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This is a personal post about moving, change, remembrance and living. I started writing it on December 12th, 2023 and finished a month later.

I need to stop saying I don’t look back much, because it’s just not true. I think I look back with a fair amount of regularity. I’m a nostalgic type of person, sentimental. 80’s power ballads were made for people like me.

In this looking back, I was struck by the date this year, this month, on the 12th.

12.12.

On December 12th 2017, I got on a plane with my 3 kids and the 20 boxes that contained all of our worldly possessions.

20 boxes in the back of a vehicle
all of our worldly possessions!

My mom and two nieces were with us, kindly giving us their airline check-in baggage spots so that all of our boxes came on the flight with us.

Everything was measured and weighed to the inch, to the pound. The boxes were labeled and the corresponding numbers were written in my planner along with a detailed list of the contents of each box.

baggage with a child sitting next to it

I remember how sad I was to be leaving California, but I didn’t know what else to do, really.

view of san francicso bay area from the airplane window
child looking out of the airplane window to the view of the san francisco bay area

My brother was murdered, buried the year before.

My marriage had imploded with my husband’s gaslighting, infidelity.

I had 3 little kids, not a lot in the way of financial resources, and most of all, I couldn’t breathe.

I felt suffocated by grief, paralyzed. My lungs felt perpetually constricted, unable to reach for air, in a constant state of anxiety, tension, heartbreak, anguish.

I was doing what anyone would try to do when they can’t breathe: go to where they can.

view of the blue water from the airplane window

I knew I could breathe back on the Big Island of Hawai’i, where I’d grown up myself.

The air is an embrace here, it’s healing and warm.

view of island and ocean from the airplane window with a child's head looking out

So we left.

My kids, each so uniquely individual.

young boy in an airport, smiling
young boy looking out window, seriously
young girl laughing as she looks out the airplane window
girl drawing
little boy with legs stretched out in plane

Today is 12.12.23 – it’s been 6 years.

We’ve gone from 20 boxes and a couple of suitcases and carseats (but no car) to a house, car, 6 cats and a dog.

We’ve gone from a 4th grader, 1st grader and pre-schooler to 10th grader, 7th grader and 5th grader.

I’ve gone from not being able to breathe to breathing again.

I’ve gone from simply clutching the rail to being close to licensure as a mental health therapist, a new career with my “COVID degree.” I’ve gone from being 44 years old to being 50.

6 years ago, I had no idea I had ADHD. I was just forever frustrated with all the symptoms I was experiencing, but was attributing things to being profoundly deaf or PTSD/C-PTSD or TBI sustained from going through the windshield of a car when I was 4. It was all so confusing because nothing really felt completely right and yet what I was experiencing was so very debilitating, agonizing.

6 years ago, I was undaunted about the lack of disability resources on the Big Island. I just shrugged, confident that things would change or I’d be able to harness my own ability to make change happen.

It’s been sobering and humbling to see neither happen.

6 years later, and it’s still an unlearning and learning, on repeat, with the process of actually parenting the 3 people I am raising being so consuming as to leave me isolated. I am alone so much.

I like getting older. For the most part I love it. I love understanding the way the world works, feeling less confused. I love understanding my own self that much better, which leads to a greater overall sense of ease. I’m pretty sure all of you older neurodivergent sparkle brains reading this get what I’m saying, don’t you?

Life is easier when we know what the rules are, and sometimes it takes what feels like a lifetime to just collect them.

I went up Mauna Kea at dawn recently.

Even though I grew up on the Big Island, I’d never been. When I returned, I tried to go up with my kids, but it’s not safe when they are really young because the air is thinner – I had to turn around when Mack started to have a hard time breathing.

So I finally got to go up with some fellow therapist co-workers.

As we rounded the bed at the top, I started inexplicably crying. I mean, it was like some internal spiritual tap had been turned on and I couldn’t stop.

I cried because it felt holy. I cried because it hit me so hard.

I cried because even though I had protested building TMT on Mauna Kea in 2019, I had no idea how actually HOLY Mauna Kea is when you go up.

A group of Hawaiians started to chant as the sun rose.

How powerful was that. Their chant, the sun, the clouds, the visceral feeling of connection between all of creation.

I needed that, needed that feeling of being connected to All That Is. Needed the blessing of breath in that space, needed to feel and remember that solemn and awe-inspiring silence that comes with a nearness to God.

I’m so scared of so many things in my life still. I’m still trying, always trying, to live my life with a little moxie. Moments like the dawn at Mauna Kea circle me back to the moments like moving here, moments that matter, moments of choice and moments that end up as the pearls that make up the necklace of our lives.

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3 Comments

  1. Hello Meriah, it’s been awhile since I last messaged you. I was on your brother & lijini’s teaching team in Taiwan in 1986-87. Your blog post was very synchronistic & I hope you won’t take offense or find it intrusive. Early this morning, 1-19-24, I was awakened by a long dream about your brother. And of course, as dreams will, most of the details vanished as soon as I got up. But I do remember that we (Dana & I) were talking about prayers. I took that to mean that he was asking for prayers. So therefore, I included him in my morning prayers. The one I said for him is a newly released one & can be found on the Baha’i app with the nine pointed star. It starts out “He is God! O
    peerless Lord! Praised be Thou for having kindled that light in the glass of the Concourse on High, for having guided that bird of faithfulness to the nest of the Abha Kingdom. Thou hast joined that precious river to the mighty sea, Thou hast returned that spreading ray of light to the Sun of Truth. Thou hast welcomed that captive of remoteness into the garden of reunion, and led him who longed to look upon Thee to Thy presence in Thy bright place of lights. Thou art the Lord of tender love, Thou art the last goal of the yearning heart, Thou art the dearest wish of the martyr’s soul. ‘Abdu’l-Baha’i, #10513. He seemed also, to want someone to check the present legal status of his case. Much love & best thoughts. I do hope I have not stirred up painful memories or been to intrusive with sharing my experience.

    1. Thank you so much for this, Sara. Please, please, please share when you have dreams about him or anything like you did. Thank you so much.Aloha

  2. Sara Allen says:

    Thank you, Meriah. I will. I shared all this at Feast on Friday with my aging group of 5. We have all experienced tragedy/loss. They were all struck by the beauty of that prayer for the departed. His influence & love ❤️ continues.

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