Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Between A Rock And A Heart Place

Deb: When we are going through tough times, the lucky among us have so many safe havens in which to unload and unwind. But even those who cannot attach a friend or loved one to their worries and stresses, can reach for a multitude of platitudes. Multitude of Platitudes. Try saying that three times fast.

We all know how to cure what ails our worried souls. We all know how to sooth our panicked hearts and how to allay our fears and calm our tethered nerves. We know how to do these things because thanks to sappy over-sharing baby boomers (yes, I include myself) and the internet, they are everywhere, these quick and long fixes. And they work. Work wonders sometimes.

Right now I am stretched to the nines emotionally and have been for some time. I did not want to blog about the details and still don’t. I think anyone who knows me and who reads this blog knows that it is the sad and quickly changing stuff of my parents’ lives. But for now, that is all I will say on that subject. I am not prepared to divulge the details as many of the details are their own private business and, as a result, not mine alone to share.

What I will talk about is the getting on with it. These are the things I know. I know that frustration can be healed by breathing, stepping back, and seeing things from another point of view. I know that anger can be abated with meditation and chocolate and a glass of wine. And I know that my husband can make everything disappear with a gesture and a loving ear. This week my son responded to my cries on the phone with the most empathetic, “Mom, talk to me.” And I did. And like his father, he is a good listener. And he allowed my reservoir to drain a little. And my friends are there for me when I ask them to be, and sometimes when I don’t. I am an odd beast when stressed and sad. I tend to—very out of character for me—retreat and hide. Times like that, the only welcome guest outside of my husband is Doris Day. I wish Doris knew that she has served me better and more often than any guru could. She has been my rock. Not Hudson, mind you, but rock nonetheless.

The other great leveler in grasping times of need is the serenity prayer, which in itself is a wonder. I discovered years ago that the Twelve Steps are great rules for life in general, and they work for all things, not just addiction. And because I am not in any “program” a dear friend gave me a wonderful book called “The Twelve Steps For Everyone”. It has been a good friend.  I know the serenity prayer is well known but I will repeat it here.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Great words. Perfect. True. And they work.
But ... what if I have accepted the things I cannot change, and I have forged ahead with blind and open minded courage to the things I can change, not only knowing the wisdom to differentiate, but appreciating that I am good at doing so.
And then ... what if you employ all these things and what if nothing works? What if I wake up every day thinking it’s going to be different and hoping we are going to take five steps forward and none back? What if every day I put on an optimist’s face and every day the steps retreat so far back, it makes the road itself harder and harder to see?
Well, I thought about this and I thought about this and I decided without a lick of a maudlin overtone that the fact is that there are some times in life that just have to be gotten through. Times when you are in the muck. And when you are in the muck, must you make mudpies? I don’t think so. I think sometimes you just have to be in the muck until it is dried up.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t diamonds to be grabbed and that’s exactly what I am doing. Desperately and voraciously I am grabbing at every damn diamond I can find. Some are hidden diamonds like the boy saying, “Mom, talk to me.” The gift of his openhearted time was diamond enough. Let alone that I got to drain the reservoir a little more. Then there was the dear friend who arrived, in her jammies, tea in hand, very early in the morning to just let me tell my tale. Then there was Barb with her emails saying, “I am here if you want to talk, I am here if you want to just know I am here. You don’t have to talk but I am here.” Then there was my husband, knowing how low I am and knowing how my daily workouts keep me sane, who showed up today with the first two seasons of Downton Abbey to watch in our home gym. Diamonds all!
And then there are the diamonds you have to seek out for yourself. The “Where’s Waldo?” of gleaming moments. The first crocus of the spring, the buds multiplying on the trees, the Facebook status a friend posts that makes you laugh, the fresh berries you bought today that tasted like July. The dogs who greet you every day like you have just won the Oscar, the lottery, and a lifetime supply of underwear. Am I being corny? Yes. Right now, corny looks lovely. Right now, “I’m as corny as Kansas in August.” Because to be corny is to be Doris Day. Doris who, on screen and in her real life, presented us the ultimate in cockeyed optimist and yet had muck up to her eyeballs in most of both. So what would Doris say? Que sera sera. What will be will be. And it may be muck sometimes.
It’s the keen eye in us that makes it the diamonds.
Barbara: Almost too emotional to respond, Deb. This was its own diamond to me. A diamond of blog-dom. A diamond of intimacy and heartfelt connection. A diamond of honesty. Yes, I do know it’s been tough on you and it’s heartbreaking for me to not be able to platitude and love it away. But such is life. And even if my own troubles and concerns aren’t of this tall, difficult order, you’ve given me enormous comfort today when I too am feeling down and out. It IS in the looking for diamonds amid the muck. That’s the only—ONLY—“trick” I’ve ever been able to absolutely count on in times of life-suckage. And all that aside, Deb: “I am here if you want to talk, I am here if you want to just know I am here. You don’t have to talk but I am here.”


75 comments:

  1. Deb, I am sorry you are going through such a difficult time. I have had a rough month, with the loss of my grandmother and everything. Some days it feels impossible just to get up and then to have to go to class and do all the work and write papers and try to pretend I'm okay... It's hard. I have had a lot to deal with as of late and I am just getting through, looking for those diamonds (and I found one big one).
    I hope that everything works out, Deb. You know I am here and we all are when and if you want to talk, rant, SCREAM, laugh, cry, whatever you want. We are here for you, too.
    Love xo

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  2. Thanks Steph, I know you are going through a rough time and I am sorry. I will get through this getting through time. You will too, I am sure of it.

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  3. Deb I really hope that whatever is going on be ok. I will be praying for you deb . Like Steph of corse I lost my grandfather and 3 days later i lost my cosin which was hard,its still hard plus the stress of everything else. I am getting through this too and deb i hope whatever.your going through you will b ok as well. sending prayers and hugs your way Deb in hopes that it will make u feel a little better. And remember takr whatever your going through like a puzzle. One day.at a time. Feel better deb.

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    1. Thanks Lyndsie and you too. Two losses in a row is awful for you Lyndsie and I have been there and I do know how that feels and I am sorry. Thanks for your prayers, I will certainly take them with thanks. One day at a time. True. It works.

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  4. I think I know what you are going through. Although for me it was with my granny, not parents. I was the one that visited her regulary for the past ten years (not counting the two years I spent abroad). I did make the mental note when she stopped moving around the yard and when instead me reading the receipe it was she who read it. For the past 7 months before she died I waited for the news to come. I wasn't surprised to hear when she went to hospital nor was I surprised to hear her end is near. I am just glad that I had the time to be ready for it, rest of my relatives weren't that lucky. That itself is a diamond. The time to spent with someone who you know doesn't have long to live.

    I could also write about depresson, but I think I better not foold your blog with text. *Need to practice with my self editing skills a bit more.*

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    1. Kasku you are so right about the time spent with the people we love being a diamond. You were lucky to have that time and even luckier to know it. If you want to practice self editing and feel you need it, that is fine but you are always welcome to speak your mind here.

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  5. Dear Deb, What a brave and honest post. My heart breaks for you because I too have just gone through the muck with my mother and it is frightening, shocking and you feel helpless all at the same time. When you were young, you used to be able to express you fears to your parents and their strength pulled you up. Suddenly the roles are reversed and you are stunned and angry with life's cycle.
    It is so timely that you post your feelings like this......yesterday was the one year anniversary of my mother's death and the weeks leading up to it were all difficult. Yet, you look for diamonds.....what a wonderful attitude.....and you will find them. This is a terribly difficult stage in life, one of the most difficult I think. I, like you tend to retreat when I am in the muck and somehow try to recharge myself. It's almost like I don't want anyone to see my pain, not even those close to me because it makes it all the more a reality. My heart is with you in the muck Deb (((((())))) That is a big hug....xo

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  6. Mary-Jo I feel your pain and I am sure that the time leading up to both her death and the anniversary of her death was awful for you. And I have to agree with you that this period of time has been the most painful of my life. The role reversal and watching their lives evolve to the next phase is something none of us is prepared for. But I am proud to be there for them warts and all. I just wish sometimes that they were rewarded in their old age for the people they have been all their lives. Sadly it isn't always the case.

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    1. Wow, that is so true Deb. It's almost like they never achieved those wonderful accomplishments and people often talk down to them, as if they can't hear or don't understand, just because they are old. In Japan, they truly honor their old people for their wisdom and life experience. People could us a little of that here.

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    2. I meant "use" ....spell check ....aagghh

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    3. I so agree it's sad to see how so many people are able to summarily dismiss others. Not just the elderly but the disabled as well. I think there is nothing more irritating then how some people, caregivers included will often exclude my Dad or Brother from conversations. They ask me questions about their care as if they aren't even there. As is they can't possibly be involved in making their own decisions. These people can't seem to see beyond the wheelchairs to the people in them.

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  7. I agree Mary-Jo. I did a blog in November I think it was talking about that very thing. Yes in the Japenese, Chinese and I think Italian cultures and maybe others, elders are reversed. As they should be. We are having an 85th birthday party for them on Easter weekend and on the invite we said "A Card and conversation with them is all we ask!". I am tired of watching them be invisible to people.

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    1. Oh. Well, Happy Birthday to them! Hugs for them and you!

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  8. Oh, Deb. I hope you can feel the bursts of warm fuzzies I send to you several times a day.

    Here. Here's a care package to help with today:

    1. An infinite supply of {{{HUGS}}}!!!

    2. I think you'll like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0ltYApM_tk

    3. sweet cuteness: http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q68/pepsibookcat/kiddofurball.jpg

    4. So, you like the Serenity Prayer, huh? http://pinterest.com/pin/21884748159320761/

    5. Because we can't watch this often enough! ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DASWgSiCz4E *clicks replay to watch again* *and again*

    6. Perspective: http://boingboing.net/2012/03/22/sparkle-and-grunt-the-sounds.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    7. Your homeland ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJE3EgTGg9k

    8. Classy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au-4xadZOyk

    9. Google image search "Chocolate and alcohol": https://www.google.com/search?q=alcohol+and+chocolate&hl=en&prmd=imvnse&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=MRVzT-7LHIi02gW0nqnMDg&ved=0CF8QsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643#hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=chocolate+and+alcohol&oq=chocolate+and+alcohol&aq=f&aqi=g1g-S2g-mS3&aql=&gs_l=img.3..0j0i24l2j0i5i24l3.22240l25255l0l25491l25l24l2l5l4l1l233l1850l9j7j1l17l0.llsin.&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=88fdbf3cb232ed84&biw=1366&bih=643

    10. *teeheehee* http://www.cbc.ca/75/images/gettingalong477.jpg

    {{{HUGS}}} {{{LOVE}}}

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    1. Rigel these were so great! I urge everyone to check out these fun, silly and charming spirit lifters. Thanks for Getting Along. I should get my husband to dress like that more often! Thanks Rigel. You cheered me today!

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  9. Deb, I am so sorry. this is such a tough time. I remember it too well. I called it crisis mode. I remember wondering how I could ever feel 'normal' again. Finding the diamonds is brilliant. what wonderful self care. I send you love and light.xoxox denny

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    1. Thank Denny. Crisis mode. Yep. But the sun is shining today and all is well. Diamonds.

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  10. So hard to read Deb...my heart breaks for you. Speaking from my own experience, I find life's transitions to be among the most difficult and taxing roads we have to walk. And what makes them so beyond hard is that usually, when managing life's hardships, we get to focus, or at least contemplate, the tough trek winding down and life resuming its normal rhythm but in cases like with what you're facing, resolution is the least desirable outcome as it means the unwanted change becomes the new, permanent reality. It happens with loss, divorce, people passing, relationships fracturing, loved ones aging...It happens and eats at your very soul...I know if anyone can, you will catch the glimmer of those diamonds while doing right, as you see it, by everyone involved. I'm thinking of all of you and holding a good thought.

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    1. Thanks Annette, you know it's funny because you hit it. I was actually going to blog about transitions and the fact that they are the hard part of life. But my mind went were it wanted to go. Thanks for always being there for me and for your always insightful words.

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  11. What a touching post Deb. You clearly have a deep love and respect for your parents. I can imagine what a difficult time this is for you. Acceptance of the changes in life that we don't really want to face are rarely easy. I've been facing a number of those changes myself and for me it is the exhaustion that bothers me the most. It's amazing just how tiring carrying such a high level of stress and worry makes you. My thoughts are with you and I hope your path dries out and becomes a little less sticky soon.

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    1. Thanks Erin. The sad part is what we are all going through. The happy part is that it is indeed so painful because of our huge love and bond. So that is what I focus on! I just want them to be here forever and ever.

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  12. Hi Deb,

    Like Barb said, "your message is my diamond" while I sit in the muck and this time of "life-suckage". Thank you.
    My welcome guest is Petula Clark singing "Downtown", and if I can muster up the energy, that's where I go.
    Take care, and I hope many diamonds come your way!

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  13. Thanks Sherry. That will be my song for the day. "when you get worried all the noise and the hurry seems to help I know, Downtown. Of course I just came from out home gym where I went Downtown or rather Downton Abbey!

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  14. oh, it is times like these that I wish I had the writing skills of those people who write the greeting cards. Deb I encourage you to write. write to help to figure out a way to make it through each day. I can't speak for everyone, but writing is a tremendous way to help get through some of the hardest feelings, for me anyway. I keep a file on my computer. I open it and just pick up where ever I left off the last time. It is a huge help when I have t deal with emotions, depression, and feelings I wish would just consume me and get it over with. No one reads it after I type, it is just a bunch of words that I need to let out of my system.
    I wish you peace and courage and strength in your journey <3

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    1. Kelly I agree with you wholeheartedly. Writing this blog alone gave me more strength to deal with the pain I was talking about, And thank you. I accept that peace and courage you have given and will be stronger for the fart that it was your gift.

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  15. My heart aches, when I read that. Well...I'm a little bit over-sensitive at the moment. Not being able to help...the fear and panic...the question: why?...no answers...it's difficult to endure.

    I hope that you find more diamonds (you could make yourself a beautiful necklace).

    Life can be so nasty...and it's so hard to wade through the downs. I'm so glad that you have friends, and family, and Doris, who help you go through this.

    If that helps: You've touched me. I think of you, I pray for you and your parents, I cry for you, and I laugh with you.

    I send some hugs, a shovel and some rubber boots!
    xoxo

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    1. Hugs a shovel and rubber boots. Thank you Becki so very much. I am outfitted. You are so kind.

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  16. I'm so sorry you're going through a tough time, Deb. *hugs* It's always so important to have loved ones around who understand and can be there for you if you need them, or just need to unload.

    I've always hated change, feared losing those I love, all the more because I lost my father to cancer when I was very young. I was forced to face death much earlier than I should have. My mother's nearing her seventies now, and I'm dreading what her future holds. I'm just thankful for my always supportive husband, family, and friends. They can always pull me through the rough patches. You give all of us strength and joy with your posts--our very own diamonds. x

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    1. Roz losing your Dad at such a young age is just awful and I am sorry that you did not have him as you grew to womanhood. I am grateful for Mom and Dad and so grateful that they are still here at 85! When I hear tales like yours it reminds me just how grateful I am. Thanks Roz.

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  17. I was thinking as you were writing Deb that transitions are tough as our parents age and we do too. As they get weaker, we are supposed to get stronger to be there but sometimes we end up feeling older as well and start thinking about who will do this for us or do we want this to even happen in the same manner that our parents are choosing. Fortunately, we can live and learn and make it easier for our kids when this starts to happen to us. Watching my Dad fade and then die and having a very disabled Mom (who once was beyond vital) is exhausting and everyday I think would I live like she does, what provisions to I need to make and explain to my kids ( a living will)and what my true wishes are so they will know exactly what I want. As our vital parents fade before our eyes, we weep, we talk, we explode and we try and be "good enough" to get them through it knowing this is a transition we all go through. I hope even with your muck and mudpies that you find joy in each day spent with them or by yourself and thus make everyone aware of your wishes. It is about control and giving it up. It took a long time for my Mom to surrender to her failing health and let my sister and I handle everything and hire good people who are better at care taking on a daily basis than we ever would be. I so feel for you, Deb.

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    1. I know you feel for me Madge as I feel it. And I know you have been through it and I understand why you fear for your Mom. But it can also be lovely and I pray for her and for you and your family that it is lovely. I cannot tell you how your comment about what we set up for our children, struck a chord. Through these last couple of years we have said to the boy, remember this when we get old..."be patient, be kind, and we can't help it". He knows And we are going to provide so that he can get through it with no guilt. That is my goal, like yours Madge, that he has no guilt.

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  18. Life asks of you what it thinks you can handle. I understand that sometimes that isn't always easy. On Monday when we finished going over our tests, my teacher came right out and asked us "ok, what is going on?" It's evident that some of my classmates are struggling. One person spoke up, and after that many more did. I know it sounds cliche, but we all felt SO MUCH BETTER after getting the opportunity to just talk things out.

    That's how I handle things; I have to talk about them. I can't just let them sit and sit. Deb, it is very evident that you have confidants in your life. Don't lose them! They will be the ones you can laugh with, cry with, share with, rejoice with, etc.

    My mom is going through something similar. My grandpa (her dad) was just moved into assisted living a few weeks ago. The decision was mutual by everybody, but still. Doesn't make it much easier. I think she's just afraid of losing him, which is of course understandable. My grandma (her mom) died suddenly from complications from Alzheimer's...but a very long time ago (I was a little kid). So as someone who is on the outside looking in, I can say that I am here for you. We all are! :]

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    1. Kelly you are so right! Talking it out works miracles doesn't it. You just feel a huge anvil lift from your chest and I have plenty of loving people to talk to. I must avoid the retreat too too often although sometimes my fortress of solitude heals me as well. Tell your Mom that I am feeling empathy. And I know you guys are all here. I read each and every comment today as I was at Mom and Dad's and each one made my heart swell and firmed my resolve. Thank you Kelly.

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  19. Que sera sera, oddly first song I learned to sing in English when I arrived in Canada in 1967. My mom loved it when my brother and I would sing that for her. She was going through much then, perhaps like Deb , Que sera sera, the attitude she had to employ when faced with a husband who was very ill and two little kids, all while just arriving in Canada within a short 7 weeks. I can relate to Deb. Just like Deb I retreat when faced with heart wrenching difficulties. Seems like the chatting me, just goes into the silence of my internal womb of sorts. Perhaps because my brain is just too noisy at these times, providing endless options and at times I feel like telling my brain to "shut up already". Acceptance is so hard. Many of us are now witnessing our parent’s bodies and at times minds diminish in front of us. It is hard to accept as is the possible loss of our own foundation as our parents are our first sources of comfort. Thus seeing them diminish, is earth shattering and much like throwing ourselves out of a plane with no parachute. Our parents are our parachutes. It is then hard when our parachutes are failing, and we know that one day sooner than later we will have to jump into life without the warm embrace of our parachutes. Deb, when I am faced with such emotional pain, I walk in the parks in our wonderful neighbourhood, and much like you I look at the simple leaf, bird, and new bud on a tree. Somehow it soothes me. I come back to face what I must, and try to accept the unacceptable. Thus the song “Que sera sera” as well as the attitude is all we have at times.

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    1. The first song you learned in English!!!! I am thrilled and Doris would be so proud and happy! Beautiful thoughts and so true. And you are right. We would be liars if we did not confess that part of it is the fact that it makes us face our own mortality. The image of the parachute was moving and beautiful and true.

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  20. Dearest Deb,
    a) stop making me cry.
    b) took lunch in and saw the parentals yesterday. Although it was brief it was potent as always with the feelings that I drove away with.
    Anger, frustration, sadness, helplessness yada yada yada.But above all else I had a couple of great laughingly, lucid, tender moments with both, especially my Dad, who is the more vulnerable of the two presently. As my 92 year old mother in law says, "growing old is for the birds. So make me a drink, and don't drown the miller." As Bennett says, take a deep breath. Love Carolyn

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    1. Thanks Carolyn and I promise I will. But if I'm crying and I'm blogging...welll....I know that you are going through something similar and I would love to get together. We have been promising each other so let's do it. Thanks my darling.

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  21. My thoughts are with you as you deal with difficult times. I must say, I too know the power of Doris Day. She is my favorite actress. I think she must be a lovely person, inside and out. I was so thrilled when my youngest was born on Doris's birthday. Their birthday is next Tuesday! I love how in each movie, someone (usually the leading man) would make her angry and she would go, "oooh!" in that way only she can. Doris makes me smile when nothing else can.

    Take care of yourself. Everyone here is sending good thoughts and love your way.

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    1. Oh Molly thank you for knowing the essence of Doris. Her "oooooooohhhhh" is my favourite thing. I love her as if she was my dear and darling friend. the fact that your youngest was born on her birthday is so wonderful.

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  22. Yesterday on my walk on the quiet country road I was thinking about those times (in my life there have been only a few ... so far) that are so painful as to be shocking. Shocking because I have this deep expectation that everything is fixable and will work out fine ... and then, sometimes it doesn't. Which really just kills me, mostly because I hate feeling helpless in the face of the facts of life that have nothing to do with sex. (Although giving birth was one of those horrible things too, now that I recall it -- there was no wangling out of it).

    I like your attitude, Deb, that you are not going to focus only on the hard things even as you're going through them; you are going to make a point of noticing that there is still a lot of love and beauty in your world. That's smart and feeds your soul, which is what helps you through. Barbara I know you'll employ your cheerful attitude while walking a rocky road, too. Big hugs to you both.

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    1. You gave me a great laugh with "I hate feeling helpless in the face of the facts of life that have nothing to do with sex." Hilarious and true. I will take that big hug and wear it, thanks.

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  23. Oh Deb.....I just wanna hug you now...sweetie....its gonna be fine....its all gonna be fine trust me.....I am here thinking about you and sending positive vibes everyday.......dont resist this tough time its gonna go away soon....I KNOW IT......
    and dont ever forget I am here for you....no matter what...........honestly.....I am here and always will be here....anything you need ...just tell me....:-)

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    1. I feel your vibes Shalaka. I always feel your vibes. And I know you are there and I am soooooo grateful. xo

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  24. "Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased—thus do we refute entropy."

    And this is why we have family and friends. To share their burdens, to celebrate their joys, and have someone to do the same for us.

    I wish you what luck you can get, and though I don't know any of you or the situation, know that I'm willing to shoulder what pain I can for you via reading your blog. You'll certainly be in my thoughts, and I offer as many virtual hugs as you want/need.

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    1. Jessi thank you for that lovely response. I loved the quote and I swallowed it. And yes the reading and the commenting gives me strength and I cannot begin to tell each and every one of you how much that means.

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  25. what if you employ all these things and what if nothing works? here's what I have learned, Deb: that's when you call on all those times you've PRACTICED meditation, yogic breathing, all the things you learned in therapy etc. that's when you put the practice into play. That's when you lean back & rely on all the work that you've done in the past to help you co-exist with the holes that life creates. You no doubt have learned by now that you can't fill in the holes, but you can sit down next to them and recognize that they're there without demonizing them. you can put your attention on your breath and repeat Thich Nhat Hahn's mantra "breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out I know that I am breathing out." Because sometimes that all you can do. Focus on the breath. string the breaths together and the moments string together and one day, you realize that you may be next to the hole but you haven't fallen in. and besides which, the size of the gap shrinks and stretches and waxes and wanes just like everything else. sending you compassion and faith and solidarity because this thing we call being human isn't easy. but you're doing it.......xoxo

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  26. Deb, I will listen to anything you feel comfortable writing. I hope being able to blog is a diamond of distraction for you. I find it a comforting escape from whatever's going on.

    I'm very happy and glad you have people you can vent to, and are right there whenever you need to vent. I'm glad you can find those diamonds shining through the crappy emotional times, that they can create happy emotions. I'm sure those beautiful puppy eyes following you around are little diamonds, too. A rough tongue happily licking your face is literally a diamond in the rough. :)

    This may be out of your own comfort zone, but I'd like to throw out a suggestion, and you can do with it what you like. There are support groups for people going through a similar situation. They may share diamonds of wisdom that you can connect to. They can perhaps understand how you feel a bit better because they do share similar circumstances. It's one more outlet of understanding you may wish to try. The home health aides may be able to give you advice on this very subject.

    Music may be a diamond. Blue may be a diamond.
    The right voice may be a diamond. Fluffy clouds may be a diamond.
    Hot chocolate may be a diamond. A kiss may be a diamond.
    Who would have believed an ear could be a diamond?

    Laughter may also be a diamond. I hope this is one.
    For a giggle:
    Go to Google Maps. Get driving directions from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Japan. #15 and #31 are my favorite legs of the trip.

    {{{xxoo}}}

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  27. Deb - I wish I knew how to be of comfort to you but it is comforting to know you are not alone. Thank God you have Colin and so many others. I too retreat into myself at the very times that what I need most is human contact. I know why that is but don't know how to change it. I am looking for answers in the responses here Deb because I too am in the same emotional place as you right now. I hope you don't mind sharing the support. : ) I hope you know that you have friends who think you are rather special and we are here if and when you need to vent.

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  28. The following just showed up on my FB feed. It's from a dear friend I met through my support group. I believe that timing is everything. This is timed perfectly.

    "For my friends who are going through difficult times right now: Let's start a prayer avalanche: We all need prayers right now... If I don't see your name, I'll understand. May I ask my "FB Family" wherever you may be to kindly copy, paste and share this status for one hour to give a prayer of support to all those who have family problems, health, struggles and worries and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us for no-one is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will!! I did it for a friend and you can too. Share some faith and love and spiritual healing for all in need."

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    1. I did this last week for another friend. I think it's a great idea. Thanks Dawn for sending this.

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    2. Deb-I wanted to say something helpful and then I remembered something someone said to me last week. I was not surprised to find who the author was. I hope it has some meaning for you


      Only in the darkness , are you are able to see the stars.
      - martin luther king

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    3. Perfect Mary. Perfect. Thank you. xo

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  29. Deb i am very sorry to hear that things have been difficult for you of late . by letting me talk about my moms illness you and barbara and this blog have been a diamond in my life . thank you so so much . as you say there is no cliche or platitude that can make you feel better . i just send you a huge amount of hugs and best wishes .

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    1. Linda I am so happy to hear that we have been a diamond for you. When you are searching for a diamond you never guess that you will end up being one.

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  30. Deb I know I am a long way a way from you but I am here for you. My thoughts are always with you & your family. Your family means a lot to me [hope you know that] I know exactly what your feeling for as you know a couple years ago I had to make a lot of difficut decisions too. Hugs go out to you & all of the family. Miss you greatly OO Peggy

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    1. Peggy I know that you feel for us and think of us and I feel that from you. It is a lovely thing that today I took all my parents photo albums and the first picture I saw was a birthday of Dad's where he was blowing out the candles and his loving brother, your sweet darling Dad was looking over his shoulder. As soon as I have scanned them I will forward them. xoxoxoox Miss you too.

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    2. TY Debbie Would love to have. Cannot collect enough pictures of our family[ old & new]. Us McGrath's can be a tough bunch but our feelings go deep. Hugs to all of the family OOOO

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    3. Thanks Peggy! I am scanning photos over the next month and I will forward to you everything I think you would love. Mom and Dad have never forgotten that you want that big family one. I will scan it too! xo

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  31. Oh Deb, my heart goes out to you. So many people close to me are dealing with so much...life is so hard sometimes. But please know that I admire your strength and the fact that you feel you can trust us as an online community with all of this.

    When I go through rough stuff it REALLY helps me to remember that I have a network of amazingly supportive people. Sometimes it helps to remember that we are not alone. :]

    P.S. I have the serenity prayer on a bracelet and I wear it every day.

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  32. That bracelet is such a gift for you Holly. And my friends, your friends, all of our friend are what keep us going.

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  33. I have been reading your blog for sometime and have never felt the need to comment. As big a mouth as I may have - I have been comfortable in reading and staying quiet. But this weekend I was reminded how we are all just moments away from each other. A high school friend reconnected with me after 35 years - life just went on around us and we just weren't part of each others. She now lives in another country but she made the effort and we spend time together this past weekend. Such a blessing and a joy. In my prep for this individual specific high school reunion - I went through some memory material. And I found a program I kept from when I went to Ryerson (more years ago than I want to remember!) for a play called the Me Nobody knows. And there was your name! You played Lillian. Since I have been following your blog - it kind of made me feel like you were part of my memories and I didn't even realize it! All that to say the world is a big place and yet we are all so close in some ways. So much of what we go through in life seems to have both good and bad stuff and memories. I hope that you are able to build good memories out of whatever you are going through now.

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  34. Oh My Goodness! The ME! I totally remember it. AND if you go back in our blog and see the Three way with Cheryl, you will see that she was in The ME too! Isn't that just the teeniest world. This has made my day. And yes to your point, the memories good and challenging are a part of the every day of now! Thanks for sharing this. So great.

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  35. Oh my god, you guys, I've been gone most of the day and finally had a chance to read all of these! You are all so amazing and wonderful. Can't thank you enough for sharing all your heartfelt stories, your own diamonds, and all your warm loving support for our darling Deb. xoxo

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  36. :( I'm so sorry, Deb, about what's going on with you. You can lean on, sob on and even wipe your nose on my virtual shoulder whenever you feel the need.

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    1. Sobbing on your virtual shoulder. Aimee that is so great. I love the image.

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  37. Deb, this post is a diamond for me. I'm currently stuck in my own flavor of muck. After reading all the other muck stories, I realize that we all are mucked. I don't feel so alone anymore and I'm grateful.

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    1. I'm glad Eileen. Not of course that you are in the muck but that you don't feel alone. Yes we all have times of lovely streams and times of muck don't we? Such is life.

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  38. deeply touching blog Deb, well done, we are proverbially ploughing through the mire as well at the moment and as others have said it does help to know that there are people out there who care and who love one no matter what.
    I wish you and the family well, keep strong, and happy memories are the ones to hold on to . x

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  39. Nicky I'm sorry that you and yours are going through it as well. At least we all know that it does eventually end and turn to something sweet. WE can hold on to that right?

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  40. Sharon (we shall overcome) ReineMarch 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    So sorry to hear of your troubles Deb. How can I help? I'm terribly fond of your folks and would be happy to lend a hand if I can. I know how you value privacy so have not pushed myself forward but just tell me what I can do.

    On the emotional support level - I always use Faulkner:
    I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

    I'm not a poet but I too do believe if your endure you will ultimtely prevail.
    Courage m' dear.
    Love' n stuff

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    1. I love this Sharon. I love the concept that if you endure you will ultimately prevail. Thanks for this.

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  41. Deb, You are so right. There are going to be times in everyone's lives when all that can be done is to sit in the muck. I wish I could open a window on my Mac and crawl through to you and give you a big hug. You're a softy about your parents as I was..am.. about my mom. She's been gone 3 years now and I still get heartsick when I see her picture or hear her in my voice or laugh. You are right, we must focus on the diamonds. I'm so glad that you have such a wonderful support system in Colin, The Boy, and so many friends. Your friends may not be able to tell when you need them so don't be afraid to tell them when you do. Take care of yourself also, while you're taking care of your parents. If you don't take breaks you'll start to feel like you're suffocating. It's not easy and you may want to beat yourself up over it but DON'T. Hiding for a few hours and injecting something as simple as lying in the sun or >sitting still< and watching a butterfly or hummingbird butter and hum can lift you up and help you to go on. I'm glad that (wonderful) Colin got you Downton Abbey to help you escape. I love that show too. Lose yourself in it. I know recently you said you had a hard time not thinking 20 things at once but I bet you don't when you're watching a good show. Remember to keep the laughter in your life. Make a muck pie sometimes...throw it at someone. It's really okay to laugh. It replenishes the soul. I wouldn't have survived all the crap in my childhood and beyond if not for humor and music. Don't feel guilty for using your humor to get you through. People who love you will know and understand, and people who don't can muck off. :)
    I'm rambling, sorry, 3:30am brain doesn't work as well as the 10pm version...
    Just know that you have an online family that really and sincerely cares about you. We're all rooting for you, sweetie. You'll get through all this muck. You'll be stronger than you think you can be. It's amazing how strong we can be when we don't have a choice. Deep, slow, cleansing breaths. Three ought to do nicely... Serenity...serenity and diamonds, and an occasional muck pie.

    hugs & more hugs, and an occasional jumbo glass of good wine,
    Karen

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  42. Karen what a beautiful letter. I love it. And I have to say that in the middle of the night when I was up for a bit last night, I thought of Downton and something Maggie Smith said and I honestly laughed out loud, then I went to sleep, thinking of the plot and the characters. Actually I phoned my brother the other night bawling (not my most graceful moment) and begged for help. He stepped up and did many things for Dad and Mom yesterday and I was able to get my hair done and have a lovely massage. I am trying to start today back to meditation right after breakfast. It breaks my heart that you miss your Mom so much especially when you laugh. There will come a point where that will give your comfort and warmth don't you think? I never thought of that as I laugh and sound JUST like my Mom too.

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