14 years ago today, my sister, Jen, was involved in a tragic car accident that ended her life after only 18 years.
After 14 years of grieving, I am finally through mourning her death.
I often wonder who she would be today had she survived, and I am certain that she would have accomplished so much. She was smart, funny, and beautiful. She was focused, driven, and on a path that would have lead her to help a great number of people.
I never thought the anniversary of her death would come without the unbearable sense of loss, but it has. If my faith in God is so strong, how can I continue to mourn her death? I know she is in a peaceful place, full of beauty and free from pain.
She is loved and remembered by many, and I will always miss her, but rather than focus on the tragic circumstances of her death, why not remember her as a bright and beautiful young woman?
Perhaps I am a little callous, but it is time to let go of the grief and embrace the wonderful memories I have of her. I know she is not gone.
I can hold fast to the great truth her death has allowed me to see:
If the good Lord wants to call me home, He will do so, no matter if I am on a leisurely drive, on a tiny plane heading toward some remote destination, or fast asleep in my own bed.
Thank you for showing me that I have nothing to fear.
I love you, Jen.
I'll see you on the flipside.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The last couple months have proven to be quite a ride.
The great work-from-home opportunity didn't pan out, and I have decided to put my sailing dreams on hold for a bit. The divorce, as it were, is definitely final, over and done with. I am rebuilding my life and myself. Amber 2.0 is currently in production. It will be interesting to see the final product.
I am learning to put the past behind me. Forgive and forget. Let go and let God.
EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT. Everything.
On Saturday, July 30th, I packed my little red Honda full of the things I can't live without, headed East on Interstate 84, and left the place I called home for 32 years.
For the first time, I embarked on a journey with no definite end and all alone.
I left Portland a little behind schedule because I locked my keys in my car while stopping to say "See ya later" to an old friend, but by the time the sun went down, I was well past the Oregon/Idaho border and well on my way toward Utah.
I will miss the majestic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascades. The smell of the evergreens in the rain. The great storm formations and watching the clouds glide along the jet stream. I will miss the Oregon coastline. I will miss the ferns surrounding summer hikes. I will miss the pink snow of falling cherry blossoms in the springtime, my favorite time of year.
I will miss my home.
But I never looked back.
For the record, all of the I-84 corridor through Idaho smells like manure... but if you hit it at just the right time, it smells like acres upon acres of sun-warmed potato fields. Amazing.
I hit Ogden, Utah at around 1 AM and decided to forgo a visit to the ex-in-laws. Hopefully I will get to see them again at some point, because I love them all very much, but I really wanted to keep going. I wanted to pass the Wyoming border before I stopped for the night so that when I woke up the next day, EVERYTHING would be new, would be something I hadn't ever seen before.
A new beginning.
Somewhere just East of Evanston, Wyoming, I caught my first glimpse of the stars. I needed to stop and sleep at some point, so I pulled to the side of the deserted freeway, left the engine running, and laid on the hood of my car to take in one of the most heartbeakingly stunning things I had ever seen. There's really not a whole lot in Wyoming, but it's pretty... Pretty flat. Also pretty dark. I've never been in a place with ZERO light pollution before. The night was crystal clear and I could see every star in the sky, all the way down to the flat horizon. I'd never seen anything like it except in a planetarium. I laid there as long as I could stand it, because although it had been about 102 degrees during the day, the temperature dropped dramatically after dark.
The next morning, after sleeping in a car with no space available except the space essential to driving, I found that cellular service was a part of "things Wyoming does not have". This also included interesting landscape. From wherever I was past Evanston, to Cheyenne, it was all flattish, brownish, hot-ish, dusty-ish. Not having cell service for the entirety of the state actually turned out to be kinda nice. Except when my car wouldn't go past 30 MPH on the uphills. Thank God for truckers! They don't care if you're in their lane with your hazards on...
The scenery finally got interesting around Cheyenne, Wyoming. It actually took my breath away because I HAD seen it before. The rock formations coming out of the ground looked EXACTLY like the Grizzly River Run ride at Disneyland. Nicely done, Disney, nicely done.
I could finally use my phone again, and got a couple worried messages, made a couple calls to let them know I was still alive, and drove on.
WELCOME TO COLORFUL COLORADO!
Northern Colorado is a blur:
Giant bison on a hill.
"This field of barley is being grown for Coors Brewing"
Why do these people drive like they're stoned??
South and South and South and South on I-25, then North on I-225 for just a bit....
Right now I am living in Aurora, Colorado with one of my best friends, his husband, and their roommate.
Four days after I got here, I got a job. It may be putting donuts in a bag, but it pays the bills. My customers like me and the tips are increasing day by day.
The uninhibited generosity I have experienced here is nothing short of a miracle.
When I think about who I was the day I left, it's so completely different that it feels like a bad dream. Someone else entirely. Having the freedom to just "be who I be" has effected an enormous change on me. The most notable change being my appearance. I am becoming more and more feminine every day. It's bizarre, but good... and fun!
My other best friend sent me an amazing box of cosmetics and I am slowly figuring them out. I am getting more comfortable in them every day.
I no longer wear any men's clothing, except for a t-shirt if I'm just sitting around at home.
My hair is long enough to pull back, and I am learning how to style it, but I need a haircut.
I bought a blow dryer and I'm even thinking about a flat iron.
I spend more time on my nails than I ever thought I would.
When I tell people my ex is a woman, they think I was the femme!
Like I said... WEIRD.
I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am ACTUALLY happy. It is one of the strangest and most wonderful feelings in the world.
Life is GOOD.
Life is GOOD.