to breathe. So, I used it tonight to talk to my daughter. Her world, at 17, was collapsing. All in one night. All 17 years of it. Boom. Or at least that is how it felt. I told her to just keep breathing. That as real and scary as these feelings were, she needed to go through them, not around them. That they weren’t bigger or stronger than she was. (As strong as they were). I told her not to be afraid of them. To look at them straight on. Embrace them. Feel them. And know there was the other side. The sooner she went through them, the sooner they would likely subside. Otherwise, she was destined to live avoiding. Living in fear of this thing called life because of the feelings it might produce. I told her to Embrace her mistakes. Learn from them. To give herself permission to make them. A lot. Man, I hope she can repeat this all back to me in a month or two. I hope I believe it when she does.
I’ve been a little short on hope lately. At times, it seems to disappear altogether. I know it’s still there. Just obscured. Hidden behind barriers of discouragement and frustration. Facts and reality. And because it isn’t something I can’t conjure up. I can’t produce it. Sometimes, I have to wait for it to reappear. Unfortunately, waiting… not my strong suit. Especially when Hope is such a driving force behind this new journey of mine. Going forward without it can be difficult at best. Well, this morning, it was there. Right there. Smiling at me when I woke up. I didn’t ask it any questions, like where the hell have you been?, I just smiled back. Then I reached for the book beside my bed. On life in Seattle.
I have tried to write about the distance between him and me. The actual miles. Not the other kind. And I can’t. I know that some days it feels like 2054 miles. (Approximately). Because it is. And sometimes it seems like the miles disappear completely. But it’s not long before they reappear and I am reminded that for now, for now… I hold his hand figuratively. I have conversations with a phone to my ear. I see him only on a monitor. And tonight, I will close my eyes and he will close his. 2054 miles away. (Approximately). And we will dream of tomorrow. One day closer. Or maybe I’ll have that same dream where I’m Alice in Wonderland in this house that’s way too small and the doorways keep getting smaller and smaller. One day closer, either way.
… I heard him say the words. He looked into my eyes. And said them. In front of witnesses. On April 20, a very brave man held my hands and accepted this wonderful challenge, called marriage. I felt something very familiar at that moment, the moment where all I could hear was his voice, and all I could see were his beautiful blue-green eyes. I felt exhilarated and safe at the exact same time. I know the two don’t usually go together. But that’s what I felt. I have felt that way for the last two and a half years. And there has already been better. And worse. So much more of the former. I am thankful for both. The better is easy, right? But I am also thankful, looking back of course, for the worse. It has taught me. Enlightened me. Forced me, to dig just a little deeper. To drop. To let go. To bend. To meet someone halfway. Sometimes one step more than halfway. And to find my true self in all of it. So as dark as it can feel, while in the middle of it, Worse has an up-side. If you keep going. May I always keep going. Holding the hands of this very brave man.