Monthly Archives: November 2015

Seasons

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Do you have a favorite season?

I love the different seasons and the beauty each one brings…

Winter… longer nights, hibernation, beautiful snow falls, snowmen, my papa’s snow ice cream, footprints in the snow, deer, roaring fires, Christmas, Christmas lights, Christmas music, Christmas decorations, smells of evergreens and cinnamon, yummy Christmas goodies, family, flannel pajamas, snuggling under a warm heavy quilt or fluffy down comforter, curling up to a classic movie or great book, apple cider and more pajamas!

Spring… rain showers, greenery, nature walks, Easter, picnics, gardens, beautiful blooms, baseball, sounds of birds chirping, warmer weather, open windows and new life.

Summer… longer days, a good book under a shade tree, hammocks and porch swings, sounds of crickets and cicadas (thanks to my mother in law for clarifying this for me), fresh fruits and veggies, green plush grass soft on your toes and the smell of it freshly cut, swimming, shorts, flip flops and beautiful rays of warm sunshine.

Fall… beautiful bold colors, falling leaves, cool breeze and open windows, smells of fall, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, crisp cool air, apples, Turkey, football season, bonfires, hoodies, boots, Thanksgiving, hot chocolate, s’mores, pumpkins and pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes.

Every season offers so much beauty and sweetness but they can also be brutal…ice, extreme hot/cold, tornados, floods, losing belongings and loved ones.

Changes of the seasons are so much like the different seasons of our lives. Throughout our lives, we will experience disappointment, tragedy and heartbreak. But we will also experience beauty, sweetness and new life. What we focus on matters. If our thoughts on spring are constantly…I hate the rain, storms, mud, mess and all the negative…our minds will be all filled up with the ugly and we’ll miss the sweetness and the beauty. Look back up at all the good stuff spring brings us. New life! And it comes in so many different forms. Sure, we have to deal with the ugly. When we lose someone or something tragic happens, we have to work through those things. We can’t just ignore them or we won’t be healthy…mentally, spiritually or physically. But we have to make sure we are scattering more sweetness in our lives as we are working through the junk. We don’t want to become so focused on the junk that we are savoring it instead of the sweetness. That would make for a pretty rotten life. It would be like savoring poop! Who wants to do that? Don’t savor poop!

I am thankful for all of my sweet blessings throughout my life and what each new day brings me. I am my heavenly father’s daughter and he is always with me! That’s the biggest blessing of all.

Focus and savor the sweet stuff each season brings!

What are your favorites?

Much love,

Kandy

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Addiction – What needs to change?

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I’m working through some junk. Guilt. It stinks! I choose to write and share because it helps me. And I know there are so many others…just like me. Addiction stinks! But I already said that.

My heart is struggling. I’d like to say my head is disagreeing with my heart but it’s not. My heart hurts and I find myself frequently and quickly wiping away tears. They come out of nowhere. I’m consumed with thoughts of addiction. Mother’s addiction. And her death. This isn’t me. I prepared for this. I knew it was coming. I’m tough. And I’m strong. But I’m weak. I was powerless to Mother’s addiction and the consequences of her addiction. Just like she was.

Now, I’m consumed with a passion for the very thing I’ve spent my entire life running from. I’ve ran from addiction as if my life depended on it. And it did. Now, I’m reading articles, writing, reading books and thinking about addiction in a crazy way. I feel like a hypocrite.

I ask myself – “Why now? Why are you consumed with it now?”

My heart answers “Because, I should have done more.”

The battle continues “but what?” I continue asking myself.

My heart cries out…”I DON”T KNOW!!!!!!!!!! But more!!! Something!”

I know deep down I did the best I could with what I had. I believe mother did too.

I’m surprised by my tears. Oh, that sounds bad. But if your life has been devastated by addiction – you get it, don’t you? I never really had my mother. She was controlled by drugs and alcohol my entire life. So I’m not grieving a close mother/daughter relationship…or then again, maybe I am. It was confusing and messed up. No, our relationship was a slave to mother’s addiction. Her addiction was always a wedge between us. As far as I know, she only had a few short periods of sobriety during her life. That’s sad, isn’t it? I wasn’t raised with her. Not really. My mother was never my “mom.” I’m sure she wanted to be but she wasn’t. That’s what addiction does. It robs us (and them)… of people we love…our hopes…our dreams and sweet meaningful joys of life. But that’s all I knew – mother the addict. I never knew mother before she was an addict. So my tears surprise me. Why am I struggling? I knew she was killing herself. Someone close to me said this about their own addiction…”If I don’t change my ways I only have three options…locked up, drugged up or covered up.” That makes my heart hurt. That makes me cry. Addiction has stolen so much from so many people. What about all the moms and dads who have lost their children to addiction?  It is a devastating tragedy.  Something as a whole needs to change. But what? I’m not sure yet.

I find myself feeling guilty for not doing better, not doing more, not being better. I’m sure those were the same feelings my mother experienced and contributed to her continued drinking. Now, here I am after her death…experiencing some of those same feelings. Isn’t that crazy? I have this image in my mind – Satan sees our tears and our pain…he sits up straight with excitement and grabs a bowl of popcorn to enjoy. He watches with a big smile on his wicked face. He loves to see people in pain. The image makes me want to throat punch him.

Somewhere in all the hurt, pain and disappointment – I stopped believing in her. I stopped believing mother would ever beat her addiction. I lost hope. That sounds bad too, doesn’t it? It was crushing to experience the excitement and hope that she was changing only to be punched in the gut by her continued drinking and drug use. I built a wall to protect myself from the roller coaster of emotions and disappointments that were constant daggers in my heart. Isn’t that what we do? Protect ourselves?

I didn’t help her as much as I should have but I did as much as I could. I hope that makes sense. People frequently told me, I owed her nothing and I could stop trying to help her because they saw my pain and what it was doing to me. I understood what they were telling me. I got it. But I saw her pain and I felt bad for her. I understood – she not only had a physical addiction but she also dulled her pain and anxiety with the substances. She wasn’t strong enough to face her pain. Or maybe she just didn’t believe she was strong enough. She was alienated. Not because people were mean or bad or didn’t care about her but because of her actions. She was mean and lived a very hard life. We were all at a loss. We didn’t know how to help her and it was too painful to continue watching her spiral out of control, standing by helplessly as she killed herself.

My brain knows all the right stuff. I know about boundaries, enabling and codependency. I know she had to want to stop. She had to want to change and she had to do the hard work. But isn’t there more to it? Mother was sick. She had a debilitating chronic disease. A disease we don’t treat like other diseases. Mother had been using for the majority of her life. Not just using here or there…she was controlled. She was powerless for more than forty five years. She had done years and years of damage to her mind, body and soul. Had mother lost purpose for her life? She alienated everyone. Or was it us who alienated her? Is that what we do to addicts? All in the name of saving ourselves and our sanity? She had sweet people who cared about her and helped her…the lady at the library, several neighbors, case managers, family members, the meals on wheels man, the home health nurse (not hers) who saw her crossing the busy road to get to the liquor store – stumbling and dressed in her night gown, she lovingly picked mother up and gave her a ride back to her apartment. There are so many I don’t even know about. I’m so thankful for those who cared for her when I couldn’t or didn’t.

I’m so thankful for all those who cared for me when she couldn’t or didn’t. I think about how much different my life could have been if it weren’t for loving people.

Guilt is a driving force behind addiction. I know my mother was plagued with deep rooted feelings of guilt. She used alcohol and drugs in an attempt to drown out feelings of anxiety, guilt, heartache and everything ugly. I choose to go into the pain and work through it.

I watch and I listen as others respond to addicts and alcoholics with hate filled unforgiveness. I get it. I’ve done it. It makes you bitter. But isn’t there more? How can we so willingly accept God’s forgiveness when we are unwilling to extend it to others? I’m working on this. God can take this tragedy and use it for good.

The truth is…when mother was alive it was hard to do anything because I was always waiting for the next tragic call and I was so busy running…from her addiction. I’m not judging any of you who are enduring this pain with your loved one. I get it. It hurts and it is heartbreaking. I just keep thinking….what needs to change about how we treat addiction?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

One last thing…please watch this video Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong.

Thoughts?

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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A sweet and a not so sweet memory

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Sometimes grief makes no sense. Random memories pop into my mind. But maybe they aren’t random at all. I’m learning there are some memories and feelings I have to work through in order to transition to the next stage. Addiction complicates those memories and feelings. Addiction makes you question everything.

Lately, two childhood memories of mother have been swimming at the forefront of my thoughts. One sweet one and one not so sweet.

My not so sweet memory…

“I love you more than anything in this world,” mother told me. This was something as a child – mother had always told me as far back as I could remember. It made me feel special and loved. I was her only child and I believed her when she said it. In a teeny tiny way I think it helped me look past the hurt she and her drug use spewed all over my young life….if only for a second. It was something she only said to me. Those were words saved just for me. Something special. Because I was special.

On the day mother married her third husband, I asked her… “Do you still love me more than anything in the world?” I’m not sure why I felt the need to ask her the question. I don’t remember ever asking her before. Mother replied, “I love you and ‘B’ more than anything in the world.” When I heard those words, my heart ached and my stomach hurt. I asked, “You love him as much as you love me?” She tried to explain in some sort of logic. But I was too young and far too wounded by a long history of mother’s actions that her explanations didn’t mean much to me. But for some reason those words hurt. How could she love this man – her third husband as much as me? Her first two marriages had already ended. Had she loved them more than anything in the world too? If she passed those words to everyone…they weren’t special. I wasn’t special. I was crushed. All of these years, that moment, that question, her answer – I’ve never forgotten.

My sweet memory…

Mother had just recently completed a treatment program for her addiction. I think I was in around the seventh grade and was on about my fourteenth school move (surviving crazy 15 schools in 9 years) . It didn’t matter that I was comfy and leading a stable life with my aunt and my cousins. My mother thought she could handle being a mother now so she wanted me back. She had a new husband, her fourth. I believe they met in treatment which from what I’ve seen doesn’t always make for the best relationships. I never remember full details only snippets and feelings. I don’t remember the move from my aunts to my mothers. Only that they (mother and her new husband) tried to entice me with a nice big bedroom and the man pretended to be nice. Maybe he was but I didn’t much like him. He seemed fake. Like he talked out of both sides of his mouth. I didn’t want the bedroom, the new school, or a new step-dad. I was tired and emotionally exhausted. I was tired of being the new girl and having to make friends over and over again only to lose them in a few short months. I was tired of having a mother, pretending, believing, hoping things would be different…only to be crushed again.

It wasn’t long after they were married that that man (the fourth husband) in an angry fit – crushed multiple bones in mother’s hand. He was a big man. She had tiny hands. I’m not sure what made him so mad that he would cause such harm to her. Maybe they were both messed up. Thankfully, I wasn’t there. I don’t remember where I was or how I even found out. I just remember I ended back up with my aunt and cousins. Thankfully my aunt was always there to take me back when mother couldn’t do it anymore or got herself in a big mess.  Over the years, mother had multiple surgeries to correct that finger but it was always deformed because of his abuse. Mother wasn’t married to him very long. He just faded back out of my life – the same way he came in. Just like the others. I didn’t like him anyway. Something about him made me nervous. Strangely, he died not long after mother did. He died in prison. He was serving time for drug related crimes – unrelated to the abuse he unleashed on mother. When she died, her little finger was still deformed. A constant reminder of that fourth husband.

Before they divorced and he crushed her hand…soon after starting the new school, report cards came out. I think I only attended that school for a semester or less. It wasn’t long regardless. I opened up the report card to find a “D.” I have no idea which class. My memory fades in and out.

When I brought home the D, I expected to be grounded, scolded or something. I felt bad. My aunt and uncle whom I lived with when I wasn’t with mother expected good grades. I don’t ever remember having grade discussions with my mother. We just never had those talks.  When I showed mother my grades, I had a lump in my throat and a knot in my tummy. I was disappointed in myself. I knew I was better than a “D.” But I had a lot of instability and craziness in my life too. Most days, grades weren’t at the top of my list. When mother saw my D she didn’t scold me or get onto me or anything. She simply looked at the report and comforted me for my own disappointment. She comforted me. Then she asked me if I wanted some ice cream. Her kindness and gentleness eased my tummy and my own disappointment. We drove to Braums and we both got Chocolate Sodas.

I’ve pondered and analyzed why these thoughts are swimming around in my head over thirty years later. The truth is…it was a dumb question. One that mother couldn’t have answered correctly. She was an addict. I was her only child. Of course she loved me more than anything in the world but she didn’t know how to put into words or make me understand how she could love someone else in addition to me without ever taking love away from me. I get it now. She was just trying to answer the question the best she knew how – being true to herself and hopeful in a new marriage. Mother didn’t know how to love herself. How could she truly express love to me when she didn’t truly understand it herself?

I think of that D and the kindness and love my mother showed me. Maybe she felt somehow responsible for the D. But I know this…I appreciated her kindness and I have never forgotten it. That long ago day when a D earned me a chocolate Soda and a sweet memory of my mother.

To this day, Braums is a favorite place. I have taken my boys there many times and sometimes we get a chocolate soda. Every single time I order one…I think of my mother and the sweetness she showed me that day.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

 

 

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