Scratchy voice

A few years ago, I used to try to call my grandmother on Sundays, and often when she answered her voice would be thick and scratchy. She’d clear her throat and explain that she hadn’t spoken to anyone all weekend, and so her voice wasn’t clear.

It is the same with writing–when the words haven’t come through our hands in awhile, they feel a bit clogged and it’s hard to get them out. The only remedy, I think, is to just start. To trust that our voice will find itself if we just start using it again.

I don’t think I wrote about it directly, but I began this year with a vow that I would not end the next one as I’d ended the previous three. I suppose if I had the gift of foresight and were still interested in such things as choosing a word for the year, mine for 2018 would have been “grief.” I knew, on New Year’s Eve, that things needed to change–and I changed them–but change is always ending and ending (at least for me) always has at least some element of grief to it.

In the months since I last wrote here, I left the home that was always more dream than simply a place to live. I lost the grandmother I used to call weekly (and then wrote to weekly), ending my run as a grand-daughter. I made and put into place a plan for finishing my career. I’m living in a place of more questions than answers, which is perhaps how life should always be, but it’s new for me. I am wading in as much possibility as loss, but sometimes all I can see is empty horizon. Sometimes I get knocked down by sneaker waves of sadness or anger. But other times I walk in deep enough to release my legs and float. It’s good to remember that floating is an option, always.

This isn’t much of a post, but it’ll do. Off to unpack some boxes and put up some shelves and pull some weeds.


17 thoughts on “Scratchy voice

  1. Marian says:

    It’s so nice to see this post, Rita. I completely agree — the only remedy (for too-long-quiet, for too-long-anything, really) is to begin again, which is a heckuva lot easier to say than it is to actually pull off. That takes courage and hope and (metaphorical) swimming. (Not that you’ll ever hear me knocking floating!)

    I’m so sorry to hear you lost your grandmother. Sending you a hug.
    xo Marian

  2. Kari Wagner Hoban says:

    I am so glad you are back. I am so sorry about your grandma. There are so many thoughts there that I want to talk about but the one that sticks with me is when you mention your run as being a granddaughter being over. No one ever thinks of it in those terms, but that is a huge statement. It’s also a huge life change. I have been grandparent-less for over a decade now, and my life is different. You’ve inspired me to possibly write a post about that, so your presence is needed in the blog world.

    Love you, my friend.

    • Rita says:

      Oh, I hope you will write about that. I’d love to read your thoughts on that. My grandma was 101, so the truth is that our relationship (her life) had changed a lot from what it once was. That life–that’s what I’ve been grieving. We all do have to go eventually, and it was her time. I know my sadness is as much about my own mortality as hers. I might need to write a post, too. 🙂

      Love you right back.

  3. Shannon says:

    Rita, I’m ALWAYS so happy to see you! Reading you equals seeing you in my world.

    I love what you wrote, and it made me think several things, but all that is going to come out of my brain in this comment box is: Change. Yep.

    I will also say, though, the idea of wading in possibility is one of the best turns of phrase I’ve heard in a long while. I actually wrote it down on a piece of paper. Reading your writing always makes me want to write. Strike that, I’ve wanted to write for several months now. Your writing makes me feel like actually starting. That is why I love community.

    I’m so sorry about your grandmother. Change. Yep. Hugs to you, Rita.

    I hope whenever you read this, you are having a good day, and if you’re not, I take this opportunity to wish you a better one!!

    • Rita says:

      Well, reading this (yesterday) made my day better, so thank you! (Because the day before wasn’t a great one, and yesterday was a mixed bag.) I am hoping to enter back into blogging community, and I’m really glad that you are in mine. Yeppity yep yep.

  4. Skye Leslie says:

    Dear Rita:

    Good to read your post.

    Nine months ago I made a decision to leave Portland.

    I now live in the high desert on a small working ranch just outside of Prineville.

    The decision carried with it so much grief. But the decision was right. So right – it was in my body – if you know what I mean.

    I was determined that I would

    Live much closer to nature

    Live giving some consideration to my personal needs

    Live somewhat distanced from people, places, and things over which I had no control and were having a terrible and adverse effect on my life

    Live in celebration

    Live in beauty

    Live, to the best extent of my ability in peace, harmony, love and laughter

    To the greatest extent and my own amazement – it’s exactly what has happened.

    I carry a vestige of grief which is easily accessed. It’s an accumulation of people, places and things from a past in which I haven’t actually lived except within the margins of my mind – for years and years.

    I’ve personally discovered that where and how we house the trappings of grief can make a difference. I needed to awaken to the breathtaking views out my bedroom and front room windows – acres and acres of pasture rolling out to the foothills of and then the actual peaks of the Cascades. My soul needed great blue herons and bald eagles, magpies and deer, rock chucks and gold throated black birds. I craved a place where I felt so much smaller than the whole – that what I carried felt that way too.

    I hope your decisions will bring, as has happened for me – a tossing away of the anchor of grief so that you can move in to the place you deign best in order to thrive.

    So much love – Skye

    • Rita says:

      There is so much I want to say in response. I sure wish you were closer to me so that we could sit down for a good, long chat. I’m on the road today, but I will try to send you a message later this week. I am SO glad that your move was the right one for you.

  5. Kate says:

    I was so glad when I opened my reader and saw you had posted. I’ve missed your voice and it was good to hear it again.

    I am sorry about your grandmother. I am sorry that 2018 has been the year of grief and questions. Sending hugs and getting settled energy for the unpacking. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you as you sift through the possibilities and loss. XOXO.
    Kate recently posted…Books and BitsMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      Thank you, Kate. I’m always so happy when I see that you’ve posted, too. You’re one of my favorite pen pals. (Keyboard pals?) Some years are just this way. Nice to be old enough to really know, deep in my bones, what my grandmother and mother have told me for so long: This, too, shall pass. 🙂

  6. DeborahS says:

    Oh my, so much change, so much loss., all at once. So hard to process. I hope you can allow yourself the time and space to allow yourself to experience the grief and figure out what you need next in your life and find it.
    I often find that with the most difficult things in my life, the ‘right’ answer (for me, that is. It may not be right for the next person) somehow comes to me, often when I’m not actively thinking about it. When I’m walking, or gardening, or cooking, or just doing nothing. I somehow know what’s right for me. I hope that happens for you too.
    And yes, of course, all change carries with it possibility as well as loss. And sometimes you have to try out some of the possibles in order to figure out that they’re not for you. No decision is irrevocable, and I find that a comfort too.
    Virtual hugs to you, Deborah

    • Rita says:

      Thank you so much for these kind and compassionate words, Deborah. I agree that the best way to get through/past hard things is to focus on something else. If nothing else, it’s a respite for a short time. One of the most liberating things I learned from a dear older friend is that we can always change our minds. Seems so obvious and simple, but I didn’t really know that until she suggested it to me. We are always entitled to change our minds and decisions when we get new/different information or circumstances change. I appreciate the reminder about that.

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