healing

I took this photo, unfiltered, this morning–wow what a view

This last year has been tough.

Dad died leaving a complicated estate for me to wade through and I’m still not done. My brother and I came way too close to losing access to our entire inheritance thanks to Marjorie–thankfully detected and corrected before Dad died. That was just the beginning of the gauntlet of complex banking and property/insurance/trust issues I’ve been working through for over a year now. I detailed that harrowing experience in the book so stay tuned for that story.

Plus my brother has been hospitalized twice, so managing him and taking care of our own lives with Lillian so she didn’t get lost in the shuffle; it’s just been a lot.

I told my husband this morning that I came on this trip as much to heal as complete the book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m writing, editing and re-organizing things for a few hours each day, but there is no urgency to finish things up as I’d planned. This is therapy for me, as is being here in Edmonds which is like a familiar safe cocoon. I love this little cozy studio and it has everything I need. I have my favorite haunts like restaurants, the Korean spa, the ferry and this view of course. It all nourishes me.

I think once Dad died, it really set me free to more deeply explore the abuse we experienced as kids and the impacts on each of us. It’s always been so much easier to focus on Marj, as we just didn’t love her, but the betrayal of our father, that’s the sting. With his being gone now, I no longer feel like I’m betraying him, by looking at how he betrayed us if that makes sense.

I keep finding myself winding back in to the chapters related to those traumas–adding, editing, honing in on what’s important and in what order to reveal it. It’s so important to me to at least look at our childhood trauma as a backdrop for the fatal choices Cindy made. It all fits together so clearly in my head and I hope I’m conveying it on the page.

Here is a snippet I’ve been working on this morning:

This juxtaposition of a life, led us to focus on the good times, while doing our best to deny and avoid the violence, desperately trying to cling to a vision of normalcy. At that age, the only thing you really want is to fit in and be normal. This very style of coping is evident in Cindy’s journal years later, when the stakes were far higher. Life and death, literally.

I’m in a whirlwind situation with so many confusing feelings. I need more than ever to give myself positive self-talk. I feel opposition in what I am doing and am not comfortable covering up the truth of what my new relationship with Michael is. It’s like I’m living two lives.

Cindy and I created our own little world, our own languages, our own forms of blocking ourselves off to Marj’s invasions, which angered her even more.  “No one can get close to you girls” she would say, blaming us for her emotional distance. 

Cindy warned me not to share too much with her, definitely not secrets.  “She will use it against you some day” she intuitively seemed to know as a tween.  Cindy was right, not that I always heeded her advice.  Marj, a social worker, did have a skill in extracting people’s most intimate stories.  She was easy to talk to. Yet in our case, she would stockpile the most vulnerable aspects of our inner suffering, then hurl them at us sometimes years later in the form of words like “well, as we all know, you’ve had problems with insecurity your entire life,” she’d say with a sympathetic looking nod. A passive-aggressive confusing message which made you think she was trying to help you, while feeling like shit at the same time. At one time or another, Marj heard from each of us the question “Why do you always need to see me in the most screwed up way possible?”. 

It was like our problems/insecurities/struggles gave this woman life.

I’ve been up writing for hours now, so time for a break. It’s a blustery day outside, so I’m enjoying staying in watching these amazing textured clouds float over the Puget Sound.

I was going to run some errands, like getting the tire light checked on my rental car, but I’m thinking I may just take a wander over to my friend DoorDash and be an inside girl all day today. It’s so nice to have no schedule and no plans.

It’s one of my favorite ways to live.

me. at the movies last night to see Tar with Cate Blanchett

One thought on “healing

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