The Last of Firsts

I never meant to neglect this space.  I just seem to have lost the ability to put my words down in a way that would be easily understood.

Here we are though, and here I am.  Thank you for being here still.

ONE YEAR- The last of the firsts.

Our lives have so many firsts that we cherish, our first kiss, our first car, our first child etc.  This year, every first seemed like an axe chopping away any possible remaining part of my heart.

The last 365 firsts. First Thanksgiving, first Christmas, every friggen day was a new first.  I am so glad that I am beyond the firsts. That I have braved this portion of the storm and am still here, talking.

I have worked to find normalcy. To accept what is and to move forward.  By nature, I am happy go lucky and typically a positive person.  I put my head down and plow through things that seem difficult.   I just get through things. It is what I do.

This has completely devastated me.  I thought about changing that sentence to make it more comfortable for my family and friends that are reading this. But,  there is no sugar coating the condition of my heart that was ravaged by this.

When Michael died, a part of me died too.  In the beginning, a part of me wished that it was me, not him. Now before you start saying, how could you say that Wendy you have amazing children- and that is why it was only part of me that felt that way.  The part of me that didn’t want to walk through the nightmare that I was now walking through.  My children remain the best part of my life before all of this, through all of this and after all of this.

I spent the first couple months trying to busy myself.  Hurry up, help others Wendy.  Get back to your routine Wendy. Work Wendy. DO more Wendy.  Distract distract ….

Exhaustion.  I began checking out.   Looking back I should have known the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” trick was NOT going to work.  Check out some more.  Completely flake out on most things.  My only constant was showing up at work and that was about it.

You all saw the public me.  The one that shared just a little but the real battle that I was fighting was kept tucked away from nearly everyone.  I have always prided myself on being strong and being positive.  People were still needing me to help them.  I still wanted to be that Wendy.

Anger.  Anger is a funny thing.  Who was I angry at?  Sure I found people to pass it off on, Like his “Friends” that left him and didn’t bother to even show their respects- not that I would have received them too kindly.   Maybe the guys who had the house he was found in.  I even tried to be mad at Michael as a way to distance myself from the pain.   How could he be so reckless with our lives?  Why was it fair that I have to see his poor Mom and daughter suffer.  Why?  Is this my fault? I should have done more. I should have picked him up. I …. I… Wait. there is a pattern here.  I have already been through enough.  I have already gone through heartache and…

God. It has to be God.  So there I was shaking my fist at God. Knowing full well He could take it.  I wanted so desperately to be like Job and just tear my robe and shave my head and get to the prayer part later. But instead I 2018 it and shaved the side of my hair (because I still need to be cute in case I was in the stage where I wanted to seem normal to the world) and I  bought new clothes because I gained weight because donuts and sugar are better than choke slamming people when they tell me to embrace that which is now and my new fucking normal that I didn’t ask for.  As for prayer? Ha. I could barely stand to look at my bible now collecting dust on my stand.  Great Comforter? My Shield? My Ezer? Where was that God?   And to be clear, yes I did just use Job as my example and swear in the same exact paragraph. This is an accurate description of where I was though, and I am a bit hood- but you already know.

And then I had a dream.  Almost every night I had a dream with Michael in it.  Telling me he was fine. All the things that should make me feel peace and happy and joyous.  Rolling my eyes. I found only a little comfort in this.  Until I had a dream with God and Michael. I say God, but I guess its what I envision God to be. He was bright light and just this big presence and there was Michael next to him.  God said to me, you are so focused on your loss you aren’t seeing Michael’s gain.  You aren’t seeing or even trying to see why I will use this for your gain.  Awesome right?  I’ve heard promoted through pain before but I definitely did not want to be the example of that. Its all fun and games to talk the big talk of this faith so mighty… and believing God and praising him in this storm. Its quite different when the storm you meant is like a rain storm that messes up your hair vs a CAT 5 hurricane followed by a EF5 tornado, where there is just total devastation, or so it seems.

Well wait just a minute Wendy,  (I apparently like talking in the third person today).  Aren’t you the one always saying “I just want my mess to be my message” , hope blah blah blah- walk me out into the waters the great unknown where feet can fail me? the whole thing? or are those just feel good give me goosebumps songs you sing and words you say that have no real meaning when the ish hits the fan???

The answer is yes most days that is still true….but

I am still working it all out. There are days when my bitterness flows tremendously but not too long, because listen friends, your girl knows how to put her life in perspective and herself in check.  Like remembering those lost on this very same day in 2001. We all are going to lose someone we love someday.  How we deal with life post that loss is the question.  BUT DO NOT GET IT TWISTED, I love me some Jesus. I will rep that King all day everyday… because even on my worst days I still know He is with me…

I guess it all comes down to choices.

This year my faith has been put to the test and I am still gasping for air some days… and other days I am on mountaintops shouting for joy.  The valleys in this life are hard, that I know for sure… but I guess it is a good thing that hiking is still one of my most favorite things.

A special thanks to my daughter and my sons who love on their Momma except when I am being the worst Momma ever and take away the internet at bedtime (ahem Xander).  Thank you Jane and Paul for letting me stay in your lives.  And to beautiful Lexi… I hope you will always will know that your Dad loved you more than he would have ever been able to put in words… You were his most precious, cherished love in his life.  He was always so proud of you.  And thank you for letting me stay in your life too. I love you Lexi. ❤

 

 

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40 Dubs

and I got it tatted on me.  Ok, so maybe it really isn’t a song about me, but whatever God’s Plan in my life has definitely been an interesting one this past year.

I am no longer mad. Instead I am grateful. I mean, I did have plans for this day.  A year ago, I would have said that today would have been about completing my high peak hiking.  I would have told you that I would be having a Stella and just living my happily ever after.

That didn’t even come close to happen.  Instead I would fight the hardest emotional battle to date.

A week ago, I would have told you that I would be preparing for my cross country trip.  That too won’t be happening.

All the plans I had and none of them are going to pan out. Not one of them.

But that is how this journey is…. we end up traveling down paths we cannot possibly plan for or control.  So, I had a decision to make.

One that I have to make every day.  Do I choose to move forward or do I sit here in misery whining about how unfair things seem to be sometimes?

Look, I don’t have it all together and I am far from ok from the traumatic events that occurred just eight months ago.  The wake of that storm effects me and those closest to me more than I care to admit.

Forward.

I am so thrilled and privileged to be 40 today.  Now, more than ever, I realize that each year is such a gift.  Had I not known this despair, I also wouldn’t have known the immense joys you can have in your everyday life.  My heart has grown even more grateful this year.

I hope this year will offer a great deal more joy and for sure a kick ass journey…

I do want to thank all of my people this year who have loved tremendously on me.  Who have listened to my heart and who have just come along side of me and help me live.

Chris- Thank you for your fierceness and all that you do to help me.  I am so proud of the man you are becoming.  Gabrielle- I am pretty sure no one understands me the way you do.  You know what I am doing before I do.  Thank you for holding my hand when you knew things were tough, snuggling your Momma, laughing at my crazy and keeping us all organized.  Michael- Thank you for being the one that is always doing the right thing and really helping out, loving your Momma,  and of course the financial adviser of the house.  Alexis- Thank you for still coming with me and for loving on me the way you do.   Ares- Thank you for making Mommy laugh and singing to me. You make my cloudy days better.  Xan- Thank you for for always reminding Mommy that I am loved and all them good hugs that only you can give me. 🙂 lol.

T- I don’t know how I would have survived without you this year.  You met me where I was at and didn’t let me drown.  You listened to me sob, cry and just swear with my fist shaking to God and loved me just the same.  You have been a daily inspiration to me and my life wouldn’t be the same without you.  I love you.

D- Thank you for just being there. From my first messages of despair to my daily rants about nonsense. Thank you for jumping through hoops and responding at all hours to my broken heart.  Also, thank you for understanding my serious love for Lil Kim, Biggie and Cardi with some Grateful Dead in the mix.  I love you.

Q- Thank you for being you and offering a listening ear. I am so thankful that you are in my life and also your girl Dolce.  I appreciate your wisdom and comedy.  I love you.

B- Thank you for probably rolling your eyes at me more than anyone on the planet.  Thank you for being my ally and sometimes my biggest critic when I need it.  Thank you for coming along side of me and just getting me to where I needed to be when I couldn’t get there myself.  I love you.

My Manifest Coaches- You girls have been so understanding and so loving. I am so proud of you both and so grateful.  I love you girls. Keep going!!!! Don’t give up on you.  I love you.

Friends and Family- Just thank you for any kind word or check in that you did over the last several months.  I appreciate you all so much.  I love you.

Jane- Thank you for your son… Thank you that you supported us and our life we had together.  Thank you for  loving me enough to share him.  I love you.

MAP- Thank you for loving me with everything you had.  Thank you for every mountain and valley we went through.  The journey with you was terrific and one that I have learned the most about.  Thank you for always telling me what I meant to you and for encouraging me and being my biggest fan.  I am going to love and miss you forever.

Choose love and be peace,

Wendy

ps-Follow God’s plan not your own- just trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three

My year started off in the same way that they all do. Promise of new year, new ideas, fresh start etc.

The first three months flew by with the kids in sports and fast forward to spring.

April I quit smoking. I had had enough of it. It helped that my guy, my mom and I did it all together.  I was excited as this was going to propel me into hiking season.

Hiking season this year will probably be the most memorable for me.  I began my high peak journey with my son and my guy at my side. Pushing me along. Encouraging me that I could do hard things. It was awesome. On off (non high peak) days, I hiked alone or with my children in the Southern Adirondacks.  It was a magical time.  A time that I will forever hold onto.

September came in with a trip to NY’s highest mountain, Mt. Marcy. I didn’t necessarily even want to hike it. It was just a spontaneous trip and we went.  We took this crazy ass 22 mile loop and walked out of the woods in the dark.  We rejoiced when we had finally gotten out of woods at our accomplishment and planned our next trip to Keene.

Ten days later I received the call that will haunt me for the rest of my life.  My guy’s Mom said that police had contacted her and he was dead.  DEAD. FUCKING DEAD…. Who the fuck, what the fuck.. what?!!!! Wait, What? Insert every swear word, guttural scream from the pit of hell, disbelief and shock that you can here.  This is the day Wendy, the girl I knew died right along with him.   Wendy, the girl who died of a broken heart was sure to be the headlines.

Ahhh, but life isn’t always that fair. Apparently, you do not get to die just because your heart and soul are ripped out of you.  No, you get to go through all the bullshit. You get to wake up everyday in this nightmare aftermath that you didn’t sign up for.

And every moment of every single day, you get to make a choice. You get to decide if you want to continue moving forward.

I chose to move forward. Kicking and screaming I am moving forward.  Some days that forward looks like sprinting like I am Usain Bolt and other days, I am that dude in the book of John that is lying next to the healing pool and needs to be nudged (kicked in the ass) to get up and get in the healing waters.

The point is that I am doing it.

And there are moments I just want to go back but you can’t.  My life has become one of constant surrender to what actually is, and not the fantasy wherein I get to take away the last three months…

But despite this all,

I am grateful for my life, I am  grateful to get another chance to get it right

I am grateful that I get to see my babies flourish

I am still here

Three months later

Still choosing love

 

Choose love and be peace,

Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This

This was going to be a page of my behind the scenes takeaways from hiking.  I was going to chronicle my obvious bad-assyness 46 high peaks and also my smaller yet beautiful Adirondack conquests.  I imagine that here you will find some of that.  You will read about my mountain trips and the lessons on life each mountain has taught me.  I imagine that here you will also hear about my entire life as it is now- ever changing and evolving.  Who I was on September 10th of this year is not even close to the same person as I am here in December.  I also imagine that you will find all sorts of my personal expression here through writings, photography and art that I create.

I want to share all the bullshit that I have walked through in hopes that maybe there will be someone that can find hope in this often dark world.

I swear a lot, if that offends you- do not continue to read.  It is my way of expressing myself and I will not censor myself to make anyone feel more at ease.

I do not follow one specific belief as in one that would require myself to be labeled.  I rep Jesus and follow his teachings but  often you will often find me sitting in a Buddhist shrine chanting and praying with monks.

I believe that serving others is not just a really cool suggestion but a way of life that I continually strive towards.

Love is my only absolute truth.

Gratitude and peace are my jam.

I meditate, listen to rap, rally at Phish shows, crochet, bake the baddest cookies in the county, shoot guns, hike, photograph cool shit, and raise five of the most amazing humans I know.  I am kind of a big deal.

As I am sure you can tell, I also am a wise ass.

Thanks for being here and I hope that I can offer you some great tools and resources that enhance the quality of your life.  Or ya know, make you laugh until you spit your coffee out.

Speaking of coffee, feel free to buy me a cup.  ❤

Choose love and be peace,

W

 

 

Dubs Defined

/ˌædɪˈrɒndæk/

 noun

a mountain range in NE New York State. Highest peak: Mount Marcy,1629 m (5344 ft)

wan·der·lust
ˈwändərˌləst/

noun

a strong desire to travel. “a {WO}man consumed by wanderlust”