A world in chaos

Disclaimer:Long post but please read it all the way to the end.

How did we get here? A month ago I was taking a road trip with my Mom visiting with family we hadn’t seen in a long time. We were just starting to hear the rumblings about this coronavirus. I came home ready to get back into the grind and then we were thrust into this world no one recognized. People started getting notices that schools were closed from March 16th-April 17th. Within a week restaurants were closing their doors to dine in patrons and servers were suddenly unemployed. Next came salons and barber shops. Small businesses across the United States are hanging closed signs in their windows. Teachers have to learn new ways of teaching and parents, grandparents and care givers are suddenly stepping into the role of home schooling. It leaves us questioning how long the experts knew it was coming, why they didn’t pay attention sooner, why as a country we weren’t more prepared. Was it arrogance? Did we think it couldn’t happen here? Certainly not in the United States. We are no third world country, right? And now look where we are.
None of us wants to or knows how to live in this chaos we were thrust into. None of us wants to live in a world where people that we love are suddenly potentially dangerous to us. A world where children can’t go home for Sunday dinners, where friends can’t do Friday game night, where families can’t come together and celebrate births and birthdays, christenings or baptism, life and even death. A world where we can’t bury our loved ones or have a proper funeral. A world where hospitals and nursing homes have to close their doors to the public and people we love are dying alone. A world where grandparents can’t wrap their arms around their grandchildren but if they are lucky they can see them on a computer screen.

Please read on:
I would really like to share my own story with you. Some have heard it, some more than once but I would like to share it here in detail. On a Saturday night in mid-October 2012 I woke up freezing, legitmately freezing. I could not get warm and I was in a heated waterbed under 4 blankets so I got up and took a hot bath. This was the cycle that continued through the weekend. On Monday I went to my primary care doctor who suggested I probably had some lingering infection from a recent UTI. (We had also had a pretty bad case of the flu in our house in August) Anyway, he wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic and sent me on my way. I went to the pharmacy but I was literally so weak I coulnd’t wait for them to fill it so I went home and back to bed and drove back down on Tuesday to pick it up. On Wednesday when my ex-asshole (sorry I had to) came home from work I met him at the bottom of the stairs and told him I needed him to take me to the hospital because there was something really wrong with me. We went to the ER at Wilson and it was packed. I begged for a bed where I could lay down but they said they just didn’t have one and it would be a minimum of 4 hour wait and they suggested I go to General so we did. You know you can’t go to an ER without waiting so I literally laid on the floor in the waiting room with my head in my daughters lap until they took me back. They started with blood work which showed I had a pretty elevated white blood count so they admitted me. On the way to my room they took me for a CT scan, which showed I had pneumonia. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time because I wasn’t having any respiratory symptoms, yet. That day and the ones that followed were some of the scariest of my life. My fever kept climbing and climbing and climbing and they coudln’t get it under control. My potassium bottomed out. My family sat beside me and watched all this happen hopeless to do anything about it. The doctors knew there was more than pnuemonia going on but they didn’t know what. When they had exhausted all other efforts to control my fever they put me on a cooling blanket and packed me ice. Have you ever been shivering cold? Imagine being that cold and being packed in ice with a fever that was still peaking out at 107*. My skin starting mottling. I laid there sobbing when the dr came in to look at it and said it was from sepsis. I had seen that, in people just prior to their death. I had also had an Aunt recently pass from septic shock so I believed in that moment in time that I was going to die in that hospital bed. My daughter took my face in her hands and she said “Mom, look at me, you are NOT going to die. You are where you need to be.” I’m not sure she believed that herself but she always been a leader. Honestly at this point in time I was so sick that I just started getting delirious. Some time during that night they decided to send me to the ICU because my heart was working too hard. That was wee hours of Friday I think. Doctors came and doctors went. And finally they called in the one with the answers, Dr Christine Fenlon. She had the most amazing presence I had ever encountered. She sat by my bed and she held my hand and she just talked. She asked alot of questions and when she was done she said, we’ll get to the bottom of this. Before that night was over she had her answer-I had legionarries disease. I had zero idea what that was and she did her best to explain it me but she said the important thing was now they knew what they needed to do to treat it. At that point I was beyond sick. I was on a bi-pap machine and could only communicate with my cell phone or a piece of paper. Regina Frants, the pulmonary specialists, had a very distinctive walk and when she came down the hall I sat on the edge of my bed to try and prove to her that I could breathe okay because I knew they were thinking of a ventilator and I was afraid of that. As soon as she walked away I collapsed back on my bed and put the mask back on. Saturday the doctors came in and they said your body is just working far too hard. We really don’t have a choice anymore and we have to sedate you and intubate to give your body a chance to heal. I was terrified and I know my family was too but I gave them permission to do what they had to do. When my kids stood at the edge of my bed and we all cried something inside me snapped. I promised them that I would be back! They escorted them all out and the last thing I remember is them raising my bed and a respiratory therapist bagging me while they prepped me for the ventilator. I went to sleep in the ICU at General Hospital and the next thing I remember I was looking at the board with the date and six days had passed-six days that I have no recollection of but by the grace of God I had kept my promise. At some point in time they had transferred me via ambulance from General to Wilson. The story doesn’t end there. It took my body a really long time to come back from that. Months of not being able to do even the simplest things. At one appt when I was frustrated my doctor spelled it out for me and said, “Listen, your white blood count was over 100,000. That is a serious infection. You were septic so the infection wasn’t localized just in your lungs. It was also in your brain. Add to that the fact that you had a sustained fever of over 105 for an extend period of time. That kind of fever cracks your brain similar to a stroke. And then you were sedated and intubated which basically means they shut your brain off. You shouldn’t be here. If at any time any one thing had gone wrong you wouldn’t be. You are very lucky to be alive today. So take the life you were given back and don’t sweat the stuff you can’t do.” And then of course there was the the PTSD. Fear of the mist when the grocery store waters the vegetables, fear of hot tubs, fear that stayed with me for a very long time. Fear that has resurfaced and is in hyper-overdrive once again, for a damn good reason!
Why do I want to share this now? Because I want people to understand. I want people to understand how much havoc a virus can reak on a persons body. I want people to understand it is not only themselves they should worry about. Its about SO much more than being inconvenieced. My family was terrified and they could be there for me! Think of all those families going through it now who can’t be. How gut wretching that must be. Imagine someone you love most being alone in an ICU and you can’t go there. That is the reality of this virus.
This virus is dangerous for so many people but this virus would most likely take my life. So for those of us who are at extra risk-when they tell you to social distance, please do it. If you are sick and the doctor recommends you should stay home, even if you don’t know what you might have, please stay home. Is it really worth risking someone else’s safety for? If there is really something you need, ask someone to bring it and leave it outside your door. I get it, people have to work and people have to eat. Someone has to go to the grocery store but make a list and go once a week. Stay home as much as you are able. We all have a responsibility here. This isn’t one person or one demographics problem. This is global. And as someone whose body can’t possibly fight something like this off again and who is also immunocomprised, please listen!!! I’m begging you, listen. I don’t have a picture of myself during this time so I borrowed one from a friend. If my story can help one person I will be glad I shared. I don’t love not seeing my kids! I don’t love not seeing my grandchildren! My daughter and her family are here in town and I can’t see them. Don’t think for a second that doesn’t break my heart. But social distancing is social distancing and for my safety my children are abiding by the recommendations.I pray that you will too. It’s not a lot to ask and your decisions today could save someone tomorrow.

Mid Year Reset-The letter

Dear Kitty,

WOW! Can you believe it is June 30th? Half the year is gone. I know it has been a blur for you to date and you feel like everything is just out of control. That’s why I’m so glad you are finally meeting me here over a glass of wine so we can catch up. I know I haven’t always been very nice to you. In fact, at times I have been downright mean to you. I hold you to a higher standard than I hold anyone else to. I would never tell someone they were a failure because they haven’t accomplished anything they set out to do. The truth is I would never chastise anyone for anything and so I am genuinely sorry I don’t give you the same consideration. I see you. I see the way you are struggling to find your way. I know that you can see there is more waiting for you but you don’t know what direction to take to get there so you just stay still. I see you trying to defeat all your demons and I’m proud of you for finally forgiving yourself. It was nice to hear you say the words “I forgive you” and finally bury all those skeletons once and for all. I’ve told you a lot of lies. You ARE a good mother. Yes you made mistakes but haven’t we all. You’ve punished yourself long enough. I know you’ve always believed you weren’t good enough and I also know why you felt that way, but if I asked your children what they thought, they would say you taught them the meaning of unconditional love because that is how you loved them. Believe it or not, that IS how they love you in return. They don’t see an imperfect Mom. They see someone who gave her all to give them the best she had to give. They see a Mom who started over with nothing not once but twice. They see your true strength where all you see is weakness. Yes you had some bad years, some really ugly years in fact, but you aren’t that person anymore. I know how you feel about the things your kids were subjected to. The endless outbursts and horrible fights they witnessed between you and their Dad. You wish you had done better. I get it. But you got out and you DID do better. So please stop beating yourself up over what you can’t go back and change and lift your chin and hold your head high because you have made tremendous strides.

Do you remember New Years Eve? Do you remember sitting at the table with Brittany so full of excitement and filled with promise for 2019. You slogan was Stronger. You were going to finally embrace who you are and all you are to the people around you. Remember:

“You just gotta ignite the light

And let it shine

Just own the night

Like the Fourth of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework

Come on show ’em

what your worth

Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”

As you shoot across the sky-y-y”

That was going to be your theme in 2019. And I know things happened and I know you got derailed but truly you have to admit that you just quit on yourself. Maybe you couldn’t train to run a 5K but you could have kept walking. You could have controlled what you fueled your body with. And now you’re halfway through the year and still in much the same place as you started, but it’s not too late. It is never too late. And you can own that now and admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it. I know it’s not easy but if you don’t believe in your own ability, I promise you no one else will. No one else can do the work for you. It’s starts inside of you. You’ve started. That’s a step in the right direction. Listen, I know that I have always been your worst enemy. No one could ever be harder on you than I was. I know I’ve stood in your way so much of the time and I’ve fed you lies about who you are, about what defines you, about what you can and can’t do. I would like to change that if you’ll let me. I would really like for us to be friends. I would like to walk beside you as you choose a new path. Can we do that? Together? I bet if I get out of your way you will be unstoppable!! It won’t happen overnight and I know it won’t be easy but I believe in you. Will you trust yourself? Will you commit? Not every day will be a good one but how about if we start with writing out a plan of action? We can outline what you want to accomplish just over the next few weeks and what you need to do to get there. And if you will commit to taking the first few steps I will commit to checking in with you everyday over the next month to see how you are doing. We can sit together at the end of each day even if just for a few minutes and see how you are doing. You have so many people who love you and are in your corner. I know you don’t always believe that. I know you feel like you let everyone down all the time but you don’t. The only person you let down is yourself. You don’t have to “earn” anything from anyone. It’s either there or it’s not and neither one have anything to do with you. Everyone is just out there fighting much the same battles in different ways. You’re not so different. I promise I will do my best to tell you a different story from now on. But please above all else remember you are loved because you are love. You can do this Kitty. I know you can. So let’s tackle the second half of this year like a champion. What do you say? Let’s unearth your potential!!!

Love, Me

PS…and for the love of God PLEASE stop listening to people who tell you that you are just too sensitive. You’re not! You’re empathy and compassion are a gift. Give them to yourself too 💕

An Open Letter About Life With Chronic Illness

I didn’t write this but it is incredible. It’s long but I really hope some of you will take the time to read and understand. This is my life with fibromyalgia. I have been living with this since 1999. For me it started as a mono like illness that just never resolved. I was out of work from 1999 to 2003 when I returned to the work force part time. I am blessed today to work for a company that truly understands. Thank you to the writer at Painted Cup who authored this. Name unknown

The Reality of Living with an Invisible Illness

This letter is dedicated to those who believe people who live with an invisible illness are lazy, faking, lying and any other negative thoughts you may have because they ‘don’t look sick’.

This letter is not written from a mean-spirited or bitter place-rather I am writing this letter to help spread awareness about what living with an invisible illness looks like. While you can never truly understand the day-to-day struggles of a person with an invisible illness (I truly hope you never experience this yourself) it is my hope that this letter will help to open your eyes to what other people are going through.

This letter is generalized to include anyone with an invisible illness. There are more invisible illnesses than I can write but some include arthritis, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, lupus, polycystic ovary syndrome and so many more!

All of these invisible illnesses take an incredible toll on a person physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Those who live with chronic pain are impacted of course with physical pain but also feel mentally exhausted and often emotionally defeated.

Those with a mental health condition/disorder are both emotionally and mentally impacted but they also feel physical pain thanks to feelings of exhaustion, stomach aches, and many other symptoms.

Here is an example of what a person who is newly diagnosed with an invisible illness goes through:

Let’s use an imaginary person named Annie as an example. Annie is a single mother of 3 children who works as a cashier at the local department store. Although money is tight she is generally a very happy person and a great mother to her children.

One day things start to change…

Annie feels completely exhausted. She was tired when she went to bed but was awake most of the night. She brushes it off thinking it’s just an ‘off’ day. However, this continues for weeks and is getting progressively worse. Even on nights when she does sleep she still feels completely exhausted the next day. She is also having increasing pain in her hands and shoulders making it very hard to scan customers purchases at work. Yet she smiles and puts on a brave face for those around her. After all, she doesn’t ‘look sick’. This continues for months, she starts forgetting simple tasks and feels like she is living in a fog. She’s embarrassed and frustrated with her body. She has seen her doctor over the course of the past 6 months but blood tests and scans all come back saying she is fine.

You’ve probably seen a girl before who is going through exactly what Annie has been dealing with.

Remember the young girl in her late 20’s who parked in a handicapped spot at the store last week? You saw she had a sticker but figured it couldn’t be for her… it must be for one of her parents because she’s young and ‘doesn’t look sick’. The reality is that the parking sticker was in fact hers. She is mortified that she has to use it. After all, ‘she doesn’t look sick’. But if she wants to be able to get food for the kid’s lunches the next day she has to park there. After all, it took her 30 minutes just to get dressed to go to the store. The fact that she can’t park and walk in like everyone else her age makes her feel frustrated and embarrassed. But the pain is excruciating. She wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

Annie feels defeated.

Her kids are still taken care of but they have definitely noticed her damped spirits and mom no longer has the energy to play with them at the park. Annie feels crazy. She knows something is wrong but she looks fine. She feels like no one believes what she is going through. She also hasn’t told many people about what she is going through out of fear that they won’t believe her and think she is whining.

Remember the times your coworker has called in sick and you thought “they are being lazy and just want a day off”?

Not only is Annie’s body fighting her at every moment of every day, she is also fighting a mental war inside her head. If only you could see the bruises from the physical and mental war she fights every day. Maybe then it would be ok since she ‘looks sick’.

“You don’t know why you’re exhausted. You’re fighting a war inside your head every single day. If that’s not exhausting I don’t know what is.” -Unknown

After about a year of this Annie has to go on leave from work.

She physically can’t do it anymore. The pain is excruciating. When you look at Annie she appears to be tired and her smile looks forced but other than that ‘she doesn’t look sick’. Annie hates her body. She feels like it has betrayed her and she feels like a piece of her identity has been taken away. She really liked her job. She was able to interact with others, provide for her family and provide great service to her customers, something she highly valued. But now that was all gone. She is no longer a ‘fun & active’ mother to her children. She is starting to feel like she doesn’t know who she is anymore.

Remember when you thought people were lazy and just didn’t want to work?

At this point, Annie would give anything to be able to go back to work. To feel productive. To provide for her family.

Once she goes on leave the doctor’s start to take her symptoms more seriously.

She eventually sees a rheumatologist and after more testing she is diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She learns that the symptoms of Fibromyalgia include muscle pain and spasms, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog (difficulty concentrating & remembering), tingling, stomach pain and digestive issues, feeling anxious and depressed and so much more. She feels relieved. She has answers. People will finally believe her even though she ‘doesn’t look sick’. Her doctor recommends a few medications to help her manage the pain and lift her spirits.

Finally, Annie feels hopeful about the future… things can get better.

A few days later it all sinks in.

This is for life. While there are things she can do to help manage her symptoms, there’s no cure.

Now that she has a diagnosis she decides to tell her loved ones.

They have noticed changes over the past year and a half and most are supportive and kind. However, some simply don’t get it. She had a friend say ‘but you don’t look sick, you’re too young to have that’, even with a diagnosis a friend didn’t believe her. She was heartbroken. Another friend who seemed to have good intentions said: “well at least it isn’t something that is fatal, it could be a lot worse”. It seemed like this person’s heart was in the right place but their words cut deep. Maybe they just didn’t know the right words to say.

Annie’s symptoms eventually become more manageable but she still has days (more often than not) when she has a flare, the pain and fatigue take over and she’s defeated.

When we started Annie was an upbeat person, a wonderful mother, a cashier who contributed to society and provided financially for her family. She was proud, confident and happy.

Thanks to her medication Annie is back to work part-time but is completely exhausted after work and has to spend most of the night on the couch. You see, people with chronic pain/illness only have so many ‘spoons’ in a day. Doing an activity takes a spoon, and once the daily ‘spoons’ are gone, she is done for the day. She simply doesn’t have any spoons left. She is still a wonderful mother but feels guilty that she can’t be as physically active in her children’s lives. She still wears a smile but more often than not it’s a way to hide the pain. She is working through her feelings towards her body but at this point, they are definitely not positive, she still feels betrayed.

Now that you have heard Annie’s story, what do you think?

Do you think she is incredibly lazy or do you think she is an incredible fighter? Do you think she is whining or is she hiding much more of her pain than you realized? Do you think she is faking it? Or is she doing anything possible to survive and get through the day?

This letter was not written to get your pity or sympathy. It’s to show you the reality of living with an invisible illness. The people you think are faking or lazy or weak are actually incredible warriors. Each day they fight their bodies physically, mentally, and emotionally to take part in society. They put a smile on their face, show up and do their very best.

“I fight for my health every day in way most people don’t understand. I’m not lazy. I’m a warrior.” -Unknown

It is my hope that next time you see someone who looks healthy, you stop before you judge. Maybe they ‘look fine’ but parked in a handicapped spot. Maybe they ‘sound fine’ but called in sick to work. Remember this letter and think about Annie’s experience. You don’t have to completely understand what someone is going through to be kind.

Sincerely,

A mental health & chronic pain warrior & advocate for others.

New Beginnings – One Day or Day One?

Things have been off for me the past couple of weeks and I’ve been in an emotional place. Have you been there before? You know, those times where your mind bounces from one thing to another and your heart feels heavy but you don’t know why. You know you are searching but you don’t know exactly what you are searching for. You can feel it, that something lying there just under the surface that you can’t quite touch. And so you shrink into yourself and you hide from life. That’s where I have been living as of late. In that disconnect between Day One or One Day. It’s why I joined Samantha’s Start of the Year Soul Planner. And then my visit to my daughters, my days at the ocean (my healing place), the photos I’ve taken, my writing and the gentle nudge I’m getting-they all have me asking what’s next and I know if I can sit with this season of unrest the answer will come. That is the place this blog blossomed from and I know I am only beginning to tap into it.

So I ask myself, why then did I stop? Why did I back away from it soon after I started? Fear? Insecurity? Maybe it’s nothing more than the fact that I have been ill and not at my best. Maybe I don’t need to beat myself up for stopping. If we had a friend who was ill we would ask them what we could do to make it better.  We would offer our assistance.  Why then are we so hard on ourselves when it’s us? I have a chronic illness that affects my every day and then when I returned from vacation I got shingles and I shouldn’t be surprised my overall health and well being has been affected. When you live with a chronic illness like I do any disruption in the ordinary can wreak havoc on my body and my mind. Maybe there is no other reason why I disconnected. However, that nagging feeling of what next still has me on edge and I can honestly say at this point I don’t have an answer and instead of stepping forward into my discomfort I have stayed in limbo, in that place of disconnect, but now it’s time to emerge and start again.

A very dear friend sent me a message that said “That magic you are seeking, it is in the work you are avoiding.” That’s it, nothing else. She didn’t have to say anything else and she knew it. She knew exactly what she needed to say to nudge me forward. Ah yes our female friends. Our tribes.  The ones who point our way back to us when we have wandered off.  

I’m blessed with some amazing circles and I finally stepped outside again to join some of them last night for dinner. I came away-as I always do-feeling grounded, centered, stronger and ready.

This morning I woke up and I started my morning with the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman. If you have never listened to it you should. It is full of songs about empowerment and risks and stepping outside the box. You know what though? You can only embrace the risks if you are brave enough to embrace YOU. And that is the journey I am on. The journey to embracing who I am and owning it. I can fill myself full of “why would someone what to read what I write” and “why would someone choose to print my photos” or I can start by writing one sentence. I can start by editing one photo. Just one and that would be a step. I am new at all of this. I have never edited a photo but the great thing about digital photography is if you mess it up, you can undo your edits and go back start again. We can’t undo life, but we can always always start again.

To be a child again…

Today I saw a video of a little girl dancing on “glittery floors” in a mall and it reminded me of something I wrote in the beginning of March and I wanted to share it here…

Good morning, I’ve been very quiet on here, mostly because my days are not my own right now. I go from one task to another like a robot most days. I work, I go to the rehab to visit with my Father, I come home, I eat and I crash. On the days I don’t work I sleep them away trying to catch up on my rest. I did however have a lovely birthday last weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed our annual parade day for St Patrick’s Day. This little Irish lassy dressed in her plaid skirt and bonnet and waved at the marchers and the bagpipers and the fire trucks like a little girl, completely enthralled in the moment and I thought, we need to do this more often. Take off the cloak of adult responsibility and be like a child again letting ourselves just take it all in, uninhibited in our celebrations. When is the last time you watched a parade with child like enthusiasm? When is the last time you did anything with child like abandon not caring what the world around you thought? I can’t remember when the last time was that I enjoyed a parade so much. And it showed. Marchers were drawn to me, to wave and smile and shake my hand. The civil war enactors let off their rifles in front of us and the leader turned and said “that’s for you, the girl with pretty smile.” I especially loved the many different groups of bagpipers. They make such a sweet sound.

Child like wonder…I think that is why I love being Grandma, enjoying the littles from their level. My youngest grandchild Jakob tackles everything with a huge grin on his face. He looks at you with every new step as if to say “did you see that?” He goes like lightening from one side of the room to the other and pulls himself up on whatever is sturdy enough to hold him. He’ll be walking soon and then there will be no stopping him 💙. Life from his vantage point is exciting and new. I think we are all like an infant. Learning to crawl before we can walk. Learning to walk before we can run. Looking for something to pull ourselves up on that is strong enough to support us. So find your anchor, whatever that might be. Crawl to it if you have to and then pull yourself up. Stay there for a few minutes until you get your balance and then take a step, then another then another until you can walk away from all that holds you down. And smile at everyone around you and say “Did you see that? I knew I could do it!” And applaud yourself as loudly as you would applaud a child learning to walk. Because we all deserve a round of applause. We are doing it!!!!

How are you?

Hello lovely souls, how are you today? How many times are we asked this question and respond with “I’m good, how are you?” even when we are anything but good. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to own how we truly are and answer I’m tired today or I’m really feeling empty today or any other host of truths of how we really feel. That was one of my many reasons for joining Samantha’s workshops, to learn to own my truth. And my truth today is that I’m feeling frustrated but hopeful. Its a chilly day here in Upstate NY. My fireplace is on and glowing in the background with some soft music to soothe my soul. I have a glorious few hours to myself with coffee in hand and no agenda except meeting myself and all of you in this space.

First let me tell you a little about me. I am 53 years old, a mother of three amazing adult children-1 son 2 daughters-and 4 wonderful grandchildren-3 boys all belonging to my son and 1 girl who is my oldest daughter’s child-who are my greatest gift in this life. My son and his family and my youngest daughter live local but my older daughter recently relocated to CA for an AMAZING job offer and I miss her and my granddaughter so very much! Like most of you my life has been a series of twists and turns. In the early 90s I found myself to be a single mother raising 3 children to the very best of my ability and to say I did something right amongst enormous challenges would be an understatement because they are my greatest accomplishment. I met and fell in love with the man I thought would be my forever. I loved him with every ounce of my being. We were together for 16 years and in February of 2013 we were finally married and I could not have been a happier bride. On Feb 22nd 2014 we went to dinner for our 1st anniversary where we got married and he told me he didn’t think he wanted forever anymore. The room could have swallowed me whole. To say I broke would be a gross understatement. But I tried desperately to fix us, to fix what was broken. I tried to shrink myself so my presence wasn’t so difficult for him. I tried to give him room to breathe and figure it out but at the same time I wanted so badly to save us. On the Friday before Mother’s Day of that same year he came home and told me one of us had to go and it made more sense for it to be me. So I packed a small bag of clothes and I did what he wanted. I still believed we would somehow survive and so for months I lived with only that duffel bag of clothes because I couldn’t bear to remove my belongings. We didn’t survive and I never moved back home. I cried every day for a year. There were days I didn’t think I would survive. But I did. On May 6th, 2015, exactly one year from that fateful day that he came home and told me I had to go, I quietly took off my wedding rings and locked them away and took back my life. And here I am-almost 5 years later-stronger, I would like to think wiser, somewhat jaded, standing tall and proud as a survivor and no longer a victim! I’m in a good place now. I have a good man who loves me with his whole being and I’m grateful for him and his love.

Fast forward to 2018. It was a roller coaster of a year and so emotional for me. October was a particularly hard month. I spent much of it ill and it left me feeling depleted, lost, empty, guilty and inadequate both in my work and at home. I felt surrounded by negativity, mostly my own self-loathing that I piled on myself. I ended October of last year at a beautiful reiki session with a dear friend who shared with me that it was time for me embrace embrace embrace. And so now I have come to carve out space for myself and find my way back to my center. After years of being told all the things I am too much of to stop apologizing. To stop feeling like I am too much of anything and to embrace, really fully embrace, the loving sensitive emotional soul that I am. That’s the short version of my story.

I have not settled into 2019 yet. I’m still floating through my days trying to find my footing. Things have been a little bit of an uproar in my little corner of the world. Lots of thrashing and fighting and unrest inside myself. I know what I want for 2019 but haven’t found my path yet. I have barely had time to recover from the busyness and excitement of the 2018 Holidays before illness struck me and then some other stuff came at me. I tore my meniscus and that derailed me for a time. I took a glorious 2 week vacation to CA and I thought I would FINALLY turn that corner. And then this morning I was diagnosed with shingles. Detailed again. I’m tired. I’m very very tired. I feel like I’m in a fog. So I haven’t fully embraced the power within myself as of yet, but I will, and this blog is going to help me find it. I know it’s there. I know I need only to tap into it. I know I just need to dig a little deeper. But first, I just need to rest. Peace and love to all

The Ocean-written on 3.17.19

I have never been to California.  I would most likely have never come to this amazingly beautiful place if my daughter had not accepted an incredible job offer and subsequently relocated her family here.  But today I am blessed to be writing this in my daughters living room after a wonderful day at the beach!  I love the ocean.  The ocean is my happy place, the place I can renew and refresh my soul.  I never really grasped how different the Atlantic coastline was from the Pacific. On the East Coast it is miles of sandy beaches for as far as you can see.  Here in CA the beaches are a blend of sand and rock and bluffs that all combine for an absolutely stunning affect.  One of my new found passions is photography. Today I walked the beach for a very long way and I took so many photos with my Canon Rebel trying so hard to freeze the moment and capture the beauty I was seeing.  At one point though I put my camera down and I sat on a rock and I just soaked it all in.  The ocean, with it’s rolling waves and crests breaking over the rocks, is so powerful.  When I stand on the beach I fully grasp the magnitude of our universe and my small place in it.  When you stand in the surf and the waves come and knock you over it takes a minute to catch your footing and stand back up until the next wave hits.  Sometimes the waves come in so rapidly you don’t even have time to catch your footing and you have to really struggle to stand back up.  Life is like that.  Moments come in waves.  Some of them knock us off our feet and we have to scramble to catch ourselves before the next wave.  Sometimes we can and then sometimes we can’t.  It would be so easy to just sit down and let the tide carry us away when we are tired of fighting the waves.  But we can’t.  We have to stand back up, again and again and again.  But each time we stand, we become more prepared for the next wave.  And that’s how we withstand the things that come at us, by becoming stronger, by being more prepared.  Self care, this thing we are all struggling to learn, that prepares us.  Only when we take care of ourselves are we in a place to face what comes at us, whether it be a small swell or a tsunami that wrecks our world.  I needed this time away from home, away from the rehab facility and my biological Fathers new blindness (which is another story), away from work and going non stop. I needed this time here in this beautiful place with my daughter and my granddaughter.  I needed to take this time for myself,  to get in touch with me.  To find my calm in all the chaos.  And for me~and my empathic Pisces soul~that is found at the beach.  I have 8 more days here.  I will be finding time to go back the beach, not with a camera this time but with a notebook.   My family~my children and my grandchildren~they are my reason for everything.  They are my anchors.  This trip has been the best gift I gave myself.  I have been able to bond with Maya in a new way.  Today was my little leprechauns 3rd Birthday and to be here and to spend it with her was a blessing of epic proportions.  My week has been filled with days at the park, and snuggling to watch movies, and bedtime stories and songs while I stroke her pretty hair.  She lays her head in my lap and my heart just swells.  When you are a Mom you think you could never love a child more than your own, and then you become a Grandma and you do.  You have a whole new dynamic where your job is just to love them.  There have been a couple times over the course of the week where Maya has had an emotional meltdown typical of a 3 yr old and man is it hard to watch her cry.  It’s hard to hear her say “but Daddy please, please Daddy”-and being a good parent means Daddy says no and doesn’t budge.  I don’t interfere.  I don’t have to interfere.  My daughter and her husband are amazing parents so interfering doesn’t even enter my mind.  And when all is said and done and she needs someone to come and cry to, I will hold her and wipe her tears.  That’s my only job as Grandma. . And being G is pretty stinking awesome if you ask me.