Thursday, October 18, 2012

Really hurting.

"I didn't think it would end this way."
"End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one we must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it."
"What, Gandalf? See what?"
"White shores - and beyond - a far green country under a swift sunrise."
"Well that isn't so bad."
"No. No, it isn't."
-Pippin and Gandalf
in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Return of the King movie


I have grown up around grief.
I have grown up around death.
The fear of pain and emotions.
The constant and constricting battle between self pride and the deep need to express emotions.
Death has been a part of my life.
It is never easy.

Some of my most present memories consist of attending funerals.
Friends. Relatives. Family. Grandparents. Family of close friends.
Church family. Children. Pets.

When I was twelve I witnessed a dear church friend die in front of me.
When I was thirteen, my closest grandparents died 2 months apart from one another.
One year later I began work at a small-town animal hospital. Death was a part of my job. Our clinic was fortunate to have a crematorium on site, a luxury in the veterinary world... but this also meant we consistently had bodies and ashes in the back areas of the clinic. I learned what death looked like. What it smelled like. What it sounded like - for the dying individual and the surrounding persons. I remember whispering silent prayers to myself as I circled the back kennels while hot tears streamed down my swollen cheeks. Hoping for justice, mercy, love, and compassion... but mostly for life. I would spend the rest of my time at work fighting to hold back tears for the requirements of "the job."
When I was fifteen my violin teacher and orchestra conductor was rolled out of a concert on a stretcher... she passed away a few weeks later. I cried at every one of my future auditions when asked about my past teachers. I can't open my violin case without thinking of her; wishing she could have seen my college music career, wishing to tell her about my successes at music camp, and learn dramatic and moody German concertos with her.
When I was 16 we put down my 5-year-old Golden Retriever - and best friend. I left the room. The look on his face as I left the room is burned into my memory like a venomous sting. I will never do that again. I realize pets are just animals - but we put them under our wing, make them trust us for all their needs so that they truly become our companions... but when their need is an expensive health bill for "just an animal" we dismiss it with hardly a tearful glance because we are afraid... afraid to feel, to have a heartfelt emotion for the very creature God created to give us unconditional love and affection when we need it most.
A few weeks ago my new family lost a dear loved one. Kyle's aunt lost her battle with cancer. My heart burns for her dedicated husband and three beautiful, talented, and amazing daughters she left behind.
Around the same time, I learned that one of my dear high school students, whom I personally helped and encouraged on a daily basis for months of my student teaching experience died in a car accident - at 18.

I started losing count of funeral attendance when I was 16... after I'd been to well over a dozen.

They were all the same:
Muted colors
Soft music
Familiar faces
Home-cooked food
Chilled air
Dewey grass
Sweet memories
Soft breezes
Hushed voices
Emotional stories
Rushed laughs
Withheld emotions

Being that I was around death so much I had become familiar with the stages of grief. I could see myself go through them. Be it years, months, weeks, days, hours, or minutes. I knew where I was. I learned what it would take for me to move on.
I would rush it.
I would avoid it.
I would go through one and move on to the next only to take three steps backwards and start all over again.


I deal with my pain through music, dancing, warm beverages, kitty snuggles, staring aimlessly outside -or at anything, long hot showers, absorbing myself into aimless television and movie watching, cooking and baking, cleaning and organizing.
But it just dulls it.
Numbs me to the brutal truth that I am really hurting.

Part of this, I believe, is because I'm afraid
to allow myself to feel....
to love....
to have emotional pain...
to consciously provide a way of healing.

I have been told I am a fool for crying.
I have been told I never loved.
I have been told I never cared.
I have been told there was no option.
I have been told that I am ridiculous for getting emotional.

How can we expect anyone to heal if we constantly tell one another (and ourselves) not to care so much? Isn't part of grieving because we do care so much?

The need to heal is different for everyone.
Vastly different.
Some let it right out.
Others keep it hushed and quiet.
Still others are so lost in their pain that they cover it and avoid it at all costs.
Learning to grieve with different people, different friends, different family members has been a journey. A journey that I am continuing on. It is never the same. It is never easy. It is a challenge, but one that cannot be taken lightly or rushed. People are different, but they are all the same: Human. With human needs and desires to love and be loved - people who fear their own pain and emotions.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the perturbations of love is Hell."
- CS Lewis

"People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's [crap]. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a [tangible object]. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain."
- Jim Morrison

Express your fear. Your love. Your pain. Don't hold it in...

"Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it."
- JK Rowling

"And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before."
- CS Lewis, The Last Battle

I honestly don 't have any profound concluding thoughts, which is why this post has been so long in the finalization stage... I know death really isn't the end. Especially for those who know Jesus and follow him. I don't want to end on a cheesy note, and I definitely don't want to come off as Christianese, or super orthodox, because that's not who I am, nor what I represent. All I know is that there is hope. Amid all our grief, all our pain, all our suffering. There is a better world coming, something - someONE - who really has our best in mind. Reasons to not give up are super hard to see, and super hard to understand at times; but simply the lack of ability to see or understand affords no reason to keep fighting, keep living, and keep loving.

How I know I've finally arrived.

I unpacked and put away my entire tea (and mug) collection for the first time... ever.

Currently I have an entire cupboard dedicated to warm drinks and cozy mugs. There was a little extra room so I threw in the collection of adventuring water bottles we have.

Drinking a warm cup of tea just makes days better. When I'm sad, it tends to cheer me up. When I'm frustrated, it soothes me. When I'm awake at bedtime, it calms me. I also cycle through a few of my top favorite mugs. Some of them just make me happier than others, depending on my mood and how the day is going (or how I want it to start going).

I have numerous kinds of tea, my favorites right now are any kind of Rooibos, and Yogi's Egyptian Licorice. Do you have a tea or coffee cupboard? What are your favorite kinds? Do you have a favorite mug? What is the deciding factor for you to know when you've finally arrived somewhere?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Being Married.

The first of the batch of wedding photos has arrived! I am so excited to see the rest!
(i am literally on the edge of my seat itching to see more!! Keely is such an incredibly talented photographer! Everyone looks amazing, and the location is absolutely beautiful!!)

I am in the midst of cleaning/organizing/unpacking the house while tending to our dear puppy, Echo, and the two crazies (Kenobi and Tiberius). I will hopefully catch up a little (in positive retrospect) about how the wedding planning and days leading up to the event went in the near future.... in addition to my housewife attempts and adventures (here's to hoping I finally figure out how to properly use a Silpat mat).

So far, I love being married. Yes, it comes with its own challenges, but I am really enjoying where life has me right now. Although the adventure bug is always itching, I feel at peace right here... for now (perhaps this is because I'm still so excited from our adventures in Kauai and also because I'm really loving the church we are getting involved with).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A day in the life of the unemployed

For the first time in my life since before high school (when I started becoming insanely busy with activities and work), I can do just about anything I want. I have no idea what to do with myself. This is both daunting and exciting. So much potential, yet so much opportunity to do literally nothing. One thing is for sure, however, I want to ensure that I both take this time to rest, relax and enjoy life, but also to live to the fullest - sure I may not be employed by a job, but I have an endless list of things I can be doing! I might as well get a start on them.

Today I...

...slept in until almost 11am
...made a four-layer German Chocolate Cake
...watched multiple shows on Netflix
....cleaned my house (except my room)
...picked up photos at the store
...made a long list of all the things I can do now that I have limitless free time
...felt like a Homeschooler

I found myself listening to movie soundtracks chastising my housemate for drinking and organizing my embroidery floss - for the first time in my life. For all the years that I was homeschooled I couldn't find the time or the $2 to purchase an organization box? go figure. So here I am, 6 years post-homeschool, doing just that.

Why this seemingly anti-social interaction, you may ask? Kyle is at a bachelor party for a friend.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coerced Resignation

I lost my job.

On one side, this means my finances will be in a tight spot for awhile, but at the same time, I think this is an answer to a prayer that I didn't realize I was screaming out to God at a consistent rate.

I now have all the time in the world to spend on planning my wedding, workout, sleep, read and study God's Word, spend time with friends, and spend time with Kyle. Our relationship was starting to suffer with this job I had, and now it's not a concern. Sure, I feel pretty down on myself about it, but I'm sure it's for the best.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not my fav...

Dress shopping.

In a nutshell, shall we say I'm a tomboy?

Dress shopping is not my forte, it is not my thing, it is not often something I seek out.

I struggle to purchase a dress for myself at Target for $20.

Jeans and a t-shirt, sign me up. Leotard? Well... ok, fine. Professional dress - not really comfortable, but I will deal.

Ask me to look for and purchase a dress that not only costs over $30, but one that is big, heavy, and expensive. Require me to try them on over and over again and ask me in-depth questions on how I feel about them? Please, goodness, is there anything else in the world I can do instead?!?

Is it formal enough for a wedding but not too formal for an outside venue, is it well made, does it look good on you, does the style fit my figure, is it too girly, is there beading or too much bling-bling, is there lace, do I like lace, do I want a train, do I want a veil, does my mother, family, and friends like it on me, what kind of fabric, cut, color, style, shape, what's my budget ----- how much time do we have between now and the wedding?

81 whole days. 81 and insanely-packed and short days.

I dream about dress shopping now. Maybe not dream... I pass out and my conscious thought does not stop thinking about and comparing the dresses I have tried and if there might be something better, and what if I have to settle on something I don't like, and what if so-and-so doesn't like it, and is it too formal/girly/weird for me (will I have second thoughts? It's such a big purchase). I have been to four shops, and found nothing yet....the search (saga) continues.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Wedding related updates (of sorts):

Finally got my ring sized and returned to me after what seemed like an eternally long (and somewhat confusing weekend) to miss it.... so glad to have it back. PS: I don't know if I've ever posted pictures of it?
I found that the flash on my camera was super annoying (I have yet to get accessories for it... dreams), but remembered I could diffuse the flash with a piece of paper. Um, yes, and got the flash in my eyes, but hey! It's all about the pictures, right?

Ordered and got Kyle's wedding band. I literally never though it would be like it is, but it makes sense, and I love it. I am so excited to be his wife. It's not an exact match to mine, but it's perfect, and made out of Tungsten Carbide.