Itadakimasu

Today, the first day of a new year, I set my intention. For three days I have had percolating in the back of my mind, how I wish to live, be, and embrace this coming year as though it were my last. What do I dare to do? How do I wish to live, not merely exist? Who has my cat become? LOL She has exemplified grace, acceptance and  true meditation though 3 complete household moves. As I live to serve her (in her mind, I project) she is teaching me ancient wisdom. BE HERE NOW.

BE HERE NOW

I am reminded that in each relationship, friendship, face to face, I can speak in a language that is understood by that person. Language is formidable, language is basic to our needs. As I uncover more of my abilities, sometimes I become confused by past or future incidents wafting through.

It has been a challenging journey to come to a place of knowing:

Major lifestyle changes, commitment, discipline, focus, endless journaling and self-talk, therapeutic helpers costing great deals of $, all this personal work to discover who I really am to begin with. What irony! All necessary  as I remain steadfast in my resolve to move forward and not remain stagnant.  I enjoy opening my network of kindness. I am Happier moving forward. That tells me I am in the flow.

Accepting the here and now doesn’t mean I am freaked out about circumstances today. I am cool aware of my up-coming challenges and prepared to remain calm in the eye of the storm. I have used  a wonderful vehicle to remain clear and sober, connecting with other like souls who I lovingly refer to as the “Walking Wounded,” long enough to uncover my true self, not the one layered onto me as a toddler. A friend of mine said it is a newfound self mastery.I

Itadakimasu is a word of Japanese gratitude that is said before each meal. If I think about a word other than English, it gives me time to be here now.

Namaste’ Ya’ll

 

 

 

 

 

Dysfunctional Siblings Create Hell on Earth

My idea of Hell is this:

Imagine you are destined to take care of your 92 year old parent who has dementia and can’t walk.

The most positive part is where you live. You live in a beautiful Resort house on the beach. The view is marvelous. And it might as well be, because you really don’t get to go out and have a life outside of the house. On the outside, it looks like a nice situation. But it isn’t. You are locked into a situation where you live in a gorgeous resort area, with a marvelous view, but the downside is you are without a life. Your hours are spent overseeing the needs of the parent, no matter that he has 24/7 care givers (they are paid, but not too bright). In spite of the appearance of living in a cushy life, you are constantly battling against two siblings who are intent on removing you from living there, have already stopped paying you for your work (an agreement you all made was for you to be paid, and for 6 months now, you haven’t been paid) and create a weekly crisis.

The attorneys you have to hire to fight back against the craziness of your siblings are costly. To abandon your parent is an option, but then again, not an option your conscience can stand to make. No one who had any sense would be overseeing him if it weren’t for you. He deserves to be taken care of.

Every dime you make by dumpster-diving and reselling treasures is spent on your attorneys. You haven’t had a 24 hour break in over 6 months. Plus, the pollen count gives you serious headaches, enough to make you want to contemplate suicide. The emotional stress of seeing firsthand the deterioration of your favorite family member is bad enough, but what about you? Who takes care of you? When do you get to process your emotions? Your mother died, unusual as it may be, that has helped the situation by removing one thing the two crazy siblings were wanting you to take on. They actually wanted me to take care of two invalids at the same time, not just one, but two. Further, they are intent on doing anything they can to limit your control of the situation. And, well, they have succeeded with that.

I am not paid. Not fed. No perks. Just a place to live. A place with an ailing parent, who will one day die.

Transition, Passing Away

Today my cousin Carmen died. She had been quite ill now for two years, in and out of hospice often. In her 70s, I don’t really consider her to be old. Dad is 90. Now THAT is old. We all knew her passing was  eminent, yet when it actually happens, life feels different. A veil of sorrow descended on me. Another gracious and glamorous woman in my life has gone away. There have been so few that I admired like Carmen.

When I was a child I used to play with her daughter, Ettienne. We were both very bossy and strong willed. Sometimes we hit an impasse as to who was in charge of our playing, who was determining what we were going to play and how. We both had strict ideas of how we thought things should go as we played. I remember the friction was only occasionally, and I was aware that I didn’t want to fight with her. 

Carmen was glamourous. Tan and shapely  with streaked blond hair and very sparkly eyes, she was a knock out. I idolized her looks. She also had that heavy , low Southern drawl that we all took for granted. She was eloquent, well read and the empress of her home. She had a command of English that bespoke good breeding and education. Yet, Carmen was down to earth, too. She taught an African American kid reading after school at her house, she took in ailing animals, especially cats. She took risks. She did what she thought was right whether it was “proper” or not. 

Now that she is gone, I treasure my memories of her. She wrote me a letter about two years ago when I was having an awful time. I had closed my business, lost my home and was about to move back to my childhood home. She wrote about how Etteinne and I had washed our doll’s clothes and hung them out on the bushes to dry. This upset Etteinne’s Grandmother with the impropriety of it all. 

I tried once calling her when I moved back home, and Charles answered the phone, saying she wasn’t there. Then he hung up on me. I was really startled. Then I heard that Charles had dementia. How sad now. Who will take care of Charles? I imagine he is crushed. It is a sad time for our family, yet one that is unavoidable. 

We will all meet at the church and the graveside. We will say our goodbyes and shed our tears. Does she know how much she will be missed? I don’t know.