Friday, December 26, 2008

perfectly normal

Yes, my test results were "perfectly normal" so no haunting memories of a sordid past are going to come back (as of now) and rip my life from me.

And, I spoke with the Shaman and my soul parts, although not yet integrated, have not left. They do not just pick up and leave but I need to work at integrating them -- differently than I have. Christina (the Shaman) told me something interesting and a little surprising. I have a gift - a vast spiritual center [she actually said that many of her clients have spiritual centers that would fit in a teacup...mine? a football field.] that is just waiting for me to tap into but I lack the tools to access it. I don't journey; I don't do visualizations; I don't meditate. She strongly suggests I attend one her student's journeying classes in the city. A little inconvenient to get to [I'm not a city girl] but the price is right ($10). I think I may have to work with meditation.

We had a family reunion of sorts in my mother's town. All five of us [siblings] came, three with spouses [not me] and several grandchildren [all three of mine] plus two great-grandchildren. Us sibs have not all been together for a decade, I'm sure. And the last time four of us were together with for a few hours, at most. This time it was for a weekend and it was quite the exhausting couple of days. Although I had a pleasant time, I was happy to get back home to a little calm and quiet.

How did I survive? Well, I did get some tips from Dr. B on how not to slip back into those oh-too-familiar familial roles and how to diffuse any childhood memories and emotions that might erupt. Therapy, you see, has me feeling extremely angry at the people in my past, particularly, almost exclusively, mom and dad. So, here I was at the family reunion posing for photo opps with the "original seven" - mom, dad, and the five siblings. My sister and I looked pained in the pictures; my brothers, not so much.

I did survive my weekend but in honesty, I did not have any time to process the swirl of emotions that engulfed me. I engaged my protective shield and remained on guard throughout my visit. I stayed present and worked quite hard at not letting myself slip back into the emotional nightmares of my childhood. I am sure I was somewhat detached but I was aware of what I was doing and it allowed me to cope with everything.

It's now post-Christmas and I survived.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't think I'm ready to die

I'm anxious. I called my doctor for my annual blood work results and the nurse told me I needed to come back in for another LFT and hepatitis panel. Okay, it's probably nothing but I did have hepatitis B way back when and have been having LFT's for almost the last four decades. It's always been normal. But today it makes me nervous.

It's the connection to my past. It's the reason I caught hepatitis. It's the energy that connected us - me, hepatitis, my friend I contracted it from, her scuzzy boyfriend who infected her. But that was her life, not mine. We gave her a place to live and she thanked me with a fierce bout of jaundice and irreversible liver damage. She wanted to hurt her strict Catholic parents by dating the slimiest, low-life black man she could find. And to make matters the worse possible, he was a heroin addict.

She's dead now six years after a long, grueling battle with a cancer that started in her breasts. I didn't recognize her in the coffin - she wasn't at peace; she was swollen and disfigured from all the treatments and medication. She looked pained, even more so in death.

I'm not ready to get sick and die. I feel as though I am finally beginning to really live my life, as a whole being, with [at long last] an opportunity to feel joy in my life. I don't want to die yet. But I won't...at least not from liver-related disease or cancer. That was Ellen's karma, not mine.

As the LOML was holding me in his arms for our final embrace of the evening, he spoke with tears in his voice, "why does life have to be so hard?"

I don't know why. I don't think it always is.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It was an idyllic childhood...

with the normal bumps and bruises for a rambunctious family of 5 children and numerous pets living in the suburbs. I always believed that. We were read bedtime stories, had family dinners nightly, took summer vacations every year, celebrated birthdays with scavenger hunts, and had Christmas trees that overflowed with presents. So what went wrong? That is the question that I have been trying to answer.

How is that all five children of that household suffered untold and unimaginable injuries.

I close my eyes and imagine five smiling kids racing up and down the stairs, screeching and giggling, with the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies wafting from the kitchen.  My mom looking like a dark-haired Donna Reed smiling radiantly and clad in a freshly ironed apron over her pastel seersucker shirtwaist dress. And Dad? Oh, he's outside in the driveway giving our adorable dog a bath with the hose. Life is sweet.

Reality isn't.

My father had the dog killed because he shit on the neighbor's porch and they complained. He was our dog and in an angry tirade my dad had him euthanized. Euthanized is too tender a term to be used in this case -- my father wanted a perfectly healthy, young dog loved by his family dead. He wasn't sick or old. He was annoying and worthy of an early death [according to dad's demented mind]. We came home from vacation to an empty house.  My mother wasn't happy but she was used to this rabid behavior.

I close my eyes and there are the five of us hanging out on the porch of our 150 year old house, young tanned legs and arms draped over the railing, laughing, peering through the glass doors spying on the adults still talking around the dining room table. We're gulping down ice cold lemonade on a hot summer evening while our parents and grandparents are enthusiastically engaged in a spirited conversation fueled by a few more cocktails. We're aching with curiosity to know what they're talking about but we've been gently banished from the dinner table. Whatever it is, they are all smiles and laughing. Life is grand.

Reality is anything but.

My father is standing on the porch, drink in hand, lecturing my mother and grandparents on how to keep the squirrels from getting into the bird feeder. Oh, that too irritates him. He's feeling no pain and neither is my mother. My mother's uptight mother and stepfather are sitting in quiet judgment of my father. I don't think they ever really liked him. The squirrels won't stop eating the birdseed and it is really getting the better of my father. He's cursing and telling vulgar stories. We hang around on the periphery and watch in silence. Dad disappears through the glass doors and my mother looks concerned. The adults head back inside as my father reappears with a shotgun. Before anyone can say anything, my father, now on the porch, has cocked the rifle and pulled the trigger. That pesky squirrel, who was feasting a second earlier, is no more. It now lays dead blasted into a bloody heap of fur and guts on the dirt below. Oh yes, dad and his shotgun won. Nobody said a word. Cocktail hour was over. We all sat down at the table and enjoyed a scrumptious roast beef dinner with all the fixings. I could barely swallow.