January 19, 2020
Dear Darkened Rose,
Now more than ever, I feel as though I am the most healthily aware version of myself as I have ever been. While I may not yet be at the peak of having met my strongest state of mental health, I can see that I am watching myself climb there right now. With the idea that I will one day no longer need medication, I can now really feel a tangible, corporeality towards even more growth with that in the future. Which is empowering.
I find that I can recognize intrusive thoughts, despite not always having the best coping mechanism for them. I often just simply have the power of manifesting recognition which can ultimately be enough to settle things, at times.
These days, I find music more satiating than ever. I recognize the beauty in a constant flow of synchronicity (not just in music, but throughout most aspects of my life), and I am grateful for it.
So about that European trip I said I wanted to share with you—
I think I’ll just throw you some photos, and only caption a few. Do with them as you will. If you ever found yourself curious about my trip, know that I would love to share my stories with you (not excessively, I promise). If you want my personally curated advice know that I would hate to speak for your potential experience. Nothing I wrote about traveling felt compelling enough to convey just how uplifting the trip was for me. I think, frankly, it also just kind of sounded stupid. I felt as though writing about it to you would only serve to entertain myself, which I am not interested in doing. I am not a travel blogger.
I somewhat shared the proposal story. Or, maybe I shared more of the aftermath story, but I hope that will suffice. I think diving more into that story allowed me to feel appropriately balanced, because the contentment I felt that week (specifically in that moment of the proposal) was far more than what I’m familiar with. I am continuing to come down from that high, and want that to be an ever slow-burning thing. I will be a married woman this year, and the peace that brings me is worthy of constant (silent) reflection.
When traveling with Caleb, for some reason I found myself frequenting this odd thought—“This is a happy person’s life. You traded places with a happy person and their life. Soak it in while you still can.” As though I were not entitled to the life of a happy person. Still it seems that all I can say to that is—I hope you and others believe the contrary, as I am trying to believe it myself.
You died 10 years ago.
That anniversary came and went, and was significantly less scary than I expected. Jane, Brad, and I celebrated with a stay-cation here in Austin, and that night is one I will cherish for a long time to come. While it was rather uneventful, it was filled with wholesome, subtle conversation and the rekindling of an incredible bond that you and daddy gifted us each with.
In the spirit of three, I think I would like to make note of three quick things I have encountered with grief lately—
- I’ll start with the most apposite, which is the impact of my current career endeavor. I would like to spend more time discussing this job later, but in short, I will say that it has helped me stronger align to the concept of Soft Determinism. That seems to help me create a concrete plan of action with how I might be able to enact some change. Whether that is with this position now, or through ones I will have in the future. I am passionate about bettering the lives of others, and I know that this is the start of that. I carry my grief of you with me as a past trauma (along with the tribulations that came along with your addictions), and I believe it has genuinely helped make me more able to relate to others in my field. Whether that’s the population I’m working for, or the other professionals that I work with. So thanks for that, I guess—for dying and whatnot.
- Caleb and I grieved the loss of a great dog this past summer. While I was still in the UK, Caleb called me with the news. The conversation that we had the day after Atticus laid his head down in Caleb’s lap to die, is one that fully molded the foundation of my love and appreciation for the man I get to marry. The words Caleb repeated in his own grief of Atticus are ones that helped transform the way that I grieved him too, as well as just the general take I now have on the concept of death. While they were simple words, they broke through to me in a effective way. I, honestly, thought I’d be a lot more of a wreck than I was. Caleb still looks at me like I’m ridiculous when the slightest thing pushes the button to the water works, but I don’t tend to dwell on it. I do miss our strong and wisest protector, but his spirit will undoubtedly live on.
- The people who have shown up in my life lately carry parts of your spirit with them. Our former neighbor made a Facebook post recently of a joke that really struck me and set the tone for all of this synchronicity. Remembering one of my favorite childhood books that I just completely forgot about until her post (and again when I found it when I went to a library with the kids I am caring for at work), I keep repeating the name of the book in my reflections. I find a small part of an instance, or an oddly offset thing, or a solid moment with an emotional tug from the women who have chosen to be very present for me now in my life. When processing the moment’s value I think—
“Are you my mother?”
The most obvious being the women. First, the mom and daughter couple that were present on the day of mine and Caleb’s engagement. Their reoccurring presence on that trip, and the connection I made with the mom after she excitedly congratulated us seconds after the engagement—I felt a mother.
Then, I had an incredibly fulfilling experience of having fostered a dog for a couple of months, and made a connection with a phenomenal human that I have been in contact with since coming home from Europe. A lady in Canada fell in love with ‘our boy’ Huck, and the bond the three of us have shared is something I am still in awe of. She has shown both he and I so much attention and thoughtfulness, and I know your spirit lives in her. Sometimes that is so powerful to me, that I have had to step away from conversation in fear that my heart will ache a little too much. I await the day when I can see Huck again, and meet Trina up in the beautiful snows of Nova Scotia. While on the surface, anyone might say she is a stranger, I believe her and I have a strong connection through the bond we’ve shared and I have grown to truly love her.
Then there were the more minor specs of moments. The lady and her 16-year old daughter at the DMV enjoying conversation and laughing together while they were waiting for her to get her license. That was me and she was you in those (several) hours.
Small digression: It was actually Daddy who was the one who rushed me around the day I turned 16 and made sure I got my first license on December 28, 2005, despite all of the holidays surrounding it. I am still thankful for that memory of unwavering effort, and figured I would not go on to neglect that.
Speaking of my birthday—can you believe yours truly is now a whoppin’ 30 years old? At times, I genuinely did not know if I would make it here. It feels good (haha). We had people over for a fire to celebrate, and each person who straight up SHOWED UP for me that night kept me connected to a keen grasp of appreciation.
I will be back to discuss how miserably exciting wedding planning is going, and to keep you updated on our new puppy. Meet your new grandpup Bongo Uhtred Roberts—
I love and miss you.
Enclosed are cool things.
The Song: Making Ghosts by Great Peacock
Accept this message here as a formal decree that more puppy pictures are to come.