Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goodbye Mississippi

Sometimes things happen faster than I can even take the time to stop and really think about what is happening.  And for now that's probably a good thing.  When I pulled out of my driveway for the last time as the resident of my house in Mississippi, I felt just a flutter of  emotional reflux.  It caused a burning lump in my throat that threatened to rise up and turn into a wail and a flood of tears.  Fortunately for my eyes and the ears of my neighbors (former neighbors), I was able to put a clamp on that in a quick hurry.

As we drove away from our neighborhood, I thought about the young newlywed I was when I moved to Mississippi for the third time almost four years ago.  I was filled with dreams and fantasies of the life that lay ahead.  Anything was possible.  We would buy a fixer-upper cottage and I would walk from the beach to rinse the salt off of my skin in our outdoor shower.  

And then my Grandfather got a sore throat, and we all prayed it was only a cold, but it was cancer, and it was aggressive.  In July my Grandmother decided to take her life into her own hands and with those hands she put a month's worth of medication into her body.  A body that was in constant pain for so many years.

And then August came and with it came the hurricane that would serve as the final blow in the complete destruction of the girl who came to Mississippi.  In the losing of everything I owned and of so many people I loved, I found myself.  With each heartbreak, each set back, I grew stronger and more sure of who I was and who I wanted to become.  

As we filled our moving truck to overflowing and wondered where we would fit what remained of our possessions, I remembered moving into the house in Diamondhead with nothing more than a pair of camping chairs and an air mattress and a grin from ear to ear, because this was our house, our own small piece of Earth.  That was almost three years ago.  We had lost everything, but we had each other.  And not long after that we also had a baby.  In that time we lost Jeremy's Grandfather, and only a few months after that his brother was killed in a car wreck.

Each time you think nothing could ever hurt so much again, and each time your soul gets a fresh scar.  The scars can only fade with time, but they will never stop hurting.  Sometimes we run our mind over them and remember with sweet fondness the beauty and the pain of each moment we had with those whom we loved and will never again see on this Earth.  And we remember the life we had begun to build that was so abruptly taken from us by the sea and lay in ruin beneath a 60 foot pile of rubble that contained the broken fragments of the lives of so many others.

It is a pain that was only made bearable by the people that became my dear friends and taught me what it is to survive.  But not only to survive; to survive with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  Just like the flowers that grow in the red dirt of the south, these women are tough and beautiful, and I love them.

When I drove into Mississippi some years ago I was a girl; fickle and fragile, and with more shoes than were good for me.  As I left it yesterday; I left a woman, and a mother, with a reserve of strength that can withstand whatever comes my way and a smile still on my lips.


Krista said...

Have a safe trip to D.C.! You really are inspiring.

Charlotte said...

And the tears stood there in my eyes...

Beautiful post.

man said...

You are awesome! Can I say that again - you are awesome! Thanks for sharing so much.

I've missed your post as I have been away (coincidentally again) moving my family and I came back today to see these wonderful posts of the last week or so and I am speechless except to say thanks!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, painful and inspiring! Is it not a most comforting thing to know that God will not waste a single pain in our lives?I We need only to yield and allow Him to put substance into our souls in these dark seasons. You see, it is in the cold barren winter that the tree appears stripped of all beauty. And, yet, an amazing energy is occurring deep within it. Soon, because the tree stood in the midst of icy storms and fierce winds, new life will spill forth and all will reap. And how incredible that all the tree goes through and the new life that spills from his branches in the form of beauty, fragrance and fruit is for "others."

Anonymous said...

I am honored to be your friend! I adore you and hope that someday your travels bring you out to California. You are such an inspiration and a ROCK that I will always turn to in time of need.


Freewheel said...

This is really well-said. Best wishes to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're settling in nicely in DC and that your new life as an everyday bicycling mommy will be as lovely as you've been hoping.

So much happens, and so quickly, in our lives. Whether we believe those events - lovely and painful - are from divine direction (as says anonymous) or pure chance (as say I), it is ultimately our responses that make our lives what they are.

Your Mother said...

It is now 2012, 7 years after you wrote this and I look at who you have become. You now live in Guam and your life is quite different from the one in MS or DC. You live on a tropical island, a paradise many would say where you watch your two children grow up and you may add another to the family (time will tell) but as your mother all I can say is what a beautiful, fun loving, creative, compassionate and youthful spirit you have become. You have made your choices wisely. When you were little (first grade and on) I always prayed God would give you wisdom-and He has. You have become more of a woman than I could ever dream you to be - love you way toooo manies!!!!!!