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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Challenging Conversations

It is no secret in my family that my sister Dana and I do NOT get along at ALL anymore, it's rather sad for me but also rather freeing to not be around her confident rudeness or constant dramas. This has been a struggle saga for my whole life actually, we grew up a year and half apart. She was a tom boy kid and I was the lacy flowers in my hair child. My sister was never afraid of anything even rolling snakes around her arms while I screamed bloody murder and hid from such things....
I liked how strong and brave she was in those years as kids, then as teenagers she would protect me from pervy men or inappropriate boys. I stayed sheltered and often personally choosing not to investigate more on these sexual topics or worldly ways around me with the help of my already knowing everything sister. At 17 I remember watching my sister smoke a hidden cigarette cussing up a storm while I awkwardly wondered if I should correct this behavior or simply accept her for trusting me enough in this moment. Our parents were already much harder on her then me, because I never talked back in those years. I would noticed growing up when we got the belt or lined up for questioning I would look down at my feet in shame while she lifted her chin in daring glaring challenge to our parents. I was always quick to cry in any kind of drama while she would snap out angrily "STOP being such a cry baby!" The fact that as kids we were clearly so different should not leave me wondering why now in our 30's we don't talk to each other not even a quick phone call anymore....not in any emails or any facebook sharing family photos....all of that is gone. We are truly just done with each other, if we didn't have parents or young brothers bringing us all together for Christmas and birthdays then Dana and I would never see each other again.  
I saw her at the family reunion last summer for the first time since the holidays, It's so sad to me how we will never be good sisters like other people I've known share in their fun sisterhood. The damage is done even if I am not quite sure what that actually IS......I lost complete connection with my sister during our mother's huge stroke, at that time it had us all coming and going in the hospital over 4 months in stressful misunderstandings. During that time something in my sister snapped she made up her mind that she really hated me. I made up my mind never to get hit or yelled at by her ever again.....In fact I learned how to stand up to her in ways she wasn't expecting so I challenged her. Not only am I not afraid of her screaming craziness at me anymore but I can see right through her to the real stories of her life, this makes her feel venerable with me as I know much more with all she is dealing with or is not dealing with from our childhood, from our rough teenaged years. By the 3rd time (when my sister was 17) that she had ran away from home only to be returned by her friend's parents saying she isn't 18 yet so she can't live on her own. I hugged her in relief to see her again and she shoved me to the ground half crying and half screaming in such deep raw anger I'll never forget looking up at her in surprise from the ground as she yelled "What the hell is WRONG with YOU? Why are you still living HERE you are 18!?!? If I was your age I would be gone and NEVER come back, You are an idiot!" I snapped back just as betrayed as she felt explaining "Every time you run away from home I cry myself to sleep wondering if you are homeless or cold and hungry! So don't get mad at me staying on where it's SAFE! and for God's sake STOP running away from home it drives us all crazy!" My sister looked at me in shock that I didn't just coward away from her wrath. THIS is how we lived, we fought badly only to make up and be kinda friends again. As I grew older I grew better at talking with my sister, it didn't have to come in the form of yelling or swinging at each other anymore. I will always be like the sunshine, the one looking for the best positive thing to say while she will always be like the moon never wanting to be in the same room as me always negative and sarcastic. I grew up with her so nothing she says or does shocks me like it does others around us, I wish I had a code word to help bring her into focus on what loudness she is creating, or how most people step out of her way less they get actually step on. When I tried to explain that she had such a hard life, it made her into a hard person everyone just rolls their eyes but as her sister I will always want to protect her in some way and never shut the door to her. I am simply not stupid in trying to make us be friends when clearly that is not what she wants right now.....
This last weekend we all went out to eat and Dana join us sitting across the table from me, as we both shared the very same joke at the very same time to the long table of our family, I burst out laughing at the perfect timing while Dana frowned butchering our joke midway through our brother Derek said "Well you and Dana do have a lot in common." I nodded joking replying "Well of course we do we grew up together so naturally." while Dana exclaimed "Take that back! Derek, you'll be sorry for saying THAT! That is NOT funny, I am NOTHING like Debby." I got up from the table while thinking "Oh god not again, I don't want to hear why she hates me so much. She can't seem to talk to me but she will tell everyone else how stupid and horrible I am." I went for some ice cream only to return to an awkward looking group for Dana's hissy fit seemed to make everyone joke around more about how weird I am to all of them. My husband commented when we drove away "Your sister is so mean, I have never met anyone so blatantly mean and not embarrassed to show it." I laughed and shrugged helplessly explaining "I wish I knew whatever I did but it's been over 3 years now she is still steaming mad at me for will ya believe me whenever I share how as kids we put each other in choke holds all the time, she never liked being challenged EVER. In fact even now as adults she still can't handle it and I really would love to have that challenging conversation with her to finally get to the bottom of all her hatred towards me...." Tony reply back "She hates you for being happy, it's like what my mother said the other night most people don't like happy people and that's what it all comes down to." 
I chuckled shaking my head in such bewilderment "I can't relate, I have no idea what that is about because the more happy people I know the more perfect my life becomes....the more I can handle the stress of meeting up with my old family all the better because I am happy and healthy!?!" My husband rubbed his forehead sighing as he said "I guess that's why I can't stand it, I am NEVER happy to see your sister." 
I sadly sighed back in agreement saying "I don't mind it, she can hate me all she wants for I still love day I might never see her again so for what it's worth I will cherish these times that she keeps me on my toes in trying to understand all the more our challenging conversations indeed!"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Challenging children

Last night I sat at the table in Golden Coral listening to my family filter in and out of the long table. This is my mother's favorite place to eat and my father likes to buy everyone's meal. It has become a family tradition over all of our birthdays, I turn 36 soon so as they made the long trip into Boise yesterday afternoon, I entertained them in my home with hot tea and stories of my husband said no one wanted to relax and kick back with me except my mother. She was also determined to go to Golden Coral, I helped her get seated in the busy crowded restraunt then I got her plate of meats, cutting it all up for her to eat with her one hand. I sat across from her chatting it up and so happy they all came to Boise! My young brothers are all much taller then me now, they love the buffet for endless choices were as I like going to places you stay seated, but after up and down, new plates and new napkins my mother was served most everything. I walked with her around the dessert counter explaining once I get her back to the table I can run back and get everything on her list. She liked that idea and shared how this June her cousins will be visiting so she wants to do a girls only weekend staying at a hotel with a hot tub in town. I told her all of that sounds like fun and I would go to help her shower or get in and out of the hot tub. She seemed super excited about planning this and most importantly she wants something to look forward to......I completely understand why she likes planning ahead, of seeing her old friends and family again. Yet something has been changing in my mother since her stroke, she has grown more and more frustrated with being paralyzed and feeling entitled to get what she wants no matter the actual situation or feelings of others around her. This entitlement is growing because we all feel sorry for her aftermath from her stroke, we serve her and do what she says as soon as we can because we all feel sad or guilty that we can do things she can't anymore.....suddenly the word "No." makes her fight back and become very stubborn, I've learned how to redirect without being bossy so I think it's why she likes me so much AND I am not around her 24/7 so we have healthy boundaries for the most part.....I am learning how to take her challenging ways to heart and come back with a better solution.  When my mother was young and healthy she loved babies and toddlers, she loved cuddling and nursing. Once her children grew more into being different from her then she panicked and took offense, she became alarmed over not sure what to do or say in trying to control and contain these challenges. I lived through all of it with her of course, it taught me how impossible it is to exactly the same. As a teenager I learned to keep my head down and shadow her instead of explaining my own thoughts on her many topics. She loved babies, she loved tiny fingers and toes while peacefully rocking away the afternoon in her arms. Then as those precious moments came and went, those babies grew into challenging children for her she would freak out, she would feel overwhelmed and helpless in what to do next......she never ever understood that children still need their mother just because they talk back. As a teenager when I disagreed with my mother she would pout and take it so personally like I didn't like her anymore saying things like "How could you!?!" or "I thought we were friends?!?!" I shake my head sadly at her power struggle over assuming these things when I simply said "I don't agree."   Instead of embrace a challenge or happily debating on all the reasons why we are at odds or taking different view points she would flop around in tears and panic. It cause a certain strain in our arriving adulthood friendship, I didn't run to comfort her anymore when she burst out crying saying "No one loves me anymore! No one needs me anymore!" because she did this reaction every single time her kids disagree with her. Since I was the oldest I saw this repetitive pattern in her for such a long time. If my mother burst out crying in front of other people I felt like a total asshole in not reacting to her, in not adding to her flare for drama. Sometimes people would glare at me exclaiming "You made your mother cry!?!?" I would nodded and shrug. THIS is exactly how my young brothers react right now to her antics, she doesn't cry as much as she use to but she does get mad, manipulating and demanding. Since I am older now I love my mother for all her differences from me, it all teaches me something new every time I am with her. She has become my biggest challenge, how do I love unconditionally and with no grudge? While still not giving into her every wimp or request?  How do I show her my life and my differences in hopes to give her new steps forward in her own? How do I live respectfully and get respect at the same time?  These are the questions I was left with last night after being with her among the rest of the family.....I am learning so much in these past years since her stroke, most importantly I have learned I am not the one to save the day, not the one who will better her life, she has to come to that choice on her own. I think she likes my flowers and my smiles, she can mirror my happiness when she is with me but I can't make our family better or closer anymore. The endless challenge for me is learn to let go and leave everyone alone. In the end all the beauty I see around me comes from growing up challenged and tested to know who I am completely, to THAT I can appreciate my family and simply let go.....

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Challenging College

                          It was a late summer evening as I cleaned up the dinner dishes from the table, my parents were still sitting there as I said "Tiffany is coming over tonight for our last midnight walk, just so you guys know." My father snorted back "Your midnight WHAT?!?!?" I chuckled back looking at my mother who knew that we young women were walking at midnight at least once a week all summer long, this was Tiffany's last summer home just before she went off to college. Since she lived just down the road,it was easy for her to drive over for a walk right after dinner when she was free, we had simply walked all over the apple and plum orchards all summer. For in those midnight hours the sky was full of stars with simple quietness of the whole land for miles out that rolled down into the valley below. We walked and talked arm in arm all the way to midnight. My father snorted out again "Tiffany in college that's rather surprising." I frowned back at him as Mom warned him to be nice, since Tiffany was the spitting image of Anne from "Anne of Green Gables" he always rolled his eyes when I spoke of her. I loved her energy, her imagination and delight in being girlie, it was easy to walk side by side knowing one day soon I would have to say goodbye.....
My father turned on me so sharply asking "WHY aren't YOU going to college?!?!?" Mom looked at him horror as she held her baby boy in her lap she hissed "Del......" I replied back in equal sharp wit "Because I don't have thousands of dollars to pay for it." He waved his hand like I was an idiot saying "THEY have student loans, we could even make a deal to help pay half of it for you...if you really want to go." I soften at his sudden suggested, I smiled grateful as Mom looked bewildered by what he had just said as if he went off the parenting pathway she had set for him. I bodily responded as my father waited for me in that "Everything is ridiculous with you." look I had grown so use to. I cleared my throat and explained "Tiffany leaves in the morning so I couldn't apply and get into this same school year, that would be the only reason I would go because I have no idea what to study and what degree to obtain. I also know with my 5.50 an hour job I would have to work 4 or 5 years to pay for one year in college. SO I've come to realized that until I know what I want to be and learn about, I should play it smart and not start out with tons of debt. If you guys paid for half that would be helpful BUT you guys have 2 new babies and hospital bills from them to pay off and I couldn't live with myself if they went hungry so that I can go stay with my friends in that whole college experience." 
My father's face changed into being rather impressed with me as I took the baby from my mother's arms and she chased my father down to chew him out in private. As I happily care for the wee one in my arms I smiled to myself as my parents disappeared into their bedroom for I liked surprising my father with having already thought out his outburst challenge of college.  With Tiffany walking in at that same moment I tossed her the baby and finished my chores, she looked around very uncomfortable asking "Where are you parents? Shouldn't they be doing all of this?" I giggled back making a juice bottle to lay my baby brother down into the play pen and I hollered down the hall "Hey Mom we're going out now, Dougie's drinking his bottle." She came out nodding at Tiffany having clearly been crying and I bolted out like all was normal. Tiffany rush out with me exclaiming "Your home is filled with such, such, such weirdness...." I laughed out loud as I flicked on the flash light explaining back to her "My Dad asked why I wasn't on board with college like you are, Mom came unglued and applauded. They think that I don't know why they disappeared have an argument, I am not worried at all it's normal for them. The only thing I worried about is my little brothers." Tiffany shook her head "Again, they are NOT your kids to worry about, you take on so much for your parents. You need to start thinking about your own future. I am sorry but God has laid it on my heart to tell you these things before I leave. You have your whole life ahead don't get suck in your parents." I giggled uncomfortably at how true she was and how not ready I was in facing this truth.
The moon was brilliant, the air was cool and a faint smell of fall was approaching changed my focus from my family to my dearest beloved friend walking next to me as we entered the magical fruit orchards against the sunset. I ate up all of Tiffany's stories, of her getting ready for college, what her new bedroom in the dorms will look like. all her colors to decorate and all of her interesting classes! 
I was just so excited for her, this was it! She was going into a whole new adventure!
We talked for hours even sitting on the irrigation cement box, under the clear starry night which made my grandparents farm look all silver and shadowy. 
"I shall miss these times! I shall miss the endless miles of fruit trees growing down the hill into that canal of sparkling water with those mountain peaks as a backdrop in God's amazing handy work, Ooooh Debby you do live in such a beautiful place even though I would NEVER exchange my parents for yours!" Tiffany twirled around with her arms out in front of me declaring this as I burst out laughing and smirked right back at her dancing self "Oh..Gee... Thanks!" Tiffany lean on me smiling back explaining "Oh, You know what I mean." I nodded back still giggling in true honesty my parents were hard to understand by ALL of my friends who popped over to my home. We looked up at all the stars for one last moment of quietness then headed back to the car it was midnight now so Tiffany hugged me goodbye saying "I know we will always be friends even if college changes me." I joked back trying not to cry quite yet "I've seen you change many times, it's called growing up I think...." She chuckled at me with a nod then we hugged a couple more times for those long goodbyes we were in the habit of displaying over the years as beloved friends.
When Tiffany grabbed her car keys excitedly waving back "I'm actually going to college!" then she squealed and I cheered her on as she drove away, I stood there watching until I couldn't see the lights of her car anymore realizing my evenings walks just got a little more lonely. A thought hit me suddenly over how I am always the one who stays behind. I am the one who watches so many friends move on but I am clearly not ready to take that next step for my own self.....I am stuck somehow for some reason I can't yet understand.....
(I guess I just needed 4 more years from that starry night to pack my own bags into my new life)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Where we are....

From the sunlight on the path we meet again
the smile and the shine go hand in hand
for the new again day that allows us such play!

From the tears of goodbyes, long hugs of last time spent
we waved on our descent in death or in a final move
because no one wants to be proved
we all want to hide from the facts and make love last!

For in all the good and in all the bad 
life creates such cast
we grow and learn, we act we slack and then we yearn
for our life to never die, but once we feel it at our side
we once again can not hide

For in all of life, love and laughter we see our splendor
we see all real reasons in such changing seasons
we don't know any answer to our many questions 
yet we loved and learned, holding each dog at it's turn
our hearts and our minds can't last for all time 
However our hearts hold onto all of nature,
hold onto all the creatures
being apart of it all in this earthly place

From here to eternity we will taste all things and kiss all wings, 
we weep and we sleep
we talk and we walk
we hug and we hold
for we know...........the depth of our soul must always grow!

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Sad thought.....

If it was possible to turn off my thoughts for a bit then I would like that, or maybe I would not? Thoughts are just as important for our communication with our own private self as well in being still not thinking at all to give yourself peace....I simply don't want to think about it when I have sudden flashes of thoughts here and there which often warn me of arriving sadness, I wonder why of course? I always think I am being silly right after such a sudden thought or warning reaches me then I'm quick to disregard them as a part of my vivid imagination or highly emotional self.
Either way, as I learn to listen more I feel more too so do I really want to turn that off in the end?
I woke up thinking "Lenore the dog of love is dead." then I shook my head saying "Don't be silly!"
Jon Katz is my most favorite author, someone I follow daily and greatly admire. (I might of mention this fact on here a few times over the years :-) by the way) His many books, and blog posts about his black lab Lenore have become apart of my everyday routine of coffee cup in hand and laptop in the other.  I love escaping into his world, into the beautiful eyes of Lenore!
    Jon Katz is so good to share this sad story with us, he shares stories and poems of all his dogs over the years. We came to know him, to be apart of his many adventures on his farm because he kindly easily shares with us!  Even with his sadness in death.....
My cousin Trina does the same thing with her family, her farm and her dogs, sharing all of her adventures as well.....sadly this week she laid to rest her beloved Hobo, another great dog of love! Now I never met him just like Lenore, but I did so enjoy all the stories Trina shared with me over the phone and over the years about her amazing Hobo! .....It's been such a sad week!

Goodbye to the brave happy Hobo and Goodbye to the sweet loving Lenore, this world is less bright without you both and I will sadly miss ya!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Christmas moment...

There is often a moment in my life when everything is truly perfect and it is ....THIS! 
Picture taken on Christmas day 2014 in Caldwell Idaho with my in-laws Kelly and Teresa Shively (who love dogs just as much as I do and often refer to my beautiful trio as their "Grandpups") It was a delightful time warming up next to all of our pets while admiring their tree and playing board games!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Sacred Geometry Movie Revisited → Spirit Science

         THIS is such a great film, a great documentary full of amazing facts for the future! I've been studying all these things for awhile now but this movie captures it all in such a great interesting way that I was left so excited after I watched it! For I just had to share here on my own blog! 
         The truth is we will always have something NEW to discover and learn about just like we will always have a NEW year to start over the calendar and to challenge ourselves to change. Simply have your own experiences will teach you better then I could, better then even this film can. It is the WONDER of it ALL that makes these things speak to my heart and soul leaving me very hopeful for the future and for the cycle of time itself!

So pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit back awhile to watch this, stay warm and stay intrigued! 
THIS is sacred information for your soul, for your happiness!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Iron out the Wrinkles

It was a precious movie, a fun relaxing animation of a nursing home. The story is common about old age, yet there was a sense of adventure and delight in being old along side this film. I found myself settled peacefully enjoying every second of the dialogue and the scenarios as these elderly people share the truth of living so close to death and that next wonder in what new adventure awaits. This movie is dedicated to all the old people of today and of tomorrow.... BEAUTIFUL!
This movie was deeply moving and brilliant in my opinion and since I will be the old people of tomorrow I like knowing how to get ready for it with the help from this inspiring movie called "Wrinkles"! The Alzheimer patient in this story shows once again how important understanding the disease is in helping those who suffer with it better.
This is what I have learned;

1. Don't take ANYTHING they say personal. They don't hold some kind of personal plan to upset you in anyway, they are confused. 

2. Don't ask them questions. Even as simple as "How are you doing?" will send them into a panic for an answer they are not sure of.....

3. Don't correct them on any of their story details or mistaken facts, simply play along in a respectful manner for nothing is being said that will be remembered as right or wrong, but your correction will be insulting to them.

4. Don't look for validation or approval, the Alzheimer patient can't help you or hold your hand like they use to. For they don't see anyone else's need to be loved by them anymore. 

5. Always keep your conversations and sharing of stories very simple, less details and information will make better sense for them and often triggers their lost go with the flow of their own story telling self.

6. Most importantly remember an Alzheimer patient is a blank slate, for them it is hard to know what kind of attitude to have or what kind of mood to be in, so what ends up happening is they become perfect mirrors of YOU. If you are bossy they become bossy, if you are sad then they will be sad not knowing why at all. If you ignore them as they mindlessly ramble then soon they will be complaining about you ignoring them. This is both a gift and a challenge, changing who you are in front of them can change the way they are acting as well.

Bonus step number 7. Never hang out with an Alzheimer patient unless you have an endless amount of calm kindness and patience to answer their same questions a thousand times over.  
For we ALL deserve respect and honor in our last days of our beautiful long life coming to a graceful end.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Silent Night, Holy Night

All is calm, all is bright......I walked beside my husband's Grandma, for she has always been the sweetest Grandma I have ever met! 
We walked down the hallway to her new room as she sang and smiled at me from her walker.
Back when I knew this day was coming I was getting ready for it, I had my happiest smile waiting for this moment in time, she knows nothing but how be a mirror of who is around her. Alzheimer does this to the brain, eats away memory and reality slowly. Common steps in how society functions around us become very confusing and even insulting to the patient of this sad disease.
Studies are now showing that Alzheimer is a diabetic problem that with old age it gets harder to fight back the constant sugar inflammation, which in return is poisoning the brain slowly.
Nothing seems slow about how fast Grandma Beth disappearing from us, if she remembers you for a second then that is truly delightful but chances are the second will not last.....

Silent night, holy night all is calm, all is lost...... 

My husband has never had a grandparent die nor any close friend as of today, I would not wish him to know that kind of real sorrow and pain. and most importantly I would not be honest in trying to protect him from these things in life. 
It will be sad, actually it is very sad even now to face the simple fact that ALL of life will die, for time never ever stands completely still.

It is because of my personal experiences with death that I understand how deeply important it is for my husband to see his confused kind Grandma right away.
Grandma Beth laughed when I laughed, listened to my stories and shared her own, I listened as though every rambling thing she said made complete and total sense to me. She loved it that I respectfully responded to her craziness as natural as if it were myself telling the same weird story. While my husband Tony sat by us frowning in confusion and frustration. When he spoke I heard the edginess in his voice of being sarcastic and judgmental so I waved him down trying to stop him from speaking this way as instantly Grandma Beth became mad at him. She was suddenly upset and sarcastic right back at him. I would step in very naturally all relaxed reminding Grandma that we women had to stick together then she was giggling arm in arm with me again. This left Tony dumbfounded and overwhelmed saying as soon as we left "I want you to write about this in your blog, I need help in knowing what to do next time I come visit. Because she clearly liked YOU and hated ME?!?!?" I sighed understandingly towards him explaining "Don't take it personal, she really didn't know you or me at all, what she DID know was how my attitude and voice was upbeat and yours was cynical. THIS is the only reason she behaved very differently with you and me."
Tony rubbed his forehead as he often does when overwhelmed by things, we sat over a cup of coffee to take a break from our long afternoon. I said "I am glad we went, I wanted to see her so much. I loved how fun it was to see her surprised face whenever I left and came back, how we would hug as if we were long lost friends even though I was gone for a second. It's rather those little moments that really count, not that she knew me or not."
Tony sighed sadly "I don't know how to do that, all I see is her behaving ridiculously. She must of thought that she had so much company today acting like you were a new person in her life every time you came back to sit with her?!?" I laughed and grateful sipped on my coffee cup while reminding my very easily made cynical husband to not look at the actual facts but instead look at the new story in which we can create for her each and every time.