breathe

…just breathe.

after a more-than-normal tiring, long, emotionally spent week of work, i felt drained. but as soon as i saw the ocean and stepped out of the car towards the sand, my head cleared. the wind chased away worries and anxieties, fears and frustrations, leaving behind in its wake a clearer heart and head. residue lingered, but i was grateful to finally have some sense of quiet in my mind. i listened to my iPOD, found a space to sit down, watched a few die-hard surfers in their attempts to catch the late waves, and looked at the sun dipping below a steel-gray horizon. i saw the fins of a school of dolphins swimming lazily by, their sleek backs dipping in and out of the water.

i took the scenic route home, on a road winding past mansions and oceanfront estates in the Palos Verdes peninsula, dreaming about the past, thinking about the present, and hoping towards the future.

i love the ocean. it is my refuge. no matter how tough or chaotic life seems to be in the moment, the tide still washes in, the waves still recede. the same sun still rises and sets.

time is flying by at an absurd rate. although in the moment, my weeks seem so long because each day is packed with feelings, trauma, needs, projection (yesterday, one of my clients described how his dad had given him ‘purple eyes’ [bruises] and had promised to never do that to him again shortly before he was arrested…sigh)…

i look back in hindsight and i am amazed at the speed at which life is currently moving.

i am thankful for His strength because i don’t know how i would deal otherwise. and i’m thankful for a beach that i can retreat to… for those occasional breaths of fresh air to clean out my head, my heart, my soul, my lungs…

breathe.

just breathe.

farewell

so she’s gone. passed from the world on monday evening, right after my mom’s friend’s husband -a pastor- and many of my parents’ friends held a send-off service for her. coincidence, perhaps? monday evening was difficult. a shocking feeling. tuesday, i went about the work day and got caught up in my clients’ business, but i could feel the occasional pang when i thought about her and how she was no longer in this world. tonight, the load feels a bit more easier to bear. and i suppose each day the burden will become less and less as God works through time to heal my family’s wounds.

sometimes i still picture her in my mind, all shriveled and wrinkled up like the last time i saw her saturday afternoon… she couldn’t talk but she nodded her head in response to my questions… and sometimes she would fix her sunken eyes unblinkingly on my face as if trying to tell me something very important.  i think even in her final state she still knew who i was.

i am glad i told her that i loved her. in all my years, i had never told her that before, always more annoyed during my interactions with her.

i am sorry i could not introduce her to Yogurtland. i described it to her… a new location had opened up recently just a mile from her house and back in june i had promised we would go when the weather turned hot.

when i think about the things she was never able to enjoy, i feel sad. but when i think about the pain she had suffered during her final months, i am thankful God took her home. i hope she’s feasting right now… and enjoying every minute of it.

nothing

it’s difficult to see someone go. my aunt (my dad’s older sister) is slowly and gradually passing from this world to the next. i sat next to her today and held her hand… watched and listened to her shallow breathing, to her gasps for air… i saw the tube that had been inserted into her to help her with her bathroom functions… i held her hand and felt the warmth of her body… a body so weak and frail because she has stopped eating…she opened her eyes wide once and looked at me, but i don’t know if she recognized me… although when i told her i was leaving, she nodded her head.

i hated leaving her in that state. but at least she looked more peaceful today than she has for the past several weeks.

it’s been difficult going over there to see her. a once-vibrant woman, so full of life and energy, strong-willed and always vocal about everything. i had an unusual emotional connection to her, always annoyed by her pushy personality… not ever wanting to end up like her, alone with no family or friends because she had pushed them all away… her heart carefully shut up and closed off in order to keep herself strong… and she worried all the time about money, money, money…

my mom tells me when i was born, my aunt hated the fact that i was a girl – she treated my mother like crap and wouldn’t even let my dad come to see her in the hospital.

and now this woman is slowly leaving this world and all that’s been familiar… how strange to be going and not leaving behind one trace of your existence? cremation. nothing but a death certificate.

it’s been difficult. i’ve let the tears fall occasionally, more out of pity for her than sadness for myself… and knowing that, despite my self-perception of my relationship with her, she was a person who had breathed, had lived, had been a part of my life and thus, a part of me.

i’ll have to process it somehow, sometime, somewhere.