Happy Birthday, Grace

Trevor was the first person I spoke to about Grace this morning. He called me to celebrate her birthday and tell me he was thinking about me.

Laura was here and asked me if she might read a Jewish prayer. I was touched, and grateful.

Below is the prayer:

“May God remember my daughter, Grace, who has gone to eternal rest.

Her life was but the briefest flicker of a flame, extinguished before it had time to shed its light on the world but not before sharing its warmth with me.

Through the months of her gestation, I prepared to nurture and to love her. For the time that she lived, I gave to her everything a parent could have given and received everything I could have expected.

May the memory of the joy she brought to me in the short time that we were together strengthen me, and may God count that joy as the weight of a life filled with such blessing, binding through that love and joy Nina and Trevor in the bonds of eternal life.

For the gift of her life without transgression, I pledge to do acts of righteousness and tzedakah [charity] that she may merit eternal life and that I may find comfort in this world.”

With this in mind, I’m going to rename my charitable foundation “The Grace Projects”.

Today had been tough. But I’m still here. I’m not running away. I’m being mindful.

Advertisements

Flawmingos of Attraction

I had heard that sometimes, at sunset, flamingos fly over the burnt-yellow huts at the inaptly-named Red Slave huts on Bonaire. I really, really wanted to try and see that. Trevor and Paul didn’t think we’d stand a chance, but I insisted. It would be a beautiful place to watch the sun go down and we DEFINITELY weren’t going to see them, if we weren’t there. We packed a picnic, corralled Evie into the truck and took off.

It happened after we had finished our tailgate picnic. The sun had set and I was holding Evie (not a camera). As we turned to go, three bright red-pink flamingos flew directly overhead. They were flying from land, not from the ocean (as I had expected them to) and they headed straight out to sea. Who knows where they were heading, but I do know it made my day. I was so happy, I was literally jumping for joy, which got Evie all excited and we bounced our way home clapping our hands.

I like to think I willed it to happen 🙂

It is all in the attitude (altitude?)

I missed my flight but I called from the gridlocked car and managed to rebook something only 2 hours later (to LA, with a 5-hr layover, but at least I will make it home tonight!)

This flight is delayed too, lol, but I have bought Boots #7 serum (3 for 2) in, another prezzie for Evie, and some Marmite. And now I’m in the lounge, dipping cheese & Branson sandwiches in my potato/truffle soup. My vegetarian meal request won’t carry over to this plane, so I’m stuffing saffron/cheese pasta in the lounge. And unlimited sparking water with bitters 🙂

And my dad got me here without crashing, which is more than most of the other cars did. I wish he and Mum were here to share the Christmas cake I’m current noshing into!

I am decided to look on the bright side. I’m so grateful for my family. Even 24 hours with them. Thank you!

Drunk with jet-lag

Sleepless and pumped with sleeping tablets that do not appear to be working, I ruminate “being sober sucks”.

I’m not tempted to drink, but I am keenly aware that half a bottle of wine from the mini bar would have kicked the first sleeping tablet in and I would be sleeping like a baby right now.  I would probably have had a couple of free drinks in the airport lounge before flying, the free opening cocktail on the plane, the wine-with-dinner and a sleeping tablet too.  And boom, I could have had 4-6 hours sleep on the plane right there.

(I searched “sober” emote, but of course there isn’t one!  There are plenty for “booze” though 😉 .)

One of the reasons I used to drink was to sleep.  But it wasn’t the main one.  I was trying to “turn my brain off”.  I was desperate for it, in need of it, burning out.  I felt unsupported on all fronts: Evie, work, home maintenance, relationship, friends-planning, food-planning, family-visiting, holiday-planning, work trips.  I just needed to  relax as soon as I walked through the door, to grab an hour with Evie before she went to bed.  Alcohol was the quickest way.  (Who really has time to schedule a massage, let alone a massage a week? I have been trying to round up my friends to go to some hot baths for months, and we haven’t made it yet.)

I’m don’t think I am the only one of my friends suffocating. But I am the only one not drinking, because I need to not drink.  I drank past the point of unwinding.  I drank to forget.  To turn off.  Ungood.

And now, I’m not tempted to drink. At least not so far, at only 44 days in. So far, it has been surprisingly easy (but I have found the 90-day hurdle a bit daunting before).

But I am concerned about how to “turn off NOW”.  I do try and meditate regularly.  (I said try 😉 .)  I’m not interested in taking up a complicated new hobby or sport.  I want to turn off.  What does THAT for your brain?  I’m considering yoga after Eva goes to bed.  Or being hit head with a sledge hammer?

Anyone got any other suggestions?

And 5 things I’m grateful for:

1. The mini bar contained nuts.

2. It is only 5 am, there is time to grab a couple of hours sleep before my alarm goes off (if these sleeping pills ever kick in).

3. The room has a teddy bear, who is in bed with me.

4. This work trip could actually solve a lot of things and enable us to move forward.

5. I get to see my family for a few hours when I change planes in England on the way home.

(Non-alcoholic 0′ San Miguel beer Akkuruat. The server and I laughed about how all N/A beers “taste like shit”.)

Accountability Partner

This post is dedicated to Kim Spillman (who took me at my word when I asked if she wanted to be my accountability buddy coming out of the retreat we just did).  How WERE we going to put our new learnings into practice, become better people, be stronger and happier and more determined, nourish our bodies, protect the weak, and fight the strong that don’t have our best interests at heart?

img_5342-s

As it turns out, so many of the sessions we attended all week (be it written lessons, fitness classes, lectures, meditation, hikes, or creative expression) centred on gratitude, with a massive side helping of “being present”.

We’ve known for a while now we can literally rewire our brains, so why aren’t we doing it?  Just concentrating on what we are grateful for each day can kick off very powerful changes in the brain.  The first 5 things are obviously easy, but a few days in, I struggled to think of anything I was grateful for that day (after Evie, of course).  When teaching us this class, Hana Matt told me it could be anything: “I have 2 legs”, “I can see”, “I had soup for dinner”.  I’m know the lesson there is we have so much to be grateful for, we have no idea how bad others have it and we should be grateful ALL the time!

WE ARE THE 1%.  It most cases it isn’t our fault (and giving away every cent we have wouldn’t make much difference), but at least maybe we should have the good fucking grace to be grateful, and that we’re not dying of dysentery, or sold into child labour, or….

Kim sent me hers  one day, and reminded me to keep at it.  Anyway, here are my five for today.  What are yours?

I am grateful for:

  1. Evie, my family in England, and my chosen family of friends in San Francisco.  (Sorry, I know I just lumped a lot of people together but I am only supposed to list 5 things and I need to get going!)
  2. I reached out to one of the teachers from my retreat, and she returned the email! I can’t wait to meet up with her again 🙂
  3. I’m grateful that Trevor can be Evie’s “manny” this month (and that Steve was able to do it last month).  A public post probably isn’t the best place to thank you properly, but I will never forget you helping us out in a pinch.
  4. Paul and Ricci.  I’m running out of room so I will say Paul for being Evie’s wonderful father and for loving her.  I am grateful for him in her life.  I trust him with her so much that I am completely comfortable leaving her with him (for work, or so I can go to a retreat and try and get my shit straight and access what is important in this world, outside of video games and house woos).  And Ricci, I had no idea how much we were going to miss you until you left!
  5. My health.  All in all, I am relatively healthy.  This old body keeps getting me through life.  Kidneys seem fine, my hormones seem to have stabilized since I stopped breast-feeding, although I am sure they are misfiring as I become perimenopausal – LOL!   I haven’t had a drink in over 6 weeks- and all in all, things could be much worse!

I bought myself a gratitude journal, so I am going to try and keep this up.  Don’t worry, I won’t post them all!  LOL!

Grace

In this moment there is stillness.

Grace is there, watching in the wings, observing patiently.

Grace is always there.  She is with me.

I don’t think about her every day like I used to.

Sometimes I go weeks without thinking about her.  The pain recedes.  It isn’t raw like it used to be.  I don’t cry every day.  I’m no longer tearing inside.  I’m torn, but I am stitched together… like a ragdoll.  Badly, the stitches are crude and visible, but my stuffing stays on the inside, and you might think I am whole.

And then comes the guilt.  Did I forget her in those moments?  Am I trying to paper over the cracks and deny what lies in those hollow walls that used to house my soul?

I don’t know.  Most of the time, I don’t know anything anymore.

I have spent so much time bereft of happiness, I thought I might never feel again.

I’m not at peace now, but there is a new joy.

There is a light of my life.  Grace doesn’t mind.  It doesn’t work that way.

Love doesn’t judge, it doesn’t ask questions, it isn’t jealous.  Love isn’t quantifiable or finite.  It is inexhaustible. Love begets love.

I need more love in my life.

But for this moment, there is stillness, and that brings a kind of peace.