“Everything Happens for a Reason?”

Now isn't that Random?
Now isn’t that Random?

(this is an old post, re-inserted due to deletion) “Everything happens for a reason?” Personally, I really do not believe this. (did you just GASP?!!!) I think it is one of those things people say to you when you tell them something about your life that undeniably sucks. I think those platitudes are just our mind’s way of trying to contextualize experiences that don’t fall inside our usual frameworks for making sense of the world. I believe that sometimes we all make pointless, useless choices…..and these are the times you make “lemonade out of lemons”. There are just too many really bad things out there for me to rationalize “everything happens for a reason”. I guess a lot of it comes down to situations like this: The mother of a severely handicapped child who has to listen to the well-meaning chirping’s of her friends who say “everything happens for a reason…(or) God only gives special children to special mothers who are strong” Yes, these people do not know what else to say…they are well-meaning. But this mother is thinking…. “there’s NO reason good enough that I should have to deal with this severe disability….and I don’t think it is part of a LARGER plan!”. Here is what I DO believe: We ALL have life experiences that make us STRONGER. We learn from these experiences. These experiences are what mold us. They help us better our choices for the future. I have no real problem believing in the randomness of life.  Or, that maybe SOME  things happen for a reason.  BUT….. This is only MY take, albeit a very unpopular view…..but it is what it is And I am what I am:-) I’m definitely not trying to change anyone’s thought process. Just give insight on another view.

Slim Slow Plan

January I started a weight loss plan. It is my endeavor to lose a pound a week until desired weight, then maintain that weight.  I am off course, but not by much. I am only a couple pounds from the goal of a pound a week. I am fitting into clothes that have not fit for a while. So I have definitely lost inches.  That is encouraging.  It is my desire to step it up a notch since the weather is getting  nice. I am sure to exercise more.  I can live on tomatoes and garden veggies. I hope the Deer leave us some from our garden. I am looking forward to reaping the rewards of Dennis’ hard work.

The main thing for me to focus on is portion control and eating healthy snacks.  I didn’t gain this weight overnight. It crept up on me.  A pound here and there, then suddenly I realized I was way out of control. I feel I am in control now. The weight will eventually come off.  And this way is not mentally stressful.  I embrace this plan..
May 23, Update:
I’m stuck. I’ve hit a plateau. I am steady holding at 182. I am confident I will not gain my weight back, but I am going to have to increase my exercise to lose more. I am going to try to get into the 170’s in June. I could reach my goal weight by July! That is exciting! I’ve lost inches. I am wearing my size 12 jeans and shorts. Went from 16 to 12.

Memories From A Mother’s Heart

My sister, Brenda, had the foresight to take this book to our mother in 2005 in hopes she would fill out the pages. Mother filled out most of the pages. She printed it although she had a beautiful cursive handwriting.  I guess she could fit more in that way.  This was a wonderful gift and we will always be so grateful Brenda took the initiative.

Saying bye to Mama (Edited 2/26)

That dreaded call came Sunday.  Mom was unresponsive and her breaths were shallow.  According to the medical staff she would probably not make it through the day.
All my siblings and I spent the day by her side. As the day drew on, her breathing was more labored and she began to gurgle.
She grew weaker through the night and at ten past six Monday morning she ceased breathing and her heart stopped beating.
This is a difficult time.  But with all my deepest darkest emotional upheaval came a shining light. In the way of a message from my daughter,  Erin.
Through tears of joy and sadness I read the message:

I am lucky. I have felt unconditional love my whole life. My parents have loved me through my darkest days. Days when I was mean and spiteful. Days when I was arrogant and selfish. Days when I was sinful and remorseless. Days when I could not even love myself.
They have supported me my entire life and given me far more than I have deserved. Because of them, I am a better person and parent myself. They have lead by example and every good decision I make as a mother has some root in their teachings.
Which is why I am even more so amazed by my mother.

You see, my mother did not have this example. The love of her own mother came with conditions disguised as religious truths. She was not supported. She was not guided. She was very much alone.
How did she know? How did she know how to put her children before herself and all others? How did she know how to ensure her children felt worthy of her love as well as the love of God? How did she know how to be the foundation on which her children would build their entire lives?
I don’t know how she did it. I don’t know how she continues to do it, never once letting herself be crippled by anger and resentment. Never thinking twice about lending a hand to those who turned their back when she needed them most.
I have been angry. I have been resentful.  I have wanted nothing more than an apology. An admittance of guilt from the woman who raised my mother. I have wanted this for my mother for so long. But, it does not look as though she will get this peace..this closure.
And yet..there she sits. By her dying mother’s bedside. She is not angry, but tender. She is not spiteful, but caring. With the help of her sisters, she has taken care of this woman for months, often without appreciation. She expects no repentance. She expects nothing in return.
Why? After all these years. After all the hurtful words and hateful actions. Why is she there? Why is she able to give something to this woman that she herself never received during the most crucial times of her life? Because that’s what she does.
She loves without limitations.  She gives without expectation. She cares and nurtures. She forgives and forgets.

So, now, as I think of my grandmother I am not angry. I am not resentful. But, I am sad. I am sad that she missed out on my mother’s adult life. I am sad that she missed watching her become a beautiful woman, a loving wife, and a caring mother. I am sad that she refused to allow herself to experience the unconditional love of my mother and her sisters. I am sad that she doesn’t know the person I call Mom..because she is a wonderful person. A strong person. A selfless person. And knowing her is a blessing I would not trade for all the world.

I love you Momma. Thank you for giving me such a great childhood, filled with laughter and love. Thank you for continuing to stand by me as an adult. Thank you for overcoming every obstacle you have faced in order to become the amazing person that you are. I am forever grateful for you.

That note from my daughter helped me more than she will ever know. Because I was conflicted many times in the duration Mom and I were estranged.  Having her present this in such a heartfelt emotional way makes me feel so relieved I didn’t allow any bitterness or anger to transfer into our relationship.  The sweet phone call from my son after her passing meant more to me than he will know. I can imagine it is very awkward to express sympathy knowing our history.  But every expression of sympathy has been very much appreciated.

I was totally unprepared for the rush of emotions upon her passing. I mourn the mother who raised me. I mourn also, the mother she could have been during my adulthood.

I mourn that sweet,stubborn, funny, loving mother I got to know these past two years.   We all learned so much about Dementia.  She never was to the point of not recognizing us.  We all discussed how  Dementia sort of placed her in parallel  realities.  She had some of the wildest stories to tell. But then she would come back to the real world as  lucidity came in waves.

I mourn for the love she could have felt.  She left behind many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren she never knew. Most she never met.  It breaks my heart that she missed out on being in their lives.

My sister’s and I had little to say about any arrangements.  Her wishes were to be cremated and have a service at her place of worship, The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Usually, those grieving receive comfort from a funeral home staff, the smell of carnations mixed with so many gorgeous arrangements, the bustle of loved ones,  family  and friends all around.  There was little  normal about our relationship and I guess it will end oddly as well. Asking for understanding from anyone who might judge me or my sisters harshly for not attending the service at the Kingdom Hall.  There are so many reasons to never enter that place again.  It is very important to avoid a place where the members presume spiritual superiority. That religion has kept us apart for years. A religion responsible for tearing families apart.  I promised myself I would never go there again.  As a disfellowshipped person, I would not be allowed to speak!. I had hoped to speak at her service.  I also hoped it would be held at a neutral location.. Saddened that it didn’t work out that way.   I gave it over to God, and have received peace.

My sisters and I will gather to pray for her, and remember the good mother who raised us. We are so very blessed to have one another. All those years in my mother’s absence,  they were there for me.  All of them nurturing me, guiding me, loving me. I am blessed beyond measure.  I’ve also had support of a wonderful Husband and  dear friends.

I am thankful I made it out of the religion of my birth. Thankful for having accepted the gift of grace. Ephesians 2,8. Through help from God, family and friends, I will emerge stronger than before.

Any hurt feelings will diminish in time. I will cherish the good memories. We were raised with good moral values. We felt loved and secure. We were raised to love everyone without prejudice.  She sacrificed for us and made sure our needs were met.  It wasn’t always easy with five kids and often little means.  There was a time when I was about twelve or thirteen, I remember looking over at my mom as she was driving.  I thought to myself, she is the best mom!  I would be devastated if anything ever happened to her. At that time in my life she was my world. When it came time for any of us to drive, she helped us get our license and allowed us to drive…. a lot.  One time she was very sick. She had a terrible stomach virus. I was about sixteen.  I had never seen her so ill.  I felt her pain so completely as if I was the one burning with fever and heaving.  A favorite memory is being taken up the forestry tower. She worked for Georgia Forestry when I was very young.  It was exciting and gave me some time with mom all to myself.  She would pack us a lunch and let me look through the binoculars for smoke.  There are many happy memories of  her teaching us the game of Rook while eating popcorn and fudge or loading the car with kids to go to the lake or creek. We had great times as children. One time when I was in High School a friend and I had been out to eat pizza.  We came home and could hear the music  blaring when we got out of the car.  We recognized it as we got closer.  We looked at one another and said “Led Zeppelin???”. We laughed so hard as we came in to see mom checking out the content of my latest album purchase. I think she had heard bad things about that band. But she must have liked it judging from the volume.

One day I may write a blog containing the eulogy I would have given. If I had that opportunity.

 

Rest in peace dear mother.

 

 

 

 

A “piece of shit”? Really???

Friday evening I was home alone. About to sit down and relax for the evening when I hear a pounding on my front door. He chose not to ring the bell and pounded the door with purpose. I could see his outline through the glass. He was very tall man. I was frightened because I didn’t know who it was. I cracked the door and immediately recognized him as my neighbor on the hill. I met him, his wife and their daughter at the yard sale we had last Fall. am horrible with names. I wish i had remembered his name.

As soon as I opened the door he screamed at me. “YOUR DOG KILLED MY CAT!” There was no civil introduction or explanation. He blasted me with the news. I walked onto the porch trying to figure out what the heck was going on. My dogs were all accounted for.  They had been in the house or in the fenced yard. He started walking toward the side of the house to get a view of my large dog in the fenced back yard. Pointing to our red bone hound/retriever mix , Kane.  I heard him say, “That piece of shit killed my cat.”  I was stunned.  Kane is always either in  our basement or in his fenced area. He and Pinky share that area, but Pinky had been in the house that day.  He was pointing toward their dog house. Which is a large house that used to be a playhouse Dennis built for the kids.  There beside it was a white cat lying lifeless. All I could say was “I’m sorry.”  I knew Kane acted instinctively.  The cat made an unwise choice, a very sad and unfortunate one.  I was beginning to feel afraid and was shocked at the way this man was treating me.  He was ranting on and on.  He said he could not believe I didn’t check on my animals. The cat had been missing for two days.  I told him I took very good care of my animals! I could not see the cat from the basement door where I feed the dogs and bring them in to sleep every night. I had been out to give them water and check on them during the day,  but never walked to the other side of their dog house to notice the cat. Was I to walk the fences everyday?   His behavior was very disturbing, I told him several times he should leave and come back when my husband gets home. He accused me of not checking on my animals when he apparently had not kept up with his cat!  I could have turned that on him. It was HIS cat that was in OUR fenced yard.   I allowed him his rant and tried not to say a lot as I knew he was hurting.  I expressed several times how sorry I was for his loss.  I asked what I could do at this point.   He only wanted to get the cat from our yard. I went in through the house and came out through the basement. I told him I could get a box for his cat. He appreciated that.  He was visibly upset and so was I . He teared up and told me she was a sweet cat. I handed him the box where I had placed the cat.

He acted on emotion, I know. But how much better this would have been if he had not handled it in such a hostile way. I am not heartless. I feel horrible that that Kane killed his cat. If in fact he did.  No one saw him do it. The cat wasn’t bloody and I didn’t see punctures.  It was almost like it climbed over the fence and laid down to die.  I guess we will never know what happened for sure. But Kane probably killed the cat. When I told the man the cat didn’t look like he had been violently attacked. He said it doesn’t take much effort for a dog to snap a neck.

He said Kane was vicious and couldn’t see why we would keep a dangerous dog.  I defended Kane. We’ve raised him from puppyhood. He is a rescue dog. All bark no bite when it came to people.  He said Kane acted like he was very mean when he came near the fence earlier.  That made me wonder why he snooped around without first knocking on my door. Of course Kane is going to bark!  He is protecting his property! Dogs are very territorial.  This dog was an enemy to him. Nothing I said could change his opinion.

The next day I heard Kane barking very wildly.  Like when the man reads the meter or the trash guys come for the trash.  I walked out on our back porch and saw the man walking toward the fence.  I quickly went down through the basement and called Kane to come inside. The man turned to walk back toward his house. He saw me and heard me calling Kane.  Don’t know why he was there, but feel this should be documented. He was angry and I’m not sure if I’ve heard the last of him. Friday, when he calmed a bit, he said  he didn’t want hard feelings as we would be neighbors for a while. I again told him I was sorry for his loss.

It is extremely difficult to lose a pet. I imagine he was shocked to see the cat lying dead in our fenced area.  However, I don’t like having someone come to my door yelling at me, cursing my dog, and questioning the way I care for my animals.  The way he handled it was upsetting. I am old enough to be his mother.  Was he not trained to respect his elders?   Yelling at a woman answering the door was inappropriate. Also, if I wish I could have somehow prevented this. It is very sad and I am so sorry that it happened. But unless I had been out there to run the cat off before it crossed into Kane’s pen, What could I do?

kane yard
My view from basement door. There is a 5′ fence around this area.
kaney
Kane my 8 year old Hound/Retriever mix

 

Update B’s Weight loss Journal

I weighed in today at 191.4. I’ve lost three pounds in the first week. I am very happy with this. Because I feel I can keep it off and continue to lose. I am eating what I like. A healthy balanced diet. I am limiting portions. I am enjoying sweets in moderation.  Exercising daily.  I hope to have another good report next week

Week 2 weigh in:  I was very worried that this would be a week that set me back. I was pleasantly surprised that I weighed in at 190.4. Which is a loss of one pound for this week. 4 lbs total in two weeks. I’m on task. This past week I ate more the first part of the week. Went on a sister’s mini vacay ,.but I didn’t stray to far from moderation. So I’m happy to report a loss and no gain.
Well it’s the last day of January and I am happy with my results. I am at 186.0 now! I’ve lost 6.4 pounds. Already I can appreciate my efforts as my clothes are fitting better. Losing weight at a slow pace does not offer immense immediate gratification. But I feel confident I will stick to this plan and gratification will come as I celebrate all the small milestones that will lead to my ultimate goal. I’m trying to find an exercise bike. I am not good with cold weather.

I am holding steady at 185. But not too disappointed. I am still on track with my plan and have not gained. I know the weight will come off as I increase my exercise. This week I will definitely do more. I am excited to see if I see imediate results. I have some meal plans in mind for the week that will also help with my weight loss..
My mother passed away a week ago. My eating habits were sporadic this week. But I didn’t gain. So at 184.4 I have lost 10 pounds since I began in January. March may bring warmer weather hopefully and allow me to get out and exercise more. Still ahead of my pound a week goal. My slim slow plan is working!
Update: I have not done well last few weeks. But not far off my goal. I’ve lost 10 pounds so far. At this point I should have lost 11. My short term goal is 15 by end of March. I’ll check back then.