Despair: There’s a Better Way

 

 

Complacency.

Stuck.  Wandering around aimlessly.

Routine  deadens her inside.  Lack of inspiration and imagination.

Trying to shake it off. Trying to pull herself out of this hole.

What will the catalyst be? The thing that turns it all around.  Where will she look to find it?

Drowning in same old.  Where’s the spark?  The burning desire to catapult her into energy and joy.  Where does she turn, Who does she  turn to?

Sleeping doesn’t give her joy, it only numbs her for a time. She awakens, desensitized of gratefulness to be alive.

She shouts, “Somebody, please show me the way to be happy.  Where are you?”

She’s tired of feeling this way.  She is so damn tired.

She asks, “Where will I find the change that I need?  Where does it come from?  Why don’t I know the answer? ”

Her thoughts are racing . “I cannot help myself.  I need help. I need to find myself.  I need to find love.”

She  closes her eyes,  trying to imagine one thing that makes her smile.

She recalls the feeling of the moonglow on her face and the sense of peace she felt.  Could it be?  Can she bathe in the moonlight tonight?  What will stop her? She knows she can do this.  She can find the energy in herself to do this. This is the night.

Ah, there it is, in all it’s illuminating essence, the glorious moon.  She feels blanketed  in it’s brilliance. Suddenly , she feels protected and empowered.  She has found a new friend.  As she sits and deliberates, she realizes that,  it”s always been there. She acknowledges that she’s  been too locked away inside her grief and torment to notice it.  She feels  such solace from this great ball of light.

Thoughts continue to  whirl around in her mind. “Where does it get this unimaginable power from?  Why am I so effected by it?”

She now visits with the moon each night.  She basks in the serenity it endows her with.  The limited moments that they share are becoming more frequent.

She finds herself enlivened and hopeful.  As she considers their relationship, they’ve become entwined in peace and she searches for it’s source of  power.

Her questions continue:  “What makes it radiate this compelling energy? She sits in deep contemplation and ponders the answer. Her observations show her a better way. “When I sit with it I feel this astounding sense of love.  As we visit with each other more and more and the tremendous love enlightens me, I realize that we share the same source.  Love is the source in it and in me.  The power of the universe lies within all of us.  The source is unconditional love.”

 

The spark that she’s been searching for is unconditional love and it resides within her and the moon and the stars and all things that radiate energy.

She cries, ” I am alive. I am grateful.  I feel joy for the first time in so many years.  I have the source within me.  I am powerful and courageous and full of energy.  If the moon and I share the same source than who am I to question if I am worthy of love.

I am love.  I am filled with the same incandescance as it. Here I am.  Worthy, Conscious, Alive and Grateful for this air that fills my lungs and allows me to share the most precious gift that my friend from above has shared with me.  I am awake now.”

Actions Speak Louder than Words

The young woman of 27 can’t sit in silence. She’s watching her aging loved ones as they begin on their journey to the next life. Action is all she knows.  Sitting and watching doesn’t suit her.  Her heart wants to make everything better but this is not something that will get better, or will it?

There is a blessing in caring for a person who’s spirit is ready to move on.  As the young woman delegates herself as caregiver, she is determined to give her loved ones every ounce of living that can be accomplished before they pass.  She couldn’t allow her grandmother to just waste away and give up even though they both knew what was coming.  Her grandmother was as strong as they come so she was a willing adventurer.  The young woman wanted a special girl’s day out so she made arrangements  ahead of time with the nail salon.  They greeted her at the door and made room for her wheelchair.  They treated her like a queen.  On the way to the salon, the young girl and her grandmother drove the country roads through the mountains and listened to country music as the grandmother tried to sing along with a smile on her face.  Although her body was tired she was not quite ready to ascend from it.  It was a day full of treasures for both women.  As each day passed, there were new challenges, but little gems were being passed from one generation to the next on those special days.  Every day became special because every moment counted.  The time spent together for these two souls will be forever ingrained  in the heart of the young woman.  Taking after her grandmother, the young woman forged ahead with strength and courage, determined to give this elder all that she had in her.  And, so, she did.  She gave her a beautiful send off, full of love and light.  A family came together for this special moment in time to celebrate the life of  their loved one.  Once again, although she had left this earthly home, the grandmother brought joy and love to her family as they spent several days together, sharing and laughing and enjoying each other.

Several weeks went by after the passing of her grandmother and she tried to get back into some semblance of a routine in her life.  But life doesn’t wait for a person to be ready for the next thing.  The 27 year old woman was informed that her grandfather was in hospice and did not have much longer to live.  All of the recent memories of caring for her grandmother came barrelling back into her heart.  She felt as though she was shot in the heart with an arrow and was ready to just bleed out.  All the pain, sorrow and grief poured out of her.  She didn’t see it coming and wasn’t sure what to do next.  The grieving for her grandmother had just begun and now she would have to face another devastating loss.  But, action is all she knows.  As the grief washed over her, she waited.  She waited for the correct path to lay itself before her.  She decided to sleep and when she awoke, clarity had shown itself.  The young woman made her way to the airport that day and within 24 hours was at the bedside of her grandfather.  After being the caregiver for her grandmother, she absorbed so much knowledge about the needs of a soul trying to pass.  When she layed eyes on her grandfather, it was apparent to her that his medications were not what she considered to be in the right balance of each other.  She had to at least share her concerns with his caregivers.  If nothing else, she had to fight for his life.  Her observances were acknowledged and the next day he asked for a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

This 27 year old woman, young in years but wise beyond, is an action taker.  You will never see her sit on the sidelines of life.  I sat with her, watching her grief just pour out in dignified tears.  At that moment she was having the realization of just how fragile life is and how we are all aging.  She had a glimpse of the need to take care of our elders.  She wanted to shout to all of her elders how much she loved them and how much she valued their words and contributions to her life.

I sat there as she sobbed into my mother’s bosom.  I sat quietly and observed this woman who is my baby girl.  I am a proud mother and so grateful to have a child with such heart and soul and caring running through her veins.

Never Say Never

I believe that in life if you don’t get the lesson the first time, you get to do it over and over again until you get it right.  I never realized how true that was until it really hit me in the face.

I have evolved ,over the years, into a completely different person.  I am but a shadow of my former self and that is very good news.  Not that I was a bad person, but I was a very hurt and broken person.  My daily decisions were all based in fear, anger and low self-esteem.  I was broken by the sudden loss of my father when I was 17.  It was sudden, completely unexpected, especially for a man of 48 years old.  He had been out of work for a solid year and finally got a new job.  He was a truck driver.  On his very first day of work, he was excited to be able to get financially stable once again.  On that very day, he never came home again.  He died of a heart attack while unloading that truck.

My world changed and I went into a tailspin of deep depression.  My life choices were made out of fear of being alone; out of fear of losing another; out of fear of not having someone to take care of me.  I got married at the age of 18.  I was so naive, just a child actually.  I was scratching my way through the muck of life with no direction.  I had two sons from that marriage that ended in divorce after nine years.  I was low-spirited for that period of my life.  My children didn’t know that.  They just needed me to be a Mom and I gave it my best with what I had to work with.  At that point in time, I had not evolved into anything but a sorrowful, depressed young woman and unfortunately that is what I gave to my boys.  I remarried and had a daughter with my second husband.  I felt that  was my chance to start over and use previous experiences to grow and to raise my children.  It was all so fresh and new.  But, I still carried the sadness and fear and depression with me.  Since that was what I had, that is what I once again given to my children.  Don’t get me wrong, I was the best mother that I could be.  My children were well cared for and loved but I wasn’t able to give them the best version of me because I hadn’t met her yet.

I raised my kids and felt that I was mothering them pretty well.  The struggles of raising kids never ends.  You’re always trying to teach them lessons and show them the way.  I made so many mistakes along the way.  I was rigid and expected them to grow with the rules that I grew up with.  I was unrelenting in my high expectations of children that were so young.  I look back now and wonder to myself, “What was I thinking?”.   I was so involved in the “rules” that I couldn’t see that I wasn’t allowing for the fact that they were children and so they should be able to act like children.

I have always been a searcher, meaning that I was a soul-searcher.  As I grew, I learned more and more to allow my spirituality to help me raise my children.  But, that took a long time and my kids were getting older and turning into teenagers and young adults.  I have to say that my children are 5 years apart.  I was one person when I had my first child at the age of 20 and a completely different person when I had my second child at the age of 25 and then again changed when I had my third child at the age of 30.  I was evolving at a slow rate.  I was finding that problems were getting bigger with my kids and I was not equipped to handle them.  I was still allowing fear, sadness and anger to guide my life.  Looking back now and seeing the mistakes I made just makes me cringe with sadness.

Now at the age of 57, it all seems so clear as does most things when looking in the rearview mirror.

My second marriage ended in divorce after 15 years.  I moved on to a new relationship and at that point, my daughter was 14.  The boys were adults then and I had grandchildren.  Still, at that point, I was not seeing the true needs of my daughter.  Again, she was well cared for but I was overlooking the most important things.  I was missing what her feelings were and what she was going through.  I was on a new journey and she was along for the ride.

While all this was going on, I eventually had a nervous breakdown and was forced into therapy.  I thought it was the worst day of my life but it turned out to be the best day.  I gave in and sought therapy and healed through hard work, blood, sweat and tears.  I finally healed from the loss of my father.  His death was 33 years before this.  So much healing took place with that year of therapy.  I learned how to communicate with my daughter and I learned how to stand up for myself and look at the world with more loving eyes as the sadness began to roll away. I allowed myself to be accountable for all the mistakes I made while raising my children.  I spoke with each one individually and acknowledge my mistakes and asked them to share with me the things that I had done that hurt them so much.  I apologized to each of them.  I learned so much about myself at that point in my life.

My evolution at that point was monumental but I had another surprise in store for me that I didn’t see coming.  My boyfriend has a daughter that is 8 years younger than my daughter.  All this time she lived with her mother until her mother’s circumstances changed and his daughter came to live with us at the young age of 14.  Wow, I thought I could handle taking care of a 14 year old.  I had done it 3 times and now had grandchildren; a lot of experience under my belt.  Once again, my eyes were opened.  This child was different, I was different.  The “rules” that I had raised my children with weren’t working.  I suddenly became that same old rigid mother type again.  What was I thinking?

I guess I didn’t get the full lesson after raising three children and grandchildren so, I got to do it again.  My step-daughter and I went on a journey together.  We learned together what worked and what didn’t work.  I learned to not be so rigid and to acknowledge when I was being unreasonable and apologize.  She began to respond positively and we grew a bond with each other.  Today, as she is now 19 years old, we live in a very peaceful environment.  We work together to achieve peace in the house.  We have compromised with each other about our daily habits and life is good.

I remember saying very adamantly, “I’m never going to raise anyone else’s kids.”  I so forcefully put that out into the universe and the universe heard me and responded with another chance to get the lesson.

Never say never!

 

A Moment in Time

This past weekend we said goodbye to my former mother-in-law of 15 years.  She was a good woman; kind, generous and a little quirky.  Her independence however, tipped the richter scale.  This woman single handedly raised her son alone.  She worked as a nurse and made her way through life on her own terms.

She was a people person to the 10th degree.  She never sat alone for breakfast.  She would make her way to the local diner and created her very own version of the breakfast club.  After some time, their group became quite large and breakfast was spread out for a few extra hours.

She worked very hard and at times she took on two jobs.  She had her regular shift of nursing and on the side she worked for a nursing agency, travelling to people’s homes who were unable to get to the doctor , doing blood draws and collections.  She did what she had to do and then some.  She saved her money and planned trips around the world.

Working until retirement wasn’t enough for her.  She liked getting out there with other people so she took a job at a local Walmart.  She loved that job and she loved those people she worked with.

As I stated before, she was my former mother-in-law.  But, she was more than that.  She was the grandmother of my children.  The woman who always made special traditions for my kids.  She impacted their lives until , well, she still does, even after she passed away.

We gathered for her funeral on Saturday.  My children are grown and came together along with their children and I was included ,along with her son.  We celebrated her life as we came together for 3 glorious days of fun, nature, laughter and tears.  And, while her son and I are no longer married , for three days we were a family again.  The perfect send off for a woman that lived and breathed “family”.  She was right there with us as we enjoyed each other in her kitchen, gathered together around the center island eating massive amounts of food which could only make her proud.  We went for long walks in the woods as a family.  We laughed and enjoyed each other.

A moment in time that we may never see again.  And, for that moment, we were one unit.  The joy in my heart of being together with my children and grandchildren is a gift brought to me, courtesy of my former mother-in-law.  In the end, it doesn’t matter that she was my former anything, or that my former husband was involved with us this weekend.  In the end, we were a cohesive family enjoying our differences and celebrating a life well lived.