The F*!? Is Your Life

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So, this morning life made me simultaneously giggle and sigh deeply with exhaustion. That photo is my green juice.  That photo is probably a better metaphor for my life than the previous one where the juice is contained in an enormous goblet, resting on a festive napkin. If you’ve read a few of these Stealing Nectar blog posts, you know my “green juice” (a.ka. life) often explodes and leaves me to clean up the mess and salvage what healthy stuff I can from the remaining pieces.

Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, has another lesser known book (but better in my opinion) titled, “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.” Even though I had read Wild, I wasn’t inclined to pick up Tiny Beautiful Things until a close friend urged me to do so, saying she was in tears at the gym while listening to the audio version…and somehow I could tell she was trying to tell me something she needed to express to me.

Turns out, my friend was listening to this column included in the book from The Rumpus where Strayed was an anonymous advice columnist. This is a very moving, but longish read about miscarriage. I read this a few short months after losing Adam Gabriel, and I knew this was my friend’s way of empathizing with me. She was telling me that, on some level because of this column, she understood my pain and my great loss. She was using the column as a bridge, extending her support to my lonely, sad island of miscarriage.

As that column was so very important to my healing, so was this one, also included in Strayed’s book. Although it’s, likewise, a difficult and intense read, it has really stuck with me. Strayed so eloquently answers the vague and frustrating question, “WTF?” with the completely heartbreaking truth: “The F*!? is your life.” But, this can be pivotal. When I realized integration of the f*!? (yes, I really can’t write such a grotesque word out like an adult) – the miscarriages, the job loss, the rest of the negative list I am too tempted to type – was the only way through and passed…well, then, you get busy cleaning up the juice on your cabinets, on the floor, all over your robe…and get ready to do it all over again knowing that there are no guarantees in this life, but you’ll be okay anyway.

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Crush

I wish I was over this hurting, this squeezing of my heart. I wish I was over the outbursts of sadness. Because the triggers are unpredictable, the emotional door slams in my face. I haven’t had one of these in quite a while, but today my emotions stole my composure.

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Today, an old friend texted to say she was expecting her first baby boy…on what would have been my latest due date. Any phrasing of the news that left out the date, and I don’t think I would have turned it around so quickly to be about me and about my loss. I’ve prided myself on being happy for all my friends and family who continue to have healthy pregnancies followed by the cutest little 7 pound miracles. But today my selfishness got the best of me and, although I texted back a joyous response (that I really did mean), the next moment was all about me and my loss, my hurt, my world not being fair (which is a huge joke of a thought since I am so, so fortunate in life).

So, sometimes the crush seemingly comes out of nowhere. I was having a normal – or maybe above average day – and didn’t expect the tears to flood from my eyes today. I didn’t expect to have to expend the energy struggling with my emotions and needing to recenter myself. But wouldn’t it be inhumane of me not to remember the date, the lost joy I had for my family? So, here we continue. I know I am so lucky, but this just sucks. Life is often hard. Life moves on with or without us…so I’ll just keep trying to get unstuck.

A Leftover Type of Day

Happy Angelversary, A.G. Today, my leftover sadness, tears, pain, and outrage are being acknowledged – just for a moment – as I let them pass by on their way again. Today isn’t a day for a lot of words. Today is a day to get back in bed with all my clothes on and be comforted when my dog and husband join me – my Hollywood burying his face in me and my husband stroking my hair.

We aren’t taking all day, but just a little time to recognize what we remember, like leaving the hospital almost exactly 365 days to the hour without you. Like getting a big hug goodbye from the nurse, Kay, who walked us out to our car and was there with us 3 out of the 4 days and nights we stayed in that dark room where I faded in and out between reality and heavy, drug-laden sleep, missing you. When the tears stream down my face, I let them fall. When I can’t breathe out of my nose anymore, I take in the oxygen through slow, deep, mouth breaths.

These leftover moments have a place today, although life has moved on and my spirit has outgrown this as a constant place. Dear, A.G., thank you for teaching me my biggest life lessons and for making me grow more than I thought possible. Thinking of you with sweet mama’s love today and everyday, always.

The New Okay

I’ve been noticing lately that I am…okay. I can get through the day – and maybe even the week – without grieving Adam. I miss him, I think about him, and I remember him lovingly, but that heavy sadness that has plagued me hangs around less often. This is the new okay. 

I am okay if we never have a biological child. I am okay if we do and our adoption plans get postponed. I am okay if we have to wait three years to bring a child home. I am learning not to make too many demands on life, but how to still remain hopeful. I think this was always the master plan for this stage of my life. I needed to let go of my resume – whether professional or personal. I needed to learn that deviations from the planned path are not failures. I needed to learn that strength and beauty come from great loss.

There is something else that I’ve noticed, too. Although I do not think I am a jealous person, it has been emotionally exhausting to expense joy and celebration for others. Don’t get me wrong; I have true joy that bubbles up and out of me, and I am so thrilled for my friends and family in their happiness and positive turn of events. But, after the celebrations, I have to retreat and find rejuvenation. I have to come to terms with the reality of my own path at this time and renew acceptance. Each joy celebrated gets easier (my breakdowns or “comedowns” get less dramatic), and I need less time to re-energize. I just never knew that was part of the process until I experienced core-trembling loss. I am doing important “soul work” as my aunt and spiritual mentor says…and it’s hard, yet refreshing at the same time.

I trust that, as the moon keeps fading in and out of the hours, the new okay will turn into the new fabulous/stupendous/couldn’t be happier. I am my mom’s “Life is Wonderful” child and I have faith that I am making small steps to regain my place on the kitchen counter, making chocolate chip cookies, and delivering that phrase to her and all my loved ones who know my joyful and mischievous spirit.