I Am Now Here
It always starts when summer comes to a close. A slight shift in my perspective that eventually turns things a bit upside down for me. The glass-half-full view seems out of reach, and I begin to retreat from the fight. I start waking up each day a little less thankful than the last. I start focusing on how long she’s been gone instead of how long she was here. I feel restless in the grief. Just wanting to hit pause and catch my breath because I don’t understand what’s happening. And here’s the thing—nothing’s changed. My days, these days, look the same as they did last week and the week before that and the week before that. So, why can’t I keep fighting? Why am I retreating?
My therapist once shared this theory with me about how our bodies remember stuff—memories—that haven’t yet been brought to the surface in our minds. Our minds let us process what we can handle—a little bit at a time. But our bodies remember it all. And it wasn’t until I was having coffee with my grandmother about two weeks ago that she mentioned an accident she had exactly three years ago to the day. And it clicked.
I remember this accident well because it left my Nan with 16 stitches in her leg and because this was the last time I saw my mom. And we argued. My mom and I argued the last time I ever saw her. It was an exhausting argument. Really we were arguing about her depression, how we couldn’t understand each other anymore. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t excited that I had fallen in love and was happy and she couldn’t understand why I couldn’t understand. But we never said that. Instead we made the argument about some salt rocks she had placed in the corner of her and my dad’s bedroom to purify the air and how she didn’t have anything in the pantry.
I don’t remember every detail of the argument—honestly I don’t remember much of what I said, and I know that’s my mind’s way of protecting me. I would rather not remember any of the harsh words I said to her. But I remember one thing she said to me. She said I treated her like a child. She said this because I could tell the argument was taking a turn I didn’t want it to. I really didn’t want to talk about the depression that day. We were hosting a bridal shower, Nan was in the hospital and Dad and Austin were out of town. The depression had been a long battle that waged within my mom and within our family and that day I just needed to make it through without making waves. There would be another day where we could try to understand each other again. So I decided to back track. Undo what had been said and explain that I was wrong when I clearly didn’t believe that I was. But she saw right through that. Depression can alter a lot of things, but it doesn’t make you stupid. So the argument continued in silence. We met Nan at the hospital, hosted the shower and I left saying everything was okay when it really wasn’t.
It was only at the mentioning of this day a couple of weeks ago that things came into full view for me. I’ve always known that was the last day I saw my mom. I’ve always known it was about a month before she died, but I didn’t understand the internal shift was coming from that day. The day that I feel like I let her down. I don’t cry about this day a lot. This isn’t a day I choose to focus on 99% of the time, but it’s a day that creeps in. It’s a day that wants to tell me I didn’t love my mom well when I know I did. It’s a day that wants to say “if only….” and fill in the blank with a million could’ve-would’ve-should’ve’s. And I let that day win. When summer comes to a close, I let that day tell me I need to retreat because I didn’t fight hard enough for her when I know that’s a lie.
And it’s a day that leaves me saying “I’m nowhere” three years later instead of accepting “I’m now here”. I can’t take credit for those words of wisdom. It’s my therapist’s doing. I’ve been seeing her ever since my mom left and she knows me pretty well, really well actually. There’s a lot of trust that’s been built within the four walls of her office and so she can call me out when I need calling out—which she did when I essentially told her how I was tired and wanted to stay in bed for the foreseeable future and could she give me a pass just this once to do that. She didn’t say anything and instead grabbed a note card and wrote “I am nowhere” on it and asked me to read it out loud. Then she set the notecard down and drew a line between the “w” and “h” and asked me to read it again—“I am now here”. I am now here. I took the notecard home and placed it on my dresser where I can see it when I go to bed and when I wake up because I am now here. And the more I’ve been thinking about “here” the more I’ve realized I don’t take time to be thankful for it. The present, the here and now, isn’t perfect. There’s still a lot that I wish I could wave a magic wand over to look and feel differently. But I can’t and even when I wish for that wand, I’m grateful I don’t have it. Because that’s not where God has placed me. He’s placed in the present moment that was created just for me. And I forget that a lot. I’m glad He’s brought me to here. I don’t understand the why and the how behind it all, but I know this moment has been given to me for a reason. Instead of retreating, I know I’m being asked to glorify Him with it. Because there’s been healing and more to come. It’s been a journey of two steps forward one step back, one step forward two steps back, lots of steps forward, and no steps at all—but it’s all resulted in bringing me here. And to be honest, I can’t even wrap my head around what that means all of the time. But I know it means I’m taken care of. I’m protected. I’m loved. I’m on a path that was created just for me and I’m not alone. So, the next time I think about retreating I can be reminded that I am now here.
Thank you, God, for brining me here.