Goodbye, my friend – my Brother.
It’s not like me to insert a period in titles. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever done it. To me, a period represents finality, permanency – the end of a story. For this reason, I found it fitting to do so today. I hope everyone ‘gets’ my wording this post as if I were having a conversation with David – it’s just something I need to do. Somehow, some way… I feel he will see this. I do hope I’m right, because I never got to say goodbye to him.
The last time we spoke was mid-July, this abominable year of 2020. It was then you told me your arthritis was so bad you had to leave your job for good. I feel in my soul that this killed a big part of you, though you didn’t say it at the time.
We’d first met in junior high school and became friends. Later in adulthood, fate made us family by way of us each marrying a sister and brother. “Small world”, as they say. We went through much in life while being there for each other. Funerals, weddings, lifes ups and downs. Now your own funeral will be in a few days. As the tears fall, I try to come to grips with the fact I’ll never have you in my life down here anymore.
If there were a destiny meant for you down here – it was you being a Father. Brittany and Leanne, your two beautiful daughters, were your everlasting sunshine in an often bleak and gray world. You relished and appreciated both, spending every spare second with them. I often told you your smile was never bigger than when you had them with you. “Dad Day!!”, you would call it. I can’t imagine two daughters having a better dad. I am so glad they had YOU.
Although not related by blood, you were the closest thing to a brother I ever had in this life down here. Each being ‘only children’, I issued you that rightful Brother title shortly after the ending of my 21-year marriage. You often laughed at me for it, but knew deep down it’s what I considered you. We went from being ‘in-laws’ to just brother and sister. Many conversations of what we both endured over the course of each of our marriages strengthened our bond throughout the years. I confided in you with 100% trust – knowing you understood, empathized, and would never share any of my secrets. I will SO miss this, David. I already do.
We used to talk about wishing for a sibling in life, which I suppose many ‘only children’ do. I knew losing your Mom and Dad early in life had to be very hard on you, you’d tell me often how much you missed them. I’ll never forget the day you called me at work a couple years back, I immediately thought something was wrong since you never called me there. Through tears, you told me you’d just found out you had a sister you never knew about. I was thinking, I’d never heard you cry before. Those were tears of joy, of course! You were so very happy… a sister you never knew about. You’d said you instinctively called ME to share the news. I now have to admit David, there was a twinge of jealousy there. Perhaps you realized this when at the end of the conversation I said, “I’M still your sister, always remember that”. I do think you picked up on that little green factor.
You constantly reminded me of how lucky Keith and I were to have found each other. I can tell you, he loved you too – very much. Guys don’t make a habit of telling each other that, so I want to make sure you know. Life isn’t always fair. As your sister, I was always trying to find you a ‘forever mate’. God knows, you didn’t need any help in that area. But, I never stopped trying. I wanted that “forever” for you that I knew in my heart you wanted, too. So, please forgive me for my antics in that area. Especially for some of the heartbreak it brought you along the way.
Lord, how you loved my sausage gravy biscuits. When you and Brandy would stay over with Keith and I, I’d make sure you had some to take home for later. I’m sure your faithful brown lab Brandy got some too. You also loved my chili (hope those weren’t just your kind words). Due to some constraints, I’d struggled with true home cooking until later in life, but you always made me feel like I was good at it.
I don’t want to close this. Dammit, David. I miss you… already.
Our dear friend Angie will forgive me for this – you loved Angie so. After her Mama’s funeral which we’d both gotten lost en route to, at your insistence I followed you back to Charlotte. We talked on the phone while listening to our favorite tunes, flying down the country roads. Back in town, we drag raced via interstate for over twenty miles at completely foolish speeds. I’d never driven that fast in my life… I wonder if you had, as well. You told me later that was the most free you’d felt in your entire life. I felt it too. Guess adrenaline’ll do that to you, especially us old farts.
Go and be free, brother. Until that beautiful reunion. Know that your sister loves you so. Forever.
Fathers Day is right around the corner. My father left this world for the Good Place a year and a half ago. Although certain parts are foggy, other parts seem so fresh, still.
He lived in a little house across town, quite spacious to be considered a duplex. It was an older ranch style, brick, well-built and had a nice yard. The road he lived on was called “Circles End Circle” and it was just that… a large circle. How Dad loved walking his dog around that large circle, which was made more attractive by way of the entire center being a well-kept grassy field. As I remember, the inside of that circle measured larger than a football field. The continuous view of the grassy field made for well more than a leisurely stroll, and you certainly could say you got your steps in with just one trip around it.
Dad and I really weren’t close until after the ending of my 20+ year marriage. After my separation, he stepped into his father role as well as any man ever has. Heck, I guess you could even call us best buds. After a lifetime of not having him around, I relished the attention from him. That should not suggest that I didn’t understand the deeper meaning of that attention… which is, Dad loved me. For the first time in my adult life, I truly understood that. I wasn’t just a black sheep any longer, at least not to him. He couldn’t wait to talk to me on the phone at night, to describe new events that happened throughout his day. He would go out of his way to let me know he loved me – and each occasion meant the world to me. One day he showed up at my work with a fresh-baked banana bread loaf (my God, he made the best banana bread). We’d go to the farmers market together, church, and events happening uptown. It was everything I’d ever wanted but never really knew I needed from my father. He knew it, I knew it… and we were both thankful.
Yep, I grew to know that house of his pretty well.
Years later, when routine hospital visits for his failing health became the norm, he would always want me there. Each time I’d walk in the room, his smile would grow as big as Disney. One of his favorite stories to tell was of how hot he was in the ER, and I’d fanned him. Something so very simple. On more than one occasion he told me I kept him calm. I still feel this is probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever been given.
Enter dementia. That big, awful, damned demon unleashed it’s wrath. Like cancer, I hate dementia with every fiber of my being. Those who have never had to witness a loved one battle dementia will never understand the toll it takes on a family. Dad withstood it for a while at home, until it started biting its ugly teeth deep into his brain. Soon came the walks outside during the wee hours. Then his phone calls telling me the painters were invading his home, he was afraid of them. Finally phone calls from the police asking me to please come over to try and coax him out of his bedroom.
That last call from the police ushered in the last time he would ever physically reside in his house. As I walked though the living room to his closed bedroom door, I knocked softly and said “Dad, it’s Bonnie”. He opened the door immediately, blue eyes welling up with tears and hugged me tight. Now, Dad couldn’t hug tight because of the lung removal a decade earlier, and he was always mindful of that. But the dementia had made him forget about all that. That hug was probably the tightest one I’d ever had from him. To say I’ll always cherish it is an understatement… the tears flow as I write about it.
Many things happened after he left that house, which I won’t go into since it’s really a moot point. The memory remains of him and how his soul was just larger than life. Even though we joined forces later in life rather than earlier, I wouldn’t trade a single thing. Not a one.
Happy Heavenly Fathers Day, Dad. I sure miss you.
Escaping a Toxic Environment
A loved one in my life has been going through a lot lately. Honestly, so much has come to light the past week that my head is still spinning. Not only was I unaware of just how bad her own situation was, I was also in the dark about the toxicity of the conditions under which she has had to live. The everyday home life that’s supposed to be a safe place… a refuge.
This morning, I ran across an article I can only describe as one of the best published articles I’ve ever read. Not only is it well-written – it delves deep down into the crevices of certain ‘toxic environments’ we sometimes find ourselves in, exposing unspoken facets of unhealthy and even hellish habitats. After reading it (twice), I simply couldn’t continue on with my day without sharing it with all of you.
Escaping a Toxic Environment – Written by Natalie Thomas
(Published in Huffington Post Healthy Living, 10/27/12)
We’ve all been in them. Situations so dire we lose hope, becoming the very person we pitied, dreaded, swore we’d never become. We talk of an exit like a dream scenario: a child running away with the circus, an adult winning the lotto and immediately quitting their job (not to mention the detailed disbursement of riches: 10 percent to charity, 10 to parents, 10 to splurge, 20 for dream home, 50 in savings). But somehow, we can’t seem to envision a world in which we get there. Capable, otherwise strong, able-bodied beings paralyzed by fear, believing the hype, fearing the backlash.
I’ve been in quite a few dysfunctional situations in my life: bad relationships, unhealthy work environments. And no matter the category, the symptoms are similar: broken-down self-esteem, misery-loves-company companionship, excuses like rain drops.
But while unhealthy intimate unions can wreak havoc on the psyche and may inform the way in which we treat others, it’s usually an insular thing. Group dysfunction, however, is far-reaching and often much more dangerous. They say there’s safety in numbers, but there’s also destruction.
My first experience with toxic circles began like most — in middle school. Her name was “Shannon.” Up until she arrived, we were a blissful, naïve little bunch. Most of us had grown up together, performed in dance recitals, shared many a sleepover and were on track to ride out our middle and high school years together, tight as ever. Then she showed up.
Within weeks, we turned on each other. Shannon decided who was in and who was out. One day you were popular and pretty, the next you were a pariah, with no warning, no bearing on your behavior or actions, simply her whim. She had the power and she abused it. Heavily. If you didn’t agree with her, didn’t laugh at her jokes at the expense of others or talk trash about your friends, you were her next target, and God bless you, because her bad side was everyone else’s backside. You were ostracized. No one would face or acknowledge you despite it having been done to them the week before — how horrific it felt, how they were raised, how much they knew it was wrong. They were just thrilled to be accepted again and did whatever it took to stay there, in her good — albeit evil — graces. Shannon transferred before high school, but it was too late. The damage was done. She came, she terrorized, she left. We were never the same.
It began in middle school. It should have ended there too. But we all know, sadly, that’s often not the case. I had a few more experiences through college and post but, thankfully, I was experienced enough to avoid the drama, speak up for my friends and myself and maintain some shred of dignity. Since Shannon, I’ve made a conscious effort to surround myself with trustworthy, unconditional, loyal and uneasily-influenced friends, so it wasn’t until I entered the working world that the toxicity returned.
Despite the professional setting, those with power and plenty on their plates, those who know better are often caught up in office drama, choosing sides and spewing names. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They also manifest in all ages and professions. Just like middle school, in the corporate world there is a cool crowd with a penchant for hazing. And although the behavior is similar, the ability to remove oneself from it is likely harder. After all, beyond your reputation, your paycheck, career and livelihood are also at stake.
As a newbie, you’re tested, humiliated and alienated, but you suck it up and trudge on. Eventually you earn your place as newer souls are indoctrinated. There’s a level of pride and confidence that comes with seniority, being a veteran. You’re finally accepted and, initially, that’s enough for you. But eventually that too wanes, and you realize how silly it all is. You realize who you’ve become and, disgusted with yourself, start to break away from the group and forge your own identity. But it doesn’t come without a price.
As soon as they smell indifference, independence, you’re a target again. To blend in, strike a balance between individual and included, you laugh at the occasional joke, roll the obligatory eye, knowing it’s wrong. With each disparaging remark you champion, a bit of you erodes. This is not who you are, who you want to be. You are better than this. Better than them.
In winemaking, there’s something called bunch rot, in which one bad grape infects the group. Toxic friend and work situations are no different. By definition, toxicity is the degree to which something can damage. Make no mistake, these are damaged people — once smart, free-thinking, well-respected individuals now broken down to think and act like a vicious, rotten herd.
These cultish environments lead you to believe you are fortunate to be where you are, can never do better, there’s another waiting to take your place. Those that leave are ingrates, “depressives” — no matter how many years you gave, how hard you tried, how amicable you think you left, you are the enemy. Others are encouraged to shun you, engage in the shit-talking. The ringleader feels more secure — and less inclined to lash out — the louder the laughs. And so you do it; you laugh at what you know is wrong. You contribute in the ripping apart of your friend, your former colleague. It’s just easier. Knowing, hoping one day you too will be a refugee, doing all you can to better your situation in the meantime, adopting the mantras, lying to others and yourself. You are happy. It’s just temporary. Everyone else is doing it. It’s not that bad.
Until it’s finally your time. You’ve woken up, gathered the strength, gotten a better offer, had a life-changing experience… Whatever it is that is propelling you forward, upward, past the muck, the insipid and incestuous clone-like clique, you do it. You — gasp — leave.
You’re filled with a rush of emotions: elation, paranoia, sadness, relief. You seek shelter with other survivors, celebrate with drinks, commiserating about how bad it had gotten, exchanging war stories, your scars like badges of honor.
Away from the brainwashing and the negative influence, you realize how self-consumed you’d become, how jaded, how bitter. And, little by little, each moment without your toxic crutch, you become you again, realizing just how crippling your situation had been. You start to think like an independent, no longer part of a petty pack. You become kinder, lighter, sunnier. And soon it all starts to feel like a dream. A beautiful, shameful, fucked up dream.
You move on. You work on and better yourself. And you wait. You wait for the next embattled soul to wise up and join your fray. And you welcome them with outstretched arms and a cold beer. No “I told you sos,” no “What took you so long?” not even a “How could you do that to me?” because they know and, with one look, you do too. It wasn’t them. It was the atmosphere, the influence. After all, you once were there too. And you don’t “get it” until you’re gone. And once you are is when you really start living again.
For more by Natalie Thomas, click here.
New Year, New Beginnings Part VI
What a whirlwind of a year 2014 has been. It does seem now that every year goes by quicker than the last, and as time marches on I find myself saying it more and more.
My ‘word of the year’ usually comes pretty easy for me. As this year drew to a close, I found myself still searching for one. 2013’s was Persistence, 2012 was Disclosure, 2011 was Transitional, 2010 was Serene, 2009 was Colorful, and of course my inaugural word of the year for 2008 was Monumental. So how do I compete with any or all of those?
Personally I’m ready to put 2014 behind me. In this particular year, my father was diagnosed with dementia, and my mother with breast cancer. I’ve actually contemplated the word tumultuous to describe the year, but I find that an extremely negative description to mark an entire year with. Can’t say I didn’t think about it for a minute, though.
The word Endurance seems fitting. Because no matter what life throws our way, we’re pretty much forced to steel our resolve and keep moving forward. The only other choice would be to lie down and give up, and that’s just not a choice I’ll make.
Yep, Endurance. It’s got a nice little ring to it.
And hey, 2014 – don’t let the back door knick your heels too hard on the way out.
I’ve grown comfortably accustomed to my husband working out of town. Would I rather have him working locally? Of course. But we both realize sometimes sacrifices must be made in order to earn a living. We’ve been blessed in more ways than I can begin to count, this would include us both having successful careers as well as remaining gainfully employed.
For a while now, I’ve felt like my one life has been split into two different realms of existence. I don’t know quite how to describe this feeling; it’s just weird. I really had gotten used to these different realms – because at the end of every week, my husband would be back home. Each week I would morph from my single-life-working-girl realm back into my ‘whole’ realm which includes my husband on the weekends. Oh how I cherish the whole realm… I anticipate it’s arrival the entire week.
Last month Keith was given notice that his new job site was not only much further from home, but also mandated overtime hours – meaning no more coming home time for a good while. It’s so strange. Now I can see these two familiar realms being transformed into a new third existence. An existence where I just… am. Literally, I’m just there. Not sure what to really do. Yeah, it’s pretty tough to explain, obviously.
I miss him. Badly.
I do realize he could be deployed overseas for many months at a time. I am grateful that’s not the case. While I don’t whine out loud much about the situation (doesn’t do any good and no one really wants to hear about it anyway), I can and will write about it. That much at least helps.
I’m not afraid, quite the contrary. It’s the loneliness factor that comes into play… that empty hole feeling inside my gut. This is in addition to feeling like I’m thrown into this third identity. It’s not the same as living alone as I’ve done in the past. It’s quite different than living alone, because I actually know what I’m missing… and, what we both are missing out on.
Happiness is Homemade
It is to me, at least.
My circle of friends is small, and that’s by choice. Once you’ve been burnt by a select few throughout the course of a lifetime, it becomes pretty easy to build up that old retaining wall – to keep the nicely filtered water safe inside and disastrous tidal waves out. The quality level of my true friends is nothing short of stellar now – that’s what is important to me. I love having a friend I know so well that half the time we actually finish each other’s sentences. With most every subject, Lou and I end up having the same opinion. On the rare occasions we don’t agree on something, we still respect each others opinions. Neither of us have ever tried to change each other, nor persuade the other into doing something we’re uncomfortable with. Because a ‘real’ friend would never do that.
Lou and I have joked for years now about how we would be perfectly content to drive home from work on Friday and not leave out again until Monday rolls around. Once home from work on a weekday, we won’t start our car and go out again until the next workday. Doesn’t matter if we’re in need of something, it has to wait. You’d literally have to light a fire under both our asses to get us back out. Like many others, we both have a dog waiting for us to get home. Fact is, any type of errand after work requires careful prioritizing because of our pets – but I don’t know a pet-lover out there that begrudges this. I wouldn’t trade a thing.
I’m not complaining about any of this – quite the contrary. It makes me happy going straight home and and staying home. I’m not a socially active person by nature, never have been. Once in a while Keith and I will have a family event to attend over the weekend which we enjoy. I just find joy in weekends which have no plans whatsoever – aside from the rare impromptu day trip with him.
Speaking of my husband. He’s a hard-working man who works out of state all week and only comes home on the weekends. After so long it became routine like anything else – I just got used to it. I am not afraid. I’ve got my fearless boy Mojo, a fully loaded S&W and a quite sophisticated home security system. All that said, when the weekend finally does get here I relish my time with him. Since the weekend is all we have, we definitely make the most of every moment together. Hey, I realize it could always be worse – he could be deployed overseas for months or even years. I’m thankful for the time I do have with him and everything else we’ve been blessed with.
I’ve never been a bar person by choice. Ever. There’s something very sad to me about bars. Again, just my personal preference and opinion. We do enjoy having dinner with our parents on occasion. I don’t socialize with friends on a ‘regular’ basis aside from maybe a couple times a year, then it’s usually just for dinner or when someone is moving away or some life-changing event like that. I do not enjoy shopping – while I know this is weird for a woman, trust me when I say I’m totally okay with it. I guess the most social I’ve been in my entire life was last summer while I was busy planning our wedding, which I’ll admit about killed me. Literally had to be somewhere or meet up with someone 3-4 times a week. My stress and anxiety levels were off the charts. It was during this time that my friend Lou even sacrificed her own after-work time (something we both hold sacred, remember?) to plod the hot summer streets with me to help search for a wedding dress. I remember that after the wedding was over, I couldn’t wait to get back to my old ‘rut’. And so I did. I didn’t walk… I literally RAN back to it.
Ah… the aroma of sweet familiarity. Mmmm – smells SO so good. Just. Breathe. It. In. And Relax.
So what’s the point of all this, Bon? This is getting a little monotonous.
Apparently there are some out there bearing a false impression that I have a moral obligation to restructure my time to deligate more of my after-work hours to socialize. This has even included pressured attempts during the weekend when Keith comes home from working out of town all week. Needless to say, my patience level has bottomed out on this.
It’s not like I’ve been silent about my stand on the subject. It’s not a hidden secret on a game show being held for a big reveal later to floor everyone. I’ve expressly stated on several occasions that I’m a homebody and choose to spend my time after work at home, and my weekend time with my husband – but it’s all been blatently ignored.
My question is this… having made this a wide-open fact, why on earth would someone push the envelope, again and again? And if you do find yourself attempting to change or reroute how a person thinks – what kind of friend does that make you? And why would a person want to spend more time with you if you’re trying so hard to inflict your preferred method of thinking on them? Why would any real friend do that?
My reasoning is, a real friend wouldn’t.
I will not change the way I choose to spend my time, and I refuse to be bullied into it. Of course I realize there are exceptions to every rule. But if dire circumstances ever did warrant a change, my family and close friends would be those who took precedence. This 46 year-old broad has worked 40+ hours a week my entire adult life (attending several years of college during that), and traveled from one side of hell to the other in an attempt to start a new life. I have earned my right to spend my time after work however I damn well please. So I’m gonna clear something up real quick-like, once and for all. If you have a problem with how I spend MY time – weeknights or weekends – I strongly suggest that you start keeping it to yourself.
I will not apologize to anyone for being a homebody. It’s who I am, and I won’t apologize for being me. So quit right now trying to change me.
That is all.
Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m home for the evening. So I’m gonna fix myself something to eat and watch Dr. Phil.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ~Maya Angelou
A couple months in the life…
My, how I’ve missed my little weblog. The last time I posted, Keith had hit a deer with his truck. He thankfully escaped injury to his self, but his truck (and the deer) was a hot mess.
What I failed to mention was the very next day was to be our 5th annual New Years beach trip. I was honestly ready to cancel any out of town plans at this point, but he seemed intent on going and rented an SUV so that we could still accommodate Mojo. Our first full day there, a small tornado touched down and ripped the roof smack off our condo. I was sitting on the couch against the wall and actually felt myself being lifted when it hit. Soon after, we discovered a large piece of the roof missed hitting our rental car by mere feet. Although it doesn’t show the extent of the damage from everything that fell (roof lights, concrete bags, etc.) here’s a photo of the aftermath.
Parts of the roof are visible on top of the adjacent restaurant and under the palms on the asphalt. Keith had just walked Mojo in this same area 10 minutes prior to it happening. What is it they say again about those silver linings?
Aside from a lot of cleanup noise including chainsaws, a crane and lots of workerbees – the rest of the trip was awesome. One of my favorite memories would be our farewell balloons. We each assigned a few private hells from our past, then sent them out to sea forever. The picture’s pretty poor, but believe me when I say it’s very therapeutic to watch these babies go until you can’t see them anymore. Then they’re just… gone.
I so enjoy watching the souls of the surfers… had to share this shot.
Flash forward to now. Other than a few sushi dinners, a winter storm, watching my fellow southerners make national news with their stupid driving, a dog that wouldn’t allow us to build a snowman, an extreme gum-popper at work, a few dozen Twilight movie reruns, a couple nice unplanned car repairs and vet visits, and a sick husband diagnosed with pneumonia at the urgent care today – life has been pretty typical since the first of the year. Aside from the temporary pneumonia bit, we’re still on our honeymoon and we don’t see that ending anytime in the near future. 😀 But I’ve definitely got my nurse Bon hat on, the poor guy.
Have I mentioned I’m stoked for full-time flip-flop wear again?
Okie-dokie, Doggy Daddy…
And guess what… WE DID IT!!
What started out as any other beautiful sunny September day slowly and surely graduated to rain as the evening fell. Ah, well. Thank goodness for that glorious Plan B, which is one big reason we chose this particular venue. Besides, a little rain never hurt nothin’.
The original plan was to be married by the lake in front of a beautifully draped alter adorned with hanging crystals to reflect the sun and water. As it turns out, we wed indoors in front of the fireplace – nonetheless very beautiful in it’s own unique way. (And believe me, I’ll find a fanciful DIY project with which to use the hanging crystals and reams of unused alter material!)
In addition, I’ll always have the memory of that beautiful sunset night at rehearsal.
While our real pictures are pending final edits from the photog, we’re currently depending on the ones our friends and family have so graciously supplied.
This man has made my dreams come true. Speaking of which, after the ceremony we danced back down the aisle to our chosen recessional “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates, with everyone behind us following suit. I consider it my very own True Romance. Hey, Tarantino… can ya top that one?
Love, Devotion and Selflessness
Keith’s father’s wedding was this past weekend, and it was a beautiful ceremony centered completely around love. My future sister and her husband hosted a lovely reception at their house afterwards, which was so enjoyable. Keith’s side of the family is very kind and loving, so the time we enjoy with them is always priceless.
The older I get, the more cognizant and appreciative I am of incessant acts of selflessness. Every good thing I witness reminds me to try and be a better person. I look at it as a sort of pay-it-forward view on life, for lack of a better term.
The priest officiating the ceremony spoke about the sanctity of marriage and how you wake up each morning with the goal of putting your spouse’s needs before your own. Just because of that thing called Love. Because that’s what real love does, you want to give as much as possible when you love someone that much. It’s a mutual respect between each other that is never ending – it’s not something that changes with passing time.
When dinner time came, we stood back and waited on others to get theirs. I’ve always preferred to get my plate after everyone else has gotten theirs, never first or even middle. Keith attempted to hand me an empty plate and usher me in line. I politely refused, telling him I’d rather wait. He went on about midway through and filled his plate, while I stood conversing with a few family members. A few moments later Keith stood smiling in front of me, presenting me with a large plate of food. What he had just gotten was for me.
Now I know this might not sound like a monumental act of kindness to some, but to me it speaks volumes as to the type of man he is. This is Keith, every day. Even after four years, he’s constantly putting my needs above his own, as I do his. When I wake up every morning, he’s the first thing I think about. He’s the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. We both hold a strong mutual respect for each other. Our time apart at the beginning of the year only served to make us stronger, resulting in deeper devotion to each other as one whole. As it should be. As it always will be…
Have I mentioned we can’t wait for September to roll around?
The Times They Are a-Changin’
I didn’t use to think so, but life is packed full of second chances. And thirds, and fourths. As far as an individual goes, there are usually varying opinions as to whether someone is even worthy of another chance. When it involves you personally – it’s ultimately up to you to make that judgement, hopefully weighing everything carefully in order to make the right decision.
A couple of weekends ago, Keith proposed. I said yes.
It’s not something that happened overnight. Over the past month, there has been much take place in the area of damage control and his attempts to fix things. This much I know… he’s a good man. Is he guilty of sitting on his hands for a year? Sure. Is he guilty of cheating on me, hitting me or any type of emotional abuse? No. Have I considered that he may have done this out of desperation and/or a last ditch effort to keep me? Yes, I’ve considered it very well – and no, he did not. Why do I feel the need for any explanation on my decision? Because I care about what others think – especially so with my family. It also doesn’t escape me that the views my family and friends have of him are largely a result of what they’ve heard from me regarding his commitment issues.
A good friend told me last week, ‘the breakup sucked, but it served a greater purpose for you both’. That’s quite possibly the most insightful statement I’ve heard so far. I’ve said here before that I do regret moving in with a man without being married. I don’t regret moving out a few months ago.
The bare-bones of it all is this… my decision will directly affect my life and my happiness. We, as the natural makers of our own destiny, must hopefully choose the right path which leads to that happiness. Can we ever be 100% sure in making a decision of this magnitude? Of course not – none of us can. All we can do is take time to carefully weigh all the ins, outs, and everything in between… along with lots and lots of prayer.
Of that much I’m sure.
Neither here nor there
It took me a month to pack and less than a week to unpack. For some reason, I’ve always struggled with packing. Not just with moving, but with packing for a trip or vacation as well. It’s always easy for me to unpack and stick the stuff back in it’s respectful places – but gathering items and organizing them in boxes is hard for me. I think it’s largely due to my ocd about categorizing things. I also tend to want to clean out when I’m packing… I’ll abandon a box and go in search of other ‘like’ items to combine with it. Before I know it, an hour has passed and I’m still on the same box.
This got me thinking about life in general. I don’t necessarily have issues with making a change – I am a Pisces, after all. If a Pisces isn’t comfortable with the direction their life is headed, it’s a well-known fact that they will simply disappear or swim away in the other direction. That’s not to say that finding the courage to actually make that change is easy. Once the change is made however, my organizational skills are unmatched. If I can say one positive thing about myself, it’s my ability to organize – once the deed is done, so to speak.
It’s slowly beginning to dawn on me how much of myself I put into a relationship. It would also seem that I’m easily replaceable. Over the past several years I’ve lost a huge chunk of me that I’m now struggling to find again, and it’s frustrating. I must give myself time and patience in this endeavor, in as much as time passed through which I allowed that loss.
But guess what? I’ve already started.
It’s always worried me when a fellow blogger disappears suddenly and never comes back to let you know they’re okay. In these albeit rare instances, it serves to feed a pit of never-ending questions and scenarios in my head. Did they have an accident, did they die, are they sick, the list goes on – and believe me, I can create some scenarios. It’s for this reason that I wanted to let you guys know I’ll be taking a blogging break. Heck I as much as have already, anyway.
When I started posting back in 2009 it was something I needed to do, and it ended up being very therapeutic. It was also something I enjoyed doing. The past few months, maybe more actually, it’s become (can I be frank?) more of a chore. All of you should be able to relate to this honest admittance, since we’ve all likely had an occurrence of being burnt out on some thing at some point in our lives. To be honest, I’m dealing with a lot of ‘stuff’ right now, and a blog isn’t always the best place to, ahem… bare it all. Sometimes it is, just not all the time. So I also consider it ‘removing the cell phone from the drunk’. Yeah. That’s a good analogy.
I’ll try to visit in here and there, and may even be back again in good time. I value all of your friendships through the years more than I can tell you. I’ve met some truly wonderful and inspirational people who, I like to think, have influenced me in very positive ways. For this I feel so blessed, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you.
With that I’ll bid you all adieu for a while, and in typical bon-fashion will leave behind a couple of renegade thoughts.
- As much as I prefer routine, it seems as if my life is always changing.
- Never take communication for granted. It’s such an integral part of life.
- A promise is a promise – it’s not made to be ignored or left to dry up, as if never mentioning it again will make it disappear. That’s simply not the way it works.
Hugs and Kisses
The value of Unconditional Love
I’m so pissed off as I’m writing this that after I finish I may choose to not even post it at all. At the least this will be a raw and jump-all-over-the-place post. The question lingering in my head is, how can someone choose to abandon their animal? What god-given right do they think they have to consider these defenseless beings disposable?
In the small neighborhood where I live, we know each and every dog that ‘runs around’ (yes, there is a leash law but not really enforced) and know that each one indeed has a home. Three days ago, a white adult male Boxer showed up at the house next door. He will not leave the area, and has even made a huge bed of yard brush in the back yard of the house we think he was abandoned at. Our street is but a cul-desac consisting of four houses. The house two doors down was foreclosed on a few months ago, so the bank sent a contracted group of cleaners and yard personnel to get the house ‘ready’. It was approximately an hour after the hired personnel departed from their second visit out that the collared AB (abandoned boxer) showed up.
He appears to be a senior dog who’s non-aggressive, but he won’t come to anyone. I later gathered he is deaf since he didn’t pass my hearing test of several loud noises when he wandered in our front yard. Once he notices me by arm signalling, he always slowly turns around and walks back to his ‘house’. He will wander a short distance throughout the four homes on our cul-de-sac, but always returns to the spot where he was abandoned. It doesn’t take a damn rocket scientist to figure out what happened.
He’s waiting on his family to come back for him.
Yesterday I contacted the SPCA (humane society) who gave instructions to call the pound. I am not calling a kill shelter on this animal, it’s not his fault his family doesn’t want him anymore. Today I’ve spent hours attempting to reach boxer rescue organizations in the area. Though I’ve found a handful, half won’t consider a stray, another is full, most want to be contacted via email, and I’ve left messages with the two others. It appears that Sunday is not the optimal day to reach anyone.
I live in Gaston County on the North/South Carolina border – if anyone has any suggestions as to other contacts, I’d sure be open to them. Other than that I’ll just wait and hope I get a returned call back tomorrow at work.
A treasure chest
I’ve always been concerned with how people perceive me, more than I ever should be. I’m not talking about outer appearances – mostly I mean seeking approval from others which is impossible half the time anyway. I continually watch what I say, how it may be taken, and a truckload of other crap that I shouldn’t even bother with. I’m well aware this trait is a complete waste of time and energy, but it’s a curse that I’ve never been able to completely harness. Maybe someday.
Acts of kindness, compassion and generosity which are shown at ‘less than favorable’ times in your life can and should be seen as a huge blessing. Things such as receiving a sympathy card when a loved one has passed away, being brought a prepared dish that someone made just for you – even a personal phone call can be equally as significant. In this day and age, if someone thinks enough of you to pick up the phone and call you – you’re special. Know that you actually have meaning and worth to them.
Each and every act of kindness and concern I was shown during the past few weeks humbled me. It was, in fact, overwhelmingly humbling. If knowing that people are thinking kind thoughts about you isn’t humbling to us as an individual, then I’d be stumped as to what is. It’s just that black and white to me.
My dear mother called me a couple times each day, so worried. Even now, I so wish I could have kept that worry from her. My dad and daughter were very concerned. Keith’s sweet sister called me every day, too. Keith was, of course, an invaluable help with everything. I received many phone calls, visits, texts and emails from various friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and blogging buddies. Another coworker had chocolate strawberries shipped to my house. The day I came back to work, three pressmen in our shop had bought flowers and had a sign sitting on my desk welcoming me back.
Humbling, I tell you. Looking back on it brings tears to my eyes just writing about it. So I got to thinking… maybe I really should try harder not to worry about what people think of me. I feel the love.
The following is a widely spread story/poem in which the author remains unknown… I felt Mother’s Day weekend was a most appropriate time in which to share. I wish all of you exceptional ladies a very special and memorable day spent with loved ones.
And, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. 🙂
The child asked God, “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”
“Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”
The child further inquired, “But tell me, here in Heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.”
God said, “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.”
Again the child asked, “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language?”
God said, “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”
“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to You?”
God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”
“Who will protect me?”
God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it’s life.”
“But I will always be sad because I will not see You anymore.”
God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.”
At that moment there was much peace in heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”
God looked softly down at the child and whispered, “Your angel’s name is of no importance. You will simply call her ‘Mom’.”
It’s been a while since I’ve written a complete BS post, so I figure I’m about due. Forgive me in advance for my rambling.
My new boy Mojo has been keeping me busy. When I get home in the afternoon, my time belongs to him – I often don’t start dinner until Keith gets home (sometimes not even then). I’m completely okay with this. There’s always an adjustment period for any new member of your family, as well as for you. The time he mandates is so worth it and he’s such a sweet boy. I’m ever so glad he found me. 🙂
In a little over a week I’ll be having surgery (a word I don’t much care for). Anyway, I made the decision to have a hysterectomy. I’m not one who feels the need to keep female ‘things’ hush, so I’m not embarrassed to talk about the type of surgery it is. What I will say is I’m silently terrified at the concept. I hate that it’s turning into this, and I’m trying real hard to hide it from most people. The closer it gets, the more I’m thinking about it – my stomach is torn up and burning and I’m a nervous wreck. I know everything will be okay and my doctor is great, but this old mind just won’t let it go and it’s just consuming my thought process. Wish I could just fast-forward to recovery and all these pre-op worries would be gone. I have several friends who have gone through it and they tell me it’s nothing. I trust when they tell me this, and can only hope I am as strong as they are. I guess I don’t have any choice – I’ll just have to be.
My big beef is having to be out of work for a couple of weeks – and I would never have agreed to it if it were the formerly mandated six weeks. Now it’s actually four, but in my line of work I’m told I should be able to return in two. Apart from family, my job is everything to me. It’s the reason I eat, drive, and have a warm bed to sleep in. Additionally, it’s something I respect and will never take for granted. If you’ve ever been screwed over by an employer of long tenure and are lucky enough to find something a hundredfold better, a place that actually appreciates you back – you won’t wish to be out. To me it’s about surrendering this huge part of my life, of my familiarity. Might sound corny, but that’s just how it is. Even contemplating being out of work gets me emotional and I’m not a big fan of emotional. Maybe I need to try some yoga.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Together
As most of you know, I have a new ‘son’ – Mr. Mojo Risin. He was unusually nervous on the way to get groomed for the first time today. Although the little man was afraid, he trusted his new Mommy implicitly. In fact, everything seemed more than okay – as long as we were Together.