Monthly Archives: July 2018

We Don’t Have Three Feet

We don’t have three feet – so it’s time to stop acting like we do.

I run into this all the time with clients, friends, family, acquaintances  – even in the mirror. We seem to think we have three feet… but we don’t.

Three Feet. (This image reminds me of My Three Sons (the TV show), but I digress.)

Too often, and we’re all guilty of it, we live life trying to keep one foot in the past (resentment, grudges, hurt, blame, shame, anger, etc.), while also trying to put one foot in the future (hope, manifesting, daydreaming, planning, preparing, making goals, striving, wishing, etc.). But this strategy leaves nothing for the present. And it’s the present that allows us to move into the future with more ease, while also allowing the past to heal with grace.

You only have two feet – where do you want to put them?

12 Years Today – 4,380 Days

I’m glad I’m not French. No offense to the French, I actually love the country, the food, and the people… but twelve years ago on Bastille Day, our lives changed forever. If it were any other normal day, I maybe wouldn’t remember the anniversary (which is a weird thing to say) of my dad’s stroke. But it’s Bastille Day in France, and I remember hearing the Marseillaise on the news in the airport as we waited for our flight from Dallas to Chicago. Now the Marseillaise is forever associated with my father’s stroke (hence, I’m glad I’m not French), which means every July 14th – I remember. Extreme crisis can do that: take one thing and affiliate it with another unrelated thing – forever. I’m just glad it wasn’t pizza.

In the back of my mind, I’m writing a book about this experience, I’ve tentatively called it 4,092 Deaths and Counting. The title is a work in progress, because today is officially 4,380. Four thousand three hundred and eighty mornings of “different.” Of love, of loss, of joy, of heartache, of gratitude, of patience, of frustration, of fear, of anger, of relief, of hope. 4,380 days of being human and living alongside dying. It’s not for the faint-hearted, I can tell you that.

Almost exactly a year ago, dad transitioned to a care facility. So, we’ve now had almost 365 days of a different kind of “different,” one that requires both more and less fortitude. Easier, in some ways, and more challenging in others – overall, though, this doesn’t get easier. I think there was a time when I thought it would. Alas, I was wrong. I wrote about it in an article a few months ago: Trapped Out of Love. (If you haven’t read it – you can read it here.)

For his part, Dad seems to be doing well. He enjoys the activities and commotion at his new residence, something that was sorely lacking here at home. The staff love him and call him “smiley,” because he is always smiling. Some call him “Judge,” because he was a lawyer – which, as you can imagine, he gets a kick out of. Mom goes to visit him several times a week, and I am able to get there every weekend – usually bringing him his favorite contraband in the form of lunch. (The pizza gene is strong!) In nicer weather, we take walks outside where there are ponds and wildlife galore. Dad also really enjoys plane-spotting, as the campus is somewhat in the flight path of two airports. All in all, it’s a simpler life for him, one with a grace and ease that accompanies living in a care facility.

For us, it’s a relief to know he’s being looked after by medical professionals 24/7, while still causing some guilt over not being able to keep him at home. That’s the conundrum of aging and illness, isn’t it? Deciding on what’s best for the patient, as well as what’s best for the family. Often times, those needs don’t match up. And even though he’s not physically at home, he’s still here in some intangible way, every day.

So, each time I think of counting the days, I hear the lyrics from Rent in my mind: “525,600 minutes, how do you measure, measure a year… how about love?” I’m pretty certain we’ve measured 12 years in love… alongside all the other emotions that come with the territory. And so, we continue to do so – for how many more days, nobody knows.

Now, perhaps, there’s a reason for the Marseillaise after all, with it’s simple echo of: “Marchons, marchons!” And so we do.

Afternoon walk with Dad on a summer day

Three Days (a writer’s journey)

In three days, I wrote close to 38,000 words.

In three days, I navigated the white water of words pouring forth at a pace that was near manic.

In three days, I became exhausted (and it didn’t help that I wasn’t sleeping well for reasons unrelated).

In three days, my writer’s boat capsized, and I felt I was drowning in the jumbled web of words that spilled out over 72 hours.

It took three days for me to release the pressure of the book that had built up inside me over months. The dam had burst, and after three days, the water shifted from a torrent to a lull.

I found myself looking around, unsure of what to do and where to begin anew. I considered tossing it all aside, walking away, shutting down. I questioned my worth, and the worth of my work and words. And then I reached out to a friend.

In three days, I manically wrote (for better and worse), and then I stopped. In three minutes my friend helped to refocus the most important element of any writing, of my writing: truth.

It took three days for me to run, fall, scrape my knee, and stand up again. And it took a friend to help treat the wound, so that I could walk forward.

I now have three days left of my writing escape at my friends’ house, and in three days I will write from a place of calm, of confidence, and of focused truth.

The word count doesn’t matter. It’s a false trophy in the writing world. What matters is the words themselves… and the energy behind them.

Every writing is a journey of discovery, even when you’re writing about something you know intimately. Because every piece of writing is a creation. It’s the process of giving birth to something that will have a life of its own. A long life, if you’re lucky.

I went through three days of labor, only to find that the true birthing will be in nurturing this new work into creation, slowly, calmly, and peacefully… for however many days to come

It’s never boring, being a writer. At least there’s that. 🙂