Sunday, November 24, 2013

Daddy, is That You?

   It's Sunday evening again. These weeks seem to fly by before I even have time to think!
For me, typically, Sundays have not been by favorite day of the week. Sunday means that tomorrow Mark goes back to work, Scottie goes back to school, and all the hectic weekday activities start anew. I always feel gloomy and sadder than usual on Sundays.

 Today felt different than usual. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that my sweet hubby let me sleep until noon (I desperately needed that). Perhaps it was the fact that the sun was shining so beautifully through the front window while I sipped at my coffee that was the ideal strength - not too weak, not too strong - and the perfect temperature. Seriously, there's nothing like my first cup of coffee to set the tone for the day. In any case, I wasn't grumpy about Football Fest (I actually enjoyed watching with Mark today), I wasn't dreading my chores that needed doing, and I wasn't fighting the persistent weighty depression that I have to muscle off of me daily in order to function.

 While Mark napped on the couch I performed my most hated household duty (cleaning the big bathroom) without grumbling and sighing. I straightened up our bedroom and did laundry (Honestly, folding fresh clean laundry is something I love). I worked on Amazon wish lists, emptied the dishwasher, and swept up enough of Jax's hair to make a nice toupee if I was so inclined. I worked on some of the Christmas gifts I'm making and read some interesting articles online.

 Then, with tears trailing down my face, I began to compose this blog entry.

 You see, as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a little bit ago, I stopped on a post made by an acquaintance. There was absolutely nothing to catch my eye and make me stop scrolling. It was simply a small photo of a blond-haired woman with a nice smile next to the title of an article: Ten Signs That Deceased Loved Ones Give to Let us Know They are Around. Without a second thought, I clicked on it, and read. As I read, I started to cry. The things that this lady, a psychic medium, says about loved ones who have passed and then try to communicate with those of us they left behind, hit me hard.

 I haven't cried about my Dad in quite awhile. After he passed on April 6th of this year, I had a very hard time coping with the loss of him from my and my brother's life. When I went to bed that night, I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned in my dark, quiet bedroom as memories played continually in my mind. And questions - so many questions - plagued my grief-stricken heart. Dad was an emotionally closed-off man much of the time. I found myself asking, Did he love me? Was he ever proud of me? Was I a disappointment? I felt so desolate, knowing that I would never really know what he was thinking, how he was feeling. As I lie on my right side facing Mark's side of the bed with my eyes closed, trying to find a sense of calm, a bloom of light shone through my closed eyelids as if someone had turned the bedroom light on. My eyes flew open and I realized the light was coming from behind my back, on my dresser. It was my cell phone. It hadn't made a noise. I hadn't received a call or text. It was not plugged in and it had full battery life. It simply inexplicably lit up. "Daddy, is that you?" I whispered into the quiet of the night. There was no reply, audible or otherwise, but with a full heart and teary eyes I rolled back over. I fell asleep.

 I have related this story to several people and not one of those people seemed to think there was anything significant about the phone lighting up like that. I started to feel uncomfortable telling the story because it felt so significant to me - so meaningful, and the reactions of others to this amazing event made me feel doubtful that what I feel happened - Dad let me know he was there - didn't actually happen.

 The day after we lost Dad, my son and I went and had dinner together at Applebee's. My heart was so heavy as we sat down. Going out to eat was something I did a lot with Dad, and I was really feeling it. Just then  the Doobie Brothers' song "Long Train Running" came on the restaurant's sound system. I burst immediately into hysterical sobs. My poor 13 year-old son tried desperately to console me. This had been one of Dad's favorite songs, and one that ALWAYS made me think of him. I was so embarrassed that this song had "coincidentally" come on in such a public place and I reacted so extremely to it.

 Day followed day and functioning was especially difficult knowing one of my parents was gone. I wouldn't hear his laugh again. I wouldn't get any more of his big bear hugs. A week after Dad died, in the midst of my grief-induced fog, I realized there were a few things we absolutely needed, and as much as I didn't want to, I had to go to Walgreen's. Pushing my shopping cart in a daze I suddenly heard over the store's soundsystem...."Long Train Running". To my horror I burst into painful sobs again, in public, with strangers glancing at me uncomfortably, giving me a wide berth. I thought to myself, Again?? Why does this keep happening?

 It has been almost 8 months since my Dad gave up and surrendered to cancer. During that time I have heard "Long Train Running" countless times, in countless places. When it happens now, instead of crying, I smile as I think of my Daddy. One of my friends told me recently that "There are no coincidences", and I believe that. And after stumbling on the article today by Karen Noe, I finally know that all the little instances that I felt had significance actually did. I will never hear from my Dad's mouth whether he truly did always love me, was proud of me, felt happy that he was my dad. But I do know that there is a reason that certain things keep happening to me. I DO know that yes Daddy, it's you. Thank you.

Read Karen Noe's article here:

Than have a listen:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Earth Riders

  Early this morning I received a phone call from my mom. When I saw her name on the caller ID and the fact that it was long before noon, I knew there was something wrong. Mom, like me, is not a morning person. Alas, she was calling with sad news: her dear friend, the lady that, years ago, I had once assumed would be my mother-in-law one day, had passed away. Marilyn had been battling cancer fiercely from the time she found out it had invaded her tiny dancer's body. This strong, vivacious woman who embraced life with all she had was not about to take this nasty disease lying down. She fought as hard as her little body would allow, and then some. Despite that, and all the love and support of her beloved family, she succumbed. It makes me angry - the unfairness of stupid cancer and the havoc it wreaks in families. I want Cancer to be an entity, a big giant, horrifying monster that I can attack with all my strength and rancor. Beat it, bash it, stab it while sobbing hysterically until I am completely spent. I am sick of finding out that people I love have received that devastating diagnosis. I am sick of hearing from every single person I know that cancer has infiltrated their families too. Why, oh why can't we figure out how to eradicate this beast?? Slay it once and for all so that it can't rob a single other person of his or her light and life.

My daddy lost his battle with Asshole Bastard Cancer on April 6th of this year. He was 68 years old. He died shortly after my brother told him that Mike's wife Monika was pregnant with Dad's 4th grandchild. It was heart-wrenching for Mike and I to realize that Dad would never meet this baby. Never hold him. Never beam his shining smile down into that precious little face. Cancer had stolen more than we were prepared to lose. Dad was the last of our family to have knowledge of the Old Country, our grandma, and the old family traditions. The last to know the Ukrainian language, to relate the stories of when he and his parents arrived in the US and all the things they went through during the war before they moved here, and then after they landed in their new home. The last person with whom we could share our memories of our culture, our family, our special experiences.

There are innumerable incidents that can throw us off of this ride that we call human life. Other than extreme old age, nothing that takes our loved ones away from us is fair. Whether you expect it or not, whether a person passes from disease or misfortune, losing someone is awful, life-altering, and emotional. The spirit that enlivened the physical body of the person you loved has retreated from its imperfect human form and, I believe, lives on in another place. This belief doesn't really make me feel any better about losing my daddy, or my grandma, or Marilyn...but it does give me comfort to know that Miserable Douchebag Fucker Cancer did not ultimately beat the souls of these unique humans who are no longer Earth Riders with those of us who are left behind. Bless you, Marilyn. May your beautiful soul be free to dance for all time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Scary, Messy, Stressful, Tenuous, Beautiful Life

  It is 11:50 PM on Monday night. I'm tired and foggy-brained. My baby girl, who has complained of a sore throat since she woke up at 8:30 this morning is in a fitful slumber, and I hover here next to the baby monitor, bleary eyed. Our day together plays through my mind - we played Minnie Mouse bingo, Doc McStuffins Memory, and animal/number matching. I read her a few books, including The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton. Rylie adores that old story, for some reason, even though it's terribly long, and completely old-fashioned. She loves to run her little index finger over the swooping arcs of cars, subway trains, and suns while listening to me repeat the words she's heard so many times. I have to wait until she's done with her ritual before turning the page. Rylie, every day, is teaching me patience.

 My darling girl is nearly fully potty-trained, yet insists that, each time she needs to go, I go with her. I get exasperated. Sometimes I raise my voice a bit higher than I mean to. I follow her into the bathroom, watch her asserting her independence, answer her questions about germs and poop. She is becoming her own little person. Rylie is teaching me tolerance.

  Increasingly I realize that as much as my rapidly-growing toddler is learning from me, I am learning from her. Messy play is no longer cause for panic because it can be cleaned up when we're done, together. If it takes her a little longer than I would like for her to figure out a move in a game we're playing, why rush her? Her little brain is growing, making new connections, and soaking up her environment - she needs time to do that. When she wakes up a couple of hours before I would prefer to get up, I admit, sometimes I want to burrow beneath the covers and pretend I'm not there. And then I hear her little tread on the floor, in her soft footie pajamas, and I hear her voice whisper, "Mommy? My tummy's grawling (not growling, 'grawling'). Please give me something to eat and something to drink." No matter how sleepy I am or how my eyes are crossing I can't help but smile. I drag my butt up and kiss and squeeze that warm, sweet, tangled-hair baby girl so hard she giggles. Rylie is making me a better person.

  Now, my baby is crying softly in her sleep. She isn't feeling well, and Mommy's heart is breaking. My beloved husband is on the couch snoring and my teenager is sleeping (I hope). It might be a sleepless night for me. But over there is the man I love and wants to share his life with me. Behind the closed door down the hall is a 13 year old boy awash in hormones and teenage rebellion who still needs his mom. And just behind the bedroom door that is opened a crack is a little girl, a burgeoning personality who commandeers my days and nights, runs me ragged, tells me she doesn't love me while laughing impishly, and grasps my heart tightly in her sticky little hand. I'm an imperfect human, an imperfect mom. But this is the life that I cherish and am ever grateful for. And Rylie...she's teaching me real love.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Clinical Depression Sucks

 Why, hello again my friends. On this Sunday November evening, sitting in my chair trying not to be annoyed by the non-stop football that surrounds me this time of year, I've been thinking about what to write about. I believe I will begin to delve into a subject that is incredibly uncomfortable for me, and has been looming over my life for the past 26 years - my irritating, debilitating, stupid ever-present depression.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've always struggled with the sense that I am completely uncommon - with no fellow human to understand me as a person, to relate to my thoughts and feelings. For as long as I can remember I have always felt like I was on the fringe, like there was no place for me to fit in. Whether or not this helped to bring upon my depression, or whether I had had depression since I was little is a mystery to me. In any case, by the age of 13, I knew that something was wrong. The night I crept into the kitchen to seek out my mom's old, dull, serrated steak knives I was beside myself with hurt and confusion. As I began sawing away at my finger with the most painful tool I could find, all I could think about was how the pain from the knife was blotting out the pain in my heart. That night a Cutter was born.

From then on I turned to hurting myself when confronted with particularly difficult feelings. My self-doubt and worry, my fears and insecurities were crushing my young spirit. My family was falling apart, and I felt I had nowhere to turn. Back then, there really wasn't much information out there for kids going through what I was. If there was, I never saw it. There was no crisis line to call. I was utterly lost.

There were few things that kept me feeling the desire to go on. One of those things was music, one was immersing myself in books, and the last was writing. And so, when I wasn't in school, I was behind the closed door of my bedroom listening to music and either reading or writing. From the very start, I found that music would help to ease my soul, and writing would help me to purge some of the intense feelings that made it seem as if I would implode with hurt.

In future posts I will continue with my story. Not because I want anybody to say, "oh, poor baby. Poor thing. I'm so sad for you." I need to confront these things in print, and I want to let others who may be suffering similarly know that they are not alone - because I always felt I was. Today, my illness is well controlled with medication, and some of my "therapy" still includes music, reading, and writing. All things happen for a reason, and my life being touched with a deep love of music and the written word has blessed me and saved me time and again.

When I decided to begin blogging, I had no idea that I would discuss this aspect of my life. A family member recently started blogging about an extremely difficult personal struggle, and it occurred to me that perhaps it was time for me to try doing that as well, to share my story in the hopes that my words will reach someone out there who needs to read them. In retrospect, it's perfectly logical that I would share these thoughts with you, as part of the reason for this blog was to share my poetry, and much of my poetry is dark and emotional, stemming from my struggle with that immense asshole, Depression. I leave you with one of my more wrenching pieces, along with a song that really resonates with me:

Sick Hope

Fade away...
Did you ever want to fade away?
Melt into the ground like summer rain?
Or shrink
Smaller and smaller - flesh and bone dissolving
Until there is no more of you?
I have wished for cancer
To eat at this body
To make this overabundant mass of me
Become small enough to be loved.
I have prayed for illness to deliver me
From me.
Now, in this vessel of mine,
There lurks a tumor -
A mysterious mass of "precancer" hope.
I wait and I wonder.
I pray for an outcome.
Perhaps not one you may think. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Think I Hatched From a Pod

  So I decided to change the name of my blog from Mom, Poet, Dreamer to I Think I Hatched From a Pod.

When I started this blog a few days ago, I just wanted it up and running, and I knew I needed a bit of time to mull over what I actually wanted to label my daily musings. Last night, lying in bed with my thoughts racing in all directions (as usual), it came to me. I am constantly telling people that I think I was hatched from a pod, and not birthed from a human. Ergo, that seemed the perfect name for this blog.

Let me give you some of the reasons why this title suits me and my ramblings. Is anyone even out there? I don't know that anyone will ever actually care to read my thoughts, but if so, I sure hope to get some feedback as to whether or not there are people out there in the world who are even remotely like me!

1) I always felt like I was completely different - even alien - from my family. My views and opinions on nearly every subject were nothing like those of my brother, mom, dad, grandparents, cousins...I would get to talking at length on a subject like quantum theory, spirituality, the supernatural, great books I was absolutely passionate about, music and the way certain voices, instruments and chord progressions would bring me to tears...then I would realize the person I was talking to had gotten that look on his or her face. The look of glazed over eyes combined with deer in the headlights mixed with a dash of detachment. There would be an awkward cough or laugh, and a quick excuse to escape or change to a more mundane topic of conversation. I quickly learned to keep quiet most of the time.

2) My belief system is a crazy mixed-up hodgepodge of things that, as I've been told on many occasions, makes absolutely no sense. I believe in God, angels, and that souls are eternal. I believe that there are spirits who roam the earth. I believe that God, or the Divine, knows each of our hearts individually. I believe in the sacred Mother Earth and the natural healing abilities in it and ourselves. I believe we are all connected. I believe in the power of meditation. I believe there is a reason for every single thing that happens. There is more but you get the idea.

3) I feel very strongly that we should stop viewing hatred as being more acceptable than love. We are capable of so much love - many different types of love, for many different types of people. I feel like we are so brainwashed by the idea that there is a finite number of people that we should feel love for, and that the emotion of love is stained by assumptions of sexual attraction, perversion, infidelity, disloyalty. Love is a GOOD thing, people!! And just because I love my friend John Doe, that does not mean I love my husband any less - because it's not the same kind of love. I am extremely bothered by this, and by the fact that almost NOBODY gets what I'm talking about.

4) I like animals more than humans. They keep it real.

5) Music is so integral to my life. I am made extremely emotional by certain songs, and of all different genres. I wrote a paper in my Sophomore year of high school on music and its effect of me. I wrote that when I put on my headphones and listened to the song "Fade to Black" by Metallica in my darkened bedroom at night, I could feel all the tension release from my body. My breathing slowed, my mind relaxed, and I became immersed in the music. I felt peace. My teacher gave me a C on my paper, saying that it was impossible to be made peaceful and relaxed by a heavy metal song. I was passionately incensed, and he changed my grade to an A.

6) I compose poetry in my mind constantly.

7) I find cemeteries fascinating.

8) I want to be a paranormal investigator.

9) I dream of living in a remote forest hideaway or one room beach cabana.

10) I want to travel with a famous band/musician and sing backup.

OK, it's late and my thoughts are getting far too random. However, I have given you several examples of why I feel so odd and different from most people. No, I did not hatch from a pod. To my eternal discomfort my mother has reminded my frequently throughout my 39 years just EXACTLY where I came from. In graphic detail *shudders* But somewhere in the back of my mind is the constant tickling whisper of " A pod! A pod! You came from a pod!!!"