Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

I Have A Box

In this box, I keep important objects…things.   I bought it after our house burnt down while I was in college.  We – I – lost so many things.  The truly important, the really irreplaceable, my family, were safe but the pictures, mementos, the love notes never sent, the mixed tapes received…those items are lost to the ever fading, untrustworthy, memory.
So, I bought a box to hold the precious items hence forth.  It is supposed to keep them safe from flood or fire, mudslide and the decaying power of sunlight.  It does indeed keep those things safe, but it also protects me.
Today, I opened the box to go through and clean it out.  The time had come to face what was precious and now only causes pain.
The love notes that mean nothing now.  The photographs where we looked happy.  The rocks picked up while on vacations.  They are all gone. They aren’t what hurts any more.
It’s the cards from Granny.  It’s the notes from Do asking me to re-think going away, telling me she loves me – something that seems so difficult to do vocally.  It’s the pamphlets from funerals of people sorely missed.
All of these items – the memories – are in the box.  The box protects me from the onslaught.  It keeps those feelings fresh and present, but locked away. They wait for when I’m ready to see them again.
For a long time, I’ve avoided the box because of what I was afraid of: the memories of a love that has been no more for quite some time.  Now, cleansed of that which didn’t last, I can look at the box and know it holds so much more. 
It holds pieces that are missing.  It holds pieces that should be brought out on occasion and remembered. 
It holds parts of me.

Chasing My Moment or I Want To Always Know That It Happened

I have regrets – we all do.  We learn from them and, if we are lucky, don’t repeat them.

I, sadly, am a repeat offender.  Granted, while my offenses of being a chicken and afraid of hurting people are lessening in their severity, I am still guilty.
“Charge her with cowardice in the 3rd degree – probation with time served.” (I really need to stop watching Law and Order when I write on Sunday mornings, but dang it if the analogy works!). My rap sheet – okay, that’s the last law reference…PROMISE! – is pretty impressive.  It goes back to my teenage years when many of my peers were also in the midst of being awkward and lame.

Some of us just never really get too far from that state of strange – me being one of them.
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Letting The Words Flow

I have tried this several times, and each version of this post has wallowed in self pity, whined about the unknown, and never really said what was on my mind.

Free flow writing, here we come.
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Self Realization via High School Football Game Time With Kiddos

Like all of my posts, this is the up-teenth time I’ve started writing.  It keeps changing with every edit, whole paragraphs of text being erased and square one becomes the starting point…AGAIN!

So, here we are….again….trying to put into words what is in my head.
There lies the problem: my head.
My mind is a runner.  It constantly goes from point A to Z and back again.  Exercise, reading, drawing – all these things help slow it down, but it doesn’t really stop.  It’s not like my attention can’t be held – I stay focused, it’s that I over think.
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Early Morning, Driving Through Clouds, With My Mind Wandering

Yesterday, I left for my first 5k at the bright and early time of 6:30am.  I was heading to meet my friends and start a new chapter in my transformation from a person who hated (and I mean HATED!) running into a person that looks forward to her feet hitting the pavement, when my mind began to wander (yes, as it is prone to do).

While driving through clouds (“fog” is just too boring of a description don’t you think?), I was thinking about how much of a coward I am.  I let moments slip by until at last faced with a “do it now or it may be over” kind of mentality which is both insane and, I think, very human.

Most of us go through our days trying so hard to do our best.  The best for our jobs, our families, our friends, heck, even ourselves.  At the end of the day, I think it’s easier for our minds to look at the problems of the moment and not recall painful lessons already learned.  It’s easier to be afraid of failure and miss an opportunity than to remember all those other moments that hurt, or paid off, at cost.  It’s easier to forget how you promised yourself never to let a chance to tell someone you care about them, then to remember how much your heart broke when a loved one passed away.  We are creatures of the moment, but sometimes, when it’s quiet and we let our minds wander, we remember…..

Yesterday, I remembered and, for once, I didn’t cry.
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Attack of the Random Writing!

I’ve been afraid of loss.
Loss of friendships, loss of love, loss of dreams –
Keep the status quo and lose nothing.
Risk everything?
I did
And I lost.
In that loss, I gained –
Surprised that the equation worked that way.
Keep the status quo and lose nothing?
Risk everything!
Soon enough.

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