Lots of days I think I am the only one who doesn't want to get dressed, or clean house, or write a paper on the maneuvering of Kate Chopin's mind when she was writing about women and slaves in Louisiana. Lots of days I role out of bed because Sam ( our latest furry boy) has begun his morning dance across our heads... I don't know whether he's got to pee or is hungry or just wants the company of his human family but it's easier to get up and do his bidding than lament the fact that the night was far too short! Lots of mornings I forget how much I have to be thankful for. I am warm and dry and don't live under the bridge. I can walk down a brown car-petted hallway into a navy blue bathroom with murals of the night sky and beluga whales that Shannon painted and then make a pot of coffee and feed the kitties and hear my husband snoring upstairs. I can walk onto our porch and see flowers blooming and all is safe and quiet and I don't have to be afraid. I hate it when I forget.
I remember where I was when I heard that a plane had crashed into the Twin Towers. I was in a man hole, getting ready to splice an underground cable with my work partner. It was damp and dirty and I could only see a circle of blue sky above but the memory is vivid. As crazy as it sounds, my first thought was "Thank you God. Shannon is safe with you." I suppose that is what keeps us sane when someone we love returns to Heaven before us. I'm not sure how you cope if you don't have that. I remember my Aunt, who had lost her son many years earlier, saying to me after Shannon's funeral, that until she heard me talk about Shannon being an Angel, her only thought was that Tony was gone. Gone... without hope or promise of reunion is simply gone, and that is simply unacceptable.
I've been in a bit of funk. Moving into a second decade since Shannon's accident. Eleven years seems impossible. It has made me overly sensitive, weepy, anxious, sad and difficult to be around. I even had a conversation with my sister who I love dearly that ended in hurt feelings and an uncomfortable distance. It will pass. We are too wise to let distance become longstanding but I am having to learn to allow myself to be awful now and then. I hate it. I beat myself up for it but there is a hole in my heart that opens every April and leaks until May and if I give myself permission to dive into this month with Shannon, with my memories, with my grief and my joy, the rest of the year finds a way to unfold more gently. I miss her every moment... it's not about that... it's about redefining how I can celebrate with her the moment that we came together and the moment that we had to part.
I have never liked change. It is frightening and unsettling to me. I've never been much of an adventurer. As a matter of fact, this blog is outside my comfort zone, but often this is all it takes to get clear, if I let the random thoughts spill out onto this page they aren't twirling and swirling uncontrollably in my mind. So are you wondering yet what any of this has to do with "stinky feet"? I know, I know I do get off track and ramble.
After Shannon "left", I attended a weekly Mindfulness Meditation. We sat in a circle, cross legged on the floor and shared as we felt we could, or would or wanted. I was always uncomfortable sitting on the floor and wanted to take my shoes off but worried that my feet might "offend" after working all day. What I discovered was that I wasn't the only one worried about stinky feet and once the secret was out... we were all able to take out shoes off and get comfortable. It's part of being human. Part of being family is trying not to let the insignificant get in the way of the significant.
Maybe today you didn't want to get dressed... or brush your teeth or your hair. Maybe today you took a mental health day from work or cried in the car or played sad songs or opted not to floss. Maybe today you ate chocolate Easter eggs for breakfast and jelly beans for lunch, maybe you looked at yourself in the mirror and didn't recognize the face that glared back... maybe, just maybe you thought you were the only one with stinky feet... but I'm here to tell you that you're okay and we're in this together and I'll take my shoes off so that you can!
In Shannon's journal for this week..."Thank you for time to cook Thank you for animate as well as inanimate objects to inspire Thank you for books to read Thank you for art to finish Thank you for green leaves and beautiful blossoms Thank you for Hardee's breakfast Thank you for my Easter bunny Thank you for the herbs Thank you for fast food Thank you for desserts Thank you for constancy Thank you for a place to be eternally grateful".
Isn't she amazing? She didn't think so. She worried about taking her shoes off, but what I wouldn't give to see those precious stinky feet! Live a little...take your shoes off and get comfortable. Allow yourself to be amazing!