I grieve

karie herring, karie herring religion, karie herring blog, thefivefish.com, the five fish blog

Sweat was hiding the tears as they trickled down my flushed cheeks. Most tears these days have been shed in silence, in hiding. Now I stand in the middle of a busy gym on the outskirts of Orlando. The smell of wet iron, the hint of copper, humbled by my current experience of feeling weak handling the iron, exposing my current internal weaknesses; which has been making every attempt to hide any feelings. Swallowing back the pain, unloading the plates off the bar, collecting my things, I went to my car to sob and further hide any visible pain.

Out of the industrial constructs and into the woods of the Florida state road to the place I now call home. The driving is soothing, but the tears continue to stream down my face, the sadness feels warm in my chest and almost overwhelming, as I feel the tightening and fight the feeling of my adrenaline. I am alone. My day is surrounded by the four walls that protect me from the world outside. Bearing these feelings is exhausting as I hide the pain from my entire family. A single friend, one near and dear, friends for over a decade and never meeting in person, has been my audience. My audience of one outside of The Chad who knows my struggle.

Having uprooted my family from Phoenix nearly eight weeks ago I have tried to find where exactly I fit. When I moved to Albuquerque in 1997 I immediately found my niche. I was able to meet people quickly. At work, within the community, my father’s associates, their spouses; friends and a community were no struggle. Having met The Chad, he became my community, my family, we combined and made it our community together. His friends mine and vice versa. Moving to Phoenix in 2003 The Chad and I struggled a bit to find our place. A young couple with a new baby created limitations in our social interactions, but still we managed to create a small community for ourselves over the past several years, and still surrounded by family, albeit my family this time while his still remained in Albuquerque.

Today, I find myself completely lost. Unsure where to start. I started by joining a gym in hopes of meeting other like minded individuals, women and men. Surely I could meet others the way I found a home with my former gym family; a way to escape the desert of the work from home life as a writer. Solitary work as a writer, I find myself the epitome of the stereotype. Searching for words, the strain to write anything of meaning otherwise the message nothing more than just text, I dare not share the conflict and strife of my intimate life for fear of pity or worse, more rejection. The shame of sadness, of feeling. Singularity yet again. Who would care to read the text of some random human. Such a balance of payments. Alone in my work, alone in the iron, alone in my thoughts.

This post was terrifying enough to write. I know my father is reading, possibly my mother, all privy to the solitary confinement of my feelings. Locked away for the past eight weeks as I have pushed through in eldest child fashion. Soldier on, as I always have, making every futile attempt to exhibit happy. When truly I grieve.

The feeling I have wrestled with like Heracles and Anateus, grief, crushing me. The past year has been a year of grieving for me that I have denied myself. The loss of a person I considered a dear friend, while she is still living, our friendship (in spite of my earnest and loving efforts) died. The devastating loss of my grandmother. Upon receiving the news of her passing I was greeted with house guests, soldiering on, I never had moments to grieve like I felt I should. Now I grieve the loss of a former life.

Life was almost Zionistic. My husband and I were both afforded the opportunity to work from home. In constant enjoyment of one another’s company. We never tired of each other, and were like love sick teenagers anytime one was away from the other. A wonderful community of people who banded together, as any village would, to be a part of our children’s lives where we could each rely on another for support. Neighbors that would dole out a ration of grief if they didn’t get the text you had a party when they were on a nightly constitutional through the neighborhood and saw more cars than normal in your driveway. Siblings to come to dinner and weekend pool parties, having long, philosophical talks of nothing and everything all at once. Enjoying watching my children flourish in this community we helped to build for them as well.

Now I grieve. Typing as a release in my grief, of a life I left 2194 miles away. My entire family. My friends. My home that I had raised my children for the last 14 years. I grieve and I am lost. My tropical, vacation like environment leaves me lost and bewildered of where to next. Where do I go from here? How do I start over at 40? My surroundings unfamiliar and what once felt like an adventure now brings about dread and loneliness. An occasional phone call, a random tag on a Facebook post, but nonetheless the day-to-day is habitual and regimented, empty and unfulfilling.

I prepared for everything in our cross country move. Everything had a box, a schedule, an arrangement, a preparedness. What I never prepared for was what I would feel once all the boxes were unloaded. After the final tractor trailer delivered our belongings. When my license plates no longer shimmered of purple majestic mountains across a burning horizon with the shadow of the saguaro. What I never planned for was the grief and the reality of being alone.

Living in a Mad World

Hollowing lyrics play through my ears, a familiar song.

“Their tears are filling up their glasses, No expression, no expression. Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow; No tomorrow, no tomorrow.”

boys at airportListening to these words I am reminded of the craziness of our today, even the smallest craziness of today, parent teacher conferences. Still the melody plays through my mind as I rush through the pouring rain to arrive on time to my meetings at the school. I try to put myself together with my disheveled appearance of being a bit soggy and somber still humming the music in my head. The teacher greets me ever so sweetly and energetically, discussing how hurdles and challenges were overcome for my tenderhearted young man, his genius progress. She goes on to tell me how he has an old soul, so sweet, caring, feeling every experience in life, he is full of emotion. Carrying on she tells me “We need more people like “G” in this world, we are living in a mad world.” The song stops playing in my head. Continue reading “Living in a Mad World”

Santa Club

Wanted Santa, Santa, santa club, believing in Santa

A conversation the other night at dinner originated from speculation of what Santa would bring children, coupled with the science of his worldwide delivery of presents. As each of my three went about debating their theoretical hypotheses for gift giving and explaining what could be compared to quantum physics to be in two places at once for driving his sleigh, they each shared if they still believed. Evolving the conversation into belief in the jolly old fellow, I was surprised at who maintained faith. What was more entertaining was The Chad’s reaction to my inquiry. Later I pressed The Chad stating that eventually we should “have the talk,” his response was more of what I could expect from Tyler Durden in Fight club. We don’t talk about Santa…what the hell is this Santa Club? We don’t talk about Santa? Why not? Continue reading “Santa Club”

Public Enemy

Growing up my home was highly dysfunctional. As a child I thought my upbringing was rather normal, all things considered, but that was not the case. Divorce was unheard of and I was in the midst of the unspeakable with my parents. I struggled as a child, never voicing of the troubles my parents were going through. Never speaking of the troubles I went through as a child, everything was a secret, my closest friends, my mother, no one knew what I was going through, my struggles. Continue reading “Public Enemy”

I’m Sorry Forgive Me

im sorry, forgive me, forgiveness

Just the other day I received an email out of the blue from a former colleague. A bit bewildered as to the reason for the email and yet giddy with curiosity, I opened with eager anticipation. The email was a simple asking for coffee and to enlighten her how she had wronged me with the opportunity to right any wrong. My jaw stiffened and I felt a scowl roll across my face. Then I saw the words “I’m sorry” in the body and I was even more disgusted. Lately I found that the words “I’m sorry” are just a form of lip service and not a request for forgiveness as the statement or question of “Forgive me” would suggest. Continue reading “I’m Sorry Forgive Me”

Leaving Jesus because of Christians

For the last six months I have been suffering in a very painful silence. My suffering is something I was not even sure if I should discuss because of deep wounds and reopened scars. As I shared some months ago I was given the opportunity to work in ministry. Over the moon excited to share my gifts, talents; the opportunity to share my love and faith with others. Allowing God to use me as his tool to share the Kingdom and do His work in this world. What I wasn’t prepared for was how damaging Christians can be to one another. What I wasn’t prepared for was the desire to leave Jesus because of Christians.

Do you recall the day your parents told you that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and even that the Easter Bunny were not real? Such a magical let down to have your whole world shattered in an instant. The magician revealed his tricks. The mysticism, the heightened feeling of wonder that something so great and marvelous existed beyond out wildest dreams and imagination. Continue reading “Leaving Jesus because of Christians”

Raising Sinners

Parenting styles are as widely varied as the coffee menu at your local brew house.  If someone had told me about helicoptering, co-sleeping and authoritative when I was in my early twenties, I would have laughed in their faces and assumed some form of sexual innuendo. Who knew so many different forms of parenting styles and classifications exist. As of late I have been pondering if I am really doing this parenting thing right/wrong based on the way I was raised as a child. Thoughts that are based on a series of comments spoken to me very recently. “You were not raised in a “Christian” home,” I was told. Feeling this to be the most “Christ-like” of insults I laughed and thought well if I wasn’t raised that way then I must be have been raised and raising sinners. Continue reading “Raising Sinners”

The Whole Ball Game?

choices, life choices, choices in life, write your story, the whole ball game

Funny how life can throw curve balls, grinders, heaters and the occasional wild pitch that make us double over in horrific shock. What I find amazing is how MLB players never consider the whole ball game in one pitch or one season, but a series of seasons. If you are a die hard Cubs fan you know this reality, still chasing the pennant, still cheering from the stands, joyous spirits flying high in the bleachers whether at Spring training or regular season at Wrigley. Somehow our fanaticism and forgiveness for our baseball teams never seem to carry over to our personal lives or those with whom we interact. Suddenly the story of their life is the whole ball game as opposed to a series of seasons. Continue reading “The Whole Ball Game?”