Wow! It has been a long time. So long I am feeling emotional just being here, typing. My thoughts are rushing with “Where to begin?” and I can’t help but feel I MUST keep this simple. I have learned a lot of patience the last few months. I have learned to also NOT say EVERYTHING that is on my mind and keep it, hold it, save it for a better time, a better moment. And this is what I hope to accomplish tonight. With SO MUCH floating in my mind, wanting to get out, I pick and choose just one thought, just one moment to share and pray it is the one that needed to be picked.
The last few months I have found myself “being bored.” LOL. Why LOL? Well, because my father used to tease me as a child about ALWAYS saying, “I’m Bored!” But even though I was bored. . . I really wasn’t. I just didn’t FEEL like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Instead I felt like my choices were being made for me and I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t know how to just live. So, I felt bored. Really BORED!
I suppose over all these years the feeling of “being bored” has translated to “What should I be doing?” or “What was I sent here to do?” I have asked myself this question SO MANY TIMES that I can not count that high without becoming BORED.
I have a secret. A really personal, deep, hopeful secret. Really it is a dream, but one I believe will come true. But I can’t tell you how scared I am it will. WHAT?!? Yes, it is true. I am scared in the very deepest parts of my heart and soul that my secret, my dream for myself, will be the ruin of those I love the very most. That I will become the CAUSE of their misery, their misfortune, their negative emotional punching bag, their demise. So . . . how do I dream with those feelings in my soul?
I don’t know. I honestly DON’T understand. I am too scared to let go of the feelings and let my secret come out and become REAL. Because I can’t bear the thought that if my dream comes out, then the ones I love the most will naturally want to HELP ME make this dream come true. Then they will become accomplices to their demise. How can I do this to them? How can I be so selfish, so heartless as to put myself above them, their needs, their desires, their purposes on this earth?
How can I?
So . . . I write. I write as a way to help my heart, mind, desires, hopes, dreams, and most of all, my purpose on this earth KNOW why I am holding back? Why I am so scare to move forward without knowing that the ones I LOVE THE MOST will not be harmed by this secret, this dream I am secretly praying will happen, will be fulfilled.
Now, you are probably DYING to know what this secret or dream of mine is. Well . . . I can’t tell you, not yet at least. I can’t tell you because by doing so, it allows the secret to be free. Free from the safety and confines of my heart. But also free to become real. I can’t handle REAL at this moment. But I can handle “thinking” about it.
To be honest, I catch myself “thinking” about it all the time. Some days it FEELS SO REAL that I truly believe it is coming true. I feel it deep – DEEP in my bones. DEEP into the very structure of my cells. So deep at times I feel it is what allows me to breath most days. I can only imagine what this dream would do to me and for me if it were to happen. But there is so much at stake that I can’t handle the thoughts of what consequences are waiting for me and the ones I love the most. I suppose the negative consequences that could happen IF this dream did become real. I suppose that is why I am writing. I am trying to find a way to expose those negative consequences, those FEARS and see – REALLY SEE – if they are real or would really be my fault if they were to come true.
I suppose my greatest fear of them ALL, would be the death or wasted life of a loved one.
I don’t know, but many of you who even read this little blog already know of the death of our first daughter, Kayleigh. But she wasn’t my first tragedy with death. I also lost a sister, my little sister, Ashley. She was 13 at the time and I was barely 19. I was just beginning to ask life’s BIGGEST questions – “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?”, and “Why am I here?” I had been fortunate to receive two very good friends who were down to earth enough to tell me what they thought but give me the freedom and space to find out what I believed on my own.
Fortunately I was CHALLENGED to read a book. A book I have known about, owned and even carried with me on special occasions throughout my life. But it was also a book that I NEVER personally read, to even find out for myself if I believed it was true.
Now, you must know a couple things about me. First, I have ALWAYS struggled in school. Reading was one of the most difficult things for me to do. In Junior High and High School, I thought I was going to die when I was FORCED to read William Shakespeare. I could barely understand the text books from school. How could I honestly come to understand a foreign language that happened to be written in English? I had NO CLUE but thankfully, with the help of cliff notes, conversations with classmates and friends, and movies, I got through Shakespeare and came to love the use of language. But that didn’t mean I understood how to write it or even speak it at times.
Words just seemed to come at me faster than I could speak them. I had SO MANY WORDS floating in my mind that I would talk as fast as I could to just get them ALL OUT of my head at once. Many, MANY times, people would comment on how fast I spoke, or how I had “diarrhea” mouth, or even joke “Don’t get stuck talking to Wendi. She’ll talk your ear off!”
Sure, it hurt. It actually hurt a lot! But this is the irony. People would complain when I didn’t speak with them that way. They would keep digging, pushing me to open up and share. Eventually I would and they would get their fill but then I would be left feeling frustrated and unsure about myself. How could they LOVE to talk with me and be around me but in the same breath make negative, hurtful comments on the very thing they desired from me the most? Go figure!
Anyway! Back to the reading. Even though I figured out HOW to read Shakespeare, I didn’t crave reading books that I didn’t EASILY understand. So . . . I avoided ANY books that even sounded like they could be over my head. I only read books in school that I “had to” read but never really craved reading as a way to pass time. So when the challenge came to read this book, The Book of Mormon, I thought, “HOLY COW! I could barely get through Shakespeare! How am I going to read THIS BOOK?” But, being the stubborn, competitive person that I am – I TOOK THE CHALLENGE.
And even though the reading was difficult at first, so difficult I wanted to throw the book across the room at times because I didn’t know what it was saying . . . I came to LOVE that book! I loved it SO MUCH that I felt, TRULY FELT it was what I had been looking for, waiting for my whole life. I actually, HONESTLY felt WHOLE because of that book! Reading that book, a little bit every day became a wonderful feeling for me. So many of my questions were being answered and in such a way that they produced feelings of love, openness, forgiveness, hopefulness and joy. I wanted this feeling, this purpose to be with me the rest of my life. I finally felt that I had a path, a direction to go in my life and I KNEW that I was supposed to be on this earth and had SO MUCH to offer it.
Then . . . my sister died.
Funny thing happened though. I was at COMPLETE and utter PEACE. I sat still, watching those that loved and cherished Ashley . . . fall apart. I understood why they were and why they were feeling that way but I didn’t understand WHY they didn’t want more? Why didn’t they also want peace? Why didn’t they want what I had?
Well . . . you can call that immaturity or you can call that being naive. But I call it FEAR. I SAW so MANY that I love give into that fear and STOP living a part of their lives as “payment” for the death of my sister. I saw an entire neighborhood change the way they interacted with my family, just because my sister had died, not because we earned it or because they desired that change naturally. We instantly became pitied for our misfortune and felt SO MANY distance themselves from us for protection’s sake or just out of plain FEAR. “What if what happened to them could rub off onto me?” Well, they weren’t willing to take that risk. So we lost many of our dearest friends to this tragedy. Which naturally caused LIFE to CHANGE for us.
We didn’t hang out with the same people, speak the same, laugh the same or even think the same. Ashley’s death changed the way we believed. Some for the better, myself included, but MANY for the worse. Fortunately this experience prepared me for what I was to endure in losing my own daughter. By losing Kayleigh, I saw what my parents and loved ones feared . . . “DID I CAUSE THIS?” “WAS THIS MY FAULT?” Fortunately, I chose to FACE that fear because I KNEW it wasn’t my parent’s fault that Ashley died – it was simply her time to go home. We don’t get to choose when or where or how they leave us BUT we do get to celebrate that we knew them, remember the days we had with them and then look forward to seeing them again. So . . . I KNEW I had to face this fear of “WHAT IF” and nip it in the bud!”
Needless to say, 14 years later, I have been nipping it in the bud and I am sure that Kayleigh’s life on this earth was a gift and a blessing for my husband and myself and that I only got to be a part of it. Her death wasn’t an attack on me or my husband. We wanted her! We ALWAYS wanted her! But it wasn’t meant to be. Kayleigh was only meant to be here on this earth for a little while AND she needed two parents to make that happen for her AND . . . WE DID! We did our part! We loved her, we cared for her, we dreamed with her, we made every moment of her life the very BEST it could be. And in the end of her earthly life, we did the ONLY and LAST THING we could do for her as her parents. . . WE LET HER GO HOME!
It was the hardest day of my life but also the most joyous. Because I KNOW that I made the RIGHT CHOICE and she KNOWS that I CHOSE THAT CHOICE. I wasn’t forced, I wasn’t guilt-ed into it, I wasn’t denied the choice. I KNEW what I was doing and I KNEW what needed to be done. And as MUCH as it hurt me and took ALL my dreams with Kayleigh with her, I chose to let her go. And I KNOW she thanks me for that choice every day of my life.
But now what? I made that tough choice and Kayleigh died. Do I laugh again, do I smile? Heaven forbid, do I live my life WITHOUT Kayleigh? The answer is simply . . . YES!
Now, don’t get me wrong, this decision to LIVE LIFE isn’t happening over night. To be honest with you, I am STILL fighting this decision. It has honestly come in stages and that is why I am struggling so much with “my secret.” It is probably one of the last stages I must go through to TRULY let Kayleigh and her death go . . . and I am afraid!
Why? I guess deep down inside I feel that if I don’t have this fear, this dread, this anxiety with me – that in many ways I will be FINALLY letting go of the last pieces I have of Kayleigh. What I don’t understand yet is that those fears, those worries, those pains of doubt are NOT Kayleigh. Those are only damns to keep me from living my life, the life that I know I am capable of living, DEEP DOWN INSIDE. A life without FEAR, to truly LOVE my children and to truly LET my husband love me. I suppose a life that allows me to be LOVED.
Just the thought of being loved is too much for me. Love = Pain in my heart. How much you love someone or something = the amount you will be hurt when it is gone. But . . . to love a stranger or acquaintance is harmless because they were not or are not a “part” of my life. So loving them has become an easy, comfortable, safe way to share the love I hold so deep inside and allow it to be free. But those strangers/acquaintances aren’t the ones who NEED my love. My family does!
I KNOW I do this because of a recent birthday gift I gave to someone in my ward/neighborhood. Now, this person isn’t a stranger BUT she isn’t someone I tell my deepest thoughts or feelings to, a.k.a. = a best friend. I simply adore her and have watched her grow in leaps and bounds over the last 6 years we have lived in this “place” (that is a story for another day). Anyway, what this woman offered me was success, peace, a reason for being here. Not because I had ANYTHING to do with her success but because I was blessed to watch it happen. I have felt SO GRATEFUL for this gift that I wanted to acknowledge it.
So, for her birthday, I felt prompted to do something for her. But just a card or simple gift wouldn’t do. I NEEDED to share my love and I suppose I chose HER to accomplish that task. Instead of giving this overwhelming love, I was feeling needed to be set free, to the very ones who NEED it the most.
I thought for days about what to do but it couldn’t be something costly and it couldn’t be something too over the top but it had to be something special – to match the feelings I was feeling deep inside. So I came up with a “pun on words” and ran to the local dollar store for some stuff. I filled a shiny, silver bag with items that had cute sayings to go along with them. A few were a pair of silly sunglasses for “helping me see the bright side of things”, soda pop for “giving me a boost to be the best version of me”, a pom pom pen for “cheering me on when I was down,” and a few others. As you can see, I was feeling a bit awkward giving such wonderful thanks to someone who wasn’t even my dearest friend. Have I even considered doing this for those few people in my life who really ARE the boost, cheerleaders and sunglasses of my life? Well, the answers is . . . .NO!
Now, don’t get me wrong, this woman did deserve this praise and gratitude because we are RARELY recognized for the little things that we do that really matter in another person’s life. A simple smile can lightly someone’s heavy load for the day. A hug or listening ear can be all that someone needed, to have the strength to face a problem they felt they couldn’t bare. Or a simple chat, some random day, on a person’s front lawn can help you feel you are not alone on this big scary earth. This woman has done that for me on SEVERAL occasions over the past 6 years. So did she “deserve” this gift and what better day to receive it than her birthday? But that isn’t the point I am trying to make.
The point that I am making is the very fact that I DON’T make an effort to APPRECIATE the people closest to me. I do that because I have to keep them at arms length or else . . . or else . . . I am afraid I will literally shrivel up and die if they leave me!
That is the honest truth!
So, back to my secret . . . my dream. How can I honestly, truly, be so selfish as to ask for this dream to come true when I have done nothing but be a miser with my love for the ones that will be most affected by this secret? How can I? I don’t deserve it. I haven’t earn this privilege! So how can I ask this of them?
You are probably thinking, “Does this girl even have a clue?” Yes, YES I do! I do realize that we are a family and we are only as strong as the weakest link. And yes, I DO understand that I am first Wendi, a daughter of God, second a wife and third a mother, my dreams matter too! But how can I live with myself if I have done nothing but KEEP my love from them, then ask for this dream to come true and then NOT give them the love they are in need of me and also watch them struggle or suffer because of what this dream asks of them. Do you know what I mean? I am NOT in the practice of making promises I CAN’T keep. I am also not comfortable with asking others to suffer for my sake! So NO, I can’t promise that if this dream were to come true that I would FINALLY allow myself to be loved and then in turn, openly love my family the way they need. I can’t and I won’t do that to myself. It is wrong and it never works. I also don’t know how I could have the strength to not BLAME MYSELF for any negative emotion or problems that might arise, if this dream were to come true.
So, now what do I do?
Well, that is why I can’t share my secret with you at this time. I have NO IDEA! I do appreciate you taking the time to read this post. But please know, I appreciate your respect and consideration of my feelings with these thoughts I am sending out into the big, scary but wonderful world. I am only sharing this because I feel whole, complete doing this and I am hoping that it will start my trek to find my way to this desire. That hopefully, one day and hopefully soon, I can dig deep enough to let my last stages of Kayleigh’s death go and FINALLY accept that life is not something to be controlled but something to be experienced, the good and the not so good.
I love you all!