A Different Kind of Deployment…

“You feel like a shadow on the front porch of what used to be your life; looking in, very present, but only on the periphery.”

Traversing the world is wonderful, but missing out on time with your family, is not.  So, when the opportunity to take an assignment in my home state arose, I couldn’t have been happier.  If only I had known….

As difficult as being deployed is for the loved ones of those serving in the various branches in the military, it is that much harder on the service member. This is a “different kind of deployment” because although the service member hasn’t gone, their training schedules can keep them away for weeks at time and, in many ways, being just far away enough not to go home every day is much more difficult that not being able to go home at all.

You’re doing what you have to do to support them.  They are doing what they have to do as well – but it takes its toll on all involved.  There is distance – where before there was none.  You feel like a shadow on the front porch of what used to be your life; looking in, very present, but only on the periphery.

The back and forth takes its toll. Now you see them, now you don’t.  You look forward to being with them when you can, but even more than that, you dread having to “readjust” when you return to your life without them. You wonder if they really understand and/or appreciate the sacrifices that you are making on their behalf.  You don’t tell them how hard it really is and they don’t tell you.  Your conversations consist of things you will do and how great it will be.  It’s easier that way…but not really.  Things will never really be the same again. You dare not tell them…but its okay… because they probably already know.

Too Much – Too Little – Too Late…

Thisblackwomansopinion's Blog

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Sometimes, being authentic means seeing people exactly as they are, instead of how you would like them to be.

The truth has been right there all along but until now, you’ve tried hard NOT to see. Maybe you really wanted to believe in someone, maybe in hoping for the best you overlooked and/or forgave one too many times, or maybe emotional abuse had conditioned you to believe that you deserved nothing, and that everything that ever disagreement was your fault. In truth, wanting from someone what (in retrospect you see) they were unwilling and/or unable to give laid the foundation for the abuse to begin. Starved from everything meant making the most miniscule crumb a meal; but no more!

There are some things that you just cannot ignore. There are some times in life when all you can really do is go quietly in the mist bc there are…

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Finding Freedom…

Thisblackwomansopinion's Blog

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Today is the tomorrow you hoped for yesterday. This is your moment. Right here – right now – is your time to shine.

Let go of anything and everything that was and/or has yet to be. Feel the warmth of the sun – be amazed at the beauty of the blue skies – breathe deeply and give yourself permission to be FREE!

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Holiday Hell…

Thisblackwomansopinion's Blog

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Do you feel trapped in a Holiday Hell? Has the “Spirit of the Season” left you feeling less than social? Do people you know call you “Scrooge” behind your back? Does “Silent Night” for you mean you wish that everyone would be quiet and leave you the hell alone? If you answered yes to one or more the following questions – this post is for you. Breathe – Relax – Relinquish the need to be perfect and experience the ability to “just be.” Laugh at yourself. Smile. Make merriment in your own unique way. The season was never meant to be anything more than a time to appreciate what is. So high five yourself. You don’t have to be religious to celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through another year. For all that it wasn’t, it really wasn’t that bad because you’re still here.  So, give yourself a break…

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Rise and Shine

7 SIGNS OF HYPOCRITES AND THE PEOPLE THEY TARGET

Just because a relationship isn’t “as bad” as the one you had before, doesn’t mean that it’s good. Emotional abuse is extremely difficult to detect early on, and it isn’t always accompanied by physical abuse. In short, just because you aren’t getting hit, doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting hurt.

Grits & Grief..

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The other morning while having breakfast with two of my three daughters – it occurred to me that I don’t make grits anymore.This seemingly insignificant revelation caught me completely by surprise. My youngest daughter ordered them with her breakfast – I asked her if she even knew what they were. “Yes Mommy – you used to make them a lot. I really like them – but you don’t make them anymore.” I sat silently. I struggled to remember – then it hit me. The last two times I made grits happened on Mother’s Day 2011 and on January 6th 2012.

Mother’s Day 2011
The only thing more difficult than trying to find ways to make Mother’s Day special, was knowing it would (probably) be our last. The stroke that had paralyzed the right side of her body, had also taken away her ability to speak and swallow. More than that, it had taken away her zest for living.

January 6th 2012

It was Winter break.
The Natives were sleeping in. Knowing that they would be at home (again) while I was working, weighed heavily on my mind. By now they were well versed in the difficulties of being reared by a divorced/single parent – even so – on that day – I wanted it to be different.

Mother's Day 2011
They called it "emotional incontinence." She would become inconsolable and at times, assaultive and combative. The nurses speculated that she may have had another stroke but since she had not yet regained her ability to speak, no one really knew.

January 6th, 2012
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Grits, scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, bacon, pancakes – and all from scratch! Laughing to myself, I carefully arranging the food on the plates, and threw my hands up in the air and pretended that I had just completed the “Chopped” competition. When they came downstairs, they would know that this morning, they were on my mind, and they were loved.

Mother’s Day 2011
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Any rehabilitative progress that had been made in the weeks following stroke was now, almost completely non-existent. Hard to imagine that this was the same person who, only weeks earlier had been able to take a few steps (with assistance) sit up, a smile. She now appeared vacant and, like the hope that I had had for any type of recovery, lost.

January 6th, 2012
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The breakfast that awaited them was more than they had imagined. Not only was there plenty for them – but I had made enough for their friends as well. Knowing they would eat a hearty substantial breakfast made the fact that they would (most likely) spend the day at home playing video games and surfing the internet a little better. They might have become bored – but at least they would not be hungry.

Mother’s Day 2011
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The grits had to be perfect. I made them just the way that she liked – extra butter and a little heavy cream. The dish was still warm as I carried it down the nursing home corridor. I was thankful that nobody noticed. I was prepared to tell them that the contents of the dish were intended for me, but was very glad that I didn’t have to.

January 6th, 2012
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Returning from work to the sounds of the video games, music, and laughter had become the norm. Seeing my sons and their friends camped out in the family room, was an every day occurrence. Tonight however,The conversation had been about the surprise breakfast – how much they enjoyed it and how their favorite restaurant "didn't have anything on me."

Mother's Day 2011
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She smiled when she heard my voice. She tried to speak – but (in the same way that it had been since the stroke) was unable to. I attempted to ascertain what she was trying to say, but (as had been the case since that dreadful day in February) was reduced to telling her that I loved her, while she held my hand and smiled. Today, however, was different. I told her that I had a surprise for her. That – especially since it was Mother’s Day, I had made her a very special treat. She was quite childlike in her expression. Her smile grew and she held my hand even tighter. I teased her a bit – asking her if she wanted to know what it was. She nodded her head, continued to grasp my hand, smiled, and tried even harder to speak.

January 6th 2012

As they grew older, I began to cherish the time that we spent together. That they felt comfortable bringing their friends home was more than all right with me. Telling that I loved them each day was customary, but knowing where they were each night was comforting. I paused for a moment, and then, before heading upstairs for the night, took in the moment. My daughters laughing at something someone said, my sons and their friends playing video games and texting – everyone content in the place that we called home. I don’t remember how long I stood there looking at them – but I do remember wishing that I could freeze that moment in time.

Mother’s Day 2011
“Made you some grits Gumby Girl – just the way you like them.” Her joy was apparent as she opened her mouth. I placed a tiny bit on the spoon. We had to be careful because, although she could now swallow, she could only take in a little at a time. She liked them. She was happy. They were warm and she was content. I wiped them away from her chin. She didn’t mind, she simply held her mouth open and motioned for more. She didn’t eat much – but for her – especially in her current condition – four or five tablespoons was quite a bit. We laughed – as I told her that I would now dispose of the remaining grits – as not to get in trouble by the nursing staff. After doing so, I sat with her, touched her face, quietly played the music that she enjoyed, held her hand, and watched her drift off to sleep.
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She died (at home with us ) a few weeks later. 

January 6th, 2012

The high pitched sound of the telephone startled me. Initially, I wasn’t going to answer it. To be more accurate – I couldn’t find it and by the time I did – the ringing had stopped. I didn’t recognize the number and (after cursing the no named individual who would call at 4:00am and NOT leave a message) laid back down. I closed my eyes, got comfortable, and was again, awakened by the phone. This time, however, I was prepared. Whomever it was that was prank calling me (especially at this hour) was really going to get a piece of my mind. It was my intention to sound as irritated as possible when I answered – however, the voice on the other end took me by surprise. “I am from the trauma unit – your sons have been involved in an extremely bad car accident.” This practical joke has gone too far. I was livid! Some things you simply don’t joke about and this was definitely one of them. I informed the woman on the phone that my sons were both sleeping soundly. I was about to really let her have it, when she called them by name. She said that they had both been admitted, that my younger son was ICU and that I needed to get there “ASAP.” Somehow found myself in the kitchen telling my oldest daughter that I would call when I knew something – and reassuring her that everything would be all right. As I hugged her – I eyed them empty box of Grits sitting on a pile of refuse in the kitchen trash can and immediately began to feel the ground give way beneath me.

I don’t make grits.

I don’t like them anymore.
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“Today”

Martial arts is a moving meditation within which there are many metaphors.  See – hear – feel – experience all that is – only then will you begin to comprehend all that you are!

Watch –  Relax – Breathe – Let Go –
Release!

“Be thankful…”

“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”
Be grateful!

Experience EVERY DAY…

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This day is yours and yours alone.  Do with it what you will. No matter what you do – or do not do – this day – this time – this  moment – will never come again. Experience EVERY DAY as if it were your last. Look around and see that all you really have to do is “JUST BE.”

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