Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Safety Precautions

I’m not very good at protecting myself. Emotionally I’m definitely a risk taker. Physically, I’m more cautious, but still not so much.

I remember when I was single and owned my first home. All the neighborhood kids hung out at my house. One of the kids that I was closest to, stole some money out of my desk. I went to his parents and he gave me the money back. That was the first time that I remember having to make a choice. I could start worrying about everyone who came in, start locking my drawers, hiding assets, etc. but I decided that I didn’t want to live that.

I’ve had that theory tested since then. You might remember the blog where someone I knew stole an entire year’s budget out of my house after Tim died. They did it while there was a big pool party going on. For a while we pursued it with a detective but we got no where. I found myself questioning my own family and the very best of my friends trying to figure it out. I had to decide to let it go. I couldn’t bear to let a wedge come in my life, especially without knowing who it was for sure. I did start to lock up my money though.

This week, I was out at my pool with a few friends. A young college student came up to the gate and I could tell he was in sales. Sure enough, he said he was selling educational materials for all age groups. We chatted a bit and I said I would talk to Frankie and be ready with an answer later in the evening. He then surprised me and said that he was having a contest with the other interns to see how many pools they could jump in with their clothes on. Could he jump in mine?

I laughed and told him of course he could! As I reached up to open the gate, I had a moment of, “Oh my Gosh! What if he has a gun and he’s going to kill us?” I didn’t even used to have those thoughts but now I do. I instantly resisted and again consciously said that I will not live that way.

He came in and jumped in the pool. We all had a great laugh about it. I wish I had a picture to show you. When he came back later that night, I told him he wasn’t getting a sale. He did not pressure me at all. Instead he just said he was able to jump in one other pool that day so he won the contest.

Well, at least there is one other person in the world who is as crazy as I am!

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When it Rains…

You know the rest. It pours. Although all things considered, I’m not drowning. I just feel soaked through and annoyed.

A couple of nights ago, I was working on the computer and hearing a weird water sound. I went to investigate and discovered the dishwasher was flooding the kitchen floor. Crap. I had actually just declined an invitation to go swimming on a perfect, beautiful night because I was too tired to put a swim suit on. Now that is tired. Thank God for google though. We actually repaired the dishwasher, at least for now. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for that too.

A couple of days before that, I walked Taffy and came back to my car only to discover it wouldn’t start. Stand in the 90 degree heat and wait for your friend to come and jump your battery. I was ticked because my battery isn’t that old. That’s because it wasn’t the battery. A jump didn’t work so we had to wait for triple A. It was the starter.  Car got towed. Another $540 later my car is back in the driveway. In two weeks I will probably trade it in, but you know how things go. I had to sink some money in before I got rid of it.

As soon as the hot weather breaks, they are coming to fix my roof. For yet another grand and some change, I will make the FIFTH attempt to have it repaired. Ever since the seven feet of snow dumped on our roof I haven’t been able to successfully stop the leaks in my roof. I repair it, then repair the kitchen and bathroom walls and ceilings. The next winter I just start all over again.

It’s all just normal life. I found myself saying this week that I’m sick of being a grown-up. I haven’t felt that ache on my shoulders in my while, the one I get from the weight of the world resting on my single-mom-you’re-the-only-one-responsible-for-everything shoulders, but it came back with a vengeance this week.

My foot surgery is mid-October, but until then I will also live regularly with pain that makes my eyes water. Each day it seems like I walk less and less before I have to stop and ice them.  I completely allow myself a pity-party but then I do the grateful thing. At least I have a car, dishwasher, and roof to break. And I’m super proud of the fact that Colin and I have managed to not only keep our home, but keep it in great shape. We’ve had two big pool bashes this week that were a huge success. Seeing everyone enjoy themselves makes it worth it.

But if you are ever around and want to rub my shoulders a bit, I won’t say no.


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Ya Never Know

Frankie and I used to be super close. He has my emotional makeup so I really understood him when others didn’t at times. Slowly we have separated over the years to the point that I hardly recognized who he even was sometimes. Now we are slowly, ever so slowly, finding ways to re-connect.

I think he is so unbelievably resilient. Even though I get frustrated, I can’t believe that he is the way he is with all the losses he has suffered from age four on. He is funny, popular and smart. Then the social worker part of me worries. He must be suffering underneath it all, right? Is he just holding it off until he is 30 when he is in some therapist’s office spilling how much he hated his life?

I remember when he was about 10. He had been in the peer support group at school for two years that focused on kids with loss. Out of the blue he got in the car one day and said matter-of-factly with maturity that shouldn’t be possible, “Mom, I’ve been in grief group for two years. I think it’s time to move on.” And that was that, he was done.

When I look at pictures of him when he was only eight, the age when his father died, I can hardly bear it. The grief comes back like it was yesterday. He looks so tiny. Just so damn little. I don’t remember at the time thinking he was so small. How the hell did a little boy deal with all that?

Tim has never been a taboo topic in our house, nor with our friends and family. But I can’t say it comes up all that often either.

This week, out of the blue, I’m in the car with Frankie and I stumbled upon the right question by fluke and I find out he has a friend whose mom died three years ago. He says they talk about it sometimes. I’m surprised, but very glad that he talks about it. Then he says, “Remember that song ‘Save a Place for Me’ that was in Dad’s funeral?”

I’m stunned again. Of course I do. I had no idea HE even had an inkling. Turns out his friend had the same song played at her mom’s funeral. What a coincidence. And how the heck did that even come up in conversation between two teens?

Final shocker. “Yeah. I’m surprised you’ve never said anything to me when I play it on the piano now.” Frankie has been teaching himself how to play the piano for a couple of years. He’s so talented. He mostly plays pop songs from the radio. He took (well, I say stole) the piano upstairs a couple of months ago so I can only hear through the walls. Usually it’s late at night and if I listen closely I can hear him play and sing before I fall asleep.

Holy crap. He knew the song, looked it up and learned it. I never knew.

I get tingles when I think about it. I shouldn’t worry so much. He remembers and he’s processing. He’s talking. He’s working it out. Knock me over with a feather.

The only thing more mind-boggling is that in a month he will be 16 and driving a car. How did THAT happen?

(Here’s the song by Matthew West  https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=zbsBUf9VKyc  if you want to cut and paste the link)


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The Usual

I’ve been staring at my screen for a while now. I’m trying to think of something creative or clever. Funny is my favorite. I know this blog was started around grief and loss, but I try to mix it up.

But alas, it has been more of the same. The universe hasn’t shifted much this week. People are still being born. People are still dying. No one has learned to live forever. It’s the usual cycle of life and death.

Yet, I know for those folks that have been touched personally, their lives are anything but usual. Their worlds have been turned upside down. They are either slowed in a fog or frantically keeping busy every moment of the day handling “stuff” which also serves to shield them from the full impact of loss.

My neighbor from where I grew up died recently, much too young. There was a benefit for her just days before her passing. A terminal illness battle.

A dear friend lost her father. He was the same age as my dad, also a Korean vet. His story reminded me of my mom. Three fast, confusing weeks of illness with little or no answers and suddenly you have lost a parent. Devastating.

My current neighbor lost her mom. I read her texts as things developed and my heart ached for her as she waited, unable to do anything but accept the inevitable outcome.

This weekend my family will attend a memorial service for Mom’s twin, a woman who was at one time so very close to our hearts she was like a second mom.

So the statistically normal thing will just keep happening. But I know that for many, many families, “normal” will be changed forever. My heart hurts for all of you and I offer my love and friendship if wanted or needed as you go through the painful days ahead. If you know someone enduring a loss, take the time to make a call, send a card, or offer a hug. It will mean more than you know.


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Guest Blogger

It’s been a while since we’ve had a guest blogger.  Jennifer Scott has written the informative article below. I apologize that her pictures did not translate over!  Her website is http://spiritfinder.org/ if you would like to know more. Thanks so much Ms. Scott!

Improve Your Overall Health While In Addiction Recovery

It was a long road, but you made it. After years of substance abuse and suffering from addiction, you managed to get clean and formally enter addiction recovery. This is a great time for you, but it’s not going to be easy. Although you’re strong enough to beat addiction, that doesn’t mean you can’t use some extra help to make this journey easier.

One of the best ways you can help yourself through the recovery process is by improving your overall wellness. But what does that even mean?

Being Healthy Supports Addiction Recovery

The University of California Riverside lists seven dimensions of wellness as a way of defining wellness:

  1. Social: Having friends and family to socialize with.
  2. Emotional: Cope with stress and challenges.
  3. Spiritual: Having peace and harmony.
  4. Environmental: Living safely.
  5. Occupational: Having a good paying and fulfilling job.
  6. Intellectual: Learning and challenging yourself mentally.
  7. Physical: Being physically fit and well.

These elements are imperative if you want to be successful in your addiction recovery journey.

As samhsa.gov explains, wellness and health are particularly important for people struggling with a disorder or addiction. Chances are, your body and mind were hurt by the addiction, so your chances of addiction recovery go up when your wellness improves.

What You Can Do To Stay Healthy

Wellness is important to you, but how can you improve it? It starts by knowing yourself. You need to understand what helps you socially, emotionally, intellectually, and so on. For example, what type of social activities do you love? Extroverts might love big parties, while introverts prefer small gatherings. As you explore your options, write down what works for you.

Then turn that list into a checklist that you can regularly review. Think of it as a road map to your overall wellness, or at least reminders of what you should be doing. Addictions And Recovery has a great example of a checklist you can use to monitor yourself. It includes items like:

  • Call your friends or family when you have problems.
  • Keep eating healthy and work on getting enough sleep each night.
  • Avoid the “friends” who helped you get addicted in the first place.
  • Engage in hobbies that promote wellness.

You also need to keep track of how you are doing week to week. Here is a great self-evaluation checklist to monitor your progress. By checking in with yourself each week, you can catch any slips before things get out of hand., but you can also see how successful you are, thus boosting your confidence and self-esteem.

Holistic Therapies That Work

As you continue to develop individual strategies to promote your overall wellness, you should also look into holistic therapies. This is not some kind of New Age medicine! Instead, these are treatments that work on your overall wellness — and they can help with your addiction recovery.

The Treehouse explains that holistic therapies can play a vital role in regaining your previous life. Although everyone should have their own personalized plan, here examples of holistic treatments that can help:

  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Biofeedback
  • Yoga
  • Herbal therapy

Even just getting some regular exercise can help you get through addiction recovery more smoothly.

Your Overall Wellness Matters

Addiction takes a toll on your mind and body. Although you’ve beaten it for now, addiction recovery is still a tough road to travel. That’s why you need to look to your overall wellness. Examine your life through the seven dimensions and find ways to support those that work for you. Keep a checklist handy, and find a holistic therapy that interests you. And remember, taking care of your wellness is a vital part of your addiction recovery.

 


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Malarkey

Stressful week. Nothing earth-shattering, just annoying. I will pick just one thing to write about lest you get bored and stop reading.

Vehicle trouble. We all know that we are crazy dependent on our cars, especially if you don’t live in a city with convenient subways or buses. This week, problem number 1 started when my boyfriend’s truck engine light went on…again. He had to get off the expressway. I called Dad and he said I could borrow his truck so that I could loan my car to him and he wouldn’t miss work. Yay!

The next day he was able to get his truck back and it was a little less than $500 which was great. Well, I should say they called him to give him the news. Before I could take him to pick it up, we discovered Dad’s truck was leaking oil. The truck is like new. I didn’t entirely panic because I knew he had just gotten the oil changed. (I’m still working on getting all the oil stains off the driveway which is proving to be a challenge.)

Juggle everything around. I have to work so my bf has his friend meet him at the garage. They pick up his truck, come to my house and pick up Dad’s truck and take it to where he got the oil change. They leave the keys where they were instructed to, I get my vehicle back. Phew, thank God he got his truck back so quickly.

The next morning, we head over to the shop to get Dad’s truck. They haven’t answered our phone calls all morning but it is now 10:30 and it should be a pretty quick fix so we figure they are just busy. Wrong. The place looks like a junk yard and the building is locked up and boarded up in places. Dad’s truck is no where in sight.

I don’t know what to do but call the police. While I am talking to them, my bf keeps trying and the mechanic finally answers. I ended up talking with him to discover they are closed but are sending someone late afternoon to fix the truck. A bunch of malarkey as far as I can tell but I’m not going to argue with him. I just want the damn truck back. Now we juggle schedules again and go pick up the second set of keys so we can get it after hours.

Not convenient, but hey, there are worse problems. At least we all have a vehicle now.

Wrong.

Then I get a text a few hours later. The engine light on my bf’s card went on again while he was working. Are you kidding me? Juggle plans again. Colin takes me to pick up Dad’s truck but I don’t return it to him because we are short a vehicle again. (By the way, I haven’t even told my dad any of this yet. Can’t wait to explain this fiasco…lol.) We aren’t able to take my bf’s truck back to the garage til 10:30 pm. They are supposed to have it fixed by 11 am this morning, but that is 15 minutes from now and I haven’t heard anything yet.

Oh well, we will just juggle again. I’ve been job hunting since January. Anyone know of any circus openings?


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Month-Aversary

This last week I celebrated my six month anniversary with my boyfriend. It is hard to believe it has been a half a year already. When I woke up that day, I found a text with a poem that he wrote at 3 am. He said I could share it, but I hesitated because then everyone will know he is actually a better writer than I am…lol.  Anyhow, I think you will see that some things are worth waiting for. I am indeed a blessed/lucky and grateful woman.

Six months ago,
You appeared.
Six months ago,
Our eyes met.
Six months ago,
You touched my hand.
Six months ago,
Our hearts met.
Six months ago,
We shared a little kiss.
Six months ago,
Our voyage began.
Today,
I absolutely love you.
Six months from now,
I will absolutely love you more.
Six years from now,
I will unconditionally love you more than more.
Sixty years from then,
My heart will always be with you.
I love you Darcy.
Darcy, Tim