Overwhelmed

These past two months have been really rough so much so that I feel like I am a numb husk of myself. Currently I am what you would call a functional depressed person in that I can go to work and get a shower, but still spend inordinate amounts of time trying to avoid thinking or feeling anything at all. I have read a ton of books and played hours of video games all in an effort to not feel.

My grandmother (who is everything to me) had to move to Texas to live with my aunt because she developed dementia and kept wandering around the neighborhood and getting lost while only wearing her PJ’s and a blanket. She’s 91 so I guess should not have been surprised, but my grandmom was always so feisty that it never really occurred to me that this would happen. The last time I saw her she looked her age which has never really happened before.

So she finally got to Texas and was doing well. She went from being on 15 meds to only 5 and she was so happy. The last time I spoke with her on the phone she sounded like her old self and said she was getting involved in a church down there and had made some friends. My other aunt who lives up my way said she was doing so well that she eventually might be able to stop using her walker and that she was not hunched over anymore.

Two days later I get a text that says my grandmom had a heart attack. Then a UTI. Today they are checking her for a stroke. One of her heart arteries was 99% blocked. She was given Fentanyl for the surgery and since then she has been combative and aggressive towards everyone treating her. I’m hoping this wears off and she can get back to herself but I just have a very bad gut feeling.

So I got into grad school (AGAIN) this time for Child Advocacy which is a much cheaper goal to get me sorta where I want to be. I thought I would be excited but I just feel numb.

Last week I found out I need a hysterectomy because my stupid lady parts have never worked right and apparently never will. I get to keep my ovaries so I told my husband that I am turning into a boy because all I’ll have left is some balls. He hugged me and told me I am always all woman to him no matter what.

I’m not so sad about the surgery itself but it’s the final official closing of the door on me ever having my own child and that is what I am struggling with. I mean the likelihood of me ever being able to carry a baby full term was minimal but it kinda always felt like an option. I’m due to have surgery on August 27th and I’m debating whether I should or should not delay school one more year because it starts the first week of September and you can only start this program in September.

There are so many things flying around right now that I can’t think, I can’t concentrate, I can’t even cry (which for anyone who really knows me, this is totally not normal as I cry at Hallmark cards). I saw my therapist and even she did not know what to say except she felt so bad for me.

If you are the praying type please send some prayers up for me so I can make the right decisions and get through the mess that is my life.

They’re Coming To Take Her Away

My grandmom is my heart. She is one of the most selfless, loving, kind, and beautiful hearted people I have known in all of my life. She stood by me when I was struggling through YEARS of anxiety and depression and never gave up on me. She gave me faith when I had none, and she never stopped believing I could get better. Her love carried me through some really rough days.

My grandmom is turning 90 in October and mentally I know she is getting older and slowing down but in my head she’s still my energetic grandmom who could always make me laugh and who is constantly blessing people around her. My two aunts have agreed (without my grandmother’s consent) that it would be best if she moved to Texas to live with my Aunt Donna. My Aunt Joan said it is a done deal but my grandmother doesn’t know this yet.

My grandmom has already told me several times she does not want to live in Texas as all her friends and her church are here and she is very active in her church. She said Texas is hot and my aunt lives about 80 miles from anything to do so she feels she will be bored out of her mind. I agreed she should stay where she is comfortable and local. She said she is going to visit my Aunt Donna in November for three weeks to “shut her up” about pestering her to move to Texas and she plans on coming home. Apparently that is not going to happen and my Aunt Donna has already renovated a suite for her and is planning on her never coming back after that visit.

For the record, just because someone is older does not automatically mean you take away their freedom of choice. I could see if someone had Alzheimer’s or dementia or could not take care of themselves. But my grandmother has meals on wheels delivered to her, her landlord is constantly checking on her, she has someone who cleans her house once a week, she spends time with her neighbors. She has plenty of people who look in on her and care for her.

I know I sound like a spoiled brat who just wants things her way, but as I said before, my grandmom is my whole heart and if she moves, I really feel I will never see her again because I can’t afford to go to Texas (nor do I want to as a Philadelphia Eagles fan). I won’t even get to see her for Christmas and this will totally devastate me. I need her in my life and phones calls are not the same (though we talk often on the phone).

Please pray for wisdom for the situation and for my aunts to be respectful of my grandmother and her choices.

I Have No Words

I did not know what to say for the last few days. I have no words to express the depth of my sorrow, my anger, my frustration, and the ache in my heart. I am watching the country I grew up in, and loved, tear itself apart.

I am seeing hatred on levels I never thought possible in my lifetime. I am seeing destruction and chaos. I am seeing broken families, broken people, and broken lives.

I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and then 2020 proves me wrong again. I have watched videos of people I respect sobbing, and hurting, and raging. And I can’t do a damn thing for them.

Or Can I….?

I can stand up for people who are being treated as animals and not the beautiful people they are. I can open my mouth. I can protest. I can demand change.

And most of all….

I CAN LOVE PEOPLE JUST AS THEY ARE BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FAMILY!!

I personally believe that God made each and every person exactly who they were made to be with skin tones that vary, and heart and souls that may be different from our own, but still beat and are capable of working together. I believe everyone is my brother and my sister and I will defend them and love them because we are one big family.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE HATE!!

I am crying as I type this because my heart hurts for Mr. Floyd’s family and all the other families who lost a sweet soul for absolutely no reason other then pure hatred.

Please be kind. Please share some love today. It is so needed. And to all the friends I said I didn’t see your color when I looked at you, I apologize because I did see it, I just never saw the difference it made until these last few years. I see you now. I love you. And I stand beside you in respect and solidarity.

Sometimes It’s All Too Much

Sometimes I feel like the world is going a little too fast for me. I like being able to Google almost any and everything. I like cell phones and texting, You Tube, Facebook, etc.

But sometimes I miss hanging out with a friend in person. I miss family gatherings where none of that existed and you had to gasp talk to people. Kids could watch TV or read a book. Now sometimes when I go on visits to families even the parents can’t tear themselves away from some sort of electronic device.

There is always so much pinging, dinging, and ringing that I literally hear it in my sleep. I have woken up certain I missed a call only to find it was all in my dreams (nightmares…whatever).

I wish there was a national unplug day. Where all the WiFi and the internet would go down, and we would be forced to interact with one another. Just for 24 hours. I know as far as national security that’s probably not a great idea, but you get my point. People today are so wrapped up in themselves that they forget there are other people around them that are going through things too and could use an actual hug and not just an emoji or GIF of a hug.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. However you feel about the holiday I challenge you to reach out to someone in person and let them know they are loved. Even if it’s a friend, a parent, a grandparent, or your local barista. Because everyone in this world needs to know they matter and that can’t always be accomplished with an emoji.

2020 The Year Of Creativity

So I think I am finally starting to get better after two weeks of alternating between the flu and strep throat so I wanted to share some things that have happened in the first week of this new year/decade. Some of it may sound weird or crazy, but I am weird AND crazy so it all makes sense to me.

On January 1st I took a Yoga class that I have been taking for the last 4 years. It is two hours of complete bliss. You meditate, then you do wonderfully twisty, bendy, stretchy Yoga, and you finish with a 45 minute Yoga Nidra which is restorative Yoga for your mind. Every year the teacher, Jill (whom I simply adore!!) encourages us to pick a word for the year. During the initial meditation she guides you deep into your heart to pick something from deep inside yourself that you want to cultivate that year. It is not a mental decision but a heart decision.

2019 kicked my ass hard. I lost my Aunt Marie (my favorite aunt), my Pop-Pop, and my father in law as well as my friend Royal. I got very lost, very depressed, and seriously contemplated suicide multiple times as well as quitting my job. So to say I was looking for a very hopeful word for 2020 was an understatement.

As we were meditating, I felt myself entering what felt like a secret room in my heart. It was full of light and sparkles and a sense of joy and wonder overcame me. I saw a little girl with brown curly hair dressed in a white communion type dress and somehow I knew this was my younger self. My much happier innocent self. So I asked her what she wanted for the year and she began jumping, and bouncing around this secret room saying “Joy, Laughter, Happiness,” as she giggled in that way that kids do. “But how can I do this? Life is so hard right now,” I replied. “Just…be…CREATIVE!” she shouted as she giggled loudly.

And so I am happy to announce that my word for the year is Creative and I want to embody that word this year. I want to write more because writing is where I find my joy and I know it is my gift. I want to be creative in my work and in encouraging others. I want to creatively problem solve with the families I work with. I want to find that little girl inside and let her come out to play because I miss her.

I feel like this year is going to be different somehow. That things are going to come together and I will finally make a change for the better. Here’s hoping!

I’ve Become So Numb

My Pop-Pop passed away on Sunday, December 8th. He was not my bio grandfather but he was the only grandfather I knew on that side of the family. My bio grandfather died when I was two years old. He looks like he was a nice gent. But my Pop-Pop I grew up with was a spitfire. He could make you laugh and ten minutes later make you cry. My grandmother married him when I was 8 years old and I remember him wearing a sombrero and starting a conga line all around the bar they were having the reception at. He always had a joke for you or a sarcastic comment.

He has not been doing well in the last couple of years and has kind of been a cantankerous brat to my grandmother. He made it to 98 so I guess I have to give him a break for that. It’s just weird that he’s gone. The funeral is on Wednesday this week and I don’t really know why I’m not sad. Maybe because he was suffering so much and causing my grandmother so much heartache? I just feel numb. Like okay this is one more thing we have to get through before this year is over.

Add all of that to my job and the crying, screaming, meltdowns galore, and being on call this week as well. I am literally crawling over the finish line of this year. But I am going to finish and so are you. My Pop-Pop has a new glorious body that isn’t aching, breaking, or taking the life out of him so that’s something to celebrate.

Sorry for the randomness here. Tired and just needed to get some thoughts out.

poppop

This is my Pop-Pop and Grandmom at my wedding in 2010. Aren’t they adorable?!

The Twists and Turns of the Past Month

Early October, my husband calls me at work saying he doesn’t feel well and is going to Urgent Care. The doctor there says he looks okay but wants him to go to the Emergency Room because he can’t get a full breath in. Turns out he had a massive blood clot in his lungs and another in his leg. One day later and I would have lost my love and best friend. He’s now on medication and doing fine but three days in the hospital were very scary for me. I got a taste of what it would be like to live alone, without my best friend, and I definitely did not like it. There was much sobbing and fear.

On the same day my husband went to Urgent Care, I was sent home from work early because I was totally and completely burnt out. I was snapping at my boss, crying, stomping around like a 2 year old, and engaging in much muttering under my breath. Thank God in the long run she sent me home because then I was able to deal with my husband. But at the time it made me angry because I had SO MUCH WORK TO DO!!

My boss has finally realized driving her team into the ground was not working so as a team we came up with expectations that seem more reasonable. This has lifted a load off my shoulders in the best possible way because I felt like I was drowning and would never recover from the stress of it all.

Last weekend I went to an Apple Festival with my mother in law and a bunch of people from her work. It was the most wonderful weekend I had in awhile. There was  crisp fall breeze, the scent of fresh apples in the air, beautiful leaves that were changing color, craft vendors, and of course fresh apple cider which is literally one of my most favorite drinks on the planet. The whole day was a big soul refresher and for the first time in months I fell asleep contented and did not wake up once.

Also in the past month I have joined two Bible studies. One is for people struggling with mental health issues called Hope and Grace. They meet every week and its a great group of people. I am making my husband go with me for support but it’s actually helpful to him so YAY! I also joined a Bible study about Romans which is very difficult because the book they are using is written like a college text book and is very hard to get through. But the people are nice so I’m going to keep trying.

My church has been doing a sermon series on the Beatitudes (Matthew Chapter 5 in the Bible). It has been very helpful in giving me insight into what God is looking for in a person. I also finished reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. That book blew me away! It really made me question how I am doing things when it comes to my relationship with God and also some strongholds I have in place that are getting in the way of my relationship with God which has been tough.

My fellow blogger, Jenny Lawson, also opened up her own book store which I was really excited to hear. You can find her blog here. She is one of the most hilarious writers I’ve ever read and you should definitely read her books. I would love to meet her in person one day.

Well that’s it folks. My mental health is back on track, I am no longer wallowing in despair and I hope to be writing more often.

 

To My Best Friend Who Just Had A Baby

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You, my best friend, had a baby on Friday! She’s tiny, gorgeous, and perfectly healthy. A new life born to do good, bad and everything in between. You are one more in a string of friends that have recently had babies. Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by adorable pictures of adorable kids doing adorable things.

Outside I coo and I make cute noises and I could just eat up every single one of them. I snuggle the few I’m allowed to see. They are each beautiful in their own unique ways.

Inside I cry, I rage, and I beat the hell out of myself for not doing this thing that is the epitome of womanhood. I can already feel you drifting away from me. It started with you telling me not to come see you at the hospital and then not to visit until you are “ready.”

I get it. You want some private time with the new love of your life. You want grandmom and grand-pop to come and snuggle her up and make her laugh. You want close family to come and adore this life you created and celebrate with you and your husband. The same husband who STILL did not build the crib for her (I seriously want to hit him for that). She’s been alive barely two days and already you are so in love you can’t imagine life without her. I get it. I really do.

But I miss you. I miss our long talks, and our laughter, and our friendship. I miss being able to call you up and get and give comfort. I miss our passion and our absolute faith in God. Did you know I’m struggling right now to know if what I believe is true? How could you? We barely see each other as both of us settled into our careers, me a Social Worker, and you one of the best damn middle school History teachers out there.

I miss all of my friends that have joined the Sisterhood of Motherhood. It is a club I am excluded from. And I am so happy you got in because you wanted this for so long. But I wish I was there too. I wish we could have our kids grow up together and marvel at all the small miracles like when they first roll over, or crawl, or walk, or say that first precious word. But the door has been firmly shut in my face by friend, after friend, after friend and even a few family members. It’s not that you shut the door unkindly. It is just a space I don’t belong and can’t understand because I am not a mother.

So congratulations my dear friend. I am so thrilled about the journey you and your husband are now on. I will miss you but should you need me, I will come running. After all, that is what best friends are for.

 

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Death Can Be Brutal and a Blessing

On March 21st I woke up and got ready for work. As I was getting ready to get in my car my mother in law (who lives around the corner from my husband and I) asked me to check on my father in law who was not feeling well. She said if he seemed really bad to call 911 and have him taken to the hospital.

My father in law’s health has been declining for some time, but he has been really bad the last month or so. He had a stroke 26 years ago and has not been the same since. He also has had a myriad of other health problems including COPD which is from smoking like a chimney and also working on the smoke stacks on the ships while in the Navy. But the thing is, no matter how bad, this man always bounces back. Maybe not as strong, but he always somehow manages to do it.

So here goes me thinking I’ll be in and out and on my merry way to another boring staff meeting where they drone on about stupid stuff and we all nod and smile as a day is wasted talking about stuff that could just as easily be sent in an email.

I never made it to the damn meeting.

I came in the house shouting my father in law’s name and asking how he was feeling. I think subconsciously when I first glimpsed him sitting on the couch I knew because I froze, calling his name a few more times. He did not greet me with his usual “same shit different day” when I asked how he was feeling. He did not move, he did not respond, and he had no pulse.

So I called 911 for help. They told me to get him on the floor and do CPR. I got him on the floor but on his side and could not move him to his back. Dark red blood oozed out of his mouth and that was when I started hyperventilating and freaking the hell out for real. The 911 person told me to go get a neighbor so I pounded on my neighbor’s door like a madwoman and begged him to come help me move my father in law.  He came and then the paramedics came and I was doing CPR and then they took over and told me to give them a minute and leave the room.

Five minutes later they told me he was gone.

My husband was asleep and did not pick up his phone after 10 tries. I called my mother in law at work and told her to come home. She asked why and I couldn’t tell her. I didn’t want to be the one. She said she’d be home in 20 minutes. My husband and her showed up about 45 minutes later. I didn’t know what to do. There were police, ambulances, coroners, medical examiners, and a host of other people in the house. The undertakers from the local funeral home came about an hour later. We had to go to the funeral home a couple of hours after that.

I had to sit and listen to the police tell my mother in law and my husband what happened. I watched as they cried and held each other. I listened as my mother in law called my husband’s brother and sister and told them. There was screaming, crying, and plans made.

And now we are here. Ten days later and it all feels like it happened two seconds ago. The funeral was nice and he was buried in a veterans cemetery. There was a 21 gun salute which was a little frightening. My husband and his brother each received one of the shells. After the service we went to my sister in law’s house where there was more food then a hundred people could eat. People came and went. Some of my husband’s friends came. None of mine did mostly because it was a work day.

I remember feeling very sad when my parents died. I cried for weeks and months and eventually it became easier to breathe. But with my father in law I don’t feel sad so much as happy for him. He was stuck in a body that would not allow him to do all the things he wanted to do. He couldn’t use his right arm at all and his right leg just kind of dragged because it was painful for him to walk since he had broken his leg several months ago.

I bet the first thing he did was dance, jump and leap when his soul left his damaged body. Then he probably asked God to give him some projects to do because he was very good with his hands.

Can you imagine being stuck in a body that does not allow you to do the most basic things like holding something in both hands. To have to use a cane that further limits you because now you can’t even hold a cup in the good hand? To be constantly depressed because you see how hard your wife works and you can’t do anything to help her?

My father in law could be downright mean and cruel at times because the part of the brain that tells you “don’t say that” was damaged so he kind of just said whatever he wanted to. But underneath all the brashness and the sarcasm was a man who loved his family deeply. Heck he even allowed me to use power tools and taught me how to hang a picture on the wall and make sure it was level.

I will miss my father in law, but I am glad he’s free.

Save A Place For Me By Matthew West