I eat my meals outside now, on a porch, even when it’s chilly, I like to watch the birds fly around and listen to my neighbor cook dinner or lunch while they hum to themselves. It’s peaceful here. I feel like I’m finally really healing from the past year. There are always dark parts of my life, but at the moment they are more balanced out than I think they ever have been. I feel stability and it is beautiful. So I’m here, I’m hitting more of the levels on the hierarchy of needs than I have in a very very long time. It’s time to really move to that whole self-actualization part of it. For me that would be being a successful artist, but I think I’m still working on the basics, so I start with eating healthier food while breathing deeply and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood. I have learned much about myself in the last year, today is the one year anniversary of my grandmother getting diagnosed with lung cancer, which will be immediately followed by the anniversary of three of the most traumatic weeks of my life, so for now that top tier is just maintaining what I’m feeling now.
I’m going to write a bit about those three years leading up to this month here, and in the end of this post I will go back to speaking on how my life has changed for the better, even though it’s still baby steps. My grandmother coded in the emergency room three years before her lung cancer diagnosis, from that day on she was not herself. That was the first time I lost her. The second time I lost her was when she could no longer drive and therefore had to rely on aides and family members. The third time I lost her was when I had to bully an ER doctor into running more tests because she no longer could advocate for herself. Turns out she had a kidney infection that would have killed her. The fourth time I lost her was when she told me she wished she died when she flatlined the first time, that Mary was there to take her home, that Bruce was there to walk beside her again. The fifth time I lost her was at last rites, the last time she had a coherent conversation, with a song and holding hands and crying with my family. I was the last one to leave, and she told me “you’re a lovely girl, thank you for helping me”. I heard “I love you” one more time before she was no longer able to speak. Then it was a waiting game that was like watching someone slowly drown to death, taking a breath every two seconds, then three, then ten, then fifteen, then the last rattle, then it stops. That was the last time.
What many people don’t understand is I did so much grieving over those three years, it was a three year long wake it was a slow burn, a painful and traumatic, and drama filled experience. The last breath was a relief for me, because I knew it was a relief for her. I knew the people who were important to her were right there. She died in her home which is what she wanted to do. She died with the people who love her most surrounding her and holding her hand. So now, a year later I have not come to terms with my complicated relationship with my grandmother, but I have learned to love the things she gave me, and I acknowledge any negative or hurt feelings, but they do not stain my memory of her at all. Grief is so complicated, because relationships are so complicated.
So, I eat meals outside now, I find that with some events I am slow to heal, in other events I am fast, and some goes in circles, I am good at healing but it involves slow baby steps. Healing is not linear. Changing a little bit at a time has been the best thing for me, and even if it’s one thing a week, a month, every six months. I am changing. The trauma of the last year was at more than point too much for me to bear, sometimes dangerously, there is a post I am sitting on about that, however that is not something that I’m ready to share with you all yet. I will mention it now and again though just to keep myself accountable. I can not tell the difference between myself on a day to day basis, but when I get the chance I am able to look back on what was and what is coming and I’m amazed, for someone who didn’t think they would make it to 23, and then to 27, and now I’m sure I’ll make it until my body decides otherwise.
I meditate more now that I had, I realized that there was a few ways around my anger and confusion and that is movement and deep breathing and trusting the people around me. I’m not good at reaching out, but I am getting better at trusting people (with time) to show up consistently. It’s taken a long time, but I can honestly say I trust a solid five people.
I think the biggest thing I can say is be patient with yourself, but also have someone in your life, or the willingness to do it yourself to call yourself out when your coping behaviors turn into excuses, and don’t get angry at that person. Healing, especially healing to a point where you can become creative again, to when you can continue to make consistent work. Everything else has to be fulfilled first, and then you can find your way towards your true practice. Keep making small things until then. Write every day, do a small sketch, take a picture on your phone.
Eat your meals outside. Take a tiny step. Breathe in the spring air, spring is rebirth. There are colors now, bright against the April rainy skies, the air is warm but with a cool breeze. We do not have many days like this. Use it’s energy to fill up your cup. I am not a spiritual person but I know the power of beautiful days especially first warm days after a long winter.
Much of this was about my grandmother, much of this was about art, much of it was about changing small things in order to reach that top triangle. It will happen for me. I will have to be patient, but I’m getting good at that.
Of course it will not all be smooth sailing, but I’m so much better equipped now than I was even a month and a half ago.