Keep on Walking and Growing

About ten years ago, my friend Kristi said something to me that has helped me a billion plus times in all the days since.

She said, ”keep on walking.”

Walking? To where?

A country road? A hiking trail? Around a lake?

Maybe. But, her reference was to life. I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a tendency to get stuck and stay stuck.

  • stuck in habits
  • stuck in routines
  • stuck in grudges
  • stuck in whatever it happens to be

Fine and fair enough, I mean this is life we’re talking about. In all of those instances, I’ve grabbed onto her advice with both hands, and have pulled myself along, eventually gaining on getting un-stuck.

But, what about grief with its raw and real ride? There are numerous potholes, substantial downpours, and giant ruts.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would venture out on a dirt road, west of town. When we had lot of rain, the road became a sloppy mess. Guess who got stuck almost every time? And, guess what we did.

We walked.

Cell phones weren’t even invented then. We stepped into slimy mud, sometimes up to our knees, but we’d didn’t stay sitting in the truck, just waiting. We walked.

Today, I find myself thinking about if it’s even possible to keep on walking through grief.

In past losses, I long-jumped my way over all the hard stuff and right into the missing. Other losses I didn’t even deal with until years later. Forget walking, I ran right around those, straight to the finish line, whew, done.

This time, it’s not the same though. It’s my momma. I’m trying to approach her loss differently. Instead of skimming right over it, I’m sitting in it. Like a potato in a stew.

Why?

I don’t want to face all this in ten or fifteen years, I want to do it now. So, is the ’sitting in it’ of grief comparable to being stuck?

Sadness, missing, emotions, wishing, replaying, longing, thinking about, loving, memories?

I don’t think so. Those things are what make a loss fluid and moving. We don’t stay in say, replaying what happened forever, we might move on to thinking about or sadness or memories. That’s not what I call stuck. To me, that’s growth and healing.

I do think it’s possible to keep on walking through grief and I also think it’s possible to ’keep on walking and growing’ through it, too.

Thanks for reading.

Jessica

keep on walking and growing

Switchbacks and Waves

This blog was started in 2015. Mostly its been filled with some nature photographs, some lessons on acquired wisdom, and things about family.

Lately, my writing feels somewhat scattered. A post on this, a post on that, then bam, a post about my momma.

What I am figuring out is, grief is not linear.

It doesn’t start on such and such day then make a straight line to an end date. Mine, anyway, feels like more of a zig zag or perhaps like some winding mountain road. Calm on the straight aways, yet intense on the curves.

Another thing I’m learning is, the path of losing someone isn’t all encompassing. Sure, in the beginning it can feel like that. It did for me. At that time, every passing moment was a reminder that my momma wasn’t here.

Now though, instead of grief being a constant aching, it comes more sporadically. One moment fine, the next moment tears. Two days fine, the next one tears. Like waves.

Oh my gosh, waves. For weeks I’ve been trying to remember a song my momma loved. It just now came to me: ”Wave on Wave” by Pat Green.

Now that I think about it, mountain roads and waves have something in common: they go back and forth. They have this beauty and calmness that seem to balance out even after rockslides and storms.

Maybe life is similar. Maybe writing is, too. Maybe instead of me thinking my words have to be all organized into a certain category, I could just let them show up, whenever and however they do.

My back field is full of thorns, stickers, and stumps. Some spots are a mess to walk through. Sometimes my skirt gets snagged and my ankles get scratched. Hmm… that sounds a bit like grief.

But, you know what? My back field is also full of wildflowers and there’s a doe and her baby living back there, even in all those stickers and even in all those weeds.

Perhaps me writing all this on a random Sunday morning is a reminder that the beauty in my writing will prevail, even if the subject matter is out of order and things feel messy.

And, maybe it’s even a reminder, that there can be a beautiful-ness in grief, too. Not on the wind raging, hail filled days, of course, but maybe in the quiet, “a memory brings a smile days.”

What I’m going to do is just trust my writing. Scattered posts or not. I see now that the switchbacks can allow for some amazing scenery and the waves can bring solace.

Thank you for being here.

Jessica

some curvy Forest Service road
a blurry wildflower from my land
and CoCo the kitten
Queen Anne’s Lace standing out
among the stickers and thorns