Monday, October 22, 2012

Grief, Discouragment, Depression

Last night a dear friend said something that resonated all through my body to the soul level.  She's currently battling cancer with bone clenching, cell shaking chemotherapy.  Having never been ill before in her life she says, "I don't reach out to people because who wants to hear about my sickness, struggles, and sorrow?"

How are you?  Are you hiding a houseful of woes behind a cheerful face?  In our church everyone smilingly says, "How are you today?"  Most of the time they really don't want to know.  If they actually DO want to know nobody has time to cry on each other's shoulders.  Besides that would make their Sunday clothes soggy!

In Me (soft e sound) he those who speak Espanol call it (I love so many things about that place!)  My dear friend tells me (she's from Tampico) that when people ask Como Estas?  Which means How Are You?  They really, truly want to know the answer.  Even if the person is a total stranger.  She proved her point to me as she refused to let me be an isolationist neighbor and pretty much dragged me kicking and screaming into one of the dearest friendships of life.  I wasn't kicking and screaming because of my beloved neighbor.  I was kicking and screaming because of the sorrow, stress, and sickness in my life.  She just brushed that aside with a wave of her dainty hand, as you would brush aside a nasty cobweb in your path and insisted on loving me..

Telling the complete truth losing my husband has kicked my booty pretty well.  Sometimes the grief is so overpowering that I can hardly hold a two way conversation even with those that I love the most.  I cancelled a fun evening with family this weekend because I just couldn't handle the conversation.  I wanted so badly to curl up in a corner and cry!  I kind of did that for awhile.  I wish I could say that it made me feel better, a will only be better when I'm with my honey again.  Don't worry, I WILL keep living, and I DO know that in time it won't hurt quite so badly.

Yet, we all need to quit isolating to lick our wounds in private!  NOBODY gets better by themselves.  Let me repeat that in case any of you were getting bored and drifted off.  NOBODY gets better by themselves!!!!  We all need a hand up, a hug, an affirmation that we hurt.

There are friends that are "fair weather friends," that will disappear because they are incapable of dealing with the weight and girth of your pain.  To my way of thinking they were only friends for the most positive parts of life.  We all need friends who can bear it when you're talking about your colon disease, or cancer of the bowel.  Get over it already happens!  (OK, but maybe not for hours on end the discussion of the sewer parts of our anatomy...everything in balance right?)

SO HERE IS YOUR CHALLENGE FROM ME TO YOU!  It's all in caps because I didn't want anyone to miss it :)  Today, NOT, reach out to someone that you know is struggling.  If they start to rant beyond the time that you can spare hug them hard and tell them you'll call in a few days, AND THEN CALL THEM.  You can simply NEVER give without getting back much, much more.  It may take a few times to get used to the all too human idea that a sorrow shared is contagious. are the Mathematics of love (I wish I knew who came up with this quote, I'd like to thank them), "A joy shared is multiplied, a sorrow shared is divided."  So go divide someone's troubles.  Don't then take them on your shoulders, for that doesn't help ANYONE.  Brush their troubles off your shoulders and then put them in your prayers.  I KNOW that there is someone who listens and blesses us through prayer.

I'm going to steal a quote from a man I grew up admiring, Arthur Godfrey, "Goodbye, and God bless."

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Perspective, my first experience with it was NOT a positive one.  I was in middle school and we HAD to take art.  I worked so hard at being an artist.  In one of our assignments we were supposed to draw telephone poles that looked smaller and smaller as you looked off into the distance.  No matter how hard I worked at it the lines and shapes lay flat on the page.  There was no indication of perspective.  I did that assignment multiple I did every other assignment in that class.  A measure of my artistic ability in the medium of drawing is the big fat D MINUS, that I got.  NOBODY got a grade that low in that class.  I had NEVER had a grade that low. 

I was afraid my parents would be very unhappy with me.  They both chuckled, said, "Well the apple didn't fall far from the tree (Whatever the heck that meant, I thought), they signed my grade report and I vowed to NEVER take art again.  A vow which regretfully I've kept to this point...that may change, I'm still here!

In that context perspective was the visual image of how things look smaller the further you are away from them, and closer as you move towards them. 

That is a very limited definition however.  The definition I prefer has nothing to do with art class or that dismal D- which apparently still bugs me....

Tonight, I was having a mini-pity party that may have involved lots of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Dick's.  (Really I have ALWAYS thought pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were a waste of calories....not at Dick's market they aren't)  I was about 4 hours in to various mindless TV programs.  I was doing my best to drown out the sorrow that currently resides in my soul 24/7.

My husband died in January.  He had come close to death to many times in our marriage of 27 years and I hoped desperately that as always he would bounce back again.  Not this time.

To say that I miss him seems so trite.  In fact my pain reminds me of that show in reruns "Charmed."  There are the good guys, and the bad guys.  One of the things that the bad guys do is to reach inside a living person's chest and pull their heart out.  Done in a very campy way or I couldn't watch it.  (I'm not fond of violence!)  Still that image describes how I feel a great deal of the time. 

The pain is so extreme that doing much more than eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, watching TV, and vegging in my apartment is almost impossible.  I do try to exercise, and keep in touch with family. 

Back to perspective.  So, in full mourning this evening it became aware to me suddenly (by virtue of the dog's panting, and holding his front paws over his privates, OK I may have made some of that up), that it had been a long time since said doggy had been outside to relieve himself.

So grumpily I put on a coat, and proceeded to take the dog out.  We were walking along and suddenly I saw a Christmas tree with brilliant red lights.  In actuality what I saw was an optical illusion created by a house with lots of windows that had lots of stop lights reflecting in them.  Still my breath caught for a moment in my throat.  Christmas has always done that to me...reminded me of all that is most precious in this mortal moment.

I saw through the eyes of perspective that this pain will never completely leave as long as I'm separated from my honeybunch.  Yet, the severeity of the pain, and the inability of functioning more than partially will improve. 

I think tonight I earned a better grade than a D MINUS on perspective....but I think I'll still go eat another cookie, and watch one more show before bed....Hey, tomorrow is a new day!  That is also perspective.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Beatle's Music is Playing

Nyle my husband, LOVED the Beatle's.  He identified with the backgrounds that inspired
them to write, their originality, and knew of all things Beatle.  Last year we were able to
go to Europe as a family.  There we met with our beloved daughter who had spent a
year earning a Master's at Cambridge.

Going to Liverpool was a MUST for Nyle.  We went to the homes where they grew up.
We went to the museum, and took a self-guided tour of Strawberry Fields, and all things
Beatle.  Nyle knew more about them then a guide would have known.  So as I write this
post I have the Beatle's playing.  I will never again hear a Beatle's tune without thinking
of Nyle and his love for their music.

Today was a special parade that my beloved niece and nephew participate in every year
to honor the precious baby that died one hour before she was delivered C-section.  Their
day of memory triggered a day of memory of my own.

I combined that desire to memorialize with my desire to climb into the fiery crimson
leaves of autumn.  Nyle was an artist who relished beauty.  He then would use music,
poetry, or prose to express those feelings.  He wrote two books, Flagpole Fighting
and Other Lessons My Mother Taught Me, which was a tribute to his amazing Mom.
He also wrote My Child My Love, which was a delightful fictional tale of why the
Innkeeper turned Mary and Joseph away from the main part of the Inn.

As I walked through the autumnal splendor I thought of my beloved who as long as
I knew him had severe degenerative spinal disease.  His back became more twisted
and bent as he grew older.  Walking was problematic.  To finish his undergraduate
degree in college he would sometimes lie down on the ground and drag himself
to the car.  We couldn't afford an electric wheelchair and he had problems with his
arms and neck as well.

As I walked today I rejoiced in my belief that he no longer is bothered by the
struggles he endured physically in this life.  In fact I envisioned him darting ahead
of our little doggy and I on the path.  I could see his smiling face, and hear him
say to me, "Look at me now, look at this, look how high I can fly!"  These images
turned my teary eyes into smiles.

As I thought of my beloved, I also thought of our dear son who was still more of
possibility than a baby when we lost him.  I remembered my dear Papa, my
Mother-in Law, (she was more of my "other" mother than in-law), my brother,
and oh so many more.  It's getting a little too crowded in the spirit world for
my liking.

My poor little doggy who is 13 and has 6 inch long legs finally sat down and refused
to walk anymore.  I picked him up to climb up the last hill and look at the vista
below.  As I turned around and started back down I noticed an extremely dead
tree still firmly standing on the crest of a ridge.  At first I thought, "Why doesn't
someone chop that thing down before it falls and hurts someone."

Then this little verse rushed into my mind, it was probably Nyle, or my Papa sending
me a happy message, they were both terrific writers.

The tree stood bold on the crest of a hill
All signs of life were still
Yet below deep deep down
It's roots lent strength to the trees around

Those we love that have passed into eternity have strong roots that still help to
anchor us in the rough winds of life.  I give thanks everyday for those roots,
for those that as the song says, "I have loved long since and lost awhile."  Only
I HAVEN'T lost them....their roots, their love, their ideas still make life a good
place to be.