Feeds:
Posts
Comments

peace

Tonight was a quiet and productive night. Listened to music from the beginning of the end of my marriage. It seemed so overwhelming then to imagine being where I am today.

In many ways I am nowhere near where I thought I would be. My finances are not good. My house is in desperate need of help. I am not spiritually where I hoped to be.

That’s funny. I have always “put off” connecting with God unless I needed him for some reason. The only exception is when dad and I would go to church together, just the two of us. I loved that time. We would discuss the sermon and silently both long to be closer to God. Even in the silence a connection grew with him, my dad, that is to this day one of the closest relationships I have ever had. Maybe it was the closeness with God that helped solidify that, maybe it was the quiet acceptance I felt. I felt loved unconditionally and it filled my life with hope and confidence.

I can’t say I ever felt that way completely in my marriage. I don’t want to blame David, it was more my belief that I didn’t deserve him that kept us from that relationship. I was always trying to be better so that I felt worthy of him. And while I miss David sometimes, I don’t miss that feeling that I’m not good enough.

I felt it tonight, that inadequacy. I actually instigated it by saying that when he teases me I am thankful we are no longer married. His response was he celebrates that we are not married every day. The insecure Jill of old immediately began thinking of all the ways I was unworthy of the 15 years we had together. Then I put in a mix cd from when we were still trying to find what we would become after he recognized he didn’t love me anymore. The songs spoke of fixing what is wrong and being accepted by God. And my heart began to fill again.

Perhaps I wasn’t worthy of David’s love. Perhaps he wasn’t worthy of mine. Perhaps our relationship accomplished what it was supposed to by getting my diagnosis and creating those four great people. I am content with remembering the good times, rejoicing that I was able to make those babies with a great person, happy that we have beat the odds and found a way to live seperately but still be present in our children’s lives.

I have stopped believing in the sayings “everything happens for a reason” and “God only gives you what you can handle.” I accept that our free will changes our paths like a choose the ending book. I accept that we will forever make good and bad choices. And I accept the challenge.

I have a lot of people that support me and rejoice with me. And I plan to focus on that and not what could be or isn’t anymore whether it was my choice or something that happened to me. I just want to finish the race and one thing David taught me was how to finish a race. I am pacing myself for a long one.

Tonight I have been working on a home improvement project. While doing so I have talked with several friends and David. Now as I reflect on the conversations, I find so many useful thoughts for my life.

First, I spoke with David. I chuckle a little as I type his name. He now goes by Dave. I guess he has always used it, but I don’t think many people call him David anymore and his facebook page is under ‘Dave’. I was married to David. The man I loved was David. But Dave is so much happier. And because I loved him so much, I am happy for him. Tonight he was telling me about his vacation with the kids. They have had the opportunity to experience so much on their trip. I am jealous of it. I wish we could have done things like it while we were together. I wish I could be there as my kids experience it. But I am so grateful they get it experience it and don’t want to put my desires before that. And as I told David, I am so happy my kids get to have memories and experiences with their dad like I did.

They are my best memories, the ones with my dad. Our trips to Colorado, camping, fishing, driving. He showed us God’s wonderful creations and helped me appreciate what is on this earth besides the day to day work to survive. I could give my kids all the money in the world but it would not mean as much as seeing wild animals, smelling fresh air and enjoying relaxing in nature.

Then I spoke with a friend. He was struggling with many different stressors life throws at us. In his list of things bothering him was his young son asking to see him. My friend has just recently seperated from his wife and the living situation is new for his son. I told him to forget everything else and go be with his son. Money and jobs and housework and that day to day stuff will always be there waiting. That little boy wanting to be with his dad will grow up and leave.  Grab every moment you can with the little ones. They are precious memories for you both.

Another friend called, upset about his relationship. It has been precarious for several months and more fussing had brouhgt him down enough to reach out tonight. As I listened to him, tonight and at other times, I hear in him how I was in my relationship with David. And just like with one of my kids, I want to save my friend the pain that I experienced. Some say that everyone has to experience stuff for themselves to find their way. And I guess that is true. But I also believe that we study history to learn from the past to make a better future. It is putting those lessons to work so that change can be made that is the important part of the equation. And I guess we humans have to hit bottom to see a new way out of the holes we get ourselves into.

Finally, I spoke with another friend. I reached out to him this time. Part of my actions were to check on him as he is struggling right now. Admittedly, part of the reason was because talking to him lifts my spirits. He was distant, though it was late and he admitted he was ready for bed. Again I find myself thinking of how I can make his struggles better and give him happiness I believe he deserves.

And that’s what brought me here. I feel the yearning in my chest to make these people happy, content, better, strong, including David still. Yet, I know now that I can’t ‘make’ anything happen for any of them. I can be here to listen and talk and comfort and say positive things to all of them. And I am good at this. But each of these people must find their own way in life, as I have the last few years. I hope to walk with each on their journey, but more importantly I want them to achieve all they can.

Finally, I realized I want someone to ask me how I am doing. The next person I let in, really let them become a part of my life, will ask me how I am doing, encourage me and listen and ask the same of me in return. I will be patient because as I told a friend today, I believe that there are people meant to be together. I no longer believe it is one person, but more like a book where you choose the ending. I can’t just go pick someone in a crowd and make a relationship. There is a connection that is supposed to be there and we will build off of it. David and I were meant to make those four amazing souls. Another person is out there to be with me for another part of my life. And maybe we will find one another. Or maybe we won’t and I will find strength inside myself to face whatever life sends my way. It is how I choose to react that will decide what happens tomorrow.

And tomorrow, I plan to have a good day. For I am blessed to have a tomorrow.

Hope

It’s not about expectations. It’s about acceptance. It’s about talking to someone. It’s about knowing that tomorrow may not be easy, but it won’t be done alone.

Thank you to my family and friends, new and old. And thanks for all the good times that put the bad times in the shadows of my mind. They won’t end. They just won’t control me again.

Today I am content.

Making a Pie

Mom went to see a counselor today. It made me remember those first days after david told me he was leaving and so many other days in my life when it hurt to get up, to think, to breathe. I am thankful to be here today. I am thankful there are people that have sacrificed to keep me going.

When people discuss suicide it is usually with causes for it. For example I believe others saw my attempt as an effort to get David back or the inability to live life without him. It is easier for society to give a cause and effect relationship for such an unimaginable act.

As I look back at that time, even the posts I put on here the days before I took those pills, I can’t remember so many things. We were looking at old pictures with my sister and there were pictures of my family celebrating m parent’s anniversary hours before I took the pills. I didn’t even remember that happening and in fact thought this year how if only we would have gotten together last year perhaps I wouldn’t have taken those pills.

Depression is a place people don’t want to visit. Yet it is a place people become less afraid to discuss when someone else is willing to talk about it. I am becoming more frustrated with the negative image people have associated with it, much like HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. A person does not get depression from another person. It is like high blood pressure or diabetes in that the more you don’t take care of your body, mind and soul, the more likely you are to get it. And of course there is always a genetic predisposition.

People have asked why I chose to deliver my babies without pain meds. To see if I could do it is my reply. Why do people run marathons or train for the Ironman competition? To see if they can do it. And the sense of accomplishment those people felt crossing the finish line is the same feeling I get when I look back at who I was then and what I have accomplished. I didn’t just make lemonade from the lemons life gave me, I made a lemon marningue pie. And sometimes, after the pie is gone, it takes looking at some lemons to remember how good that pie tasted.

If you know what I mean.

So much to process. Mom is sad, mad, crazy. Dad is better, worse, the same. Sierra is closer and ready to go away from me again. David thinks I want him in my life as more than the father of my children, and I can’t do it without him.

The easiest of these is Sierra. How amazing it is today to have such a close relationship with her. Last year I was begging to be part of her life. Last night she called ME, not her dad or friends, to talk about her semi-date. She worked through a rough patch earlier in the week (mine not ours). She is focused in her forensics and work and everything she does. She is a good kid and person. I am blessed to be her mom and so thankful we are closer today than ever. I refuse to think that as she grows and flourishes on her own that our relationship will be less than today.

David would be next. How does a person let go of something that was their world for 14 years? Piece by piece. And finally I have accepted he is not mine because the person he is today is not who I was married to. I still find him to be a great person and exemplary father, but not someone I would want to be married to. I wish him happiness and love. The part I struggle with is letting my kids be a part of his new life. I made them inside of me. I nurtured them to the best of my ability. I hope and dream for them. How do I change those hopes and dreams to include a life I am not a part of? And this is something I don’t think he understands.

Daddy would be next. I have stopped looking past the face that is my father’s and have began incorporating it with what is there. It is still his beautiful eyes looking at me with no recollection of who I am. It is still his nose that I inherited that he picks without regard to etiquette. It is his bald head I rub like I do my child’s to relax him to sleep. The callasus are gone from his hands. The tan is gone and is replaced by a paleness of never seeing the outdoors and a body that is struggling to keep alive, but refusing to give up. His bones stick out. His teeth are missing having been lost in the nursing home. Still in those eyes, the blue that has an abnormal dilation, is a glimmer of happiness or hope or love. He isn’t really focusing on me, but he responds to let me know that he realizes someone is there. He knows this person loves him. He is not the man that talked to me about who I wanted to be, he’s not even the man that begged me not to stop helping him as I started to lose my footing. I am thankful for every moment I get to feed him, sit with him, hold his hand, hug him or kiss him. And I am thankful that soon his body will stop fighting and let the rest of his mind rest.

Mom is the hardest. I have been where she is. I have been consumed by the saddness and uncertain future. I have seen the valley of the shadow of death. And I cannot tell you the exact moment that I chose to live and make a future for myself. I can only say that no one else can do it for you. It is the hardest thing a person can do. It is a horrible place to want to move but not have the strength. It is frustrating that others can’t see the weight that keeps you from functioning like the rest of the world. But it is our burden and we are the only ones that can make the choice to fight or let it smother us. And to both sets of people, I commend you. The battle is a hard one on either path you choose.

I have good days and bad days. I still work daily on things like staying positive and focusing on what I need to not only survive but thrive. And each morning I wake up, I know I won the battle the day before.

The entertainment industry portrays suicide without knowledge of the actual sequance of events. Like a fairytale the person goes from sad and/or frustrated to in the hospital with so many people waiting and worrying about their safety to apologizing and listening with understanding as those people explain why ending your life is never the answer. It all expands within an hour of our lives and just days in their world. By the next episode this person will be back to “normal” or has disappeared after only making an appearance to be this example.

In reality suicide does not come prepackaged. It builds not like a crescendo, but like a blanket being knitted. Each stitch connects together with the next making a masterpiece. The circumstances wear on the victim individually, proving the world would be a better place without their presence. The masterpiece is a collage of burden the person feels to those she loves. It happens over weeks, months. years. Most of the time there is no beautiful climax or straw that breaks the camel’s back. It is not well planned. Fleeting thoughts along the way craft the process in which the life will escape their body. Unconsciously the person collects the paraphernalia used to stop the torture they feel they are causing their loved ones.

It is a belief that suicide is a cry for help. Perhaps a way to gain attention. But in my experience it is neither of these. The person wakes from what was to be eternal sleep to be disappointed. They remain a burden, an embarrassment, a mistake. Being told how much this act hurt the loved ones only makes the depths of sadness deeper. It was meant to end the problems made by the person’s presence, not add to the list of life altering errors. It is not moments after waking, but days weeks or months later that the person can realize how their actions were flawed.

And this knowledge does not erase the thoughts, the unconscious plans. It erases the need for them, but they stay like the fall out from a war-torn country. The thoughts don’t get erased while the person is unconscious or with a 2 minutes speech from someone close to them.

I look at the sleeping pills I was prescribed. I don’t use them anymore. But they remain in my medicine cabinet. Yes, there could be a day I need their assistance to rest, but I caught a fleeting thought the other day that made note of their presence and that they could be used if necessary to begin eternal sleep. It disturbed me that this thought would dare enter my mind after what happened.

I am content. I have no reason to believe I am anything to anyone other than a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I like where I am and accept the hardships that must be present to create a better tomorrow.  I realize I am in a much safer, more comfortable place than many on this earth. I have no reason to want to leave.

And so finally an example of what I’ve been told is staring back at me. There is a glitch in the way my brain works. Those stupid thoughts will always be there, looking for an opportunity to convince me I am unworthy and a bother. Like a security guard I will always be on watch to keep these thoughts buried so that it won’t come to realization. Though it sounds like a burden assigned by the likes of Lucifer, it is a cross I will bear proudly like Jesus did on the day He lost His mortal life. He carried His cross for the eternal lives of all people. I just carry mine for the eternal peace for those I love, including me.

The most popular scene in “Steel Magnolias” has to be the scene in the cemetary when Sally Fields and her friends stumble through different emotions associated with the love and loss of someone special. The words that stab deep inside of me are when Sally refers to her grandson saying, “How will he know what she sacrificed for him?” So many people can relate to this notion in very different ways. But how will others know what that life meant to them personally and to the world in general?

Today I visited my dad with the boys and Sierra. As has been the routine in recent visits, the boys went to dad’s room to watch television while I went with dad to the dining room. Today my mom was there and she, Sierra and I fed the different residents as well as daddy. When dad finished mom and I helped him back to his room and helped him change his clothes that were damp from urine. His room reeks of accidents in the recent past and the boys are quick to point this out every time we arrive. Sierra arrived just as mom and I finished dressing him. She also asked (quieter than her brothers) why the room smelled so bad. She tried as mom and I always do to talk to dad and understand what he mumbles under his breath. We finally realized he was ready for his nap and Sierra helped me lay him down and kiss him goodbye. He grabbed Sierra’s hand and she leaned in again to understand what he was saying. She told us he was cold. Then I heard her tell him she had to go but it would be alright. She was quiet on the way to the car. After we were in the safety of our vehicle she admitted he begged her not to leave because if this happened he was scared he would die.

Mom told us last weekend as we prepared to walk in the Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Association that dad had told her earlier in the week that Jesus had visited and brought him his wings.

I had a dream between these two events that occurred during dad’s funeral. I scurried around making everything how it should be during the ceremony. It was only after I could sit still did I realize I would never see him again. I would never make another memory with him. He wouldn’t be there for any other special moment in my life or the lives of his grandchildren. This thought is what had me in the dream crying uncontrollably and made me wake with a heavy heart.

When I combined these moments in reflection I ponder how my children will understand what their grandfather was before this disease broke his mind and body. How will they remember the moments when he was what he once was and ignore the dependent shattered person that lived in “the doctor’s house” as Truman told us today. They talk to me about their other grandparents and compare them to my parents. David’s parents still babysit for him, still have the children stay overnight with them, still go to school activities. I bite my tongue as the kids talk openly to me because I want them to feel they can tell me anything. But my chest burns with anger that my dad can’t leave the nursing home anymore without massive assistance and can’t recognize his grandchildren or name them. I am jealous that the kids can spend quality time with his parents while my mom is too exhausted from caring for dad to have a meaningful interaction with them.

I get angry that David doesn’t know the pain and sadness that haunts me and looms over me waiting for dad to pass away and engulf my being. I am jealous of his freedom from the weight of dad’s disease. I contemplate ways to make him aware of how I suffer.

But much of this worry is for the future. My disconnect with David helps me ignore those feelings associated with his ignorance. My calm explanation of my interactions and feelings towards my dad with the kids helps to lessen the worry of their memories. And my love for the man who supported me in some of my darkest days makes every moment with him special and the thought of him gone devastating. Yet I know that only this can free him to remember and be whole once again.

I only allow fragments of ideas about his death and funeral to float through my mind. I think about realistic things like what we will wear or how I will tell the kids. I think about traveling to his final resting place. Every once in a great while I let myself realize that everyone else will have someone to hold them, support them, take them through it and help their children understand. I don’t let myself focus on the burden I will carry during his last days and the ceremony to let his body go. I survived the divorce, the hospitalization. I will survive this. And I will do what I can to give the kids good memories. As good as you can get when someone special dies.

But what