Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sniffly memories on a random Wednesday

So…for those who don’t know, my mom is a Breast Cancer survivor.  She is also just one of the most lovely people I know.  She is sweet and generous and loving and she was a great mom and still is.  She is my mom and also my friend.

I started walking in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k several years ago.  The first time was because my friend Debbie was doing it and offered to let me ride with her.  I enjoyed it SO much.  I came home and told mom all about it and she was so excited!  From that year on, she started coming with me.

The first time she tried to actually walk the course herself, we were doing the Tarrant County Race.  It’s more difficult than the Dallas race as the streets are not level and there are some rather steep and challenging hills on this particular course.  For my mom’s age and level of health, it was really challenging.

I told her not to worry about it…that we would walk at her pace and we could stop as many times as she wanted and to not worry about it…we would just enjoy it.  At first, she really did.  But she got winded a few times and it started to really psych her out.  At one point, about halfway through the race, she needed to stop and she was visibly upset.  I told her to just sit down and breathe and relax and I asked her why she was so distressed.  She looked at me with VERY worried eyes and said “What if I can’t finish?”  So THAT was it.  She just got overwhelmed…and I think she was afraid that I would be disappointed in her somehow.  I just grinned at her.

“Mom…if you can’t finish…you’ll sit down and prop your feet up right here and I’ll go get the car and pick you up.”  She looked slightly stricken by that thought and I laughed.  “It’s not a big deal.  You’d have to wait a little bit for me to get to the car and get back over here to you through the traffic…but it wouldn’t be a big deal.”

“I just wouldn’t want you to have to do that.”  She said.  “I just don’t know if I should have tried this.”  She looked so worried and so overwhelmed at that moment.  I sat down beside her on the cement ledge we’d found for her to rest on.

“Mom.  You beat breast cancer and survived a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery.  This is nothing.  You can do this.  But if you are not comfortable and you can’t finish…nobody is going to hold that against you.  You did a lot more than a lot of people did.  You paid your registration fee, you raised money for a good cause, you showed up, and you tried.  If you were to stop right here…and I went and got the car and drove you home…I still couldn’t be more proud of you for the effort you’ve already made.  Some people spend their whole lives never doing anything for other people.  Here you are after surviving all of your health issues…and you’re HERE.  Showing other people that this disease CAN be beaten…and raising money to help others beat it too.  You were a hero before you even got out of bed this morning.  There is absolutely no one who would be disappointed in you if this was where your day ended for today.  I would be proud of you no matter what.”

She got teary eyed.  So did I.  After a couple more minutes, she got up and said “Come on…let’s go.”  I asked “Are you sure?” and she said “Yep” with a very determined face.  We kept walking.  We stopped several more times.  We attacked a really steep hill and I got behind her and pushed and she laughed…so did others that walked with us.  When we turned a corner about 4-5 blocks from the finish line and she saw it…she was a whole new person.  She sped up…she held her head up…and she was grinning like a fool.  So was I.  She finished that race…and I could not have been more proud of her.  Not only did she finish the race…she overcame all the fear that was holding her back that day and all the doubt that made her think she couldn’t do it.

Not a day goes by that I’m not proud of my mother.  Whether she’s walking her first 5k…or sitting on the couch holding my grandson.  She’s taught me more by example than most people in my life taught me when that was their sole intention.  I’m a better person because of her.  I only hope that I can inspire that in other people the way she has in me.

If you ever think that those around you are not looking to you for an example of how to live…or not live…their life, think again.  And act accordingly.  You never know who you might be inspiring.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Uncle passed away recently.  It was incredibly abrupt and sad.  His health had been poor for some time and they were getting ready to do surgery.  I knew this.  I thought he would be fine.  They were trying to get his oxygen levels up so that he would be ok for the surgery.  But before they got that done, he passed away.  I was really thrown off by this.  I guess you can never really be prepared for something like that.

This particular uncle had some bad things in his past…some poor choices and poor behavior.  I never saw any of that and personally, I’m glad I didn’t.  What I knew…was that he loved me and he always showed me that.  He always had a hug and a smile for me.

I will miss him.

As I thought about all of this…I immediately thought of the last time I saw him.  Then I smiled.  The last time I saw my uncle, we were at a Mexican restaurant, celebrating my mom’s birthday.  I happened to be sitting next to that particular aunt and uncle that night.  We chatted through dinner.  After we ate, my boyfriend was being silly with a single circle of grilled onion…putting it on my plate when he thought I wasn’t looking.  Since boyfriend and I are both performers at a Renaissance Festival, we both had similar thoughts when I picked up the piece of onion.  I eyed it for a moment and then did something silly with it.  I don’t remember the specifics…but something to the effect of, “Look…it’s a finger hula hoop,” while twirling it about my finger.  I tossed it back to boyfriend, who came up with something else it could be.  Across the next few minutes, the piece of onion became a necklace, a mustache, a hat, a bracelet, an earring, a Hari Krishna ponytail…and multiple other strange things.  As we did this…everyone started watching and laughing.

My uncle, who was quite hard of hearing, had to ask my aunt several times to repeat what we had said the onion was each time.  And each time, he gave quite a belly laugh.  He was very amused by our silliness.  We played this game for quite a while and entertained our entire table and a few people at the next table…and a couple of people who were not even in our party.  We are silly like that.

At the end of the night, I hugged everyone and said goodbye…never even fathoming that it would be the last time I saw my uncle.  But looking back…I am so blessed to have such a lovely final memory of him.

Rest in peace, Uncle Wayne.  You were loved…and will be missed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The end of an era.

Sometime today, a judge who never met me and knew nothing about my life except what he quickly skimmed over on some paperwork, signed the order that states that I am officially divorced.  After eleven years of building a life together and five years of marriage, I now find myself single.  It is disorienting.  I thought I would be much more upset today than I am.  Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet.  Maybe I'll fall apart when I get my copy of the paperwork.  I don't know.

What I do that I've spent the last four months, since he walked out my door...trying to understand why we couldn't fix it.  The only conclusion I ever really came to...was that I would probably never truly understand it.  I also spent time trying to forgive myself for my part in the dissolution of the marriage.  And as odd as it may seem...I tried to forgive him...for hurting me by choosing to go and seek his own happiness.

Yes, he lied to me.  Yes, he made out with another girl while we were married.  Yes, he gave up on me and let me suffer through several counseling sessions trying to work it out when he knew in his heart that he was done. I'm angry at him for those things.  However...I am also not perfect.  I have made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I have hurt people.  I have broken people's hearts who truly loved me...because I had to do what was right for me.  Based on that, I tried to understand his decision and forgive him for hurting me.  He could have gone about it in a more honest manner.  But truly, I don't know if it would have hurt any less.  It did make me think less of him.  But again...I've not always made the best choices either.

So...all that being said, this is the end of an era.  Hopefully it is also the beginning of a better one.  I still feel a bit broken and a bit betrayed.  I still feel like it's going to be a long time before I can feel like that about anyone again.  I still think it's going to be a while before I can give my heart away like that again.  I intend to make sure that anyone who wants to be part of my life knows that.  I don't want to hurt anyone the way I've been hurt in the last year.

The last time I was hurt this badly, I shut down.  I closed my heart for years and didn't let anyone inside.  I'm making a valiant attempt not to do that again.

I'm giving myself time to heal.  I'm surrounding myself with people who love me and care about me.  I'm not letting this stop my life.  I am a bit broken...but not so much that I cannot repair myself and feel whole again. I believe that I will be in love again some day.  I believe and truly hope that I will find someone to share my life with who is as careful with my heart as I am with theirs.  It will take time...but I have faith that it will happen.

The chapter on A&L is now ended.

"This is the story of my life.  I write it every day. I isn't black and white...but it's anything but gray.  I know...I'm not alright...but I'll be ok.  Anything and everything can happen.  It's the story of my life."
 ~Bon Jovi

To anyone reading this...thanks for being part of my story.