NOVEMBER 1, 2020: “Crossing Over” …

Some days I rise with all the words I need to say just pouring out of my soul, and often because of a dream. Like today, which would have been our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been just over a year of on this road I never planned to travel, and though I knew it was fast approaching, I also knew it would be a major turning point in my final ascent out of the darkness and into The Light. Let me tell you how my beautifully shattered life works …

To begin with, indeed I dreamt last night, but not before closing my eyes to the sound of the Halloween shenanigans of my daughter and her crew. Did I ever tell you that the singular flaw with Williamson Manor is that her theatre and game rooms are directly above my bedroom? Yup! That’s true! As it turns out, however, it’s not a flaw at all! Believe it or not, especially in this last 438 days, those echoes of stomping, laughing and chaos into the wee hours of so many nights are a lullaby to me. It’s why he built this home, from the ground up, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing she’s here, happy, safe, and whole, is one of the realities that comforts me the most. But damnit, I’ve digressed again! Where was I?

My dream! I was front row center at a Five Finger Death Punch show, but instead of a traditional concert venue, it was an intimate gathering where Ivan was singing to me:

The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork … a thousand tears she’s cried a hundred times before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on …

As he was singing, a tear fell from his eye, but it wasn’t Ivan’s face. It was Zack’s face, on Ivan’s body, holding that legendary mic stand in one hand, while reaching out the other to me like a muse. It was the most beautiful insanity imaginable! In the dream, I was thinking, “This means something! What does this mean?” Then I woke up and knew!

In order to fully appreciate where I’m going with this, you must understand that I am led solely by intuition and feelings. Call me a spiritualist. Call me a “good witch”. Call me whatever in the actual hell you want. It’s my truth and it’s never gonna change!

In every thing there is a meaning, in every moment a message, and something means everything, even if it’s nothing!

Am I bat-shit effing crazy? Perhaps I am. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, and let me tell you why: What if I’m RIGHT? What if it’s true? What if the Cosmos really is trying to speak to me? What if it really is Zack communicating with us through the fog and the crows and the lights in the bathroom? That, my friends, is the “crazy” blind faith that costs me nothing, but gains me everything. Sooner or later I too will cross over, and either I’m right or I am wrong. Meanwhile, just after waking from that most ethereal dream, this was right beside my bed. It’s nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just one of Gia’s bracelets that either Good Cat or Bad Cat must have found and deposited at the exact spot my foot hit the ground. “C’mon Cat, it’s just a bracelet.” Umm, ya think? But why did it show up in the endless twist of “F8 this way?

IN CLOSING …

Ten years ago today, I kissed a frog who turned into a king. Five years ago today, that king turned me into a princess. Today I woke up from a dream on the edge of literal “eternity”. With that, I was reminded again of the endless joy he brought to my life that I get to keep until it’s my time to see the brighter side of grey. There will never be a day that I’m not eternally grateful for the true love and immeasurable gifts he left me with, not the least of which is the fire he lit in my soul that will light my way through every darkness. Loving that man changed my life forever in every best possible way, so it’s no wonder that losing him has done the same.

Today is the day!

I think it’s finally time for me to start moving on, whatever that actually means, and I’ve asked God to show me what’s next. My heart is completely open to anything and everything, but as for now I’ll just keep inhaling every moment one precious deep breath at a time and holding them in for as long as possible. I know full well that every time I exhale, I’ll be making the space for whatever in this world is coming next for me. Knowing my God the way that I do, and knowing ME the way that I do, chances are that whatever is coming next is probably going to be extraordinary. In the meantime, win, lose, or draw, this is the beautiful picture of the me that I’m always going to love the most and the “me” I’m always going to strive to be in my soul …

Happy Anniversary Williamson!

I don’t mind you hanging with us as long as you feel it’s necessary, but hey – don’t wait for me here. I’ll be there soon enough.

CROSSING OVER

All perched alone he sits there broken. An eldered man with storm clouds setting in his eyes. He counts the sands of time – remembering days gone by. It seemed like yesterday before it washed away. Hey, don’t wait for me there – just find your own way. Hey, don’t wait for me there – ’cause I’ll be there soon enough. The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork. A thousand tears she’s cried a hundred times before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on. It all just fell away – it seems like yesterday. {Five Finger Death Punch}

OCTOBER 20, 2020: “Peace, Love, Light Aaaand” …

I struggled as to whether or not I should bother to respond to this bullshit message, but have decided to let you know …

It is now clear that you know nothing about my heart, so I’ll fill you in on a not so little secret: I am an empath who absorbs other people’s feelings and burdens as my own, especially those who are close to me. As such, I have spent the entire last seven months of COVID worrying for my friends, family and strangers, feeling helpless that I can’t just ZAP everyone’s lives into blissful perfection. I have shed countless tears, prayed daily for others, and done everything in my power to be “a Light” in the darkness, DESPITE the fact that 427 days ago the love of my life blew his fucking brains out and DEVASTATED me and mine in unspeakable ways that most people don’t and will never know (but YOU do). I am now a widow who has also “struggled”, with not only COVID, but countless other thoughts, burdens and stresses that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, all the while having still managed to at least TRY to think outside of myself and be thoughtful and mindful of others. I too have been near “a cliff”, and though it may not be as steep as yours, it is real just the same.

I was at a stop light when I saw your post and misinterpreted “your situation”. I’d honed in on the fact that you might have to sit in a 2-hour line to get a Chromebook for your son, which evidently was not the case. My first thought was about the like-new Chromebook that Gia had been trying to sell, so, I either texted or called you immediately. For the record, my intention was NEVER to sell it to you, and I apologize if that’s what you thought. Gia doesn’t need $100 and neither do I. My only thought at that moment was, “Oh no! A 2-hour line for a Chromebook? Maybe I could just bring her Gia’s.” ZERO was I “disregarding” either that situation or any situation you and yours have been dealing with as of late. I was JUST trying to help you be less stressed out.

Keep in mind that the weekend prior, I had made a gift bag to “ding dong ditch” your porch with on your birthday, but when I went to your page that day to write on your wall, I saw you on a getaway with your family and decided to hold off. Time passed and I had neither heard from or seen much of you on Facebook, so I tried to find out what was going on. I texted you two or three times. No response! I even thought about going to your house, but instead messaged your husband because I was worried that something was wrong. Then I got your text and realized that yet again (for the second time in 20 plus years) I’d, been, “GHOSTED”! And why is that? Because my well-intended message to you “kind of came across as disregarding your situation when you were already struggling”. Neither my words, thoughts or intended deeds were good enough and had to be punished!

When I got your text, I all but lost it and beat myself up pretty good! “OMG! What did I do? I hurt her feelings? Made her feel disregarded? What could I have done better? What could I have SAID better?” I felt like a terrible friend and awful person! Did you ever stop to consider that perhaps I did have good intentions and was just trying to help, but because I too am struggling, your assumption that I was “disregarding your situation” was WRONG? Short of that, could you have possibly shown some grace and cut me some slack for failing to regard “your situation” in the manner that you would have preferred? Yah, not so much!

Let me tell you about my “situation”. I had to actually run away to get my broken head, heart and feelings together after coming pretty damn close to falling off my own cliff! What you did to me was beyond unfair, if not cruel, and started cracking my heart in a brand new place. By the time my own birthday came and went and most of my “friends” forgot me, I think I was pretty much done … with all of this! I just survived an entire LIFETIME of walking on fucking eggshells in “relationship gauntlets” where the people I loved and trusted refused to extend grace for my MANY human failures and would punish me with silent treatments or “washing their hands of me”. The irony here is that ALL I’VE EVER WANTED is for “my people” to be happy, feel cared for, and NEVER have to wonder what they mean to me. The problem is that I’m not a mind reader, soooo … all I’ve ever been able to do is the best that I can do, which evidently isn’t good enough people like YOU!

I’m sorry I hurt your feelings and made you feel “disregarded”. If you knew me at all, you’d know that’s NOT how I roll. If this is “friendship”? No thanks, I’ll pass! And I especially don’t need “friends” who profess to be Christian followers of Jesus yet treat others this way. No grace? No compassion? NO THANK YOU! I’d rather be ALONE with my heart in the exact right place than “in the world” with people like you who could take me or fucking leave me. True friendships should neither be conditional nor contingent upon perfect behavior and impossibly high standards, up to and including “mind reading”. Walking on your eggshells doesn’t work for me anymore!

So, with that …

this is me …

GHOSTING YOU!

I was a damn good friend to you, and don’t you ever forget it! Or, DO. I don’t give a fuck! I did my very best to support all your endeavors and “situations” and have never been too busy to remember you, regardless of my struggles, and trust me, I’ve had some! I am fifty fucking ONE-derful years old now “friend”, and since you too forgot me on September 17th, I opened the candle I got when I didn’t forget you on August 8th and burned it for myself, alone, on my birthday! I deserve so much better than “I can take her or leave her”, or, “I’ll just punish her because she wasn’t clairvoyant enough to know the exact right thing to do for my situation. QUEENS DON’T TAKE SCRAPS FROM ANYONE, sooo, have a nice life, but LOSE MY FUCKING NUMBER! As a human being, I will always love you, but otherwise, you are DEAD to me!

Damn that felt good!

DECEMBER 22, 2019: “How To Re-Traumatize A Widow” …

BoundariesI struggled this morning as to what if anything to say about “the very first social event without my husband” last night because honestly, I am just so overwhelmed and TRAUMATIZED all over again! So perhaps I’ll just lead with some friendly advice for anyone out there who unbeknownst to them struggles with “unhealthy boundaries” …

To begin, here is what Wikia.org says about “personal boundaries” (and please DO click on this link THIS VERY IMPORTANT LINK for more information when you are either extremely bored OR extremely ready to conduct a quick self-examination as to where you are on the boundaries spectrum):

Personal boundaries are an aspect of psychological boundaries and are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits. “Personal boundaries” define you as an individual. They are statements of what you will or won’t do, what you like and don’t like … how close someone can get to you.

One last piece of advice I’d like to offer against what again I’m sure are seemingly innocent comments and remarks from well-intended people. I appreciate being told “I’m beautiful”. Truly, I do, and I’m not trying to sound like a bitch, but I am in fact aware of “how I look“. Okay, I agree, I not that unfortunate looking. I comfortable writing those words out loud here now in this space because only I know how long it finally took me to find my actual reflection in a mirror! It took a hell of a lot of work on behalf less than a handful of people to get me to finally “see me” the way other people see me on the outside. Eternal is the gratitude for my very first angel, “the Flyboy“. All of “this” started with him, then Zack picked up where he left off, and I will NEVER forget that day in his apartment he grabbed me by the arms and physically forced me in front of the mirror while he stood behind me repeating:

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! LOOK AT YOURSELF CATHERINE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! SAY IT! I’M NOT LETTING YOU GO UNTIL YOU SAY IT!”

And then I did, and here I am. Yes, I am beautiful. The irony here is the first time Zack ever saw me in January of 2009 my presentation was, umm, tragic, to say the least. If he were still here, he’d be the first to admit that I looked like a freaking train wreck. I was in the worst shape of my life, hadn’t been sleeping, was physically disfigured in the most egregious way, and about five minutes away from my final nervous breakdown. He used to say, “Every time she showed up at the gym, she looked kind of like a homeless person”.  So, trust me when I tell you – our love story did NOT begin with “wow you’re just so beautiful”. He loved me as I was, scars and all, for the very first time in my life, and for that precious reason my fallen King’s mirror of not only my reflection but most importantly my soul will always be the standard by which I judge anyone’s regard for my “beauty”.

There is probably not a human being on the face of this planet that doesn’t appreciate verbal affirmation from others, and yes, compliments in the right dose are an integral part of how our confidence is assimilated. But over and over and over again? “You’re so pretty. You’re so beautiful. You are such an attractive person.” Okay, so tell me once and that’s it! Anything more is not only overkill, but more so the polar OPPOSITE of what has ever attracted me to a man. Observations, judgments and validations about “my surface” in my life before Zack were more than half of what made me sick in the very first place and nope, I don’t care if someone thinks I’m beautiful (at least not on the outside). Quite frankly? THAT REPELS ME! Yes, this is a boundary issue with not only me but quite possibly many struggling people out there. Such an OLD cliche’ but true nonetheless: DON’T JUDGE THE BOOK BY IT’S COVER!

These things needed to be said, and now that I’ve said them, I feel much better. Guess I just needed to remind myself about the boundaries I’ve fought so hard to understand, respect and build in the first place. So, with that, I guess I’ll just have to find a way to be thankful for my re-traumitization last night. It was a lesson for sure, and now maybe a lesson for some of you as well. There is indeed a time and place for everything – EVEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GRIEF! If you know someone has been through a trauma of any kind and you want to talk to them about it, just ask them first if they want to talk about it. They may want to. They may not. But the choice should be theirs, not yours.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2019: “One Road Leads To Another” …

So, a friend of mine of 20 years urged me to get out and meet her at Choctaw in Durant last night. I spent all day going back and forth as to whether I was going or not and must have picked my phone up at least a dozen times throughout the course of the day and started texts that looked like, “Hey, I’m not sure I’m going to make it …”, but then kept deleting them and walked away from my phone.

Eventually, I made the decision to go for what I thought would be overnight, so I packed my bag, took Walter Williamson to my mom, then headed up 75 north. The quiet drive was nice and I hadn’t really cried yet all day, and I was planning on just trying not to. But right around the Highway 82 exit in Sherman I just about frigging lost it. Zack and I had this whole “Highway 82” thing that I won’t go in to right now, but let’s just say that if you’ve ever heard the song “Take Me There” by Rascal Flatts, that road was such a big part of his story, and thus our story too. So yes, it was a moment, and yes as I began remembering all the times we’d taken that exit for our Oklahoma adventures I was overcome with emotions. I swear I could feel the “one, two, three” squeeze (I-Love-You) that we would always share to quietly express the deep connection between us. EVERY single time we’d ever made that exit, he’d always squeeze my hand.

To say it was an out of body experience drifting through that venue without my husband would be an understatement, and since my friend didn’t arrive until after me, I was solo for 30 minutes. Several times I looked up and whispered, “Umm hello? You of all people KNOW how much I fucking hate this! What are you doing to me Williamson?” I kinda wanted to kick his ass, but not in a violent way. It was more so, “This is ANNOYING and it kinda really sucks and I wish I could punch you in the face”. It seemed like people were staring at me, which was probably all in my head, but it was just so extremely uncomfortable. I haven’t taken my wedding rings off by the way, and don’t foresee that happening any time in the near future. To be quite honest, I don’t know that I ever will. First of all, even though “death has parted us”, in my heart we are bonded for life, and also, I just don’t see how it’s possible that any other man on the face of this planet could possibly live with the immensely profound shadow that Zack has cast behind me eternally. No one will EVER be able to fill his shoes. Zero. Not that it’s a competition, and not that it’s even of relevance at this point because the thought of giving “all of me” to another man ever again makes me want to vomit. Aside from Christian and Gia there has been no other person who has had 100% of all I am. It was only him, and maybe it was only EVER supposed to be him, just as I was HIS “one and only everything”. I am so proud to say that I was Zack’s first love, and his last love, and everything in between! We were literally each other’s miracles and the answers to the prayers we’d both been praying since probably before we were even born. What are the chances that a love like ours could happen again for the third time in this life? I honestly just don’t know. My focus at this point is just me and my kids and my steadfast determination to take whatever steps are necessary to make some positive ripples in the human condition. I THINK I’VE DECIDED TO BECOME A LIFE COACH! It happened on the drive BACK from Oklahoma right around that good ole Highway 82 exit. It just hit me. Not like a ton of bricks, but a mountain of them. I’m GOING to get out there and start talking to anyone who will listen about all the things I’ve learned about “peopling” and “mental wealth” so that maybe, just maybe, all this pain I’ve been gifted can become someone’s else’s gift, too!

Wow, did I ever digress? Lol. Now I remember where I was going when I started to write this entry. So, let’s go back to the end of the night when we were sitting in Gilley’s listening to the band. Two guys walked up to check out our situation and asked to buy us drinks. I rolled my eyes SO far in the back of my head that I’m still not sure how I couldn’t read the signs on the wall behind me. I thought to myself,

Oh my good GOD, I really hate this! I LITERALY FUCKING HATE THIS! I don’t want this guy, that guy, or any guy EVER to buy me a drink EVER! I just want to go home, for my husband to be waiting for me when I get there, and for this to all not be real!

My poor friend was doing all that she could to protect me from this scenario. After all, her intention in getting me out was never to get someone to buy me a drink, only to get me out of my head. And I’m glad she did, because THIS is what led to my “Highway 82” life decision …

So the one guy asks about the drink, I was rolling my eyes, and my friend put her arms around me and turned to look at him and said these EXACT words: “Look, we sure do appreciate you but I’m going to kindly ask that you give us some space. Without going into details, my sweet friend here just lost her husband and I needed to get her out for the night which is the only reason we’re sitting here. This week is her birthday, it’s just not a good time for her, and I need you to leave us alone now.” “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that” he said then he turned to me. “Do you mind if I ask what happened?” Really? Umm, yes, I kinda do mind, but since he had the nerve to ask, I turned to look him straight in the eyes and shocked valued him with, “He shot himself in the head 23 days ago.” Then I turned back around and rolled my eyes again, to which he then replied, after five or so awkward seconds of silence,

Oh wow. Just wow. How could he go and do that to you? Why would he go and do that to you? I just don’t GET IT! It was such a permanent solution to a temporary situation. It’s just so selfish when people go and kill themselves like that. Man, that’s just a shame. I’m so sorry for you darlin’. Really, I am. Well, try and have a good birthday night.

Then he left, and oh my GOD, thank you JESUS for that!

So, here’s what’s wrong with what that guy said: ALL OF IT! In being perfectly honest, for more than a good split second I really wanted to punch him in the face, like, violently punch him in the face, not the other kind of “funny way” I’d wanted to punch Zack in the face earlier that night. I wanted to scream at him,

NO! YOU’RE FUCKING WRONG! He didn’t DO THIS to me. He didn’t even DO THIS to himself! He was sick, and in pain, and had been seeing things, and hearing voices, and he’d literally come apart at the seams. He was suffering, and tormented, AND WAY TOO MANY THINGS YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND BECAUSE YOU NEVER WALKED IN HIS SHOES!” Selfish? HE WAS NOT! HE WAS LITERALLY SICK IN THE HEAD, and I refuse to let “selfish” be his legacy!

Yet, therein lies the problem. THE STIGMA! The misgiving. The untrue truths that so many have to speak just to make that fucking “the S word” easier to digest. Thus my “Highway 82 Life Coaching” decision! So many people just don’t get itTHEY SIMPLY DON’T UNDERSTAND – because unless you’ve lived it, survived it, or have watched someone dying this way out loud? It’s “only been 24 days” since my husband died by suicide, and by no means am I professing to be an expert, but I know what I know, and frankly, I’ve BEEN down that dark road Zachariah never made it off of. I’m GOING to help people understand!