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Posts Tagged ‘forgive’

…enjoying sweet memories of simpler times makes todays complications more do-able…

my brother & me in Michigan 1961

my brother & me in Michigan 1961

…I have no regrets, Dad, no regrets…

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Day 4 since my father was admitted to the ICU.  I’ve been in Tucson staying at his home for 3 endless days and nights.  Talking to nurses.  His case manager.  What our next step could or should be.

With barely a hint of a soft and sad sounding whisper, my father said to me, “I’m so relieved to see you.  Are you doing everything you can to get me out of here?”

It had only been a couple of hours since his first feeding began with his new peg tube. A maiden voyage with a feeding tube.

“Yes Dad, I’m doing everything I can to get you out of here.”

How did he have so many questions?  How was I able to answer every one?  Then to my surprise, I was caught off guard when the same questions were being asked of me once more.  The whispering quite soft combined with the coughing quite loud.

“Where are you staying?” he asked again.

“I’m staying at your house and I’ll still be there when you get home.”

I read his lips as they moved and said, “That’s good.”

“Our family is small Dad – but we are mighty!”

He looked at me with a gentle smile as he pulled his hospital blankets up around his tender neck.

Another long visit.  Another long day in Tucson in my father’s empty home.  My sadness comes to the surface as I walk into his kitchen.  Sadness much more extreme than when I am sitting in the ICU with him.

Taking care of the must-do tasks and chores and errands for my father is a labor of love that I am honored to do. I keep moving, yet, my bottomless sadness makes time stands still.  How ironic that today is daylight savings time where every state in the USA sets their clocks back – every state that is – except Arizona.  I could have used that extra hour today.  An extra hour to help my father be more comfortable. An extra hour to use to apologize to my kind and thoughtful gentleman who drove me to Tucson, who made sure I ate, who lets me cry and cry and cry.  California has never felt so far away. Love has never felt so close.

Dad's hood

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I am grateful to no end for the windows that I look out of as I once more collapse in a crash and burn on my couch.  I take a few pictures of what I can see from my horizontal captivity.  I push through the pain in my body like a bull pushes his head through a matador’s angry red cape.  As I blast through the red, I find myself landing in a different place in my tired mind.  Once more I am reflecting on forgiveness.  Which brings me to weigh the love to be found in all of this forgiveness. Matters of the heart can be quite complicated.  I understand that part – but I am not speedy with how I want to go about all this complex getting in touch with my feelings stuff.  Then it  has all these different levels of emotions.  I mean, being the recovering party girl and all, this does not come easily for me.   I am far from being the fast order cook of my emotions.  “How do you want your heart cooked lady?!  Scrambled?  Fried?  Over easy?”  Pause. “Poached?!”  Another pause.  “Lord have mercy if you are one of them picky organic grown and free range types!”

“Hey, don’t rush me man.”  Sheesh. Gimme a damn minute.  I’m not sure what type I am right now. Why don’t cha come back in a week?

Here’s what is on my mind again as I look out the window to the thick green trees. . .  I’ve been divorced from Tyler’s dad for 25 years now – so no need for us to talk any more now that my son is a grown man.  But a couple of months ago my ex-husband sent me an E mail apologizing for something quite hurtful that he said to me around 3 years ago. THREE YEARS AGO. What’s up with that?

But I digress.  It felt like being involved in a bad car accident because someone simply took their eyes off of the road.  I revisited the emotional intersection of the collision with my ex-husband once again:  While my son was going to the local college he wanted to live with his father.  He had been going back and forth, every other weekend to his father’s house his whole life.  So, seemingly, all was just fine.   I went to visit my son at the house – we were all visiting.  And while Tyler left his father and I in the living room for just one second – Yes – he took his eyes off of us for just one second . . .  CRASH!  BAM!

I didn’t see it coming at all.  I was caught quite off guard because his father – out of nowhere – offered information to me that I did not need to know.  Ouch!  Call the paramedics!  Too much information and my emotional air-bag did not deploy.  Ouch!  Offering such hurtful information is somewhere between a twisted confession or just completely standing there while waiting for someone’s face to smash through the windshield.  At first I was kinda numb, in shock.  I gathered myself enough to tell him there was no reason for him to suddenly offer this information to me.  It was unnecessary, hurtful and not ok.  The shocker was that I was calm, so calm, but the hurt so deep that my words came out in a whisper.

He seemed to have forgotten I was no longer the girl he met in a bar and married 8 months later.  I am a mom, a sober mom who made the decision to stay sober and put my son first in my life.  I rose to my feet.  I stood tall.  Slowly I picked up my purse and walked away towards my son’s room to say good bye to him.  What my ex-husband said after that is unimportant.  In my son’s room,  Tyler said that he had heard everything.  My son, who was now a grown man – in college plus working a job – walked up to me and gave me a big ol’ bear hug.  How did he get so dang tall?  So much taller than me now.  He told me I never had to put myself in such a position any more – because he was over 18 now. My son Tyler continued to say some wise, loving and supportive words to me as he walked me to my car.  He told me that I’ve been a great mom his whole life.  He was his usual cool, calm and collected self. He suggested we meet down the street at the coffee shop in 5 minutes.  And I left and that was that with my ex-husband.  Boom.

So here I am looking at this “3 years later” E mail from my ex.  He wrote to me that he wished he never said the words he said to me that day.  He asked “for my forgiveness”.  Oddly and to my surprise, I shed tears of compassion for him as I read it. If you ask me – relationships, marriage, matters of the heart – it can all be so sad sometimes if we are not careful.  Especially if we take our eyes off the road, or worse, if we take our eyes off of God.  And just speaking for myself, forgiveness has always been a tricky one.  However, something profound happened this time.  I felt compassion, but with out searching for it.  I felt it being delivered to me by love –  just like what I heard in church once as I kid when I went with my next door neighbors – God is love.  That information that was “offered” to me that day from my ex-husband had nothing to do with me as a person.  It was his old stuff, back to haunt him. He was the one that ran that emotional red light that day, and I just happened to be in the way.  And as a result of his own actions, once more he totalled his own heart.

Sure, of course it would not be my choice to be endlessly ill and weary and have this crazy painful Fibromyalgia thing – but through the years of not feeling 100% I have created a simple and uncomplicated life and only surround myself with kind, loving and supportive people.  Other wise, I can feel my energy decline and my health weaken in that moment.  Love fills me up.  Love keeps me motivated even on the days I must rest, stay at home, and look out my window to the world of nature.  Someone who is showing me their negative hurtful spirit is not a fight I hang around for.  I dodge that bullet.  All my energy, even if I only have a very limited supply of it, is spent for me to make the most of what I have and learn who I best can be at this stage of my life.  Using all of my energy to learn how to manage this chronic debilitating pain is energy well spent.

I had forgiven my son’s father long ago – long before he had sent this E mail.  I hope he can forgive himself too – after all it is a miracle he has been sober many years.  I am grateful that my precious son’s father is still sober.  My son deserves that, and more, in his fabulous life with his longtime girlfriend.  And forgiveness is powerful stuff.

Forgiveness is for-giving my freedom back to myself.

And once I am able to do this – the rest is put back in God’s hands – and I continue to focus on what is in front of me.  And life once more can move forward, as it should.

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October 7th Is My Mom’s Birthday

My life has been quite full the last couple months.  I find this to be interesting because – simply put – my time is spent focusing 100% on managing and regaining my health.  I am slowly finding my way and finding a deeper level of what friendship means to me.  Or better yet, what friendships work for me while I build and discover a gentler life.

I woke up this morning as the sun was hitting the tops of the trees outside of my window.  And on this fine morning  I once more count my blessings, which always includes my mother too.  Today it’s not necessary to once more feeling compelled to describe & explain my physical pain & tears that over come me every single morning.  Because today my gratefulness, faith and joy is bigger and stronger than any part of my physical body.  My soul and spirit and belief covered everything else and only left lightness – joy in my heart.  I am eternally joyful and grateful that today my mother turns 82 years old!

Through God’s grace my mother and I both have endured and maintained long time sobriety.  A shocking amount of families literally suffer day in and day out from the disease of alcoholism.   Reluctantly,  as if it was a lifetime ago, I remember for years wishing my mom would just stop drinking. (and just stop smoking too!)  If only we could, “just”.  Not possible to “just” anything when it is a disease of the mind, body and spirit.  THEN when the miracle did happen – it was after I surrendered.  I quit just “wishing” and fell to my knees and started praying for her.  I let go.  I let it all go.  My pain was too great – I had to let go of my mother and her illness.  Sadly, she was out of my life for about two years – (not positive how long – it was so uncomfortable!)  my grieving and praying was bottomless and endless.  I went through a such a grieving period – I’m sorry – but my grieving was so painful that I wished she would just go ahead and die already from her alcoholism.  I had lived on eggshells for too long.  My feelings left me full of shame, guilt and good ol’ anger.  But during my grief period of letting her go and giving her to God – to my dismay – I started to notice and learn some things about myself and who I was as a person at that time in my life and how I come across in my communications.  My expectations.

I did not even notice that perhaps there was a reason of my own that I married and I was then divorcing my alcoholic husband.  I eventually saw that my own drinking was leading me to unhealthy levels.  (and I did not enjoy realizing that one)  And getting a babysitter for my baby boy so I could go out and “drink the right way” quickly stopped working for me.  Sheesh!  The hangovers – ouch.   It had to be a mistake!  Me?  An alcoholic too?  No, I don’t think so.  I must be wrong.  I have to be wrong!  My broken heart only could speak in unrealistic expectations of others.   I was so ignorant to the many levels of the complexity and heart ache of the disease of addiction to alcohol.   I was young – my son was a toddler.  Never before had I looked at my mother as a woman who lived with not knowing (and STILL not knowing) the demise of her son – my brother – he was  literally physically lost in the vast sea of alcoholism and drug addiction – the tide rising around him and the rip current bubbling out of control as it carried him far away to an unknown place on earth – or perhaps heaven – we do not know.  Could I function in day-to-day life if my son disappeared?  My God, my mother is brave.  She has courage that I have not ever had to tap into at such a level in motherhood. When my painful realizations and growth finally started to loosen their grip on my being – when my connection to my God grew more solid – when my own son was only 2 years old when I became sober myself in 1987 —  it was after all of that in October of 1988 when my mother called me. (No caller ID mind you.)  I was shocked and speechless when I heard my mother’s voice for the first time in forever and I heard her tell me she had 30 days sober.  Then she apologized to me.

Like giving birth to twins, God had struck us both sober.

All that matters is what is right in front of me – because that is how I survive myself some days.  And for today, what is in front of me is my mother’s birthday.  How cool is that?

Happy Birthday to you Mom.  I love you.  I’m glad that you were born.

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I am grateful to no end for the windows that I look out of as I once more collapse in a crash and burn on my couch.  I take a few pictures of what I can see from my horizontal captivity.  I push through the pain in my body like a bull pushes his head through a matador’s angry red cape.  As I blast through the red, I find myself landing in a different place in my tired mind.  Once more I am reflecting on forgiveness.  Which brings me to weigh the love to be found in all of this forgiveness. Matters of the heart can be quite complicated.  I understand that part – but I am not speedy with how I want to go about all this complex getting in touch with my feelings stuff.  Then it  has all these different levels of emotions.  I mean, being the recovering party girl and all, this does not come easily for me.   I am far from being the fast order cook of my emotions.  “How do you want your heart cooked lady?!  Scrambled?  Fried?  Over easy?”  Pause. “Poached?!”  Another pause.  “Lord have mercy if you are one of them picky organic grown and free range types!”

“Hey, don’t rush me man.”  Sheesh. Gimme a damn minute.  I’m not sure what type I am right now. Why don’t cha come back in a week?

Here’s what is on my mind again as I look out the window to the thick green trees. . .  I’ve been divorced from Tyler’s dad for 25 years now – so no need for us to talk any more now that my son is a grown man.  But a couple of months ago my ex-husband sent me an E mail apologizing for something quite hurtful that he said to me around 3 years ago. THREE YEARS AGO. What’s up with that?

But I digress.  It felt like being involved in a bad car accident because someone simply took their eyes off of the road.  I revisited the emotional intersection of the collision with my ex-husband once again:  While my son was going to the local college he wanted to live with his father.  He had been going back and forth, every other weekend to his father’s house his whole life.  So, seemingly, all was just fine.   I went to visit my son at the house – we were all visiting.  And while Tyler left his father and I in the living room for just one second – Yes – he took his eyes off of us for just one second . . .  CRASH!  BAM!

I didn’t see it coming at all.  I was caught quite off guard because his father – out of nowhere – offered information to me that I did not need to know.  Ouch!  Call the paramedics!  Too much information and my emotional air-bag did not deploy.  Ouch!  Offering such hurtful information is somewhere between a twisted confession or just completely standing there while waiting for someone’s face to smash through the windshield.  At first I was kinda numb, in shock.  I gathered myself enough to tell him there was no reason for him to suddenly offer this information to me.  It was unnecessary, hurtful and not ok.  The shocker was that I was calm, so calm, but the hurt so deep that my words came out in a whisper.

He seemed to have forgotten I was no longer the girl he met in a bar and married 8 months later.  I am a mom, a sober mom who made the decision to stay sober and put my son first in my life.  I rose to my feet.  I stood tall.  Slowly I picked up my purse and walked away towards my son’s room to say good bye to him.  What my ex-husband said after that is unimportant.  In my son’s room,  Tyler said that he had heard everything.  My son, who was now a grown man – in college plus working a job – walked up to me and gave me a big ol’ bear hug.  How did he get so dang tall?  So much taller than me now.  He told me I never had to put myself in such a position any more – because he was over 18 now. My son Tyler continued to say some wise, loving and supportive words to me as he walked me to my car.  He told me that I’ve been a great mom his whole life.  He was his usual cool, calm and collected self. He suggested we meet down the street at the coffee shop in 5 minutes.  And I left and that was that with my ex-husband.  Boom.

So here I am looking at this “3 years later” E mail from my ex.  He wrote to me that he wished he never said the words he said to me that day.  He asked “for my forgiveness”.  Oddly and to my surprise, I shed tears of compassion for him as I read it. If you ask me – relationships, marriage, matters of the heart – it can all be so sad sometimes if we are not careful.  Especially if we take our eyes off the road, or worse, if we take our eyes off of God.  And just speaking for myself, forgiveness has always been a tricky one.  However, something profound happened this time.  I felt compassion, but with out searching for it.  I felt it being delivered to me by love –  just like what I heard in church once as I kid when I went with my next door neighbors – God is love.  That information that was “offered” to me that day from my ex-husband had nothing to do with me as a person.  It was his old stuff, back to haunt him. He was the one that ran that emotional red light that day, and I just happened to be in the way.  And as a result of his own actions, once more he totalled his own heart.

Sure, of course it would not be my choice to be endlessly ill and weary and have this crazy painful Fibromyalgia thing – but through the years of not feeling 100% I have created a simple and uncomplicated life and only surround myself with kind, loving and supportive people.  Other wise, I can feel my energy decline and my health weaken in that moment.  Love fills me up.  Love keeps me motivated even on the days I must rest, stay at home, and look out my window to the world of nature.  Someone who is showing me their negative hurtful spirit is not a fight I hang around for.  I dodge that bullet.  All my energy, even if I only have a very limited supply of it, is spent for me to make the most of what I have and learn who I best can be at this stage of my life.  Using all of my energy to learn how to manage this chronic debilitating pain is energy well spent.

I had forgiven my son’s father long ago – long before he had sent this E mail.  I hope he can forgive himself too – after all it is a miracle he has been sober many years.  I am grateful that my precious son’s father is still sober.  My son deserves that, and more, in his fabulous life with his longtime girlfriend.  And forgiveness is powerful stuff.

Forgiveness is for-giving my freedom back to myself.

And once I am able to do this – the rest is put back in God’s hands – and I continue to focus on what is in front of me.  And life once more can move forward, as it should.

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It is the beginning of a holiday weekend.  Memorial Day weekend 2010.  A reason to party.  An excuse to drink.  But not any more, not for me anyway.  In the last 22 years, I never woke up in the morning and wished I drank the night before.  I have lived the past 22 years as a sober single mother to my son.  Today, I hold my head high.  I stand up straight.

What happened and what I used to do, or not do, no longer defines the woman I have become today.  When I write about my old days, it is as if I am speaking of someone else.  And perhaps I am.  I used to be incredibly uncomfortable not only with the memory of my behavior, but also what I thought of myself.  Especially on August 1st, 1987.  It was my worst day.  It also happened to be my 30th birthday.  It fell on a Sunday.  So,  just like the beginning of this  holiday weekend, I granted myself my personal holiday weekend and used my 30th birthday as an excuse – a reason to party.  A reason to numb my feelings. . . .

 Please click on the “about” tab above to read about me and how I got here.   More importantly I would love to hear from you.  Single sober parenting can be hard!  Heck – married not drinking parenting is hard too!  It is not a coincidence that you found my sober single parent Blog.  I understand the heartache, cravings, remorse, sleepless nights, anger, no help, fear and anxiety of divorce and getting sober when children are involved.  We owe it to our children.  They do not want to have drunk parents, even when they are not around.  I lived it sober with my son.  I highly recommend it, even though it can seem to be too much and overwhelming at times.  When I first quit drinking, I suddenly became horribly claustrophobic.  Elevators, the windows rolled up in my car, on an airplane – I’d suddenly have a hard time breathing and then become dizzy.  Heart pounding out of my chest.  I could not believe what was happening to me – until I learned it was my body reacting to life with out my coping skill of  my beloved alcohol.  (“That’s it.  I’m crazy.  I’m nuts.”, I’d say to myself). Even though it is a rough road, every bump along the way is bringing us closer to finding inner comfort.  I am a late bloomer.  I did not know that alkies must talk to alkies.  Alcoholics talk about things differently and feel things differently than “normal” drinkers.  We truly are mentally and bodily different from our fellows with our obsession of the mind and allergy of the body.  Our delicate balance of mind, body and spirit.  We are a colorful breed of Earth People!  We are awesome!  (And just a little eccentric).  Small things effect our self-worth differently than our non-alkie friends.  My experience in my 22 years sober is that certain things do not go as deep or last as long now.  Sometimes, not drinking and admitting we are alcoholic is not easy!  Now, combine this with being a single parent?!

I have found that the best medicine is to seek out another alcoholic, someone like us, and talk about it!  You are not alone.  Having a hard time being comfortable in your sober parent skin?  Looking for a support group? (I understand it all – I’ve been there)  Are you loving it? (I’ve been there too!)  I still remind myself that I never woke up in the morning and wished I drank the night before.  . . . . I will write again in a couple of days, I look forward to it, I hope you join me. . . . . .

 peace and luv ~ jules

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