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Life Rerouted

Let’s do a family video chat soon,” Mom wrote in her email. “Let’s pick a time when you can all be available next Sunday.”

How lovely, I thought. We haven’t done a group chat with Mom in ages! A moment later, a pang of fear struck me. Something is wrong, my gut warned, We haven’t done a group chat in ages.

Dave chided me for being so dramatic. “She just wants to talk to you guys, is all,” he assured me. “Don’t assume the worst.”

Still, the next day I sent Mom a text. “Is something going on that you need to tell us?” I remembered at Thanksgiving she had mentioned that she and Kathryn were working on their wills. I told myself it could just be an update on that.

Maybe they’re going to take us on an all-expenses paid trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I joked with my youngest brother, after I’d stirred up his anxiety by texting him and asking if he knew what was up.

Mom wouldn’t cave under the pressure of my probing texts, much to my frustration. “Tell you what,” she wrote. “If you can wrangle the boys, we can do a call tonight and I’ll tell you what’s going on.”

By this point I knew it couldn’t be good. If it was a benign thing, like going over details of a will, or discussing plans for next summer’s family get-together, why wouldn’t she just say so and alleviate my worry?

After a flurry of text messages between the siblings, we agreed on a 7 pm call. Whatever it is, I hope it’s treatable, I thought to myself.

Just a few months before, Cara’s uncle had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He went from having a pesky cough to being in the ICU at Dana Farber in Boston within a month. His condition quickly deteriorated and he died the day after Christmas. It was shocking that it happened so fast, and left us all pondering just how abruptly life can be taken away from you and turned upside down for those left behind. This was still fresh in my mind as I fretted over what could be going on with Mom.

At 7 pm, I began dialing and connecting Mom and Kathryn to Kris and John and Nick. We greeted each other cheerfully, happy to hear those familiar voices across the miles. I can only assume my brothers all waited on the edges of their seats, as I did, for Mom to tell us why she’d wanted us all together.

“I have breast cancer,” she said.

“Fuck,” I breathed, my voice colliding with those of my brothers, all of us releasing exclamations of dismay at once. I thought first of my brother John, whose wife had just lost her uncle to cancer, and whose two close friends were also battling cancer. Just a few months before, they’d been talking with some concern about how many people they knew had cancer.

I leaned against the wall and stared at the familiar features of the kitchen, suddenly recalling similar anxious phone conversations with my siblings when Dad had been unexpectedly hospitalized years before. Why are kitchens always places of such intense emotion? I wondered.

We all held it together on the phone, as each of us expressed our concern and our support, and our promises to help out however we could. She explained that they didn’t know much yet, other than that they could tell it was cancer from the x-rays. It had spread to her lymph nodes, but they didn’t know yet if it had spread further. She would be going for a biopsy the next day to determine what kind of cancer it was.

After hanging up, I sat numbly. I knew it would take some time for the news to sink in. Cancer. It’s what I had feared, although somehow breast cancer seemed a little less scary. Breast cancer is so common! Breast cancer is pink ribbons and t-shirts and it’s something that can be beat, right? I realized then just how little I actually knew about it.

The days slowly turned to weeks – each day spent waiting for something else. I can imagine that for Mom these days of waiting were absolute agony. We tried to help keep things light by sending funny text messages and emails, and mailing cards for her.

I cautiously googled information about breast cancer. I remembered a young woman I knew who died from breast cancer in her early 30’s. I reached out to my former boss, who had just finished up chemo for her breast cancer. I mentioned it to a couple of friends and learned that both of them had breast cancer in their families – that their grandmothers and mothers and aunts had gone through chemo or surgery and had come out the other side.

While of course, I still nursed the lurking fear that Mom’s cancer could have spread and become more deadly, or that her particular kind of cancer would be incurable, I did find comfort in realizing just how many women have been through this.

Finally, after weeks of scans, x-rays, MRI’s, blood work and whatever else they could think of to check, it was clarified. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma that had spread to the lymph nodes, but, hallelujah, not anywhere else in her body.

Last week she had a port installed, and tomorrow she begins chemo. She will have to do chemo, followed by surgery and then radiation. I wish they could just do surgery and leave it at that, but I trust that her doctors know what is best. Obviously I don’t, as I literally just learned about breast cancer from Google in these past few weeks.

So, that’s where we’re at right now. I am focusing on keeping a positive attitude about it, and trusting that this will be yet another interesting chapter in our lives. Writing about it is therapeutic for me, but I’m trying to balance it with respect my mom’s privacy, as she is not the kind of person who would blog about her problems and post it all over the internet like I do.

For those of you who know my mom and want to follow her progress, she has created a Caring Bridge page, which is kind of like a blog.  Just go to www.caringbridge.org and type in her name. Or, ask me for a direct link.

Namaste, friends.

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7th Grade Gym Class Hell

“Get it! GET IT!” my teammates shout as the gleaming white volleyball hurtles toward me like a meteor.

More defensively than athletically, I stick my palm outward to shove the ball away from my face. My face – always the target of flying objects – as if all the surgical trauma wasn’t enough.

The ball makes an unsatisfying thwack sound as it makes contact with my hand. Seconds later it hits the floor.

Everyone groans. The gym teacher’s whistle blasts piercingly and we rotate. I shuffle into the next spot, praying that the ball will somehow avoid coming anywhere near me.

The other team’s server can’t get the ball over the net. At least I’m not the only gym class failure here today.

Our team serves. The more athletic girls volley the ball back and forth over the net. They actually seem to be having fun. What is that like? I wonder.

Suddenly, the ball is coming my way again. My pulse quickens as my brain tries to decide the proper course of action. This time it is to step out of the way to avoid being hit.

The ball sails out of the court and my teammates groan and roll their eyes at each other. Why is this girl such a loser? I can hear them asking each other.

I allow myself to feel empty. Feeling nothing makes it easier to bear the shame and embarrassment of being so physically inept. If I could vaporize into thin air, I would do it.

The minute hand on the clock moves ever so slowly. I consider that the clock might actually be broken. It will surely be an eternity before I am allowed to change out of the unflattering gray gym clothes and feel the comforting weight of my books in my arms.

Don’t Hate – Meditate

Hello friends!

Yes, it’s been approximately two million seconds since I posted last. I’ve been spending a lot of time with myself.

It started when I got sick after conference, and was lying around recovering and thinking. I realized that I’d been spending less and less time on self-care, and it had been wearing me down and making me a miserable brat. So I resolved to return to doing things to help me feel better and be healthier. Here are a few of them:

Mindfulness Meditation

The first thing I knew I had to do was get back to meditating every day.

For the last 21 days, I’ve been using the Headspace app – and I really like it. It was created by Andy Puddicombe, and I  actually found it and used it briefly a few years ago when I read his book,  Get Some Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All the Difference 

Perhaps I was impressed by the fact that he actually trained to be a Buddhist monk, but I really felt like his intentions are to help people learn to meditate. It is a paid app, but it’s less than $100 for a year, whereas I looked into doing Transcendental Meditation and was disappointed to find that it’s like $1500. Namastay away from that one.  

Over the past several years, I’ve read a ton of books about mindfulness and meditation – mostly while flying somewhere on a plane. (Planes are perfect places to meditate!) Some of my favorites are:

Michael A. Singer’s  The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Dan Harris’s 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness 

Sam Harris’s Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Taking Sleep Seriously

Since I’ve been using a fitbit, I can see how many hours of sleep I’ve been getting each night. I’ve always known that I’m a night owl, and if left to my own devices, I could easily stay up until midnight or the wee hours of the morning. Which would be fine, if I didn’t need to get up and function the next day. My fitbit was telling me that on average, I wasn’t getting more than 6.5 hours a night.

For some people, that’s probably a decent amount of sleep, but for me, I know I need at least 8 hours to really feel refreshed. I have spoken with others who have ectodermal dysplasias and found that they too need nice, long sleeps, or else they feel sluggish, have more eye problems, and get sick easier. 

So now, I make bedtime a priority, knowing that anything that’s not life or death can just wait until the next day. I’ve also made arrangements to go in to work a little later, which gives me some more time to sleep in the mornings, and also gives me more time for my next life-improving activity:

Getting my walk on!

I truly love taking walks at the beginning and end of the day. Morning walks are nice, because everything and everyone is just waking up. It’s quiet and calm, and you’ll see wildlife – deer, rabbits, tons of birds, squirrels and chipmunks, turkeys – and even the occasional skunk.

I like evening walks even more, because the light after the sun sets turns everything into a Monet painting.  All of the colors and shapes soften and blur – it’s very calming. Plus, I like looking in people’s windows when their lights are on. (Just in passing – not in a creepy way!)

For a while a tried running, but I felt like poop half the time, and I decided that since I don’t actually need to lose weight, and have no plans to run a marathon, I should quit suffering and just go back to walking.

Eating like I give a damn

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says “Eat like you give a damn”.  I’ve always meant for it to remind people to think of where their food comes from, and that you should give a damn about it and not eat crap, and not support factory farms and not eat animal products. Yet, I tend to get lazy about the vegetarian food I eat… I will eat salads for lunch every day for a week, but not really pay attention to whether I’m getting enough of what I need. I will eat bagels for breakfast, because they are easy to throw in the toaster and heat up – but deep down, I know they have very little nutritional value. I will eat more carbs and veggies for dinner, but again, whatever is handy for me to just throw together quickly. I love vegan chick’n and veggie burgers because they are easy to make, but I know that even though it doesn’t contain meat, it doesn’t equal healthy food.

So, I’ve resolved to make a better effort to buy healthy stuff in the first place, and take more time to prepare my meals in advance. It’s going to be the hardest thing for me because I really don’t enjoy food prep. But I have to make the commitment if I want to be healthier… otherwise, what’s going to fuel all that walking? 

The end!

Let’s see how long my resolve to do all of the above lasts. Most of it is normal daily routine stuff, but I tend to fall out of these habits and make excuses about being too busy to be able to fit them in. But that’s just foolishness. I’m going to MAKE the time, baby!

Pro tip:  Not being Facebook is a totally rad way to gain more time in a day. 

Negative Imprint

Today’s post is probably going to be a mishmash of whatever pops into my mind as I sit here. I’m at a park, watching the bright green grass appear from beneath the melting snow. We got several inches overnight but already the sun has chased away most of it. 

I’ve been thinking about taking you, blog readers, along with me on a journey of self discovery. I recently came across this YouTube video by Teal Swan that got my mental wheels turning. It was about figuring out what your negative imprint is, and in turn, figuring out what your life purpose is. Check out the video description (in the link) for a more thorough explanation. 

It really struck a chord with me because lately I’ve been feeling very lonely. Over the years I have lost my very closest friends for one reason or another and it has left me feeling somewhat rejected and alone. I’ve lost the motivation to even try to make new friends, or at least to really connect with them in a meaningful way. 

I realize it’s on me to try to make the effort to connect with more people, but after being burned so badly and on more than one occasion, I’ve resigned myself to really focusing only on my relationship with Dave. Of course I try to give time to my family as well, but even that isn’t going all that well, as we all live in different states and no one really likes to talk on the phone.

I’m not sure what my negative imprint is, whether it is loneliness, or rejection, or worthlessness. Or it could be something else that I haven’t thought of yet. In the video, she says whatever it is will be very painful to contemplate, so I haven’t set aside time to really delve into it yet. I have a feeling it’s something along those lines though, and that my vibrational opposite; the thing that I most want out of life, is a sense of deep, meaningful connection, or perhaps helping others to find connection or self worth.

It’s funny because I have built up so many walls over the years that I’m sure I don’t come across as a very open or connectable person when I am out in public. I generally avoid having conversations or interactions with people I don’t know. In fact, the other night, we were at a performance at the high school and during intermission we were standing at our seats and chatting for a few minutes. I noticed a young girl in the row behind us was checking out my hands. I tried not to let it get to me but then I saw her whispering to her grandmother, folding back two of her fingers and pointing at me. So I moved my hands to the other side of the chair so she wouldn’t see them. Afterwards I thought, why didn’t I just let her look? Or meet her eye and smile? Instead it’s like an instinct for me to just hide and ignore. Ugh. I don’t even want to be that way but it always catches me off guard and I act like a jerk. 

Anyway. That’s it for now- time to head back to the office!

What Would You Give for your Kid Fears?

I’m sitting here listening to an Indigo Girls playlist on YouTube. It’s been a while since I listened to them, and oh man, how I’ve missed these beautiful melodies. They’re like the female version of Simon and Garfunkel. They make me want to learn to play the guitar. Their music reminds me of my carefree younger days in Vermont, when I was so naive I wasn’t sure if the Indigo Girls were lesbians, and if they were, did liking their music make me one too?

There’s more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line.

It’s been 8 days since my last post, which stinks. That weekend I was barely containing my rage over how uncomfortable my mouth was. First thing on Monday I got in to see the dentist and had him trim off a bunch of the material. It helped, though my mouth was so sore at that point it was hard to tell if it was all OK or if more needed to be trimmed.

Immediately after that, I had to drive down to Mystic for a meeting. Of course there was a big ol’ snowstorm brewing at the time, so it took twice as long to get there as it should have. As soon as I got there, it was work, work work. I considered doing blog posts in the evenings like I have in the past, but Mystic in the middle of winter isn’t terribly exciting. I only got to leave the hotel in the evenings for dinner anyway. It was really pretty under a blanket of snow, I will admit.

The saddest sight my eyes can see is that big ball of orange sinking slyly down the trees.

It seemed that there was still material rubbing the sore spot on my gum/lip, because my mouth was still in so much pain every time I tried to eat. It probably sounds stupid that I was so insistent on keeping the bridge in, when I could have just taken it out and most likely no one would have noticed anyway. But no. I refused. At one point after lunch one day I did go in the bathroom and remove it, but no sooner had I done that when I was asked to talk extensively about something. So I had to excuse myself for a moment under the premise that I was getting a mint out of my bag while I discreetly popped the bridge back in. I didn’t want to feel like I was lisping and slobbering all over the place.

I’ll tell you, having constant mouth pain really doesn’t make for a social Heather. I was so irritated the whole time I had to keep telling myself not to punch anyone in the face. I’m usually pretty quiet anyway, but this time I was avoiding talking as much as I could because the less I moved my mouth, the better. I was so relieved to get in my car after the meeting ended. The first thing I did was pop out the bridge. I resisted the urge to throw it out the window. 

When I got home, I found some emery boards and got to work sanding down the piece that was irritating me. Believe it or not, it actually worked! I probably only sanded off a 1/16th of an inch, but it was all it needed. These last few days the sore has been healing and I’m now able to wear the bridge all day without getting violent.

If we ever leave a legacy, it’s that we loved each other well.

In other news, tonight I was supposed to give a speech at Toastmasters. I had planned to talk about the history of cleft lip and palate treatment, as this was something I’d been wanting to look into for a while anyway. The meeting ended up getting cancelled thanks to the weather (snow and 15 degrees… what’s the problem?). When I got home I recorded myself giving the speech but I had issues getting it uploaded so I’ll have to try again another time. For now I am ready for night-nights.

Temporary Discomfort

I got my temporary lower bridge last week. It is a strange feeling to have something foreign in my mouth. Despite having had all kinds of weird apparatuses (I really feel like the plural of apparatus should be apparati, but apparently it’s not) in my younger days, I can’t say I welcomed the introduction of this piece.

These past few days have been filled with anxiety. First, I wondered why I thought it was a good idea to even get a temporary, when I could have just kept wearing my slightly broken lower bridge until we decided what to do. Because we still haven’t decided whether to fix the existing one or make a whole new one.

If you’ve ever had braces, or any kind of dental device, you know it takes some getting used to. This one is pretty snug, but there are a few points that seem to be pressing against my gums unpleasantly. One edge is rubbing at the crease where my lip meets my gum, causing a sore. Of course it’s the weekend so I can’t just go in and have him sand down that piece. When I try to eat with it, there’s this unpleasant squishing feeling as it mushes against my gums with every bite.

It’s bringing back memories of my younger days when I had to wear these kinds of things all the time. The mild taste of acrylic, the dull ache of pressure when I first put it in. The nagging sores where the edges rub. I must have much less patience now, because it’s all I can do to keep it in my mouth the whole day.

I know that if I can just bear through these first few days I will get used to it, as I have gotten used to all the other dental situations in my life. And I try to remember poor George Washington with his uncomfortable dentures, and realize that I am lucky to live in this day and age where my dentist isn’t cobbling together some mix of animal and human teeth for me to wear.

Another point of anxiety is wondering if I can get my insurance to cover any of this. My dental insurance maxes out at $1500. Which is nice if all you need is one crown, right?

In other news, I started listening to this audiobook:

 

stiff_the_curious_lives_of_human_cadavers_cover

Ever since I was a very wee lass, I have been terrified of internal organs. It’s a running joke in my family that I can’t even look at an animal heart, much less a human heart, or any other part for that matter. I have had nightmares about being in an operating room and needing to perform surgery on someone or being forced to participate in an autopsy (as the person wielding the knife, not the person on the table).

My fear has lessened as I’ve gotten older, probably thanks to gratuitous violence and gore on TV and in movies. But I am still pretty creeped out at the thought of body parts or of dead bodies. I suppose a great deal of this fear has to do with simply confronting my own mortality. I also suspect there’s a part of it that hearkens back to my earliest days in the hospital and in surgery and that feeling of a loss of control and surrender to the doctors and hospital staff.

So anyway, I’d had my eye on this book for a while and finally got to it. I’m only about three chapters in but so far it is morbidly fascinating and I have not yet had to stop in horror. Perhaps this will help me overcome my fears a little more.

 

Dental Update…

Last time I wrote I was excited because I went through my dentist appointment without having my bridgework removed. My doctor has since acquired the necessary tools to remove my lower bridge, so that was how I spent this Wednesday morning.

I made a quick video about it when I got home tonight. You can see I’m trying really hard to speak clearly. It takes me back to all the times I had surgery or orthodontic work and had to re-learn how to use my mouth. It really sounds like I say “meow” at 2:34.

Tomorrow I go back for a temporary bridge, so perhaps I’ll post an update of myself struggling to speak again tomorrow night!

Everybody’s Got Something

It is the first day of first grade. I’m decked out in my favorite dress (blue, of course) with matching barrettes in my hair. I haven’t yet grown to dread the bus ride or the seemingly endless succession of school days that lie ahead. I climb onto the mostly empty bus, take a seat about halfway back and wave goodbye to Mommy.

Down our road and around the corner is a new housing development with lots of young kids. As the bus nears the stop, the kids scurry to pick up backpacks and lunch boxes and cluster in a group by the curb. They pile onto the bus and I take note of the familiar faces. There’s Dana and Chrissy and Emilee, all girls from my class last year. There are a lot of older kids I don’t know, and a couple of the boys sneer at me as they pass my seat, but I do my best to look past them and connect with my friends. I see a bald head pass by… who is that? Her eyelids are droopy and she looks barely awake. Even though I had not heard of cancer before then, it is clear to me that this girl is very sick.

As we travel on to school I begin to wonder where my friend Jessica is. I hadn’t seen her get on the bus. Then something dawns on me. I turn to look at the mysterious sick girl sitting a couple of seats back and realize that it’s her. She looks almost nothing like the energetic, goofy girl I remembered from kindergarten.

I soon learned that Jessica had leukemia and that the chemotherapy had temporarily taken her hair and her energy. In the years to come, I would find out that the treatments for her leukemia had done a lot of damage to her body. She ended up enduring more gruesome medical treatments than I ever did. Yet through the years she always seemed to have a smile and a positive attitude.

I wish I could say that knowing Jessica put my own troubles in perspective. Perhaps it did a little bit, but I still spent a lot of time feeling overly self-conscious about my looks. Jessica’s hair eventually grew back and by then she was energetic and bubbly once again. Those of us who were closer to her saw the scars from her heart surgery, and understood that her kidneys and bladder had also been damaged from the treatment.

Looking back as an adult, it is horrifying to comprehend all that Jessica went through. As if having leukemia and chemotherapy wasn’t awful enough, the process of ridding her little body of cancer essentially ruined the rest of it. While I was having plastic surgery done on my face, she was having open-heart surgery. While I was taking antibiotics to battle my ever-present ear infections, she was taking medication to keep her body from giving out way too early.

When we went on an overnight class trip, she asked me to help her put on a diaper before bed. Due to the kidney/bladder damage from chemo, she was already incontinent at the age of 11. Meanwhile, I just needed to take out my dental appliance and clean it, put some Vaseline on my eyes to keep them from being stuck shut in the morning, and put my ear drops in. Despite my ever-present self-consciousness, and her seeming lack thereof, I did not want to trade places with Jessica.

Perhaps it is an unfair comparison. Really the only thing we had in common medically was knowing that being in the hospital meant you were in for some kind of pain and suffering. Luckily for me, mine usually only lasted a few weeks post-op and then I was back to normal.

Many years later, I was browsing an online newspaper from my childhood hometown. Amazingly I came across an article about Jessica. Through this article I learned that she’d had a successful heart transplant. It took my breath away to know she’d gone through this. I now know that she is married and that she and her husband adopted several children. Considering what she went through, it’s amazing that she is still alive. Talk about strength and perseverance!

So why do I share this story? Perhaps Jessica’s situation impacted me more than I knew. Despite all that she went through, she never gave up. Perhaps it helps me remember that no matter how bad you think you have it, you can always find someone who’s got a rougher road.

It’s not even always about physical stuff either. There are so many people who’ve got invisible hurt going on. You just never know what others might be dealing with, or may have gone through in the past.

Maybe you were born missing a body part or two. Or maybe some body parts didn’t form right. Maybe your parents got divorced when you were little. Maybe you never even knew your biological parents. Perhaps on the outside, your family seems “normal” and happy, but there is anger, bitterness and grief. Maybe you never learned how to deal with your emotions. Maybe you’ve got a chemical imbalance and you can’t control your thoughts or your behavior like other people can. The list goes on.

What it all comes down to is, everybody’s got something. I’ve often wondered if anyone really does have it worse than anyone else, or if it all evens out somehow in the end. What do you think?

 

10 Minutes in the Park

Dear blog readers, 

I crave writing so much that I had to sneak away from work for a few moments so I could be alone and quiet and indulge in this behavior. 

I don’t like living this way. When I was younger I pictured myself living a calm and quiet life as a writer/artist/gardner. I know this is what I am made to do. Yet here I am, not doing that.

Sigh. I want to say so much more but I don’t want to incriminate myself by being specific. So I will post the video I watched last night that set me back on my spiral of longing for a life I am currently neglecting. 

Why You Should Never Get A Job
This video doesn’t reveal anything that’s news to me, but instead reminds me of what I have often dreamed of. Of having a life where I am free to get up in the morning and work on an art project or write something, or go outside and work in my garden or take a hike. Basically I want me life to be like my summer vacation when I was 16. 

I don’t know why this seems so impossible to me. What mental blocks do I have that are preventing me from doing something – anything – to start marketing my art, my writing and my other skills? I know money is the root of the problem. Like I just can’t imagine making enough money to sustain myself if I don’t have a full time job. How do I get past that hurdle?

Time to head back. Thanks for listening, Internet.  

Here’s a picture of my cat for your time. 

  
 

Throwback Thursday – Thoughts from a 25-Year-Old Me

It’s been a while since I did a TBT post. I pulled a random journal off the shelf to find something to share, and it just so happened to be one from exactly 10 years ago. At the time I wrote this, I had just left the religious group that I’d grown up in, lost my best friend in the process, and was about to quit a well-paying job to go back to school to finish my degree. My world was in turmoil!

I wrote this while I was spending a week in Vermont, watching my brothers while my mom took a trip to London.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I must remember to thank God every day for my awesome family and this amazing place we call home.

Tonight we had taco pie for dinner and then John went to a friend’s house. Nick practiced clarinet while I vacuumed my car (Dave reminded me to). Then we watched Dead Poet’s Society. That movie is so good. It makes me want to read poetry, write poetry and get out there and do a bunch of stuff before life passes by.

I was looking at pictures of Mom and Dad when they were teenagers. It’s so weird to see them so young. I mean, I’m older now than they were in those pictures. They look so mischievous and silly and happy and have no idea what their futures hold. Maybe they thought they knew, but of course life has a way of happening differently than you plan.

There’s a picture of Mom and her friend in the room that would later become the nursery for Me, Kris, John and Nick. They’re sitting on a couch in front of the window and there’s a box of records on the floor beside the couch and a Yes poster on the wall where our crib would later be. Obviously it’s before any of us were even thoughts in their minds. It just blows me away. It is so weird how you can life live without someone (like a child or your significant other) and then once they enter your life you can’t imagine it without them.

Life moves so quickly, yet when you’re wondering about the future it can seem so slow. Sometimes I get frustrated that you can’t go back. Not necessarily go back and relive a moment, but just observe. Like in Our Town, when Emily dies and she goes back and is able to watch her parents without them seeing her. Maybe that’s too painful. I’d like to rewind sometimes and see certain events again. Actually, what I’d most like to see would just be normal, everyday life from different perspectives.

I don’t want to grow old and have my life end. I know it’s a cycle, but where is the lesson? When do we say, “Aha, now I understand!”?

That was deep, right?

Also, I kept having crazy dreams about my ex-best friend… here’s a couple of excerpts:

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I had this elaborate dream that Deb and Jason came to a theater where Dave and I were going to watch a movie. They sat behind us and made all these rude comments about how I shouldn’t be with Dave. Then we ended up at their house, but it was just Deb and I. She was really upset about something and started stabbing me with steak knives. In self defense, I overturned a huge, heavy table onto her and killed her. Then I called 911 and ran into the street with my stab wounds (which were all in my face). When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics weren’t worried about me at all but instead ran inside to tend to Debbie. Then somehow I ended up in the basement of their house, but it was a huge labyrinth with tons of weird little rooms and I couldn’t get out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I had another dream about Debbie. This time I was somewhere like a wedding or something. Debbie approached me very happily and was like, “Heather! It’s been so long! I’m so glad you came!” (or something along those lines). She started hugging me and I pushed her away and said, “Get off of me! How dare you act so happy to see me when it was YOU who pushed me away?” The look on her face went from joyful to angry and then we started fighting again. It wasn’t as exciting as the knife-stabbing, table throwing incident of a few days ago, but still, it kept me thinking of her during the day.

Moral of the story: Don’t get on my bad side! I may appear sweet and nice on the outside, but in my dreams I will kill you and verbally abuse you!

I’d also like to add a disclaimer here: I am pretty certain at this point, 10 years after the fact, that I have successfully completed the grieving process over my former best friend, and all of the other friends I lost when I tried to break away from the herd. I won’t lie that it wasn’t an easy process, and there were lots of dreams of rejection and hurt. After a few years, I even went to therapy, (which I probably should have done at the very beginning) and that helped me immensely. So don’t worry – while I may at one time have been filled with angst and rage that presented itself in murderous dreams, I have since healed and moved on. Hooray!

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