Moms Columns & Blogs

A Sign in a Sand Dollar

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Time continues to rush past me, over me, in waves… I come up for air only to be tugged under by another rip current, flailing away to little effect.  My inability to focus on one thing for more than a few seconds is aggravating; I frequently lose the thread of conversation...  Poof!  Thoughts evaporate from my mind, like wispy curls of smoke dissolving on the slightest breath of breeze…  It seems impossible to me that Brian is gone, and yet I know it to be true…I cannot remember my life without him in it…  

In so many ways I am like a young child, taking in my surroundings with new eyes, but my old soul, struggling to adapt to this new life, in this old world.  I have never been one to despise change as it is simply part of life…  When it occurs in an orderly manner, it can be difficult, but when it is catastrophic…  There is such comfort found in that which is familiar, but no part of my universe has remained unscathed…it is all stained by our loss to some degree…  I crave the consolation and safety found in the few familiar patterns that have surfaced over these last weeks…  

For this and many other reasons, it was almost impossible to leave my family to go with my beloved S-contingent to Hilton Head.  I tortured myself for days, ‘Should I stay home with my family, where I am so desperately needed, or do I go with my friends, and gain rest that I so desperately need?’  By extension, I wondered, ‘Will my absence, however brief, upset the delicate truce currently in effect at home?  What new mess will I return to?’  Suddenly I was five years old again, just like a kindergartner facing the first day of school, nearly paralyzed with separation anxiety so extreme that it bordered on complete panic.  Thankfully, my sister Betsy arranged her schedule to be here in Charlotte during this period of time, thereby giving me options and a calmer state of mind from which to decide…  She lived with us for several years when the kids were younger…and knows me so well…  She knew (before I did) that the only way I would even consider leaving them was if she was here…no other person in this world would do…how I love her for that and more…  

This trip had been planned for months…Sharon even flew in from St. Croix…  And yet I was given unconditional permission to bow out at the last minute; the group wanted me to do whatever I felt was best for me and my family…  I honestly wasn’t sure I could go through with it until Sue’s car pulled out of our driveway, with me riding shotgun.  In the moments that followed our departure, I let out an exhale and a few hot, heavy tears laden with some of my uncertainty, nervousness, and relief…I didn’t even realize that I had been holding my breath…  Once there, the S-contingent gave me another gift…the freedom to just be…  They were content to have me there with them, regardless of my damaged condition and different persona... This time surrounded by their love and understanding, with no demands, no expectations, and no responsibilities placed upon me was such a blessing.  I was simply allowed to do exactly whatever I felt like doing, nothing more, nothing less…  

Doubts and guilt still chased me, shooting down the fleeting glimpses of my life from before with newly formed self-recrimination…  I seriously questioned whether I did the right thing…  Was I being selfish and unfair to my family by abandoning them during this dark time…going off with the girls as if everything was wonderful and fine?  I continued to wrestle with my misgivings all evening, unable to shake them even as the eight of us walked down to the beach.  Shedding shoes and trekking along the sudsy edge of the sand, I thought back to our last family vacation at Ocean Isle Beach…  On that particular trip, for some strange reason, we were all obsessed with finding sand dollars and shark teeth, vying for the title of best scavenger…  The memories flooded my mind, accompanied by a fresh tide of tears and pangs of acute loss…  I looked down at my feet and there it was…a tiny, perfect sand dollar.  Amazed, I quickly picked it up, and looked around…I hadn’t seen any broken pieces scattered about, much less a whole one…  The instant I remembered, it appeared…  And then I knew without a doubt…  I was exactly where I was supposed to be…  

Plans are underway for the informal support group; there is also an online group under ‘Moms Groups’.  Anyone who has experienced loss is welcome to join.  Wishing you hope… TG   

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator  

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