Greetings from Louisville, KY! We were not swept into the clouds by the amazing winds that lashed across this part of the world today. On the contrary, the sky was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. We had a great time with our friends Rada and Doug, and their two little kids. They have a beautiful home in northwestern Indiana. When we woke up, the rain was blowing sideways. That didn't seem like the good time to depart, so we hung out for a while, and let the weather blow on by. That was fine. It was nice to take it slow. We finally hit the road around 11 and escaped the worst of the weather apparently. We got in to Louisville and hit super walmart for a couple of things, checked in to our hotel, then hit the town for some dinner. We're now holed up in our hotel room without movies trying to find cable shows appropriate for the whole family... not an easy thing.
Ali did great for most of the day... till she hit the nap wall at Walmart. It came out of nowhere. Do your kids hit the wall out of the blue, or do they give you some kind of warning? Anyway, Ali lost her marbles over the the fact that mommy scanned her new headphones on the self serve check out machine. Apparently Ali wanted to do it, and that's all it took... meltdown, COMMENCE! Ah, it's okay. We're asking a lot of her to roll with so many punches and not lose it now and again. One meltdown a day is JUST FINE.
Regarding the Bella Gatherings, we received a whopping 7 RSVPS for NC, 4 for TX, and 5 for AZ. Somehow, these numbers don't add up for me given how many people from each city have followed Bella's journey for so long. So, I'm going to put it up again tonight and if you responded last night, DON'T respond tonight. I'm going to run the survey for the next couple of days, so we hope to hear back from a few more of you!
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As I type, I notice that there isn't the pain in my heart that usually accompanied me while I posted during Bella's fight in the ICU. I miss that pain. I feel lost. I relied on that pain. It made me feel 'on purpose.' While we wander across these beautiful states, I struggle when I peer past the next turn in the road. I find that each day, I am being pulled more and more back into the future. What I mean by that is this: When we were in MN, it was very much one day at a time, and while that is a nice cliche, it was really practical. Now we need to manage upcoming events, travel, holidays, etc. These things get scheduled in the future, and they need to be scheduled and managed so that things don't fall through cracks. I feel myself torn between feeling able to just jump back into the rat race, and unwilling to go back to the grind just yet. The present is a dreamlike state of peace and serenity, even when events that are difficult to face are upon me. However, the future harbors anxiety, and the past harbors regret and/or guilt.
I feel guilty that I am able to start focusing on other tasks, like I'm already over Bella. I feel bad when I feel bad, and I feel guilty when I feel good. That's a drag. It's not always this way, but I just feel in limbo. The other feeling I deal with is relief. I am relieved in a way that Bella's pain and suffering is over, and I am relieved that Ang's and my pain and suffering is over as well. It is commonplace for caregivers to feel relief after the death of a loved one, and many people struggle with this feeling, as if it is a bad thing. I know it's not a bad thing, and I have to remind myself not to feel bad to feel relieved.
There are no answers to it all, just moments in time and spaces of emotion to move through and experience. That is the point of it all... to experience 'it.' Ever see those ebay commercials where they featured 'it' in all different shapes and sizes? That's life. It is meant to be experienced in all different shapes and sizes, and the big lesson is that there is no "SHOULD" to any of it. Life is. Period. I really work hard to live this way, and I notice that I am so baffled by life sometimes. I accept life as it comes at me the best I can; it seems easier than resisting it. I find that I have very little bitterness in this model, and I am grateful to be bitterness-free.
Alright alright, that's enough for tonight. Do you struggle with the word, "Should?" Where is should preventing you from fully experiencing life just as it is?
I love you guys.
Ali's fabulous socks of the day... Arsenal Football Club!
Bella partying with daddy at our friend's son's birthday party back in October of last year.