A Simple Declaration

I have many things I would like to continue to write about, but it feels completely wrong and inappriopriate without doing the following:

I am against white supremacy in all of its manifestations. I do not stand for the actions of the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021, and will not support any individuals that subscribe to this behavior.

See? Not super hard to do at all.

This does not mean that as a cis-gendered, straight white female I don’t benefit from these systems. I most assuredly do, in spite of being a person that has gone through some serious, emotional struggles. And I am committed to doing the work within myself and the communities I belong to in order to dismantle these systems and thoughts that bring harm to people who don’t look like me. I’m going to make mistakes, I’m going to stumble and misstep. But I’m going to learn, and unlearn, and hopefully be a part of the effort in leaving this world a place that is better than how it was when I came into it.

Here are some resources I have found in pursuing this kind of work:

Websites
https://www.rachelricketts.com/
https://www.ar-tic.org/
https://www.moniquemelton.com/
http://www.alexelle.com/

There are also numerous books, many linked on these websites and when you view them suggestions come up for a plethora of similar books in anti-racism and a self-care/healing categories. I am making a strong effort to purchase books, trainings, and workshops from people of marginalized identities. I ask anyone reading this to do the same. I am also happy to be contacted for further support/recommendations. May we heal within ourselves and within our communities.

Much love.

The New Year Comes

Today I woke up before 7:00AM which meant the first hints of daylight were only just popping up on the horizon. My reasons for being awake srenot glamorous, but I took the opportunity to sit in my little room where I have my yoga space, tarot and oracle decks, and some of my favorite plants. I set my phone aside and talked to Dan about my hopes for the new year ahead, what I would like him to help me with, and said I was ready for our connection to keep growing in whatever way that it is meant to, without force or stress in knowing what that means.

I watched the sunrise. Uninterrupted by notifications or alerts. I watched the colors burst then settle into their normal patterns for daytime. I watched little birds flitter around the trees in my back yard. I breathed and watched. My word for 2021 is presence. This moment felt very much aligned with that. And I look forward to more moments in the year ahead.

I feel hopeful. I feel calmer. I feel very much ready to ease into this phase of my life with grace and presence.

Happy New Year.

Not Just for Coffee!

You know what is something you definitely do not anticipate having to decide in your 30s? What urn you want your husband’s cremated remains to be placed in once they come back from the crematorium. And wow, do they have a lot of urns. But that’s not exactly what this is about. This is about what happens when your darling late husband has charged you with scattering some of his ashes “in a place that’s beautiful,” it’s 3:00AM, your cats are at the vet for boarding, no other living thing is in the house, and you can’t sleep before your flight out of the country. I had just cleaned and removed the labels of two pill bottles** and felt ready to start the next step. The plan was simple: take the bag out, cut a small corner off (thank you to my friend D for this idea), and slowly pour into the bottles until full.

Except there was a problem.

I picked an urn that was narrow at the bottom (where the opening is) and tapered wider at the top. Look, I didn’t think about how they get ashes into an urn. When, prior to this moment, would I ever have thought about these things? Certainly not when I said, “I do.” I didn’t think about how they put a bag inside of the urn, and THEN transfer the ashes in. This means the ashes/bag fill out the shape of the object they are placed in. Simple physics. What this also means is you cannot take said bag OUT of the urn to neatly pour the ashes into the bottles for international transport.

Shit.

I was picturing my kitchen island, floor, myself, and anything within a 10 foot radius completely covered in the remains of my husband if I tried to pour while holding the urn. Did I mention I picked a marble urn? Those damn things are not lightweight. Past Me was not thinking of Future Me at all here. I stared at it, still turned upside down, for a good fifteen minutes or so wondering how I was going to do this as cleanly as possible. I wasn’t giving up, his ashes were coming with me one way or another, damnit. I don’t know if the wee hours of the morning are prime for inspiration, but inspiration eventually came.

I needed a scoop of some kind, but was absolutely NOT going to use any of my kitchen spoons. I wanted to eat off those things again without the image of cremains all over them. What else would work…? I looked over at our drip coffee maker. BINGO! I had misplaced the scoop a month or so before, and just ordered a new one off of Amazon. It came in a two-pack. Perfect, one to use for coffee, one for ashes. I let Past Me off the hook.

I fished the extra scoop out of the drawer and began to do what clearly would be one of the most confusing images anyone peering through a window would see: Me, at 4:00AM now, scooping ashes with a coffee scoop into empty pill bottles laughing. Dan did love coffee…. a lot. This seemed fitting. And ridiculous. But also, functional?

I placed the caps on the two bottles and neatly closed up the bag, screwed the urn cover back in place, and returned my beloved husband’s remains back to their spot. Done and done. I keep the extra scoop in a plastic baggie separate from the one for coffee and have “ASHES” written in big letters on the bag. You wouldn’t want to mix those up…. ew.

That scoop has served it’s additional purpose well. Occasionally, I wonder if I should leave that in a review. Widows need all the life hacks we can get. At any rate, this is just a glimpse into the weird moments your life contains when you have been through a completely shitty experience. And I thank the universe for it, because I needed that laugh at 4:00AM.

wordsbykrissie.com © 2020

**I got this idea from another widow. Take the label off and they are perfect for travel. Security is absolutely not supposed to open cremated remains, so this allows them to still be visible if they want to do an inspection. Don’t forget the certificate, and it helps to learn how to say “I have the cremated remains of {mother, husband, cat, etc.} with me” in whatever language of the place you are traveling to. I’ve only been inspected by TSA, but it never hurts to be prepared!

Thought Dumps No. 2

In October, I let go of the opportunity of having Dan’s children. Possibly even becoming a mother at all. Not sure I even want motherhood at this point. I’ll be 38 in less than three months. Some days I think about the decision, yet never with regret. Pregnancy announcements hurt deep, but the pain is strange now. Hurting for something you know you don’t really want anymore. Maybe your mind will change. Maybe it will take a new person to get there. Maybe. So many maybes.

And yet, I’m not seeking out a serious relationship. There is a pandemic still going on, dating seems like so much effort. I’m still clearing out the wreckage, letting things go, saying the goodbyes. Goodbyes that would be tainted were another person along for the ride. Plus, there’s the self-discovery, finding comfort in the loneliness. Making yourself your new home base. I’m falling in love with the “me” time. With my solitude. With figuring out where my life is going.

Where is my life going?

I don’t know. I never liked the “where do you see yourself in five years” questioning. It made me uncomfortable. Five years is a lot of time. What can happen in five years? Cancer. That can happen in five years. Sometimes even less.

Falling in love can also happen. And out of it, and back in it again. Rekindling the fires that slow burned in your heart space. Discovering. Exploring. Interests that you didn’t think you’d like. Maybe past you would have hated them.

But you love them now.

One step ahead, maybe two. Nothing more. This is the middle phase. You don’t have your ending yet. You don’t have the plot sorted. Do people want to read a story that goes “And then he died. And then it got weird…. and then….?” The part that comes after the last “and then” is just too murky to place. It could go anywhere. Or everywhere.

One step ahead, maybe two. Try to enjoy this middle.

Just be present.

wordsbykrissie.com © 2020

On the Matter of Spirituality

In the present moment, I am sitting next to a pile of notebooks, an astrological journal/planner, a deck of tarot cards, and an oracle deck. Tools for assessing the energies of the day, instruments I am employing to tap into this nebulous, intuitive side that has been bursting to come out since I’m not even sure when. Looking back I believe there were glimmers, I just didn’t recognize the signs as clearly as I do now. The fact I am even typing anything about this is strange in and of itself. Two years ago if you had asked me if there was any meaning in anything, I’d have told you no. Life is just a random jumble of circumstances and in order to not feel crushed by existential loneliness, humans invented systems to try to make sense of things. And maybe that’s still true, but there are just some things my science brain cannot explain yet also cannot help but notice.

I’ve transitioned from being a devout Catholic to an agnostic to a couldn’t-be-bothered-to-think-about-it to a “wow that was some cosmic synchrony wasn’t it?” to a fuck-the-universe-and-all-of-this to what I suppose is my current state of being a spiritual atheist. This path had some pretty stereotypical turns, specifically the part of going from Catholic to non-Catholic, and that is a mostly boring and not worth telling side-story.

The biggest change came through the ways in which my adult life completely came crashing down around me on June 29, 2018. Sitting across from the man I promised to love forever, watching the shock spread over his face as the words “pancreatic cancer” coldly drifted out of the mouth of the oncologist. I wasn’t aware of it then, but the weeks leading up to that moment were already interwoven with weird as fuck signs that there was something occurring beyond what I can wrap my human brain around, and even in the depths of my memories I cannot fully make sense of what happened. In the moments that followed, I didn’t have the capacity to dissect what exactly was going on. I was in survival mode, caregiver mode, keep our heads above water mode. You do whatever you can when the person you love the most is swiftly dying of an incurable disease, including shelving any thoughts of yourself and what this means for you until the time comes when you have no choice but to think of those things.

That comes after the death, in the quiet moments. The moments where you really feel the absence of presence. It was in those moments I suppose my deep dive into my own spirituality began. When you have nothing else to focus on other than how one day everything you thought your life was going to be suddenly wasn’t anymore, you can’t help but hyper-focus on every little detail. As a scientist, I have been trained to pay attention to the micro-details. It’s how you figure out why a procedure works one day then fails the next. It’s how you improve the robustness of your methods. And it’s how I began to see the bread crumbs from the other side.

Do I sound totally out there yet? I fully admit typing this out makes me feel like I am. My science brain/ego gets really noisy when I openly talk about messages from “the other side.” It hates it. It’s embarrassed about it. It thinks I must off. And yet, I don’t know how else to explain things. I’m fully open to and accepting of having a valid, rational explanation for everything. And I’m sure many things can be written off as odd coincidences because you can’t un-notice something to which you’ve become accustomed to seeing. I don’t know. But, do any of us really know? Until we do, I’m just going to keep stumbling through this strange experience: documenting, observing, and noting when the inexplicable micro-moments happen. And the big ones. But I feel the real magic of spiritual exploration lies in those tiny ones.

I’m feeling called to begin sifting through them, sharing what some will likely write off as woo-y woo woo weirdness. Go for it. I’m not for everyone, and neither is my life experience. But, if you’re as curious as I am about where the hell all of this is leading, I welcome you to stay and see what unfolds.

wordsbykrissie.com © 2020