Stinging Words

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.

Explaining…explaining…explaining…

Defending…trying to make people understand…is

E-X-H-A-U-S-T-I-N-G!!!

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.

Diagnoses

“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.

Birth Date

There are records in a village of Mexico that state that a girl was born. A home birth, common to the land. No gender reveal, no birth announcement, no baby shower, no pictures on social media or elsewhere. Oh, how things have changed.

“Back in the day” is now part of my vocabulary. Who would have thought I would still be here today, 53 years later.

As Job, I have thought, “I should have never been born” or “what is the point”. Crazy brain! You know, for such a mess up like me, I like to think I did something “right”. Yes, I’m learning to shift through the crazy muck in my chaotic brain…an ongoing process. In the midst of it all I have had the privilege and joy of being a Mom. Four humans that lived, some for a very short time, in my womb. A miracle indeed!

Last year my son and his girlfriend treated my hubby and I to a fancy dinner overlooking the ocean. The sunset took my breath away. For a moment “everything” was alright. The vastness and beauty of the ocean reminds me of God’s amazing mercy and grace. Beauty in the midst of gutting pain.

After dinner we took a stroll down the malencon of La Paz, Baja…so refreshing. We ended the evening laughing and dancing under the stars. For a moment “everything” was normal, although one is deeply aware it’s a new normal. And, somewhere in it all, it feels perfect. A beautiful evening etched on my heart. Beauty for ashes, indeed.

So TODAY I am grateful that:

  • My husband doesn’t know the pain of widowhood
  • My son doesn’t know the pain of being an orphan

AND, somewhere amidst the thick fog, together, we will find a “lantern” to light up another moment in time.

A hug, a smile…laughter.

Listening to the beat of their heart

 

Unwelcome Friend

Ah, my unwelcome friend, you’re back!

Your unannounced visits can be so aggravating,

the length of your stay unknown.

The continual task of learning to welcome you, to embrace your presence

can be exhausting and debilitating.

Your mysterious character unravels me

I don’t understand you! I can’t figure you out! I can’t defeat you!

Accepting your presence; embracing your constant companionship

…is…well…healthier…I guess…

Dare I ask that your visits be less often? shorter? or none at all?

AND, so, I sit with you, my unwelcome friend…

in acceptance and surrender

learning to simply be…

A Step Forward

The thought. The decision. The plan. Support in place. The day had come, unannounced and without fanfare. No spiral. No fight. I guess, somehow, she knew it was time. Resolute and steady.

The walk, eternally long, even thought it was only a few steps away. Legs soft as wet noodles, yet heavy as lead. Standing before a sacred place, surrounded by love and support. In an instant her mind flooded with memories – laughs. giggles. good nights. good mornings. hugs. smiles. love —– screams. tears. pain. sorrow. grief…GOODBYE!

Prayer – Deep breath – Prayer – Deep breath

I CAN’T! Yes, it’s time. This doesn’t keep her alive. She is not here. You are not forgetting her. BUT…I can’t! Yes, it’s time. BUT…“, the tumultuous thoughts flooded her mind. Surrender. Acceptance. Shoulders down. Clenched hands released. Slow and Steady, the process began.

The soft blue blanket, that she loved to curl with. The teddy bear she tenderly clung to. The shirt that draped her little torso. The pillow, where her little head laid; where tears and sweat drenched it’s every inch. Piece by piece…tearing at my heart. WAIT?!?! How does something that has been obliterated into pieces, break even more? Oh, the mystery of LOVE.

And, so, the bed that held her frail, little body; where she was ushered from this life to the next, was stripped of its garments…two months short of the anniversary of the second year of her departure…Another marker…Another step. Propelled and held by love and acceptance. Oh, the mystery of LOVE.

~ winter has passed ~

⇒♦♦for now♦♦⇐

Stuck

The path has been riddled with puddles of quicksand. No warning signs, no brights lights signaling its upcoming presence. Step, step…STUCK! Step, step…STUCK! In my clear, unstuck moments I’m aware of those that “turn-on” the light and give me a hand, or literally carry me on to the next step…even when I am “done”, with no fight in me.

♥⇒My husband. how? why? does he get tired? will he get tired? gentle, quiet…my man! 35 years and counting…what grace!

♥⇒My Son. he needs his Mom. I need him. he is dealing with the loss of his sister and a Mom that often, checks out. what goes through his mind? does he feel like he’s not good enough to keep me going? is he pressured? is he afraid? my gentle giant! my boy! 34 years old and counting…what grace!

♥⇒My Son’s Girlfriend. loves me. respects me. cares for me. makes me laugh. cries with me. makes me feel so incredibly important. drops everything and sits with me as I spiral, vomiting chaos…AND she is simply there. her presence settles me. her hugs squeeze life into me. how? why? she doesn’t have to? Counting the days, months and years…what grace!

My friend who dropped everything and sat with me at coffee. That roller coaster conversation, with deep lows and huge highs. Sparks, tears and laughs. No judgment. No pat answers. Just grace. My Grieving Friend who spends hours with me on the phone, because distance prevents us from sitting with each other. Twenty years into her journey, which scares the poop out of me, because I can’t even fathom the thought of being without my daughter one moment further. Yet, she speaks Angie’s name, remembers her, talks about her and allows me to talk and talk, and repeat myself over and over…cause one cannot say the story enough. She does, however, remind me and shows me that “it” does get softer. My massage therapist, who is a gift. She not only takes care of this “balled-up-crackly” body, but speaks life into me. As I was leaving from my massage she held me and told me, “You matter! You bless me! Don’t give up! I’m praying for you!” She squeezed me and held me. What grace!

♥⇒My Lifelong Buddy. goofy and all, she demonstrates an unwavering strength of love and loyalty. she doesn’t retreat. she doesn’t stay away from the ugly. she barges in and stays. she constantly puts soft “sponges” on the sharp edges of this porcupine.

God shows up everywhere, surrounding me with these amazing humans. Showering me with love and care. Oh, mercy and grace to sit here and type and breath and take one more step♥

~ Spring always follows Winter  ~