Life amazes me

I don’t write on this blog too often anymore, but I wanted to post here really quick so that if you’ve found the book, you know I’m still alive and kicking. :-)

This year has brought with it some pretty big life changes, including most recently the loss of my dear father-in-law, who was 88.

It’s also brought me to a deeper understanding of the Three Principles, which honestly saved my life. My daughter keeps telling me I need to write a new edition of I Am Just A Woman that includes something about the Principles, so that’s on my radar — perhaps releasing it in January as a fresh start to the new year.

What really amazes me, though, is how life simply is. I don’t see life as a journey anymore. I see life as something that lives through me. It doesn’t matter where I’ve been or where I’m going, and it doesn’t even matter how I feel each day.

Waking up each morning is enough to amaze me.

Much love to you always.

It’s been an interesting couple of months

I realized it had been a couple of months since I posted anything here. I have no idea if anyone ever visits this blog, but that’s OK. It’s here in case someone needs it. Since I wrote my last post, I left my job of 8 years and began working at a startup. I also have been taking a program with Jamie Smart, who I mentioned in a previous post. What an inspiration he is.

When I woke up this morning, I realized that it’s really important for me to write a new edition of my book before the year ends.

I plan to include everything from the first book, just as it was (I’ll correct a couple of typos, though!). But I want to write a fairly extensive second half based on what I’ve learned over the past year and a half, all about what has helped me recover from PTSD and make tremendous changes in my life.

I’m also going to do something else, which is include both my pen name and my real name on the new edition. But if you’re reading this blog post, you’ll see it right here, right now.

The new book will be —

I Am Just A Woman: My Story Of Domestic Violence And Recovery

By Lucy Johnson, with Mary Schiller

In the intro, I’ll explain why I’ve chosen to create it this way. The truth is, I feel like myself now. I still love Lucy (haha!), but she was living with a misunderstanding that I have since been able to clear up for her. :-)

So stay tuned for a new version of the book pretty soon. I’m starting to write it today.

The first time I saw you

When I found out I was pregnant, my doctor told me that he wasn’t exactly sure how far along I was. First of all, I had had what looked like a light period, so that date wasn’t all that helpful. And second of all, an exam was not telling him very much because of the way the uterus was positioned.

Back in 1987-88, sonograms/ultrasounds were not all that common. They usually only did them if the mother was at risk or needed more invasive testing. But my doctor said a sonogram was the only way to know for sure how far along I was.

At 20 weeks, I went in for the ultrasound and was very, very excited about it. I had already heard your heartbeat in the doctor’s office, but now, I was going to be able to see you! How amazing is that? I couldn’t believe I was actually going to see you, my child, before you were even born.

The technician ran the little scanner over my belly, and oh my gosh, there you were: a grainy, black-and-white image on a small computer screen. But I could see you.

I could SEE you.

I asked her if she could tell if you were a boy or a girl, and she said she couldn’t quite see but thought maybe, just maybe, a girl. The bigger news was that I wasn’t 20 weeks along. I was actually 24 weeks along. A whole month shaved off my wait time to see you in person!

I still have the picture of you: it’s your face, with your tiny hands up on either side.

When I got home, I went for a swim and thought about that little face I saw. I wondered how you liked the sensation of floating in water inside and outside of your mommy. As I swam my laps, I pictured your eyes, your nose, your mouth. I imagined you smiling at me as we played in the water, laughing and splashing together. I wondered if you’d have blue eyes, like mine.

You and I took a trip to Hawaii at Christmas in 2013. We went snorkeling and swimming in the ocean, and I saw your beautiful smiling, laughing face as you looked at all the fish. Blue eyes that match mine. Just as I imagined them the first time I saw you.

The story of us

I’m going to create some posts that will become part of a book I’m writing to, and for, my daughter. This is one of those posts.

I don’t have a fear of dying.

Maybe it’s because I know it’s inevitable, so having fearful thoughts about it doesn’t help anything. It certainly won’t change my eventual outcome.

Knowing I’m going to die doesn’t necessarily make me want to “live more fully” because I already know that my life is beautiful and full for more reasons than I can count.

I do have one feeling about death, though, and it is this: I am sad that I won’t be by your side to comfort you in your grief.

Last night, I was trying to find something to watch on Netflix to help me relax a little bit. I noticed that the old TV show “M*A*S*H” — from the 1970s and 1980s — had been added to their streaming service. As soon as I saw the photo of the cast, I was thrown back into a memory from when I was about 11 or 12 years old.

At that age, I was living in Corona del Mar with my parents in a lovely home near the beach. One of my favorite things to do was roller skate. I was truly addicted to it. The only problem was, our neighborhood was really hilly. It didn’t stop me from roller skating outside, but there were times when I just wanted to practice my skating and try doing little tricks and things.

I asked my parents what I could do, and they said, “Why don’t we set up our garage as a mini skating rink for you?”

Wow, that was amazing! They moved the cars out of the garage, brought a record player out there and moved a few things closer to the walls to give me more floor space space, and there it was: my own personal roller skating rink.

My mom used a corner of the garage for one of her hobbies, wood carving. My father had bought her a lovely set of carving tools, and she made all kinds of things, like wall hangings and little toys. Over her carving desk hung a poster of the cast of the TV show “M*A*S*H.” It was her absolute favorite show, a comedy — as weird as that sounds — all about an emergency medical unit during the Korean war. She loved the star, Alan Alda, and she never missed an episode. I always thought it was kind of funny that my mom bought that poster and put it there, as it was a little out of character for her. As a contrast, she also watched the soap opera “Days of our Lives” every day but didn’t have that poster on the wall.

So I skated around and around in circles, listening to my records of Burt Bacharach songs like “Say a Little Prayer” and “What the World Needs Now is Love” — those are still some of my favorites — and I would see that poster on the wall as I made each revolution. Even then, I felt like I was getting some insight into my mom: like that she always wanted to be a nurse but got married, instead, and worked government jobs to help support the family. Then when I was born, I guess she figured it was too late, so she stayed home with me. Maybe in watching that show she imagined herself helping people, too.

I never asked her about that. I wish I had.

When I clicked the “play” button on Netflix to watch the pilot episode of “M*A*S*H,” I couldn’t make it through more than about 10 seconds of the theme song before I broke down into tears. Massive, heaving grief poured out of me for about five minutes. Over and over again, I said, “I miss you, Mom. I need you, Mom. I love you, Mom.”

My mom died in 1992, when I was 30 and she was 72. As I’m writing this, I’m coming up on 23 years of living my life without her physical presence. But I still have moments where the grief feels just as deep as it did the day she died.

I know that one day you’ll feel that kind of grief, too. Once it clears, there is a bittersweet happiness that comes in, too: an emotion that encompasses the pain of loss but the joy of feeling loved by someone and loving them more than you ever thought you could.

My only regret about having to die one day is that I won’t be there to hold you in my arms when you are feeling that grief, to tell you that it’s OK, and that I love you.