Wednesday, November 4, 2009
5 years old and full of curiosity, a little boy, not much older than me, reminded me how to tie my shoes on my first day of kindergarten.
24 years later, I wish I could go back to such blissful simplicity.
24 years later, I still look to my big brother to teach me lessons I should already know. But even he cannot fix the pieces of me that now lay scattered and bare for the world to see...
I wish I could retrace the steps I've walked, and remember every memory that made me the Bree I am today.
Exactly 5 months and 14 days ago, my mother passed away of a sudden, massive duo stroke and heart attack.
I spent so much of my life trying to be everything she is not, that I feel lost in trying to live up to all the amazing parts of her I have discovered in her absence.
I have lived through so much death and destruction. I have lived through so much joy and so many miracles. After surviving, and rejoicing in so much, after knowing with absolute certainty EXACTLY who I am... How could I now feel so lost and so hopeless? How could I feel so directionless.
I am a woman who has, more often than not, known exactly what she wanted, and succeeded in meeting her every goal.
How could I now feel such pressure in decisions I can not even identify?
Exactly one year and three days ago, I reopened a long lost chapter in my life. I opened that book of personal history, dusted off the page, and picked up right where I left off.
I knew, without a certainty, that I was meant to be an officer in the United States Army.
May 13th, 2009, 12:04am: I wake with a start, struggling to find my breath. I look over at the recently Lysol'd, army-issued dresser at the steadily blinking green light on my phone.
I rub my eyes, reach for my glasses, and stop, my hand suspended in mid air as I catch sight of the time on my clock. 12:04am
Without a doubt, without the slightest bit of uncertainty, the dread hits me like a freight train before I even have the strength to check the messages I have missed on my phone.
I knew. I don't know how, I just knew.
I try to take a deep breath. I loose it somewhere mid-gasp, and have to remind myself to BREATHE.
As I'm staring at my phone, the light blinks again. DAD pops up on the caller display, and I scream silently for myself to WAKE UP.
7 hours later I'm on a plane to Salt Lake City.
I can't even bring myself to write the details of my last three days with my beautiful mother. Every time I think about them the dread creeps out from the deepest parts of me and threatens to take my breath for good.
An event nearly every little girl grows up to deal with eventually. So why am I drowning in it?
The day I flew home from Utah I knew I didn't want to be an officer any more.
The look on my Colonel's face when I voluntarily dropped from Officer Candidate School two weeks from graduation will be forever engraved in the parts of my memory I try, every day, to seal away for good.
It's amazing how much ONE single event can change every priority you ever had in life. How one event can rock the very foundation of everything you ever thought you knew.
It's amazing how many thoughts you can hold in your head at one time and remain silent.
5 months and 14 days later I am still suffocating in my silence. I look to my father, to my brother, and I see the same face I see in the mirror every day. An impenetrable exterior of strength.
I see that same face, but I wonder if THEY feel the rot spreading inside them like I do? I wonder if they know they MUST reach in and heal themselves, like I do. I wonder if any of us will survive this?
I did not leave the Army. Instead, I did something I always wanted to do, but could never justify. I applied to become a photojournalist for the United States Army instead of a Lieutenant.
They accepted my application, they sent me to school, and they sent me to Fort Carson, Colorado to be closer to my family.
I'm here now. Healing the best I can. Fighting as hard as I can to swim out of this impossibly deep ocean of pain, and uncertainty I have been drowning in for 5 months and 14 days.
I'm here now, doing a job I always knew I would love to do, and loving it, even though loving it brings a guilt I can not identify.
I'm here now, surviving, and deciding it's time to let a LITTLE of this vulnerability leak out.
I'm here now, deciding to LIVE my life, to BE vulnerable, to share this burden in SOME way.
I'm here now, finding bits of joy every day to latch on to and ride into the next day.
I still have no idea how I will survive this, but I'm thinking that if I just bleed them out, the thoughts that have haunted me will drift away, and find some place where they can lay, forever framed, in case I want to visit, but finally, in peace.
I'm still trying to find my faith. I'm still trying to balance it with reality. I'm still trying to heal, but I have no doubt that I will find that peace, eventually.
I will find my way through this chaos. I will survive it.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So I had a wonderful weekend. Wade came to visit me from Seattle, and we spent the weekend tryin to find trouble in Baltimore, and DC. Deff gonna post some pictures of THOSE adventures soon, but for now, just wanted to drop you all a line, and let you know Im doing great, and LOVING the Army!
P.S. How do I edit my journal to show the WHOLE picture and not just half of it? I haven't done any photo entries yet because they all screw up when I actually post them!
Monday, March 9, 2009
I swear I'm going to update this journal soon with TONZ of photos that I've been meaning to post since I came back in the Army.
Fort Meade is way too beautiful to stay inside much, but I promise I'm working on it.
Thank you all so much for being such a joyful part of my life for the last 8 years.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
But for now... it seems my fellow soldiers are so used to spending all their time in blazing hot sand storms that they close the bases down back here in the States for a measly 6 inches of snow!
Yes it's true folks. Not even picture-worthy.... but enough by Army standards to shut down the whole base, including the HOSPITAL and all the Army training schools. We were locked in the barracks for 24 hours, and not allowed to drive our cars anywhere.
Is it just me? Or is the whole country in a prolonged state of PTSD?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Its funny the way life works out sometimes. Erin was always begging me to come visit her in Virginia, but I never did make it over there. I was on the West coast and she was soooo far away. I always swore I'd make it there someday, I just didn't think it would be to visit the grave of an old lover.
So here I am, one year after she passed away, just 2 short hours from the town she grew up in. Two short hours from all the history she shared with me, both as a blogger on JS, and then later as my lover.
I finally made that trip to Stephens City, Virginia. Last weekend, on a perfectly beautiful Sunday, I made the two hour drive to Refuge Church Cemetery to leave a framed note on Erin's final resting place.
On Sunday it was exactly a year now. Today I’m remembering your beautiful smile. Not the one you often flashed to dazzle your friends, but the one that was always behind your eyes in the moments you were at peace. I always loved when THAT smile found it’s way to your lips. There was so much passion in every expression you gave. It’s your passion that I miss the most.
I remember the last camping trip we took to Mt. Saint Helens in the fall. You often told me it was one of the best weekends of your life. Our last night there, the crew had all gone to bed early, but you and I bundled up against the cold and went to keep the fire company under the stars. You had your camera with you (as always) and were telling me why you love fire so much as you snapped picture after picture of the dwindling flames. At one point you stopped and asked me what I was thinking. I told you that I was thinking of one of my favorite poems. I began reciting it and you chimed in with a grin after the very first line. When we were done, you had THAT smile on your face and I closed my eyes and just let the moment wash over me.
There are times when I still struggle with understanding why you left this life you loved SO much, so early. In those times my heart waivers between feelings of anger, joy and greif. I always try to let the joy shine through, and along with it, the many fond memories we shrared. In these times, I close my eyes and think about that poem we recited next to a campfire in the woods so many years ago, and that beautiful, perfect, peaceful smile of yours flows down through the hevens and carries me to a place where I am finally able to find some measure of peace with your passing.
You have always been, and will always be, one of the brightest lights in my life.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
I hope you know how much I loved you. I hope you know how much I love you still.
I came here chasing the Groover and his Lioness ;)