Binge and Purge. . . .

For the last three weeks I have been obsessed with binging and purging. And yet, everytime I lose, I am relieved by how much I gain.

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Shortly after my last post, and by “shortly” I mean 3 hours later- my

grandmother finally was able to stop her waiting. I was getting ready to join friends at the movies when I got the text from my mom, “Karen- she’s gone.” I’m glad it was a text. It gives you just a moment to process without the anticipation from the messenger. I rushed to be with my mom, my uncles and my grandfather at her side. There is obviously so much more to this story, but for another day.

It wasn’t long after my last post, 3 days in fact- that I was relieved of my waiting as well. I was offered the job to teach internationally at a middle school in Singapore for the next school year.

Again the juxtaposition of these two events intertwining themselves was not lost on me. Endings meeting new beginnings. Death with new life. Certainty with so much uncertainty. But the most meaningful- the influx of family, friends and support when I have chosen to move thousands of miles away for the first time in my life. I soaked it up. I took in every hug, every word and every moment. But as with all famil

y gatherings, there were moments of stress. Of pain. of lashing. I took those in too. I think you have to. But I reflected on them as moments of humanity, and for that I grateful to have experienced them. I am also grateful for the opportunity to relinquish my “roles” in family situations. Roles that others are able to do and from which I could most certainly use a break.

Our journey to Singapore will not allow for much to go with us. Clothes, personal items, and some basic electronics will be all. We rented a storage unit, but it seems silly to pay to store things that we don’t need or want.

Enter the purge.


It started with the under the stairs storage area. Seems easy enough- wrapping paper, some old photographs and things from my father’s mother who passed 10 years ago, and random toys. Ohhh no. I opened Pandora’s Box for sure. Hours upon hours looking through old photo albums. Then I realized I should be scanning them and saving digital copies for my siblings!

Enter the binge.

Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 1- Go. Four days later, the storage area had been cleaned out, and the most amazing pictures discovered! Some dated back as far as the 1800’s!

Then my clothes closet. Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 8- Go! The playroom, season 5, episode 6. And the last three days- my office/studio area, season 7 episode 1. I am exhausted. I cannot make another decision about what to keep, donate, sell, give to someone specific, storage unit, take with us, stare at for three more days, trip over for two then decide, accidentally break. . . .  you get the picture.

I had a momentary breakdown yesterday. Say what you will about the negatives of social media and Facebook, but damn. My people were there for me. Words of support and suggestions flooded in when I don’t know how to do this anymore. The presents given to me by people that are now gone- keep or not? Framed photos? My own artwork from childhood? The amazing advice helped me to carry on and tonight, I feel freer. The clutter is slowly going away. The boxes and bins of junk are being cleaned out. And we keep asking ourselves: Why didn’t we do this earlier? Why? Because it hurts just a little. Yes, they are just things. But, they are representations of the life we have built up to this point. The life where we thought we needed so many variations of socket wrenches for whatever job presented itself. And now we are leaving this version behind.

I cannot wait for this new adventure! Hopefully one where I don’t accumulate as much stuff! But also one where our little family of three will explore and experience the riches that the universe has to offer! After all, it has been conspiring. . . .

Waiting. . . .

Paulo Coelho: Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.

Today I feel small.

Lately I have been working towards something- something pretty big. This process that has spanned several months is reaching a deciding point. It has included three separate interviews and days and nights of hypothetical situations. And while I had expected confirmation of this life altering opportunity last night, I was met with delay. Mind you- not rejection, just delay. But the longer a process is drawn out with little activity, the more that I lose interest or I begin to spiral. I begin a myriad of conversations in my head where it doesn’t work out, I am rejected, or worse, it continues to be drawn out.

So I am sitting on my couch, with a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, watching a fire, typing on my new iPad and feeling downright sorry for myself. Yes- I hear it now. My level of ridiculousness is noted.

But what I am actually trying to do is to understand what the Universe is guiding me towards. How can the delay in this experience create other opportunities? Or is it a lesson in patience? What can the waiting do to make my life better? How can I channel this frustration into something productive instead of wanting to curl up and pout?

My grandma is also waiting. She is waiting to die.

She is 87 and incredibly uncomfortable. She is in a nursing home and is racked with coughing fits so often that now she exists in a morphine haze. Her sly smirk lets us know she can still hear our side conversations that she is desperate to participate in, but unable. She has been ready for weeks, saying her goodbyes, distributing her possessions, but still she lives. It was only after she fell and banged her head a few days ago, that she took a turn for the worse. A turn that is sure to reduce her waiting. But yet, she still waits.

A nurse was counseling her in a moment of frustration recently. She wanted to know when she was just going to die, and why it wasn’t happening. The nurse suggested that time was needed. Maybe not for her, but time for someone else to come to terms or peace with her death. I immediately thought of my son. Ryan, 11, has adored my grandmother his entire life. Growing up directly across the street from this vivacious, spunky woman created a bond between the two that is unlike any other. He has recently shared stories of mini tea parties with tea and sugar and Chex cereal (I’m not sure that’s a “thing” but it was for them!). He reminisces of times dressing up, playing cars on the floor, making apple butter, and stealing sips of her coffee. The time the nurse referred to I am sure is for him. If he were to suffer this loss during a regular school week, he would be a wreck. But as we have just entered a holiday week break for Thanksgiving, it has given me a chance to help him process this impending heartbreak. And if, God willing, it happens soon, he will be home to grieve.


It’s the worse. It forces time to slow down. Virtually stand still. But what if it’s a gift? What if it provides time to reflect, ponder, pursue, pray, seek, breathe, . . . . live?