Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pulling Off the Band Aid

I made the mistake of watching a Christmas movie late last night. I normally don't watch them because it is the hardest time of the year for me, my family gone, been alone so long. The movie was "A Christmas Visitor", about a family who lost their son during the Gulf War on Christmas Eve. There was a specific scene in there where the father meets the bus with his son to send him on his way. His son was trying to make him understand it was his choice to go. After the son boarded the bus, the father turned toward the camera with tears in his eyes.

That brought back a deep memory of my first day leaving home for college. I had worked so hard to find the money, scholarships, etc. to continue my education and to go away to school, to start my junior year in KY. It was 700 miles away from home and I was going by Greyhound bus. My parents fought for years. I joined in my high school years just to survive. He was an alcoholic and a mean man during those years. I was fighting to get away from him and my mother, the mother who spent my entire life telling me she didn't want me. She never wanted another child, I was stupid, I was ugly, I would never be anything. I was more determined than ever to get as far away from them as I could go. That Greyhound bus never looked so good.

I had never heard of Asbury College, but God opened the door through several unusual doors that lead me straight to theirs. So in January of 1981, I was on my way. He never said a word to me when I boarded that bus. I just said I'd call when I arrived to let them know I was safe.

The next day I called to tell them I was fine. He answered the phone. On the other end was a man crying. I almost thought I dialed the wrong number. He finally passed the phone to my mother. I was angry that he was crying and asked what she had done. She said she didn't do anything. That he was upset that I left. I never gave it another thought until last night. That movie ripped the only band aid off the hidden wound that had not healed all those years ago and the tears flowed and flowed. Even though that was the most painful yet exciting time of my life, it was the worst of his. I never realized how much he did care.

It wasn't till the time after my mother died and years later when he was so sick and I took care of him that I saw a much kinder man. He had given up alcohol. The worse part for me was he never remembered the words or actions of his drinking days so he couldn't tell me he was sorry. That has been left as an open sore for me to deal with for my lifetime.

He has been gone 14 years now, but those actions, those scars, all memories still come flooding back. I wish people would realize their actions do affect their children, total strangers, dear friends and family no matter what they do. Whether good or bad, they affect others.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Please remember...

Never make a promise you don't intend to keep. It DOES make a difference.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful

Blogging has helped me cope with the pain, both physically and emotionally, of dealing with this horrible disease and its multitude of spawning illnesses. Some days are worse than others. I'm thankful to be able to write about it.

When I think about so many people in this world suffering so much, I realize I am just a dot on the map. I may be alone and suffering, but I am one in millions wanting my life back, to be able to work again, to have a purpose.

There comes a time to accept life where I am and hope and pray somehow my life will make a difference. I am thankful to have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food in my pantry, a place for my kitty to feel safe. I still long to live in a place where I can sleep through the night and feel safe as well, a place outside of Dothan. Only with help can this come to pass.

I am thankful I was able to take care of my mom, dad and only brother before they passed on. How many people can say that? I worked at the same time with my dad and brother. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I wouldn't change it. I am who I am today because of where I came from...

May God use my life where I am, be blessed by it no matter how small it may be, and have mercy on me when I step out of line.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Learning More Every Day

I've always felt my experiences were different. Maybe it is because someone is telling me I'm over reacting or not seeing things clearly. This past week, my personal experiences from being sick and disabled were confirmed as true by someone who sees this on a day to day basis in the world of senior adults.

She shared how their organization to help Seniors had a rough start. Even those in the House and Senate had the same way of thinking as everyone else in the world. As far as seniors and disabled people go, the majority of the population believes their family and church should be responsible to see to their needs, check on them, reach out to help them, visit them, love them. She shared how she told this House Rep how untrue his thinking really was and invited him to visit some of her cases. When the day was over, his entire attitude had changed.

He saw that even though someone may have a family member or two, they don't visit or even call. Churches have no use for members who are not able to attend or cannot afford to tithe. They simply stop the contact. And those who have no family at all simply live day by day in an existence so lonely that it is hard to face the next one.

I never knew God's word taught us to only reach out to those within a church building or to members who give the most money or have family names rooted in history of their town or city. They are referred as "Somebodies."
Jesus never taught us to turn our backs on those who are alone, sick, penniless. So much of our society does just that. The government leads the way. No wonder people tend to walk away from churches or turn the other way when they watch the walk of a Christian whose life does not match the teaching of the Bible. It is quite sad to say most sermons are 90% stories and jokes these days, not teaching from the Bible. No wonder people act the way they do.

Churches build walls around themselves. They raise money to entertain themselves, go on trips, have "teas", and keep out those they think do not belong in their fellowship. Church has become an exclusive club. I wonder if Jesus would be accepted as a member.

When my friend shared her story the other day, a weight lifted off my shoulders. All I experienced over the past few years from church people, those who bully in order to "control" a person trapped in a sick or elderly body, think of you once a year when they call and say, "Someone on our list cancelled. Can we come over and sing Christmas carols to you?" How do you tell them how very insulted you are?! Why would you call me for something like this when I've suffered all year long, when no one visits me in the hospital or call when I return home, when I'm in the ER and I see the pastor walk past my room to visit someone else? Where were you when I was screaming for help to get out of this living situation I'm in...the one where I'm being bullied and have nowhere to go and no money to move? What about the lady who called and left a message about being a part of her group the church formed, some group study? She encouraged and said she would call back. Of course, she never did. My needs are overwhelming and you want to sing Christmas carols? I declined.

This is no longer the story of the "Good Samaritan." You don't have to be lying on the ground wounded and in need of help. Look around you. There is someone not two doors down from you in need of love, understanding and most likely something more substantial.

I believe if you have been blessed with abundance, you should give abundantly, not to a church office so they can throw it away foolishly, but to someone you know is in dire need. If you open your eyes you will see so many people screaming inside, screaming for help. Will you listen?

I've been screaming since May...I pray by December I'll be able to say I have a new home to move into, a place quiet and safe, away from town, a place that does not have someone bulling me because they can. It would take a miracle, but I believe in miracles.

My heart breaks at so many screaming for help, those who promised to help them, and then letting deaf ears fall upon their cries. We all answer for our own actions, or lack thereof, one day. God have mercy on me if I ever turn away from anyone who is in need.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lupus Sores

Joy of joys! Two days ago I woke up with sores in my mouth. Lupus sores! The pleurisy started up a flare which gave me sore in my mouth. They feel like fever blisters on the inside of my lips all the way around my mouth. When rubbed up against my teeth, I want to scream in pain. Not much you can do for this except treat with peroxide. Hard to brush my teeth because the toothpaste makes the sores hurt so badly, so it is plain water brush and mouth wash. I've been told by doctors people with lupus have dental problems and I've had my share. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn't cover dental and of course my income isn't enough to pay a dentist. I broke a tooth three months ago and the pain has been horrible. Part of me wishes the nerve in that tooth would die already.

Rain moved in yesterday. Anyone with lupus will tell you the pain is bad when the rain and cold move in. For me it feels like an elephant has taken up residence on my chest. I haven't been able to do much of anything today. I had to force myself to put things on ebay only because I need the money to pay for meds this month. It takes a lot of work to list on ebay now and it is a gamble in this economy whether or not you sell anything. If I'm lucky I'll at least sell one of the nine items I listed.

Thanksgiving is next week. I just feel numb. The last thing I want to do is go into someone's home, but I feel obligated. So I go. The only reason I go is because I know it will be a fast meal and I will be able to leave after to go to the graveyard to put flowers on my mom, dad and brother's graves before it gets too dark. I love going to the graveyard. It is so quiet and peaceful on top of that old hill in the country. I could stay for hours, but when you go with someone, you really can't stay. I miss them so much...so very much.

And then Christmas...Sandy will be swamped with work at the church and then running home as fast as she can to take time off. That leaves me alone at the time I don't need to be. There's no one else to be there for me during the time of year I don't need to be alone. Every year I wish she would understand all I need is not to be alone during this time. Every year she doesn't. An old friend in TN told me I have really hung in there over the years. I told him there wasn't an alternative. This year I'm not sure about the alternative. I'm tired. I'm worn. I'm sick of being alone and I'm really sick of trying. If ever anyone needed a miracle, I do.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blank Pages...Blank Life

Sunday I found a single carnation in a vase and a card outside my door. It was from my church. Once a year someone brings a flower. Once a year.

When I'm sick, no one calls. When I'm in the ER, no one comes. When I'm in the hospital, no one visits. This is over several years now. My health has steadily gone down. I'm stuck inside more than I ever have been in the past. If it were not for Sandy, I'd never get out. Then again, the majority of my outings are to do the doctor, hospital and grocery.

No one encourages me. No praise for doing something right. No hugs. No laughter. No family. No group of friends. And now the holidays are hitting me hard. I have no desire to put up a tree this year. No desire. Already the Christmas and Thanksgiving shows and commercials are invading the air ways. I change the channels with light speed. I wish I could make the holidays go away.

This year is hard. It has been horrible. The last thing I want to do is celebrate it, stand in someone's home for an hour and "pretend" to be a part. I don't need a family for an hour a year. I need a family 365 days a year. Why is that so hard to understand? Compassion, love, encouragement. I feel more empty than I've ever felt before. If I were attached to a plug, I'd pull it from its source.

What would help me live? Move from the place where I am right now...help to do it. A place to live. A safe place. A quiet place where I can write again. A miracle. I guess it would take a miracle.