Who Am I

Sep 19, 2012 by

Who Am I

I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a woman, a girl, a writer.  But I am no longer a wife.

Five years ago the rug was yanked out from underneath me. Much like the magic trick when the magician pulls the table cloth off of the table and all of the dishes somehow magically remain on top. Except in my case, most all the dishes, the glassware and even the silverware came crashing down to the ground. Some shattered in hundreds of pieces, unable to be reassembled and put back together.  Some simply cracked and worth a second look. And some of them are remarkably whole, but I am not quite sure where they should be placed back up on the table.

It’s a strange feeling, being complete but still feeling the missing pieces.  My marriage, my husband, my confidant are gone.  I have tried filling them in with different experiences, places, people, things…it doesn’t really work that well.

What I have discovered is that I have to accept the broken pieces, throw them away and introduce newer, better parts into my life.  Things will get taken away from us, so that we may be able to keep ourselves open to picking up the pieces that aren’t broken, fixing some of the pieces that are broken and throwing away what we can’t salvage.

I am still a mother (a great one, if I do say so myself), a daughter (a decent one), a friend (I do my best)…and all of those other things. Now it is time to create the rest of myself. What does that look like?  I want to help others who have experienced loss, disappointment and far too many broken pieces. I want to enjoy this last year with my daughter at home. I want to travel and experience all that is waiting for me. I have come to realize that although I have some broken parts (who doesn’t?) I am still whole.

We all travel as tourists through this crazy thing called life.  The more we look at it as an adventure, the healthier we become.  I have no regrets about the past decisions and choices and experiences that I have had. I have faith that there is a reason for all of it. And it is faith that will keep me on my path. The path that is unseen but is there for me to continue travelling upon.  The people I am going to meet that will help me change my life, as I help them change theirs for the better.  The prayers I put out into the world, not only for myself, but for everyone who is suffering one way or another.  I know suffering.  Just start picking up the pieces, a day at at time. Don’t forget the most important person in the equation YOU!

What helps?  Meditation helps ease anxiety, I’ve learned that and it’s amazing.  Sitting quietly and listening to beautiful music, bringing peace into my heart and finding some sacred space.  It used to sound so funny to me, but it times of true strife and loss, it works beautifully.    I have a long journey ahead of me.  We’ll see what happens along the way.   But with friends and faith, it just may turn out better than I thought.

I may try to pull the tablecloth next year, again, and see what happens.

Catherine Graves

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How Can a Bookstore Make Your Heart Ache?

Nov 1, 2010 by

How Can a Bookstore Make Your Heart Ache?

I’d had a trip to a bookstore planned, and John suddenly decided he wanted to accompany me. In the old days I would have been thrilled. A little trip out could have wound up in a surprise intimate dinner, a hike up a little secluded ridge, almost anything. But this request made my chest feel tight. To heck with it. I shook it off. It was a good sign that John wanted to get away from the house for a bit. Maybe we were edging a little closer to normal normal.We made it to the store incident free. All right, I thought. This is good. This is sweet. John’s movements weren’t exactly fluid (he’d had some trouble getting into the car), but he was good enough for a bookstore. I stayed alongside him, though, not freewheeling through the place as I once would have. John suddenly stopped in front of one particular section sign. He looked at it for a moment or two, then back to me.“What is fiction?” he asked, genuinely puzzled. “What does that mean?”I felt the question register in my eyes, in the muscles of my face. “Fiction is stories, hon. Not actual stories, but made up.”He held a book of fiction (to this day I think I refuse to remember the author or title) in his hand and looked at it like it was some arcane object. Eventually, I took it from him and placed it back on the shelf. I didn’t realize he was looking at my face the entire time.He said, “I’m sorry you’re sad.”And, of course, I was. I could tell by the expression on his face that he could pair that emotion with the look on my face, but didn’t really know what it meant, and couldn’t feel that sensation himself.I’m never surprised that I learn a thing or two in a bookstore. But this time it was learned not by words read in a book, but by two faces being read by two now very different people.

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©2010 Catherine Graves

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