Red Sky at Night

I needed this sky tonight. Thank you

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Self critic – a bully and a victim

Do you ever stop and think about how many mean things you say to yourself everyday. If I had a dollar for every time I called myself fat or stupid, I would be able to pay cash for that Alpha Romeo I want. I would never treat my friends that way – I love them. Today, in just the last hour, I called myself a fat cow, an idiot, a dummy, and a few other words I should not write here. Wow. When I look at these words written in front of me – I see a bully and a victim – and they are both me!

Why do I do that? I blame myself for my son’s illness. I blame myself for my husband’s issues. I criticize myself when the house isn’t spotless or the dinner isn’t perfect. How do I stop?

I do so many things I don’t want to do.

I don’t want to pretend I am OK when I am not.

I don’t want to bully me.

I don’t even want to eat these cookies.

STOP!!!

I need to get back outside. Back in the saddle. Back in the garden.

For now, I am putting away the vacuum cleaner – AND the cookies, and heading off to my craft room with my Charlie dog.

Breathe

Holidays are tough when you are grieving. I will always be grieving. I try to hold onto the light, the good things – but there is such a gaping hole. According to my grief counselor, I am dealing with delayed grief, or what ever label one attaches. I always feel like I have to be the strong one, the responsible one – so I hold everything in – take care of business. SO – Here I am going through the 3rd Christmas without my son, my only child and – it isn’t any easier for any of us. My husband is hospitalized, so I am holding down the farm. So, I spent the holiday with my animals and a nasty respiratory infection. Finally gave in and went to the doctor. My asthma was flared up and needed a treatment. So I spent my morning in a the medical center, doing a nebulizer treatment – 2 years, 10 months, and 6 days after my son died of a severe asthma attack. Each breath cut through me – I will finally had to admit how guilty I feel – he got the asthma from me, I know it. I feel like it is my fault, my punishment and I don’t know why. No matter how many times I tell myself, it isn’t my fault and it isn’t about me – I can’t stop the thoughts. They attack in waves. I love my GOD so much, and I lean on the GREAT SPIRIT for comfort and healing, and I know HE did NOT TAKE my child, HE received him in love, just like HE loves me.

Still – the thoughts come. My son, a young, successful Emergency Room Doctor just finished a shift saving lives. Why couldn’t they save him? He saved lives. He made a difference in this world. Why is he gone and I’m still here? What do I do? I hate these thoughts – I suppressed them as long as I could – now I have to let them out so I can let them go.

Breathe. I tell myself just breathe and let it go. I needed to lance this abscess so I could get this poison out.

I needed to spend this holiday in my home alone so I could deal with my grief, and not be responsible for anyone else. I don’t have to put on the brave face. I am spending this day in prayer, in healing – just me and my dogs (and hugs on the horses, mule, cat, – and patted the goose). I absorbed their love – pure, honest love.

Maybe, if there is any good that can come of my grief journey – it is to share the revelations – tell someone you love them and give them a safe place to express their grief. Everyone needs to express the dark thoughts without judgement or condemnation or fear of rejection – Don’t hammer a broken person over the head with the Bible. Remember, it is the word of GOD, not a weapon. Instead, Hold their hand and pray with them.

If you are hurting, you have to breathe and let it out – scream it out – curse it out – even break something if it helps. But the abscess never heals unless it ruptures. I hold onto my big Ol’ Charlie Tarheel (My German Shepherd) and I cry and I pray. Strange as it sounds, I believe he is my spirit animal, sent to guide me to a closer spiritual relationship and a stronger faith. That works for me. I pray everyone in pain finds what works for them, to bring healing. Please, don’t give up. Continue the journey.

Prayers.

Being Invisible

I love my husband very much. My husband is a good man with so many good qualities. He also is very “high maintenance” because of his disabilities, depression, and addictions. This is the third Christmas without our child, and my husband is hospitalized. Believe me, Time does NOT heal all wounds.

I hope this does not sound wrong, but sometimes, I feel invisible. When loved ones call, they are always so concerned about my husband and rarely ask about me. My husband needs care and treatment, and sometimes gets so concerned with himself, he doesn’t ask how I feel. He needs me to run errands and support him and give understanding – but doesn’t understand when I say I am tired.

Let me share a recent conversation:

Relative speaking to me: “He is just going through so much – holidays are difficult. I just cannot imagine what he is going through. He lost his son.”

Me: Silently thinking, He was my son too. I’m right here – in pain.

Relative advising me: “Well, you need to be strong for him.”

Me: Silent once again

After the relative left, my husband and I chatted.

Husband: “You need to call my friend so he’s not worried.”

Me: “Honey, I called all your family to keep them up to date about your care and situation. I am just really not up to more conversations today.”

Husband: “Well, he’s going to be worried. He knows I was struggling and yesterday was Christmas…it was hard. You need to call him.”

Me: “It was hard for me too and….”

Husband: Interrupted with attitude, “Just forget it. I will call him when I get out of the hospital.”

I know he is a good person, just struggling with his health issues. I am glad he cares about his friend, and does not want the friend to worry. But there are times I just want to scream, “Strong people break too! They break on the inside where no one sees. I am tired of being strong. I hurt too.” But, instead, I am silent. Maybe because I am just too wounded to speak up or maybe I don’t believe anyone is really listening. I’m not really sure anymore. So I go through the day, invisible. No one really SEES ME – they see a functioning avatar, an imaginary person – but not me.

But GOD is good and HE sends comfort, spirit helpers. My animals, they see ME. They hear ME even when I am silent. GOD SEES ME – HE sees all my flaws and all my sins and loves me anyway, especially when I feel unlovable. So, If you know a “strong person” maybe check in with them. Maybe they need a hug.

Christmas breakfast with my furry family

It’s Christmas. So I lit a candle, got out my best cowboy china, and fixed breakfast for me and my dogs, Charlie Tarheel and Baby Dawg. We feasted together on hash and eggs. I even baked a birthday cake for Jesus – but no chocolate for the critters. Then I sang Christmas carols – sorry dogs. But hey, the Bible says make a JOYFUL noise unto the LORD. Doesn’t say it has to sound good – just JOYFUL. So I believe my nasally, flat, off key screechings are pleasing and acceptable unto the LORD. The horses and the mule had a feast too – carrots and apples and granola. Gertie Goose had sweet corn on the cob (hard to find this time of year) and butter bread. Flip Flop kitty had Friskies Shreds, hash, and warm milk.

Everyone got a hug and a scratch. I hung onto my horses neck’s and cried into their manes. I hugged Hector the mule and sobbed on his shoulder. I clutched the kitty and shared my pain. Gertie Goose bit me on the thumb – hey, she’s a goose.

My dogs curled up with me on the couch and absorbed my grief and gave me their love. It seems the more I give my love away – the more love comes right back to me. GOD truly sent me COMFORT and PEACE today. And I will be able to visit my husband at the hospital this afternoon.

Merry Christmas.

I did it!!  I rode my horse on beach, next to the ocean

It was a very emotional day.  I rode my WildFire on the beach, even a few steps into the Atlantic Ocean.  I missed my son so much.  He loved the ocean.  Our last days together, were spent by the ocean.  I wanted to call him, to text him photos – to hear his laugh – instead, I searched the sky for signs.  I believe he was there with me.

Disney World first impressions

I am nearly 60 years old, and I visited Disney World for the first time just a few days ago.  I must be honest, it wasn’t the experience I expected.  Maybe it is my age, or maybe it is the grief and depression clouding my perception.  The Disney “experience” was eye-popping!!   The buildings and grounds were beautiful.  The costumes and parades were phenomenal.  The prices were outrageous.  Every possible inch of space was consumed by someone.  I observed many hot, sweating, tense, tired adults and several over-stimulated, tired, squalling children.  I was just over-whelmed – crowded – almost panicky.

My heart went out to the performers who provided an awe-inspiring spectacle, despite over bearing heat.  I cannot imagine how they managed those sweet, joyful smiles while dancing in those hot costumes under a blazing sun.  I pledge my respect and admiration to their talent, professionalism, and commitment.

Our little group made our way inch-by-inch through the throng and into an eatery, already clogged with humanity, some happy and friendly, many not so much.   I studied the faces of the cafeteria employees.  Bergens.  Yep.  Bergens.  If you have seen the move, TROLLS, you know the Bergens.   Bergens are sad, unhappy souls that trudge about through their day.   These poor workers looked so hot, tired, stressed – trudging.   Without thinking, I started singing a portion of the song  when I heard from behind me  “….It’s coming on, It’s coming on….”   I suddenly realized two people in the line were singing with me!

We exchanged a quick knowing glance and giggle.  Then, I kind of felt bad – the cafeteria employees are probably really nice, hard working people just trying to get through a hot, difficult day.  Some people in the line in front of me were short, cross, and just down right rude.  Imagine a whole day of that!!  I made it a point to be kind, to smile, and to say “Thank you.  Have a great day.”  One of five smiled back, made eye contact – and I cheerily added “I appreciate you – thank you so much.”

OK, crossing Disney World off my list – for now.  Maybe I will try again in a few years.  Right now, I am so glad to be back on my farm where I belong!!

 

Naomi and Ruth

I have always loved the Book of Ruth – beginning way back in my childhood (about a million years ago).  It was like a fairy tale to me.  Ruth was beautiful and loving and kind.  She did not abandoned Naomi in her pain and grief.  In the end, Ruth and Boaz fell in love – and in my mind “live happily ever after”.  I was so absorbed in Ruth’s story, I never really considered Naomi’s.

Now, I am living Naomi’s story!!  Suddenly, I read Ruth from a whole different perspective.  Naomi lost both her sons.  I lost my only son.  I know her pain.  I feel her pain.  Naomi had a loving daughter-in-law.  So do I.  I cherish her.

In Ruth Chapter 1, Naomi tells everyone not to call her Naomi anymore.  That name meant pleasant.  Instead, Naomi wanted to be call Mara which is bitter.  Yeah, I am bitter too – I understand.  Sometimes the bitterness is all-consuming.  But I am trying, everyday trying – not to be bitter.  I am trying to remember the end of the story where Naomi is blessed by Ruth’s love and ultimately, her relationship with Boaz.  GOD saw her pain and grief and heard her sobs.

So, the loss of Naomi’s sons was not the end of her story.

Maybe this is not the end of my story.

 

 

Blanket Fort Morning

My  morning began in a blanket fort.

First alarm just went off at 5:30 am.  My mind acknowledged the alarm with a snarky snarl, “I have 20 minutes before second alarm goes off.”

I am snuggled in my blanket fort with the blanket pulled tightly over my head.  It is a soft, cuddly blanket – feels like kittens  – fresh from the dryer last night, smelling sweet.  I want to burrow down into my blanket fort and just think of you.   No grief, no tears, no pain – safe in blanket fort with happy memories.

I remember pulling couch cushions and blankets and turning our living room into a camp site.  I remember looking through the view master at dinosaurs, and pretending they were binoculars and real dinos and we were brave explorers.   I remember the giggles and the tickles – blocking out the whole world in our little blanket fort.

The second alarm pierced my perfect memory – had to finally drag it out of my blanket fort.  But don’t worry, Son, I will be back.  Does anyone else have a blanket fort?