The itsy bitsy spider…

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I had fully intended to have a Donna Day, pj’s, Bose, paint brush in hand.   I did all of these, but I have been distracted all day, combined with the untreated ADHD, we are talking some major bouncing today.

Received some very hard news this morning that is not up to me to share, but I have been sick to my stomach all day.   Perhaps one day I will be able to share on it all, but right now I cannot, and will not until I have permission.

As everyday comes and goes I am always reminded of how short life is.   To see my great niece and nephew’s pictures on fb, I am shocked at how much they have grown and matured.  There has been so much that has happened this year, in the past year and a half, that I can’t even keep up.   My head feels like I am on a hampsters wheel this minute, trying to wrap my head around all the changes.   I think of my dad who will be 85 in a couple months, and how difficult that situation is, I guess when your parents are that age you have to think about their passing, but Lewy Body Dementia.    NOT FAIR.  But NOTHING has been fair in my family.

I have been feeling good, accessing some hard times and working diligently on the book I promised myself I would write 10-15 years ago.   As a creative I sometimes feel like I am channeling, because I sometimes read back what I have wrote, or painted, and I think “who did that?”   And just when you think you’ve caught a break, something else shows up to knock you to your ass.  Yes, I know, this is life.  We were never told life would be fair, nor was I born with a silver spoon in my mouth.   But I come from strong line of parents.   Brave parents.   I have often shared about how they taught me to be resourceful.    As an artist it is a wonderful trait and skill to have.

Right now I am not centered, and I am walking in circles, and if I allow myself to feel anything today it is anger.  But we all know that anger is a whole lot easier to feel than emotional pain, or sadness.    I have thought about those souls who “cut” themselves.   It offers relief from their pain, their torment, but of course it’s temporary.   But what I am reminded again today is that everything is temporary.

In my life I have vacillated through much.    Decades ago now when I had to have a sportscar, or designer clothes.   Those days are long gone.   That doesn’t mean I don’t have dreams or see cars that I like and say “damn”, it’s just that for a long time, I have struggled with basic survival needs.   Right now while I am not where I want to be, but I am so better off than I have been in a long time.    I sometimes think to myself “When I get here, I will be okay, etc.”    Then days like today I am reminded that TODAY, this moment is all we have.   Rather than beat myself up for where I wanted to be at this point in my life, I am taking a very deep breath tonight, saying prayers of thanks, and asking for  the ability to help someone I love.

Life isn’t about money, yes, it is easier to have it, I remember the days fondly when I could buy whatever I wanted, but now those things mean very little to me.   The greatest commodity we have is time.   Tomorrow is promised to no one.    The successes in my life have to be celebrated each day, not as certain intervals that I think would bring me more happiness, or at a lower weight, or whathaveyou.    Future’s have a way of falling down in midflight.     So today I am right back to basics, and feeling grateful for where I am, that I have a comfortable bed to sleep in, that I have food in my refrigerator, that I have a place called home, and that as far as I know today, right now, I have my health.   Cannot stress enough how if you have your health you have it all.    If you don’t understand this, you one day will.  I think it’s a right of passage per say.  When you or someone you love is faced with serious illness, the gift that comes out of it if you’re strong enough to grab it, is perspective.

I take things for granted, we all do.    We leave our driveway and take for granted that we are going to go to the grocery store and come back with food, safely.     We take for granted much.    And yet, how I feel right now tonight, is that it is the recipe, or all that we take for granted that really can define your life one day.    It’s the smaller things in life, the tiny steps, the smiles, the tears, reaching out your hand to someone in need, these are the things that really matter.    I am reminded when I spent some time at Mass General Hospital with serious illness, infection, and the night prior to being admitted I had been bitching about my hard mattress, and stupid shit that the next day, upon admission and realizing I was in a fight against time, none of that mattered.  It didn’t matter.    When I passed the danger zone and was released and I drove myself home, and I got home, the very things I had been unhappy with a week before were now embraced, loved, as luxuries.

It’s impossible not to take things for granted, otherwise we would live in constant fear, etc.   But in the classic christmas movie, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it right now, but he grabs the broken stair bannister and smiles, celebrates it.  I think if we can recognize that everything here is temporary, so you do your best (if that’s who you are, and you give it your best, and if it’s a hard day, you hope tomorrow will be better, but if for some reason you don’t wake up tomorrow, or tomorrow comes with more calamity, what were the simple things of yesterday that you had that you wish you had on this new day?

I am not a religious person, I am highly spiritual however, and I try not to judge others, but I fail, and I give my life my best, and some days, I can’t get out of my own way.    I win, I swear like a parrot at times because it makes me feel tougher, and that somehow I will not be hurt again, or being tough will keep others at bay.  Whatever.    It’s all so stupid, it’s meaningless.

Life isn’t about hiding from the hard shit.  It’s about walking through it, and if you’re fortunate, coming out the other side.  It’s about growth from A – Z, it isn’t about the destination but the journey.     How brilliant our lives would be if we were appreciative of the smaller things.

I am going to try to be kinder to myself, I am going to try to slow my mind down, feel each step as I take it, and look around to what is there, and I hope I will become more aware and appreciative of the things that I take for granted.   I have been doing this somewhat with my painting.   I used to paint something to finish it.  Not anymore, I work on it slowly, sporadically, I think about it, where I want to go with it, what I like about it, or what I don’t.   It has made me a better artist.    So no doubt, slowing my ass down and recognizing all that I have to be grateful for, will make me a better, happier person.

Go forth, in love and acceptance of yourself and others.  And I pray that from this moment forward I will not overlook the itsy bitsy things that are more precious than gold!

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Structured rambling

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If the past few weeks has taught me only one thing, it is that time waits for no one.   I have some serious goals for myself, including getting the book I have been writing for years, done!     So I am setting structure for myself.  I will be painting, walking, writing each day.

I have always steered clear of structure.   I guess I think if I don’t do it, I am a free agent and no one is telling me what to do.   But doh!   What if this is good for me?  And I know it is, so get out of your own head and make it happen!!!  (me to self)

Thoughts today have been on my mom.   Missing her.   Her Siberian Irises are in full bloom, as well as the Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart, and more.      I talk to her when I am outside because that is where she spent the majority of time when she was here.

As true with any loss, if only we could have “one more” everything.    I was fortunate to have her for so long, but it wasn’t long enough.  And then a friend and I were walking our dogs and talking about how difficult it is when a parent dies.   It really is so hard.   The day after my mother died I woke up and the world was a different place for me.  There is no other way to describe it.  I felt vulnerable, because my biggest protector in life was no longer here.  My girlfriend described it this way.    When you have your family, your parents, it is like you have this safe house with loved ones.  When a parent dies it is like the roof is blown off.     I nodded.   Vulnerability.

Those closest to me know how difficult the first year has been without her.   Winter was hell.   Also as true with loss is the painful reality that we feel on the first birthday, holiday, without them.   The “firsts” of everything hurts.   Sometimes I feel her essence and I am very grateful for this.   Until you lose a parent, you will not fully grasp how hard it is.   The day we lose my father will be a frightening day for me for several reasons.   I pray it isn’t soon, but I also pray he will not suffer with this “Lewy Body Dementia” shit.    But I know too much on it.

I have been thinking about life.   You are raised, schooled, taught, and then you start your own life.   You find a spouse, or significant others, and  most will have their own families, children, and then grandchildren, etc.    With this life you are constantly growing, learning, because there is no quicker way to learn than to teach something!   I wasn’t able to have children.  So my life has been different, but not bad.    I believe in “What’s meant to be will be”.   Children for me, was not meant to be.   Have long since accepted that.   But I have been active in my nephew and nieces life and always will be.  They bring me much joy, they are entertaining, they are perfectly imperfect beings.  I just love them.    But they are busy with their own lives.    As they should be!

A lot of my friends are single.   A lot of my friends are childless.  Many of us have furry kids.   Lilly brings me much joy.    It wasn’t that long ago I had two dogs and three cats.  I used to say “Every single self employed artist needs five animals!”    But truly, they were so important to me, and I was fortunate to have them, and had friends and my mom to help me here.   My animals probably spent equal time with my mom when I travel taught.    It was funny to see the “loyalty” shift back and forth.

With the exception of my australian shepherd “Brody”, all others were rescues.   And it’s interesting when you rescue an animal, or so you think, and then you realize that they rescued YOU!!   I had to put my cat Zoe down because she was sick and I didn’t have the money to get her treated.  It has tortured me.   I feel like I failed her, and while she lived 14-15 years, my other two cats were 19 when they died.   Anyway, I prayed daily for them all to stay healthy (I had adopted them when I was in a relationship and we lived together).    Little did I know Brody would outlive him!

Rambling, and that’s okay.    Doesn’t matter if you are single, married, straight, gay, white, black, I hope you do have loved ones in your life.  I hope you have experienced this.   I believe there is only a couple things we take when you die… love and love!    I hope when it is my turn, I will take with me much love.   Peace to all reading this.      xx

And once again, the pendulum swings

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May has proven to be a difficult month for me.  In between praying for death with an abscess tooth, I have lost two women who were both significant in my life.

First, a woman who was like a second mom to me.  I met her at 19 years of age.  I would go to her, numerous and various times throughout my life when battered by the world and events.     She would help me make sense of it.    When in my early 20s tragedy struck when my brother’s girlfriend was in an automobile accident, killing both her (18) an her 14 years old cousin.)  I went to grief counseling, I went and talked to a couple pastors, none offered me the acceptance that came until I spoke to Judy.   I will never forget her words, that just helped me through this difficult time.  “What makes you think God only wants to be surrounded with old souls?”   I think of this statement whenever I hear someone young has died.

Judy was an intelligent woman who kept up on world affairs.    She loved her family, her partner, her friends, and I was so fortunate to be one of them.    When she smiled, the world smiled, it was such a nice scene.  I hope I always remember her smile.   She encouraged me, time and time again, and guided me (when asked) throughout my life.    I remember learning after stopping by to see her, that she had metastatic breast cancer.  I stuck pretty close to her after that.   Weekly contact, visits when I could.   I am so grateful that I did this, now.   I wanted to help her, as she has helped me throughout my life.  She was wise, patient, and incredibly kind.  She was so good to me, and I miss her horribly.  I can’t think of her without tears running down my face.  I know time will help me learn how to live and accept life without her, and she always told me she would always be there for me, even when I couldn’t see or hear her.  How blessed I was to have her on my side.

This morning I learned that my 90 year old mentor and friend, Barbara passed away.   It really hasn’t fully sunken in yet.    You know that protective denial we are sometimes gifted with when the pain is more than we can bear?   Barbara was an amazing artist, worked in several mediums.   She had traveled a lot, had seen so much in her long life.  I loved hearing her stories.  She was always so generous with sharing them.  The small town we live in will undeniably feel this loss, a community will grieve together.

Having only high school art class as education, I learned so much from Barbara.   She had a keen eye, an eye that instantly told me where my artwork needed work.    She was so creative, always painting for charities, for fund raisers for her beloved church, and writing articles for the Historians, or papers.    She had presence.   When she would attend my art classes, my students would look at what I did, then they would look over to Barbara to see what she did!   It was comical.   “When are we going to learn what Barbara just painted?”     I liked to jokingly take credit for all her artistic abilities and talent, I am smiling recalling this.   She taught me, and many of my students so much.

It’s been tradition for over a decade now that we would have a private ornament class, she, her niece, and myself.     The last time was in October of last year and I remember when her niece and i were looking at Barbara’s finished ornaments and realizing how much she had lost.  She was seeing things differently, forgetting, and i know that moment when we both saw this, we both started mourning for her then.   It is so sad to see someone you love with failing health.  It was hard to look at her last ornaments and not grab them to fix them.

I could go on and on about both of these beautiful women.   And I will in separate writing.    I am going to be 58 years old this year, this is the time when “losing people” typically begins.  It’s a cold fact of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier.    When I learned of Barbara’s passing I wanted to call my mom, she passed last year, and then I thought i needed to call Judy, who just passed two weeks ago.  My life as I know it, and the luxury of having these quality women in my life has changed with both their passings.  You always think you have more time…  at least I did.

So today, I just want to talk about these losses.   To suggest to you to reach out to those you love, even if for a brief phone call or visit.   Time waits for no one, and while both of these women lived much longer lives than others i have lost and grieved for, their presence, their smiles, their strengths and weaknesses will be forever present in my heart.    I know I am a better person for having known both of these women, and I know I am a better artist for having studied with Barbara for several decades.  How fortunate I was, how fortunate I am that I will take all they gave to me with me as I face the future without them.   Right now it seems fairly dark, but I know, this too shall pass, and the many gifts they taught and gave me, I will try to give to others.

As the rain falls outside my window, it matches my emotions.   Today is a hard day, May has been a tough month, and life is so short.    The pendulum of life and death has hit hard this month.   And this, too shall pass.

 

Saying goodbye

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Today I asked for prayers for strength and courage from friends, and drove to the nursing home where a friend is in liver failure.  Our friendship started just shy of 40 years ago.   As I walked to the door of the place, my legs felt wobbly, rubbery, and I had to stop a couple of times to breathe, to pray.    The place appeared like a madhouse to me, but that is coming from someone who feels other peoples feelings, energies, (Yes, I am crazy to most).  I felt like I was in a boxing rink until I arrived at her door.   Had to turn my head when I saw her, it had been 2 weeks since I had seen her, and she has declined greatly.    I sat on her bed, and grabbed her hand.   The first thing I did was cry, and tell her I loved her.   I am not beating myself up for this.    I have no doubt that she knows she is dying, and her love is and has been unconditional.   Her love has been a true gift for me in various times of my life when I felt like I didn’t want to, or could go further, and she pulled, sometimes dragged me through it.

As I sat there, I smiled at her many times, said some things, first of all, thanking her for everything she has done for me.  There were times when she was right there with me, so weak I had to lean in to hear what she was saying, and while I couldn’t interpret all, I did hear her say “love, love, love, love you!”    I told her she was “my Edie”, a woman her senior, that mentored her throughout her life, with love and incredible grace, the same way she had me.  She shook her head up and down.   I squeezed her hand.

The longer I was there I realized the less I needed to say.    All I needed to do was sit with her, hold her hand.   She was easily confused, organs shutting down and morphine play a part of that.  What do you say to someone who is at the end of their life?

Flashback to my kid sisters bedside four days before she passed, 16 years ago now. at the age of 38.   She had told our older sister who was there caregiving that I had to be serious, not my wise cracking self.    That wasn’t easy.  It meant sitting with enormous pain i was feeling in my heart, or not distracting from her skeletal cancer ridden body and knowing this would be the last face to face conversation I would have with my kid sister.   I selfishly said to her “I hope I have been a good sister to you”.    She turned her head, telling me NOPE, we aren’t going there.   And then it became clear to me.   None of this scenerio was about me.  It was about her.  And so started the next level of understanding within myself, the understanding that while I sat holding my sisters hand, my heart bleeding, right then, right there, this moment was about her.     I look back and shake my head, thinking, how could I have been so far off target?  You live, you learn, and with every goodbye, you learn.

I am reminded that everyone deals with death differently.    NO ONE escapes it.   When you are there with them at the end, you can’t live the life you’ve had with them over, you can’t make things better, or take away their physical or emotional pain, or even your own.   But bearing that pain, sitting with them, sometimes in silence as they rest, or stare off elsewhere, is really a wonderful gift that we can give them.    For the moments where they are lucid, that we will hold onto for probably our lifetime, and the moments in between where you want to be somewhere, anywhere else, but here, now.  It is not an easy thing to do, and it doesn’t get easier.

It is okay to cry, to show emotion, it is okay to tell them you are going to miss them, or that you don’t know how you will live without them, but THEN you tell them, you will find a way, and you give them permission to let go, you convince them, in your own fragile emotional state, that you will be okay.  Why?   Because this time isn’t about you, or me.    This time is all about the person whose life is ending.    The future without them, your own personal hell will begin soon enough.   The journey of grief is a hard trek.  But it is also unescapable.

This friend experienced a near death experience many moons ago when she was in Maine on her summer excursions.  Years of hers and her partners life was spent in a camping ground with others, right alongside York Beach.   This is what they loved, this is where they found peace, solace, this is where they visited with and acquired many good close friends.     She had emergency surgery, and when she came out of this, with a temporary colostomy bag, she just kept telling everyone close to her “I love you, I love you, if we don’t see each other for 20 years and something happens to me, please don’t ever worry about it, it is ALL about LOVE”.      And she was all about love.  She learned in that horrible time, when her family and friends were holding their breaths in fear of losing her, that life, and where we go from here is all about LOVE.

We have had many talks on this subject.   My favorite, was a three way conversation in which she and I both said “you go from believing, or wanting to believe, to knowing”.     We were the lucky ones, as we got the message.   Nothing else in life will ever compare or bring you greater joy, or greatest loss, than love.  Both her and I have had experiences that gifted us from “wanting to believe” to “knowing”.  I know that when you die, it isn’t over.   That’s why she knew to forgive, and she forgave me several times.  We are all but human.  Perfection should not be expected of humans, or it is is, then right then and there we haven’t yet accepted that we are perfectly imperfect, all humans are perfectly imperfect.   The sooner we accept this about ourselves, regardless of what anyone else has to say about our “errs or lessons” the sooner we will find peace…   And what is the difference between an error and a lesson?    Simple… you learn from the experience.  Sometimes you learn at a different pace than those around you, or they, you.

Hope changes.  The most we can ask for when someone is dying is that they be comfortable, at peace.   Words of love can be said through your touch, your presence.   There is sometimes nothing you can do or say, and when your heart is up in your throat and the tears are falling down your cheeks onto their hand, their arm, that is okay, too.     But then you get strong again, and you remind yourself that this is not yet about you (if ever).  This is all about them.

I remember reading the book “Final Gifts”.  I have since bought and given that book out probably a dozen times or more, to friends.  It’s written by hospice workers, who share what is “normal” in the dying process.   And I use that word loosely.     There are phenomenas that have happened, over and over again.    They’re seeing people who have previously passed.   Who are we to say that person isn’t there for them in their transition?   Some will say “drugs, delusions”, and yet it happens to many, many, many.

Tonight my heart hurts, and the past couple days I have cried many tears, and know there is a river or more coming, but I also feel full of love, I feel her love, as I sat with her.    The first time I pick up the phone to call her, or email her, or stop by her house, it’s going to hurt like a son–of-a-bitch, it’s unescapable.     I have a cousin who works in the field of mental health, she and I have had some heart to heart interesting conversations.  One day she said to me “I try to talk to the patients about just sitting with their feelings”.   That is quite deep and NOT easily mastered.   But if we can sit, watching whatever horrors unfold (every person has their own plethora of fear), and just be present, we are sitting in grace.

The ability to sit in your pain, to put on a brave face and give your loved one permission to leave when our heart doesn’t want nor knows how to say goodbye, when you can do this, I believe, you are experiencing and giving the highest level of love.    You don’t want them to leave, you see their pain or discomfort and by the end of their  passing you are grateful that they are out of pain, that they are at peace.    Your prayers go from that of and including ALL five phases of grief (Elisabeth Kubler Ross), to please, take them soon.  You want their pain over for them, even though that means for yourself, great loss and pain.   This is LOVE!  You are sending them off in love.

I have found in life, when I am able to sit with my greatest fears, sometimes watching them unfold before my eyes, the reality is not nearly as bad as living in fear.    This journey from birth to death to whatever you do or don’t believe, is doable with LOVE.  And if you read the final words of men of “great success”, in the end a hospital bed is just a hospital bed, whether it cost $10 or $10k.

Another friend visited.  It was hard for her to see her friend this way.   She said “I will pray for a miracle.”  I said “she wouldn’t want that, because she knows where she is going, and at the end of all this horrible (and it is hell) illness, she will return to LOVE.  And that is all they will take with them when they leave.

Obviously, this blog isn’t for everyone, and obviously not everyone “believes” or “knows” what I do, or visa versa.  It doesn’t matter what your religion or NOT.   It doesn’t matter your Faith or NOT.   It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor.  It doesn’t matter your skin color.  Somehow, someway, it is LOVE that will get you through it, and you’ve done your very best to send your loved one off with LOVE.    “It’s all about love!” she said repeatedly, when she survived her near death experience.

One more note, I have learned that when someone you love passes, the love doesn’t stop.  It grows, miraculously.   It grows with new appreciations of what you “didn’t know then”, through missing, and more.     Their life end, here, is a painful event for us, it’s a hard chapter in our own book of life.   But it’s inevitable.     Kindness matters.  Love matters.   Helping another matters.     Mother Theresa  “I have found a paradox in love, if I love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, only more love”. 

 

 

Should’ve known better…

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Earlier today when I started to walk outside my front door in only a long t-shirt, that alone should’ve warned me to keep my ass home today.  If only.

Anyway, post sleeping the majority of the day, I wake up to realize I’m low on cold meds, so I get in my car and drive to Walgreens.    My head feels about three times its normal size….   “If I die, I die”  I’m thinking.  Yes I did say that.     6 miles up the road I get pulled over, blaring blue lights, was kind of pretty in my review window and side mirrors…

“License and registration please?”   I asked permission to get into my purse.    “Where are you going in such a hurry?”    My throat is raw, I’m trying to remember exactly where I put all my driving stuff.    I fortunately just registered my car yesterday BEFORE it actually ran out.   “Bear with me, I am not feeling well.     I was headed to Walgreens for meds or to find a job as a Barry White impersonator”.       I find the info, hand it to him, he then asks for my insurance….   I find that too in my purse.

As he goes back to the cruiser I’m thinking “How much is this jot going to cost me??”   He comes back, issues me a verbal warning.  I thank him, tell him I appreciate the break.  As I continue on my way I realize i haven’t eaten anything all day, so perhaps I should go to McD’s for McNuggets.  (My niece got me hooked on these a few days ago).

I drive to McDonald’s and order “Two large teas, light ice, and 20 pieces of McNuggets, whichever way is cheaper”.    I was reading on the ordering menu that they had buy one get one free.  Oh great, I thought, tomorrow’s lunch!

I go to the window that they tell me to go to “the Pay here” window.  No one is there.  I wait.   No one comes, there is another car now behind me.  Okay, so I pull up to the next window.     “Oh, you can pay here!”     What sauce do you want?  blah blah blah

So I’m driving home instead of pulling over to get myself situated.   I just need to get to Walgreens and get my sick ass home.     On the highway I managed to open one box of McNuggets and felt my way through the bag for a container of sweet and sour sauce.    It slips out of my hand, I can feel my pants getting wet… Oh God.   Now I realize I have somehow managed to get sauce all over my steering wheel.    My hands were icky sticky with goo.     I give up on the sauce, and eat a few plain nuggets, driving slowly to not get stopped again.    Alas, I am home.   I get inside, my head is throbbing, my hopes for painting tonight are questionable as I walk thru my studio.    With a tea in one hand and the bag and my purse in my right (Believe me, my left hand is just indignant.  I will hold onto things with it I don’t even realize I am holding until my gf says “Do you think you can put that down?”   Shaking my head.    Seriously, I didn’t know what to do with this hand when I was playing basketball as a kid.   So any pics of me playing my hand looks like it has been broken, as I looked so foolishly on the courts.

I drive in my yard, alas.  I am home.    When the light comes on in my car it looks like a couple of packets of sauce made their way to my steering wheel AND my odometer.    It was all over the place.    I try to clean up what I can with napkins.    Hold on Donna, you’re almost there, you’re almost there.

I walk into my house balancing bags in my right hand, tea in my left.    My left hand did not disappoint (nor the added amount of tea from special ordering “light ice!”  I just dropped the tea.  All over it goes, on my island, my mail, and whatever else was on my island.   I want to cry, but by this time stubborness has kicked in, I am not going to let this get me down!    I move to find paper towel and SLIP on the tile floor that also is covered in sweet tea, and I unskillfully and comically landed in the middle of the puddle.  My hands still sticky with goo, trying to pull myself together, I manage to find the paper towel and used an entire roll of THE GOOD STUFF to get it cleaned up, and that wasn’t well either.   I proceed to the bathroom, peel off my pants that now smell like a combination of sweet and sour sauce mixed with sweet tea.

If anyone is looking for me, I’m heading back to bed before something else happens!  Oh yeah, I forgot to go to Walgreens, too!

The invisible woman

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I have been struggling with migraines the past month.   Yesterdays was #5.  Insurance paid for something that doesn’t work and makes my stomach feel like I’m ready to heave.  Ice is my best friend.   This is just another lovely thing I contend with, and I’m reminded that those who have never had one have no idea what its like.  How fortunate they are.  And you tell not one, but two people you have a migraine, and it means nothing.  I would tell them to feel better, say a prayer, and leave them be.  But then again, I know the pain of migraines.

I feel like I’ve been flailing my arms and talking loud to be heard, only to not be heard.   I have not the energy to talk louder, those who care listen.  Those who don’t, don’t.

Old family roles haunt me, and I am alone with my frustration.   What happens when that one person gives up?it isn’t about one person changing, it’s about all.    And worse for me, I don’t even think they understand or can comprehend the manner in which they treat me that is not acceptable.    It is not okay.    They’re doing what they’ve always done.    I’m left with throwing my hands up in the air and saying LISTEN TO ME!  To reverting back to painful pasts in which I felt violated, abused.  If nothing changes, nothing changes.

I was told in a nonchalant manner the other night while visiting my dad that he has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.  My heart is broken.  He is already struggling with memory, and it saddens me for what is to come.    My dad is sick.   My rock is shattering and the weight on my chest makes it hard to breathe.    “I didn’t tell you?”    What possible reason could you come up with for not telling his children that he was diagnosed with this awful disease?   And someone said to me “At least it’s not cancer!”.    WTF .   Really?

My yard is a mess and I have yet to start cleaning it up and raking.    I have disease in my hands that will prohibit me from painting, drawing, designing for weeks if not months, if I do repetitive crap like this.   Not to mention the pain of prying my hands open after doing this. There is downed branches, my house from the outside looks unloved.  Further complicated by living daily with four illnesses that define what I can do that day.   This too goes on deaf ears.  “You don’t look like you aren’t feeling good!”.  Oh yes, judgement.    That helps…NOT!   Do you know what its like to have people not believe you have limitations?  And because you don’t bitch or moan about them everyday, they’re easily “forgotten” if even believed?    I can only do my best.  I am feeling invisible. I don’t like feeling invisible.

Feeling defeated right now.   Feeling like I want to jump off a cliff and never look back.  When those who are “supposed to love you” take you for granted, use you.  I am feeling unappreciated, used, and tired.   The kind of tired that is only cured with Peace.  Peace takes work.   If I knew those I loved were feeling the way I am feeling, I would be very sad.  But you can’t make deaf ears hear or blind eyes see.

Old resentments harboring anger.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Trying to set limits on what is and what is not acceptable.   If only one person changes, only one person changes.  What makes the others think they’re entitled to remain the same?  What is that one person to do?   It’s uncomfortable to look at things that you’re doing that are harming another.    It’s easier to just do what you’ve always done, which today also makes me feel even more invisible.  I don’t like feeling invisible.

Perhaps tomorrow will look better, brighter.  Perhaps tonight I will get more than 2 hours and 38 minutes of sleep with 8 times awakened.  Perhaps tomorrow I will find the energy to start working more on my own life, and letting the background disappear.  Will they ever understand they are losing me?  Do they care?

Having a hard time trying not to future trip.   To the painful future my dad has in his view.  I cannot even think about what it will be like when he doesn’t recognize me, or know what he means to me, or has hallucinations or lives in fear of the demons invading his brain.     My dad is the best man I know.  He has been there for me always.  Always.  I will never know a love again like my dads.  And somehow I know, I will be holding his hand through this, just as he has done with me throughout my life.  Throughout the many times I felt alone while with my tribe.

Practicing gratitude ain’t working today.  But I’ll keep trying.  Perhaps tomorrow will be better???

 

 

 

 

 

And the beat goes on…

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Sometimes amongst the monotony of everyday life I find myself taking a deep breath, in awe of the personal growth I recognize in others, in myself.  Today has been one of those days that provide evidence of my own growth.    I sometimes wonder about others life experiences, what event in their life caused the most personal growth?

Things have been “clicking” for me the past few weeks.   I attribute it to the loss of my mother a year ago.   A difficult, strong woman who could plow anyone over with her opinions.   I was very grateful she was on my side!   But more than that, I attribute my growth to living life without her.

I know I was fortunate, and still am to have my dad at 57.   I am grateful for this.    I am also grateful for my own ability to forgive others, to look beyond past hurts or painful times and set myself free of anger, angst or stagnancy.   I don’t forgive another for them, I forgive them for me.  I learned this many many moons ago.  I do know how to forgive, I have gifted myself with this many times.  Others close to me have said “How do you do that?  How do you forget that?”    It really isn’t about forgetting.    It’s about moving forward, putting the unfortunate moments behind, but I never forget.

It’s been a week or two of sorting through feelings, examining relationships, behaviors, and recognizing that, in which I would like to change in myself, to add quality to my life.   Today I’ve been tossing around disappointment.   When someone you love disappoints you.   And when you realize, as you take stock, that this isn’t new behavior, but old, and perhaps the harshness of some everyday life events has exposed in myself an ability to see that which I couldn’t earlier.

Why do I see some people the way I want, with blinders?  Why do I seek accountability from a person who has rarely if ever been accountable?  Is this about the persons behavior or my own?   For me, it’s about my own.   Why look at someone with blinders?  We all know the “love is blind” saying, and yes, I do love the person who disappointed me.  What is it in my psyche, in my minds eye that hasn’t allowed me to see, or more important, just accept without expectation that which I’ve seen throughout my life?

I can’t change anyone else.   I know the pain of trying.   I also know the pain of defending someone I love who wasn’t “pulling their weight”.   I know the difference between helping and enabling, and I know the pain of failed outcome doing both!

I will find my way to forgiveness, because i just don’t have the desire or energy to hold onto the weighted disappointments.   Life has taught me that I cannot have peace without acceptance, and this situation is no different.    So how do you “love” someone, and detach with love?    This is old alanon teachings.   When I was regularly attended AlAnon I learned so much about myself, some things I’d rather have not seen.   But I also learned tools that helped me detach, give the other person the dignity of making their own decisions, even if I think they are heading in a direction that I think is dangerous.

I think sometimes about desensitizing.    Every time i read the news I think of how much I have desensitized, how I HAD TO for survival, and then also to move from survival mode to actual living!  Detachment with love is not desensitizing.  It is releasing expectations (also known as premeditated resentments), quieting my judgement, my fears by offering prayers or good tidings to this person, and then focusing on myself.   Clearly there is a difference for me.

Tomorrow will be an easier day.    I have sat all day with the uncomfortable feelings that I used to “eat” away.   I’m no longer wanting to harm myself (by bingeing or overeating) because someone else has ticked me off or acting like an ass.    For this realization alone, all the feelings of disappointment were well worth the ride to get here.    I am responsible for me, and only me!  I’ve no children, spouses, or dependents.    I will always offer to help those I love who are helping themselves, but I’m going to stick to improving, always, the quality of my thoughts, time, and thus, my life.

 

Experience, Strength and Hope

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The past couple of weeks has gifted me with answers to a couple incidents in which I pointed fingers to another.  What was that gift?  “For every finger you point, there is three pointing back at yourself!”     Wow!   Basics of Life 101!

Today marks a very sad occasion in my life.  16 years ago my sweet kid sister took her last breath on earth.   At 38 her life was plucked out from under her with the nasty, insidious disease of cancer.    Darlene was an old soul, a kind soul, she worked hard and played hard.   I think back on her life and I am so grateful that she lived her short life, well.  She really did.

Those close to me know I mention this every year, and at least weekly I mention the cancers in my family, or the losses I’ve experienced.   It isn’t “to dwell”.  It is that grief has been the hardest walk I have ever been through in my life.   Last night I said “goodbyes” to an online friend who I believe is in final stages of dying from cancer.   It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  And now I am offering prayers for her, that this please be over for her soon.  Too much suffering.

I mention loss and cancer because both are a big part of my life.   Every day, it doesn’t matter how many years it’s been, I have to make choices to live my life the best I can, with realities that aren’t easy, not in the least.    I’m not “stuck” in grief.   Part of my daily choices are to live my life to my best, accepting my own shortcomings and issues, and there are many!   Some day I succeed, other days I have a hard time getting out of my own way, but because of what I have been through with family and loved ones, I try to make my life and each day purposeful, I do this for those who I have lost and no longer have that opportunity.  I do this because they have taught me to appreciate myself and my life, the earlier which is my greatest struggle.  There isn’t enough time in this day to share my struggles, nor am I into sharing them for the world to see.  I will share on some, because it’s part of healing for me, and my hope is that if my blog(s) help one other person through a crap time in their life, then my own suffering isn’t in vain.

At this age, and well over a decade of living alone, I have come a long way baby!  I will always be the person who wants to help others, I will always offer experience, strength, hope to another, always.  But what has changed is that I must do this for myself, first.    The world doesn’t need to know nor do most people care what I’ve been through in my life.   Thank god!  Otherwise I may be another “celebrity” that idiots look to for answers!   Yes, I said it.   Celebrities too often have a larger sense of self importance than the rest of us.    I’ve learned that it is important to take care of and love myself, to have self respect, but equally to know heightened self importance isn’t the authentic person that I consider myself to be, and aspire to be.    I’m reminded many times why we have two ears and one mouth!   To listen!

This week I am starting anew with some self care things, and rather than to beat myself up because I had lost my way to these, I am proud of myself that I picked up the phone to make the phone calls to help myself.  I didn’t discuss this with anyone, it was something I did for myself, something I recognized I needed.    I’m getting far too old to keep beating the shit out of myself for being human.   Will I do this perfectly?  Um, probably not!  lol.

I have been enthralled in feelings of fear for someone close to me, someone who I love.  Every essence of my being says they’re headed for trouble.    But this time, I have the experience of watching another person I love self destruct.  There is nothing joyful about it.  It is hell, first losing respect for someone, and also “waiting for the shoe to drop”.   The fact that I reached out for help for myself tells me I have learned that the only true person I can save is myself.  And if someone doesn’t care that much about themselves, no matter how much I love them, (and I do love deeply), I cannot fix or make another person love themselves.    With that said, it doesn’t mean I stop loving them.

So today, on this day, I am remembering my sister(s), her antics, her love of life.   I miss her more than words can say, but I know i always will.    I’m not a believer that “time heals”.    I don’t think it does.   I think time teaches us how to coexist with whatever it is, for me today, the loss of my kid sister.   I had to do the work, I had to walk through the barbed wire fence, and scratchy bushes of grief to get to where I can recognize when I’m in need of help, tears, other.   In the beginning, it just isn’t impossible, at least it wasn’t for me.  The waves were too often and inconsistently.   Nor am I right now, allowing the very fear I walked in losing a love to alcoholism, with another person close to me.  My job in all of this is to take care of myself (and I’m still learning HOW to do this).

I guess I could say today there has been tears, I am thankful for insight gained today, and I am grateful for where I am and who I am today.   Getting “back on” a train isn’t as hard as trying to catch it at 90 mph with insane thinking!   I am grateful.  I hurt, I feel, I have sadness, but I also have choices to help myself, I am learning!   And for me?   That’s enough right now.  I am learning.  I am also very grateful for the many friends in my life who gently remind me to be kinder to myself, and sometimes this happens when they are beating on themselves or other.   Detachment doesn’t mean I don’t love them, it means I offer prayers for them, help when asked, but I first and foremost take care of myself, first.
Love to all reading this

 

 

 

Triggered fear, thoughts, and angst

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Today has been a challenging day.    I needed to have a medical test, which I have postponed once and really didn’t think it was a big deal until it was time for me to prepare for the test and go.

An unexpected spiral of anxiety and fear overcame me.    It was only then that I realized I was afraid.   I am very rarely fear filled.  Many moons ago I taught myself how to put, right in front of me, whatever it is I am afraid of, and then address it, as best I could.

I believe there are more than one kind of cancer “survivors”.   Not just the person battling the disease, but those who are left to find peace with their passing, should that unfortunately happen.     And it happens too many times.

Today for me was a combination of thinking about my moms passing a year ago last month, and my kid sisters passing many years ago in early April.    When you go thru cancer with not just one, but every one of your (siblings) and parents, it may seem like it would get easier.    But it doesn’t.   For me, I remember every “meeting with surgeons’ on loved ones.    I played the eye dodging game with them as they came to tell me or us the results.   These are times you will sadly never forget, particularly if the prevailing news is bad news.   In that few seconds of seeing her surgeon come out to look for me, I flashed through this with my mother multiple times, as she had started her “undesired” intimate rounds with cancer 17 years before she passed.

I listened to her doctor, and she asked if I had questions.   So doing what i do best, laying it out there honestly, boldly, pulling that fear right in front of me I asked questions that made her literally flinch.  “You’ve been through this before?”  Yes, you could say that.  “These are not typical questions asked to me after surgery but that doesn’t mean they are bad ones either!’    TELL ME, NOW.   What does my loved ones (and mine) future look like?  Is it the arduous, time consuming and soul shaking walk of more surgeries?  chemo?  radiation?  What is the treatment, and please God let there be treatment!     AND THIS WAS ALL IN MY HEAD from years PAST!

BACK TO THE FUTURE:  I knew I was unraveling, i was feeling light headed, sweaty, and filled with fear, forgetting to breathe, this does not happen often.  it has happened probably 6 times in my whole life to this degree.  All I could think of was that I needed prayers, and the fastest way for me to get them is on social media.  I have many, many. lovely, “friends and family” who are very generous with their prayers,  I KNOW prayers make a difference.    So I spilled my guts on my fb page, sharing that which I had kept quiet for three months.    The highway becomes convoluted with memories of past tests, results,.  and not to mention the 10th anniversary of my own breast cancer diagnosis is coming up quickly.    I was blindsided today.

What’s different? Why am I feeling so afraid?  Why is this simple test sending me closet to wearing tin foil hats?   After posting I pulled it together, and drove to the hospital for the test.  My legs were shaky and like rubber, I felt a bit like Gumby.   What the hell is this fear?  Once in radiology I sat and found my foot tapping quickly, picking up speed when they called my name.    Let’s get this done!

The test was really no big deal.  It took about 40 minutes, and the technician who did it was a very passionate woman who loved her job.   So during the test I was preoccupied with conversation with her.   The worst was behind me.   “I’m breathing, I’m breathing”.  Following a friend drove to NH with me to pick up something and our conversations are always interesting, honest.   When I finally got home I laid on the couch and prayed, meditated.     I pay a price for worry, and my body was “not my friend”, but is quickly becoming whole again after doing what I need to do for myself.

Now the waiting game?  The results?  One good thing about exhausting myself today is that I have NO ENERGY whatsoever tonight to even think about results.   They’ll be what they are, and I know I’ll hear from my Drs office within 48 hours.  I have got this covered.

I’m not usually dramatic.   If anything I downplay my feelings, I have my coping mechanisms.   But what I was able to really grasp tonight was, that I no longer have my mother to help me through whatever it is I am going through.  I’ve never been sick without my mother.   I have been feeling the stress of managing a home, yard, on my own. The list of to dos is long and distinguished. My mom did A LOT for me, she was always puttering in my yard, she loved doing so. This year all these tasks are solely mine. So Yes, at 57 today, I reverted to fear, unable to decipher what it was I was afraid about.  Tonight I accomplished such.

Not my best day, but no way near my worst!  A  bit embarrassed about online drama, but those who love me will forgive…

Have a great nights sleep!