“I thought by now you’d be better” and so began a conversation that is often avoided. Already riddled with anxiety, the body responded with further tension and frustration.
‘Thinking before speaking’, what a concept! It has been said, “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.” Is there a ‘mute’ button anywhere? Maybe the “walking-dead” is not such a far fetched concept.
My Grieving Friend has said, “it is a constant teaching moment.” Somewhere along the line I would like to stop teaching, please!
If I’m in a good-place, I might simply smile or even mumble a cordial reply. However, if I’m already depleted from fighting my own personal assaults then I’ll yank you right into my struggle. Verbal punches and blows will be thrown…be forewarned. Then, I’ll either walk away victorious having dodged another bullet or I’ll continue the barrage of self-hatred due to my inadequacy of properly handling another encounter poorly. Yeah, people encounters are just not “my-thang”.
I am constantly told that isolation isn’t good for me. Ha! Are you kidding me?!?! At least when I am alone my opponent is one not a multitude. I am seriously contemplating a bungalow in a deserted island…just sayin.
Defending…trying to make people understand…is
Another holiday in the books! Social media in tip top shape with all its Kodak moments. The endless flow of post card perfection. With all them filters who can go wrong, right? What lurks behind the scenes? What if we could peel off every “filter” and were allowed into the rawness of life?
I read a blog post which was originally posted on June 6, 2018 entitled “Gravity and Stars: A Father’s Day Reflection for the Fatherless” by Sammy Rhodes. Within his post Rhodes quotes Michael Chabon:
…fatherhood is “an obligation that was more than your money, your body, or your time, a presence neither physical nor measurable by clocks: open-ended, eternal, and invisible, like the commitment of gravity to the stars.”
“Obligation” and “commitment”, words packed with a punch. Words that enter the recesses of my mind and turn up with an “ERROR-MESSAGE“. Rhodes says, “There are a lot of ways to lose a father, each with unique pains.” and “…[his father] haunts the land of the living with the presence of their absence…his absent presence…” — Wow, this hits hard! (emphasis mine).
Thoughts of my own father “missing” yet there. Remember Dad? Yeah, The Runaway has deep “daddy-issues”.
Memories of my Dad are few. From that trickle flow, one looms the size of Gibraltar. His “presence” was painfully absent when his little girl needed the protection of her Daddy. In a sense handing over the preciousness of a soul to abuse. With his “absent presence” came others that would step into his abandoned role. However, this proved to be disastrous. One said that “he loved me as his daughter”, only to cowardly bury the truth. The other said, “I love you like a daughter”, as he denied his thwarted attempts to violate her body.
In the mystery of this life journey there are turns in the crooked road that bring you to ponds of fresh water. Waters that quench and satisfy a thirsty soul. I have been given eyes to “see” A Father. The only one and perfect Dad. I am so grateful! And, by the grace of God, my husband has been that Dad that has been and continues to be always “present” for our children.
~~~Gratitude in the midst of pain~~~
Ponder with me…
When someone comes to mind, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? When death comes, how will you be remembered? When you are just a corpse, and hopefully, people come to pay their respects, what will they “think about” as they stand over you?
Death has rattled our cages again. I’m older, and hopefully wiser. I’m learning to “think through”, to “work through” grief and loss. Our family has the tendency to stuff grief down our being so as to not deal with it or even acknowledge our pain. So, I’m a pioneer in this “new and improved” way…haha! And, guess what? Working through loss and all the implications thereof, I’m finding, is so much better and healthier than the alternative.
What triggered the above questions has been two recent deaths. When the first death occurred the words and sentiments written were those of love and honor. When the second death occurred there was an eerie silence. The legacy left by the first will be one of fond memories and the deep desire that the person wasn’t gone. The second, well, there is almost a “relief” that they are no longer causing damage.
In the end how will I be remembered? What memories will I leave behind? Will I be missed or will it be a welcomed loss?
Oh, that I would learn to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom; that I might leave a legacy worth emulating.
Step, shuffle…step, shuffle. Grueling steps, feeling every pebble and stone. The scorching sun glaring from the surface of the road, as if the elements had conspired to inflict further pain upon this shattered soul. How many times has this road been treaded? Too many times, and I wish I could say it is the last time.
The slow ascent from the land of the living to the place of eternal rest. Heavy, tedious, yet robotic and numb. The mixed crowd, some there by compulsion, others need to be part of paying their respects and others simply want to sponge away information to be spread elsewhere. Tears, sobs, prayers and even some laughs are heard among the throng.
The Family Tree has taken another blow. One more branch laid to rest. It is said that it was a gift to his Mother, being it was Dia de las Madres in the quaint village. They are together again, Mom and her beloved Son. Funny the things we say to bring comfort and solace to our sorrowful soul. However, the unanswered questions and countless regrets remain. The horrid images will haunt us. And, the pain of another loss will sear us even more.
The cobblestone road, that held childhood memories of laughter and joy, is now paved with pain and sorrow, sprinkled with rivers of tears.
God have mercy on us✝️
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a Tree, and although it wasn’t a unique Tree, it inspired respect and admiration. The Tree was beautiful to behold. It stood tall in the midst…sturdy and stunning. Lots of branches and foliage covered the trunk. Oh, the oohs and aahs it inspired.
The passage of time with its multitude of storms, beat that Tree mercilessly. “Today” it stands barely recognizable. I dare say, some may even disdain its memory.
Some of its branches never made it to maturity. Others held on until illness, disappearance, unknown causes or even their own doing cut them off. Those that remain, well…they simply remain.
Time has a way of unearthing great treasures or stripping away facades. That outward beauty hid many parasites that were eating away from within. And, try as we may to keep the semblance of this great, big, beautiful Tree intact, at some point, it is impossible.
Another branch is cut off…death’s blade strikes again. Few remain. Each with their own regrets. Each wondering what is next. And, so a tattered legacy continues…
Another horrid night. Enthralled in the unraveling of a life…watching…waiting. The ground ebbing away. The gut stuck to the spine. A pressure cooker waiting to explode. She sat at the table staring at papers that “seemingly” held life and death in it’s lines. The words “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” glaring at her; daunting her. It’s meaning incomprehensible, yet it’s reality could not be escaped.
How did she go from signing a birth certificate to signing papers that would mark her daughter’s demise? She sat numb, frozen…staring into nothingness. A frigid chill enveloped her from within; from without. Was she even breathing? Finally, as in a trance, hand to paper as ink flowed. “Ready pen” was not ready for this.
Her daughter’s screams, “Help me Mom!” Her whisper, “No more appointments, Mom.” That tender and loving stare speaking without a word, “are you going to be ok?” My audible words, “Angie, it’s ok to go. I give you permission. I’m going to be ok. I will miss YOU so, so much, but it’s ok to go.” Her surrender, “ok”.
Tumbling, tumbling in her brain…words, gestures. All ending at this table, making decisions that could never be changed.
Two years have passed since this fretful day, yet its memory is as palpable as today.
“only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” ~ Pema Chödrön
“A diagnosis doesn’t define me.” A liberating statement, indeed. However, there are times one can not just “speak away” once ailments. We are all different. There is not a one size fits all remedy. Trial and error, and try again is the name of the game. A cooking cutter mentality is not a healthy approach.
In 2002 I ended up in a fetal position, seemingly out of the blue, unable to function. Tests, tests, and more tests, with frustration and annoyance as part of the ride. The end result a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Meds, home remedies, etc., etc., trying everything to beat these ailments. Yup, even got the typical “it’s all in your head. Just push through.” I’ve learned that it’s chronic. Sometimes I know exactly what brings on a flare up and sometimes I have no clue.
Then there was the time I was diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritis. No, this diagnosis didn’t define me, but it sure did change the way I do things. Amazing doctors and physical therapists have educated me on what to do to keep myself mobile and what not to do to aggravate things.
Now I’m faced with debilitating anxiety and depression. With the help of my medical doctor we decided it was time to see a therapist. With the support and guidance of my medical team and my family we are exploring ways to help me deal with and cope with these new companions. Will they come and go? Will they stay for a season or will they be with me for the rest of my life? These and other questions are on the table.
My diagnoses don’t define me, but they are part of me. They don’t undo me, but, at times, they do cause me to be laid out. I find accepting this is easier on my physical and mental health than trying to “push through”.
Learning is liberating. Fighting is exhausting.