A Decade Later, A Fresh Start Begins. July 4, 2012

by Julia Hugo Rachel


4th of July 2012 brings unexpected moments that drive me to the realization that a decade has past and a fresh start has begun. For the past 10 years, I have battled, bullied, gone beyond my personal limits and barged my way through doors slammed in my face. For the love of God, anyone who slams a door in my face has no idea of whom they are dealing with. Here is an idea: if you want to get a bull OUT of a china shop, don’t lock him in or out of the shop.

I awoke this morning to the wonderful smell of a hot breakfast. I looked at the clock and it read 4:39 am. I have a thing for numbers, so right there I wondered what 439 meant? I tossed that thought aside and descended  a vertical set of stairs in pitch dark that were built in 1896. My eyes were still not quite open, I was holding the walls for support (no handrails) and gently coaxing Isabella to stay 4 steps behind lest we both take a tumble down into the dark, hard planked void.

Either house guests had arrived early and started cooking, or else my son had somehow miraculously gotten up at an ungodly hour to make a meal. Either way, my stomach was growling as the smell rose to the second story. As I exited the stairwell I intuitively gauged an emptiness was about to envelope me.

As I went from room to room in the dark house, there was no sign of life. Yet, I could smell the food, I could sense someone or something breathing and watching me. I assessed the risks and called out for my son. No Answer. I called out for his dog, no answer.

I then formed a plan and started a search. I started in the laundry room, moved into the office, checked the dining room, the second office, the living room, then the kitchen. The stove was still warm and there were dishes in the sink; signs of a meal eaten not too long beforehand. I then checked Blakes room. My heart sank as it was empty.

All the cars, car keys and house keys were present. I rang Blakes cell phone and heard it ring in his office. I turned on the light to find his cell phone, watch and wallet lying on his desk. I then checked the porches. Back porch- clear. Front porch- I tripped over something.

 I turned on the light and there was Blakes Yellow Lab sternly sitting at full attention, obviously standing guard and not willing to budge. I looked down at her to see if I could get a read on the situation at hand. She did not seem anxious, she was not grabbing my hand to track him or signs of trouble. It was what she wasn’t telling me that I seemed to understand with a sixth sense. Obviously, Blake had headed out the front door recently; but why?

For a normal family, this situation would not mean anything. Yet in this family, it meant everything. Memories of past events in Blakes illness flashed before my eyes, pain welled up in my heart and all I could do was try and piece the puzzle together. I headed to our “sports” closet and noticed one of the largest rucksacks was missing. No gear seemed to be missing, just the sack. That was a good sign, it meant he wasn’t going extreme.

I turned off all the lights back off and sat down on the couch. I watched the gorgeous foliage sway gently out the large front window from this old house I bought, in a strange place I wonder if I will ever call home. I contemplated my decision to leave the ranches; to start the medical corporations in order to help others overcome obstacles we had hurdled, then suddenly I felt hauntingly hollow.

 I knew this day was coming, but I did not know it would be today. At some point, I would have to begin living my life again, fufilling my dreams and resuming my passions. Once you’ve been hit by a trauma,  Its’ alot easier to jump out of life, than it is back into life. It was my turn to jump back in. At 4:45 am I came to this full realization.

As soon as I sat down on the couch, both dogs came to my side. My trusted black lab at one side, Blakes stubborn yellow lab at my other side. It looked like whatever was going to happen, the three of us were going to participate in this party together. This was a given.

Around 5:45 am Blake came bounding up the wide fronch porch and knocking at the front door. He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, running shoes and had the rucksack on his back. I let him in then casually resumed my position on the couch between the two dogs, who had not budged.

Blake opened the sack and took out three heavy logs he had picked up from our woodpile. I wanted to be supportive and not wanting to sound too overbearing, I said in a gruf voice “You better get those nasty insect infested rotten logs off my Ethan Allen Rug RIGHT NOW and out of this house”!  He said “Ok, but I  really need to weigh them first”.

Then, all I could think of was those rotten logs on my brand new expensive scale. (The scale is another story). Then it hit me. My son had just gone running with a rucksack on his back with weight in it for the very first time in 10 years. After he weighed the logs, he sat down on the couch. I asked him what he was doing and what he was thinking. Was he cleared to run by the doctors yet?

He told me,  “Mom, it is time. Time to run again. Time to live again. Time to be disciplined again. Time to get back to life again”. I have to do this.

Just as that puppy in the photo above grew up to be one of the most stubborn yet lovable Labrador’s; my son also matured to battle his own demons. He is now ready to take on life on his terms and fight to get his life back, the way he wants it.

His reply made me realize that a decade later, my fresh start began at 4:39 am on July 4, 2012. It was time for me to pick up the pieces of my life and begin fresh.