Tag Archives: acceptance

Mothers day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Grief 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

New beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Rambling grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!

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 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!!!!

 

 

The “L” Word

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I just spent 10 days on the West Coast, Southern California.  The weather was awesome, the trip was great, and I’m hung over from jet lag!  But it was all worth it.

Today I slept in, went for a ride with a good friend, and we chatted and laughed, and chatted and laughed.  Somewhere in between we were also very honest.  Not the easiest thing to do, but always a good thing.

It’s back to work for me now.    Plans and things I’ve worked for, bills to be paid, responsibilities to manage, it can be a slap of reality.  Also, oneness, being alone.  I haven’t felt Loneliness in a long time, and I had hoped I never would again.  But I do.I do, and I’ll live.  And as I step back into my world, into my studio, and plans, I know I will once again be grounded, and all will be solid again.    “Fatigue makes cowards out of all of us!”.     I am tired.

No matter where you go in life, your mind, your conscience follows you.  You can ignore it if you want, you can cast it aside, obliterate it with food, or whatever other coping mechanism you use that keeps you standing, or trying to stand.    In the end, however, reality is there, and that’s okay.   It really is.  It means accepting it, even if you don’t like it.    I know personally that acceptance means peace, and I choose peace over anything else in my life.  Mostly because I’ve lived a long time without it.

In the end I will be true to myself, and I will find my grind, and all that happened will be placed in proper perspective, in a special place that memories go, memories that touch your heart, your soul.

Wishing you love, peace, and a break from reality!  And wishing you a reality that you love, and work hard for.  Love to you and yours…  Wishing me?  Sleep, and peace with oneness.

Gratitude’s the attitude baby!

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Someone I care about is in the hospital, and has been through pure hell the past year.   I broke down in tears today thinking about her, and what’s she’s going through.  A reminder of when I went to Mass General thinking (after a surgery the week before) that they’ve give me a shot in the butt and some major antibiotics to take when I get home, only to have been admitted with serious infection.     I remember crying, calling my mom from the admission desk “They are admitting me to Bigelow 9”.  “Gigolo what?   Can laugh at it all now.

When you have serious illness, it sometimes provides you with acceptance of things from past that earlier that day, week, month, year, you could not.    And I think the same type of bargaining goes on when you lose someone.  “If you let me survive this….”

It was right around this time of the year, and I was in there for a lot longer than I wanted to be.  I remember thinking “I must be really sick because they don’t keep people in the hospital anymore!”.     When I finally turned the corner, my veins were blown out, and feeling like a pin cushion would’ve been a luxury at that point, they weren’t going to release me because I couldn’t drive home.  Well, I finally lied, found my way out of there.   I drove half way home to Leominster and then pulled into a Friendly’s.  I was so weak.  The only thing I had eaten was popsicles that week, when they would stay down.   So I ordered a fribble, and sat outside, feeling the cool fall breeze run through my disaster zone hair, and feeling so very grateful that I was finally out of the woods and heading home.   I sat for about 40 minutes until I finished the shake, which gave me the strength to get back in my car and drive the rest of the way home.

We can spend a lifetime planning, arranging, collecting, preparing, and one blip can and will take the comfort, the wind out of our sails.   We find ourselves at the mercy of life.   I hope this person who is so sick tonight catches a break, and I hope that she, too, will be heading home soon.   Her husband, her family needs her.     Until she does I will be praying, regularly, frequently, for her health.    In the end, we know God is in control, those of us who believe in God, and while there is some comfort there, the waiting, the meantime, the present can be so overwhelming.  If you’d like to offer a prayer for her, I know it would be greatly appreciated, or send her good vibes.

So I’m tired, heading to bed shortly, will be on my knees tonight praying for her and her husband.   They are so tired, so worn.    She just hasn’t been able to catch a break and my heart hurts for them.

Me?  I’m feeling pretty grateful at the moment.   The painful memories have faded some for me, and gratitude has built a wall around that awful time for me.    I know, I was very fortunate.  And it’s probably time that I do the things I “bargained” to do, if he’d get me through it.   And I’m recalling the trip home where I no longer had concern for the petty things that once plagued my peace.     Acceptance.     Perspective.     Life has a way of knocking you beside the head when you least expect it!

Wishing peace, love, and joy to each of you reading this.  I hope today you have found acceptance to the things that blocked your peace, and if you’re in the middle of muck, I pray that you’ll be given what you need to get you through, and beyond it.   Peace.  xox