Tag Archives: parents

Death and Getting the Most Out of Life

Yesterday, my husband and I went to visit my Grandfather in the hospital. He is 92 and he is most likely dying. He has been in and out of the hospital a lot this year. Usually after a day or two he is back at his assisted living home. The previous time, it was determined that he was not well enough to go back to Harmony Hall (the assisted living) and had to move to Lorien (a near by nursing home).
When he was in the hospital that time, he came in at 165 pounds. His doctor was incredibly worried about his weight and stressed how important it was that he not loose any more weig. He is at 130 now, normal for him is about 210. Appatently no food is getting into his stomach, it is all getting into his lungs. He is beginning to refuse treatment, and it seems inevitable that the end is near for him.
As he lay in his hospital bed asleep yesterday, I was struck by how much he reminded me of my father. My grandfather, who is my mother’s father, is a mere she’ll of his former self, just as my father was before he died. Of course one glaring difference is that my granddad is 92 while my dad was 42.
I am trying to clebrate his life instead of only mourning his death. When I think back on his remarkable life, I am struck by just how much a person can accomplish in a lifetime. He served in WWII as a marine where he received, not one but two Purple Hearts. He moved on to the CIA where he worked directly under J. Edgar Hoover and the first George Bush. Hell, he even bought a car from George Bush and had to go back over to their house to get Barbra to sign the title over because George forgot to. He was interviewed to have his life story documented for the Library of Congress. Him and my grandmother (who was a premier cryptologist in WWII) raised 7 kids (an eighth died at the age of six months) while traveling all around the world, living in Germany, Japan, France, Spain and other places.
The stories he has, my mother has, my aunts and uncles have, my grandmother had from living all over the world could create the most extravagant movie. His life is truly inspiring.
I look at all that he has done, and I realize how little I have done. I have stressed and spoken before of how much I fear death and how I feel like I am starting my life so very late. I ruined so much potential I have, and now at 30 I am starting fresh. I am just now, finally doing something in a field that I am passionate about. I am at a base position, but I am good at it and I like it. I get compliments. I hope that I can use this has a jumping point to launch my career in makeup and cosmetics. To me, makeup is more than a fun little pastime or accessory- it is my passion.
As I sit here with tears welling up in my eyes thinking of losing my beloved Granddad, I realize how profoundly honored I am to have even met such a remarkable and one in a trillion man. He has taught me so very much. Watching him take care of my grandmother after she had a stroke that paralyzed half of her body, and seeing how devoted he was to her up until her death showed me what true love really is.
Grandad, I am praying everyday that you are able to pull through this as you have done every other time, but if not, I can honestly say that anyone who was ever able to meet you was blessed. I love you and will miss you terribly.

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We Are Not the Same, I am a Martian

 

“Bitch, I’m a motherfucking Martian/ I’m a goddamn zombie.” – ‘Martians vs. Goblins’ by The Game

Last night, I was  practicing spooky Halloween looks on myself and my children. I found a makeup academy that I will likely enroll in once the new year hits, and I have been learning and practicing all sorts of makeup tricks. I have only been working on practical makeup applications however. If I one day want to be a makeup artist, I need to know how to do special effects makeup. So, I traveled to Walgreens and bought a Halloween makeup kit and got to work.

I was trying to think of what looks to do, what would be something scary for me and/or my husband to be when we take our children trick-or-treating tonight. I am also doing my kids makeup. My son is a Swamp Creature, so he gets creepy makeup, but my daughter is (one of the millions) Elsa, so she is getting very pretty, soft makeup.  Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps the scariest thing that I could do woul

What is more terrifying - a zombie apocalypse or realizing that you or your kids could become addicts?
What is more terrifying – a zombie apocalypse or realizing that you or your kids could become addicts?

d be to accentuate my track marks and scars, and go as a junkie. Too be even more terrifying, I could dress up as a lawyer or a doctor and have a needle in my arm.

Even though there are literally millions of people in America struggling with substance abuse, it is still terrifying for people to think that any of those people could be in their neighborhood or even,a God forbid, in their family. Still, in 2014, we as addicts are forced to remain in the shadows, to keep our struggles silent for fear of retribution and ostracism.

My own mother, who has two daughter who are addicts, often remarks about how shocked she is to see certain people at my methadone clinic whenever she gives me rides. “That person is so old, what are they doing here?”, or, “That person is a (fill in doctor, nurse, UPS driver, person in an expensive suit), where they using heroin too?” I always tell her that first off, a person theoretically could have never used heroin a day in their life, but still very much need the assistance of a methadone clinic. Nowadays, the prescription pill addiction problem is at epidemic proportions. So many doctors hand out prescriptions for Percocet, OxyCotin, Vicodin, or what have you like they are giving out Advil. They don’t even usually ask or try to find out if the person has a history of substance abuse. The thing is, though, that if a person takes any opioids for a long enough period of time, they WILL become addicted. It is just a fact. Now if you are not pre-dispositioned to addiction (I.e. one or both of your parents, or grandparents were addicts), or if you have never previously been physically addicted to anything (thus forever altering your brain chemistry), then it will take you longer to become addicted, but you will eventually.

See, despite what a lot of people want to say or think about people who struggle with the living hell that is substance abuse, is that it is not simple a matter of will power. These are very powerful drugs.the fact is that taken for a long enough period of time, your brain and body will NEED them to simply function at all.

I actually don’t have a problem with doctors giving people these medications if they truly need them. Some people are going to be on these meds for the rest of lives due to chronic pain, so dependence is not really an issue. The problem comes for the people for whom the doctors decide after six months r however long, that they are no longer in need of these pain pill, that their pain should be manageable with over the counter medications and home remedies. I find it incredibly irresponsible to just one day, after months and moths of giving a person powerfully addictive medicines, to say, “No more for you!”

I wish there was some sort of law where doctors were forced to give patients a prescription for suboxone or methadone for a very brief period (decreasing the dose daily as to not trade addictions), or ween them off of the pain pills slowly once they determine that the need for these medications with regards to the patient’s pain level is not there any longer. They should also probably make, or strongly recommend that the person attend NA meetings, or they should at least make them take some sort if class on addiction and the brain.

Patients who have no history of addiction in themselves or in their family will not think they need any of this. The problem is that more than likely, they have never gone a day or two without taking any of these pills since having their script, so they do not know that they are addicted. A lot of these people find out the hard way that they are addicted and turn to illegally buying what they previously prescribed. Now they are “junkies” and “worthless”. Funny how that works. Some of these people end up at the methadone clinic.

I also try to explain to my mother, and to others, that if I have learned one thing from my years of waiting in lines to cop, is you never know who you will see in the hole. Addiction does care about class, race, gender, socio-economic status, or your job, it hits all walks of life. It can sink it’s claws into a millionaire as easily as a homeless person.

I think that that is the aspect of addiction that is so petrifying to people, especially wealth, educated, WASP sort of people. A lot of people that are outside of the “ghetto” feel safe and comfortable believing that addiction stays within the confines of the projects, that it does not venture into the suburbs. Seeing a middle or upper class business person as a drug addict is scary because it means that they are not safe. It is almost like holding up a mirror, but it is reflecting back a version of themselves if they got into a car accident a need a script for pain pills. It is almost their life. It is easy for people to ignore what they perceive as far away from their own lives. Maybe this is why we as addicts are shunned so much. People do not want to look closely enough to see that we are no different from them.

Slippin

DMX “A yo/ I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’/ I can’t get up/ I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’/ I can’t get up/ I’m slippin’, fallin’/ I gots to get up/ Get back on my feet/ So I can tear shit up,” -Slippin’ by DMX

Last night I was laying in bed watching YouTube makeup tutorials (as I often do before bed), when all of the sudden a wave of dense, black complete and utter sadness washed over me. It was a feeling that I am unfortunately all to accustomed to. “Here we go again,” I thought.

For some strange reason, I was hit with this fear of death. This happens to me every so often.  After my dad died, I went through a stage of severe depression that was directly linked to an intense fear of dying. This lasted for a few months. Months of feeling like literally nothing was worth doing because I was just going to die one day anyway. Ever since then, every once in a while, I will be almost end teleported back to that time in my life. It is a mix of fearing dying too young, wondering what is the point in anything, being saddened by how incredibly short life is, and worrying that I will not accomplish anything significant during my short time on Earth.

I turned 30 a few months ago. I have been having an almost mid-mid life crisis. I worry that I wasted my youth, my twenties, and that I am starting my life so late that I will not ever accomplish anything worthwhile. I live a rather closed off life. I trust very, very few people. On top of that, I have had to distance myself from a great deal of the friends that I hung out with for the last almost decade because they were my “get high buddies”. I often feel like Gatsby, where if I die, virtually no one will realize or care. It will be one of those situations where someone casually mentions, “Hey, remember that girl that we went to high school with(or worked with, or whatever)? She died a few months ago”. “Oh, that’s sad”. Followed by the people going back to whatever conversation that they were previously involved in.  The ironic thing is that while I am fearful of a funeral that is attended by three or so people, it is I who pushes everyone away.mi have just been hurt and fucked over far too many times. It is easier to be alone than to be hurt.

I feel like I am in a race. Against time, against the world, against my inner daemons.  Once I get pushed into the race and the gun goes off, I do not have the option to quit. I wish it were that easy. The race is not a fair one, either. It is not on a flat, even surface. I am at the bottom of a deep hole. I have to somehow make it to the top, but the surface is smooth, there is nothing for me to grab ahold of to climb up. It is not as if there is someone there to throw me a life-line, and honestly, I don’t think that anyone would take the time to throw me a rope even if they could.

To a person who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced chronic and severe depression, what I am saying probably makes very little sense. The thing that I find that people have such a hard time understanding is that there , doesn’t have to be something major to drop me to the bottom of the well, or the rabbit hole as I tend to call it. There can be, but there doesn’t have to be.

For example, we recently found out that my mother-in-law has cancer in both her lungs and ovaries. My father died of lung cancer in 1996, and I sat on the sofa with him and watched him die. Hearing this news, especially since she is truly a second mother to me, brought back floods of images of my father’s painful death. The good news is that they caught the cancer in the very early stages, very unlike my father. She will not have to go through the chemo like my dad. I watched the chemo take a strong, healthy 250 pond man who hunted, fished, did construction for a living wither away to around 160 pounds, unable to walk, talk. A man who was on so many medications that he was incoherent, hallucinating all the time. They did not catch his cancer early, at all. He had been having bronchitis every winter for three or four winter in a row. Then the fifth winter they did an x-ray and discovered that one of his lungs was collapsed and that he had advanced lung cancer. My mother in law’s situation is vastly different. The cancer is small enough that they can remove it, also she doesn’t need her ovaries, so they probably will go in and take out the ovaries entirely. She is going to be fine, I have been praying nightly.

I don’t know if it was this news, or that we are headed into winter, or the fact that my husband was laid off, but I am desperate to try to get out of this tailspin before I am entirely consumed by blackness. I don’t really know why I am writing about this. Part of me just needs to write what I am unable to vocalize. Maybe part of it is that I feel that you are only as sick as what you hold inside. Also, just like with addiction, talking about depression helps to de-stigmatize it. Hopefully someone will read this and know that they are not alone.  I have been this way before, and I have survived.

What is it that I need? Someone to care, perhaps? Will that make a difference? I need to not feel like an insignificant piece of nothing for some amount of time. Even if it is brief, maybe it will be enough to give me hope that I may be normal at some point. Here’s to hope, I supose.

Daughter

You are a perfect reflection
A younger me
Innocent and unblemished
And looking at you
I feel so sad
Yet so full of hope
When I see you
I see myself
Before I was robbed of all my purity
I’m so sorry
But you remind me
Remind me of all the pain
Everything that I tried so hard to forget
Pain that no child should endure
Praying at night
Please don’t pay for my sins
I’ve endured enough pain
For both of our lives
I will sacrifice myself
For you to be eternally happy
So beautiful
So young are you
Unfairly trapped
Looking just like me
I live this pain
I hope that you never feel it

Alone and Miserable – By My Own Choosing

“I wake up and feel empty/ Shit make you wanna squeeze a glock till it’s empty/ I’m already standing on the edge so don’t tempt me/ Fake Motherfuckers Envy” – Young Jeezy “F.A.M.E.

This is the chorus from a song by one of my favorite rappers, Young Jeezy, but the sentiment could have been plucked straight from inside my brain. I wake up feeling alone and empty daily. I feel this because I am alone.

I have my husband, who is great, and my two kids, who I live for. But friends, not so much. Especiallynnow that I am sober. Every rehab, NA group councelor instructs you to change your “people, places, and things” when you get sober. That knocks most of my “friends” out. Actually, councelors always try to blame my using on my husband. Either it is his fault or at the very least since we use together, we will never stay clean together. This general feeling that we will fail is so overwhelmingly prevalent that I now don’t even mention that my husband ever got high with me. He does the same. I have been proven time and time agin that we are soul mates, so fuck everyone else.

When we first got clean, it was in jail. I came home and he stayed locked up for another ten months. I told him later how terrified that we would have nothing in common except our daughter when we were both clean. We had to learn again why we love each other.

But back to my lack of friends. This issue didn’t start with my addiction, but that pushed it to an extreme. When it comes to people, I am like a spectator watching my self. I can see myself pushing everyone who ever tries to get close to me away, but I continue to do it. People will only trt but for so long. Eventually they just give up.

I don’t know if these actions started with the death of my father’s death, but that certainly didn’t help. No matter how you cut it, he left me. I was an all out daddy’s girl and he was cruelly ripped from my tenacious grip. I was not even remotely prepared for his death. I was kept in the dark, given no time to brace for the profound impact that this would have on my life. I was a pre-pubescent eleven year old with no father to guide me.

My poor mother was so concerned with the fact that my sister and I were now sans father that she decided to be our friend. She tried so hard, but she never took time to get herself well. She had two kids and bills that required her to work long hours to pay. She wanted us to like her, to think she was cool. But I would have loved her no matter what, she was all I had. I needed a mother, not a friend.

Shortly after my father’s death, I was swiftly and viciously betrayed by all but one of my friends. They decided that I thought that I was better than the because of the many shopping excursions that my mother took my sister and I on.

I was so hurt, so forsaken. I developed an eating disorder and body image issues that have haunted the darkest depths of my mind ever since. I hqd quickly learned that you can not and should not expect for anyone to ever be there for you.

Eventually in high school I became close to a boy. It was such a relief. I could tell him things. Everything. He had been molested too, so I could open up about the pain that I had suffered in silence my whole life. I told him what it was like to watch the life leave my father’s eyes.

Then he raped me. I was broken beyond repair. I learned my lesson. I would not let that happen again. I shut myself off from everyone. I released my pain by playing guitar and singing Hole at the top of my lungs. As for people, I was done.

These actions by others and myself lead to crippling self-doubt and self-hatred. How could anyone else honestly love me when I hated myself so fucking much? I could not, would not believe that anyone would honestly want to be my friend. It must be some sort of cruel trick to make me feel accepted and then to crush my soul. I have been married for nine years and I very often find myself questioning if he really loves me. And if he does, why?

When people would call to invite me out, I usually declined. Oddly, I would have so much fun being out with girlfriends, but I would shut them off. Yeah just girls oddly. I would party with lots of guys. (No, not fucking all of them either. I can count on my ten fingers the number of people I have fucked and not even use up all ten fingers.) There was no real emotional connection with the guys, so I would not be hurt if they left.

Women’s relationships with one another is on a much deeper level. When they betray you, it hurts you in a very unique fashion. It is all the more painful because you feel silly being so upset. You aren’t in love so why be so upset? It’s because in a way you are in love. You trust them to be there when your lovers fail you. to hold you up no matter what. When they screw you over for petty social rankings, it cuts in a way no romantic conquest ever could.

I had been hurt to many times over. Aside from my husband, kids, mother, and sister, I am close to no one. I have a very small support system. So I sit here alone, wishing I had girlfriends to go shopping with, grab a drink with. I didn’t even have anyone to throw me a baby shower. I remember being pregnant with my second child, my son, and crying over and over. Fearing that I wasn’t going to be ready because I didn’t have enough boy stuff. Really, it hit me how little people cared about me. There was not one person who would throw me a baby shower. Most of my extended family has deserted me too. Nothing like a miracle to let you know how little people care about you. I was hit with the overwhelming feeling that no one would care, would even notice if I died.

I can not say that I really blame people. People used to try. I always came up with excuses last minute to not go out. I would end up just sitting at home, alone. People have other friends, fun ones who want to go out. They give up.

As I sit here, alone, curled up in my oversized leather chair, I can clearly articulate this issue to you. The problem is that this is not some new revelation, some awakening that I came to due to the exercise of purging my soul through writing. I have known this. It is almost a compulsion that I am unable to control.

I am more than well aware that unless I let people into my inner-sanctum, I will be alone. The question remains, can I open up enough to let anyone get close even if it opens up the risk of getting hurt? Is being alone and safe better than having friends and fun with the plausibility – be it great or small – of being burned? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, but I do know that being alone is not fun. I need to try to let some outsiders in to my heart. Here’s hoping that I can manage it.