A Dinosaur Ate My Inbox

I wanted to call Linda.  She was my Father’s nurse who continues to be my personal ‘Guardian Angel’.  Her number was gone.  All my contacts were gone, as were my pics and my calendar.

Earlier that day my seven year old downloaded a DinoDestroy SomethingOrOther game.  The game involved avoiding death by veloceraptors and various firearms.  It’s, in his words, ‘glitchy’.  Apparently, the dinosaurs ate my inbox.  After IT support from my author friend in Montana whilst she sat in a Greek restaurant gnoshing baklava, my phone was somewhat restored.

Everything came back…from September of last year.  Pictures were hyper bright of the chemotherapy lab, Dad wearing my sunglasses because his eyes hurt.

Only Dad could make chemo look this good!

Only Dad could make chemo look this good!

The texts were with frantic family members as the gravity of his illness settled like a wet blanket over our lives.  The calendar was full of appointments for specialists and tests, none of which were to cure only to prolong what we knew would be the inevitable.

I’ve done my best not to grieve.  I’ve packaged the past and placed it on my emotional ‘do not fly’ list.  Quite simply, my soul is too thin and would shred.  Seems as though my iPhone, and maybe God, had other plans.

Thanks to the Dino disaster of my phone, I am now experiencing what I had no time (or the steel ovaries) to feel.  I can’t live in the space of the 15 second sound bites I give to persons, “Doing well.  Thanks for asking.”

It’s messy and requires many tissues, napkins and paper towels for these ugly cries.  My chest implodes and breath leaves my body.  Every annoyance attaches itself like sand on sweaty legs at the beach. I want booze, chocolate, sleep, church and mindless movies-often at the same time.

As suddenly as it comes, it goes.  I wipe my eyes, steady my heart and keep on going.  I can keep walking.  I can keep hugging my kids breathing in the promise of goodness, laughter and sugar cookies.  I can laugh at and with my husband about crunchy hair and moronic political pundits.  I can blog.

Death ate the future I wanted with my Dad and too many others.  “Glitch” the dinosaur ate my inbox.

I can eat this bitter fruit of grief and loss until I find the seed at the center.  Then I can plant it, water it with tears, sit beside it and seek out the sun.

Let It Go

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!”

One can’t be within 5 feet of a girl under the age of thirteen and not hear this Princess power anthem.  I’ve read feminist blogs heralding it as the next, “I am Woman Hear Me Roar”.  I’ve also read blogs by men decrying the fact that young women are emotionally brittle and being ‘bad’ is now the new ‘good’.

I’ll admit, I’ve sung it at the top of my lungs.  Once I startled the pharmacy tech. at Rite Aid who then joined me in a tinny verse through the microphone.

For a very long time I’ve identified with Elsa.  Conceal. Don’t feel.  Don’t let them know.  Don’t let them know what?  I’m a hot mess.

So, now ‘they’ know or are beginning to suspect.  My kid’s school expects me to be the parent who races a check or a permission slip to the office, days late.  My husband has given up on a clean house and learned to step over the unpacked suitcase from a trip three weeks ago.  My kids consider protein bars or cereal perfectly acceptable dinners.  I recently was futzing with pictures and discovered I’ve had these double chins for over a decade.  Those are all facts.  Facts which might be changed.

I’ve been in the fight/failure/free fall for so long, I don’t know how to do normal.  Sounds weird but I don’t know how to do this life without some crisis looming over my head.  No one is unemployed.  Every debt is paid.  No one is dying or divorcing.  We can pay our bills.  I have a couple friends who have my heart and my back.  My kids are healthy and my brother is basking in the love of a great woman.  Things are good.  Frankly, things are better than they ever have been and that terrifies me.

Went to see the movie, “The Fault in Our Stars”.  Had an ugly cry.  Cancer. Death. Love. Courageous beautiful young people.  Won’t spoil the ending for you, however, it’s all about letting go.  They let go while holding on to the good stuff.

What will you let go of?  I’ll start with letting go of a myth.  Like Elsa, I believed I needed to conceal and not feel.  It’s a myth because we all feel-all the time.  Even if we choose to conceal, it’s there, bubbling under the surface.  Anger, fear, insecurity all can fester under the surface until they swell and explode.

For me grief is what I have concealed, and it began to come out at the theatre during the “Fault in Our Stars”.  Poor people sitting around me.  I used all my napkins as  I snorted and sighed and sobbed so much my t-shirt was wet.

I want to say that the same peace which carried me through watching my father die was with me.  It wasn’t.

I want to say I wiped up, stood up and bravely faced the world.  I didn’t.  I ran out of there and sobbed and yelled at God the whole way home.

I want to say I feel better today.  I don’t.

I feel, that’s a fact.  A fact I need to deal with and then let it go.

I saw this on Pinterest and will close with it.

Let it Go

I need to let go and not allow the past to attach itself to my future.   That begins when I stop concealing and start feeling.

What will you let go of?  Share in the comments.

 

 

The What and the Why

Eat less.  Pray more.  Love abundantly.

These are the themes of this blog.

One problem.  Food is my drug of choice.  Eating less means walking away from a dear old friend.  It also means losing my ability to numb by sugar and fat.

Well, time to put on the big girl pants and deal.

I signed up for a 30 day challenge hosted by Jon Acuff.  He’s the author of:

Punch fear in the face. Jon Acuff

Punch fear in the face.
Jon Acuff

It’s day two.  Apparently I deleted day one, however, I am now caught up.

Day one is to define WHAT you want to do.  I want to eat healthy and drink more water.

Day two is to find the WHY.  As I huffed my way through a game of catch with my 6 year old, I discovered it.  I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I want to feel well enough, strong enough, happy enough to play catch with my favorite fellas.

I will start tonight.  It’s nine p.m. nothing but water for me.

I’ll keep you posted.

What will you start today?

Through the Fog

I took this video on a recent morning commute.  The ‘back way’ is ignominiously called Hogback.  A few homes look like the set of Coal Miners Daughter, replete with black and neon crocheted curtains.  Others are bastions of middle class living.

It’s a circuitous route, winding through woods and dumping out in short order onto the cracked pavement of our dying city.  That morning it was foggy.  Not the whispy, smokey setting from Casablanca, rather the heavy, humidity laden curtain weighing heavily in the air.

I recorded the short journey.  It was a physical manifestation of my life.

For so long it was clear cancer and caretaking were my focus.  Treating it and beating it whilst maintaining a family and work consumed my every moment.  That’s over and buried.

On the foggy path to work that morning, I couldn’t see the next bend in the road until I was right on top of it.  Unless I was moving forward, I would have remained engulfed by the heavy curtain.

Unless I keep driving forward, I’ll never get to the next bend in the road of my life.  I probably won’t see the next bend until I arrive upon it.  I must eat less, pray more and love abundantly to see what’s next.

How will you keep driving through the fog?

Question

Why did I stop writing for so long?

Did this project eat less, pray more, love abundantly suddenly disappear?

Would you be wrong to think it?

I don’t think you would be wrong, do you?

What kept me out?

Was it a worthy cause so big it sucked the oxygen from my lungs and the strength from my imagination?

Was it a challenge which some days cost me dearly in time and tears?

Was it a commitment which brought more miracles in the midst of the messy than I ever could have anticipated?

Is it now something I am suddenly thankful for and wax eloquently on how I became a super human as a result?

Don’t you think life is a little more complicated than that?

Would you believe it is my 6 year old funshine who gave me the strength to write again?

Do you think there was ever a better teacher than his?

What is the one question my dearest, funny, tenderhearted boy would ask God?

Photo Credit KRobertson

Photo Credit KRobertson

How did my Pappy get cancer?

How did my father, the one solid rock for so many, get cancer?

Why him and why now?

Wouldn’t you think 50 days is enough to put the breath back in my body, strength in my bones?

Are the connections to children and spouse too thin to rebuild?

Is the armor I’ve encased myself in too thick to ever be removed?

Why did I ever stop writing?

I’m glad I’m starting again, are you?

 

Birthday Gifts

It’s been 8 months since cancer showed up in my father’s body and all our lives changed forever.

We thought we would only have 4 months and have been given the gift of twice that and are hopeful for much, much more.  When first diagnosed, my no-nonsense, take no prisoners friend Rebecca, told me to get over my Mommy guilt.  She said living with and learning to care for ‘Pappy’ would be a gift to my sons’ character and lives.  She was right.

Feeding Pappy

I spent my 39’ish-sorta-again birthday, not at a fancy dinner or party.  I didn’t open gifts and left cards on the kitchen table unopened.  I spent it in the hospital with my Dad.

photo 4

The night before he whispered, “Happy birthday!” as I quietly tucked him in for the night.  I reminded him my birthday wasn’t for another day.  Without missing a beat he looked up at me and said, “I know.  I just wanted to be the first to tell you.”

Marriages can shred under economic pressures, new jobs, and caring for an ill parent.   We are experiencing all of the above mixed with the general mayhem of raising two curious, energetic and old soul boys. While my husband and I have a few bruises and cuts from these sharp-edged realities, we are finding a new way.   We are realizing what a gift we are to each other.  I couldn’t get through some days without him.  I believe he would say the same about me.

He sent me flowers to my office for my birthday.  I’ve spent the last 25 birthdays asking for him to do that very thing.  This year, he did.

photo 3

47 people wrote birthday greetings on my wall from Facebook.  47.  I didn’t know I knew that many people.  They ranged from, “What are you, like 60?” (from a high school friend who still retains his lovable snarkiness); to “Happiest of happies to KimRo on this, the day of her birth. May the words pour forth and Snow White sing you a merry tune while doing the “back it up” dance.  Humor and good will for you and your coming year.” (from a writing sister who I swear is Snow White undercover).    Others shared heartfelt sentiments on how I was a gift. 

In the all-consuming tyranny of the moment I forget these threads both thin and thick which tie me to people.  The gifts of simply worded wishes on a cyber screen were so powerful I couldn’t read them until the next day.  The gift of a text or a quick call to say, “How are you?” which really  means, “I know it’s tough and you are hurting and overwhelmed and alone.  I can’t make it better.  What I can do is to help you remember you are not alone.”

I saw a picture on Facebook and the saying was a gift to me.  I share it as my birthday gift to you.

The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life,

and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds.

The people who believe in you so much,

you start to believe in you too.

The people who love you, simply for being you.

The once in a lifetime kind of people.

Thank you for being my once in a lifetime people.

You are the few, the proud, the readers joining me as I step into another year eating less, praying more and loving abundantly.

Finding a Tribe of My Own

I found a tribe.   They are quirky, blue monkeys in a brown monkey world.  This would be their chosen birthday cake.

Book Cake

Book Cake

So many are living my dream.  A dream of writing and publishing a book.  The most recent was LaDonna Cole.  Tornados play a prominent role in her book, “Torn”.  She sent me this.

The Torn and a Tornado in a Bottle
Could I receive a cooler gift from an author?

Clutching the book to my heart as her heartfelt, handwritten dedication took root, I stood crying in my kitchen.  I was so proud.  So proud because I knew some of the tornadoes she braved to bring the book to life.  My heart swelled too because I know her.  I really know her.  Though I have only met her twice,  I’m in her tribe and she is in mine.

Today there was an oddly shaped package in the pile of online purchased holiday surprises.  Sent by Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt, author of WOA, Warrior of the Ages. 

Prophetic Labels

A package to Kimberly Robertson, “The Famous Writer”

I clutched this package to my heart too.  For it spoke to my deepest desire and made me giggle.  The contents are a silly, awesome, quirky addition which will surprise and delight all my family.  She sent it, priority mail, because I am in her tribe and she is in mine.  We’ve only met twice.

Most of my life I have felt like an orphan.  To be sure I was blessed with a mother and father, yet I remained rootless in my heart.  Restlessness was a paper cut to my heart, shallow enough not to be lethal, deep enough to hurt.

Quietly, surprisingly, I have found a tribe of my own.  They are authors, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.  Not all are published, still many are writers.  Some are older, wiser mensches whose pearls of wisdom are precious.  Some are my age, old enough to know better and young enough to sometimes not care.  I could be the mother of one, and she never reminds me.  Not all are writing, they, like me, have worthy causes which pull them from their words. Yet they find moments to text or FB or to send silly surprises.

Tonight I am thankful for this wordy tribe who has found me.  I can rest my tired heart on their shoulders and wrap my hopes around their successes.  They make me feel less like an orphan and more like a whole person who can live abundantly.

I’m thankful you are in my virtual tribe by reading this blog.  Who is in your tribe? I’d like to know.