Ancora Imparo…

My sweet husband got me a Fitbit for Mother’s Day. A month earlier we had both decided it was time to get our shit together after a long winter of binge Netflix and carbs. I was excited to have this seemingly necessary piece of exercise equipment to track activity and keep me accountable to myself. I got more than I bargained for with a sleep tracker. Not surprisingly I discovered that I am a horrible no good very bad sleeper. I’m talking mere minutes, on average, of deep restful sleep and not much more of restorative R.E.M. sleeping. Mostly I am lightsleeping or awake. Once I established what I already knew, I stopped wearing that thing to bed. EMF’s and all that aside, I just needed to stop obsessing over something I already knew about myself. Such is life. Now I might wear it once a week just because I forgot to take it off or because I intentionally want to check in on my sleeping patterns. Which still suck.
Night time has always been tricky for me. I spent years of my life struggling with the chronic & relentless self loathing that accompanies depression, and trying to hide it and night time is the right time for those soul robbing goblins to emerge from the shadows. So many nights I wrestled with such a heaviness in my heart all night long that I could not shake off in the light of the morning. That shit would double down and accumulate and wreaked a lot of havoc in my life. 
After Isaac died, my sleeplessness intensified. I cried so much at night–my heart breaking over and over again at the quietness of my once lively home. I could hardly stand the stillness. The longing. The paralyzing fear that it was my fault– that I missed it, that I never taught him about resilience, that I didn’t role model good coping skills, that I didn’t love him correctly, that I didn’t see him, as he was, but instead as how I wanted to. I cried. I writhed. I keened. I paced. I begged God to bring him back or to take me. I’d have struck a deal with the devil if that emmer effer would have appeared. I cried more. 
What I did not do was sleep. 
And this did not help matters.
Recently though I started to realize that I don’t lie awake at night crying or beating myself up. Shoulding myself to death, I call it. I’m not sure when I stopped doing that but I have a hunch that it’s related to some other healthy habits that I’ve adopted, and to the deep healing that I continue to tend to on the daily. 
Shockingly, at nearly the end of my 40th year, I discovered the secret world of self discipline!!! Such a world has opened up to me!!! It is truly Dorothy meets technicolor up in here! Life changing. I feel robustly alive, perhaps for the first time in my lifetime. Surely for the first time in many many moons… Before depression, before trauma, I was alive– I have never forgotten that young woman– I have missed her and tried to find my way back to her so many times and ways. But she is long gone– she took with her an innocence that cannot be replaced. I’ve made peace with this. I have no intention or desire to get any part of my old self back– that is not a goal I entertain because that is not possible. Who I was with the joy of my life, my beautiful boy– she is dead. She had DNR tattooed over her heart. “If this breaks do not fix it”. Some of it was inevitable but some of saying goodbye to her was intentional. Light a match and walk away. Just walk away.
It took almost 2 years to stop feeling like I had to check on/ in with Isaac. Like I’d done for 18. Being his mama was who I was down to my core. All my choices were a reflection of this on some level– impact, influence, direct or not. His safety happiness needs then my own. Well being, progress, fun, security, teachable, relatable– good bad high low up down then now over under. Who what where when how. Isaac was a part of all– was a part of me– if you’ve ever lived with this you know what I mean. I think it came from being a young mama. It was he and I against the world sometimes. And we held hands and each other’s hearts every single day of his life. Every one of the 6,630 days that he graced this planet. It wasn’t perfect– I wasn’t perfect. But I was all in. All the way.
Learning how to live without your heart takes some getting used to. 
But I can see that is what is happening. I am learning how to live, again, & for the first time as who I am now. And the truth is, I am in love with my life–the absolute gift of it, the grace, the grit. All of it. Because I know what’s hiding in the shadows. I know the bathroom floor. I know where the wood is worn and scuffed in the living room. I know what each hour of the night and way too early morning sky looks like.  I’ve sat with every thought inside of me and listened again and again to all the things I might have done better, different, more, less, ever, never, again. And still I rise– somehow this spirit inside of me keeps reaching, keeps hoping, this heart keeps loving. It is the wonder of all wonders for me– I have thought my life was over, I have thought my despair would never end. And it probably won’t– can’t. My grief for Isaac–my longing and the weight of this loss–it is, I believe, in equal measure to my love for Isaac. But that is not all there is. Like a flower growing from a crack in the sidewalk or blooming in the desert, there is life bursting inside of me.
And I intend to live it. 

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.


3 thoughts on “Ancora Imparo…”

  1. Phenomenal. So easy to identify with (not Isaac’s death) but you have such a profound ability to convey thoughts and feelings.

    See you this week doll!

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. No words, just always glad to be able to read your thoughts… so grateful you never stopped writing. One of your many gifts my friend. ❤️


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