Toes in the grass

Today I will be mindful.

I will sit with my toes in the grass and let the sun and earth feed my soul. I will remember to eat foods that are HEALING to my mind and body, and I will adjust my thinking when it drifts off to harmful places.

My Creator has given me the ability to choose what I let into MY world. Thank God for the tools to build/rebuild a safe and healthy place for myself and those He sends to me.

…and on those days when the sun hides behind the clouds, when I feel like I’ll never feel that warmth again, I will remember.

I will choose to recall the countless times that the sun has returned. I will listen to the birds as they continue to sing; they know that the sun will return. They sing their songs in full confidence that their needs won’t go unmet.

I will let their songs remind me, that my Father has never left me.

It’s my choice: to hold onto what I know to be true, and not let my current perspective take away tomorrow’s hope.

So, in the sun-filled days, I will let my heart feel the Son’s touch. And in the rainy, gray, chilly days, when my mind wants to crawl back into bed…I will look inward, to the Spirit in me. And I will sing of His unending love.

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Gifts to Grow On

All we are asked to bear, we can bear. That is a law of the spiritual life. The only hindrance to the working of this law, as of all benign laws, is fear.
—Elizabeth Goudge

There is no problem too difficult to handle with all the help available to us. Let’s not be overwhelmed. The program tells us to “Let go and let God,” to turn it over. And that’s where the solution lies.

Our challenges, the stumbling blocks in our way, beckon us toward the spiritual working-out of the problem which moves us closer toward being the women we are meant to be. Our fear comes from not trusting in the Power greater than ourselves to provide the direction we need, to make known the solution.

Every day we will have challenges. We have lessons to learn which means growing pains. If we could but remember that our challenges are gifts to grow on and that within every problem lies the solution.

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I will not be given more than I and my Higher Power can handle today, or any day.

On this, the 5 month mark after my son’s death…I can do all things through JESUS.

From the book Each Day a New Beginning

Reasons to Smile are out there.

I wrote this last year. I hope you like it.

I see a dapper-looking lady, probably in her 80s or more dressed in her casual Easter duds, walking into Wal-Mart holding the hand of a 40-something, long haired, leather-jacketed man: her son. His gait and the tenderness in the way he looks at her indictates that he is fully aware of the jewel at the end of his arm.
A few minutes later, I glimpse him pretending to throw a loaf of bread at her, then another aisle down, he hides and waits for her to come around the corner. Her smile is matched only by his smile.
She is clearly well cared for. I’m not sure if she is 100% lucid, but it really doesn’t matter.
She is happy.
He dotes on her.
And I am sitting in the middle of a busy Wal-Mart on the Saturday before Easter.
Crying.

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If you can’t be with the ones you love, honey, love the one you’re with.
And figure out a way to get back home.
#Mom #love #huggingstrangersinWalmart #doit #thisistheloveHetaught #loveoutloud

Taking a turn for the…Different

So, things are moving right along, here in my little world. I am about to make a strong turn in the direction that my “career” is taking. Funny how things go, sometimes.

Years ago, I had a stroke. It was the kind where my hand was curled up and, being a southpaw, I found it difficult to write at all. I woke up with my face sagging on one side, the hand curled, and kind of wobbly walking.

We went to the ER and were sent home again pretty quuckly. I remember driving with my right hand, as I’d promised to take a friend to work that morning, and I felt ok, so I did. She looked I credulous when I told her what had happened, but, to me, it was just another day. I’m still not sure if I “should have” had a different response.

Anyway, the reason I tell you all that is to tell you that I stopped crafting around that time. My hand didn’t work well enough to really be too creative, so I packed everything up and donated it to the Youth Group at church. I really enjoyed crafting, though.

Fast forward to today. My hand has come back to about 98% of what it once was; enough that I’ve been keeping up pretty well while working on production lines for the last several months.

And, I am about to make the aforementioned turn in employment. Next week I begin work at one of the country’s biggest Arts & Crafts supply stores. (😄🤗🤓😁😃)

I hadn’t given much thought to getting back into crafting, since I was pursuing working in Addiction/Mental Health, but this job presented itself, and can I say that I’m PRETTY STINKIN EXCITED?!

1. They’re not open Sundays, so it doesn’t interfere with church attendance

2. Pays better than most jobs I’ve had

3. Company has a really good reputation

4. No Hiipa laws

5. IT’S A CRAFT STORE!!!

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Like I posted this morning on Facebook, I have a new home to decorate, I love diy, and I’m gonna be working in a Craft store! If I believed in Karma I’d say I’m getting rewarded for something.  Instead, I’ll say this:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

After working in the places I’ve been, struggling to get enough hours or enough pay to make ends meet…I am just very grateful that I’ve been blessed with this opportunity.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked retail. I’ve worked with “The Public”, or certain segments of the public, but not like this. I just hope I can make Father proud.

I think that I’ll be able to easily identify my tribesfolk, because they WILL be coming in to the workplace. 😉

Today is 2 days short of the 4 month anniversary. This is where I am. Not depressed.  Working on my bond with Christ. Reading a John Bevere book about forgiving. Life isn’t easy, but it’s ok. I am grateful.

 

On anger and (lack of) acceptance, and of course, grief.

I worked today. It wasn’t unbearable. I have made a couple of friends there who help me to stay in the present, and find things to laugh about.

I have a co-worker whom I worked with briefly pre-the event, and then after, for a short time. I recently returned to that jobsite and she asked me how I’m doing with my son’s death and all…

…my honest answer is “I’m staying busy.”

What that means, is:

I do everything in my power to think about ANYTHING except for the fact that my baby is gone. I struggle every single day to keep my mind in between the lines, knowing that any drifting toward the curb will surely result in careening over the guard rail into the valley of sadness and regret. Although I don’t feel a desire to do anything, I am compelled to…keep swimming.

There was a self-help book that came out, probably in the 80’s, and the title of it was “I’m dancing as fast as I can.” Lately it’s more like I’m sitting in a rocking chair, rocking as fast as I can, but the effect is probably about the same.

Added to the grief of my son’s death is the fact that I find other things in my life, things that may ordinarily be moderately annoying, to be ENTIRELY UNACCEPTABLE. That’s where I have to do some footwork. I know enough about grief to realise that my irritability could be grief, slipping out sideways. And for that, I am, as they say, responsible.

I was in a class recently with someone who just frankly chapped my ass. This person was (just my opinion) overly self-centered, obnoxiously attention-seeking, and, well, maybe narcissistic. As evidenced by the looks on the faces of others in attendance, it wasn’t just me who was finding this person’s behavior a challenge to tolerate. For all outward appearances, this person was in attendance for purely selfish reasons, which was ironic especially when the whole point of the class was learning how to better SERVE OTHERS.

So, I got to thinking (in between perceived offensive behaviors), working on a mini-4th Step: what is it about ME, that this behavior is having such an effect on my serenity?

I learned from the Old timers in AA, many years ago, that if a person is getting on my nerves, it may be that there’s something of ME that I see in them. 🤔 Hmm.

Or maybe it’s a trait that I used to have, evident in all its ugliness, when seen in someone else…🤔

A few days later, I was talking about this situation with a friend. I had no sooner gotten out of my mouth how much I felt like punching this person, and realising that I was giving them ENTIRELY too much free space in my head, when my friend said “It sound’s like (they’re) really hurting.”

It stopped me right in my tracks. Mid-rant, to be honest.

Hurting.

I know something about that.

In fact, just a short period before this ass-chapping situation began, I had, myself, opened my mouth and said something for which I was compelled to apologise, the next day.  (Yes, it took that long for me to hear my conscience, loud and clear. Don’t you judge me!) I apologised to person #1 for a shitty statement I’d made about person #2, because apparently I felt uncomfortable in strange surroundings and wanted to be sure that #1 would want to be MY friend rather than #2. Such an immature and hurtful thing I did. My only reason/excuse is that I’m hurting and sometimes it comes out of my mouth in the form of me being an asshole.

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So, I can see, today, from this vantage point, that perhaps the person chapping my ass was, in fact, myself. After all, aren’t I the one who decides how I frame my life experiences? Don’t I  choose whether I become angry or not?

Yeah. I’m still a doo-doohead at times.

Which leaves me here, tonight.

Let me preface this by saying:

I am not depressed. Also, I am not suicidal. At all.

But I was thinking earlier about the shift in my thinking, a.d.

I had been pursuing becoming an entrepreneur, a lifelong dream. I was learning how to think like a successful business person, just absorbing all those “positive” and “motivational” phrases and quotes. Things like

“My best days are before me!”

But, now, guess what. I don’t believe that. I can not believe that there are better days ahead than what are behind.

For too many reasons to mention, it’s just not something, barring MIRACULOUS moves of God, that I’m willing to accept. Mind you, I do believe in miracles and God has shown up and shown off plenty of times…but my feelings tell me that the best days of my life are gone.

This has NOTHING to do with the incredibly strong supportive folks around me. Please don’t twist this into being about them. It’s just how I feel. It will pass.

And don’t get me started on the Mom-remorse for not knowing how to (adequately?) help my younger son through this nightmare.

………………………………………………………..

This is why I hesitate to write. I don’t have much to say that’s not wrapped up in shades of grief and mourning. If you see me on the street or in a store, you won’t know that these thoughts are my constant companions. I do my best to not thrust my heaviness of heart onto unsuspecting others.

But 3 days from now would have been Benjamin’s 26th birthday. 3 months and 2 weeks since he left us.

I suppose maybe someone will glean something helpful from this. Its really the only purpose for sharing these thoughts.

Thank you, if you’ve read this far. I am so very grateful for the kind and generous, emotionally available people in my life. If I can ask a simple favor, it is that you keep my family, Benjamin’s wife & friends in your prayers. 20160217_220356.jpg

 

 

 

A beautiful day to be drink and drug-free

About a week ago, it was typical winter weather, bitter cold and windy. Here, in Virginia, schools were closed and then had a 2-hour delay. We even had a few inches of snow!

Then, a couple of days ago, the temperature rose to 70°! Bizarre, even for Virginia.

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Today, my husband and I went out to run errands together, and it was a pleasant enough day.

Last night I was sitting in a meeting and a friend disclosed that about a week ago his child had completed suicide.

Yeah.

He has not chosen to relapse.

This is a beautiful example of the power of the spiritual program of recovery found in Alcoholics Anonymous.

I have so many things to say, and I need to say them. However, I feel like I just don’t have the words, right now. Maybe I should do an inventory to decipher what it is that I’m feeling.

Of late, my feelings are ever-changing, like quicksand…sucking me down…

In the desperate attempt to keep from feeling the emotional battery, I bob and weave furiously, dancing to avoid the right hook of pain and sorrow. More often than not, the punches land squarely.

I feel like there are a thousand emotional land mines all around me. I don’t know, maybe the death of my son was the impetus…I begin to recover from the devastation of stepping directly on a HUGE mine, then have a few days of comparable peace. Then out of the blue I step close enough to another mine, to set it off. The personal damage is much less, of course, but it ensures that my mind stays keenly on alert for any further, life-threatening  explosions.

Perhaps that’s why my verbiage is at such an all-time low. 95 days in. Part of the process, I remind myself.

I am walking in the dark now, gingerly, with arms outstretched, feet carefully searching for a safe spot on which to step. Whether or not such a place exists for me, now, I cannot say.

Moving forward, I am sure to encounter more death, pain, and plenty of other things over which I am powerless. My hope is to find a place where I can focus more on the births, and the healing, and laughter. Sooner would be better than later, but it’s in God’s hands.

I am reluctant to write while my days are more painful than not. Whether or not I will continue, only time will tell.

I shall remain…looking for reasons to smile, looking for His face.

I dropped her off Wednesday evening

…and on Thursday morning she was dead.

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I met X when she was in detox, about a year ago. She was pretty, spunky, and tired of living that life. She had someone bring her guitar in, and played for everyone. She was a delight. A gypsy soul.

Then later, X moved on to a women’s recovery house. She was making progress; got a job, and put together some clean time. Everybody who met X liked her. She was smart, sassy, and sensitive. I had high hopes for her.

The people who keep track of these things say that on average, only one out of 30-some people who get clean will stay that way. The odds are always against us. Addiction is so much more “cunning, baffling, and powerful” than anyone thinks.

And now I’m waiting to find out when the memorial/funeral will be. I feel numb.

Maybe it’s from having lost so many friends over the years, as a result of addiction, that I’m kind of permanently braced for it.

Maybe it’s because I’ve already been wading in the deep waters of grief. Once you’ve been completely soaked, you can’t really get any wetter, can you?

When I got the news about X’s death, I cried. I asked (her, from inside my car, as if she would hear me) “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” and I cried.

Someone said that maybe she died so that she wouldn’t have to endure any more…

Active addiction (which is usually accompanied by mental illness) is a very painful existance. Probably the only thing worse than that lifestyle is having tasted recovery and knowing that it is possible, and then finding yourself back in the misery and chaos of active addiction. Every time a person relapses, getting back into recovery gets more difficult than the time before.

I know that the activities of people with Substance Use Disorder seem crazy to the rest of the world. It took me a while to make sense of the whole “disease” model of addiction, but then I finally figured it out:

Addiction is a disease. It’s a mental illness. Like any other mental illness, the sufferers think their actions are normal, and that the rest of the world is wrong. Mental illness, and addiction,  can show up at any age, with or without any warning.

Regardless of your personal opinion on drug or alcohol abuse, it’s not a hopeless cause.

Do you know someone who needs to get clean or sober? It’s possible. Easy? Hell, no.

A lot of the outcome depends on the person and the family getting help. A lot of family members think that they don’t have any role to play in the recovery of their loved one. That’s actually not true at all.

Think about it. The odds are already stacked against them. Drugs and alcohol usually win, in that struggle. It IS a LIFE OR DEATH FIGHT. Do you want to attend their funeral, knowing that you could have done more?

Or visit them in prison? Or the psychiatric ward? 🤔

The only way the story ends for an alcoholic or addict (besides recovery) is JAILS, INSTITUTIONS OR DEATH.

Soon, I will see X’s Mom during the worst time of her life. Losing a child is hellish.

The next time you see a story about someone with an addiction, or pass an addict on the street, remember that that person is someone’s child. Look at them. In the face. De-humanizing them is the cowardly way. The next one could be yours. Do everyone a favor, and offer to take them to rehab. Detox. A meeting. SOMETHING.

I’m gonna miss you, X. So are a lot of others I know.