So. It’s been a while, since I’ve been here. I feel like I’ve missed a hundred things: posts I always re-share at this time of year, 2 entire weekends of Latte & Links, some musings on the holiday season. Your comments have gone unmoderated, and I have e-mails from literally dozens of you, asking to share THAT kid….
And now here we are. As of 11:30 Friday morning, school is over for the holidays. I am home, on my couch, gazing at my tree lights, Freddy rolling around at my feet, as I try to figure out how to write this, how to account for my absence, how to ask you for your patience and kindness and prayers….
I made this site as a place to tell my stories. I didn’t want it to be a sad place, but I always wanted it to be a TRUE place, an honest place. I made it as a place to put my words when they press too hard on the inside of my heart to remain there one minute longer.
My story right now is rough and ragged, both a whimper and a howl. For 20 days I have relied on the words of others because my own words were both too many and too few, too enormous and too weightless, to make sense. But the words are starting to come back, and I guess the only way to say it is to say it.
On the afternoon of December 1st, my mentor, sister, role model, and best friend – Lauren Lindskog Allen – was killed, suddenly and unexpectedly. Lauren was the director of Coppercreek Camp, my most favourite place on earth, my own sacred ground. She was my family.
On December 2nd, I got the phone call telling me what had happened.
On December 3rd, I cleared my calendar and inbox for the next 2 weeks. I bought a plane ticket, arranged boarding for Freddy, put a roaming plan on my phone, filled a suitcase with jeans and yoga pants and t-shirts and sweaters.
On December 4th, I got on a plane, then another plane, then a car, then another car, until I was home at Coppercreek Camp, surrounded by my camp family.
I stayed there for 10 days, living in Lauren’s house with her family: her daughter and daughter’s best friend; her sweetheart; her dogs.
On December 11, I celebrated my birthday with my camp family: steak and wine and cake, through a blur of tears.
On December 13th, we celebrated Lauren’s life in the jam-packed local high school gym.
On December 14th, I returned home.
On December 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, I went to school and went through the motions of doing my job. And now it is Christmas break, and I am here, trying to tell you this thing. This most awful thing.
This is the bare-bones description of things. This does not scratch the surface of the feelings, the relationships, the depth of the love, the infinite complications, the tangled layers of grief and fear and anger. It does not capture the exhaustion, the frailty, the helplessness, the darkness or the infinitesimally tiny pinpoints of light that have pulled me, pulled us* through each moment.
It simply tells you where I’ve been.
And maybe it tells you where I am, and where I will be. My stories, for a while, may not be the stories you came here for.
But they are my stories. Our* stories. And they need to be told.
I hope you will listen.**
Many of you have reached out to me over other social media in the last few weeks, and I am so grateful for your love, prayers, and support. You are among the pinpoints of light that have helped to break up some terribly dark days.
*The true heart of this is that this is not only my story, but the story of a group of people I chose (and who chose me) as FAMILY, so long ago that I sometimes forget it has not been forever. I do not write on behalf of them, but as one of them. This loss is both personal and collective, both mine AND ours.
**The comments on this post are open, for now, but I ask you to please refrain from anything along the lines of “everything happens for a reason.” I’m not ready for there to be a reason for this. I’m not sure I will ever be.