For the first time since June 21, Father’s Day- over five months ago, I’m sitting here in my favorite writing space. I know this because the last entry in this particular journal, morning pages, is left here. Morning pages is a stream of consciousness writing, something I began doing years ago. The words on the page are hard for me to read. I don’t remember writing them, yet here they are. It is how I was feeling (a stream of consciousness), and there’s no denying that.
June 21- the same day Amanda, Lane, and I talked on the phone for over four hours (with Joe joining us for only a few of those minutes- he said he had nothing to talk about. For a four-hour conversation, the three of us obviously did.) Amanda was still in Hawaii and Lane in Indy. Long phone calls like this are how we “visit”. Not out of the ordinary at all, but typically they last 60/90 minutes.
June 21- the same day I went to Erin’s for Emerson’s birthday, (Joe couldn’t go. He called Erin and apologized- she said it was okay. She didn’t want him to feel bad.)
I didn’t want to leave him alone.
June 21- five days before he died.
For the first time since that day, I’m sitting here.
There are many truths written on these pages. I’m glad I’ve kept some sort of record of our time together; my thoughts. I wasn’t writing Joe’s story. I was writing about what I was living. I had a big responsibility, holding his secret so close. I never wanted to put anything on paper and chance, someone, someday find it. I had made a promise. It’s been difficult trying to help others understand, to comprehend the trust that we had for each other. But that’s who we were.
I promised him.
But he also promised me. (Thank you for that reminder, Danielle.)
I stayed true.
He did not.
But is that the truth? Joe was sick. This wasn’t him.
And still, it hurts. It doesn’t make sense to know this and to still feel betrayed.
I trusted him.
(…but he was sick.)
And then… thumbing through the pages of my “love letters to self” journal, I find another treasure I’d written in 2016 in Wisconsin- our annual trip “up north.” (I’ve written about my journaling practices before.)
To find this just when I needed it; when I’m doubting and questioning things; when I’m feeling betrayed.
This is how the Divine is guiding me.
…and all because of this one daily exercise.
A reminder that, yes… this was real. Joe was not himself.
and my god he loved me, “like mad.” I know that’s the truth.
What a gift! Such gratitude FOR MYSELF- that I had started this practice long before I knew what a difference it was making. That I had already begun building the muscles of self-love and self-acceptance, years ago. To know that I am worthy. Building my strength by affirming over and over again. That’s practice.
Trust is built over time, not overnight. And I can say that NOW, after 52 years, I do fully trust myself. My Intuition is always guiding me- and I’m listening. I trust that I’ll always make the right decisions, and if I don’t, I’ll turn around and make a better one.
And yes, I will trust others, too. I already do.
While Travis and I were delivering candles a few days ago, we had an interesting conversation, as we usually do. Travis is a critical thinker, like me. I love that we can go deep and wide with our views; we can talk about anything. (The relationship that I have with our kids (that Joe also had with them) there is nothing they can’t ask me. I’m willing to dive into any topic if they are. ) Travis had an interesting perspective that I happened to love. He said, “Dad conquered his fear of death. If he were a Viking and had fallen on his sword, it would have been looked at as a valiant act, and that’s how I’m choosing to see it.”
The interesting thing that we all know is that Joe did have Scandinavian ancestry. Of course, he also had a rich history of the Vikings- lots, and lots of books were listened to on that very subject while he was making candles. He was always drawn to their story. I will never forget his excitement when the results came back… “Holy shit! I’m a Viking!!!”
I wish I still had the picture that Travis sent back to him when he “announced” it to all of the kids. But it looked something like this and he said, “This is my surprised face, that you’re a Viking.” 😂
The kids knew how strong their dad was. He impressed them with his strength throughout their childhood as well as adulthood. They always knew if they did something to “instigate” a reaction (a quick punch on the arm, a smart-ass response to a question, etc. well they better run fast! 😏)
Joe was sick, but he was the strongest man we knew. If looking at his death as a strength and not a weakness, a gift and not a curse, helps us to heal, then I’m okay with that.
We will miss him FOREVER. And we will keep moving forward. Still.
xo, and peace.