IDENTITY: The Practice of Telling Our Stories


On the Journey         Diane Markel

Tears wept
Allowed to flow down my face
From my eyes
To my heart
To my very soul.
These tears
These hot, sad pieces of salt water
Not from the ocean
But from my own eyes——
These tears, yes, indeed, a part of the ocean at one time

These tears are cleansing.
What to cleanse, you ask?

My soul’s soul—deep inside—cut to the quick by shards of pain
Cries out in the depths of shock and hurt and sadness and proliferating abundant soul sickness.
This ancient sickness festered until, years upon years later, it will come out
It does come out—in waves, salt-water waves, tsunami 20 foot high waves, crashing, lurching
Deep waves of grief—unknown, unknown ~~  until known and felt and expressed.
Ancient waves ~~ from this lifetime, perhaps another ??

How to cope? No, not cope, how to allow.
Allow the grief, allow the pain, allow the Energy to accept it all and
Hold it
Hold me
Hold the little girl,
The little baby,
The 3 year old, the 4 year old
The 5 year old
The adolescent

Then the 24 year old —— four months out of the convent
There she was
Blacked out, stumbling, laughing
Was that laughter or . . .
Was that a fright
A frightened little girl, gasping to come out of the dark depths?
First experience
How awful
As she came to and saw it
And couldn’t feel it
And blacked out or
Passed out
What really happened?
I know
He knows

Next morning, driving home from the conference
The questions
The shame
The fear
The embarrassment

Never talked about it
To anyone
Not even herself

It lay there, hidden for years
until 2018
When this shell of a man twisted his face on the tv screen and scurried away
Denying any responsibility
Spewing anger and ludicrousness

Ah, the man, or shadow of the man
What to make of him?

The woman told her truth
Was she believed??
By some, she was.
By those who count.

She was brave.
No one can tell her she’s not beautiful.

She is Every Woman!
She is Me!
She is beautiful!



A Brief History of Nancy Reichow by Nancy Reichow

This brief narration of my life sums up how I feel when I look back over all I have done.

I Am the Luckiest Person I Know

I am the luckiest person I know, but I don’t necessarily believe in “luck”.   I basically believe all experience – both fortune and adversity –result from choices we make.

Some would say I was “unlucky” as child.  In 1944 I was part of a single parent family at five weeks old. My mother, older sister and I left my father and traveled by train to our grandparents’ home where we lived the first four and one-half years of my life. Those years encircled me with security and love.

At the age of four, I “got a new daddy” and announced it to the whole neighborhood.  I met my biological father for the first time at age nine.  The man who “gave me away” (Grandma’s words) was either a wonderful actor or a great dad.  He made me feel cherished each time I saw him.  Looking back, I was fortunate to have three extraordinary males — grandpa, daddy and dad — and a host of adoring females influence my life.

I married my high school sweetheart at 19.  Our high school friends thought I was incredibly lucky to have landed the boy voted “best looking” in our senior class.  On our wedding day, I was nearly three months pregnant with our first child.  Some would call my pregnancy bad luck because it cost me a four-year, full tuition scholarship; but I saw myself as fortunate.  I was “head over heels” in love with my husband and couldn’t wait to have our child.

During our marriage, three sons were born – all conceived in love – Michael, Jeffrey and Timothy.  Our third son entered the world with a birth defect – a hole connecting all four chambers of his heart.  Timothy lived two months – six weeks at home, two in the hospital.  His six weeks at home were dreadful.  I knew by the first week something was terribly wrong but couldn’t convince my doctor or my husband.  Hubby thought I was “losing my mind” because I was consumed with worry.  Doctor labeled me a hysterical mother whose child had colic.  In retrospect, I wasa raving lunatic – a mother who intuitively knew her child was dying.  Even as I grieved, I felt fortunate to have held and loved Timmy – even for a short time – and to have two other wonderful healthy sons.

Timothy’s short life, though tragic, precipitated my “coming of age” and set in motion a 13-year tutorial on trust and confidence in my knowledge and intuition.  The tutorial was a difficult course – one of verbal and emotional abuse, power and immobility, fear and hope, excuses (mine) for cruel behavior (his), and feelings of inadequacy.  For the first time in my life, I was a slow learner and my learning disability harmed my children, me and in some ways, and my husband.

Eventually I learned to trust myself and at age 40 we divorced.  Family members thought our divorce an adverse event. Michael and Jeffrey (20 and 18) considered it a release!  I regarded April 29, 1984, as my liberation day. Not to imply single life after nearly 21 years of marriage was easy.  It wasn’t.

I paid a price for freedom.  I chose not to see an attorney and left the marriage with very little.  I was forced from my home of 16 years and moved into a two-bedroom condo with Jeffrey and his bedroom furniture.  I also took a sofa, sofa sleeper (my bed) and a card table and chairs.  The table, chairs and sleeper were “on loan” from my ex until I purchased a dinette set and my own bed.  My household income decreased more than 80 percent and I had three mouths to feed!  The third was a kitten, a gift from Michael so I wouldn’t be lonely when Jeffrey left for college in the fall.

Having never lived alone or supported myself, the thought – let alone the actuality – was terrifying, daunting and … exciting.  I was determined to prove I could make it on my own.  A few floundering years later, I became the independent woman I longed to be.

During my “re-singled” years, I kissed a few frogs.  None turned into princes.  Bad luck? Absolutely not.  Each relationship helped me define what I wanted and needed from a relationship.  I became determined not to settle for less.

Just when I decided I could and would be happy single, my life changed.   On July 28, 1990, my best friend Debbie Cole arranged a blind date – my first and only in forty-six years.  I met Deane Reichow that night at Debbie’s house and we travelled to the Gasthous in Montreville, MN, for dinner and dancing with a group of 14 other people in our party.  He and I talked, laughed, sang and danced the polka all night.  We didn’t interact with any of the others in the party. On July 29 I called Debbie and announced, “I’ve met the man I’m going to marry.”

Our meeting was not like a first date.  I felt as though I “recognized” Deane immediately.  Everything about him seemed familiar — as if we’d shared a life before.  It took him longer to realize we were “destined” to be together, but several months later he came to the same conclusion.  We were engaged March 31 and married August 24, 1991, the most fortunate day of my life.

We’ve had adversity along the way.  We disagree sometimes. I’m a neat-nick; he, not so much.  I follow rules; he believes in breaking them.  Still 27 years later, we are friends, lovers and soul mates.  I am the luckiest person I know.