Thursday, October 06, 2011

three years later.

this is me. three years later.
three years ago, at this time, james was in the hospital and i was beginning to understand that he was not going to survive. in two days (three years ago) i will have made the decision to have james taken off of life support. had i known what was to come i'm not sure i could have handled it. sometimes, my mind wanders back to the moment when i told alexander his daddy died. to when i told ethan his daddy died. horrible moments. times i never wish to relive. so much has happened in three years. we road tripped. found a new place to live. sorted through 20 years of my life with james. packed it, sold it and/or gave it away. sold our house. the boys and i moved. had a small house built for us in our destination of choice. relocated the boys to new schools. moved to a place where i knew almost no one. i believe it true that you have a choice. you can either be happy. or sad. i make a conscience effort to choose happy. and i make that choice every single day. there are times, however, and perhaps always will be, when i miss james with every fiber of my being. i miss the 'us' we used to be. knowing he had my back. and i had his. knowing i had someone in this world that was just for me. our lives are good. the boys are doing well. i think james would be proud of us. i am giving myself permission, over the next couple of days, to be a little sad. to think about james. i think the thing that haunts me the most is my decision to take james off of life support. while logically i know it was the right thing to do, i still feel a huge amount of guilt from actually doing it. and i still think the hardest part about all of this has been watching my boys grow up without their father. it kills me when the boys look longingly at other families with a mother AND a father. when i am the only 'mom' at baseball, soccer, basketball, amidst all the fathers and their sons.... i am choosing to be happy. even when i have sad times. there are still nights i rock one or both of the boys to sleep because they are sad. they miss their father. but i am choosing to show the boys life can be good again. choosing to show them how to live with passion. i want them to find what they love in life. and do that thing. or things. i want them to appreciate each and every day. to take nothing for granted. i want them to find someone to share their lives with. becasue it is good. it is, the best stuff on the planet. i miss you, james. and i love you. i am sure that i always will. i am living a new life now, with new people in it. which is the way it has to be. i think you would be happy about that. because i know if i had been the one that died, i would have wanted that for you. with everything that i am. i still sometimes can't believe it's been three years. at other times, that life, seems like a lifetime ago..... just taking a few moments to remember........

Saturday, September 17, 2011

a rough patch. and a little cosmic joke.

i made an appointment with a therapist, here in astoria.
because of late, i am finding it harder to be happy.
yesterday was my first appointment.
i find it, fitting, i suppose, that i made my therapist cry.
she cried. and then told me about her boyfriend.
who happens to have a heart condition.
and is only going to get worse, not better.
he happened to have had a stroke three days ago.
sound familiar?
why yes. yes it does.
it sounds like the last 10 years of my life.
did she cry because of what happened to her boyfriend?
did she cry because my story, about james, made her sad?
because my story did not end well and she fears her story will end the same?
who knows.
what is it about me that draws this out of people.
i support the people in my life.
and i support myself.
i have only myself to rely on.
does anyone see the cosmic joke??
that i went to a therapist to try and pull myself out of this hole i can't seem to get out of.
and instead of her helping me, i listened to HER tell me about HER boyfriend.
this therapist told me i was sent to her.
it must have been meant to happen.
why else would my husband have died of a heart condition and stroke.
since her boyfriend has a similar issue.
why else would her father's name be james.
when my husband's name was james.
why else would the therapist's father have died when she was six.
when my boys' lost their father at the ages of 4 and 7.
the therapist says it was meant to be.
i'm not so sure about that.
because i left there, yesterday, feeling WAY worse than i did before i went in.
is it because she/we dredged up all this james stuff?
is it because she asked how james died, and i told her?
the entire story.
how i took him off life support.
how i watched him turn purple. and blue. and then just stop gasping for breath.
how i held him until he died.
then gathered my things and walked out.
because i had to go tell my children that their father had died.
why do i feel so bad today??
why can't i get out of this bad place.
why can't i be more positive?
why can't i sleep.
i just sometimes long for what i no longer have.
can i have something else?
something similar, yet different but still complete?
who knows.
i just know i am in a bad place right now.
that i am oh so very tired.
that i am in charge of loving two little boys.
that i am in charge of raising them.
teaching them everything they need to know.
so i know i am in a bad place.
i recognize it.
now i can find a way out.
i keep being strong, not because i *am* strong.
but because i have no other choice.
every time i think i can't do this anymore, i do.
because i have no other choice.
i sometimes wonder if i will be eaten up by the guilt i feel at my boys having to grow up without their father.
i know i need to focus NOT on what we don't have.
but what we DO have.
if i can get all of this out, maybe i can let it go.
and focus and put my mind where it needs to be.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

i've been arting.

this past weekend i took part in astoria visual art's first annual open studio tour. what this means is, i (and 32 other local astoria artists) opened our studios to whomever wanted to come and look. peeps got to see my work, my space......AND some of my house (since my studio is actually inside my house). it was an interesting expeience. one that has opened a door or two, small doors, but which have given me direction nonetheless. this is a piece i painted in june. i have decided instead of being blocked (i haven't been able to produce consecutive art i love in a very long time), i will paint. i will paint through it. it is better to paint something you hate than to paint nothing at all. eventually i will find my groove, it will flow....and i WILL paint something i like. it's time to build my body of work. i will make it work, even though the boys are home for the summer. three things remain my top priorities. the boys. painting. and getting myself back to a weight i am comfortable with (which means running. more running). time to shift the balance. at least for a while.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

four months.

searching for that softer side that goes away all too often.
trying to remember to bring that out.
to let go of what restrains me from being that person.
a break from the boys was much needed.
a trip to boston helped me see myself from a different perspective.
that was much needed as well.
i know it's been four months since i posted.
i've come here, and written.
but then either deleted or saved and never posted.
i was tired of hearing what i had to say.
it was always the same and never what i thought it *should* be.
i am, by far, my harshest critic.
getting ready for an art show this weekend.
wrestling with that and all that goes with it.
am i good enough, etc.
time will tell.

while in boston i ran the freedom run (a 5k).
not a hard core run, but a run just the same.
i almost didn't do it.
but am glad i did.
i would have been angry at myself for backing out.
this photo was taken after the run, after the ferry ride back, inside the hotel while waiting for the elevator.
what. you expected me to take the stairs? i had just run. ;-) unedited and taken with my iPhone.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

small steps.

in this house....
there is love
and passion
we make mistakes
and learn from them
we live with gentle
we try hard
we laugh
we figure things out
we are family
we are forever
and we welcome you to our

a little sign i made a few days ago for the small covered front porch you come through as you enter my house. made with architectural salvaged wood. i gave it a color wash and then painted on the words. i haven't decided if i'll leave it here, sitting on top of the bench, or, hang it from the wall somewhere in the porch.

i found the bench at the same architectural salvage place. it was perfect for the space. the boys can sit on it while taking their shoes on and off. since it rains so much here, they aren't allowed to wear their shoes in the house. so this is perfect.

above the sign (attached to the wall) there is a glass bottle with a wired flower on the top. my plan is to have a few of these and when i do i will fill them all with fresh flowers.

next up? a rug. a cool, funky rug to sit outside the front door. there will also be flower pots. i have a vision of how i want it to be, and am slowly......VERY slowly....making some changes.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

another art journal page.

washed out.
not sure i'm in love with my scanner.
it does not do well with this color (or kraft for that matter).
this is one of my all time absolute favorite photos of james.
i took it.
in february of 2008.
8 months before he died.
i remember this night vividly.
because it was snowing like a mo fo.
james had gotten home from work late (about 8pm) and then shoveled the driveway.
then said to me, "kimberly, lets go sledding."
so we did.
we left the boys in the house and went down the hill across the street.
i made james go first.
you know, in case it was a bad, bad idea.
that hill was steep.
with big rocks at the bottom.
kind of funny.
anyway, we had a freaking blast sledding.
me in my pj's.
classy, i know. but i had already put my pj's on. so i went with it.
there is no beauty without pain pretty much sums up a lot of how i feel about james' death.
if i didn't love him as crazily, as intensely as i did, i wouldn't be as sad as i have been. as i still am.
there was much beauty in our lives together.
only fitting, i suppose, now that he is gone, that the other side of that is pain.
this is the first art journal page i have done about james' death.
wasn't planning on doing it.
it just sort of happened last night.
inbetween letting a couple of pieces i am working on, dry.
it's so completely simple.
some paint. masking tape. james. my words.
and that's how i wanted it.
course when i came across this photo i had a complete breakdown.
one of those wrenching why did this happen kind of breakdowns.
the i miss you so much i can't breath kind.
the kind i had when i first came to astoria (to look at houses)....
when i walked around on the beach in the same mother fucking circle for two hours, crying, thinking....just generally being angry and sad that james had died.
those two instances stand out to me.
the one on the beach and the one last night.
they were turning points.
for what i am not sure.
but i felt differently after the first one on the beach.
and i feel differently today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

an art journal page.

i haven't worked in my art journal in months.
close to a year.
maybe it even HAS been a year.
it was slow.
which is fine.
i was thinking.
it is important to me that my art journal pages be accurate.
that they reflect what i was feeling in a given moment.
even though it's not always pretty.
i have a strong sense of who i am. i am confident in and comfortable with who i am. there have been, however, two events that have caused me to question and re-evaluate myself. becoming a mother. and james' death. being a mom is something i struggle with. not all aspects of it. mostly the amount of energy and focus it takes. james' death shook me to my core. it took everything i knew to be true, away. but i know this. the core of who i am remains true. i will not be defined by outside forces. i am who *I* choose to be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

things that have been on my mind.

in my studio 1.12.11.
painting i am working on behind me.

he's been having trouble at school.
the loss of his father affects him on a daily basis.
had a meeting today with zan's teacher and the school counselor.

as soon as i feel like we're able to put some of the shit behind us, begin to have a life NOT all about james' death, something seems to happen to bring it front and center again. when will this stop.

i have not been able to find the balance between helping the boys remember their father while at the same time i try to let him go. he is not my present. alexander has been sad, because he is beginning to forget things about james. i try to tell them stories, show them help them remember. and to learn things they didn't even know to begin with. but this is hard for me. i am ready to let this be my past. i NEED it to be so i can live in the present.

the loss of my friendship with jan. who knew that my moving away would end what i *thought* was an important relationship. nothing i can do about it but let it go. i'm just having trouble doing that.

the amount of time and energy it takes to be a GOOD parent. i am fucking exhausted.

there is a *thing*. it has become important in my life. how this happened i'm not even sure. but it has. i think i have been doing everything i can to NOT acknowledge it. but something happened this weekend that forced me to. i am not unhappy about it. just wasn't expecting it. it was the sort of realization that came with a sharp intake of breath, the holding of that breath and finally, exhaling that breath out. and saying something to the effect of "holy fucking shit." if i would just listen to myself, from the beginning, instead of fighting myself.....things would be a whole lot easier. i guess i just wasn't ready.

i think for me, the thing that most drains me is the constant 24/7 of being a parent. a single parent. i think that is the thing that has been the hardest for me since james died. that and, of course, watching the boys deal with their sadness. nothing makes you feel worse than when your child is hurt in some way and you can do nothing to fix it.

judgment. so much judgment. which leaves me feeling isolated. i talk to few. and those that i talk to, well, lets just say i am very selective about what i say. i keep many things to myself. which is the exact thing i have told alexander over and over NOT to do. i sometimes wish i didn't have to do this.

my lack of focus. fear of fucking up my art. i just really really really want that completely, wholly alive feeling to come back while i paint. i miss it.