Still Striving to improve myself, one board break at a time

Dealing with grief

I’m mad. I cannot express how mad I am. In October, I received a voicemail message from one of my sisters. I knew, even before Iistened to it, that my mother was no more. I even said it out loud at work. (Fortunately for me, nobody at work listened!) I told my boss, finished up some work, then left. I didn’t go back until the following week.So through this, my sister called because she needed to talk-it apparently hit her harder than it hit me. She and her other sister spent time talking. I didn’t really have anyone but my Drumba family, my husband, a dear friend and my kids to talk to. I let her vent, listened to how broken up she was, offered whatever comfort I couldn’t give, then sent her on her way. I was numb.

Back story here–I wasn’t close to my mother. I won’t pretend that we had the best relationship. In fact, she was abusive, didn’t acknowledge my son or husband, only my daugter, but she was my parent. I didn’t break down into tears or anything. As far as I am concerned, it’s a bit surreal, knowing that my mother’s passing will be one year ago this coming October. All I can say is “wow.”

After finding out that she had passed, I found out, AFTER THE FACT, that my stepfather had her cremated. To me, it seems really fast. He even had a quick funeral for her. I wasn’t advised of it That was saved for her dog friends and my sister. Okay. He was mad at me for not coming to see her in her final days. I didn’t know she was going to die! I didn’t know that I needed to see her in a hurry. NOBODY stressed that to me! The only thing I was told was that I probably should go see her.

I wanted to go see her. I wanted to read her obituary. I wanted to have something that said, “This was this person’s life. We are celebrating it, even though she’s no longer here.” I didn’t get that. Okay. I get that I screwed up. I get that. I really do. What I don’t get is why I didn’t even get a chance to attend her funeral? Why didn’t I get a chance to receive some of her belongings? Those were packed up and sent to the sister in California to “dole out.” I don’t even know what she had. At this point, I’m not sure I even give a shit. I wasn’t important enough to receive a phone call from my stepfather!! I had to receive it from a sister!!!

Sometime after that, my sister called me and asked me to help my stepfather find a lawyer. She wasn’t really going to but I as I live in Texas and he lives in Texas, she thought I would be able to help. (well, except for a certain condition she put on it…which turned me off to helping, so I let it go.)

In the four months since her passing, I’ve heard from him once, and that was just to ask if I’d heard from the sister. He apparently had sent her stuff, tried to help and she didn’t respond. He told me he wished I had gone to see her. He told me about getting rid of her truck and buying himself a new car. He wanted to talk to my sister. I sent her a message telling her to reach out to him. That’s all I could do.

I haven’t posted anything on Facebook about my mother’s passing. My Drumba family knew. My co-workers knew. My best friend and my family knew. I am not going to try to force tears to roll down my face. She is out of whatever pain and misery she was in. That much I know. I also know that there’s a lot I do NOT know about her final days/months/years, things that will never be mentioned to me. My sisters don’t talk to me. One of them unfriended me on Facebook a few years ago for defending my daughter. My immediate family is important to me. I love them and while I am not the best parent, I would hope that my kids know I love them and will be willing to accept that I’m who I am.

I’m frustrated, I’m angry and I’m sad.

I want to know what happened to my mother.

I would have liked *someone* to write an obituary for her. She loved her dogs. Couldn’t you have said that about her? She was not a good parent, but she had three children, not one, not two.

I don’t want to be excluded.

March Miscellanea

I’ve had an ill family member who has consumed my life recently. He has been hospitalized for three weeks now. I’ve gone out to see him in the hospital twice, and each time, I had to have my husband take me. I can’t tolerate the way other people drive very well. Long distances are an issue for me. I have to have companionship to make the trip. For both trips, I’ve had my husband driving and a friend talking to me via text. That helped my trip anxiety.

In addition to the ill family member, I’ve been communicating with my mother more than I had been. I think this stems from receiving a text message on the advent of the news about the ill family member, telling me, “you probably don’t give a rats ass, but…” That rather pissed me off. I do care. Yes, I have my issues, but everyone has issues. That doesn’t mean I’m an unfeeling, uncaring cretin. At least, I HOPE it doesn’t mean that!

I haven’t gone to see my mother yet. I have seen my ill family member, but I’ve kind of left my mother alone. I have called her regularly. She doesn’t seem interested in speaking with me for great lengths of time, which may be for the best for both of us, but she does know that I care because I call. I don’t know about other people, but this is the best I can do right now. I’m not going to pretend to be sweetness and light. There is history between us that needs to be put to rest, but until I spend a lot of time reflecting on the WHY and move on to the “this is what you’re going to do,” I am keeping my distance. At some point in the next few weeks, I will make that trip out to see my mother.

Maybe this is the beginning of healing a heart that has been damaged by strife? Only time is going to tell. I haven’t written off a visit to her, I’m only postponing it. I am working on my issues with her.

February musings

February is running by rather quickly. It always does. I’ve noticed that it just starts and *poof!* The next thing I know, it’s the end of the month. Kind of creepy. I don’t think I ever noticed it as a child. It wasn’t until I reached the half-century mark that I noticed how quickly time has been flying by. Can I stop the wheel and just take a break???

Along with time flying come the various weather changes associated with this time of year. The weather goes from cold to hot (not blisteringly hot–yet!) to cold again. We’re in another pattern of warm/cold/warm/cold here in Texas. People in other states are dealing with massive amounts of snow/ice/sleet/rain/snow, so I really shouldn’t complain. I will complain a little–I rather like snow. I have two friends, one on each coast, who periodically send me pictures of their snow so I don’t get too lonely for it. This is what happens when you’re a transplant to Texas. I’ve been in this state for over thirty years which nearly gives me native residency status, but I will always call Washington State my home.

February is a good time for changes though. I’ve added more classes to my fitness routines. I now attend Drumba classes Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, plus a Latin Dance and a Stretching class on Tuesdays. I have noticed that I’m now getting sweaty (TMI, sorry!) when I work. It tells me I’m actually getting a benefit from the classes. It helps to have a group of supportive and motivated people in the class with me. I still love the format. I’ve been there for five months now. I’ve even toyed with the idea of taking up belly dancing again. That’s how my mind works though.

A new friend has introduced me to a “new” old concept–trying to let go of issues/conflicts that keep me from being my best ME. I’ve been thinking about this a lot more recently. I can’t change anyone but me. I have to learn to let go of what troubles me and I’ll be a happier person. I know it, but it’s hard to overcome years of “Oh my gosh, this happened…” and dwelling on it. I’m not sure why I’ve done this, but maybe, as my friend says, it’s time to let that destructive behavior go. Otherwise, I will not move ahead on my path to me.

You can only move forward if you allow yourself to not look behind.

I was thinking the other day that I was going to start writing again. I hadn’t quite blocked out the time to do it, but decided “there’s no time like the present.” It’s part of the changes that February is bringing.

Beautiful people

I’ve been pretty lucky in the past few months to have met a couple of really beautiful people.  I don’t mean purely physical looks either.

I’m talking about an internal beauty.

In the past month, I was able to meet a lovely young lady who graciously allowed me to sit next to her on a highly crowded airplane. She and her friend chatted with me during the entire flight, when they could have just kept to themselves. Instead of doing that, they extended warmth and friendship and let their inner beauty shine through.

Another person who is extremely beautiful is the lady I met through an email I sent her. She answered questions, invited me to her studio and has extended her friendship. She has several other beautiful souls in her studio with her. The entire place is full of energy which is positive and caring. This group is one that I feel quite comfortable with.

You know you’re in a good place when you don’t feel overly awkward or out of sorts. I like the “crowd” I’ve fallen in with. I feel like this is something I’ve needed. There’s a challenge there, yes, but there’s also a lot of camaraderies, silent encouragement.

If the people here weren’t beautiful, I wouldn’t have gone back after the first visit. I’d have said, “Yeah, this isn’t for me.”  Instead, I’ve been there pretty much every week. I’m still looking for my “I can’t live without this” moment, but I’m getting there.

I’ve noticed that I have fallen in with a group who shares their energies freely. I told one person that the energy of the place attracted me. I stand by that thought. This place is another ‘home’ of sorts.  It’s my go-to place that lets me work off my stress and frustrations of the day. I love that this can be the end of a long day at work. I usually have about thirty minutes to spare between getting off work until I need to leave for class. This will, of course, change once my office completes the move across town to Addison. I’ll have to plan my evenings so that I’m dressed for class and can go straight over there and ‘play.’ I’m already planning on that.  I start that on Monday…I’ll take clothes with me to work and head for an appointment on Monday evening and we’ll see how well my planning works.

I can only aspire to be one of these beautiful people.

 

Finding my happy place

Cue the James Brown imitation.  “I feel good…You knew that I would…”

Seriously.  I feel really great!

Ask me why.

Okay, don’t ask. I’m going to tell you anyway.

I’ve found my “happy place.”  I found something that I am really enjoying and I’m happier than I’ve been in a really long time.

I’m taking Drumba classes. Drumba is a cardio drumming class that combines dance with drumming. The instructor and all the people there are wonderful! I haven’t had this much fun in…well, it’s been a while.  A LONG while!

I found this group through a mention on a local groupon page.  I emailed the studio directly and got an immediate response from the owner. She told me to come in and try a class, which I did. I actually showed up on a Latin Dance class night, but she took time from getting ready to lead that class to come over and talk to the weird person who was standing in her waiting area about classes.  I liked the energy from the room that evening and promised I’d be back the next night.  I did go back. Not only did I go back on that next night, but I went on the following Saturday. I signed up after that Saturday and have been attending since then.

That was in September. We are now in late October and I’m making at least two classes a week. I went to a weights class on Thursday night as an addition to my normal Wednesday/Saturday classes. I was sore after that class on Thursday but it was a good sore. I’m planning on going again. I told my husband and son that they need to go to this class (the weights class) with me.

Something “clicked” for me, I think.  I’m noticing that I am pivoting on the ball of my feet when we’re moving from one ball to another in class. My martial arts instructors tried for years to get me to pivot on the ball of my foot when turning toward something that was to my left or right  I’ve started pivoting in class during the shift from home to the right or left.  That was a surprise to me. I didn’t expect to find myself moving like that.  It’s pretty cool.

The only thing I haven’t done since I started this Drumba journey is to measure myself. I was told that I appear to have more energy.  I just have to tweak a few more things and I might actually be a healthier person by the end of the year.

 

It’s been a year

It’s been a year, at least since you last spoke to me.

I’m sorry it went the way it did.

I stand for my own, you stand for yours. Sometimes that’s not a good thing.

I’ve reached out several times, only to be rebuffed.

It must have been meant to be this way.

I’m saddened, but I assume this is what is supposed to happen.

My heart bled out a year ago.

All I can say is, I’m sorry.

 

Holding grudges

Being disappointed is a normal part of life. It’s something that happens in our professional lives, in our personal lives. It’s something that happens by an ill-timed word or words, or differing opinions. It can appear to happen out of nowhere. You think things are going well and suddenly…POOF!  There’s a disappointment.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I have dealt with being disappointed by people recently. I’ve been bad about holding grudges, which don’t do anyone good, especially me. The definition of grudge is (noun) “a feeling of ill will, resentment.” That has been me recently. I got annoyed by someone and instead of letting that annoyance slide off into nothingness, I steamed about it and held onto it, nurturing an unhealthy feeling.

Releasing resentment is hard. I spent so much time with the resentment that it became a part of my life. I didn’t like the way I felt while I was holding on to that negative energy. I wasn’t happy and lashed out at my family and friends. It was ugly. I finally made up my mind to let it go, to open the door and usher it out.  All the resentment does for me is make me physically ill and exhausted.

I’m working on being a better person, which means I have to leave the pain of the grudges behind. I don’t want to be tired and grouchy all the time. If I have time to hold in all the resentment and let it fester, then I darned well have time to let it go, to be a nicer person.

To that extent, I’ve made an effort to reach out to people who I may have disappointed, to people who may have disappointed me.  I am making the effort. I can’t say I’ve been one hundred percent successful, but I’m trying. If I reach out to someone I’ve disappointed and don’t find my efforts rewarded, then I’ll take that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be.  Will I be happy about it?  Not likely, but I’ll take it as it may be meant. The relationship is either meant to stay together or it’s meant to disintegrate. As long as I’ve TRIED then I know my karmic role is not as tarnished as it could be.

 

I love the “what would you do for this condition?” posts I read on social media. It seems that people don’t want to go to doctors for help these days. They’d rather depend on a potentially undependable social media network for advice. There’s a variety of symptoms one can Google™ out there. Medical sites abound. You can go to WebMD, hunt up symptom A, go to some other site and hunt up the same symptom. You can be sure you won’t find the same answer to the problem.

When I  had an issue with a condition, I did what any normal person would do. I visited “Mr. Google.”  It was amazing how much information was out there. I took the information with a grain of salt. I depend on the medical professionals who went to school for 10+ years to diagnose me and come up with a treatment plan. I don’t claim to have that knowledge. I depend on these people to treat me. I haven’t always been this way. I’ve been in the “What do you do about this, this or this?” club. I’ve tried to avoid doctors. I guarantee it was a mistake for me.

Why are people so resistant to seeing people who are dedicating their lives to helping others? If someone has gone to the trouble to go to school for that long, they’re not in it for the “look what I’m doing!” factor. They’re doing it to help others.

I guess I’ve lucked out. I have doctors who don’t jump into medicating first. My doctors listen to me, ask questions and don’t tell me to “take two pills and call me in the morning.” They are geniunely interested in treating me as a whole person, not as a number. Could it be that I’ve just lucked out? My general practitioner tries to keep from prescribing meds. He has it as an alternative, but will tell me, “this could work but let’s try this first.”  He referred me to another doctor whom I positively adore. She is the best doctor I’ve ever had. She spent a lot of time with me last year, discussion options for me for a problem I encountered. Ultimately, the cure was drastic, but that was the last option on the table. We explored other options until it became impossible to manage.

I’m not saying that the Internet isn’t a good source of information. I’m just questioning why there are so many “doctors” without medical degrees out there.  I questioned someone this morning about whether they’d seen a doctor and had the condition they were asking about verified.  It’s easy for us to say, “do this, do this, do this, it worked for me.” What works for one person may not work the same way for another. The one thing people tend to discount is that humans are different. Yes, anatomy is similar, but it’s also different.  Your eyes may be blue. Mine are green. My hair is gray-ing. Yours is just as vibrant as the day you were born. What works for me, (visiting my doctor, getting  a lecture about my weight,  talking about the problem I’m there for, getting advice) may not be the choice for you.

Ultimately, you have to use your head and either see a doctor and take the advice you’re paying for or don’t. Whatever you do,  please don’t blame a real Medical Doctor for the advice you’re taking from a social media “doc”.

 

What defines “family?”

What is the definition of “family?” The traditional definition is parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. That’s the most common definition. It’s the people related to you by shared blood and DNA. The ones you expect to have around all your life.

Sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes your family unit is torn apart by different things.  Perhaps a family feud occurs and causes your blood family to distance themselves. It happens.  Is it pleasant? No, not really. The ones being left behind might feel confused, wondering what they did wrong.

Then you have people who walk into your life at a possible low point. They’re the ones who are there for you, who listen to you and allow you to call at odd hours of the day. They’re the ones with the patience to tell you, “You’re doing this, this or this …” They don’t hold back on criticisms or compliments. They don’t say you are making mistakes.  They’re there for you when you need them most.

I have several people I consider my “heart” family. These are people who have been involved in my life for many years. They were there when my kids were born, they held my hand, figuratively, during surgeries. These are people I trust implicitly.

There are a handful of people I would love to meet in person. They’ve given me immense support and have listened to my frustrations when other people have betrayed my trust. These people are the ones I feel the most comfortable with.

I cannot say that every single person I know is a “heart sister or brother,” but I can say that I have several people I would call to bail me out of stressful situations. These are the people I call my “heart.” They’re the ones who stand up with me and give me emotional support when I need it.

One of my best friends, I’ve known since high school. Another one, I’ve not met in person (YET), but she’s my rock. She gives me advice and offers herself unconditionally. This is the type of legacy I’d like to leave to my kids. I want them to have people they know they can lean on when their blood family isn’t available.

 

Random thoughts

My thoughts this evening:

I have one person who constantly tells me how I’m “so good” at various things. That kind of makes me feel awkward, like I’m on some sort of pedestal and if I do just one thing wrong, I’ll be tarnished or fall off that pedestal.

I’m really not as good as all that. I’m argumentative. I’m guilty of holding grudges.  (I think it’s a safe thing to say that’s a learned habit.) I don’t let things go. I yell at my kids. I yell at my husband. I rant a lot. Definitely not pedestal worthy.

We’re born into the human race. It’s up to us to treat each other with respect. I promise to respect you if you’ll reciprocate. Being human and not a mechanical being, I can guarantee I’ll make mistakes. That’s how I learn. Please don’t lift me up where I know  I don’t belong. I may fall and get hurt. Then I’ll get mad and hold grudges and all sorts of other ridiculously human behaviors.

These are just a few of the things that are running through my head tonight. What are you thinking about?

 

 

 

Tag Cloud