I’ll start with my marriage because that’s where it all began and I promised to tell it to you just like it happened to me.
On that day in May when I picked up the phone and called my Mom out of desparation it wasn’t because I knew what was wrong. I had no clue. I knew my body was failing me and my mind was no longer analyzing everything in sight. The previous two days were spent on my couch staring into the white window blinds. I can still remember those blinds. To me, they are different; they represent a time in my life when staring blankly at window blinds seemed like a good idea.
I had pulled out my suitcase and already begun packing. I think I only got two pairs of underwear for myself and the clothes I packed for E were nowhere near coherent, which is totally not me. I explained to my Mom that I needed a flight and it needed to be that day. I wanted to go home, even if it meant I would stare at the blinds there, I knew it was the only place for me. My husband appeared and asked me what I was doing. I need to see my family I told him; afterall that was the truth in my mind. It wouldn’t be till much later when I would recognize the whole truth; I needed to get away from him.
I don’t remember the flight or the arrival or even greeting my Mom at the airport. I only remember two things: being home and eating oatmeal. That’s what my family does when things get hard, or you’re sick, or any other malady whatsoever, they feed you oatmeal adorned with protein powder. The secret to getting better must be an amino acid buildup—and I did get better. It took weeks. At first, I just sat, and slept, and listened to the voices all around me. I felt as though my sister bounced through the house and I thought, “that should be me,” but I wasn’t ready for bouncing.
Five weeks later came my first big feat, I planted a tree. I remember picking up the shovel and wondering if I could do it, could I? I began to dig, at first with great effort, but as I peeled away the top layer of soil it became easier and slowly I realized I could do it, I could plant a tree. That night I sat on my parent’s bed and began to peel away the layers of my own life, digging, slowly, and with enormous effort. Two hours later I was resolved, divorce. I don’t recall now the details of this particular session except my little E. At eighteen months he approached me. I remember his eyes exactly as they were–those empathetic baby blues. If I could imagine the eyes of God, staring at His child, those would be them. There I was, on a bed, feeling so lost and my baby reaches up grabbing my hand simultaneously, he wraps his body around mine, “Mama, don’t cry.” And I stopped.
That day, on the bed, I didn’t plant a tree. I only began to dig an enormous hole. Perhaps, now you see why I appreciate my analytical self (although I recognize the occasional detriment of it). For there was a time when I couldn’t find that me; a time when I didn’t even know if I could complete the simple task of planting a ficus (I just had to use that word). A time when window coverings entertained and oatmeal served as my dietary staple.
From Mrs. to Ms. whit. ing. addict
Today, and excerpt from my left brain:
what kind of tree did you plant? Is it still alive? To serve as a humble reminder that you made it through.
A weeping willow.