Friday, February 5, 2010


"Every now and then,
when the world sits just right,
a gentle breath of heaven
fills my soul with delight..."

-Hazelmarie ‘Mattie’ Elliott, A Breath of Heaven-

"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open."
-John Barrymore-

It seems as if for the last two years I have been holding my breath. I took in one very deep one upon my grandmothers death. I have been waiting to exhale ever since. And then, the Christmas miracle happened. Every memory I possessed was bottled up in that one breath, held in check, ready and waiting to be released. Everyone knows you can't hold your breath for infinity, eventually you will turn blue, self~preservation will kick in, and you will inevitably gasp for air.

That's exactly how the grieving process was for me. I thought if I could hold in all the past and concentrate on the here and now, eventually lifting my eyes to the future, then and only then, could I survive the gaping hole her absence left in my heart and life. For awhile, as I held my breath, I did turn blue, that deep dark denim kind of blue that is so weighty it clads ones heart within its constricted boundaries like a too tight ill fitting pair of jeans.

Since breathing is something we can control or regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. Perhaps that is what I thought I could achieve by blotting out the memories like one would blot up a spot of spilled liquid, the spill being my pain, absorbing it in one swipe, and casting it away. Grieving is like that, we can get so absorbed by it.

I realize now that I have been holding my breath waiting for that one thing to reveal itself to me that would allow me to expel the pent up pain. A scene from a movie, set in simpler times, moved me from being fixated on what I had lost to remembering what I had - wonderful, beautiful, precious memories. A tingle of happiness trilled in my heart, like a bluebirds song, as the scenes of the movie before me faded away being replaced by the ones of my childhood.The farm on the screen was not located in the pancake landscaped dusty Delta region where cotton crops are harvested but was a little house set up against hill in a hollow where the land rises and falls heaving rich vegetable crops from its fertile soil. Sights and sounds and stories, voices of the past whispering to my present to remember.

I felt myself breathe with a sigh of relief as the flood gates opened. For the first time in a long time I wanted to open the scrapbook of my mind and page through all the pictures contained therein. I wanted to point, and to smile, and to laugh, to recall and reminisce over each faded snapshot scene, retouching each one, bringing them back to life.

I am not exactly sure that the old adage that time heals all wounds is true, at least not completely, when the wound heals there is always a scar. I think we have some choice in the matter. Do we continue to hold our breath to gape and bleed as we suffocate in pain or do we slowly breathe in and breathe out, allowing this deep cleansing process to do its work. Breathing exercises are all about focus and technique, what we choose to focus on and what technique we use to cope.

Everyone is different, for me the passport to my healing is in the remembering and the writing of those memories. As I step into the image of each snapshot in my life's scrapbook it is like Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz stepping from the black and white world of Kansas into the technicolor land of Oz. The sights and sounds are vivid and surreal, and yet, they are very real and tactile.This thing called writing has become my means of coping, my bluebird of happiness if you will. The bluebird has long been a symbol of hope and renewal, hearth and home, as well as happiness. The bright blue flash of memory that flickered into my life on those dark and gray days has given me the wings to fly above the pain, process the loss, and helped me to realize that happiness comes from the journey not by avoidance. I am giving wings to my words, those of the memories, letting my little bluebird, writing, aid me on my journey.
I wanted to thank you, dear blog readers, for being a part of the journey, for reading and responding to the posts that pay tribute to my past, my true life farm stories of a lost lonely little girl who spent her summers and holidays at The Old House nestled in the foothills of the Ozarks tended by her grandmother in the only place where true happiness for her resided. Your response to these stories has overwhelmed me and blessed me beyond belief. Thank you for the twitter of happiness you have put in my heart by letting me share these little snapshots of life.May the Lord bless each and everyone one of you with your own little bluebird of happiness in whatever area of need that you may have today. May you nestle under its wings and allow it to shelter you. May you find comfort in it, enough to step out of the shadow of avoidance and to begin your own journey on the path to healing. May it keep you in its care, may its song guide you, and its flight path be clear. May you feel that flutter of happiness in your heart and life today.

Many Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Photos: A bluebird on the cattle gate at the farm taken on our last trip there. The very gate where a local farm boy tried to give me my first kiss, but that is a memory and story for another day...


BellaRosa said...

AMEN....Sandy amor what a beautiful post...I can "feel" each of the words you wrote to the core of my heart and I can't agree with you more, the loss of my Ita bought me to my knees for so long, just when I felt I could stand again, my dads passing took my over the brink and made me afraid I would never stand again, through you and so many beautiful of heart and spirit woman that I have met here, I was able to go on, by sharing your stories of loss and going on, I can honestly tell you that you all have taught me to go forward with love and grace...I just posted about a sweet, and beautfiful friend from our beautiful blogging community that just lost her mama yesterday...I am hoping that her heart will be strong and that she will not feel too lost with her loss, she has a wonderful husband and family that I know will be there for her, but I hope our wonderful blogging community will give her some strength too, like I was my saving grace. Besos to you my sweet friend for having such a beautiful heart and sharing it and it's beautiful memories with us. Rose

Vee said...

Heart-achingly beautiful, my dear. I'm so glad that you have shared this part of your journey. And I'm so glad that you have such comforting memories of your grandmother. (I'm working hard not to reduce my grandmother to what I see and hear today. This is NOT the woman I knew in my childhood. Still there are moments...precious ones.) The grief process is so unique to each person, isn't it? Thank you for sharing yours.

And that little bluebird can come visit me anytime.

Sonya Badgley said...

Oh Sandy, bless you for sharing your feelings again about your Grandmother. I so wish I could have known my Grandmother. But I am making sure my Grandson knows and loves me this way and that he knows I love him beyond words.

I pray that the bluebird of happiness lights on your shoulders and stays there always.
I can't express in words like you, how your writings make me feel but I definitely feel it in my soul. Thank you again...
Blessings, Sonya

Marlene said...

Beautiful heartfelt post.. I needed to read this today..letting go and moving forward is hard.
thank you. Marlene

daysease said...

A post I can relate to and understand with the understanding of one who, even after 10 years, still aches for the touch of a beloved grandmother passed, but who also knows that someday i will see her again... thanks for the moment of remembering... Love her... grateful for you...

Bonita said...

Sandy, I can't wait to read all of your farm girl stories, the bleeding of your heart on paper, in a book one day.

By the way, did you notice that lovely bluebird in the picture resembles the one in your "award free blog" button? On my screen the two pictures align side by side and the resemblance really caught my eye.

Anonymous said...

Sandy, grieving is such a personal thing and we each do it in our own way. It can't be gotten around, only through. And there are so many different losses that cause our grieving, not only the loss of loved ones, but of things we must move on from because they've had their time.
I've felt a sense of mourning these past months also for the loss created by changes I was forced to make in my profession. In my case, the memories are of wrongs done to me - a different kind than memories of loving connection that can sustain us as we go forward without those dear, dear souls. Mine won't be forgotten either, as they are written in my own personal "Book of Knowledge" written in blood, sweat and tears.
I always love coming here and reading your so-well-expressed thoughts. You have a rare gift.
Thank you for sharing these poignant feelings with us.

LiLi M. said...

What a beautiful post Sandy. I had to go back to your Christmas post, that I missed. I recognize the holding your breath part. But when you loose someone who you love tremendously it hurts so much and it is so beyond comprehension that you just have no choice in the beginning. It is too painful to let the loss reach your mind. You wake up and you feel the pain, in that part somewhere between heart and stomache and before you have truly waken up, you already felt the hurt of your loss. Slowly and little by little you can start to think about that loss, or cover it and hold your breath. But you are right; you cannot hold that breath forever and I am so happy to know that writing is your way of coping and that we fellowbloggers can be helpful in this. Thank you for letting us play that part. I would love to do that for as long as you wish, in fact it would be an honor.

Shopgirl said...

This post is beautiful in about a million ways. I saw myself as I had to let my own Grandmama leave her beloved family. I knew nothing would ever be the same without her.
I am not sure that I will ever give her up, I hold onto her. Like you I put my memories away for awhile, they were just to hard. But slowly I have let her bubble up into my now, and it does give us wings. Love, Mary

Unknown said...

Dear Sandy. The grieving process has so many stages. I'm happy to hear that you've made it to this point. What a beautiful way to express your love for your Grandmother. I remember holding my breath when my Mother died. My sister and I both grieved terribly. She could look at pictures and stay in my parents home but as for me I couldn't bear any of it for the longest time. I couldn't bare to see pictures and sometimes even family because it hurt so much. It's sometimes very hard to just start breathing again.

May God continue to bless and comfort you. Warm hugs...Tracy :)

Simple Home said...

Another beautiful post Sandy. Your writing is wonderful, and you share your heart so thoughtfully.

Anonymous said...

Good Sunday Morning Sandy, Thank you for sharing this post with us. You have been and will continue to be in my heart and prayers dear friend. Mildred

Tricia said...

Beautiful post - wonderfully told.


JD/ Jill said...

I read your post with tears in my eyes...since I just lost my Mother this past Thursday, but your post really touched me and I needed to read it. I just wish I could express myself as beautifully as you do...Maybe then I wouldn't be holding in my grief like I am right now. I know it's very soon since she's gone but I feel, at the moment, like the pain will never go away...

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