Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's My Life

I miss listening to Retro Request Lunch as I am doing my thing in Pittsburgh. The music brings me back to a few of those youthful days of middle school and high school...

Example 1 To put a little funk in your step.

Example 2 Minor teenage rebellion/I so don't care.

Example 3 A shout out to my friend Christine!

Example 4 A woman with pipes and you just gotta sing along.

Example 5 Who doesn't like dancing around like a bee?

So today as I was driving to the hospital for my internship and flipping around the stations, a little Bon Jovi came on the radio. It wasn't from the days of the roller rink favorites, but certainly close enough to put a smile on my face. And it got me thinking about once again being thankful for what I have in my life in the present and to dream new dreams. That has to be my focus, my springboard moving forward. My life has its own path and I have to wake up and appreciate it before I miss its beauty, wonder and fortuity.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mother's Day Thoughts (Belated)

This year was different. On a good note, I bought and sent my mom a Mother's Day card with a gift on time! Not to worry, I'm not patting my self on the back for doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But this was the first time that I had walked into the card aisle and actually picked out a card for her in a long time. I sent hand-written letters or pretty blank cards with a note for the past few years. It was just too much to be standing in that aisle and to focus on finding a card that expressed my feelings and gratitude while not completely falling apart or wanting to run out of the store. I did not want to just quickly pick up any one that would just do.

So, this year felt a little surreal as I browsed through the Mother's Day card selection. I did tear up as I was scanning to find the appropriate section as my eyes glanced across the For my Loving Wife section. I don't miss him. I miss and grieve the dream of what was to have been. And I feel frustrated because even though it hurts less, I just want to be able to let it go--to really move into a better state of acceptance where I can more fully dream new dreams. But I have to be patient and give myself credit because I did refocus and found a card that I really felt good about giving my mom. I was slightly determined not to let that other section derail me from what I came to do and I was not going to allow myself to fall into the trap of dwelling. I quickly acknowledged the part that was not so easy and then carried on with my business.

On a sad note, when I called to talk to my mom on Mother's Day, she shared with me that my grandma (my dad's mother) was not doing well. This was not surprising news because her health had been declining for several months. She had fallen and fractured her hip about two weeks before Mother's Day and I was waiting to hear how she was doing. If she didn't seem to rebound, then I knew she would most likely make a rapid turn for the worse. Two days later, my grandmother died peacefully through the night.

I have mixed emotions about my grandma's passing. She was in her 90's, so she lived a long life. She was also not diagnosed with any illness, so her death is really related to age. While her fall contributed to her decline, at least she was able to have some amount of independence and mobility towards the end of her life preserving some dignity--even if it was only really for going to the bathroom. My last memories of my grandmother are good ones because I did go visit her at the end of March. She recognized me right away, she was in good spirits and she laughed. She teased my dad about his greying hair in asking, "Tommy, where is your red hair?" However, I am sad because I did not feel a closeness with my grandma in a way that I would have liked. It took me a long time to come to a place of acceptance in this. As much as I wanted to know more about her, I felt shut out on a certain level. I always felt a distance in that our relationship was just on the surface--politely supportive. I knew she was not a warm and fuzzy kind of person, but my dad would say she would always ask about me. I wonder why she couldn't show me a deeper love?

I am glad and proud of my dad for taking the time to visit my grandma regularly--well before the end and near the end. I hope that it helps to give him closure in saying good-bye to his mother. I imagine it could not be easy to watch a parent slip away and change before the days came when her awareness was seemingly gone and she mostly slept.

I will miss her laugh and her smile--the real smile--the one with the twinkle in her eye or when her whole face would light up.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter (Yes, I know it was in April.)

I started this post a while back, but am just now getting to finishing it! So, just because I don't want to forget how special it meant to me to share Easter weekend with RJ...

We went to Cleveland on Saturday to spend the day with my family. It was the first time RJ was coming to my hometown on Lake Erie and I felt so nervous. I just did not know what he would think and I hoped it would go well with meeting more of my family. I really enjoyed talking on our drive to my hometown and I had to chuckle when RJ asked me, "Am I asking too many questions?" One of best parts was that as I was taking him around town to see where I went to school and the first house that I grew up and the time he spent with my family, he took a genuine interest in it all. It was not like he was doing this stuff out of obligation, but that he really wanted to be there and participate. He was also very kind in sharing that he loved how cozy and comfortable my family's house felt and it was exactly what he imagined in a house near a lake. I also had to laugh because he shared how he understood why I kept saying how Lake Erie is a lake--a real lake. While with the North Park Lake in the Pittsburgh area, it's like you want to pinch its cheeks and with a gentle laugh say, "Aren't you so cute, trying to be a lake?" I grew up near water and I think that is going to be a requirement for me--to live by some form of water. It is just so calming to me.

On Easter Sunday, RJ suggested we go to church in our neighborhood. I was glad that I went and found a familiar sense of peace being in the space. For whatever reason, I find comfort in sitting in a church. I also appreciated RJ's reverence and respect during the service, not that I expected anything different from him. He is a good guy.

I have not been to church in a while, mostly because I am having a difficult time with whole annulment process. It just feels so invasive and unnecessarily lengthy considering how I have purposefully sought help in healing in other ways. I have a difficult time with the concept of having to prove that I should not have gotten married in the first place--because given all that I knew then and how I felt, I honestly do not think I would have changed my mind. But the Catholic church does have a caveat that if the other person steps outside of the commitment of marriage, that it is grounds for an annulment for the wronged spouse. Unfortunately, there is no check box to indicate that and skip having to write out all of the miserable details at length for some group of strangers to read and discuss and judge you on if they think your relationship was messed up from the beginning for it to be better if it had never existed.

After mass, we went to his grandma's house and had dinner with RJ's mother's family. It was very nice of his family to share in their Easter tradition of painting Easter Eggs using traditional Ukrainian wax, tools and dyes. His aunt also made this amazing sweet bread that I think uses sour cream and then you top it with butter, cream cheese or horseradish. Yum! I also appreciated how after dinner, his family sat around the dining room table and talked and shared stories as a group. It reminds me a lot of how my mom's side of the family spends time together.