Monday, July 19, 2010

Snapshots of Fifteen

I found something this weekend while cleaning out a closet. It's the closet in my old bedroom at my parents house..the place I had all of yellowed Sweet Valley High books, cherished stuffed animals from childhood...dusty memories waiting patiently to be revisited.

I found some old photos. Not to be unexpected in a closet. However, these weren't photos I was in...nor was I present when most of them were taken. These were photos taken by a mother many years ago, of her sweet baby girl...capturing moments of her childhood, savoring the flitting and fleeting time when she was a safe, happy, vibrant little girl. There was the one that made me giggle even now, of a 5 yr old with the chicken pox...there was the brilliant snapshot of the blonde, pigtailed countrygirl on the back of a riding lawn mower wearing a white sundress freckled with strawberries.

These photos were given to me by the girl in the photos when we were about 12 or so. We had this silly idea, one summer afternoon in her parents basement, to trade baby photos of each other. We went through their family albums, and pulled out the ones that we liked. I still don't remember if she ever got any of mine. The photos ranged from her at 3 weeks old, right up to the summer of 1990, when I took 3 photos of her...because I was an expert photographer,don't you know. Funny, wannabe model photos, right down to the Kirk Cameron poster behind the brass daybed.

I was caught with short breath, and tears in my eyes when I saw these photos. While I smiled and fell back on the memories..I was slammed again with flooding emotion, and my grief as a 15 yr.old girl. That newspaper clipping beside the photos in the album, declaring, "Cambridge teens mourn the loss of Keri" took me back. I am 34 now...but in revisiting it all..I was 15 again, walking in the front door of my parents house after school..and having them tell me my vibrant, perfect partner in teenage crushes, and prank phone calls... had died that morning.

I wanted to lock the door of heaven from my side. I wanted to know her for my lifetime...not just my childhood. I wanted us to have a lifetime of memories, beginning when we were girls. To think of that now...we did have a lifetime of memories..15 yrs. is a lifetime for someone who lived life as brilliantly as she did.

I reflect on a scripture now, with much more insight, understanding and peace.
" For I know the plans I have for prosper you, and not harm give you hope, and a future".~ Jeremiah 29:11

God doesn't say, "I think I know the plans I have for you"..He says, "I know". It was no surprise to Him on April 5, 1991 that Keri would fling open the door of heaven, announce herself, and jump over a sofa into the expectant arms of Jesus. She is there...I can see it in my mind...I can hear her laugh if I listen..she's more than a memory, she is forever a part of me...her and I are forever 15.

I mailed the photos back to her brother today...I released the weight of the memory back to a sunny day in 1991, when my world spun out of control, and stood still..all at the same time. Maybe I have taken a step towards closure..or acceptance if you wish. I still see things that remind me of her...converse high tops...skate boarders, Garfield comics. But never moreso, than when I see teenage best friends...laughing, telling secrets...and being all of those remarkable things that fifteen brings. I hold back on telling them what I desperately wish to share..."remember every moment, what the laughter sounds like..what the butterflies feel you feel like you own the world, because this moment in time, is fifteen year old magic".

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Roll Call of Gratitude

I had a busy day today...I spent the morning with new friends who I feel like I have known for a lifetime...and the afternoon celebrating the marriage of an old friend I have known since childhood. Tonight I will go out with some crazy girlfriends, and I will celebrate what today is to me...precious... and fleeting.

I drove away from my friends reception, put on a great album, and was suddenly overcome with emotion.


Because I am blessed. I am SO blessed. I sometimes feel like I might be more blessed than most...and these are some reasons why.

I have two sisters. They are incredible women...ladies..girls...and they are on the inside of my soul. They validate my existence. We laugh hard, we have lifelong inside jokes that no one else would get...and that to me, is magic. I'd take a bullet for them...I'd stand in front of a bus for them...I would and will do everything I can to stand firm between them and harm. Today, I am washed with love for them...for being in my life...for being who I need, now, then and always.

I have a Nicola. You don't know what it means to have one of those, unless you have one. She is my best friend. She has been in my life longer than she wasn't...and she is incredible. She accepts me...she cheers me on...she in some subtle way, stands as my protector. She is cooler than anyone I know...she is a rockstar, poet, wealth of knowledge, passionate, true to the core kind of chick. I am blessed...I am glad she belongs to me, everyday...more than I can put into mere words.

I have those girlfriends who get the glamour whore I am...Cara...Stacey, I am better for knowing validate that being true to your passion is what life is about. You demonstrate what being lead by your heart impacts your world in a unique, beautiful...faaaaaabulous way....I love you.

I have a Michael. He isn't here in body anymore..but he is still with me. He knew how to make me laugh when all I wanted to do was fall apart. He showed me the power of listening intently...and thinking before talking. Knowing him touched parts of me that I thought were fatally he applied the balm of friendship. He hugged harder than most..he had a sick sense of humour, and he got me. I had him for 3 years...and through that journey, til the end...I knew he would stand up for me, cheer me on...and champion my sometimes fragile soul. Michael knew he couldn't leave me without a patch...without a means of coping...and so, in true Michael fashion.. he left his family to me. Right now...I find myself breathless with the gratitude I have to him for this. For all of the feeling lost I have experienced since he died...I have found twinkling reminders of him...never moreso than when I find Terri and Linda. The relief is inexplicable...someone still gets me...and gets what he was to me.

So in this very moment, my gratitude runs swells in my heart, and makes me look at today, in this world...and realise that love has come my way more times than I can count. To quote the song I had a constant repeat on my drive home:

"Love only comes, once in a while...and knocks on your heart, and throws you a smile..."

Thank you for finding me my cherished people.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time, Truth and Money.

I think we, as humans, have come up with a pretty novel idea. When we come up short on emotion, or come up lacking in things to say...we throw money at a situation. We buy people things to appease their anger and our guilt, we buy flowery cards as a way to say thank you, to mark a celebration...or to express what we can't put into words. It's a sad case when some bad, cheesy poet gets to tell your loved one how you feel.

When I think of all the things we waste in our lives on our brief little journey, the one that makes me most frustrated and impassioned, is TIME. That passing, steady, click click click on a clock. I would rather have someone waste my money than waste my time...after all, money can be made again..time is a limited edition, priceless thing, that you get to stamp with your original trademark.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” ~Jim Rohn

If you were to ask someone who is dying, what they would like more of, my guess is, you will rarely hear, "more money". They will likely tell you about the things they had dreamed of accomplishing...the amends they thought they had time to make..the love they had always wanted to share with someone...but put off for a more appropriate moment.

And if money and time, are so closely linked in our expressions to one another...I feel it may be because of this...we don't want to - or don't know how to tell the truth. There is an ironic thing about the truth. Two commonplace quotes about it find themselves to be opposite when explaining its very nature.

1. The truth will set you free.
2. The truth hurts.

What to think? How does that work? The truth isn't always pretty. The truth is that finite, undeniable actuality, that doesn't sway. And if that is the case, yes, sometimes, it will hurt you. Sometimes it will more than hurt will enrage you. It enrages me most when it has come in on the sly, as second hand information...and has broadsided the transparency of my trust.

The bottom line is this...and I hope you will agree. I would rather be hurt with the truth, than a mistruth. I would rather have all of the cards on the table, showing the hand I am being dealt, so I can make an educated decison on my next move. All of the all of the banks will not alleviate, or justify the lack of answers, or the blanket thrown haphazardly over the discomfort of the truth.

The truth does indeed set you unleashes the time you have wasted, and brings understanding...and even if it does hurt, sting, or blindside you, know this:

When money speaks, the truth remains silent.

So say what you need to say today...tell someone you love them....tell them how you feel, even if it's uncomfortable. Have that difficult conversation...there is absolution on the other side. After all, an itegral part of this great human experience is trying to understand ourselves and each other.

Come know you want to.