Category Archives: death
Wow…all I can say is WOW! I’ve been away for a little while, and as my last post stated I’ve been recovering from surgery. BUT…I am back, and without sounding, I don’t know, conceited…I’m WAY BETTER! Physically, I’m back on my game..working out again with a lot of yoga and long walks on the beach! Mentally, however….well, that’s another story! My writing mind has been on a bit of a binge, so please forgive my lack of staying on one subject for very long, at least for a few posts!
So, this dark and twisty mind of mine is going a lot of places, but today it wants to focus on listening to our life lists. Why? Well, because when you spend weeks on a couch/in bed and you’re drugged out of your mind (as I recently was), you tend to go to some pretty wicked places in your mind. I find that my thoughts never rest…and I mean that literally! It’s a curse of sorts, at least for me it is. I have recently found myself making lists…grocery lists, lists of goals for the day, week, month, year, and the ultimate bucket list! I think everyone should have one. I’ve heard a lot of people say that bucket lists are a negative thing to take on. They think that it’s like putting an “end of life” stamp on them (which, by the way, I think is absolutely WRONG!). I think it’s a way to actually start a goal (whether that be groceries or bucket lists!). Sometimes we just need a starting point and actually writing something down gives us that “ready, set, go(al) for whatever it is we have in mind.
Personally, I’m into writing in journals. Pretty much, every single day for the past 10 years, I have written in a journal. I write about my day, I say prayers, I put down my goals and aspirations….all the usual things that people who write in journals do. But in my recent down time I’ve taken the opportunity to go back through all of these journals (which, by the way, come in an array of styles and colors!). I immediately noticed a central theme to every single one of them…all of the things that I WANT out of life. And then I realized that I haven’t reached very many of those goals and had to really start asking myself the age old question..WHY? Why haven’t I done even the simplest of things that I had ask of myself. The unfortunate part to all of this is that I didn’t have an answer. Not a satisfying one anyway. I had a lot of excuses…husband had cancer (at 34), I had cancer, family members had issues, jobs changed…and the excuses go on.
I am now on a quest. Actually, I’m on many QUESTS! I have a lot of soul searching to do to find out which of these things were just “I would like to” and which of them were “I WANT to”. I’ve discovered there’s a big difference in the two, but I’ve also discovered that in these ten years I have changed! Yep, hard to believe for most people and even more difficult to admit, but I have most definitely changed! Therefore, it was a no brainer for me to say that I need to re-evaluate all of “lists” I’ve made and make one BIG list! But I also had to make a deal with myself that the list could indeed CHANGE! I mean geeze, didn’t I just admit that I have changed (and quite a bit, might I add). So I’m coming to grips with the fact that my plans can change..it’s okay to change. It’s okay to listen to ourselves and most of all our hearts to find the changes that we need to make. I’ve always had the motto “I am who I am…love me or hate me…I ain’t changing for nobody!” (please keep in mind, grammar-wise anyway, I am originally a girl from the South…). And it wasn’t until recently that I realized I needed to change that motto. Things change, people change, life changes, we change….I’ve changed!
So, as I end this newest post, this newest journey I’m taking on to share with the world (and hoping that there are people out there that are like me!), I vow for this blog to be my new journal…good, bad, ugly…Letters2TheDead….and the living, as we all take on change!
Thanks for reading!
Short break…well, sort of a long break, in my blog. Why? So many reasons, but the main one is called surgery. Yes, surgery…it sucks, actually, truth be known, the surgery part is the easy part, I slept right through that, it’s been the recovery that sucks.
For example…cancer is ugly, it causes ugly things to happen to you…physically, mentally, emotionally…and you would think that being in health care it would be easier to deal with, but it’s not. Actually, it’s just the opposite…it’s worse…way, way, way worse. When you work or have worked in medicine you have the tendency to self-diagnose, over-think and think of the worst possible scenarios first, but for some reason you only think that way when it’s you! When we are treating patients…strangers…it’s easy to tell them the “likely” process of a disease or diagnosis in the most positive way, but when it’s you..you’re not nearly as kind. In fact, your down right hardcore on yourself, which is precisely what has happened in my case. No matter who it is, yourself or your own family, these things are harder to deal with because, as I’ve already said above, you look at things differently when it applies to you.
So I will write…and write…and write to deal with this particular “season” of my life. So…let no door be unopened and let no page be left unturned..that’s my approach. So get ready for some good stuff…some really good, deep, crazy, funny, sad, awesome stuff! It’s coming soon….very soon.
Thanks for reading….Breathe.
Just so you don’t get confused, this post does have a purpose in the end….if you make it that far, hopefully you will see where I’m coming from.
I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry or to be a newspaper reporter….yes, I wanted to work as a news anchor (or maybe even be an actress). That was my dream, to be some local towns (it didn’t matter where, as long as it was far, far away from where I was from!) morning breakfast or evening news anchor. I wanted to deliver the facts to the town, city, or even world if I could work my way up to the top! Whether it was via my face in front of a camera or by putting pen to paper, I knew I had the communication skills, I mean, after all, my grandmother used to tell me that I could sell ice water to the devil if I wanted to, which to me was the gift of persuasion and gab! So what better career path to take, right? I was convinced this is what I would be…this was my calling, but oh how WRONG I was!
When I started college, I took some classes my first semester related to TV/News Communication (taught by someone described as having “years” of time and experience in the field) and was told straight in front of at least 200 other students, “You, in the fifth row, you will make the perfect SHORT term news girl!” At first I was delighted, I had been spotted, I knew I had the look and the drive….until the next few things came out of his mouth, “You are obviously a very attractive young lady, assuming you can speak well, (and he had me repeat some corny line like I was ending a broadcast), and you have that look in your blue eyes that you want to say something, but stand up please…(I give him an awkward look)…yes, stand up!” I stood up, ever so slowly, and really sort of cringed at the entire room looking at me, but at the same time it has to be good, I’m thinking, because he noticed me!) “And THAT’S your problem!” I’m thinking to myself, “what’s my problem?” Did I not stand correctly, is my back not straight, am I hunching at my shoulders, I know I’m super fit, that can’t be it? “You’re entirely too short, change your major, trust me dear, petite people (at least he wasn’t discriminating on a gender basis) do not make it in the world of News and Television, especially not television, change your major dear.” I was CRUSHED….CRUSHED to the very soul that held me together…I saw every eyebrow in the room raise, all of the tall people release their held breaths in relief, and some more awkward people’s eyes grow as big as saucers in disbelief at what was just said. I wanted to run out of the room. I wanted to cry. I wanted to kick the old geezer straight in his balls, but I held it together, and I stayed to hear the rest of his how’s and why’s of the TV world, which I now know were crap! I walked out saying softly to myself “Asshole!”, and a couple of people I had never seen or spoken to in my life came up to me and were giving me advice that I was most definitely not interested in hearing…not right then anyway. Could this be true? Is the world that I want so much to be a part of so shallow and so, so….stupid and pre-judgmental?
The very next day, I walked into my adviser’s office and changed my major to nursing….something that I never wanted to really do, never really even thought about, except for a few times because one of my classmates mother’s was a nurse and I thought it was cool she got to wear scrubs and “help” people, but I had never once in my childhood thought….”I want to be a nurse when I grow up! I want to put up with the top to bottom of society asking for help and complaining half the time you give it to them, I want to work 12 and 16 hour night shifts and be governed by a board that doesn’t advocate for me, yet advocates for the public against you.” No, I never wanted to be a nurse, but that’s the path I chose because of the gray headed ass-face that made me feel a half-inch tall in a room full of what seemed like giants. It took me a long time to get over what he said to me, it did. But my point is, that WHAT he said to me changed my life course. There were many good and many bad things that came out of my choosing the path that I did, but I still had that seed of working in TV/Entertainment industry, I always signed up to be in the underground theater, did lots of leads in some plays, always sang and performed in my churches choir and plays, wrote scripts in my journal, song lyrics… took my little bitty bits of my once big dream and I dabbled in it when I could, but all in all…it was still just a dream.
My point to this weeks rant post is this…..I let ONE person, one person that I didn’t even know and who most definitely didn’t know me, demolish my dream. The biggest point is this…I LET HIM…I CHOSE TO COWER DOWN….I CHOSE TO DEMOLISH MY OWN DREAM based on what what someone else said…based on how I was judged, and unfairly at that.
I think that in all of my changing I’m doing lately and all of the new self discovery, it is this that has really stood out to me. Some of you may think, get over it…your too old now to do anything about it, you suck at it, you can’t write, but that’s just it, I don’t care what anyone else says about it now. If I fail, it’s ok, at least I’ve tried, because up until now, I never got the chance. Hell, I’ve been thinking, at the very least with all of the medical shows out there I know I could find some place to use what I KNOW from the wrong choice I made (which by the way, I’ve got stories from my years in medicine that would rock Shonda Rhymes’ world! 😎 I lucked into doing some stand-in work about three years ago and was Blessed to work on a hit show and get loads of set time and learn tons from the leads that I worked with. Some of them were very gracious and very helpful, others…well…they were honestly typical movie star attitude types, but for the most part they treated me just like I was one of them, which was fantastic. I’ve made some great friends and done some small acting gigs and a lot of stand-in and “featured” extra work (yes, extra’s can be featured”. I’ve taken acting classes, voice over classes, I have an agent and I’m writing this blog. I’ve actually found a new passion for it that didn’t even exist when I put my dream of entertainment in the grave before it was even born! So NEVER let someone stop your dreams in their tracks without some serious soul searching first, because trust me, it will come back to haunt you…it will…like a freaking ghost in a closet or monster under the bed…it will find its way back into your mind and your heart and you may not be able to get it back…ever, but if you’re like I was and it happened to you too…take it back…take back your dream and decide what to do with it. Decide whether or not it was just a silly wishful thinking type dream (and we all have those…it’s ok), or if it really entered into your soul of souls and still dwells in the very blood that flows through your heart.
I will end with this….”He said what to me?”
Thanks for reading my dream…remember to breathe.
“When we say things like “people don’t change”, it drives scientist crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy, matter, it’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that’s up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.” Grey’s Anatomy (Shonda Rhymes, phenom writer!).
This quote struck me like a bolt of lightening! Yes, jolted me, helped me breathe for a second to think that this is how we tend to think about CHANGE. After all, this is what I’ve been stuck on…making changes in my own life, which lead me to share it as some posts on my blog. I thought that others may be going through some of the same emotions and pain that I’m currently going through as I take on this “born again” process.
I’ve been having a bit of a “writers block” after my last post (so please forgive my bouncing all over the place in this post), but recently, I’ve been reading all I can get my hands on about changing my life and having the courage to make BIG CHANGES this late in the game (ok, sharing my age, 38). I mean, can I really change at this point? It’s interesting what I’ve found out there…it really is, but a lot of what I’ve found, once again, is a lot of “professional guru’s” giving their “professional” opinions and thoughts on the how’s and why’s of making a change in life. Some of them make some sense, but I have such a hard time (again) buying any of it because I have to wonder just how much they themselves have made changes, life changing changes, and if they had any disadvantages before them when they made them. I mean, most of us regular old, run of the mill people here on earth have some major obstacles to overcome before we can make any big changes in our lives. I think this is why I like the quotes I find from GA, they are straight forward and pretty much hit the nail on the head. I know, I know, it’s a t.v. show, but it still makes sense (far more sense than some of this other stuff I’ve been reading from the “pro’s”).
Sometimes we are not given the choice of making a change because it happens without notice or our permission. This is the change that scares everyone the most, it’s a scary thought and can cause major life shake-ups. What I do know is this, if we make a plan….even set a goal to deal with whatever change life has forced upon us, we can shape it into something that we do actually want. Mistakes are expected, detours are almost a certainty, but the end results if we dedicate ourselves to finding the good in the changes we are making, well, that’s what life’s all about…giving ourselves PERMISSION to make or allow a change in ourselves, our vision for our lives. It’s a process, and most of the time it doesn’t happen over night. Sometimes it can take weeks, months, even years for changes to occur, but in the end it’s all worth the millions of emotions that it took us to get there. It’s worth all of those bumps in the road and roller coasters to be “born again“.
Thanks for reading! Remember to….BREATHE!
Do you ever feel like you just can’t breathe? I mean that overwhelming feeling of neurotransmitter overload and you just can’t take a deep breath? I’ve recently been (unfortunately) privy to one of these moments…actually many of them, but that’s beside the point, the point is that it happened. It happened and I didn’t like it, at all. All of this renewing and finding my voice has put me in sensory overload and honestly, I’ve questioned it like I’ve never questioned anything in my life before. I think I may be afraid of what I might find.
Fear, it can stop us in our tracks. It can cause all hope to be lost and it can cause great suffering at our own hands, but the interesting thing about fear is that we have a choice with it. I know, I know, many have written on the subject of fear, it’s consequences and how to overcome it…but haven’t you wondered if any of these people, who seem obviously stable, wealthy and comfortable have really ever faced a fear like you’ve faced. It comes in all forms, fear, it rears its ugly head in the most troubling of times and it can, in fact, manifest itself in a physical manner. Now, when I talk about a physical manner, I’m not talking about screaming because someone said BOO! I’m talking about the kind of fear that takes your breath away. The kind of fear that makes you feel that your very life is in danger (and I say that because without breath….well, there is no life). I’m no expert on fear or how to prevent or deal with it, but I am experienced in it. I’ve had my fair share of fears, but making a life change, a REAL CHANGE and sticking to it, that has surpassed many of the fears that I’ve ever had, and that includes my fear of flying, which is one of my biggest fears! There’s something about change that brings out the fear in all of us. Sometimes it passes, it does, but sometimes it doesn’t and when fear sticks around for very long…it’s a deal breaker for most of us. For most of us (normal humans) it sends us running for the hills, running to something familiar, whether that familiar is good or bad for us. Familiarity calms fear, but if you think about it, it doesn’t help for long if there’s a true change that needs to be made. Examples I can think of are: addictions, though they are bad (and by the way, addiction doesn’t just relate to the term drugs), they are familiar and comfortable and the thought of being without them, whatever they may be, can send us into sensory overload. Relationships, boy, that’s a bit of a big one for most people. Do I dare to take that chance with being in another relationship after being so badly hurt in the last? Do I look at what I want in a person or what I’ve been familiar with in the past, which ultimately leads to self-destruction!
I will close today’s “rant” on being able to breathe with another quote from my favorite writer of wit and life Shonda Rhymes, “Sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibilities under tomorrow’s rug…until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves that knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beat the hell out of never trying.” So, I am taking this t.v. writer’s advice on life and I’m going to do my best to keep breathing. I will keep breathing and stop sweeping. I will make more mistakes on my journey, of course I will, but I will never stop trying….trying like hell to keep breathing.
Thanks for reading!
You can join me on my new Twitter Account @letterz2thedead
So, this blogging thing hasn’t been as easy to keep up with as I thought it would be, hence the delay. Actually three root canals didn’t help, but hey, no excuses, right? Which is exactly what I’m talking about today….excuses. Sometimes I like to call them mini-procrastinations…you say no, they aren’t the same thing, but I say yes, they kind of go hand-in-hand, right? Without the excuse, would you be able to procrastinate? No!
So, I have an excuse I want to make known today, and it’s an excuse that every single adult in this world has to have thought about at some given point in time and it’s the dreaded excuse of growing up, or now growing old-er-ish. I think that Shonda Rhymes once said it best in a voice-over from her character Meredith Grey from the famed Gray’s Anatomy ABC television show: “I’ve heard that it’s possible to grow up, I’ve just never met anyone who’s actually done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don’t go our way. We whisper secrets with our best friend, in the dark. We look for comfort where we can find it. And we hope against all logic, against all experience, like children, we never give up hope. After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, here’s what I’ve decided. There’s no such thing as a grown-up. We move out, we move away from our families. But the basic insecurities, the fears and all the old wounds just grow up with us. Just when you think life has forced you to truly become an adult, your mother says something like that. We get bigger, taller, older. But, for the most part, we’re still a bunch of kids, running around the playground, trying desperately to fit in.” Now ain’t that the truth? I mean, we grow up (and out, physically), but there is always this inner kid inside of us making these proverbial “bucket list’s” of what we wanted and still want to do in our lives. Our wounds we’ve taken on may “heal”, but they are never forgotten. We are in a perpetual state of trying to keep up with the Jones’, when indeed wouldn’t it be easier to just BE the Jones’.
Case in point: In my experience as an RN in the ER and ICU I’ve seen and heard a LOT of things people say when impending death is near. Many said they wished they could’ve done more with their lives, made more of a difference and then gave the excuses that prevented it. Some said they wished they could take things back that they said to people, and then they gave their excuses why they didn’t. And there were the elite few, and I mean few, that were at peace with their lives and had no regrets and gave no excuses for the life that they had lived.
I want to be one of those people. I truly do, but in all honestly I’m not off to a very good start. I am an excuse giver/procrastinator/bad representative of an adult…I guess. I have to make this blog my new home of growing up. I have so much to say, but I often feel like I get lost and just kind of disappear into myself and then nothing gets done. So, I am here…to speak…to laugh..to learn…to grow up! Anybody else want on board??
Thanks for reading!
So, to start with, my maternal grandmother was a little bit of a “dirty whore”…yes, I just called my dear grandmother a “dirty whore”…of sorts. She was married something like 14 times (YES..14..fourteen, 10+4=14), seven of those to the same man over and over, but a grand total of 14, if my memory serves me correctly. She was essentially a good person, really she was, but she had a bit of a wild side, oh, and did I mention her addiction to opiates and benzo’s? Yup, I think that her “V” was her best friend and I believe that when she was diagnosed with cancer (more another time on this) she was a bit excited, because now she could get all of the Valium and other drugs she wanted, no questions asked. She was stern…not a warm and fuzzy grandma what-so-ever…as a matter of fact, we often didn’t know which side of her we would get when we would see her. She loved her men (obviously, remember…14 marriages), and she was a pro at juggling four or five of them at once! It was only recently that I realized her true lifestyle that took place right in front of my eyes, and how duped I was as a child, not recognizing it as abnormal at all. So, I am writing my first Letter2theDead to her, she has been gone about 16 years now.
: Letters2theDead #1: Dear Grandma.
Dear Grandma Wanda~
I know you may find this odd that I’ve written my first letter to you, but I have several reasons. We both know that you were also our families “good black sheep”, a phrase that I’ve also coined for myself, which is what I loved about you. You didn’t give a rats ass what other people thought of you and though that part of you didn’t sink into my personality until most recently, I knew it was there somewhere. I’ve actually pulled many of your traits, good and bad, and I think of you often, especially lately. You always told me not to draw lines in the sand with people because those lines didn’t keep people out, they merely kept you in. I think that you lived this “philosophy” of life in everything that you did. Though I don’t have a lot of fond, warm and fuzzy, snuggle up to grandma and let me tell you a story kind of memories with you, I do have a lot of hard knocks lessons that you taught me…inadvertently, of course. My memories are of you telling your “help” how to make your toast and coffee in the morning or how to do your hair….you were quite the hand full, even in your end of days.
You often took us (my younger sister and I) to clubs or “honkey tonks“, as I believe they were called, and we were exposed to all kinds of things! It was with you that I first heard the term “lot lizard” and learned what it was…I believe I was six years-old at the time! I also learned what a “lip leach” was, and have even used the phrase myself! It was during these times that we saw you at your “best”, smiling, socializing, even flirting (which freaks me out a little bit now when I think about it). You had a certain zeal for this type of lifestyle and I can literally remember the “men folk” hovering around you as if you were a trophy to be won. For me it was great because every suitor that came to win their prize always gave the ooh’s and aaah’s to your granddaughters, which meant for me that I got endless soda and quarters to play all the PacMan and Asteroids my little heart desired, just so they could get a moment alone with you. You were obviously quite the catch!
I remember the very first time the phone rang and at Great Grandma’s house and it was you calling. I could tell by the look on her face that something was wrong. (I will later write a letter to my Great Grandmother, who taught me everything about everything and some of the funniest things ever!) You had been beaten up by your then husband. You had apparently been to the “honkey tonk” and he was not a fan of you having so many suitors, even though only a few weeks earlier her was one himself. I remember, as a six year old, riding in the back of the car to “check on you” with Great Grandmother. We arrived and found you with a black eye, bruised cheek, bloody lip. I can remember when I saw this the first time, I played it over and over and over again in my mind. It was almost as if my mind wouldn’t accept it. I can remember feeling angry, extremely angry. I can remember you would constantly say “ssshhh”…”hush now”, and I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me, until I saw him passed out in bed. He was still there. The man who just beat the hell out of you was still there and you didn’t want to wake him. You claimed to me that he was messed up on his medication and he didn’t mean to do it, but I heard you tell Great Grandmother what really happened with the “honkey tonk” scene. I can remember thinking somebody call the police! The police will help! They help everyone! But this was not an option. After this had happened over and over and over and over (and over again), and with just about every man that you had married, it began to become a ritual of sorts on weekends at Great Grandmother’s. And what I couldn’t figure out is why you would stay. I remember overhearing you say why you stayed one night and it I was in a bit of disbelief and amazement. You said, quietly, “he has the money to pay the bills and it only happens when he drinks the hard stuff”. For me, it was a valid excuse. For me I accepted it because I’d seen my mother struggle for years being single and living off of welfare and I sort of understood what she was saying, but at the same time I was horrified every time I would look at her bruised and swollen face. This was the beginning of, what would be for me, a very distorted sense of what life should be like, and for this I do not thank you. For it was this that would cause me much heartache, physical abuse and self-hate for many years.
There are many quotes out there today that I can definitely relate to you, more than I could even begin to list, but here are a few…”Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes” (Oscar Wilde), “In love, it is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder” (Author Unknown)..I think you took that quote to a whole new level (Ha!), and lastly “Men marry because they are tired, women because they are curious; both are disappointed” (Oscar Wilde)…again, another one you obviously took to heart, and to the extreme!
So, as I end this first of many Letters2theDead, I wanted to honor you with the first. I wrote it to you because it was you who came to mind when I thought of who had a great negative and positive impact on my life. And while this is only a little glimpse of everything I have to say to you, it’s a nice beginning for me. But don’t worry, I will return again, later perhaps, not to rat you out, but to show the world just how “good” a “black sheep” could be!
Thanks for reading!