Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Relizations



                                                          
I’ve been having a tough time of it lately.  The past few months have been a struggle.  

And I didn’t even realize it.

It started in January when Green Bay Packer Legend, Jerry Kramer, came to my workplace.  He told interesting stories about his days with the 1960’s Packers, the Ice Bowl, about Bart Starr, Max McGee, Ray Nitschke, Paul Hornung, Fuzzy Thurston, & Coach Vince Lombardi.

These Packers… this was the team that my mom fell in love with.

I sat there that night listening to his stories and looking at his pictures and watching his videos… and I cried.  I cried because I suddenly, and profoundly, missed my mom. 

A few weeks later, Dave and I prepared to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  As we got closer to it, I deeply missed my mom and dad.  I have memories of celebrating THEIR 25th anniversary in the summer of 1984.  Us 5 kids planned a surprise party for them.  Really it was my two older sisters who planned it, but we all were a part of it.  And now I was going to be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary.  I wanted my parents there to be a part of it.

Then the day before our anniversary, my nephew unexpectedly passed away.  And I suddenly had a newfound, desperate longing for my parents.  I didn’t know how any of us were going to get through this horrible time without my parents.  How was my sister going to get through the death of her child without her own parents there to hold her up?  They were our base, our foundation…  they were always our sanctuary.

As I’ve gotten closer to making my bee hives a reality, I long for my dad to be here.  He was a farmer, right down to his soul.  Other than his family, that was the one thing he loved the most… farming.  I so want him here to be a part of what I’m doing.  I want to share this with him.  I want him to see this part of me that he nurtured. 

We were out on our friend's farm this weekend, clearing a little bit of land and placing my hives.  It took me back to the days of my youth, playing along side where my dad would be working.  I would pretend to be “farming” just like my dad.  Then I got older and I had to help with the farm work, and there were times it wasn’t so much fun anymore.  😂😂😂 And now, 40+ years later, I have a little slice of “farm” that I’m starting.  Yep, it’s only 3 bee hives, on somebody else's property.  But it’s a start to the little farm I’d love to have one day in the future.  And I want my dad here to see me doing it.  To be proud of me.  And to take pride in what he taught me.

This weekend we’ll be burying my nephew who passed away a few weeks ago.  One more heartbreaking goodbye to my nephew, my Godchild.   Again, we have to do this without mom and dad… how?  How do we do it?  How does my sister bury her child… without her own mother there to support her? 

The cemetary is right out near the farm that we all grew up on.  Our farm will be about a mile and a half further down the road.  It’s going to be so close to “going home”, but just not quite.  Of course we can never “go home” again because mom and dad are gone.  But this feels like a cruel teaser to be so close to being “home”, to being home with mom and dad, but yet so far away.

Last night, I had a dream about camping.  When I was young, we had a motor home, and we camped a lot over the years with some great family friends.  This dream was a mash-up of all those great camping trips with Darlene & Sherman and their family, and even Dick & Barb Kjos & family showed up in this dream, too.  I woke up happy and sad all at the same time. 

And then this morning, I opened the garage to start the car before taking Megan to work.  We finally made it out to the car about 10 minutes later, and there was a male cardinal in all his red glory sitting in the garage chirping away.  I’ve seen many birds in the garage over the years, but I’ve never seen a cardinal do it.  Many believe that when a cardinal comes to you, it’s a loved one visiting you.  And my mom loved cardinals.  Loved them.  LOVED.  THEM.   Was she trying to tell me she’s here with me.  Her and dad both?  Was she trying to sooth my sore heart?

Tonight I had the urge to listen to the Statler Brothers.  In all those years of camping, I would listen to one particular 8-track tape of theirs over and over and over.  It’s a very treasured memory of mine.  The Statler Brothers were a favorite of my parents, and they are a favorite of mine.   Tonight I felt the need to have that connection to my parents. 


And then tonight I finally realized… these past few months have been HARD.  I’ve been plugging away, meeting each new day, missing my parents, getting through the death of another family member, just taking each day as it came.  But tonight I looked back and I saw the big picture and I realized what a stressful, heartbreaking few months it’s been for me.  I almost feel relieved by this discovery. 

So, be kind.  Just... be kind.  You don't know what other people might be going through - heck, they might not even know what they're going through - and your kindness might be the only bright spot in their day. 









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Friday, June 3, 2016

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking...



Let's catch up.




My dad had surgery for his bladder cancer and passed away unexpectedly 5 days post-op in Sept '13.  Total shock.  The hospital was preparing to send him home in the next day or two.  Instead, we sent him to the funeral home.  





6 weeks after dad died, we had to put down our Charlie dog.  





Our baby girl graduated from high school in May 2015.  She did go back to school that Fall as a "Super Senior", focusing more on vocational and life skills and not so much on the academics.  











Now that both kids are no longer "kids", I was having a hard time claiming the whole "stay-at-home-mom" title.  So I got a job last year.  My first job in over 20 years!  Our local historic theater, which I have always LOVED, hired me as a box office employee.  Within a few weeks, I was taking on more projects and bigger projects.  And after a few months, I was moved into event planning. Along with being Box Office Manager, my official title at work is Rental & Event Coordinator.  

 





Spring of 2015 Megan went to Prom with her friend Terrance.  It did my mommy heart so much good to see her partaking in a typical teenage right of passage!  She had talked about going to Prom for a few years, it was a dream of hers, so I'm so glad her dream came true.





After battling for almost 4 years, my Mom passed away from breast cancer July 26, 2015.  Her downhill slide happened quickly, for which I am profoundly thankful.  I'm so thankful she remained "healthy" for so long, and that when it was time, she went quickly.  We buried her with dad (both were cremated). 






Since they went to Prom, they also went to Homecoming in the Fall of 2015.  












































And then again to Prom in the Spring of 2016.





While Megan was eligible to remain in the public school system until she turns 21, which is two more years, we've decided that she is done.  Last week was her last day of high school.  Now we are facing the "what's next for Megan?" question from everyone.  Well, she's going to get a job.  We are working with the local agencies trying to find the perfect job for her.  It's a long process.  



Also, since Dave retired from the Marine Corps and we've moved back home, we've been playing in pit orchestras.  And I got a new flute!  Here are some of the shows we've played over the last couple of years.






 







And, my girlfriend wrote a book!!!
(I'm in it!)












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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

K1, P2


Dave and I took a knitting class this past spring.  It's something that has been on our bucket lists for a number of years.  And we've finally been able to cross it off our lists!

We took a Beginning Knitters class with the Community Education Program offered through the school district.  After our 6 week course was up, some of us wanted to continue meeting on a regular basis to sit and knit and chit chat.  So we now have a knitting group that meets every week.  :)   During the summer our little group sat outside on the lawn of the library, listening to a different band each week while got our knit on.

We both really look forward to our Thursday night knitting group.



My first attempt at socks.  They came out quite nicely!


Fingerless gloves for Megan





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Out of the Dark Shadows


Yesterday news broke about Robin Williams.
His death by suicide.  Hanging.
This was not accidental by any means.

Yesterday I couldn't stop crying.  I was so, so sad.  Sad that someone felt so hopeless.  That there was no other option.  There was no way out.  Someone so wonderful, generous, giving, funny, & bigger than life could be lost to this ugly, monstrous disease we call depression.  It just made me sad down to me inner being.

And sad that I, too, battle this same disease.  This disease that can make someone feel so utterly lost, so despondent, so tormented, so worthless.  I have not publicly talked about my depression and anxiety, but today that is going to change.

I battle depression & anxiety.

Mental health issues seem to be taboo.  There is a negative stigma, embarrassment, fear, too many judgmental people.  But it needs to be brought out of the dark shadows.  Those of us who have been diagnosed with a mental illness need to rally and stand up with our heads held high.  We need to stop living in fear... fear of being judged, fear of someone "finding out", fear of someone thinking we're weak, or that we're just "looking for attention".

Many people are shocked to find out that I battle depression & anxiety, that I've been diagnosed with clinical depression, that I've seen psychiatrists, have been in therapy, that I take anti-depressants & anxiety meds.

"But you always have a smile on your face!"
"You're so happy all the time!"
"You are so outgoing!!"
"You're always laughing!"
"You're so confident!"

Here's a little secret:  It's all fake.  Yep, it's a mask.  A facade.  Smoke and mirrors.   It's all an act.  I am not happy.  I am not confident.  I feel worthless.  I feel insignificant.  I disgust myself.  I feel my life is meaningless.  I struggle to get out of bed each day.  EACH day.  I hate to leave my house.

There.  The secret is out.  The cat is out of the bag.

Nicole Curtis, the Rehab Addict says: "...battling my own demons for years and masking it with sarcasm, wit and overconfidence to make everyone else feel as if it's okay...."

I feel like I could've said that.

I've been fighting this disease for decades.  My earliest recollection of it is sometime in  jr. high/middle school.  But it took me more than 20 years before I finally sought help for it.  I was 36 when I first broke down in my doctor's office and told her I needed help.  I was depressed and I couldn't do it any longer on my own.  It was the best decision I've ever made.  It took a few months to figure out the right combination of meds.  I began seeing a psychiatrist.  I began therapy, I went every Friday afternoon.  For a full year.  Eight years later I'm in a much better place, but it is *still* a daily struggle.  I should still be in therapy, I know I would benefit from it.  But we've moved and I don't have the energy to start all over again with a new doctor/therapist.  To rehash it all over again.

So there you have it.  ANYBODY can be affected by this disease.  You would probably be shocked at how many people you know that battle depression and anxiety.  This nasty, ruthless, quiet, hidden disease.  And make no mistake, it is a medical disease.  Much like cancer or diabetes.

A friend of mine said:  "Something many, many people don't realize is that being depressed about "something" is NOT the same as depression. It's 2 totally different things. I call depression the black hole. It sucks you into an abyss of hopelessness."  

Very well said.



Here are three blog posts that are really worth reading.




Here is one more interesting read.  I fit many of these points, especially #'s 6, 11, & 13.
































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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hysterectomy


Hysterectomy.

Usually given to a woman.

Not a teenager.

Megan will be going in at the end of the month for a hysterectomy.  I'm trying to accept this decision with my heart.  In my head I know it's the right decision, but it's a decision that makes my heart hurt.  I mean, seriously, who wants to give their 17 year old daughter a hysterectomy??  I know she can never have kids, I know this is what is healthiest for her, but it still makes me weepy to think about it.  So, I can't let myself think about it.

Megan was diagnosed about two years ago with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).  She was prescribed Metformin & Ortho-tricyclene to regulate her hormones.  This also regulated her periods.  Managing her periods has just become too much.  Too much pain.  Too much mess.  Too much hassle... it all has just become too much for Meggie.  Could she continue with this monthly hassle?  Yes.  Is it something that she needs to deal with every month?  No.  Having babies is not an option for her, so there is no reason to keep dealing with it.  Let's take the plumbing out, and be done with it.  In the process, we'll also cut down on the chance of cancer in the future.

Medically, it all makes sense.  And all four doctors I've talked with support the decision.  It's a common procedure for young women with Down syndrome.

But it still hurts my heart.

....sigh




Read more about PCOS here.


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