Tag Archives: deep thoughts

Overflowing

I overflow a lot.

In the form of tears. Words. Gasping sobs. Sometimes quiet woe. Often energy that has me flying around like a whirling dervish. Sometimes with feelings that I can’t find the words to express without rambling.

As I described before, it’s like this feeling in my chest gets too big for me. Too wild. Too strong. I can’t contain it anymore. Cue spillage.  I mean, we make fun of this one birth video because the woman says she, “Could feel the love bursting forth from her womb” when she looked at her husband while in labor. (In 26 births, I have yet to see love bursting from anyone’s womb.)

But lately? It’s kind of like that.

Andrew and I have been together for almost ten years now. TEN. I met him when he was *cough* a teenager *cough*. We’ve been together since before he could legally drink.  I’ve watched him grow up and I have become a completely different person who is no longer running, but deeply intent on staying put.  With his departure rapidly approaching, I can’t help but look over the years past. Where we’ve been, what we’ve done, how far we’ve dome.  I think that’s inevitable.

Amidst the sadness, the fear, the worry and all of those “I’m going to miss you!” feelings, there is also this intense sense of pride and this huge…swelling in my chest that I can’t contain. It’s built up of love, pride and just emotion. I started really feeling it when I sat at his MA Thesis defense a couple months ago.  He rolled his eyes when I told him I teared up, but I DID! He was so casual, so non-chalantly speaking on topics that the average person would have no idea about. He spoke about linguistic analysis, he spoke about the habits of serial killers’ language, he spoke easily about cognitive load and speculation for further study. He had an intense panel that included the world’s top profiler, one of the world’s leading experts in deception detection and one of about 50, licensed forensic evaluators in the country.  It was so impressive and yet they all conversed with ease. They threw him tough questions that he didn’t bat an eleash at returning. He spoke so eloquently with such knowledge and poise – I just couldn’t help but tear up.  I mean, I always knew he was smart but this? This was different.

When I think about him leaving, it feels like there’s this gaping hole in my chest. Like part of me is being torn out without consent.  And yes, while I’ll miss the sweetness of him making coffee for me in the morning or packing my lunch, and the help that he gives me while I work three jobs – mostly? I’ll just miss being around him.  I’ll miss hearing him jabber on about this criminal or this case – things normally I just roll my eyes at (while secretly swooning).  I’ll miss hearing about his work int he FBI lab, or him joking about how the tri-state area is safe from eco-terrorists for the day. (He’s been involved in a research project and he’s been interrogating fake terrorists.)  I’ll miss his brain. His heart. His drive.  Yes, I’ll still see him or hear his voice via skype and phone, but it won’t be the same.

In the last year or so, I’ve just been so overcome by how far WE have come together.  I’ve gone from not having an idea of where I wanted to be, from being a housewife (that sucked at housewifey things), from being depressed and aimless, from fearing another birthday, to a woman who has direction. A woman who has supported over 26 families through pregnancy and childbirth. A woman who has begun teaching countless more through childbirth education. A woman who burns passionately for women and babies. For their rights. Their choice. Their births.  I’ve become firey once again, and while with that comes the emotion, I’m realizing slowly that in order to be the best doula (and hopeful midwife) I can be, I need to be able to be vulnerable and tap into those feelings.

He has gone from front line security and law enforcement applicant, to having alphabet soup after his name. To having three documents working on publication. To having results that may potentially affect his field in a major way.  He has become so confident. So strong. His brain is so well fed and growing. He has a job that is begging for him to start sooner and two advisors all but begging him to come back to complete his PhD. He’s gone from having one job prospect to seeing the world open up before him with opportunities, including private enterprise.  I just am in awe.

Together, we’ve weathered such storms that many marriages and relationships never have to weather. We’ve grown individually and it has made us so strong together.  Sure, we fight. Oh, boy, do we FIGHT.  But in the end, we are together. We’re better, together, and I feel like we both really know that now. We might not have before, when we were idealistic young people, but now? We know it.

I am just overflowing with all the feels, but there are some pretty big, wonderful ones in the mix.

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Words to Live By

Today marks the beginning of my Dad’s third round of chemotherapy. (In case you missed it, he was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma which is a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.)  I texted him this morning and wished him luck and cheerfully reminded him that after tomorrow, he is half way through his treatments. Three down, three to go.

Guys, I honestly cannot convey how proud of him I am. I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of this journey with him and very clearly, he didn’t either. Through the process so far, I have reconnected with my long, lost half sister to keep her updated, worked on getting them to talk again and have been in touch near daily with my Dad. My Dad, that I went 2.5 years without speaking to once. Not on purpose mind you, we just…didn’t talk.  I honestly cannot fathom that the way things stand right now.

I text him and email him regularly. I call him every couple weeks to check in and man, is he just kicking ass and taking names. Considering that he is getting some pretty strong shit and has no insurance so sees the numbers quickly adding up, I can’t believe how strong he is.When I talk to him, other than a few days post white-cell-boosting-shot where he feels like he has an AWFUL flu, he is just…tired. That’s it. He’s not ill. He’s not bemoaning how he is. He is outside ‘trying to be productive’. He is shopping with his girlfriend. He is watching his friends all chip in to help him with firewood and cooking. Dad said yesterday that he almost forgot he was sick during the last couple days, he felt so good, until he saw or felt the massive port on his chest. I mean REALLY NOW!? He has cancer cells in his bone marrow for crying out loud and he’s just all “oh yeah, I felt so good I almost forgot I had cancer.” He has such an amazing attitude about it all. Stellar I tell you. I just cannot explain my pride to you.  I have that DNA in me. How can I ever think of quitting when I have THAT in me?

Just as an aside, cancer ain’t cheap folks. If you have insurance, or live in a country with a single payer system, please thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to heal and recover with hundreds of thousands of medical bills piled on top of you. It is a travesty, this system of ours, where one shot can cost $14,000 in one town, $7,000 in another and yet $4,500 in the same town but a hospital over. Or a whole $2,500 in Canada. I know, I digress but…ugh. My Dad. I worry.

I know I’ve written about Dad before on the blog.  Some of you might have even seen this piece that I am incredibly proud of. It’s just that our relationship continues to grow and morph into something I never could have possibly expected. A loving relationship with zero expectations.  Dad doesn’t expect me to call every 5 days or text daily. He doesn’t expect emails from me five times a week and doesn’t get bent out of shape if I don’t respond. I don’t expect any of those things from him either. We text, call or email when we are thinking of one another and it feels special that way. Nothing is ever a duty or a chore. It’s never something I have to do and because of that, it’s a joy. It’s a joy to text him or call because I know there are just no strings and no expectations attached.

That sort of relationship seems so rare. Even when you think something has no strings, there is guilt if you don’t keep the contact, or hurt when they don’t keep up with  you. It happens. I’ve had so much of that in my life. I treasure the friends that I don’t keep up with but when I call, they love me just the same and are happy to hear from me. This is what it’s like with my Dad.  He checks in before each chemo treatment to see how I’m doing so he has ‘good thoughts’ before he goes in. I am hoping I can help heal his relationship with my sister too, since the silence is purely due to issues with anxiety over expectations. When I spoke with her on the phone for the first time in over 20 years, she seemed shocked that I didn’t care about the 20 years. The truth was, I didn’t. What does it matter? I was just happy to talk to her and share our Dad’s struggles with her. Dad wasn’t expectant either that she rekindle her relationship with him. He was just happy WE were talking.  I spend a lot of time lately thinking about this relationship and how I can create or cultivate that freedom and that love in other relationships.

Just today, Dad and I checked in. He’s tired after the six hour treatment today. Naturally. He asked how I was and I was honest – I am anxious, tired and stressed. His response was so sweet guys, I have to share it with you. His words, knowing how soft he is, how loving and sensitive he is – actually brought tears to my eyes.

“Hang in there. Everything will work out with a little patience and understanding. It is all new. I love you. You will find your way.”

Thanks, Dad. I just love you a lot.

I Never Liked the Rain Until…

Yes. I’m pretty sure I just quoted a country song from the 90’s. This is a first and most likely a last.

This morning was a bit lazy, but earlier than they have been. It was still cool and dark in my bedroom, I was cozy and warm with a book and it took a bit to rub the sleep out of my eyes. It could have also been the makeup I forgot to remove before bed last night, but I digress.  It was a perfectly lovely morning. The ones where you take big, long, gasping stretches to wake your body up. The ones where you’re content to sit with a cup of coffee, no music, no tv, just you and the cup held between your warming palms.

It was peaceful and striking. I couldn’t shake that there were words here, a beauty I wanted to capture without my always present phone camera. I couldn’t shake it. It almost made me sad that the sun would soon start to filter into my apartment and the noise of children arriving rather loudly at the schools would soon make the air busy. Breaking the calm, patient silence of my morning.  It was in that moment that I realized, I knew this moment.  I’d had moments like this before. In Vancouver.

In Vancouver, everyone is always complaining about the weather. I think it’s a ‘thing’ in the Pacific Northwest in general because we live with dreary, drizzly rain and sombre gray skies for oh, 8 months out of the year. It’s a constant, a common thread and something that is just persistent in our lives. It changes how we dress, where we go, how we walk, what we carry and where we park. I found winters in Vancouver to be rough at first and then somewhat resigned myself. It was worth it for the amazingly gorgeous summers, the sprawling ocean and the majestic mountains that meet the shore.

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The rain was something we just had to get through. When local weather people would say how the rain made our skin beautiful and kept us young, I rolled my eyes in an irritated, annoyed fashion. Yeah. Sure. And schlopping around in galoshes was good for my thighs? We just had to get used to being damp, musty and muddle through until the spring when we would all forget what we just endured, exclaiming, “It’s this the most beautiful place on earth?”

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I never appreciated it. Until this morning.

There is peace in the grayness. There is a slowness, a stillness that comes when there is no sun to wake you up. There’s an acceptance of a lingering way of life, a lengthened moment over coffee, a lack of pressure to get up and out. When the sun isn’t beating in your windows, it’s almost like nature giving you permission to cozy up on the couch with a blanket and a book. It’s nature giving you instruction to throw on a pot of soup and stop worrying for the day. Whatever it is?

It can wait.

I felt such a deep longing for Vancouver this morning. Such an appreciation for the rain and the comforting cocoon it created for me. I have missed so much about Vancouver while learning to appreciate so much about New York. Restaurants. Views. People. Things. It just never felt like it did this morning. A feeling like I couldn’t wait to feel the rain again. To hunker down when nature told me to. A deep, deep appreciation for the clouds and dreary skies.

For now, I have sun though and I can appreciate that too.

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