Cycles and Stories

This story brought to you courtesy the idiot hunter-gatherer’s who wanted to know when herds would be migrating or the Shamans who either lusted for power and wanted to appear to predict when certain events would occur or truly just wanted to better understand the universe and use said knowledge to help their fellow man

Whatever the case, someone, somewhere, invented the calendar and it’s all been downhill since…

Sometimes,  the natural cycles of the Universal rotation and our forefathers’  ingenious ways of keeping us organized and controlled (clocks and calendars…and expectations of punctuality) converge to ensure I not only have a crappy day – but that I also spend all day arguing with myself about why or why not to obsess over the obvious patterns and  what those patterns may or may not mean…

About 2 weeks ago, I was going along, minding my own business, looking forward to the conference I had received a scholarship to – said conference was on Friday, May 23rd –

A week prior to the conference, something kept nagging at me – a little niggle I was forgetting something – –

I checked my Desk Calendar, my purse organizer and email calendars –

(yes, I took the Franklin Covey course and learned the 1st rule of keeping only one calendar – it didn’t stick)

As the week progressed, the quiet whisper became louder by increments, until it was nearly shouting at me that I was, in fact, forgetting something – and it just had to be huge – I rechecked my accounting software and bill pay – logged in to make sure all the websites I host are duly backed-up and no domains are due for renewal…

Everything is as it should be….

But the voice was not satisfied – next, I frantically cleaned my desk and read every sticky note there, checked the ones stuck to the wall behind my monitor and even went so far as to check my trash can, for the elusive neon orange note that would tell me what else I had scheduled for Friday, May 23rd that I had somehow forgotten – –

No luck.

Being the crazed woman I am, I called all the friends and neighbors I do chores for when they’re off having fun and I’m stuck home because of work and/or am too broke to go on vacation – – Brought them along my path of insanity while I grilled them,

“You’re sure you didn’t need me on Friday?   Maybe you thought you’d be gone Friday, but then changed your schedule and forgot to tell me?”

No, No, they assure me – you’re fine – you haven’t forgotten anything…

In desperation, I begged the Universe for help in remembering what I had forgotten that I’m supposed to do on May 23rd  –

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My inner-historian –

who looks rather like the stereotypical librarian of 1940’s fame, complete with tweed skirt, constrictive jacket, wire-rimmed glasses over pointy nose and thin, gray hair tied so tightly up in a bun, the bags under her eyes become wrinkles at the side of her eyebrows – – (No, she is not sexy librarian of pop-culture fame) –

came to my rescue.

“Shh!  Quit fussing and making noise.   You didn’t forget anything – Morgan graduates on the 23rd.  You have to be done at the job you gave notice at in February by Friday morning, at the latest – you just need to be firm and let them know you’ve stretched your month’s notice way, way too far.”

Gulp – she’s right – I hurriedly bring up my computer calendar and scroll back to May 23rd 2008 – sure enough, it was a Friday…

And suddenly, healing and time go by the wayside and here I sit- reliving May, six years ago –

Friday – 23rd – he graduates and is home by midnight though I stretched his curfew to 2am,  because he’s tired and stuffy from allergies – I tell him how proud I am of him graduating when I know he really just wanted to be done, two years ago! with the institution he believed, “brainwashes you into loving cubicle 9-5 world” –

Friday the 30th, when we went to the doctor because seasonal allergies seemed to have morphed into a cold, virus or sinus infection…

And Saturday the 31st, when his fever broke and he was feeling better…

Sunday, the 1st, when he was once again so miserable and fighting me about going to the ER…

Monday, the 2nd, when he came home from the doctors, pain free after getting a shot and ready to rest, as the doctor said he should – laid down and quit breathing 2 short hours later – – The sirens, the wild ambulance ride – the quarantined ICU room – with friends and family decked out in blue near-hazmat suits, because no one knows what, exactly, is going on –

Which brings us to Tuesday, June 3rd – when the specialists still know nothing about the why, only that he will never be off life support or breathe on his own again…

The calendar, one of man’s greatest inventions, has become my enemy this year –

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Why do I tell you this?   To remind myself and you that as we heal there are still lurking neurons and cellular memories that remind us we’re forgetting – – or burying — or there’s something left to be brought to the light and healed – –

It really is dealer’s choice – – it’s your inner world and you can durn well tell whatever story you wish about it!

To point out we can feel appalled to find we are starting to forget – to acknowledge the quiet whisper that says forgetting diminishes our loved one – a review of the the fine line between remembering without pain, forgetting through repression and revisiting memories because we finally can do so without disintegrating –

– the moments that come along in bits and pieces when we are surprised by the little imp of memory/grief that  jumps from hiding in the bushes and bites us soundly in the arse –

I tell you because I’ve spent days thinking about how a silly alignment of the calendar days/dates – that will undoubtedly occur again and again in the future – set me down the path of making up stories that are on par with those concocted by the Pyramidiots – stories that try to make sense of just why my inner world was so insistent I pay attention to the exact eeriness of this year’s calendar – stories made up to explain, understand, give higher meaning to events or just comfort myself -all swirling around my inner sanctum:

“Hmm – interesting – – My sons were born 8 years and 3 days apart – Nathan will graduate 8 years after Morgan died – that must, simply must, mean something – why is there never a numerologist around when you need one?”

“My back hurts – is it because I’m trying to hold on to memories I should let go, or is the heat lamp therapy tearing down brick-by-brick the huge walls I’ve built in my system?   Am I unwinding the ball of ill health or simply adding more imbalance to that which already exists?”

“Think I’ll map out how many more times I’ll endure Friday May 23rd  – 3 times?  6?   If I eat healthy, exercise, meditate and journal, will it make those years easier to handle or just ensure I must travel through more of these cycles?   Wouldn’t it make more sense to sit on my couch watching reality TV while eating Cheetos, guzzling beer and chain-smoking?  Why keep the torture alive for decades on end?”

“Which is better?  A. Map out every year May 23rd falls on a Friday – so I can be prepared and take reasonable preventative action or B. Try to forget that May 23rd means anything – surely after all the tapping, journaling, meditation I’ve done, I should be able to think of this without going loopy – what’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing – you just haven’t completely healed yet – quit fighting it and hang on – soon, it will be July and it will all be better – you know you always have an awesome July!”

“If Morgan were here, he’d tell you Drama class is over – – “

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Did I ever tell you the first 3 years after he died I had to look at the calendar to remember if he died on the 3rd or the 4th?   Because he was ill, because I couldn’t or wouldn’t sleep, at home or in the hospital – because I took a nap during the day to avoid all the friends and family I didn’t have answers for and stayed awake at night when there was no one who needed me to make a decision or give them comfort – I lost track of the days – – I tasked others with reminding when I had to be somewhere –

Maybe this year’s angst is all payback for shunning the gift of forgetting that Mother Nature gave me at the time – did I bless her and thank her?

Nope, I dutifully double-checked the calendar in subsequent years to see what date Tuesday fell on that spring – until finally, June 3rd was burned on my brain and I was no longer being gently (or irritatingly) corrected by family members because I mis-remembered what date it was…those who couldn’t stand the pain of me asking, “Was it the 3rd or 4th?  What date was that Tuesday?”

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There are stories and games we play with ourselves as we navigate the world – some are inherited – some we make up –

Some serve us – Some confound us – Some merely keep us entertained until such time as we create a new one –

Life may be hard at times and fragile at others, but always, we have the gift of stories to navigate whatever comes our way.

 

 

 

Recognizing Variables

My dad had not felt too well nearly a year before he was diagnosed with cancer.   He had struggled with many things for years before that, too.

But once the diagnosis came in, the all encompassing search for things to aide in the healing process came to the fore.

We talked often, during the two years between diagnosis and before his passing, about the unwise decision of adding to many ‘helpful things’ to the mix – because if you get better, how do you now what worked?  Or if it was a precise combination?

During this time, my brother moved from being an employee on a national-level sod farm corporation to being part owner in a previously family-owned one.    As I chatted with him about what information he would like to collect in the database I was building for him, he sighed at some point and said, “Sis, there are so many variables in farming that if you actually manage to capture all the data that led to a successful year, it would be a miracle.”

Still, I wanted to give it a try…

Miss Data – that’s me.

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These experiences, coupled with my tendency to practice medicine on myself (some things are just too important to be left in the hands of experts) has taught me there are always way more variables going on than we may be aware of – even those of us who profess to a middlin’ level of awareness.

Case in point – I’ve been struggling mightily these past couple of weeks.    Anniversaries of various losses are peppered throughout the first seven days of June –  the grave illness of a friend’s pet whose care I was charged with off and on, the hospital stay and recuperation of an elderly friend – power outages and wild fires located not too very far from my vicinity –

In short, I figured I just needed to get a better handle on my emotional state to start feeling better physically.   No energy and Procrastination meter at level 10 had me wildly searching for answers on what to do, now, to get a move on.

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Today I awoke to cooler temperatures and cloud cover.    And I feel so much better – gearing up to go outside and work, though I haven’t stepped foot outside the house unless absolutely necessary for the past ten days between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Which made me realize – I was too hot.   Since the stroke, my body doesn’t regulate as well as it should to temperature extremes.   The first winter, I couldn’t go outside without being bundled up like a mummy.

This morning made me realize that my body is still inching towards healing and probably not to happy with 90+ or 100+ degree weather – –

And the variable change that brought vast relief was one I hadn’t even considered as the root of the problem…

10 Percent

So yesterday sometime, my blog hit 10,000 views.   And a few moments ago, 1,000 likes.

So, I’m batting at 10%.

I have to smile over these stats.   When I first started blogging here at WordPress (2010), there wasn’t the wonderful infrastructure with which to work.   I wrote, and posted on links on Facebook.  Since I was blogging for the pure joy of it, I didn’t ‘market’ my blog at all – just wrote and shared with friends.

I accumulated a whopping 11 email followers.  Daily views tanked when I got irritated and deactivated my Facebook account.  Life started hurtling challenges at me faster than I could keep up with and I quit writing as much.

Then I had the stroke.

Over a year passed and I logged in to say goodbye – my writing was no longer easy and editing was non-existent.    I was too tired to research and craft informative posts.  I had built a website to show case what skills I still possessed and it was time to let old things go.

But when I logged in this past January, I found that people still came to me when they were getting ready to caulk something for the first time – or when they needed to know how to get caulk off their hands.

My dubious posts about how funny I am during nicotine withdrawal were still entertaining others.

As I looked over my stats, I realized that my most viewed posts were not the educational and informational pieces I slaved over – they were quick little, “Hey, guess what I’m doing/thinking today?” ditties.

I wrote a post to say I decided not to delete my blog.

And then I wrote another, and another….

And the wonderful new-to-me infrastructure allowed me to find the work of others and for them to find me.  To quickly build a community that educates, entertains and inspires me.

My writing improved – soon, I was in the flow of creativity that I remembered from before the stroke.   Editing started coming easier and while still not perfect, I’m fixing fewer errors than before.   And catching more before hitting the “Publish” button.

In a way, my blog, long ignored, became my saving grace.

Pretty amazing, for 10%, Eh?

My Community

Today was the anniversary of Morgan’s passing – I knew it was coming – I wrote what I’d learned in the last year – I tapped, I meditated, I took extra self-care time, I planned my week out – I signed up for the Hay House World Summit – I had a plan!

It still sucked – and worse, one of my very bestest buds from high school – you know the one you went fishing, car racing and drinking beer with? (yes, I was never a Girly Girl and no, we never raced cars and fished at the same time) – passed away yesterday – –

The local rumor mill has him either doing yard work or playing with his kids in his back yard – collapsed – DOA –

It has shocked the community, because he is too young… I’m thinking about all the relatives I cared for and watched die from cancer and silently hoping when I go, I go like he did.

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So now, June 2nd is when my ‘too young’ friend died, June 3rd is when my ‘too young’ son died, June 7th is a birthday we no longer celebrate and Father’s day is this month, as well…

My dad died in April – June is still when I mourn him – because Hallmark reminds me I no longer have a Dad to give 4 fantabulous cards too, because I couldn’t pick just one…

I found a card one year – staged in circa 1800’s mode – stern looking males in black, non-smiling females in full skirts – no one is smiling, because everyone is tired of sitting still with their head in a vise for the 20 minutes required for that era of photography….  The inside reads

“Never is there as much fun, laughter and gaiety as our family get-togethers”

I bought  it and mailed it, because I knew Dad would get it.

When he passed away, in the bottom drawer of his dresser, there was the pile of flannel handkerchiefs I made for him when chemo, radiation and oxygen therapy made his nose/skin so sore – -and this card.   I never signed it, because I told him he might like to give it to someone else – he kept it and never gave it away.   That drawer also held the wallet and belt I made for him when I was nine years old and in 4H leather crafting.  Mom said he always saved them – saying they were ‘too pretty to use’ – whether true or not, I care not….

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I  vowed not to come to WordPress these 10 days – simply because while I strive to be authentic in my blog – there are times I’m so down, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to post.  The world is full enough of the dark, bleak and gruesome – why add to it?

But I had to post tonight – because I just finished the interview at Hay House with Lissa Rankin.

Who Is Awesome.

The biggest thing I took away from her talk was the need for support while healing.   I realized so many of my traumas have been traversed alone.   While surrounded by those I chose to support, but did not ask anything of, because I figured they had enough on their plate without me asking for things from them…

I found myself alone while living through my worst nightmares…and,at some point, I got so used to it, my new story was,

“I’ve done it alone before, I can do so again.”

But tonight, while pondering this decision, I realized that for months, I have not been alone.

Because of you.

So just a quick log-in and post to say, Thank You, for being my support network.

For believing in my dreams and aspirations.

For being willing to ‘visit’ via comments way past your bedtime and mine…

For admitting sometimes you’re tired of it all, too…

And for wondering how I’m doing, when I’m too quiet for too long…

For validating me through listening…

You, bloggers, are my community.  You inspire me, encourage me and support me in a hundred different ways.

We may never meet face to face, but I have to let you know…

You Made A Difference – For Me – and I can never thank you enough.

BecauseURFantabulous

Memory

My dad was blessed with eidetic memory – he not only could tell you the story of (fill in the blank with just about anything you choose), but it was never told along the lines of “In the early 12th century, towards the springtime…”

Nope – “On May 23rd, 1201, the battle forces moved out – it had rained heavily that year, making the movement of the troops slow going…” was more like it.

Yes – He always won our Trivia Pursuit games.

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I, too, have a pretty good memory – though mine is not eidetic.   I like to call mine ‘associative memory’.   If I can recall one piece from a moment in time – a sight, smell, sound, touch, thought or feeling – the entire scene will replay through my mind as if it were yesterday.

While some think my memory is above average, I know it is not.   I simply have learned multiple ways of accessing stored information. There are gaps in the memory of my life – especially when  I was too ill to care or take in what was going on around me.

But for the most part, my memory is fairly good – which does have it’s downside…

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This weekend was graduation at our local school.   I did not attend.   The child-unit and I were invited to various graduation parties –  I let him choose which we would go to, as I really didn’t want to go anywhere, but could motivate myself given his wishes.

Both my associative and cellular memories kick in around this time of year – making the period from mid-May to mid-June fraught with emotional and physical complaints.

My son died shortly after graduation and right before his birthday.  Try as I might, time, meditation and healing have not completely eradicated the lingering symptoms I experience each spring.

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I was amazed to discover this weekend that while I can fully remember the Celebration of Life party we held on what would have been his 18th birthday, the sharp memory stabs of his graduation night and funeral are fading.   Glimpses and pieces swirl about, without the accompanying pain and yearning I feel when other memories come to the fore.

Since I pick whichever story is best for me, I conclude that Time is healing me, year by year –

And so here soon, I shall emerge from my trip down memory lane – complete with the knowledge of what has been laid to rest and what is left to heal.

Another year stretches before me before the lilacs, springtime weather and graduation announcements entice me down memory lane again.  365 days in which to love better, surrender with grace to that which I cannot do anything about – 12 months for Mother Nature to continue her reconstructive surgery on me.

If the past few are any indication, next year will be easier than this past one.

June - 23 Years Ago
June – 23 Years Ago
Graduation Night  5 years ago
Graduation Night
5 years ago
June - 5 Years Ago
June – 5 Years Ago