Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Time

A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

Enough fighting, and crying, or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening. You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter). And that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you, and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are and it’s OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of newly found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that not everyone will always be there for you, and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers, and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you shouldn't weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children, or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing, and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought in to in the beginning, and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable, or important because of the man or woman on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love. And you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms. Just to make you happy. And, you learn that 'alone' does not mean lonely.

And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up." You also stop working so hard at putting feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK. . . and that it is your right to want things that you want. And that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect and you will not settle for less.

And you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his or her touch. And in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect. And you learn that your body really is your temple. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear, so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul, so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve. And that much of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for, and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success, you need direction, discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone and its OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens, you can handle it, and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve, and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected, or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself, and you try to make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

~Author Unknown~

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two things...

I purposely didn't call my son when dad died, because I knew he had worked all night and would be sleeping. There was nothing that could be done for daddy, so I waited until I knew he would be up. It was one of the hardest calls I've ever had to make.

As soon as he heard the news he began preparing to come home. He was packed and ready when he went into work to tell his boss, and left from there. He got to Absarokee at around 11:00PM. As my brother said, things seemed better after he arrived.

Wolf helped make the arrangements and did whatever needed to be done. Mostly we all hung out together, told dad stories and hugged a lot. Thursday Wolf and I went to Billings to spend some time with the kidcousins and pick up things that we needed for the service and reception.

One of the things that we needed to do was pick up dad's ashes from the funeral home, which we did on Friday.

We made the pick-up and as we were walking out to the car, I started talking about where to put the beautiful wooden urn that my brother had picked out. I said, "I don't know where to put daddy", and started to cry. My son put the urn in the front seat and came around to my side of the car and hugged me. We stood there for a long time, while I cried and cried.

There was a brief silence and as I was about to begin crying again my son said "you smell like cat food, but nice". I went from hysterical crying to hysterical laughter in the blink of an eye. I had been keeping my cat's food and water in my clothes closet and apparently the odor had been absorbed into my clothing.

I learned two things that day:

  1. I have a son who can make me laugh on one of the saddest days of my life and

  2. I needed to find a new place to feed my cat.

He later told me that he just didn't know what to say.

I'd say he did.

Now if he'd just quit calling me Friskies...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cut and Paste

I have had several emails asking if I was back at work, how I was doing and how I was feeling. This is the answer to one of those emails. Because I really don't have a lot of energy for writing, I thought I would just cut and paste it and use it as a blog post.

See how I am?

I went back to work on Tuesday. I took Monday off to clear things out of daddy’s room. We still have the bed to move out, but otherwise we are done. We gave dad’s TV to his roommate, along with his DVD player and VCR, the wall unit that held those items and a few other pieces of furniture. Danny was thrilled with the TV…he didn’t even have one before he became dad’s roommate, so getting a big flat panel hi-def wall mounted TV was a big thing to him, but I think he was almost as thrilled to receive all of daddy’s ball caps. He is a man of simple pleasures. We also gave him daddy’s electric lounge chair…which he used most of the time anyway. We are taking the bed to Cousin Sharon, who is on her last legs…she is also getting the other electric lounge chair we had put in the parlor at the nursing home. My brother and Cousin Dan are going to deliver those things to her this weekend.

The service was beautiful. After weeks of snowing and blowing, the day turned out perfectly clear, and all the snow had melted off the ground. We had the service at the cemetery, which has an incredible view of the mountains daddy loved so much. I’ve never seen the mountains so big…as if they were welcoming him home. There were over 100 people there, including Wolf’s half-sister who came in from Wyoming and people Mike and I went to school with, some I hadn’t seen in decades. It truly was lovely. My best friend Barb played her guitar and sang "Let us Walk in the Light", which is a hauntingly beautiful song and entirely appropriate for the occasion. The service ended with a 21 gun salute, presentation of the flag and taps which nearly brought me to my knees crying, but it was all so beautiful…

I am still going to the nursing home at noon every day. It’s hard, because I expect him to be sitting in the dining room waiting for me, but there are a lot of people that depend on me to cheer them up, feed them and pick things up for them at the store…I can’t let them down. I am not, however, going after work, it’s just too hard because that was when he was wide awake and usually pretty with it and I’m just not ready to go there…so I need to find something to do with my evenings. Last night I spent an hour picking lint off of a sweater while visiting my brother who was making a carrot cake to take to the folks at the nursing home…so at least I’ve got that going for me.

I know I still haven’t answered the questions you asked. I am, doing. Every day is a challenge to get through, mainly because he was such a huge part of my life. Every single day had daddy in it, and I loved it. I try to stay busy; walk a lot, talk on the phone a lot, meditate a lot, and cry a lot.

How am I feeling? Raw, as if every nerve in my body has been exposed. I knew daddy was going to pass on, I just didn’t think it would be this soon. I wanted more time. More hugs, more hand holding, more reminiscing, more rubbing his back, more of everything.

I know they say time will help, and I’m hoping that it will, though it really didn’t with mom, as I still miss her every single day. Right now I feel empty, alone, orphaned at the age of 52. I know that sounds ridiculous because I have a wonderful son, brother, cousins, and friends. But that’s the way it feels.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

No words...

Dad passed away early this morning. There are no words to describe how much he will be missed.

I just wanted you all to know.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The diagnosis is in...

It’s official. According to reliable sources I have B.A.D.D., and from the look of it, a fairly serious case. There is no known cure, although sometimes it clears up on its own, sometimes not. There is really no treatment, other than time.

Symptoms include lack of focus, inability to sit still for long periods of time and the urge to move ones legs and tap ones fingers to the rhythm of life. Other, not so typical symptoms, but ones that I have noticed in myself, are the desire to drive fast with the sunroof open and stereo turned up loud, the nearly insatiable longing to spend as much time as possible outside despite the still somewhat wintry weather, and the yearning to interact with others on a face-to-face basis.

Yes, folks, I have Blog Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s possible you’ve noticed my lack of comments, posts and participation in just about anything related to cyber-ia. It seems I’ve discovered that real life is more interesting… more fulfilling…more fun! Not that I don’t love you all and enjoy hearing about your lives and passions, because I do. It’s just that living in the present, in the here and now are more important to me right now.

Maybe it’s the hope that spring is on the way, maybe it’s a new way of life for me, I don’t know. I just know that I want and need to interact more with people in real life and one way to do that is to spend less time online.

I want to sing (much to the dismay of those around me), I want to dance (steel-toed boots for everyone), I want to hike, I want to camp, I want to LIVE life to the fullest extent possible while still avoiding jail time! Ha!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I may post once in awhile, I may stop blogging completely. I just don’t know. What I do know is that I will check in on you all from time to time and I’d love to hear from you via email if you feel so inclined.

But for right now, I’ve got B.A.D.D., and it seems I’ve got it BAD.