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    Like Living At 5 Points NY - Part Two "The Black Dogs Gang"

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 6:58 PM [General]

    From the 1820s until the early 1900s when a large part of the area known as "Five Points" was demolished street gangs were numerous and constantly at odds with one an other.  They had names like "Roach Guards", "Dead Rabbits" and "Bowery Boys".  Just as in neighborhoods today that have problems with gang activity, no one was safe after dark and sometimes even during the day.

    I have 2 gangs that live in my head.  One I call the "Committee" and it's one that I think most of us have.  It's made up of all the voices of well meaning adults who took their role of telling me what to do seriously.  A lot of their opinions turned out to be lies but I didn't figure that one out for a very long time.  I no longerr listen to the "Commitee".  

    The other one I call "The Black Dogs" after Winston Churchill's name he gave his ongoing struggle with depression.  Those around me are affected to some degree when the "Black Dogs" are upon me but unlike the gangs living in 5 Points... their lives are not in danger.  Only mine has ever been.  It's my struggle right now with an ongoing battle with a fairly deep depression that actually prompted me to come back to this site.  This has been by far the worst year for me in a very long time.  All of tricks, therapies and medications don't seem to be able to lift me out of it.  I'm not sure why other than the fact from the time I last posted on here to now my life has been one big stressor after another and I grew emotionally and mentally tired.  It feels as if I've taken more steps backward than I have forward and at this point I don't see the end of it.  

    I do know that it will improve eventually.... I'm not ready to give up just yet.  But it's been so long that I've been sitting in this dark hole that I fear that the climb out  make take more energy than I have to give at the moment.  I could tell you all the different areas in my life that are causing me anxiety but there is no point really since they are all things I have no control over.  

    Just like everyday citizens that lived in 5 Points could not excape the presense of the gangs I too can't seem to excape the "Black Dogs".  They attack me from all directions and at anytime.  I can add however I am working closely with my doctor to see if I can't find a good medication combination that will give me a fighting chance to out run the "Black Dogs".  

    I have hope.... lots of hope really.  I've been down this path before and although I wouldn't want to wish it on anyone at least I have experience of dragging and  pulling myself up out of the black hole.  And as so often happened in my life - just when I feel like I can't take anymore - something is put in my "path" that changes that thinking.  I firmly believe that those "somethings" are placed there by God....I just need to be open to them and be willing to give them a try.  

    Where the 5 streets converged in the "5 Points" area was a small triangular plot of ground called "Paradise Park".  That is my goal; to create in my life that I can call "Paradise Park".  A place that is "apart" from all the things going on around me and where I can sit and rest awhile without fear or anxiety.  I'll do it.  I just don't know at this point how long that will take me to build.  

    be good to you - RAzz 

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    Like Living At 5 Points NY - Part One "The Miracle Baby"

    Monday, July 8, 2013, 6:53 PM [General]

    A Bit of a Preamble

    It's been awhile since the movie the "Gangs of New York" came out and even longer since I read a very good novel that had the 5 Points neighborhood as it's setting.  However for the past year and a half I can't help comparing my life as being one where I'm standing in the middle of the intersection of those 5 streets and all the "action" just keeps coming my way.  Certainly none of it is as notorious as what that area was known for in the 1800s ... but just the same I still feel likes it's little ol' me surrounded by people with problems.  People who often seem to expect me to solve them.... or at least drag me into their drama.  Never, never before have I been tested to such a degree.  Thank goodness it's "5 Points" as at least they can't draw and quater me Undecided.  

    At the end of May I passed my 6th year sober mark.  That alone has kept me from needing a padded cell at different times.  One very important thing I have learned during my recovery ... and something that keeps me sane is understanding and knowing what "stuff" is mine and what "stuff" isn't mine.  All those people marching down those streets at me would love it if I took on "their stuff".  For the most part that hasn't happened as I learned my second most important lesson from my recovery - it's perfectly OK to say NO when I feel like it.  And to also remember that "NO" is a complete sentence.   Now just as an aside if you've never listened to George Carlin's monologue on "stuff" I highly recommend it.  Here's a link to it:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

    By far the hardest part of not taking on someone else's "stuff" is when it's family and it's been the pattern for more than 55 years.  It becomes even double the difficulty when it involves one of my 2 daughters.  I'm happy to report however that I also learned the 3rd most important thing for recovery - building healthy boundaries.  Smile

    Coming Down the First Street At Me ~ The Miracle Baby

    I want to start these updates with something that turned out wonderfully positive; although at the beginning I could see how it could ever work out "right".    

    My youngest daughter lives with her boyfriend of a couple of years in a large city 4.5 hrs. from me.  This daughter has a long history of mental and emotional illness but I naturally love her to bits.  She's now 31 and up to this point has never been able to hod down a job, finish post secondary schooling or find any direction to her life.  When she first started living with him my husband and I felt ambililent as we've seen so many boyfriends come and go.  This particular one was definitely a bit rough around the edges but in general seemed OK.  

    My daughter got pregnant and the boyfriend went beserk!!!  He was furious about the whole thing especailly considering at the time she was not working.  He (and his mother & sister) started out push for an abortion.  My daughter would never agree to that.  When he couldn't wear her down with that then he started pushing for an open adoption.  At first my daughter did consider it as the best solution over all since she didn't have any means to support herself at the time and the relationsip was "rocky" at best.  Me being Momma bear told her to just come home and we'd work things out.  She turned me down, wanting to have the opportunity to work it out herself.  And so she stayed even though the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  All through out this I kept my mouth shut.  I still have marks on my tongue to prove it - LOL.  But this was not my "stuff" ... it was their stuff.  

    She went for her first ultra-sound and the boyfriend came along (now this is where I see the hand of God in this as the boyfriend had no intention of going since he didn't want to keep the baby anyway).  THEY SAW THE HEARTBEATING!!!   In that instant the boyfriend turned a complete 180 and was overome with emotion.  That tiny lump of a "being" had a beating heart and it WAS HIS CHILD he was looking at.  

    Their daughter, my first grandchild was from on Oct. 22/2012.  And she brought along her own miracle powers as well.  For the first time in her life my daughter felt "good" about something, she finally felt that she had a purpose and the happiness in her face was the most precious thing I've ever seen.  Now 9 months later her face is still beaming and so is the boyfriends.... at least when it comes to the baby. They have a few problems that have to be worked out yet .... but they are so both determined to give their baby a good home to grow up in I have no doubt that they'll get through their troubles.  

    I know that others would not agree with me but to me this child is a miracle sent by God to so that these 2 young adults can grow into the mature, healthy and well balanced people they were meant to be.  

          

    Myself and our miracle baby a couple of weeks after she was born.  I thank God everyday for her presense in our lives and watch in delighted amazement as she grows into her own little self!  

    Be good to you - Razz 

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    Life Gets Messy Sometimes

    Sunday, July 7, 2013, 12:17 AM [General]

    December, 2011 was the last time I did a journal post on here.  I knew it had been quite awhile since I last posted but I was surprised to see just how long it has been.  So much has happened in the past year and a half and oddly so much has also remained the same.  A new set of concerns have simply replaced the old set of concerns.  I'm actually at a loss here as to what to write.  There have been some wonderful things that have happened and so many other things that really challenged us.  The last thing I want this to sound like is one of those horrible "our wonderful life"Tongue Out Christmas letters you get each year. Nor do I want to sound like a rerun of a bad episode of a soap opera.  As I sit here now I realize that to bring everyone "up to speed"  is probably not neccessary anyway.... you all have been living your lives as well and I'm sure that some of you had some "messy" times as well.  I can tell you that the "highs" and "lows" if charted on a graph would probably look like a heart monitor read out.  It's late now.  I had great intentions of posting a re-introduction entry with a few highlights of what's been happening in my life since I was last here.  I still think that is a good idea but I now have a different idea on how I want to present that information.  

    So for now I'll just say that I truly believe that all things happen for a reason and although I don't know the reason right now ..... somethig prompted me to re-vive some of the goodness that I got from this site.  I've learned over the years not to ignore those nudges as they always turn out to my benefit.   

    Sleep peacefully friends - Razz 

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    Christmas Blessings

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 3:31 PM [General]

    My dear Beliefnet friends, 

    I know that I have not been that active on the forums lately and when "annie's" post came with the pictures of her family I relized that I missed coming here.  My life like everyone's this time of year is very busy however, my busy-ness seems to run all year round.  I can honestly say that my life is never boring.   I can also say that this has been a typical fall/winter for me in that many of life's challenges seem to come at this time.  But that is not what I want to post about today.  No today I'm feeling very grateful.  

    Christmas has always been a very difficult time of year for me for a variety of reasons.  For the most part I do my best to focus on the wonderful story of a baby's birth and listen to the music that proclaims this birth.  I try very hard not to get too grouchy over all the hype and crazyness that seems a normal part of Christmas now.  I still can't figure our what giant inflated polar bears have to do with Christmas but I guess they make some people happy to have them on their lawns.  I keep very aware of my thoughts so that I don't let my frustrations of what has happened to the celebration of Christmas seep over into the face I show to the world.  It's not my place to dump on their own celebrations.  

    This year I have many things to be thankful for.  I've been blessed with many a small miracle and it was looking at annie's pictures that prompted me to look as some of my own recent pictures.  Looking at them reminded me of just how blessed I am.  Sure we've had our struggles this year with ill health, financial woes and some emotional turmoils but we've come through most of all of that and what a perfect reason to give thanks to God for seeing us through.  And so my friends I'm going to share with you some pictures of my family, taken as you can see specifically for this time of year.  The smiles you see are really coming from the heart.  

    I am also very grateful for this forum and the opportunity to connect with so many interesting and caring people.  May you all be blessed with joy, peace and happiness that comes with the celebration of the original Christmas.  

    Be good to you - Razz 

     Little jay photography is my youngest daughters recent business adventure.  She has found that thing that is her "bliss" and must be what she's destined to do as things have been going very well for her.  This is the picture she took of myself, my husband, our big dog Barney and our little dog Scooter to be used for our Christmas cards.  

      this is our oldest daughter and her dog Oreo... all set for Christmas as well.   This year to my delight she's actually going to be able to come home and share the holiday with us.  

      a very poor quality picture of my youngest daughter, her boyfriend and her dog Shylo.  They were all dressed up to do a photo shoot at a pet store.  She did very well as people are really keen to get pictures of their pets with Santa.  Bless the boyfriend as well for being such a good sport, it's a new side of him we haven't seen yet.  

    You've probably noticed a theme in all these pictures by now .... yes we are dog people.  I would dearly love to have grandchildren but until that happens I'll be happy with my grand-puppies and grand-bunnies (not in the pictures - lol)  With such a loving and for the most part happy family how could I not feel that God is indeed generous to me! 

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Christmas - It should be the best time of the year but for me it's the worst.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 6:39 PM [General]

    Every year I struggle not to get going on a rant about all the things I feel is wrong with Christmas these days.  Some years I succeed and some years I don't.  I can tell you that people tend to think of me as a "Grinch" or a "Scrooge" afterwards which is the last thing I want to convey.  It's just hard to express your feelings, expecially negative ones, at this time of year without coming off as a crack pot or a "Negative Nelly."  Which is not what I'm trying to put across but instead I try to point out how far we have travelled away from the original meaning of Christmas and how everything has gotten so "over the top" with all things Christmas.  It's now a commercial driven frenzy that causes many many people to feel "less than" because they can't create that "perfect" Christmas.  And for what it's worth I think that Martha Steward can accept part of the blame for creating the monster of a "celebration".  

    What prompted me to write a journal post today was Therese's blog today :  

    blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/   Mental Illness Takes No Holiday.  Here is my response to that post as it pretty well sums up how I feel and what I struggle with each year at this time.  

    This brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. Although I have never had the unfortunate experience of being alone at Christmas I’ve certainly had that feeling. While the rest of the world seems to be all “happy and merry and bright” I was shrouded in the darkness of my depression. For years now I’ve hated Christmas. Oh, I’ve put on a good face and go through the motions of creating a happy Christmas celebration but inside of me I want to scream. Even during those years, like this year, when my depression was not too overwhelming the whole big “show” that comes at this time of the year just grates on my nerves.

    People have been complaining since I was a kid that it’s gotten too commercialized but that’s not it…. to me it’s become too de-personalized. It’s all about the “perfect” everything and society no longer focuses on the individual. On the people who celebrate Christmas in what ever way they can. Why we even have this celebration has long long ago lost it’s original meaning. To me it’s gotten just way too big…. HUGE even.


    What happened to the simple time of celebrating the birth of someone who would change the world in his life time? What happened to the remembrance of his humble birth, so much like our own births. Each of us perfect in our uniqueness and we don’t need inflated fake snow globes with polar bears in them to show off to the neighbors.


    This birth of an infant came with a message of love and peace for all mankind. It didn’t come all wrapped up in foil and a “perfect” wired ribbon bow!!!
    How much better I would feel at Christmas if only we could focus on the message and share our love and understanding to those we know and those we don’t know. The child whose birthday we are celebrating, long forgotten now among the retail frenzy, came with a message that we are all special in God’s sight. And even if we are physically alone on that date…. we are never really truly alone.

    I shake my head at those huge Christmas displays on my neighbor's yards.  So many things that have nothing to do with Christmas..... it's more about winter.  They may feel good about the "show" they've put on but I wonder if they've ever stopped to think of how many hungry people their electricity bill would feed.  

    Yep... I could go on for longer but I think you get the general drift.  And so I am often "alone" at Christmas.  I may be surrounded by people but my heart is yearning for that peace that only comes when everyone isn't rushing around in a frenzy trying to make things perfect somehow.  Sit with me awhile and lets read the story of this remarkable birth.  


    Razz

    0 (0 Ratings)

    A Rehearsal for Christmas

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 11:29 AM [General]

    That's just what I had this weekend.... a rehearsal of things to come at Christmas.  My youngest daughter was here for the weekend (the same one that just had the car accident and by some miracle suffered only minor injuries).  I love this girl dearly and was happy to have her here..... well sort of.  Part of it was pure happiness for me as I watched her doing something that gives her JOY!!!   And I mean great joy..... this adult daughter of mine who has fought with severe depression, an eating disorder and at times "0" self esteem..... sparkle with joy!  It was amazing to watch and sure warmed my heart. I haven't seen her this happy in a long, long time.

    You see she's found her "passion" ..... being a photographer specializing in families, babies and pets.  She was here because she had 5 shooting sessions schedule for yesterday and today.  All outdoor family Christmas pictures and one newborn indoor shoot.  To me her pictures are awesome ... but I do have an emotional investment so I'm not sure you can trust my word.  However people are paying her for her services and some of these people are repeat customers.  She can't quit her day job but it must make her feel good to have someone value what you do enough to pay you for it!!!!    

    So that's the good news.  The bad news......... aaaaaaaaaack........... she stayed here this weekend.   Oh I have spent an enormous time building healthy boundaries between us and for the most part I feel that we've reached a good point in our relationship.  It's almost the opposite of what it was like in those years before sobriety.  That was like living in a nightmare.    But I digress.  She found all those buttons I was sure I'd gotten rid of or had carefully hidden.  Bing, bing, bing.....it was like a mid-way game.... bells were going off left, right and center.  How quickly I had forgotten how her quirks and her thinking patterns can get on my nerves.  The fact that she had her dog with her, to which my little dog felt inclined to “keep in line”, didn’t help much either.  Was I going to let those “things” that really don’t matter spoil a perfectly good visit? 

    No.  I had to keep telling myself to “let it go”…. her irritating habits weren’t worth the upset (no doubt I have a few that set her off as well).  I understood that it was time that I finally accept her just the way she is … and enjoy her happiness with her.  She was only here for a limited amount of time, not setting up a permanent residence.  Surely I’ve grown up enough to be able to look beyond those petty things.  I won’t say it was easy but I can say that as time went on it did get easier.  And what a great learning opportunity for me. 

    Come Christmas, when not only she but her boyfriend, her sister and my mother will be here, I’ll be prepared to see all as “who” they are, not what they do.  It’s a big lesson to learn that people do not do things on purpose to upset us.  No, instead it’s our reaction or thoughts about their actions that cause the upset.  We are all unique but we are all also family.  This is a time to share in each other’s company.  It’s a time to put aside all those petty grievances and just “be”.  There is good in all of us and it will be the perfect time to look for and see that. 

    So yes, I’m grateful for the “Rehearsal” this past weekend.  Now when all the busy-ness that comes with Christmas is upon us I can remember what I realized and thank God for my wonderful and unique family.  We can all be together and experience the wonder and joy that comes with the celebration of the birth of a very special baby. 

    Razz 

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    A Small Miracle - but some prayers would be nice :)

    Sunday, December 4, 2011, 5:14 PM [General]

    My dear "Beyond Blue" friends, 

    It seems the only time I ever post is when I find myself challenged my "life".  I'm very mindful of that as I type this post this afternoon.  That knowledge helps me to understand that not all of my life is a "challenge" and there are many simple pleasures and small miracles that come along frequently.  My next journal post is there for going to be one of "overcoming" and the joy that has brought.  I even have an idea for it as I sit here..... will need some time to let it develop.  

    However today's post is about something more serious but also about how we are blessed with miracles just when we need them the most.  OH... nothing as major as parting the sea or raising the dead.... but a miracle none the less.  

    I'm pretty sure that I have posted before about what my daughters call my "Spidey Senses".  I have no idea when I noticed their exsistence but it didn't take me long to start to pay attention to them.  When these "senses" are triggered it always means that someone close to me is in trouble or will be in trouble.  I very seldom get a "name" with them but I have on occasion.  What happens is that emotionally I get this overwhelming feeling of anxiety that doesn't seem to come from any trigger.  Soon this is followed by "tingling" in my hands and up my arms.  At times this tinggling can be quite severe.  And no I haven't ever talked to my doctor about it.  I long ago accepted it for what it is.... and I wait for the phone call.  There is always a phone call with news that is not good.  The seriousness of the trouble can vary from "not so bad" to "crisis".  On Thurs. night my "Spidey Senses' started to tingle a bit.  

    MY husband was leaving the next morning to drive 5 hours away just to go skiing for a few hours in the mountains.  Naturally my first thought was of him and the dangers or driving on winter highways and the dangers of the slopes.  By the time he was ready to leave at 7;00 am I was buzzing like a hight voltage power line.  I needlessly reminded him to be careful and went about getting ready for work.  Buzz, buzz, buzz.  

    At 8:20 am... as I was about to put my coat on to go to work the "phone call" came.  It wasnt' my husband at all but my youngest daughter..... she had just been in a fairly serious car accident!  She was on the verge of hysterical but did manage to give me most of the details of what happened.  At that point she was running on adrenilin that shoots through our bodies at times like this so I was concerned about her physical health even though she "seemed" to be Ok.  Her boyfriend was the first person she called... she was terrified that she was stuck in the mangled mess of her car (the airbag had deployed and her front windshield had been smashed out.  He came to her side right away.  Eventually she discovered that she could move and gradually make her way out of her smashed up car.  

    From beginning to end of this experience the hand of God was there.  My belief in the inherint good in human beings has been put to a test and on the other hand confirmed.  There were 3 cars involved in a pile up with my daughter's car being the last one in the row.  She also sustained the more serious damage.  A tow-truck driver who was driving not too far behind when the accident happened immediately pulled over and ran to see if she was OK.  He could see that she was in shock and urged her to sit down with her head down.  Then when he learned that the police had not been called he went back to his truck to do that.  During the time it took him to do that the drivers of the first 2 cars took off.  The woman in the first car didn't even check on my daughter, still "trapped" in her car, but checked the damage to her car and drove off.  The man in the car that she hit was in a hurry to get to work and so just threw his business card at her, she had one of hers to give him and then without any questions about her well being... he took off as well.  Yell....what is wrong with this picture?????  

    With her boyfriend there the tow-truck driver stayed with her as well.  He kept monitoring her physical condition ... asking her questions to see how badly she was in shock or if she had any head injuries.  

    The police arrived fairly quickly and thanks to the quick thinking of the tow-truck driver had the licence plate number of the car that my daughter hit and are planning on charging him with fleeing the scene of an accident.  The car was "totalled" and towed to her home. Fortunately my daughter wasn't.  Although things could have been sooooo much worse after being checked out by a doctor the only injuries she has are minor - a strained wrist and a painful headache (they are watching out for concussion).  

    She will really need to replace her car soon.  It was an old junker that was reliable but the insurance she had didn't cover damage to it.  I stepped up on her behalf and was able to get a loan ($2000 - 3000) from her grandmother.... that gave her some big relief.  

    Both her and I are going through the stages of dealing with a "traumatic' event at much the same rate.  At first I too was in shock and extremely concerned about her welfare.  I was also torn between getting in my car to so to her and leaving it to her boyfriend to give her the support and comfort she needed.  I was able to keep updated by phone and text messages.  This concern eventually gave way to anger...... really primal anger ..... how could people respond the way they did?  How dare they leave my daughter on the highway like that whey it was obvious that she was at risk for some serious physical injuries.... never mind the mental pain.  By the end of the day I was ready to explode I was so angry.  I just kept busy and figured it would subside on it's own.  

    Talking to my daughter yesterday she too is filled with anger and indignation and confusion and disbelief.  She is my "compassionate' daughter who is always bringing strays both animals and people.  She can not begin to imagine how anyone could just "leave" ... without any thought for her.  Fortunately for both of us that disappointment it tempered by the fact that the tow-truck driver choose to become involve.  There are indeed "angels among us" 

    I'm not concerned about myself, I know that I will work my way through the process and be none the worse for wear.  My daughter on the other concerns me.  She has struggled with clinical depression from the early age of 10.  This could be just the thing to put her into a downward spiral.  She sounded still shook up when I talked to her last and I'm praying the she will see the blessings she was given on that day and will come to a place of acceptance with it.  

    She recieved a minor miracle .... and she knows that when she starts to think about all the things that could have happened and didn't.  Unfortunately it's those thoughts that are fuelling her anxiety right now.  Any prayers you could spare for her will be greatly appreciated.  

    Be good to you - Razz 

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    I Just Can't Keep Doing This!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011, 3:20 PM [General]

    (this post was prompted by my ongoing stress as related to my ailing mother - see previous post from  Oct.16/11.  This situation is also a huge reason why I haven't been very active on this site... I just don't seem to have the time.  Which was a poor choice since the support I get from here is so helpful to me. I'm going to make a better effort to stay more active from here in.   )


    I Just Can’t Keep Doing This!

    A conversation with myself:

     

    “I just can’t keep doing this.  I can’t, it’s just too much.  I just can’t.” 

    “Road apples!!”  (I actually said something stronger but you get the idea)

    “but it’s so hard”

    “So.  Life is hard sometimes.”

    “but I just can’t keep doing this!”

    “Want to bet?  What are your alternatives?  You think you could live with that?”

     “Well of coarse not!”

     “So then I guess you’ll keep doing it.  And stop whining, you’re only making yourself feel worse!”

    I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have this conversation or one similar with myself.  It certainly happened when I was trying to get and stay sober but it happened way before that too. I’m one of those folks for whom life has given many challenges and some of them very serious.  Right now it’s *mother* and I had this conversation with myself yesterday morning, last night, the day before, the day before that ……….. they call it obsessive thinking.  What it is for me is a HUGE RED FLAG. Time to hit pause and look at what’s going on. 

    Can’t ….one of the biggest negative words in our vocabulary (ok, not always like when we need to protect boundaries then it’s a positive).   Our thoughts are everything and when we say “can’t” to ourselves our brain will help us fulfill that thought.  For me now that brings depression and resentment.  When I was trying to stop drinking it gave me room to drink.  None of this is good stuff.  This is stuff we want to avoid.  So that means that I have to stop using the word “can’t” and figure how to turn this around.  Not that easy a thing to do at times.  

    Today this thinking is fueled by anxiety.  I know that I will not stop taking care of *mother’s* needs no matter how much I don’t want to continue.  I know that the time has come where she is needing me more and more.  I really am not comfortable with that and at the same time I know I couldn’t just not do it.  I am who I am…a compassionate woman….which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a very tiring thing right now.  It’s also a very lonely thing right now since my brother not only lives a 1000mi. away but so do his thoughts.  Out of sight, out of mind and only if he gets a snarly message from me will he feel obliged to respond in some way.  It’s very seldom in a helpful way.  Which means it’s just me (and my very supportive husband).    

    So once again I am faced with a huge challenge. I can fall apart, tell myself I “can’t” OR I can pause, pull away for a little bit and think before I react.  I know that the worst thing I can do it to permit these problems to overwhelm me.  I can choose to calm down and take things one step at a time, one day at a time.  I can choose to accept the reality of the situation.  I can choose to see the good things that are slowly happening.  I can choose to live with what is the reality for today.  I can choose to keep going.  I can choose to stop whining and if I think it might help, I can choose to start thinking of future alternatives should *mother* go on the decline in a hurry.  I can choose to let go of the resentment I feel towards my brother since it’s only hurting me and making me feel more depressed.  I can choose to accept that he will always be who he is and I can’t depend on him for help.  Simple when you think about it.  AND ……..

    I can continue to pray.  That’s what I’ve been doing all along, asking God to guide me to know what is the next right thing to do.  But yesterday as I had that “conversation” with myself while driving home with tears in my eyes I understood that God isn’t “leaving me out to dry” on this thing but showing me that I do have options.  I can keep doing this…..as long as I keep the focus on each day and each moment of the day.   I must also remember that I have received one HUGE BLESSING in this past year….. *mother’s* personality has done a 180 degree turn around.  She’s nice to me.  For 56 years she was never nice to me.  Now she tells me that she loves me and she thanks me for all I do.  It is so odd and unsettling at times, this woman who is my mother and yet not the mother I knew.  I am blessed for I’ve known so many families where the opposite change has taken place.  I’m learning to relax around her and that certainly helps makes things less challenging.

     “So stop whining Razz, set a routine that works for you and still gives you the time you need for myself.  Take it day by day since that’s how things are progressing anyway.  Stop saying “can’t” and start saying “I choose to …. “.  And for heaven’s sake don’t let the fear of “what if” control your thoughts….. you’ll just get crazier than you already are.”

    Things are very, very slowly improving with her overall health.  She is finally eating.  The other day she let housekeeping in to do her room – yippee!!  I can hold onto those thoughts as well as ….. this situation is not permanent.  Things change daily and God willing she’ll be back to her usual state of limited mobility and level of confusion but also able to continue to do the ordinary things of daily living. 

    If on the other hand she takes a “nose dive” I will deal with that then.  I know that with God’s help I’ll get thought that as well.   I can, I can, I can. 

    Be good to you - Razz 

     

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Between A Rock And A Hard Place - Role Reversal

    Sunday, October 16, 2011, 4:59 PM [General]

    Between A Rock And A Hard Place

    This post isn’t about asking for advice or suggestions on what to do.  That’s because this is one of those situations that only those involved face to face can sort out.  As “life” would have it, the ball is in my court and I’m not too comfortable holding it. It’s the discomfort that is this post is about.  I think I need to put it down in words so that I can sort through the varied emotions I’m feeling and hopefully come to a place of “understanding”.  I was going to say “peace” but I think that is a bit ambitious at this point.  But then again maybe not. 

    Role reversal. It is something that naturally happens all the time when one’s parents become elderly.  The child is parenting the parent.  For some it’s an easy transition based on mutual love and respect.  It often happens gradually so that it’s not until a kind of routine has developed that one finally notices.  For me it feels like I’ve stepped into a foreign country where all the rules and expectations are different.  I’m feeling “befuddled” by it all.  Some days I feel an overwhelming sense of grief and then anger at how things have turned about in my life. 

    MOTHER as I so fondly talked about never acted in a very nice way to me until recently.  It was my father (bless his soul) who showed me how a loving parent acts and it was he who taught me about respect and duty to those older than us.  I learned that I could love MOTHER as a very bitter and unhappy human being and that’s as far as it got.  She was the “bane” of my existence for 56 years (I’m now 57).  And then she fell and our worlds turned upside down.  The Shift was dramatic and soon found myself in the role of care taker for a person I had never liked.  It was like wearing a “hair shirt” at first ….. I didn’t want to do it but someone had to.  I felt I owed it to my father because he had loved her.  Right from the start there was this conflict of emotions for me. 

    Now a year and a half later it is as if the woman that I knew to be MOTHER no longer exists.  In her place is the woman the outside world saw… a dear sweet old lady who doesn’t want to make a fuss for anyone.  This used to be the “role” she played with everyone but her close family.  With us it was watch out… you never knew what zigger was  coming your way.  Now that bitter and over critical woman has gone and in her place is the mother I had always wished I had had.  I'm mourning the childhood I could have had if things were different.  If she has been like this then, not now. 

    This in turn makes me angry and resentful.  If she can be such a “dear” now why on earth couldn’t she have done it then?  Why put us through so much pain and hurt and mess my brother and I up “esteem” wise when she was capable of being this way all along?  Or was she?  Has the series of mini – strokes broken down walls that she had built up so that she now can “be herself” instead of the “matriarch” of the family?  I struggle with this.  The difference in her attitude towards me is as different as day and night.  Like I said, I’m in foreign territory here.   

    I know that many women struggle with this statement but I somehow “got it” right off.  It fit in nicely with my thinking of “you get what you give” and “what goes around comes around”.  I just never thought that I would see any returns from my mother. A month ago she told me she loved me for the first time in my life.  It was in such a casual off hand way as I was going out the door that at first I wasn’t sure that I had hear her correctly.  But she would start saying it and “thank you” on a regular basis. This is so not the woman who was my mother all these years.  I just didn’t know how I felt about it.  It’s almost as if it’s too casual, if you know what I mean.  No mention of past behavior or our past relationship….just the abrupt start of something not done before but appears to be the way it always was.  It’s very discerning.  My ability to love her “freely” is tested by hurtful memories of the past.

    In this case my mother is a new person and I am in a new role.  Ah…  wait…. I get it!    We are both new to this and if I leave the past behind where it belongs, we can develop a whole new relationship.  Hmm… how interesting but I think I’m onto something here.  Almost like starting from scratch.  Yes it is a role reversal of sorts but it’s also a new different relationship that can grow into something positive. 

    My mother has been ill for almost 2 weeks now and that is what has put me between that rock and a hard place.  I have to make those decisions about her health that she is no longer able to do.  She’s 89….. people her age go through constant changes both mentally and physically and so it’s hard to keep on track of it all.  And that’s not counting the “good days and the bad days”.  This week I’ve some close to taking her to the hospital because she is not eating, is very fatigued and more confused than ordinary.  On the other hand there is a flu bug going through the building that she lives in.  She may not have had anything to eat (except 2 pcs. Of pumpkin pie) but she has been very good about keeping her fluids going.  She is also drinking a lot of "Ensure" (meal replacement drink fortified with all kinds of good stuff) so I know that’s helping to supplement her need to food right now. 

    The rock = she is ill and can’t make a decision about the next move on her own.  She’s way to confused for that and just waves it off anyway.  The hard place = I want to do the right thing for her but it’s difficult to gauge just how serious this recent bout of illness is.  I scared of over-reacting or under-reacting.  Like I said at the beginning the ball is in my court and I’m not sure what to do with it. I do have an older brother to whom I could discuss with this but in reality the bottom line with him is that he will be of no help at all.  I have been keeping him updated but other than that I’m in this alone.   

    Today when I saw her I laid down some ground rules for both of us.  I am going out on a limb and trusting not only my competency but my finely tuned intuition as well.  She really needs to try and motivate herself back into a normal routine if she can.  That means having a shower, or at least a wash and getting dressed. She also needs to start eating… I don’t care what … but just enough to re-stimulate her appetite.  She’s got nearly a full pumpkin pie in her fridge, I personally don’t care if that’s all she eats.  On the other hand if she finds doing any of this too overwhelming because of fatigue she we’re going to the hospital and get it all checked out.  I made that very clear that I was worried about her, that what is happening is not a good thing and I’m going to have to do the “right” thing for her health if there is no improvement.  She understands.  I’m not sure if she just needs some motivation (she could be experiencing depression as well) and that she’ll discover that if she pushes herself to do these things she’ll feel a lot better.   OR … there is truly something medical going on that needs some attention now. 

    What ever is going on I’m going to have to trust my instincts (which I’ve been told are very good) and pray for guidance.  I will continue to remain open to the possibility that God will gently lead me to the “right” actions to take. 

    Emotionally I can honestly say I’m not totally sure what I feel.  It all feels very strange….. like a shirt that doesn’t fit or is itchy and scratchy.  I’m guessing that this is where emotional growth comes in.  I must be having growing pains.  

    Be good to you - Razz 

     

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Almost Gramma

    Friday, September 30, 2011, 7:04 PM [General]

    Some weeks are just filled with emotional ups and downs and this past week was one of them.  It was like I didn't even get to dwell on one emotion when another one would come at me.  Up and down and round I went.  However I've learned long ago not to ignore my emotions because like that first hot-dog of summer they will keep coming back at you until you do something.  

    I have wanted for a long time to be a gramma.  I really can relate to the little ones and well I have a house full of things for little ones. However I'm also willing to wait for when the time is right for my daughters, if in fact it ever will be. I never say anything about it to them as that's not my place to do so.  They have to choose what is right for them.

    I have 2 daughters aged 30 & 32.  Both are in "relationships" but only the youngest has been in hers for more than a year.  They've both had other longer term ones in which I felt for sure that it was "thee one" only to have them end surprisingly. I've learned not to become to attached to their young men.  

    My youngest daughter has struggled since a very young age with mental health problems as well as some minor medical ones.  The past 20 years has been punctuated with crisis.  She seemed to have turned a corner recently however, the one that goes with maturity, and my husband and I feel encouraged.  Now doing cartwheels excited but a small smile happy.  

    On monday she called me to tell me that she was pregnant.  It was not planned but both she and her boyfriend where excited about the prospect once they got over the shock.  I was very glad to hear that her boyfriend had every intention to stick around..... this is good news.  They had planned on coming up for a visit to tell us the "news" but she called me instead because she had started "spotting" and she was naturally worried.  I reassured her that it was really quite common and when I got off the phone I felt the wonderful warm feeling of love and happiness - I was finally going to me a Gramma.  

    I didnt' really get to adjust to that feeling when things started to unravel and by Thursday we knew for sure that she had miscarried the baby.  Again a common thing to occur with first pregnancies but that didn't make either one of us feel any better.  She was devastated at first as she had already switched her mind over to  the planning and dreaming that goes with having a baby.  Even though it wasn't planned both she and her boyfriend had already started to "map" out their life with the new addition in it.  I listened to her upset and encouraged her when she talked about trying again but waiting for 6 months first so they can save up a bit of money.  Time and the gentle hand of God will get her through the next few days or weeks.  

    And where does that leave me?  A mess with a "stew" of  mixed emotions that I have to sort out and then figure out how to deal with them.  There were also other things that happened this week that added to this emotional mix.  My 89 yr. old mother had fallen again and on Tues. she wasn't doing very well at all.  Nothing was broken but she's badly bruised and she was very confused that day.  It's an added worry.  Did she fall because she just plain lost her balance as anyone of us would or did she have another mini -stroke?  Another mini-stroke may have created more of a problem than just the confusion.  I'll have to keep a close eye on her. 

    Then my husband got a call from a company that he interviewed for a couple of weeks ago.  Although they didn't call him for another interview they did ask him a lot of questions.  It would be so wonderful for him if he gets it.  Where is right now is just "eating him alive".  

    So up and down, up and down, up and down.  I find myself sitting here with just so many different emotions and can't even seem to sort them one from the other. One of my best friends always says that "life is messy" and that's just what it feels like....a big mess.  As with my daughter time and God's gentle guidance will help me through all of this.  I will be able to move on and be open for what ever is next for me.  I just need to mourn the fact that I was "almost" a Gramma and that feels like such a loss right now.  

    Razz 

     

    0 (0 Ratings)

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