My Nanny made a lot of my clothes when I was young and continued to hem, alter and “fix” my dresses even through college. She was an amazing seamstress. She had a sewing room in her house with drawers full of material and old Simplicity patterns to make clothes. You know those brown crinkly papers that had lines on them and you just trace and cut the material out and then sew it together? Ya. Those. And right outside her sewing room was a full length mirror on a closet door where all of us stood MANY times to get “pinned”. She would stack 10-12 straight pins in her mouth then get down on the ground and start pinning the hems and waists and sleeves up to where they needed to be. Most often everything was too long and big for us Ellis girls. We are all short. I was so upset that no dress ever fit me off the rack…..I WAS.
When I was younger I had what you’d call “time restricted focus” (better known as “look squirrel syndrome”). I’d watch the Olympics and decide I was going to be a track star, or a gymnast. So Id commit hard core to running, training, eating well, tumbling class and stretching. For 3 solid weeks. Then I was going to be a Psychologist like Bob Hartley on the Bob Newhart Show so I majored in Psychology with big plans to open a high rise office in Manhattan. Until Psych Stats came along. Wasn’t so gung ho then. I was going to be a drummer- yep- no shit. I looked into drum lessons, became obsessed with Tommy Lee, watched videos and technique and planned on an all chick band. Until I saw something shinier. Accepting that you are a wanderer, not particularly interested in becoming #1 at anything is hard to admit.
On April 28, 2017 my dear friend lost her 11 year old son, Carson. He took his own life. And I’ll never forget the call she made to me to tell me. There is nothing anyone will ever say to convince me there is something worse than losing a child. Their pain was unspeakable. And my helplessness felt overwhelming. He was 11. 11. And I couldn’t quite grasp it all. So I hiked. Forest Gump style. I decided to start walking through the mountains and trails here in Colorado. I hiked 11 miles a day for 11 days in a row. 121 miles. And I didn’t really know why.
I needed to get someone’s attention maybe. Shout out that its not ok. Walk for his Mom metaphorically when she couldn’t. I needed to hurt a little. Physically. I needed to think about my own personal life at that time and MANY hours a day alone on a trail allows for a lot of thinking. It was VERY VERY VERY hard. I had horrific blisters, hip pain that made me cry, cramps in my legs and it rained on me several days. But NOTHING I went through compared to what April, Jason and their other two sons have endured this past year. And will endure forever.
That stupid year mark is coming up. I can’t help but think of April. My heart hurts. And hiking yesterday alone I had a thought…….last year I hiked just to hike. 121 miles just to honor Carson. What if those miles actually made a difference? You know- Im all “thoughts and prayers are great but don’t actually do anything…..lets get some action.” So maybe I should put my money where my mouth is. Literally. And so the dumbest, scariest, greatest idea came to me…..
April & Jason created a non profit organization in Carson’s name to help other families grieving in the days just following a tragic loss as well as helping with resources to continue dealing with the tragedy for the rest of their lives. That non profit is called Carson’s Village and I’ll add the link at the bottom of this blog. Its a great resource and site that I hope you will never need.
Maybe my walk could have a purpose? Maybe my miles could raise some money that will actually go directly to Carson’s Village and help fund resources, presentations, counselors, funeral arrangements, pictures of your loved one, and other things these grieving families need during a time that they shouldn’t and can’t think of doing anything but grieving.
My Rheumatoid Arthritis says no. My 45 year old hips say no. My severe neck pain says no. My brain says no. I literally had a devil and angel on my shoulder hiking yesterday arguing over me doing this hike again. So obviously I came straight home and got in touch with April. And asked some questions. Im just that rebel ass that you can say no to all day long and Ill still do it. So…..thinking, planning, deciding which friends to recruit, planning for weather, massages, pain meds, new hiking shoes, and perhaps a body double. LOL. Im scared shitless. Im worried I can’t. My body is not tip top right now. 121 miles is a long fucking way…..but not nearly as far as the journey April is traveling. If you pray- please do. If you send good vibes- I need them. If you wanna push some good Karma my way- Id appreciate it. Decisions to be made.
More to come.
Before I gave birth to Maddie I had SEVERAL miscarriages. Several. Some pretty early on at 11 or 12 weeks. Some VERY late term. One at 20 weeks. Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss are pretty devastating. That’s an entirely different blog I guess. But when the doctors discovered I had a blood clotting disorder I was given blood thinners while pregnant with Maddie and had a healthy 7 pound 6 ounce baby girl. We thought we were done. Lucky enough to have a healthy baby I was content to have an only child. Blessed, grateful, relieved and happy to be a Mom.
When I was young my favorite tv show was “Little House on the Prairie”. The idea of a small house that was used only for sleeping and eating fascinated me. They spent most of their days outside. I wanted to be outside. And they didn’t have a fence. No fence. When you grow up in the middle class suburbs in the 1980s in Texas you have a fence. I don’t think Id ever seen a house without a fence. The very idea that you can just have your house OUT there…in the middle of a field with nothing separating it from the wild….what a concept.
“I think that one of these days,” he said, “you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.”
I could go on some rant about my beliefs on gun control but honest to God-will that change your mind on anything? Nope. They are MY values. And Im sure you all know how I feel. If you’re over a certain age and grew up in the South its generally true that God and guns were a part of your upbringing. Kinda weird if you ask me but ok. I definitely do NOT have answers to the awful things happening now. Definitely don’t. So this wont be “that” kind of blog because how unbelievably disrespectful is it to scream about MY rights and MY beliefs when there are parents burying babies today. When your first thought is YOU after someone’s tragic death….theres a problem.
Valentine’s Day is kinda dumb. It sucks for some people. For those in relationships they feel some unneeded pressure to buy some extravagent gift for their significant other or make reservations at some fancy restaurant and get dressed up and go eat food with fancy creams. I’ve never really been big on fancy restaurants or big diamonds. In fact- my perfect date for ANY day on the calendar includes hiking shoes, hot dogs, staring at the stars and some damn good music playing. Just not one of “those girls” in that way I guess. Dont get me wrong- I like flowers and crap….but I’d rather be at a football game than a restaurant. I’d rather be on a mountain making out than a hotel or restaurant. I’d rather be in a t-shirt and jeans and a ball cap than a ball gown.
The day I closed on my land was my Grandad’s Birthday. He passed a few years ago from Parkinson’s Disease. I loved him. I miss him. He taught me to fish. He taught me about Jesus. He was the most unbelievably patient, loving, kind man I ever knew. People may think Im so far from my Southern Baptist, “conservative” Texas upbringing. But Im not, really. Its the base of who I am. What I am.
I don’t think I ever thought I’d write a blog about actually falling on a blog with “Falling” in the title. I fell a lot this past year. I fell a lot. But damn if Im not still standing.