Hold that thought!

Forgiveness. Not the word one associates with religions. A way of life. I’ve run across many blogs, memes, thoughts, and people which point (in some way) to forgiveness. Marie Brennan (an author I’ve been reading) said this in one of her chapters; “If we cannot ask or receive forgiveness, how can any society survive?” A blog I read suggested hard things around me are things to find thanks in (I do this often elsewhere. It is fun to find little things shining in a big way! This reading today, though, made me think of things a little differently. A view that terrifies me.).

I seem to be constantly wandering through a maze of confusion, low self-esteem, frustration, and more. I’m not depressed as often, I used to imagine I was looking through plastic covered windows at the world around me and I’d be so exhausted I’d fall to sleep in a second. (I still sleep, but now I am often actually tired!) In spite of my gentler outlook, it is obvious I’m not entirely at peace (Happy is a relative term—see movie ‘The Pursuit of Happy-ness’). If I was at peace, I’d be well, less of the negative things and more of the positive ones!

Rhapsody Boheme posted a while ago about forgiveness of self. Her thought has been simmering gently along with others I’ve read from my favorite people. Forgiving myself not for the things I’m not (not good enough, not pretty enough, not kind enough, not smart enough, not…well, those things!), forgiving myself for thinking those things about myself. It will be hard. My thoughts were trained into me at a very young age. It is worse for my sister who is told over and over how Kris should have been an only child and how Mum died the first time when Jake was born. (She takes things harder than I do, though)

Believing in myself was never really anything I did. I knew there were things I could do and did them. It was the way it was. Being mediocre was natural, a comfortable normal mode I was tipped into early on. I’ve never been one for thinking I was unique (oh, in the 80’s it was a catch phrase we wore on buttons and shirts—U neeked up on people!) or inherently special. Sure, everyone is different and wonderful in their way. However, some people are blessed with a different kind of brain, looks, body and they shine brighter. (If you are onstage, you rock. Backstage is rarely noticed—there was that one time when the fancy painted picture fell during a scene and left a rope and duct tape dangling over the wall in the up and coming doctor’s home….) The others are important to the world, but if everyone was a superhero there’d be no one to clean  up the streets after.

I’ve never wanted to be the superhero, I’ve wanted to be accepted for myself. Mum always tried to shove me into her shoes (they’ve always been too big). The Craftsman says he wants me to be happy and suggests I should be careful of my clothing (no tank tops without shirts over them or short shorts or leggings or super short skirts…so, it appears he does notice if I wear something ‘inappropriate’!) and what I read/write. I often feel inhibited by those around me and not good enough.

Those thoughts are changing, slowly. I mentioned it was going to be hard, but like an introduction of a clean freshet into a sluggish stream, I’ve been realizing I might just be ok. (At least today!)

This has been a really long week. Many good things have happened, a lot of mind numbing break down and bawl things have occurred. I cannot believe tomorrow is only Wednesday! Among those good things was a gift from someone who is mostly a stranger. Someone who thought of me when she saw something and bought it. For me. I’m still in a bit of awe. I went back in my thoughts and realized how often this has happened in the last years. It has humbled me and made me grateful.

If so many people like me, I should learn to see what they see instead of what I imagine. I know we can be our own worst critics, humans do that. In fact, I was called (for real!) today to pick up a book at the library. Unfortunately, while there, it turned out mum’s checkbook/wallet had been dropped in a parking lot in a different town. Mum was a bit annoyed with me, I was the last one who had it. So, after driving back to the previous town and returning to the library (Mum wanted to update her card and needed her ID), I opted to not get the book because I was angry and felt stupid and not good enough. Irony. It is called, “The Gifts of Imperfections: Let go of who you think and embrace who you are.” by Brene Brown.

I’ll get it tomorrow.

Miracles

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I grew up in several different religions. Was baptized, as a baby, in the Lutheran church and meandered thru the faiths from there. I’m pretty fond of the beliefs I have now, they are not anywhere close to the ones I had when I attended college, but I’m more content with my God than I’ve ever been.

This said, miracles are not fake. I am surrounded by them every single time I step outside my Alaskan home. I am a strong proponent of letting life live, it is a miracle. (And I won’t go into this more here. You can send me a message via my contact button, but don’t expect me to soapbox on my blog. It isn’t necessary!) Mum has been a miracle. Having survived so many kinds of cancers for so long is truly amazing. Her will is strong, I’m certain it is what has kept her alive. Her will is a part of her and helps explain the miracle of her life.

I had hoped today was a miracle. Mum woke at 4 and desired not one, but two pain pills. She woke again at 8 and was chipper and wanting to attend church. I was skeptical, she has been in this same spot every Sunday and nothing happens. I knew I’d not go, I had errands to do in town and I’ve not showered in a few days. (I’ve been too soul tired to shower properly) Sweatshirt and jeans are fine for town wear. Mum, she showered (I stayed upstairs to keep an ear on her), she dressed, put on earrings for the first time in months, and looked very nice. I was pretty sure this was a bad idea, but it was her choice. It would also let people ‘see’ her and realise I’m a fusspot because she is doing absolutely amazing.

She made it thru the service and her glucose read over 300 when she got out to the car. I gave her some insulin and she dove into her chocolate shake I’d gotten her. She was still feeling quite well. We got home, she wandered a bit in the yard, she got the rest of her lunch, and I suggested we should visit the beach later. (The rain had stopped and it was rather nice out!) She agreed and I retired to the basement to take a nap. (I’m between too tired to do much, reading, and napping. It is odd, I had such a stellar day on Thursday and now realise how flat I am after the fact! Thankfully, there are still little joyful bits which pop up briefly in my day or I’d probably be a complete watering pot with tears!)

Eventually, I heard mum in the kitchen. She was making little moaning noises. She took one pain pill. She had gone a little longer than 10 hours with no narcotics because she wasn’t hurting anymore. I can only wonder if she is finally taking a turn for the better…but then, can she beat cancer again? Is it possible to win out over pancreatic cancer after almost 6 years of harboring the cells in her flesh? Is this miracle wishful thinking?

much in the key of me

Sick person This is a post of random disjointed thoughts. Kind of like the last week.

It is just shy of a year. Mid July 2016, I arrived in Alaska for two months. It has been the longest two months ever. Two months which have stretched into 12. Months in which I have put an entire year of my life on hold as I exist to keep mum alive and follow her on a course of what cancer and treatments can do to a body. I love being home. It is where my soul belongs. I’ve followed it thru four true Alaskan seasons and been thankful and grateful for having the chance to be here.

The chance to take care of mum isn’t quite the blessing. I grew up with mum. She’s been a difficult stubborn opinionated always right woman since the first day I realized we were separate entities. I think I was about 4. It absolutely astounds me to know how many people know her as one person, when my sister and I know someone completely different. While she was sicker, she was easier to be around. Now, she’s getting more well day by day and I am having trouble not fighting back.

She snipes at me for my weight, she comments about my conduct and the few people I manage to spend time with, and her dog gone stubborn ‘I can do whatever I want to, so there’ attitude is making me realise how angry I am as a person. (Especially when she talks about how well she is and still caves in the latter hours of the day or in private.) How I am angry and whine in the key of Me, me, me. I am constantly bitching about me, I, and my stupid thoughtless ways. I must admit, for the first time in many months, I wished I could do away with myself and still be responsible. Which is pretty funny, you can’t. Being responsible is well, being responsible! Mum is the most important person in her world and mine and I need to remember that. (I don’t type this to ask for sympathy. It is just a down in the depths whining experience. I would not do away with myself, responsible people can’t.)

This last week has been horrible. I’ve been floating in a world of existing day to day. The nice things which happen, as I mentioned, are commented on or dismissed as unimportant, while she repeats things she has already told me.

I was at the inlet for a couple of hours and when I got back to the house, she had taken a shower. ‘All by my self!’ I was pretty floored. The only other unassisted shower she had, I was in the next room if she got into trouble. I learned today she walked the dog half as far as I have ridden her bike. She’s lucky she didn’t crash like I did. I told her tonight if she wanted to gain independence, she needed to do more on her own. So, at 8pm. I didn’t give her the shot she is supposed to have. I almost always give it to her because she forgets. Yup, she forgot tonight. But, when she took it at her bedtime (a couple of hours late), she also took the WRONG kind. She misses her pump. She could just punch in numbers and it would work. Sort of.

Oddly, she would wear the pump on the side which is going to be scanned next week. The growing painful lump, which was going to be looked at before this week, isn’t getting looked at til next. So, things are put on hold again. I don’t know much about cancer, I’ve been learning some, but wow…. I was curious if a person could have cancer in their body growing and yet, be perfectly well in their regular labs and in strength. I’ve been told yes by friends. But, I’m betting she doesn’t have another cancer spot. I’m betting it is just a sore lump.

I asked for a sign to help me decide what to do (one of my favorite blogs ‘Cauldron and Cupcakes’ passed the idea on—I’ve been reading ones which show up in my email) and so far, nothing has been seen. Kind of like mum. She was supposed to move somewhere else in September. The results of the scan won’t be til the end of July. And she needs to go to ANC to get the results. So, I need to bother someone to take us up there or put on my big girl panties and forget how terrified city driving makes me and rent a car and go north. For a visit I am sure will last all of 30 min in the very late afternoon, including waiting time. Thankfully, it isn’t dark, so I won’t have to deal with much night. It is fishing season, though. And THAT is ridiculous. And mum hasn’t managed to sit in one place for a long period of time in ages. 180 plus miles one way with construction and tourists….(OK, that ‘in the key of me’ again).

So, can we pack her up in August or not????? Will she lose her place in the queue? Should she even go to where she wants to??? Who will get the dog and the cat??? Does anything matter??

Moving up!

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This past year, in particular, I’ve noticed I’m beginning to grow up. How crazy is this? I’m over a half century old (not by much, but still) and I’m not grown up yet? It isn’t the adult part, I’ve been an adult since I was about 5. It is the maturing part I’m learning. So many aspects of me have become stronger and better. I still stumble and it hurts, I’m still a cynic in many spots, and I’m more at peace. This, to me, is the best part.

I used to fight with myself all the time and was convinced I was horrible and evil and didn’t deserve to live. I didn’t fit in the mold I was cast. Depression is one of the most awful things on earth. It is caused by so many things and so hard to combat. People who tell you to suck it up or tell you other people have it much worse than you do or say there is no reason for you to be depressed are well meaning, but wrong.

Making a person who already see their worth as ‘less than’ believe their thoughts are skewed, this just makes it worse. (I hope you can read that sentence!) Drugs are not always friendly. Sometimes they are necessary, for me they were not a good fit. I finally decided I couldn’t live the way I was and opened myself up to new experiences and ideas. It was a wonderful awakening and not one made up of religion. For me, faith wasn’t the whole answer. I had gone to the dark side, so to speak. A non-traditional path.

I could write a dissertation on my thoughts of God. I won’t. I do have a blog where I share devotions, I do believe in God and He is important to me. My faith is a large part of what makes me the person I am, I believe in the Bible, and one of my best friends in the world is an atheist. In my discovery of me, my God is bigger than the boxes man puts Him in. In one of my favorite scenes in Pullman’s ‘The Amber Spyglass’ (I am pretty sure it was that book and I am pretty sure this is how it was written!), the kids find a sealed chariot like box being pulled away from earth by the bad angel like creatures. In an ensuing fight, the box falls and the two kids break it open. Inside they find an aged emaciated being. They pull him from the cage and discover they’ve released God. Who suddenly becomes whole and huge and powerful and thanks them for letting Him back into His world.  This is the God I believe in. The One who refuses to remain boxed.

At any rate, as I look into a world of new ideas, I’m thankful for all of those around me who have assisted me on my route to find myself. I’m not done yet, but I believe I’m on the right path. Or at least a path leading to a place where I accept Kris. It is funny, those people who have helped me grow. Many of them are no longer huge parts of my life. They seem to have moved away after adding to me. When I search them out, they respond, but it isn’t the same. While I travel, other lovely persons have moved in. I reckon that is best. Static friendships are boring. Friendships need to be crystal and moving with hidden depths and shallows. This is knowledge from my new growth. Not being afraid to allow myself friendships because I know they won’t last the way I want. Not being afraid.

Three little words which blow an entire world into tomorrow.

How cool is that? Very!!!

 

Second Sunday in May

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I am baffled. My sister called and asked if we had plans for Mothers Day. Ummm, no. Plans with mum are hard to make. Then, I mentioned The Craftsman was coming up and he’d be here on Sunday. She asked if we wanted her to stay with mum so we could go on a date. I said it wasn’t necessary, then I was stupid and told her we don’t go on dates. It just isn’t something we do. Besides, what would she do but irritate mum? Mum would not go to the bathroom if anyone was here ( it smells really bad and embarrasses mum), my sister could not administer insulin, and nor would mum nap.

Later, I asked mum if we could have my sister and her family come over for dinner. Mum’s comments: ‘They can’t eat anything.’ ‘What would I cook for them?’ ‘ I think L has music lessons to teach that day.’ I rolled my mental eyes 👀 at her. 1. They eat many things. 2. Mum hasn’t cooked since October. 3. No one would give lessons on the afternoon or evening of Mothers Day. It is like she doesn’t want to see them. Then she gets all upset because she hasn’t seen them. I then suggested a before dinner dessert of strawberries and short cake. She won’t have time to bitch at my sister about homeschooling (my sister was frustrated because she couldn’t find more than a couple of days teaching on the Korean War and I told mum) and she can’t tear into my BiL for taking his family into a different faith and she can’t carp on my niece for how far behind she is and what she’d be doing in regular school. I mean, she can, but it will be super short compared to a dinner of ashes and gall.

Now, I have to talk to my sister. Can I be a chicken and text her?

What time does-

18833_1210201975522_1043602_n 1972. We were with our 3rd dad. I remember this because of the stuffed toy I am holding (I’m the older one!). We had gone to a big city to get Easter presents (probably Kenai!!). We got to choose our stuffed animals. My sister wanted the big bright bunny. I chose the little lamb, because it was missing a tail. My step dad was really surprised I wanted it, but I prevailed. Eventually, Lamby was mine and I loved it well!

The craziest thing about this photo is today. I went to church with mum this morning. It was not easy to listen to her tell people how well she is and people who told me how well she looked. They really need to stay all day with her. Mum has attended Methodist churches off and on and then finally on since we moved to Alaska. Before that we were Lutherans. I think. At any rate, when this photo was taken, we had not been attending anywhere, but the bulk of our background was Methodist. Today, my sister has recently joined the Jewish faith and I attend a Christian church (background from The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement in the 1800’s-Long story.). My personal faith is eclectic and allows for other thoughts, ideas, and grows as I do. My mum’s. Well, she is set in her ways and is incredibly irritated with the fact her youngest daughter has tossed out anything to do with ‘traditional’ holidays and beliefs. Literally, in many cases. Although my sister has not gotten rid of her Hallmark Star Trek ornaments, she has unloaded all the other collections mum tediously purchased for my sister and her spouse and mum’s youngest grandchild. I find it unusual, but it isn’t my faith. Mum, she has gotten very upset.

My sister had thought about coming to visit mum today and asked if it would be ok. Mum asked her why she’d come over (remember: my sister has not been to visit mum since the start of March, when she brought the dog back. They live about 30 min from mum and my sister works less than 10 min away.). Sister replied it was Easter. Mum snippily responded, ‘You don’t believe in Easter anymore. What would you do here?’ In the end, she didn’t come over with the family.  Which was good in the long run. Mum was super tired. But, I was frustrated at dinner. Mum seemed almost gleeful that we were eating ham for dinner and my sister couldn’t. I asked her not to be mean and she said she wasn’t being mean, she was just saying we could eat it and they couldn’t. 

I felt sad for my sister. I look at the tiny grinning face in the photo and wish my mum could show some tolerance and empathy towards the woman she’s become. Granted, my little sister drives me bonkers in less than a parsecond, but I’m not going to constantly tear down her faith, her clothing style, her hair, her looks, or how she raises her family. It is very different, but it is really none of my business. (it does provide a bit of fodder for good stories, though!)