Devastated but not left on my own

Has it ever happened to you?  The extreme of abnormal?  Have you ever suspected things were not quite right?  My father died two days before I could get there to see him, he lives in New England and I live many states away.  I was having to wait to get my stitches out from a hurnea surgery and  I could not leave as soon as I would have liked.  Just a week an a half before I was on the phone with my father and he said he had four to six months to live, that was my last conversation with him.  The family commondeered his phone and would not let me talk to him.

Coming to Maine on a plane, I cried on the plane because this was my first time coming here that I would not see him.  When I went to see my step mother, she was cold and harsh, would not let me give her a hug, said she did not want visits and that there would be no funeral.  My father was a very much loved man in the community, and he was a father to all her kids, and many other children whom needed a father, he was there for all.  No one was left to be hungry or in need if he knew about it.  When she was on the phone I could hear them planning something, but, I was not invited.  I came all this way, and there I was devastated.  Unwelcome, alone with my grief.

Friends to the rescue, my God would not leave me alone with my tears.  My friends Bob and Michelle took me into their home, Michelle and I went and enjoyed many local attractions.  It was great seeing other friends we have known for decades.  Dave and Christine own a house they built up on a mountaintop surrounded by mountains, they let me come stay a number of days, we had old fashioned maple ice cream, we enjoyed the ministry and family study  I saw a storm come in across the mountains, and although it did not hit there, it was a sight to see.  Many nights here and there I cried many tears of grief over the loss of my father and other tears of deep pain and sorrow delivered unnessessarily by an unatural family.

Another friend Jennifer came and took me away for an afternoon of fun at a fine country restraunt where I had one of my favorites, Haddock chowder.  Very delicious, and I had a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, yes, all food in Maine is superior.  Then Bob and Michelle surprised me by taking me to another friends home, I had not seen her for aboout 25 years but I had thought about her so many times over the years. Randall an Liz had some great pizza.  Afterward Liz an Michelle humored me with a walk in Liz’s New England neighborhood.  I would see Liz again a couple more times and it was great.

Taking a day, or a morning to just rest was very important, and I was not shy in doing so.  Most on vacations strive to get the most out of their vacation and run here, go there, etc.  This was not a vacation, my father died, and I was in an unusual situation for me, and still healing from surgery the rest was vital.  Being handicapped, I have to take time to rest, putter, and move about slowly.

Off with Sandy an friends for the day, Sandy and Don have a very nice home in the country.  Sandy an Susan keep the house so nice.  My friends Roger and Debbie spent the morning an early afternoon with me, when I was about 21 they use to invite me over on Sundays and on fishing trips with their family.  They were so kind and it was great spending time with them too.  There were so many more I cannot mention all that extended themselves.  Yesterday Michelle mentioned that this is not without great expense, not referring to money, I am referring to pounds and inches gained.  I had quite a hearty laugh over that.  Now we are doing a diet together.

My friends and I are working our 11/11 goal.  What is that?  I will tell you in the next post.

Last night I was in great physical pain and emotional pain due to all this loss, yet, I got up and focused on a spiritual program of a convention I missed in July due to my operation.  It was great encouragement regarding healthy attitudes and actions that are beneficial regarding happy families and maintaining God’s favor.  It was great just hanging out at the house, resting and doing little things.

I had decided to paint a couple pictures for my friends Bob and Michelle whom I am staying with, (two weeks and three days, minus a few days spent with Christine)  They have been so generous and patient.  In the AID book, a large biblical dictionary, the word Hospitality is defined as having two meanings, The first is about the obvious, extending hospitality to others whether we offered or it is someone in need.  The second is regarding a person whom accepts hospitality.  They have responsibilities too, such a not making it a hardship on the one extending the hospitality.  To clean up after self, to be considerate, to help with chores, to offer financially to offset the overall expense, these are just a few examples.  Learning this years ago from this wonderful book, I strive to be a good guest.  One way I can show appreciation in addition to the other things I try to do is doing a painting.  I finished one today and I hope it suits their needs and that they like it.  I tried to keep their decor in mind, and I prayerfully addressed my care before starting the painting.  After, I layed down again and unable to move I decided it was quite ok to stay down.

One short coming I have is being quite the chatterbox.  Everyone needs quiet time, my friends offering generously do not need constant banter.  It appears I am only figuring it out near the end of this trip.

The day before I left, Liz took me to the Demillo’s at the Portland waterfront.  I love this restaurant.  Haddock chowder, fresh hot bread and a vegtable plate.  Then we rode a duck bus through town where we learned much history about the city of Portland, and architectural history.  Then the duck bus took us out on the water.  It was a lovely day to be out.  I appreciated Liz that while she was so busy with getting ready for school to start, she took the time out to make a special day.  She joined Michelle and I for dinner ( I had made the goulash in the crock pot in the morning before I left with Liz).  Michelle helped me make the beer bread to go with it.  Us old time friends had much to talk about.  It was very pleasant.

I was devasted when I realized that my family is abnormal, I was suspicious of it for years.  Here I became a long distance daughter and now the bridge has been burned unwittingly and not by me.  When step children move in and the original children have been moved to the side, it is a sad situation not just when we are small but when injustice is delivered again later.  We must keep our families together, children are the casualities as adults move from one relationship to another.

In a couple days I will return home to my husband, sons, and daughter.  After a day of rest I will get back to the routine I strive to keep which is fortifying.  I will be pondering precious memories in the months to come of special friends whom turned a painful situation around into a blessing.

When things are not going right …

When things are not going right, and your perplexed what can you do?  Resolving problems is not so easy when emotions are involved, and relationships are at stake.  How do you keep your feelings in check, while your overwhelmed and discouraged?  Finding the answer to problems is not always obvious.

Praying to our Great Creator is always a perfect start to addressing problems.  How we pray is another matter entirely, we can always be sure to Thank our creator for the good we have experienced in our life, then we can let him know we have limited understanding of our problem and thus have a challenge figuring out the best course to follow.  We can ask for wisdom and direction.

Next we should write down our problem and approach it like a business person.  Write out what options we have, at least three.  Then the possible outcomes for each option.  The pros and cons of each, and what happens if we do not make a decision.  We must not be overly pessimistic about the matter, assuming the worst outcome if we make a big decision.  It may work out better than we have guesstimated.  Of course, it could work out worst, and we must be prepared for it.

Being informed about the subject we are approaching is vital.  Yet, discussing it with an intimate friend is not always the best choice.  Their emotions might get the better of them, and you.

Always consider your own moral values when thinking about resolving a matter.  It is best not to second guess your principles or it could nag you forever, and bring the greatest grief.  I remember when I was at a special group meeting for children of alcoholics that a young woman there was in great distress.  She was involved with a married man, he told her the usual tales of his marital woes, and he had her hook, line, and sinker.  She did not know he was married, until after much interaction.  Guilt, she was a slave to, and she wanted to drink, and she wanted to die.  I just let her know how beautiful she was, and that she did not want to hurt another family, and that she is not the first he has fooled around with.  We talked about her freeing herself from this fleabag with no legitimate intentions.  This woman was breaking all her moral values and she was miserable for it.  Love should be a beautiful thing, and if you live with self respect and respect for the creator, you will be the happier for it.

The advise from another is easy to get, yet, they do not have to live your consequences.  Going to an older, mature, person whom has shown by their own life that they live with some principle can be very helpful when soliciting of advice.  Of course the decision is still always yours.  I like to go to   http://www.jw.org and type my problem in the search bar because the way they address issues is well rounded.  It is free, and over 115 years experience, it is great.

This week I have been overwhelmed, sad, and discouraged.  Sometimes I feel a little grouchy, sometimes I want to cry.  The thing that helps me greatest is sticking to my usual routine, and working on a few things I have been putting off.  I have been looking at these shelves in a corner for a few years that I have wanted to paint and put above some special doorways we have.  So, while feeling so blue about my father in hospice, (he is many states away and I cannot get there because of my hernia surgery and recovery), I am very sad.  This Thursday I get my stitches out and then I can get on the plane on Friday.  I hope he lasts til I get there.  I long to sit with him a bit.  I thought of my father as I painted these shelves.  Tomorrow my son will put them up over the doorway and I will be delighted to see it, and it is another thing done.  Although I cannot do regular things, I am doing little things to improve the overall look of our environment.

While going through things, it is vital to still do our laundry, and keep picking up and putting away.  Yet, we must make time to get our cars extra tidy, and do something special with our hair.  Watch a good movie you saw years ago you enjoyed.  Talk about good things with a friend on the phone.  Make something with some skills you have.  Go for a walk with a friend.  It is not always necessary to talk about a problem to resolve it.  Sometimes, we need to get our mind off our problems so we can come back to it with a whole new approach.

If you feel you never get a good outcome when dealing with problems, then maybe you do need to try a fresh approach to an old problem.  Do not respond the same old way, think of an assertive friend and how they might respond, try it.

For example, if you have a mate that likes to holler at you for long periods, think about their heart and health.  Think about your heart and health.  Think about the neighbors.  If you have children in the home, think of them.  New approach, no wining, complaining, threats or ultimatums.  Just say as if you are a good friend to them, the said mate, “I see how frustrated you get when you are expressing yourself, I am concerned about your health, and mine too.  I am also very interested in your feelings.  Your feelings are important to me, but I no longer can be audience to your anger.  It scares me about your health and mine too.  Let us strive to state the concern in thirty seconds or less and then let us see how quickly we can fix the problem.”  Then walk away, start sweeping the floor or something.  If you stand there looking, expecting him or her to agree, it looks like you want a fight.  So just move onto something else, ask them if you can get them a cup of water or something.  Gracious and kind is key to pleasant outcomes.

My first husband was a very violent person.  This really worked for a bit.  Eventually, I realized he had a personal problem and it was not me.  I did not deserve his anger and there was no way I could fix his problem, he was a bottomless pit.  My life has been greatly blessed without him, and I hope he is living respectfully and happily.

We live in a very problematic world.  It is impossible to live in complete peace and security at this point.  We are only in control of ourselves and how we react to a situation.  We can react differently than we usually do, and then we can possibly have a different outcome.  Respect for others, and respect for ourselves means we would never hurt another and we do not open ourselves up to be repeatedly hurt.

I only have a few days left before I leave, and I would like to come home to a more pleasant atmosphere than when I left.  Therefore, besides continuing with my regular routine, I am going to get a few more things done before I leave.  Some problems will have to just work themselves out.  It is great I can meditate on some good memories of my father and me.

Estrangement, it happens too often, is there someone you have left behind?

Estrangement, it has become too common and there seems to always be a reason for it.  Sometimes, it is just someone not making that first phone call, sometimes it is something that happened years ago and people just do not forgive and let it go.

People move so much because of employment and other opportunities and the habit of familial communication has gone to the wayside.  People just do not keep in touch with their family because their lives are so busy.  People get forgotten.   Or people say, I should call Aunt “Ruthie, or I should call my brother,  a thought is postponed and more years go by.  It seems neighbors and workmates have become the new family in some situations.

New technology makes people think they are keeping in touch with posts, but that is not true personal communication.  Even texting is not the same as speaking into a phone and hearing the voice of a loved one.  Conversation is becoming a lost art.

There is the fact that people get offended and hurt, and grievances are not addressed and relationships are dropped as if they never mattered.  Fight for the relationship.  Admit, apologize, and do not do it again.  If you feel someone offended you, ignoring them for years does not settle a problem.  Address the issue.  A loved one is being missed out on.  Sometimes people do not realize that what they did was so harmful and they may not even be aware of the harm done.  Your ignoring them is a hint they will never get.  If you can just forgive and let go than that may reestablish a good relationship.

There was a time I felt trampled on in every way, it was recommended that I read a book on the subject of Boundaries.  It helped me then in so many areas.  I try to practice this in my life all these years later.  Respect other peoples likes and dislikes, do not push it, and let your likes and dislikes be known.  How can people respect you if they do not know how you feel about certain things.  If I do not like early morning phone calls and my friend keeps calling me at 6 am, then I am going to tell her to call me in the afternoon.  If she says, this is my favorite time to call, I have to say it is my worst time to get a call, and Please do not call me in the mornings.  If they continue with the bad behavior then just tell them do not call me, I will call you, then call when convenient for you.  Boundary established.  If there is someone whom continually challenges your principles, and disrespects you than that is not a healthy relationship.  It is ok to let relationships go that are harmful to your emotional or physical peace.  Just speak up, and mean it.

When someone has violated you unlawfully than estrangement is a necessary protection.  Safety and self respect always come first.  When you have been defrauded than they have established the estrangement.

If there is someone in your life that you have not contacted in years, you may be missing out on the good things you remember about them and the family.  Years go by, people change, and situations change.  Maybe you have changed too.  It may be beneficial to all involved to attain peace.

There are other family members being hurt because of the dispute.  If two brothers are not talking than the parents are torn.   It hurts all the family for disputes that go on.  I thought what I experienced with my own family was uncommon, but I  hear about it so often, it is sad.

What if someone in the family changed their religion or were wild years ago and you have not communicated in years.  Is there a chance they may want to hear from you.  The wild one may not be so wild anymore, and the religious one may live their life differently than you but they still care for you.

My siblings told me if I did not leave my abusive husband that they would disown me and never talk to me again.  To me it was just another abuse, another form of domination, another ultimatum, another threat.  Now, being divorced almost twenty years, and not having my siblings in my life, it is painful and sad.  I wonder when they will get real, grow up, get a heart.  That was the wrong way to help a person that is in an abusive situation, it is another abuse.  They missed out on so much good, and my wonderful children growing up without aunts and uncles.  I miss them still.  I have reached out, they are not interested and I must have hurt them irreparably.   I am fortunate to have many good friends that have been aunts and uncles to my sons, and brothers and sisters to me.  I am blessed.

Sometimes you can feel powerless to change an situation of estrangement.  Fear of another rejection, or fear of hateful words, fear of being blamed, fear of being accused and hearing unkind words.  These can be valid reasons for fear,  yet, emotions can make us think the worst case scenario.  I have a friend whose daughter got wild in her teens and she ran away.  All these years later, the mother knows her daughter had a child and raised it.  The mother would love to communicate with her daughter and it is a painful unresolved situation.  Just talk about the good and reset the relationship.

Hashing over the mistakes, words, and actions does not always improve a situation.  What does a person want, to just get it off their chest and not have a relationship.  A doctor told me to send each of my siblings a letter and confront them.  I did that and regret it, did they need to be reminded of their mistakes.  It accomplished nothing and ruined a chance for reconciliation.  If you want a relationship, it is not always necessary to rehash.  Sometimes confronting issues can create more hurt and a relationship sought is not available.  It may not be necessary to address things if those days are gone by.  Just send a card with a few words of kindness, do not write pages, do not blame and find fault.  Just keep it condensed and simple and write something little about yourself that is positive.  Put your phone number and email address in and send.  It may be a sweet surprise to them.  And the response may be more affectionate than you expected.  Risk it, you might not get a response, but than again you might.

Relationships, keep or let go…

When your feeling out of sorts and you cannot think straight because of the inconsiderate actions of another it can be devastating.  People have problems, and people are not perfect.  Most things can be worked through because relationships are valuable.  People too easily discard relationships that should be kept.  Yet, people hang on desperately to the toxic people that bring drama and pain into their lives.  It is very hard to discern what can be let go and what should be addressed.  If someone lies, gossips, and misrepresents you, you have to wonder what other hurt they are capable of.  Do you need the grief?  Can you change a relationship that has generated disrespect?  Maybe, address the problem and do not be afraid of loss, this way the power of manipulation is not there.  Nurturing, loving, supportive people I enjoy sharing my life with, otherwise, being alone isn’t such a threat.  It is quite nice at times.

I am so thankful for all the friends I have in my life, decades of friendships.  The thing that I find so freeing is that I do not have to like everyone, and I do not really care if I am liked.  The friendships I have I treasure and we have mutual respect and appreciation for each other.  I like and love people easily.

Having many personal interests has saved me from bad relationships.  Today, I was a little down from the effects of a sad situation that I find utterly confusing.  I did not let it keep me down for long, going outside and visiting with the chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, and goats cheered me up.  Picking some cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, and peppers from the garden with my husband was such a pleasant experience.  We are blessed.  The abundance of creation is a delight.  I came in the house just truly counting my blessings.  We enjoyed a salad with our dinner.

Reflecting on my day, I had many joyful interactions with loving appreciative friends.  A sweet little girl sat next to me at the meeting.  Others came up to me and expressed such loving and sweet sentiments.  We had a good time with friends yesterday, and they told us today how much they liked our time together.  It is a privilege to have good friends.  It takes time to know someone, it takes time to make a friend and it is a worthy endeavor.  Being a friend to ourselves is crucial.

I have shed tears about the other situation, and I will address it tactfully.  Therefore, our relationship can flourish.  It is like pushing a reset button.  Relationships are worth keeping and building.