Tag Archives: sweet

Two people trapped in one body

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

“Hello?”

“Mason, is that you? This is Nana.” She gave a little giggle like she did when she was sober and happy to talk to someone. “Oh, hi” he said.

“Mason, do you have a gun?” she asked. “Well, yes…I have a gun. Why? Do I need it?” he questioned. She went on to explain how there were some bad people who were getting ready to get out of prison and she was scared. Really scared. She told him he needed a gun to protect himself and us.

The phone call bothered Mason. “Mom, Nana asked me if we had a gun.” He went on to tell me about the conversation. I told him there was probably some truth in what she was saying about the men in prison and getting released soon but we were safe.

I called Mother. “Hello?” she said. Good, I had reached sober Mother. I could always tell if she was sober by the way she answered the phone. I went on to inquire as to why she was asking Mason about a gun. She explained there were some really bad people who were locked up years ago and it was time for them to start getting out of prison. “Well why would we need a gun?” I asked. “Because I think they might come after you.” Mother stated.    “Why, me?” I asked. She replied “because you’re my daughter.” She wouldn’t elaborate any more. I asked her for their names so I could look them up and see where they were and when they would be released. She said she didn’t know their names. It was a long time ago and that I needed a gun to protect myself and the boys. I tried to comprehend what she was saying. She had mentioned people getting out of prison a lot lately. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about. I remembered a couple of incidents from my teenage years and early twenty’s that she could possibly be referring too. About 23 years ago, I had received letters addressed to Mother at my house. Scott and I had only been married a short time. After getting the first letter, I called Mother who told me to open it and read it to her. It contained such ugliness – “We won’t stop until you’re wearing a toe tag.” It really scared me. Holy Cow! What twenty one year old gets death threats in the mail for their mom? It really freaked me out. I ended up taking those letters to the FBI and I never got another one. Those ended up being from someone she had known. What Mother was referring to was different and I knew it had nothing to do with the old letters.

Mason had given her his cell phone number sometime back. He felt bad for her and when she had asked him, he gave it to her. Once, she called Mason when she was drunk. It was a terrible experience – talking to drunk Mother. She was mean, slurred her speech and difficult to understand. You had this overwhelming sadness and felt desperate to help her. The call had upset Mason terribly. Scott who is extremely protective called Mother and gave her the what for. “Don’t ever call his phone again. If you want to talk to him, you call my phone. I’ll decide if you can talk to him.” I felt sorry for Mother. I knew she was crying and she felt bad but I also understood Scott’s need to protect his son and family. Mother had been drinking so the ugly fighting person was who he was confronting. They went toe to toe…Mother arguing and throwing ugliness with her words to Scott. Scott making sure she got the point…Not to call his son again. She finally submitted. Scott could get in a verbal war with her when she was drunk and win. Not many could. However, it didn’t matter if you won over drunk Mother because sober Mother wouldn’t remember the whole incident. Besides sober Mother was sweet and timid. She would never hurt a fly. She didn’t like her drunk self any more than anyone else did. I think she hated drunk Mother more than anyone. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals. Mother had the most compassionate loving heart for animals. Especially dogs. Sober Mother was kind, gentle and wanted to be good.

Mason eventually ended up blocking her phone number. He couldn’t take the drunk calls. It was tearing him up. After Mother’s death, Mason told me he felt guilty for blocking her calls. I told him he had done the right thing. He had set the boundaries he needed too in order to care of his own emotional wellbeing. Besides, she could always call my number to speak with you – I told him.

I never tried to shield my boys from all of the craziness addiction brings but I did try to shield them from some of the hurt. I didn’t want them to know the heartache like I had experienced. But they needed some sort of understanding so they would be able to maneuver through the ugly world of addiction. They needed tools in order to stand a chance to beat it themselves and in order to have some sort of relationship with those they love. I didn’t want them to just cut those people out of their lives. I wanted them to be able to recognize the difference between drunk Mother and sober Mother. I wanted them to learn to set boundaries based on which they were dealing with…have little contact with drunk Mother but show love and kindness to sober Mother because they really were two very different people trapped in one body. Some families have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, cancer, heart disease or hypertension…mine is addiction. I have experienced the consequences of addiction my whole life and have managed by the grace of God, prayers and compassionate loving people to find some sort of a balance between what was thought to be normal and dealing with the craziness.

Mother was like most addicts, a liar. However, her lies were not about things like this. They were about when the last time she had used or drank was…or things related to her addiction. Although mother kept my world scattered with craziness through her addiction, she was also very protective. She tried to protect me from others. She couldn’t protect me from her own craziness but she fought tooth and nail not to let others hurt me. She was tormented by demons from her past. And as time progressed she drank more and more to try and drown out or quiet the demons. I told her over and over again…”Mother, forgive yourself. God has already forgiven you. Stop living in the past. Go forward and create a different future for yourself.” Those words rolled so easily off of my tongue because I believed them.  Mother believed God forgave her.  She talked to me about that stuff sometimes.  But I don’t believe Mother ever forgave herself.

Mother couldn’t protect me from her choices and consequences from her addiction but she did do her best to protect me from the harm of others.

I couldn’t protect my boys from the world of addiction and how it affects our lives but I could teach them how to maneuver through the craziness, set boundaries and still show love. I could teach them the difference between sober Mother and drunk Mother. They were two completely different people. It was important to recognize the difference.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

 

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Say yes to the sweet stuff!

Richard Carlson quote

“The key to a good life is this: If you’re not going to talk about something during the last hour of your life, then don’t make it a top priority during your lifetime.” -Richard Carlson

Here’s the thing – time passes very quickly. Too quickly! The older I get the faster it goes. Sometimes I feel like it’s traveling at the speed of light. Especially as my boys have gotten older. Death has taken many people I love so I’m very aware… we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We have to make calculated decisions on where we invest our time and who we invest it with. So look around and assess what you are investing in.

Learn to say no but more importantly learn to say yes. Sometimes we say “yes” to things that don’t matter to us because we don’t want to disappoint people or don’t know how to say “no”. But other times we say “no” to things that are really important and really matter because we are tired and don’t feel like doing it right then. And sometimes we say no to those we love the most because we know – no matter what, they will always love us. Just like sometimes we give those we barely know the best of us and save the left overs for those we love the most. Isn’t that stupid? Can you imagine the regrets that will bring as we age or are on our death bed? Let’s not do that anymore. That’s kind of crazy and backwards.

So I challenge you – do an assessment. What are you spending your time on? Get rid of the things that don’t matter. If you aren’t going to be talking about them at the end of your life or if they aren’t creating or contributing to good – move them on down the list or get rid of them completely. And don’t be a fun hater….just going around saying no all the time. Do fun dumb stuff with those you love. I found an old video of M&M (Mason and Madden) and their friend. They took their grandmother “coning.” It is hilarious. They rolled into McDonald’s and ordered several ice cream cones. My mother-in-law was driving so when they handed her the last one, instead of her grabbing it by the cone – she grabbed it from the top – the ice cream. She acted like it was normal and drove off. It shocked the workers and everyone got a good clean laugh.  They made a great memory and we’ve laughed and laughed over coning.  Google “Coning” it’s quite funny.

These are two of my very favorite pictures. Why? Because they capture two very sweet moments for me.

This is one of my favorite pictures from last year. It was late. Way past my bedtime. Everyone who knows me knows I go to bed before most normal people. I always have even as a little girl. I like my bed.

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But this night was special! My sweet Madden asked me to go swimming and it was 10:30 at night and I was in bed! He was 15 at the time. Knowing he would soon be going to college and moments like these would be fading, I crawled out of bed and put on my swimsuit. We swam, laughed and told stories.   I love knowing what’s inside their sweet minds. What they are thinking, dreaming and hoping. What they are struggling with and what they are really enjoying. Not that they always tell me but when they do…I savor it. Madden got a little mad at me that night because I heard a noise and I screamed. I startled him. It made him mad which made me laugh and then laugh a little more.

This is the important stuff. So anytime I get an invite, I try to go. Here lately it’s been for late night ice cream runs. That hasn’t been such a great idea for my body but man do I love the time with my boys.

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This picture captures another of my most favorite moments. For several years before turning eighteen, Mason wanted a tattoo. I tried to talk him out of it because I didn’t want him to get something at eighteen that he would regret at thirty. He had his mind made up and regardless of what I wanted for him – it was his body and I knew he was going to get one. Sometimes we just have to pick our battles. For me this wasn’t one that was a huge deal to me. So instead of missing it, I chose to be a part of it. For his eighteenth birthday, his grandmother (Scott’s mom) and I spent the evening at the tattoo parlor with him as he got his first tattoo. Holy Smokes that was an adventure in and of itself! Have you ever been to a tattoo parlor on a Friday or Saturday night? I learned things I never really wanted to learn. My mother-in-law and I got sent to the liquor store for the tattoo artist because he wanted some wine and he couldn’t make it there before the store closed. So we took his money, loaded up and went to buy his wine. We laughed a lot during that night. And I love Mason’s tattoo so much. It’s meaningful and sweet. It’s a cross with our last name across the top and then mine, Scott’s and Mad’s initials. A family tattoo. I love it! If I ever get one – I’d get one just like it. Later, after the tattoo – Scott took Mason to the casino for the first time because that’s what Mason wanted to do.  So we got to be a part of his night instead of fussing and telling him not to do those things.  In the grand scheme of things – Whatever!  It’s not about the tattoo or the casino. It’s about spending time with our boys and showing love.

I LOVE my boys. I love being their mom. They are really funny. They make me laugh and smile. Sometimes they make me want to scream or pull my hair out but mainly – they make me proud and bring me great joy. I love being their mom!

When I would get the saddest about my mother – it was because I knew what she was missing and felt bad she was missing the sweet stuff.  But the truth is she really didn’t know what she was missing. How could she miss something she never really had? So I tried to take the sad I felt for her and pour it into being a better mom myself.

Life is way too short. Sometimes we make big deals out of dumb stuff. Make sure you are saying yes to the sweet stuff and no to the junk. Because life really is too short.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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Still struggling with the obituary

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It’s been almost three and a half months and I still haven’t written Mother’s obituary. Why? Because I don’t yet know what to say. I’m struggling. What do I write? How do I write where someone pays attention? How can I make a difference? How can Mother’s death contribute to something greater than her addiction and the destruction the disease created? How can minds be opened and more compassion and empathy be offered to those who are fighting for their lives?

It’s important to be honest. The secrecy destroys and gives addiction power. But people are ignorant to addiction. They see it as a moral issue. They judge, discount lives, and say cruel things. People look at it as a life choice instead of a disease. They devalue a person’s life when they find out they are or were an addict. “I’m so sorry about your loss. How did they die?” And when you tell them, an overdose or drank themselves to death…the tone changes. Most of the empathy and compassion are gone. I’ve been fortunate and those close to me who were aware of the extent of the pain I’ve endured for most of my life and the things that were stolen from me…got it and offer compassion and empathy. But most people don’t get it. They discount what the addict and the addict’s family have suffered and survived. The stigma is real and heartbreaking in and of itself. There is a huge difference in the amount of support that occurs when a person dies from a car wreck, cancer or some other disease other than addiction. Addicts are treated more like lepers. They suffer and their family suffers for many lifetimes.

I’ve been guilty of seeing it as a moral issue too. I know better now. It is a chronic disease with relapses and remissions/recovery.

Mother deserves an obituary. It’s like the close of the final chapter of her life. The things I had to sit and helplessly watch or protect myself from by setting boundaries to save myself or prevent myself from going down the exact path still haunt me at times. Even though I know I did the best I could with what I had…I still can’t help but think… “What if I? …Why didn’t I? …I wish I would have…Did she feel loved enough? …did I tell her?”   I feel like I can do so much more for her in death than I could in life. Mother wanted to be something. She wanted to be loved. She wanted to be a good mother and a good wife. She was a nurse at one time until her addiction stole that from her too. She would tell everyone and anyone who would listen about her stories from working in the ER. Her addiction took most all of the sweetness from her life. She became and did things she never wanted to become or do. That’s what it does, it robs the addict and the family of a little sweetness each day, month, year and years. And for some like mother – they lose most everything…including themselves. I’m not ignorant…I know they have to want to help themselves and have to do the hard work. And I know the devastating pain they cause through their addiction. And for reasons I can’t explain some beat it and some don’t. No one sets out to become an addict…just like no one sets out to be in a car wreck or get diabetes or cancer.

Mother deserves an obituary and when I’m ready or when its time, the words will come.

The thing I continuously feel is what Glennon says – Life is brutiful…It is both brutal and beautiful.

Mother’s addiction showed me so much brutal but it also inadvertently taught me to always seek the beauty and sweetness.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

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Mother – prisoner to drugs and alcohol

 

jail

“Hello,” he said as he answered the phone. “Collect call from…………….(it was a recording of her stating her name), will you accept?” He reluctantly accepted the call and heard Mother’s voice.  She was drunk and her speech was slurred, “Scott, can I talk to Kandy?” He was frustrated and he was tired of me being hurt. It was late at night and I was already in bed, “no, she’s asleep” he stated. “Will you wake her up? I need her to come bail me out of jail,” she replied. Scott said “I’m not waking her up. She has to work tomorrow.” Mother asked “Will you come bail me out?” Scott replied “No.” That made her mad and she turned on her mean voice, “Now you listen here Scotty.” When she was mad at him, she called him Scotty and drug out the “s” so it sounded like….sssssssccoty. It was kind of funny the way she would say it. Sometimes out of the blue, Scott would say “Now you listen here ssssssscccoty” just to make me laugh.

Scott was frustrated. This had been going on for such a long time and he knew I was emotionally at my limit. I couldn’t handle it anymore. She was completely out of control. She drank. She got mean. She fought. Someone would call the police and she would get arrested. Hospital. Jail. Phone calls. It was emotionally exhausting. It was excruciating. I could see her path and her final destination but there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. It was like witnessing a devastating train wreck that was happening in very slow motion.

I cried myself to sleep many nights because of these scenarios. I couldn’t go get her. What would I do with her? I couldn’t bring her to my house. I wasn’t going to subject my boys to that craziness.  I couldn’t take her home. She would just be back at it. Jail was a safer place. At least she didn’t have access to the bottle or the drugs. That is such a terrible feeling and thought….jail is safer….jail is better. But it was true. At least I knew where she was and they would feed her.

Mother was a prisoner to alcohol and drugs. I know this wasn’t really my mother. My mother was buried deep down inside this crazy woman. I wanted my mother to be released. I wanted her free from the evil that controlled her and stole her from me.   She wanted that too. She really did. But for reasons I don’t understand and can’t explain she wasn’t able to break free. I never walked in her shoes. I was thankful for that and so was Mother. She used to tell me so.

When you are in the middle of crazy…

Remember, you can’t fix them. Don’t rub their noses in every little thing they have done. They probably won’t remember all the things they did while they were messed up anyway. Besides what’s the point? To make them feel bad and more miserable?  They feel worse than you could possibly ever imagine. Sometimes it’s easier for them to stay messed up and numb the pain than to get sober or clean and deal with all of the hurt….their hurt and everyone else’s too. The things they do to hurt others are usually only a symptom of the real problem…the addiction.  They will only be more drawn to the bottle or drugs. 

You can love them and help them the best you can with what you’ve got but you have to set boundaries to save yourself. When they get to the point they want help…help them. Love them unconditionally. You can love them unconditionally and still set boundaries. You can say things like…”Mother, I love you no matter what but I can’t be around you when you are drunk. It makes me sad and it makes me cry a lot. Please don’t call me when you are drunk. But when you are sober and you want to talk, call me. I love you.” To many times we make them feel worthless, unloved and judged. But the truth is…we are hurt, disappointed, scared and angry…just like them. We don’t know what to do so we lash out and try anything and everything. We start behaving in crazy ways too.

Love unconditionally. Each and every time they get clean…give them a do over. Yes they may fail and yes they may disappoint you. But what if they succeed? What if they fly? How many times have we failed or disappointed someone? Love unconditionally.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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Bittersweet

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I love this picture! It’s Toni, James and I in Scotland. They were my cousins but became my brother and sister. Derrelyn isn’t in the picture but she’s my sister too. That’s sweetness. I have no biological siblings but in the ugliness – I got siblings. Sweetness!

Such bittersweet memories. But that’s how life is, right? Bitter and sweet. Sweet for the love of my family who took me in and loved me when I was in a bad way and too young to care for myself. Fun memories, love, laughs and lots of sweetness. But there was a ton of pain too. Lots of hurt and bitterness. And I ALWAYS worried about my mother.

I was just a little girl…maybe in the fourth grade. Something happened and I unexpectedly traveled many hours across the ocean to live with my aunt (my mother’s sister) and her family in Scotland. My uncle (my aunt’s husband) worked in the oilfield and they had just moved there.

My memory frequently fails me which I have always seen as a blessing instead of a curse. There are some things you just shouldn’t remember. I have never seen much need in digging around in my buried memories. The way I see it, they are buried for a reason. I have enough junk to work through without digging around for more. I don’t so much remember details of events or memories. Instead, I remember feelings I felt when I was with people. Like sweet feelings or scary feelings. With mother, I usually felt scared. And worried. I worried she wouldn’t make good decisions and we would end up in a scary place or situation which was frequently the case.

From what I understand, Mother had progressed from just using pills and alcohol to heavier drugs and using needles. I had missed several days of school and the school couldn’t get in touch with Mother to make sure I was okay. They called my aunt who at that time lived in the same town. She drove out to check on me. She found me doctoring mother’s wounds from injection sites. Mother was married to her third husband at the time and had lived with them for a short time. But I think he must have seen the “crazy” and got out. Who could blame him? Thankfully, I don’t remember much of this. Mother’s position was always that I was stolen from her and that there was always some sort of a cover up from some illegal activity. Either way, I was still just a little girl. This wasn’t normal. When I looked at other girls my age, they didn’t look like they knew of the things I saw or worried about.

I guess Mother probably didn’t see her drug use as being a big problem like others did. But that’s what happens, things get minimized. Just like me – did you notice what I did? I made a profound statement – She found me doctoring mother’s wounds from injection sites. I minimized and skipped over it quickly…like I was rattling off what I had eaten for breakfast. That’s what I’ve always done. But there is a lot of emotion buried in that statement. Bitterness, fear and pain. No sweetness in that statement. I minimized…just like mother. Mother had multiple sores from injecting heroin. I missed school because of my mother’s drug problem. That’s a lot to deal with at any age but certainly for a little girl in the fourth grade. While other little girls were worried about what Sally Sue said about her or whether Billy Bob thought she was cute, I was worried about mother and her drugs. I hated when she sat in a chair and her head would just slowly fall over as she was mumbling.  She “nodded off” frequently and it always made me so mad. I worried…would we have enough to eat? Would we load up in the car and make another drug run? I knew where most of the local drug houses were. She took me with her sometimes. It wasn’t like what you’d think. The houses didn’t have a big sign that said “Drug House.” No, they looked like a normal everyday house. Some even had kids who lived there. We would pull up like we were visiting a friend of Mother’s. Mother would knock on the door. They’d let us in and talk like they were friends. There would be a quick exchange of something. We would leave and then soon…Mother would “nod” off or be out of commission for quite some time. At first, I didnt know it was drug houses or drug dealers we were visiting. I thought we were just going to visit her friends. We just didn’t stay long and soon after we left those houses, things would get scary.

I always saw Mother as weak and loving her drugs more than she loved me…her only daughter. But that’s not the truth. The truth is…those drugs have so much power that they truly control some people. It isn’t about being weak or strong. Some people are powerless and controlled by the substance. It takes a lot to overcome the power of drugs and have a successful recovery, which is a lifelong process.

For all of you in recovery – good for you! You can do this. Celebrate and keep working! I’m proud of you!

For those of you who are dealing with an addict – I get it. I know it sucks and it’s tough. It’s more than tough – it’s heart wrenching to sit by and watch the destruction and know that you are just as powerless as they are. Take care of yourself. Set healthy boundaries, you may need to love from afar. You can’t change or fix them. They have to want to do the work…and its hard work. But you can extend love and show support for their recovery. Every single time they relapse and start recovery again – support them. Don’t judge or fuss and make them feel bad. You’re wasting your breath and energy. Believe me I know. I speak from experience. Besides, there is no need. They feel worse than you could ever possibly imagine. There is no need in trying to make them feel worse. That isn’t productive. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not about you. It has nothing to do with lack of love or any of that junk so don’t even let it in your head. They love you but they have a hard time loving themselves.

For those of you caring for or in contact with an addict’s child through raising, teaching, coaching, family or as a friend – love them. Help them. Set an example of love by showing them and loving them. Look past the obvious. If they are struggling or having behavioral problems – dig deep. It may be something unimaginable. You could be the one to help save that child and get them on a different path. History repeats itself and addiction is a chronic disease with a genetic predisposition. That child will always worry about their addict. They will always try and protect them. You’ll probably never understand it so don’t even try.

If love were enough – there would be no more addicts or alcoholics. But love isn’t enough to cure them but extending unconditional love will help heal you.

I can’t speak for Mother. I never walked in her shoes. I know she was in so much emotional pain and suffered so much.  It makes my heart hurt.  Sure, I have things to work through and deal with because of the choices she made when I was little and dependent on her. But it wasn’t my job to judge her. It was my job to love her. To show her love. We are all sinners. We all fail sometimes. None of us are perfect. It’s easy to show love to those who show you sweetness. But that’s not a challenge. Anyone can do that. How do you treat the ones who are hard to love? God loves us though our sins and mistakes. He cries and weeps for us but when we ask for forgiveness and repent…he loves us and forgives us. How can we expect to receive that kind of love from God when we aren’t willing to extend it to our brothers and sisters? Something I learned a long time ago – It was never between Mother and I – it was between her and God. It wasn’t my job to judge her. It was my job to love her…like God loves me.

Don’t forget to focus on the sweetness. Because there are many blessings you will overlook if you just focus on the ugliness.

Sometimes, you have to love from a distance and you have to remove yourself from a toxic relationship. You have to set healthy boundaries but you should always extend love. How you react and treat people is a reflection of who you really are – it has very little to do with them.

Life is bittersweet!

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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