Since you have been gone the kids and I have laughed so much. The air in the house reminds me of a fluffy cloud and the older boys have not spent nearly as much time in their rooms. I realized they were hiding from you by locking themselves in their bedrooms until you left for work or to go somewhere. But what scares me more is that I hid from you too and by hiding from you I locked a part of myself away, even from the kids. The part that scares me is that by hiding I could not give my kids all the pieces of me they deserved. They deserve all of me and you stole that from them.
I look back on the person I was before I met you and I wonder, what happened to her? Where did that person go? I was a force of driven energy, determined and strong. The person I was six years ago looks like a mountain cliff on the edge of the ocean to me now. She was brave and fierce. I’m just an empty shell of that person now. When I look in the mirror I no longer see a woman with the spirit of a mountain; I see rocks, rubble, and sadly; sand. You wore me down over time, eroded my spirit until I was nothing more than grains of sand on a beach you tried building sand castles out of. Even I tried to make a home in the sand; that part of my spirit was never broken; that is the one piece of me nobody has successfully stolen. The optimistic and resilient nature to not only survive, but to make a home out of a trash heap. I always said happiness is a choice and you can choose to be happy anywhere; I still stand by that and have stood by that my entire life. You, being my present, nor the people of my past will ever take that from me. No matter how hard people have tried I can not be broken completely.
You have been gone a week and I’m not crawling back into who I once was; I am running full force. You have abandoned us before and I crawled then, but not this time. No, I have had a taste of what life without you is like and I’m taking control back. My kids will continue to laugh and hang out with me in the living room to watch TV, no longer burdened by the threat of explosions that is your temper. I will remain strong and steadfast for them as well as myself because I feel the woman I once was deep within and she is still alive waiting to be let out. I see her, I see myself; and I will let her out of hiding and set her free.
I pulled my grandmother’s quilts out of the closet today. She can not comfort me now like she did when she was alive but I can wrap myself in the quilts she put so much work into; her scent is still on them after all these years.
By myself in my closet I stroke the fabric. looking over each patch I am reminded of everyone all at once. How did I get here, nanny? What is so wrong with me that I attract people that think I am weak enough to control and abuse? Am I really that weak? Am I easy prey?
Alone with my thoughts my mind races. I see my mother and father, my first husband, and my mentor. They are all patches on the quilt that is my life; and now dear husband I have added your face. Nanny would have been very disappointed in this quilt. The colors are not right and the stitching is bad; she would have started over on a new quilt, learned from her mistakes so they were not repeated. But me, I am scared to start a new quilt because there is evidence that I do not learn from my mistakes. Husband, you are evidence to the fact I do not learn. I’m going to start a new quilt anyway, what other choice do I have?
The kids are down stairs screaming out of joy. My thirteen year old has just made the little kids a box fort and I can hear their squeals of excitement all the way from downstairs. Alone in my closet it dawns on me that I have already begun my new quilt without realizing it. You have only been gone a week and I am already enrolled in college. I feel myself coming to life again and I will not give you another chance to snuff out my flame; I will not give another person the power to stop me from shining as brightly as I know I can ever again.
I’m packing up these old quilts and putting them in storage; I won’t be needing them anymore. I will not be coming back to such nostalgic metaphors. I shut the closet door closing this chapter of my life and join my kids in their laughter. We have already begun the next chapter of our lives and we all feel the excitement of happiness, freedom, and the promise that the sun will rise tomorrow in our lives.