Thursday, February 21, 2013

You don't know that.

I get sad when I think about the future and the possibility of dementia in my family. Today I was having a self-pity moment, having a conversation with myself when a voice interrupted:

Sometimes I want to be selfish and today I am thinking…if dementia has a genetic link, why must MY parents be affected. Why not someone else in the family. But why would you think that? Because I think, my cousins are better equipped to handle something like this. They have accomplished more with their lives and their parents have had time to witness it. They are married, and now they have children and their parents get to enjoy being grandparents. Like I said, it’s a selfish thought. Do you not feel like you have accomplished anything? It’s not that, I find myself thinking, I should have done it differently. I should have made myself into someone who was more open to relationships, less fearful of commitment. I should have dated more when I was in college. I should have let myself meet someone, get married young and be settled down with a family. I could have made my life different. But I made you, and what I make is beautiful. I know. But now my mom may never know grandchildren, she will never feel that joy. You don’t know that.

And so I stopped talking, and I chose to smile and enjoy the beautiful sunset that I was missing. Because that is what it is all about. We let ourselves worry about things in the future, that aren’t even known to be true yet. We worry and we stress and we put ourselves down over things that we don’t even know are going to happen. We discount the beauty of all things that happened in the past and happening now in the present. “You don’t know that.” Four simple words to bring me back to the now, which is all I can, and need to know anything about. And at this moment, my now, my present, it is beautiful and all that it should be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Curse of the Caregiver

May 16, 2012

The past 12 months for me have been a journey of discovering personal limits, seeking balance, learning how to say no, letting go, and finding peace.  The journey is far from over, and I'm not sure it ever will be. But I feel stronger today (mentally, physically and spiritually) than I did in May 2011, but apparently my body has been absorbing more stress than I let myself be aware of. As it is my birth-month, I fulfilled my personal tradition today to receive a 60-minute massage.

As I tried to relax on the massage table, I quickly realized that I am not very good at relaxing! As the therapist worked on each section of my body, I began to realize how tense, sore, and fatigued my body is. Our session went over an hour, and she didn't even get a chance to work on my arms! It was a crazy experience, as each section was worked on, my body awareness increased and I scolded myself for not putting 'taking care of myself' as a higher priority. I call this, the curse of the caregiver.  I truly love my job and wholeheartedly love my students, which is why I am able to have so much patience with them. But when I get home I crash and neglect myself. I thought, and still think, that joining bootcamp was a good step in giving myself and my body some attention. But the curse of the caregiver is that I am left without any patience or energy to love on myself. I need to slow down and take more baths, treat myself to more massages, I think I might even buy myself some fresh flowers tomorrow, because hey, I think I deserve it!

It was so wonderful to have my kinks and knots worked on today, but I am far from healed. During my massage Matthew 11:28 came to me: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." This is a message to all of you in the caregiving vocation...come forward, let go, allow yourself to be taken care of and then we will feel pure rest.  I'm going to have to re-do my budget to make some room for more frequent massages...Dave Ramsey, I don't care what you think about that, I'll make it work!

I saw this picture and I had to grandma bought me the "Little Miss" books when I was young..."Little Miss Bossy" and "Little Miss Chatterbox" to be specific. Yes, she was very passive aggressive with her messages to me :) But "Little Miss Stress" is definitely who I would identify with today!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

This is the first morning I can remember that I didn't hit the snooze button and actually just woke up right away! Is this a sign that I am rested for the week ahead of me? I hope so!

I got on Facebook this morning and saw a message a sweet friend I know from high school posted...she has asked all of her friends to honor her mother by calling their mothers, right now, to tell them you love them, then posting done. I couldn't think of a better request and a more beautiful reminder of how every minute we are allowed with each is a gift to treasure, to be thankful for, and to not allow our busy lives be an excuse in letting others know how much we love them. Mother's Day isn't once a year.

If you are reading this, please continue this wonderful request and call your mothers and let them know how much you love them. Then post "Done" in the comments below for my friend to see. I promise it will make for a beautiful day for both you and your mom!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 76

March 20, 2012

So something really neat happened this morning! As you know I admitted to myself, you and God last night about my lack of trust in others and Him. Well this summer, I followed a friend's recommendation and signed up for daily emails through GriefShare  You won't believe what the message of my 195th email was this morning...trusting God! Ok, I get the message, you are listening to me.  I actually have found this happen a few times with these emails, that the issue I am battling with at that moment, is the theme of the next email I receive. It's so comforting and encouraging to think, if they made an email about this, it must be a common struggle, I'm not the only one! It's seems appropriate that trust in the Lord and his plan for our lives would be the topic to rest on my heart as a focus during this Lenten season. The email was summed up with this sentence: "You do not need to fully understand Him, just believe in Him and trust Him in all things." I know these words to be true, but this is actually a difficult challenge and will be my meditation for the rest of Lent. Hebrews 2:13 "I will put my trust in Him" will be my daily prayer. 

Ok have my attention...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today...Day #??

March 19, 2012

Time to get on a track. Wish I could say “back on track” but sadly, I don’t really know the last time I was actually “on track”!

Today was a great day. I love when at 3:00 your coworkers take a breath and say “Well, today was surprisingly a productive and easy day for a Monday after Spring Break!” And yes, it was! Although...let’s knock on wood. We still have 4 more days in the school week! In addition to a great day at work, I went to bootcamp. It wasn’t even a question to not attend...that’s a first! And although it was incredibly challenging for me, I just repeated in my head “I don’t have to enjoy this, I just have to do it”. Surprisingly, reminding myself of that helps a lot. Well, that and my co-workers’ support. They are great and encourage me to keep pushing myself.  I was in such a great mood when I got home, that I decided to take my dog for a walk, and actually did a 30-minute 5K training workout. My evening was made even more enjoyable with an excellent meal, a delightful glass of wine, and a soulful conversation with a dear friend. So the two of us ended our evening of text-talking with a commitment of personal goals for the week and a promise of accountability to each other. For once I feel like I have set achievable health goals and am excited to attack them. 

I decided to take a bath, an enjoyment I haven’t allowed myself in a while. I tend to have too many thoughts during that time, and let’s be honest, lately I’ve been trying to avoid all of my thoughts. On a less positive note, I came to admit that I have serious trust issues, mainly with God. Although this is actually a realization that makes me feel very sad and empty, it was truly a wonderful revelation and raw moment of honesty to myself. I feel like I now have a starting point for me in my search to find a track to get on. Wish me luck and let’s pray for strength. Does the journey ever get easy?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 13

January 17, 2012

I had a biopsy today. Scary, especially since I have an irrational fear of doctors and have mild anxiety and cry everytime I am due for an appointment. A few years ago my friend Bonnie suggested that when I have to go to the doctor, I should treat myself to something special. I love that idea! So, my something special became a slice of pie at my favorite local pie shop: Must Be Heaven.

So there are two positives today: I survived my doctor's appointment without having an anxiety attack, and I got to eat pie!! Today I choose Coconut Cream Merringue, and was not disappointed.

Day 12

January 16, 2012

Today is another hard day to write about. The mass and burial for Lisa were today. It's hard to be positive in the midst of so much sorrow. It's hard to hear about death, and be told that we never know the timing, however in this situation, she DID know the timing. I feel like I have already lost the feeling of peace that I found last night! Come back!!!

I am again thankful for friends and family that are living. When Shawn died this summer, my loyal friend Casey drove up in the middle of the night to be with me, I didn't even ask her to. She also came to Shawn's funeral to be there for me. She did the same again today. She had only met Lisa once, yet was here for me today, to drive me, talk with me, and support me in the way only a friend can. 

As we were driving to the burial, I saw a billboard for Wicked. It reminded me of a conversation Lisa and I had just after Thanksgiving. We were going to take her oldest son to see Wicked! I approached D this afternoon and asked if that was something he still wanted to do and assured him that I wouldn't let this stop us from getting to see Wicked. So now I have something to look forward to, and I hope her son will find some happiness in having something fun to look forward to as well.

Speaking of "Wicked" here's an appropriate quote to end the day with:

It well may be,
That we will never meet again,
In this lifetime.
So let me say before we part,
So much of me,
Is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me,
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have re-written mine,
By being my friend... 
-"For Good", Wicked