Category Archives: Art…the colorful palette of my life

My mother died

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My 80 year old mother died Sunday evening at a local hospital.  Six days before that I had brought her into the hospital via the emergency room, at her requested time – 9pm.  I had been with her earlier for blood work, and the day before I brought her prescription over.  However, before that, I hadn’t spoken to her in a couple of months.   I was really quite hurt and angry with her.  But that wasn’t new, throughout my life we had many times we weren’t talking, what was different this time was, it would be the last fight.

A very intelligent, highly humorous and entertaining and skilled woman, my mother was very strong willed woman.  She rarely spoke of her childhood, and we weren’t close to her brothers or their families.  It was just the way things were.  Her parents both died before I was born, so I never met them.   However, just because we weren’t close with her family didn’t mean we weren’t close to others.  MY MOTHER was awesome at planning family outings.  She and my Aunt Fran always planned the family gatherings.  Both of whom were “inlaws”.   When my Aunt died and my parents divorced, that, of course, stopped.   Pleasantly enough, Facebook has been a way for me to reconnect with cousins and aunts and uncles I lost touch with, and some that I really never got to know.

This blog is not going to be about the things my mother did that upset me.  I will just say, she was a difficult woman to love, and I did love my mother, very much.   I know I was a good daughter, I know what I did for her, and that I was always there for her when she needed me, except for the few scattered months here or there when we weren’t talking.  This blog is also not about pointing my finger at my mother.  I will say to you, as a teenager my grandmother, aunts and friends of my mother would pull me aside and ask me if I was okay.    My sweet grandmother (paternal) once told me she thought my mother treated me the way she did because I was born at a time when my oldest sister became very ill, life altering ill.  I don’t know.  And I don’t need to know.  I have long since accepted her behavior, and learned ways to avoid it, and still be present in her life.  Because I always wanted her in my life, she was fun to be around, helpful, and offered incredible insight and help.

My mother was a hard working woman.  I truly believe  (as does my sister) and know she worked hard to provide her children (my dad too) with more than she (they) had.   Even as an elderly woman, she wanted to do what she could to help improve the quality of her adult children’s life, mine included.   She was a work horse.   When something had to be done, she jumped right in, even if physically she wasn’t feeling well, she stepped right in to help, which she would inevitably take over.  Sometimes that was great, other times not so much.  I have spent a large portion of my life talking very loudly hoping to be heard.  This also happened in relationships I was in, because I repeated this “come close, go away” behavior with partners, husbands, lovers.  I am 56 years old.  I am not blaming anyone for my choices, I am simply pointing out that I have done A LOT of therapy, of self seeking in effort to get beyond frustration, pain, hurt, and a desire to be loved.

My mother loved me.  I know this.   She loved all five of us children, in different ways.   Her love was “fierce”.  (This word was stolen from a post of my sister-in-law who had a love hate relationship with my mom throughout her marriage to my brother).  Even if we weren’t talking, having one of our “bouts”, I knew I could call her if I needed her and she would be there if I asked.   It was the manner in which she conducted herself, and how she got her needs met instead of humbly asking for help that I found disturbing.

In the 80’s when I went to my first “ACAP” 12 step meeting (Adult children of alcoholic parents), my therapist kept pushing and pushing for me to go.   So I finally went.  There I found a list of 20 characteristics of “adult children of alcoholics”.     I remember identifying with 19, in time I learned the one I didn’t identify with was just denial!  “Did your parents drink?”  My therapist would ask on a weekly basis.  “Once a year, New Years Eve” I would reply.   And she would ask me again the following week, in hindsight perhaps wondering if I was in denial of such, too.

My parents are/were both good people.   They were NOT alcoholics.  Though I’ve long suspected that my mother grew up in an alcoholic home, or certainly dysfunctional.  That is not to imply my mother’s issues were the only ones in the childhood house!  I have often wished my mother was raised and was willing to be treated with antidepressants.  I think her life and my whole families lives would’ve been drastically improved upon.  I know this from my own struggles with chemical imbalance, and severe depression.  “Mood stabilization” meds have improved the quality of my life, and allowed me to be present in my moms life for 7/8’s of mine.   12 step groups and therapists helped me learn how to identify feelings, and how to cope amidst these feelings.   Maturity has also brought me a split balance of learning how to deal with such, or the older I get, walking away from it, because I just don’t have the desire or energy to involve myself any longer.

I want to tell you that the day my mother died, I was there with her.  I held her hand, I stroked her head as she took her last breath, and I am so grateful her passing was peaceful, because her life was usually anything but.  Incessant worry, I believe we were actually raised to believe that worry could and would change the outcome of whatever the challenge was.  It doesn’t, nor will it ever do anything but add further injury to my already abused adrenal system.  Years of living in “fight or flight”, dodging the elephant in the middle of my living room, I believe reared me “fibromyalgia” at the young age of 29.  And by that age I already had two hospitalizations for depression.   My 10 year marriage with an alcoholic to my second husband, and 2 year marriage to my first alcoholic husband had both ended.  At 33 I fell madly in love with a guy who was “sober”.  It took only 6 months to learn that his drinking was hidden, that he was a binge drinker.  I can relate to this now because I’ve identified myself as a binge eater.  I painfully ended this decade length relationship 4.5 years before he died of the disease.

When it became clear that my mother was “actively dying”, I had to ask her some difficult questions, many of which I already knew the answer to because frankly, our relationship was one where I shared almost everything with her, everything except for addressing her behavior which I opted to do four months before she died.    In the short time since her death I’ve wondered if I hadn’t done that, if I hadn’t been at my wits end with her and being taken for granted by others close to me, would it had changed the ending?  Would it be easier on me facing her death now?  The answer is, No.   The truth is, I was long since burned out from being my moms primary caregiver in the 17 years which she dealt with five cancers.  My two siblings stepped up to help out a couple years ago when I conveyed that I was just tired, exhausted actually, and needed a break.  That is not to imply they weren’t “willing” before, but 78% of her illnesses I believe I was solely responsible for her care.  Ask me sometime how I came up with that number!

The problem was, I had my own health problems, and challenges.   And it was my mother who was there for me through these.  When I got cancer, (my brother was diagnosed 2 weeks after I was), she moved in and took care of me, going back and forth between my brothers house and mine.   Looking back, I am not sure how she did this.  And when I went through my last severe clinical depression and couldn’t be alone, she came once again to my rescue.  I will always be grateful for how good she was at nursing me (my siblings and her hospice patients) with incredible knowledge, strength, and love.

Let’s talk about the word “Strength”.  I had friends who met my mom and later laughed and said “No wonder you are a strong woman!”     I had no other choice.  And like the long difficult day she died, I was able to be her voice when she couldn’t.  I was able to love her, and ascertain she was being treated with utmost dignity and wasn’t in pain.  She taught me how to do that!   She always taught us about the importance of family, and I love my family, all of them, all of us flawed individuals!   I had a few hours alone with her that day, so I was able to share some things with her (She really didn’t have any choice but to listen! ha), and I had sensed for days that she was going to die, even though her doctors were not saying that, not at all.   So I had asked my facebook friends who had lost their mom “If you had a chance to say something more to her, what would you say?”   I asked this Saturday night.  Contrary to what some may think, I’m not a drama queen.   I ask for prayers from my facebook friends because frankly, it works faster than any other way I know.   I do not belong to a church, but I do have HUNDREDS of friends who pray for me (and I them) when asked.    My painting career has gifted me with quality people, friends, close friends.  I am so grateful for this.

I wish my moms life had been better.  I wish she hadn’t had to deal with the serious illness that stripped my oldest sister of a normal life and forced my parents to make painful, heart wrenching decisions for her care, and for the safety of their other children.  I wish my mom (or dad) didn’t have to bury their oldest and youngest daughters of a disease that one or both of them passed down to their children.   I wished my parents marriage had somehow worked out, because I believe they did love each other, and we could’ve had some nice family time the last few years…if only she would’ve considered treating that which I believe caused so much distress to my family, that to which was “the elephant” in the middle of our living room.

My mother was my friend.   She really was.   We are ALL perfectly flawed.  I have shared a lifetime of memories with her, both good and bad, but always, ALWAYS good when I was sick and needed her.   I think had she not given her life to raising a family, she would’ve made an incredible lawyer, or doctor.  She was passionate, educated herself of things that were important to her, and never failed at anything she put her mind to.  I mean that!   Other than the failed marriage, she had things she started and didn’t finish, for whatever reason, like hair styling school, but that was her choice.  She was a pillar of strength when she made up her mind to do something, and what an example she was for us this way.  “You CAN, and you WILL”, and she would roll up her shirt sleeves, or put on her work clothes, and make it happen.

My mother really did care for others, and she gave particular attention to troubled teens or giving a voice to the elderly or needy.   And that was and will always be honorable.  It’s unfortunate that that she plowed over those closest to her, but I don’t think it was out of anything but love.  A bull in a china shop comes to mind!  But even this has gifted me with my own strength, my own voice, and I, too, plow people over when I feel I’m being silenced.  Perhaps that was her button, too?   Who knows, I will probably never know and that is okay.  Why?

Because my mother had good morals and standards, she knew right from wrong, and she asserted all of these onto her children.  And she loved us.   She loved us with a fierceness that would scare the crap out of others or others who were treating us wrong!   She wanted more for us than she had  or wanted for herself, and she believed we could do or be anything, and she was proud of each of us, but she just couldn’t say that to our face. I’m astounded when friends or people I meet tell me things my mother has said to them about me.  I really had no idea she felt proud of me or my accomplishments.

And I wish my mother had the ability to admit when she was wrong or offer apologies for when she plowed us over.    Her life, our life would’ve been so much easier and better.  But it was what it was, and I’m left with this hole in my chest, with the loss of my mother, my friend, my confidant.  I am going to miss her, I already do.   All the friction that was between us for those few months has been set aside.  I will have to somehow deal with these on my own, and the minute I walked back into her life to be there to help her when I knew she was sick, it became unimportant, and serves now to only help me define and identify areas of my own life that need honing.

I am grateful she was my mom.  And though I hated some of her actions, I was able to share things with her in her final hours, that needed to be said.   And those were NOT about her faults, but about her strengths and her love.    Because you see, I too wasn’t able to tell my mom to her face some things, some good things.   Intimacy was a no no!   So I’m glad I asked the question I did to my facebook friends, and I used them as guidance of things I wanted to say to my mother, knowing from experience that when someone you love dies, the love doesn’t disappear.  It miraculously expands, a true and amazing gift it is!  I made my amends to my mom, and she, with her stoic and ailing self, acknowledged and did the same to me, just before I had to take over her voice for her end of life care.    Everything happened so fast, and my sister was enroute from TX to get to NH, and my brother was in and out,  running to get my sister when she arrived.  We all worked together, via text, to make her last day as painless a day as possible.  I’m trying to work through the aftermath, and second guessing medicating her to a point where she didn’t have a voice, but I did so knowing I was her voice, and with her strength and love and support of my siblings and their love for our mother, we did it, and I’m proud of all of us for that.

I am left exhausted, broken, in a fibromyalgia flare, but very grateful for this difficult woman, difficult mother, my strong willed, flawed mother!    Rest in peace mom.  I love you, I always will, and I know not how to walk this earth without you, but I’m on Day #3 and survived thus far, because of all you taught me.   And as I think about this, I realize, she was also able to teach me how to be humble, how to apologize, even though her own fragile ego didn’t allow it within herself, for whatever reason.      We are ALL flawed.  And a friend said to me something I saved, and this is where I am going in my life.  It isn’t about being “my best” . It is about being at my functional best, without regret, no matter what life throws me!

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Battling the blahs and weights of depression

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The past couple days have been very good for me.  I think I’m rounded a hard corner, as I’ve been fighting off (or attempting to in any way i know possible) depression.   I hate going to bed at night because it takes an act of congress for me to find the motivation to get up.   I laughed a lot yesterday and today, worked on a variety of projects, and had time with a girlfriend who had me laughing, snorting actually today.  Man it felt good.

This week I need to incorporate walking into my daily life.  I need exercise.  I think it’s the only thing that’s going to get me over the hump.  It’s been bad.  My depressions aren’t situational or sporadic.   I have had four major depressive disorders, all requiring hospitalization at one point or another.   The last one which was about five years ago now, hit me the hardest and stayed with me the longest.    So I’m very frightful of what this “new one” will be like.    I cannot let this take me down, and I will not.

Daily I listen to music, daily I spend time practicing gratitude, I have to come up with three things per day I’m grateful for, three times a day.    Sometimes I’m grateful it’s bed time and I don’t have to think up three things.     But the past couple days it’s come very easily, so what I am doing is helping.  Honestly, I feel like I’m in a fight for my life.    Having been through cancer, I can say that it feels a bit like that.  I knew I had to act fast, choose drastic treatment options or I could lose my life.  Same now.  I lost three years to the last one, which was my fourth major depression.

So many things going on in my life.  For an average person I’m sure they can cope and deal well with these things.  For me, not so much.  I’ve been inundated with problems at my house, flooding, squirrels, mice, and now moths, not to mention I have been struggling to get out of my own way.   I’ve felt like giving up, and often.   Add to that a fall on the ice, and a fall in my home that has left me with a wrist brace that helps with the pain.   It’s been 3 weeks , I really need to get it x-rayed.   Maybe this week???

My patience has run short, and my desire, even less.    So tonight when I picked up the paint brush and started painting a mallard from a picture, it was the first time this year I’ve picked up the brush.   And as usual, when I take a couple months off, it’s awkward.  Having to find all my tools, get situated.  But it was so worth the effort.    I worked in three different mediums today, and it felt really good!   And tomorrow I can look forward to getting out of bed (I hope) and get back to work on finishing the painting.

I had fun, peaceful days today, got back in touch with myself, the things that I love, and the things that I enjoy doing.    Perhaps i’m on the way up and out of this depression.  I pray so.

Watching Frasier and getting ready to call it a night.     Hope you have had a great day, experienced some joy and peace, and have been blessed with restful, healing sleep.

 

 

 

Clarity

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Answers come to me when I least expect them.  I’m a fairly self aware person.  I also feel and read others energies and moods.  I am fairly adept at this.   I also have a sixth sense that I rarely talk about.  I am very intuitive, and have been called a “a witch” by many people, different times (and not all men! ha!) Problems arrive when I am feeling the negative energies of others, as I have days where it seems every five minutes I have to outwardly, verbally tell myself “not to go there”.    Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s exhaustion, maybe it is just the way it is, but I need much alone time to recoop now after spending time with others, particularly groups.   Teaching exhausts me, I think because I’ve always felt I had to entertain and be “on” when I taught.    A friend posted pics of me from classes I taught and I was happy.  I remember the classes well and I always had fun, and I think I taught great classes.   I just don’t think that’s who I am anymore, and I’ve accepted this, and am okay with this.   What I mean here, is that I simply cannot keep the schedule that I used to, so my classes will be fewer and farther in between, as I have a new direction that I’m headed, in which I am very excited, focused, happy about.  I LOVE to teach, and I want to preserve that love and adoration.  I always want to feel that I gave a great, fun, good class.    So I’m going to minimalize the amount that I do this so that it always feels good, and I can walk away happy, feeling accomplished, self pride.

What I want to really talk about is “the processing” of things, and how this happens for me.    I can easily be consumed when I’m trying to figure something out.  ADHD helps with this!   There are times physically I have no energy or motivation, this is typically when I’m trying to accept or understand a situation.   This happened recently.   What also happened was a whole, draining emotional process that brought back unhealthy, painful behavior or REacting.   I had lost my sense of self, I was doubting myself, and that is okay, the situation was unclear, open ended, unresolved.       Then just when I am at my wits end and totally surrender to “what is”, this magical process happens, and clarity fills my mind and heart.    Uncertainty and frustration has been replaced with gratitude.   First, I want to say that knowledge comes from truth.   This is important to know and accept.  If you are not getting the truth, you will not find a resolution for the problem because you haven’t yet looked at what the problem is!!!    I hope this sounds as profound as it feels.   In short, look to trusted others, non judgemental, loving people to help you get to your truth!     Self centered, serving and emotional vampires will suck the life right out of you if you let them!

I’ve been through quite a bit in my life.    Can always be worse, and can easily find someone in much more dire situations than I have experienced.  The hardships I have faced have helped define me.    I am nothing if I am not strong.  I am one very strong person.  I have joked through difficult times that “I just want to be a feminine woman with painted nails and toe nails, because at times, the challenges and hardships had me feeling like I was becoming a neanderthal.    And once you walk through some major shit in your life, if you are like me, you have little if no time for what I call “luxury problems”, or “drama”.

I’ve been changing at a rapid rate the past couple months.   I’m wiser, smarter than when I started, but tonight I am at peace and I feel hopeful about getting flowers in my near future because I AM PLANTING THEM! ha!!   Trust in the process, trust in yourself, because the answers will come when they are supposed to!   I “forget” that sometimes and get caught in the crap!

Disappointments in people can be hurtful, even harmful.   But when we find our “center” again, when we get back to who we are and what we’ve been through in life, we realize no one or no ones actions define us, and that is a very good thing.  I am not talking about blaming another for your life, or circumstances.  I am talking about taking responsibility for your life, your actions, and if someone has proven theirselves to you, good or bad, believe it!    And then of course there is the giver and taker thing.     Accept who you are, and who others are, take back whatever part of your life you’ve surrendered to places that leave you unsure, or feeling ill about yourself.

Have a lot I’m looking forward to, and have a whole new perspective on life and relationships.    I believe in karma, I believe in the law of attraction, I believe I am the soul author or my destiny!  Just wait and see what I accomplish!  Note to self:  Be humble!

How’s your book coming?  Are you happy with your life?  Are there things you want to change?  Are there painful things you’ve been avoiding?  Because I’m here to tell you, once you face them, once you look at them, your perspective changes, and you’re not the same person but hopefully a better person from your lessons.

Filled with gratitude right now.   It’s a wonderful place to be.   It’s also equally important to be humble AND teachable!

So… the groundhog saw his shadow?

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The past year has brought a problem with mice.   I mean, I’ve killed dozens, my cat caught a few, as did my dog.   Neighbors are complaining also.   The thing is, they’re quite cute little critters.  If you look at them, they have such fine little detailing.  I’m not afraid of them, and I really hate to kill them but if you don’t, they can wreak havoc with much. What a mess they make, totally destructive.   And the squirrel that keeps coming into my basement, bringing nuts from the tree outside???  My biggest fear is wiring.    I set traps, and still the bastard lives.  I caught mice with my squirrel traps!   Ugh.  Okay, so this will probably freak some out, but I saw a mouse running across my kitchen and then it stopped.  It just stopped.  Strangest thing.  I walked over to it, picked it up and it died in my hands.    Yes, I cried.   I did.   I think it’s the same mouse that had been visiting me and my cat late at night in my living room for several weeks.  I don’t know what it died of, and I didn’t provide a funeral.  He went out with the trash.

I’ve always been an insanely sensitive person.   (You wouldn’t have known it by the last sentence in last paragraph!) . Most of my life (that I recall) I was branded “overly sensitive”.   The most recent years have brought interesting, validating reading on “overly emphatic, or EmPaths….”    I’ve actually found tremendous help in reading on it, skills that they suggest to try to dub out some of the things that ‘hooks’ ya, is helpful.   And I have practiced for a couple years, deleting messages and things that I may have or probably would have obsessed with years prior.    Being an artist goes hand in hand with sensitivity, but sometimes I just wish I was a cold hearted bitch who really didn’t care about others.

In the past couple of months I’ve recognized a couple people closest to me who were taking full advantage of me.   Gotta tell you, it hurts.    I kind of give a blanket trust with love, and to learn that I was being used, particularly by blood relatives, has cut me to my core.    I’m working through it, have no idea when or if I will ever get beyond it, but I do know right now I am distancing those who have caused injury to me.    For me, it’s easier to just stay away from them.  I’m far from stupid, and I read and feel peoples energies, which isn’t always fun.    I realize now, what I was feeling a couple months ago was right on target.  I make myself sick thinking about it.    Further complicated by a shifting of loyalty, etc, I’ve been an emotional Reactor.   But today?  Today I finally see that I am powerless over others, and trying to “prove” my righteousness only gets me into a world of discord with myself.  I will no longer defend myself here.  I don’t need to.  I just need to take care of myself, and that includes making decisions and spending time with others who love and accept me, and know who I am.  Basically people, friends, who don’t look to me to gain, monetary or other.

Today for the first time in a couple months I’m feeling like myself again.   Clear on the direction I want to go, stopped listening to outside influences who were telling me I was something that I’m not.   And I’ve just about had it with people taking advantage of me.  So the list of people I spend time with is dwindling.  And that is okay.   I’m finally over whatever bug thing I had, and the only remaining pain from the fall on ice is my wrist.    Progress!

But I want to talk about that little mouse again that died.     Have been feeling pretty raw, vulnerable.   Accepting ugly truth doesn’t come easy for me, or without MORE fucking emotions! ha!     But I digress.     So feeling this discord and discomfort, combined with the cold temps of winter, when this little mouse would come out at night, I welcomed it.   Why?  Even my cat welcomed it.  One night the mouse was about a foot from Chloe, my aging and failing 18 year old cat.  If I can find the video I’ll attach it.  The cat watched the mouse, but wasn’t interested in hunting it.   It was funny but also sobering for me to realize that she just didn’t have the energy to play, so coexisting with the mouse was fine by her.    This little mouse offered coexistence, unity, in what has seemed like a very cold and calculating world to me.   So when it died, I cried, because I would miss it’s visits, and observing it run around like it had won the lottery.

So now, I’m refusing to REact to things, others, or their behavior.    And by doing this, my OWN behavior is back in check.    I’m back in tune with who I am, what I want in my life, and I’m okay with where my life is.  I’m good with myself.   I know my truth.   I’m a good person, an honest person, and I’m deserving of good.  But most of us know that doesn’t always happen!    Thinking of the song “only the good die young!” .      Life just ain’t fair, but I still believe that good is around the corner for me!  After all, today I have peace.  No small feat!

So I’m off to finish up a couple household chores, and then I’m crawling into bed early to watch a movie I’ve wanted to.   Things aren’t perfect, far from it.  In fact, not much has changed in my life over the past couple months, but my insight has!  It’s like putting new lenses in your glasses and seeing the world for all that’s beautiful, not ignoring or denying the ugly, but choosing to keep myself and my life separate from it, as best I can.

Hope you’re having a nice day!     Will I be the only one not watching the super bowl?  Couldn’t care less!   Wishing you peace, love….  Wishing all peace and love.  Tonight I’m embracing gratitude in my attitude !

This’n’That

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This morning’s one hour trip to the dentist reminded me of why I love Vermont.  Surrounded by mountains, I feel safest.  I’m more a mountain person than a beach person.  I love the energy, the feel.

While waiting in the dental office, the overly full waiting room held 8 of us with 6 seats.    I like to observe people without them knowing it, more than I seem to like talking to them lately.   lol.   Seriously, No longer an extrovert.    A woman, sitting with her son caught my interest.   I could see her watching others, watching this one man looking at who I assumed was her son.  When the 23 year old son was called in for his cleaning the mother and this man who was studying the kid, and whom the mom was studying spoke,  “Aspbergers” she said.    And then unfolded a devine intervention between the mom and the guy who was observing her son.  Apparently his employer has adopted 21 autistic children, and the mom (whom I observed), looked tired, frustrated.   She shared that her husband also has aspbergers, it wasn’t determined until her son was diagnosed.  I know this is how they have found people my generation’s adhd…..   only after their children were diagnosed.   It was an awesome conversation, I was enthralled in it.   I asked the woman what she does to cope, and she jokingly (i think) said “I drink heavily”.

After about ten minutes the mom and i were alone in the waiting room and we were discussing mental illnesses, the need for education on such, how vastly and widely the spectrum of autism spanned, and just how widespread it now is.

The mom spoke to me about how she and her husband are trying to get him motivated to find his niche.    She spoke of his intelligence, way above my pay grade!   And she laughed when she said “he’s also very lazy”.   But she said “I need to know that when I’m gone, he will be okay, and I know he can be!  It was a pleasant conversation while waiting to see the Dr.    The tooth I broke is going to cost well over $2500 to save.  Shaking my head.   May be putting a red light outside my door!  lol.

The last couple of weeks I’ve done my best dealing with one thing at a time.  I haven’t tried to multi task, I’m fighting off the normal Seasonal depression stuff.   Easily overwhelmed, so I take things one thought, one task at a time, and when that’s done, I go to the next.   Also have been doubling up on meds here and there (within reason, believe me, I’ve been on antidepresssants since I was 21.   I know most of them intimately, mins and maxes, and I’ve doubled up on D3.  I have a lot going on that I need to be my focus, and I’m actually craving physical exercise.    That’s a rarity.

Anyway,  all in all it was as good day.  I’m now ready for bed as I have errands to run again tomorrow.  Hope you had a nice day/evening, a renewing, refreshing nights sleep, and here’s hoping that your “tomorrow” is pleasant!!!!   Good night!!!

This too, shall pass

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I fell on the ice a few days ago.  I don’t think I broke any bones, I can brag about my bone density but I know better.     I’ve never really thought about falls.   I mean, I’m a klutz, and fall more than I want to admit.    The black and blues are all colorful, in various stages of color.   The one on my leg is this ugly yellow.     Then darker ones above that.  My leg looks like a spoiling banana!    I was lucky and am grateful that two hoods cushioned my head, so other than a sore neck, my noggan is fine.  Think I’m going to have an xray on my left wrist though.  It’s swollen and isn’t getting any better.    I wrapped it up in my elecrtic blanket the last few nights, which helped the aches and pains.    I went down quickly and right under my car door and car.     A friend had told me about his friend who fell hard the same day and it caused a detached retina in his eye! UGH.  We have a lot of ice this winter.   Grateful I wasn’t seriously hurt.

So today my dad, his girlfriend and I finished installing the sump pump.  And did some repairs on holes in the foundation.  I have a lot of work to do to clean up the cellar, and also my wool rugs and floors upstairs.  As careful as we were, there is no way around tracking mud.  So the floors and rugs will need to be cleaned too…but not today!  Today I’m going to spend some quality alone time, work on a few needlecraft projects I have going, and perhaps an art project.    What will be, will be!  And my ankle will be elevated and the opposite side wrist will be positioned comfortably, so that I can find some peace today, physically and emotionally.

I’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks, and taking time for myself is the key to get back to tranquility.   It’s been one thing after another.  Looking forward to it’s leaving my space and visiting someone else!    The day after the fall I broke a tooth in half.  So tomorrow I’m heading over the mountain to go to the dentist and will probably have the tooth extracted.  I’m really not looking forward to it.  Let’s see what the dentist thinks.   You know how things happen all at once?  Or seem to?  It isn’t so much the seriousness of the event(s) as it is totality of all, and frustration.  It will pass.  Seriously thinking of sage-ing my home tomorrow.  I’ve been saying suggested prayers to try and rid all the crap that’s been happening.    I do well on a one by one challenge, but when given multiples within short time period, not so much.

Yesterday I shared on  my dad.  Today when he was here I took pictures of his hands, he didn’t know I was doing this.   And today I was able to thank him, them, and tell them him that I loved him and appreciated all he has and does do for me.    We had a few minutes alone in my living room, resting, and he told me he knew he was on his way out.  I asked why he felt that way, or had a dr told him?  He said his memory is getting very bad, and he’s losing strength and abilities on a daily basis.   I just listened.  He spoke of his youngest daughter, my kid sister who we lost to cancer 15 years ago now.   And also of his oldest daughter, my oldest sister who we lost to cancer six years ago.    He told me how upsetting it still is when he thinks of particularly, Darlene’s life cut so short, she was young, not as young as some, but not as old as you’d want someone to be when they learn their life is almost over .   My dad and my sister were the best of buds.   They did things together, fished, camped, they had a very special and unique bond.   It was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced in life, losing my sisters, and watching my parents lose their daughters.    I was watching “Blue Bloods” the other day and there was a scene when a woman asked Erin Reagan whether it gets easier, after losing someone close to you.   She said softly, honestly “No”.  I nodded to her reply as if she was sitting in the same room with me.    Time may teach you how to coexist with the loss, but it doesn’t take the pain away, nor do I think you ever really get over it.  You just have no choice but to trudge on, forward.    If there was one thing I could change in my or my dads life, it would be that Darlene lived a long life and that we never had to know what it was like going on without her here.  But if wishes were horses, we would all ride, yes?

So as I sit in my chair resting my lame body, watching the boob tube and working on projects, I am surrounded with pictures of those I love, and two whom I’ve lost.   Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them, or miss them.   I am always grateful for the time I had them in my life.  I’m truly a better person for having known and loved them, and been gifted with their love.  What I find amazing, really, is how the love for them continues to grow.  It’s really an amazing thing.

Hope you are finding enjoyment in peace in whatever you are doing today, and if not, hang on, “this too shall pass”, and if you’re where there is cold weather and ice…. be careful!!!!

 

 

Sump Pumps and intimacy

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The majority of today I spent with my 84 year old father and his girlfriend.  They helped me install a new sump pump in my cellar.  It has been damp, and then flooded, and it’s a nightmare down there right now, but I digress.

What I wanted to share is about my feelings for my dad.     He is now having memory problems, and he went after this project to HELP ME.   He wasn’t taking no for an answer.   So today I rearranged my schedule and as mentioned above, the majority of today was spent in mud, and trying to block out challenging parts that I will not get into here.    I think my dad would do most anything to help me or my siblings.    My dad is a good man, a kind man.  He worked hard to provide for his family, and today he worked hard to help his daughter with a mess she was in.

I was trying to stay in my humor mode, and trying to stay above the button pushing behavior that was happening as we were working.   Many times I came upstairs, sat on a towel with my filthy muddy smelly jeans, just to get away from it, to try to maintain my cool.  To put into perspective just exactly what they were doing, and that was they were trying to help me.

There was a few times when he and I were alone downstairs.   Now, my dad can do anything, I mean that.  He’s very resourceful and talented, but age is slowing him down and wreaking havoc on him.  It saddens me to see this.    At times when I look at him I have to look away so he doesn’t see the tears that run down my cheeks when I see him struggle, when I think about a time that I may not have him.    My father is a man to be missed.  And my fathers love for me, and cheering squad has helped me through many painful times.   A man of very little words, but an observer, doesn’t miss much, just doesn’t acknowledge what he’s seen or thinks.

One moment later this afternoon, I put my hand on his to steady his hand that was trying to put a screwdriver into a screw that I couldn’t see either.   I looked at my father this afternoon differently.  I looked at his hands, working man hands.    When I saw him struggle, I saw his father in him, with expression and looks, but his mother, who was one of the kindest women I’ve ever met, and who treated me with tremendous love and support, came through.    My father is more like his mother than his father was.  And though he had to have help getting down the stairs, and i held my breath every time he came up them, he was determined to do this for me.   And he succeeded.

I’m more of a writer than a face to face person.  Some have accused me of hiding behind the pen or keyboard.   I don’t believe that to be true.  I just can quickly and clearly say in words via paper or keyboard what is in my heart.   I’m not afraid to love, I’m just afraid I will never find a man who will love me like my dad does.  Who will want for me all that my dad does?

At 56 I know how fortunate I am to still have both of my parents.   And tonight as I was listening to music, making a new playlist for myself, I listened to the John Mayor song “Say what you need to say”.   I hope tomorrow I will be able to tell my dad, face to face, just how much he means to me and how grateful I am for his help.     But if I can’t do that, or don’t get to, I will certainly pen it out in a letter and send it to him.  He’s received many of these from me, and I hope we have time for many more.

Very grateful to have the new pump installed.  Have a lot of work to do in my cellar, but I will get to it, and I will do what needs to be done.   And tonight I’m very grateful to have spent this day with my dad.    I am, afterall, his favorite!  ha!

 

Self Respect

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I have been in a very uncomfortable space.   I thought it would rectify itself, after all, avoidance works sometimes!  (sarcasm)   But nothing was changing, correcting itself.

I’m going to be cryptic here purposefully.    Because the end result, the important message comes in the the understanding of self, acceptance of self.

Far from perfect, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.   I also, naively at times, look at the good in others.    Here’s where it gets sticky.    But I am REALLY GOOD about looking at the bad in myself!    I once walked this earth apologetic for my existence.  You can imagine how plowed down I found myself, by others.  People close to me took advantage of me, because they could count on my beating the shit out of myself for something, anything I did that may have caused the problem, or at minimal, participated in the problem.  While their bad behaviors went unscathed, unaddressed.

As mentioned above, I have been at odds, and out of sorts.   The first few weeks I ignored and and the next couple weeks I started to look at my part, and today everything came full circle for me.

I can handle a lot of crap, I have, in fact.   I have accepted unacceptable behavior by many, including and most importantly, MYSELF.  But today I realized that I was at odds with MYSELF, not because of something I did or said, but that I was allowing another persons behavior to define how I felt about myself.  I was feeling sad, bad, guilty, and once I realized this, everything came together for me.

It’s called self respect.  No one has the right to make me feel less than (including myself), and I realized today that I was accepting behavior (from another, but more importantly MYSELF),  that I swore I would never do or tolerate again.  I know, I know, be careful saying the “never” part.   But today I realized, it is that I’ve allowed this situation, certain treatment, that was similar to previous experiences, to dictate how I felt about myself in a negative way.  Am I perfect? Nope!  Never will be.  Anyone can think of me what they want to.  I have absolutely no control over this and today I’m finding peace in that reality.  But when I allow anything, something, or someone to alter how I feel about myself, well, it’s a no win, lose lose situation.   It is vital that I look at my own behavior.  It is acceptable for me to tell someone else if their behavior is bothering me, but it is NOT my responsibility to “make anyone see” or “punish” another.       It’s all about keeping my own side of the road clean.  When I err, apologize, do what I can to correct, and then move on.

So now I will sleep.   I will forgive,  as I always do, and tonight I will forgive myself, and now that I’m aware of it, conscious to it,  I will cease involving myself in this behavior.    It’s that simple.

Moving on!  And tomorrow I will practice self discipline!

If you could do it over again…. what would you change?

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If you were given one point in your life that you could return to, and could change the direction you were going, what would it be?   Do you see this as a regret?  As growth?  Or the ole “hindsight is 20/20”.      I’ve been asked on numerous occasions, if you had to go back and do it all over again would you want to?    My stock and honest answer is always “If I could go back with the knowledge that I have now!”

So let’s look at that.   At what age would you be again?  What decision would you make differently?  And more importantly, what changes, and what outcome would you be looking for?

When I was a teen “artex” was big.   And I did this wall hanging for my grandparents “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”.      Recollecting difficult times when a loved ones future was counted in “days”, what would you want to do for the “rest of your life?”

I have never been a materialistic person, except when it comes to my art supplies.  I have spent a lifetime trying to make a difference in someone else’s life.  And I’ve learned that this is one area that I cannot or will not “skimp”.   Why?  Because it grounds me, my creativity defines a large portion of me, but most importantly, it brings me peace, something that I strive for on a daily basis.    If granted one wish, what would it be?  Some would say “win the lottery”, others would say “one more day”, and my answer would say “peace”.   I would like whatever days I have remaining to be at peace with myself regardless of others and their actions.

I look around my studio and I see the multitude of mediums that bring me joy.   And there are days, like the last couple of days, where I cannot accomplish that which I want to, and I cannot find the peace I long and strive for.  Sleep becomes my best friend, and even then, when that which isn’t settled starts to rear its ugly head in dreams, then I know, it’s time to look at something, and probably something that I don’t want to.  Gulps.

“If this world makes you crazy and you’ve taken all you can bear”…    When you stop telling yourself, or allowing others to tell you what you should or shouldn’t feel, what you should or shouldn’t do, what you want or don’t want in your life;  When you quiet all outside feedback, and self defense, or the like, then you are sitting with your truth.    This can be a fairly lonely place to be, but getting back to peace, I’ve learned in my life that if I cannot find peace, then chances are very good that there is something in my life that I’m not accepting, that I’m not looking at, or allowing myself to look at, feel, then find acceptance in.     In short, acceptance for me equals peace, no matter the topic, the rights, the wrongs.

When was the last time you shut out the world, and all of it’s influences, including people, belongings, actions, and just sat quietly with yourself.  Have you ever done this?   What “truth” did you come to?  Was it good?  Was it bad?  Indifferent?  Colorful?  Black?  White?  Have you ever really been alone?  Have you allowed yourself the freedom or being alone?  Or do you see that as scary?  Unthinkable?  Frightening?  Lonely?

I’ve known loneliness in my life, and I’ve known and experienced great love.   I’ve also spent the majority of the last 12 or so years alone, and once getting over the initial shock, and realizing after many black and blues and heartache, that I don’t need someone beside me to “validate” me, or my worth, and likewise, someone whose selfish goals are to somehow gain from your reaps, (but worse?) tragedies.

I find much more peace now in solitude.   I am good company for myself, and my interests and desires to learn and create keep me chugging away along the road that is sometimes paved and other times, barely visible, but I set my sights on what I want, and when I do that, when I focus on that (again, without “static” from others), it becomes attainable and the finish line may be the focus, but it isn’t the prize.  The prize is the growth and experiences that happen while getting there.

These days solitude means peace for me.     My home is my haven, and I only invite those in who understand this, who want what is best for me, who come to visit me with all my bling or scars with desire to know where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going, without judgement or hidden agendas.   And if I am only inviting these types of creatures, or people into my home, then why would I also allow my own behavior to squelch my day?   Self sabotage needs to go, yesterday.

 

Keep walking forward

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As typical of having been on vacation, I came home to a to do list longer than my arm.   Included in this was standing up for myself in a couple forums.  One with someone close to me, who is aging, and not a force to be reckoned with, another being the car rental place who tried charging me $179 more than what was contracted for.      I’m a passive person by nature.  I hate confrontation, but I’ve learned that in order to be in business for myself, and in order to take care of myself, I have to learn to do so.

Prayed the whole time I was handling both situations.    The first one was hardest, telling someone what they are saying is false, untrue,  no matter how strongly they rebelled against it.  And keeping my cool when I was being accused of something that I didn’t do, or would never do!   I think we were both shocked at how I handled the situation.  While I will lose some money in the deal, it is nothing compared to what could have been lost, had I not stood up for myself.  I will recover from this.     And I took NO satisfaction in having to tell someone I care about that what they believe to be true, was in fact, untrue.  But I did it.

Alongside that is the realization and reality that they are losing ground.   It’s easy to take others for granted, I mean, we do that to live.   We assume when we leave our yards, that all drivers we come in contact with are sober, able, and alert.    We have to drive defensively, and consciously, but we can’t leave our yard on a daily basis and think about the possible dangers of accidents, and sadly, more recently terrorists.

I was cleaning my studio and heard gun shots.   Now, I’ve lived around guns my entire life.   In past I wouldn’t think even twice about it, but not anymore.  I stop what I am doing and listen.   Say a prayer, and then try to move beyond what could be disastrous fear.    We have to have faith that we will go do our errands, go enjoy our vacation, if we are fortunate enough to have that opportunity, and know we will be home afterwards, tired, cranky, but alive and well.

I have heard some very painful, painful stories this past few days.  People that I know and care about are hurting, some with physical pain which in itself is a life changer, and some experiencing tremendous loss.  It’s always unfortunate when someone passes around the holidays.  The holidays are tough enough for most of us anyway.    And November has bee notoriously a very difficult month for me.  No matter what I focus on, and plan to counter the anniversaries of some very painful life changing events, it still comes up to smack me across my face, and try its best to rip my heart out through my throat.        I know this too shall pass.   It does.   But not without feeling it first.  I know I have no choice but to keep walking.   I think it was Churchill who said, and I quote “When in hell KEEP WALKING!”     Exactly.  Because we give in to the challenges, we stay right there in hell.     But sometimes it’s hard to forge ahead, and in the direction of where we need to go.    Sometimes the best part of a day is knowing you survived it.  It’s just a fact.

I have numerous things going on in my life, mostly all good, but not without stress.   The November crap hit me yesterday, and while it’s only Tuesday, I feel like it should be NEXT Friday!

The holidays are soon approaching.  Time to practice more patience with others, time to go the extra mile to help a neighbor, family member or friend.  Time to make time for someone who needs a hug, or a smile.    Time to let people you know how much you appreciate them, and even though we naturally take things for granted, many of us will experience difficulties that will remind us of how we do just that.

Here’s hoping your day is good, your life is going in the direction you want it to, and that you have a warm, comfortable bed to retire in tonight.     The older I get the more I come in touch with the fact that life really is about the little things, not the grandiose plans or dreams.  It’s about putting one foot in front of the other regardless of the terrain, and doing our very best on days when we know we aren’t feeling our best.    It’s just a fact of life.    My father used to tell us “to pull ourselves up by our boot straps!”      “You’re the only one who can do it for yourself”.     Today I can say, gratefully, that I did what needed to be done today, and while it wasn’t all pleasant, I did great.   Hope you did, too!