Does it matter?

I’ve written about my Dad and siblings (The Oldest Girl, A Little Boy, The Dreamer, A Tortured Soul). Sometimes creative, sometimes just letting words flow from my heart into the page. My mind is filled with questions without answer. My mind is replete with scenarios that get called up time and again.

I come from a large family. Somewhere along the way I’ve landed on my “own”. Out of all my siblings three of us remain. The connection between us, if there ever was one, is gone. One sits all alone having recently lost his wife. They never had children of their own. The other navigates the limitations of his aging body along with his ailing wife, somehow alone.

How does all this play out?

I’ve watched my Dad’s end (The Unexpected) in horror. My Mom’s strength and vitality withered away slowly. Her dignity shattered as I had to care for her in every way. Her lifeless frame shipped like cargo(The Unforgettable Crate), words said to me by the mortuary.

The marking of time. Such a strange phenomenon. Like an eternity, yet like yesterday.

I wonder, does it make a difference whether you have a lot of family or not? Does closeness remain? Are we really in this together? In the end will I be surrounded or alone?

In the end, does any of this matter?

“The challenge of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Everyone must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone…I will not be with you then, nor you with me”

Luther

Counterpart

The weight of darkness even amidst the light. The loud, relentless chatter amidst the silence. Sinking…sinking…sinking. How is it possible to sink without knowing it?

My unwelcome Companion has a counterpart. Not always, but at times it makes its appearance. I’m continually learning to surrender and accept The Companion, but it’s counterpart shakes me to the core.

I have not learned its tricks, yet. When I know it’s here it’s because I’m sinking in its grip. And, honestly, it lulls me to a degree that it feels soothing and inviting. Not until I’m “outside” it’s lure can I see it’s horrifying end and destruction.

As a Believer in Jesus Christ, I am fully aware that my life is not my own; that my life is a gift; that it’s beginning and end are not mine to wield. Yet, in the midst of my sinking thoughts, this Truth is not something I go to.

My sister took her own life, so you’d think remembering the heartache and devastation this left behind, that would shake me into reality.

Or…focusing on the many, many blessings around me. Or…I’m sure you can write a litany of things that SHOULD knock some sense into me. Yup, I’ve had those lists for others, and the shake of the head when they did not keep my list. Oh, may God forgive me for thinking I had all the answers. HE is the only answer and the only One who knows each person intricately and individually, including me.

And, so, I’m here, looking back at “that pit”, AGAIN. Grateful, that God in His amazing grace and mercy has plucked me out – AGAIN; that today the “sun-is-shining” and that the next step is all that is needed.

Grateful for another moment of clarity. 

Unending Grief

It comes in waves

Waves that relentlessly pound

Waves that smash you into a wall

One picture…one memory…is all it takes

The reality that a warm hug is not an option

that she’ll never walk through the door

that she’s gone – forever!

The emptiness of her absence brings

a sting that doesn’t subside

a deep ache that permeates my very soul

Say her name…please say her name

Remember her…please remember her

My beautiful girl, how I miss you…

Companion

“I thought you had left me for good”, was my thought. “But, oh, how I sense your tenacity”, the surrendered sigh echoed.

The companion I did not choose. The companion I did not invite, yet here you are as present as ever. Somehow, I don’t fear you anymore. Somehow, I “almost” see you coming, grab my hibernation attire and sink back for it’s duration. How long will you stay, is as unknown as the heaviness of your hand. That is still an area that frustrates this control freak.

How I wish I could control your arrival. Heck, you may never be welcomed, if I had my say. But, no, you are there just lurking around the corner, waiting to make your appearance known.

Your familiar presence can still rattle my routine.

Depression with all it’s intricate angles…

Depression is the name of my companion…

…a companion I never chose.

Opened Wound

”I think she died as a consequence to xyz decision YOU made…” – – – Swoosh, the dagger was plunged! Expertly removing the freshly formed scab. The bleeding hasn’t stopped. Just when one thinks that there’s any semblance of healing, the questions and doubts come back with a vengeance.

Doesn’t this person know that I’ve dissected every step and decision made and agonized at the very thought that I might have missed something? Does this person not see that I would have never, knowingly harmed my baby girl?

”Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you…” came, BUT I had already plunged deep, deep into the darkness of my soul. The fog descended, surrounding me with guilt and shame. Once again, the light and air, snuffed out; the wound opened and raw.

Castigating thoughts from without, joining hands with the thoughts from within.

Ragged Edges

Thinking it is a good idea to attempt something normal…familiar. Hey, they are safe. They love me and I love them. Venturing out of the home-made shelter to test the outside world, only to be thrown into spiraling thoughts that assault the mind with unending questions. How stupid of me to think it would be “ok”!

Everything has changed! It’s ludicrous to think otherwise. For sure, I am a totally different person. My ragged edges cut and hurt. Not an excuse, just a fact.

Walking on eggshells, I don’t do. My masks shattered by sorrow and pain…not apologizing for this! Filters annoy me. Primp and proper, I am not.

Being around me is incredibly difficult! The sharpness of my ragged edges cut and bruise. I think I’ll crawl back into my home-made shelter where everyone will be safe😢

Shame

“…I couldn’t imagine confessing the anxiety which whispered white noise in my ears. What would fellow Christians think about the black dog of depression often barking louder than the voice of God?…” ~ Steve Austin

I’m floundering. I don’t fit in anywhere. Too “holy” (haha!) for the world. Not “saintly” enough for the church. In God’s providence (yes, I still believe…) I came across Steve Austin on Twitter. No, no magical story, he “just” turned up on my feed. I’m not completely familiar with all that he proclaims, just this quote just hit me raw.

So, we don’t have a “home church”. Since we came to faith we have always “belonged” somewhere. Crazy how that high school mentality of belonging continues even as adults. Yeah, we don’t belong to the popular crowd…anymore. We are outsiders. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of people that would love for me to be in their “group”. I’d be an amazing token to show off what God can do! Sexually abused as a child, raped, domestic violence, alcohol abuser AND now, the cherry on top, the death of her daughter to cancer. Can you read the BOLD letters on the billboard? But no, I’m just a used up, discarded “saint” that has disappointed the masses. No victory story here.

Just this Sunday we visited a church. It’s a small crowd of smiling welcoming people. Maybe this one? I thought. After service they were having lunch together. We were invited. I panicked. We rushed out. Once in the car, I felt “safe”. Where they mean and snotty? No! Far from that. But my brain went to all kinds of scenarios. Some, real and others, well, made up…I guess.

Back in my “corner” with thoughts of how messed up I am and wondering how in the world I got here. And, thinking this is how it’s going to be…sigh😔

I got this!

Hand me the gavel. Give me the whip. I got this! I’m an expert at wielding just the right blow. I know just where to hit. I got fifty plus years of practice. Don’t you know, practice makes perfect? My perfectionist self continues to wield the weapons until the perfect blow renders me “wilted and useless”.

It’s exhausting to be both the offender and the judge, but one word or phrase hits the brain and the onslaught unravels. How to stop the onslaught, is not an art I have mastered. On the other hand, laying it on hard and heavy, well, it’s so easy. I’m a natural.

”They must think…” “Yup, they are tired of dealing with me.” “Did they mean…?” And on and on it goes. You see, I not only got my own thoughts castigating me, I put words in your mouth as well. Cause I’m just talented like that.

I will isolate myself, AGAIN, cause this talent needs lots and lots of work. And, solitude, is the perfect environment for it.

Don’t worry…I got this!

Land Mine

Learning how to not get stuck in my Scrambled Mind and to accept my Brain Explosion Let’s just say, “I’m getting better at it”.

I guess I’m a sucker for punishment…I ventured into the black hole (FB). Yup, self-control went out the door. So, who knew there was a National Daughter’s Day? Is there “a day” for everything? Goodness, gracious! Post after “beautiful” post oozing with inspiration. Allow me to let you into my brain:

what?! seriously! did you have to post that? what if your daughter was dead? I know, I’m going to post a picture of my daughter’s gravesite with “Happy National Daughters Day” and see how you like it —- wait, hold on, what if my daughter was still alive? I’d probably be posting an oozing post as well. it’s not their fault your daughter died and their is still alive —- LOG OUT! No! Why? You’re being triggered. So! Sobbing I lay down and lick my wounds…

Land mines are all around me. I’m aware that some I step in by mistake. Others, well, I see them and step right in. Navigation system is so complicated. Short circuits here, short circuits there, but we continue…

 

Diet

What are you feeding on? Yeah, no, not going into a post about Nutrition although We Need Food I’m talking about what are you feeding your brain?

PTSD has “a mind of its own” and can be pretty chaotic, however, I’m continuing to learn (key) that if I’m gorging on “negativity” this adds to the mess. Being off social media was a prescriptive-order from my therapist. I honestly didn’t think “it” a problem. However, as I was being inundated by news of people ending their life, I can now say this wasn’t helping my already ongoing thoughts of ending mine.

When my daughter passed away, I went on a reading binge about people who had lost loved ones. Now, there is a time for all things and it was good for a time, but a constant preoccupation with the subject keeps me STUCK on death with no space for living. I’m currently in a place where I can dimly see that this not only hurts me but also hurts those that are left behind. Now, was this a purposeful action? NOPE! However, it was happening and I’m aware of it, now.

Back when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I remember being so desperate for information that I was reading everything about the subject. Goodness, was this a downer. Am I saying you don’t educate yourself? Not, in the least. All I’m saying is that I was borrowing from tomorrow and forgetting about today. And, for some reason I was focusing on the worst case scenarios. Something about my brain that does that.

Anywho, I desire to choose wisely what goes into my brain. My Frail Frame needs to be cared for as a whole. My brain needs a healthy diet as well. Am I saying I’ll never read the ugly? Nope! Just not obsessing with it. Am I going to live with my head on the clouds? Nope, but a bit of an aerial look never hurt anyone. Is this life all their is? Nope, but I’d be foolish to not enjoy the beauty of today.

My mind is a beautiful, intricate part of my whole being. Choosing to care for it well.