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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Hey Auntie,
How are you? How’s heaven?

Boy, I sure do miss you. A lot has happened since you left, and I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could just call and talk to you. Or come over to your house so we could play Monopoly and eat potato bread with butter. I’d even be willing to sleep on that old cot next to your bed again. Just to be next to you. Hold your hand till I fall asleep, like I used to when I was little. Have you draw on my back and say, “It’s something that runs across the road…”

Sometimes, if I listen hard enough, I can almost hear you say, “Hey, Kar.” Almost.

I hate that we don’t get to hang out. It’s been almost 10 years and sometimes it still feels like yesterday. Grief is a tricky thing, you know? Life goes on, but at the same time, we’ve all lost something. You were a huge piece of my puzzle, and most days, I can see the whole picture. But some days, the hole is so big I don’t know how to fill it.

Today is one of those days.

There is so much I want to tell you! I’m engaged. His name is Cody, and he came along when I least expected it. Guess that’s what love does, right? Shows up when you think you’ve sworn it off forever — becomes more than you’ve ever hoped for. I know you’d really like him. I think that’s what really gets me, you know? That you’ll never meet him. That he’ll never get to meet you. I have these moments, and he holds me. And all I can think is, this sucks. Two of my favorite people in the whole wide world and they don’t get to meet? How fair is that?

I want you to be at the wedding. I want you to be there when we have kids. I want you to be there to make cut-out cookies with your great nieces and nephews. (Okay, maybe not plurals but you never know! Verdict is still out on that one.) I want you to be here so we can have a glass of wine and really chat about life. I want to go for a walk with you, the way you and my mom used to. I want to take a drive in the hills. Or make a big bowl of popcorn and watch a cheesy Hallmark movie together. I want you to be here so I can hear your voice again – really. And give you a great big hug.

I want you to be here.

God, I wish you were.

It’s hard for me to watch or read anything associated with cancer. Sometimes I cry — at times just a little, other times a lot. It makes me so sad to see that kind of suffering, to be reminded that’s why you’re gone.

But I’m glad you’re with your best friend. I’m sure you guys are up there having a grand old time. And while I have some things I’d still like to do down here (more like a lot) I find comfort in knowing we’ll be together again someday. For God is not a God of destruction — but of hope and of love. He loved us enough to give us that gift, and He loved me enough to give me you.

I feel like I was so young when you died. Of course, at the time I thought I could conquer the world. Graduating high school? I was an adult for sure. But, the truth was, I didn’t know what that all entailed. I had a lot to experience. Places to go. People to meet. Heartaches to have. Growing up to do. Hard lessons to learn. I am far from the girl I was when you were here. But, I have held onto the important parts. Parts like you.

You were the mom I needed, when I didn’t like my own. Which is easy to do when you’re a teenager. You’ll be happy to know my mom is my best friend now. And we miss you together. I wish you and I had the chance to have the same kind of mature, honest, relationship now. But I want you to know you changed my life. And you will forever be that person. My role model. My crying shoulder. My hideaway. You let me be myself, and you were always there for me no matter what. You loved me unconditionally. You loved me like a daughter. You took me places. You made me feel valued. You made me feel special. You helped me believe in myself. You showed me that God should always come first — to have love in order to give love.

I’ll always remember you and Danny’s Bibles sitting open on the kitchen table. You planted seeds in my life, just by being you.

I want to thank you for loving me. For being my Aunt. For being the kind-hearted, caring, person you were. For laughing. For farting. For playing Christmas Trivia in the car. Pretty sure we knew every answer to Carols and Songs. For playing Scrabble with me. For making cut-out cookies with me, even when you were leaving for Christmas. For spending Thanksgivings with us. For your homemade pumpkin pies. For giving me a home away from home. For coming to my piano recitals, choir concerts, soccer games, and track meets. For seeing me off to prom my junior year. For taking me places — calling me on a whim and asking if I wanted to go shopping in Loveland for the weekend or ride with you to Sioux Falls. For playing cards with me. For being that cool Aunt who wanted to hang out with me. No matter how young or uncool I probably was. For taking me to church. For singing me songs. For rubbing my back. For listening. For laughing. For filling my life with happy memories I will never forget.

I love you so very much. And as much as I wish you were here, now and in the future, I am forever grateful for all the time we got to spend together. You made an ever-lasting impact on my life. Who I was, who I became, who I am, and who I have yet to be. I won’t ever forget you. I hope I’m half the woman you were “when I grow up.”

Now you are among the angels, and forever one in my heart.

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A Hearty Cup of 2016

This year was like an exceptional cup of coffee — The fragrant aroma that lends itself to a close your eyes, inhale deep, kind of breath. The bright and lively flavor. The sharp, yet delicate, way each sip dances on your palette.

I got engaged to the love of my life, experienced two job changes, and in the process, was able to get to know “me” better than I ever have.

At the end of each year, it seems people are inclined to do away with the old and focus on what is yet to come. The promise of new beginnings, unknown adventures, hidden opportunities, a clean slate. And while I am excited for what 2017 has to bring, I have learned that every day is a chance to discover something new about yourself, to fall deeper in love, to cherish time with family, and to invest in the friendships you couldn’t live without. Sometimes, I am so overwhelmed by the people I am blessed to know and the opportunities I have been given, it brings me to tears.

That moment I get to look in Cody’s eyes and say, “I can’t even tell you how much I love you.” It’s one of those too good to be true kind of feelings, except it’s never been truer than it is now. Love has never been like this — this real. this vulnerable. this transparent. this joyful. this safe.

We have chosen each other this year — as best friends, partners, and lovers. To be by each other’s side through all of life’s adversities and it’s joys. To accept who we are and who we’ve yet to become. To complement each other as we face this life together. To put each other first and trust in God to guide our future.

I prayed for this my whole life, and often wondered when God was going to deliver. And while it was definitely a lot later than I hoped, I have to say what I have always known to be true — God’s plan is perfect. He reminds me of that every day as I have to continually learn to trust in Him.

I took a leap of faith this fall and transitioned in a job based primarily on commission. It was challenging, emotionally draining, and yet, very rewarding in my quest to discover my passion. I discovered how amazing flexibility and working from home can be, at the same time, had to surrender some of my independence with the loss of a steady income. My brokenness is also my comfort — turns out I can’t do everything alone, as much as I wish I could. And there is a humbleness that comes from not getting to expect what comes next. To trust that God is our Provider. And I have so enjoyed the freedom rest and reflect. It has been such a blessing to spend time on me in the midst of all the changes this year has brought. I look forward to continuing to carve out that solace as I go back to working full time.

My family continues to be my foundation, and while we’ve all experienced some trying times this year, the guarantee we have is always each other. My parents are two of my best friends — the couple Cody and I spend the most time hanging out with. We do “Survivor” nights every Wednesday — watching Survivor when it’s on TV, and always enjoying a meal and a bottle of wine together. It is time I treasure, and am blessed that Cody loves that tradition as much as I do. It’s amazing how the older I get, the closer me and my parents become. Too bad high school me didn’t figure it out sooner — they’re pretty amazing individuals. And my little brother, although he lives in Sioux Falls, is the link that ties us all together. Getting to spend a week together over Christmas was not long enough. It’s hard to say goodbye every time, as I wish he could be here to hang out with on a regular basis. We all have each other’s back. We cry together, laugh together, and face every obstacle as a family.

And my friends — where do I begin? In planning this wedding, it’s been such a joy to ask my nearest and dearest to be a part of our special day. And while they’ve said yes to standing by my side, I really have to thank them, as well as a handful of others, for being there for me for many years past. There is something to be said for people who have seen you at your darkest and believed in you enough to not only help you find your way, but continue to be there no matter how long it takes. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my friends. You are my extended family, my lifeline, my heart.

And so tonight, as I have the privilege to celebrate with some of those friends as we say goodbye to 2016, I will hold all of these things close. To taste the complexity of this past year, the changes that are yet to come, and constants I will carry with me when they do. This is a full and abundant life. And I couldn’t be more grateful.

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I Know It Well.

There is a place that still belongs to you, a reminder for my still fractured heart.

A friend recently told me she still cries, sometimes, when she thinks of her first fiancé. A love that was but wasn’t: enough, whole, right. A happy marriage and two beautiful kids will never erase what once was. For memories are merely wrinkles etched upon your soul. Pieces of a past that will forever influence your present and your future.

There is a place that still belongs to you, at 3 AM when nothing make sense.

A dream for the nights I miss you. That soft voice and steady laugh. Mornings wrapped up in your arms. The way I feel you touch me there. Again. Again. Again. The best I’ve ever had. The worst I’ve ever had. A nightmare for the nights I hate you. The lies you whispered like sweet nothings to disguise the other women in your head, in your bed. I fall back asleep praying to forget you.

There is a place that still belongs to you, a lesson I’m still learning.

A never ending supply of writing material. The book I have yet to write. Someday I’ll plaster you across chapters. Someday I’ll categorize our failures into lovely phrases more constructive than our conversations. I’ll make love to you in words, and in the same breath, I’ll tear you apart syllable by syllable. There are no promises to be made for treating our story with grace. The same way you broke every promise you ever made.

There is a place that will always belong to you, a reminder of what love isn’t.

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This town is full of too many loves that never were
Familiar faces are only fragments of what I’ve tried to forget
Close enough to want inside of everything but my heart
But hearts are givers without choice
I believed I deserved better before I met you
Now I hardly believe in myself
And the ability to love again

Giving works until there’s nothing left
Just the memory of what I wished had always been
The fairy tale I grew up believing in
The one with the Prince who saved her
The knight who said she was the only one
I’m Cinderella without a fairy godmother
My hand of cards is missing a chance

I listen to Dixie Chicks radio when I’m sad
You’ve ruined everything for everyone
Who has tried to steal my heart away
And sometimes I wake up crying at night
The hurting is always all mine
I pray to be set free so
Goodbye Earl or whatever your name is

I thought mistakes were just moments
Not the prologue to the rest of my life
I wish I could love him the way I loved you
Twice the man and an even better friend
I can’t imagine the heartache if you had cared
I’m still picking up the pieces
Of a love we never had

This town is full of too many loves that never were.

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Explosions in the sky sounds like you —that easy silence, every breath telling me you felt it too. I hear tears next to memories of all the things we used to do. And, still it calms me. The soft ebb and flow of the chords singing syllables only known to me. And, once to you. Music isn’t the same without you. It’s been years and last week was the first Bon Iver has once again come through my speakers. It doesn’t hurt the way it used to. Just lost, like having a home you no longer know the way back to. Your favorite highway, divided, widened, made public. Nothing is sacred once it’s shared. Never the same the second time, the last time. 
The first time I fell in love I was young, naïve. I’m not sure I even knew what it meant. Different is frightening at 17. Easier to run 700 miles away, pretend reality was only make believe. Love is just a a fairytale until you’re ready.
The last time I fell in love was messy. The way your room feels after a trip. Dirty laundry and unpacked memorabilia strewn across the floor. It’s home, just not clean. You can’t live this way for long, even though you want to. Even though it’s easier to ignore. But love should never be lazy, never feel like a chore.  
Sometimes I think about you, when I’m with him. His tongue moves differently than yours did. He doesn’t know how I like it in bed. Like the time, with the scarf, on the chair. Maybe that’s why you’re meant to be with one person that way. Intimacy is hard to erase. You miss this. Compare that. Start thinking I’m not over it all over again.  
Again, and again. You’re expected to play the game but nobody tells you how many losses you’re going to take when you start. The more I try the less I know. The more I see the less I want to be anything but alone. I’m honest. Too honest. And I’m scared the one person who gets that about me will be the only one who ever will. 10 years and I still want to look to him for advice, for approval, for relief. The pause when nothing else makes sense. He is my late night conversation and my phone call home. The one I think about when I can’t think anymore. Something to hang onto, that song you’ll always remember because of the memories you’ll never forget. Never regret.

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The adolescent mischief of notes
passed and intercepted
looks of girls who never even
knew my name
on your lips
a question
Can you sing?
Back to the memories we made
a beautiful and desperate
search for more than we ever
knew we would
be together
forever
friends

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The last words you ever said to me are saved to my phone. Five sentences. Sixty-two words. Eighty-seven syllables. Less than a hundred ways to signify our thousands of days together.

You used to be a constant, and now months pass by without a thought of you.

Standing in the middle of a crowded coffee shop, singing the songs you wrote about me. Something about seashells and adolescent hopes I’ve long ago forgetten. Washed away with the fading memory of what was, what will never be again. The late night Skype sessions, characterized by hours of conversation and a shedding of clothes in our later days. Nothing was ever frightening with you. The familiarity of wrapping up in your arms. The tears you never ran from. The loss you helped me through. Love was what made us work. Unconditionally real, through good times and bad. Bible verses or cuss words. Music or silence.

You were my best friend.

Now, a memory. One that resurfaces when least expected. I’ve never been hit with a ton of bricks, but I imagine the expression signifies the way this feels. I close my eyes, as if the wind has been knocked out me, and it all comes rushing back in. Who you were to me. What conversation meant to us. When everything was different. Where it all began. How loving you felt.

We fell in love at the wrong times, all at once. And I’m so grateful for that. You showed me what it means to truly let someone in. To the deepest parts of your soul. The places that no one wants to expose, but the ones that really matter most. You let me know it’s okay to trust someone down there. And how people can breathe in more understanding than you ever thought possible. You showed me how to love someone for who they are, not who they might be. You loved me in spite of myself, when I least deserved it. We fought for each other, so I fought to let you go.

I now know you can love someone so much it hurts (each other). Sometimes it’s not healthy to keep things forever. Even security blankets are eventually outgrown. And yes, perhaps, the world is at first a little scarier. Sadder. But I learned something in your absence. The ability to stand on my own two feet. To move forward toward new memories and conversations and songs. To love the wrong way. To come home at night bawling without anyone to talk to about it. To move on. To let our past push me into my future.

You said, then, You deserve someone who can play all the roles he’s supposed to.

Three years later, I still don’t know what that looks like. But I want to thank you for showing me a glimpse.

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