Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How could I forget?

Coping Skills 101, Addendum

1.  Never underestimate the power of laughter.  Laughing when you're hurting is a brave and necessary thing.

Which is why I chose to find this particular exchange funny ...

Me, to TechnoGuy:  Maybe I should just turn to hard liquor.

TG, alarmed: Look.  We can afford therapy, OR we can afford alcoholism.  You're going to have to make a choice, and stick with it.

2. Inhale beauty.  That's it's own post.  Watch this blog :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How it is today

So there was a time, shortly after my Dad died, that I looked around the house, at the food and the flowers and the endless stream of relatives and friends coming to share a few minutes or hours with us, my brother a solid rock in the midst of it all, my mother and I hanging on with our fingernails, and I thought "Okay, look.  We're all being really good sports here.  We're trying hard to make it through each day, and for the most part, we are doing it, and we are doing it together.  So can this be over now?  Cause the path forward hurts.  So maybe let's agree we've done a good job of this dry run, and we'll wake up tomorrow and Dad will still be here."

That's how it is with the whole therapy thing.  I think I'm trying really hard to cope with some really difficult things that are coming up.  I think I'm doing a really good job of putting one foot in front of the other, and not giving in to despair.

So even though it's already 5:30 in the morning, and the night is nearly over, I'd like to go to bed now, and wake up tomorrow, and have it all disappear while I'm sleeping.

Is that so much to ask?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coping Skills 101

So there's those times, we all have them, when we can't stop thinking about something. Maybe it's something horrifying you want to forget, maybe it's something you wish you could remember, that seems vital to remember, that stays just beyond your reach ...

A person can go crazy, trying to stop thinking. I'm learning some tools, so I thought I'd pass them on.  They're not earthshattering, and really, there aren't that many of them.

1. Music. Listen to the words.  Lose yourself in someone else's creativity. (this is what I consider a low-level distracting tool.  I can think about two things at once)

2.  Play a different tape.  If your brain is squirrel-braining a memory or an interaction that you badly want to be different - let it go.  Deliberately choose to think about something else.  I make lists.  "Three positive memories from junior high."  "Three countries you'd love to visit."  "Best holiday ever."
Or I imagine myself telling someone how I met my husband, what our first date was like, how it felt the first time he held my hand.  (We both stopped talking.  For at least half an hour.  Just kept on walking, holding hands, nobody saying anything, as the world shifted on its axis.) (this is medium level distraction for me.  I have to work hard at staying with the new tape.)

3. Memorize stuff. (This is the hard-core distraction. Even my busy busy brain can't think about much else while I'm trying to remember something I've memorized. I've got this poem down, (which, by the way, was written for ME, which is lovely of John Piper, because we've never met), and then the words "Psalm 96" showed up in my head one day, so I'm memorizing that too.

And I'm going to start carrying Where the Sidewalk Ends with me, so I can memorize "Lester was given a magic wish/by the goblin who lived in the banyan tree" ...there's about 80 billion more lines, and then it ends with "In a world of apples and kisses and shoes/he wasted his wishes on wishing." I can reel off a lot of the short poems in that book, but it's time to assimilate the longer ones.

And that's the end of today's lesson.  As you were. 

ps all of these things work better for me if I'm walking at the same time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Moment of light

"The pain and the longing, the joy and the moments of light
Are the rhythm and rhyme, the free verse of the poem of life"
(Michael Card)

I'm at Mom's.  We've just had a really hard conversation, one that we have been both trying to have and trying not to have all summer, but we've gotten through it now, and we're not sure what to do next, both of us with tears in our eyes ...and we become aware there is someone else in the room.

Ernie pushes his walker up beside me, fumbles in the basket.  "Give this to Jacquie, okay?" and he hands me a Dixie Cup of ice cream.  I look at him.

"God bless you," I tell him, this lovely man who has been bringing my bedridden mother wee gifts for weeks now - fudgsicles and yogurts and fresh flowers and plums, cradled in the knarled bowl of his hands.
"You are such a blessing to Mom, and to our family."

He shrugs, blushes.  "I just took her on as my friend," he says "And I like to make sure she gets treats every day."

We are smiling when he leaves.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Things that sound cranky but aren't.

I recommend you read this very short conversation over and over again, in different tones of voice.

We did it sort of serious for the first line, and then really laughing for the next two.

Me: Some days it's like - there's all these hours to get to before this day is finally over, and all that gets me is another whole set of hours to get through.

Him: Good, because the Beatitudes encourage us to borrow trouble from tomorrow, as today doesn't have enough of its own.*

Me:  Thank you for acknowledging my pain.

*(hint: no they don't)