Saturday, May 7, 2011

15th one alone....

................................and I'm still not "used" to it. Mom's day. This July 31 it will be 16 years since my Mom left me. It was a scorchingly hot day. She collapsed on me while I was driving her to the Dr. She was my best friend. She was my everything. The blurry picture above pretty much sums it up. She had my back. Always. Even in my worst moments.

My Dad passed away when I was 5. I had a sister who died too as a baby. So it was always just me and Ma. She was an incredible woman. she lost both her own parents by the age of 16, she battled alcoholism, weight issues, depression....but she really managed all those things pretty damned effectively and got a grip on all of them. She lost about 75 lbs when I was a kid. She got sober and pretty much stayed that way for a large portion of her life and because of that I learned the 12 steps as a child and I still think of them when my life gets messy and I need something to ground me. I also battle weight and managed to lose a significant amount the year after she died and I've stayed committed to a healthy lifestyle. A large part of my success with managing my weight is also because of the things she taught me about it as well. As far as depression, she was never diagnosed with it but I now see that she probably had it. She was a melancholy person at times. She had reason to be since she really had a lot of loss in her life but she managed to make a pretty good life for her and I and while we butted heads a lot I really respected her more then she ever know. I really wish I could tell her face to face how incredible I think she is.

I miss her smile, her warm face, her laugh, her understanding arms around me, her non judgy way of listening to me, her stories about the way things were when she was a child in the 1920's and 30's. She had me late in life and she was the age of a lot of my friends grandparents but no one ever knew her age because she was so energetic and she used to say that I kept her young. I really really miss knowing that there was one person in this world who didn't care what I said or did, who loved me unconditionally and saw who I really was inside and loved that "me" despite my many flaws. No one ever loves you like you Mother. Once she's gone, you will never have that kind of love again. Losing her changed me forever. I am a different person than I was when he was here with me. Over these years, I've had to become my own Mother and learn how to nurture myself. I've also realized that I need a nurturing sort of man to help take some of the burden off my self mothering.

The sharp pain of losing her isn't there anymore but it's been replaced by a dull ache, a longing that never goes away. She was an imperfect being like all of us but her imperfections and the way she handled them made such a huge impact on me, even more so than if she had been totally together and not had the problems she did. The older I get, the more the bad things make sense to me now. The struggles she and I faced together were practice sessions for me as an adult. I think I learned a lot back then and I didn't even realize it. I am so grateful to my Mother for being my Mother and I will miss her and ache for her for the rest of my days on this earth.

To everyone who has a living mother, tell her how you feel about her. If you have a bad relationship with her, try to at least be grateful for her being a vehicle for you getting to be here. to everyone who does not have a living Mother, I hope your memories of her comfort you on this Mothers day and I wish you a peaceful day :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Gift

This post might seem kind of depressing but I really don't intend it to be that way at all. I am posting this because it's really on my mind right now and I just felt like putting it out there in case someone else is as pig headed and dense as I once was many years ago. If you see yourself in this, maybe you should try to look at things on a deeper level and see the bigger picture.

Years ago, toward the end of my Mothers life, we spent one of our last Christmases together. I don't remember if this was the last one but it was toward the end. My Mother was getting to a point where she didn't feel comfortable driving longer distances anymore so she did everything she needed to do in her very small town in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. That year she bought me a present, a shirt at a local store. I hated that shirt and I felt terrible that she spent her limited income on it. I thought I'd be slick and turn it into me being considerate. I told her that I felt bad that she spent her money on me when I didn't want or need anything. She was on a fixed income. Now I really did not like the shirt, it was also too big and I honestly did feel bad that she spent money on me when all I wanted was to see her.

Off we went to that store and we returned it. I should say I returned it while she stood there feeling pretty shitty that the one thing she managed to do wasn't enough for her ungrateful daughter. I assured her I didn't need a gift and I wasn't upset. Then as we walked out of the store I noticed that even though she was smiling, her eyes were watery and she was about to cry. We got into her car on that cold blustery day and I asked her what was wrong. She said to me that she felt bad that she wasn't able to do things for me and that she was sorry I didn't like my gift. We both cried. I was speechless and I apologized. She didn't make a fuss, she really tried to keep it together but she just couldn't. My Mother rarely showed sadness so I knew it was big for her.

To say I felt bad is an understatement. To this day I still recall every painful detail of that incident and I can't believe what a thick headed insensitive idiot I was. My lack of maturity and insight was distressing. I also remember her saying "I just wanted to be able to do something nice for you, I'm sorry". So you see, that was really what that was about. It wasn't about a stupid shirt I hated, it wasn't about money, it was about love. Why on earth I was unable to see it then is really beyond me but now, all these years later it popped into my head and haunted me all day to the point of me coming home and crying till I became sick over it. A good friend called me in the midst of my meltdown and verbally bitch slapped me into snapping out of it and ceasing my pointless mental self mutilation in all of this. What's done is done. The important part to me is the lesson I learned from that and it is one I tell my patients everyday when they ask me why they suffer with their illnesses and see it can really be applied to a lot of situations....

Sometimes, we need to learn how to accept, how to let someone else give. If you've always done for others maybe learning how to receive is a lesson you will need to work on. The item or act the person is performing isn't the important thing. It's letting someone else feel needed or useful or special or appreciated, letting them do something for another human being. When you let someone give you are basically giving them an intangible gift yourself. If I had realized that years ago I wouldn't be sitting here boo hooing over something that happened so long ago. The boo hooing is pointless but the lesson has been priceless for me. Since that day, there have been times when I've been in similar situations and the thought of rejecting a kind act no matter what it is never ever crosses my mind. I've had people (my elderly patients )in absolutely filthy apartments make me tea as a kind gesture and I just pray to God the hot water is enough to boil whatever germs away that I'm ingesting because I always remember how important it was for someone who rarely felt useful to others (my Mom) to feel useful once and a while.

So here I am many years later alone and wishing that I had that ugly shirt to open all over again. I'd wear it proudly and never even consider getting rid of it or thinking of it as just a shirt. Since that is not possible I'm just going to be grateful for the lesson I learned from that experience and how it affects my way of dealing with others on a daily basis. I think if my Mom was here she'd be quite happy with the ways things turned out after all :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 5th, a day that will live in infamy........... the day I had the horrible realization that my neck is not what it used to be. Yeah, I know. What a vapid thing to post here after being absent for months but it's true. It's been bothering me quite a bit lately and I can't hold it in anymore. Why don't people talk about this more? Am I the only person who is completely flipped out by getting a bag of sagging skin under my jaw/chin in a matter of a few years?

There I was walking down the street at about 7:23 pm. I remember it because I was on the phone talking and I looked at the clock. I was on my way to Rite Aid to get some lotion or something, I don't even remember. I was wearing a scarf for a sort of fashion statement type of thing because the weather has FINALLY cooled down. I caught my reflection in a window and I thought, OMFG....I look about 10 years younger with this scarf hiding my old lady neck! How long will this trend toward scarves go on for? How long can I ride this one before it becomes obvious that it's not really about the scarf for me, it's about camo-ing my aging neck?

To be honest, I look pretty damned good for my age and no, I'm not some delusional nutbag in denial thinking I look 20.I know I look pretty good due to constant shock at my age when I tell it and years of clean living. No smoking, no caffeine, no sun, no drugs and taking very good care of my skin since I was 13 and my mother took me to Macy's to get some fancy skincare for fun.

Anyhoo, I am in my mid 40's now and this past summer I really began to become aware of my damned neck. One night I was at a friends and we were laying on her couch talking. She is my age too and she was at a weird angle and we both noticed that her neck looked horrifically old. We both screamed and then brushed it off at the way she was laying. A few weeks later, I was applying makeup and leaning into the mirror and I noticed the same thing with my neck! Needless to say, I ran screaming away from the mirror and blocked it out of my memory. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I had my picture taken with a younger friend. She looked radiant. I looked like a CUTE OLD LADY! My fucking neck gave me away once again! It's not only the neck, my face is more angular and thinner. The youthful glow is GONE. I used to have to cover up my red cheeks, they were practically flaming red. I bought all sorts of cosmetics to neutralize my red face. Now? I buy blush by the truckload! Without it, I look like a sick Nicole Kidman. Just really really pale and sickly and my red hair makes me look even paler.

So that night, as I realized that my neck is ruining my life as I knew it, I came home and immediately went to and began to peruse the product reviews for recommended neck creams. Oh yes I did. I hate to admit it but it has finally come to this, I am a vain bitch who is freaking out at my saggy neck. I called my friend and told her my feelings on this and she laughed hysterically but she totally agreed with my feelings on all of this. As a matter of fact, she agreed to split a jar of neck cream with me in solidarity.

See, I know I'm not a spring chicken. I know lines and wrinkles are inevitable. I never look at my face and feel upset at what I see. It's not the face of a girl, it's the face of a woman who has lived her life and had a lot of experiences good and bad. It's a face that my dear sweet Mother gave me and now that she is long gone I find immense comfort in the bits of her that are emerging in this face as I age. But my neck? My neck is something else entirely. There is just no reason for this travesty. Again, I honestly don't mind wrinkles but this neck thing is just more upsetting than I can tell you.

Just wait, when it happens to you, you'll know how freaky it is. Until then, remember this friendly little warning and wear as many V necks as possible, work as many beautiful choker style necklaces as you can...just flaunt that tight little neck for all it's worth. I never thought I would be a "scarf lady" but now, I gravitate toward the wracks of them in every store I walk into. It's my new thing.

Just sayin' :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Living Legend

Talk about weirdness. I was just talking about entertainment from days gone in my last posting, and I happened to meet a lady who is a living treasure yesterday! I was with a patient doing a home care visit and her next door neighbor Mable was sitting with her in her living room. I introduced myself to her and she was so charming and beautiful that I was completely taken by her immediately. She told me that she had just returned from Sweden from "performing". I never imagined that she was such a seriously known entertainer. She told me to look her up so I did and here she is! She will be 89 soon and she is still absolutely stunning. She still sings and dances and performs and she is a real lady of the first order.

Mable also gave me some fantastic advice on life and love and we are both excited about meeting up again to chat tomorrow. She thought I was in my 20's and I tell her she's gorgeous so we sort of have a mutual admiration for each other. Take a look her her and enjoy. She is every bit as beautiful now all these years later and she can still dance and sing better than people half her age!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Days gone by

I stumbled onto this today and I became so completely mesmerized by it that I had to share it with you. As a young girl I used to watch movies from the 1920's through the 40's with intense fascination. The clothes, the speech patterns, the music and the sophistication compared to what goes on today always amazed me. I was raised by a woman born in 1924 so I sort of always had a bit of this flavor in my upbringing. My Mom was a modest lady and she taught me to be one too. I am by no means a prude but you will never see me walking around in really revealing clothing. I wouldn't say I'm at all "Amish" about it, but I find something about letting yourself leave nothing to the imagination kind of sad and lacking in self respect and dignity. Even when I am in a relationship with a man I will only reveal enough of myself initially to whet his appetite, make him want more, you know?? If you do more than that you are really selling yourself short and why would you even think of doing that?

I am really tickled at how women's feet and legs were such a source of scandal at the time of the films shown. I guess 10 to 15 years prior women weren't even daring to show their ankles. I love how these women really know how to take off their shoes in the most entertaining and seductive way. Now, it's nothing but then it was a really forbidden thing. There is a scene that involves hair twirling too. It's funny, to me things were so much more interesting to watch and so aesthetically unique and beautiful. I find this piece charming and sad at the same time and even a bit spooky. Many films like these have disappeared due to the film they were made on degrading so I consider this a treasure. Here's to yesterday!

Deep thoughts :)

Of course the title to this entry is sarcasm, I hope you know that. I'm not a self proclaimed sage. I know it's been a while, I've just had nothing that you'd probably want to hear to say. And I'm still in the same "nothing to say" state but I felt like writing a bit on this scorchingly hot Sunday.

It is disgusting out, we're talking 105 degrees and 100% humidity, true story. I am not exaggerating. I am constantly cranky as any normal person would be if they were constantly sweating and struggling to breathe. Who on earth enjoys this? If you do you are a sick bastard who is going to end up in hell. The weather there is perfect for you. Last week there was one day where I was walking around in this while working and I became confused, crampy and dizzy. I was definitely drinking enough and trying to not exert myself but it was just brutal out there. My co-worker came to get me and basically did my job for me while I sat down and drank more water and rested. I ended up coming home and just laying down till the next AM. But enough of this.....suffice to say, it is hell on earth here right now and I am sitting in an air conditioned room with no intention to leave it till I have to tomorrow.

This brings me to what I feel like talking about today. I'm gonna warn ya,. It's not a laugh riot but I have just been feeling introspective lately. Next Saturday, July 31, will be the 15th anniversary of my mom's death. This time of year is always very difficult for me. Even if I do not feel outwardly weird about it, the universe has strange ways of reminding me of the yearly cycle that all of this rotates on.

Fifteen years is a long time really. You would think that by now I would be past certain things. But I'm not. And I realize that I never will be. And for the first time this year, I am accepting of it and OK with it, even the bad parts of it. Something jarring happened last week and I'll tell you what. I was in the shower after a hot day . There I was just enjoying the cool water and trying to relax my mind when BANG. I had my eyes closed and was washing the back of my neck when I saw a horrible vision of my Mom dying on my shoulder. It was as if I was back at that time again and it was literally happening for real. It was so vivid. My reality Mom actually did die on my shoulder as I drove her to her Dr appt. So in this vision I was in the car, the AC was blasting just as it really was that day and there was my Mom on my shoulder and I was in shock and screaming. My shower vision was very brief, but it was so intense it nearly knocked me over. I became short of breath, I gasped, I burst out crying and doubled over in pain from the shock of that quaint little home movie that came out of the recesses of my brain to kick me in the gut.

I got out of the shower and curled into a ball in my bed and just let it all out of my system. I figured that it was natures fucked up way of reminding me that July 31 was around the corner. As I recovered from that, I got a phone call and to be honest, I really did not want to talk about it. The person I was speaking to knew something was wrong with me and probed till I admitted what had happened. Much to my surprise, he was able to show me a different perspective and it has stuck with me since that discussion. He remarked that he believed that sometimes when things like that happen, it is that persons way of trying to touch you on the shoulder and remind you that they are still thinking of you and love you. While it is upsetting and jarring, it is sometimes the only way they can establish contact with us. He also stated that for him, he has similar things happen now and then but only when he is in the shower. This made me think and I realized that yes, a lot of the time when I have these upsetting thoughts I'm in the shower. He commented that he sometimes thinks that water is a passageway or a vehicle for the other side to get through to us. Is this true? No. Yes. Maybe? Who knows, but it really made me think about this in a very different way and I am going to hold on to this perspective and consider it.

Yesterday, I received a perfume sample in the mail from my BFF. It was a very rare perfume that was my Mothers favorite. My friend sent it to me as a comforting gesture, as a way of letting me have that little part of my mom to enjoy again. This warmed my heart so and made me feel blessed to have someone so sensitive and caring in my life. The minute I uncorked that perfume vial I was transported back to 1972 and the house where I was raised. There I was in that little spot where I would perch myself and study her as she got ready to go out for the evening. I would sit and watch my Mother in fascination as she fixed her hair, applied her eyeliner, brow pencil, and liquid makeup. I can even still see the actual products she used if I concentrate hard enough. I remember the way she would put on a pretty lipstick to brighten her face and then a few spritzes of that perfume to finish. And then she was off. It's funny how a scent can transport you like that isn't it? But for me, it did. For a few minutes, I was seven again and my Mom was the most glamorous, beautiful smelling woman on earth.

So today I am sitting here smelling that perfume vial, feeling blessed that I had such a mother and that I have such people now who recognize that part of my past and who I am.

An interesting addendum to recent events is one of the most touching and encouraging emails I have ever received. My Dr is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He is knowledgeable, gentle, smart, witty, kind hearted and loving to a fault. He is also creative and a true artist. He asked to see samples of my writing. I felt a bit embarrassed with some of the rambling drivel I go on about, but I tried to dig up some remotely interesting things and sent them to him. He previously had a musical/play off Broadway and is now working on a movie. He read my thoughts and now wants to meet with me to discuss my "talent". Me? Talent? I make a mean brownie but other than that I never felt like I had any notable talents. The most truly amazing part of this were his closing words when he stated "if your father was alive today I am sure he would tell you that he is proud of you, and so am I".

Isn't it funny how if you are really paying attention and put yourself out there in the world the universe brings you such affirming experiences and helps you hear and learn what you need to at the very time you need to?

That's all for now....thanks for listening to this one..I know it wasn't easy! :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Filthy Rich?

Has it really come to this America? Are we this desperate to protect the little bit we have that we need to "secure" it in fake filthy underwear? I am just stunned at this. It's for sale at Sears of all places. It's called "Brief Safe" the fake dirty underwear home safe. Do Sears shoppers really have the need for a "home safe" and if they do are they really going to look for one at Sears? Couldn't you just make your own version of this? Really?

The copy on the Sears website reads: The "Brief Safe" is an innovative diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you're traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses with these specially-designed briefs which contain a fly-accessed 4" x 10" secret compartment with Velcro closure and "special markings" on the lower rear portion. Leave the "Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room - even the most hardened burglar or most curious snoop will "skid" to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn't you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown).

I love the color description. I kind of love everything about this. I'm guessing that the person who invented this may drink heavily. I really like the manufacturers advice to "leave the "Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room". I would love to be a fly on the wall watching people catch a glimpse of this in your home. Can you imagine forgetting you were having company over and leaving that out? I guess it would be an easy way to get someone to dump you if you were in a bad relationship. I would run like hell and never look back if I saw this in a mans bathroom.

As long as we're being frank, I have never understood skid marks. Maybe with a small child but a grown adult? WTF is wrong with you that you can't manage to practice good bathroom hygiene? The thought of it really makes me shudder. It also makes me very sad and makes me want to cry for the person who does it. I said "want" to cry because I think I'd actually be too disgusted to be able to cry, but there is something about a person who is unable to do something so basic that makes me very emotionally upset for them. It makes me wonder if their Mother didn't love them or teach them basics. I know I'm reaching here but yikes.

What's going to be next? Urine stained stockings? Blood covered sheets? A bib drenched in baby vomit with a secret compartment? I just don't even know anymore. This whole thing started when I saw a purse made out of old women's underwear. I'm going to post about that next but this one just floored me.

On a strange note I think if I actually did see underwear like these now I might wonder if they are filled with cash and be slightly curious. Hmmmmm.

That's all for now.