Hope is a thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all.-Emily Dickenson
Saturday, March 29, 2008
My intent was to gather with those within my overlapping communities who have shared so much and loved and held me through this year, to honor and remember Forrest and to celebrate my survival of the past year.
The evening was an amazing, beautiful and powerful experience for me. Although nervous, I was prepared to have my head shaved. However, I was not at all prepared for the outpouring of love and compassion and blessings that I received. Even less was I prepared to understand how others seemed so touched by the experience. I often tend to feel indebted to others for how much they share with me and how important a role they play in my life. I have never felt that others might feel touched by aspects that I bring to the table. I am humbled by the comments I am still receiving about how the evening affected others.
As you can see from the slide show, my head received many blessings. To steal words from a dear friend; the idea that I don't even have words that can come close to describing the grateful ache in my heart says everything and nothing all at once. What I can say is that I am obviously, and now intentionally and directly very blessed.
As for an update on my head, I am currently maintaining the baldness. Three days after the first shaving, I found that I was in a panic that my hair seemed to be growing so quickly; I was not ready for it to grow back. I was able to wait 5 more days, then had it shaved again. I have since shaved it again. I find in cleansing and liberating in a way that I cannot really describe and a big part of me just isn’t ready to take the next step of replacing the visible sign of my grief. So, for now, I am keeping it shaved. I recommend that everyone shave their head at least once in their life.
When I think of this past year, I think of that Footprints poem where there were two sets of footprints in the sand except during the hardest times, there was only one set because that’s when “The Lord” was carrying her. For me, it’s quite different, I feel like maybe my footprints did disappear, but there were many, many footprints in the sand, from the many, many who have helped carry me through. I know it’s cheesy and sappy… but that is how I feel. That then makes me think of my Sharin’ The Herons theme of 2007 and reminds me how grateful I am that I was able to share the herons and that the weight was distributed amongst so many of you. Thank you to all who have shared and loved and carried me, I am grateful for and have more love than you can imagine for all of you.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of Forrest's death. I have realized that I have little control over much in this world, but how much hair I have, at this time, I have complete control over.
I will be having a gathering with many who have walked with me and sometimes carried me this past year. Three dear friends will be shearing away layers of grief (and hair) to make room for new growth in this next year.
So, while I made up my mind months ago to shave my head to honor this event in my life, I recently decided to participate in St. Balrick's fundraiser to help raise money for kids with cancer. If you'd like to donate to St Baldricks, check out my page with a great photo of me with my hair combed out- no curls so it's really big.
Whether you choose to donate or not, consider offering up a blessing for me and my naked and exposed grief, awaiting the new growth to begin.
ps I'll post pictures soon
Monday, December 31, 2007
Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 64 years old. It seems hard to believe she has been gone for more than 7 years now. I spent the better part of this year being pretty angry with mom about Forrest's death. I suppose it wasn't safe to place the anger on Forrest for a while. Generally on her birthday I make it out to the cemetary where I sprinkled some of her ashes on top of her father's grave. That didn't happen today. It was a beautiful day but I struggled to leave the house. Carrie finally enticed me with a walk in the park with her new baby (pup) and my boys. It was good to get out, but I feel a little foggy.
This is all compounded by the fact that tomorrow is Forrest's birthday. He would have turned 66. He hated his job, it was one thing that was making him miserable, but he was set to retire this month.
Growing up, we always celebrated their anniversary on the 30th and then both of their birthdays at midnight new year's eve. That was real popular formy brother and I as teenagers. After I moved away, it was always good to call at midnight, although usually Forrest had already gone to bed.
Last night I was very sad and weepy, today I have been sad at times and disconnected at other times. I'm not depressed mind you. It's good to know the difference and allow myself to feel the saddness.
Funny enough, Jan 2 is my biological father's birthday. Up until I was 22, I thought my brother and I shared the same father. Then enters Doug, he's actually my biological father, and Tom, who I thought was my biological father, is actually my brothers dad. Perhaps I'll blog about that sometime.
Doug and I are not very close, in fact this is the first year he didn't send a Christmas card. We had been sort of trying at a relationship, but this year I decided just because we share the same blood doesn't make him my father...so I sorta started to let go of that. Turns out it kind of pisses me off that he did too. I mean, it was his choice to do that the first time around, it should be my choice now, eh? Clearly I have no resentments there... and somehow, right now in my very irrational mind, I have decided that Forrest's death is now Doug's fault. I really don't think that... but for today and tomorrow, I don't want to be angry with Forrest, so I have to put it elsewhere. Doug's the lucky bastard that gets it this time.
I swear I'll post an upbeat blog soon.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
June... June began with a tic infested (but still much fun) camping trip with Carrie and my pups June 2nd and 3rd
Another trip in town June 8th for Jen Rock, Molly and Rachel found most of the folks here in town exhausted and a bit cranky... We all now sport I love J-Rock shirts in support of her performance at a Lisa's tavern. We made the obligitory Farmer's Market visit, and then I spent a bit of time at the ER with Mel after she cut her knee and needed stitches on June 9th. I will post no photos for the sake of those with active imaginations and weak stomachs.
June 17th was the first annual Father's day at Bernheim (mark your calendars now for the 2nd annual one June 15 2008) where Carol shared her father's ties AND taught us how to tie them! I was able to scatter some more ashes and I was cranky and grieving hard... but survived it with the love and support of those around... and phone calls and messages from those not around!
June 22nd Mel, Carol and Tiff and I had a double date, where I hear I flung chocolate across the room, the bourbon was treating me right and numbing some pain.
Sometime towards the end of June, I volunteered to help out with the books and the website for NewCentury and Shekinah as I was beginning to realize how important that was becoming to my spiritual journey as well as to my survival in the midst of the muck I was traversing.
June marked the beginning of the end of one of my denial periods regarding Forrest's death as I began to slip into a depression and start to disconnect from many friends.
Thus ends the 2nd quarter of 2007... More coming soon!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
As a brief intro to 2007, I'll need to address the latter part of 2006... you know I can't tell a partial story!
December 10th 2006, I walked away from the unhealthy relationship of that year. Noticing my tendency to repeat the same patterns over and over, I felt the only way to break that one was to walk completey away from my best friend and any hopes of anything more with her.
Ironically, the same day also introduced me to Jud and Jen and many others who would come to help shape my 2007, followed by a December 16 meeting of Catherine, a re-meeting of Cindy, and a reaquanting with Natalie; Others who have helped me through 2007. Proving to me once again my belief that grief and loss can create a space that can be filled with great things, not a replacement mind you... something completely different and in this case more profound, genuine and fulfilling. Had I not made room for these folks, I feel certain the year would have been dratically more difficult to navigate.
This is me January 1st 2007, before I took down my Christmas tree. See it on the wall? My mom and Forrest made that in 1981. Anyway, my thought at the time was that I might like to use a photo of me and all my pets for my Christmas cards in 2007. Who knew my family would grow this year, making this a dated photo! You should have seen the 32 other photos I took. My tripod and time delay feature on my camera made this possible at all.
February came in with me in better shape emotionally. I saw Girlyman in concert for the 3rd time February 3rd. I believe that's the night I met Tiff, although she believes we met before then. Feb 10th a group of us headed to Cincinnati to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and to Jungle Jim's International Market. Here's a collage of some of those photos and a couple of a Feb evening of pizza movies with another Jen friend and my babies.February 10th also marked the first time I knew things weren't right with Forrest. He had called and left me a message, he didn't sound good at all. In retrospect, this was the beginning of watching a train wreck happen in slow motion.
February 16th I was introduced to more pivotal people for me in 2007. I met Jenny, Rachel, Jai, Sarah, and re-met Catherine at a Blue Umbrella's concert at the Monkey Wrench.
I don't know the exact dates, but sometime in January and February I was attending both CCC and NewCentury. I had gone to CCC the first time December 10th and was introduced to the pastor of NewCentury at the same time. Although I was unaware that NewCentury was a church. I was attending the "Just Be" services on Wed nights contently thinking it was "meditation".
In February I participated in Lenten services for the first time in my life and even decided to give up a few thing for the season.
My favorite Feb memory is participating in the headshaving process of a friend for her Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday, Feb 21st.
The last Feb memory I have is of Mardi Gras at Clifton's Pizza. I was beginning to learn that I was way too out of shape to party like the CCC folks can.
So in rolls March... coming in like a lamb and leaving like a lion... I know the saying is the other way around... but not for me, not this year. March 3rd, Katie, Jenny, Tiff and I went to Karaoke after dancing one night. What fun! I remember feeling playful and free and enjoying my many new found friends. Lots of laughing, and developing connections and exploring my spirituality, finding a space, ever so shyly at NewCentury.
Then March 13th, Forrest took his own life. No note left behind. He took everything out of his pockets, left everything on top of the well made bed, went to the garage, presumably to reduce any mess, put a plastic bag over his head and shot himself. Funny that I can type those words with barely a tear in my eye. It stills seems so unreal and today I feel disconnected. There is the pain in my chest, and a lump in my throat, but I find it odd that's all I have. Of course I remember where I was when I found out. I was driving home from work exiting the highway at St. Catherine's Street. I had planned to walk my dogs in the park and didn't know what else to do, so I went on with the plan. Jenny, who I had known for less than a month, met me there and walked with me. Mel was in Puerto Rico. Other folks were still at work. All I could do is walk my dogs. I stopped by Robin and Dianna's. I can't remember anything else from that night. I went to work the next day at 5am and cleaned up somethings, told a few folks what happened, and left to go cut my hair. I felt it was the only thing I had any control over. Later that day, dear Catherine came and picked me up, took me for mint chocolate chip ice cream, to Wild Oats and then to her house where she made me granola. Thursday night, Mel came home. We spoke on the phone many times in the long two days between the time Forrest died and her return. I was so glad she was home. The next few days are a blur of more supportive phone calls and visits and a re-piercing of my ear... another controllable event.
Here are 2 pics of me the day after Forrest died and the rest are pictures taken during my 10 hour stay in Florida on St. Patrick's Day for Forrest's funeral. My plane landed in Orlando at 8:30am and left at 6:30pm. This was followed by the death of my biological father's mother exactly a week after Forrest's death. Before I headed to West Virginia for that funeral... I headed to the woods for an overnight stay March 20th in a cabin at Otter Creek. March 21st I attended NewCentury and discovered it was actually "church". There was communion and everything. Turns out they do this the 3rd Wednesday of each month. This one was my first, and threw me for a loop, especially while trying to deal with my grief in a quiet space.
I was in West Virginia for less than 24 hours. I had planned an "Everyone Love Kelly Party" for the March 24th, the same day as my grandmother's funeral, and well... I needed it so I drove home. Thanks to Robin and Dianna for hosting my love and support and bourbon filled evening of denial. I had a good time... see for yourself! March 25th, I got a tattoo. I have no more specific memories of March. It ended, and I survived heading full force into a headfirst tumble into April. Thus ends the first quarter of 2007. The review of rest of the year is to be continued...
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Kingfishers also represent:
According to Greek legend, Ceyx and Halcyon were wed. Shortly thereafter Ceyx had to make a long voyage and he drowned during a storm. Halcyon waited for his return for months. Then one day his body washed ashore. In her grief she threw herself into the ocean. The gods were moved by her love and grief. She and her husband were turned into Kingfishers and were reunited in love and peace. The Gods then declared that from one week before the winter solstice through one week after it, the seas would be calm and sun would shine. This time of peace is called the "Halycon Days"
- Connection to peaceful seas
- Happiness and love
- Indifference to surroundings
- Clear vision through emotional waters
- Ability to dive (focus) into emotional waters and catch ones dreams
- New warmth
I don't know if one can intentionally select a totem, or if they have to come into your life first to become your totem... but I can use all of the above in 2008, so I am putting it out there and claiming it! and as a disclaimer, I actually stalked an illusive kingfisher on my retreat into the woods and did capture a few very pixelated photos!