Healing takes time, always. Sometimes it’s hard work. Often, it is painful. Frequently, we feel trapped in the process. This is exactly where I have been these past six months.
Our min-pin, Danielle, got bit by a black widow right between her shoulder blades a few years ago. The toxins ate away at her flesh and worked their way down her spine. She required major surgery to remove the rotting tissue but after ten days with the vet she returned to us. She was scarred horribly, and as time progressed I came to realize that those scars were deeper than just the ones visible along her back. She had always been difficult to manage and impossible to train, but after this experience her idiosyncrasies became full-blown neurosis. Sadly, she just couldn’t adapt to the most recent changes in our family life and we had to let her go. It was sad for all of us, but we were one dog too many and she was obviously unhappy.
Over these past few months I have felt much like Danielle. I felt as if life had bit me hard, leaving me scarred more deeply than I had originally imagined. I have questioned my ability to heal, recover, pick myself and move on. Like Danielle, I realized I wasn’t adapting well to my new situation, and like Danielle, I just wanted to hide in the closet. Everyday seemed to bring a new reminder of what I had lost and I felt as if nothing had replaced that. My new life seemed to daily open up all my old scars and I went into emotional overload.
I have prided myself on living my life without regret and without fear, and for the first time in my life, I was feeling both. Somewhere along the line, life had become something that happened to me and not something I made happen. For me, this was insufferable and I found myself suffocated and immobilized. Like Danielle, I just felt like one dog too many with too many issues to adapt. I had lost that feeling of purpose, design, and significance in the world. I couldn’t write and every time I tried to do something creative or productive it felt as if it was a mockery of who I had become. Inside I was screaming, “THIS IS NOT WHO I AM!”
As I sit writing this I am acutely aware that I am not yet through this journey of painful self-doubt and grief. However, there is a sense of destiny and purpose arising inside of me. I told the boys as we were packing up the house in Jacksonville that I felt as if I was supposed “to bring pretty to Amber’s life.” This I have done, putting her loved objects in places of honor in the house and mixing them with a few of my own. I have dug candles out of drawers, lighting them often in the evening. I plan to put together for her something fabulous from all her pictures that are hiding away in boxes for her Christmas present. She has struggled over the years in many ways and the little niceties of life were pushed aside. I am glad I can bless her for a time with my knack for style, grace and ease.
I believe also that Richard and I needed this time of proximity. We needed to work through some lingering resentments and learn how to be the friends we once were to each other. This continues to be a work in progress but each day it gets a little bit easier, for me at least. Each little pang over a thoughtless gesture or harsh word brings in it’s wake the action of letting go and the healing runs a little deeper each time. As I find myself desperately trying to regroup, gather my courage and step forth, I have begun to do what I have done so many times before. I am repeating the serenity prayer and doing what my hand finds to do.
Yesterday, I cleaned the living and dining room, moving things around to make them a little more user friendly and to make room for the Christmas tree. When Amber and Richard got home the house glowed and smelled like jasmine and freesia. The chicken for pollo fricase was cooking in the stock pot and the house felt like love as music played through the television. I felt good about that. I also have worked on my blog.
I have migrated all of the entries on “The House That Wisdom Built” series to a new blog site with that name. You can find it here: http://thehousethatwisdombuilt.wordpress.com/ Please, keep in mind this is a work in progress and I welcome feedback! I am going to continue to develop that series using the same format, as well as adding some new things as well. (Spoiler Alert: Recipes coming soon!) Rhodalea’s Blog will continue to be a point of reference for my ruminations on ideas, or thoughts that inspire me, or aggravate me, so stay tuned. However, please check out my new blog site, “The House That Wisdom Built” for all things having to do with hearth and home. And, once again, I purpose to write more regularly, posting at last weekly. Of one thing I am certain. I have gifts to give and something to say that will bless and minister to others.