I have fourteen blog post drafts. That means I’ve started typing words….many words fourteen different times and didn’t finish. Tonight I’m sitting here wondering why, but also not even knowing if I’ll post this one. It’s become a strange journal. A not so public documentary of my feelings and thoughts. I feel like the closer we get to 11 days from now, there is a tidal wave of unknown emotions just waiting to burst through. I’m not sure what is harder….the feelings I feel, or not knowing what’s coming. It’s a cycle of emotions that always brings me back to feeling guilty because my tidal wave is small compared to some of my dear friends…..so I end up not finishing the writing I started…..because it doesn’t feel right to share the depth of my sadness. My depth is like a mud puddle when others are staring into a canyon. And I imagine it feels bottomless.
And I moved. I moved away. I moved 2500 miles away exactly 3 months to the day after the “slide” in Oso. Those I was most worried about leaving told me emphatically to go….it’s what life was about….go. And we did go. I know we made the right choice, but it doesn’t feel like that when it’s late at night, or first thing in the morning. It doesn’t feel like that when I wake up in the middle of the night. Once again though, I have a mud puddle. A divot in the road. Where do I fit? Do I fit anywhere? Does it really even matter, because me fitting or not fitting affects nothing. What I know is that it hurts not to be there, but me being there wouldn’t take away an ounce of the hellish bottomless canyon of unknown that people I love are facing.
Also, it wasn’t a damn slide. The whole side of the mountain came away. It didn’t slide. Slides don’t do what happened. I don’t really know what it should be called, but slide sounds too nice.
I knew it would be hard approaching the day. I didn’t know that the day it became March, I would slip into this weird place. Not even on February 28th did I know that the very next day it would feel like this. I just know that one day I woke up and it was March, and it felt like a gut punch. Not a swift striking blow….but more of a slow aching shove to the gut that hasn’t stopped and it keeps hurting more and different. Every day feels a little bit different.
I’ll just say what today feels like, because I can’t really remember how I felt yesterday. Today I keep wondering what I was doing on March 11th, 2014. I wonder what I was worried about. I wonder who I was with. I even wondered what I ate. I wondered all of this, and then I wondered what my friends who lost their family 11 days later were doing on this day a year ago. Who they were with. And then I wonder about those who died that day and what they were doing. Did God whisper to them that they’d be with Him soon. I always wonder if He’ll do that to me.
I remember how it felt the moment I heard. I remember what it felt like that whole first night, week and months. I remember so much about small details…the look on people’s faces, the sounds of the constant helicopters, the big white semi trailers crowding the streets. Muddy boots. Faces that couldn’t smile. Everything is like a slow motion film when I look back. But right now I want to know about the before. I want to know what it looked like in the Oso fire department on March 11th, 2014. I want to know if those volunteer guys and gals had just returned from a call or if they were all home, because it was a slow day in Oso. I want to know what Pastor Gary was doing. If he was spending the whole day at his little country chapel. Before he knew that the President of the United States would be sitting in his chairs. I want to know what my friends teenage son was doing. He was probably in one of his classes at the high school. Not old enough to vote, but 11 days later he was out in the mud searching for friends and he was no longer a kid.
I want to know if I felt grateful. If I felt hopeful. If I felt appreciative of small moments in a simple day. Before I knew that I would soon question everything I knew about what it means to really live.