Love spoke for us that day.

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