Archive | May, 2011

Finding Peace

10 May

Part of the reason I write this blog is for myself but I mostly write for Abigail. She is so small and wonderful and everything seems to be happening so fast. Perhaps one day she will be still again and will climb into my lap and ask what she was like as a baby and I’ll have some stories to tell her about growing up on the Oregon coast. Ones that aren’t hard to remember and in pieces, but whole ones that have been saved because I took this time to flesh them out. Or maybe one day an adult Abigail will ask me if she should take a great opportunity which means following an unknown path and she will find strength knowing that her parents once took a similar risk.

But the other reason I write and post is to stay connected. To say the things that I might if I were still there. Because somehow these people I have met along the way have become part of who I am without even realizing it.

And then I’m sure there are people that read my posts and think I need to just put a sock in it and get on with my life. And that’s fine, too. Maybe I do. But those people have probably never lived in Virginia and then moved to Oregon. It would be tough for anyone.

But when I sit down to try and pinpoint what exactly is so different I have trouble. Appalachian Mountains – Cascade Mountains. Atlantic – Pacific. Deciduous Trees – Evergreen Trees. Sweet Tea – Chai Tea. At first it seems like there aren’t many differences at all because the differences aren’t in the physical things. People say Oregon is a beautiful state and it is. But so is Virginia. The real difference lies in the state of mind. The attitude. So it’s been an adjustment to the openess, the informality, and the free spiritedness.

To some, changing is a sign of weakness. To me, it is a great challenge of strength. I will never stray so far from the core of who I am that I lose my sense of self. (I will probably never have a compost pile and I will always secretly want an Amstel Light.) But the challenge we all face is to realize that we can only become the best version of ourselves by being open to new experiences. To allow change to happen when it should.

Life here isn’t all tears and sadness. In fact, my car (okay minivan but I’m still in denial about that) now proudly sports an Oregon license plate and you know what, I like it. The Oregon license plate is quite nice. And fortunately – so are the people. I’m lucky they put up with an uptight east coaster like me.  I’ll find my peace.  I always do.  This time I just happen to have a lot of people helping me out both near and far – stranger and friend.



7 May

One year ago I sat in the Lynchburg ER listening to the doctor tell me I was being admitted to the hospital and was scheduled for surgery in the morning, Mother’s Day.

My mom and sister had driven up as soon as they heard what was happening. And suddenly there I was wheeled up to general surgery floor with my mom and Ryan taking Abigail home and my sister telling me she was staying. The surgery went fine and in 24 hours I was home. Not healed, but better.

Abigail woke up at 1:30 last night. I sat in the dark, rocking her as I had done so many times before. I could feel her precious head nestled in the spot between my shoulder and my neck. My smush. These moments are so fleeting now that I was peaceful with the knowledge I was still needed this way. I sat there and my heart became very quiet. Then wide awake with the realization of the parallel track my life seemed to be on.

Last year I just wanted to know when. If I could just know when Ryan would pack that last piece of gauze, when I would be able to sleep on my right side, when I would have my final follow up appointment. If I had these answers, I knew I could get through it. I didn’t have those answers. (If you’re curious it was three months and two quarts of saline, 8 boxes of gauze, and 10 follow up appointments later.)

This year I wanted to know when, too. When was it going to get easier? When would I be able to talk on the phone to a friend without crying? When was the stinking weather going to get better?

And then, the rhythm of Abigail’s breathing caught me off guard. In. Out. Like the tides. In. Out. Or possibly. Low. High. Isn’t that the rhythm of our life?  Every in has an out and behind every low tide is a high one. You just have to wait with patience and hope. I’m not healed, but perhaps, better.