It was a beautiful sunny day as we headed out for our walk.. I could feel her skipping along beside me as we walked. For some reason it was annoying me. I allowed this for a time, and then I said “you know we have to get back to work”. “We took time off to look after Mom but this can’t go on forever. I have allowed you to have some time off, but now it is time to get back to it.”
I heard an incredulous voice say, “You call that time off”.
I ignored it. I was filled with agitation and had been applying for jobs, but there was an economic downturn where I lived. Even though I was sending out resumes, there were not a lot of bites. If I got an interview, I felt as though my heart wasn’t in it. I knew even in the interviews that I wasn’t giving it my all, but somehow I felt powerless. It was such an uncommon feeling for me, I was usually able to pull it together on command, but I have to say I was really struggling.
I didn’t know if it was grief or just what it was, but I needed for it to be over. FEAR was starting to grip me. Paralyzing FEAR, it would just grip me until I could feel the panic building and was unable to function. I knew it was irrational, we were absolutely fine. We were more than fine, so fortunate really. But I couldn’t rid myself of it’s paralyzing grip. There was no pressure, the only pressure was from myself. My head would spin, applying for one job after another. Panic building.
I felt her slow down, and the mood definitely took a change. We walked for a bit, and then I saw myself at about twelve coming back from a birthday sleepover. I had walked home with my sleeping bag, trudging through the snow. A little begrudgingly, it appeared. It seemed as though I was in a bit of a mood too. Mad that I couldn’t be picked up like the other girls, we didn’t have a car. Just plain jealous, it would seem. I walked into the house, to find Mom in a bit of a panic. The utilities apparently had been cut off, and she was trying to sort it out. Immediate anger enveloped me. I went to the bedroom, and cried, really cried and then I railed at him. ‘You are so selfish, how could you leave her to have to deal with everything on her own.” “I absolutely HATE you, but you know what we don’t need you”. Then I sobbed, this is the only time that I recall letting myself completely release.
It was a bit of a rocky year, as I watched Mom try to get things straightened out. We moved out of our house, and moved to one apartment after another for a bit. I knew things were very tight, and it filled me with fear. I was thirteen, and I got a weekend job as a shampoo girl. I started to pay for my own clothing, school books, and pitch in to the household. I did what I could to help, and was always watching for what was needed. I did not want for her to have to struggle again. NOT EVER AGAIN. And I was true to my word, always on high alert to make sure things were okay for her.
Tears started to fall as this memory came to me. I could feel the FEAR surging, and just wanted to sit for a time. I headed to the riverbank, and felt her sit down beside me. “What do I do with this fear”, I said. And I heard the tiniest voice say, “You sit with it and let yourself feel it, then let it go”. “You have never just sat with it, and let it move through you”.
When we got up to head home, I felt exhausted. Sitting in FEAR was not very comfortable to me. Allowing it was exhausting.
And then, I felt her little hand clasp mine and she said, “You had love right?, A home that has love is not broken”. “It was never broken, you just thought it was”. And HE had his own problems, maybe he just didn’t have enough fight to help himself.
It was quiet for a long time, and then I heard a little voice say. “I loved him”. “I really loved him, and so did you”.
I had no words to respond, I was exhausted. We just walked hand in hand all the way home.