Life Changes...Falling In & Out Of Love

There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
- Louis L'Amour

The one thing you can surely count on in life is change. For things to begin. For things to end.

When you find out a new baby is to be born, there is jubilation. Tears of joy. Excitement over the impending birth.
When you learn someone is dying, you begin to grieve right away. Right after the initial shock wears off. You begin right then to let them go, a little at a time. For that is how you survive. 

Then you remind yourself that everyone dies. Some day. Some just know when and others do not. 

 “Perhaps that is where our choice lies -- in determining how we will meet the inevitable end of things, and how we will greet each new beginning.”
Elana K. Arnold,

When my dog died in 2006, I didn't think I'd ever stop crying. And then on the heels of that death, my best friend died too. I fought and raged because, I didn't know how I could bear losing both of them so close together. 

Just after my friend died, I found out my then husband was keeping many secrets from me. I remember that that was yet another shock.

When you live with someone, see them everyday, you don't realize that they might have a whole other life separate from you. 

That too is a death. The death of trust. It is a painful pill to swallow.   

I cry every time I think about all this. It is as though it were yesterday, and not eight years ago. I tell myself I've grieved it through. That I've wrung the rag dry. But then there will be a reminder and it's like a punch in the gut, and the flood gates open yet again. 

Losing someone is the absence of their being. Losing them to death is one way. There are lots of ways in which to lose someone.

       “Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.” 
 - James Dean

People meet and fall in love. They think it will be forever. They are star-struck. There is a new bounce to their step, a twinkle in their eye. The feeling is so joyous it fills them up. It carries them like a buoyant balloon, light as air.

But then people fall out of love too. And that is a whole different loss. You look at that person you fell so hard for, and they look the same. But somehow, in your heart of hearts, they are not. Something has died within you. The balloon burst and drifted to the ground.

You want to walk back through the years, step by step, following the trail, until you find that deep as a river love just beyond a curve in the road. Beyond a hill. Across the water. You loved them once. They said they loved you. 

Where did it go?

It seems incomprehensible. It was everything you ever wanted. And then it just faded away. Like twilight fades into nightfall.

You can't bring it back. It is a bell that has already rung, and everyone knows you can't unring a bell. You know it, but you fight it. And then when you accept the inevitable, you have to grieve that loss too. 

These things, you cannot stop from happening. You cannot block the road. You cannot go back and start over. It is the end of the line. You don't want to step over it. For to do so is to put a period at the end of the sentence. 

It is a fact of life that people meet, fall in love. That things change, and they fall out of love. It isn't pleasant for either party. It is a death of something that was once so viable, so sturdy it braved the worst of winds.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.
— Author Unknown

I feel safer than I've ever felt in this little house with my dogs. I am happy. And I'm content. And sometimes feeling safe is the most joyous feeling on earth.

It is my port in the storm. And that means the world to me.  

And then there's this. For months I've felt this unshakable confusion. Words escape me. Not hard words. Simple words. Common nouns. I will look at it, but I can't grab hold of what it is called.

When I'm out and about, and people are walking past and phones are ringing, I begin to feel a bit frantic. I don't seem to have a filter for the outside world anymore.

Sometimes I think I survived the war, just to lose myself in the shadows. That I clung to survival and fought the fight and all my senses were awake most of the time for a very long time. 

And now, I am not afraid any longer. And the awareness and the vigilance has waned, only to leave me with...this feeling that won't go away. This sadness that creeps up and puts a rock in my throat.

Last week I finally got in to see a doctor. We talked about my ankle. He said that what happened, it was a freakish accident.

He said they usually see these types of injuries when someone falls out of a window from two or three stories. Or is in a bad car accident. 

He told me I'd probably be wearing a brace on my ankle for the rest of my life. That these things heal. But the damage is done. 

That rock came up in my throat. I didn't want to hear anymore. I wanted to go back to July 8, 2012, and start the day over again. Oddly I remember so much about that day. The day before. 

I recall going into an Ace Hardware. I recall what I purchased. Something for scratches in the floors. I was happy that day. I felt like spreading it around. I told my daughter and her husband to bring me the kids and for them to go eat dinner together. 

I stopped at Braums and bought two kinds of ice cream I thought they'd like. One was chocolate almond and the other had cherries in it. I remember driving home, thinking how we'd be together, my grandchildren and I, and sit eating ice cream. 

And then the next day came. And I fixed a sandwich. Out of the corner of my eye, through the back kitchen window, I glimpsed something purple. I stopped what I was doing and walked out to the porch. 

I saw the first morning glory bloom. I remember smiling. I love those first blooms. How they open up and everything seems possible. 

It was the moment before everything changed. I had my camera around my neck. I went down the porch steps and took about two steps and fell. 

It all seemed to happen in slow motion. 

I know it could be much worse. I know this isn't the end of the world. There are people who have so much more to bear. 

But as we all know, pain is relative. We feel our own uniquely. It sits on top of our heart and radiates outward. We feel it acutely.

What I miss is just taking my camera and walking blocks and blocks. In every direction. Finding things to photograph. Seeing little rabbits run under houses. Mourning doves land right in front of me and do their funny little walk. 

I'm still planning on walking around that block I've talked about for so long. Maybe not now. Maybe not tomorrow. 

But I will see the sun set from another angle. I will talk to neighbors in their yards again. I will.

This is the second winter, and the wind is blowing the now bare branches to and fro. The sky has been a purplish-pink all day. The leaves, they have given up the fight clinging to the trees and have fallen. Dusk is settling in.

“I often sit and watch the leaves change color and fall from the tree. To me, those leaves signify the constant change in our own lives and all the beautiful colors signify our own emotions. As the leaves change and fall from the trees with such grace and gentleness, they're reminding us to be gentle with ourselves as this chapter ends. And the next journey begins in our lives.”

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  1. Beautiful Brenda - but it made me cry! You write so eloquently - what a God given talent.


  2. I'm not one who likes changes. Well maybe a good change, but pretty much change that isn't dictated by me that is. I'm sure it has been very hard to deal with everything you've gone through. I think you've done a remarkable job though. You easily could've turned to substance abuse or worst things. It's not what we go through that makes us who we are, but how we deal with what we go through. We only have control over that part. I think it's normal to feel bouts of sadness when you reminisce about past events that weren't good and feeling hopeless about your ankle situation. At least you CAN walk though. That is a blessing! I loved that last quote in this post. It's very uplifting and a good way to look at this season.

  3. Thanks for being so real, Brenda. There's so much here, and the emotions come through. You've certainly had more than your share of loss and sorrow and pain. I think you had much the same kind of break that my father had last year when he fell from the roof. Although he's back to walking (a real miracle at age 86), it isn't without pain and I'm afraid it never will be.

    When it first happened, and docs saw it was an open break, they suggested that he amputate from the knee. They told him if he did that, he'd be able to be fit with a good prosthesis and "get on with his life" in a few months. They said if he chose the surgery route he would always have problems with it, being his ankle is put together with rods and pins and screws. He doesn't regret his choice, but it's hard to watch him struggle.

    You're still so young and it's just tragic that this happened to you. As the doc said, a freakish accident. But I believe you will prevail and I pray for that end.

  4. Hugs Brenda. So many memories hitting you all at once. Your quotes are so true. You express the feelings of many so clearly, your words are so moving. Thank you.

  5. Oh Brenda I have nothing cheerful to say ..your post made me feel sad. But were you in my neighborhood and we were visiting right now I don't think that you'd want cheering. I think that we'd just have a good cry together and then watch some chic flick that would get us crying again. I have often thought that when women cry at movies they are crying out months of what they've held inside..maybe years.
    I don't know about love...didn't have success in either of my two marriages / though the ex and I get along like friends now due to my grandson ( first one died of Agent Orange Related Cancer years ago...though I was at his bedside with my oldest son ) Basically I thought that one was true love but the mistress that stole it away was drugs...the second marriage lasted much longer but we just were not suited / were not soul mates / it was a mistake

    Brenda just keep having faith and don't let what the latest doctor said be a sentence...they are often wrong...

  6. Brenda,
    Last week I opened the freezer and a huge frozen pot roast fell out on my foot and broke my toe. That's right, how many people do you know can say they broke their toe on a pot roast. The last break I had was when I broke my foot on a welcome mat. I was cleaning house for a woman and was carrying an armload of newspapers out to the recycling and as I turned my foot slipped off that 1 1/2 inch mat and I broke the long bone on the outside of my foot. After that I broke my wrist chasing Angus, an escaped lop eared rabbit. It didn't seem fair that I was rewarded with pain and a cast and he was rewarded by being sent to a breeding farm. As for forgetting, I'm sure I've told you this story at least three times before.

    I'm not making light of your pain (either for your lost mobility or your emotional pain). I'm just trying to bring a smile to your face. :-)

    Right now I'm going to ice my throbbing toe again. Praying for peace for you that passes all understanding.

    1. More than you can imagine! I know of 3. It's always a roast. Not fun and I feel your pain. I've been a vegetarian for many years now. A bag of frozen corn doesn't break bones. ;)
      Wow, you went through the wringer, Sandra...hope you're feeling better.

    2. Three people who broke their toes on pot roasts. LOL I think we should start a support group. My sister would agree with you about the frozen corn as she too is always encouraging me to eat more healthy. Thank you for your kind wishes.

  7. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....the way you use words to get right to the way things happen is a miracle. An absolute miracle.

  8. Dear Brenda, how beautifully expressed. I'm so sorry for it all. I totally understand. One year after a challenging divorce I suffered major injuries in an automobile accident. I know the questions, the confusion, the pain and the anger. I wish you freedom. Continue to write what you feel. Others will benefit and so will you.

  9. This is a reminder to me not take anything for granted. Having one's health and freedom from pain is a precious thing and my heart goes out to you Brenda for what you have suffered and continue to suffer. Just remember those docs don't know everything and it just may be that you will prove him wrong someday and be free of that brace.

  10. WOW.

    Well, I have no words of comfort - except this: things happen for a reason, and so many times we do not understand....but seriously, Brenda. Write a book. You can't walk much and photograph much, but you can sit and you sure as hell can write amazing words, just wow. So do it. Maybe it is your time, your calling. Maybe that is why you are going through all this.....

    Perhaps a book of encouragement - look how well the Chicken Soup for the x all went - people need encouragement and people buy pretty books of encouragement because EVERYONE needs it at one time or another.

    I wish you well in anything you do, dear lady.

    Big hugs.

  11. Wow! Beautifully written words to describe pain, sorrow, change and HOPE! You truly are a gifted writer. I'm having a sorrowful day today but I know this too shall pass. Our pain is individual to each of us and it's important that we don't compare it to others or think that we shouldn't feel it because someone else has a greater burden because that is denial. Here is a beautiful quote that I absolutely love. It comes from the short little book called "The Prophet" Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow. And he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which our laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

  12. You have beautiful images to match your thoughtful words, Brenda. I always get a little down and see things sort of half full in fall. And then, also, as you get older life becomes clearer. Too clear, perhaps. I hope you get some solace from expressing your thoughts and feelings so beautifully. I hope your ankle will keep getting stronger quickly. I always enjoy a word from you. So nice that you stopped by!

  13. Dear Brenda, Do be gentle with happens, there is nothing to be done for it. You are a gifted writer, I feel your pain, I have walked some of those roads myself, so long ago it feels like it was in another life and some not so long ago... but life goes on and God is in His Heavens... He sees your pain and He loves you, dear Brenda.
    Big hugs, Cindy

  14. I feel for you, Brenda. I know how hard it is to stay upbeat when it's just one damn thing after another. But you've already proved that you're a survivor and that spirit will carry you through.

  15. Dear Brenda,

    You are such an honest writer with a voice that reaches both the visceral and intellectual depths of human nature. I know that when you decide to share something, you have thought about it, pondered it, in the quiet of your little blue house, and the nooks and crannies of your heart and soul. I cannot express to you how you manage to repeatedly awake feelings that sleep amid the comforts of denial in some of the places in my own memories. Thank you for your fluidity of feeling and talent for appealing, with such style and flair.


  16. My husband has a brace on for many years for a stupid fall over a tree stomp in the backyard. The photos are marvelous and you are such a special person. I don't like crowds or going out, my safe haven is home and the surroundings. The best gift in life is nature and all it's beauty.

  17. Wonderful post and lovely words.

  18. Oh my goodness, Brenda, this is such a beautiful and heartfelt post! I said it way back when you disclosed your marriage challenges, and I will say it again -- you could write a book (& illustrate it yourself with your beautiful photography) that might help others who are going through difficult changes and challenges. In helping others, you would also be helping yourself to heal, because healing (mentally and physically) is on-going and sometimes never-ending. So.....I'm waiting to see "your" book on the New York best sellers' list! Oh, and wouldn't that just set your "Ex" right on his rear!

  19. Remember, when the leaves fall they enrich the tree. They become nourishment.

    When my dog died it only took a few weeks to wake up to the fact my husband was raging alcoholic and all our money was GONE. Without the love of my dog, I woke up. Ironically, a few weeks before my dog died she began barking at my husband when he came home. Labradors don't bark like that, she never barked at all. Then, barking at him. She knew. My dog was smarter than me.

    This was Dec. 1999. Now you know how long it has taken me to go from victim, survivor, thriver.

    Enjoy the falling leaves! They are mentors, each one, every year.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  20. You and I are survivors. You will make it. This time of the year affects me in much the same way, where I review a litany of life's mistakes and feel a sadness that the inevitable if ever closer. Remember this: an unexamined life is not worth living. And keep busy! Keep writing.

  21. I follow a lot of blogs, but I skim them. I have to say yours is one of the few that I read every word! You have a way of capturing emotions with your words, because you have experienced them. Today your blog made me sad, but also very thankful. I have been married for 32 years, 33 in December. He is my first love and we grow closer every year. I realize more and more how rare that is.

  22. Hi Brenda, Oh such a beautiful post. You put into words exactly what so many are feeling. I can so relate to this having lost loved ones in a short time, breaking bones and the challenge to have patience in the healing
    process, moving across the country more then once and disappointment in friendships. Life does give us changes that is certain, but it also brings out our courage and strength on the journey. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I am so glad you found me yesterday and I am now a follower here. Thank you also for following me. It is so special to make a new friend.
    Have a wonderful Sunday. Hugs, Celestina Marie

  23. Oh how I envy your ability to express yourself...Except for the ankle, you were describing my life with a few more animals to grieve...Yes. Life kicks you in the butt from time to time..I hope it won't be long until you and your camera are walking around that block..Ankles can be tough ..I guess I'm not telling you anything..

  24. Dear Brenda...I read this and my heart breaks for you. Your words find an echo in my inner voice and their truth makes me squirm a little. Soul searching puts me a little off-balance but that's not a bad pace to be. J

  25. Brenda,

    Beautiful.....just beautiful. Thank you!

  26. Beautiful post, Brenda. I've followed your blog for a while now, and rarely post. But this one touched my heart. My husband died 4 years ago, and if I let it, the pain still comes on waves. This past summer, on July 11, I got up in the night to walk off an ankle cramp. As I turned to go back to bed, I was disoriented and tumbled down, hitting my forehead on the nightstand, hard. The blood immediately flowed, as it does with a head wound, and I have never felt so lonely. I took my first ambulance ride to my first trip to the ER, at age 58. Now, as I take pains to cover the scar each morning, I dream of having a do-over. Everyone tells me the scar will go away with time, and I know others have it so much worse than me. But I hate it anyway.

  27. Brenda you express your feelings so well. I have been on some of the same journeys. Loss of love, of trust and of friends. Now I am hoping to make my new little home a place I am safe and yes, me! My body is still fairly strong, but starting to show some age, it's a hard thing to no longer be able to do all that you use to do. I feel for you and your crazy accident that just changed everything! Thank you for sharing your feelings, it helps so many of us also.

  28. You have been through a lot of loss and trauma in your life, Brenda. I'm glad that you cope with some of it through your writings and photographs. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with us.

  29. I was about to cry Brenda.
    Merci, merci.

  30. No, don't be gentle with yourself, Brenda...get out and walk, starting with half a block, or less. ..tell yourself that you CAN do it, and increase the walking distance as the week goes by. Don't give up, don't give in! If you want to get back to your walking schedule, you can do it a little at a time. Your body will help heal you, circulate your blood better, and the walking will help your ankle. Wear your brace, take your cane. Be the little train.

  31. Brenda, all of this had to be spoken, and maybe spoken again and again. There's no rhyme or reason to getting over loss, if one ever does. You are finding your way, the way you choose to find your place of contentment. You have touched all who read this honest and exceptionally written post and the pictures that spoke too. And perhaps you helped someone else in the doing of it.
    I wish great joy and contentment to grow in the months ahead for you.

  32. Many hugs and much thanks for you Warn salty tears are healing. Even though we have had some difficult experiences as survivors they are different from those who have been in war. We need to be aware of that

  33. Brenda...first of all, you fell off my Reading List as so many others have and I am catching up. This post just broke my heart. I think we all can identify, we've all had something inside of us shattered...hope, love for someone, loss, physical health. I think getting it out is such a big help and you have done it so well in this post. I know that when I'm feeling down, distraction works a lot. And sometimes the subconscious manages to bring up something joyful and the bad mood seeps away. Don't let the past bury you and don't let your tomorrows be ruled by your struggles today. I know you have determination to get on with your life, physically and emotionally and you will do it.


  34. I love your writing. It is so soothing. I am in perpetual mourning for the loss of a 12 year marriage...I hope Louis L'Amour is right.

  35. Brenda, I feel a lot of the same feelings you do. I am lucky, that I don't feel all the same feelings you feel, at least not as deeply. I am lucky that when I broke my shoulder many years ago, and was at least partially laid up for a year and a half, I was still married, and had the support of my husband to get through. I do know exactly how it feels to be a middle age woman, that gets kicked in the gut by a husband wanting a divorce. I also feel lucky that now, almost 4 years after the divorce, I am pretty well "over it".....and I believe that I can be friends with my ex. The secret in my case, is that my ex told me last year, that his new life has not gone very well, and that walking out on me was the biggest mistake he ever made. This helped me get closure. As others here have said, my heart just breaks when I read your post....I pray that you will get peace and joy......good luck.....

  36. I hear and know most of what you are sharing. It some ways comforts me that someone else really knows my own pain. Losing the only man I will ever love to drugs, a girlfriend and he is now in Prison, the same month my 14 month old grandbaby dies..then my dad. Im lost, living now in a new place. Does anyone are? Im sorry for you. I feel your pain. I fell last week and cant aford to go to the Dr so I am laying in bed. I had 4 quilts I wanted to start on. Ive come to like alone, never want to be married ever!! I feel safe in my house...alone.. love you

  37. Dear, dear Brenda ~ My heart aches for you. You will be in my prayers. You are not completely broken, your are being strengthened and through your writing you are helping others with struggles of their own.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady


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