Monday, June 27, 2011

Feeling Down

For the last few days I've been wondering if I've got some dread disease, blood clots, or just suffer from unadulterated laziness. I get a small burst of energy then have to sleep for two days just to get back on my feet. I don't sit around crying (can you cry in your sleep) but I burst out in tears even when I'm feeling uplifted (as in church yesterday when I saw a man, who's just come home to take care of his mother who is the same age as my father, touch his mom on the shoulder and they smiled at each other. It was less than a nano second but I saw it and "felt" it like an electric shock. I was jealous and sad and broken open just like that. So of course I slept the day away. This morning I told myself if I had even one ache or pain I could describe to the doctor I'd call for an appointment. I kind of knew what he'd say but I wanted him to say it, not me.

The long and short of the visit is that I started crying when the nurse asked me why I was there. Then when the doc came in I told him all of it and he said I wasn't really describing depression because I do have some ups. I'm pretty sure his tests are going to rule out anything wrong with my body. I don't think they can tell if a heart is broken by an EKG. So in a couple of days I'll probably have to head back to my shrink. It's possible that my meds are out of whack, it's happened before. But I think I'm in the throes of another round of grief. Which is getting tiresome to say the least! I want it to be over. I want to move on.

I realized today after reading a blog about a friend baking cookies that reminded her of her mother, that I can barely remember my mother. But I remember after she died, the number of times I wanted her here to talk to, or laugh with or take care of. Now all I see and feel is the black hole of missing Dad. Hell, a lot of the time he was alive I didn't even like him, so why this is going on so long I can't figure.

Then I thought maybe it's not dad I'm still missing. He's just the face I can put on the hole. I think I've got empty nest syndrome - I'm lost as to what to do with myself. A nurse at the hospital where I had an x-ray asked me if work. I said no. So then she asks am I a homemaker or unemployed? I literally stood there with my mouth open. Does trying to make a new home from an old home make me a homemaker? The fact that I only cook a few times a week and can't remember the last time I dusted or put fresh flowers on the table does detract from my homemaking skills, but I still see myself as a woman who makes her home homey - sort of. But since I no longer have anyone to take care and that was my "job" I am technically unemployed. I didn't know which answer to give her. As if she really cared. I think all she had to do was put an x in a box.

I keep telling myself I just need to change my attitude. Why is that so much easier said than done? On my way to the doctor the traffic was backed up and stalled almost to a standstill. Of course, I huffed and puffed and got all bent out of shape. Then I heard that the bridge was closed because there was a man contemplating jumping off. Dang I hate it when that happens. I hate it that people can be so messed up they think diving off a bridge is the best answer. And I hate it that I can't just say to myself, "see there, Missy, other people have it a whole lot worse than you do so let's just have a little bit of an attitude adjustment."

Here's the thing, I KNOW that this is going to pass. I KNOW there is going to be an end to grieving and a beginning to something new and maybe even exciting in my life. I KNOW crying isn't the worst thing that can happen to me. And I KNOW that the only person telling me I'm lazy is the voice in my head that sounds not surprisingly a lot like my Dad. I just want it to be over with now. Like when you're having a baby and after hours of contractions the doctor tells you it's okay to start pushing and you know that means the baby is almost out and all the pain is going to be worth it but at the moment all you can feel is your whole body squeezed into a big tight ball. Okay so that is the non-Lamaze way of doing it, I know. But do you catch my drift?

My prayer for tonight is that the man who didn't jump is resting comfortably in a place where he feels safe and people who love him are sitting by his side holding his hand. I'm grateful, really grateful, I'm not that depressed.

Wishing for you a heart at peace,
Merry ME

Fine

You know how when you ask someone how they are and they say "fine" but you can hear in their voice and body language that they are anything but fine still you nod your head and breathe a sigh of relief because you were really only asking to be polite, you didn't really want the whole story?

Or how about when you ask and do want the whole story but they answer fine with an attitude that cuts you off at the knees and makes you sorry you ever cared.

"Fine. I'm fine," I sometimes say to Sweetie.
"FINE. FINE. FINE." As in F*#!'k'd up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.
That's kind of a clue to him and he puts down whatever he's working on and looks me in the eye and asks again.

Ahhh, but fine is one of those words that can mean something else too. Like "fine" wine which to a wine drinker can mean ooh-lala smell that bouquet. Or he looks "fine" as in Matthew McConaughey which means one might like to rub one's hands all over his fine, muscular, bare chest. Or a seriously "fine" pair of shoes which not only look great but feel great - the kind you want in every color.

Recently I've been working with an artist. A muralist. I first saw her work on the side of one of my all time favorite stores. To call it a "fine" emporium of all things delightful would be an understatement.

In an email today this lady signed her name and followed it up with Fine Artist. Kind of like a doctor might add, MD or a lawyer, Esquire. I've never seen that before and I've gotta say I like it. Clearly she is a woman who has no problem with self esteem. Clearly she is a woman who is proud of her abilities. Clearly she is not afraid to tell it like it is.

She is not a mediocre artist, or a good artist. She is a FINE artist and says so right up front. Gotta like that in a person. If she had said magnificent or spectacular or whiz bang you might think she was a tad stuck up or full of herself. But she knows just how fine she is. Good golly Miss Molly I love that.

It makes me wonder how cool it would be to add fine to my name.
Merry ME, fine daughter, fine sister, fine mother, fine aunt, fine friend, fine writer ... fine, fine, fine ....
It has a nice ring to it doesn't it?

Wishing for you a fine day full of fine things that make you feel fine - really, truly fine.
Merry ME

Ed. Note: Just got this straight from the horse's mouth!
Haha! I like that description of "fine" artist. It's used often in the art world to differentiate a more formally trained artist from someone who just does arts & crafts. It took me years to feel comfortable enough to use that title for myself, but I figured after almost 20 years of experience, schooling, and practice I decided it was about time :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finished. Done. Complete.

"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing you'll never get done."
Bruce Lee

As of about 2:00 this afternoon the my house is now completely painted. Well, the wall are at least. There is still woodwork to sand, caulk, prime and paint but I'm leaving that to Johnson. It is a daunting task just to think about.

Sister Jean says everything is "brown" which kind of sounds like she doesn't like brown. And really it's a lot more yellow, like caramelized onions, than brown. I am not sure how a paint called "Clam Chowder" turned out yellow but it did. And so be it.

Even though I still have a valence to cover, curtains to make, furniture to put back in place, pictures to hang and carpets to clean I feel like I have made great strides. I think I shall give myself a well-deserved pat on the back.

Wishing for you the joy of a job completed.

Merry ME

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Action

"Painting is self-discovery.
Every good artist paints what he is."*
Jackson Pollack

My Sweetie pointed out last night that since I took the time to write about procrastination, I should also take the time to mention that once I stopped procrastinating and got in the groove, I am now one coat of paint away from being finished - as in put the paint away and start moving the furniture back in place. Woohoo!!!!

I look at my fingers as I type and marvel at my ability to get almost as much paint on me as the walls. I look like a painter guy dressed in white clothes spattered with different colored paint. Only thing is, it's not my clothes but my skin that is dotted with Kilz. I shouldn't have to worry about getting mildewed for quite awhile!

Today I am grateful for the proverbial light at the end of the painted tunnel.

I'm grateful for walls to paint and for the noticeable improvement in my painting skills. I may have paint on me but there was only one drip on the new carpet.

I'm also really really grateful for the pool boy who has made the pool in the backyard so inviting, and for the Divine Thermometer in the Sky who heated up the air which heated up the pool water to a yummalicious temperature.

Wishing for you the satisfaction coming around the corner and seeing the finish line right in front of you.

Merry ME
* Hmmm, I say to myself. Does this mean I'm a wall?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Procrastination

"Every duty which is bidden to wait returns
with seven fresh duties at its back."
Charles Kingsley

Procrastination is sitting at the computer hopping from one blog to another but not really focusing on anything.
Procrastination is taking the dog to get her nails clipped.
Procrastination is listening to the sound of someone else's lawn mower.
Procrastination is feeling like you'd like to take a good long nap even though you just got up an hour ago.
Procrastination is listening to the cat crunch on her kibble, one piece at a time.

Seems like I'm spending a lot more of my time avoiding certain tasks than actually doing them. I have one more room to paint. The furniture has been moved into the center of the room. The blue plastic drop cloth (a family heirloom I feel sure crossed the Cumberland Gap when the first Old Man Webb settled his wagon in the Smokey Mountains) has been spread on the floor for days. I just can't seem to get motivated.

Could it be the smoke in the air?
Could it be a seemingly unending period of grief?
Could it be old fashioned laziness?
Could it be avoidance?
Perhaps a little of all of that.

I really must get up and move, even if it is only to fold the laundry.
Move Merry ME. Move.
See Merry ME Move.
Go girl. Go.

Procrastination is channeling a Dick and Jane book from the first grade. Good golly, Miss Molly, what a treasure trove of trivia is locked in my brain.

Today, I'm grateful I am not homeless. Oh sure, with a home comes lots of jobs I'd rather not do, but there are also some perks. Like walls between me and the smoke. Like air conditioning that filters the smoke.

I'm grateful I don't have to work outside.
I'm grateful for the luxury of procrastination.

Wishing you a day without smoke, a few chores to get through so when you sit down you can throw yourself into rest.

Merry ME

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day


It's father's Day. Another one of those "first withouts" I have to get through since my father passed away. So far there's been my first birthday without my dad, the first anniversary of his birthday without him here to sing to, the first anniversary with neither of my parents here to celebrate what would have been 70 years of marriage. And now the first father's day without a father.


I've cried enough during the past week that surprisingly I don't feel like crying today. His not being here today doesn't feel much different than his not being here yesterday. I haven't quite figured out why, but some days I'm just a big ball of tears wrapped up in snotty tissues, other days life feels livable. There does not seem to be a pattern that I can discern yet. Maybe it will come.



The radio station I listened to this week had a contest where you call up and give a piece of advice your father gave you and maybe win a big prize. I never called but I did think about what advice I might relate. There are some Lutherisms that I can clearly hear him saying on a daily basis. There are others that pop into my head when I least expect them. Like, "girls shouldn't climb ladders." That's the one that has been playing lately. To be fair, he never actually said, "Girls" shouldn't climb ladders. He simply made it clear that if there was any ladder-climbing to be done it needed to wait until someone of the male persuasion (and preferably younger than 40) - Paul, John, Josh, Adam, Todd, etc - was around to do it. There is something so sexist about the whole ladder climbing thing that I feel like getting a ladder right now, climbing to the top of the roof with a leaf blower and letting her rip as I trod carefully over the shingles. But here's the thing, which I would never ever had admitted to my dad, climbing ladders scares me. Not the going up but the coming down. There is a rickety old wooden ladder that Johnson has been standing on to paint the bathroom ceiling. I tried it last week and decided I'd much rather use the step stool. It's not that I don't know how to climb a ladder, or shouldn't climb one, for me it's all about not wanting to. But then maybe if Dad were still here I'd feel differently.


Then there's another Dad saying, "if you can't do something right, don't do it at all." Here's what I heard ... if you can't be perfect you're not good enough, therefore, since I'm not perfect, I'm not good enough. Now I suspect if my father knew I felt that way he'd say, first of all, "I never said that," to which I'd have to raise my voice and fuss about because there is a little man on my shoulder who looks and sounds exactly like my father who is forever saying that and I didn't make it up. Secondly, he'd tell me I'm too sensitive. As the relatively new person in charge of fixing things up around the house, I've seen several places where my father let perfection (or my interpretation of perfection) slide, so maybe what he meant to tell me was "do your best." That has a much nicer ring to it, don't you think?


Almost right up until the day he couldn't talk anymore my father tried to instill in me sound financial principles. I don't know why or where it came from, but when the conversation turns to money I shrivel into an insecure doofus. It's no wonder he worried about me. Sometimes I worry about me. What I have to believe is this. Just because I don't approach things the way my father did doesn't make him right and me wrong. It doesn't make him smart and me stupid. It just makes us different. Not to be denied, however, it made him richer than I'll ever be.

Here are some more of the wisdom I was raised on.

When words didn’t work, Luther used his own life as an example to teach us:

  • Save for a rainy day.
  • Family is everything.
  • To pour pee out of a boot, read the directions on the heel.
  • A job worth doing is worth doing well.
  • Be prepared.
  • Say your prayers.
  • You can never have too many flashlights.
  • Have your car serviced in the Spring and Fall whether it needs it or not.
  • If you have a choice whether or not to throw something away - keep it, you never know when you might need it.
  • Memories are what will ease your fears in your last days - make good ones.
  • Be proud to be an American; respect the flag.
  • To get over the loss of a favored pet, go right out and get another one.
  • Turn out the lights, shut the door ... were you born in a barn?
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • Guns don’t kill, people do.
  • To the person standing in front of the TV -You make a better door than a window
  • When it comes to exercise - just say no.
Today I'm grateful for my father. For the time we spent together. For the lessons he taught me. For the lessons I ignored.

I'm grateful for the house he gave me. A place full of memories. A place to call home.

I'm grateful for the family he presided over, sisters, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws.

I'm grateful for fathers in general. It's gotta be a hard job.




And I'm grateful there is nothing so important today that I have to climb a ladder to get it. (Not that I couldn't if I had to.)

Wishing for you time spent in the company of a father. If you don't have one borrow one for awhile. You're sure to learn something, even if it's a little dated!

Merry ME

[Photos: Great father's I have known:
Dad; Texas Jimmy; Johnson; Neeraj Mehta; Preston Belcher; Sweetie; Todd Green; Joe LaMonica]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feeling Grateful

"Praise the bridge that carried you over."
George Colman

In the last couple of days the fire that has already burned 192,000 acres on the Georgia side of the Okefenokee Swamp jumped over into Florida. I guess that's why the air here is so thick with smoke, ash is covering the cars and it is hard to breathe. And I'm not even that close to the fire. Jacksonville Johnnie tells me it's been like this for weeks when he gets up to go to work before the sun comes up. Yikes!

Today I'm grateful for the people who fight fires. In fact I'm pretty darn grateful for all the people who put their lives on the line every minute of every day while people like me stay inside where it's cook and the air is clean when I try to decide where to hang pictures.

And I'm grateful for the ordinary people who get up every day and go to work doing the mundane, ho hum kinds of jobs that we all take for granted. When was the last time you smiled at the grocery clerk, thanked the bus driver, gave an extra tip to the person who refills your coffee cup at breakfast, offered a glass of water to the guy outside breaking concrete into little bitty pieces, shared pleasantries with the kid in the drive thru window, shook a service person's hand, congratulated a student for making it through another year, praised a teacher for the making it through another year, cheered on an athlete, comforted a mother at her wits end, shared your life story with the carpet cleaner.

Put all that gratitude together and by golly you get an Alabama song.

Wishing for you a heart full of thanksgiving,
Merry ME

P.S. I'm really, really grateful for the love you sent my way this afternoon. (See post below)

A Letter

Tomorrow is the last day of my workshop on grief.
It's been an interesting journey with few demands other than an openness to the idea that grief does end and each of us in the group will get through it. Some days it's been easier to see/feel that than others.

This week is different. We have a mandatory assignment. We're supposed to write a letter to our missing loved one. I've been dragging my feet. In fact blogging right now is all about avoidance. The house is quiet, I'm by myself with lots of space and time to write. The thing is I don't want to go there.
.
Partly Little Me has stomped her foot down and put her hands on her hips and is giving her uh-uh-not-going-to-do-it face. She doesn't like it when people tell her something is mandatory! You're not the boss of me she silently bristles, even though she knows and I know I'll do it. I just have to posture a little.

Now that I've given myself permission to dawdle just a few minutes longer, I'm going to sign off and at least try to write the letter. Really, what do you say to your dead father? I guess I'll find out.

If you don't mind me asking, when you read this will you stop for a few seconds and send some hugs and light in my direction. I don't like being alone and sometimes I'm afraid of the dark.

Thanks for listening,
Merry ME

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tolerance and Tenacity

Borrowing from the Queen:
"A wedding anniversary is the celebration of
love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.
The order varies for any given year."
Paul Sweeney

Even though Sweetie and I have several anniversaries to choose from today is not one of them. But I did have a moment this morning when I wondered if not only the "new" in newlywed was a stretching things a bit, but that we had perhaps turned into "oldy" weds in need of some marriage counseling.

For those of you who don't know us, Sweetie and I look sort of alike, but our similarities end with the white hair and round tummies and proclivity to hang out in baggie jeans. We have recently discovered about ourselves that I am the ying and he is the yang. Which basically means we are polar opposites. I admit I'm kind of (okay, a lot) of a clutterbug and he likes things to have in an identifiable order. I'm kind of (okay, a lot) dramatic and he is cool in most situations except when a "putz" driver is in front of him. I want to do things "my" way, he wants to do things "his" way. Especially when caught up in the decision making and heavy lifting of redecorating, our differences have made for some rather animated conversations.Like this one:

Sweetie: How about if move this there and move that over here?
Merry Me: No, I don't like that.
Sweetie: Okay (with a rather drawn out "O".
Merry Me: What? What's wrong? I know what you mean when you say okay like that. You mean, "yes dear" like you want to throw the hammer at me or worse, walk away and let me do it myself.
Sweetie: (Trying a different approach) Well, how about we try this?
Merry Me: Do you really think so? I don't think it will fit there.
Sweetie: Let's measure.
MME: Where's the tape? I just had it. Did you take it?
Sweetie: There it is behind you.
MME: Oh, yeh. I just put it there didn't I?
Sweetie: Ooookay. What were we going to measure?
MME: Oh, for god's sake. Just eyeball it. Are you okay? Why are you breathing heavy?

We take a few minutes break then get back at it.
Sweetie: The bookcases really don't go in this room.
MME: Why not? That's where they've always been.
Sweetie: I think they should go in that room.
MME: Well, I don't think so, but let's try.
MME: You can't move that without taking the books off the shelves.
Sweetie: Sure I can. Watch.
MME: OMG. I can't look.
Sweetie: You have to look, I need you to help direct where I'm going.
Sweetie: Let me go first.
MME: No I need to go first.
Sweetie: NO, I need to get into the room first.
MME: (Heaving a huge sigh, that might be misinterpreted as "you don't have an inkling of an idea what you are talking about.) Well, you do it then, and I'll just stand here and watch.

A while later with bookcases in place in the den.
MME: I kind of like that.
Sweetie: Even though it was my idea, I like it too.
MME: Will you help me hang these pictures.
Sweetie: Where's the tape measure?

And round we went for a couple of hours, before I looked at the man I love and asked if we had survived caring for my dad only to verge on divorce because of a missing tape measure. He laughed and assured me things would work out.

Today:
  • I'm grateful for the law of physics that says "Opposites attract"
  • I'm grateful for a living room that is almost put together, that the bookcases fit in the den, albeit a little tight, and, in the words of Goldilocks the desk moved to its 3rd location, looks "just right."
  • I'm grateful for some "signs" that are just too woowoo to write about.
  • And I'm jump up and down excited about my family tree (to be continued).

As I oiled the wood and cleaned the glass on pictures that have hung so long in the living room that I rarely ever look at them anymore, I smiled at the history we have, the pictures and I - and the history we are making my Sweetie and I.

Wishing for you reminders of days gone by and the new look of the future,
Merry ME

Monday, June 13, 2011

SARK Wisdom

This quote came across my email today. It hit home for me. Thought I'd share"



"Grieving is not something to ‘get over’ as much as it is to get into. If we rush grief, it just piles up in some distant place and waits to reapproach. If we dwell too long in grief, we color everything with it and can be consumed by it. If we try to skip over grief, we find it impossible. If we try to minimize our grieving, the unacknowledged parts reassemble and reappear later when we thought it was all finished. If we hate our grief, it will maneuver for our love ... If we allow our grieving, and pracitice sitting still or lying down and welcoming it in the slightest way, it can shift, change and transform.”


SARK

Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity



Today I'm grateful for rain. And I'm grateful the storm that brought the rain and fire causing lightening, and roof ripping winds did not come into my neighborhood.


I'm also grateful for being on room closer to being finished with the re-painting of "this old house".


I'm grateful for a conversation I had with a man in an air conditioning store that reminded me that caring for my parents was a blessing, for me as well as for them. It's easy to forget.


I'm grateful for new friends who already feel like old friends.


I'm grateful for a letter from France that helps me to know what it feels like to have a dream and to MAKE that dream come true.


Wishing for you moments of "glad no matter what"

Merry ME

Friday, June 10, 2011

Question #3

If your partner comes home and tells you he has herpes or HPV but (s)he has not been unfaithful just enjoying a hot summer night without mosquito repellent, are you going to believe him/her?

"Researchers say they believe the mosquitoes picked up the STD's from the skin of the people they bit."
Well duh. I'm thinking I wouldn't want to have mosquito bites down there. Good reason to keep your undies on when mosquitos are around.

Feeling like there's way too much money being spent on mosquito research and not enough on making sure "Pee Here" pads actually entice a severely dumb dog to want to tinkle on the pad and not on the carpet.

me

Question #2


Does there come a point when one looks in the mirror and says to oneself, "Self, I think we have enough medals" ? Imagine standing behind the guy at airport security and he not only has to empty out the change in his pockets and take off his shoes (which you know have about 50 laces) but has to undo all his medals, not to mention the epaulettes.

Just wondering,
me

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Night Date Night

Sweetie and I did something a little different tonight.
We went on a date.
We went to hear this guy (Goliath Flores).

Well that's what we thought we were doing. As it turned out we went to a bustling restaurant, had to wait for a table, and the drum beat was so loud we couldn't hear the singer. Since we'd already eaten dinner we settled on a slice of quadruple layer lemon cheesecake and some kind of chocolaty cappuccino thing. Both were tasty but way too sweet. When mixed with the drumming, dessert made for the beginnings of a headache.

Sweetie also had the thump thump of little feet on the other side of his booth. After a few minutes an unhappy little boy, say around 4, was led by his unhappy father to an empty chair and left there (within sight) to think about his behavior. From my vantage point I could see as the little one immediately assessed his situation. He stared at his dad with sad eyes and lips turned down, looking, if not exactly feeling, remorseful. The coup de gras, though, was getting down from the naughty chair and coming over to kiss his Dad's hand. All was forgiven - no more thumping! Since the singer was well out of our sight, this interchange was worth the price of admission, had their been one.

It was wonderful spending time with my Sweetie. I have to wonder, however, are we too old for dating?

Tonight I'm grateful for a quiet place to come home to, surprises that come in the mail and watching some of the sadness lift from the other members of my grief group.

And I've got to say a guitar playing, spanish singing trumpet-less trumpeter just automatically puts a smile on my face.

Wishing for you time spent eating dessert,
Merry ME

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Choices

"Stress is not what happens to us.
It's our response TO what happens.
And RESPONSE is something we can choose."
Maureen Killoran, Life Coach

I got up feeling pretty darn good this morning. Knew I had some laundry to do so got right to it. Then started re-potting plants that have been in dire need of some fresh soil and a bigger pot. I took a breather to run to the bank and store for some more pots.

I walked into the bank, asked for the lady I usually deal with. Since her office lights were out, it was pretty clear she wasn't in. She's been moved to another bank. One thing I can say for Wachovia, they have nothing against change! Change the name, change the people, change the decor in the end it's still the same place my mom and dad opened an account back in 1962. I shouldn't have let my mind go there.

But I did. The reason I was at the bank was to close out my father's accounts. No big deal, right? But as the bank manager started asking questions, and I started signing papers I could feel my throat closing up and tears welling up in my eyes. We walked back to the room crammed with safety deposit boxes and I was flooded with deja vu. How many times had I been there with my father as he officiously checked the contents of the box as if something might have changed? Today, I stood at the small desk in the private room running my hand over papers that no longer need protecting . Papers that are now just that - papers. It felt like being at the funeral home all over again. Me and a box, once filled with what I held dear, now empty. I cried but didn't dawdle.

Back in the small office I waited while the manager found a debit slip. The last few dollars of my Dad's account would go into the nether world at the bottom of my purse. I cried for all those times Dad tried to talk money sense into my pea brain and all I could do was sing la la. Quite unexpectedly there was a hand on my shoulder and Sweetie's voice asking if I was okay. Today I'm grateful for my blue-eyed husband who often gets the brunt of my roller-coaster emotions but who always shows up and steps up and gently tells me what I'm feeling is O.K.

I'm wondering, if stress is a response we can choose, is the same true for grief? I haven't yet learned how NOT to react to people, places and things that cause me stress. But I do think I understand the concept. Out of the blue today, I felt sucker-punched by grief. I think, the message in quote above, is that I can choose not to stay in the sad place. I can't say that right now I'm feeling quite as perky as before I went to the bank, but I've had time to settle into a comfortable less-sad place. There is still laundry to be done, plants to re-pot and dirt to be vacuumed off the kitchen floor. I will put Dad's papers away in a secure spot. I will remember. I will sooth my soul in ways that I know will work for me. I choose to move forward.

Today I'm also grateful for the resilience, strength and courage of a young boy who has stared into the dark place and said, "No More." Firekeeper You Rock!

Wishing for you opportunities to choose what works best for you.
Merry ME

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"This, surely, is the most valuable legacy we can pass on
to the next generation. Not money, houses, or heirlooms,
but a capacity for wonder and gratitude,
a sense of aliveness and joy.
Why don't we work harder at it?"
Arthur Gordon
A Touch of Wonder

Grammy, Ashley, Little Gracie


Daughter and Dad

Today I'm grateful for time spent with my soon-to-be-a-mother-granddaughter. I got sick the day she arrived so mostly I stayed quarantined in my room while she spent time in the mole hole with her father. When they are together the 24 hour clock has no meaning. They eat, sleep and play when they feel like it.

I'll be the first to admit that there has been concern over this pregnancy. Times have certainly changed from when my sister was an unwed mother back in 1967. She was sent away to a "home" and even though she grew noticeably bigger with each visit no one EVER spoke of it. Perhaps my parents discussed it in the confines of their room but it was never shared out loud. It drove me quite literally crazy. With that history and wanting only the very best for my granddaughter, I was one of the ones who cried at the news. In my opinion, babies just should not be having babies. Now some could argue that 16 going on 17 no longer a baby makes. And I was only a few years older when I had my first child. Of course, I was more mature and capable - I was married for goodness sake!

Yesterday Ashley and Grammy went to get our nails done. I listened with both my heart and my ears as Ashley talke about life as she sees it, about the baby's father (affectionately called by this open-minded grandmother the "sperm donor"), about graduating from high school, about adoption vs keeping the baby. I learned a lot. Not a lot I like, but who am I to judge? While I don't see the same picture Ashley does, I remembered that this was a time to bond, not pull the generational-Grammy-knows-best card. She'll learn, as all new mothers do, that life as she knew it will never ever be the same. It might be better, it might be worse, but it will never be the same. I've got to trust in the foundation laid by her parents, extended family and in all the prayers that are being said for mother, baby and yes, even the sperm donor. I don't know what God's plan is so why should I even try to guess? I settled for a few hours of girl time. I'm grateful, really grateful for that.


I also learned, to my surprise, that red nail polish is completely "out." It's what her mother wears. I was willing to let Ashley pick the color as long as it stayed in the "pink" family. While I really did want to "match" I wasn't quite ready for turquoise toes!


I'm also grateful for the continuing theme of gratitude I found over at Patty's blog. Some of you may have traveled over there from here before. Like me, Patty was a 24/7 caregiver. She blogged about her life and relationship with her husband who lost his battle with lymphoma in April. I've never actually met Patty, but her words and spirit have lifted me up, and been a light for my journey when I couldn't see past my own two feet. She is a good example of how to be a caregiver even when you don't have any idea what you are doing. You roll up your sleeves and throw yourself into the task at hand. You cry, you laugh, you get fed up, but you always come back to your beloved with your best foot forward. And now as she grieves, Patty writes of joy and gratitude. God bless her.

Today I smiled at Barry who thought he was going to sell me a car; at Chuck, the Hair Whisperer, who is still beaming at being the main character in one of my stories; at finding a frame at Hobby Lobby that didn't cost an arm and a leg; and at my silly dog who has expertly trained me to give her a treat every time she goes outside or comes back in.

Smiling all the way to the bottom of my heart!

Wishing for you joy filled moments punctuated by thank yous,
Merry ME