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😔

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.

 

 

Trying to Get Back

Ya’ll still here? It’s been a L-O-N-G “minute” since I last posted. Goodness life just tumbles through, doesn’t it?

My laptop has taken “ill” so I am attempting to type on an IPad…yeah, not working as smoothly and speedily as I’d like, but I was itching to get back to my writing routine.

An update (in summary): I’ve been “down”, pretty crazy how dark it can get. Made more changes in the pursuit of caring for my mental health. We moved. Adjusting to a new town. I lived in the same town since we came from Mexico in 1975, so theirs tons of adjustments. One being trying to reconcile, in my chaotic brain, that I haven’t abandoned my daughter since the cemetery where her remains lay is further away. Yeah, working through things that might be “normal” to some, to me seem like huge unsurmountable mountains. But learning and trying is the name of the game, and, at the moment, I’m ok with that.

”Routine” is my friend, but it seems to be hiding. And, again, learning that the dictates of my brain, at times, need to be silenced. Trying not to be so hard and rigid so as to flow and enjoy those blessed moments of sanity.

OHHHHHH, guess what? We are expecting our first granddaughter in February! Oh the joy! Yup, the sweetness of a life bringing us lots of sunshine! Hearing her heartbeat for the first time was surreal.

Our life journey continues. Whoever is still here, I’m glad we are walking together. Your companionship is a gift.

YOU would tell me…

My attempt to participate in the “writing through your grief” group was completely stunted by horrible triggers which sent me spiraling for days. Continuing to practice ‘being kind to myself’ I bowed out. Maybe another time, maybe never, who knows. However, the following prompt caused me to pick up my pen…

“How would you love me in this?”

“If I imagined you speaking…you would tell me…”

How would you love me through this? Goodness, you’d be absolutely heartbroken that I’ve been so incredibly sad and inactive. I remember the day we got the “final-NO” in your care. We got home, put you to bed. A family member was here to help (so grateful!), so I was able to go into the back yard to ‘breathe’. I gave your Dad and Brother the latest news, then I walked to that block wall and screamed, “I can’t…!!!” I sobbed, not sure what else I said. Punching that wall was so tempting. Before I knew it, your brother’s tender arms drew me in and held me. Safe…calm…breathe…hold it together. I came back to your side. The sight of your little face was oh, so sad and you were crying. I said, “what’s the matter? Are you ok?” Crying, you answered, “I’m sorry Mom, for hurting you.” YOU HAD HEARD MY BREAKDOWN and blamed yourself for causing my tears and pain. This memory still haunts me. I was mad at myself, mad at the world, BUT NOT YOU. My precious girl ‘taking care of Mom’ as she was finishing her earthly race, God, I have much to learn from you.

You hated to see me sad. You never wanted me to hurt emotionally or physically. You watched me and cared for me.

I remember difficult moments when I’d say, “Angie, I need a hug.” On good days you’d come to me and hug me. On difficult days, you’d say, “Come here.” I’d go to your bedside or couch and lean to you and you’d hug me.

You hated when I was too “homie”. From your small allowance, which by the way you were an amazing steward of, you’d say, “Come on Mom, I’ll buy you lunch.” I’d tell you I could pay so you could use your money for your Starbucks runs, but, no, you wanted to treat me. So we’d go and have Jack-in-the-Crack (haha! that’s what you’d call it). Two ninety-nine cent tacos, fries and a coquita. Caffeine was your friend.

What would you say to me now? Maybe, “Ahí, Lady, what are you doing? I am so JOYFUL. I am with my Savior, where I longed to be.”

I would hope you’d say, “You did everything you could. At the end, I didn’t feel any pain. I heard your goodbyes. I felt your touch.”

I know you’d say, “I am so happy Chubbs is there all the time. And, I love Maria.”

“I’ll see you soon, Mom!”

 

The Mind

The human mind, many a war has been fought and won within its hidden chambers. The battles can be fierce and unrelenting. Its doors can be unknowingly opened, allowing ferocious enemies to come in and wreck havoc.

Ghosts have no power to hurt, yet somehow I’ve given them the power to haunt and torture me. Dismissing these ghosts does not nullify the reality of past events. However, inviting them in and allowing them to set up permanent camp is a choice.

Have you ever contemplated digging up a corpse? Yes, you read right! Well, I have. In my chaotic spirals that thought has entered my mind. As the spinning stops, the reality hits like a boulder and the onslaught of questions floods…would that bring her back? would that bring you comfort? would it make everything ok? would this…on…and on…and on…

In a sense, a sort of “digging up” has been happening around here. Now, this has been a much needed endeavor, however, there comes a time to move forward beyond dissecting that putrid muck. I refuse to allow any more abuse to happen at the hands of ghosts. NOW, I HAVE A CHOICE!!! NOW, I HAVE A VOICE!!!

“…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” ~ Phil. 4:8 NLT

Grateful for days or even moments of clarity of mind. For moments that allow me to breathe without restraint. Today, I will choose to think and meditate on TRUTH.

Daddy-Issues

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~~~

In the End…

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.