There are so many life changes. For instance, falling in and out of love.

There is losing the old to death and welcoming the new to life. More life changes.

The one thing you can surely count on in life is change.

When Someone Dies:

When someone you love dies, at first you are in shock. And then you begin to let go of them, a little bit at a time.

For that is how you survive.

When my dog Pepper 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 the losses and raged at the world. 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. That was yet another shock.

Living With Someone:

When you live with someone, see them every day, you don’t imagine that they might have a whole other life separate from you.

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

I cried till I’d grieved it through. Wrung the rag dry.

People meet and fall in love all the time. They think it will be forever.

That feeling is so joyous it fills them up. It carries them like a buoyant balloon, light as air.

Falling Out Of Love:

But then people fall out of love too. And that is a whole different kind of 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 the same to you any longer.

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.

You loved them once. They said they loved you. 

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

The Bell Has Wrung:

You can’t bring it back. It is a bell that has already rung, and everyone knows you can’t unring a bell.

These things, you cannot stop them from happening. Just part of life.

Sometimes I think I survived the war, just to lose myself in the shadows.

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

The doctor 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.

Feeling Afraid:

That old familiar rock came up in my throat. I didn’t want to hear anymore. What I wanted was to go back to July 8, 2012, and start the day over again.

Somehow I remember so much about that day.

I remember I glimpsed something purple outside the kitchen window from the corner of my eye.

It turned out to be the first morning glory bloom of the summer. I grabbed my camera and started out the back door.

When Everything Changed:

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

It all seemed to happen in slow motion. The pain was immediate and it took my breath away.

There was no one around to help me. I had no idea I’d broken both sides of my right ankle.

Sure, I know it could be much worse. It isn’t the end of the world. There are people who have so much more to bear.

What I Now Miss:

What I miss is taking my camera and walking blocks and blocks. In every direction. Finding things to photograph.

Seeing little rabbits run under houses. Mourning doves landing right in front of me and walking their funny little walk. 

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

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

I will.

The Second Winter After It Happened:

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.

Brown leaves, they have given up clinging to the trees and are blowing around in the Oklahoma wind. Dusk is settling in. Soon it will be dark.

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies” – Author Unknown

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40 Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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…..

  4. 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.

    XO,
    Jane

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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..

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    xo
    Poppy

  20. 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.

  21. Dear Brenda, Do be gentle with yourself…life 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

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.
    ~Sami

  27. 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.
    Sandra

    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.
      xox,
      ~Kelli

    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.
      Sandra

  28. 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…

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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