Hope

I’ve gotten a chance to remember what I’m fighting for, why I keep hanging on when I it seems so pointless.

Hello dear reader.

I have really good news and I have bad news. Which should I talk about first? Let’s start with the good news.

In the last two weeks I’ve only had one day I was stuck in bed. It’s incredible! The pain is there, of course, but my doctor and I have finally found a combination of meds that keep it at a level I can push through. I feel younger, more energetic, and extremely happy.

Now the bad news. Medicaid and Medicare are taking me off these meds. I have just over two more weeks on them. They’ve even decided what I have to take instead. It’s something I’ve taken before and it didn’t work for me.

This isn’t necessarily all bad. There’s a possibility (a tiny one) that the stuff they want me to take could be effective. There’s also a chance that if I take the new stuff and it doesn’t help me, they may let me go back to what I’m taking now.

So that’s the situation. I’ve felt better in the last couple of weeks than I have in an extremely long time, and I have two more weeks to go before it’s taken away. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for this time. I’ve spent many hours praying for just a break from the agony I’m usually in. My prayers were answered. I’ve gotten a chance to remember what I’m fighting for, why I keep hanging on when I it seems so pointless. I discovered that Lynnette is still in there. That may sound strange to some of you, but when I’ve been stuck in bed unable to move my head for weeks, and even months at a time, the pain and depression seem to be all that I am. The part that’s me gets buried so deeply that I can’t find it any more.

This brings me to something else I feel it’s important for me to address. During the periods I’ve existed in hell I’ve wanted badly to end it. I couldn’t see any way for the agony to stop besides death. I’ve spent a lot of time wishing for death and thinking about suicide. I’ve felt like I was already dead and just waiting for my body to catch up. I know a lot of people who deal with horrific pain constantly feel the same way. But the break I’ve had these last couple weeks has given me hope and that’s something I haven’t had in… I can’t remember how long. I’m telling you this because I want to give you hope as well. It’s possible! Things can change! If I had ended things then, I would never have had this experience. Even knowing it’s probably temporary, it’s totally worth it.

The biggest surprise of the last couple weeks has been discovering that I’m still here. The pain, isolation, depression and darkness didn’t destroy me after all.

Until next time…

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Unconditional love…what a concept!

Hello dear reader.

It’s been a bit, I know.  Between headaches, CASA, and wedding plans, I’m sure you’ll excuse my absence.  Soooo, the day after tomorrow I will be a married woman.  I’m SO excited.  The last few weeks have been insane trying to make sure everything is set up and ready for Saturday.  I have worked my butt off!  Finally, everything is in place and ready and I can relax and enjoy the fruits of my labors.  I try to be  unpredictable when I write, but today I’m going to (predictably) talk about this man I’m going to marry and how much I love him.  

How do I know marrying him is the right thing to do, that it will work?  The really simple answer to that is that Tim and I have been to hell and back…a FEW times…and we still like each other.  Yes, I said LIKE.  I think like is even more important than love.  I have loved people that I didn’t like at all, and it was miserable.  We are best friends.  I look forward to spending time with him.  I laugh with him.  I tell him things I won’t tell most people, things you can only tell a very close friend.  Quick story – Not long ago, when Tim was between jobs, we were SO broke!  We were getting food from the church, were behind on ALL the bills, the bank account was overdrawn, and we didn’t know when any of that would change.  We were sitting together holding hands while watching the dogs playing and looking at a spectacular sunrise.  Both of us said, “I love our life!”  How crazy is that?  Logically we probably should have been completely stressed out.  But we both felt happy and contented just being together.  THAT’s how I know.

I’ve learned with Tim what love is supposed to be like.  He loves me simply for who I am.  He supports and encourages my dreams and aspirations.  He makes me feel smart and pretty.  He considers it his mission to make me laugh at  least once a day.  Okay, some of you are probably saying, “Okay, and the big deal is….?”  If so, you’re a very fortunate person. The big deal is I have never in my life had anyone love me like that, unconditionally and completely.  All the way back to my childhood, any love I got from anyone  was conditional.  I was loved if I did this or that and did it this way or that way.  I was loved only if I was willing to give up what I wanted and felt to do and feel what someone else wanted me to.  My dreams were to be a good mother or wife or daughter, to make someone else happy so that they would love me.  My aspirations were to do things well enough to earn someone’s love.  You know, I think that’s actually the core of it….I don’t have to earn Tim’s love.  He gives it to me…a gift, not as payment for something.  That is the big deal.  It’s something which was extremely difficult for me to learn to accept and trust.

I honestly think I’ve always tried to love that way, unconditionally.   I can’t say I’ve always been able to.  I’m not making excuses for that, but I have learned why I failed at it.  When two people give to each other freely and gladly, both of their hearts stay full because they’re being given at least as much as they are giving.  When one person is giving and the other is taking, the giver’s heart grows cold and empty eventually because there’s nothing to fill it up.  As I said, nobody ever gave me unconditional love, so there was nothing to keep my heart full and I eventually gave up. 

Don’t get me wrong…I’m nowhere near perfect,  I came into every relationship I’ve ever been in (besides the one with my parents) with a lot of my own baggage and misconceptions.  I had a horrible view of myself.  I thought I could never do or give enough to really deserve love from someone else.  I was only partially right.  I could never do enough to earn someone’s love.  All I can do is give my love freely and accept Tim’s love in return.  But I do deserve love.  It’s ironic when I think about it.  Only after I took the time to learn to love myself simply for who I was (am) was I able to trust and accept that anyone else could.

Okay, I’m getting mushy here.  But in less than 48 hours I will marry a wonderful, loving, compassionate, funny, giving, and VERY good looking man.  I think a little mushy is allowed,  :-}

Until next time…

Contrasts

Hello dear reader.

Two weeks from today I will be married to the love of my life.  It feels surreal.  I told Tim this morning that I am so happy and my life is so amazing that it scares me.  I keep expecting to wake up.  We have a great house in the most beautiful place on earth.  All of my children and grandchildren are healthy and happy.  We have the best friends anyone could ever have.  Tim has a job that he loves and we can live on.  Every morning we wake up to birds singing outside our window.  We start our days drinking coffee and laughing at the dogs.  I’m making progress in getting my pain under control.  I get to be a voice for children who need a voice.  I’m marrying a man who is loving, compassionate, loyal, and keeps me laughing.  I get to be married to someone who was, is, and always will be my friend.  This is my life?  Really?  How did this happen?  How did I get here from where I’ve been?

I started out as a physically and sexually abused child.  I went from there to being in physically abusive relationships.  I have to say though, I’d do it all again to have my kids.  They were the only good thing in my life.  All I wanted was for them to have a happy childhood and grow up to be happy people.  I wanted their lives to be the opposite of mine both as children and adults.  I know that I wasn’t always the mother I wanted to be, and I’m still not.  But they had at least one thing that I never did…I loved and will always love all of my children with all my heart.  People say about their children, “I’d die for them.”  I did more than that.  I lived for them when dying would have been a lot easier.  I’m getting off on a tangent here, but I suppose I needed to say that.  Back on topic…I went from physically abusive relationships to an emotionally abusive one.  I’ve never had anyone love me.  Everyone who claimed to love me, actually loved their image of what they wanted me to be.  I always put who I was or wanted to be in the background to be what I was “supposed” to be.  Even now I often don’t seem to live up to my children’s expectations of who they think I should be.

Fast forward to me at almost 50…I find myself in a relationship with someone who loves who I am, a relationship with no abuse at all.  This is a relationship where not only am I allowed to be myself, but respected, admired, and encouraged to be myself.  I grow and flourish in ways I never knew I could.

Can you see why it all seems so surreal?

I know I’ve said some things in here today that will make you smile and other things that will make you shudder.  That’s my life.  But today, now, I’m all smiles.  I have a life that I never even dreamed was possible.  I’ve lived way too many nightmares.  If this is a dream, please don’t wake me up.

Until next time…

Something to think about.

Good morning dear reader.

This has been a really rough week, but I’m finally feeling a little better this morning. As soon as I finish writing this (priorities!) I’m going to start trying to get caught up on some things. I am SO behind on housework.

Last night I found myself thinking about death, not as something to fear, but as an inevitable thing for all of us at some point. Then I looked at my “Inspiring Quotes” this morning and it really solidified what I wanted to write about today. Here’s the quote: When we leave this world, how much we have loved will be our true legacy. It is the only thing we will leave behind..(Anne Siloy). I’m not sure who she is, but I agree with what she says.

It all boils down to two questions. The first one is how do I want to be remembered after I die? These questions can be life-changers if you really take the time to think about them. Just figuring out how you want to be remembered takes some serious soul searching. For example, do you want to be remembered as someone who held tight to their opinions and refused to budge, or as someone who was willing to compromise with others? Do you want to be remembered as someone who did all they could to help others, or as someone who worked hard all their lives to build something to leave for the next generation? I could go on and on, but the examples themselves aren’t the point. None of them are wrong, they are all things that people strive for in their lives. I think in order to answer the question of how you want to be remembered, you have to take the time to learn who you are. Not the you that you show in public, but the you that is there when you’re alone and not keeping up appearances. Many people are afraid of being alone (I sure was!) because that means they have to spend time with a stranger. It took me many years to learn who Lynnette is…not the mother or the wife or the person who cooks at church. or any of the things people saw me as…just plain Lynnette. Yes, it was scary and yes, it was hard work, but finding the person that had been buried under all of these expectations (real or imagined) was an amazing thing. I found diamonds and charcoal…things I wanted to polish and make brighter and things that were dark and ugly. I looked up how diamonds are formed. According to geology.com, “The formation of natural diamonds requires very high temperatures and pressures.” In other words, it ain’t easy. I think I may be getting a bit off course here, so let’s bring it back. Bottom line…figuring out how you want to be remembered after you die requires getting to know who you truly are.

Now the second question…how do you think you will be remembered after you die? If the answer to that is the same as the first question then congratulations! You are perfect…no further work is required. You can just sit back and enjoy the ride. But since that is not the case with most of us, I’m going to talk about it anyway. For the first question we had to figure out who we were, but for this one we have to figure out how to make diamonds out of our coal. The difference between who we are and who we want to be can be quite vast, but it isn’t impossible to get from one to the other. It simply requires work. Oh…did you think the work was finished when you found out who you were? Sorry, the work has just begun. I’m going to use a personal example to explain what I mean by this one. I was the person who volunteered for everything, no matter what it was. If anyone asked for help I was there, no matter what it was. I thought this made me a good person. People would remember me as the person who was always there, always made herself available for anything that was asked. I never said no to anything, at least not where anyone would hear me. But alone, in the part of me that I didn’t show, I often resented the hell out of it. I’d do whatever was asked of me (or I volunteered for) with a smile on my face and a “No problem! Glad to do it!” Then I’d get home and say, “Why is it always me? Is there nobody else who can do some of this stuff? They know I’m sick…well, they sort of know. I don’t tell how bad it really is. But they should be able to tell I’m not doing

not asking me specifically. But they know when they ask for help I’ll always volunteer.” It would go on and on. I thought I was being the person other people wanted me to be, but I definitely wasn’t being the person I wanted to be. So you know what I did? I learned how to say that impossibly difficult two letter word… NO. I only said it to the things that were super hard for me to do. But the sky stayed up where it belonged, it didn’t fall, and people didn’t hate me, they still loved me. So I said it again. Before long I was only volunteering to do things I actually wanted to do. If I was asked for help by someone who had taken advantage of me in the past, I told them I couldn’t do it. Now I believe I will be remembered as someone who did what she could when she could, and did it gladly. That’s one example of a way I think I will be remembered that matches up with how I want to be remembered when I’m gone. I still have a lot of work to do with some other things.

I’ve gotten a bit deep today. But I think this is something people don’t normally take the time to think about. You deserve to be the you that makes you happy. So if I’ve made you think a bit today, great!
Until next time…