Posted in Death, Life

Life

Life gives and life takes. Just Sunday we celebrated a dear friends birthday, not knowing that another friend I used to work with struggled, and passed away. Chances are while we laugh, someone cries, while we are high on life, someone is deeply depressed, or while we enjoy food in abundance, another lives in poverty and is starving. Those are some extremes, and I’m sure many more could be named. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we are, we each carry our suitcase of troubles.

Saying goodbye to a loved one or friend, we take comfort that they are in a better place, that the suffering is over, and that once again they run wild and free, without pain. Bonnie’s passing made me stop in my tracks and think. It hits home when it’s someone close, someone we know, although people leave this world every day and any day. I’ve always believed that our days are not guaranteed, that tragedy can strike at any moment. I learned young what it feels like to lose someone close when my Dad passed unexpectedly, way before his time. Fact is that there is no timeframe, people die jung and old, and there simple is never a good time to die. It can happen quickly, perhaps more expected with age vs someone leaving us so young like my Dad. Whichever case, I don’t think we can ever prepare to let go, nothing makes it easier, and it remains one of the most painful times we will experience.

It made me think of my own time, having reached a age where many others I’ve known have passed on already. It made me appreciate anew what gift every day is. Sure, some days are filled with aches and pains, some hold memories we rather forget, but despite of it all, every day blesses us with another sunrise or another sunset. The time in between is up to us and we decide how we want to leave our mark.

It made me think about the time we are given here on earth. A time to leave our footprint, to make a difference, to impact, to contribute, to lift each other and support each other, to be a role model, to inspire and to build our legacy. Quite a list and not all inclusive, a list that often starts late, not right out of the gates and requires a special time. A time when we find ourselves, and everything that is true to who we are. A time regardless of what we’re taught. It reminded me that sometimes we have to forget all those things, the things we learned in order to learn again, and let our true self emerge to shine bright.

It’s a time that takes courage and strengths and the path won’t be easy. But it’s also a time that is liberating and freeing, a time you feel closest to who you really are. Bonnie’s passing reminded me that those of us lucky to see another day, are given yet another chance to get it right. Every day offers the opportunity to start new, the choices and chapters are no one others than your own. Your book is empty, waiting to be written with your story, only you are responsible to fill your pages.

Bless you and RIP Bonnie. We love you.

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Posted in Death, Family, Life

10/8/1974

I sat on the cemetery’s bench and cried yesterday. It’s not the first time that I felt overcome with emotions visiting Dad. Not the first time that I wished that he was here, and definitely not the first time that I told him of how much I missed him. I remembered the day of his funeral, I was ten, in shock and unable to cry. I remember the eyes of the “Village people”, the community of my small town on me, watching my every move. I can hear the talk and I definitely still feel the pain over the loss of my Dad. I accepted his passing, (did I really have another choice), but I never got over the pain and it catches up from time to time.

10/8/1974 is the German way of writing for the date of August the 8th, as we write the day before the month. An important date that passed this year as if it was a day like any other.

Watering Dad’s grave today, the anniversary of his death jumped out at me and I completely had forgotten. It was 10/8/1974 and I felt like a bad daughter, ashamed, being here so close, able to visit his grave site and that I forgot about it. I know that I feel close to him every day, and don’t need to be at the cemetery in order to do so, but still. I know that there are other forces at hand that have left me vulnerable, questioning how a loving daughter could forget a day like this. And I know that I am unnecessary hard on myself. There is a void, a pain inside that has to run it’s course, whether it is influenced by outside experiences or my own standards and inability to give myself too much slack. I was here in Germany on the day of his death’s anniversary, I should have visited and brought flowers. At the least I shouldn’t have remembered.p and talked to him.

Life has changed so much since coming to Germany. I have gained some things and I have lost some things. It’s a delicate balance of give and take, of craziness and sanity, it’s a daily struggle. Some days I win, some days I don’t, and yet I’m still standing. Some days feel like I can take on the world, others I want to hide and give in to the endless tired and exhausting feeling. I find myself on my knees more times than I would like to, but I have always managed to get back up. It has been a journey packed full of emotions and immense growths. In the end, I know that I chose this path for the sake of everyone.

Posted in Death, Life

Shaken and a bit stirred

I’ve awakened from a nightmare the other night. It was a deep breath that brought me back to reality from my not so peaceful sleep state. It’s seldom that I dream, or maybe I just don’t ever remember.

I was at Mom’s House, sitting at the kitchen table as darkness began to fall. I got up to close the blinds which are like a heavy plastic, rolled up shade that comes down and covers the windows. It allows for zero light when it is closed fully. I pulled the cord on the side of the wall to release the blind, while stretching with the other hand to reach the light switch. I hit it but it remained dark. I surely must have missed it and went for it once more. The blinds were still coming down as I was multi tasking, and only a little light was left in the room. Nothing happened, and after hitting the switch for the third time, I realized that something was wrong and the light wouldn’t come on. It was mostly dark by now as I made my way down the hallway to the fuse box, maybe a breaker had tripped. I was almost in front of the apartments main entrance door where the fuse box is located as I heard it. Tap, tap, tap….the sound was faint at first but getting stronger. It was a knock from the outside of the locked the door. I felt an energy and a chill coming from the door and it scared me half to death. A scared deep breath followed as I was unable to scream while slowly stepping backwards, away from the door. It was the initial scare and that deep breath that woke me from my dream.

Now awake, I collected myself and knew that it was a dream, but it was so powerful that I didn’t dare to turn my back towards the room. I had to back myself against the wall and forced myself to stay woke for awhile. I was afraid that falling back asleep would place me right back to the same dream. The dream is still with me this evening like a haunting thing I can’t explain. It is unusual since I normally don’t remember my dreams, but it still seems so vivid, hours later. I imagine it to be a sign with some kind of meaning, I don’t yet have the answer or the understanding for.

Eventually, I slept a few more hours and woke up feeling down. I couldn’t pinpoint why and had no reason to feel this way. Everything was fine the night before and I didn’t take any worries to bed with me. At least not consciously. Progress with Mom is going well and we continue to have small wins. She was on my mind this morning though and although nothing can be rushed, I felt panicked, as if soon or later time would be up, in more than one way. I felt uncertain if I would accomplish everything that I needed to do, once that time would come. I was worried about stuff I know better. The stuff out of my control and yet it was on my mind in a moment as life was catching up. Perhaps it was that knock on the door in my dream, something taking me away, something scary, something I wasn’t ready to follow just yet. I remember seeing a bony index fingers commanding me to come closer. It belongs to a cloaked person dressed in black of which face I can’t see. Who is he and what’s the message? Why does he need me to come closer…it can’t be….right? Not yet (as if any of us ever have a choice)

I’m still a bit shaken and told Mom about my dream. She had no answers and didn’t engage all that much. She has seen her own version of the cloaked person dressed in black and I don’t think she is ready to see or follow him either. I think it scared her from just listening to me.

I was wondering if it was something she said to me yesterday that may have ultimately led to this dream. She talked about my Dad, something that has been very rare and non existing in all these years. She is beginning to share more and more, and is talking more freely about things. She even told me that they had broken up a few times before they married. Yesterday she told me that she used to get mad at Dad for what she thought was crazy talk. Several times he mentioned to her that he would die young. He couldn’t explain or tell as to why he thought so, there was no rhyme or reason to his thoughts, he just knew. Mom would get mad at him each time he talked about it. I am sure that over the years she has thought back many times to those conversations and how they ended up becoming the truth. We may never know how to explain some things in a rational, factual sense….but intuition and a gut feeling always does.

Posted in Adventure, Animals, Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Hiking, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, Mother nature, Motivation,, My story, Pets, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Wisdom

The heart of a lion

Nikki came into my life as she was nearly two years old and I feel extremely blessed that I could rescue her from her abusive owners. I didn’t know at the time that she would equally play a huge part in my life, ultimately rescuing me as much as I rescued her. I was unaware that she was coming from a violent home and all I knew about was the apartment situation that would lead to the separation from her prior owners. Soon enough, the same day, her dramatic past began to unravel and I got a glimpse into some of the struggles this poor little baby had endure. From being chained and staked in the backyard, to a prior broken leg from abuse, her fear of water from almost drowning at the hands of her owners, her food aggression and her fear for humans. I won’t go into too many details to relive this horror, which I mostly found out through her behavior or through the jokes of her previous owners. Needless to say it was also the last time that they ever got to see Nikki. I always felt very lucky to have been the one able to turn her little precious life around and give her a reason to live. Besides having the heart of a lion which I will describe later, she also looked like a lion as I first saw her. A good brushing, which was yielding numerous brushes filled of hair later, (it would have made the softest pillow stuffing ever and I wish I would have kept it), she emerged as a different dog and looked nothing like the Chow Chow mix she was suppose to be. She looked like a Shiba Inu mix, a starved one that was reduced to nothing more than skin and bones after shedding the matted fur mess. She was visibly malnourished.

Her eating could hardly be described as eating. She was scarfing her food down in such a hurry, forgetting to chew, obviously being afraid that somebody would take it away. In return it caused her to choke and gasp for air. It was during that time that I considered learning the Heimlich maneuver, just in case. Reaching down to pet her, I was hoping to talk some comforting sense into her, but it only caused her to duck. She was afraid that the hand that was coming down would hit her, which I’m sure had happened too many times. Over the years I made a game out of it to take away her fear and associate the hand with a new meaning. Fun and playtime…”The claw”. It took years to rehabilitate her and years before she took herself not so seriously, finally allowing herself to play. It was then that the Shiba 500 (playful little outbursts of energy, running around like crazy while smiling from ear to ear….and yes I’m still talking about Nikki, she had the biggest smile I ever saw on a dog ) was born. It was an extraordinary day and I remember how happy I was as she dropped her fear and revealed her true nature. Her beautiful soul emerged and for the first time there was no fear in her eyes.

Nikki and I had a special bond, a bond words simply can’t describe. She literally was my fur baby and meant everything to me. She was my child and she lives on within my heart. I didn’t think that I could have loved her any more as I did, and despite that she couldn’t physically communicate with me, I understood everything she was trying to convey. Her gratefulness for saving her was obvious in all of her actions, all you had to do is look at her little face. I have always considered myself an animal lover, but it was Nikki who taught me to see more, to see the living soul mirrored in her eyes. I despised people referring to her as nothing more than an animal, a pet,  I simply couldn’t relate. She was so much more, she was a beautiful living soul, full of spunk and emotions.

After Sparky’s death her little heart was broken and our relationship became even closer. I was all that she had left and while Sparky was alive, I might have not believed that our bond could get any stronger. But it did. Nikki became a hiker at the age of 12 and I once heard that 1 dog year is equivalent to 7 human years. There is much controversy discussing this topic which includes the consideration of various breeds etc, but if there is truth to it, Nikki would have been 84 years old as she took up hiking. A true testament that it is never too late to start doing what you love. At the age of 84 she found a new passion (she probably always had it and I feel guilty of not introducing her to it earlier while coming up with various excuses of not being able to handle two dogs by myself, working so much back then and still now, to etc. etc.) a passion that would help her cope with the loss of her companion and soulmate, Sparky. 

Preparing for a hike was tricky and I had to be careful as the adrenaline and her sheer excitement of going for a hike would often lead to overexertion. In her senior years Nikki had developed arthritis and her own excitement and willpower often exceeded what her little body could handle. It was crazy how she would pick up on the tiniest of clues before a hike. She definitely knew the backpack and me grabbing it would result in the Shiba 500, running around like crazy, wiping out, hitting a slippery patch on the hardwood floor or leaping through the air almost knocking me over were all results if I wasn’t sneaky enough. All things her old little, aged body couldn’t put away so easily anymore. Her leash was no difference or putting on her harness, even the sound of the car could trigger the excitement, followed by what I can only express as that shit grinning, tongue out smile that appeared on her face in anticipation. She didn’t know her own strength and I often felt that it was sheer adrenaline and her willpower, the passion for what she loved and the heart of a lion full of courage that propelled her forward. Looking back, I realize that Nikki was one of my greatest teachers. I have no doubt that without any spoken words, she has taught me more than I ever learned from some who could speak. I might have rescued her from her abusive owners but in the end I’m not so sure of who ended up rescuing who. Let’s just call it even.

It’s been 2 1/2 years since Nikki has been gone and I’m not sure if I will ever get over her loss. I’m reluctant to say that I felt as if I lost a child. Despite two miscarriages I never experienced losing a child that lived with me for several years and I can’t truly compare it to make such a statement. Still it is the closest form that I can describe her loss and my life remains forever changed. People have encouraged me to get another dog and while I believe that a new dog could ease the pain and help me make new memories, I also know that nobody will ever take her place. It is the uncertainty and the changes that lie ahead that have prevented me from taking on the responsibility of getting a dog right now. Nikki will always have a special place in my heart and I held on to her as long as I could. Her wings were ready but it was my soul that wasn’t prepared to let her go for selfish reasons. In the end I had to do what any animal lover would have done to spare her additional pain and a life that had no future. And still, no day goes by that she isn’t on my mind. I wish she was here and the thought of being reunited with Sparky brings me only little comfort. I have to remind myself that her beautiful soul is with me forever, pain free to roam and play once more until we can meet again. In the meantime there is an empty hole within my heart as I have no choice but to roam without her.

Nikki has taught me that it is never too late. To pursue your passion as it is the rhythm of everything that matters in life. Do it with passion or don’t do it at all. If you have to do something you don’t like and the passion is lacking, change your stars and pursue what matters. Work towards your goals and take that first step no matter how tiny it is. Just do it anyways. Nikki has taught me to look beyond and recognize a soul within every living being. To drop its formal name of calling it an animal, but to see the spirit and the soul that lies within. Nikki showed me perseverance by pushing beyond  the pain as nothing in life is free. To be a warrior and realize that the harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory. It takes life shattering incidents to mold us into the people we are meant to be, otherwise we just don’t learn. I believe that it was Nikki who initiated the first stage of what would lead me to my spiritual awakening. The other element of importance was that the timing was right. I simply became aware and was willing to listen and see the signs that have always been there, unnoticed until then.

Coming soon…stage one of spiritual enlightenment and spiritual awakening. I believe now….

Posted in Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, My story

“Just like your Mother”

You said it a few times by now and each time you have said it in anger. “You are just like your mother”. I’m not quiet sure as to why you say it or if it’s a low blow you are trying to deliver. Maybe it’s just a statement, an opinion, something that doesn’t come with good intentions. I wonder if it truly needs to be spoken, as it’s context conveyed is meant to be hurtful. I fail to see your reasoning, nor am I trying to figure it out. All I know is that it’s no compliment towards me or my mother and I feel a change inside of me rising when you bring it up. A switch that turns to protection of my mother as I feel that she has bestowed nothing but kindness upon you. I know there have been many times that you have seen me struggle through some issues with my mother and perhaps it is the reason as to why your perception of her has shifted. Maybe it is different for an outsider, somebody not related through blood, but even that I can’t justify and excuse because you have experienced some of the same with your own family. 

As far as my mother is concerned, I’m not sure if we struggled after the death of my father. She provided me with everything that I needed and while I’m sure that there must have been tough times, I was too young to understand and notice. I might have never seen or recognized the signs that were there and I dismissed them with young, innocent and ignorant bliss. There was nothing to notice for me at that age, she did a great job of keeping it all away from me and nothing was obvious or appeared out of the ordinary. For the most part anyways, besides missing my father every day. She had to be a strong woman, raising me by herself and finishing the construction / remodel on our house that was only half finished through her own power. She never gained the respect a man would have had dealing with the handy workers of various traits, but she learned to become tough which also caused her to lock her feelings away in order to display this strong front. Even towards me she kept her wall up, towards her own flesh and blood. I knew she cared about me and loved me, I always knew, she just never said it to me and I missed the affection I had come to know and love from my father. 

I don’t know if my mother changed or if it was me realizing how important it was to convey feelings. My father taught me in his absence that we can never take anything for granted because we might never get a second chance. And so it was that while my heart and my feelings opened during this Rhapsody (an effusively, enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feelings), it was the opposite for my mother and her feelings and her heart hardened during that same time. Yes, she choose to be by herself for all the years that followed my fathers death and she never remarried. Sometimes I think that it is only me who can understand her reasonings behind the unspoken words. She doesn’t have to say anything and still I already know that my father was her soulmate, he was the one and only for her. A play of words that couldn’t find a better example as describing the love that lived between my parents. 

I never realized how much it impacted my mother that I left her and my country to come to America. How could I, we never talked about feelings in any way or form. By now you could say, she had become an expert at hiding her emotions, with a poker face that left no clues. Over the years she became bitter that I left her behind and we drifted apart. We almost became estranged and for many years I felt that we knew each other as people, but not as family and definitely not like mother and daughter. She held a stubborn grudge, unable to forgive me and it didn’t matter how successful I had been in my second country of home, all there was, was that I had left her. Going home to visit was not always an easy thing as the first week was wasted and filled with the tension of her despising the decisions I had made. It took me over twenty years of trying to rebuild a relationship between us and thank god for that it finally happened. I nearly gave up a few times and so I understand when you remember that side of me, the frustration through it all, but you forget the internal struggle to continue the fight for her love and acceptance. It took many arguments and heartaches to finally break through to her, to finally give her something she could agree on and be proud of. It was nothing short of a miracle to have her back. 

And finally she allowed me to see a few glimpses of the mother that I knew as a child. I saw her laugh again and have great fun, do spontaneous, silly things and just live a little. An inner child that was locked away for many years because of the extreme difficulty and the seriousness of events that had transpired. I could never hold anything like that against her and my heart was always aching for the tough life she had to endure. Many might not understand her, but it is me who does and who imposes the question to imagine how your life would have turned out if you had lost your soulmate at such an early age? What would you have done, or would have to do to survive? Chances are none of us can answer this and we don’t know how strong we truly are until having to be strong is all there is left. I think she did just fine and even though I know that at some point I let her down in a big way by leaving her behind, I am the work of labor and love that comes from my parents. She sacrificed much for me and I can never thank her enough for helping me turn out alright.

So when you say that I am just like my mother, I know it is in comparison that I hold on to the past, that I hold a grudge or that I can’t forgive. I might even agree with a few things that could fall into a statement like this, for we both had to be strong women and life didn’t always made it easy for us. And yet you won’t hear me complaining because life had a plan for me all along and has made me into the person I was always meant to be. I will always be my mothers daughter and just maybe I was meant to be “Just like my mother” and I take that as a compliment.

Posted in Animals, Death, Experience, Inspiration, Life, Loss, My story, Pets, Spiritual awakening

I believe now….

This month has packed a punch, filled with that of an emotional rollercoaster and once again it does not surprise me that my life always seems to pan out in the fashion of being born on The day of up’s and down’s. The Hawk visit from the other day made me pause and think about the meaning, the awareness of being able to witness this brief moment of which I don’t leave to coincidence. I believe in the signs and the purpose that they bring, just as I believe that everything happens for a reason, including the people who enter our lives who are here to teach us a lesson, good or bad.
On November the 15th it was 5 years since Sparky…has been gone. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed already and his death brought a likewise emotional rollercoaster. He had been sick for a while and I know it was painful for him to move around with his arthritis. He struggled and still I wasn’t ready to let him go and say goodbye. Yet it was inevitable and I remember driving home from the vet, alone, without him, in tears and with my heart ripped out. Nothing prepared me for what was about to unfold at home as I opened the door and came in without Sparky.

Nikki immediately started to search the entire house for Sparky which made my heart even heavier. Her friend and soulmate was gone and here and there, in passing she would throw me a frantic look because she couldn’t find him. I never seen anything like this display of mourning from an animal, it was truly gut wrenching. This went on for hours, with her running up and down the stairs, checking everywhere. Finally she collapsed in front of the couch, right next to me. I decided to spend the night downstairs, on the couch and turned on a nightlight so I could see her and comfort her. The house was silent, no TV, no noise, nothing.

I’m not sure when it happened the first time, but I heard a click as I was trying to figure out what had caused the noise. To my surprise the cable box had turned on by itself and the bright little digital display was shining through the otherwise mostly dark room. And if that wasn’t the weirdest, it was that Nikki jumped up in that very moment to start her search for Sparky once more through the entire house. Relentless, up and down the stairs in every room I could hear and I couldn’t explain what was going on. I had never seen the cable box turn on by itself. Maintenance? Was somebody performing some sort of test on it? And then there was Nikki, coincidence? I didn’t know what to believe and finally she calmed down and took her place next to me once more. Needless to say I don’t think either one of us slept much that night and the cable box incident repeated itself two more times, each time turning on, with Nikki springing into action and searching the entire house until she eventually gave up.

I shared this incident only with a few select people, in fear that they would declare me nuts. They didn’t, respectfully so but I knew that nobody bought into the story or perhaps believed it. People tried to justify what happened in a logical sense and dismiss the whole thing.

A few days later driving home from work, I thought of Sparky again and once again the tears rolled down my face to the point I was considering stopping the car. It was a stormy dark night and the wind was raging against my car with such fury as if it was attempting to blow me off the road. I tried to focus through my tear covered veil as I was nearly home. What happened next could have not lasted more than a few seconds, but it was as if time stood still. The noise of the wind stopped and a calm serenity engulfed my car. It was quiet and peaceful and I noticed the sky turn brighter. Leaning forward in my seat, I looked over the steering wheel upwards towards the dark storm clouds that had just been here. Through the silence a white feather danced through the night sky and landed on my windshield. And before my mind could really comprehend everything of what had happened, “Swoosh”, the wind picked up in full force again and swept the feather away.

I don’t know how to explain what happened on those two nights and no matter how much others want to dismiss these incidents and give me the strange eye, I know what I saw and what I felt. It was the beginning for me to believe in Signs and to become more aware. And I believe that Sparky came to visit us those nights once more, to ease our pain and to let us know that he was at peace while always being a part in our hearts until we meet again.


 

 

Posted in Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, Motivation,, My story, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help

Living vs. being ALIVE…

If you follow my blog then you know that the trail often calls my name and nature for me is a way to escape a life filled with responsibilities and duties. From time to time bits and pieces of my life flash by me like the segments of an old movie reel. Black and white images, frayed and shaking against the backdrop, trying to hold on, trying to find their place. For a moment my strength subsides and I yearn to lower my shield. Exhausted from having to be so strong, I look for a break where my vulnerability can roam without the fear of harms way. To drop the responsibility and to set my inner child free that never got to see its childhood come to full terms. It was my Dad’s tragic accidental death at the age of ten which signifies the end of my childhood and the begin of adulthood that came way to soon. 

Life as I knew it had stopped for me and I lost my hero and best friend that day. There was no professional help to cope with the loss and to this day I don’t think that my Mom ever realized how much my Dad’s death impacted my life. I’m sure she was trying to find her own way of dealing with the loss of her soulmate and now raising me on her own. I would like to think that overall she did a great job and I never got into any serious trouble and grew up with values, a great work ethic and manners. I wonder if that is really what it is all about because despite it being so, I never learned how to actually live and there are no schools that teach you what should be most important. Today and going forward my hunger to live more is greater than ever….

It was many years later that I realized that my childhood died with my Dad. In school I found it hard to relate to other kids and I simple had no place amongst the popular crowds. Not because I was “nerdy” but because I had nothing to share. There were no stories to tell, no adventures of what I did with my Dad last weekend and hearing the other kids talk, was nothing more than a painful reminder that I was alone. Eventually I avoided being around those scenarios and perhaps it was the beginning of my introversion. 

I lost my place in society as the place it offered to me was too painful to be around. Every once in awhile a faint memory of my childhood emerges that somehow had vanished until that moment. As if it was hidden in a way to protect myself from the trauma of my Dad’s death. Maybe it is to be revealed now and maybe my adult self is ready to deal with those moments better than I could at the age of ten. I recall the silly times with my Dad, the carefree moments of just laughing and letting my soul hang loose without fear and constraints. 

Today it is nature and the trail that offers that outlet to me along with a few very special People in my life. It is then and there when that inner child emerges and I hear the voice (literally) coming from within to play, to be silly and to be a part of what will become a lasting special memory. Urging me to drop life and all its seriousness for a moment and instead take as much time as possible to truly be alive. 

Picture from my backyard “Lake Tahoe” ❤️

Posted in Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Inspiration, Life, Loss, My story, Self help, Survival

The first scar…

I don’t remember us leaving my Dad’s place of work and in all honesty I don’t remember much of anything. Perhaps the pain was too great, perhaps I surrendered by letting it engulf me into a soothing blanket of blocked and unaware bliss. I was in shock and to this day only a few details remain, but they are of such crystal clear clarity, you could think it only happened yesterday.I was lying in my grandparents bed, staring at the old cottage cheese texture that was covering the entire ceiling. Starched, crisp white linens with goose feather stuffed pillows and blankets cradled my body in comfort and warmth. Hands folded in prayer, I tried to convince myself that if I prayed to God long enough, asking him at least a hundred times, through begging and clenching my hands together as tight as I could, he would return my Dad and make this nothing more than a horrible nightmare. Of course that was not possible and nothing happened. I still hadn’t cried and no matter how much the internal pain was tearing me apart, I couldn’t produce one single tear. I was overwhelmed with feelings and I suffered through my emotions in silence and alone.

I was wishing my Dad hadn’t agreed to taking over this particular shift he was never suppose to work the begin with. I wished he wouldn’t have agreed so readily and I wished the other person would have worked it as scheduled instead of asking my Dad to cover. There was a brief rush of anger which quickly subsided as I felt ashamed for wishing that there was somebody else in his place, as it would mean that somebody else would have to die. And as much as I wanted my Dad to come back for selfish reasons, I couldn’t carry that burden, wishing bad for another person to be dead in his place. It somewhat amazes me now when I consider the way I was already thinking back then, as I was only ten, as I was only a child.

My maternal grandparents and my Mom were in the next room. I could hear their muffled voices but I wasn’t trying to listen to the conversation. I don’t know if anybody else was there, perhaps my godmother (my Moms sister) or perhaps my paternal grandfather who had to deliver the awful news, I don’t know. Life became pretty serious for me and it all happened pretty quickly. I now feel that it was the end of my childhood and I had to find a way to deal with adult issues of unimaginable consequences. My innocent childhood had not experienced any serious issues until now and was allowed to live carefree. In one instant my protector, my best friend and my hero was gone and everything went up in smoke to vanish from my life. I understood enough of what had happened, but there was no way for me to grasp the severity at that age. I had to become an adult and somewhere there is a little child trapped inside of me who never got to live out her innocent childhood. She surfaces from time to time and even my voice changes as if I was back experiencing those worry free childhood days. All is well, I’m overcome by emotions to witness something grant while not having a single worry in the world. I’m at peace and blissfully I enjoy those short lived moments of which meaning I never shared with anyone and perhaps only I can recognize.

What came next was the funeral and still I did not cry. I heard the pastor read bible versus and talk about my Dad being taken way too soon. I noticed the choir, formed by the village children which I belonged to. Maybe that was my second job, singing at funerals and making a couple pennies, yet never understanding or realizing the pain of the families that we were singing for. It felt strange to be in the other side, to be the one who had lost a loved one. I would never look at this in a way of earning a few pennies again. One by one people started to step up to the grave, throwing dirt and a flower onto the casket that was already lowered. All eyes were on me, who was next to step up and the entire community watched as I said goodbye to my Dad. I wished I would have been alone with him so I could talk to him instead of feeling all the looks burning a hole into my soul. Still not a single tear and for the first time I felt as if society had expectation of me. I let fear creep up about what others may think of me. Wasn’t the expectation that I had to mourn the death of my Dad, wasn’t I suppose to publicly display my pain by weeping out of control? Did it not matter that he was gone, was I not close to him? The thoughts rushed through my mind and of course I knew the answers, but did anybody else? It was the first time I felt I had to justify myself, perhaps explain myself but of course I didn’t do either and simply turned around to step down. My Mom held my hand and while I was looking at her it was the only time that I ever saw her cry.

Her feelings would be under lock for all future to come and we would never ever talk about my Dads death. She grieved alone and I know today she did it, hoping to be strong for me.

For me it was the first scar to cross my heart, my first experience with loss and I was alone to deal with it.