Tag Archives: courage

Sadness

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Today was a challenging day for me.   As fate would have it, I learned that someone I care about is ill, very ill.   Further complicated by a parting of ways between us.  I couldn’t even remember the incident, or exactly what happened, I knew I was upset, but the “final” visit, I have no memory of.    When I learned of this, haphazardly, I felt like I was going to toss my cookies.    It doesn’t sound good, not at all.

I had also been inadvertently told that she had just learned of this last night, and was home from hospital today.  All I could think of is being left alone to think about what she was told.  I had a full list of things to do today, rose early to do them.  The list was set aside two hours upon rising after learning this news.

When you learn something like this, it really doesn’t matter what happened.  I think it’s important for each person to acknowledge and say what they couldn’t say prior.  And that was the case when I walked into her home, her bedroom where she was resting.  I didn’t know how or what I’d find, I just said a prayer for strength and courage and went and sat with her on the bed.  It’s a HUGE bed that she hates.   I wasn’t sure if she was happy to see me or not, but I grabbed her very soft hand and said “I’m sorry”.     She looked away.   “I have something to tell you”, I nodded.   What she shared next was one of the “moments” I hadn’t recalled, and a bit of it came back.    She expressed how hurt she was, and how she didn’t even want to address it or try to fix it with me.  “Friends don’t do that to other friends”.   I said “Your right, they shouldn’t”.

It wasn’t easy hearing how I had hurt her.   And sadly I don’t recall the incident she spoke of, I had thought our estrangement was just a mutual thing after a couple bad experiences.  I said the words that I needed to say, “I’m sorry I hurt you”.

I helped adjust her pillows, asked if there was anything I could do for her.  Asked if she wanted me to leave, “no, I don’t want you to leave”.     Then she shared another incident that hurt her and I guess the look on my face said what I didn’t need to verbalize.   It was nothing I had done, nothing I could do.   She said I’m sorry, I thought you had.

My mom showed up a few minutes later, I guess she knew where to find me.  I had dropped her off to get her car that was being serviced, the second $400 we put into it this month, and just drove away.     I didn’t know if I should go see her.  I wanted to.  But I didn’t want to upset her.  I just didn’t want her sitting alone with this news.   What happened between us didn’t matter, was unimportant.

She was very tired, and apologetically needed to give in to sleep.  We said our goodbyes.   I held her hand before I left and told her I would be in touch, and that she could call me if she wanted or needed something.   She thanked us for coming and said “Donna, I’m really glad you came”.    As I walked out, drove home, I felt numb.   But numbness isn’t really the word for it, if it hurts, its not numb, right?

This is a person who I had spent many hours with, driving around back roads, in my home, or hers.  She’s almost 20 years older than me,  I’ve always tended to have older friends.   We have shared with each other things we’ve never shared with another.   We were good, close friends.   I was frustrated with her about a few things that need not be shared.  I was even angry at one point.    It wasn’t until she had brought up what she needed to say that I vaguely remembered it.

I thought about the couple things that I had remembered, that annoyed me.   And I questioned, was she sick then?  Is that why she forgot to do what she promised to do?    And at that very moment I was reminded AGAIN, how important it is that we be kind to others.  We know not what will eventually unveil itself.   It never occurred to me that she was sick when this broken promise happened.   I felt like shit, for a few minutes.  I allowed myself to feel bad about that, but then I had to forgive myself.  I didn’t know.  And it wasn’t that I was unkind to her, although her words said it was a look I gave her.

We think we have all the time in the world to make amends, forgive, or fix things.   We don’t.   This was a blatant reminder for me of the things I take for granted.  And I’m a pretty grateful person.    But I guess I had more to learn.

So, I decided I needed to go to bed, and I opened my bedroom windows.  We are being plummeted with rain.  Rumors are there was a tornado 40 miles from us.   I laid in bed, realizing, I needed to write about this.   It’s all consuming.    And now I’ll go crawl back into bed and listen to the rain fall, and think of what perfect weather it is for this day.   It should be a dismal, damp, wet night both inside and outside of my home.     Because today was a hard day, and I’m very saddened by what I have learned.

That’s all I need to say.  The rest I will wrestle with myself.    If there’s someone you care about and are at odds with, rethink it.   Is it really that important?  Do you have both sides?  Is the silence worth the loss of time?    Only you can answer that.

Grateful I went to see her.   If you want to say a prayer for her, I’m sure she would appreciate it.     Goodnight.

 

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This, too, shall pass…

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Someone I love deeply is under fire.    Undeserving, but not unexpected fire.    As I read the comments, I thought about who this person is.   What a good person he is.

When you were little, you were so kind to others.  You’re intelligence showed at the age of 3 when you and I were driving to Town at dark, and you were humming “Twilight Zone” as you looked at the sky, and smiled.

Well, the time you stole the money from your friends and brother, that was more out of madness, and I’m sure we can all look back on that and laugh.  It was corrected.  You were feeling pushed and didn’t like it.  I want you to remember that time.  How old were you?   There is a huge difference between then, and who you are, with what you are currently facing.  For one, you know right and wrong.  You may not like them, but you are a law abiding citizen surrounded with those that know nothing of the person you are, or who you will be by the end of this.

The stabbing lies, the vindictiveness, I’m shaking my head as I’m thinking about it.  Dear soul, you have been swimming with the likes of vultures, with that heart of gold of yours.  You are by far one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever know.  I am so proud of you, every day.   I was so disappointed with what you settled for, but I’ve been there, too.  And I’m sure, no, I have no doubt, that the spitting and vicious attacks will continue.  Why?  My dear child, it isn’t about you.  It isn’t about you at all.  It is about them.  You just were “throwing pearls to swine”.   They didn’t value you, they raped your kindheartedness, stole not only every cent you ever made, were given, but celebrated their own victories on your earnings.

I am so relieved to hear that you are making changes.  I am proud of you, again.  I’ve no doubt this decision was the hardest one you’ve ever made in your life.  I know why you stayed, and one day they will, too.   And hopefully they will not fall (more than they already have) to the likes of these, I hesitate to even call them “people”.  Perhaps one day, they too will be relinquished from the evils, the spite, the lowest form of beings I have ever known.  And I’ve known a few.

So, when they go low, you go high.  There were many things I didn’t like about the Obama Presidency but I will say, this?  This has stayed with me, and I’ve packed it away to pull out for the very times that you are walking through right now.   You will get beyond this, because of who you are, and all of us who love you, and will help you find your way out.

Never ever ever ever give up.   Even when you feel like it, and I’m here to tell you, my dear child, that you will want to.  There will be days the snakes have surrounded you, and the evil will be so strong that you’ll want to not fight, but you will.  You will because of the very two reasons why you stayed.  You will never give up on them.

I love you more than I can say, and I am sorry you are in pain, and in this place, but I am so proud that you are here, that you are finally here, and even if for this one evening you feel your own worth, I promise you, you only recognize 1/200ths of your worth.  You’ve been told and mistreated so, you haven’t even a clue as to who you are, or what you are capable of.  But you will.  I promise you.  You will.

The past is the past, and it will sting for some time, mostly from the likes of those who only know how to piss, moan, bitch, and steal.   Leaches, really.    How many times have you EVER treated anyone like they have you????    And my wish for you is, you will never know this, and I don’t believe you ever will, because of who you are.

So you rest, and you do your best every day, in every way.  When they start pissing on you, you ignore, and remember the two reasons why you will always be the better person, with morals, standards.   You are a good person, and some part of you knows that.  Some part of you recognizes that you didn’t deserve this treatment, nor to be in the likes of these snakes.  Because you have walked in courage the last few days.   You will never, ever regret walking in courage.

And when you have your doubts (and you will), you remember those who love you, and you lean to them to remind you of our worth, your strength, and what a beautiful, amazing person you are.   Some of the best times of my life were with you.    I love you.  You’ve got this, and when you feel you don’t?  We’ve got your back.

 

Defining a man

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If you judge others based on appearance and tattoos, you may clearly bypass a beautiful being.

Tough, rugged, by virtue of his turbulent upbringing.  I think his tattoos serve like my scars do, a place where he has been, that has helped mold or shape him into who he is today, and perhaps places that he never wants to return.   Evidence of an imperfect life lived out perfectly.   Because the harshness that he experienced has been redirected, chiseled into strength.

A husband, a father first, above all.  Selflessly he gave up his beloved motorcycle for the purpose of spending more time with his family, and to assist in his goal to always be there for them.  A family man, a man who loves his beautiful, intelligent wife without boundaries.  A man who took this beautiful, intelligent, complicated young soul as his son.  He IS his father, his dad.

He helps his neighbors, refusing monetary gift.   The other day I heard something out my window, there he was on a dangerous ladder, up 15′ or more in the air on its top wrung, rescuing the neighbors cat who had perched himself up a tree.    The same man who the day before mowed my lawn.   He’s never asked why I don’t or cannot do it.  I will tell you.  I have a push mower.  And if I use it, the vibration causes my hands to go numb, and it remains for several days, leaving me unable to do much.

He and his family have shoveled my walks in the winter, gifted me with a plate of whatever they were barbecuing, holiday treats that bring a smile to my face and make my taste buds dance.

He goes off to work each day to a job that most men wouldn’t even consider.  And comes home each day to their home snuggled in the home behind me, perched next to the woods, and so nicely kept.  Unless there is a storm, and his expertise is needed elsewhere.  Then?  There is no telling how many days he will be gone.  He returns to his family which also includes two cats,  one, a sphinx, who suffered the same fate as he, blind in one eye.  And yet, he still does this potentially dangerous job, and obviously WELL.

I cannot tell you the numerous times he has helped me with his neighborly friendliness.   I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked out my kitchen window and smiled at the making of this family.   I once would look out in guarding protection of a single mother with her young child.  Now?  Now I look out and see a family who enjoys their life together.  Who spends their off time together doing quality things.  Now?  I feel protected!

Heroes come in many forms.  And while I know he would never want, nor consider himself a hero, I am grateful for his friendship.   He is proof to me that one can change their lives, with intense hard work, and the constant flow of choices that he makes, for the betterment of himself and family.

At times I’ve seen him followed by a dark cloud that he can’t seem to shake.   It’s at those times when I wish he would see himself as those who love him do.  An incredible, perfectly imperfect being that makes this world a better place!

The next time you judge someone on their looks, their tattoos, I suggest you take a second look, a deeper look.  You just may be walking away from one hell of soul that would bring light to your dark days.  Who helps without judging, and for me?   Makes me feel that I am okay, perfectly imperfect with all my “shit”, and deserving of others help and friendship.

I dare ya!

Happy Birthday, my friend

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We were so young when we met.  My God, were we ever that young?   The first time I met her she came to my house with my brother.  Dressed classy, wearing a very wide brim hat, my brother introduced her as his date.   I laugh when I think of this, because I know her very well know.  She has this one look where she puts her head up in the air, as if daring fate to come get her.    At first I thought she was a snob.  I suppose that is why I laugh when I think of that face.

A disastrous marriage to my only brother, two sons that have brought so much joy to my life.  A friendship that has spanned over broken relationships, deaths, 30 years.    She was more than my sister-in-law, she was my friend through so much.   The laughter, the tears, the fears.   We have helped each other walk through some very painful parts of life.   And more important than that, we have LAUGHED our way through it.   Things that you never thought you could joke about, become humorous with someone who knows you like a book.

As years came to be, and she shared of her childhood, struggles, I grew to respect her more each passing year.   It isn’t easy for someone who has been walked over, to stand up and fight back.   But she has.   Stereotypic essential relationships that should have gifted her with confidence, esteem, and overall sense of self respect delivered exact opposite, or was meant to.   I witnessed things over the years that made me so sad for her.   But also, made me love her all the more.

After the divorce, and a bitchy evil “step mother” stepping into the scenario, I was summoned more than once to cease my relationship with her, after all, we were no longer related!    But that only served to set my heels in deeper.  Why would I sever a relationship that was essential to me?  Why would I sever a relationship based on lies that were being told about her?   More than once, more than a handful, I got into shouting matches with my family.   I was the bad one, for keeping up the relationship.   Shaking my head.    Yet it was this woman who stayed up with me ALL night, for months on end, playing Literati, helping me walk through some of the hardest times of my life.  No, I guess we were no longer related, but we were friends.  I know we will always be friends.

I have seen her shape from a broken uncertain soul, into an amazing woman.   Now a grandmother, she and her husband took a plunge and moved across country.  I encouraged her.  It was time.  Always a mother, she would still be available as she was when near, and this day and age of technology, a phone call can now be face to face, expressions inclusive.   But it was time for them to do for themselves.   I don’t think it was an easy decision, given the level of family commitment they have, but it was a good decision, for all.

I’ve watched my nephews mature.  They are GOOD human beings.  I’m proud of them.   Was she a perfect mother?  Why YES ( 🙂 )…. who EVER is perfect?   It’s impossible.  We are designed to be perfectly imperfect, she, no exception.    For whatever she would do differently today, she taught her children to NEVER GIVE UP.   It is okay to take a couple day sabbatical, but then?  Then you get up, and you start over.   Defy the powerful forces that had great potential to tear flesh, break your spirit.   Put your head up high, and walk however you must towards self love, acceptance, success.   Stick that nose up in the air if it helps you walk through fire, whatever it takes!    This is why I smiled at the beginning of the blog.  That snobbish look she can give, I know what’s behind it.

She has walked through fire.   She has taken my hand and walked with me, through fire.   I am in awe of her strength, and the person she has become.   I’m proud of her and what she has done with her life.  She is courageous, intelligent TO A FAULT.   I don’t care if her last name has changed, or where she is in the world, she will ALWAYS be my sister-in-law, and she will ALWAYS be the mother of two beautiful souls that I love dearly.   I am grateful for her existence in my life.

As typical, I sit here with a sign from above.   I am laughing, because I smell birthday candles.  I have actually gotten up and looked around my house to make sure there is no flame anywhere.   I bet you I know who is sending you birthday wishes from the other side!   The same person you drove 3-4 hours in bad weather to say goodbye, who adored your boys, too.  Or maybe?   It’s the person who I know loved you deeply.  The woman who I know you loved dearly.   I know when she died you were broken, felt like the truest form of love you had ever experienced had all been lost.  But it wasn’t!   You passed on what she taught you to your boys, and I know will, your grandchildren.   She exists in you, and no doubt, is very proud of you.

Thank you for all your love, support, friendship, hours spent listening to me.  Thank you for loving my art, for caring about my family in spite of all the difficulties in the past.   Thank you for sharing some of the BEST belly laughs I’ve ever had.    I am grateful for your existence in my life.  I am grateful for you.

On this day I want to wish you a very happy birthday.  You deserve the best.  You have fought your way through much, and you are still standing, as beautiful as ever, with the best looking legs I have ever seen on a real person!    Have an awesome day!   I love you, and I look forward to many more years with you and our “boys”.

“Get out of the damn boat, Donna!”

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Have you ever had a “feeling” stop you dead in your tracks?   Sensed that you were in peril?  That someone you love is?  Or reacted out of character, following a gut hunch?

Six years ago while on a cruise with my best friend and her family, a private tour in the Grand Cayman’s to swim with sting rays was set up months in advance.  I knew I would not step foot off the boat.   A long life of fear around these creatures was “sealed” when “The Crocodile Hunter” died of injuries sustained from one.   It was a rough day to be out, complicated further by a tour director whose boat was nothing like pictured in the ads, nor did he care how old or how many passengers he had, or if the wake was affecting his guests.   Anyway, I digress.

My girlfriend and her daughter piled quickly out of the boat.  I sat, watching.   Her daughter, who is brave beyond brave, reacted unexpectedly to the feel of the sting rays on her legs, or perhaps it was their laser sharp tails that brushed against you when they swam past you.  She started to scream, which did catch the attention of our tour guide.  “You can scream all you want, just please, stop jumping up and down”.    Oh sure, I thought.  Steve Irwin all over again!    As she climbed back into the boat I was surprised at what I was thinking.

Something had my attention.  It was silent to all but me.  “Get out of the boat”.    Like hell I will!   And after a few more minutes I sensed that this adventure was something that I had to do.    Whatever it was, call it sixth sense, sign, I “knew” I needed to get out of the boat and face this fear.   And I did.

I defied the rough seas, mouthfuls of such and made my way out to the area where my friends were.   A couple of times I thought I was going to pass out, particularly when I felt the sharpness of one of its’ tails on my legs.   I stood still, took a deep breath and prayed…  “Whatever I am supposed to do here, get from being here, let this happen and quick!”.    This inner force was telling me that I needed courage.    I remember thinking “Okay, but why THIS?”

I will not say that I ever got totally comfortable with this.  These sting rays were used to being fed, they were stars in what was an obvious tourist attraction.    The smaller ones were male, the largest ones, which we were told could get up to 400 lbs, were females.  But of course!   We were feeding them raw fish.   Sushi, anyone?

Suddenly a very large sting ray was directing my way.  Oh God, this is it, I thought!   The guide came over and showed me how to hold out my arms and actually HOLD this huge sting ray.   They really felt like wet mushrooms against my body, but again, I knew I “had to do this”.   And I did.    I remember looking into its little beady eyes.    I held it for a few minutes, let it go, and then decided I had been brave enough for the day, found my way back to the boat.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been guided by inner voice, but it was surely the first and probably the last time I would swim with Sting Rays.     For the next couple of days, reflecting on that strong urge, I knew it was about courage, but that was as far as I got.   As always, it feels good to do something that you don’t particularly think you can do, or are afraid of.  Self confidence spikes.

Flying home I thought about what a wonderful vacation it was, and I held that experience close in thought.   Who would have thought that I would do something so brave?   Childhood fears can run PRETTY deep!    Upon arriving home I had a routine mammogram scheduled the following day.   The technician took extra slides, and I knew something wasn’t right.  It was eight months prior to that when I had tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.   I honestly thought I wouldn’t test positive because my sisters were far younger than me when they were diagnosed with cancer.   I think I slid past this!

Within 48 hours I walked out to the mailbox to find a letter from the hospital.   My hands were shaking as I was trying to open the letter, and answer the phone at the same time.   “Donna?   We have an appointment scheduled for you tomorrow with your Dr, and prior to that you are scheduled to come back in for more slides”.    I hung up the phone and immediately called my sister, explained to her what is going on.   We decided not to tell my parents until we had to.   But we both knew, this wasn’t just random.

I went in the next day for more slides and met with my doctor who insisted that he felt it was nothing.    I remember watching his lips mouth words “I say we sit on this, and see what the mammogram shows in a few months”.   I swallowed, a hard swallow.   “No, I want a biopsy”.     By this time both the radiologists and doctor are telling me that they would agree to do a biopsy, but neither felt it would reveal cancer.    Three days later I, and four other women were scheduled for needle core biopsy in a small hospital in Vermont.     Four benign, one malignancy.   Guess who that malignancy belonged to?

“I would like a second opinion at Dana Farber, please”.   All confidence in them had been squelched.   And so begins my journey through breast cancer.  I value my “gut” instincts.  And while I may not like what I hear, I trust there is purpose behind the sign.

Melissa ETHERIDGE “I run for life!”