I just got back from an extremely emotional trip.
My uncle K passed away on January 6th. He was this free thinking incredible spirit and he just dropped dead. It was unexpected and shook me to my core. My entire life I have run from death. His death hit me hard. Ever since I was a little kid he encouraged me to paint, think, draw and create. As an artist he created works that were unique, confusing, sexual and controversial. His work was unlike anything I had ever seen before and even though I didn’t get to experience a lot of his work I always found myself in awe when I was in the presence of his pieces. It’s hard to put into words how he touched my life – the last time I saw him was on Christmas as I was leaving my moms because I was sick…I spent so much time wishing I had stayed that day but honestly that wouldn’t have changed anything. I’ll always remember his hugs the most and how he chose to live in such a laid back way. How he believed in people and the good in them.
This past Saturday there was an art show of some of his work at a gallery he spent a lot of time at. People from all walks of life were there to remember him, mourn him, share stories and celebrate him. There was family everywhere (cousins and uncles from all over the US) and as sad it all was that we were getting to see each other under these circumstances it was nice to be able to see my extended family. I didn’t find myself emotional until the following day when we went to scatter his ashes.
We walked 4 miles out to this secluded beach as a family all 17 of us and released him. As I stood watching his ashes fall into the waves I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer and I let the flood gates go. Everyone was crying so I don’t know why it was so hard for me but it was. I hugged my cousin D and we smiled as the sun beat down. We knew he was watching. I let the tears fall as needed: like watching my grandfather hug my uncles girlfriend, how my uncles hugged each other, as my cousins shared stories of him. It was a beautiful scene on a beautiful day and damn if K wouldn’t have just loved it. We all slowly made our way back the 4 miles to the cars and talked, listened, picked up shells and I found 4 hearts in nature. I chatted with my cousins about life, stories about uncle K and about where we are all at in our lives. We tried to make the most of the fact that we were all together.
(c) 2013 BorderlineMusings (sorry for the quality it was on my crappy camera phone)
We got home, feasted on Oysters and then went out to dinner in his honor. It was a day full of life, love and sadness. I like to think K was watching over us and smiling.
Monday I faced a huge fear. Monday I went to visit B’s grave.
It took me almost 19 years to get to this place. My mom never told me where B was buried, she never would let me go to her grave by myself but I found out where she was buried and so I made it my mission while I was on this vacation that I would visit her. I was scared shitless. I was afraid I would chicken out, that I wouldn’t get out of the car or I wouldn’t be able to find the exact location in the cemetery of her grave. I faced all those fears by myself.
I pulled into the small cemetery and immediately freaked out because I could not for the life of me remember where her grave was. I had these memories in my mind from when we were kids and we’d go visit her even though I wasn’t allowed out of the car. I drove my car around for 5 minutes and then I parked it. I sat in the car for 10 minutes. I told myself I needed to find her, I told myself that I deserved this and that B deserved this. I got out of the car and walked around. I could vividly remember her being close to the road and that there was a tree or shrub of some kind. I walked around for about 15 minutes (it felt like HOURS) and FINALLY I found her.
Seeing her grave for the first time in person that I can remember? I can’t even describe the emotions. I took a few deep breaths and sat down beside her. I cleaned off her grave and sat in silence as the teared flowed. I couldn’t have stopped the tears even if I wanted too but honestly? I didn’t want them to stop. I left her the white heart in nature I found (the 2nd largest one) at her grave, talked to her, shared stories with her. I relived memories and I thanked her for being in my life. I always used to be SO angry that I only knew her for such a short time that I wished I hadn’t known her at all but that was just the hurt talking. I fully and 100% know that I wouldn’t trade in those years for anything in the world and she forever changed me. She gave me a wonderful gift and gift was knowing her.
After I left B (nobody in my family knew that was where I went) I decided to go to a local store and process all my emotions. As I was finally driving back to where we were staying I saw this incredibly cool store on the side of the road called ‘Buddha’s Beads’ and I just HAD to pull in. I was able to get a pair of hand-painted earrings with lotus’s on them and 2 sets of prayer flags for my fire escape back home. I think it was the perfect way to spend my afternoon. Afterwards I went out to see an old high school friend who was now living where we were visiting. She is getting married in October so we got to hang out, drink a bottle of wine, talk about life, love, her wedding and everything in between. I experienced (what felt like) a hundred different emotions that day but at the end of the day when I reflected back…it was such an incredible day. It was sunny, beautiful, and I got to finally get some closure with B. I am sure E and I will be talking a TON about this soon lol but next week is our last session (potentially) before she leaves for her own new adventure.
I didn’t get much time to myself on this “vacation” but I was able to talk with J a little via email and even though I didn’t need her validation that I did the right thing about seeing B, about mourning uncle K – to KNOW someone was proud of me? that meant a lot to me. I never would have gotten to a place where I could have done ANY of that if it hadn’t been for J constantly pushing me, being there for me and encouraging me. She has truly been a rock for me and a sister through and through. I did this on my own, I got out of the car, I faced a HUGE fear but if I didn’t have the people back home in my life I don’t know if I could have done it. I love my friends, I love my co-workers and I know now more than ever that I belong here. That feels…good. Going to see B was scary, intense, overwhelming, emotional but so so SO worth it. I got to close up a little of that wound and now that I know where she is buried? I plan on going back to see her when I can.
Your heart will guide you through
If you feel confused, alone, unsure of what to do next, go back to a place you can trust – your heart. In matters of work, money, love, play, go back to your heart.
The issues that arise in your life can be dealt with from the heart. You will be guided through gently, safely, with love and truth, along the path that’s best for you. Are you feeling upset? Do you wonder why things aren’t working out? Are you unsure of the map, uncertain of the next step, wondering how to untangle the mess of the past?
The answer isn’t in your head, it’s in your heart. It’s not outside of you, although sometimes we receive guidance from others. The answer you’re seeking, the guidance you’re looking for needs to feel right to you. It needs to resonate with your heart. Your heart is the center, the balance point for your emotions, your intellect, and your soul. Your heart is safe.
Go back to your heart. It will always lead you home.
Taken from Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie
In so many ways this touches me today. I have people in my life who are there to remind me that I need to trust my heart, that I have a heart worth trusting even when I don’t think I do. These people help me, encourage me, guide me but also let me fly with my own two wings…that kind of friendship is PRICELESS and I am so blessed and honored to have them in my life.
I don’t always say the right things, I don’t always use my skills, I sometimes let the borderline have control but what I am slowly learning (in HUGE part thanks to J) is that I HAVE choice. I can let myself be bogged down by my disorder, I can let myself ruin relationships and friendships with the walls I put up or I can choose to be happy, I can choose to live.
That lesson is extraordinarily difficult…but worth it in more ways than one.