Posted by: Kathy | August 26, 2014

Waiting On Cancer

Sometimes I am reminded of the last weeks and days of my mom’s life. I was scared all the time. Scared that she would continue to live in pain. Scared that there was nothing I could to help her. Scared that I would lose her. I started writing this after my mom died, but I could never finish it. I wanted to share a part of it because I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way, or maybe is feeing this way right now.

Do you know what it’s like to not only face one of your biggest fears, but have it become part of your everyday life? Ingrained within the heart and mind, you get so used to it being there that some days you forget about the looming threat this fear represents. But then something happens and the fear becomes all-consuming. Its force takes your breath away, brings tears to your eyes, and fills your heart with panic. A reminder of what’s to come. You have no control over your fear, realizing much later that it had control over you. Like a ticking bomb, you know life is going blow up, you just have no idea when. So you live an everyday life because it’s all you can do. Your time is spent waiting.

I lived this way for almost a year. And even after one of my deepest fears came true, I continued to push myself through life because I didn’t know what else to do. I had no idea how to live again because I had been damaged by what I lived through. At first, the fear was briefly replaced with relief, but that faded quickly as shock, sorrow, emptiness, and grief rooted themselves in my life. I was a wife, mother, daughter, coworker, and friend. I was going through the motions, existing, but not living.

It has taken me years to get past this, but it doesn’t take much to bring me back to these memories. To remember how I felt when my mom was dying. I didn’t want to lose her, but I also wanted my mom to be at peace. I had no control over the situation. I was waiting on pancreatic cancer to make its next move.

Posted by: Kathy | August 21, 2014

Dreaming to See My Mom Again

In previous posts, I’ve written about the handful of dreams I’ve had about my mom since she died. They are few and far between. I don’t dream a lot, and when I do I don’t remember my dreams. When I have dream about my mom, I write it down because it’s something I treasure. A glimpse of my mom for just a minute. A moment with my mom again, even if it’s in my dreams.

About a month and a half after my mom died, a poem came to me while I was driving. As soon as I parked, I found an envelope or receipt in my car and wrote the poem down. After a few refinements I shared what I had written, eventually placing it on this blog a few years ago. Today, I shared it on SLAP’D.

That poem was one of the first posts I put on this blog site. It’s been almost 6 years since I wrote this poem, and I’d like to share it again. Maybe I’m not alone in what I’m feeling. Dreams are the only way I can see my mom again.

Find Me In My Dreams

I think about you every day,
your face engraved in my mind,
but I have yet to see you in my dreams

and each night it’s what I hope to find.

I talk to you before I fall asleep,
to your picture I say “good night”.
I wish you’d visit me in my dreams,
it would be such a wonderful sight.

To see the beauty of your face,
to feel the warmth of your smile,
please come find me in my dreams,
stay for just a little while.

I wish we’d had more time together,
it’s really hard to believe you’re gone.
There’s so much I need to tell you,
I’m trying so hard to be strong.

But living life without you
is much harder than I thought it would be.
Please come find me in my dreams tonight,
Mom, please come visit me. 

I read this poem and I am taken back to the cold, sunny winter day when I wrote it. The feelings I express in this poem haven’t changed. I hope to see my mom again in my dreams very soon. I still miss you, Mom, and I will always love you.

Posted by: Kathy | August 14, 2014

Demons, Depression, Death

In a reply to a comment made on my previous post, I said I write about what’s weighing on my heart. I am not a trendy person. I don’t write about what’s popular or in the news. But today I am going to break tradition so to speak, because the death of Robin Williams is weighing on my heart.

When the news report of the death of Robin Williams broke through Jeopardy on Monday evening, I was shocked. As more details were made available and his death was attributed to suicide, my shock and sadness deepened. The man who made the world laugh had been hurting so deeply inside that he took his own life. He didn’t see any other way to break free of the darkness and pain.

I’ve said numerous times that you may never really know what’s going on with someone. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. A marriage that may seem happy outside the house could be a living hell once that front door shuts. That was my first marriage. The same is true with people. Someone could be smiling on the outside and sobbing on the inside. I’ve hidden my true feelings many times. I didn’t want anyone to know how bad it was for me. My closest friends and family believed my words of “I’m fine” when I really wasn’t.

You never know what a person is really feeling unless they open up and say the words of the heart. “I don’t know what to do.” “I can’t deal with my life.” “I feel so sad right now.” “I don’t want to do this anymore.” These are all statements I’ve felt, but they never passed through my lips and were never said out loud. I didn’t want to worry anyone. I thought I could deal with it myself, so I kept these words to myself.

I don’t know what demons haunted Robin Williams. I don’t know his life circumstances or the darkness he felt, even when he was surround with the light and love of his family and the millions of people he touched around the world with his laughter, entertainment, and kindness. But I do understand those personal demons that make you believe that the only way to peace is suicide. I do understand the darkness that can fill every crevice of your life until there is no light to be seen anywhere. I’ve been at that point, but, fortunately, I never took the final step. Suicide is the ultimate escape from the demons, depression, and darkness. There is no turning back.

When I was at my darkest of times, it was my very young son who saved me. The thought of never seeing my son again, feeling the softness of his baby skin, hearing his laughter, or watching him smile when he saw me was a feeling worse than the darkness and pain I was dealing with at that time. For me, the thought of not being part of my son’s life or seeing him grow up was enough for me to start looking for the light in that darkness and to stop listening to my inner demons. My son was my light in that darkness, and I followed that light each and every day. I began to heal from a very abusive marriage and to believe that I was worth something. Slowly, my life became more light than darkness. Eventually, I was able to deal with my life and cage the demons that haunted me. I became strong enough to stand on my own. I am grateful for that because I needed that strength as I dealt with the death of my grandparents and then my mom’s illness and death, all in the span of 8 years.

I’ve told both my kids that suicide is not the answer. It is an end that can’t be changed, hurting those who love you and leaving a lot of unanswered questions. When you’re in the darkness, you can’t see this. I want them to understand that there is nothing so bad in life that can’t be worked out. It may take time. It may take a lot of work. It may hurt more before the pain lessens. But at some point things will get better somehow. There is so much pressure these days that I worry about my kids, especially knowing that depression runs in my family. I don’t judge people, and I hope my kids know that they can always come to me with anything that’s on their mind or in their heart.

It saddens me that the only way Robin Williams felt he could escape the darkness, depression, and demons was to end his life. My heart goes out to his family and those closest to him as they deal with his loss. Robin Williams made me laugh during sad times and kept me company as I traveled for work. I loved him as an actor and entertainer, and he was an incredibly talented individual. I hope Robin Williams has found peace.

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