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“Suicide…the elephant in the room”

“I think about my dad a lot more now, mostly because I’m almost 18, this month actually, his birthday is exactly one week after mine, and I’m a senior, and I wonder if he would be proud of me…”

This was written two years ago, I feel the need to repost-
So I saw this on Facebook the other day, I have no idea who actually wrote it- but i paraphrased a little and posted it to my wall.

“I tried to begin to put up the tree and couldn’t get the strength to do it. I just couldn’t do it.  I stopped in my tracks and sat down and just went down memory lane…All I can say is it wasn’t pretty. I think I cried for over an hour with memories of what this time used to be for me and how it was filled with such love and anticipation – and now it brings back memories of the reality of emptiness and sadness.
So I would like to remind you that there are people for whatever reason are not looking forward to Christmas. Some people are not surrounded by large wonderful families.
Some of us have problems during the holidays and are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us any longer.
For many it is yet another Christmas without a particular loved one. Some of us still physically have our loved ones but Alzheimer’s has stolen their hearts and minds. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now.”

You all know by now that my Husband passed away ten years ago, but what you don’t know is this- He committed suicide, leaving behind brothers and sisters, a wife, two small children and two almost grown step-children. It damaged all of us, it left a gap nothing can fill. It left unanswered questions and feelings of guilt. It left a lot of us questioning our worth. People say ‘Oh, how did he pass? and when you answer you get that look. The one where you know those people want to sink into the ground, they are sorry they ever asked and wish they were anywhere else at the moment. The entire conversation gets awkward, sometimes those people never talk to you again because they don’t even know how to act around you. After a suicide, people you’ve known for years fade out of your life, they just can’t deal. You never, ever look at life the same way again.

Holidays seem especially hard for depressed people, I know they are hard for me. There are a lot of suicides around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Please- if you need help call

Call 1-800-273-8255
If you know somebody who is struggling, talk to them and encourage them to get help. Sadly, the ones who are serious usually don’t talk about it. If you know someone who has lost someone to suicide DO NOT SHUT THEM OUT! Let them know that when they are ready to talk you will listen. Don’t get stupid when somebody mentions suicide, talk about it. For Christ’s sake do not make them feel like its wrong to talk about.
Ten years later, my daughter, K, is finally speaking about her life. She gave me something to read today that ripped my heart from my chest, but I am rejoicing that she is finally finding words. Here they are:
“Losing a loved one.-
I picked this topic because at a glance I knew I would relate to it better than any of the other topics. But as I sit here, at my desk, I’m drawing a blank. Whenever this topic would come up I could never form the words, describing the situation was hard enough, but when people would ask me how I felt, putting it into words was nearly impossible. Instead of jumping right into it, let’s start at the beginning where any great story starts, though this is far from great.
I was always a daddy’s girl, I looked forward to him coming home after work, he would always make time to play with me, even though he was tired from working all day. He often worked laboring jobs, he always came home dirty and exhausted. On Saturday mornings, when I would wake up, I would lay in bed and call out for him, and when I heard him coming up the stairs I would dive under the covers and pretend to be asleep. He would jump on the bed, saying something along the lines of “I know I heard a little girl in here somewhere,” and when I would giggle, he would grab the blanket and pull it back saying “There she is!”. I vaguely remember his smile, he always looked at me with pure joy, and sometimes when I’m going through a rough patch, I think about that and wonder if he would still look at me like that, if I would have made him proud. I remember this one specific occasion, when I called out for him but he never came, I, being an impatient child, went down stairs, getting ready to demand an answer as to why he was ignoring me, but he wasn’t home, when I asked my mom she said he started working Saturday mornings. Instantly my little heart shattered, I don’t remember what I said to my mom, but I remember her saying “Don’t say that to your father, he already feels guilty working Saturday’s, you saying that will make him sad.” Thinking back on it now, if I had asked him to stay on Saturday’s he probably would have. Because of his long work days he would often miss my soccer games, but there were a few times where he did show up and it meant the world to me, and to make up for missing a game or a practice, we would play soccer outback, even when it started to get dark, we only came inside because mom would tell me he needs to relax after working all day, something he would have never told me, because he just wanted to make me happy. Being young I took all of that for granted, I didn’t realize how much those little things would mean to me, especially after the person is gone.
When I was 7 years old, my father, that I loved so much, killed himself. My mom was very upfront about it, she told me that he took his own life, even though I was young, because she didn’t want me to resent her for lying to me, because she knew my dad meant a lot to me. Of course being young I didn’t quite understand, but I got the ‘dead’ part and knew that he was never coming back. I locked those feelings away for a long time, I never dealt with his death properly. Years later at 15 years old, I found myself falling into what felt like an endless pit of numbness and depression, I contemplated suicide, and at that very first thought, it clicked in my head why my dad did it. Life is hard, things weigh on you, the never ending anxiety of not being good enough, especially in his position, a father of two children of his own, and two step children, struggling to make it working odd jobs with long hours, all while he struggled with alcoholism. He wasn’t a violent drunk, he just drank to escape his pain, and he tried his hardest to not be drunk in front of me. He was intoxicated when he killed himself, I’d like to believe that if he wasn’t, maybe he wouldn’t have done it, but then again if not that time then maybe another. I think about my dad a lot more now, mostly because I’m almost 18, this month actually, his birthday is exactly one week after mine, and I’m a senior, and I wonder if he would be proud of me, and I think about how he isn’t going to be at my high school graduation to greet and congratulate me like the rest of my family, or see me off to college, or be at my college graduation, and the reason why I swore I’d never get married, something no one else knows, is because he won’t be here to walk me down the aisle, or why I promised myself that I wouldn’t drink on my 21st birthday, or ever again in my life because he was an alcoholic and I don’t want to associate with the thing I believe to have been the cause of his decision, or the reason why I’m so bitter about holidays is because he isn’t here, holidays are about family, and we don’t have that, it will never be the same without him. Or how his death impacted me so much emotionally I find it hard to connect and open up to people, making relationships hard, getting close to someone and opening up and sharing my feelings scares me, I could name so many things that I view to be less painful than expressing my emotions. It’s so easy to vaguely vent about my emotion status to my best friend, but even though they’re my best friend I find it so hard to go in depth about how I feel and part of the reason is because I can’t find the words to use, I feel like half the time there isn’t a word or a sentence to describe how I feel. But mostly when I think about my dad I think about how he’s going to be absent from a lot of big milestones in my life, and the thought pains me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for the people I have. Because I am beyond grateful for the people I have.
From this I’ve ultimately learned some things about people and how their minds work, it makes me want to pursue a career in psychology. I want to study people and their emotions and functions more in depth, I want to find the root of things, and I want to counsel people and help them with their problems, because I don’t ever want someone to feel the way I’ve felt, and the way I sometimes still feel. I feel numb, and everything feels surreal like nothing and no one exists, including yourself like you’re having an out of body experience viewing everything from outside almost like you’re viewing someone else’s life, and you feel almost nothing, it’s just empty space with muffled noise and shapes painted in the distance, everything blends together, you can’t tell whether or not something happened that morning or a week ago. The only thing you feel is either a dull ache in your heart or a weight on your chest and sometimes you’re stuck with both and that’s the only reminder that you and everything else is real. Sometimes you can’t tell daydreams apart from reality, and at night you aren’t dreaming, you’re staring at the ceiling for hours thinking about all of those awful emotions that only seem to exist when the lights go out and you lay in bed crying and you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus and you want nothing more than the sweet release of death but you can’t have it. Sometimes those emotions come alive and you’re stuck with body wracking sobs and you feel like there’s no air left in your lungs and you’re weeping out and hyperventilating and you can taste the bile in the back of your throat daring to bring everything you’ve eaten with it, if you’ve even eaten, you can lose interest in food as well as everything and anything that exists. There’s almost nothing worse than staring at or thinking about something you once enjoyed and not feeling that same spark of happiness. Those are all dark feelings that I would never want anyone to feel and if I can be there to help then I will. Because nobody should ever feel that way”
This is what my baby wrote, this it’s what we live with every day. This is the reality of suicide survivors. The ones left behind. This is depression, crippling devastating depression. The fear I live with every day is this; the children of parents who commit suicide are 80% more likely to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.
Treasure every moment of every day, and if you love someone tell them…
Please, if you need to talk do not hesitate to call the Hotline- Call 1-800-273-8255
Someone is there 24 hours a day

I did exactly what I said I wouldn’t do…

I had my surgery on July 3, and it went perfectly. I was  textbook case. No more morphine within 8 hours after surgery, I walked the halls every two hours after surgery, I only took four doses of the Tylenol/Vicodin liquid. I had almost no pain, I had no difficulty getting my fluids in. Absolutely no problems moving through the pureed, soft food and regular food stages. .

I started back to the gym two weeks after surgery, with the doctor’s permission. No problem with my exercise goals. I am losing weight- just not as fast as I would like and not as fast as some people, which is soooooo depressing.

But I haven’t been writing, the one thing I swore to keep up with. I’m stealing a few moments now on my daughter’s computer as I babysit three kids. I have no access to any of my photos while here, so I have nothing to show you. I just wanted to let you all know I’m alive, I’m doing okay. I did have the surgery and I’ve lost 28 pounds in the 58 days since. I’ve lost a lot of inches and have gone down a few sizes. Overall a success.

I’m mobile, no wheelchair, no handicap cart- I’m functioning on my own.

I will post more and I will add pics.

I am so sorry for dropping the ball on this one.

I cried. I got back up. I got this!

 

IMG_20170701_191934You know what? I got this! I track my steps. I track my food. I started out in a wheelchair half the time, now I’m mobile and don’t even use the handicap cap cart to shop anymore for the last five weeks. Today, I got myself up off the floor without help. ( Yes, I fell). For me, that was major. Three weeks ago I was able to take a shower without the shower chair for the first time in almost two years. And I haven’t even had the surgery yet, this has been the toughest, yet most rewarding six month prep. I can breathe, I can walk and I am ready for a new life! I can walk the pasture, play with the critters, swim with the grandkids. I got in the ocean for the first time in two years! I’m gonna do this! I decided to be brave, and post a picture. There you go. The fat me, soon to be the old me!

It’s not easy, this pre surgery liquid thing is getting old real quick, but I got this.

All the hoops, all the requirement, all the mental victories, all the new recipes… It had been worth it. I’ve grown. I’ve learned. This is it! I’m ready.

Monday the 3rd is my day. 8:45 I report to the hospital. It has been a helluva ride. This morning I was so ready to be done. I’m so tired of broth. But I have come way to far to do something stupid now.

I’m not gonna lie, the last few months have been busy. I’ve had grandkids here days at a time. M is working doubles all the time so I’ve had B and R here quite. a bit. My JD is thirteen, and grandchild B is nine and half, so they bicker back and forth. Little R is so full of life and energy starting at six AM, thank God for the pool – it keeps them busy and gives me exercise.

 

My mother has been in a bit of downward spiral since Christmas. I have to laugh, otherwise I’d cry. Sometimes it is hilarious, sad, but hilarious. For instance – So, Mom, we went to BJ’s Tuesday after a very long appt with my surgeon (which I had to repeatedly convince her the appt was for me not her), halfway through BJ’s parking lot mom’s slip completely dropped down around her ankles, practically causing her to fall. I tried to discretely take the slip and stuff it into my bag to which she shrilly replied that it came off her and was darn well going back on her. She proceeded to pull her skirt up around her waist as a car parked right next to us, and struggle with the damn slip. I begged her not to make a spectacle and she yelled at me, asking me ” do you really think they haven’t seen a woman in a slip before!!??”. I died a thousand deaths, dad just helplessly shrugged and laughed. Seriously nobody needed to see all that. She just didn’t give a shit. New Mom 2.0 and I’m not so sure it’s the better version, but it’s definitely the funnier one.
Oh, and I lost three more pounds this week…

And then there is this – When mom graduates to eating between 600-800 calories worth of pastries and cookies at a single sitting and your trying desperately to keep her from buying tons of baked goods from BJ’s ( the only things she wanted to get from BJ’s, not one other food in the cart)
She kept putting them in, and I kept sneaking them out… She finally turns around and snaps “at least I’m not the one with the big belly!”.
I got nothing…
I’m over here drinking chicken broth…
She made it out of the store with one huge cake. Which she then proceeded to yell at dad for buying an hour later.
I’m still over here with my chicken broth and protein shake…

My week in a nutshell. I love her too death and someday will look back and be so glad I preserved these stories.

My Dad is a saint, full of love and patience. He’s so hard on himself for being human enough to get occasionally frustrated. So devoted, so in love… Almost 52 years.

I have so many things to share, I can’t believe I let it go this long without writing!

Recipes – one of the soups I’m supposed to be on during this liquid phase was so gross, I made my own. Surgeon approved tomato bisque: I used chicken bone broth with 9g of protein, I added two cans of tomato paste, a healthy amount of garlic powder, onion powder and basil flakes, and 1/3 cup of Carnation powdered non fat milk. You can also add some low fat grated Parmesan.

IMG_20170616_121417559.jpg

 

It has more than the fifteen grams of protein the nasty soup had.

I’ve also added little bits of “better than bouillon” au jus flavor paste to plain beef broth, because it helps. So does a dash of cumin, or onion powder.

You do what you got to do to get it down. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to tweak it all little or you’ll go nuts. Trust me, I was in tears this morning thinking about another cup of broth.

So, I’m gonna go drink another protein shake! Have a nice night! Be blessed!

Next time I’ll tell you all about how I found my real biological family after 49 years! The power of technology and science!

 

 

I really suck at this…

So its been forever. Things have been hectic, end of semester papers and exams, daughter (E) with kidney stones and renal failure, premature grandson that I watched three days a week, a mother with rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s, then my daughter (E) had half her cervix removed for stage three cells (she’s gonna be okay). You know, basic busy and stressful stuff. LOL. I passed all my classes this semester and am waiting anxiously for scholarship awards to see if I won any. ( I’m hoping )

And oh yeah, the surgery list of requirements… So, I did the three months of counseling and got approval from both the therapist and the psychiatrist! WHOOHOO! The nutritionist is happy with me and says my numbers speak for themselves. I did break down and have two soft pretzels a few weeks ago( I got lectured for that) , and still managed to lose 9 pounds that month, I say its the soup I eat. The fitness guy is AWESOME and is also happy with me. I HAVE ONE APPOINTMENT LEFT UNTIL WE SET DATES FOR MY SLEEVE SURGERY!

I joined a group called Sassy Sleevers on Facebook, which is great for inspiration and accountability. Everyone is so friendly and open about issues.

I’m still not smoking, but I still want one occasionally, I’m trying to read a lot so I don’t think about it. I read seven Harry Potter books in two weeks, not my usual style but I was curious about them. I’m going to look and see if Glenn Thater has anything new out, if not I’ll check out Michael Connely. My kindle is my new best friend.

I’m getting my steps in by not using the downstairs bathroom anymore and going to the furthest bathroom upstairs. I’m also walking the yard now and hope to start mowing the grass soon.

I desperately need to start eating and drinking slower or I’m going to be puking a lot after surgery. I’m so used to chugging water.

I’m cooking a lot, mostly chicken. I have a broken tooth so a lot of my stuff is getting ran through the food processor because I can’t chew. I guess I might as well get used to it. I’ve been making a lot of cabbage soup (weight loss soup)cabbage soup

less than 100 calories  a serving with 10 grams protein:

4 quarts low fat low sodium chicken stock, whole head of cabbage chopped, 1-2 cups of onion chopped, 1 cup of celery chopped, 1 pound of brussel sprouts chopped, 1 large can crushed tomatoes, 1-2 cups of carrots chopped, 2-4 cups of shredded chicken, and a few TBS of crushed garlic. Use any seasonings you want- I use red pepper flakes, but some people use Italian seasonings. Basically you can throw any vegetables you want in it. You can even skip the meat and use vegetable stock instead of chicken. You can add the fake sausage crumbles that vegans eat as a substitute meat. Eat it once a day or more, as much as you want and I guarantee weight will come off.

I’ve also been making a lot of Teriyaki Chicken or Satay Peanut Chicken (some call it Thai Bangkok Chicken). I just bake, drain, and chop up breast meat then saute it in sauce with extra garlic. I add low sodium soy and Hoisin Sauce to the Teriyaki. (I run the chicken through the food processor after its done on fine chop setting too, because of my tooth. The stupid dentist doesn’t have an opening until frikkin September!)

peanut chicken

I eat the Teriyaki with riced cauliflower or I make Tandoori Sweet Potatoes and roast them in the oven in chunks to eat with the Peanut Chicken. You can google that, I did. For a dipping sauce for the sweet potatoes you can add a little sugar free pancake syrup to non fat vanilla greek yogurt instead of date syrup.  That is also good for sweet potato fries (baked fries of course).

I did have a hamburger last night with cheese and pickles, no bun, that I ran through the processor and ate with a few ritz crackers. I needed some beef, since I’ve been living on chicken. The kids wanted burgers and dogs on the grill. So everyone was happy.

My parents are coming again today, I feel better when I feed them. Dad is a saint, but he has his hands full with Mom. She thinks everyday is Sunday, so when I had them here on Tuesday she wore her Sunday best and ended up doing yard work looking like a queen. She had fun, the kids had fun and pretty much that’s all that matters.mom cleaning yard

mom yard

I’m taking all the pictures I can, every time. Time goes so fast as her memory gets worse. Treasuring the moments one by one.

I have so much more to say, but I’m out of time. I miss writing, hopefully I’ll have a little more free time and can actually get back into it.

Meanwhile-We are so dysfunctional – this bitch (E) calls me laughing so hard she’s crying and I can’t understand a damn word coming out her mouth for like five minutes. Finally I get the story: E was getting the kids ready for a trip to Walmart and used the last two wipes in the pack to wipe Armani’s balls and ass after taking off his pull up, she had no where to lay them while she finished dressing the kid so she stuffed them back in the empty pack to throw out when she was done, fiancé A was trying to get baby Grayson ready so he grabbed the wipes, not knowing, and cleaned the baby’s face and hands with the ball/ass wipes. A is dying and totally freaked out (it’s his first actualchild), E is laughing so hard, now I’m laughing and yelling at her to clean the baby… Just one of those days.

The fun never ends.

 

 

Broken Doesn’t Mean Worthless.

Awesome.

adventuresofatwentysomethingabroad

Growing up I know I felt broken. Not because my parents didn’t raise me right, but because I didn’t see my value. Everyone is valuable. From the poorest of the poor, to the richest of the richest. It doesn’t matter what color your skin color is, or what eye color you have. If you’ve got a bachelors degree, or a GED. Whether you are single, or you are married. Whether you have done one wrong thing, or a hundred. Whether you are popular, or you have one friend. You are worthy of hearing these things.

You are valuable. 

You are loved.

You are lovely. 

You are needed.

You are powerful. 

You are beautiful. 

You are amazing. 

You are strong. 

You can rise above. 

You are desired. 

You are special. 

You are wanted.

You are unique.

Don’t ever forget this okay. You are needed yesterday, today, and tomorrow. You are loved…

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