Saturday, December 26, 2015

Now I Understand

Christmas is the worst time of the year for me because I have no family and it is a time that revolves around family. I've always thought I was being punished for something... having a horrible temper as a teen, not having enough faith, not taking opportunities when they were given to me. I've questioned what I did wrong my whole life.

On Christmas Day, I perused through the tons of family Christmas photos. Some had so many people that I couldn't count them all. Spoke to a friend Christmas Eve night and he said he was going to a nephew's house. They were having an overflowing amount of family there.

I said, "It seems as though some are overflowing with family and some have none. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground."

It then dawned on me as I reflected back to the photos of families. They just don't have a clue what it is like to be alone. Not a smidgen of a feeling how overwhelming it is at Christmas and throughout the year. It isn't because they don't care, it is because they just don't get it.

When I do find myself in the presence of others talking about their families, I am put in position of having to explain why I never got married or had children, why my family members had died years ago leaving me here alone and explaining that there's nothing odd about me. I simply want the same things as they do: to be loved, to love and feel like I fit in somewhere. So if you are reading this, please know asking me why I never got married and assuming all kinds of bad reasons puts you in the "I don't really care so I'll make it up the way I want it and spread gossip" group.

I have found myself involved in others' family Christmas days before. It is there I feel the extreme loss of my mama, daddy and brother. It is there I am reminded how alone I am. It is there I feel more lonely than I do any other time of the year. Christmas is a time families share old memories, make new ones and look forward to tomorrow. I'm just standing in the corner along for the ride because someone didn't want me to be alone. I sit in the background listening to them talking family talk finding no place for me to fit in. So I remember my own Christmas days, family memories, and cry because I don't have a future with my family. And I feel more alone than if I had stayed home alone in the first place.

This world has changed drastically. Those who once were compassionate to people outside their safe little world are now afraid to be so. It may be a scarier time, but compassion and empathy are needed now more than ever. It doesn't cost a thing to listen to someone and when I say "listen" I don't mean respond with "". I mean listen, really listen for it is the sign of a true loving heart. There are many of us out there, those who are alone 365 days a year. Most people remember to care at Christmas and forget the 364 days left. Try some compassion this year. Empathize with someone. Get out of your safe family cocoon and reach out to a hurting soul for a change. That family is a blessing from God to you. Try sharing a blessing with someone who doesn't have one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Past Memories

Memories from the past surface with the slightest thought. I watched "A Christmas Carol" with George C. Scott (Best one in my opinion). It was released in 1984, the December my mother made countless trips to the ER after going into diabetic comas. Living in the country, it took an ambulance twenty minutes or more to arrive. Those hard memories came flooding back last night. It was an extreme December and sad Christmas. She died the next month a week before her birthday, two days before my 24th birthday.

The following December wasn't much better. My daddy fell into a deep depression and had been drinking when I found him sitting on the edge of his bed. He had a gun in his hand and was planning on taking his life. This was on Christmas Eve. I was the one who had to take the gun away from him, his 24 yr. old daughter. And you wonder why I hate this time of year?!

I have a hard time recalling good memories anymore. With each year this horrible disease removes my concentration, memory, and on some days my ability to communicate clearly. I've reached the point only recent memories come to mind. The others have been lost in the fog.

It is the night before Christmas eve and I'm sitting home alone. Rain and thunderstorms are pouring in bringing pain and suffering once more. I'm so tired I can barely pull myself off this old love seat. Tomorrow will be just another day filled with many things I can't seem  to accomplish. So the piles of to do grow higher with the passing days. While families gather tomorrow night, I'll be sitting in front of the tv for company. Enduring. Enduring. Enduring.

I remembered a time I couldn't go home for Christmas. It was in December 1992. My daddy's immune system was low and I came down with strep throat. I found myself washing clothes on Christmas Eve in the apartment laundry room. No one around. It hurt so much not to go home. It was the first Christmas eve I ever spent alone. In two day's time I had broken the fever and I made it home with my cat, Squirt, in tow. My brother picked me up and Squirt slept in the back window of his car. I was never so thankful not to be alone.

Now I have to endure the aloneness, the loneliness, and wonder how on earth my life has ended up like this. I never planned to be sick. I never dreamed I'd lose my family by the time I was 35. I never dreamed I wouldn't have a family of my own. No one thinks about these things. They just happen.

I'm not the only one alone during Christmas. Many people are alone. People who live near you. In your complex, in your neighborhood. You pass them every day. If you know of someone who is alone, please take time to do something special for that person. You will never know how much they would appreciate it.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Well, my stove died on Sunday. It was Thursday before someone could come out and check it. He said the stove is over 40 years old and he may not be able to find a part. If not, they have to replace it. This isn't so simple either. They would have to cut part of the cabinet out as this is a drop in stove.

One week without a stove. Now it will be after Christmas before it can be repaired. He found a part and had to order it. You take so many things for granted until you don't have it anymore. This hit at a bad time - Christmas. No baked cookies. No cakes. Not even popping a frozen pizza in the oven!


The new year is coming. After the first, my medication will almost double in cost. Of course Social security did not go up. So now I have to find a way to get my meds and buy food. I've been juggling between the two for quite some time now. My fridge is so empty it echoes! My pantry isn't much better.

Cost of living, electricity, food, heat, all go up. Income. Nope. Still don't have a rheumatologist. Looks like this is gonna be a stressful new year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Another Sleepless Night

It has been two weeks since I've had a decent night's sleep. Started with stress from a neighbor, went to pain, swelling, and then anxiety. Bad thing is lack of sleep affects lupus. Lack of sleep flares depression and causes anxiety. The three together prevent sleep. A catch twenty-two. I've wondered how long you can go without sleep before it kills you.

So my friend, Buddy, and I sat up watching the debate. I'd rather hear it for myself than let some newscaster tell me what to think. Most of their reporting is slanted to cause deception.

Buddy has an eye infection in his right eye. Poor darling. It looks like puss is filming it over. I wipe it out for him every day and have allowed him to sleep inside at night in hopes it will be on the road to healing up. He usually sleeps on the back of the sofa. Tonight he crawled into the recliner with me. When I had to get up and answer nature's call, he settled into the chair and went to sleep. I'm thankful he is feeling secure enough to sleep inside for now even though I know he will be quite ready to go outside in the morning. I think he must have injured it in a cat fight or dog fight. He's been known to chase dogs down the street.

This little cat was on my doorstep within weeks of my moving into this apartment. I call him my little angel because when I am so sick and can't leave the apartment, he makes a point to hang around more. He's the best neighbor I've ever had. I wish I could afford to do more for him. He's well fed and I'm doing the best I can. He is sleeping now safely in the confines of a place where someone loves him.

I can honestly say I hate the holidays. Each year it gets worse. I can't seem to bear it. I watch the Christmas movies, cry, face my losses, and hope tomorrow is better. This time of year is overwhelming.

I don't want things for Christmas, I need family. I miss mine so much. I'm no different than anyone else - I need to be accepted, loved, encouraged just like anyone else. We live in a society where it isn't popular to reach past the security of your family and draw someone into your life, make a difference in theirs. When you've never been married, there must be something wrong with you. When you are sick and carry the burden of a chronic illness, not many people want to invest any time with you. I've had more people go over the years than have stayed. Want to weed out your friends? Get sick. You'll soon discover who were true friends and who were not.

Sometimes I wish I could fall asleep and sleep past January 1st. Skip over the loneliness and aloneness. Skip over the silence that is deafening. Silly me, I can't even sleep a few hours!

 Just endure. Just endure Just endure. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

No Umf!

No umf! Just no desire to do anything these days. With this crazy weather pattern jumping up and down causing severe pain in my body, the tooth I have suffered with off and on has broken in half, and my spirits are just low.

Weather has a great deal of influence on anyone with lupus. We're like walking barometers. When the pressures change, we hurt. Unusual temperatures soaring up in December (mid 70's by Sunday), lots of rain, then temps bottoming out by the end of next week (high in the 30's) takes a huge toll. Even though it is warmer outside, the apartment is cold. I've tried not to turn on the heat since the bill is so expensive. I'm tired and worn out. Lack of sleep due to stress and pain hasn't helped. I finally bought a bottle of aleve and some sleeping pills just to gain a little rest. With all the medications I have to take, I'm surprised at how wonderfully Aleve works with the pain, especially my back pain.

One of the other physical side affects of having lupus is dental issues. I've lost three teeth, two by breaking off and in time the other piece falling out. Trouble is insurance doesn't cover dental and I have to choose now between food or medication. Dental costs are not an option. But I would give anything to have this broken tooth removed.

I've heard several people say they had no desire to go Christmas shopping this year. Yet if they have families, they have to face the crowds at some point. How I wish they would look around them and see not everyone has a family. Some have no one. Be thankful for who you have.

My spirits are low today. Weather? Maybe. What's going on around us? Most likely. Bad neighborhood? Absolutely. I am amazed at how much my neighborhood has gone down in the past three years.

With Christmas only a couple of weeks off, depression becomes more prevalent, especially to those who have lost loved ones or those who are alone. Please remember someone whose path you may cross could be suffering from loss and just need a smile or a kindness shared with them. Let it be the Christmas gift you share with others. The gift that keeps on giving.

Monday, December 7, 2015


Since last Monday, my nerves have been a wreck! With it has come a huge flare. My joints are swollen, I can barely walk, fevers have hit me hard and riding as if I've been on a roller coaster. My muscles are weak. The past few days it felt as though my bed was vibrating. Thinking it was the cats jiggling around, I just poked them hoping they would stop. Problem is the vibrating never did. I was the one vibrating. My entire body is shaking. The only time I don't feel it is on the rare occasion when I can sleep. And that is a rare occasion these days. 

I haven't had that symptom since living in Dothan. I remember my former rheumatologist taking a piece of paper and placing it on my outstretched hand to see if it would jiggle off. It always did. It is now doing the same. 

My nerves are shot. The flares are back. The stress is bad. And it seems like every day something bad happens. Some bad is mild bad and some is extreme, like last Monday's idiot parade where I had to call the police. So many days I wish I could just fall asleep and sleep for a week, escape the worries of this world. I think about my college friend who passed away in her sleep last January and how lucky she was. She has no more worries to face, nothing to fear anymore. 

It is hard to live a balanced life when your life is constantly battling illness and you're doing so alone. It is hard to deal with the small things when the big ones come crashing down around you like not being able to find a decent doctor you can depend on to look after the important things. 

I'm tired. I'm worn. I'm sick. And I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.