cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


Leave a comment

Greener pastures…

I have a wonderful friend who suffers from debilitating depression.  So much so, there are days she winds up in hospital because she’s scared she’s going to do something to herself.  She is a lovely woman, a beautiful soul and every time this happens, I just wanna pick her up and squeeze her until she feels better.

I wrote her an email yesterday and I tried to differentiate our journeys through depression and it went something like this:

“We have both battled through this our entire lives (sometimes at the same time, sometimes not)…yours seems to be so much more awful than mine and I know that’s your journey – your path, if you will.  It seems to take on the flow of a river, that breaks into streams and occasionally you will take the right stream.  However, that stream sometimes leads you further into the forest of darkness and so you backtrack – but the light is gone and you’re mired in sadness.”

“I get that.  Mine is more like an ocean – it overwhelms me quickly and then it leaves little tide pools behind.  I pick and choose which tide pools I want to explore.”

Interesting.  I guess it’s like having a broken leg – no two breaks are the same, one might be worse than another, but they’re equally as painful to each person.

The one common denominator, I believe, for most folks with depression, is to try and figure out WHY.  WHY they are depressed.  WHY they are so sad.  WHY they feel the way they do.  Some people talk, some people write, some people sit and think.  It can be all consuming, in that it is all that person thinks about.  Yikes.  My friend journals; it’s how she expresses herself – to herself.

Half way through the email I sent, I had an epiphany of sorts…if we spend so much time with all the wondering WHY we are depressed – would that not lead to even more depression?  Sitting there and picking apart our lives, our personalities, our traits that make us who we are – and analyzing them to death – has to be counterproductive.

I’m not saying that we should just all suck it up and carry on like nothing is wrong – but what if we were to subliminal message ourselves?  For every sad thought we have, we try to insert a positive one?

OH LOOK, I’VE CURED DEPRESSION.  Yeah – NO.  If it were that simple, all the psychiatrists of the world would be out of business, as would the pharmaceutical companies AND all of those ‘cheer up’ Facebook posts would disappear.

So does ‘wallowing’ in depression make us better people?  No, not really; it just makes us sadder people.  By spending 24/7 trying to figure it out, we are only feeding the monster of darkness, allowing it to manipulate us and fester within us.  It loves nothing more than to tell us how awful things are, how they are never going to get better and how (in some cases, sadly) we’d be better off dead.

My mother was one of those people who lived her life through her depression; and God forbid should that have been taken away from her.  It was her weapon of choice; we were all taught at a very young age that mom was depressed; therefore, she should be forgiven for every transgression she made.  She never made any attempt to fix it; she thrived on the fact that she could blame everything on her depression and if she didn’t get her way, she’d threaten us with ‘DEPRESSION’ and so we shut up and carried on with life the best we could.  Most of us don’t WANT to be like that; I know I sure as hell don’t.

I try to be positive.  I get up and go to work every day.  I sometimes even make it out for visits with friends, but it depends on my energy level.  I see a counsellor.  But when things overwhelm me, I shut down and don’t talk to anyone.  It’s not that I’m sitting there thinking about how awful things are, I just don’t think about anything.  Which isn’t a good thing.  My friend does the exact opposite and analyzes and talks until she’s found herself sitting in emergency.  Which isn’t a good thing either.  There simply has to be a happy medium. We are in the same county, reaching the same destination, yet our journeys are entirely different from each other.  Here is something else I wrote to her:

“I think you and I are common in that we were raised in dysfunctional families (that’s just a given!) – however, they were complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  Your mom and dad doted on you and your sister and smothered you with love and affection.  I just got smothered (heehee!)…what I learned was that I knew how to take care of myself, a very strong work ethic that my father instilled into me and that if I wanted something, I had to be the one to get it for myself.”

So, I made a challenge to her that I too shall endeavour to work on:  When that black monster starts getting hold of me, I’m going to do my very best to tell it that I’m not interested, and I need to focus on something more positive.  I will always want to learn about myself and who I am and why the way I am, but from now on, I’m going to spend more time on the greener side of the pasture.

lilacs and poppies

Advertisements


Leave a comment >

Ah yes.  The inundation of Valentine’s Day is upon us once again.

The ads for jewelry, chocolates, flowers and yes, lingerie – has taken over.  Happy, shiny people looking upon each other with love and awe.  Big, tear filled eyes light up when they see the token diamond ring being presented to them.  Awwwwwwwwwwww?  Isn’t love GRAND?  Everyone on social media expressing their undying love for their partners…gag.

Image

Okay.  I’m gonna stop right here and say…I hate Valentine’s Day.  Sour grapes?  Maybe a bit.

As a kid, everyone at school had the little construction paper envelopes made up so that they could receive Valentine’s Day cards from their classmates.  How exciting it was to watch someone plunk one in your envelope!  Wait – who was that kid?  Are we in the same class?  Huh.  Then you’d go home and covet them, singling the one out from the cutest boy in Grade 3 (which, you knew was only because his mom made him make them out to EVERYONE in the class).  Remember this?

ImageImage

Yeah, poor Ralphie.  Lisa broke his little booger filled heart.  It was the best of intentions for her to give him a card – nobody else would.  Broken hearts and promises at the ripe old age of Grade 2.

Junior High – the introduction of Harlequin Romances and heaving bosoms and throbbing manhoods.  Girl meets boy (girl is usually blonde, blue eyed with perfect measurements; boy is tall, handsome, rich and a CEO of some giant corporation and had a sexy name like Rock or Thorne – there were no Bobs or Mikes in HR) and they would fall madly in love, have 2.5 kids and live in a house with a white picket fence.  Ah…how romantic!  I couldn’t wait for that to happen to ME!

(INSERT THE SCRATCH OF A NEEDLE ON AN ALBUM HERE – young people, look up ‘music album’ on Google)

My very first real boyfriend ever was in Grade 10.  I thought it was going to last forever…well, it did until he dumped me for the school tramp.  But that’s not in the Harlequin Romances!  WTF?

My 20’s didn’t fare much better…met and fell in head over heels love with someone, only to find out (eventually) that he was engaged and dating several other women at the time.  And then there was the guy who was married (that I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT) as he had a cell phone (this was back in the early 90’s when they looked like the shoe phone from Maxwell Smart (young people – look up ‘Maxwell Smart shoe phone on Google) and was always at my place).  Then there was my ex brother in law’s brother (got that?) whom I was dating for a while – I went away for a couple of days to visit a friend and came back and found out he’d been sleeping with my roommate (that ended with me actually punching him the face and breaking my thumb).  That was ALSO not in the romance novels.  How about the guy I’d started seeing at work who failed to tell me he had Hepatitis B and that I only found out because the nice lady in Human Resources at the time, broke the confidentiality clause to tell me about it?  And wasn’t that fun having to get shots and praying to the universe that I never started to exhibit signs of having it (thankfully – nothing so far).  That was certainly NOT in any romance novel I’ve ever read.

So, I have to say:  ROMANCE?  WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?  The only thing I’ve ever received from a guy on Valentine’s Day was a card that said “Happy VD” on it.  Flowers?  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Jewelry?  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Chocolate?  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I’d put myself out there, only to get knocked down again, so at the ripe old age of about 40, I said SCREW IT!  I’ve got a good life, great job, roof over my head, amazing friends – what more could I possibly need?  (Okay, well the occasional night out would be nice, but meh – I have Netflix).

So yes, I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to Valentine’s Day and all its’ promises of love and romance.  Me?  You’ll find me curled up on the couch with a glass of wine, with my birds singing their little hearts out, as I watch a cheesy horror movie.  But hey, feel free to slip me a Valentine’s Day card in the construction paper envelope I have hanging on my door 🙂


2 Comments

MY FATHER, MY BEST FRIEND.

The anniversary of my father’s passing is coming up and I felt the need to write his story.Image

I remember as a kid, my dad playing silly practical jokes on me all the time.  We were at the seaside; I was about 10 or so.  Dad thought I might like to feed the birds, so he told me to take a piece of bread and hold it up over my head – so I did.  Which, of course, brought a million seagulls to the surrounding area and if what they say is true about it being good luck if you’re pooped on by a seagull, I must be the luckiest person in the world?

My dad and I were visiting my grandparents in  Florida when I was about 19 – they had a lovely grapefruit tree in the backyard, so both my dad and grandfather told me to pick as many as I wanted.  I picked one – it was HUGE!  It took me forever to peel it and when I did and took that first bite – my face turned inside out and tears poured from my eyes.  They failed to inform me that it was the kind of grapefruit they used to make marmalade.  Had I been able to see properly, I’m sure the sight of two grown men rolling on the grass would have been very funny indeed.

There were countless other times when dad was just being dad and I can’t imagine him ever being any different.  He could cheer me up when I was down, piss me off to no end about something stupid – but he was my biggest supporter, always helping when and how he could.

Back in about 2003, he started changing…it was so gradual; I didn’t really notice (nor did my mom or sister).  He lost weight (he’d always been a big, robust kind of guy).  He started slowing down, he got tired more often and he seemed to always not feel well.  That went on for about a year, with numerous trips to the doctor and a few emergency runs.  Doctor’s kept telling him he was fine…just age (he was only 74).

In November of 2004, my sister and I went to see his doctor to see if she could provide any information on what was making him feel so poorly.  Of course, we adhered to the confidentiality clause, understanding she could only give us basic information – so she told us that she thought he was ‘just depressed’.  Okay, well that made sense (living with my batshit crazy mother would make ANYONE depressed).  So, we had a family meeting and we told dad what we’d learned and that we wanted to help him by being more active and if he didn’t want to see a counsellor, we’d be happy to have him talk to us.

Now – I should stop here and provide some information on my mother.  During this entire time, my mother thought my dad was just being a lazy ass and ‘faking’ his symptoms.  She’d constantly complain about how his issues were affecting HER (my mother was a bit of a narcissist).  Both my sister and I would receive phone calls about how his complaining was causing her to fall into another depression (not that I’m belittling depression; I too suffer from it – but my mother made it her life mission to never NOT be depressed) and she ‘couldn’t stand much more’.  It was very hard to feel any sympathy for her.

So dad, being dad, said he’d shape up and I told him in an email that anytime he needed to vent or cry or whatever – to please talk to me, because mom was having a hard time with everything – to which he readily agreed.

January 2005 – I was visiting my parents when all of a sudden – my dad passed out and slumped to the ground.  I immediately called 911 and they came right away.  Before they had even reached my father, my mother had kidnapped two of the paramedics to tell them that he was faking it and it was she that was REALLY suffering.  They bundled dad up, took him to emergency and after hours of tests – they told him he had a bladder infection, and sent him home with some Bactrim.

A couple of weeks later, I was at work and my dad phoned and said that he and my mom had doctor’s appointments, but he didn’t feel well enough to drive.  My dad had been driving since he was 10 years old, so I knew something was very wrong.  I left work and picked them up and took them to the doctor.  Their regular doctor wasn’t in; it was a med student who was filling in.  She saw mom first and when she came out, my dad went in.  My mother started whining about wanting a cigarette, so I told her to go out and sit in the car.  Awhile later, the med student came out and looked very upset.  She asked to speak to me and I said sure and she said ‘your father is a very sick man and he needs to go to the hospital straight away’.  I went in to see dad, and he was lying there with tears running down his cheeks.  ‘I’m scared’ he said to me – ‘Am I going to die?’  Trying to remain brave, I told him not to worry, I would take care of everything.  He needed to have blood tests before he left, so I had to get him down some stairs, when he passed out.  A couple of people got him down the rest of the stairs and situated in the waiting area.  I told the nurse that he needed his tests done NOW, as I was taking him to the hospital, so she brought everything out, got ‘em done, and with the help of the kind strangers, got him up and into the car.

As I got him seated, my mother said with derision ‘so NOW what’s his problem?’ – I looked her straight in the eye and said ‘dad is very sick, I’m taking you home and taking him to the hospital and I don’t want to hear another single word from you’.

With mom dropped off, we headed for emergency where I got him into a wheelchair and up to the triage desk.  ‘Please take a seat’, the nurse said without looking up.  I said ‘no, you will see him NOW and if you don’t, I will chain myself to your desk and won’t move and if you think I’m kidding, you’ve got another think coming’ (I can be a super bitch when I need to).  With a sniff and a huff, she took his blood pressure.  It was so low; he basically should have been dead.  They rushed him into a suite and started a complete workup.  He stayed in emergency for 3 or 4 days, and they did test after test after test and couldn’t find anything wrong with him.  Meanwhile, dad continued to crack jokes and pick on the nurses.

The finally admitted him to a ward and started more tests and finally, and exploratory surgery.  What they found was horrific.  Basically, his intestines had turned into concrete.  Anything he ingested was not passing through and was causing horrible toxicity to take over his body.  He was hooked up to a nasogastric tube suction machine and the shit that came out of his stomach was black.  And there was a lot of it.  From there on in, he wasn’t allowed ANYTHING to eat or drink – not even water.  It was beyond awful and dad, although he was really trying to remain upbeat, was slowly starting to wane.

I’d go to see dad and he’d be crying because all he wanted was some water.  Nothing else.  Just water.  I’d often give him tiny sips to ease his pain and even the nurses started slipping him the occasional orange popsicle.  You’ve never seen anyone so happy to have a popsicle in your life.

They tested him for this and that and everything in between.  ‘He has cancer!’ they’d proclaim, but couldn’t back it up with blood work.  He had 2 or 3 more exploratory surgeries; they brought in some of the top doctors in the region – still, nothing.  They could not for the life of them, figure out what it was.  By this time, dad was tired.  He didn’t want to play any more.  We’d visit him every day, taking shifts.  (I should say that by this point, mom had stopped telling everyone ‘it’s all in his head’).

February 17, 2005:  Dad was scheduled the next day to have yet another exploratory surgery.  My mom, sister and I met up with his surgeon in dad’s hospital room and he explained what they would be doing.  Dad was feeling pretty good that evening, cracking jokes, making us smile.  Towards the end of the meeting he said ‘when you all come in to see me tomorrow, please bring me a coffee!’ – And of course, we all agreed to do so.

February 18, 2005 – 10:00 am:  I was at work and received a phone call from the hospital indicating that they had given my father too much morphine and he hadn’t woken up from his surgery.  They indicated that they had ‘reversed’ the dosage and that it was still within normal limits, just on the high side.  So, I went to the hospital, and there I saw my poor, beautiful father lying there with his eyes wide open – but no sign of life.  The nurse kept trying to get him to close his eyes, but even in his unconscious stupor, he was being a pain in the butt.  I went over and said ‘C’mon Harold, you gotta close your beautiful brown eyes or they’re gonna dry out!’ – And I gently closed them for him, and they stayed that way.  I spent the rest of the day talking to him, telling him stories about work and other things…and he never woke up.  The doctors indicated that they did fully expect him to wake up soon.  Later on in the day, my mom and sister came and as I left, I gave him a big kiss and told him I’d see him again tomorrow with a cup of coffee.

Tomorrow never came.  Later that evening, after my mom and sister left, my wonderful father passed away ½ hour later.

I was very grateful to have had a friend over, because when I received that phone call, I fell completely apart.  My friend and a couple of other friends came with me to the hospital and there I met up with my sister and mom.  I walked into dad’s room and he was just…lying there, like he was sleeping.  I slumped to the ground and started weeping like I’ve never done before.  My brother in law crouched down and just held me until I could muster up the courage to actually go in the room.  My mom, sister and I sat down and the surgeon came and joined us and he actually had tears in his eyes and apologized to all of us for not being able to save him.  He explained that they just could not figure out what had happened and asked our permission to perform an autopsy, which we agreed to.  When the meeting was done, my mom and sister said goodbye to dad and I stayed behind.  I went over to him and kissed his forehead and brushed back his hair and told him how much I loved him.  Looking back over my shoulder, I said goodbye to my dad for the very last time.

It took weeks for the results to come back.  He was finally diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma – a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.  Dad never worked anywhere with asbestos – where had that come from?

I did months of research and through a friend of mine I was able to figure it out.  Dad was in the RCAF in the 50’s, living in the barracks – which contained asbestos in the walls.  These asbestos fibres can live in a body for up to 60 years.  The timing fit, it all fit and I was on a mission.

I called my dad’s doctor and asked for his medical records and was met with ‘do I need to call my lawyer’?  As you can imagine, by this time, I hated her with a burning passion and said ‘I don’t know, I haven’t looked at them yet’.  I received those and then I filed a claim with Veterans’ Affairs and they gave my mother a nice settlement – it wasn’t going to bring my dad back, but it would help her to remain comfortable for the rest of her life.  She passed away in 2010, never having bounced back after dad’s death.

I write this for me – and for anyone who wants to read it.  For anyone who has gone through the agony of losing a loved one to cancer or any other disease.  For anyone who misses someone and wishes they could say ‘I love you’ and ‘goodbye’ – just one more time.


Leave a comment >

It’s been an interesting week on my new ‘less self indulgence’ lifestyle plan.

I’ve been keeping a written journal of what I eat, what I drink – and what I spend.  At the very least, an eye opener.  Yikes.

I met with one of the leading experts in obesity in the country last week – he was amazing.  If you’ve been following my blog, I’ve been involved with a local “Weight Wise” program, which is geared towards those who are considered obese or morbidly obese.  I’ve met with a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, a nurse and now the doctor.  The whole premise behind this program is to find out if I am a candidate for lap band surgery.  I have to go through a whole series of hoops and jumps before they will even consider it.  The best part of this whole experience is finally having someone understand that it’s not all ‘eat less, exercise more’.  This program is more than that.

He asked some questions that I really never considered a part of being overweight, but afterwards I realized – wow, those questions made complete sense.  He asked me if I had been promiscuous at any point in time in my life, and I will admit – I did go through a phase (of which I’m not particularly proud of) in my early 20’s.  I realize now that I wanted love – and I had confused sex with love (wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure that shit out WHEN we’re doing it?)  He asked me about my relationships with my parents and my sister, friendships…etc.  He asked me if I had a tendency to binge eat (which thankfully, I do not) and if I used alcohol as a ‘crutch’ (oh yes), did I overspend beyond my means (sigh, uh – YEAH) and a few other questions.  The questions he was asking had very little to do with my size or my weight, they were more geared towards my thought patterns and my personality, which can be defined in one word:  ADDICTIVE.  I was addicted with trying to find love, I was addicted to instant gratification and I was addicted to alcohol.  2 out of these 3 things were easily obtained by overspending (yet, another addiction).

Now, this is interesting.  There was an article in the paper this morning – “Weight loss plan can curb spending” (Postmedia news).  There was a line in there that jumped out at me:  “While the authors say not everyone who struggles with weight also has money problems, [Demetre] estimates over 50% of the population has issues with both.”   Wow.  I’d never thought to put the two together per se, but it makes sense.

We live in a society of instant gratification.  We want what we want, and we want it NOW.  We don’t budget for things like our parents did, we put it on credit.  We don’t scrimp and save our pennies, we just buy it and worry about it later.  We don’t do without – we all ‘need’ the new TV, the new iPhone, the new tablet, the new…(insert vice in here).  When I want to eat something, I want it NOW.  I don’t mean binge eating – I just mean regular, day-to-day living.  If I want sushi for lunch, I’ll got and get it ($15.00).  Then, if I want steak for dinner, I’ll go and get it ($15.00) and maybe a few more groceries that I really don’t need, but want ($25.00).  I’ve just spend $55.00 on things I don’t necessarily NEED.  Repeat that every day for about 5 days.  That’s $275.00 just on FOOD related items that I probably only need about $30.00 of.  Let’s add some wine on top of that ($60.00/week) and maybe a shirt or pair of shoes ($100.00) and I’m up to $435.00  For one week.

Great – so now I’m fat AND in debt.  But I can see how it goes hand in hand.  I eat and overspend to compensate for the things that I don’t have, which in turn creates more problems and gets me farther away from where I DO want to be.  It’s a vicious circle and I’m doing everything I can to get off the giant hamster wheel and back on solid ground.  Because the things that I want most – to be happy, healthy, a normal body weight – and to buy my own home – are things that only I CAN do myself.  It won’t happen right this very minute, but with some time and patience, I think I have a pretty good chance.

figure_running_hamster_wheel

Like they say, good things come to those who ‘weight’.  🙂


Leave a comment

SELF INDULGENCE

Happy New Year!

So…how many of you made New Year’s Resolutions – hands up!  Right…now, how many of you are still following them?  Oh…yes, well, that’s to be expected.

Image

Every year, I vow to lose weight, drink less, do more, get out with friends, be more organized…the list goes on.  Most years I make it until about mid-January and then slowly everything starts to weaken…and I’m back to where I started, angry at myself for failing and then I wind up making things twice as hard for myself because if I’ve failed, I’m going to do it with a vengeance.

Image

Which ultimately means I eat too much, drink too much, slob out on the couch, ignore everyone and find myself looking for my bankcard at the bottom of my purse (because there is no way in HELL I’ll have put it back where it should go).

Bah.

Just prior to Christmas, I had a (as my father would have put it) a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with my landlord.  I’ve been wanting to purchase my condo for a long time, but kept putting off attacking the mountain of personal debt I’ve accumulated in about the past 9 years.  She’s given me until the middle of the year to prove that I AM working on it and if she’s happy with the results, she will bend over backwards to assist me with the purchase – WAY above and beyond what a normal landlord would ever do.  Our meeting was extremely intense; not since my father died have I had such a conversation about my debt and my addiction to self indulgence.

Which started after my dad died.  I just put that together.  Interesting.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but my dad was everything – dad, best friend, mentor – I admit, I was definitely daddy’s girl.  He did everything for me – got the oil changed in my car, bailed me out of stupid monetary decisions – the stuff most dads do.  I never panicked – or paid much attention to things, because I knew dad always had my back.  I’m embarrassed to admit that he helped me out financially WAY too many times.

My dad died suddenly in February 2005.  It hit me like a fucking sledgehammer.  If you were to ask me what the rest of the year looked like, I can’t tell you because I was in a complete fog.  My sister and I had to start caring for our extremely needy mother, who made our lives a living hell.  I had lost my dad, my best friend and my support.  My safety net, as it were.

Image

That’s when things started getting ugly.  I started drinking too much, spending too much – EVERYTHING was too much.  I didn’t care, nor did I think of the ramifications of my actions.  It made me feel better.  It stopped the hurt.  I started spending like I had an unlimited trunk full of cash.  I didn’t buy big things; it was the little things – $40 here for a new shirt, $25 here for groceries and I’m not even going to get into how much I’ve spent on wine over the years (that in itself is embarrassing).  Maxed out more credit cards than I can count.  Managed to get myself back on track by paying them off, only to get myself back into trouble – time and time again.

I just didn’t care…I didn’t stop to think that all those little purchases added up to one big, hefty bill.  Oh, I made payments regularly and was always very conscious about doing that, but it was all peripheral; it never entered into my mind that I was paying 13%, 15% or 17% and throwing a few hundred at it each month wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I was managing it and I didn’t have debt collectors after me and it was all good.  Carry on!

Image

After my mother died in 2010, there was a small inheritance left to me and I used most of it to pay off debt.  Yay!  A credit card with a zero balance!  Whoo!  I can start spending again!

Just before Christmas I got extremely sick and have only just started feeling marginally human again.  I had a lot of time to just sit and ponder things…when one day, I had what I like to call – a jelly donut moment.  A jelly donut moment is when you stick your finger in the middle of the donut and watch everything ooze out the sides and top.  Basically – my psyche started oozing, but with that came clarity – a sense of calmness that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Image

I realized that for the past 9 years, I’ve been obsessively self indulgent.  I bought things because I wanted them RIGHT NOW and I drank too much because it made me forget all of my problems – but, I deserved it – didn’t I?

No.  Well, maybe.  My point is that all of the money I’ve spent, all of the wine I’ve drunk didn’t replace my dad – it only created a different dependency.  A dependency on being self indulgent.  ‘Poor me, I’ve had a bad day, I should go look at shoes.’

So, tucked at home in my jammies on New Year’s Eve, with some cold medicine and Netflix – I made a different resolution.  This is the year that I become less self indulgent.  I’m going to take care of myself by eating better, getting a bit more exercise and by not drinking.  I’m going to think before I spend.  Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be absolutely 100% ‘perfect’ – but what it means for me, is that those moments of self indulgence are going to be the exception, rather than the rule.  Because I deserve it – don’t I?


Leave a comment

I tried to get it back

I couldn’t find it

it was gone.

I kept looking

drinking

eating

crying

but it was gone.

I kept hoping

dreaming

praying

begging

but it was gone.

I kept living

sadly

badly

melancholy days and nights

fed the deep, dark recesses

numbness

I tried to get it back,

but it was gone.

in its place

love

hope

beauty

desire

I tried to get it back

but I realized

it had never left me.

 


1 Comment

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for…

As we draw near to Thanksgiving here in Canada, I have been reflecting on what I’m thankful for.  In as much as I bitch and complain about my weight, the government and various assorted other things, I am very lucky have a beautiful home, a great job and good friends.

But the biggest thing I’m thankful for is my big sister.

I should start off by saying that there is a 10 year difference in age between the two of us and we’ve not always been close or seen eye to eye.  We didn’t spend much time together over the years – with that gap in age, we had nothing in common – except for our parents.  When I was born, she was 10.  Trust me when I say that over the years, at some times it felt like a complete generation gap.

As an oblivious teenager, I didn’t pay much attention to my parents or my sister.  It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20’s that I sort of understood the family dynamics.  By that, I mean how manipulative my mother was.

I was the one that was always close to my parents – for a few years, we actually lived in the same apartment complex.  I visited nearly every day, called EVERY DAY and did general errands if they were required.  My sister kept her distance (for reasons I understand now; but I certainly didn’t back then).  I felt like it was always me that was helping out.  Me that was the one they turned to when they needed something.  I was also the person that was caught in the middle; if my sister hadn’t called or visited in a reasonable amount of time (in my mother’s mind) I was sent forth to contact my sister to tell her to contact mom and dad.

(Yes, I actually did that – it never went over very well).  I resented my sister for not visiting as much as I did.

My mother had me brainwashed into thinking that my sister was a BAD person because she never called or visited (she would call and/or visit, but not ‘enough’ in my mother’s world).  Then I’d have my father asking me to ask my sister to call because it was upsetting mom (you see where I’m going with this).  IT WAS ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER.  It didn’t matter if my sister was busy.  It didn’t matter if she was going through some sort of crisis.  All that mattered is that she HADN’T CALLED MY MOTHER FOR 2 DAYS – WHAT AN UNGRATEFUL CHILD!

As I got older, I started to ‘rebel’ against wanting/needing to call my mother every day (as should most normal adults).  I LOVED talking to my dad – he had no agenda, he was just happy to chat.  She’d call me at work and start in on what a terrible child I was – after all the nice things they’d done for me – I couldn’t even take the time to call them?

One particular time stands out in memory – I was working for an organizing committee for a worldwide event that was taking place in my city.  I had been working 12 hour days with no breaks for about 4 weeks.  One day, as I was in the middle of a very high level meeting, she called me.  And, she began yelling at how awful I was, how self centered I was and that I was basically, an ungrateful little bitch (her words, not mine).  You see, I’d nicely asked if they would mind looking after my parrot while I was working ungodly hours and they said that it would be no problem.  All of a sudden, it became a HUGE problem and I was told to immediately come and pick him up.  All because I hadn’t been able to visit for a while.  Forget the fact that I was working stupid hours; I barely had time to eat, sleep and pee.  I remember walking out the door of my meeting and calling my mother every name I could think of (and some I think I made up on the spot).  I don’t think I’ve ever been that angry in my entire life.  The event was a huge success and the final day was on my birthday.  I had to be at work at 3:00 am to assist in getting 40,000 people out of the city.  We still weren’t speaking; and at about 8:30 in the morning I got a phone call from my dad – who had snuck out into his parkade – to wish me a happy birthday.  Then he wanted me to apologize to my mother and well, that was the end of that phone call.

(I know now that it was because she was making HIS life a living hell all because of OUR fight).

I was beginning to understand my sister and her reluctance to call/visit.  A few years later, my beautiful, wonderful dad died of cancer – which was the beginning of my downward spiral into the depths of hell.  However, my mother, she needed to follow me.

My sister and I had to team up.  Mom would call and say ‘she said this’ or ‘she did that’ – pitting us against each other in order to get her own way.  This was the first time that my sister and I really started to get to know each other as people, not just as sisters.

While the event that brought us together was the worst thing that has ever happened to me – I’ll always be grateful for it allowing me to my sister as a human being.

After dad died, my mother became even more of a challenge.  My sister and I were put through the ringer.  Spending time with my mother was painstaking, soul sucking and emotionally draining.  Nothing we ever did was good enough, fast enough (don’t get me started on taking her into restaurants).  We didn’t call enough, visit enough, and when we did, it wasn’t long enough.

Mom passed in 2010 and shortly thereafter, my beautiful sister, who I’d come to adore, learned she had Parkinson’s.  WTF?  My sister, who’d sat on the International Rowing Committee, who’d traveled the world to different rowing events, who’d effectively created a rowing program strictly for disabled rowers – had a neurological disease that caused her pain and suffering.

It was like the universe was watching and waiting before it unleashed the hell that is Parkinson’s.  But, why?

I’ve watched my sister over the past few years fight this horrible disease with grace, dignity and even some laughter.  She doesn’t let it stop her, nor does she sit back and let it consume her.  She continues to work a full time job, have an active social life and volunteer her time for rowing events.  She is a dynamo, she lives life to the best of her ability and she is always, ALWAYS there for me.

To add insult to injury, she suffered a broken femur earlier this year (riding tandem with her husband – yep, she was entering a tandem bike race – she’s also a bit on the crazy side).   She was wheelchair bound for a couple of months and has graduated to using a cane.  During this time, she’s once again proven that she is made of tougher stuff than most people.  While she has her moments when everything just crashes in around her and she needs to just cry it out, she is strong, determined and most of all, she is still grateful for everything and everyone in her life.

This past weekend we made a trek to the Rocky Mountains for a quick visit and we had a wonderful time.  It was, however, hard for me to watch her struggle, as I knew she was in serious pain, but not ONCE did she want to give up or give in.  We walked, talked, laughed and cried (well, I did – when she wasn’t looking).  We learned that we each had a completely different upbringing – and that was insightful, as it helped me understand her better and vice versa.

So, thank you universe.  Thank you for giving me my big sister.  Thank you for providing the life experiences we’ve had apart and together – that has brought us both to the here and now.  Thank you for showing me love and for letting me see how wonderful a sister can be.  You’ve given me my best friend.

Image