Learning to Carry On

Dear Paul, I did it. I finally wrote the book I told you I have been meaning to write since you died. I’m calling it “Breaking the Bend.” It only took Susan dying to remind me that I didn’t have all the time in the world to finish it and that some stories are ready and waiting to be told. I still have so much more of your story to write. I still have so much of mine. I’m still not sure how to carry on. It’s been over two years since I wrote that first letter to you. Slinky …

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Georgia On My Mind

I left Georgia behind with a sense of yearning and relief. As I passed Atlanta, I tuned into a country music station on the radio and my tears flowed freely on that sunny day. I was leaving behind a home that was not my own. I kept thinking of Susan and the prayer that rose to my lips. With the taste of my tears I leave your body behind But somehow in the sunshine I know I am taking you with me. It was all that I could do. Take this road home and take her with me. I passed …

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Exiting Earth

I was back in the hospital room, waiting with the rest of the family. Melissa’s husband, Terry, had come to be supportive and they had run out for dinner and come back. I imagined that Melissa was loathe to leave because she was being told that it would be any time now. She had gone by my dad’s house during that time to find the dress Susan wanted to be buried in as well as pick up a few of her bibles and devotionals. David was going through the book reading scriptures she had underlined and quotes she had written …

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Adult Shoes

I saw my phone light up without a ring while I sat waiting at the bus stop after my therapy appointment.  Those sessions always drained me and I didn’t really want to answer the phone. But looking at the caller-id  I didn’t have anything else I was doing and I’d been avoiding the phone for far too long. “Hello,” I said, pressing the little black rectangle against the side of my head. “Hey there, girl,” he responded. I could hear the slur in his words and I knew he had been drinking again. “Did I catch you at a good …

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Life As the Villian

It was another hard run today. This time I ate dinner first and fought the lack of inertia to stay on the couch reading a fantasy book about a beauty and beast retelling. “It’s just two miles today,” I told myself. Worn out from the constant sticky, sick-state July has been putting me into both physically and emotionally each daily run felt like it was getting progressively harder. “You’re almost there,” I told myself as I looked at the end of the month on the calendar; as if the end of the month would herald new beginnings and a fresh …

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Liquid Language

Swimming, my old friend, it’s good to see you again. It’s been months since we last had a talk, and I feel like I’ve been able to slip into your rhythm like a hypnotizing dance. I forget how much water is a catalyst for the words to bubble up into the surface of my mind. I was only five minutes into swimming laps when I was overwhelmed with the sensation of being pushed into my past. Remembering the tears that would well up in my eyes because it had only been two months since my brother died, and during that …

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Behind the Curtain

 I found myself laughing out loud at the predicament of my Florida friend. “Now she’s sobbing between songs.” Sideways glances on the bus directed towards my quiet chuckles and shaking shoulders made me laugh even more. Yes, I was chuckling at the discomfort of a child being structured to practice her violin by her father. She had forgotten to log her time and he made her go back into the bathroom where she could see her posture in the mirror and practice the songs on her list. First she started to rebel by saying her fingers hurt, and dad had …

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Present Future

I’m having a hard time. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day 2014. It would have been Paul’s 28th birthday. Would have been. I had the opportunity to play music with two wonderful ladies up near the Washington/Canadian border this past weekend. On Saturday we made our way back from our gig at the church to the beautiful bed and breakfast that Jean discovered for our after party of wine, cheese, crackers and other little bits of food to nosh on. Sonya was passing on tidbits of wisdom when she said words that chimed against my heart. “There is no future in our …

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Playing the Rest

“Who do you talk to when you want to remember?” I asked him. I was on my long bus ride home, face glued to my phone screen chatting with a friend in Florida through the wonders of technology. He had been a friend of my brother’s when they were in the Army. They had been stationed in South Korea together but I had never met him until Paul’s funeral. While that whole day was a blur I do remember greeting him and his wife at that time, but I don’t think I was much for socializing at that point. Somehow …

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Ashes and Dust

“Your father finally sent me half of your brother’s ashes,” my mom told me. It was a surreal kind of phone call. My puddle jumper plane from Long Beach had just landed at Sea-Tac airport on Thanksgiving evening. I had just stepped off the ladder and onto the tarmac to await my checked bag and turned on my phone. As soon as the screen turned on and connected to the network I had “Mom” appearing on my screen silently. “Hello, Mom!” I answered. My mom and I don’t talk often. Before Paul died we spoke even less. However, she was …

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