As She Lay Dying

Does it sound poetic? Well it isn’t. I’m in a house that I spent a few years of my life in while waiting for the most important person in my life to begin the next leg of her journey.  Soon the memories of my precious mother will overcome me and my family along with a river of tears.

However, as we come face to face with the fact that the four of us will now be orphaned,  this leg of the journey brings an end to her suffering.

I am sitting here listening to the old time gospel music I grew up on recorded by Grand Ol Opry greats…Yes, rockers always go back to their roots. My roots are deeply carved. into every bit of soil and through every river and creek my ancestors swam in and fished from around here.

There is an undeniable fact I will share here. God is real. The journey never ends. We merely are changed. I believe when my mother leaves us, she will be with my Granny and a lot of relatives who left before her. Even now I believe that she sees them or hears them waiting.

I don’t care what others believe, but I know from personal experience that God is not a figment of the imagination. God s the reason I have a love for nature and the a deep respect for the fury it gives us from time to time. God is also the reason I don’t fear what is to come. He is also the reason I can love and forgive others.

My mother’s journey on this orb we call Earth is about to end. I am grateful that God blessed me with her for 53 years. I will carry her forever in my heart, and will do my best to be there for my sons, for one day they will be in the position I am now in.

It is my hope that they will stand together strong and in brotherly love when faced with loss of a parent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Facts About Life: 101

I  have not been on a lot but if you think your life is going bad, you need to remember that there is someone out there somewhere who is having a worse go of it than you are. We have to find our own solutions to these dilemmas we go through.

Right or wrong, life is about learning. Once you become unteachable–than you are going to find that you are not only a little fish in a huge pond, but you will find yourself standing alone, stuck at the starting line instead of moving forward in this race called life. You can learn much from anyone around you, but you have to be willing to adapt and accept some changes along the way. If you cannot do this, you will not get very far down the track…

Think about it the next time someone tries to show you something you could do differently. Offering solutions is not designed to hold you back, it’s to help you toward your goal in the end. Change is something anyone has to consider from time to time. In fact we should embrace it, and not fear it, but to learn to adapt to it. If it is something that absolutely cannot work, then we should work together to change THAT, face the problems head-on and not run away. Don’t be closed to the idea of it. You are only hurting yourself if you do. This is lesson 101 in “Facts About Life”.

 

So the question is, how far are you willing to go? This is a new year–a new beginning. Do not let yourself get trapped inside the “box” thinking. Thinking outside of the box will actually help you–not hurt you.  It all goes back to a question I posed a few years ago to a colleague: “What kind of leader do you want to be?”  A good leader is always “teachable and willing to learn”.

The Club Nobody Wants To Be In (Part 2)–They are Still Fathers…

This is a link to an older article which does a “Where Are they Now?” type of thing on David Smith–Susan Smith’s ex…

http://www.hlntv.com/slideshow/2013/10/09/david-smith-susan-smith-killed-sons-where-are-they-now

Having lost a child, this is a common thing to happen–where he talks about having more good days than bad,  but still having those days that bring a person to the knees…I still have them, but my son’s twin wasn’t murdered…The baby died early in the pregnancy and they insisted at the doctor’s office that I was no longer pregnant…When I went back  later with the ever-present morning, noon and night sickness that went on for weeks after losing the baby, they discovered there was another baby in the other sac.

I simply do not understand why society expects men to be what I can only describe as “unattached” to their own grief.  This is something we as a society need to move away from. Those who push this mentality need to be strongly addressed.  Men are every bit as emotional as women are, and they may not always show it in the way society has demanded, but society and it’s expectations should not rule how an individual would handle this issue–ever…Quite frankly, I am surprised at how many experts on grief, as a general rule, think that they are qualified to address the issue of  how to handle losing a child. This is especially true of those who never experienced such a loss.

Losing a child in any way is hell, but losing two in the way that Smith’s were lost would break even the strongest of men. However this man, despite those bad days, still drives on.  For that I admire him.  Nobody likes this little club that anyone who has lost a child is in, but I would like to see society lay off of the men…They can hurt like everyone else. Let them grieve because they also lost a child or (as in this case) more…

And for those who lost a child like I did, the men are still fathers just as assuredly as women who lost a child are still mothers.  People need to understand this, so please think before commenting and be just as considerate of the fathers as you should be of the mothers. That lost child (or those lost children) will remain a part of them forever.

 

Yes, People Kill People But….

Look, I do not talk about this a lot. Yes, I DO support the right of EVERY law-abiding citizen to own a gun, but mental health in this country has to be addressed.  I’m not into all this gun grabbing crap a lot of people are trying to push for,  but I see nothing wrong with flagging people who have severe behavioral disorders from getting a gun. If people are arrested for domestic violence, robbery, assault, etc…they should automatically have their guns confiscated also until found not guilty–and if found guilty, they should not be returned to anyone in the household, but sold to cover costs incurred by the county and/or state.

I do not agree with the extreme left on this issue because they give off a perception that they do have a goal to take ALL guns away, or at least many of them do. However, these violent groups of people have to be dealt with.

I do not think it is that much to ask for. I’m not advocating limitations on all guns or gun sales, just to individuals who have such records.

Had such a system been in place in the 1970’s my stepmother might not have blown her brains out when I was almost 15. Was she mentally ill? Yes. We found out AFTER her death that she had been institutionalized. Her favorite thing to do when my dad was at work was to point that .22 that she killed herself with and put it to my temple as her method of “discipline” which was nothing more than terrorism in my home.

To this day, people, I can still feel the cold end of that gun at my temple. Sometimes I wake up dreaming about it. It was only after she died that I realized that this wasn’t just a surrealistic nightmare I lived in, but that she could have, at any moment, blown my brains out and anyone else’s in the house too.

Unless you lived through it, I know you can’t relate to it and more went on than that, which I will not discuss. Funny thing is I didn’t really realize what “normal” was until I got around “normal families” that sat at the table together and such after her death. I grew to pity her. Hopefully, she is at peace. I forgave her long ago, and despite the nightmares I have once in a while, I can still feel pity for her and understand that she could not help herself–but that the state failed to help her a long, long time ago.

I will say this much for those who have gone through something like this at the hands of a mentally ill relative or person close to your family. What helped me was to forgive her. Once I did that, the nightmares gradually happened less often, and became less intense. I actually stood over her grave about seven years ago and told her that I forgive her. Anyway, I hope that does help someone out there. I know forgiving her did help me.

We Spend Our Lives Doing TWO things: Becoming and Dying…

I know this sounds bleak in a title, but it really isn’t. It isn’t fatalistic either.  Is it just possible that we spend so much time trying to work on others that we forget where our focus really SHOULD be? I think so. That is why I opt for brutal honesty. I know I can’t change a damned thing about the past or the future because those are two things I cannot control, but I can control how I react when put in a certain spot.

I nearly got killed tonight. No kidding. Some bonehead decided to slam his brake when NOTHING was in front of his vehicle. My son was driving and we were going the speed limit (75 mph). He swerved to the right and fish-tailed.  “Ease up on the brake and stay calm.” Shit! I don’t know how that came out of my mouth, but it did. He swerved again to the right and fish-tailed again, then over corrected. This resulted in being spun around across the freeway and landing in the median. He tried to start the car and it wouldn’t start. “Brian, put it in park.” Once he did, it ran fine. No damage to the vehicle and more importantly none to us or my dog!

I don’t know HOW I managed to stay calm during that crap, but I was shook up when it was over. I said, “Let’s get the hell out of this ditch and go home!” and we did.  It was a miracle that he didn’t hit another vehicle, and more importantly, that we are alive.  He was laughing a few minutes later, and made a comment about reliving “Too Fast and Too Furious”…

I looked at him and said, “Brian, that is not funny to me.”  I think he was just grateful that we were alive and that is how he handled being shook up.

Either way it could have turned out very differently.  Brian and I are working hard on improving from within, and then this happens. It just goes to show that in an instant, the world can be changed for our loved ones. When we got to Kevin’s house (my other son), I gave him his birthday presents and hugged my daughter-in-law and my son. I held onto my grandson for a bit as well.  Let’s just say it gave me a new perspective on things this time of year, but  in the end, are we not all born to die?

Better yet, didn’t Beckett describe it best?, “…We are all born astride a grave…”?

I’d rather die working on the person I’m trying to become, than to regret the person who is now dead that is my past being,  OR  meet my future being who might be a bit more cranky than this particular incarnation of me in the present…

And how was your weekend?

 

Another Year and I Still Think of You…

Dear Jay:

I wish you were here to share this with but you are not. A lot has happened since you went away. I thought of you when I heard a high school band playing a while back and how we marched on to make a 1 at UIL back then…Those were the days, man…I remember the pride we had in our work, and the times we were on top of the world when we did do well! I also remember the spirit of unity our band had back then. Those days made getting up and going to school worth it.

I remember going to your mom’s house for those awesome lunches too when she had the food stand! She and several others kept me going, even when it got tough and I’ll be forever grateful to them all for that. Knowing that you went to the ends of the Earth to get your son is an inspiration to me. I am grateful that you had such a wonderful and fulfilled life. You have a wonderful family and they will continue to carry your torch for your son until he can carry it on his own.

I am sure you are having a grand time celebrating today! Happy birthday, my friend…And just so you know, I may be going to another end of the Earth soon enough…I may be going to China for a while. This is the second time I’ve been approached on the idea. This time I may do it.

Tina

 

Thoughts on Friendship…

A friend who cannot accept that you have differences is not your friend.  A friend will not turn their back on you or betray your trust. They will accept that although you won’t agree on everything, they will defend you regardless because it is your RIGHT to be who you are. Those who cannot accept you as you are have the issues. Not you.  If they turn their backs on you and treat you badly, that is their loss and not yours.  YOU don’t need people to validate who you are, that comes with your own inner voice.  You must follow your convictions, not theirs.

If one is willing to let differences of opinions, color of skin, political affiliations, sexual orientations and such affect him/her in such a way that they do not even want to hear you out or try to find out why you feel the way you do, THEY have the problem. Not you. That being said I have always found it best to detach from many and not let people get close to me. I really don’t require human contact and do not need anyone to “validate” who I am.  I do not look for any person to come riding in on a white horse to save me. I had to take care of some things myself–and let God do his job…And he’s got a lot of work ahead of him…Trust me.

The Light Bulb in My Head Came On Today. That’s RARE on Mondays!

All of my life, I have been through various bouts of junk.  Now that I am 50, this has been one of my roughest years (physically) yet one of my most enjoyable.  Aside from the female issues that are also getting brought under control with medication, I am cancer free and my pernicious anemia is now “managed” to the point where I don’t feel so much of that crushing fatigue.  I still get light-headed from time to time but I simply slow down.

I realized today that some people really would like to go back to “yesteryear” and repeat their lives at various points, hoping to avoid making the same mistakes again and again.  With me, this is NOT the case.  I would never want to go back and redo any part of my life.   I think the life I have right now, despite having to write and “broadcast” from the TTRV, my life is full! I am enjoying it. Despite some family concerns, I know things are going to turn around.  I don’t know HOW I know it, but I do.

That being said, all I really need is one thing and that is “NOW”.  Think about that. IF we can’t change the past or alter the future, why the hell do we lose sleep over either?  Seriously people!  Yes it’s Monday, but I hope you all have a great day ahead!  Normally I dread Mondays but I am off today!

Within two weeks, I look forward to working toward my goals again–dropping the weight and getting back into shape!  I haven’t had a transfusion since July too!   Again, have a GREAT day!

 

Good News…

The biopsy was normal. No cancer.  I still don’t know why I kept hemorrhaging. I’m on medication now–progesterone. I will know after my doctor’s appointment today what is going to be done about this freaking huge cyst on my right ovary.  I still strongly urge anyone who is advised to have the biopsy to simply do it.

I had already discussed with my family what course I would take if cancer was involved. Surgery yes–chemotherapy no.  I know people who died more quickly from the chemotherapy than the disease itself–but it is not the rate toward the demise that made me say no–it was their suffering.  Besides, I prefer to let nature take it’s course.   I feel that radiation therapy is like “fighting fire with fire”–and in the case of this, had it come to fruition, it makes no sense to me.

I told my sons if I’m meant to live I’ll live. If meant to die, then chemo or radiation won’t change the outcome anyway.  That is just my view. Realistically, it isn’t that I have a death wish. I just feel that such invasive and painful treatments would be more of a burden to my family.

Now that I got that out in the open, I will update you when I get finished at the doctor’s office tomorrow. I am looking forward to two days with my grandson soon.  Life is good, no matter what hand I am dealt. I always manage and that is what counts.

 

To Me No Tribute to the 9/11 Incident Equals This One…It is Short, Wordless, and Powerful.

See for yourself…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZIxFd5I280

 

No movie made, no documentary filmed can have as much impact as these horses kneeling and looking toward the empty space where so many lives were lots on September 11, 2001.  Budweiser only aired this one time in January of 2002.

I remember where I was that morning. I was teaching classes that had 30 students or more, who went into utter shock.  One of my special needs students thought his parents went down on the plane that left Dulles.  We finally got him calmed down and when he realized they were in Dallas he was fine.

For two weeks afterward, counselors spoke with kids who were heartbroken for those in NYC who lost family members, friends, teachers, etc….They drew pictures and made cards for them.  Our country was united from old to young…

This is exactly why we must never forget this attack any more than this nation must never forget Pearl Harbor, lest we stay divided.