Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It goes on. (change in perspective #1)

[In Mormon churches on the 1st Sunday of the month there is no speaker, no sermon. Instead anyone who feels moved to can stand and share their testimony with the congregation. It’s a risky operation, and sometimes it gets a little wonky. But sometimes it’s fine, and often it’s beautiful and spirit-filled.]


I’m remembering a testimony meeting that happened in our ward the month after Russ got laid off.  I got up and shared what was happening with us and publicly declared my intent to handle the situation with faith and trust in God.  (Something you know I haven’t been entirely successful in doing, but that is beside the point.)  Several other people got up and shared equally traumatic stories from their own recent lives—it had been a really difficult month for several families in our congregation.

And then our friend Laurin got up.  He told us a story about when he & his family lived in Florida and he was a contractor.  He said that one day he was remodeling a bathroom in a nice big home.  He had a teenager in the bathroom helping him, and when they took something out (maybe the toilet) they broke one of the water lines and water came shooting & pouring out into the bathroom. 

The homeowners weren’t there, and he had no idea how to turn the water off.  The property was so big that there wasn’t any way to tell where the water shut off would be. It was clear from his telling of the story that this had been a big disaster for him.

And then he said something like this.  “Many of you have shared experiences today of difficult and painful things that have recently happened in your lives.  These are really hard things.  But one day, just like what happened to me in that bathroom, these experiences are just going to be stories.”


What he said made total and complete sense to me, and I have thought of it often in the last 18 months.  One day, this experience will just be a story.  It will still be a sad story, because it will still be a story of change and loss.  But it won’t have the power that feels like a punch in the gut anymore, it won’t be all raw pain and sorrow. 


At the end of January I was really having a hard time.  I couldn’t figure out what the problem was—I was faithfully taking my SamE and vitamin D and nothing had really changed from the previous few months.  But I found myself leaking tears a lot of the time, especially if people asked me questions about our move here.  (Did you want to move to Oregon?  Do you miss North Carolina??  Was it beautiful there?  Was it hard to leave after so many years???)  I got to the place where I was almost afraid to talk to people, I was so tired of finding myself crying again.

One afternoon I’d gone to Josh’s swim meet and was sitting in front of a man from our ward here.  I knew that they’d lived here for about 10 years, and that they chosen to move here from Arizona hoping the weather would be kinder to his wife’s health.  As we were talking he said “When we moved here someone told us that they had found the hardest time was right about 6 months—that was when it really all sank in and was final and everything felt so difficult.”  And then he said, “It really was that way for us too.”   I listened to him and wasn’t sure I agreed with that idea.  But later, as I thought about it more, I realized—that is right where I am now.  Six months would actually have come in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I think things had been too busy for me to be able to pay attention to it then.  Instead these feelings had waited until things calmed down in my life, and then started leaking out around my eyeballs.  Not in the fresh stabbing pain that I felt when I left North Carolina, but in a deep sense of grief and despair for all of the things that were lost. 

That’s when I added the 5HTP to my daily dose of SamE, and it seemed to do the trick and help regulate my emotions.  It was a relief not to cry whenever anyone talked to me.

Now we’re in April and the kids and I have been talking about the fact that we’ve almost been in Oregon a year.  In a week Russ & I will celebrate our first anniversary in Oregon.  In a couple of weeks it will be the one year anniversary of the day we left Durham.  And I do believe I’m feeling better.  Not that I’m going to stop taking my stuff anytime soon—I will give it a while longer.  But I’ve been feeling ok lately.  Less like a tragedy happened, and more like it was a sad story.

I just read a really interesting quote by Robert Frost, that I thought was so applicable.  He said,

“In three words I can sum up everything I know about life: It goes on.”


So here we are.  Going on…


  1. Yep! I think we need to realize that big (probably even small) changes do affect us and to give ourselves a bit of grieve, to let our minds & emotions catch up and adjust to the NEW normal. Getting ready again for another big change in our lives...makes it hard to breath sometimes and tears are just under the surface... life does go on...but, it sure can be a challenge sometimes! :)

  2. David used to say "I know Kerri is doing better, she no longer says she hates Durham." It took a long time. It was a slow process. It wasn't really things here, it was what I missed. What this place didn't have that I was used to. I always think of you as such a strong person. You are amazing. One day it won't hurt so much, although you will always miss what you had here. :)We still miss you.

  3. I remember that Sunday. Feels hard to believe that this challenging time in my life will only be a story someday... but he's right. Other heartbreaking times have followed that path, so this one must too. Thanks for the reminder. Though, I hope our friendship will not only be part of a past story... :)

  4. after getting burned by fireworks leaving our wedding reception, getting food poisoning, car trouble, and moving in to an absolutely filthy apartment all w/ in three days on our long awaited honeymoon my sister told me: "Crisis + Time = Humor
    *** the variable being Time"
    the story has become a fabulous and very funny story.