On Love

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Today I want to talk about grief, and love.

I’ve felt “off” for a couple of days now.   But there is a lot going on around me, which has resurfaced old memories, feelings, and emotions… Are they one in the same?   My father hasn’t been doing well.   He is having “spells”, falls, and as a hard working man, he cannot find acceptance with the fact that he cannot do the things he used to do.   And since our moms passing, he has been talking often about his youngest daughters ashes.   They reside with her life partner, with instructions for nieces to scatter the ashes upon . her partners passing.    I’m not going to get into it any deeper than that, but my dad never liked the fact that we didn’t “know’ where her ashes were.    My sister and I never doubted the significance that would be placed on these from her partner, she’s a trustworthy person and was broken into pieces when Dar died.    My sister (only sister I have left of 3), took it upon herself to get in touch with her, and my dad will soon be receiving some of our kid sisters ashes to put in his creel, as was originally planned when she died.   I am on overload, sensory overload.   Flashes and images coming back from that time in my life, painful, painful memories on so many levels including many people, including my sisters partner.    So I have been, not purposely, revisiting all that, and then having just buried my moms ashes, it’s become very clear that I will never again see my mom.   There are no words.    Sporadic crying jags, the heavy feeling in my chest, and sorrow, grief.    I’ve now lost my mom and two sisters to cancer, my father had cancer and so far so good, the three of us children remaining are all cancer survivors and carry gene mutations which has also been resurfacing.  It has never gone “away”.  It will never go “away”.  It’s a fact of life for us.   Ohh, and add to this a canceled oncology appt for me this week because I hadn’t slept and wasn’t up for the drive to Bean town!

Nothing I can do or say will take away this turmoil I’m feeling.   I just know that it will pass, relief will come, and I am really looking forward to that happening.  So, being kind and nurturing myself, i spent the day listening to music.   I am so very grateful for music, art.   If I attribute my depressive disorders to that of an artist (hardly famous), it makes it a little easier to walk through.  Creativity is vital for me.  It might as well be a vital organ because without it, I will fall flat and refuse to get back up again.   And yes, i am stubborn.

Tomorrow I am picking up my bff who is flying in for a 10 day vacation with me from Omaha.    She was supposed to come a couple months ago but because of work it was delayed.  I AM SO GRATEFUL, now, that it was delayed because I pick her up in a few hours.     My home has been filled with family and friends for the past few weeks… MORE GRATITUDE.

My pcp told me I need to find a therapist.    So I bought a BOSE revolve wireless speaker.   I also sent my dad home, two weekends ago, with my Bose Wave radio and cd player.   A thank you to him for introducing us to music.   My family has an above average love and need for music and in our last childhood home there were five stereos at one time, all different music.    I was grateful to hear that my dad spent a day last week listening to music, and ON THE BOSE.   I know it will help him, I have wanted to do this for a while, but my WAVE is seriously one of my most prized possessions.    I didn’t know if i could do without it, but when I saw the shape my dad was in, there was no question what I was going to do.   So my sister and i packed it all up for him.    His sister had burned him a lot of cd’s so he’s enjoying them now.  It’s funny how little effort it takes, when we love someone, to give that which we love, but know will help them.  It was the right thing to do.

I haven’t finished writing what i wanted to tonight, but it’s going to have to be enough.  Thanks for reading my blog, and for all who do, I wish you a pleasant, peaceful day and sleep!

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Darkened corners, finding hope

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A serious talk tonight, as serious as I can get, anyway.   Have learned to laugh at almost anything and everything, but this topic, NOT.

My 14 year old niece has been with me for several days.   She wanted to watch a series “13 reasons why” on Netflix, so I agreed.  She had already watched some episodes.   It is about a teenager who is bullied and raped in a school that idolizes their male athletic team.   Not all, but many were guilty of what I stated above.   This beautiful, kind, young teenager takes her own life, and leaves these tapes telling why she decided to end her own life, sadly.   Now I’m trying to decide where to go with this blog from here.  It certainly showed the torment of her parents, and how her death has affected her friends.

I don ‘t want to share too much on this in case you haven ‘t watched it and plan to.  I will add that before each episode the audience was warned of graphic, violent, hard topics.   And at the end of each episode gave hotline numbers and offered information on where to go if you are in need of help.   I was impressed with this.  I was impressed with it all, because I am a truth seeker and speaker.  These two traits can make me very unpopular, very quickly.  I don’t do it for that.  I just strive for the truth and as hard as I try to relay my view, opinion, or what i believe to be the truth in whatever, I’ve learned that a lot of people go about their lives with very little honesty.  Honesty with others, their honesty to themselves.   It’s rather sad.

Now I am going to tell you how this two season show affected me.    I am going to speak on the topic of suicide, so please choose whether you want to read this knowing that.   I am also going to unveil a dark side of what it’s like to live through four major depressive disorders, and working on the fifth.   My late mom would prefer I didn’t share such personal things, but for me, it’s not that I have shame, and I’m so tired of the antiquated stereotype, and stigma around mental illness.   I’m tired of the lack of help I, and others I know with their own mental issues are seeking,  needing.     We need to do better here.  So my sharing is so if I can help just one other person from feeling alone, slighted, branded with mental illness, wanting help but not able to find it, then . it’s worth my sharing this part of my life.

I could relate on many levels to this young teenagers struggles.   Each time she decided to give her life “one more try”, and giving others a chance to possibly reach her, or help her, they disappointed her.  I have on numerous occasions in my life, had my own “Why NOT to, and WHY TO lists going.   I’ve saved a few only to serve as a gauge, to remind myself of the progress I have made, and the strength and courage I have had living with major depressive disorder.   I have contemplated suicide on numerous times in my life, and in the not so far away past.   So as I watched this show, I was relating, and at times was choked up.  I’ve had family member and friends who have succeeded at taking their own lives.   I see the hell family members go through.  The questioning, the guilt, the anger, a before they turn the corner to once again pose the question “WHY?”

For those who read this who have contemplated the same, I just want you to know that you aren’t alone in your struggles.   And should you ever need an ear, drop me a message and we can set something up.  I’m not looking to be anyones therapist, but just a human being reaching out their scarred hands to another one in the depths of despair.  There have been times that I have gratefully made it, but in absolute shock that I have made it as far as I have, given the darkness i find myself in.

I don’t believe I really want to die, I just want some peace, and when in the throws of it, I can see no other alternatives, and as many friends and family members I have, when I am at my darkest, I isolate from family and friends, and my thinking is so distorted that I cannot think of anyone to call!    I don’t believe others really want to die either, I think suicide comes when they just cannot take any more pain, because someone who is depressed IS IN IMMENSE PAIN.  I obviously cannot speak for everyone, but when I hear someone has taken their life, I say a prayer for them, or a few, and I pray that i hope they found the very peace they longed for, and I do believe they find it.     If only they could’ve held on one more day, night, if only something good would happen, and then the added problem of distorted thinking, can they see it if it is there?

I’m sorry for anyone who has lost a child, parent, grandparent, friend, niece, nephew, sibling to suicide.  My heart goes out to you, and I do say prayers for families who are left with the aftermath, the questions to a puzzle of 100 pieces in which you probably get 50 or 60 pieces too, maybe a few more here and there over time, but to a healthy mind, it is just a stupid, selfish thing to do.     I don’t think it’s selfish.   Sorry.    I think every person has their breaking point, and while many who struggle with this at one time or ten in their lives, they reach a place where they can’t see any other solution, and that is sad.

I can’t tell you how many times ai have reminded myself “It’s always darkest before the dawn’, and I’ve held out, hoping for light, warmth soon, and it has always came.    Maybe not in my timeframe i want, but relief does eventually come.      It really does.   But the distress and pain those who have done this and succeeded on their loved ones is overwhelming.

I have made and set some rules for myself.   Some of you reading this are probably thinking “what a fucking whack job this woman is!’, and that’s okay, your entitled to your opinion, but I could never follow through with taking my own life while my parents are still alive.  I could never do this to them.    Having just lost my mother, and my dad having major health issues, and fails a bit everyday, I think about the pact I made to myself.   What will happen should my father die before me?

My meds are kicking in, and I would like to continue this blog tomorrow, as I want to talk about the things that people do and can do that help me when I am in the darkness,.  They don’t even know they are doing it.     I want to talk about the signs and struggles of those with mental illness, particularly depression.   I want to share my story and my experience to help another and to help myself.   I do not feel so alone when I write, and I know we are never alone, whether we have no family and friends or not!

Stay tuned for more on this topic.   For those reading this, I wish you peace, love, self love, respect and most of all I wish you HOPE.    Hang tough.  It’s so true, it is always darkest before the dawn.

Love to one and all.

Mothers day

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Today we celebrate Mothers Day.  This will be the first time celebrating this since my mom passed two months ago.    I’ve been thinking about how I could honor her, how I can transform the emptiness in my heart that I feel for her.  My world will never be the same, and that is okay.  Death is part of life, I have learned this and have had plenty of opportunity to practice it’s presence.

My mom was the strongest person I know.   A friend said to me the other day “I remember your mom’s stance, that alone told me how strong she was”.    I nodded, and spent some time pondering this.    Without a doubt her stance was tough.   She was unafraid to address anyone or anything, and that was pretty amazing.  Sadly it was because she had been through a lot in her life, she knew pain intimately, and at 80 she didn’t mince words.   At 80 years old her demeanor, her stance could easily be interpreted with these famous words “Go ahead, make my day!”

I have a cousin who was born with cleft pallet.    Medically the professionals were ready to insert a feeding tube (60’s small town care).    My mom stayed up for two nights designing a bottle that would work for her.    She succeeded.  I did not know about this until after she had died.   I wasn’t surprised to hear this.  My mom was a very intelligent woman who read constantly, chose books and reflection over television.    She could’ve been so much more than just our mom, or somebody’s wife.  In fact, she was so much more than that.

She was a voice for those who didn’t have one, or who were too weak or afraid to talk.  She was a pillar of strength and determination when it came to solving difficult problems, and a force to be reckoned with when it came to her family.    She instilled in us the importance of family.    She was benevolent when it came to her skills.  She loved to bake for others, surprise them with pies, and she made a kick ass crust!    She would do “whatever it took” to get things done, and help her children with whatever they were dealing with and in a way that she would inevitably take over, which today I can think about and smile, at various times in my life I sometimes wanted to smack her!   (I am a passive person, trust me, if I hit someone it was because they deserved it, but I never hit my mother).

Spring was her favorite time of year.  She had a green thumb, loved the outdoors and nature, and would come in to tell me every Spring which plants survived the New England winter, with a childlike wonder that always brought a smile to my face, she was joyful when gardening, grooming the yard.  Once a year, when the budget allowed, I would take her to her favorite nursery for Mother’s Day and she would run around with a cart and choose whatever she wanted.   She LOVED this.  These times were wonderful, though the dogs would be bored waiting in the car, and then highly annoyed with how little room they had to maneuver in after we loaded all the plants!     Then there was the planning of where to plant all that we bought.  She would ask my opinion, and then do whatever she wanted anyways.   Again, today I can laugh at this, but there were times we had words, and I would ask why she wanted my opinion when she never considered it?    It’s amazing to me how humorous I find this today.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

I often would  pick her up for appointments or visit her with a Dunkin Donuts coffee and two old fashioned donuts, her favorite.   She would eat one and feed the dog the other.    The other day my side kick and I went to Dunkin’s and they informed us when we ordered an old fashioned donut that they were no longer making them!     For me this was a sign that my moms time to die was right on schedule!   I say this lightly, honestly.   I know an average person would shrug it off, not me!

In my early 20’s I was going for a job promotion and was feeling nervous about mathematical testing for such.  My mom met me in a bank parking lot, with pad of paper and pencil, and taught me (retaught me) about fractures.    I aced the test!

She loved her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchild.  But her first loyalty was always to her children.   It would upset her if she saw inequities or any of us being taken for granted by their children, or mistreated by them.     I was childless, so the focus was on the spouse or partner, and believe me, after 3 long term relationships with alcoholics, there was plenty there for her to decipher or dislike!

If there was only one thing (which is not the case) she taught me, it was every day you get up and dig in, get busy and do what is in front of you.   I think about this everyday, particularly when I’m trying to talk myself out of bed!

She swore like a sailor, and one time my sister and I were counting how many times she said “the f word”, she asked what we were counting… “26, 27, 28, 29….”, the usage quickly added us as we exited the house!

I am my mothers daughter.    She taught me by example so many things, a few that I’m going to pass on sharing, but for the most part today I will think of my mom and smile, welcome the tears that will fall, and are falling, as I face this first “mother’s day” without her.

Happy Mothers Day, to all you mom’s out there.  Hope your children do something kind for you, and if they aren’t able to for whatever reason, I hope you can find joy in their memories, or the love that being a mom taught you!    I”m a mom only to four legged critters, and I am a good mom, at that!

 

Freedom

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I’m 56 years old.   Today I went for a ride and turned up the volume.   I was driving my Kia Soul.   A far cry from the hot sporty vehicles I used to drive!   Ran through Dunkin Donuts to pick up a coffee for my brother, a UPS driver, whose route is no where near a Dunkins, and bought myself a creme filled donut.   Ride with me.   On comes The Doors “LA Woman” and I rolled down the front windows, turned up the volume and cruised.    For that moment in time I was the 18 year old auburn haired young woman driving.    For the first time in a very long time I felt like the person I was before others (outside family lol) messed with my head, and heart.   Smiling, with white confectionary sugar on my lips and LL Bean sweatshirt, the donut was perfectly sweet, and enough.     I glanced into my rear view mirror and saw myself as adorable!  LOL.     It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt like that young soul.   A happiness, a new freedom flowed with the wind through my long hair, piled on my head in a silk tye die scarf wrapped around the front.     How is it I can sing a song from decades ago, verbatim, and not remember why I walked into the kitchen twice?    Let me tell you, I had quite the concert going, and my voice was loud, jovial, and strong co-singing with these legends.   Ahhhh, to feel the innocence of youth, but with the knowledge of age.   Smiling as I write this.

Next on deck was Tom Petty “Running down a dream”…  Who cannot tap or sing to the beat of that ass kicking song?

I delivered the coffee and had a short conversation with my brother who bails when it becomes “real”, and I smiled.   That’s okay.  He is who he is, not for me to judge, just love the guy.    Decided to take the long way home, back roads, a brook flowing right alongside the road.  On my way there I passed a US Express Truck (not common here and where my sister was last employed), as Bob Seger (A fav or my late sister’s and mine) “Nine Tonight”  A concert I was at when it was recorded.   You can hear me singing in the  background, and see me, slim, tall, wearing my levi jeans, a white gauze bohemian style blouse, bangles on my wrist and my grandmothers ring on my finger, standing on the chair, too and a smile.  She is with me, and so is my mom, and others I have said goodbye to on this plane.  I felt their presence, I saw their smiles, and for that half hour drive home, I felt aligned with all.   Freedom from grief, from loss, from pain.

It’s been a really nice day.  No visible signs of snow here in Vermont with Fall-like temps.  Peace, I have so much peace today, and enthusiasm that I haven’t felt in decades.  Sure does feel nice to be in this space today.   And as I closed my trip, driving into my driveway, I found one unlicked trace of confectionary sugar on my lips, and the Stones came on, a song that has special meaning to me and my sisters.  So I sat in my car, smiling listening to it in duration.

Sure hope you have or get to experience such beauty, wonderful feelings, a break from reality, or is it?   Am I “myself” again?????  Who were you before life knocked you down?  Have you revisited him or her?

Honorable mentions:   ACDC “Back in Black”, Alan Parson’s Project, Robert Palmer, Bob Dylan, BTO, Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top and last but not least, America!

 

Grief 101

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It’s just over three weeks since my mom died.   A good friend asked me if it’s harder than I thought it would be, the answer is NO.  I always knew it would be hard.  But what has surprised me is the areas in which it is affecting me.

For one, self confidence.   I consider myself to be a fairly brave, very strong independent woman.  And I just realized a couple weeks ago that I’m old enough to be classified as “Senior Citizen” on Wednesdays at JoAnn’s Fabrics.  I’ve traveled up and down the East Coast, all over this country and others by myself.  I would think very little about driving an hour or two here or there to score a good find from Craigslist, or the like.  I don’t feel comfortable doing this right now.  I don’t feel confident enough to do this.  I’m really shocked at this.

I don’t feel safe in this world, since the death of my mom.   I always knew, wherever I was, went, I could call her and she would come to my rescue.  For a couple of decades we have been each others main support, both single women living on little, we helped each other.  My mom was a huge help to me in areas that I many times lack or slack in.   I cannot attribute this to anything else, believe me, I’ve tried.

In every room in my house, there are memories of my mom.   She always rolled up her shirt sleeves and jumped in when it came to cleaning, repairing, maintaining, and a couple years ago, renovating and ultimately redecorating again.  It is s hard for me to fathom that she will never again step foot into my yard, my house, nor spend hour upon hour working in my yard, her flower gardens, because they really were hers.  I haven’t worked in my flower gardens for a couple of decades, she did it all.  Now she loved doing it, and she was very good at it.   Will I take care of them?    Can I take care of them?  Will I know how after all these years?   There’s a little bit of fear here.  I am feeling fear.   Because many things that she did to help me, I had to stop doing so she graciously took over.

I find my tears come in waves, and triggered by many simple things.   I pulled out a folder of my decorative painting designs and my heart sunk.   My mother was a huge part of my success here, she made e prepping surfaces or house or dog and cat sitting.  Back in those days I had five animals for her to care for!

Another thing that is happening that I didn’t expect.  I feel like I need to know everything, because she is gone.    I identify with these feelings when I found out many moons ago I was pregnant.  OMG I need to get my act together so I can be a good parent!  Only now, I need to get my act together because my mom isn’t here to help or assist

Sleep is being affected.  I wake up every hour, only early morning hours offers good sleep.  As a result, I am plum pooped.    I was so tired the other night after finishing things up downstairs that I slept on the couch.  I didn’t have the energy to go up to my bed.   I have been on this journey called grief many times, and I know it’s a hard hard walk.   I either forgot or the loss of my mother is proving to be one hell of a challenge.

I miss my mom.   I miss her voice, her outspoken manner, and more.    I know in time it will get easier adjusting to this new life, life without my mother.   While grateful I had my mom for the first 56 years of my life, it doesn’t matter at what age you lose your mom, for me, anyway,  it’s a colossal loss.

 

 

 

 

 

New beginnings

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The journey of grief astounds me.    How is it that you can bring your mother to dozens upon dozens of surgeries, appointments, chemotherapy over the course of 17 years, drs. appointments, xrays, emergency rooms, labs, and more and have been told on two (or three counting the last one) occasions to put her affairs in order, have done all that you humanly can do to make her plight through not 1, not 2, but FIVE cancers, and become her voice on her last day alive, be present when she takes her last breath, and STILL fall “privy” to the five stages of grief, including DENIAL?

I have mentioned on many occasions, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s work, a pioneer in the hospice movement, believing in and pushing for rights of a patients “right to know’ they were dying, and studying and talking with dying patients, coming up with the five stages of grieving, and being a woman doctor in a predominantly mans world.  No, that deserves an exclamation point!   So not only is that sentence way too lengthy, it also needs !!!!!!

This female doctor was labeled by fellow male doctors as “Dr. Death”.    Like research and development of cancers, all terminally or chronic illness, death is going to come to us all, at some point.  I remember a dream in which i woke up knowing i had been blessed with a visit beyond.    I was granted three questions.  The first one I asked was “Why are our pets lives so short?”   The answer was, in an average persons life they will have 4-9 pets, or their families had pets.   Their deaths teach us how to accept this hard fact of life, and prepare us for loved ones, and ultimately our own deaths.

I am not here to argue with anyone, I will just say that I KNOW there is more than this realm.  I have had amazing experiences that have developed my beliefs from questioning, to wondering, to KNOWING.  I am a fortunate woman.  And I seldom share these experiences because in a rare interview with 60 Minutes a couple decades ago and can be viewed on YouTube, Bob Dylan speaks of “knowing” your own greatness, your own destiny, and how vital it is to keep it to yourself because others can and will squelch not only your desires, dreams but also that inner voice, drive, purpose stripping you of all.   I’m nodding as I am typing this.    I KNOW my experiences are real, and I’m not going to allow anyone to take them from me.

I am also an empath.   What does that mean?    Well, quite frankly, I read and feel people’s energies, their emotions, at the age of 8 I had my “first” premonition that came to fruition just 12 hours later.    I don’t see dead people!  (The Sixth Sense movie) .   Recently when my mother was passing I knew it was happening long before the doctors did.  They wanted “biopsies, and more”, whether that was for expensive testing income, or if they really didn’t see it happening, I knew it was coming.     I told my siblings this before any doctor even told my mother.  I also texted my sister at the exact time they pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, arriving from an airport.  I smiled when she walked into the room moments later.  “Did you like that i knew you were here?”  I asked.    I suppose they thought I was looking out a window, I was on the opposite side of the hospital with my mother, there was a window but the curtains were closed.  In doing this, I allowed my family to “see” what I “know” on a very small basis.

There will be those who call this blog, and any other that i write or have written on death to be “morbid”, but death is as real as birth (and unfortunately,  taxes!).   Personally, I know there are worse things than death.    Obviously I have never experienced my own (which has been miraculous given the severe depressions I have survived), but I have been on the journey of grief several times.

I was just thinking about my girlfriend Janice.  Her dad was in the hospital, and her family was all there with him, he had cancer, and they were wonderfully, as a family, rallying by his side, telling him it was time to go, telling and showing him how much they loved him.  I had stopped by to bring some hot cocoas and coffee, as they had been there a long time.   Just before he passed I stepped out of his hospital room and stood outside by the door.  I knew it was coming and I felt like it was too intimate and personal for me to be in the room when it happened.,  2 minutes later my girlfriend walks out and says “he’s gone”.  I don’t believe I ever asked her if she had noticed, and I was glad I knew to step out.   For this family, who have always been welcoming to me, this was THEIR experience with their father, husband, grandfather, not mine.

My mother had a sixth sense, too.   She never explored it, because she loved Jesus Christ, and I believe was fearful of blasphemy.   My mother was a highly intelligent woman who led a life that was many times, most times, painful.    But her belief in Christ was strong, and we had many wonderful discussions on such. (again).   Regretfully I suppose, I didn’t share with her all of my many experiences, because I didn’t embrace this part of me until my early 30’s.  Let’s just say when people get close to me, and I allow them to be part of my inner workings, I have been asked on numerous occasions “Are you a witch?”     In which I always reply “A bitchy one, too!”     🙂

I have “known” since the age of 8 that I am supposed to write, write books? blogs?  letters?   I suppose.  And I have kept a blog for probably 7-10 years now, which has been primarily about me and my life experiences.   It has been a helpful healing tool through some mighty painful events and things.  I am about to (re)start my first book.    I have written on and off throughout my life, but I’ve stayed away from ever “finishing” whether it be choice, or being an “optimist” and never (before) backing up my work, and having computers die!  “Blessed are the pessimists, for they have made backups!”   One might think that it wasn’t meant to be, the timing wasn’t right, I tend to agree.  But i would be lying if I didn’t tell you I am somewhat afraid of it, I am afraid of the success, and I am afraid that it will be my final and last purpose here on this plain, so in a twisted, sorted way, I feel like when I am finished writing it, my existence here will end.  The longer I wait, the longer I will live…   LOL.    Intuition?  Premonition?  Or Fear?  Fantasy?   But I want you to notice how I put “my first book”, hoping that this will be the start of many.

I have been very fortunate in my life.   I have been guided, spiritually since a very young age, and have had amazing things happen to and for me.   I will give you a minuscule example.  Driving home one day from a painting class I had begrudgingly was taking with a friend, I “prayed” prayers of thanks for being dragged into this class by a brazen woman who “needed a ride” and in return she would pay for my class.   “I think I would like to start teaching!” I added.       The next morning I received a phone call from a school board member in my small, quaint town of 2000, asking me if I would be willing to teach painting, as part of adult continued education she was working on!     I laugh, because when these things happen, I KNOW I am right where I’m supposed to be.  I am aligned with source, god, whatever you want to call it.  Within three weeks I was teaching a painting class at our local elementary school, and that began a career that spanned 20 years, and which was some of THE best times of my and my mothers lives.  She was largely responsible for my success, she was my greatest supporter, in  MANY MANY ways.   My success was indeed hers, as well.

So now that I’ve allowed you “in” a bit, stay tuned for what may be a huge success or a major disappointment! ha!    I am writing this looking for friends who write, to join groups and blogs where other authors share their talent, hopes and dreams.   Because I believe those that the friendships that come from this are “MEANT TO BE!”

Calling all pens, pencils and keyboards!!!!  Love and peace to all who read this!

 

 

 

LLLLLong Winter

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This has been the longest winter in my life’s time, challenging on too many levels.   BE POSITIVE DONNA!    “Okay, I am positive this has been the longest and most challenging winter in my life’s time!”

I finally sat down to paint last night.   First time this year.  I have a custom I need to get done, and I’m looking forward to doing it, it will be a challenge, but one that reconnects me to my childhood and a childhood friend.   So I need to get my hands in shape so that they cooperate!  I have the drawing done… so I’m 1/4 way there!

I’m thinking about turning my humble abode into a wildlife preserve.  I live in Vermont, this year it will be 30 years in my home. I had a problem with squirrels only one winter season in all those years, and were “taken care of” with rat traps.  Last year I had them in my tiny shed, which is actually a kids playhouse that my mom bought me, a friend of hers had it for his daughter, it’s the cutest building, apparently cute to squirrels too.  They moved in and took over.  My mom and I cleaned them out of there twice, and it was all day projects.  They are awful! Now they are in my basement.

Last year also was the first year I had a problem with mice.   One day we caught 16!   They sure are cute little creatures, but man are they destructive and I swear they poop once a minute!    Mice crap everywhere!    If I had $1 for every poop I cleaned up, I would be vacationing right now! So if you want to invest in something, why not bleach? I’m bleaching my house to rid of all the diseases those things spread.

I have been doing all I know to do, and researching what else I can do to get rid of both, and on limited budget. I make headway, but you have to be vigilant, vacuuming daily, trapping, daily. The smart person would ask “Where are they coming in?” Well they are coming in from right under my front door, which has a small porch. I can’t get underneath it yet because it’s all frozen, and snow covered. I’ve been sealing where I have found cracks in my foundation both inside and out, I have an old house, but still the bastards find their way in. It’s maddening. And then, like I didn’t already have enough to do, I had a flood in my cellar, and my sump pump died.   I foolishly gave my brother my pellet stove when he was in need a couple years ago.    It would’ve helped with the humidity and moisture down there, and now, mold!   I’m taking longer to process things, I think about it before I offer it up.   Big heart, no brains becoming good heart, big brains!  Good news though, it took a good month for all the aches and pains to go away but that month is up!!!

Then I realized I had an infestation of moths which came into my home in a wool blanket that was given to me to use to felt and make pretties out of.  I lost four wool rugs upstairs   They started in a room that I barely go into, and then into my bedroom.    They aren’t the big moths, but small, maybe 1/2″ or smaller.   I am still in the process of getting rid of them. A friend helped get the rugs out, but there are stragglers and on the first floor (with three wool rugs and an investment of wool yarn). So at the moment my freezer is full of yarn. Oh, let me back up a minute; My refrigerator works and then doesn’t, it’s done this for a couple years. It’s old, hell it’s not as old as I feel! But if I play with the plug, it comes back on. I had been away for a couple days and it had stopped running. Everything in my freezer was unthawed. So that’s okay, because it’s a safe place for some of my yarn! Then the yarn for some reason was pushing the door open (um, it’s stuffed, full and my 3 season porch has the remains of my wool and coats, it’s out in the freezing cold so it will kill the larva.

When I took my mom to the emergency room, the doctor asked if she had a DNR. He asked if she would like to be resuscitated should some unfortunate incident occur. Her answer? YES! I looked at the doctor and said “Apparently I’m the only one in this room who wants a DNR”. He asked “are you sick?” I said “No!” The rest of the night he was looking at me strangely. That’s okay, I get that a lot! Oh well.

So tomorrow I’m thinking about offering the squirrels a thanksgiving feast of peanut butter and some more decon!

There’s been a slew of other things going on, that i will spare you from hearing. Your welcome! And then my mother dying. It’s been a horrible winter. I can’t even say I’m looking forward to Spring and summer because I’ve been overeating and gained weight. So I need to put on my big girl pants and start walking.  WHEN the ice leaves!

In the overall scheme of things, I’m sure I have it good. But I’m tired to my bones, and my bones hurt from the cold. Enough whining.  Glad wildlife is having sex in my house and multiplying.   At least SOMETHING is getting a little!!!    %#$@#3

Tomorrow I have a day trip planned with a friend. It will be healing, unless the car blows up! ha!

Hope your winter has been better than mine! Looking for a house in VT really cheap?   And now I have a HOT Saturday night date with my pillow!

 

Familiarity

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My sister left for home last night.     On my arrival home from bringing her to the airport, I found tears running down my cheeks, I had felt it coming, there was nothing I could do or tell myself that would deter this, so I just let it happen.    My mother is gone.  She will never again step foot in my home, we will never work on another project together, we will never fight again, she has passed into the unknown.   I had to DO something, I had to get my hands busy because my mom wouldn’t like for me to get lost into grief again, so I pulled out a frame I had found at a thrift shoppe and filled it with pictures of family members we’ve lost, my mom and my two sisters.   I was happy with the way it turned out, even though it took a couple hours longer than it should’ve, but what else was I going to do?   I cried my eyes to sleep last night while watching Frasier.

The world seems foreign to me now.   Just like it did when we lost our kid sister.   It isn’t nearly as kind or caring, and I have one less source of unconditional love, one less person I could depend on if I needed her.   Everything in my world has changed, again.

Today I drove to Walmart for a few things today, and found myself walking aimlessly around the store.  Going from one end, to the other, back to the first.  I had my list on my phone what I needed to get, and I looked at it at least 4 times while there, and still came home with one thing I forgot to get.   What is this?  What am I feeling?  Why am I feeling like this is “Scatterday?”, I felt familiarity, and as hard as I tried to distract myself, engage myself in things like $1 a yard Waverly fabric, or yarn clearance, I just couldn’t get into it.  My creativity was on strike, and I found myself doing stupid things, unable to focus, unable to make a sound decision on sachets for my bureau.  What the hell?   Looking at things I  had no idea why, and dodging people I knew, it finally hit me.   GRIEF.    This is grief!  Of course it feels familiar.   No wonder my stomach was upset, and when i heard the screaming child in the next aisle over, I felt as if every nerve ending in my body was exposed to this, breathe, breathe, breathe.  I was talking to myself, and found myself saying, thinking “GO, GO NOW!”  Like Hannibal Lechter said to Jody Foster’s character in “Silence of the Lambs”.  Harshly, forcefully.  I went right to the self check out.

It’s been 13 days since my mom died.   Today is the first day I’ve been on my own without the security of siblings since we said goodbye to her.   Today was no longer about the end of my moms life, today is about the beginning of my life without my mother.

I filled the basket with sugar related items, this is how I feed my hurting heart, my aching soul.   It will only last a day or two and then I’ll get mad at myself for doing so, and hopefully, with the help of a tight wasted, uncomfortable pair of jeans, will walk away from sugar and seek water, food, nourishment.  I know there is absolutely nothing I can eat that will take away this pain, or sorrow.   But I will still do it.   Because for a few minutes I feel normal, I feel peaceful, I feel nothing.Spent some time on the phone today with my cousin and sister, also texted with my brother.  We’re all “checking in” on each other.  I’m grateful for that.   And while the list is short today, I did do one kind things for another, which always makes me feel better.  I delivered some lemon frosted shortbread cookies to a friend who is in rehab for a broken hip.  She said “I’m sure you’re in a hurry.”  I replied “No, I’m really not, I’m just not right, and I just want to get home to my cat, my beads, my brushes, my comfy clothes, safe in the confines of my humble little abode.

So now, post sugar fix, my energy level has been depleted, and I will either take a nap, or engage myself in a project like I did last night.    Whichever I do, whichever I choose, I will be kind to myself, and allow myself to feel this pain, to face this loss, this significant loss.

 

 

In celebration of she

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Today we gathered as a family to celebrate my moms life.   My sisters and brothers families were there, we were minus only a handful to make the gathering “whole”.  My mom would’ve loved to have seen us all there together, and as I watched the “goings on” of all,  I know she would’ve been so pleased that so many came the long distance, and at great expense, to honor and celebrate her life.    My parents divorced many decades ago, but my dad and his girlfriend came.   I saw my dad physically choke up once or twice,  particularly when he was watching the slide show that my niece’s husband put together from our combined collection of pictures of my mother.  My parents were married 27 years, they had five children, built two family homes from scratch to finish with very little “contracting” out.   At one point I walked up to my dad and hugged him, told him how lucky we were to have him.  His reply?   “No, Donna, how lucky I am to have all of you!”

Alongside the pictures of my mother playing on the screen, depicting happy times, a playlist I had created for my mother a couple years ago played in the background.   The choice of flowers, white mums, roses, and a spray of blue delphinium, were absolutely beautiful.   My mother would’ve absolutely loved it.  Filling the inner circle of this wreath sat a beautiful urn with mother of pearl enhancements that contained my mothers remains.   My mom loved mother of pearl, abalone, it was her favorite stone.  On the same table were “keepsakes” that mom had saved, postcards, letters, cards, pictures.  It was so tastefully done, and I know my mother would’ve approved.  I know she would have!  Also included were pictures of my youngest and oldest sisters, whom I hope and pray mom is reunited with.

Last night my niece made dinner for all of us, including my dad, his girlfriend, three of my brother’s four children, daughter-in-law,  My sisters husband, both of her children, son-in-law, and two of her grandchildren, my brothers friend, and her daughter.

One of the nicest things for me to hear was “young cousins” playing, laughing.   It was magical for me, and reminded me of my own, our own childhood gatherings with cousins.  It helped give sense to my moms passing – New generations making memories that will hopefully last them a long lifetime.   Oh the truly innocent and silly things they were doing, like making farting noises down a heat vent from the second floor of the farmhouse into the  first floor kitchen where the adults were gathered.    It was their laughter that I hope to never forget, I hope THEY never forget!

I could not be happier with how nice today turned out, the last couple of days actually.  I’m writing this blog so that in the days to come when we are all back to our busy lives, and feeling the loss of my mother, I can come back to this to recall, relive, reunite with the love that flowed, commonality, my family.

My mother was the strongest woman I’ve ever met.   I will always love her and be grateful for giving me life, and teaching me all she did.  I will miss her love, her encouragement, her help, her care when I was ill, her sense of humor.   I will miss her!

Now, personally, the events of this past week, up to and including my mothers passing, has made me realize that I have some work to do on myself.  I will likely share about this in future blogs, because writing is a valuable, helpful tool for me.   But it’s going to be okay, I will be okay, because I know I’m still teachable!

My daily goal, first and foremost, is peace.   In order to achieve this, I need to learn some new skills on how to handle my own emotions, particularly “anger”.    This is probably something most learned in childhood, but I was such an “emotional child” (annoyingly sensitive I’ve been told!)  it was easier for my family to not deal with my emotions, to perhaps “pacify” me.   I am NOT blaming anyone, I believe my parents, my family, myself, we all did our best.     But what worked then (well, it really didn’t even work then either), no longer works and is not appropriate.

I have spent the last couple months stuck in anger.  This wasn’t the first time this has happened, the last time it was this severe was a few months after my sister died.   I ended up hospitalized with such.  I have made many changes in my life, I have consistently improved upon myself, and the quality of my life, my choices, the people in it.   I’ve created a safe, loving, peaceful (for the most part) life for myself.   But what good are these changes,  learning how to set boundaries, recognizing when I’m being taken for granted, standing up for myself, and all the changes I’ve made if I don’t go “all the way” and change my OWN inappropriate behavior?!?    I am the only one who can do this for myself!   Anger scares me – my own and others.    Certainly I can learn new skills!   My life, my relationships will improve.  Particularly when circumstances and opportunities to which the only control I have is how I handle myself!       Yup!   It’s time.

Tell those you love how much they mean to you.  Forgive others who trespass against you.   Forgive yourself.    If you can’t say it, write it, or say it with flowers, or sweets.    To quote Nike…..     Just do it!

Rambling grief

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My siblings have graciously and generously taken care of all the necessary final arrangements.  My mother did not want a service, she was adamant about this.    So they have generously arranged for a private family dinner in which we will celebrate her life.   My brother has offered his home for family and friends to stop by afterwards if desired.   I want to share that I am overwhelmed by all the thoughts and messages, prayers being said for me and my family.

The reality that she is gone hits me sporadically and infrequently.   It’s still not real yet.  If that makes any sense.  I’ve been practicing self care, resting the past few days, working on her obituary, which I must say hasn’t come easily.  I remember an obituary of someone who I knew, and despised, and my jaw was sitting on my chest throughout the whole obituary because it was so uncharacteristically her, and I had thought about becoming an obituary writer after reading it.   Clearly, you can say anything you want, make up things, be anything you want or want them to be in an obituary!   For me, I wanted it to be an honest assessment of my mothers life.   I wanted to touch upon the things that were most meaningful and important to her.  Doing so required sorting through many memories and feelings. and spanned the last five decades of her life that I was aware of.

I look around my house and I’m reminded of how much my mom did for me.  We tackled projects together, including painted furniture that she would strip, fix, and I would paint.    She rarely sat, she was always busy.  Sometimes that used to drive me nuts.  And the things that she did that used to irk me, like leaving cleaning agents in nooks and crannies around the house, today made me smile.  My house will NEVER AGAIIN be as clean as it was then when my mom was staying here or house sitting!   Last night when I did the dishes I remember her saying to me “the warmth on your hands is healing, Donna, let it nurture your hands”.   For the record, my dishwasher also died, and I haven’t yet nurtured my hands today!  And for over a decade now, my mom took care of all my flower gardens, and yard.   Her and my friend Joe who took care of the lawn, both of whom will no longer be doing that.   I will deal with that when the snow is gone.  Perhaps I’ll get back into gardening?

My mother and I couldn’t be more opposite in some ways, and in others we were side by side, I echoed her.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but I know that both of these things were obvious in our relationship.  Sometimes it’s because you are very much alike that personalities clash!

I’m not liking this particular journey of grief.   Actually, I haven’t liked any other either.  But this loss, this is vast.     I can’t even comprehend it yet.  Am I saying it is greater than my other losses?    I don’t know, I just know it’s seemingly different, in the short time since she passed.  As I go through pictures to share with my siblings, I’m also sorting through memories.   My mother would surprise me many times I was away teaching.  I’d come home and she’d have not only cleaned the house but also did extras, things that I was meaning to do just hadn’t yet found the time.   I remember the first time I traveled after my ex boyfriend and I split.  I have mentioned on numerous occasions he was an alcoholic, a binge drinker.  Well, when I started to travel teach, I was weary when I’d pull out of the driveway on a Thursday or Friday to travel to my gig.   I didn’t trust him, and was afraid that he’d get drunk and would lose one of my animals (accidentally) or burn my house down.  So when I came home the first time after we split and my mom had stayed at my house (with my 4-5 animals), I was delighted to come home to a super clean house, new scatter rugs, and other small things that really were appreciated.  Although, she was far more excited over a toilet bowl brush than i was!    Seriously!  I remember thinking how nice it was to have someone “on my side” or working with me with housework and goals.

I am afraid of grief.   I am afraid because it can be such a deep dark hole, an emptiness, a seemingly endless journey of sadness, at least it was for me when my youngest sister died, and when I learned Jim had died.  I’ve been reading articles online how to help yourself, things you can do to help move your grief along if you are feeling stuck.  I haven’t felt stuck because I haven’t yet accepted it.  But I know from experience that there will be a time that I do, and it will probably be when I get angry.  If you’ve never read any of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross work, her writing was amazing, her work with the dying was ground breaking.  Both my mother and I enjoyed her books, and my mother doing hospice work shared many things with me.   It’s time to pull back out the book written by hospice workers that I cannot seem to recall  its title, but I will.  I will probably have to buy it again, which I have done probably five times, because I always seem to pass it along to someone else who was in need of comfort, understanding, who was walking the difficult path of grief.  I want to say “Final gifts”.

I’ve kept fairly alone this week, which works for me.  Once an extrovert, I have long since moved over to the introverts side, and I heal, process alone.    At one point in my life I was afraid to be alone, as if it said something horrible about me that I wasn’t “in love”.    Those days are long gone, and while I long for loving touch, I am comfortable with my life.  I think each person has to define whether coming home to an empty house evokes loneliness or freedom!    And that can vary day by day, certainly when walking through grief.    I’ve gone from having 5 pets, two dogs and 3 cats, down to one geriatric cat who at the age of 18 years old has the whole house to herself.  She was always low man on the totem pole.   All the other animals would pick on her, but now she’s showing them!     I thought I was losing her a couple months ago, i mean, she is obviously showing signs of age, she sleeps a lot, but she had stopped eating, and had become alarmingly thin.   I’m pleased to say she is doing much better, and I love looking over at the second chair in my living room and seeing here there.  I’ve resisted offers and desires to get more animals because it’s just so expensive to have them, and I have been fortunate to have friends who helped me get their flea and tick stuff, shots, and also in putting them down when their quality of life became unacceptable to me.

I don’t know why I’m struggling so with second guessing the pain meds I kept asking for with my mom.    As close as I can come to the fear of it, is that it silenced her.  And my mother was hardly the quiet soul.     She and I had a pact when it came to my animals.   She really was good to them, and my dogs lived at her house half the time because of how much I traveled.  But I digress.   The pact was, if I was letting one of my animals live in a manner that was less than quality of life, she would tell me.  Because I never wanted them to suffer, ever.   So in recalling this, why would I question doing the same with my mom?  It isn’t as if we euthanized her, but my mother has always responded drastically to the smallest dose of most meds.  Was there more she wanted to say?  The fact that I, we had the last word with her offers little comfort from a strong woman who always seemed to have the last word.

Back to being alone, one with myself, tomorrow I am going out to get my hair done. I’m looking skunk (ish) with roots.   I tried doing this the other day, but I couldn’t sit in my own skin while I was waiting for my girlfriend to finish with her previous client.   I bowed out, leaving her a note, because I just wasn’t doing well physically or emotionally.     I hope tomorrow goes better.

Hope you had a nice day, hope you smiled today and shared with loved ones how much they mean to you.  It’s important, and in the overall scheme of life, it goes by so fast.

Love and good thoughts being sent to you .  Thanks for reading!