Mirrors and Mirages

Posted on August 14, 2017


“It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” ~ William Shakespeare


You are not just a reflection in the eyes of other people. Other people’s eyes aren’t a mirror. There’s a lot going on behind the shiny surface of another’s corneas . They are going on. And that’s only fair.

A mirror tells the truth. People often don’t. Everybody lies. If someone says they don’t lie ~ ironically, they are lying. It’s human nature to lie and just a matter of degree as to what makes that normal, or what defines a person as a liar. And liars, of course, should be avoided.

Everybody needs friends. But not in the desperate way I had started to need them. It seemed especially crushing since as a child, I lived in a private world in a wonderful state beyond high self esteem. I lived freely in a state of completeness ~ a state of no esteem. I just naturally was me.

I didn’t have to try to be Tricia. I just was Tricia.

I didn’t have to think about myself at all. So I didn’t.

I’m not quite sure why I was able to dwell in such a state of freedom from my own self. At least for longer than the other girls I knew. You know, the usual pre-teen hang ups: “I’m too skinny; my chest is too flat; my hair is too straight and greasy; nobody likes me; I’m weird.” Perhaps it was because I was happily surrounded by so many animals.

Animals make fantastic friends. If they choose to love you ~ they mean it. And they don’t change their minds…EVER. When you look into the eyes of your dog, cat or horse ~ you will see truth about unconditional love.

           But not yourself. Not who you are.

But as I said, when I was a young girl I wasn’t the least bit concerned about who I was.

Then, at 14, I was hit suddenly by a train. That unstoppable train was the completely unexpected descent of a heritary chemical imbalance in my brain ~ and I lost myself. Or I should say, I forgot who I was. I remember just being confused. At first. Then, not knowing what else to do, I began to define myself by other people’s reactions to me. I suppose that is somewhat normal for adolescents. But for me, it was terrifying. And this state of confusion lasted until not very long ago.

Too soon after my son Joel died, his black Lab died. Then, not too much later, my daughter’s cat also died. They both died simply from being old.



As soon as what is left of our little family ~ Steve, Heather and myself ~ were finished brushing the dirt from our hands as we buried Heather’s cat, I said, “I don’t want any more animals. I can’t handle any more death.”

Obviously, that was a problem. There would always be death in my life, like an unstoppable tide.

And people would always say all kinds of things to me that made me believe they loved me and would always be there. And therefore, I existed and was a person; I was okay. And when they left, I was suddenly beyond not okay. There was suddenly no me. I was gone. And I was now an adult. I knew an animal’s love could not tell me who I was. But I was still confused about what did.


I felt as if I didn’t exist. And believe me, that is a horrible place to be.

As I look back upon my life, without realizing it, the only way I knew how to not feel ungone was to look for yet another person in whose shiny mirror eyes I felt I could at least catch another glimpse of an okay me.

I think for a long time, my son was the person who defined me and made me feel like I was there. I was “Joel’s Mom”. When he died, I lost who I had been for 18 years. And a horrible loneliness settled over me.



I know I missed my son. I remember the first thing I felt was that the whole ordeal was a bizarre mirage. I would wake up every morning, and the first thought that would come to my mind was, “It can’t be true. Joel’s not dead. That’s too weird. He’s over at a friend’s house.” But it was true. And instead of beginning to grieve in a functional, healthy way, I got really busy. I pushed away my grief by trying to be everyone else’s Mom. Was I trying to find another Joel? Or was I trying to find another me? Or was I just plain trying to find any me?

That was not going to happen.

I wasn’t going to find myself in the “mirror” of the eyes of another person. I am not there. Their eyes are not mirrors. What they say and what they really think don’t always add up ~ because they are human beings. Just like I am. And that’s okay.

I have only recently come to understand that people  just naturally tend to flow in and out of our lives. And our children grow up, move away and begin their own lives. Circumstances change. Life happens. Tragedy happens. People die. Pets die. We will all die someday.

Everyone needs friends. But other people can’t be expected to build their lives around me.

Their eyes are not mirrors.

And I am not a reflection in the shiny surface of another person’s eyes. Or even in the comforting, clear blue eyes of my new kitten. Neither am I defined by other people, what they say I am or anything they say to me. Or about me. Of course I should listen to them. They could be telling a truth I don’t want to hear. They might be telling the truth or they could be lying. They could be liars. That’s their problem.

The only one who defines me is the One who made me. God. And because in God all Truth dwells, I am not a mirage. I can totally trust Him. And I can stop looking for myself and again just be.

It has now been 6 years since my son Joel died. Suddenly, I felt ready to have an animal in my life again. Only a few days ago, I adopted Jonny. I’m not sure if I chose him, or he chose me. But when I first laid eyes on him, I knew he was the one. I brought him home and lay down on the couch in my home studio. I was exhausted. Unfortunately, exhaustion has become the norm for me. I have a rare autoimmune disease, and a constant haze of fatigue has become my uninvited roommate.

Within 5 minutes, Jonny was sleeping on my chest. On my heart. I could feel a deep sense of healing beginning for me. And I think for Jonny too. We both needed healing. Jonny and me…healing from spending nearly our entire lives trapped in a cage.



Jonny is just an adorable .75 pound kitten. I know that when I look into his clear blue eyes, he is not lying to me. He is my sweet little Joy Giver. He doesn’t want to use me. His eyes don’t lie. And looking back at him…neither do mine.





everything else seemed to come together... My creativity, my love of helping hurting people, my belief in art as a healing agent and my faith in a God who is filled with love for us all.
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2 Responses to “Mirrors and Mirages”

  1. Ashley W says:

    Hi Auntie,
    I love you. You have written beautiful words. I cannot express how important you have become to my family. I love you.

    • triciassite says:

      Thank you, Ashley. I hope my blog
      helps you know your brother better.
      Thank you for inviting me into your
      family. You have been such a blessing
      to me. I love you too.

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