Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fire and Flames

Before Logan's death, I had learned to be very conscious of what I ate and drank. During that time of my nutritional enlightenment, food went from being mindless eating to "eyes wide open" events.

I can remember growing up and trusting that the food we ate each day was healthy and a nourishment to our bodies. We ate vegetables from the garden and chickens from our own coop. It was the dawn of commercial foods and foods of convenience. Even then, we ate without fear. I can remember those TV dinners that were actually covered with foil and only heated in the oven. We had them on occasion (and they were 19 cents each) but most of our meals were prepared from scratch in our own kitchen.

I'm not even sure I can recall how or when I learned what today's "food" really was. How it was delicious but void of nutrients. How even though we were overweight as a people, we were starving to death. How added ingredients in almost all commercial foods did nothing but fatten us up and contributed to most common health problems and diseases. How eating right can help the body heal itself. I learned and then I forgot.

Logan's death left everything blurry. Nothing made sense and we stopped being who were were before he died. It was as if one moment we were standing on dry ground, the next moment we were suddenly tossed into an angry stormy sea, barely able to keep our heads above the constantly moving water, holding on to each others hands in an effort to survive. In those days and months, that was all we could do. We just kept surviving. No real passion existed. It is as if the mind and the heart become disconnected, unable to communicate. We became shells of who we were. We looked the same for the most part but our souls had become shallow. We became one dimensional, thin and fragile. That's what sudden loss and grief can do to you.

It has been 18 months since that horrible day in October of 2009. It took a full 7 months before I could begin to feel anything. But I still didn't know who I was, what I liked, what I wanted or what was important. Very slowly the fog of grief began to lift. Logan no longer occupied our every thought. His memory no longer invaded our sleep.

There was guilt in letting that pain go and maybe we didn't let it go as much as we tucked it away in a drawer like some valued possession we hid for safe keeping. If we did that did it mean that we were forgetting him? The simple act of remembering him was to put a fire to gasoline. The end result was unspeakable pain. I think we understood that if we were to survive, if we were to find a purpose in our lives again, we were to live a life that could include joy and beauty, we had to manage our source of pain. We had to wrestle grief into that tiny box, put it in the drawer and close it. It would always be there and when we felt the need to remember, we could take it out, turn it this way and that and recall every detail. This examination would happen at a time of our choosing when the tears were hidden from the world.

For me, at least, I try not to open that drawer. I know where it is, I know whats in it. For the sake of my sanity, I try to leave it be. As time goes on, I can write about whats in that box and why it changed my world and why it has changed me.

This summer I began to remember all I had learned. I remembered it with a clarity and understanding that I had not had before. For so long I had neglected my physical body while my mental body healed. I failed to see through the fog that they are both critical to my survival and my ultimate healing.

I have embraced that part of me that is healing from the inside out, starting with my food choices. It has been a month and as I nourish my body with healthy foods, vitamins and minerals, I feel renewed strength. It is part of my second life here on Earth, a life that unfolds before me, completely new and different. Yet there are pieces of the old me that are there lying around for collection and use. I must have forgotten where I put them as I seem to find them one at a time.

Learning about the new me, the post October 2009 me is an adventure. The journey, including the fog, has forged a stronger woman. I have walked through the fire and found that instead of completely consuming me as I thought it would, it simply left me with calloused feet. Feet that can withstand both fire and flames.

The experience will serve me well in the future as life often throws at us what we think we cannot survive. Yet we do. How we survive is up to us. We simply need the will and desire to do so. Life takes care of the rest.

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