I can't give any details because the events in question are related to the privacy of another individual. I will tell you that it took all my willpower, strength and energy to hold myself together for several hours and not completely dissolve into a rabid mess of total adrenalized freak out.
My heart felt everything was okay, but my brain and body didn't get the same message. Our brains and bodies are powerful. I've never completely realized just how amazingly powerful they are, how completely our survival instincts rule, on such a personal level.
In addition to being one of the worst days of my life, the day also ended up being and leading to one of the best days:
1) I was with The Coyote when I got the news, and for the duration of the events. He supported me, providing everything I asked for and more, for the duration of the weekend. I knew how wonderful he was, but I'm cemented to him now in a way I wasn't before.
2) The Coyote took me to Logos Books in Santa Cruz to distract me from what was going on, and found the most perfect distraction for me: a copy of Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswicks Journal #1, A Circle of Quiet. I read this book when I was twenty-one, and remembered enjoying it. L'Engle is my ideal comfort reading: her warmth, intelligence, honesty and love have often been a balm for me.
I started re-reading this book in bed before trying to go to sleep on Saturday night, purely to calm me down. However, in addition to relaxing me, her thoughts helped me illuminate and refine many of my own recent thoughts, resulting in several revelations about life, creativity and art. I was verging on having these breakthroughs anyway, but I think L'Engle's book gave me a giant push.
One of the most important insights I had was that I need to get out of my way and play, like a child, when I write. I just need to get out of my way and play while living as a general matter of course. I've been in my head too much these past years.
3) Yesterday afternoon, The Coyote took Katie the dog and me to the beach in Pacifica. We walked along the ocean, watching the waves, studying seashells, frolicking with Katie in the water. We saw several beautiful and adorable dogs.
One dog, a golden retriever, fetched a brilliant pink tennis ball from the waves over and over again. Sometimes the dog had to simply run into the water to get the ball, and sometimes the dog had to swim out into the water and retrieve the ball from the ocean. Eventually, we walked up the hill and sat down, overlooking the ocean, surrounded by yellow wildflowers. I let the sun beat on my skin, pet my dog and watched the retriever swim further out into the water to a large outcropping of rocks. The dog would swim from rock to rock, climbing on this rock or that rock for a bit before getting back into the water to swim to the next rock.
The golden retriever was obviously thrilled to be alive, and this brought me so much pleasure. The retriever also illustrated the thoughts I'd had the night before. The dog was completely in the moment, playing, completely not self-conscious of what she was doing. She had lost herself, and was fully living, and loving life.
So I sat on the hill, tried to lose myself in the moment, and love and appreciate my own small corner of the universe.
4) After the beach, we went home. The Coyote made me tacos, which he'd promised me the night before. He makes the most amazing tacos, but I can't have them everyday -- they've got to have an insane calorie count. But sometimes we must live and gorge on tacos. We listened to Nail Gaiman reading some short stories while cooking. We enjoyed each other's company, and I felt at peace.
I felt like I used to, almost ten years ago, when life was very good. When my eldest was a baby and toddler, and I was writing my first full short stories as an adult. There were weekends where I'd spent a lovely day at the farmer's market, or hiking or working with the teenage girls I'd spent so much time volunteering with, and then would be at home in the evening, making a wonderful meal in the kitchen while listening to an audio book or This American Life or some fantastic music, just being, just playing, just loving. Just experiencing the full joy that come from being alive. But I was always alone in these moments. Sometimes this is good -- I do enjoy my alone time, but I was emotionally alone, and that was hard. But yesterday I wasn't alone. I shared this wonderful feeling with Chris, and I felt whole and well in a way I haven't in almost a decade. Perhaps even more well and whole than I did on those beautiful days I remember.
I left Idaho on February 2nd, 2009. It's been almost three years since I left. Three years to make the life I was so hungry for. A life where I am loved, supported and accepted for being me. For being appreciated for being me. A life where I am free to write and pursue that which brings me so much love and pleasure. A life where I can get a good job to take care of myself and my family.
And, even better, I'm still making this life. Things aren't perfect. But there is very little else I could ask for.