Strange viewpoint from a 50something

Posts tagged ‘life’

(#singingoutloud) “I am a-live….. with the sound of mu-sic”..

Since fighting my way out of that standstill funk, I have been on the run!! I am excited again about the prospect of each day… I am back to wanting to meet life with full force. And part of my getting back to life was music. That which swirls through my veins in complete unison with my blood. I’ve discovered that it is as important to the running of my body, as any other function that keeps me going.

When I was going back and forth to St Louis, during my Mom’s issues, I didn’t pay much attention to the music. It was on… but only as background noise. With each drive, the same tunes… the same feelings… the same nothing. With all that was happening to my Mom, I felt I would be betraying her in some way if I were feeling too good. After she died, I temporarily lost interest. The music played but I wasn’t involved.

Last week, I spent a couple hours erasing and loading my ipod. As I added song after song, I felt the excitement growing. (There is something very powerful about anticipation!) Music is magical to me. No matter what my mood may be… I have a song to match it. Let me add, too, that it is such a personal thing… matching mood to music. Some of the saddest songs I favor make me feel the best!

This particular list was comprised of some of the best sing-along-mood-lifting-gear-shifting-head-bopping-steeringwheel-banging music I own. Getting myself in my little blue car… hooking up the ipod, adjusting my tail in the drivers seat, easing the clutch pedal out….. and I am on my way! I turn the volume up and the shifting and singing begin!! I can not and do not sing for anyone but me. I don’t kareoke. I don’t break out in song at random in front of people. At home alone, or in my car…. I can belt ’em out! The physical act of singing.. gosh, I don’t know if I can explain it, but it feels so good!! The euphoria that comes over me! The pulse of the music is thumping from the trunk and it awakens my body- making my skin tingle! I sing along with the words ~ and I feel awake and alive!! 

Nothing compares to the sizzling of all my senses when I am flying down the road, singing songs that create these fabulous endorphins!! The sight of me must be something! I just hope the one thing people think to themselves, when they see me in this state, is that I must be having fun. Because being alive… it does feel so good!! 

 

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Snap out of it already!!!

Finally!

I thought I was going to drown in that wet paper bag I’ve been stuck in. Riding on a merry-go-round of misery of my own making. I have had a life full of great and wonderful times and some low moments I would rather forget. The hardest moment just occurred with the loss of my Mom. I knew her death was eminent, but the shock of it was more than I could bear. There have been many people in my world who have died. With each life that I knew, I grieved in a different way when their end came. With my Mom is has been different. I still fight with the sadness of her passing. It may last for the rest of my days… after all, she was my Momma!! My little girl heart hurts so much. Her soothing voice in my ear was something I relied on, I counted on. And the funny thing is, as wise as I thought she was, she never gave me advice! She didn’t tell me what I should be doing. She just asked the right questions and kept me talking until I could figure it out myself. I didn’t realize that until she was gone. I have had many moments since her death that I picked up the phone and dialed her number. The reality that she is not there is devastating.

Well, it took a little doing, but I feel as if I am shaking off some sort of hibernation, like I’ve been out of the loop. I spent a month going through and dividing all of Mom’s pictures. She had a trunk filled with envelope after envelope, all marked with date and occasion, and in order. Everyday a few more envelopes are gone through and divided. I watched my family regress in time, my grandkids and my kids, the sibs and their families all became younger! It was very cool to see all these events with my Mom’s camera’s eye. Most every picture told her story. I loved it. But it consumed me. Wanting the past… gosh I couldn’t let it go!

The thing is… as I was reliving my life backwards, I wasn’t living life forward. It wasn’t until I finished the picture division and put it all away that I realized I had checked out of life for a time. I was miserable. I went to work miserable, at home I was miserable. I didn’t want to do anything. I was on autopilot. I even saw it in my face. I lost my joy. I don’t know how it overtook me, I guess like all things in life… you let it go a couple days… soon it becomes the norm.

It hasn’t been just the loss of my Mom… I’ve had a couple of other setbacks, too. But enough happened all at once to keep me feeling as if I were failing, at everything. I wore failure all over me… like I was dipped in it. I was letting setbacks define my life… instead of using them as the stepping stones I’ve always used them for. Me and setbacks are true friends from long ago. Thinking back I know the minute I snapped out of this funk. I am so grateful for the eyes of a friend. All I needed was a spark. One powerful sentence from her and the furnace fire was lit. I spent the next day breaking out of the sadness I had been content to live in. Suddenly it’s not that damn dark anymore! I hope the world is ready for my return because I am back among the living! Hello Life!

How fast was that again?

Dear Reader,

I have one more repost from my original blog home. My daughter’s birthday is just around the corner and I wrote the following in honor of her 30th birthday, last year.

Saturday Feb 4, 2012 

30 years.

That block of time went by in the ‘blink of an eye’. Stupid saying, but so true. Defined by my daughter Shelby, my ‘Booboo’, as I loving refer to her, who was born Feb 11, 1982. As her 30th birthday approaches I am so overwhelmed by thoughts of her. Her actual birth day was such a surprise! I had returned to Minneapolis just a few days earlier from a trip to St.Louis. A St.Louis baby shower!! It had been stressful not because I had flown, but because the day I was to board my plane and leave St.Louis, there was a blizzard and I couldn’t even get off my Mom’s street to make it to the airport!! The entire midwest was covered with record snowfalls.. most types of transportation were near stand still conditions! But it was just a one day inconvenience as St.Louis plowed through the mess and got the city going again the following day.

Not due until March 21st, my little sweetie decided she was ready to make her entrance… (so like her mother, with that unfortunate personality flaw – does not like waiting!!) And the next thing I knew I was holding this tiny little creature, all 5 pounds and 1/2 ounce of her.

If you had asked me, (well you didn’t even have to ask me as I voiced my opinion quite loudly on the subject!!) I would have told you that I didn’t want to have children. I was a very selfish entity that could only think about the immediate needs of ME. In fact, at 25, I still had growing up issues! My mind never wrapped itself around the idea of being a parent. I had even said many times that if I were to get pregnant, then I would take means necessary to change that status.

One day, after a few days of not feeling well, my best friend brought me a pregnancy test! No! Not possible!! But the damn thing said yes. Ok. Here I am. After all the bragging of what I would do if…. I now find myself at that crossroad. But, something inside… something inside..   I agonized over it, I changed my outlook on things and I stepped into a different world. The world of Motherhood. ugh. Even the sound of it. This is going to be so hard. What was I thinking??

As any woman can tell you having a first child is extremely frightening and extremely exciting!! There is nothing like it to explain the mixed emotions. The body changes… the belly… the mood swings… it was wonderfully distressing! I don’t know if I would have been more prepared mentally for her arrival if it had been closer to the ‘supposed’ due date. The fact she busted out early was soooo my life!! When they placed this so very small bundle in my arms…  my heart screamed bring it on!! I have so many stories about my little sweetie. So many cool things that only her and I share. The unconventional upbringing she has had shaped her into the loving, caring mother of three she has become. She is someone who taught me about myself in her innocence and teaches me to this day.

30 years.

It went by in a blink of an eye…

Momma…

She’s gone.

I don’t know that I have processed it fully. My brother called me this morning to let me know she died in her sleep. I was not prepared for the news. My greatest fear has now been realized. I will not see her again in this life. My heart is heavy, those feelings of love and hurt are so thick.

After about a hundred phones calls and 3/4 box of tissues, it has been decided I will return to St Louis tomorrow. My sister is due to fly in Thursday. There’s not much else for us to do at this point, except be together. My Mom’s wishes were very clear and easy. She did it that way for us. So, we will get together as siblings and we will cry and we will remember and we will cry some more. Our time there will be limited so the task of taking care of her things… ugh… I can’t even fathom. But it has to be done. And by us. Together. Just like she wanted.

I looked at myself in the mirror a while ago.. the older me on the outside shows the signs of hours of crying with puffy eyes and a pink tissue abused nose. And deep in my eyes… I saw my little-girl self looking back asking, “what’m I gonna do now?”

Living While Dying..

I’ve spent the last week tending to my Mom. The time has been fun and easy, as she is such a good soul. She doesn’t require much ‘babysitting’, in fact she hates the hovering! Still the most independent person I know, she insists things go her way. And as restricted as she is, she wants the last word!! Haha!! The most that I have been doing is cooking her meals and making sure her coffee maker (which is positioned next to her bed) is ready to go for the next day.

We had a visit yesterday from one of her doctors. (Who knew some still make house calls!?!?) I found out after he had left that it wasn’t a doctor/patient visit… he came and sat with my Mom as a friend. I am… overwhelmed. This man took time out of his day and came to her home, and just visited. And when he left… he hugged my Mom. In this day and age, any doctor who takes a personal interest (like this housecall) in their patients is so very rare. And you could tell, as they interacted, that his concern was genuine.

In 90% of her mind she is sure that this way of life will not last long… (and I am NOT talking about her anticipating her death here!) she is determined to live life on her terms! She truly believes that she will work herself back to life lived alone. I love her spunk and determination.. even if she tires easily she still wants to do it herself. Currently she can only move herself from bed to bathroom, and back again. Or from bed to her chair in living room. Now these excursions are not more than 10 to 15 ft, but it takes a good 10 minutes for her to recover.. the air use to just move that little bit of space overloads her very damaged lungs. She is such a trooper though… still believing that she can bring herself back. From where I sit, I don’t see how she can recover from all the damage, but I do see a woman who has great hope and faith. Talking to my sister by phone, we came to the same conclusion… it’s because of that hope and faith that she is doing as well as she is. Had she gone into some sort of care facility or senior home, she would have already given up and died. But being at home, in her own environment… that’s made the difference.
The other 10% of her mind is spent thinking of all the things she wants everyone to have. Out of the blue she will direct me to something stashed somewhere in her huge house and tell me to get it out and give it to ______ (insert name here). Nothing found is super important.. (bows for my daughter?!) but to her it’s very important! While I’m here, any request to do anything will be fulfilled. No matter how insignifigant it might seem to me, if she asks I will answer.

The funny thing about all this is the term – “death watch”. The sibs and I were told that she is going to die. The doctor explained that she didn’t have long to live. But the more I think of that.. the more I realize how stupid it is. Death watch. We are all on it. And not just for other people but for ourselves as well. (I remember when I was young and I finally understood what death meant… damn I was mad!! In my little girl mind I just kept coming back to one thought… why would people bring children into this world knowing that the end result is death? How unfair!!) So what makes this different? We are all going to die. So because of Mom’s unique situation, we are suppose to sit around and wait for her death? My Mom isn’t. And what am I learning? That I won’t either. Her inspiration is so very strong and I hear it loud and clear!!

What a turn of events… this living while dying thing.

When there’s a way.. the will isn’t far behind,,

I am a few days away from returning to St Louis. My Mom has found a new wave of life to ride. So much more restricted, but she lives on. In talking to both my siblings, I’ve learned that she is even being left alone for a couple hours at a time!! I know my Mom has been insisting on this… to go from ~happy she lives by herself to having one of us there 24/7~ I can only guess that she is rejoicing in the quiet! I’ve spoken to her on the phone and when you’re not there, you picture in your mind what you want to see. So in my mind, she is her old -I-can-do-it-myself- Mom. In reality though, she is doing well, she’s found a new routine for her day, with very little movement involved. Her voice sounded tired this last chat I had with her… but her scrappy attitude is still intact!!

I am back in the state of worry I was in when I came home a couple weeks ago. The situation has not changed. It’s still the same reasoning. I am there to watch over my Momma. To take turns with my siblings, to wait an undetermined amount of time until she dies. This ticks me off. So not fair. If there is one thing I have learned… life is not fair. In fact, it’s harsh as hell. But the small sliver of bright in this muck is that I can still talk to her. All my life I have told Mom things, I have confided in her, shared more with her than most women do with their Moms. She has always been my go to girl when it comes to advice. I find it difficult to see my life without her ear and her words.

During the 10 days I was there before, so much time was spent learning how to care for and deal with my Mom as she loses her battle with emphysema. Hospice had multiple visits to acclimate us to all her needs now and in her short future. These days there is a new flow to her day that I will fall into. A routine for me to learn and be a part of. For 2 weeks I will have downtime that I cannot find in my real life. With my erratic schedule (thank you AltasAir!) I have no normal type of daily ritual. Time to do things always seem to be interrupted by something or other.

So for me to just…. sit. And…. wait.

I will enjoy all the days I have remaining with her. I will tell her all the dramas I have always told her about… I will tell her the secrets I tell only my momma.. I will share my latest craft idea which will invoke an idea that she will share with me.. I will share the funniest things I can come up with to hear her laughter..

I will..

I will..

I will..

I will find all the will I will need.

Before I get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so life resumes…

My Mom is at home, and she is stable, after a week with her and not seeing any decline in her health, it was time to peel myself away from the situation and return to my life. I’ve missed Del. I’ve missed my job, my friends. I returned home to Alabama. The drive was long, filled with memories and tears. What if I never hug and kiss her again? The ‘what if’s’ ravaged my mind the entire ride.

Now that I’m home, I am overwhelmed. There is so much to get back to but I just can’t find the motivation. I feel lost. My mind is in St Louis. Busy worrying about the one thing I cannot change. It felt good to go back to work, the activity of moving around is a mood lifter. By the time I finished for the day, I was so physically whooped. Seems it just doesn’t matter though, my mind is still at full throttle. My sweet Mom, her independent spirit is still very much alive! Her will to control what is happening is there, but it’s just not working like it used to. I kissed and hugged her before I left. My last image of her was the helplessness and the fear of waiting I saw reflected in her eyes. How can I stop thinking about it??

I am proud that my sibs and I have come together to make sure she knows one of us will be with her until and at the moment. We three worked out a schedule where we will each be there to help take care of her. Even though hospice is involved, their time with her is limited until her health really declines. I have been home almost a week and the phone calls I’ve had with her – Mom sounds so amazing!! I know she is more restricted than she has ever been, that will never change. How can we possibly be waiting for such a thing as her death? The doctor told us to expect it soon. She doesn’t have much time… but to talk to her, it just seems unreal. She said to me today that she wants to know how much longer. How do I answer that???? And if all this is hard on me, what must it be doing to her?

She has been the one we have relied on for guidance and love. Where do I find the guidance I need to help her through this? Is my mind trying to deny her condition? Is it how I am able to function day to day without my mind taking me where I don’t want to go? This is not how it’s suppose to be! The little girl in me is stomping around and kicking up a fuss..