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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wow! That's the word that comes to mind, the only one, that aptly describes my existence, the transformation, the realizations, the whirl wind, of my life of late.

I'm still amazed I was placed in an environment where I was forced to rely upon myself, reflect, grow, and see things in a light I had not before been capable of.

Much has surfaced regarding many people in our lives, ourselves included. I made a conscience decision awhile back not to see the "silver lining" of painful events in my life, but rather to take them and glean what I was able, apply it to my life, be grateful for the lessons taught, and to attempt to see life, as much as possible, in a positive light.

Since making that decision I've been able to shed the bondage of the past and welcome the freedom of the future.  I am amazed, by that one decision, how much I have grown as a person, and how different my life now is. One conscience decision  changed the path of my entire journey.

My husband of nearly thirty years (we divorced and will shortly be remarried) and I have been bombarded with many things that several years ago would have sent me into a tailspin.

One major situation, an intense and deeply disturbing, health issue really made me step back and realize just how far I have come. My husband had to undergo emergency surgery. My daughter and I did what we felt right and contacted all we thought needed to know.

Who responded, who didn't respond, and who took the opportunity to reveal themselves, was incredible. It really opened both of our eyes, and it set us free.

Three phone calls especially would have sent me spiraling several years ago. My husband looked at me today, with his soft blue eyes, as we were discussing the way each individual had handled the situation and said, "Teri, I am amazed at how calm you were, how genuine you were, and how peaceful you now are. Had you gone through this 3-4 years ago you would have been a basket case." He was right.

I would have lost it but as each incident occurred it allowed me to see the changes in myself, and not get angry with the ones that chose less than acceptable means to express themselves at such a critical time. I was able to step out, not take any of it personally, but rather realize they, too, have made decisions, ones that, if they're not careful, will leave them stuck in the past unable to move forward.

How can I be angry with people that I once was like? To realize I didn't need the validation of any of them, that I know, my husband knows, what is now reality, lifted even more weight that I need not carry.

What my husband had to endure opened, and closed, many doors and put to rest any doubt I may have had as to the change I've experienced. My husband saw it, my daughter and son saw it, and most of all I didn't just see it, I felt it.

There were also wonderful, encouraging conversations with two of my step sons and our daughter in law. I cannot express how impressed I was, he was, with their willingness to trust their father, to speak with me, and with open hearts and minds, begin to see for themselves all that has occurred. That takes faith and guts that not many have. They have chosen not to leave in fear, but in faith.

My husband and I are free. We are free to choose to live in the present, not the past. We are free from condemnation from those unwilling to move forward. Most of all we are free to live the life we've always wanted, one with minimal drama, negativity, and strife and replace it with serenity, peace, and true joy.

We have chosen to move forward, not backward, to be happy and not bitter, and most of all not allow anyone to steal our joy. Those that choose to be on board we are ecstatic about, those that choose not to be have journeys of their own they must endure, to mature, to grow, to realize the difference in past and future, conviction and condemnation, fear and faith. Our sincere prayer is that they don't have to experience the pain my husband and I have had to face to come to this point. We also know only God knows what needs to be done to bring them to a place they can once again join our family.  That we ask, we ask for our, their, Creator, to do whatever it takes to set them free so that their shackles can also be removed, so they can live without fear, and with the freedom of anger and bitterness my husband and I now enjoy.



The Journey

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

As I laid sleeping in bed yesterday morning, buried beneath fluffy down comforters and my head between pillows of the same, my slumber was interrupted by a voice. I struggled to pull myself from a deep state of sleep attempting to comprehend, not only the voice I was hearing, but the words that were being spoken at such an early hour.

As I turned, and adjusted the pillows, I recognized a soothing voice from the past and as I realized the words being spoken had been written centuries ago my spirit calmed. It seemed as if I snuggled into my cocoon more deeply and a peace fell over me as I listened to the words of the first chapter of Ephesians being read aloud by a man I fell in love with 29 years ago.

So strange is the journey of life with it's twists and turns, peaks and valleys, that to think of trying to convey to another the tale of how the best friend I have ever had and I went through glorious, unforgettable times, into the pits of hell, only to return to each other with a deepened respect, much more wise, and the realizations we have both come to understand, is daunting to say the least.

I am, as is he, still attempting to come to grips with the fact that our last few years have brought us so much closer than could have ever before been imagined. I get the fact that many people only know my side of the story, or his side of the story, and are unwilling to even accept the fact that this is our journey, not theirs, and that we have both acknowledged our individual actions that caused the other to unravel.

Most are well meaning, but ignorant, a few are down right mean spirited and spiteful. When  people see only the suffering of one, they naturally side with the one they have witnessed first hand. What few understand is that the other suffered as well. The people that witnessed the after math with me are skeptical, as are the ones that witnessed the aftermath with him. When everything is put on a scale the weight of pain is pretty much equal.

The last several years we were both put into situations that forced us to learn how to be alone. We were able to step away from the fire and see which matches we each lit, and how we ignited the destruction of the other.

When that happened the door to the future could be opened. What began as a deal to save our family home has only proven we were only apart to learn what we needed to learn so that we could come back bigger and better than before.

Yesterday I had a several hour tattoo session with a man we are both honored to call out friend. We've known him for at least a decade. He knew us before the spiral, he knew us. He has no agenda, as many appear to. It was good. He and I were alone for the 3 hour session and were able to really talk.

It was awesome to hear his genuine, honest, thoughts on the situation at hand. He saw it coming, he knew everything, yet he loves us both. He said we needed time apart to regroup, that he knew we always belonged together. He reiterated several times how happy he was that we were back, how he saw how happy we both are and we were meant to be, "just like in the beginning." I was amazed at his ability to stand before me knowing the total, and complete truth, and tell me we were made for each other.

Mind you, this is a man that knows both sides and is wise enough to basically say, "forgot those other people. They have no clue." He is also one that saw me at my lowest. He said, "Teri, this is a new chapter. People can get on board or they can get the f^@k out of your lives. This is your life, not theirs, and they need to mind their own business. The past is past. If they can't get over it, it's their problem not yours."

My friend, if you should happen to read this, know that you are, with out a doubt, one of the very few, perhaps the only, that was wise enough to allow us to be complete and total idiots, and truly be happy we are now one again. You see the big picture, and we love you for that.



Buried Alive

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's been a long, twisting, uncertain, path I've traveled the past few years, thus explaining my extended absence from writing.

I sit here, in my bed, with coconut oil in my hair, a dog by side, and one by my bed, as I reflect on all that has come to pass, all I have gained, and lost, through the trials and tribulations of years gone by.

I cannot say how thankful I am for all I have endured that has brought me to this place of peace, true peace, in my life now.

2008 was the year my fall began. I had endured much before that. I was on autopilot and unable to analyze the traumatic events that led to all that has happened, both good and bad.

Many of you know of much, but what you don't realize, as I didn't, was how much, in such a short time, had happened. In a short few years my daughter was stalked, and raped, one grandson died, a grandson was born three months early, my mother was killed, I was hit on my motorcycle, my father died, my granddaughter was born three months early, my son was left on the side of a highway as road kill by a hit and run driver, and those are only the tips of the iceberg I was dealing with.

There was much more in the equation that has brought me to this point. It's only been in the past few years I have been able to stop running from the demons that haunted me, and kept me on the run, and I have finally come to a place of peace.

I never knew why I ran, but ran I did. I knew what I wasn't running from, but it wasn't until about a year ago I finally realized what tipped the scales for me and sent me on a path that ultimately made me a better, stronger, person. I was finally able to see the full picture.

As I wrote earlier, my fall began in 2008. I had lost both of my parents and a grandchild and by that time and was numb. Then, only recently realized, there was an event that took me back to one of the most horrible moments of my life, seeing my first child, Noah, that wasn't allowed to take a breath before being violently brought into this world.

As I saw my premature granddaughter lying motionless on a table in the NICU, at the very gestational age Noah was when he died, a team of people trying to save her precious life, I was hit square in the face with flashbacks of seeing the lifeless, torn, body of my son. I had buried those images so deeply, and guarded them so fiercely, that they my mind could not recall them until I saw Anna-Grace's tiny body on the table.

That was the beginning of the trials and tribulations that have finally come full circle. I had never dealt with so much, I wasn't strong enough. I kept myself busy to keep my mind off of horrible things I didn't want to acknowledge. I numbed my mind by running.

Then something amazing happened. The running stopped. I found myself in a situation in which I was forced to be still, be alone, be quiet. My mind was quiet, and the boxes I had sealed so long ago were opened.

I made discoveries of ignored pains. I took each sealed box and forced myself to relive them, to look at them, to grieve. I allowed myself to feel the pain, I allowed myself to realize certain decisions were made because people thought they were doing the best for me. I realize that now, although the pain has never ceased, I understand as a parent why some things happened the way they did, and I was able to truly forgive.

Last fall I stepped back, after a session in therapy, and I watched. In doing so I learned. I stopped the denial, I felt the pain, I grew stronger. My eyes were opened and for the first time in years I saw clearly.

This February I received a toxic, venomous, letter from an embittered child that lit me up. I went to, who I thought was the source at the time, confront a person that had loved me though out all I had endured, all the pain I had caused, and all the running I did.

That dialogue opened a door, a door back to myself, a door leading me back to where I was meant to be all along. I believe my daughter would be mortified to know she was the catalyst God used to bring me full circle. It was through that conversation that God was able to begin to heal, not only me, but my best friend and our relationship.

It was through that conversation that God could begin the restoration that He alone is the Owner of. There were still obstacles to overcome, and difficulties to deal with, but decisions I needed to come to before the restoration could take place had already been made.

Once that long, sometimes painful, but very deep conversation took place, God was free to have us see His plan.

So much has changed these past years. I take it all as a wonderful blessing. My best friend of 30 years told me he thought true colors of those we both love would be revealed. He was right in so many ways. They have been and in doing so they have chosen to take themselves out of our lives and cling to their toxic ways.

I thank God for the trials, the problems, the complexities of the past, a diamond doesn't become a diamond without immense pressure.

I'm excited about the future. I'm excited to be the woman I was meant to be all along. I'm excited the veils have been lifted, at least for my best friend and me, to see clearly the motives of others. I'm excited to be peaceful, content with who I am, and I look forward to a glorious future that could not have been without the brokenness brought by the past.

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