So, in 6 days, well I guess, in 5 the holiday frenzy will begin, the rush for everyone to spend Christmas Eve somewhere, with tons of friends and family, filled with joy and laughter. I’m trying so hard to keep myself focused on other things this year. I’ve avoided the malls and shopping centers like never before. Haven’t stepped foot in a store since Black Friday. I’ve done all my shopping online. It’s helped because I haven’t had to listen to holiday music, see decorations, or see the happy people having fun together.
Betsy loved this time of year, she loved celebrating Christmas. We’d have decorations hung all over the house, it seemed so festive, happy and comforting. Just bright and filled with light. I’ve realized that I loved that decorated, lit up feeling, seeing all the homes lit up, driving around seeing the lights on houses. I remember one year we drove to a house in our community that must have millions of lights on it. All the lights are synced to music that you listen to in your car. It was such a beautiful site. Of course, we got out of the car for a bit, it was awe inspiring, the enormity of the work that was done to bring pleasure to others through this great light display touched my heart. Even though Bets was older, in high school, she was so excited, just like a little child. That brought me joy on Christmas, seeing my child become excited enough where you could just see the joy flowing out of her, that made me feel alive.
I know that every parent feels this way. Every person who loves someone feels as if they’ve been given a gift so precious when seeing such total joy in someone we love. We all have it in us too, even if life has given us a set of horrible circumstances to deal with we owe it to ourselves to dig deep within, find what’s right, what we’ve been given, find God in each situation, find our joy in the gifs we have, strength in our daily walk for we walk with courage each day, find joy in our existence and share our joy and love with everyone so we learn to focus on others instead of ourselves. Somehow we need to learn how to truly give, without getting anything in return, with joy and excitement in our hearts and minds. These thoughts sustain me for today.
After last night’s ranting, I realized that it’s not anyone’s fault if I allow them to take advantage of me. I teach them how to treat me, if I let people treat me like a doormat, as if I can always be there for them, at their beck and call, then that’s what I’m going to get. On the other hand, if I make myself and my needs important enough to me, then I can do what I chose in life, not feel guilted about doing things for my parents that I don’t want to do. It is not a measure of my love for them in the amount of time I spend with them.
Right now, at this moment, I need some down time, to decompress a bit, then to get refocused on my other work for my dissertation work. I am the one who needs to set reasonable limits with them. Otherwise I will feel anger and resentment. I never wanted Betsy to feel that way with me and I don’t think either of my parents want me to feel that way towards them either. They can’t read my mind any more than I can read theirs.
I am aware of who they are, they’ve both shown me again and again over the years. I’m figuring out how to be assertive, not a mat. I don’t want to be a mat, Betsy would never be a mat. She was strong enough to stand up and be assertive. How did I help that? How can I use her as my role model? I need to think about that for a bit. I know I’m so resilient in so many ways.
Love you forever Betsy, gotta do it for you and for me. <3 <3<3
It’s another lonely, silent night in my house. The silence is deafening, I wonder sometimes why I even have a cell phone. I try to follow the lessons I’ve learned from my teacher and group, thinking of them, not of myself, but sometimes when I see the pettiness and smallness of others I just can’t do it anymore. So, again I feel myself drawn into missing Betsy so much, not only because of how much I loved her but for how much she loved me.
She was my greatest supporter and encourager. in a real way, not in a fake way, just saying meaningless words because she didn’t know what else to say, but knowing how to talk to me in ways that were supportive or kicking my butt if I needed it. Now I just feel alone. My parents use me for what they want, calling it love, but it’s really their need to have someone do things for them or fulfill their need. Neither is really interested in what I have to do or what my real needs are. For that matter, only my youngest brother thinks to call me. One just won’t talk to me any more, the other rarely. My sister is so caught up in her shit that she can’t stop to think about how she affect anyone else…oh, how I miss Betsy. And I’ve been so busy working, taking care of my dad’s paperwork, visiting him, trying to do my dissertation, take care of my house…I don’t have much time to do much else.
I’m getting to the point where I feel guilt if I say no, but I need to say it so I get some normalcy in my life. I so need time to get regrouped tomorrow, not to spend an entire day at a smoke filled casino because my dad who never really did anything with me my entire life can get out of where he is now. I get that it’s hard for him to be there, but that i..ve you forevesn’t my fault either, my life is no walk in the park either and who is going to be here for me???? I’m busting my butt for him, but I have no one that will ever be able to do anything to help take care of me when I get old. I’ve always been alone and it seems like I’ll always be alone. Why can’t I just say no? I just need to say no…I get to come first some time. I get to be selfish so I can get my work done so I can take care of my future. None of them worry about that.
I need to be stronger, as I taught my daughter to be strong. I can’t be afraid because I’m only getting one chance at what’s left of my life and I deserve to get my stuff done too. I busted my ass to get work done today, so I could do some cleaning tomorrow, then work on the dissertation because I haven’t due to my teaching. Why does my family discount my work?? I need to show them how to treat me. Maybe my new motto should be, What would Betsy do?? <3<3<3
Today I had the shock of recalling a dream that I know I’ve had again and again, in this dream, Betsy’s death was a mistake and she comes home as if nothing has happened. It’s so strange because I know she was gone but everyone acts as though it never happened and so does she. I felt oddly jarred when I recalled the dream today, like a lurch in my heart and soul. I don’t know how I’d forgotten about these dreams, when they’ve felt so real to me. I suppose it’s my deep wish of wanting her to be with me again and most likely I’m not the only parent who has had dream such as these with their child. The shock of it was so alarming to me, that I almost began to cry again, but then realized that it’s ok for me to wish for her and have dreams like that. However, she lives on in a different dimension than I do and perhaps I’ll be able to see her again some time. My job for now is to live my life to it’s fullest so I can honor her and bring joy to my Creator. In that way I can find peace in this life. I can’t focus on her death but on her life and our love.
A lot has happened since Betsy’s birthday. While I felt very distraught before that day, it would have been her 26th birthday and 4 years 5 months 3 days since she died, I’ve found some new peace and strength. It came from some friends, two who I’ve know for some time and a few new acquaintances I met during a labyrinth walk at a local church. It was cold that night, but the person who organized the walk had all kinds of candles lit up around the labyrinth, it was very beautiful. The night was crisp and cold, but clear skies let the stars sparkle up ahead. We did a bit of a meditation before our group walk. I entered the labyrinth last, tears streaming down my face, mostly because of anger and disappointment due to my family’s lack of support of my needs since my dear Betsy’s death. In spite of them feeling hurt themselves, they have no room for my hurt and I often let it store up inside even though I’ve asked them to be available to listen to me and allow me to talk about her and how I feel about her not being here anymore. But, as most of us are, they can’t do this for me, just expect me to do lots of things for them. So, during the walk, I kept asking to release my anger, pain, and hurt, frustration and started to realize that I have to surround myself with people who love me and provide me with positive energy and good attitudes.
I get to choose with whom I spend my time with, whom I share what with and I deserve to live my life more fully and with happiness because Betsy would want that for me. I’ll not ever be as carefree as I once was, but I don’t have to take on my family roles, I get to select what things I want to do with my life. As I used to say when I was little, You’re not the boss of me! Since that time, I’ve felt more at peace. I miss my daughter more than anything, I always will. I just have to get my ass in gear and get moving in the right direction again. I owe her that.
Yesterday I met some friends at Paint Monkey, a place where you paint as an instructor explains how to fill in your painting, this was my third time attending an event like this, my first with some friends. I arrived exactly on time, which meant I was last to arrive, so everyone else was seated and waiting for me before they could begin. I didn’t mind that because I had to work then drive a bit of a distance to get there. As the evening wore on, I found myself getting frustrated by the comments of some of the young women who were there. They were complaining about their children and husbands, things about how they can’t do anything by themselves and such, but it really started to get to me because I kept thinking, if they only realized how lucky they were to still have their children safe at home….and how lucky they were to have a husband to help raise their kids and help support them. It was yet another signal about how much we take everything for granted, that each day will be exactly like the next. But we aren’t really in charge of anything in this life, nor would I want one of them to go through an experience or suffering as I and so many others are right now. It’s not a path I would EVER want another parent to have to experience, but it happens every minute of each day.
I know that I was very lucky to have had so much time with my daughter, time that she was healthy, happy, and successful. But that doesn’t eliminate my feelings of pain, grief, hopelessness, and loss for her future and mine. Love you Betsy, forever…<3 <3<3
It’s November, in 17 days it will be Betsy’s birthday. She would have been 26. She would have graduated from grad school and who knows what else. My life is so different than what we both had projected. We had plans to somehow live near each other when she moved away, because neither of us could stand the thought of being far away from each other. Even though it’s been 4 years, 5 months, I still feel shocked that she is gone. I don’t try to pick up the phone to call her like I used to do, but it’s just still shocking that’s she isn’t here. For me at least. Other’s have moved on, while they remember her, her close friends feel the pain of her loss, most people, I think, expect me to have just to have moved on but I feel stuck in a place of pain and confusion where I don’t know how to move forward. I’m just stuck, this isn’t like me, I’m like in a gooey funk where I can do the minimum I have to, but that’s it. And more than anything, I think I don’t want to let her down, to disappoint her or not live up to her memory. But then, all I want to do is just be able to sit and cry. I know I just can’t do that though, it isn’t any good for the long term. But nothing seems to be helping me right now, I just feel sadness, maybe it’s the time of the year for me. I just miss her so much.