They had to go.
They were all dead and no amount of water would bring them back to life.
As I started pulling the first one apart, breaking off the dead limbs of the once beautiful rosebush, the tears came.
Stupid. Weak. Tears.
I was transported back to the very day it was planted. My boy was only a few months old and we had a wonderful gardener. He was a young veteran trying to find his way back into civilian life. His excitement about my yard was contagious and he was so hopeful and filled with joy.
I remember holding baby Cooper in my arms as I watched him dig the holes and plant the rosebushes around our tiny tree. Red. White. Red. White. Red. White. All in a circle.
A new baby. A new yard. A new start.
That was a long time ago.
The white bushes died years ago, a casualty of broken sprinklers and neglect. They have been waiting for me to do something, a nice visual symbol of regret and guilt right in the center of my front yard.
I decided this week it was time.
They had to go.
The first two bushes came up easy, but the third one decided to give me a fight. When pulling didn’t work, I resorted to kicking and shoving, sweating, crying, filling more and more with rage and sadness.
Give. Up. You. Stupid. Dead. Plant.
I finally cut the roots one at a time with hand clippers until it released its hold on the ground. Shaking, I threw it into the bucket and stood up.
It was done.
For over a month now, I’ve been burying myself deep.
I’ve taken on a multitude of new tasks/roles at my children’s school. I challenged myself to crochet an enormous number of shamrocks. I cleaned and organized every closet and cupboard in my house. I’m learning to watercolor paint and play ukulele.
Waking up each morning I make myself a list of things I need to get done. I check them off all day, but never get to the end. Every night I go to bed feeling upset that I didn’t do some task I set for myself.
I know it is crazy.
I see it.
I feel it.
I’m avoiding doing the things that I need to do like write, exercise and pray. Those things are hard and require me to face what I am avoiding.
So I keep moving and focusing on all the things I have to get done. I ignore the sadness that tugs at my sleeve by giving it jobs to do.
There is always something more to be done.
Then there are nights like tonight. My body is exhausted, yet sadness ripped me out of bed and is tormenting me. It repeatedly whispers its familiar tune.
You aren’t good enough.
Everyone thinks you’re a joke.
You’re such a big disappointment.
Today was a great day. I helped with my son’s dress rehearsal, had a delicious lunch with a friend as we brainstormed ideas for the next school year, cooked a healthy dinner for my family, watched my son’s class play and even had ice cream.
Yet tonight the sadness is big.
Glacier size actually.
I am longing for things that can’t be.
I am mourning my own weakness.
I am wallowing in my childish wish that I can make everyone happy.
No amount of tasks in the world will ever erase the way I feel. It is a hurt that is deep in my soul and all I can do is feel it when it comes and let it wash over me.
I can also write. I can turn to you and tell you that I am broken, yet I love you. I am weak, but I am still here. I don’t have much to offer, but I will give you what I have.
I will get up tomorrow and I might have to bury myself again to make it through, but it really is OK.
I am not alone and neither are you.