Notes From The Ashes.

Summer vacation has begun here in frankfort. I can hear the sounds of children around the neighborhood. I hear them squeal and laugh and call out to one another. I’ve been cutting up peaches and fresh picked strawberries for my wine, gathering herbs and “weeds” from my yard, making salads and tinctures and vinegars, hanging out with my friends, the flowers that I tenderly tend to with my spade and my friends/family the people I tenderly tend to (and who tend in return, in spades). I have a near sunburn on my funny little nose almost everyday. And the cars from out of town still haven’t learned what to do at the blinking light from Forest Avenue onto M22. 
Ever since Isaac was little, summer vacation meant more “mama days” as we liked to call the long days that stretched out before us, with whatever we wanted to do awaiting our choices. Summer is my season; was our season. Last year, summer seems a blur. Intermittent reconnections with my friends who summer in our homeland, with long days stretching out for me to figure out how to fill them. I can’t really remember very much of it. 
This summer is just beginning and I’m determined to love as much as I can. That seems my only recourse these days. And it begins with my own self love challenge– so elusive in the landscape of grief. But then I find it in my garden, along the shoreline, in the sunset, and even with the fan on high. 
Yesterday I went to a family bbq. I decided to just talk about my grief and the subsequent anxiety and found out I was not alone. While I get a lot of written confirmation of this from having a blog, from friends and strangers alike, talking about it is altogether different. I feel it opened all of us who talked about it a little more to each other. After awhile you really begin to understand the tenets of spiritual practices that embrace the concept that “others” is an illusion, meant to keep us feeling separate and alone. I hope that if I start to forget, I will recall this day, this moment when I just simply acknowledged that my brain is broken, but not my heart. 
My heart is the electrical impulse that connects me to life, literally and figuratively. Let us all try to remember this in the face of our own horrors and the rest of the worlds.
I have long been a fan of early morning fires in my little patio chimenaea. There’s something about it that beckons me from spring until the frosty autumn mornings feel too cool. I gather my yard harvests, pull weeds, listen to the birds, and stoke the fire. Today I decided that the fire needed some serious cleansing power and so I burned the pages of a journal that I use to write all the crap that I call proof of my failures. It was time to let that shit go. Send it up in flames and smoke into the air and be free. It was time for me to free myself of the idea that there’s any reason to believe I am unlovable. It wasn’t impulsive, I had been considering it each time I filled it with new words, new reasons. Today was the day. And I have zero regrets.
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”

–C. Joybell C.
I am learning, sometimes at a snails pace, how to lean into the ache, rather than resist it. It is not an effortless task; in fact it feels at times counterintuitive to the part of me that seems hard wired to shame and self loathing and utter resistance.
The truth is, my beautiful son, the boy who gave me a heart, left this earth, in a pain I did not have the opportunity to mend. And each day challenges me in ways I cannot articulate, to move forward, without his presence. And it sucks. Sometimes it sucks the marrow from my bones. Sometimes it sucks the breath from my lungs and my solar plexus. 
But I look around, at the faces and the flowers that keep returning to me in every season, and I know that somehow, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…
“My dear,

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that…

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
Truly yours,

Albert Camus
And yours truly, 





Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.

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