I can’t sleep, so…here are some trees. #ilovetrees
Also, two things are heavy on my mind tonight, both I feel like sharing because two other friends have shared these same thoughts in the past day:
The “I never let my pain/disability/illness stop me” narrative is ableist and harmful. Sometimes, even with illnesses that aren’t considered chronic but pop up just long enough to make you have to see a doctor/go to the ER and piss you off, you ARE held back/unable to do all the things. And guess what? That’s ok. You shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it just because someone else doesn’t understand (or simply refuses to entertain the idea that you shouldn’t have to suffer just for the sake of “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” – people like that have health issues way earlier than they’d prefer, and if they don’t want to acknowledge it that’s their cross to bear).
Stop the testing. Bring back the joy. When you sit in front of a kid with a stopwatch to time them on ANYTHING, whether it’s speed reciting multiplication tables or the alphabet or the periodic table, and they aren’t fast enough to beat the clock, they feel embarrassed, like they’ve failed or let down someone they are supposed to impress, or worse – they just feel plain stupid. Guess what? They’re not. Kids learn at different paces and have interests and greater abilities in different areas – JUST LIKE ADULTS DO. Some are good at labor. Some are good at creative endeavors. Some are good at organizing. Some are good at service. EVERYONE is needed. If you’re putting a bunch of rules (besides actual grammar rules) on reading and writing, and putting a bunch of pressure on a kid to meet some ridiculous and possibility unattainable standard (for them), you’re not teaching them to read or write well – nay nay, my friend. If that’s how you’re teaching? You’re teaching them to HATE reading and writing – even about the things they love.
Anyway, just some “unpopular opinions” that I have been arguing with myself about for a little while now.
Do good. Be kind. Be compassionate. And remember, all of those things are verbs, not just words. You’re not perfect either, so give others a break – especially when they’re already down. Try offering a hand to lift them up instead of a foot to the side while they’re down that makes them not WANT to get up. People need help, not hate. One day, you’ll need help, too. Love y’all. 🙏
So very true. Expand your mind. Don’t allow yourself to become stagnant, or, worse yet, frozen in time like this camellia in my backyard this morning.
The brain naturally shrinks with age, despite being filled with this “knowing” stacked upon that “knowing,” even without trauma or defects caused by medical situations or diseases.
…with increasing age and there are changes at all levels from molecules to morphology. Incidence of stroke, white matter lesions, and dementia also rise with age, as does level of memory impairment and there are changes in levels of neurotransmitters and hormones. (NCBI)
It’s hard enough to remember what you already know as you get older, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to continue to learn – even if that includes unlearning only to relearn from a different perspective. The only way to slow the shrinkage is to continue to learn.
Read. Think about things in an interactive way. Write. Do things to exercise your brain, whether with puzzles or word games or just deep conversations with yourself in thought. Train (and/or retrain) your mind. Remain active in mindful and conscious ways. You’ll thank yourself for it.
I suppose this is a big deal to me because of physiological psychology and being a scholar in that field, but more than anything it comes from what I watched my mother suffer as she deteriorated from the added and horrific bonus of early onset dementia that turned to Alzheimer’s.
Take care of your mind. Fertilize it. Grow it well. Maintain it. Keep it in bloom. ❤️
In nature frozen green things are beautiful and interesting, yet ice and the color green are associated most often in the human mind with unkind and ugly things like envious, bitter, hurtful and hateful hearts. Sad, yes? I’ll stick to nature, thank you very much. 💚❤️
Until you have actually walked this road in a way that leaves the soles of your shoes worn out and developing holes, and your feet blistered and bleeding twice as much as your heart pumps through you and until you have not only seen but had no choice but to actively participate in the sights and scenes DAILY, because there literally was no one else, for so long that you feel like you’re in a Stephen King novel, no – you will never know what it’s really like.
How it can wear you so thin that it nearly destroys you, the way water seems to work like acid and melts cheap toilet paper.
How it can tear you down to a level that you, as compassionate and kind a person you are or try to be, think, “the next time someone tells me I should smile more, or I should look on the bright side (which is what? That eventually she’ll die and I won’t have to do this anymore?) I’m going to punch them in the face.”
How you start avoiding people because you’re sick of their hypocritical judgments and comparisons, OR the way they pretend to understand when you know good and well they have no clue so you just stop talking about it and pretend it’s easy and everything is fine…
100%. Until you’ve done it, you’ll never understand completely what it’s like. I shared a lot of our journey. Even then it was only a fraction and what I did share was picked apart by completely irrelevant, inexperienced people. But I will keep sharing this until we have real reform and raise the standard of care for caregivers and their loved ones with dementia. (Thank you, Martina.)
When my mom died, it broke me. It wasn’t the grief that broke me, it was the RELIEF that broke me. Because I had no idea what to do with it. And I felt guilty for feeling it in the first place.
Finally being able to breathe and stop and rest after SO LONG of being a full time care giver going between two homes and three people (wait, four – but I never really thought of myself, lol) and dealing with doctors and being sick myself…?
THAT almost killed me.
I’m not exaggerating or trying to be dramatic or draw attention, which is what people always love to say when you share thoughts like this (which reallllly doesn’t help so just shut up because that kind of thing can drive someone over an edge you will never understand when they’re grieving loss after caregiving).
I just finished writing a whole chapter about this. Maybe I’ll share it via my blog… For now, here’s the thing I want you to know and remember:
If you’re in a situation like this or are grieving after a situation like this, know that you’re not alone. Know that there ARE those who see you and feel you because they’re there, too, or they’ve been there before.
I pray not one of you ever has to go through it (or go through it again).
If you are forced to go through it, I pray you get the resources you need (financially and otherwise) sooner than a month before your loved one dies because the only thing that finally saves the day is hospice.
I pray if you do face this situation, you have less people than more coming at you with what you need to do and how you need to act but NEVER actually doing anything to help you do what they think you should do and regularly acting the same way you’re acting despite not being in your shoes and instead having everything they could ever want or need.
And I pray that if you ever find yourself in those shoes, you give yourself grace and you forgive yourself daily, before the day begins, for the fact that you’re never going to be perfect. You’re not going to get it right and keep your cool and manage your emotions well EVERY DAY. You’re just not. Period. So accept it and be gentle with yourself and just keep doing the best that you can. You’ve got this. You really do. You don’t think you do or feel that you do, BUT YOU DO. 🙏💜🙏
And if you’ve never been there at this level and never have to be? I pray you don’t take that privilege for granted. Because you ARE privileged.
My belief? Balance requires a foundation of love – love as a state of being, not as feeling.
If you do not have that? You have nothing because there is only, at the core of our existence, love and fear – if you do not have a foundation of universal love, then fear drives you. The fear of losing something; the fear of being seen as something you are not or, worse yet, as something you are that you do not want to be caught being; the fear of inadequacy; the fear of missing out; the fear of losing control; the fear of not being in control in the first place – thus having to manipulate your life in a way that leaves you constantly on the defense or preparing for the worst scenario.
Consider this. The worst case scenario has already happened. You are dying. You have been since the moment of your birth. You are mortal, and decaying, regardless of how healthy you may believe yourself to be. Your days are limited. All you have to do? BE. Simply, be.
Do good. Be gentle. Be compassionate. Be kind. Do all those things for yourself and for others. Have a beautiful day.
Just kidding. But also, it kind of is…and I keep wondering when people are going to wake up and notice that people are waking up and noticing.
No, this is not one of those conspiracy theory driven statements about the virus or about the world. This is just…well, the truth.
Most of the people who will read this blog (based on my “subscriber base”) have spent perhaps years looking below the surface of what others tell them, just like I have. We reason things for ourselves and as a result live a higher quality of life – first and foremost, we see things as they are and there is no stress in acceptance once you have reached that level of existence.
Right now there is a truly great awakening taking place. In the midst of a huge chance for a true change of consciousness, most continue to focus on the virus, the vaccine, and political jokes rather than be a part of the a global pandemic of people who are taking their blinders off. Thankfully, not me and not most of you.
We live in an ever moving, ever growing and ever changing universe, which presents us with duality in everything. It presents us with choices – not so much the idea of free will but a similar idea. This is my belief (in this moment, of my life and in the energetic place we are currently, as a collective being). Once presented with those choices, then we simply choose.
Most people make incredibly unconscious choices not realizing they have one (a choice) or that they’re choosing anything at all. They spend their lives just floating along following “the rules.” But, the true reality is that almost ALL we spend our lives doing is choosing which way we want to go, and we keep on choosing until the end.
Even in the case that life does something that we feel we have no choice in, which it will because we can not be in control of EVERYTHING, most people are under the delusion that they have no control at all (I’ve said it recently, myself), but that’s not true. There IS one thing you can control – your reaction. Even though I struggle with depression, and that is absolutely out of my control at this point – I can chose how to react to bad days, I can choose to allow myself grace and to do nothing if nothing is all I can do. I have built a life and a mindset that allows that. That is still a choice. Most people…they forget that ultimately, no matter what they may not be able to choose for others, they ALWAYS have a choice for how they decide to handle a thing.
Most people live in a unconscious state where they THINK they are choosing, when in fact they are repeating the same old patterns and behaviors over and over and then remain unhappy because they don’t see different results, or are very content because they think they’re doing all the right things when the reality is that there is no “right” at all in the sense of what most people are taught and molded as children to believe we need to be and do to be happy in this world.
I believe our universe is our Source (God, whatever name you call that which is in control) and that this Source – this energy – connects to our consciousness, where new choices are presented to us. My observation is that most people eat dead food, ingest polluted water, follow news media like a cultish religion, crave entertainment from very fast paced experiences and things that afford them instant gratification, and so on. People have completely forgotten about their souls, rarely even try to actually use their minds, and are seemingly existing only in the form of physicality.
These people are so low in energy that they are incapable of sensing universal shifts, which is what we have been in the midst of since BEFORE the pandemic began. The pandemic simply caused a sudden consciousness of many realities and seemingly all of a sudden and all at once a huge group of people realized the truth about the “cog in the machine” role they were created by society and the powers that be, to be.
Shift, however, is a certainty. If you don’t believe in such things, consider this when you consider the fact of the worldwide, literally global impact of the virus. If you take off your governmentally/societally controlled rose colored classes you will realize that we are facing the end of one natural cycle, and looking forward to another, and that this was coming whether covid came with it or never existed at all. Covid only sped up the process and forced a change for most people that led to many realizations about what life could and should be.
The universe and the physical planet we call home also goes through cycles – darkness and light, daily, and seasons that change (however briefly) four times a year – and at the end of a cycle EVERYONE, regardless of their condition, must wake up. They must make the necessary changes and shifts in mindset to accommodate the physical existence they would like to experience during each cycle – whether it’s a day or a season. The same is true of (what I consider) energetic (spiritual) cycles.
Perhaps this is what’s going, as we enter a new cycle of light. The LIGHT is exposing the darkness more and more, and while we move on, most are caught up in this infuriated, fear driven belief that because of the virus, freedoms are being taken away. In some ways, perhaps; but, I believe what they don’t realize is that they have already have given their freedom away. They don’t realize that a country or a government is not where true freedom exists in the first place, and it never has been.
Step outside of the box, remove the glasses and unlearn the rules that you THINK you have to follow, and you will see. You will see that perhaps you have just been caught off guard and your spirit is trying to show you what you’ve always known. Most people ARE caught off guard by “current existence,” and now find themselves in a place of confusion with an underlying belief that there is no place to run. It’s not a literal “Book of Revelation” moment, but it is very much that in a much deeper way. Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about being in the 6th time of mass extinction, but those who carry the LIGHT will find the WAY out.
This is only my perception – this is what I have come to believe through my own reading, mediations and spiritual practices/connection. I did not become brainwashed by virus- or political-focused propaganda or “jump off the deep end,” as they (the less deep thinking, society driven rule followers) often say about people who express views like this. These have been my beliefs for decades (most of my life). It is really very simple – I haven’t changed, I clearly see it as my living reality now only more so than before; and, I realize that it has been “this” all along.
Someone shared a thought with me the other day and I will leave this blog with it: you are the message, not the messenger. BE your truth as you share it. If people do not understand or they judge it, and many will not understand and will jump to judgment, that’s okay – because neither did you at one point in your life.
Do good. Be gentle. Be compassionate. Be kind. Do all those things for yourself and for others. Have a beautiful day.
From my dream journal (01/12/22), for those who don’t believe that working on your spirit self and spiritual focus opens doors for a spirit to communicate and that you can actually hear them:
I have never been a skeptic because as a child I always had experiences and while the belief system I grew up in called that, “evil,” I never stopped communicating. I never stopped hearing or seeing. I never stopped believing. In fact, they believed it, too – they just contradicted themselves with double standards like, “spirits are evil,” but, “we worship the Father, the Son (let’s be real, SUN), and the HOLY SPIRIT.” No, I never “let it be,” I just learned to be quieter about it. I have, since my mid-20’s, learned how to speak up again.
My Daddy came to me last night. I didn’t want to wake up, if I’m honest. I never want those dreams to end. They’re few and far between as I continue to heal and grow, so I savor them. This one was different than most, and thankfully not the recurring psychological nightmare that I had for months after he died and that still comes around every so often.
In this one, we were in some strange, very flat place that reminded me very much of the plains, and there were animals everywhere. My father loved all animals, so it makes sense that he would appear in a spiritual way surrounded by them. It was like a cross between Kansas (not “Wizard of Oz” Kansas, more like agriculturally beautiful Kansas) and Noah’s Ark. Very weird to me, that, because my dad loved woods and mountains. “Whatever,” I thought, just being so happy to see him.
He apologized for some things – namely leaving me with the burden that was mama after he died, gave me this motivational speech about not beating myself up anymore and knowing that she was happy there (she was quietly waving from the background, which would in life be be quintessentially my mom if my dad was around) and that my hands had been tied in both situations.
He told me that I had actually fared much better than I imagined that I did. That was something I had needed to hear specifically from him since my mother died, though I hadn’t realized it until I awoke from this dream. I have dealt with a lot of guilt since my mom died, surrounding that. He told me that I was in a place most people don’t find themselves in when he died – young, career and goal driven, raising a child, and managing my mom (which he knew about when he fell into this coma, but hadn’t told me, and I didn’t realize it until she died and I found and read things he had written) while he was, for lack of a better phrase, literally rotting away in the hospital bed.
Bit of backstory: his feet were dead (literally) and about to fall off (metaphorically) when I signed to remove life support. They were scary and disgusting to see – they were freezing cold, solid blue and black because of his kidneys shutting down, and they’d stopped dialysis because they were getting ready to move him to another unit to remove life support, AND YET THEY WANTED TO AMPUTATE THEM.
In this dream he laughed his truest laugh, which had a deep, guttural beginning and ended with a more high pitched, fast paced giggle, and he said to me that he heard me say to the doctor, “are you out of your mind? What’s the point in that? You’re an idiot if you think I’m going to approve of you chopping his feet off when he’s about to die anyway. Why don’t you go fix somebody who can be saved instead of trying to rip off more money from my family and his insurance company? He fought to make it this long with both of his massive, size 15 diabetic feet and he’s managed to keep all but a single toe. You’re not cutting a damned thing off except this ventilator tomorrow so that he can finally be at peace.”
He quoted that to me verbatim, and thanked me for standing up for his feet, semi-pun intended because he was goofy like that with his dad jokes. I forgot I had even said that to that doctor, but upon waking I remembered it vividly and I remember being so angry that they wanted to argue with me about it and my mom wasn’t there. You see, she wasn’t there most of the time after the first day, but I had left only once (even showering in the shower of his CCU room) and when I did leave that one time, I didn’t want to.
It was only because she had asked me to come back to their house to get things FOR HER so she wouldn’t HAVE to leave that I had left, and then she left anyway. She would come for a couple of hours a day. She almost slept through his passing and J had to force her to understand what was happening. I was FURIOUS. I realize now that it was because she was already sick with the late-early stages of dementia then (hence the stuff I later read that my father had been taking notes on), and that’s why the doctors pulled me aside to that cold, dreary “counsel room” with her and told me that I had to make all the decisions and tried to explain that to her. Terrible experience.
I remembered the anger at him not taking care of himself better, in my eyes just willingly giving up his life and that somehow meant he didn’t love me as much as I thought he did. I remembered believing that if he’d loved me the way he had made me believe he did, he wouldn’t have treated himself so poorly. Flash forward to the last couple of years and what I have put my own son through with my health. That’s a bitter pill to swallow.
I also remembered something I didn’t consciously know existed: the resentment I had toward my mom because she thought he was just sleeping and left him for two more hours and when she came back to check, he had seized and stroked and there was no bringing him back after that. They tried. I pushed them. I argued. But I finally had to accept that they couldn’t fix his brain and he was never leaving that CCU bed. After five excruciating days of denial, I had to let him go, and I had to make that decision alone. I realized that I was SO ANGRY at my mother for being the reason we were there and for being sick and making me have to choose.
For what it’s worth, here I will insert the inspirational realization I had and the absolute fact that NO MATTER HOW IN CONTROL YOU THINK YOU ARE OF EVERYTHING IN LIFE, YOU ARE NEVER IN CONTROL OF ANYTHING. PERIOD. END OF STORY. More on that later…I digress.
I remembered so many things when I woke up, details I think I had purposely blocked and I think my dad triggered them on purpose, even though they are SO difficult to think about, because after all of his preaching (sweetly) to me in the dream, he said to me, “when you wake up, turn on the radio and don’t you stop singing, girl. Don’t you DARE avoid the one thing that makes you feel true purpose just because of some certain things you might hear that hurt you! Let the hurt drive you!” He was irritated about that because music had always been our most powerful bonding agent (again, upon waking and considering it, I realized I haven’t made music in three or more months)…and then he sang to me.
I knew he was getting ready to leave me then. He always sings to me right before he leaves me in dreams. He sang the bridge of this old song called, “I’m Moving On,” by Rascal Flatts. There is one lyric that is supposed to go, “And I have made up my mind that those days are gone,” but he sang it, “Girl, make up your mind that those days are gone.”
“Well, I’ve been working on it,” I thought, “but anyway, point taken.” He somehow remixed into “Let It Hurt” as he turned and was walking away. He was apparently on a Rascal Flatts kick (yeah, he listened to stuff besides WDJC – a local Christian only radio station – when my mom wasn’t around…he listened to EVERYTHING, especially musical theater stuff).
Anyway, so I turn on the radio – yes, an actual radio app and not Spotify or Apple Music on shuffle – as I was getting coffee ready and guess what song was playing and barely into the first verse when I chose the radio station and it finally tuned in? Yep. ⬇️
So, there’s that… I listened intently, and of course I shed tears when that certain part of the song arrived, and I sang it just like he had, using the rewording of the lyrics he had used. I went on with my day. I say with it for a long moment.
I showered, I did a few things in the bedroom and moved on to the kitchen where I washed the dishes and cleaned the counters (I do this ritualistically every morning and most nights, now that the kid is older and dirtying so many dishes with his “bottomless pit” eating habits…). And then, I sat down to write this. I listened to the other song Daddy was singing/humming in the dream as he was leaving before I opened WordPress, and I took it in – as difficult as it is for me to listen to that song lately, for a number of reasons), and I cried some more. And as those tears flowed, so did my words begin to…and here we are.
Grief is like a strange and living creature, and it’s grips are never ending once it touches you (though it waxes and wanes in its intensity), but so are those soul connections that we think we can’t live without. Whether we lose them through death or living circumstances, the universe knows what it’s doing. That’s what you need to take away from this post. And, I think that’s where I’ll end this one.
Sit with your grief. Let it do its job. Allow yourself the gift that grief really is, even though you may not realize it’s a gift at all right now… One day, you will make friends with it. Eventually, it will cease to be a monster and become a friendly companion that helps you rather than tortures you. But you have to allow that transfiguration to take place, and in your own time you will…because it is an inevitable process.
I know that if you’re struggling with grief, you’re going to be ok. One day, if you just keep going, you’ll know it, too. You’ll look in the mirror and see yourself and just as suddenly as you didn’t recognize who you were seeing at some point after grief came, you’ll begin to see yourself again, and you’ll realize that all along your grief was there to help you. I know it may sound crazy, but I promise you, it’s true.
“May not be what you want, but it’s what you need Sometimes the only way around it Is to let love do it’s work So go on Yeah, let it hurt…”