Just keep swimming.

“Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.

Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.

There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.

When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.

Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too.

Don’t stress over things you can’t change.

Live simply.

Love generously.

Speak truthfully.

Work diligently.

And even if you fall short, keep going.

Keep growing.”

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.

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

Thoughts on a Friday evening

Today was a good day.

I went outside this morning, and the sun was shining, birds were singing, and it really FELT like Spring. (Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons, btw)

Then I decided to go to a noon (AA) meeting that I’d not attended before. It was in a remote little place, between towns, in a church I’ve driven past hundreds of times. I had no idea that, at any given time, there was a group of folks saving one another’s lives inside.

When I walked in the chair person was reading from a recent Grapevine, which always encourages me. I had an article published in that publication, many years ago, and so of course I have always been fond of “Our meeting in print”.

The room looked like it could ordinarily be used as a Rec room for the churches’youth group. I spied an Air Hockey table, a jukebox, and a small setting area on one side with comfy coiches and chairs. There was a kitchen on the other side, and the bar area had 4 kind’s of cookies and a coffee maker, along with the usual literature options.

It was as if I’d strolled into a pleasant memory. If you’ve never been to an AA meeting, suffice it to say that by simply walking into the room, no matter what else is going on, or whether or not you feel any kind of way about being there, you are welcome.

Sick and worn out? Welcome.

Stinky and unbathed? Welcome.

In need of psychiatric meds but managing to somehow keep your shit more or less together? Welcome.

Nobody walks into an AA meeting by mistake.

It was nice to see a majority of gray-heads at this particular place. I haven’t been to many meetings of late where many of the attendees had over a year sober, and this cup looked to be running over with sobriety. With the emotional roller coaster I’ve been living in, it felt like a gift from God to slip into a seat at the back of the room, and listen.

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The coffee was hot, and someone had brought some carrot cake, with cream cheese icing. It was almost as if I’d called ahead and put in my order.

I think going to a meeting on any day that I’m not employed is a Good Thing. I left that meeting feeling hopeful and happy. Some one once said that you could think of “G.o.d.” as

Group

Of

Drunks.

I know that whenever I’m in a group of people working on a spiritual solution for the problem of alcoholism  (or addiction, thank you), my God meets me there.

I’m a greatful recovering alkie/druggie, today, and my name is Abbie.

I miss being a Mom

But you are a Mom. You have a son.

Yes, I do, but he’s grown. I am learning how to accept him as a pseudo-adult. Mostly, I’m learning to give him space.

After my older son died, I wanted to cling to my “baby”. However, he was no longer living with me at that time. That ship had sailed before I had even realised.

So, currently,  I’m working on figuring out what to do with a bunch of really messy feelings.

I think, almost daily, that I ought to shut down my social media…at least for a while. But then an old memory will pop up. I would hate to miss those. My personal memories of my children growing up are so few (I guess it’s because of ptsd), and those that I do retain are liberally mixed with things I wish I could forget.

Which leaves me here. Exactly 4 months since my baby died.  Wrestling with so much fear, anger, sorrow like I’ve not known before.

I get up in the morning and quickly switch my thoughts to gratitude,  similar to switching the lever in the fuse/breaker box. It has to be a fast move, so to keep the Grief locked away.

I remind myself that my younger son is doing his best, taking care of himself just fine, and God’s got him. I trust and believe those things to be true.

I know that “feelings aren’t facts”. Intellectually, I understand that the future will get better…

But right now, I just really miss being a Mom.

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My beautiful boys

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