Tag Archives: hope

The itsy bitsy spider…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The invisible woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Experience, Strength and Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Stepping towards a dream

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I just recently took a big step in moving towards a dream of mine.  It’s been a LONG TIME coming.   I remind myself that I am investing in myself, not the list of others I’ve invested, some foolishly.

Having to learn new things is great, but I  no longer learn at the pace I did when I was younger, and the need to repeat the paragraph a couple of times before I fully comprehend it.

Aging man.   Should be easier!    Ya make it through the times where you do not have any idea what you are doing, in youth, looking for others approval, and even in maturity at times.   Ya get your life together, thinking you’re doing well, and then your faced with facts of aging.  Not pleasant.   And I know I am in my late 50s, considered to be the new 40s,,, I NEVER WANT TO RELIVE MY 40s EVER AGAIN.   It was by far, the hardest, worst times in my life.  Illness, death of sibling, breast cancer, another close death, reconstruction, with complications all the way.    Yup, I’ll take my 50s, and though I’m not as sharp as I once was, I’ll figure it out.   I’m mostly referring to my parents, my dad now.   The new challenges that aging creates, if you are so fortunate to grow old!   It just ain’t right!

So as I take this step there is excitement, ambivalence, hope, fear.  “What if I fail?”  But darling, “What if you fly?”

 

 

One Year Anniversary

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Today has been a hard day.  Although not as hard as it was one year ago this evening,  when my mom took her last breath.  I was blessed with my mom for over 56 years of my life.  While not every moment was hugs and kisses, that long span defined our relationship, mother and daughter, and friends.

For the first time this morning, I sat and read all the comments friends had left on my facebook page one year ago today, about 600 of them.   I knew I didn’t have the strength prior.  Crocodile tears were in abundance.   With some, telling the honest to goodness truth about this “passage of life”, “Donna, you will never get over this, you will  think of her everyday and you will miss her everyday, but I am here to help you”…  They are right.  Never in my life will I stop missing her, and everyday of my life, just like I have with both my sisters, and Jim’s death, I will think of her, and I am very grateful for that.

My mother was quite a character.    People, friends would tell me how strong I was, and then they’d meet my mom and smile “Omg, I can see why, now!”   I am smiling.   My mother’s strength and love had carried me through a lot in my life, and throughout HER life.  You never know what a person is going through, unless they tell you.  My mother kept a lot to herself, as do I.   She never liked that I blogged, because she felt I put too much out for people to read or see.   But writing, sharing for me, is how I get through. “Mom I wouldn’t blog about my sex life, even if I had one!”   She would roll her eyes and shrug her shoulders, head out the door to the gardens that she so lovingly cared for for decades.      How grateful I am, today, that I had my mom as long as I did.

“A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye, and gives it a wink.”   – Gina Carey

My relationship with my mother was strong, complicated, ever changing.   We argued, we made up, we argued some more, we laughed.  We were always “doing something”, because my mom could not sit long.   Unless she wasn’t feeling good, and then you’d find her cozied up with glasses on, nose in a book.   She helped me with my studios past and present, renovating my home, and it didn’t matter the dozen or less times we weren’t speaking, if I needed her, all I had to do was call.   She was amazingly resourceful, I have never known anyone (but my father) who had the talent to fix, repair, replace ANYTHING!  Except of course, addiction and alcoholism.

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”  – Honore de Balzac   

Like many of us, moments from my childhood reared pain in maturity, but I had long since forgiven my mother for the manner in which she treated me, because maturity showed me my own imperfections, and I not only loved my mom, I liked her.   I wanted her in my life.   So in my late 20’s after years of “therapy”, I forgave, and freed myself of the disappointment, harm that I believe only happened because of the hell she had lived through.   I still struggle daily with self defeating behavior, but it’s all mine.  I am the only one who can change that, and someday’s I succeed, other days,  not so much.

My relationship with my mom in my 40’s and 50’s were the best.  Both single, we looked out for each other in a world that wasn’t always easy to exist in.  A therapist once described my relationship with my mom as “spousal”.  I laughed.   Um, no, CLEARLY she was always the mother!   And I smile.   We spent a lot of time together, enough that I know I will for the rest of my life have memories of her, us.   I could go on and on pages long, of the countless things my mother did that helped me, but I’d rather save them for the days ahead when I need to remember them.     In my 40’s and 50’s she was my greatest support, particularly when she gave back the care giving I did for her through her cancers, and she, through my own.

A friend said to me after she passed “Donna, I knew your mother had been through some shit in life, I knew it just by her stance alone “Don’t mess with me!”   I laughed and nodded.   Like mother, like daughter there.    Our lives ran parallel in many ways, both affected by another’s alcoholism, both betrayed in marriage, both creative souls, financial duress, heartache and disappointment.   There were times we laughed so hard I had to go take a shower, because the tears ran down my legs.   One way we did differ was when I would do something REALLY stupid (and that happens a lot) the first thing I would do is call my mom and tell her.  She would say “And don’t go sharing this with everyone either!”.    But of course, I did.   As soon as I hung up the phone I called one of my girlfriends and share my stupidity, because I learned long ago how to laugh at myself, and my many true friends love to laugh as much as I did.  Laughter is healing, and my favorite emotion is laughter through tears.    I had a lot of these with my mom.

There were horrific times in my life, one being when I found out Jim (love) died.  I drove from Watertown, NY, stopped for a 2 hour visit to see his parents outside Albany, and my mom begged me to get a room for the night, I lied to her and said I would.   A few hours later when I arrived home (was bad driving conditions) she was up, waiting for me.  “I knew you wouldn’t do as I asked!”   We sat up that night and talked for hours, and hours, and hours.   We both cried that night.   I was sharing the agony of knowing he had self destructed, Jim was a good person, we had a nice life together, but his alcoholism was a deal breaker.   That night, as I shared about my conversation with his parents, I knew then, my mothers tears weren’t just for me or Jim.   I believe she grieved for her brother, and his children,  to whom they lost to alcohol, too.   It was an area of her life that she rarely spoke of.   It was then the first time I realized, all the times that she watched me walk through the talons of alcoholism, she didn’t offer any advice, only offer to help where she could, and of course, prayers, except the last event when I told her “I need to tell him to leave.”   She then encouraged me to remove myself from the now alcohol ridden relationship,  and did all she could and more, to help me through this difficult time.  How many times did my words or my actions hurt or recall pain from her own life?   But my mom just silently dealt with it on her own.  We spoke usually daily, and it was a rarity when she wasn’t at my house at least once during the week.   She co-owned all 5 of my animals, as she took great care of them (and my home, when I travel taught).

Over a span of 17 years, there were numerous trips, later on to Boston for her surgeries, and trips to chemo, and doctors.  It was very hard to be my moms primary care giver.  Our last trip to Boston was straight out of hell, and I told her on the way home after complete emotional breakdown pulled over on the side of a road at 1am in Boston, “I can’t continue doing this mom”.   For a while I felt guilty about it, because I knew, when I could no longer do the long trips to Boston with her, that the disease would take over, and that is exactly what happened.  That’s a very hard reality for me at times, but I know, I was a good daughter to her, and I did everything I could and then some.   My own health issues needed tending to.   But through it all, today I am nothing but grateful that I was there for her, and I did all that I did for her.   I will carry this with me throughout my life’s time.

I recall being admitted to MGH (Mass General Hospital) for cellulitis.  This happened after an exchange surgery (reconstruction for breast cancer).  I had left the house that morning telling her not to worry, they were going to give me a shot in the ass and send me home with a bottle of bigger pills!    I called her, crying, could barely catch my breath “I’m being admitted”.   You are what?    “I’m being admitted”.    “Omg, okay, are you okay?”   “No, mom, I’m scared”.    “It will be alright, Donna, we will get our prayer warriors right on this”.   Also recalling seeing my doctors face color and expression change as he lanced open my right breast right then and there.  “Am I going to be alright?”    “I don’t know, Donna, but we are going to do our best and you will be in patient for awhile”.    “Mom, I am going to be on Bigelow 9” (Ever seen MGH, HUGE! I was on the 9th floor of Bigelow building).   “Gigolo what, Donna?”  BIGELOW MOM, BIGELOW!

It’s been a challenging year.  When she died the next day, the world felt different.  I no longer felt brave or safe.  How could I?  My greatest protector was no longer here?   A friend asked me if it (grief) was harder than I thought it would be.  “Yes, yes it is”.  Having the sad experience of losing my oldest and youngest sisters to cancer, and Jim to alcoholism, I knew it would be hard.  I just didn’t know exactly how hard it would be.

A few years ago my Uncle, her youngest and only living brother of 3 passed.  We needed to clean out his apartment, and notify next of kin.  We had four cousins we only saw when very small.   We needed to send them paperwork, so I found one cousin on facebook, I will never forget the day we, she learned, that her nephew, Brady had died of cancer.   Her face turned white.   She took a deep breath and sat down at the table in my studio.  Clearly distraught.   We have a couple gene mutations in our family, and are a gene pool you wouldn’t want to swim in.   I knew what was going through her mind was hard for her, like maybe SHE DID give us the mutations.  She uttered some words softly, one being her brother’s name, and her nieces name, and then headed out to the gardens that brought kept her busy and brought her peace.  I will never know what she was thinking, but I knew it was quite painful for her.   This was a really hard night for both of us.   Nor I or my siblings ever asked either parent to be tested, and we certainly didn’t look to them with blame.   They too, were victims.  But I sometimes would find my mom quiet in reflection, and I know she struggled with the idea that she may have passed down her cancers to us.

I know she is with me.   She will always be with me.   I talk to her daily, and while I have received “signs” confirming so.  Today’s sent me to tears yet again.  I am trying to finish the last project we collaborated on, a victorian desk, and somewhere between A – Z, I had lost the front plate for the keyhole.   I looked in my pocketbook 3 times.  Nothing.  I called my girlfriend, it wasn’t in her car.  I was ready to head back out to Home Depot where we had gone and I realized I hadn’t grabbed my phone.   I prayed to St Anthony, and asked my mom to please, please let me find this plate.   Two seconds later I slid my hand into my pocketbook to get my house keys (which were my moms set), and out with them in my hand was the keyhole plate.  For me, that was a sign that she is with me.   I find comfort in that.

“Her damaged petals are what made her more beautiful than all the other flowers”-  a.j. lawless

I was not easy to parent, so I’ve been told.  And she wasn’t an easy mother to parent in later years.  She was stubborn, impatient, hmmmm sounds familiar?

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it”.  – Mark Twain

 

On Love

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Today I want to talk about grief, and love.

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

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

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

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

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

Darkened corners, finding hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love to one and all.

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!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

“Signs”

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This past week I spent a few days in Maine, York to be exact.   Being around water is super wonderful for me, it helps ease the binds that chain me.   The ocean?  Makes me realize how small my problems are.  That is not to say that my problems aren’t important to me, they are, and I’m facing life with zest and experience, knowing a higher power has always had my back, and I highly doubt he’ll abandon me now.    But just as anytime something bad happens to you and you never really have to look real far for someone who has it not only worse than you, but much worse, and they handle it gracefully, the ocean reminds me that the reaches of self importance in extreme can be like a tital wave, gushing in here, there, everywhere until you are no longer focused on that which needs work.

I was thinking about what it’s like when you lose your identity.  For me, I was a art teacher.  I travel taught, and published in magazines, self published, even authoring a book many moons ago now.   So when that seized to exist, who am I?  What am I accomplishing?  Am I worthy of life?    So now, just these questions you probably are saying “Lighten the hell up, Donna!”.    This is where my brain goes.    I felt purpose when I taught.   I remember when I cut way back on travel teaching, a battle five years ago with depression and anxiety so high I don’t care to even think about it.    I couldn’t function.   I had all I could do to take care of myself, physically, mentally.    So teaching was cast aside and so were many “friends” who didn’t accept “the new me”.    Maybe it’s in my head, but maybe not.  When you are no longer supplying people with what they want, or need, does your existence go away?   Because if it does?   I’m here to tell you, these people are not your friends.   Friend’s stick with you through the challenges of life, and there are MANY challenges in life.  And those who don’t?   Doesn’t mean they weren’t your friend, or that they don’t care.  Perhaps they don’t.  But It’s okay.  It really is.   Because new, good, fun, meaningful things are new people are awaiting your arrival!

I’m about to embark on a “come back” if you will.   But not really a come back, but a new chapter in the life and times of Donna Scully.   Not really sure what will work for me, but I know I loved to teach, and if I went into a class in a bad mood, when I left it, I was singing and smiling.  (Insert Rocky Balboa theme song here).   KIDDING!  Have a lot of things going on, excited and happy about that.  Stay tuned!

I’ve been thinking about how painful and disappointing it can be when you are treated differently because for what ever reason, you are no longer offering what you once did.  Who is not to say that you aren’t better then you ever were?  Seriously?

I have a friend who was unfriended by many “friends” because of his political view.   A “star” to them at one time, now, forgotten.   It has to hurt.  It did when long time friends did that to me, but I’ve long since made peace with all that.    I really have.   I believe when doors close, windows open, and new adventures will reveal themselves.

I’m a creative soul, a good soul.  I am kind, honest, caring, and I love fiercely.   But age and experience has taught me that not everyone is worthy of time (and likewise, I’m sure).   So I’m rather excited about “new beginnings” that will define itself mid term.   I look for signs, pray for guidance, and am never disappointed with what comes to replace the old.    The problem I have is hanging onto what once was.    I white knuckle it until I’ve made the step of acceptance, and USUALLY when I can’t decide what is next for me, it is because it hasn’t yet been revealed.

I remember a day when I was on my way to a Michael’s, probably 30 miles from my home.  On my way there I was asking my higher power “Should I start designing in needlecraft again?”    Not five minutes later, upon entering Michael’s and heading back to the yarn department a woman I hadn’t known said my name.  “Donna Scully?”  Oh boy, how do they know me?   Anyway.  She introduced herself as a couple of my students mom.  Had recognized me from magazine pics, I guess.    (Miracle there).   Anyway, she said “Guess what I’m doing here?”  I look down at her basket which was full of this one beautiful colored yarn.   “Making a sweater?” I asked?   With that, she pulled out one of my Leisure Art booklets that has long since been retired, it was an instructional pamphlet with 5 of my sweater designs in it.  “Nice!” I said!    “Thanks for sharing!”

As I walked back to the department after our conversation I looked up, smiled and said “Thank you!”    The experience justified spending more money than I was planning on!  (I’m good at justifying when it comes to my creative efforts).

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago… alas, direction, I know what I’m doing, and the direction I’m supposed to head in.  But all eyes are not on the prize, but on what presents itself because things rarely ever turn out the way I think they are going to.   I have endless stories of this type of event happening with me.   Like one time thinking maybe I’d sell my house and move away.  To where?  Was in CT with a close friend, we were on a Craigslist adventure.     During our conversation I said I didn’t yet “feel it”.  I didn’t know where I should be, I just know I felt disheveled.   Just as I say that a sign (town sign) showed up on our right.  “Vernon” (which is also the Town in which I live in another state!”   We both laughed.  I guess I’m supposed to stay put!

Do you get these signs?  Are you listening and open to them?   I bet signs are all around you, are you open to seeing or hearing about them?