Lessons

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned this year during my MeMyselfI journey, it’s been to LISTEN and GO WITH THE FLOW.

Yesterday, I visited my mom at the nursing home. I wasn’t there for more than a few minutes before I felt physically sick. Headache return, wanting to vomit. I’m just a pile of a mess there. I didn’t take the time before going to try to meditate and ground myself, my fault.

A mess. I left, came home at 5:30pm played with the puppies for a few minutes and promptly went to bed “for a nap.” Yeah, I woke up at 10pm—played on my phone for a bit, said good night to HWMMS and then went back to bed. Until 10am this morning. 14 hours of sleep?

F you Depression.

Ugh.

Anyhow, I’m up and out of bed this morning because Giant Puppy and the Paw of Doom wouldn’t let me sleep any longer, and trust me I could have slept…all day.

I decided to clean up a bit around the house and I turned on the radio to Jack FM. I love music, yet I rarely have it on. Today I needed the boost. So when I hear songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Living on a Prayer” I start singing and a smile emerges.

I left the radio on while going in the other room to start working. I’m sitting in front of the laptop with at least 5 tabs open, working on real estate and then BAM.

TRIGGER.

The song “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics comes on the radio.

And just like that the tears embedded in that headache above my eyes started to flow. INSTANTANEOUSLY. (I almost cried about 5 times yesterday, but the tears wouldn’t come—weird cause I have no problem crying, most of the time.)

So yeah. Tension. Tears. My first instinct the rare occasion I do hear this song on the radio is to turn the station AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Sort of like when those ASPCA commercials of Sarah McLaughlin come on the TV. I can’t tell you the last time I listened to this song all the way through…

(Also add Cher “If I Could Turn Back Time” and Michael Bolton “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You”—that one was on repeat by my mom.)

TODAY?

LESSON. Also, voice inside screaming WRITEITOUT.

Um, there’s a reason I turned on the radio randomly today when I never do…there’s a reason this song is playing right now. And I’m crying and releasing. (Finally)

Fine. I’ll go with it and cry. And go right back to being 15 years old at my Dad’s funeral. Bam. Just like that in an instant. I’m that head-strong, opinionated teenager who butted heads with her head-strong, opinionated, alcoholic dad at every corner. Every corner. Until he ended up in the hospital. And until he died in the hospital 2 months later.

A complicated father-daughter dysfunctional relationship that ended without a real sense of closure. Something I deal with, internally, I suppose daily, still…

One of my most vivid and hated memories of my first visit with “a Wizard” back when I was in law school went a little something like this.

Wizard: So, do you wish your dad was still alive today?

Me: (silence)

No, for real. SILENCE. DO YOU KNOW HOW HORRIBLE THIS IS TO THINK ABOUT? SILENCE? How did I not immediately answer YES OF COURSE.

But I didn’t. I didn’t answer. I sat there.

And then the wizard talked me through it…but it didn’t matter, I hated (hate) myself for not being able to answer YES, like I should have.

Truth of the matter? Our relationship was complicated, difficult. As a child of an alcoholic parent there was rarely a peaceful day in the house. End of the night was always the time for yelling, berating, fighting about something anything everything. And unlike my mom and unlike my brother, I couldn’t just let it go and let it be… I challenged every chance I got. Fought back. All words. Emotions. Feelings of a headstrong teenager who didn’t DO anything and didn’t deserve to be yelled at, again. Damn alcohol. It wasn’t my dad, it was the disease, but you don’t KNOW this as a 15 year old.

The yelling stopped once dad collapsed at home and went into the hospital. And it ended forever when he passed away the night before the first year of my Sophomore year of High School.

‘”Say it loud, say it clear.”

Yeah, it doesn’t matter if my dad “knew I loved him” and I “knew he loved me.” Our strained relationship was ripped from the moment and it’s been something I’ve been struggling to deal with since.

(For another post where I attempted to write about this topic see: A Boat Like Gideon Brown)

My relationship with my MOM? Is also a complicated one. With her surgeries and the accident and being in the nursing home, I’ve been off the chart with my empath spidey senses. Despite our dysfunction, my mom and I have a strong bond. And my GOD I see so much of myself in her it scares me (especially in moments like these where I know she isn’t taking care of herself like she should—pot, kettle. Mirror image.)

And as much as she DRIVES ME CRAZY (hi mom, I know you are probably reading this…) she is my mom. I swear I’m not kidding when I say I’ve been feeling what she has been feeling while in the home, it’s NOT a matter of being sad or knowing how she is feeling. It’s me personally, internally deep down inside being in that black hole of “what’s the point, don’t want to exist…” I’m not this person. I’m NOT dealing with my own depression right now—ITS NOT MINE!!! but it’s hitting me deeply—-I can only hope if I am feeling some of her feelings, maybe it is taking some of the pain and hurt away from her.

EITHER OR the lesson I need to learn is I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. I need to create better emotional boundaries. Not just with my mom, but by entering into the nursing home in the first place.

The HARDEST place for me to be is in a nursing home….funeral home/cemeteries and hospitals are right up there too. I’ve always been like this and until understanding what an empath is—it never made sense. Boy does it ever now.

Even crazier, I’m AMAZING and my BEST SELF when visiting these places, for the sake of the other person. It’s an OSCAR worthy performance. I turn it on. I’m caring, kind, smiley, compassionate, funny…and the second I leave, I’m utterly and completely deflated and dead inside. I’m good around sick, frail, elderly people. In my earlier years I felt guilty that I wasn’t working with this population because I know I CAN do it, naturally…but it’s the KILLING ME INSIDE when I got home part that won out.

I learned this after working at Legal Services for the Elderly and Disabled. I learned this while working at a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth. I can connect and connect well, but I can’t and try to live a semblance of a normal life “out of work.” The way I’m programmed, there is no “out of work” it’s always on.

It took quite a few years—up until I was close to 30 years old to figure out this lesson, I’m not able to serve others in the direct-care world. I feel a strong call to SERVE but I just can’t, selfishly.

This is also where my mom and I are exactly the same but completely different at the same time, she has the same kind heart and compassion but she has been able to work with this population. My mom has worked in nursing homes and as an in-home aide. I have NO idea how she does it. All I know is she has made a tremendous difference to all the lives she has touched in this capacity and I can’t even begin to imagine being strong enough to be that person.

So what is the lesson I’m supposed to be learning now?

I’ve been accepting, slowly, the fact that I’m an empath and learning how to deal with my emotions. (or should I say more distinctively, the emotions of others I seem to absorb.) But it’s not easy. It makes no sense, yet it is.

I’m learning there aren’t as many coincidences as there are lessons to be learned out there.

Sure, a song randomly played on the radio. Yep, that happens. All the time to everyone, all day every day.

But if something inside me is telling me it happened for a reason and I need to listen…and that means writing it out…I don’t question anymore, I just go with the flow.

And then I press publish and move on and continue my day.

Lesson learned.

Day 27 can be found here.

March-1-1

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