Tag Archives: pain

Saying goodbye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

LLLLLong Winter

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This has been the longest winter in my life’s time, challenging on too many levels.   BE POSITIVE DONNA!    “Okay, I am positive this has been the longest and most challenging winter in my life’s time!”

I finally sat down to paint last night.   First time this year.  I have a custom I need to get done, and I’m looking forward to doing it, it will be a challenge, but one that reconnects me to my childhood and a childhood friend.   So I need to get my hands in shape so that they cooperate!  I have the drawing done… so I’m 1/4 way there!

I’m thinking about turning my humble abode into a wildlife preserve.  I live in Vermont, this year it will be 30 years in my home. I had a problem with squirrels only one winter season in all those years, and were “taken care of” with rat traps.  Last year I had them in my tiny shed, which is actually a kids playhouse that my mom bought me, a friend of hers had it for his daughter, it’s the cutest building, apparently cute to squirrels too.  They moved in and took over.  My mom and I cleaned them out of there twice, and it was all day projects.  They are awful! Now they are in my basement.

Last year also was the first year I had a problem with mice.   One day we caught 16!   They sure are cute little creatures, but man are they destructive and I swear they poop once a minute!    Mice crap everywhere!    If I had $1 for every poop I cleaned up, I would be vacationing right now! So if you want to invest in something, why not bleach? I’m bleaching my house to rid of all the diseases those things spread.

I have been doing all I know to do, and researching what else I can do to get rid of both, and on limited budget. I make headway, but you have to be vigilant, vacuuming daily, trapping, daily. The smart person would ask “Where are they coming in?” Well they are coming in from right under my front door, which has a small porch. I can’t get underneath it yet because it’s all frozen, and snow covered. I’ve been sealing where I have found cracks in my foundation both inside and out, I have an old house, but still the bastards find their way in. It’s maddening. And then, like I didn’t already have enough to do, I had a flood in my cellar, and my sump pump died.   I foolishly gave my brother my pellet stove when he was in need a couple years ago.    It would’ve helped with the humidity and moisture down there, and now, mold!   I’m taking longer to process things, I think about it before I offer it up.   Big heart, no brains becoming good heart, big brains!  Good news though, it took a good month for all the aches and pains to go away but that month is up!!!

Then I realized I had an infestation of moths which came into my home in a wool blanket that was given to me to use to felt and make pretties out of.  I lost four wool rugs upstairs   They started in a room that I barely go into, and then into my bedroom.    They aren’t the big moths, but small, maybe 1/2″ or smaller.   I am still in the process of getting rid of them. A friend helped get the rugs out, but there are stragglers and on the first floor (with three wool rugs and an investment of wool yarn). So at the moment my freezer is full of yarn. Oh, let me back up a minute; My refrigerator works and then doesn’t, it’s done this for a couple years. It’s old, hell it’s not as old as I feel! But if I play with the plug, it comes back on. I had been away for a couple days and it had stopped running. Everything in my freezer was unthawed. So that’s okay, because it’s a safe place for some of my yarn! Then the yarn for some reason was pushing the door open (um, it’s stuffed, full and my 3 season porch has the remains of my wool and coats, it’s out in the freezing cold so it will kill the larva.

When I took my mom to the emergency room, the doctor asked if she had a DNR. He asked if she would like to be resuscitated should some unfortunate incident occur. Her answer? YES! I looked at the doctor and said “Apparently I’m the only one in this room who wants a DNR”. He asked “are you sick?” I said “No!” The rest of the night he was looking at me strangely. That’s okay, I get that a lot! Oh well.

So tomorrow I’m thinking about offering the squirrels a thanksgiving feast of peanut butter and some more decon!

There’s been a slew of other things going on, that i will spare you from hearing. Your welcome! And then my mother dying. It’s been a horrible winter. I can’t even say I’m looking forward to Spring and summer because I’ve been overeating and gained weight. So I need to put on my big girl pants and start walking.  WHEN the ice leaves!

In the overall scheme of things, I’m sure I have it good. But I’m tired to my bones, and my bones hurt from the cold. Enough whining.  Glad wildlife is having sex in my house and multiplying.   At least SOMETHING is getting a little!!!    %#$@#3

Tomorrow I have a day trip planned with a friend. It will be healing, unless the car blows up! ha!

Hope your winter has been better than mine! Looking for a house in VT really cheap?   And now I have a HOT Saturday night date with my pillow!

 

Keep walking forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

What’s in your heart?

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The other day I ran into (almost crashed with our carts!) an old high school friend at Walmart.  I had seen just before I went to Walmart, on her fb feed that she had just lost one of her beloved furry kids.  Anyway,

I told her how sorry I was, and she was very gracious, but something she then said kind of shocked me.    “This is why I look the way I do today!”.    Wow!   Wow I thought.  To feel the need to say that to me, at 55 years of age?  We will both soon be 56.     It just struck me odd.  And perhaps its because for years now, I’ve not focused on the way I looked, nor the manner in which I dressed.  I admit, some of that had to do with depression, but when I see people I love, I don’t look them over from top to bottom.  I look into their eyes, and I’m paying attention to their words.

It saddened me, and also baffled me at the same time that she would be concerned of such.  A member of her family just died, who gives a shit how she looks?    Or have i just become too uncaring about this stuff?

She’s a beautiful woman, with the biggest blue eyes, and a gorgeous smile.  And she was in pain, I could see it written all over her face and in her eyes.  My heart hurt for her and her family.  I know how hard it is when our furry families leave us.  It’s painful as hell.    No one wants to say goodbye to such unconditional and gentle love and companionship.

So I’ve been sitting with that memory of our meeting.    And I’m not insinuating that she did anything wrong, but why did it stand out to me?   Why did that response come to mind for her, when she was sharing of her pain?

I suppose it could’ve been that I looked like crap.   Laughing.   And I didn’t have death of a pet (Thank God) to blame!    And I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t about her, it was about me.    I guess if someone is going to judge me by the way I look, for whatever reason, I guess I deep down know, they aren’t my friend!    I never once looked at her to think anything of her.  I wasn’t judging her, I was judging myself!  And with her comment, I felt like she was looking at what I looked like, not who I was, and the words I was saying to her.

How hard we are on ourselves.    This saddens me and continues to be the biggest issue I contend with on a daily basis.  I’m learning to be kinder, softer with myself, but it’s the first place that retorts back to old behavior, and I have to be vigilant with my self talk, turning it to positive.    There are some days, that’s all I accomplish.  Recycling old negative thoughts into positive ones.  With that said, the days are fewer and far between what they used to be.

What isn’t important to me is what someone drives, the diamonds or sapphires they wear, but I do look at their eyes, and I try to see what is in their heart with the limited time I’m with another.    Because THAT is how I want others to look at me!!!   But will they?   Doesn’t matter, it’s out of my control what another person thinks of me, and I’m grateful I don’t care today.    But here is where the whole process ended up for me.

What if?  What if we all felt better about ourselves, and loved and cared for ourselves.  What if we didn’t feel the need to “look” or “play” the part?     What if we stood one with our grief and said “I’m having a crappy day, I need to be gentle on myself?”

Are you one that can do that?      I dare ya!

So if the person reading this blog and whom I met in the Dog Aisle at Walmart, my bestest from way back in our teens, You are beautiful!   Your eyes are as blue as they were in high school, and your smile as bright.    Be kind to yourself!    Give yourself permission to grieve, and don’t judge yourself (or me) on the way I look!    Love ya girl.

On love

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It seems much of my life I have spent questioning my decisions.   I’m sometimes afraid to make decisions for fear that I’ll regret them, rarely has anything to do with the consequences.   I guess, in short, I lack self confidence, in some things, and then in others, I stand strong, tall, stoic to criticism with the ability to see clearly and fully that my decisions are just, sound, right.     Why the variance?

I had some crap dreams last night.   I will include that Trump was in one of them.  Rolling my eyes.    I don’t normally dream about our 45th President!   So why now?

When I access the parts of my life that include pain, disappointment (and we all have it), I weaken and have a tendency to “feel it” emotionally.

I’m reminded of a poem I came across at the young, ripe age of 15 that finds its way back in my life on occasion, and when I need it most.   The woman who wrote it was young at the time, and I remember reading something she had written on it saying she has never understood the depth of interest and popularity of it.     I found that interesting, because for me, this poem helped me stand up after assaults to my being or character.   I’ve shared this poem with many people during challenging parts of their life.   So why would it mean so little to her and so much to those of us who used to it carry us through difficulties?

She wrote about specific things that I have experienced, and I suppose, love and youth, or youth and love.   Earlier times in my life when love was defined differently than it is today (Thank God!).    “Kisses aren’t contracts”, we all “get this” when we experience the end of relationship, of death or loved one and we find ourselves alone.    The most important part for me was and still is ” So we begin to bring ourselves flowers”.    Hence, what I still continue to learn, to love and take care of myself versus others.

Of course I still lend a hand and my heart to others, but I’ve learned to first make sure I’ve filled my own needs.    I’ve also learned that it’s okay to have needs, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself, or put yourself first.    So perhaps, the answer to the author of the poem not understanding how or why her early poem was so popular is because, she learned with only one lesson to give to herself, or to love without losing herself.  And then there are many people like myself, who only after heartache and discord, learn, and even after that, continue the cycle until we finally “get it”.    Our hearts want one they want, but what if our idea of love is whacked?    I’m reminded that the “definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results”.

For whatever the reasons, I still love this poem, and while I no longer cling to it like I did as an innocent 15 year old girl, as a 55 year old woman, I reminisce and bathe in the memories of “love”, and how over the years I’ve learned to accept self love!

Here is the poem by Veronica Shoffstall

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Walking through grief

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The past couple days have been rough, with migraines and frustrating bitchiness.   This morning I was allowing myself to get really bent out of shape over nothing, when I sat down and jumped on facebook.      I hope the migraine(s) are behind me, I think it’s related to barometric pressure, my head feels like it isn’t attached to my body.  Strange, and adding to the Bitch of the Year award!

As I surveyed my facebook feed, I read a post from a friend who is really a very lovely woman, a woman of faith, ridiculously talented, and kind to the core.     She posted about two children who touched her deeply today, and made her smile while she was gassing up her car.    It lightened up my mood, until close to the end where she spoke about telling the kids mother how much their kindness and friendliness meant to her, and today or all days, as her sister died early this morning of cancer.   Tears flowed down my face then.

I immediately sent her a message, offering condolences, and thanking her for her share.   My mind swept back to the very days my sisters succumbed to cancer.    I was broken, and I was angry at God for allowing this to happen.  And so began a war between he and me, for months on end.   I defied my morning praises, and no longer prayed at all.   How could he allow this to happen?

In time, I learned and accepted that death is a part of our life, and that fairness doesn’t really play a role here.  But my friend, who had just said goodbye to her sister, was talking about how good God is, and how much this experience helped her, and made her smile.   I cried as I reread her beautiful, lovely, words.    How amazing that she was at peace, or I should say, more peace than I had when my sisters took their last breaths.

I sat in silence, trying to compose myself, get my emotions into check, and while I would like to say the bitchiness melted away, it did not, but I was so moved by her share, and her eloquence, awestruck with her compassion and faith.     When she replied to my message she spoke words I understand too well, about not knowing how she will do this without her sister, her first best friend.    Her words lent clarity to me of how I felt, too.

I remember thinking how cruel it was that the birds still chirped, that life still went on, even though my sisters lives were over.   I remember people telling me “time will heal”.  I also remember being firmly (and probably belligerently) adamant that NO ONE would tell me how to grief, how to walk through this atrocity which had been handed down to my family.   Grief is a journey, a necessary journey that is so individualized.   There is no right or wrong way to grieve, though I hope I handled it with even a small portion of the grace that my friend did this morning.

At this time another friend texts me that she knew and was related to the pedestrian who was hit in Brattleboro yesterday and who died later from her injuries.    Many eyewitnesses have shared that she walked right out in front of the car, the driver was not at fault.  But that driver?  Is devastated.    I saw pics of him with his head in his hands, crying.  Of course he was.  What person wouldn’t be?    And then she shared that this person had also just lost two siblings to cancer.    I was relaying all this to my mom, and we shared how grief is an alternate existence, if you will.   You’re not in your right mind, your preoccupied, sad, emotional, and that may be a part of why she aimlessly walked into traffic.  How incredibly sad.

So, tonight, as I write this, I’m thinking about all that transpired this morning and how it changed and altered my piss poor thinking.   I am still working through some crap, but for the most part, I’ll be crawling into bed very grateful that my day may be frustrating, and my head may ache, but I had a fairly uneventful day given two other peoples lives that changed drastically in a moments time.

I wish you a restful nights sleep, and an uneventful (almost boring) day tomorrow.  Life can change on a dime, and it does.  We find ourselves walking through life without those we love most in the world, and I have since learned that the birds still chirping as we walk through grief is really a gift, because life does go on for some.    How easily, how naturally we take things for granted, at least I do.   And I think I’m a pretty grateful person, but obviously imperfect and still learning about life.   Aren’t we all?

 

Acknowledgement

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For those of you who have experienced the loss of someone close to you, you will understand what I am writing about.     It never goes away, at least not for me.

Fourteen years ago today my kid sister died at the young age of 38.   She had been diagnosed just ten months before with Ovarian Cancer.   I’m not sure what hurts the most.   The journey through it, where we did our best to comfort her and bring her to any treatment allowed, or the endless missing.  I think it’s the missing.

Fourteen years and I still cry when I acknowledge this.  But if I don’t, it makes its way through illness or pain, so it’s best to nod to the memory than deny it, at least for me.

At 37 she and her partner had just bought a house and had moved in just two weeks prior to the emergency surgery that was previously scheduled a week or two later.   I remember it all so well, and I’m trying hard to not go there today.  To just honor her, and tell you what a great person she was.

I can tell you that she worked very hard and knew how to play.  She had a boat, snowmobiles, a toy for every season.   She loved to fish, to play sports, and was a natural athlete.   She had an old soul, I think about this often, wondering if this played a part in her short life.  A natural observer, she was always warning me when to shut my big trap, or when I had gone past “obnoxious” she called it.   Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.  It’s one that I experience a lot when I think about her.

One would think that after fourteen years you wouldn’t on occasion say to yourself “I have to call her, and tell her this!”    It happens less each passing year, but it still happens.

She was my dads bud.  I mean that with every part of my being.  She loved hockey, she loved fishing and shared these things with our dad.   We all share memories of this with her.   It was rather comical last year when my father admitted one day “Okay, Darlene was my favorite”.   The three of us laughed until tears came out of our eyes.  “What?”  “I’m sorry” he said.   “Um dad, we have known this FOREVER!”    I think he really believed it would shock us.   NOT.   I was sitting beside her on her couch the day she learned she was not going to recovery from this, and she called dad to tell him.  “I’m sorry, dad, I’m so sorry”.

So it was on this day that my, our lives changed.  For years I described things as “happened before she died, or happened after she died”.   I didn’t mean to.  It was just a game changer.    My life changed.  I changed.

I remember asking my cousin Marie, who came down to sit with me just hours after I learned she had died “How am I supposed to stop loving her?”   “You never will, Donna” she said.   How did she know?    It was through my sisters death and living life without her that I learned, love doesn’t stop just because someone you love died.   Nor does life stop, as cruel and vulgar as it seems at the time.   “How can the birds still sing?  How can people laugh, how can anything go on when my life has just come to a screaching halt?”   But it does.  But I have learned something beautiful within all the sadness and that is that love doesn’t ever stop, for me it continued and miraculously grew and still does, all these years later.

So on this day, I acknowledge that hope changes.   At first you pray for a cure, you pray for treatment to work, and then when that stops working, you pray for strength and a new doctor, another treatment, and more.   That is until you realize the suffering is going on too long, and you start to pray for God to be merciful with her, with them.  Please, take her soon.   Yes, hope changes.

I miss you every day.  There hasn’t been a day in fourteen years you’ve been gone that I don’t think of you.  You are part of me, you always will be.    I can still close my eyes and see your face, the little tiny mole above your eyebrow, and see that beautiful smile that radiated wherever it was shown.

Time does teach us how to coexist with such loss, but it doesn’t heal the broken heart.  I think because even when you pray for an end to the pain, and there is relief when that happens, the missing?  It never stops.

 

(end note:  I wrote this and posted it on 4/8 but for some reason it’s showing the 9th which I find interesting, because I actually found out about it just minutes after midnight on the 9th)