Hartsel, CO into Salida, CO on the Great Divide!

I got a late start riding out of Hartsel, due to having to hitchhike back to the route after spending the night at my friend Beth’s house in Alma. I rode out of Hartsel and quickly turned onto county rd 53. The road was bumpy to say the least. I began to get extremely frustrated with the roughness of the road because it made riding not enjoyable. The road traveled through a few different basins and I could see the mountains rising in the distance. The road became more narrow and rougher as I rode and as the day went on. And, then, then, the wind began. Oh you know how I LOVE a great headwind while pedaling 😉 NOT! The climbs felt harder than they probably were. I was fighting myself to make miles. I was yelling at the wind, like a mad women, begging for it to stop or at least calm down a bit. It didn’t work 🙂 The final climb of the day entering into San Isabel National Forest really pissed me off. I was so beaten down by the wind. I was exhausted mentally and physically and really really really wanted to quit. I was set on quitting in Salida. I wondered what was wrong with me to desire wild adventures such as this and why I always measured my worth as a human being as to whether or not I could endure the hell these adventures presented me with. I wondered why I couldn’t be “normal”and just chose to pick the fun enjoyable sections and ride those instead of forcing myself to push through really crappy and not enjoyable sections. But inside I knew the answer and though it might seem silly to some, it’s who I am at my very core and I have to honor that, even during the times when I am doing nothing but complaining and wanting to quit. Right before the top of last climb, a man in his cabin invited me in for oranges and water. He gave me a tour of his old historic cabin and told me stories about the history of the cabin and the land. He talked about meeting other bikers and how he enjoyed helping bikers out and refueling them with water and snacks. He told me I could camp in his lawn, but, I wanted to get into Salida before dark. I graciously refused his offer and got back on my bike.

It was a long long windy windy downhill ride to highway 291, the road into Salida. When the got to the highway I was in tears, the wind had really wiped me. I didn’t enjoy the day hardly at all. That day, I just got through it, that’s all I could do. When I got into town I first went to Absolute Bikes to have my bike checked and pick up my new maps I had sent there. My maps weren’t there and I set up an appointment for the next day to have my bike looked at. I then tried to find a place to stay, all the motels were booked. Thankfully, I found a spot at the Hostel and settled in. I was so happy to find two thru hikers also staying there- finally- I was among my people, hiker trash- 🙂 the three of us enjoyed a good meal at a Mexican restaurant and exchanged stories of our time thru hiking. For the night, I forgot I was biking. I felt so content being around other thru hikers. It felt right. Then I began to feel as though I was on the wrong adventure. I am a thru hiker not a biker and there I was with my bike wishing I had my backpack instead.

I woke up the next morning feeling still tired as though I hadn’t slept. After breakfast, I dropped my bike off to get tuned- it needed new front and back rotors, back brake pads, a new chain, a new derailer cable, and a good wash. I then walked around downtown doing errands and still struggling with wanting to quit and go home. My maps still hadn’t come in by late afternoon. The guy at the bike shop made a few calls and found a friend who had the Divide maps and he kindly brought them to the hostel for me to use. My bike was all ready to continue, I wasn’t. In the morning, I had a huge breakfast cooked by my new thru hiker friend, which included a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich 🙂 I knew that when I left the hostel I was going to have to fight the wind again because it was already picking up. 😫 I said my goodbyes and exchanged contact info and headed out of town!! To be continued…..

Steamboat Springs, CO to Silverthorne, CO on the Great Divide!

In Steamboat I took a day off. My bike needed a new rear tire as the tread was almost gone, it also needed new brake pads and some other small tweaks. Both my bike and I received some love and rest in Steamboat. I am grateful to Kathy and Eric for their hospitality and kindness. I left Steamboat eager to arrive in Summit County in the next few days. Summit County is a very special place for me, I spent many many years of my life living there and had many friends I was excited to reconnect with. My first day out of Steamboat was wonderful, beautiful, and perfect. There was a lot of climbing, but, the colors, oh my goodness, the colors were amazing. I arrived at Lynx Pass Campground 39.5 miles later around 4 pm and setup my tent. I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at camp- reading and stretching. In the early evening, Rachel and her husband, Jacob drove into the campground and took the campsite next to me. I usually always try to chat with people at campgrounds, it makes me feel like I am not all alone. Rachel and Jacob were hands down AWESOME! Unbelievably kind and interesting people. Although I kind of invited myself over to their campsite :), we quickly started up a conversation and ended up sharing a great evening together- talking about life, food, traveling, the pandemic craziness, etc. It was great to connect with these two amazing humans. They even let me have three hot dogs 🙂 The evening began to get pretty cold and I knew I needed to sleep, so I said goodbye and crawled into my tent for the night. The night was chilly and rainy, but, I stayed pretty warm for the most part.

In the early morning I packed up and left. My hands were burning because of the cold. I quickly put on my mittens and started to ride out of the campground. The day started with downhill riding and riding across highway 134. The morning air was freezing, I could see my breathe and I was so cold even though I was bundled up. 4.8 miles into the day I had to ford Rock Creek. I took my Chacos and wool socks off and walked my bike through the frigid water, my feet throbbing because of the cold, my whole body shivering. I sat down after I crossed the creek and put my socks and Chacos back on. I continued riding and in about another hour the day began to warm up and my body started feeling more alive and not so frozen. The roads were pretty good, the scenery was beautiful. After riding up and down and up and down for miles, I rode downhill into Radium. Then the climbing began to get steeper, but, the views did not disappoint. Near Inspiration Point the wind began to pick up, it kept blowing my hat off my head and making pedaling pretty hard. I got off my bike and started pushing my bike uphill, fighting against the wind and at the same time trying to enjoy the views. 31 miles into the day I got to the crest of the climbing and prepared for the 7 mile downhill 🙂 I completed the 7 miles down to highway 9 and turned towards Kremmling. I then quickly turned off the highway onto County rd 33 and decided to ride another 12 miles to get to Williams Fork Resevoir Campground. The 12 miles included a gradual climb and the wind, well, the wind was awful and I was struggling to not lose it. I hate wind. Oh my goodness. I arrived at the campground and just wanted to get out of the wind. However, the campground was pretty treeless and I surely couldn’t setup my tent in that wind. I met this fisherman guy who was camped there and I hunkered down at his site which had the only trees in the area. About two hours later the wind calmed down a bit and three other bikers arrived. They were out for a few days and I setup next to them for the night. The night got really cold.

In the morning, I noticed that my bike seat was covered in frost. So was all of my gear. It was hard to pack up that morning because it was so cold out. I left as early as I could and I was looking forward to arrive in Silverthorne/Dillon that day and meet up with my friend Mark. I bundled up as I had been doing the last few days. The air was bitter cold. I didn’t even stop to eat breakfast because I was too cold to stop. I kept riding towards Ute Pass. The climb up Ute Pass seemed to never end, it just kept going up, but the summit was so rewarding and I could finally see the Gore Range. I knew I was close to Summit County then and that I was soon going to see my buddy. I hung out at the summit for awhile, finally ate some food and took a few pictures. The Gore Range is such a great mountain range and I have had many adventures in those mountains, I was so happy to be there! I got back on my bike after awhile and rode the 5.5 miles down to highway 9, the road that would lead me into Silverthorne/Dillon 🙂 I smiled the entire 5.5 miles down to the highway. I turned on highway 9 and rode into Silverthorne. Along the way, I noticed all of the new development and how very different it had become since I lived there. I didn’t care though, I just wanted to get into town and see my buddy, Mark, it had been years since I saw him. I called him right as I got into town and we agreed to met at Lake Dillon.. To be continued….

Lima, MT to Grand Teton National Park, WY on the Great Divide!

After a much needed day off in Lima (I called it Lima Bean) I headed out for a 57 mile day which would end with meeting the Denver boys at Upper Lake Campground in the Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. It was pretty easy riding that day, however, my body was still wiped from the 81 mile day into Lima. I arrived late afternoon and the boys were already there, sitting in the shade at a picnic table. I remember eating a ton of food, talking about food we wished we had and enjoying the cold water from the piped spring at the campground.

Leaving Upper Lake Campground, I left before the boys and headed for the Idaho border. I was ready to be out of Montana and into a new state. Afterall, Montana was over 700 miles and it seemed at times as though I was never leaving that state. So I was really looking forward to riding into Idaho and feeling like I was making progress. At about 12.8 miles from camp after summiting Red Rocks Pass I entered into Idaho and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Yay!!! Idaho!! I rode for another 18 or so miles and stopped at highway 20. A few miles before stopping at the highway the route took me through an amazing section of trail winding aspens and flowers, it was absolutely beautiful and peaceful and oh the smells, the smells of the forest. The smells are so good for my soul. At the highway, the boys caught up to me and we all rode down the highway into Mack’s Inn and went straight for the Mexican restaurant. We ate a lot. Then we decided to go live it up at the Marriott for the night and watch scary movies and of course, eat more. There we were dirtbag filthy bikers in the fancy clean Marriott lobby, it was a hilarious site to see. We enjoyed our evening there and in the morning against our best judgment and the advice of my mother to stay another night, we headed out in the sub 40 degree pouring rain 🌧 the route followed an old rail way and it was, well, it was not fun. The bumps, the rain, the cold, the washboards, holy moly!!!!! My fingers burned all day from being so cold and I was soaked. When I arrived at Warm River-it’s not warm :)- the boys had taken over the group campsite and awning picnic area and looked just as defeated and cold as I was. We unpacked everything and laid it out on the covered picnic tables to dry. It was so cold!!!! We decided to get wood from the camp host to build a fire, which is something that is rare, but on that night, we needed a fire to warm up and lift our spirits. On the way to the camp hosts site we were offered chocolate cake from a couple I had met right before I got to the campground. Chocolate cake!!!! We happily took the cake and began chatting with them. I noticed the women’s bike and I fell in love with it. That’s where my bike addiction will start, that exact moment of thinking and planning on having more than one bike. Not good. Ugh! After chatting with the couple and exchanging stories and such we made it to the camp hosts site and bought a bundle of wood. We returned to camp, cooked dinner, built a fire and boiled water to put in our water bottles inside our sleeping bags to keep us warm. It was a cold cold 🥶 night at Warm River! But as always camped with the Denver boys made the sucky times a little easier and better.

In the morning, I left and headed towards Flagg Ranch about 47 miles, the air was freezing in the first hours of the day, but the scenery was beautiful. Riding Ashton Flagg Ranch Road was awesome. So pretty! Grassy Lakes reservoir was crystal clear and the colors throughout the day were brilliant. I arrived at Flagg Ranch in the afternoon and planned on camping there until I found out how ridiculously expensive it was to stay there. I waited for the boys to get there and we ordered food, bought snacks and decided to ride another mile to different campground down the road that wasn’t going to charge us $82 to pitch three tents. When we got to the campsite this guy and his son welcomed us into their campsite and we setup there. As if that wasn’t kind enough of him, he offered to take us into Yellowstone to see Old Faithful. We took him up on his offer and went along for a night I’ll never forget. We saw old faithful, Grand and a few other geysers erupt under the stars. Pretty rad! It was a late night, but, so worth it. The kindness from strangers is just so amazing and it’s what makes this journey what it is. That night I started having bad pain in my legs, achy, painful, annoying sensations that made it hard for me to sleep.

The next day, I left early as always. I knew I only had 16 miles into Colter Bay, WY, but the pain in my legs became worse and I couldn’t even pedal, it was so bad. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t experienced that sort of constant pain in my legs before. Those 16 miles into Colter Bay seemed to never end. At that point on the route, those were some of the hardest miles for me due to the pain. I walked a lot of it. The redeeming part of that section was finally getting to see the Tetons. When I arrived at Colter Bay the boys had already secured a cabin. I told the boys about my leg pain and Zach suggested maybe I was low in salt, he gave me a salt pill and we took the rest of the day off. The salt pill did in fact help with the leg pain and I realized I was going to have to pay closer attention to my electrolyte intake so this pain wouldn’t become an issue again. The amount of tourists was a tad too much for me, but I needed the rest, I needed to do laundry and resupply so it was what it was.

The following morning, I left Colter Bay and headed into Grand Teton National Park. A few miles before the park, I met this photographer and we talked for awhile. He gave me water and a Coke and snapped a few pictures of me- it’s hard to get pictures of yourself when traveling alone, so I’m always happy when I have someone willing to take a few pictures of me. Proof I’m actually doing what I say I am 🙂 after riding into the national park I saw signs stating there were grizzlies in the area and to stay in your car. A few minutes later I saw a group of people on the side of the road, I then looked to my left and saw two grizzly cubs playing in the trees. I got off my bike and moved further off the road. Then, there the two cubs came, out of the trees onto the road and then came mama grizzly. All three crossing the road right in front of my bike. They were so beautiful 😍 what a special experience that was. I could watch them for hours but wanted to be respectful and let them be and continued on with my day. To be continued…..

The final day of the Divide!

Tonight, 10/23/20 I am staying at the Hacita Bike Ranch, owned by Jeffrey Sharp. It’s 11 pm and I cannot sleep. I rode 80 miles today from Silver City and I should be exhausted and dead asleep by now. However, I just can’t sleep. My mind is all over the place. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll arrive at Antelope Wells/ Mexican border and my time on the Great Divide will end. A few days ago while riding into Silver City I was overwhelmed with memories of my journey out here playing in my mind like an adventure movie. Scene by scene. And, tonight it is even more overwhelming for me, this journey has been difficult to say the least. I am no stranger to great adventures, to long adventures; I’ve thru hiked and traveled 1000s of miles on my own two feet. I have thru hiked Mexico to Canada and I know all too well the emotions that accompany the completion of these kind of adventures. But this accomplishment is more emotional than any of my past ones.

I set out from Canada on my bike, having not ridden a bike in 15 years, I knew nothing about bikes or specs, or maintenance. Hell, I couldn’t even pedal up a 200 foot hill 🙂 seriously!! I was a rookie in every way in regards to biking. I set out to heal, to reflect and process the loss of my sister and come to terms with the horrible man I married, the destruction he caused and my choice to divorce him. I set out to find the person I was and had lost through years of his abuse. He robbed me of time, of myself and of all my goodness and happiness. I thought that riding from Canada to Mexico would be just what I needed to heal. Tonight, as I lay awake unable to sleep due to the anticipation of finishing tomorrow I realize that my expectations of this journey didn’t come to life. I haven’t healed. I haven’t processed anything. I have had many many moments of tears, of wondering why Martha is gone and thinking about how I miss her so very much. How she was always my greatest cheerleader and she wasn’t here for this journey. I have struggled internally everyday to keep riding, to not give up, no matter how hard it got. I have met fantastic people from all walks of life, I have shared conversations, laughs, tears and food with so many amazing people. I have felt alone. I have felt lost. I have felt scared, happy, hopeful, sad, defeated- I have felt at one time or another out here every possible emotion. Yet, I haven’t healed and I fear that returning home tomorrow will bring everything back, everything I wanted to escape from. I worry that maybe nothing will help me heal.

Everyone carries their own definition of adventure- to some it’s having a baby, buying a house, moving to a new place, walking across or biking across the country, climbing Everest, etc. For me, adventure means mental and physical challenge and being outside among the wild for extended periods of time. I have always used my adventures in the past to help me heal and this time it just didn’t work. I hope in the coming days after I complete this journey there will be some kind of realization inside of me, some sort of healing. And, if not, I guess I’ll just have to keep adventuring until my heart is whole again.

Great Divide- Butte, MT to Lima, MT

My cousin, Mark drove me back to Butte after my stay in Bozeman. It was nice to be able to get to know him more, talk and spend some time together. We stopped at Dairy Queen before he dropped me off. We said our goodbyes and I spent the rest of the night preparing for the next day. I woke up early and grabbed some breakfast. I rode about 36 miles the next day, which landed me at Beaver Dam Campground- the haze from the fires continued to block any and all views. I set up camp and during that time a creepy guy drove up to my campsite, got out of his truck and walked over and sat on my picnic table. He let his dogs out of his truck, they were sprayed painted neon orange. When I questioned him about why his dogs were spray painted, he responded by saying, “there’s a lot of weirdos out there.” Oh my goodness 🙂 He then proceeded to tell me he had a cabin a few miles back and told me I should come stay there. He was way too interested in my route and itinerary and he began to really freak me out, he didn’t take any social cues I gave to leave and acknowledge that I was super uncomfortable. A few minutes later this red van pulled up to the site across from mine and I walked over to talk to them. The guy left and I was happy to be near others for the evening.

In the morning, I filled up on water and left camp. Today, I was to climb up and descend the famous Fleecer Ridge, which is an extremely steep unridable rocky section. Many great divide riders opt to avoid this section and take an alternate to save themselves the headache of navigating this section. The climb was moderate, the cows were so incredibly vocal during my ascent. Once I reached the top the clouds started to darken, it started to drizzle, but the views were incredible. I could see for miles and it was so peaceful up there. I walked my bike to the edge and began the descent. No way on earth could I imagine myself or anyone riding down that. I squeezed my brakes, braced myself and carefully walked/slid down the worst of it. My bike slid all over, it was very difficult to maintain footing and keep my bike from falling down. Once I got to the bottom the rest of the ride into Wise River was fairy easy.

Wise River was a nice little stop for pizza and charging up my phone. After lunch, I turned on to the Pioneer Mountain Scenic By-Way, which climbed for miles and miles but it was an easy grade climb, with fabulous views, running water, rainbows, trees and plenty of nice campsites along the way. I camped about 13 miles after Wise River. It continued to rain heavily all night and it was freezing cold the next morning while I packed up, but it didn’t stop me from heading out. The remainder of the climb from camp on the By-Way was a bit steeper and I walked my bike the final 5 miles or so. I was rewarded with a super fun downhill from the top and then an easy and very enjoyable rest of the day into Bannack State Park. A few miles from Bannack I was stopped by two guys in a car who offered me a coke and water. They pulled over and we began talking. The older guy told me about his adventure of riding his tandem bike across the country with his wife in 1989, we shared stories, laughs and then went our separate ways. I remember feeling so good this day, feeling like today was perfect. Then, right before Bannack I met the Denver boys. I kinda invited myself to camp with them that evening and I would end up tagging along with them for the coming two weeks. We all set up camp, then decided to go explore the old ghost town of Bannack. We visited each building, creating our own stories about what the history was in each of them. It couldn’t have been a better day.

The next day, I packed up early and left. The boys were still sleeping. My bike was soaked and so was my tent. I hate packing up wet gear 😦 My plan for the day was to ride 38 or so miles and camp after the big climb up to the medicine lodge/ big sheep creek Divide. Around noon after about 31 miles the boys caught me while I was eating lunch and Zach made a comment about riding another 51 miles into Lima. I laughed and told them I was camping at a lake off route and that there was no way I could ride another 51 miles. They took off and finished my lunch and dried out my tent fly. The climb sucked. I rode down the other side of the climb expecting to see the boys camped, I didn’t see them anywhere. I assumed they actually did ride another 51 miles into Lima and from somewhere I decided to ride into Lima to meet up with the boys. The rain started up again, it rained hard, it was freezing. I kept feeding myself donuts and riding, luckily it was easy riding. The route took me through this beautiful canyon area, it was even more beautiful in the rain. Miles and miles kept going by and I kept telling myself, “Elizabeth, just get into Lima”. It was mentally difficult to keep riding and I was more than exhausted. Just before dark I arrived in Lima, 81 miles from camp. I went to Jans to eat, there was no sign of the boys 🙂 I spent the night in Lima and the next day the boys rode into town around 1 pm. They thought it was hilarious that I had actually ridden 81 miles the day before and they told me that they had camped at the off route lake I told them I was planning on staying at. The rest of the day was lazy and all I did was laundry and eat a lot of food. My body was way more exhausted than I thought. I decided that day that there would be no more 81 mile days! However, I was very proud of myself for accomplishing that, but, knew it wasn’t something I could sustain. The day ended with a yummy dinner at the steak house in town.

A girl, a bike and a new adventure!

As I finish up the last week of preparations for my upcoming bike ride from the Canada to Mexico, I feel many things, I feel strong, but, scared, scared of the unknown and the loneliness I am about to endure. I feel excited and also nervous because I am leaving a safe place and replacing it with living off of my bike, away from my life as I know it. I have done this dance many times in the past prior to big adventures and it has always provided a time of reflection and it has allowed me to push myself, to get uncomfortable and to embrace the adventure ahead. Biking is way different than hiking, it requires more focus, more logistical planning, more thought. I have been able in my past adventures to zone out while moving, to get in a routine of constant movement on the earth and to allow myself to get inside of my own head and face whatever comes up. When I am peddling, I cannot give myself that same freedom to explore my inner thoughts and just stay in my own head. I have to focus on where I am riding, what is up ahead and I have to connect not only with earth under me, but, also with the bike that I am riding. I cannot lose my focus. Maybe some can, but, I cannot, I will no doubt fall off my bike or run it into something. In many ways this new form of travel for me is a welcome distraction because it will require more focus and not allow for exploring my thoughts and what is in my head as much as I can do while hiking. Biking is a faster form of movement, you cover more ground and it is not as peaceful and quiet or connected to the ground as hiking is. But, it is still pretty grounding in its own way. Being on a bike for me, brings up feelings of being a little kid, it is a whole kind of freedom in its own way 🙂 My hopes are that with each mile I pedal on my trip, that some amount of healing will occur, that some shift will happen inside of myself. I hope I can remember my strength and use it at the moments when I am completely broken out there, because those moments will come up. I look forward to the next few months on my bike, stopping to see family and friends, breathing in mountain air, connecting to the mountains, connecting to myself again. I have no idea whether or not I can pull this off, but, I will give it my best go and whatever happens from that will happen. The last year has been the hardest year of my life. I lost my sister, who was a great support and friend to me and I have divorced a guy who was beyond terrible to me. I have had moments of indescribable sadness and pain, moments when I thought I could not go on, times when I wanted to pull all of my hair out and scream and never stop. I have watched as the world has changed. I have been shattered and it is time to pick those pieces up and make something worth while out of what has happened.

DAVID Beckley

Today when I woke up and got ready for my day, I did not put on my wedding ring. I knew I was filing for a divorce today and so there was no need for my ring. I went to the courthouse by myself, as I filled out the paperwork my hands were shaking, my heart rate was high, my heart ached, my brain was roller coasting through every thought and memory related to him. One memory in particular stands out, last year when my sister, Martha, passed away; David refused to attend the funeral with me. He told me I was on my own, that it was a family matter and to leave him out of it. He called me a fucking psycho for expecting him to come to the funeral with me. I attended her funeral without him, the grief from losing her made me blind to how terrible and hurtful his behavior was. Even while I was home for her funeral he continued his terrible text messages and name calling. On the day I buried my sister he again called me a fucking psycho for trying to reach out to him via text. For the last 11 months I have been trying to make sense out of his cruelness towards me during that time. But, you see, it isn’t just that one bad time. David thrived on hurting me, making me feel worthless, unimportant, and alone. David routniely called me names such as a fucking cunt, bitch, worthless, pathetic, ugly, fat, lazy, and crazy. I began to feel as though I was all of those horrible things he said I was. I started to feel like a miserable person and bad person, like everything was my fault because that is what he told me. But, I am none of those things and I allowed him to rob me of my courage, strength and happiness. I let him hurt me because I was too scared to leave and because I rarely ever truly stood up for myself. I am the girl who can walk across the country by herself, hang from ledges in the Grand Canyon, help animals in need, make people laugh, but, for some reason I could not stand up to him. I could not see clearly enough to leave. I endured his constant threats of divorcing me, his punishment of ignoring me for weeks and sometimes months at a time if I did something wrong, his drinking and broken promises of getting sober. I let him intimidate me, abandon me, mock me, call me terrible names, break my possessions, threaten me, sexually and physical assault me. I let him take the best parts of who I was and I watched as he suffocated them. Dealing with grief from losing Martha has taken a huge toll on me physically and mentally and then adding the stress from our marriage on top of that became too much for me. I decided to take my life back, I decided to talk about what he did and how much he hurt me because I feel as though it is an important part of of the healing process. With all of that said, I can be a difficult, selfish, unfriendly person at times, and that somehow made me believe that I deserved his abuse, that if for example I just didn’t have a pissy tone with him that he wouldn’t have called me a cunt or ignored me for weeks. But that is flawed logic, because nothing I have done wrong has ever warranted any of his abuse. The problem is NOT me. Somewhere deep down I have always known that, but, admitting it and taking action is hard, it is hard to divorce your husband, it is hard to feel alone, to feel unsure. Despite that, today, I had to take action, I had to stand up and tell him that I was leaving him. That I will no longer allow his abuse to destroy who I am. That I was going to be my own rescue boat and sail far away. That I had a life to live, I just needed to remember who I was, to remember how strong I was and what adventures I had left. So I filed for divorce, took the paperwork to the Sheriff to have him served and drove home. I swear as I was driving home I saw Martha smile and give me a thumbs up. Before she passed she encouraged me to divorce him, but I didn’t listen. She always said, don’t let anyone treat you as though you are free salsa, because baby, you are guacamole 🙂 I finally took her wise advise.

Life Ain’t Always Beautiful…

Today, was a difficult day. While running this morning I found myself falling on the ground and crying. I completely collapsed. I completely lost it. It happened just after the song, Life Ain’t Always Beautiful by Gary Allen came on my iPod. The lyrics to that song ran me over like a train and every emotion that embodies grief flooded my body. There I was sitting in the shade on the side of a trail with my dog unable to get up, or think clearly, or change the song. I was a mess. I listened to that damn song over and over. I hated the lyrics because it made me think of Martha and how I wished she was there, how I missed her, but, I also loved the song. I thought about how I was so upset that she no longer appeared in my dreams at night, I thought about her recent birthday and how I missed talking to her, laughing with her, having her call me when she was going to the bathroom and how she always had something funny to say. I thought about what life means without her, how life can even continue in her absence and how time since her passing has just moved along. These days I feel as though my grief is getting worse, it is getting more intense as the days go on. Somedays I have absolutely no relief from the force of grief. I am angry, I am so damn angry that she is no longer here. I do not understand how life can just continue without her because there is this overwhelming feeling of something missing, like a vital organ. I feel like a vital part of who I am is missing, so it is hard grasp that live just goes on, that time goes on without her.

Life ain’t always beautiful. Sometimes it’s just plain hard. Life can knock you down, it can break your heart. Life ain’t always beautiful. You think you’re on your way. And it’s just a dead end road at the end of the day. But the struggle makes you stronger. And the changes makes you wise. And happiness has it’s own way of takin’ it’s sweet time. No, life ain’t always beautiful. Tears will fall sometimes. Life ain’t always beautiful. But it’s a beautiful ride. Life ain’t always beautiful. Some days I miss your smile. I get tired of walkin’ all these lonely miles. And I wish for just one minute I could see your pretty face. Guess I can dream, but life don’t work that way. But the struggles make you stronger. And the changes make you wise. And happiness has it’s own way of takin’ it’s sweet time. No, life ain’t always beautiful. But I know I’ll be fine. Hey, life ain’t always beautiful. But it’s a beautiful ride. What a beautiful ride.

I just kept listening to that song, and after about 20 minutes of doing so and throwing pine cones and rocks across the trail, I got up and ran back home. I tried to go about my day and let the grief go for awhile, but it didn’t really work. All day I felt prisoner to my grief. I felt angry and sad and then angry again. Now, I just feel angry. I miss my little sister more than words can describe, I ache for connection with her. Life is so very different with her gone, it feels less special and more dull, it feels like someone took the sparkle out of my life. I just hope and pray that one day life will feel more manageable and that I will feel more in control of my grief. But, losing someone you love is never easy and it’s a process of good days and bad days with no end date. So, maybe it’s okay to collapse while running sometimes and let the process happen with no judgement on yourself.

A Journey Through Grief!

This is the first time I have written in quite some time, this past July, my little sister Martha passed away. To date it is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. It is a daily rollercoaster of every single human emotion. It has impacted me in ways that I cannot describe. The pain of losing her stings like an open wound, it radiates pain throughout my entire body. Sometimes every possible emotion slams into me all at once without any warning, sometimes I am slammed by each emotion, one at a time: Sadness, anger, confusion, regret, frustration, love, fear, loneliness, hope, joy, fatigue, and so many others. Grief is suffocating, it is brutal, it sucks. It really sucks. But, there is beauty in grief, because it means without a doubt that you LOVED. I have days where I still dial her number or check Facebook to see if she is there. I have days when I swear I can feel her there, or moments when I know for sure exactly what she would say. I have days when I can look at pictures of her and smile and then I also days when I cannot bare to see any pictures. I have days where I feel like I am okay, like it’ll be okay, but, then those days are interrupted by the violent waves of grief, and I am slammed down and reminded that she is gone. My brain knows she is not here anymore, I helped carry her casket from the funeral to the gravesite. I saw her lying in the casket lifeless. I have sat in her room at my parents house for hours remembering the times we had, remembering our laughs and secrets. But, grief is a tricky messy thing and it does play tricks on you and because of that I sometimes feel as though it cannot possibly be true that she is gone. Those are the hardest days. I believe grief is one of the most difficult human journeys because it encompasses so much, it surprises you, it scares you, it hurts, it makes you smile and cry, it makes you want to pull all of your hair out and scream, it makes you question life, question everything. So the journey for me is only just starting even though its been 7 or so months, I think it will be a lifetime journey, so I will write about it, I will write about it so that I can process it and so that maybe others can also benefit from my experience. My friends have been asking me why I haven’t been writing because its almost been three years since I have posted a blog entry. I guess life can get in the way and it has kept me from writing, but, I need to write, so I have started a new blog. I do not know where the journey of grief will take me, but I do know that I will be writing about it and about my adventures along the way which are my greatest therapy to deal with the complexities and stresses of life. So heres to Martha Perry, at her funeral I was too upset to give a proper eulogy. I stood up there and just cried, I said a few things, but I can’t even remember what I said because I was too heartbroken. I wish I had said this, Martha was my very best friend, she always gave me solid advice, she was sometimes a pain in the butt, but, she loved all of us so much, she loved life, she loved Grant her son, she loved the color pink, I love lucy, flowers, arts and crafty things, trinkets, and laughing. She was my idea of coming home, she made my life better because she was my little sister and because she was always on my side and always there for me. Words cannot express how much I miss her and how life will be forever that much sadder. She was a wonderful, difficult, loving person who brought so much joy to my life. So, heres to Martha, to her life and to the journey that lies ahead.