Depth

I read this on a page in FB called Introvert Nation:

“I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on inside your head when you don’t even understand it yourself.”

On a total side note, I think I’m an introvert…just sayin!

Anywho, I decided to do something I used to do (in the dinosaur ages, so it seems). I used to write in a more “today” kinda-way, with a sort of pondering/meditating to the flow of the writing piece. Although I really enjoy writing in any kind of way.

In my FB Memories a video popped up from 3 years ago. It gives 5 points that encouraged and prompted me to “guide” my thoughts. Encouraged by Natalie Goldberg when she said, “if you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.” Here goes…

1) Own Your Own Happiness” – I’m 52 years old. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done. I can’t please all of the people, all of the time. It’s exhausting! Critics are everywhere. I’ve been a professional and a stay at home mom. I’ve had my children in public school, private school, homeschool. I’ve been crazy out in the world and settled and homie (some critics would still say that I’m still just plain-ol-crazy…hey, they might be right!). Just to name a few things…and I’ve been criticized for every single one of them.

2) Challenge Your Own Story” – I hate the word “victim”! I dislike being pitied! I’ve been molested, raped, assaulted, beaten, BUT I refuse to let this define me! Each “season” I’ve lived and, by God’s grace, have come THROUGH has made me who I am today. However, I will not stay quiet about who I am and where I’ve been. No shame in my game! This season of my life has me sunk in deep sorrow and grief from the loss of my beautiful daughter. I deal with crying all the time, thoughts of suicide, PTSD, panic attacks…AND I’m not ashamed to talk about it or write about it. I don’t need to hide (unless it’s a really bad day, then I’ll be under the covers for most of the day).

3) Enjoy the Journey (NOT just the destination)” – Today is a gift! Be fully present. Enjoy the baby years; the toddler years, even the teenage years of your children. Enjoy those soccer games, baseball games, valet, recitals. Enjoy the house full…the empty nest will come soon enough. Enjoy that you can jump and run and eat whatever you want, cause, people, I’m here to tell you that “season” comes to an end really quick. Enjoy the sunrise, that sunset…the moon and the stars. Enjoy that cup of coffee, that donut or that salad. Don’t miss today while you are stuck in the past or reaching for tomorrow. Celebrate along the way! There is JOY in the process.

4) Make Relationships Count” – Trust even when you’ve been betrayed. Don’t carry others mistakes to the new relationships. Don’t get “historical”, stop keeping lists. This person is here for this moment in time. Friendships are messy (this is a continual struggle for me…still), but still be open to friendships. Know the difference between friends and acquaintances. Some will stay for a while, others just for a moment, but each will leave an imprint on your life journey.

5) Balance Work and Play” – Everything is not serious everyday. Take time to be silly. Take time to laugh. Take time to dance. Your “job” will continue even without you. For 10 months my entire focus was my daughter. We colored, played dots, got pedicures, took naps together…I will NEVER regret having put everything on hold. I’ve been told that now it’s “my time”, that I’m free to do things I enjoy. Guess what? That was “my time” AND life was still happening…it did not stand still. Things were accomplished in those 10 months that stories are of. No mega trial brief could top that time with my girl.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Thank you for “walking” with me. One step at a time is all it takes, and if you need to sit, that’s ok, too 🙂

My Beautiful Girl

My Beautiful Girl (Angie) was born June 3, 1986. She was named after her paternal grandmother, whom she loved. I wonder if they are singing together in heaven? Abuelita Jelo loved to sing.

All of my pregnancies were difficult. I had two miscarriages before we had our first born prematurely, with minimal issues. Then I got pregnant with Angie and the difficulties continued with the added trauma of having a drunk man fall on me late into the pregnancy. Angie was born between 6-7 months (don’t remember exactly) with difficulty breathing due to her underdeveloped lungs. She was placed in an incubator and given medication and care for her tiny, frail body. Angie didn’t get to come home with me because she still needed to stay in the incubator a little bit longer. She finally came home with lots of instructions and medications. I am so thankful for my sister who loved both my children as if they were her own. She helped me care for this tiny girl. Angie would “forget to breath”, she still needed to have Mommy breathe for her. She had to learn to breath on her own. This caused for her brain to be deprived of oxygen, which in turn caused further developmental delays. Those were, I thought, difficult days.

Sometimes I just need to remember. Sometimes I just need to “tell” somebody about her. Sometimes saying and seeing her name brings so much comfort and joy.

ANGIE, my precious little girl…fearfully and wonderfully made. Each day a miracle; each day a gift. Each day a milestone; each day defeating the odds. Each day of your life is engraved on my heart and mind. AND each day you are gone brings heart ache and pain. I will miss you until the day I have you in my arms again ❤

 

Seasons

Seasons come and seasons go. None stay for long. Each with its enchanting beauty or with its nightmarish toil. There was a time I had no concept of seasons. I’m sure I was taught about them in school, but I guess it wasn’t important enough for me to pay attention. The weather was either hot or cold, with nothing in between. I recall first being aware that “there was” different seasons, and that there was a “time” of the year in which they took place. I was mesmerized by this new found “lost” information. Why hadn’t anyone ever told me about them? Ha! Well, they had I was just not paying attention.

As life has continued, I’ve become “aware” of seasons in life. However, some life-seasons are as “predictable” as weather-seasons. Some life-seasons can linger far too long, while one aches under its oppressive load. Others, one wishes they had never ended…they were far too short.

Take winter for example. Some places have the beauty of snow, which makes for a winter wonderland. It’s what you see on post cards, on romantic movies. Those beautiful white Christmases. But what about when you are shoveling snow? Frost bite? Wet and frozen toes? Blizzards? You get my point. It also makes “everything” green die all around.

I live in California, so I am not in the midst of snow and such. But I remember a winter that lingered way too long. We had fruit trees in our back yard. Those trees ended up looking like horrid “bushes of dead sticks”. I was so over it. The sight was not one I was fond of looking at every day. I was ready to yank everything out and “start over”. Maybe it’s the “controlling person” in me or the “fixer”, but something had to be done. The gift of “waiting” was definitely not mine. My husband convinced me to wait, which was no easy task.

Come Spring, I was mesmerized by the beauty of “regrowth”. Each bud, each shoot, each sign of “new life” was breath taking. I was grateful I waiting, although not very patiently.

TODAY I’m up to my neck, and at times completely submerged in “snow”. I have “no-shovel”, and even if I had one, I have no strength to “shovel-myself-out”. My winter-season is brutal and frigid. And, at times it feels like it will last forever. However, TODAY, I am reminded of those horrid-dead-bushes in my old backyard. AND…I have HOPE!

~~~ Spring always follows Winter ~~~

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

My Beginning

“We all begin and end in darkness – the womb and the grave. We’re here to find and share as much light as we can in between the darkness.” ~ Naomi Esther

My Beginning ~~~

Born on April 1966, in Acatic, Jalisco, Mexico, at home. Pregnancy #15 out of 16, most died of childhood diseases or miscarriages. Seven of us made it to adulthood. Of those seven, two have died, one has been missing since 2009. I am the youngest of them all.

A lifetime of experiences which have left scars and wounds. Passionate about going from victim, not just to “survivor”, but to VICTOR. Learning that life is NOT a sprint, but a long and arduous walk along a road that has twists and bends and highs and lows and ups and downs. Accepting those “extreme lows and down” times.

“Our experiences are seeds: they are useless unless planted and our redemption is what grows from them.” ~ Naomi Esther

Each scar has a story. Learning be fearless about speaking “it” out loud. Learning to remember, without getting stuck in the past. Learning to live in the present, and trusting my tomorrows to the One who is already there.

“Scars – I suppose I love my scars because they have stayed with me longer than most people have.” ~ Nikita Gill

THANK YOU to all the follows and the likes. Grateful to share this life journey with you all. Grab some water…the journey continues ❤

 

PTSD Diagnosis

“PTSD: Symptoms may include nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood.
Behavioral: agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation
Psychological: flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust
Mood: loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness
Sleep: insomnia or nightmares
Also common: emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts”
Information obtained from Mayo Clinic website
The holidays of 2017 were absolutely brutal. My daughter had been gone a little over 6 months. She loved, loved the holidays. Christmas was one of her favorites. I called her Elf (remember the movie?), she called me Scrooge (that tells you something). She loved decorating. I think our home would have been a winter-wonderland if we would have had the finances to allow her to do it. But she did great with what we had. Her last Christmas with us she sat and watched as I decorated. The joy in her eyes was all worth it. She was so happy.
Trying to honor her memory I was “trying” to do Christmas, but my body would not have it. Stuffing my feelings didn’t help. I ended up passing out, and later in the ER because my doctor thought I was having a heart attack. Given my family history (The Unexpected) he wanted to rule out any cardiovascular issues. Thankfully “all” was good with my heart. He recommended I go to counseling. This was a hard pill to swallow and accept, because I “always had it all together”.
Receiving the PTSD diagnosis was surreal. My initial thoughts were, “no, not me!” “isn’t this only for soldiers? I’m not a soldier. I haven’t been to combat.” “wait, what will people think?” “I can’t tell anyone, this doesn’t make sense” and on and on and on.
Watching the show “Madam Secretary”, the main actress was dealing with PTSD. I broke down uncontrollably saying, “that’s me!!!” It was surreal to “watch myself” on someone else.
Not sure what this all means. Not sure how to handle this. Not sure of anything. Just putting one foot in front of the other and at times simply curling up in a ball “until it passes”.
Scrambled Mind is something I deal with a lot. I learned about Six Word Story from a grief website as they were doing #griefinsixwords. Being a “wordy” person, it was difficult when my mind was so scrambled, to write anything down. Putting thoughts into six words helped. In fact, that’s how I started dabbling in poetry and finding quotes. Simple yet so inspiring. As Matt Haig puts it:
“…A short optimistic quote isn’t cheap. It can be forged in pain and have the strength of survival. It can reframe your whole perspective…”
Acceptance brings peace. Finding ways to cope is part of my present journey. AND so we continue on this life journey one step at a time…and if need be we sit and give ourselves permission to Just be…

The Unexpected

The quadruple bypass had been a total success. The family began to let their shoulders down and breath a little easier, until…that first meal! Those infamous cornflakes – tasty clusters of flakes, yet deadly to a paralyzed, empty stomach. The first spoonful hit the stomach producing nausea, stomach cramps and pain, making the stomach bloat with extreme speed. The symptoms had now become agonizing with no sign of relief. Rushed to the OR! Doctors in desperate search of what had caused this drastic turn of events, and trying to figure out how and why this was happening while he was slowly making a positive recovery from his heart surgery.

The family lingers in the room waiting for an update. The nurse comes in and says, “He’s losing a lot of blood. Are any of you able to give blood for him?” We are willing. After some tests, it turns out only two of his kids are a match. One has been using so he’s out. The youngest of them all is taken to the room where she’ll sit as the precious life giving liquid flows out of her veins.

Waiting and more waiting. Finally, a doctor approaches. “We did all we could…” Words that you hope would only be said in movies, but no, this is real. Before any emotion can be shown, the doctor whispers to the widow, “If you want to take him now without waiting, we are going to have to wheel him out as if he is still alive. Otherwise, you might not get him for days, or even months due to all the red tape.” She, “strong-as-nails”, her norm, says, “I’m taking him now!”

The family is then asked to “stuff all their feelings and emotions” and act as if nothing has happened.

The gurney in front, the family behind…as if…all is good.

The body is delivered to the family home, and is customary in that culture, they will dress and prepare him for the all night wake.

Two of his five sons and his two daughters enter “that room”. He is wrapped in sheets. They approach and start unwrapping…GASP!!! UGH!!! The sight, the smells, the liquids! “How? why? Could they have closed him up? Can someone else do this? This can’t be happening!”

One white shirt after another, stained…useless. “We” aren’t equipped for this?” “This should be done by a funeral home.” Nope, this is us and this is how we roll…yeah…swallow that!

Somehow, he is prepped and ready for the all night wake and viewing of the tons of mourners that will come and pay their respects. Rosaries, prayers, coffee, chatter. Tomorrow, he will be carried through the streets of his village, ending at the cemetery with the proper burial. Then the people will scatter, life will continue as usual…

BUT those four “kids” will live with those images of their Dad. Neither will talk to each other about it; neither will talk about it to anyone…because that just how this family rolls.

Brain Explosion

It’s grocery shopping day. Gym√ Breathing and Meditation√ Driving with soothing music, and more purposeful breathing√

Grocery list in hand, let’s get this done without an “episode”…breathe…breathe!

Woman next to me drops a steel container…HUGE THUD followed by smaller ones, not because they are quieter but because my “brain exploded“…

the ringing in my ears is deafening…headache…trembling…shaking hands and legs, the whole body…do I hide, I can’t…I need to run and get out of here, I’m paralyzed…let’s get this done, how do I continue?…stupid woman, doesn’t she know? she doesn’t; she didn’t do it on purpose…scream, you can’t, it’s a public place…can they see me shaking? who cares!…more noise, really?!…my skin is crawling with ants, no it’s not…God, help me!…I can’t breath, yes you can…I’m going to vomit, seriously, here?! stop it!

I’m out, safe in my car. Now I need to drive home…how did I get home? Curl up in my comfy (safe) rocker, all blinds closed…sleep…sleep…sleep. Wake up exhausted, detached from reality…what day is it? what time? did I eat? do I eat? I hate this! what happened? how did I get home? Do I care? I’m going crazy! Who am I?

The brain is quiet, for now. The body is calm, for now. But, I wonder…when will it happen again???