Saturday, March 29, 2008

change in plans?

well, we were getting ready to leave tomorrow a.m. got the tires all changed on the volvo (used her pretty aluminum rims and she looks so purdy!) and this afternoon my son began to complain about stomach cramps. being diabetic everything gets a bit more complicated, especially things having to do with the stomach/food...

he ate a small supper as he needs to have carbs for his blood sugar to be regulated... and he just threw it all up... this is the first time we've dealt with this since he's been diagnosed. a quick call to his dr. let us know now to panic, but to make sure we're checking his blood sugars, because if they get low he has to be admitted to the hospital for an iv because he can't keep anything down... so no traveling for us.

after the day of drama trauma with liam's step-mom i'm relieved, but really want to be there for liam and his sibs. but relieved. so a bit of a change for now, thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

Friday, March 28, 2008

liam's dad

just heard that liam's father just died. they thought he'd have a month or two, then a couple of days ago it was weeks, and yesterday it was the weekend. he didn't make it.

please pray especially for liam's sister G as the family told her to go on her scheduled holiday and she is to return tomorrow. she will be shattered.

things are still sideways (not in a good sideways like my blog, but a bad, twisted, uncomfortable sideways) so prayers in that area would be a blessing too.

we're hoping our sad, little volvo can make the trip again. any prayers for her would be appreciated too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

manufacturing misery

manufacturing misery.

can you just see lucy & ethel working at the factory as it pours off the assembly line? more misery, coming right up. manufacturing misery. i heard that line at the OA retreat and it rang like a gong in my head.

it's taken from the AA big book on pg. 133:

We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn't do it. Avoid then the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.

Avoid then the deliberate manufacture of misery.

brilliant.

liam and i have known each other for 25 years now and i have coined a phrase that describes a behavior he has - i call it "precasting" - it is the tendency to decide in advance how someone will respond to a situation so as to excuse yourself of having to follow through on a confrontation, conversation or interaction. it is mental gymnastics at the olympic level. and it looks so much like manufacturing misery.

in my own life this looks like the paranoia i have after interactions in public and my community. i rehash and replay every word i uttered, every interplay that happened and rake myself over the coals of regret and shame sure that everyone at the event is laughing at me and talking behind my back. i manufacture misery in costco size boxes.

Avoid then the deliberate manufacture of misery.

our daughter pink teaches me so much about myself in watching her navigate through middle school. i see her fears, watch her insecurities and struggles and find myself in and amongst her pain. poor lamb. the journey to womanhood isn't easy at all - but for those of us who are introverts with very little self confidence it is excruciating and lonely.

i can see how she holds back in social situations, i can read the anxiety on her face at youth group. will they include me? will i fit in? will i be able to bring myself to walk up to the group of girls who seem so able and become one of the group? i feel her pain. i know that even today those same thoughts and fears run through my head as i am faced with the need to meet and greet and make small talk when i would rather sit quietly with a book and ignore them all.

i hear pink speak of "mean girls" - but when i ask her how they are mean she is unable to explain behaviors. i have seen the girls she so longs to be friends with, and it's not that they exclude her, it's more that she doesn't know how to join in. she projects much of her own fears and rejection of herself onto them when they really aren't behaving in a way that is mean or cruel (now please, i know girls can be mean, especially in middle school) but i wonder if much of the angst of the pre-teen years isn't a manufacturing of misery based on our own awkwardness and insecurities?

how do i do this in my own life? how can i learn how not to create the misery that i am so afraid of? how can i teach it to her?

i don't have answers, but am starting to pull at the edges of this tangle. i so want to be happy, joyous, and free, don't you?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

big shoulders, heavy load

before liam left town he left a note for his dad's doctor (because time lines didn't allow for a face to face meeting) talking about getting his dad's wishes documented (living will) so that the family left in town wouldn't have to guess at his wishes if he becomes unable to express himself and is still living but unconscious. liam saw what i went through with my mother during her death and wouldn't wish that on anyone.

some idiotic nurse read the note, left in his father's file for the doctor, to his step-mom and she went ballistic. i have probably mentioned it here before, but she's not the most emotionally/psychologically healthy person on a good day. she lost it. that coupled with the fact that liam's dad asked her, just that morning, if she would mind if his first wife (liam's mom) could be allowed to come in and say goodbye (one of the healthiest things that could give the man some peace would be to deal with this deep wound left on this family from a nasty divorce and he never took any responsibility for before).

all of this was blasted at liam through his cell phone as he was chairing the meeting of the local mental health board meeting yesterday... (the irony of this isn't lost on us...)

ugh.

she's accusing him of wanting power of attorney and trying to leave her out and every ugly accusation she can throw at him. he had spoken before he left to his brother, and her son, his step-brother, and they all three thought this would be a good idea that would help her, not hurt her. she doesn't see it that way.

if i can encourage anyone, please express to your families your wishes, even get them on paper, it empowers you and helps your family to know at a time that things aren't stressful and difficult how you'd like your life to end. dying well is something our generation could actually do if we spent the time now thinking and talking about it with ourselves and those we love.

i know liam has big shoulders, but the emotional toll of all of this is weighing on him. any prayers would really be appreciated. we want more light and more life for all involved - not pain, confusion and struggle. please god recenter all of this to the truth.

Monday, March 24, 2008

unwrapped

i don't know how many times i've said today "i just want everything to be NORMAL again" - things aren't neat and tidy in my mind lately - they've gotten all unruffled by the emotions liam's dad's sickness has brought into our lives. i hate that about grief, death and dying. it can never stay in a nice, neat easy package. and it unwraps all of the other ones you've ever had in your life. it's like it dissolves the wrapper on everything somehow. i guess maybe i'm feeling unwrapped too.

it was much easier to hate and resent him. dealing with that resentment has left me wide open to the depth of emotion this has brought. i hadn't realized how tucked away i had made my heart. damn denial. i guess it's not helping that i got my period 4 days early... i'm just awash with emotion today and while i know that is okay i still don't have to like it. i just keep repeating "this too shall pass, this too shall pass..." i know that one day of deep emotion doesn't mean winter has me in it's evil clutches, but damn i am sick of it all. i think one day of warm weather and beach combing would fix everything.

we're headed up coast today to pick up liam from the airport. there are three spots where we pass the ocean. each time we do i say "hello ocean" - just seeing it resets something within me. maybe today we'll stop and i'll get out of the car and yell at the waves for a bit. the sun at least is shining. it's bitter cold, but for today, just for today thy will not mine be done.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

death and resurrection

liam is doing the vigil at the hospital, his father is dying. the cancer is closing off his esophagus and he can hardly swallow, let alone eat. it is so hard to be this far away while my beloved is hurting. during the retreat last weekend i shared with my women that i was holding onto a huge lot of resentment toward liam's dad. it was the major step 5 work i was doing. that night i really prayed that god would help me to understand this more clearly.

as i processed it with them i realized that most of what i carried wasn't mine (surprise, bad boundaries again...) - i was feeling slights for things liam never even acknowledged or was bothered by. he really upon looking back over things never really had done anything to me, other than neglect the people i love most in this world, my son and my kids, and blame them for lack of contact. i also realized that knowing he was sick i decided that disengagement would be the best line of defense so that it didn't hurt when he died.

upon my return from the retreat liam told me of the prayer his father asked him to pray over the phone, he kept asking god to forgive his sins. liam was able to reassure him that he was forgiven and went on to tell him of the thief on the cross who was at that moment being punished for his crimes, and jesus told him that he would be with him that day in paradise. he said that he could literally hear his father's shoulders drop and his breathing calm as he said 'thank you son'. at that moment i realized god had done for me what i was unable to do for myself. love that man. the resentment was lifted. i cried and felt such a compassion for this man.

i realized on friday night after liam flew away that my mom also died at easter time - it was in april that year, but i knew that if i didn't make some plans that i would be hurting myself. so i got home and started to find a place where we could go for celebration today. going to make some peach pies to bring to my pastor/therapist/professors house (yes, he wears many hats, so glad he is a kind gentle man otherwise it would be too much!) to celebrate with the other families that are joining together there today. so grateful for my community this weekend. liam and i have done time apart, but other than his trip to nepal a few years ago it's usually me who goes and he who stays (boy do i like that a whole lot better!) - i realized this weekend how much fun he brings to our lives. every day things are a whole lot more fun when he is around. boy do i miss him.

please continue to pray for he and his family (us included) - mostly for peace and clarity. liam is supposed to fly home tomorrow, but if there are only days left we'd really like to know. thank you for your prayers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

i have a sponsor!!

the retreat was amazing - the three of us connected so deeply and on so many levels. it was just what we all needed. and i also found a sponsor. just got off the phone with her and we told our stories. she's 3 hours away, but i am happy to talk on the phone and email.

off to bed, see ya!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

liam's dad update

well, the information we were given yesterday wasn't nearly as desperate as we were made to believe. it's still really bad, but not urgent. we're relieved. liam was included in the "family meeting" with the doctors via conference call and i think it helped a lot to hear the real information and to hear about options.

there are lesions on the lungs, biopsy to follow, plus CT & bone scans to see if it's spread to head/stomach/bones. they aren't optomistic that it will be anything but cancer. he smoked for 3/4's of his life and worked in a steel mill that whole time too. it has always been his greatest fear, unfortunately the five years he's avoided the doctor have probably been the years he could have gotten treatment to actually beat this. it's probably past treatment stage, and he's so weak and sick now that it probably would be long in coming.

i prayed for clarity today and felt that it was received.

i am still able to go to my oa retreat this weekend and am so happy about that as 3 of us are going together. can't wait!! i really need this break, especially after this, and march break. i'm always a better mom/woman/wife/person after this kind of getaway and they have been few and far between since we started our masters degree.

thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement. we really appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

please pray for liam & his dad

liam's dad has been in hospital for the past week w/ pneumonia and we just got "the call" - it's not sure what the real "doctor" information is as this has filtered through his dad, to step-mom, who is melodramatic at the best of times, to liam's brother and to us - but the word was originally "he's not going to pull through".

since then we've found out that this is probably a bit of an over-reaction. it will be life-threatening, but the timing is probably not as urgent as we were led to believe originally. anyway - please pray.

his family puts the dys in dysfunctional and more than anything i would pray that they would work together through this - and not at each other.

this is the first death liam will experience personally in his life when it happens, he was with me when my mom died, but they really didn't know each other very well, so it wasn't very emotional. he has said everything he needed to say to his dad when we were there last summer - so we're not really sure how this will all play out. we're just so very far away.

thanks.

Monday, March 10, 2008

lie gently

“Lie back, daughter, let your head be tipped back
in the cup of my hand.
Gently, I will hold you.
Spread your arms wide, lie out on the stream and look high at the gulls.

A dead-man’s float is face down.
You will dive and swim soon enough where this tidewater ebbs to the sea.

Daughter, believe me, when you tire on the long thrash to your island,
lie up, and survive.

As you float now, where I held you and let go,
remember when fear cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year stars,
lie back, and the sea will hold you.”

Phillip Booth, Words of Mouth

thank you rachelle!