Do you remember the first words that fell off your lips?
Or the first thing that caused joy to well up?
Funny, the things we remember.
So important, our first steps.
Yet we never get to see them.
Remember the rush of our chubby baby legs working how we wanted.
Or our first words.
I wonder what mine were?
Maybe it’s better not to know.
So silly, the way we see ourselves.
Lost in memories and thought loops
Experiences we label and poke at (from an unsafe distance).
Staring into mirrors that distort
And ask the wrong questions.
Peering into eyes that hide behind plastic masks,
Use paint to hoodwink reality.
What do you remember?
I get these flashes.
I don’t want them.
My chest breaks in half
Everything is frozen in blazing nausea
And the world goes dark
They color my sleep in muddy hues
Robbing intimate moments of safety.
I got so sick
Sick of paying for others’ sins.
Confused body, still paying with sickly health.
The only things I remember, hurt.
I wish it wasn’t that way.
Wish I could hold happy childhood memories in my thoughts
Like little flakes of gold, suspended
Always there to infuse me with heart swelling snapshots.
The foundation all the healthy people have
The people who don’t fall apart every day.
But protection came at a cost.
My mom bought me gold flakes at a field trip once
I think they’re in storage.
I wish I could remember
The day I was born.
I wonder what it felt like.
But if I tell…
If I tell, you might look at me
Like I’m made of porcelain, so easily broken
Or smothered in slime I can never remove
(Even though I didn’t put it there)
It infuriates me.
Perhaps if I hurt you, you won’t see me as weak
But I’m not a bully, so I’ll wait for you to hurt me first.
Silly memories, telling me you will.
I wish I could remember what I felt the day I was born.
Would I be the same person?
Would there be something at the center of me, holding me up?
Convincing me that I am solid and here and…
I wish I could remember.
What emotions flooded my body, the day I was born?
Can you take me back to the beginning, before everything became broken?
One hit after the other. In all different categories of life.
But I will tell you what. Sometimes pain has a way of cleansing you from the inside out. It’s like a fire that burns away all the cobwebs and dust, cleans the gunk that was stuck in the corners, as the flames flick off the outer shell you didn’t realize you’d developed.
Like the new pink, soft skin that grows after the scab has fallen off.
Clears up your perspective.
Shakes loose old habits or beliefs you didn’t realize you’d clung to.
I was planning on doing some fun research into the Egyptian Scarab beetle or Rafiki from The Lion King for my next post.
Sometimes life sneaks up on you in the form of a street sweeper and knocks you off your feet.
I kinda stood around dazed only to realize I wasn’t standing, I’d landed on my bum on the sidewalk and the leaves had already started falling on top of me like an all natural Fall coffin, before I’d become aware of it.
I feel like, if life was a street sweeper, it would have a crazy huge bumper with some wicked sign on the front, plastered atop a smirking smiley. There would definitely NOT be anyone behind the wheel. But I imagine a sweet smile plastered to the back.
Because aren’t we typically better off once life has knocked us off balance?
I am currently dusting myself off, enjoying the Fall leaves about me (yes, I know it’s not Fall, don’t worry I didn’t hit my head), and just glanced the smiley on the back of the truck before it turned the corner.
I’m fairly certain I’m still in Kansas but don’t quote me on that. I don’t know what street I’m on, because hey, life typically doesn’t tell us where it’s going to drop us. There are no tornadoes, small dogs, or sparkly red shoes, so I think it’s safe to say I’m conscious.
The question always lingers at this point. Where to now?
A collection of thoughts, realizations, and truths for me as I navigate the loss of my Papa from this life.
The first three I published on various social media sites, but after that they’re a first time thought.
He died Thursday 18th at 3:22 am.
Okay, so…. I’m not good at this. And I’m still stuck in …… I think shock and it hasn’t sunk in.
But Chuck Schultz, my Papa, went home to God Thursday morning at 3:20.
I miss him. I love him. I know he’s happy and safe and feels peace and joy and all the love that there is.
So, yeah. I will just leave this here.
With my awkward and inadequate words to mark with speech the love I have for him, the sorrow over losing him for a time, or the surety that I’ll see him again.
I am ever grateful for the memories.
I love you Papa.
I don’t remember my Papa’s laugh. I realized this in a painful panic. In a flurry of grasping memories and desperately trying to hear, just hear the last laugh he laughed in my presence. Instead, I only have tears to offer the silence.
I’ve never lost anyone before. Not to death. It’s a strange land to live in.
The entire world has changed. Yet it remains the same.
I am confronted with a void where there once was life, tiny memories dropping into the hollow that now presides, trying desperately to breathe life back into the part of my soul where he lived, died, and now is reborn in hope and knowledge that we’ll meet again and begin another journey of colliding souls.
I bought him this apron. I’ve only bought two aprons in my life. One for my Papa and one for my best friend.
We loved Snoopy together. And food. Cooking. Recipes. Papa was a chef. A master of cooking. He seemed to be a master of everything.
I wonder if I will see it again. After his funeral. When I must walk into his room and sit with his things and pick through them like a vulture. Oh, what do I want? How horrid. But how beautiful and loving and revitalizing. To bring a piece of him home with me. A physical piece of my Papa to keep with me forever. What will I bring home of him?
I miss clicking into my blog posts and seeing that my Papa has commented on them. Because he cares. Because he sees me. Because he’s a sassy character.
And now I feel the void where they were. The incoming comments on my life in his words, from his mind, his heart.
I get excited, wonder what he’ll think.
But there won’t be any comments from Papa.
When I was a wee munchkin Papa and I rooted for the Raiders. I knew absolutely nothing about football or why we liked them, but oh man did we love them!
It was our thing.
I wore a Raider’s hat. I now love the color scheme. I still know nothing about football. But I root for the Raiders.
I brought home his Raider’s belt buckle. His Raiders ring. What odd things to keep. They’re little bits of him. Right here. Where I can hold them in my hands while I tear up and learn how to let myself cry.
Papa taught me that. Cry. By dying he made me all aware of how if I didn’t shed tears, pretending, faked it, I was disrespecting our bond. Truth. Love. Those tears mean something. And I’m no longer ashamed to cry anymore for any reason in front of anyone. What a gift he’s given me. Even not being here, he’s teaching me about life.
I kept three of his ties. They still smell like him. I never want to wash them. I never want the smell to leave. I wonder if I put them in Ziploc bags if his Papa scent will keep.
I remember his laugh. It’s faint now, but growing. A shadow memory, cruelly fading in and out. But I won’t let it go.
It will come back, fully. If not I’ll hunt for it.
He laughed a lot.
People say, “I’m sorry for your loss”.
I used to say that to people.
I don’t think I will any longer. I’m not upset by it or anything like that. But its a wee bit meaningless at this point when I use it on others. Becuase now I know. Now I’ve felt it. Experienced it. Losing someone I love. Sometimes we don’t need to have anything to say. Just sit with someone, acknowledge the pain, understand that there are no words to fix it or make it better.
It’s a jumble of emotions, thoughts, and new understandings.
I am trying to step back and witness how I am moving through this.