sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Healing through writing

Today is March 25, 2013

I had knee pain come out of no where yesterday and was so glad I had an appointment at my chiropractor this morning.  Apparently it was more misalignment in my back and hips causing knee pain.  I assumed it was residual damage from the car accident that I was in 10 months ago.  When my knee bothers me which it does from time to time, I get angry.  Before my car accident, I had no knee pain issues.  And when I am in pain or stressed, then I become more anxious driving.

Even ten months later, I have an over active startle reflex when driving.  It is far better than it was the days and week and even months right after the accident but it is not gone.  We can recover from trauma yet we don’t ever return to the place we were before the trauma.  Right after the accident and for many weeks, I could not get the memory of the accident out of my mind the entire time I was driving.  I hated that.  I hated the fact that what sometimes is my time alone, time in the car driving, was now ridden with fear and the memory of a traumatic experience.   I think what made it even more difficult for me was because I was driving along minding my own business traveling the speed limit and this car turned into me in broad daylight on a road with good visibility.  The result has been me not trusting any other driver on the road because you just never know when they are going to make a bad judgement decision.

This is no way to live.

Today as I was driving to  my chiropractor experiencing this  constant ache in my knee, I had a few close calls on the road.  Nothing extreme just a few cars coming toward me and crossing the yellow line for a few seconds, enough to set me on high alert.  Later, after I dropped my son off, I was pulling into a two lane road where the speed limit is 35 and was about to move into the left turn lane when a car speed along out of no where- the closest call all day.  So I thought to myself,  Why am I having these near miss experiences in the car on a day that I have knee pain?

Surely, it must just mean that I need to write about my accident.  The universe has been pushing me to write more and to carve out time in my life regularly to do so.  The signs have been so clear to me and yet finding or making the time to do so has been a challenge.  This past Friday, I did it.  After getting my younger kids breakfast, they wanted to watch a show and so I decided I would go up to my bedroom with my lap top and write.  I would not check Facebook or my email but go directly to wordpress and write.  A few weeks before I had decided that i needed a more specific blog and had created a Child-led learning blog.  I hadn’t done anything else since creating it.  So for almost an hour, I wrote. I did not finish the blog, but was so happy that I had carved out the time and done it! Finally!  My goal is to do that every day or at least several days each week.  As I write that, something deep within me says, “everyday,Gina, make time to write every day”.

It is Monday and on Mondays, I usually have a few hours to myself while my oldest is at the homeschool co-op.  I either go to a coffee house or the library both around the corner from where the co-op meets.  Usually, I decompress by checking Facebook and email and then look at my homeschooling website and approve and welcome new members and then work on an update message to send to members.   I think about writing a blog but it has been a long time since I have done so.

I knew I needed to go straight to WordPress today and not look anywhere else and write.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I would say or what the focus would be.  I then pulled up my drafts because I recalled writing about my accident in the past.  I found the following written just 6 weeks after my accident:

I was in a car accident on May 26, 2012.

I was driving home from work. It was a Saturday and I was done early and so I decided to head to Target to use the gift card that I had gotten back in October  to buy a new swim suit and planned to take my kids to the pool too.

I never made it to Target and I did not take my kids to the pool nor was not able to for about 2 weeks.

I was driving along, not my usual route but on a road I had traveled many times before.

It all happened so fast and yet those seconds or more likely second, before the crash, happened in slow motion.  I clearly recall seeing the white SUV turning into me and deciding to swerve to the right to get out of the way.  I also vividly recall realizing that I could not get out of the way and knew she was going to hit me.  I remember it all like it took place over minutes instead of seconds.

But then all I remember is impact-

….and then the car coming to a stop and me opening my eyes.

After the initial impact, I do not know what happened.  I must have hit my head because I had a cut on my nose and my nose was bleeding and my air bag never went off.  But this I only know after the fact- when I got out of the car and someone said my nose was bleeding and when I later realized the air bag did not deploy.

I remember opening my eyes and seeing an air bag (passangers side) and some smoke and having the instinct to get out of the car.  I attempted to open my door but it did not move and so I climbed to the passangers side, taking my purse and water bag and exited my car.

I recall how shaky I felt as I stepped out onto the grass.  A wonderful bystander was walking toward me and asked me if I was alright and advised me to sit down.  I am so grateful to that wonderful woman who reached out to help me.  She did  not have to help me and I think she might be the witness who is listed on the accident report but I really have no idea.  She was there when I needed someone and I am forever grateful to this kind stranger for stopping and coming to my aid.

The person who hit me, apparently was a medic and she advised my bystander angel that I should lay down which I heard and then did.

I had no idea at the time that my car had spun around and the back end had struck a third car and then had been propelled forward coming to a rest along the grass on the side of the road.  Thinking about that, its almost like someone had guided my car to move forward and come to a rest where it did.  Maybe the car wasn’t on the grass, but I know when I stepped out of the car, I stepped onto the grass.

I drove back down the road where the accident took place today, it has taken me over 6 weeks to build up the courage to do this.

_______________________________________

I kept the above just as I wrote it 8 months ago.  The accident was still fresh in my mind and as I read it, I recalled the feelings I felt for so long every time I got in the car for several months after the accident.

I finally drove down the road where the accident was, pushing myself to do so 6 weeks after my accident but then I did not drive that way again for many months.   Luckily, it was not a usual route for me so it wasn’t like I was avoiding the road.  Yet, I knew I needed to drive on that road again to desensitize myself and reduce my anxiety.  Reminds me very much of ERP therapy that my daughter does for her OCD.   Recently, they began working on a bridge on my usual route to work and also where my chiropractor is located.  So now, I found that driving past my accident was the quickest option to get where I needed to go.  At first, I drove that way to work because I was driving the opposite direction from when I was in my accident.  It helped me to drive many times from the other direction and see where the accident took place.   I would go home a different route avoiding the road entirely.  Then, I decided I needed to drive down that road heading home but I choose to take the highway which the entrance to is within eyesight and just before where my accident took place.  The first time I did this, I got stopped at a red light waiting to turn onto the entrance ramp and as I sat there,  I had a clear view of where my accident took place.  I became anxious and felt my heart racing.  It was difficult to sit there for those seconds waiting for the light to turn green.  The next time that I came to the same intersection, I could look on the spot without all of the anxiety.    Over time, I even drove the actual path of my accident again.  The most difficult was when I was bringing my son’s friend home and it was dark and raining.  I became very anxious but survived the experiene.

When I think about my daughter and the level of anxiety she experiences with her OCD, I realize that it is likely far more intense than even what I experience.  The thought of having the amount of anxiety that I experienced when first trying to drive on the path of my accident  every day and many times in a day gives me a better understanding of what she experiences.  All I can say is,  “Wow, I can not imagine living with that much fear and anxiety   every day and frequently throughout each and every day.”

Healing from trauma is a funny thing.  There is physical healing and mental healing and yet they are very interwoven, much more so than most of us realize.  I know on days when I have physical pain, I have more anxiety driving.  I also know when I feel more emotional stress, I also have more anxiety driving.

I am teaching my 15 year old son to drive.  He has had his learner’s permit for several months and so I think about my driving all the time as a way of helping him to learn.  I try to take my 25 years of driving experience and use it to help him develop good skills and habits with driving.  Today as he was driving and we were talking about driving, he told me that he believes I drive different now as compared to before my accident.  He did not have his permit when I had my accident.  It was 3 months later that he took the required drivers ed class and another 3 months before he turned 15 and could take the test for his learner’s permit.  But he is very observant and I found it interesting that he saw a difference.

Traumas change us.  When my husband was healing after surving a massive heart attaack and long hospitalization, people  began to ask if things were “back  to normal”.  There is no going back.   I remember feeling,  Life will never be normal again.   I realize now that things can become “normal” again but it is a new normal.   The experience changes you forever and the change can be both positive and negative.  Hopefully we can heal enough through the experience to take more positive change with us and learn to release the negative or allow it to subside.

My husband calls his heat attack “getting hit by a two by four”, a sort of wake up call.

I have decided that it is much more challenging being the one smacked by the “two by four” than to be the caregiver.  At least, that has been my experience.  I could see far more positive change after my husband’s heart attack.  Yet, when I was the one in pain, it was difficult for me to step outside of my experience.  As I say that, it makes perfect sense.  At the time when my husband was recovering, it was frustrating to be in this place of new understanding and clarity and he seamed to be mostly angry, frustrated.  Maybe I was more in a spiritual place and he was more in his body.  Unlike my car accident, had no memory of his heart attack.  He had pain but had no idea it might be a heart attack and then he went into cardiac arrest and remembers nothing until after he woke up hours later after coming out of the cath lab.   I saw him in the ER before he went to the cath lab and he was “awake” and they told him he had a heart attack and he had this look on his face like “you have got to be kidding me” but he has no clear memory of this.   And so he awoke to discover what had happened and to be on a bed restricted to laying absolutely flat for a humber of hours and then it took time before he could sit up and over a week before he could stand and walk.

I knew the car was going to hit me before it did and I can feel the impact of metal on metal.  When I stop and think about it, I can feel it in my entire body.  I recall vividly the experience of my car coming to a stop and seeing smoke coming out of the dash and feeling that I needed to get out of the car.  I can relive the moments like it happened yesterday.  Yet, I know I was in a state of shock after the impact.  After all, it was dust coming up from the air bag on the passengers side that I saw and not really smoke, but at the time, my instincts told me, smoke means get out of the car and quickly.  I even wanted to move far enough away from the car after I got out of it.  I had no idea that my arm was injured from the glass and that my nose was bleeding and that my air bag had not gone off.  I remember some blood dripping but had no need to figure out where it was coming from.   Once I was out of the car, others began helping me and I am sure laying down helped me.  Then it was a long wait as the medics arrived and the police officer came over to talk to me, all with me lying flat on m back staring up at the sky.  I think about it and feel like I was fully aware of everything.  yet, I know there was a hazy fog of shock that likely lasted for days or weeks.

As I ramble on writing about this experience, I am thinking about all of the day to day traumas in our life, all of the little disappointments as well as the bigger challenges that affect our daily experiences and our life as a whole.  We respond differently depending on the situation.  The common thread is whether it has primarily a negative impact or a positive one.  How can a trauma have a positive impact?  Even I wonder that too as I write this.  I think it is what we take from the experience. The decisions we choose to make because of it, not our initial gut reaction but the way we handle ourselves despite it.  Most of the time it can be a big mix of both negative reacting and positive decisions.

Somemtimes, it just takes us longer to pull out of the trauma and to step outside of it and move forward.   Sometimes we have no choice but to keep moving forward.  Other times, we sit with the pain for a while.

When I think back on the days and weeks just after my accident, if I could go back in time, I would allow myself more time to heal.  I know I took my time to some extent and yet I take from the experience  a reminder to accept what is.  If I don’t feel well on any given day, I really try now to stop and think about what must get done and what can wait.  LIfe is no longer the rat race that I used to feel when I was younger.  Some days, it is good to stay in your pajamas and watch tv with your kids or make cookies and eat them for dinner.

Life really is too short to be in a hurry and rush though jumping from one thing to another without any time to breath.

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Cool, quiet? Sunday

I woke up today on a Sunday morning and had the idea to take a walk. I looked at my weather app, 64 degrees.

64 degrees!?!?!

It is July in Charlotte, NC and we don’t usually see 64 degrees even at 8am.

I got dressed and grabbed my headphones and found resurrection Sunday on iheart radio and off I went.

Now I am perched on the trampoline with a pillow and some towels with my iPad and keyboard in the quiet.

Quiet?

“Mom, mom, there is something I have to tell you. Do you like pears?”

My 9 year old comes bouncing on the trampoline to tell me pears are growing on the pear tree in the front yard.

I explain that it is a pear tree and has had pears on it before but they usually don’t taste good.

He is very excited. I am less than thrilled that my quiet has been invaded.

I try to smile and acknowledge his excitement in the discovery.

And off he goes… on to his next adventure.

The WiFi goes in and out on my iPad and I have to enter settings several times to reset it.

There is an amazing breeze blowing trees that surround me in my backyard sanctuary.

The sky is Carolina blue

The humidity is low

The air is cool

It’s a beautiful day, like an early spring day here in NC

Amazingly, I am home from work on this beautiful Sunday.

If only Bluetooth and WiFi would work continuously so I don’t have to keep going into settings to fix them…

I am in the quiet right now, no music, no children….

Well, to be fair, I texted him first about my personal hot spot not working.

So now. my oldest is texting me about things before he goes to work

I don’t mind.

Motherhood is my first priority.

Now it is quiet.

cicadas? Or something like that chirps

Crows fly overhead cawing

Neighbors dog barks

Wind blows the tall trees

And the leave rustle

A siren in the distance

Not a peaceful sound…

Or it can be, knowing someone is getting the help they need

But it brings knots to my stomach

Deep breath

I release the stress of the siren sounds…

The sun shines down on my back creating a glare on my screen

Showing all the dirt and smudge marks on my iPad screen

The temperature is perfect

A loud banging noise..

From my house?

No, not my house

The sound of cars…. and an airplane

The leaves rustling in the wind is my favorite sound

I could curl up and take a nap

I have been sleeping a lot lately

I figured my body needed rest

And yet…

I seam to sleep a lot and still feel tired

Warning sign

Shiloh, my beagle, comes running through the back yard, sniffing the ground

I don’t think he realizes I am here

Until I call his name and he freezes, tail perked

And then runs over and lifts his nose onto the outer edge of the trampoline to discover it is me

And off he goes again, running through the yard

I realize this is the reason I put music on to write

Music helps me focus

Today my husband was going to take 2 of our kids to Raleigh for the kids camp my sister runs for kids and dogs.

The plans changed so they are leaving tomorrow now.

I was looking forward to having a Sunday at home by myself.

I will have the next two days home, yet I also will be going into work both days.

Then Wednesday, I drive to Raleigh to do a parental swap.

I have right now, here outside in this beautiful weather, sitting on my trampoline.

I lay back and look up to see a hawk flying overhead with the moon in the bakyround

Then another hawk appears

I watch them soar, floating through the air

And then they are gone…

Life moves quickly until we stop and sit still for a moment

My pets know this, the dogs and our cat

Shiloh, the beagle, is sitting still and staring at a fence right now

A wooden fence

There are vines growing on our metal fence and our neighbor’s wooden fence sits against the metal fence

Shiloh sits still, turning his head from side to side on occasion as if to be looking up and down the fence

I call his name and he turns to look at me and then resumes his watch

If only I could enter his mind for a moment

8% battery on my iPad and my keyboard battery must be running low too

It is so peaceful out here and yet my battery will be dead soon and nature calls…

I know I can come back out here and yet, somehow I know once I go in, I won’t come back to this peaceful place on the trampoline to listen, to think, and to write

I need to make meatballs today for my husband to take for a meal on the trip

Life

For now, I sit and watch the leaves move in the wind

I take this moment to be still and peaceful

Quiet

Pulling the rug out from under me…And becoming who I am!

A large weight was lifting from my shoulders tonight.

I have been trudging through “the hard life”, waiting for the sh#t to hit the fan…

I have been living in fear of the rug being pulled out from underneath me, again!

Life has brought many challenges over the past 10 years leaving me feeling like I was living under a heavy weight of doom and gloom.

I stopped myself at work today.

I found myself thinking, “This is hard. I have to go back and see that patient and I have to walk through this large building and I am still figuring out how to get where I am going.”

I stopped myself and said, “Wait a minute!”

“This is NOT hard. I can do this. They are paying me good money to be here and to help them. I can sit in the comfortable building and walk these pretty halls, in this “palace” with a lap top that makes it easy to do my paperwork. I know how to be an Occupational Therapist and how to work with a variety of people and a variety of conditions and living situations. I know how to read through weeks of notes and write a progress report with one visit with the person. I CAN do this! I can ENJOY this!”

THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE

I AM living the good life!

I can decide how many hours I am working for these companies each week.

I can decide how much time I am spending writing.

I can decide how much time Don and I are spending growing our business and creating videos and pod casts and expanding our program.

I can decide how I spend my time.

It can be easy!

It really can.

I have removed myself from the drama of the hard job

I work PRN- as needed and on my terms.

I get to say, Yes I can work, and NO, I can not work!

I decide.

Don and I can present our introductory workshop to multiple places and people and gain more and more clients.

Life can be that easy.

I can enjoy what I do.

Fully enjoy helping people, without all the drama

Free of the drama of the healthcare- …sick-care system.

I am choosing a new path.

I can work in health care and stay out of the drama.

I can.

I can go in and do my work. And leave work at work.

I can then go home and get on with my life and my other endeavors and other pursuits.

I can work for my employers and do the work and come home and have plenty of time for the rest of my life!

Time to grow a thriving business with Don, helping families.

Empowering families to support their children and be better versions of themselves and improve their communications skills and their relationships, and their lives.

I can bring to other families what Don and I have brought to our family.

I can.

I am.

I am Gina

Here me roar.

I am a writer,

I am a mother.

I am an Occupational Therapist.

I am a facilitator and a coach.

I am a partner, a wife and a friend.

I am Gina.

I am creating my life.

I am.

Family Road Trip

We left Charlotte at 7am Friday morning.

Four people, suitcases, bags and bags of snacks: gluten free foods, fresh brewed tea sweetened with local honey

Missing a family member, oldest son, home to take care of dogs, attend work and school

Been a long time, four and a half years to be exact, since we traveled to St. Louis

I drove first

Road trip playlist on Spotify

Chai tea with coconut milk, caffeinated chai

When did i become a morning person?

When did I become a morning person who needs her caffeine in the morning to get her day going?

Writing

Time to myself

Music

Starting my day

Time with my husband and two younger kids

Seeing my husband with his family, in his element, relaxed, being the jokester among a family of self proclaimed comedians

Eye rolls from my sixteen year old daughter

“That’s how I know I am doing my job”

Nieces and nephews, who are my age, with children, teenagers of their own

I can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naive

I’m just out to find

The better part of me

Family

Nearly 24 years ago, I married my husband and became a Grothoff

I joined this family

Three new brother-in-laws and four sister-in-laws

Eleven nieces and nephews, from age 8 through age through age 23

Now,

Twenty-four years later… age 32 through age 47, with children of their own

Sixteen great nieces and nephews, if I counted correctly….

Playing with Andrew, age 18 months

Feels like a hundred years since I had a toddler of my own

My youngest is nine…

“9 going on 40” as his aunt said yesterday

Speaking up

Speaking up for my child

Speaking up for my child with social anxiety

Allowing

Allowing him to go off and be alone

Overwhelmed by all these people he does not know

He was four years old when he was last here in St. Louis

He was four years old when he met most of these relatives

That was half his life ago…

It was a house full

They were not all here, several live in Texas and some could not come

Nineteen people, not including us…

Only five other kids, two of them being teens

Family

Large families

I grew up with a large extended family

My mother being one of seven children and my father was one of six living siblings

We visited New Jersey at least once each year

So many aunts and uncles and cousins,

Great aunts and uncles… my parents cousins…

People

Many people

I was the quiet one

Close to mom as a young child

Or hanging with my sister as I got older

Loud family

Difficulty to get a word in edgewise with all the animated extroverts

Fun family

Memories

Creating memories for my own children

Establishing bonds

Building a sense of comfort with being around this family that lives 756 miles away

Three days to visit

Three short days for him to have time to get to know these strange people

People who are “strange to him”, unknown

I feel proud of how well he is doing

He has come such a long way on his journey, overcoming social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder

It is an ongoing journey

He came out of the bedroom on his own in the middle of the gathering

“I thought I would come out to be with everyone” he told me

He made that decision on his own

Talking with him and

Encouraging him to be a part of the gathering and talk to people, to at least say hello

He has made such huge progress over the past several years

Family

Oldest son at home

Texting and FaceTime connections

Give a little bit

Give a little bit of your love to me

I’ll give a little bit of my life for you

Now’s the time that we need to share

So find yourself, we’re on our way back home

Family

Two more days to be the parent he needs in this new environment

Meeting his needs

And meeting mine

Balance

Being there for all three of my children,

And my husband

And myself

Easter

April 1

Fresh starts

Foolish fun and games amount family

Easter, April 1, 2018

You’re on the road

But you’ve got no destination

You’re in the mud

In the maze of her imagination

You’re lovin’ this town

Even if that doesn’t ring true

You’ve been all over

And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day

Don’t let it get away

It’s a beautiful day

Thank you to: U2, Beautiful Day lyrics

Supertramp and “Give a Little Bit

Five for Fighting and “Superman””

I am grateful for Google and Azlyrics

And grateful for all the poets of this world

Your words inspire me

Mommy Guilt: “shoulding” on myself

I should have…

I should have worked more hours when i was pregnant with baby number 3.

I should have returned to work sooner after he was born in January 2009.

I should have worked more and saved more while I was pregnant.

I should have returned to work sooner so our debt didn’t grow so much.

I should have known to move money from our tax rebate to pay down our home equity line of credit after my husband had a massive heart attack so that Medicaid would have kicked in sooner, rather than exhausting all that money we had from me working extra hours and our tax rebate.

The social worker should have told me the rules…

Someone should have told me that Medicaid says if you have more than $3000 in assesses (savings, checking, cash), then you wont; qualify for Medicaid…until that money is gone…

I should have applied for food stamps once we did qualify for Medicaid

I began the application several times, I should have finished it and sent it in.

I should have gotten more help then we would have less debt.

I should have done so many things….

I should have reached out for help sooner when my daughter showed signs of separation anxiety and other issues when I was pregnant with our third child.

I should have realized it was something more than just me being pregnant.

I should have gotten her help sooner so that her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, her anxiety disorder, her mental illness did not become so extreme and severe…

I should have gotten her on medication sooner…

I should have listened to my friend who suggested it might be OCD when it was in a mild state.

I should have gotten her to a therapist sooner.

I should have researched OCD sooner, when my friend brought it up.

I should have listened..

I should have gotten her help sooner so she did not have to suffer so much..

I should have gotten my youngest help sooner when he showed signs of anxiety and OCD from at least age 2.

I should have countered when the therapist said, “i don’t think it is OCD”

I should have completed the paperwork even though it took 6 months to get it from the Development and Behavioral Pediatrician

I should have gotten him in sooner and not waited as long as I did.

I should have taken him to a mental health place sooner to get him help, medication.

I should not have had so much fear about giving my kids medication…I should have found more support when I knew that was needed.

Going to the psychiatrist should have been paid for by Medicaid.

Medicaid should have qualified people to treat my children and I should have access to finding the resources without having to jump through a million hoops and experience unqualified people and ill equipped facilities and services.

My children should be able to go to the specialists they need because of their illness even though they have government assisted health insurance.

I work in health care, I should have better health insurance.

I have a bachelors of science degree in Occupational Therapy and training in mental health care, I should be treated with respect when the people from Medicaid speak to me.

Everyone should be treated with respect no matter what their educational level.

I should be able to access information about my health insurance and services for my children even though it is government assisted.

I have paid into the system since I was 15 1/2 years old and so now that I need these services, I should receive them if I qualify.

I shouldn’t have to jump through crazy hoops because my income varies from month to month and so does my 20 year old son’s income.

My 20 year old son’s income SHOULD NOT count toward our household income for the healthcare market place and definitely not for qualifying my younger children for Medicaid or NC health choice. My 20 year old son who purchased his own car, pays for his own insurance, and pays to attend community college part time all with his own hard earned money.

I should have listened to my gut when I realized even though their Dad had survived, that my three kids had gone through a traumatic experience and would need some counseling and help…

Survivors guilt…but he lived, there is no help when your husband lives…

I should have listened to myself because I knew that experience was traumatic for all of us.

I should have let go of “survivors guilt” because he lived and our friends who lost husbands to heart attacks that same year, did not survive. “I should be grateful that he lived.”

I should on myself and others have should upon me….

And I should on other people.

It is really a bad habit and not helpful to anyone.

I should have filled out the special forms and jumped through the hoops to see if my son could qualify for grants for college costs, because they decided to use the same year for 3or 4 semesters to look at our income, the year we took out $65,000 from IRA money to pay down debt.

I should have worked more hours.

I should have been a better mom so my children wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have been a better me so I wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have done something different to prevent mental illness?

Is that really possible?

Do parents of kids who have cancer ask themselves this question?

Maybe they do, Maybe they don’t.

I shouldn’t have to wonder about this.

My kids friends and their parents should have been there more for my daughter when she was crippled with mental illness, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression.

They should have given her the love and support she needed just like they would have done if she had cancer.

WE SHOULD LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MENTAL ILLNESS IS TREATED THE SAME AS OTHER ILLNESSES, PHYSICAL ILLNESSES WHICH ARE MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.

Mental illness SHOULD be classified the same as other illness because they last time I looked, my head and brain are attached to my body.

We need to stop shoulding on ourselves and on others

We need to embrace where we are now and make the best choices we can in the moment and realize we can not go back in time (not yet) and change the past. What is done is behind us and we must keep moving forward.

We need to stop judging other people and their choices and instead come from love to reach out to and help others with respect and kindness.

I give you this challenge today…

Pay attention to how often you SHOULD on yourself or on someone else.

We are often our worst critic and as moms, as parents, we are our own worse saboteur.

Love yourself and respect yourself first.

Only then can you love and respect others.

Aunt Rosemarie

In loving memory of my dear Aunt Rosemarie

December 20, 1953- January 20, 2018

The first thing that comes to mind

Is my first year living on my own in Charlotte

I moved there in November of 1992 from Pennsylvania

I worked at the rehab hospital and only had off on Christmas Day

My parents were in Pa and my sister 3 hours away

So I spent the day with my Aunt Rosemarie, Uncle Stan and his 3 kids

They lived in Greenville, SC just an hour and half away

I was 23 and have fond memories of talking with Stan’s 3 kids, who are all about my age

I got together often with my Aunt who traveled to Charlotte for her work

She adopted Zach in January of 1997

I vividly remember her telling me she was adopting, maybe the month before

I recall thinking, that’s why you bought the mini van…

I found out I was pregnant in March of 1997 and can see myself holding baby Zach

Looking forward to becoming a mother as well, the same year as my aunt

I know she lived in Ohio In the 70s when we also lived there

And I do recall her being around throughout my life

Yet becoming mothers together in 1997 made me feel closer to her than I had ever felt

We met up at my parents house on Lake Murray and Zach called my son, baby Harrison

Then one day, they were nearly the same age

They came to Harrison’s Christening, Zach at just over a year eating everything in sight

My parents took Harrison to Atlanta to go see my cousin Stephen skate, meeting up with Rosemarie and Zach

They played uno with Grammy and stacked the deck when she was not looking

In many ways, Harrison and Zach were two of a kind

Abby came along 4 years later and I remember how tender Zach was with baby Abby

Obviously learning from his mom who loved children dearly

My aunt Rosemarie had 3 careers before becoming a mom, but like me, being a mom was the best

I remember how much energy she poured into becoming a mother and to Zach when he came along

She inspired me in so many ways to be the mother that I am

I remember going to Aunt Rosemarie and Uncle Stan’s wedding in 1988 in Annapolis, MD.

My parents were on a trip far away

But My sister brought my brother from eastern PA and picked me up at Elizabethtown College and then we went to MD

I realize now that my Aunts and uncles have really been more like cousins to me, many of who are so much closer to my age than are my much younger cousins

Aunt Rosemarie was only 16 years older than me, just 5 years older than my husband

It is so bizarre coming to Atlanta and not getting to talk with her

She was the center of family gatherings, hosting 3 family reunions here in Georgia in the summers of 2011, 2013, and 2015

I am so glad I came to all 3 and spent the time with my family

There is a hole without her present

And yet, I feel her close to my heart

Urging me to write and share my truth

I could go on with more memories and yet I will close this post with the inscription from inside her memory card

I’ld like the memory of me

to be a happy one.

I’ld like to leave an echo

whispering softly down the ways…

Of happy times, & laughing times,

and bright and sunny days.

I’ld like the tears of those who grieve

to dry before the Sun,

Of happy memories that I leave behind

when the day is done.

I Will Be OK 

Songs can bring me out of my darkest times if only for a moment. Sometimes all I need is that moment to propel myself forward out of my stuck place.

You’ll be okayYou’ll be okay

The sun will rise

To better days
And change will come

It’s on it’s way

Just close your eyes

And let it rain
‘Cause you’re never alone

I will always be there

You just carry on

You will understand
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

Just look inside

You know the way
Let it go

Fly away

And say goodbye

To yesterday
‘Cause you’re never alone

And I will always be there

You just carry on

You will understand
And I will be strong

When love is gone

I’ll carry on…
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

The sun will rise

To better days
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

Just close your eyes

And let it rain
When you need it the most

And all you’ve got is a prayer

You must carry on

You will understand

You will understand

You will understand
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay.
Thank you once again to: A Great Big World

I was so fortunate to hear you live when you opened for Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson.

Such a wonderful experience taking my daughter to her first concert. And one of my favorite opening bands of all time that I first discovered at the concert. You have such meaningful lyrics that are simple yet powerful as well as such an upbeat soul to your sound that brings me much joy. Your music has been what I have needed most in such a difficult time in my life. How ironic because I took my daughter to hear Phillip Phillips because of how powerful his music was for us in her most difficult time in her life. I know it helped me through the pain. And it formed a bond between my daughter and myself.

And thanks once again  to A to Z Lyrics for making it so easy to find the full lyrics.