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Watching Them Go

As I try not to be dark, I go over in my head all of the losses I have suffered in the past three years. I hope that I can help others as they go through this process.

The diagnosis came almost 2 years ago. The treatment began after several  assessments(medical insurance and providers may vary and have an impact) in January 2018. August 2019 I am watching death come slowly and methodically. Ravaging the external body as it has certainly been doing internally. This is a cruel process for all parties concerned.

Physically; all that is being done is keeping the pain away.  Timed disbursements of medications. We do return to our infancy, reliant on someone else to care for our basic needs. However, the progression in in the reverse.There is no conversation, I merely talk or don’t talk for awareness and comfort on both our parts. I reflect on The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

I am sad, angry and depressed. I sometimes sit because I cannot move, paralyzed by the overwhelming sense of helplessness. I sometimes wander..aimlessly because I do not know what to do or how to feel. I don’t eat or I over eat. My concentration is indescribable.

I have to remain calm and controlled. I MUST be conscious and observant. I have to report changes I notice because this determines level of care. I am not a doctor, nurse or medical professional; yet I am charged with doing what these professionals DO NOT RECOMMEND FOR THEMSELVES “caring for a loved one”. Sometimes hearing the words that must come out of my mouth astound me. I take my mind/ myself away from the situation at hand, but as I return the emotions take over and I “lose it”.

TRUTH.. you really do NOT know what you are capable of until you are forced to face “difficulty”. Try to truly live in the NOW; Life is random and unpredictable, and YES life goes on.

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Look At You

Every selfie I take, every Marco Polo video I record, every face-time image has to be rehearsed and “make-up has to be called in to freshen me up and make sure I look just right. This lighting, that angle…  Really? Sounds more like some performer prepping for a role or televised interview. I am sharing and talking to my friends and loved ones; don’t they know, aren’t they supposed to realize that I am real and not some plastic, photo-shopped image created to represent what someone defines as beautiful? Of course THEY do, question is do I?

What has happened to us, is we have been flooded… Inundated with 24 hour media. Let’s be real, if you know someone else is watching you really can’t be yourself. Can you? We have all become models and actors, many of us without the benefits of the coaches, directors, and special effects people. Are you really brave enough to go LIVE and truly be in the moment. The answer is undoubtedly yes..wait is my make-up right?

So at 2 :15 a.m 11:15p.m Pacific time my CPAP machine strapped to my face, hair in my silk scarf, The High Chapparral on my television. I see a message from one of my west coast buddies and I accidently select record. OooWeee what a sight. Truth is I should be sleep, I have a severe case of  asleep apnea and I cannot rest comfortably without taking those ritual precautions to insure something close to sleep occurs. Is it something I want the world to see, do I want my friends to see it ? No and No. But if that happens what you view when I accidentally hit record is exactly what my condition looks like.

Now consider what your situation is..in reality and then take a moment and simply say to yourself “Look At You” and be alright with what you see.

Nothing Helps

Therapy, grief groups, research into finding a word that describes the never-ending pain. I have tried a lot of things and so far the truth of the matter is, nothing helps At least not for long.. Music is painful, browsing through pictures brings mixed results. Sometimes I spiral into a flood of tears, sometimes it is just the pain of an emptiness.

There is a need for soothing. Barring what is obvious and illogical, what can make people like me feel better? Start with religion and God. Well many like me are angry disappointed and confused with the very idea(s). There are medications. How much can a person sleep or NOT sleep, really? Alcohol/drugs ..aren’t we just substituting one type of pain for what will eventually  be another?

Consciously, I know that I am moving forward. I also know that it takes very little to return me to “square one”. As those around NOT directly affected  look to what is next we are stuck painfully nostalgically looking to what once was or what might have been. We are tough patients for therapy.  Trying to live in the now makes us have to dismiss, in theory, the FACT we once had a child.  Then there is being alone, that is a place I feel most at home with. My thoughts are not always soothing, but there is no one to judge  no one to explain the long moments of silence to. The far away looks towards no place in particular. As strange as this may read to others it is a safe haven for us. It does not last long though, how can it and why would it .

We must get back to the business of living and even though nothing helps, until our time expires we too must go on.

“I Get It And I Am Done”

Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something they may not necessarily want to do? You can have the greatest of intentions, you may even be right. Yet some how some way things always seem difficult or strained. Then after all the planning and juggling and maneuvering, you still end up back where you started.

Landmark birthday alert.. 40 you speak your mind 50 things are great you have made it through many things and you are still upright..here comes 60 the age of intolerance. Screech!!!

Chasing a dream, a relationship, even an idea is far less attractive now, because of the word chase. What happens when you catch that dream. Figure this into your equation, this”whatever” was attempting to escape/elude you that is why you were involved in a chase, and you still goin after it?

Maybe this is a simple misinterpretation, but  then again maybe it is exactly what you think it is. As I see it, things will only deteriorate and eventually something may rupture. Walking away now, you are merely allowing things to take their natural course. This is after all how it should be.

Your intentions may have been nothing but good, but you must have willing participants. No adult enjoys being forced/coerced into doing something that is totally against what they think they want.

Maya Angelou said, “If someone shows you who they are believe them.” Okay so now you must say, ” I get it and now I am done.”

Uggh..New Neighbors

Living in a town-home community has it’s advantages and it’s challenges. like any situation you MUST take the good with the bad. For that private street you MUST contend with limited parking and a narrow road.

Late Saturday night the moving van semi-blocked my driveway. I was not going anywhere at the time and if I needed to get out, the open door told me I could simply go next door and have the folks moving in to back the vehicle up so I could get out.

As I peered out of my upstairs window my eyes rolled up toward the ceiling. I thought,     ” oh brother, so we have THOSE kind of neighbors moving in”. In reality I knew better and I knew I was setting myself up to dislike these folks before I had VALID reason. I mean for the past two months I had perfect neighbors (the place was vacant). I heard some sounds, some music, some little child cries..already I made sure the police non-emergency number was in my favorites.

Sometimes YOU have to slow yourself down and pull back. What do I know about these people? Answer..nothing. What’s more I am NOT really interested in getting to know them. All I want is to have decent, quiet, respectful, clean next-door-neighbors (yes I went to the store and stocked up on roach traps and sprays..just-in-case). Hello when we see one another and that is quite enough. I have to remember Once-Upon-a-Time we were the new neighbors with two small boys and a couple dogs.

Quiet Times

I  really NEVER thought my soul would feel anything but pain since my dear child Jay suddenly passed away last January. However, after over a year the emotions,while on VERY high alert, have softened. My hope is that anyone who reads this NEVER feels the hurt, I feel every moment of every day. I also hope if anyone who reads this has suffered such a loss, I can provide you with some level of comfort.

NEVER will I be the same.What I am currently, is someone navigating through territory I did not want to be in. I am not tired, I am not weary, I am just in a continuous state of searching. At first I sought an answer to ,”why“. After I discovered no explanation would make sense or give me solace. Then I wanted to know, ” how“. How could I go on, how could I be happy and what was happy anymore. Questions with inadequate answers, that is what I have been living with since my Jay simply stopped being.

Life goes on all around you and eventually, you come back to a state where you appear to be what the outside world see as NORMAL or OKAY. You really are not; you now have the physical appearance of what makes others feel comfortable. The internal battles ARE forever, but you have soft moments and quiet times.

Watching The Process, Being Distracted and Missing The Point

The Polls are open here in Georgia and it is rainy. I wonder how many will use the weather as an excuse NOT to get out and vote?

As an African American Woman this political process is near-and-dear to my heart. At 59 I have watched my world in these United States of America change, evolve, leap forward, and fall backwards. However, I still have always voted since I became of age.  WHY? Well my family was not extraordinarily political, but they did vote. I suppose I was affected by what I saw during and after the Civil Rights Movement and I did not realize how much  I was affected, until I was actually able to exercise my right to vote.

The images of people being attacked by dogs, washed away with fire hoses, beaten by mobs of civilians and law enforcement ARE permanently and indelibly etched  into my mind. Those people fought the “good fight” many paid the ultimate price. However, they made a decision, a decision that let the world know injustice can only be successful when there is lack of knowledge. They decided that life is valuable but the value is diminished when you are held down and taken advantage of. They decided they had a choice and in those times it may be life or death. They said they want a life worth living, not just an existence. As horrible as things were at that time, one might say they had no real choice. I ask of this generation, this society, what is your excuse?

YOU who have reaped the benefits of those who fought the fight. YOU live in comfort, with minimal fear of what was YOUR ancestors reality. Have YOU forgotten THEM. Wait look around you. Young black men ARE being murdered right before our very eyes, sometimes the powers that be give excuses as they acquit them or look the other way, but that is how it starts. Voter suppression is alive and well, not a poll tax but”incorrect or questionable registrations”  deemed so by a candidate who stands to gain the governorship(and ironically runs the elections) and in spite of two separate court rulings by judges, against his so-called findings. RIGHT HERE IN OUR FACES. YOU don’t have time, it does not concern YOU directly, or YOU think the unthinkable “It could NOT happen to me”. Yet, it could and it is.

As you gaze out the window admiring the view from your high-rise condo, you are missing the condemned signs across the street and the widows being boarded up below you, metaphorically speaking. Many who were on the front-lines are no longer with us; we haven’t the benefit of someone else paving our way, we now must get behind the wheel of progress and drive.

Please GO VOTE, if you haven’t already. YOUR VOTE DOES COUNT!

 

“Periwinkle” Has To Go!

Dear Disney.. and Precious Moments. I am writing to you to protest the  Happy Birthday Train. It features Disney Princess from Snow White to Merida. Problem is someone is left out. Can you guess who..yep once gain Tiana did NOT make the cut. How and why does this keep happening?  12 opportunities for a princess spot on the train and Tiana gets sidetracked by two “fairies (Tinkerbell and Periwinkle).

I have to be honest the working princess story line was NOT my favorite; along with the fact that she ultimately ends up marrying a guy who does not look like her or share her ethnicity ( he was however brown). Once again we have to be grateful for “slim-pickins”. Earlier this year it was”leaked” Tiana was getting new skin and hair permed for her cameo in “Wreck-it Ralph 2”. The outcry was so loud that Disney went back in and made Tiana look like she did in HER film. The African American Princess we have come to know and LOVE!

I started on my mission. I promptly called Disney(and had Precious Moments on my list to call next). It may seem small and insignificant but where does our sense of self-esteem begin?  I will give you a “for-instance”I have a granddaughter and she is beautiful, brown and sports NATURAL hair.  I however wore my hair straight and chemically processed for 30+ years. Yet, I kept her hair in braids for ease as well as beauty. One occasion I requested her(now our) stylist leave part of her hair out in a puffy bun. It was gorgeous! I told her how pretty she was and how good her hair looked.

One weekend she spent with me she asked me to twist her hair up. I asked her did she like her hair. She responded “Yes but I just want it twisted.” I read much more into”yes but”. I thought of how OUR stylist over the course of 2+ years once asked if I ever though about going natural?” Without a pause I promptly answered,”No.”  Me who constantly commented on how good natural hair looked on other women, me who constantly spoke of how wonderful it was for black women NOT to be forced to wear OUR hair in a fashion that made “others comfortable or how we were no longer relegated to “other’s” standard of beauty.  As I twisted my little granddaughters hair I though of what Addison saw everyday. Her mother’s hair was in a straighten style but it was natural, her other grandmother wore her hair straight and me  her “Abuela” straight as possible with no curl.  Again where does self-esteem start, what message was this little girl reading?

3 years this year since I got off what is fondly known as “creamy-crack”. Do I miss it? NO! What do I love. I love getting out of bed and my hair is the LAST thing I have to worry about. I love rainy/drizzly weather and walking past women getting their umbrellas into position. I love driving with my windows down. What does this have to do with the Birthday Train ? Well it has to do with perceptions and self esteem. One MUST be happy with oneself for that sense of self to be positive. So Disney I love you BUT I love being brown-skinned with hair that is not necessarily straight unless I choose for it to be. There are MILLIONS of little girls who look like me and need to know they are fabulous JUST AS THEY ARE! Leave Tiana alone looks-wise, but don’t exclude her because she looks different. Hell, Ariel has a TAIL!

Bad Things….

Every single day, I now think about the statement which begins with “Bad things”. Yes Bad things happen to good people, but that does NOT mean we accept this truth. It destroys all we have been taught, all we have been led to believe and it makes us question all we THINK we know.

Growing up we learned of consequences and rewards. We learned very early, very quickly we wanted to be on the receiving end of the good stuff. We learned if you do the “right” thing, if you follow the rules and instructions, this was the recipe for success. Who among us did NOT want to be on the receiving end of the positives in life.

However, for no apparent reason, against the odds, contrary to what you have learned observed, thought, a curve ball is thrown and there is an upset. You turn to all you know for a reasonable explanation.. and depending on how far away from what you KNOW this is, you may just look for ANY explanation. Just when you thought you had this thing called life figured out, you thought you had the formula, this happens. Your very soul is challenged and put to test. Then the questions begin to arise. What is it really about? Is it worth it at all? What motivates us to go on in spite of these things we deem as mishaps, errors, unfortunate events?

I can offer you the obvious; Life happens. Yet that is not even acceptable to me. I want something more. I want to know how and why we are expected to go on . We do not understand and we want to. We need to make sense of this thing called LIFE.

Shall I lie to you and say, when someone wrongs me I am satisfied to allow fate or God or both to deal with this individual or at the very least feel comfort in knowing no matter what, I did the right thing and they will have to face what ever justice there is. HELL NO! I want and need to see justice served, even though that does NOT always happen. Therefore, I go out of my way to do the right thing, I avoid stepping of others toes, I keep my opinionated negative views under wraps, as much as possible. Now that last part is key; “as much as possible”, by whose standard, by whose gauge do I base my statement on? Certainly not mine, for I am flawed and sway in an unfair direction.

Then the unthinkable happens; the bad things find me and I get handed a punishment so very unfair and there is no appeal available. I am angry, I am hurt and I have NO ONE to direct my protest to. Then I step back and ask, was this a punishment or was it just LIFE, life happening.

Loss -Part One

So you are angry, but who is your anger directed at? There is this empty feeling and there is nothing that can fill that void. Are you in a dream? From one minute to the next I am on the verge of tears. My child was a source of joy, yet he was taken from me. How am I supposed to think of this any other way?

This process is terrible, it is going on an unplanned journey to a place you did NOT want to go to, not knowing what to expect.  My son had a good death” quick, pain free and with his love.  In my effort to comfort myself I tell myself this time and time again. Yet I am now painfully aware that I do NOT have a place or a person to direct this anger in me at. In saying and believing this, I have only the unknown. There is no comfort in that.

Am I running away from the pain, damn right I am. Am I trying to go through the pain to feel better, absolutely. Am I running straight to the pain, yes an affirmative response again. The problem is no matter what door I decide to go to at any given time, there is just plain old hurt behind it. I want the pain, the hurt, the anguish, the sorrow to stop. The problem is I FEAR that when these sad and awful feelings leave me, I will be walking away from one who was a source of sheer joy for me all of his days

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