Monday, January 28, 2013
Unexpected things happen all the time. The best deal is to have a plan, but not be so tied to it that anything "unexpected" derails it. And be committed to the spirit of the plan, even if the letter of it gets screweed up.
This week I have hanging over my head the possibility although not the liklihood of my ex showing up and calling at an odd hour. He lives 1200 miles away, and doesn't fly, has lots of excuses for not driving, had talked about possibly catching a train. I offered up housing and local transport should he make the effort to come.
He's always been unpredictable and it used to drive me crazy (one of the reasons we are ex-es). But this is his sister that we are bidding farewell and godspeed to, so for this week the rule is "cut him some slack", but don't let him get in the way of taking care of my own health needs.
I also have the uncertainty of whether my son will get released on leave early enough to make the service... I mentioned that yesterday, but he's 95% hopeful at this point, and I look forward to his homecoming whether it comes in the midst of or in the wake of the funeral activities. But we don't control the airline schedules or the speed of the military wheels.
Woven in around all of that are the normal events of life, attempting to *be* normal. I will go to work in a few moments... meetings to have, topics / puzzles to distract me... potentially interrupted by requests for support in the efforts to expedite getting home from my son. If those happen, my workplace already knows what I'm facing, and is incredibly supportive... for which I, in turn, am extremely grateful.
At times like this, the big times... we see it coming and brace ourselves with the stability of an eating / exercise plan. It's a ritual of self-care habit that underpins as the rest of life swirls about.
But is this not also true of EVERY week in our lives? Every week has the potential of disruption. Taking care of ourselves, accepting that we cannot control every little thing, and letting God or other people take care of their part is a key to living well... and to recovery from compulsions.
This is life. LIVE today! Spark on.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
I posted on my status that I ran / walked 12.35 miles yesterday, but the numbers only tell such a small fraction of a run. I was running with Carol (my sister in law who passed) on my shoulder. I was talking with her as I ran. And my choices of where to turn and continue were partly guided by the process of dealing with life.
I ended up taking a turn into a neighborhood I hadn't been in to in a long time. Down that street was a house where I babysat as a teen. The mom of that family happened to depart too soon, too. At the end of that same block, the house where a math teacher I had adored had lived. He, too, it turns out, passed way too young.
I kept on running, up toward a Mall, by the site of a church (that is no longer there, neighborhood's changed) that was the place of much of my childhood Sunday School training. Past a nursing home, and into another neighborhood, where one of the church ladies who was widowed the same year as my dad had lived. Then to the gym, and back around the lake one more loop.
It was a memory run. A good opportunity to contemplate, process, assimilate the events swirling around, and for that matter, life in general. Some tears in spots (someone commented yesterday about runs with tears streaming)... not the first such run I've done. But also some smiles as the sun would break through the clouds and warm my back or my face.
Got home, stretched, showered, made the family phone calls appropriate to the day, and chilled 'til bedtime. Funeral is not until Wednesday, it will be touch and go if my son gets home, but he's working with his command chain to get exempted from one mandated class and home a shade early.
In short... took care of my own grieving needs, and made sure others have their "oxygen masks" on, too. It was a good day.
And we shall weather these life events... living them in the moment, and moving onward. Spark on, dear friends. Hug your loved ones. And nurture yourselves.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
For all of 2012, as I did event after event, I invoked two names at the starting lines. One was my sister in law's, the other my son's. Son is now safely stateside. Sister in law has passed at long last, peacefully with her daughter by her side.
This morning, when I leave the front door for my long run, my training run... it will be with her on my mind. The workout today, is in her honor and memory.
A strange transition has happened for me mentally in these, the Spark years. Some "bad things" have happened around me, I won't repeat them or count them, over these years.
In some years (my youth and young adulthood) I let bad things that happened paralyze me... I sank into myself, with the food, felt bad for those who were affected, but used this odd form of self-punishment as my way to feel a common bond, I guess. Because I felt bad that the bad thing happened to someone else, and guilty that it was them and not me. Warped, yeah.
Some people learn this lesson early, and it is a natural part of them. For me, it had to happen after age 50. We learn our lessons in our own order. Lesson one is the recognition that I can't wish bad things away. They are a part of life. I can't undo bad things that have happened. Lesson two is the "what can I do?" part: I can go forward to honor those who have suffered or are suffering. I can't live their lives for them. But I can hold them in my heart and do the things I can.
I need to take care of myself to do those things. And in the end, I run because I can. But I can run *for* those who cannot. Whole different mind set.
And it honors both that life is good, and that the bad is mixed in, and it's OK. Spark on, dear friends. Take care of yourselves, and honor LIFE! Namaste.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Once upon a time, we were all young. In this photo are two young moms and their dressed up little ones. It was taken at my wedding reception in 1981, by my dad. In it you see on the left, my sister and her daughter, on the right, my groom's sister and her daughter. I always thought of those two babies as two standards of beauty, and I have always loved this picture.
Overnight Wednesday, the mom on the right hugged her now grown, strong woman of a daughter good-bye for the last time, and continued on her journey spiritward. My niece called first my ex, yesterday morning, and a while later me.
As I have observed in the past, my first reaction to huge news is "I can keep working"... I'll just drive on. Five or ten minutes later, it becomes the to-do list... who I need to call. What I should do about relatives who may not be on my niece's first-call list... etc. I had trouble contacting my son right away, and finally accepted that no, this is not something I want to do here... and left work for the day.
I ended up having a long conversation with my ex, remembering his sister as a young, vibrant, capable single mom, courageous and strong. Remembering her as a grandmother, me tagging along as she took her granddaughter to the symphony kids' concert, or out to our local broadway musical in the park in Summertime. He reminisced on a trip they took together in 1999 back to some places of special meaning to them as children, in upper Michigan.
Later, as I was climbing into bed, my son was able to call and we chatted. While he's sorry he won't make it in time for a service (kind of hard to speed up military de-mobilization, and they likely would not for other than a parent, spouse or child), we knew this day would come a long time in advance and made sure he visited his aunt before he left. What he really would like right now is to get home to hug his cousin, and that will happen in its own good time.
So, as he told me, he'll be OK, I should take care of the others.
Anyway, on the Spark front, believe it or not, all that food tantrum stuff that went on for a couple of weeks? Kind of got the tar slapped out of it and I've been back on track for three full days, today would be the fourth. Exercise / training got really dialed back to the line in the sand, but I'm holding that line.
We shall see where I end up in a week or so, motivationally. 2013 could end up looking quite different from 2012... but, you know what? That's OK. This is LIFE. And life is good.
Spark on my friends, I'll be OK. Really.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Human life is a jumble. Happy things. Sad things. Exciting things. Boring things. Pleasant emotions, and unpleasant ones.
Yesterday while joyously anticipating my son's return, I heard from his cousin, his dad's niece. Her mom is not doing well. This is the sister in law I've written about before, the one I run for, who has been robbed of so much of her life by ALS. She has contracted pneumonia. And they made the decision to stop feeding her by tube. She still gets water (kidneys are still working), and meds, of course.
But it is only a matter of time. I went over to spend a few moments, just standing there holding her hand, talking of little, encouraging her to rest. I did share that my son's out of harms way and on the way home. Her gaze would wander to the photograph of her own son, who passed away almost two years ago now.
Having read some of the near death literature, I wondered whether she could now see and commune with him... she seems quite at peace. She can still hear us, but now even her breathing is mechanically assisted. She can squeeze hands a little bit.
And what struck me yesterday is that despite all the disease has done to her body... she is still a beautiful woman. Love brings out beauty, you see. This photo is from a younger time, of course, but I can still see this woman.
At one a.m. or thereabouts I got the boots Stateside phone call. In about a week, I'll get my mom hugs. I'm praying also for hers, from a daughter before, from a son at her destination.
Life can be sad even while it is happy... but it is precious in all its moments. Take care of yourself today... so you will be there for your loved ones to share these moments.
Life is good. Spark on.
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