Poem: Resolutions


New year

less fears

in my personal sphere

But it’s not just me

for which I plea

save the earth, animals and the sea

Keep one prayer in your heart

to help the decay to depart

join the healing and do your part

Remember this earth is our Mother

I am your sister, you my brother

animals are kin dressed as other

This is the year to make it right

together let our power ignite

and cover the world with loving light

 

Advertisements

Poem: Globe Of Tears


20150519_074807

Like tear drops falling

Clinging sweetly to the vine

Fresh fallen water

IMG_20150519_113733

Caught upon a leaf

Or caught within my heartsong

Holes torn in fabric

IMG_20150519_113828

Sliding down my soul

You are gone like dewdrops

Evaporating

IMG_20150519_113943

Once two silver orbs

Alike reflecting life

But you fell from grace

IMG_20150519_114216

I’m left with the world

Trapped within my globe of tears

Alone sorry seared

Bleeding Hearts


20150518_075205

This week is National EMS Week (Emergency Medical Services). I’ve been an EMT/Paramedic for close to 20 years now. It’s been quite a ride, one where I may soon be stepping off of the proverbial bus as we like to call the ambulance.

We are called ‘ambulance drivers’, much to our displeasure–after all, we are much more than that really. Taking countless hours of classes to hopefully be able to perform some life saving procedure on anyone from  a neonate to  the elderly; waking up in the middle of the night during any kind of weather, even it’s just to comfort someone who is scared; dealing with every bodily fluid known to humankind; getting yelled at by your patient even when they were the one calling 911; and getting up again right after that tragic call you just went on and barely tucked away in the crevices of your bleeding heart.

Yes, we are ambulance drivers, but we are sometimes merely taxi drivers. We have been called heroes, we are furniture movers, we are psychologists, comedians, the grim reaper, teachers, advisors, friends, healers, weight lifters, engineers, actors, drug counselors and more. But what we are not is God.

We do what we can and it’s our job to help, but often people wait too long to call and expect miracles. These we can’t provide. And then we are only human, there to hold a hand, listen or cry right along.

For in the end, your emergency becomes our emergency, but we must remain calm. You must never know if we feel fear for you would lose hope. So we tuck our fear, our sadness and our insecurities away for another day, so when the call comes, we answer and give it all we’ve got.

So here’s to all the EMT’s out there! Thanks for all you do, your courage, devotion and hard work. It can be a thankless job, but we love it none-the-less. We love it for those tiny moments where someone looks you in the eye and says: thanks for helping me, or where you know you really made a difference in someone’s life. That’s the true payback.

Here is a poem I wrote today for my colleagues:

We may not all always get along

And we may not always see eye to eye

But when the tires hit the road

And our patients are in need

We put it all aside

Pool our knowledge

Use our skills

And do our best to heal

It can be a thankless job

Or it can be the greatest gift

We are never alone

Our partners have our backs

When we need it most

So when you’re tired and beat

Discouraged and sad

Just remember:

Tomorrow is another day

The day when you will help a crying baby

Sooth a son after the death of his Mom

Help someone breathe a little easier

Actually save a life

Because that’s what we do

Together

Day and night

Sister and brothers

In the back of our special bus

Those That Love You Anyway


Sometimes some of us are searching for things in life. We may not even realize for many years what we are searching for until we get to be adults. But as even as we twist through life, there are choices that are continually made in our lives that seem to follow a theme. And these choices or paths that appear to have the same scenery or types of players, all seem to add up to the fact there must be something particular we are seeking. Something that is either missing or that we are yearning to have as part of our story.

This really has become very clear to me within the last year or so. As an abandoned child, subsequently adopted into a caring home, a sense of belonging to a loving family always seemed to allude me. While my home was not a bad one, it did lack siblings and somehow it did seem to be missing some sort of closeness or deep sense of familial bonding.

With that sense of loss or lack, it felt like so many of my decisions or choices were based on this illusive desire to fill a deep, dark and empty space within my being. It’s not something I was always consciously aware of actually, although at times I did think about it openly. Like when I would meet a new potential boyfriend and would wonder if he had a big family and if they would end up ‘loving’ me.

It went beyond just the men I met, because they didn’t provide enough of the soil to fill this hole. Everyone is supposed to have a spouse when they grow up and move out. But I was still looking for that jump off point, the family to move out from and the people who would always be there if I needed them.

Everyone surrounding me seemed to have these extended families they had parties with and were going to their weddings, or on vacations with relatives. In my younger years, we did share time with my adopted family, but somehow I always felt the outsider. I’m not sure why–it was nothing tangible and everyone was good to me. And yet, my heart still felt lonely as I grew up.

With my second husband, I was about 25 when there was an emergency situation where his younger sister and brother had to come live with us. They were 11 and 9 at the time respectively. Our marriage was a strained one; we were young, he drank and we fought a lot. But these kids were in trouble and it was us or foster care so the decision was easy.

They lived with us for a number of years until the marriage was under such a strain that I simply had to leave. It was one of the hardest choices I ever had to make–not because of my husband, but because of them.

It is now many, many years later. His sister and I had only a bit of time where we weren’t in touch and this was due to some circumstances she could not control. Luckily, she now has her life back, and we have our wonderful relationship back. Except for the blip, we’ve always been close. Like sisters.

What I have come to realize about it all is this: what I was meant to have from that marriage was my relationship with her (and now her brother again too). She is not only my best friend and confidant, but the sister I never had (and always wanted). In fact, I’m not even sure having children has filled the gap in my life that she has filled. Maybe that will change as they get older, but for now, she gives me more than anyone has so far.

And recently, when I saw her brother and we reconnected, he has told me how much I influenced his life in many ways. It was amazing to hear since it was just a few years we lived together. She and I discussed it last night and I told her that I was so surprised. That’s when she said that she felt the same way. I simply broke down and cried. Because it hit me right then that this was the family I had always been searching for and yet, it was right there in front of me.

These two people cared about me and understood that the 25-year-old me simply did what I believed to be was right and taught them best I could. Now they say it was the foundation of a belief system based on strong ethics and compassion they carry with them in life. It’s one of the highest compliment I could possibly be paid.

Realizing after 58 years that family can surround you sometimes unknowingly and without really looking. And it slips into your heart through laughter, realizations, tears, years, pain, resurfacing, resurrection, mistakes and many, many conversations. It’s not always about genes or adoption papers or Aunts or Uncles. Sometimes it’s just about those that understand and accept you at a level like no-one else ever will and love you anyway.

Symbiotic Tie


best friend

 

I saw this today as I was thinking of my blog post and googling ‘protection’. Yup, it seemed about right, although I’m usually non-violent. But recently my best friend (and chosen sister) and I have been each going through some hard things. We each have our allotted time to speak about our stuff to each other: first one, then the other. It’s obvious who is the person speaking, because they are often sad, upset, cranky or even depressed. The issues that run in our lives are not usually new, and we seem to loop around them quite frequently with each other.

They are no different from anyone else’s issues: work and co-workers, ex’s, other ‘friendships’ or our own complicated journey on this planet. The interesting thing is that even though the speaker may be down and sad while telling their tale of woe, the minute the other one begins to share, demeanor changes–for both of us. Somehow, for the initial person, she can gather strength, resolve, anger (if appropriate) and energy to deal head on with the second person’s dilemma. Her issue becomes secondary for a bit.

It’s quite an interesting phenomena to witness and participate in and happens almost without fail. Certainly there are times that one person’s troubles are too grave to bring your own to the table, but this is usually sensed and obvious. But for the most part, it’s give and take–she has my back, I have hers. And for me, having no blood sister or brothers, this is such a comfort.

When I am feeling broken, lost, confused or just needing someone to stand up for me–it’s good to know I have someone who will puff up, get on her warrior gear and go to battle. If something happens to me, she knows the stories and will be there to pick up the pieces and give the proper people a piece of her mind…and Goddess help them!

So not only do we help each other by being there for one another, but by virtue of this special bond and fierce protective nature of our friendship, we naturally come out of our own funks when we listen (and therefore prepare to help) to the other person’s story. It’s the symbiotic tie that holds us together.

Hopefully this bond will never be put to the test in a physical sense by anyone because we are like Mama bears. Words may be enough to scare anyone away. Don’t mess with us! Because two of us together are like vinegar and baking soda–we’re going to fizz up and boil over and anyone trying to get in our way will be left empty.

Fabric Of Our Memories


‘Family’ gatherings can bring anxiety or joy depending on how we decide to approach them, who shows up and who we may consider family. Yesterday I drove to Connecticut, out of my state of residence, to participate in a gathering of my ‘ex’ family shall we say. It was my second ex-husband’s family, many of whom I had not seen for years.

I’ve stayed in touch with their stories because his sister is my best friend. And it’s an unusual story, because his sister and brother came to live with us many years ago as young children (as did his son). So they all were a very vital part of my young life.

But just as important, was their role in my life as an only child–and only adopted child, one that often struggled with fitting in to any sort of familial setting. Even within my own adopted family of cousins, I had always felt like an outsider, although as a child I had seen them fairly regularly.

This motley group though, is a rather rag-tag bunch with varied colored skin and personalities differing like snowflakes viewed under a microscope–each one uniquely different, but brilliantly beautiful. Years ago, when I was younger and less tuned in, I had always felt cared for by them, but yesterday that love came through like a comet blasting across the sky.

They all came yesterday to the party hosted by my ex-sister in law (and best friend), but truly my sister (and her daughter). She has now taken the role of matriarch, glue, cook, holiday hostess and bridge builder. It was my ex-step son, now a grown man, with his most wonderful girl friend; my now tall and handsome ex-brother in law; my ex-other-sister in law and her sweet husband and her now grown daughter. And, finally, The Ex himself…and his son from a marriage after the one to me.

It was all miraculous! Of course we were all older. But the memories and the laughs were amazing. The kids remembered stories that split my sides. My ex had come despite a broken collarbone from a recent bicycle accident. He and I got teased mercilessly for all the things we did then, but it was all in good fun. And I gave a few back myself.

And tender words were spoken too. Words of thanks: my ex-brother in law thanked me for all I taught him in the time he lived with me (I did?) and how I had shaped his life and how he now treats others! I cried and was so moved. I was only in my 20’s then and had no idea what I was doing. And my ex had been struggling with whether he had really loved me then or if it was only infatuation. But the next morning he assured me he was indeed in love with me then. And if you all knew him, this was a big admission. And his son said: was she always this funny? Which I thought was sweet considering this could have been such an awkward situation for a young man meeting his father’s ex-wife (his mom died from cancer some years ago).

So I drove home in nutty bumper to bumper traffic feeling totally blessed. Feeling like I’ve moved up a notch in my self-realization. We don’t always measure family by blood I suppose, or by the same color skin. Sometimes it’s simply by the depth of our hearts or the fabric of our memories. And when our hearts weave those memories into a great pattern of sweet, dear love then you know you are truly home.

Time Travel


Not too many of us get to travel back in time.  All the quotes say: live for today, forget about the past, don’t think about the future. Blah blah. But there can be something said about revisiting the past. About taking a peek down memory lane or even a good long walk, or better yet staring it right in the face.

This is exactly what I did the other night when I met with my ex-husband (well one of them) at a local restaurant. He was in town (living in a different state) visiting a son in college. Now, I have to add, this isn’t so odd because his sister and I are still very close after 30 years or so. She came to live with us as a child, along with her brother. So there is still this partial connection to him, and we do occasionally communicate. But I have not seen him in many, many years.

We both had remarried. I have been divorced again, and his wife sadly died of cancer. There were many years of no communication between us while we were both otherwise engaged in our other lives. But for me, at least, he remained somewhere on my radar screen I suppose.

One day a few years ago, as I was putting away Christmas decorations, I found a letter he wrote as we were in the process of divorcing. It was very old–probably close to 25 years. It was on New Year’s Day that I found it. His number was easy to google, so I called it and left a message. I didn’t hear back…right away. But eventually did, and this was what officially started our conversations.

They have been sporadic over the years, but his sister is our bridge, so I keep informed.

So recently, when he suggested meeting, I was fairly stunned. I never expected it, but welcomed it. As part of my whole self exploration/healing path, it seemed like another piece in the puzzle.

Of course it was fairly awkward for us both, and we looked A LOT older! But as the course of the evening wore on, it felt pretty comfortable. Funny how easy it is to lapse back into patterns, or at least notice them. The discussions we had were interesting, cleansing, weird and normal all at the same time. It was an odd little dance.

It’s like a mirror to see how much I’ve changed, who I am now, who I was then and to say I’m sorry for the dumb things I did (there were plenty of those). It was also good to hear him articulate his mistakes (whoa!). How often are we blessed with that gift? Yes, it truly was a very empowering evening.

I’m not sure where it takes us from here. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are all slated to be together again. It seems it’ll all be fine. That feels pretty good to me. It’s another rung on that ladder of life where you know you are taking the right step. That blast from the past sets me clearly in today and helps me to feel that while I am surely much older, I’ve gained some wisdom along the way.

Building Something Better


Recently I’ve been communicating with my second ex-husband via emails. It’s helped me look at the past, myself and some fond and not so fond memories. We have reconnected in a bigger way recently because of my sister-in-law, his sister.

His sister and I have always been very close, even though I was divorced in 1986. She came to live with us when she was 11 years old–many, many years ago. Because of this, I played multiple roles in her life: mother, sister and friend. She was young, but so was I really–only in my 20’s. My relationship with her brother was volatile, but my relationship with her (and her younger brother, who also lived with us), was magical. To me, that was the relationship that was meant to blossom from my marriage.

She and her daughter hit a rough patch in their lives as of late. We talk a lot, as women do. She is now a grown woman–a wonderful woman actually, and her daughter is about her age when I first met her. So these conversations around what’s going on actually opened up dialogue with my ex.

It’s been so interesting and extremely cathartic! For both he and I actually. I did contact him myself a few years ago just to see what was up. He lost his third wife to cancer sadly a number of years ago.  We had a good talk then too, so I knew he would be receptive now.

During our married years, while we had many amazing moments, we also had moments of deep despair and fighting. This was the roller coaster we continually rode. He drank too much and I was very needy. We both had our demons, and were both young enough not to recognize them for what they were.

But life has played out for both of us, each of us marrying again. He lost his wife and I divorced my husband. We both had kids. I wanted children with him, but he didn’t at the time. It broke my heart. I loved him dearly, but somehow we could never seem to be on the same track at the same time.

I admired him, looked up to him, got so incredibly angry at him, found him attractive, was embarrassed by him, was proud of him and confused constantly by him. But ultimately the love I had for him could not outweigh the pain I felt because I knew it wasn’t returned.

In speaking with him now, so much is being revealed! We are being very honest and open about the past. It’s hard to speak and hear some of things, but it’s also very freeing. We’re not sure why we are doing it, but we both agree it feels good. We also both are sorry for the mean things we did and that happened, and are able to recall the good stuff. And we’re both old enough (I hope he is), to forgive ourselves.

Once again I am admiring him for the man he has become! For him to say he is sorry for the pain he caused me was something that meant so much. It was probably one of the most heartfelt things a man ever said to me. More than saying: I love you. It made me cry when I read it.

So where it will go from here, I have no idea. But I know I feel a peace I haven’t felt in a while. Sometimes I feel regret, but I know, as he said, you can’t go back. But hopefully we can go forward, and maybe take the good we had with us and build something better.

National Adoption Month-Post 5: The Sisters


I had always known I wanted one birth child and one adopted child, but what I hadn’t counted on was getting pregnant immediately after my adopted daughter came to live with us as a foster child. She was far from being adopted at that time. It wasn’t even on the radar screen as those things are never a sure thing. So I had a three-year old, two-year old and was pregnant. Joy of joys! And the two-year old had no sense of much of anything: right or wrong, who was mommy, how to talk or potty training. Yup, it was quite the challenge. Not to mention, she was medically and mentally challenged also.

Then along comes a baby and then there were three–and all girls! Goodness help me! Thankfully I had a good support system of female friends having no siblings and a mother that lived far away. They were trying times to say the least. Plus we had a tiny farm and lived in Upstate New York and had brutal winters to face.

My oldest daughter had been my constant companion prior to this Tasmanian two-year old waltzing into our lives. Suddenly her life changed drastically. I’m not sure I had completely thought this through prior to taking this task on. I just figured I would be teaching my birth child that we do the right thing and reach out. But really, that was what I wanted to do and she just got dragged along for the ride. In retrospect, that might not have been very fair to her.

Over the years their relationship never really blossomed very well. This was probably in part due to me/us and our inability to see the disconnect. And the difficulties we faced with our adopted daughter. Time was simply spent just taking care of her needs rather than trying to blend the family, something that turned out to be a grave mistake in the long run.

Her youngest sister jived with her a tiny bit better as she came after and didn’t feel the disruption. Her older adopted sister was already there so part of the family that she entered into. But as the years passed, the two birth sisters bonded much more closely. That was obvious and painful for the middle sister. She was most definitely the odd one out. And this hurt my soul too. Because here the good thing I thought I would be doing for her, and teaching my birth kids, simply had backfired. My guilt was rampant.

Everyone would always praise how wonderful I was for adopting her, but all I could feel was that another family would have done better and made her feel more loved.  That our family often made her feel left out and alienated. It made me  sad to see her so hurt. And having no siblings myself I knew how she must have felt. She did have a half-brother adopted by another family that we kept in touch with, but they communicated rarely. My daughter would cling onto those encounters hungrily.

They are all much older now and finding their own ways. The oldest and youngest have recently experimented living together far from home and it didn’t quite work the way they had hoped. My adopted daughter lives near me. My youngest is due to come back nearer to home. Only my oldest doesn’t seem to feel we should all try harder to be closer emotionally and try harder than we have in the past with one another. As we all get older, the rest of us see the value of family more and more. Blood or no, they are sisters and I am their mom. I know my middle daughter needs them and would treasure their love and attention more than anything. And I hope someday they will dig deep and be the people I had hoped they would be when I first had the notion to bring my adopted daughter into our home.