The world was supposed to end five months earlier. And in a way, it did. At least for me.
It was Mother’s Day, 2000, as you can clearly see written below the photo. My daughters took me for an outing to mark the day. The spot they chose was one they had visited many times before but I had never been there. They called it, “The Meditation Spot”. It was a small hidden oasis in the desert where we lived.
We drove to the cemetery where their dad would be cremated 14 years later. We turned left onto a dirt road. We parked behind a mountainous boulder and walked along a footpath worn by those who had also found the spot. It was bright, dry and sunny, a typical May afternoon in the High Desert.
As we turned a corner, a train track appeared. We crossed over it and just on the other side, there were trees springing up from the rocks and gravel, creating a canopy over a babbling brook.
We’d brought a candle and matches, pen and paper, a Bible and even a camera.
Next to us, there was a flat rock used as an altar. There were smudge marks and melted wax, which was now mingling with ours.
We thanked God for many things that day. Mostly for each other. It was, after all, a day for celebrating mothers (and daughters).
“Stand on that boulder, Mom! I want to take a photo!”
And so I did.
And that is the photo you see.
I remember the sun on my face… my hair in a braid… the jeans that actually fit. I look happy and hopeful.
In fact, I was on a Dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin bender. In fact, the consequences for the entire prior year had bled all over this one. “Bled” is a very good way of putting it. It was emotionally and physically exhausting.
The new year began with my (then) husband trying to come home and work out our marriage, after spending half the night with his new friends, including a new girlfriend. This, after months of back and forth, mostly on his part. I remember sobbing on the phone… saying yes, come home. We can try again. (And again and again!)
I’d lost a ton of weight, which was good, but I’d done it the wrong way — by going through an emotional upheaval created by my own horrible decision the year before. Guilt, shame, and food are not a good mix.
I was so sick I’d had to have a full-body CT scan to diagnose what was going on. I was in horrible pain for several months the previous summer and had to rely on the one person who hated me (loved me, hated me) to help get me through… my (then) husband.
By the time this photo was taken, the divorce was (again) in full swing. And before the ink had dried on the decree, I’d already begun talking to my (now) husband and would be meeting him in person the following month. Yep, those “love chemicals” were certainly working overtime!
At the same time, my beloved job was in jeopardy. Nobody to blame but myself. At least, that’s how I saw it.
So, was it any surprise to anyone that in the midst of all this turmoil, I made a decision that would change the lives of everyone who loved me? Actually, yes. But I digress.
I used to call this my favorite picture of me. In fact, I almost named this post, “My Fave Photo”.
I can’t believe it!
This sometimes happens as I’m writing. No kidding, I ***just realized*** that this photo is about a lovely, sacred day with my daughters, yes…
… but beneath that …
It a photo of me NOT living in reality. My life was literally falling apart around me. I am, it appears, an actress, as well as a writer. Who knew?
As it turns out, I went a totally different direction than I intended when I began this post. Funny how that happens. I suppose that someone needs what I have to say today. Is it you? Maybe it’s even ME.