Yin-Yang Twins…No, not those guys…

I lost a dear friend this week.  It was a hard shock and my soul is still trying to stop crying over the premature loss of a soul whose very essence screams purity and wholesomeness.  We lived in the same neighborhood when we were middle and high school kids and we went through the same awkward phases together.  It was the early 90s and therefore we lived by the nights of MTV, when it still legitimately stood for music television videos, to watch the latest hairbands release the next big hit.  We spent many nights together listening to music, watching videos, and crushing on the likes of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. We did silly things like tease each other’s’ hair, try on rad ass clothes, put on bright, powder blue eye makeup, and all the jewelry we could possibly find in her mom’s room.  It was a great time.

Honestly, she was my safe space.  She was the one person on the planet that wouldn’t judge me, hate me, or try to change me.  She was honest in a way that worked for a rebelling teen.  She balanced my yin with her yang, which is probably why we kept the BFF yin-yang necklaces for years.  You remember those necklaces, right?  The ones that started with half heart pieces that looked broken and one side had BE FRI while the 2nd half had ST ENDS…the yin and yang were much, much better options because honestly, who wanted the 2nd half that read ST ENDS, it was like getting the utter and ass section of a two-part cow costume…and who wants to be the ass?  No one.

Yep, yin and yang best friend necklaces in the form of hip chokers were our thing and it just fit perfectly.  She was always the positivity that everyone needed in their life, the shining brightness in an otherwise dark, dark world.  I remember I asked her once how she stayed so happy all the time and she simply said, because it’s easier to be happy than it is to be sad or angry.  It was simple, but it was right.

I remember when she had her 4 wheeler accident and she ended up with some permanent damage.  My mom, God bless her patient self, drove me to Macon, GA several times while she was in the hospital.  It was a scary time and it was some of the longest days until we were confident she would come through it.  It wasn’t long after that when we started to drift apart.  Boys got in the way, more specifically, Mr. Medic got in the way.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest, but it was something that happened the way it usually does when a boy enters a teenage girl’s life and suddenly there’s no time for anything or anyone else.  I was completely smitten and mine and her time became less and less until my family moved three states away.  We spoke a few times after I moved and a few times after I came back a few years later, but nothing was ever as close as those middle and high school years.

We met up a few times after I got back and she was still a pillar of sunshine and rainbows on a stormy night, but like with life and kids, time got busy again.  Technology advanced and eventually social media became a thing and we reconnected via Facebook, but we never really reconnected they way we were once connected.  I’ve always regretted that, but then I thought there was time.  Don’t we all think that?  Don’t we all think there’s time?  Time, it’s a fickle thing – you always think there’s more of it, until there isn’t.

So, here I sit in the darkness and silence of my living room with tears streaming down my face – thankful that I know my keys and I can punch these words out without needing to see – and I wonder.  I wonder if she knows.  Does she know?????  Does she know the light she poured into my soul some 25 years ago that has never, not once dulled?  Does she know how many lives she’s touched by just being the angelic, sweet person she was born to be?  Does she know how special she was to every single human being she met?  My guess is that she doesn’t. She saw herself as any selfless person would, just another person.  She was so much more though, she was the person that ALL people who meet her aspire to be more like.

She was unapologetically herself and who she wanted to be.  She strived for happiness and peace when others only dreamed of it.  As I sit here and reminisce over years gone by and time forgotten, I remember her smile, her positive thoughts, and the way she lived her life and I smile through the tears and heartache knowing that I am immensely blessed for having had only a blink of time with her.  I am a better person for just having known her.  I take this time to make a promise to her beautiful soul that I will strive to live in peace and happiness when others only dream of it, and acknowledge that if something does not bring that peace and happiness, that I must let it go and find what does.  She taught me that.  She taught me to be brave. She taught me to love endlessly and hopelessly and it’s time to start living for her.  I will grieve her, I will love her, and I will get busy living in peace and happiness because to do anything else would tarnish the perfect memory of the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  God bless you, Pamombeau, my darling friend and know that you will live on through time and space.  I love you and I can’t wait to see your smiling face again one day.  Fly high and shine bright my sweet friend.

Advertisements

I remember when

I sit here tonight in the quiet of the house with a heavy heart and fire inside me.  I have a plethora of feelings this evening and so I turn to this trusty place.  I’m staring at the blinking cursor as it mocks me when I can’t think of the words, but I know I have to write.

Do you remember where you were 15 years ago today?  The day before the world changed as we know it?  More importantly, do you remember what kind of person you were then? Who were you, what were your worries?  Did you lose your temper that day over something silly and mundane?  Were you a little too short with a loved one?  Were you a little too impatient?  Did you thank that nice girl at the counter who served you coffee as you rushed off to work, late because of the traffic?  Did you pass judgment on that person sitting at the end of that exit ramp asking for spare change?

I bet we all did some of these things 15 years ago today because none of us knew that tomorrow we would wake up and become someone different – that we would wake up and our country would be changed.  I remember exactly where and who I was 15 years ago today.  I was one week away from bringing into the world my daughter, The Middle, and I was as miserable as I could be.  I was impatient with anyone near me, I was short-tempered, I was tired, I was swollen, and I was not the person I am today.

Like thousands and thousands of people, I watched horrified that morning as the events unfolded and despite going into labor and my mid-wife instructing me to stay away from the news, I watched for days on end as the aftermath unfolded.  It was devastating; we all remember how devastating this day was.  It was a sight I will never forget, it was a feeling I will never forget, and it was a change in our country I wish we all would never forget.

You see, we’ve forgotten that part.  Every year on September 11th we all put that photo of the towers or the eagle that’s shedding tears on our social media pages and we promise not to forget, but do we actually remember?  Do we remember, as a country, what we swore we would never forget?  I do and I’m sure I’m not the only one, but not nearly enough people truly remember.  Yes, we remember the attack on our country. We remember the horrifying collapse of both towers and we remember the excruciating number of innocent lives we lost on that day, but do we remember the days that came after?  Do we remember how we promised to never forget that we are the UNITED States of America?  That when you attack one of us or some of us, you attack ALL of us?  Do we remember that at that time there were no black Americans, no white Americans, no brown Americans, no yellow Americans – we were AMERICANS.  We were UNITED.  We were one and we rallied behind our flag, behind our country, behind our law enforcement, behind our first-responders, behind our military and behind each other.

I remember when we became brothers and sisters of this country and we promised those nearly 3 thousand innocent souls and their families that we would never forget.  We also promised the assholes who killed these innocent people for simply being American that we would unite and rally behind our flag, behind our country, behind our law enforcement, behind our first-responders, behind our military and behind each other.

Today we are no longer brothers and sisters of this country as promised; we are jaded, separated, and self-proclaimed victims of a society that has done nothing but afford us every possible opportunity for success and freedom.  Today we can claim to be oppressed and show disrespect to a country we all promised to protect 15 years ago.  Today we fight each other to the death rather than the enemy who murdered us for being American.  Today we make excuses instead of change, we no longer hold the responsible parties accountable for the demise of their own lives but instead blame a country who has done nothing but house ideals, morals, and opportunities for centuries.

I remember when we were the UNITED States of America and I pray it doesn’t take another tomorrow to remind us of the promises we made.

March 6

March 6

Ode to a playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.

 

You were a breath of fresh air on a hard day.  At the first sight of you and my spirits lifted with ease, anxious for you to envelop me with all the familiar scents and sounds that calmed me.  It was you I would run to when I was afraid, when I was tired, when I was hurt, and when I just needed a break.  You loved my friends like your own and they, in turn, loved you.  Holidays and birthdays were such big events with you, we made sure to include you in almost every single one.

I can still feel your embrace at night, how safe you made me feel.  It’s as if no time has passed at all.  There were many times I took you for granted, to be sure, but I hope you know that looking back I could never love another quite as much as I have loved you.

As an adult, I’ve grown more appreciative of the times I had during my youth.  I look back with such fondness of you.  You will always have a place in my hear and the memories of you will live inside me for many, many years to come.

I bid you farewell, my lovely childhood home, I will surely miss you.

Robin Williams, a legend

I’ve stared at this blinking cursor for a while, I’ve saved and re-saved this draft, and I’ve deleted more than I’ve written.  My heart is heavy and I feel as if I have lost a part of my character, a part of my childhood.  The world lost a legend, a genius.  Robin Williams is a household name.  He was in so many shows, films, and on so many stages that I honestly cannot say there should be an adult alive (and even a child) who does not know his name, who has not laughed at his hand, who hasn’t absorbed some part of his character into their soul.  It is simply impossible.

I have never met Robin Williams, as I daresay most of normal society hasn’t, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken with me parts of him from the moments he shared with the world.  Great actors and great writers do that, they let you borrow a little bit of themselves to take with you on your own personal journey.  I cried many tears over the news of his passing.  Tears because he passed, and tears because of how he passed – that he felt so alone and so lost.  My heart breaks for the struggles he went through.

I’ve seen and fallen in love with so much of his work that it’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite.  However, there are a few that have touched me and have stayed with me just a bit more than the others.

My first date with my now husband, 22 years ago, was to see Aladdin.  I was 14 years old and loved Disney movies, not to mention that was the only movie playing my mother would let me attend with a boy.  I remember looking at my husband and thinking to myself, if he can laugh at a big blue genie with me then I’ll have to get to know him better.  In that sense, Robin Williams was there on my first date with my husband and brought us closer with his profound ability to make someone laugh.  Dead Poets Society instilled into me the courage I needed to write, to let myself be me, to go against the status quo.  It truly inspired me in so many deeply personal ways that I cannot name them all.

There is one movie that touched me so much so, I still call upon it to get over bad days.  That movie is What Dreams May Come.  If you’ve read the 100 things about me, then you’ve read that I have an irrational fear of dying.  Not how I will die, but dying itself and the fear of nonexistence – it’s a fear I’ve had as long as I can remember.  What if my faith is wrong?  I ‘what if’ myself into a panic attack that can only be compressed by my anxiety medications and the memory of this movie.  I never read the book because for one, I didn’t know there was one, but for two I didn’t want to ruin the movie.  My husband, knowing this very real fear of mine, introduced this movie to me years ago – back in the VCR days.  I watched it repeatedly and it captivated me.  I can’t say it healed me, but it has made dealing with that fear a great deal easier.  His role in that movie, his dedication, his faith, his love, his determination to make sure his wife wasn’t alone moved me leaps and bounds.

Yes, Robin Williams will always be a household name and his movies will live on in the hearts of millions.  Despite or even because of his illness, he successfully touched us all.

With respect,

The sadness in his eyes breaks my heart and when his smile doesn’t fully reach his eyes, one of the best parts of his smile, I know. I know something is wrong.  Still, I welcome him home after a long 12-hour shift and make his plate for dinner.  He has in tow a box of donuts for the kids’ breakfast in the morning, a bottle of my favorite wine, and a 4-pack of his favorite Dogfish beer (not a beer to take lightly with its 9% content).  These things don’t often happen, you see.  I can count on one hand how many mornings the children will have donuts for breakfast as it’s a very special occasion treat that we give them.  He mentions how The Little recently spoke fondly of his love for sprinkled donuts and there it was, that sadness in his eyes deeply rooted.

I made meatloaf for dinner, a favorite of his, and he eats it with an obvious heavy heart.  There are often times when his shifts do not go well, which I presume is the case for all EMTs and Paramedics, and sometimes I’m not sure I want to hear what tragedies he has had to endure.

He continues to eat and I ramble on and on about insignificant wifely and motherly duties I’ve done or dealt with throughout the day.  A typical Sunday for me, my biggest complaint is that of annoying children visiting ours for play-dates.  The television is on, more so in the background than for us to watch, but on the screen is a tribute to an actor who passed away this year and I see his eyes well up.  It’s alarming and breathtaking.  I’m nervous.  What could make him cry, especially since he doesn’t often do it?  In 20 years I’ve seen him cry only a couple handfuls of times.

I ask him what’s wrong and the pain I see on his face, deep in his eyes, shutters me to a stop and I know.  It’s a child.  Whatever horrible day he has had on his ambulance today, it involves a child.  He tells me it’s nothing, though we both know it’s a lie.  He tries to protect me from the horrible things that he sees knowing that my nerves/anxiety and irrational fears often cannot handle it.  I have to be strong, I have to be supportive.  He reminds me there are people with whom he can speak.  I find comfort, always, that he has a support team but today I can see he needs someone now.

I ask a few questions and slowly he begins to talk.  He goes through the last part of his shift, how he thinks he’ll be called in early, how he’s talking lightly to another medic who’s off today.  Then the call comes in.  It’s the worst kind of call and yes, it’s a child.  (I won’t go into details out of respect for the family and for my husband, but I will say the baby was not breathing when they got on scene and it’s a horrible accident that happened at their home)

The husband recalls the scene, what transpired, what he can see now that he’s left it, recounts things that maybe should have been done differently – though in truth there was nothing that could have been done to change the outcome.  He sobs and my heart shatters.  I cannot fathom this loss; I cannot understand the terror and hurt of not being able to bring back such a young life.  We cry together and I hold him tightly, words escape me.  There’s nothing I can say, there’s nothing I can do to soothe him.  It’s one of the most helpless feelings I’ve had in quite some time.  So I just cry as he cries and I pray.

I continue to pray for him while he tries to come to peace with what happened.  I pray for all of the first responders, for I cannot be more grateful of their gift and place on this earth.  I pray for the little one whose time ended entirely too soon, and for the family from whom the baby was taken.

This post, it may not mean anything to anyone, but this man, this husband of mine is one of the greatest souls I know.  We’ve been through some trying and very difficult times in our marriage and we’ve come out better because of them.  Nights like these remind me of how special a human being he is, how courageous and precious he is, and how very lucky I am to have him as a husband.  Being a wife of a first responder, an EMT in my case, is both prideful and heartbreaking.