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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Like a man stranded on an island – my father has not had solid food for almost 8 weeks. His determination and stubbornness has gotten him past the last chemo/radiation therapy. Not only is he 85 years old – he still has hung on to his beautiful gray hair during chemo.  However, his little body has become quite weary and disoriented. I am not able to say out loud the amount of weight he has lost.

The thing is – I have no doubt in my mind that he will improve.  I expect it of him. Is this unfair?  Is this unrealistic?  Who is to say.  It is just something I know in my heart.  Like when someone feels lucky in Vegas – I’m feeling lucky in Tucson.

After an extremely long day today – visiting dad, fixing a couple of things at his house, plus taking care of his health care business – he was transported from the ICU to a Skilled Living Facility.  He was exhausted and while he slept starting around 6:30pm for many hours, I peacefully, quietly, sat directly in front of my father for the majority of the evening.  It was quite an experience for me, standing guard as I shared with every new nurse, caregiver and CNA that happened into his clean, light blue room…

Softly I spoke, “Hi. I’m Julie and this is my Dad.  He just finished cancer treatment for his throat.”

The team hooked him up with his new feeding tube.  Real nutrients were starting to gently drip directly into his tummy.  Thin. Small. Frail.  None of this matters because I felt his spirit, even though at rest now, was, larger than life.  Strong. Determined. Stubborn. Ornery.  Yet, still a sweet generous man.

And my dear gentleman friend.  My new defensive blocker of some of the extra challenging people in front of me, had just brought me some food and coffee.  I felt a little guilty chowing down in front of my father as he slept.  My gratitude was fresh and filling the room.  Then bam… once again I felt my own body was not pleased with my pushing myself to the limit one more day.  My feet burning like frost bite from the Fibromyalgia.  It was time for me to put myself to bed.  Can not help my dad unless I help myself.  Time to go….. But I did not want him to wake up and not know where he was.  So I wrote a sign on a piece of paper in big perfect letters and left it next to his bed:

Sunday night

Dad,

We transported you to an After Care Facility in Tucson.

It’s good!   🙂

We will see you soon.  

Love, Julie

It feels good to do the right thing.  Even if it brings a few tears. Because I know that I am lucky to be given this opportunity.  Another life lesson in the making.

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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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Today is my son’s 27th birthday. I love sharing the fun short story of when he was born on June 11th, 1985 at 10:08am in San Francisco, CA . Here it is:  HAPPY DAY OF BIRTH, SON!

What a blessing . . .

it's a beautiful life. (if you like roller coasters!)

For many years on his birthday, I’ve called my son at 10:08AM – the time he was born.   I get a kick out of being that kind of mom.   25 years ago I was only in labor for 3 hours.   (Yes, I said three hours.)  When we arrived at  the hospital and got on the elevator, the contractions were so intense that I had to awkwardly squat down on my knees for fear I might fall from the pain.  Some how I spoke through my agony as the elevator started to move, “Oh my God, this baby is ready to be born”, I gasped to my then husband.  The people riding on the elevator with me did not say a word as the doors opened when we arrived on the maternity floor.   A couple of people helped me up and off I waddled – on my way to give birth!  My son was over due, ready, and starting to be born while…

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Feeling blessed & joyful.  I’ll be seeing my son & his longtime girlfriend later today. I just read my 2011 Mother’s Day post from last year & felt compelled to share it again! Please click on link:   Sobriety Is Not For Wimps, Especially on Mother’s Day

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A couple years ago when fatigue and chronic pain first started to take over my life and body – one of the many things I couldn’t get out of my mind was how I felt that life was passing me by.  Canceling invitations and plans, saying “no thank you” when I was asked on a date.  Moving so slowly.  I didn’t have the strength to shower, let alone drive my car and participate in a social situation.  I knew something was horribly wrong with my intestine and I no longer had the energy to bring my own safe bland food – especially when asked well meaning questions. The brain-fog that I was once able to shake off was getting more and more difficult to overcome.  I felt surprisingly toxic – every part of me ached.  Yet, doctors giving me test after test just couldn’t figure out why any of this was happening so time and time again I was told “nothing is wrong”.  I knew this was not true, so I’d drag myself to one more doctor.  When I was finally unable to drive, I would feel so blessed and feel so humbled when a friend drove me.

As more weeks went by I’d never known such illness, isolation and depression – and in my case they went hand in hand.  I was forced to become a hermit but some how I was able to hang on to my sobriety and my spiritual foundation that an alcoholic must find to stay sober. 

Was I the active, happy, single mom who not so long ago used to live at the beach, go longboarding at sunrise and take my son to school before I even went to work for the day?  Where did she go?  I did not realize I always been a bullet proof Barbie until I started to morph into a Raggedy Ann doll.   All I knew was that I was in survival mode.  When I didn’t even have the energy to speak, I’d let my cell phone go to voice mail when I heard it ring.   Then there were the times as soon as my cell phone stopped ringing, my land line would ring.  That would be my son.  I knew it was him because I had finally told him I hadn’t been feeling well for many months and it had gotten to be too much – my body was wiped out from fighting what ever was wrong.   He said if I didn’t answer my cell, he would then immediatley call on my land line that was next to my bed.  When it was my son, I’d answere.

You see – the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life was when I was 28 and I became a mother.   I quit drinking on my 30th birthday for my son.  No child ever does anything to deserve a drunk mommy.   Yes – I quit drinking for my son – but I’ve stayed sober for me.  My son is my family.  And my family is love.  I honestly don’t know how I would have survived the darkest days with out his calling me every day as he drove home from work.  I didn’t tell him of the deep level of dispair I hit – I just told him that it made my day every time he called since I was still so under the weather. . .

“Hi, Mom!”

“I’m so glad to hear your voice Son – tell me what you did out in the world today.  I love hearing all about it.”

And he would tell me all about it.  And during one such call he said, “Mom, start writing down the things you need done around your house or anything you need at the store and I’ll take care of it when I drive up on Saturday.”  

“You’re coming over on Saturday?”

“Yup.”

He showed up with his girlfriend the following Saturday and I accepted their loving kindness when they asked for the list.  Healing takes time – but the love carried me far and lifted me up.  What a gift and a blessing to know that caring and kind (and smart and tall and good-looking) young man is my son.   Perhaps, life is not passing me by after all.

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I’ve got your back – such powerful and encouraging words to say to some one.  I long to hear those words so much right now that it leaves me feeling a little blue.  I must remind myself that my true courage first comes from my spiritual connection and self-confidence – encouraging words from a close friend is bonus.  A much-needed bonus.

With that said – I have grown quite weary from my on going job search compiled with my on going health challenges compiled with a letter stating that my COBRA health insurance is coming to an end.  I also have times when indecisiveness blasts through my brain as I try to decide if I should surrender and accept  (as much as this angers me to admit) should I keep looking for a job when there is a good chance (maybe) I might have to call in sick – or should I take action and start the foot work to go on disability.  Who knows.  I might be getting better or I might be staying the same and this is as good as it gets.  One thing I do know is I have not been living a lifestyle that I could choose for myself.

Again I try to push this out of my mind . . .  I was about to focus on something else . . . Or not.

My thoughts return to my entire summer.  I am becoming a hermit that I do not recognise as I stay home and heal.  More tests from the doctors exhaust me.  A biopsy hurts like hell and I am shocked by the amount of bruising and lasting, endless soreness.  It was benign, which is good.  But the bod has had quite enough of this ill-health.  I am so over it!  I must ramp it up and change this hermit, before the hermit continues to change me towards an unsafe and unhealthy level mentally.

I will stop this observation that unfortunately borders on the edge of wasteful self-pity.  Looks like I need a biopsy on my self-pity as well.  I will cut it out, put it under my microscope and give you the results by end of next week.

. . . . . My mind does a mommy flash back.  One thing I have learned time and time again is that showing in my actions that I have my son’s back is even more meaningful than saying the words to him . . .

When my son was almost 4 years old we decided to go to a movie.  Upon arriving, we parked the car and walked through the structure towards the theater.  I was walking close to the rows of parked cars and Tyler was walking on my left side as I held his hand.   While Tyler talked enthusiastically about his desire to see the movie – he froze in his tracks as a car went flying right past us.  I quickly pulled Tyler in closer to me – it was frightening.  My whole body started shaking as I yelled out, “HEY slow down!”  The car skidded around the tight corner of the structure and out of sight.   I took a deep breath and did my best to keep my composure in check.  I leaned down and picked up my son and carried him as I continued to walk.  He held on tight around my neck with his little arms.  Automatically I gently reassured him all was well and I softly let him know I did not see or hear the car coming up from behind us either.  Even when we are aware of our surroundings – sometimes this can happen.  Silent, we kept on walking.  I felt my anger and protective spirit deep in my body.  Tyler was ready to walk on his own again and he landed safely back on the ground with a light hop.

As we arrived to the lower level, that same car was trapped waiting behind another car.  As I got closer, I could see the driver and his passenger were teenagers.  Taking one step forward, I kicked in their passenger car door as I hollered at the young driver, “HEY!  You could have hit my son!  You were way too close!  It’s so dangerous to be driving that fast!”

I’m kinda tall (and kinda loud too) and I scared the livin’ day lights out of those kids  From the expression on their faces, I must have had steam coming out of my nostrils like an angry bull as I kicked their car.  They both looked right at me and said in unison, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”  My son had never seen me react in such a manner – the little guy was speechless.

As we quietly and safely sat in our seats as the movie started, the only thing my son said to me was, “I like that you did that Mom”.

“I love you Son.”  I smiled to myself and knew I’d never do such a thing again.

Today my son knows that even though he is a tall 26-year-old confident man with a successful career – I still have his back.   But now, he has mine as well.

How do I know this?

He told me.

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“Just where does the time go?!”  Tomorrow my son will be 26 years old.  I admire him so much that if he wasn’t my son, I would want him to be my friend.  But what a double blessing – looks like I get to have him as both son and friend. 

He only lives about 70 miles south of me.  But of course in beautiful southern California it could take over an hour or so, or over two hours to drive to his place.  My record is 2 1/2 hours in grid lock.  Which is faster than when I lived in Omaha, Nebraska and drove to his home in 2009. 

As we were talking on the phone the other day it dawned on me that I felt a little awkward about something.  It happened again – son grows up and I need to adjust accordingly to another stage of his incredible and cool life.  I’ve mentioned before that he and his girlfriend of 7 years recently moved in together. 

So I just came out and said it, “Of course I’d like to see you on your birthday, but I don’t know the birthday rules now.  I mean, how do we do this?  I stopped throwing you big birthday parties long ago.”  (He laughed.) 

Plus his birthday lands on a Saturday.  I then said, “It’s your day to do what works for you and your girlfriend.  So, you let me know.” (They both work long and hard hours.)

If you ask me, it ended up being a comfortable conversation.  He said the “right” thing too – that he’d talk to his girlfriend about it.

He called me back the next day with a plan and an invitation.  The cool thing for ol’ Mom here (if I do say so myself) is that he also received his birthday gift that I had mailed.  Clearly, no pressure from me!  My experience is that it is much easier to learn and be aware when I remain a sober mom. 

For some reason I have not been sleeping well again.  Plus I had a dream that I drank.  Over 23 years with out a drink and I had a drunk dream.  I woke up that morning extremely uncomfortable in my skin. (Whaaat?  That dream was nuts!)

And with my love, respect and gratitude for having a grown man as a son now, I simply MUST share his Happy Day of Birth Son post that I wrote last year about that day he was born!

 

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