Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Last Post for 2012

I’ve been hoping to post before now but fatigue recovery (and perpetual brain fog) has dominated my life for now, and, a trip to the doctor on Saturday for chest pains (no worries, it was an esophageal spasm) set me back a bit.  So, I write with a head full of fog before too much more time passes. 
That’s just the goofy thing about TBI, something we’re not exactly even close to being at our best but still have to get things done all the same.  Please pardon the fog…

Looking back at 2012

I think of Dad moving from his home to rehab center to assisted living, and my becoming Power of Attorney, taking over his finances.  It’s pretty overwhelming to say the least.  To step back in to family issues is quite odd.  Sometimes distance can be a good thing.  :)  This is one of those big life lessons, whether we feel we’re ready to step up to it or not isn’t an option.  Apparently we are ready or at least seem ready, or we wouldn’t be chosen.  :)

I think of having to wear glasses now, yes, I turned 45 this year and my eyes are showing their age too. 

This has been a year of unrest when it comes to my own personal religion, faith, and beliefs.  It is almost laughable the conversation and questions inside my head.  I’m no longer able to follow any faith blindly.  I’d imagine this is a good thing, although it is strangely uncomfortable not being so certain or sure of what I used to believe or what we hear about today.  I’m searching for timeless universal truths. 

I think about gratitude, for what remains.  Yes, I still live as a shut-in and activities are strategically planned so I can participate as much as possible without harming myself.  But the Internet continues to be a lifeline to the world outside of these walls and I am ever grateful for that.  I am thankful for each and everyone one of you.  :)  Yes, you!

Looking toward 2013

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions since I believe change is a daily choice, here are some things I’m looking forward to/have in mind for this coming year:

To continue to give/receive encouragement, strength, comfort, and humor as I’ve received, and try to help myself have more fun as TBI can be both strenuous and serious. 

Dad will turn 90!  Remarkable!

Assistive Technology – I currently own a TracFone since I do not talk on the phone much at all these days, but I’ve been wanting a device similar to a smartphone to help me be better organized, track things better, and simply manage life a bit better.  I’m saving up for an mp3 player that will have capacity for those lovely little apps we all hear about.  This way, I get the benefit of the apps without a contract I could not afford or would use to its full capacity since I don’t talk on the phone much.  (TracFone out here has no smartphones in our area as of yet.)

I look forward to being more organized and continue to declutter.

With our economy being what it is, and my medical costing more, this will be a far frugal year for sure.  The good thing about being a human animal, what we cannot change we can adapt to.  :)

I am wishing you and your loved ones a beautiful, enjoyable, content, and hopefully humor-able year.  We’re all in this together.  Thank you for being here, for making a world of difference in my life.

Blessings, Love & Peace,

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Heartbeat of Humanity

I have been silent while recovering from a fatigue crash but have followed the horrific news about the elementary school shooting.  A lot of it hit home for me, as it did almost everyone on this earth who has a pulse.

I studied to be an elementary school teacher; I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and loved, loved, LOVED teaching the younger children.

I watched as social media went viral with incorrect information about the perpetrator of this crime, I watched the hatred and anger frenzy only add to this confusing and suffocating storm.  I curiously watched and wanted to know about this person who could contrive such an unthinkable series of crimes against humanity itself.

In my own anger and disgust, I called him THE biggest coward in the world to go after innocent children and unarmed teachers.  You want to talk about the heart of humanity?  It doesn’t get any purer or sweeter than children, especially young children still full of natural curiosity, empathy and wonder and the teachers called to educate and nurture them.

I quieted my anger by allowing the grief it was hiding to surface instead, to allow the compassion and empathy to emerge.  To rage would only make me similar to him and I wanted no part in that.  And honestly, there are no answers for the questions I have, there is no reason in the world that would ever ease my aching soul.  There is nothing anyone can tell me that would make this event ever be okay.

I think of all the firsts these families have to face and have already faced.  Imagine taking your child to school or saying good-bye at the bus stop to come home with only the child’s belongings (if that), and the empty bedroom, the empty space at the table, the empty seat in the car, the empty silence.

I can choose to turn off the media or look away from the photos that make me cry, these families and communities cannot.  Theirs is the walk of raw, inescapable reality, the dreams and the nightmares.
One word continued to repeat in my mind over and over, that word is ‘torn.’  These children, teachers and administrators were torn from humanity.

This premeditated act of cruelty shatters every concept we had of feeling safe.  How do we keep our children safe?  How do we keep ourselves safe?  Perhaps it is best to remember we are humans, but we are still animals and we are all very vulnerable.  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst?

Locks and laws did not save the children and adults that day.  The school had safety measures in place, the doors would lock at a specific time and people had to check in at the office to be allowed in.  Connecticut law bans assault rifles yet they were in the home, owned by the coward’s mother.

Truth is children are murdered every day.  Children in all corners of the world face devastating violence and dire survival every day.  It’s just different when it’s on our soil, or is it?  To what extent do we let the suffering of the world in our hearts and carry it with us?

Growing up we had earthquake drills and fire drills, and as much as I hate to say it, we need emergency evacuation drills or other safety drills.  We are very much a conflicted society in trying to protect our children, but are we protecting them when we fail to teach them about clear and present dangers?  So many questions I have, and so few answers.

The Intrusive Media
I chose to select only one or two news agencies to glean my information from and do my best to suspend any judgment until more is known for sure.  There are those who are only adding to the storm of negativity, stress, strife and making money off of a lot of people’s misery.  I cannot support that type of media or ‘journalism’.

I personally boycotted intrusive media the day the paparazzi killed Princess Diana.  Details of people’s lives are still sacred and none of my business!  Enough said.

The Personal Attacks
The farthest I will go in saying anything about anyone is focusing on the cowardice that is all.  I give no power to the coward.  I have no comments toward mental illness or gun ownership.  This profoundly sad and unfathomable event is sacred ground.

End Note
Personally, I have not yet been successful to go anywhere without seeing children and thinking, “they were that age.”

I can only hope and pray the families and community can find the slightest light and comfort in all this darkness.  I hope, as Oprah says, they experience ‘the visitation’ where loved ones appear in our dreams to let us know they are okay.  And, I hope the families and community never give up until they get the help they need to heal.

We can each be broken by this moment or become stronger, it is the choice each of us have as we sort through this horrific experience. 

Do we allow the heartbeat of humanity that is beating in every one of us to be stifled or silenced because of one person's actions?  Or maybe it's moments like this that help us find 'the better angels of our nature' as Abraham Lincoln said. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Anniversary, Traumaversary or Survivorversary

I swore I wouldn't blog about this, but as much as I tried to avoid it yesterday, the little wounded heart and brain both said, "It was 10 years ago today...and we still hurt."

Ten years ago yesterday another unfortunate set of circumstances unleashed an emotional, psychological and fiscal avalanche. I got fired. I worked for people who were at one time close friends, I even attended their family gatherings on the holidays.

I imagine there are a lot of things that happen in life that we just accept and move on with, there may never be real healing...

They said they felt God was preparing me for the ministry.
I wondered if that was so, why didn't God tell me first?

They said they felt I was being squelched there.
I was shaking and thinking to myself, "I just bought my first house...and...the holidays, the holidays..."

I told them I'd gone to a Bible study just the night before and the topics were ironically Surrender and Obedience, and that was what I chose to do here.
She said, "Oh don't you go being nice or anything."


I kept myself together, telling them it would be okay.
They asked me what THEY should tell the patients. I thought it was none of my business and quietly said, "I don't know."

They helped me move the last weekend in October to my new home, her entire extended family helped. I attended their family Thanksgiving, less than two weeks later, on December 5, I was fired?!

I never understood any of this. People would ask me what happened and I said I didn't know. They'd always say, "But they have to give you a reason for being fired." I'd just shrug my shoulders.

Years later, at the Brain Injury rehab center I was talking with the Social Worker. We broached this situation and I told her what I've shared here. She said the reason why I hadn't processed it was because it threw me into survival mode, and, she summed up that "it was personal."

To add insult to injury, years later, in sworn deposition, my ex-boss said I was fired due to performance, a relationship breakup and, Willful Insubordination.'


So maybe some things never get healed, or wrapped up in a nice tiny package for presentation. Maybe it's our job, or our calling, to make the best out of the hand we've been dealt.

It was an emotionally dark day yesterday, I was quite out of sorts...and then...a thought came to mind. What if...instead of this being a day associated with an enormous amount of pain, betrayal, etc., what if, I consciously chose to plant acts of kindness instead?

I started thinking, what if I decided to do something as simple as writing a thank you note to someone? That was kind of a neat shift in thinking and for some reason, Deepak Chopra's phrase of "Imagine smiling with every cell in your body" seems to be on instant replay in my brain! I can have dark and gloomy or happy cells! :)

Nothing can change the past, it's best to feel the hurts, express emotions in a healthy way and try, even in the smallest of ways, to create a beautiful life for ourselves in this moment. Who knows, we might just be on this planet for some time and find the tools we needed for a good life, and getting ourselves unstuck, were right here inside of us all along.

In some circles people use the term 'Traumaversary" and I could never adopt that word. Maybe we'd do ourselves and our world a favor and think or say, "Hey, it was on that day I became a survivor!"