see IG for the start of this....
that assumed, because we lived near the house the shots came out of, we must also be suspected of bad things. It broke my Soul open when I stood at the front door talking to a police officer, shaking and crying, asking what had happened.. he assumed the died guy was some gang member doing drugs and the way he looked at me told me he was certain I was on drugs. When in fact I was in a state of uncontrolled shock and fear for my family. They found a bullet that went through the trunk of my car and shell casings on our driveway that could've easily gone through the walls of our home.
The facts, I later told another kinder, detective, was that we had just hosted a party for our 4 year olds friends, only a few hours before the shooting happened. Kids running around the yard and on the driveway... Within a matter of hours we went from laughing and playing to shock and terror.
I hadn't known until that night what it was like to fear something so deeply.
I still mourn for Julian and the fact that he had a little girl of his own, now fatherless.
As the days passed immediately after he died, I became more and more terrified of the fact that something really bad could happen to someone really good without any warning. At anytime. I felt so deeply powerless. Jeff and I did everything we could and we moved out of that house just two months later. We got a second mortgage because we couldn't sell the first house. Life was stressed to say the least. We had been rehabbing the first house hoping to sell for profit and be able to afford a better area (please know there are sooooo many lovely areas of Columbus!!) and we chose to finish the house so that we would lose as little money as possible in the reselling, still in the end we paid someone to take it..but at least we didn't foreclose.. we didn't want to do that to the neighbors we loved. Them being stuck in a situation they couldn't leave. Foreclosure would hurt the value of their homes even more than the shooting (which is just madness if you ask me).
Jeff would go on weekends and work on it to get it on the market quickly and I would go back and talk to our friends about what happened. About a year after moving we finally sold the house, and when saying our final goodbyes we found out that one of our favorite neighbors had ended her own life... It was terribly tragic time for everyone involved. I'm so grateful that my kids were too young to know what was happening.. I am sure they sensed it but I not ever want them to know the fear I was feeling... My oldest daughter now knows what happened but it took me years before I was ready to let her know. Thank god they slept through that entire nightmare of a night.
Now, I have in fact, felt afraid my entire life but my fears grew after that night. I'm not talking about fears of death or guns, though I have those. But all fears, in general, even my everyday concerns where heavier than they used to be... not being liked by someone, losing someone or even something special, making people feel awkward when I am get chatty, being seen as too loud or odd, having my art rejected, forgetting something important, not getting to live in a nice house that's all put together, not being cultured enough, nothing smart enough, posting something with a stupid typo (and if you read my posts before I get to the edit button you know I do that ALL the time!!!!). From important stuff to not important..... You name it, I'm probably worried about it. I have anxiety. And I think a lot of us do. I do a LOT of work to battle my anxiety but some times I wish I didn't have to. I just want to be free of it.
BUT not right now. Not tonight or yesterday or the day before. It was almost instantaneous when I stepped off the plane. Here in Australia!!! this past week+, I've been more free of my fears then I can EVER remember...they've been lifted from me!! By the kindness of the people, the peacefulness, beauty of the sky, the ocean. The ease of life... Of course I AM on holiday now after my workshops are all done, so I'm sure I have an exaggerated view of what it would be like to live here, and they tell me, though hot, it's been unusually wonderful weather... Still I talk to the people, and they seem truly happy!! Plus humbly aware of how incredible their country is. They are loving and excepting and somewhat excitable (like me). They are helpful without seaming burdened when I ask (multiple times) for directions. We bounce off each other and share light, joyful conversations (not this type of stuff you've read here!!)
And it's not just the Aussies either. I seem to have found a place and time where nearly every single person I've encountered, the foreigners (that includes me?) and the people born and raised here.. All have been AMAZING!!! I'm talking hundreds of kind happy encounters with people that don't know anything about me. Thousands of smiles and laughs. And it's no wonder that I found it in a place that try's so hard to restrict guns and and keep the peace!!! You wise Aussies you...
I am ever so grateful for the weight that has lifted from my chest... The lightness in my step.
Thank you Sydney for giving me this time and treating me so well!!! This will be my last night laying my head down here.. Heading down to the Southern Highlands for more adventures in the morning. Just attempting to bottle up all these beautiful emotions and hold on to them forever... And I WILL come back. And bring my family back!!! I simply must. They are the only piece missing from this dream I'm in!!!
Even after all that I've written here about that past experience, I'm incredibly grateful for the blessings that I have in my life and I try not to take anything for granted but it would be a lie if I said that it was easy... I know so many people have harder lives, but there are also people who have easier ones and my dream is for us to all live easy and free! World peace and inner peace!!
The photo above is a group of the most beautiful young people!!! They let me tag along with them today so I didn't have to be alone at the beach! From US, Germany and Israel we all sat together in Oz and shared a little part of ourselves. Huge thanks to them!!! Hope they find this post and read to the bottom!!! Sending all you fellow wanderers huge hugs and kisses from this chatty #emoamericangirl (that's me and for once I feel 100% okay with it!!!!!!!)