Go Easy…


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Sometimes thinking about the past is appropriate, especially when you get news about someone that meant something to you, even if you haven’t spent much time with them in recent years.

Families are such slippery things–they are fragile and sometimes easily shattered. They also are defined by many different things, not just by blood. And often the ones that aren’t put together by blood can mean more. We define them ourselves.

When the some things that created them, like a marriage, dissolve, then they seem to disappear too–at least in the physical sense. But we may realize, especially at critical moments, they still linger within deeper parts of us; that these people who were once family are still dear.

So when I heard my ex-father-in-law is now in hospice, I found myself extremely sad. He was someone who had been very good to me while I was married. It’s been easy to recall so many memories of the kind things about him: his easy acceptance of our decision to adopt a HIV positive child, and his special love for her. And his overly enthusiastic attitude (and long conversations and questions) about my career as an EMT/Paramedic, something I didn’t always feel at home from his son. He loved the stuff!

I picture him as the typical unassuming New England man, quiet but always willing to help; that crooked smile, bald head and slight limp. He was my go to guy, always aware of what was happening with the weather, and loving to talk about it.

Maybe he’s not officially ‘family’ anymore, but in my heart he will always hold a very special place as he made me feel welcome and a part. I felt like family because of him.

Thank you, and may the rest of your days be easy…

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Small Town


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Sometimes I wonder how pathetic I am.

Today there was a post on my Instagram account (if anyone wants it, please just let me know) from one of my friends who is hiking the Appalachian Trail. Very cool. The AT goes very near where I grew up in Connecticut. A lovely little town in the NW region…a very little town.

It got me reminiscing. I honestly have way too much time on my hands these days, because when I get in one of these moods, I can really get on the track of things. First I went on Google. That came up with some pretty typical stuff: the town page and all. I wasn’t too surprised to find that one of my Ex’s was listed as a prominent figure on the list of ‘important’ figures in the town. The town sexton actually. I had to look that one up: a sexton. In this case, they may be referring to taking care of the town?

I had contacted him a number of years ago as part of a healing process. We were married very many years ago (and divorced). He was very glad to hear from me (thank goodness), which isn’t totally surprising as he was really a very nice man. He still lives in this beautiful town in the family home. Cool.

After the Google search, I decided to dive further and went to YouTube. This was where I hit gold. There was a video of the town, apparently one of many (all the others to be found in the town library), that actually was a bit of a historical and present day visit to it. The best part was that it had actual footage of my Ex!! There he was making maple syrup, just like his Dad did many, many years ago.

It kind of hit me (this is where it gets pathetic I suppose), how life goes. I remember going out on freezing nights and checking the temperature of the sap to make sure it didn’t burn. And I think to now: what an amazing gift to still be participating. It’s just the kind of life I envision–we had envisioned long ago. What happened?

I look back on so much of my life and wonder about it. How a part of me must have known that some of the people I picked were right, but then I couldn’t see far enough to stick with it. What was it in me that didn’t have the ability to stay?

And now I’m simply so jumbled about it all to even want to step into it all again. It all felt so much simpler when I was young. Looking at someone and thinking you could be with them. But when I was actually there–I always seemed to see something else.

Now I don’t know what I see these days.

It’s so easy to get lost in these fields of that little town; in the hope and the green and sounds of the stream. Is it all just something from long ago? Or will I someday walk again in a place and feel something is right?

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Poem Art: Elusive


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I had a conversation today with a person who played a prominent role in my past. He said something that triggered a visceral, and for me, odd reaction. It was odd, because it surprised me, that I could feel such a ‘gut’ feeling (like I had been punched in the gut) to a very simple thing this person said in a perfectly normal conversation. It wasn’t like we had delved into the past or were reminiscing… and yet, the comment, in a sense, was about the past, because it referenced a place we had shared together.

This moment touched off many thoughts in me. Like what constitutes relationships and ‘falling in love’ with someone? And is love even the right way to approach a relationship? Should it be more about wanting or needing something–for yourself; in others?

Certainly at my age, love seems a far cry from where I am these days. My relationships with people close to me seem to be based on things much more involved than love. Things that seem even more important and lasting than love if that makes any sense. The things that keep people together–the glue.

Those of you that have lasting relationships of any kind know what I mean here, so I won’t explain what I am talking about. Love can be fleeting and fickle and hard to get a grasp on. But we can still build strong, solid and meaningful bonds even after the love may turn into something strange or convoluted. Or maybe if the ‘love’ was strange from the start.

So can I re-evaluate life and how to live it more openly? To be open to a different way to to be with someone if love isn’t the defining point? It’s another perspective really, but not unfamiliar. It’s a theme that has repeated in my life.

What is the ‘want’ then…or the ‘need’? These become the hard questions to ask. Because simply hoping to exchange love with someone, I feel, is not where I should place my hope.

It seems it should be in far more reliable, tangible and maybe simple things that will help to grow a connection with someone else; things that will ultimately not vanish, just in case the love remains elusive.

 

Jewel


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Now it is just long gone memories where we walk together, still close, feeling those moments nearby again. As we speak, the recapture, bringing present the feelings shared in a time of love and family. The falling into each other and the brave actions of daring to create, to take on labels that we each feared had forsaken us from the past. To love was to move outside, to step into something beyond the confines of our own mistrust and give. There was much there, in spite of youth, so much depth and connection. Much was formed, both in me and around us. The union spawned beauty and burned brightly.

And for this I give thanks. Searching the catacombs of the past, all is now just treasure. This will be kept, like an Emperor’s jewel, in the museum of my mind.

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Saving Me


Many years ago I did something that most think was to help someone else, but it was really to help me. It was actually not a selfless move to save a part of the world, but to save a part of me.

The journey began when I decided I wanted to adopt a baby. I am adopted as some of you may recall. It was not an easy journey, as I had criteria that made constraints that other people adopting might not have through their paths. It was my goal to stay within the US and to maintain birth order (my husband at the time and I had a 3-year-old), so when approaching an adoption agency, they showed us the ‘blue book’ of the “waiting children”–it appeared as though this might be impossible. Either we would have to take on siblings of 4 or teenagers. Neither of these situations seemed fair to my daughter.

But then the social worker mentioned foster care: the backdoor to adoption. At that time, 51% of foster children got adopted by their foster parents. It seemed like a reasonable plan to me, especially since I was a stay at home Mom anyway.

I won’t go through it all, because this is not what this post is about. Suffice to say, we became foster parents, eventually to a 2-year-old girl: mentally challenged, but high functioning, emotionally rocked by her first 2 years and HIV positive.

That toddler is now my 25-year-old daughter and she just had my first grandchild today–a little boy.

It has been a rocky road all along. My 3-year-old (now almost 28) has had a rough relationship with her, which has worsened as an adult. The birth daughter that came after her, has a distant, but OK relationship. And this daughter’s life has been one challenge after another. While her health is way better than anyone would have predicted (they figured she wouldn’t live past 9 years old), she has met with prejudice, job losses, school bullies and lots of tears.

She has been with her partner for many years, a young man who is also mentally challenged, more so than she. When she announced her pregnancy, we were all pretty upset. They are poor, with no jobs, living in abject poverty. While we help, there is only so much you can help those who often do not believe they need it.There was great concern for the welfare of a baby coming into these circumstances.

But she was determined, and her determination has always been one of her greatest (and sometimes most frustrating) attributes.
So today he was born. The doctors have taken every precaution, and so has she, that this baby be born HIV free. My daughter has tried very hard to take care of herself and many around her have been helping to get her hooked up with the proper services so there will be the best possible outcome down the road.

It is so easy to be negative, but success can’t happen unless we believe it is possible. Sometimes I think that she never thought much about her HIV and just figured she would live a normal life, so she has. And I understand her desire for baby, someone who belongs to her through genes, looks like her and comes from her. I get it when no-one else in my family may understand this–because we both have that connection, that mutual disconnect from our birth heritage.

So on this day, I will celebrate her decision and her new baby, my grand-baby. Because her adoption wasn’t about fixing her, it was to rescue a part of me.

Chasing Butterflies


I’ve been watching lots of love stories and romantic comedies on Netflix lately. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and we have approached Beltane. Or maybe it’s something else?

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Is love beyond grasp?

I’m no stranger to love or relationships having had my fair share of both. But I’ve been single for a very long time now. Living alone is a beautiful thing with peaceful moments, the ability to control one’s own life and no disagreements over mundane things. This lifestyle has been one of choice and one I have sunk into as though it was a big comfy bed waiting to give me a good night’s rest. Believe me, I needed it.

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Single by choice!!

My marriages and relationships were all different, and while not awful, obviously didn’t meet my needs at the time. Nor did the subsequent relationships I tried (and tried) after. So finally, I threw in the cards and fell into the quiet solitude of a peaceful life.

Friends and family have tried to push me into relationships and insisted ‘the right one’ is just waiting around the corner. And all the movies I watch insist it must be so. These love stories show couples meeting in the most unlikely places and falling in love within minutes of meeting one another. It makes someone like me feel, well, rather inadequate.

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Maybe I am some alien creature??

When I take a really close look at myself and my situation though, I know that these movies are purely fiction and real life does not happen like this at all. Look as one may, it is quite unlikely one will find someone so easily.

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What do you find if you look closely??

Especially, I think, once such as me… Oh I know what you all must be thinking. But no, I really do not fit in the typical box in many respects. This goes for many aspects in my life and why I also have a limited circle of close friends too, often finding as people get to know me, they find me ‘too different’ to become near and dear.

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Always the squiggle surrounded by smooth shapes….

Mind you, I embrace this about myself! This off-beat, quirky part of me–but when it comes to meeting your average partner, well, yeah, not so much. I say this to you all there in my blogging community, because there are times that I wonder if I want to go through my whole life without sharing the love that I know I have inside me. Can I do it? Absolutely. But would it ever be possible to find that companion to share this crazy ride? It might be interesting at some point.

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Woo hoo….let’s celebrate together!!

Life is so random. Matching up with that other quirky/tolerant person is probably very unlikely. It’s like chasing butterflies hoping they will stop long enough to share their beauty with you. Ah and to feel the butterflies again….

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I have these butterflies at least….

Will it ever be so….???

 

Christmas 2015


As I lay in the heat of my tropical bed last night, listening for the jingling of Santa’s reindeer–I thought about how I just couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit this year. Not physically anyway. It just didn’t feel right somehow to drag what little I brought with me, and garnish my apartment, only to look out and see palm trees and feel 80 degree weather. Nope, does not compute as we used to say… The only thing that looks remotely “Christmas” are some cards sent to me that I did decide to put out.

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Christmas past

So I thought about what defined this particular holiday for me, especially since I’m not Christian. I certainly have celebrated it, along with the other teeming throngs of stressed-out Americans. So I started to make a list, a list of what was missing this year that made it feel all wrong and why I simply let it slip by instead:

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  • The mad wrapping of presents for my daughters, both as kids and when they were older, both with and without a husband.
  • My famous stocking stuffers, (which always included a whoopee cushion), each one wrapped and sometimes filled 3 stockings a piece.
  • A morning run or walk in the cold, maybe with snow–other neighbors bundled or shoveling.
  • Endless Christmas music in the stores.
  • Santa everywhere you went.
  • My friends.
  • Sending and receiving special gifts (money was tight this year).
  • Hearing The Messiah being performed.
  • Seeing The Nutcracker with my daughter.
  • Children everywhere.
  • The warmth of my home on a winter’s day.
  • Either a day off or filling in for someone with small kids.
  • The knowing that spring will eventually come.

These are some that were missing.

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My wonderful home

I went for my walk here on Christmas day. It was strangely quiet. I imagined everyone inside with their families. It made me think about this global thing that happens today. It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. Everyone, everywhere doing the same thing.

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Imagine if people could put that energy, the money spent, toward other things? Say even half of it. If there was a day, like Christmas, where the whole world concentrated on world hunger, or world peace, or global warming or violence against women or racism. If everyone took the energy they take preparing for this holiday, took the money they spend on it and put it towards one of these things…? What if….??

Do you think Jesus would mind?

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Defining Ourselves


As often happens, while I’m laying in bed, I have many thoughts about my life. Last night I was thinking about the whole paramedic fiasco and how over the last years my desire in staying in this career has dimmed. It surely did not happen overnight and there was no one thing that made it happen.

I had always told myself when I felt that way I would get out and now, over the next certification time frame, I must make a decision.
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But my thoughts went beyond my career in EMS. I thought about how hard it is to let go of something like being a paramedic not because it was a career and it was hard to get the certification, but mostly because it defined me as a person.

In a small community so many people knew me and I would bump into patients all the time; that or ex-coworkers, nurses or Doctors I had known from hospitals. I was always proud to say I was a paramedic. It was an honorable career, so to say goodbye to it is not easy.

It made me think of other parts of my life that made me me — parts that I had to also give up over the years. One huge part was my running. I started running when I was 21  to lose weight but immediately knew it filled some deep hole in my life. That addictive, busy, compulsive me had found an outlet. I became a very competitive runner quite late in my career and this was like a drug. I ran for many, many years.

But sadly my body couldn’t withstand what I put it through and it slowly began to deteriorate. At first I couldn’t believe it or admit it either. I ran on through debilitating and embarrassing neurological deficits. Finally after years of failure and downhill defeats, I had to finally admit I was a runner no more. It was crushing to me and my ego.

And the last thing in my life I had to learn to let go of was my picture of a life with a man. It was what I had always believed, thought, knew I would have for myself. It was, after all, what I wanted. Years went by, so did the husbands, then the boyfriends–and all failed. I tried everything I knew how: all the websites, changing myself, begging my friends, soul-searching, reading… Until finally years had gone by here too and I looked deep inside myself and saw something else. There was another picture hiding in me. I stood alone, happy, whole and complete. But it took years to accept this picture and to get others to believe me and let me be.
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Through the years we evolve. Do the things that happen to us that make us change who we are because we really  want them to or are they accidents? It’s hard to know if we can really control some or any of these things. As young people we seem to blunder head long into life with utter disregard with what effect it may have in the long run. But maybe it doesn’t really matter?

It can be very hard when something that made us who we were suddenly isn’t there anymore. We may feel we are not the same person anymore, but really we are I think. Because those parts of us are still there inside flowing within us.

The difference is that now they are waiting to be mixed with something new so we can become a brighter, bigger and better us.

In Mourning


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Feeling rather like this bud waiting to crack open, this new adventure feels more like it’s keeping me closed up than bursting with joy. I’ve been wrestling with why this would be so and I’m not sure I’ve gotten to the heart of it yet. Surely I know some of the reasons, but some are looming deep within me.

Any change for someone who is OCD can be challenging. Moving even the simplest of things can set me off into a sweat and frenzy, so moving a whole household has me awake at night with chest pain. I try to counter act this with dreaming of palm trees and a smaller home that will be easier to manage. But this is quickly overwhelmed by thoughts of tossing, sorting, packing, organizing and generally living in utter chaos for who knows how long. Ugh.

And there’s also the uncertainty of finding a buyer and being told how low I must sell my house. This only reminded me of my mistake of how much I paid for it, how much I invested in it and how many poor decisions I made. Yes, yes…I did have many years of happiness there and I loved my home. But all things being equal–it was a silly decision to move there.

But one of the most painful things for me is work and the betrayal I feel there. The countless years I put in, the co-workers I tried to help and how I feel it just wasn’t noticed. Even beyond that–people are glad to see me go in some back-handed way. I’m not dumb enough to think that everyone can be replaced. I’m just another paramedic. Another one will come and do the same job I did. It saddens me though that I did do special things for people, things that most wouldn’t have done. They will let you walk away like it’s all nothing. This is simply the way of the world now.

Of course I will be leaving countless friends and putting behind a life that didn’t pan out. And my two daughters that will be still here. And memories. It’s been a very hard 20 years here. Somehow it seems to be trying to purge itself from me like some parasite. While it’s wiggling its way out of me, I’m having a hard time seeing the greener grasses.

No doubt those days will come. As they come closer, as I have a closing date, as the boxes get packed and I pick a place to live and it all becomes real. But for now I feel pained. Hurting for all the missed connections, the friendships that should have been and failed, the marriage that ended, the career that brought so much disappointment, the men that came and went and the place that just never felt like home. I’m in mourning for these losses and look forward to when my grief will end and I can fully immerse myself in my future.