trust: emotional complexity

I needed some flowers yesterday so I took myself on a photo walk that turned into a photo drive around to find the best trees. 

(I tried to go on a hike in a new place, but they have a tiny parking lot that was full up, so instead I drove around looking for the best flowering trees.)

this winter. ugh. february was mild enough but march and then april were just so prolonged. it seemed like it would never end. but it did. it did. 

everything ends, eventually. 

flowers are such a beautiful reminder. 

everything ends and when we lose things (people, animals) that we love, we grieve. 

ah, this grief. my grief. old grief, both personal and political. my grief for the world, as it is and as it could be. the bittersweet grief of seasons, passing. 

("time keeps on ticking, ticking, into the future.")

and then, beyond grief, there's this waiting to go on an epic adventure, our semi-nomadic sabbatical, that begins at the end of July. 

and my thankfulness that we are able to have this adventure. and the anticipation, excitement and trepidation of such an epic undertaking. all rolled up together. 

I had an epiphany after I watched this short video clip about grief and how it never goes away: 

none of this would be possible without pinter and the waterbaby not being here. 

(pinter, our fluffy white doggie, mysteriously disappeared in May 2009. after he was gone M was able to start looking at jobs in the north, because not having to walk a dog in the snow made winter seem more doable. I already knew this part of my winter-grief and have written about it before.

and our second waterbaby was miscarried in February, 2010, a month before M went on the job interview that landed us here. and it was in large part the decision to move here that sealed our decision to stop trying for a second baby.)

and yesterday it hit me that in all likelihood, if our waterbaby had been born, we wouldn't have been able to kickstart our adventurous travels by going to Thailand in the summer 2013. I'm sure we would have traveled but I don't think Thailand would have been on our radar with a toddler. 

(I mean, I took two year old Remy on an 11 hour flight by myself, so obviously taking toddlers on long flights is a thing I do, but having a second kid would have changed our money situation, since we couldn't have given up having a second car those first years in New Jersey. and that's how we saved enough money to go to Thailand for a month. so yeah. I'm not sure exactly how different our lives would be, but they would have been different.)

and without that trip, I don't know that any of our subsequent travels would have happened. 

and of course, this is obvious, this epiphany, as all epiphanies are, after they've been had. 

our lives would be completely different if any number of things had changed. 

having a child, or not having a child. traveling or not traveling. being held hostage or not being held hostage. moving or not moving. 

every moment cascades into the next moment, an unpredictable rippling effect that we have little to no control over.

and at the same time, here we are. this moment. right now. making choices that will cascade into the next. moment after moment. life continuing to ebb and flow into the next moment as long as we live. 

(and we grieve for those whose moments do stop.)

grief doesn't stop time, as much as we wish it would. grief doesn't give us a second chance or the ability to time travel. grief remains, moments ebbing and flowing into each other, on and on, until it ends. 

I needed flowers yesterday and I needed to remember, once again, that grief and thankfulness aren't mutually exclusive. 

that I can be grateful for where I am today (waiting for our epic sabbatical adventure) and nervous (because epic adventures are scary even if they're exciting) and still be sad and grieve for the today that didn't happen, getting to be the mother of two living children. 

life (and grief and love and being human) is complicated. 

enjoying the beauty of spring and the short lived flowers that I love so much, despite my allergies, reminds me. 

everything ends. 

and everything that is loved, and everything that ends, can be grieved. 


thank you.