Tag Archives: family

Please Be Patient With Me

I’m not sure what I want to write. Not even sure it’s a good plan to be writing at all… but my heart is full of so much right now that it’s making me sick to my stomach and causing a throbbing ache in my head. This will probably be pretty disjointed as I just try to purge some of the excess, so please, try to be patient with me!

Recently, I’ve fallen off the map for a lot of people. One of people I am closest to told me a few days ago they sometimes wished they could disappear. I cynically responded, “You and me both!” But here’s the thing – in a way, I actually have… My life has become such a balancing act of managing stress, paying bills, going to work, controlling ME/CFS symptoms, putting on a ‘happy face’, and trying to meet expectations of others that I’m exhausted before most days are halfway through. Evening finds me stumbling along in a similar pattern night after night pretending I’m getting along just fine while inside… well, inside I’m not. For those that have watched me slowly disappear, I hope you know me well enough to realize it’s not a conscious choice and will accept my heartfelt apology for not being very present. For those that’ve been inundated with my problems and insecurities, I hope you continue to find grace to deal with me while I navigate through it all. If you’re one of those I’ve entrusted with fears and concerns, you’re in an unenviable place, but the only true thing I need from you is your presence and support. That’s all. For various reasons and in different circumstances, criticism has been piled upon me left and right until I’m suffocating from the lack of value I feel… So the vulnerability and extremely low self-worth seeping from my pores? It’s authentic and deep-rooted. If you’re not able to hang with me through this, then perhaps we were never as important to one another as I thought. Trying to open up to someone and being shut down, ignored or belittled really makes it that much more of an uphill climb and I need you on my team right now – it’s small enough as it is! If you care about me *AT ALL*, please don’t turn away. Regardless of what I might tell you in my happier (or delusional) moments, I am not fine. Truly. And my fervent hope is that you *do* care and I might somehow learn to find my value again by seeing I also have worth in your eyes.

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For those not in the know, I’m going to try to be brave and open for a minute in case it might go the extra mile in helping someone else one day. My year has been okay so far. Much better than a lot of people, so I try not to complain. Particular incidences, however, have sucked and made everything feel it’s going to shit. (Sorry nanny, if you’re reading this.) It seems it all happened around the time I had a bad month with a dangerous infection behind my tonsil that left me unable to talk or swallow – it hurt to merely breathe. The doc took one look at it and within 15 minutes had surgical items set up in the room to perform what Bobby dubbed my “barbaric John Wayne procedure” (with no more anesthesia than a shot and very little coddling) that involved a scalpel and the roof/back corner of my mouth. I won’t share more detail, but it was pretty brutal stuff that I was told most patients don’t handle well and often pass out from. (I, thankfully, did not, but it sucked all the same.) Around the same time I found out I’m going to have to have a complete hysterectomy. Many women I’ve talked too have said, in almost identical tones, “You’re so lucky! I wish *I* could have one!” And I understand. Honestly. But here’s the thing – I don’t. I never wished that. And although the intervening months have helped me come to a uneasy and precarious acceptance of the situation, I cannot stress enough that it has been devastating to me in ways I can’t put into words. True, my marriage has been rocky and my health is bad, but I always thought I’d have children… Even as I got older and it became an increasingly tiny possibility, even as I accepted in my head that it was never going to happen… even as my husband and I tried to console one another and find joy in other things, a part of my heart failed to accept the terms. So, finding out my uterus is enlarged and riddled with enough fibroids to rival the size of a 3-4 month pregnancy has forced my heart to acknowledge what was supposed to be a foregone conclusion. Something in me died when I heard that. Something that will never be fixed and never be reclaimed. Between that moment and this, I’ve been accused of being combative, lazy, selfish, pessimistic, stupid, and told I’m taking too much time to deal with the situation and need to get on with it… I’ve heard it all. And sadly, it usually comes from a friend not foe. Someone said, in a frustrated and cynical way, that with my astounding tendency for bad luck the hospital should have extra blood on hand for transfusions during surgery. They laughed, I laughed, the conversation moved on, and then I came home and cried. Because that’s truly the way it typically goes. That’s not a pity party speaking, either. CFS has taught me to prepare for the worst case scenario and be THRILLED if things work out even slightly better.

In the midst of all this, I’ve lost the desire to be social. I’ve shut myself off from people that might otherwise help me through. I’ve opened up to all the blackest, darkest thoughts that can crowd my mind and found rare moments of solace – when my sister fiercely said, “that is so fucking unfair!” or my sis-in-law’s eyes filled with tears at the news because she immediately knew where my heart fell in this matter. I’ve tried to “self-medicate” with denial or anger, quiet acceptance… I’ve watched my blood pressure slowly increase alongside my depressive anxiety states, attempting to counterbalance those negatives by being more active while also carefully monitoring my ME/CFS symptoms so as not to push myself into a crash. The last few months have been pretty tense and the juggling act is not for the faint of heart. Yet, quite a few of the people know the situation seem to expect I can handle it all on my own. It’s not that my exterior isn’t tough and my determination stout, but this is harder than it looks…

Plenty of people will read this and it’ll be the first they’ve heard of the matter – some of them the closest people in my life. It hasn’t been in me to talk about it except in the rarest moments – my energy has been diverted toward existing. Toward battling the agonizing pain and exhaustion those blasted fibroids put me in at least two weeks of every month. Toward maintaining a job and as much of a household as I can manage. Toward outward appearances to avoid 1000 questions and painful conversations. Realizing at every turn that I’ve done a piss-poor job in almost every area of my life thus far – relationships, household, workplace, kindness and grace. So, I ask again – please be patient with me…

I know this hasn’t been the most articulate post and it may or may not even fully make sense. It was necessary, however, for me to write it out somewhere. And while my instinct is to keep it private, with so many of my other health struggles, I can’t help but think someone out there might need to know they aren’t alone. Someone might read this and discover another person truly understands… Another woman’s life may be on the edge of a huge change that feels like a period rather than a comma or semicolon of life, and it may give them comfort.

Please take care of each other… and try to remember you can’t tell a person’s struggles just by looking at the expression on their face.

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A Non-Moms View of Mother’s Day

My mother is fantastic!  I owe so many of the fabulous things that I am and have to her!  It has always been a blessing to call her mom and I’m so happy to celebrate her – today and every day. The truth, however, is that Mother’s Day is difficult and painful for me… because I am not a mom and never will be.

My beautiful mother!
My purty mother!

 

Mother’s Day is beautiful, and I always enjoy hearing the wonderful things friends and family share about the special women in their lives.  None of us would be here without a mom of our own – whether biological, extended family, adopted, chosen or unknown.  There are so many types of mothers in the world and a woman who has raised or nurtured a child in any way is an amazing sight to behold.  They multitask; practice phenomenal amounts of grace; act as caretaker, doctor, cook, maid, teacher, moral compass, friend, disciplinarian, cheerleader, counselor… The list, frankly, is too long to fit in a single post.  Suffice it to say – it’s an incredible job and undertaking!

Mothering has got to be the most difficult job!
Mothering has to be the most difficult job – mine excels at it!

 

However, every year when we celebrate and recognize that fantastic group of women – deservedly – there is a different group of women that suffer in silence.  These are the women that, for one reason or another,  should be mothers but are not.  These are the women that never found a mate to start a family with, endured miscarriages, experienced the pain of infertility, were dealt a life of poor health, are estranged from their children, were unable to adopt, or have given up their child into adoption.  These are women that had a family and lost their children through a divorce… Women that lost a child who ran away, was in an accident, was a victim of crime. These women *should* be mothers, but for myriad reasons are not.

I am one of these women.

“Mother”…  At one point, I couldn’t even say the word without a pang of desperation.  Each time I logged on to social media and looked at my friend’s adorable offspring, I had to quickly scroll past their pictures or run the risk of bursting into tears.  I wrote blog posts about the struggle.  Commercials, TV shows, movies, or families spending time together at the park or a festival I was attending, could send my emotions into a tailspin, and still sometimes do.  I recall painful Mother’s Day church services, hearing the pastor ask mothers to stand and be recognized, only to feel humiliated and empty, like less of a female, surrounded by all of the standing women in the motherhood club…  At times, I’ve held an infant or child in my motherless arms simultaneously being pulled in two directions – half of me honored and rejoicing with the parent letting me hold their precious baby… the other half ripping apart inside knowing that cuddly moment was fleeting and would end with me walking away as barren and childless as I was walking into the situation.  Just writing about it now brings tears to my eyes.

I know parenting isn’t easy and that there are probably times at least some wonder what in the hell they were getting themselves into.  I know individuals and couples that actively choose not to parent, for various reasons.  Still other men and women aren’t meant to parent or are not capable, and knowing that, give their child into adoption so that someone else may provide a life for it…  All people, at some point in their lives, question whether they should or should not have a family and I respect whatever decision they come to in their circumstances.  Please, just understand that it’s difficult for some of us because the decision may not have fully been in our control…

If I don’t come out on a play date with you and your children, it’s not because I don’t love you guys or want you to include me in your lives… If you’re talking about your kids and my eyes look a little red or my smile seems forced, it’s not because I’m not interested in hearing the stories you have to tell.  If you post a picture on social media and I don’t leave a comment or click “like”, it’s not that your family isn’t cute and worthy of a minute of my time.  No matter how I know you – I’m happily your friend, neighbor, family member, or colleague, and long to share in your life and the lives of the youngsters you adore… Just know that some days it’s more difficult to accept my situation, but despite that,  I don’t want you to stop sharing with me!  There are moments that the sting is a little sharper, but it has nothing to do with you – I promise!  Sometimes, my mommy instinct flag is just flying higher than usual.  On those days, there is a lump in my throat, an ache in my chest, and a noticeable emptiness to my arms merely because on Mother’s Day, and every other day, I simply long to be a part of your ranks.

me & mom vols game
I owe so much to this lovely woman!

 

Please be kind to one another, and please love all women in your life today!

Until next time – thanks for coming along on my journey…
~h

The Memories are Thick Today

It’s only fitting that you would be on my mind this weekend.  There’s a HUGE movie premiere today – Star Wars: The Force Awakens – so it makes sense… Movies were, after all, the thing that brought us together, as we bonded over shared favorites and new recommendations during work at a video store.  As a matter of fact, the first several times we went anywhere outside of work revolved around movies.  Even years after we split up and went our separate ways, movies were a shared interest that would forever keep us friends.

So today, like so many other times over the past two years, a single thought keeps going through my head:  It isn’t fair that you aren’t here now.

That thought revisits often and some days it’s particularly difficult to swallow…  You would have been one of the first people I know to buy tickets for the new Star Wars film.  I felt like I should have been at the front of the line for the first showing at the best theater in town out of loyalty to your memory.   The first gift you ever gave me was your box set of the original Star Wars trilogy in “letterbox”, because I only had episode one.  We stood and had a heated discussion about the difference in widescreen ratios and which episode was the best, so it was a nerd connection from the beginning. I can still remember, in fact, standing in line years later each time the original three movies were re-released in the theaters (1997?), hoping to get the right seats in the audio “sweet spot“.   We did that for most big blockbuster releases for years, if possible, and had the process down to a science.  A huge portion of my movie memories involve you in some way, and I can’t walk into many theaters without smiling as I hear the phrase “buttery toots” run through my mind.  haha!

josh massey pensive copy

 

There are too many things you didn’t get to do before you were gone.  Too many new movies, like The Forces Awakens, that you didn’t get to see.  Moments you didn’t get to share.  Carter just got married, you know.. and you really should be around to celebrate.  Jen changed her Facebook profile picture to an older shot of the two of you in Hawaii recently and it’s lovely…  Speaking of Facebook, Kim posts new pictures of Alex every couple of weeks and you wouldn’t believe how much she’s grown!!  She’s so beautiful!  She misses you, I’m sure…  They all do.  They deserve you around.   And it makes me so angry sometimes that you’re not here.  One of those moments in life that seems so unjust.  So unfair.

It’s only fitting, I suppose, that you would be on my mind this weekend due to the premiere.  How was I to know, however, that you would also come to mind because I discovered your grandfather passed away yesterday… He was such a unique and wonderful person and one of your best friends.  I heard the news this morning and my heart broke a little because I always considered him family.  He was not the same when I saw him at your funeral and I’m glad that’s not the memory that comes to mind when I think of him.  Instead, I see him laughing at a joke the two of you are sharing over a family meal at your mother’s house.  I see him animated and engaged discussing a story or memory he is sharing.  I see the two of you hugging each other before making plans for your next get together.   He’s headed your way now, so I hope you’ve got a chessboard set up and ready to play…

What part of Ninja didn't you understand?

I don’t talk about you much anymore – our lives took different paths before you were gone and most  people I see didn’t know you well enough to chat about  memories of you.  You’re still on my mind, however, at random moments or when some odd thing reminds me of you.  Like a Danny Elfman song on any soundtrack new or old.  Or when a movie or video game comes out I know you would flip over.  Sometimes I’ll be looking at t-shirts and see an image or joke that is exactly your brand of humor… or hear a song that you used to repeat over and over just to  get it stuck in my head (“doo-doo, doo doo doo doo, mahna mahna”).   Thank you for those memories.  For those moments that are now more dear simply because they were so finite in nature.  Those things still occasionally have the power to make me sad, but mostly they make me smile.  Smile because I was so blessed to know you.  Smile because I know you lived every moment of every day to the fullest with no regrets.  Smile because you were one of the best friends I’ve ever had…

It will probably be a bit bittersweet waiting to file into the theater to see the new Star Wars movie, but I know I’ll be smiling when the phrase “buttery toots” go through my mind.   Thank you for that…  🙂
in memory of Josh and his wonderful GPa, Jimmie

 

~h