Through the Gray There Will Be!!

This post is warmly dedicated to

Shadowlands and Tauna

to each I send much love………

In my own way I am very determined to make my new path so that when I step within my Crepusculum,  I will be able to breathe a sigh and say, “You made It–You made it Your Way!!!”  And when I say that. I want to be able to jump, to wave, to sing, to laugh joyously, to know that at that moment I am happy and that I will continue to make my days happy.  Nor will I feel sad that I have entered that era of my life.  It should and will be a time to rejoice that I am that mature, that I have worked to be happy and that I am ready for what tomorrow brings me.

In this world of gray that I live, the one that will continue to jettison me to my renaissance, is a world that I have to remember there will  only be a few people close to me that say “Its good, you will make it, you follow your heart and do it your way!”  That’s the key of the gray because so many good-willed people forget that each of us, no matter how much we are nudged, can only do it ourselves.  The gray in life isn’t just the overcast sky caused by a dense cloud cover, it is much closer, it is the part of me that is overwhelmed, filled with thoughts and emotions and so thick that it is impossible to sort, sift or dispense with easily.  Then that gray begins to grow even more thickly simply because there is a lack of seratonin in me.  So many things causes the gray.  Each human’s gray is filled with different reasons, although some can be similar.  My gray, for instance,  is filled with ongoing grief, guilt, ambivalence in relationships, some friendships and not being industrious to set a groundwork for a personal legacy.

Months have passed and the majority around me urge me to just get on with it.  Its time you pulled yourself out from where you are, the time has been too long, they say.  Then there are others who wish never to acknowledge that there ever was something that allowed me to slide, slide pitifully into the densest of grays.  Its quite an experience if you have never been there.  You don’t think to well, you don’t care to write, thank god because the words just aren’t in the head.  Most days and hours you are not attentive.  You don’t care about anything even yourself.  Then  sleeplessness walks in, non-stop eating makes itself at home in your head and further withdrawal from sharing continues until it is nearly extinguished.  Yet for me, there remained two remarkable people who never expected more from me than what I was for any particular day.  Never did they coax me to change, yet their contact with me was always supportive in a wonderfully quiet way.  These two rare people know me the best of anyone because I tell them everything and they listen and   let me know they are always there.

Well, now there is a little break in that gray that wraps around me.  Yes I decided that I needed to begin living, but that does not mean that I give up and accept all the reasons for the gray.  I think perhaps what is unique that this little beginning of Renaissance in  life allows me to continue to sift and sort, heal and pamper all the emotions in the gray.  In fact, it gives me new tools to see and to evaluate and to come to terms with myself.  My two special people have unknowingly given me more help than anyone.  It is destiny I believe that brought each of us together.  One is like a sister to me who knows me so well and can tell when something is wrong, who has gone through more grief and pain than anyone should have  to bear and yet has always given  me continual support and prayer.  The other person, simply put has become my Sage, with enough wisdom to set confusing matters straight in a quiet way, yet also is plagued by many physical problems.  I think that is why they both are so special and their words are taken so easily to heart.  Each has their own pain in living but each have always been willing to give support by sharing their own adversity.

And, during this whole time of nothing, of pushing gray to one side only to find it coming back again, I continually thought what my Mother believed in so strongly and that was of Tomorrow.  Now I do think of tomorrow and also have noticed that when I see someone not smiling or not being pleasant I often tell them that smiling makes a big difference in life, smiling is like a ray of golden sun and if you share that ray of sun with others you will find you receive much warmth and understanding in return.

As I write I smile because during all this gray I have begun to grow from within.  There is much more compassion, much more logic than before and possibly if I look hard enough I will see that wisdom has rested with the walls of my heart.  Yes, there still is so much more that I need to do, to work on.  But only in the last few days has this begun to happen.  I know there will be more that I will be able to understand and a fresh willingness to want to explore life.  It will all come in good time and only when I am ready.  But for now I am pleased that I have my little beginning to a Renaissance at it will lead me to the next stage where I can grow just a little more.

To those who are uncomfortable with me and my gray I promise to be more cautious with whom I share my life.   Some people just can’t handle my past and current emotional state.  That’s fine with me–because I do believe that through the gray there will be life.

Remembering You on your Birthday

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It is Momma’s birthday, April 22 and even though she may not be physically here, Momma is with me today to celebrate her life and remember how much she enjoyed the many parties I gave her on her birthday. Even when I was young, Momma loved her day, especially if my sister and I planned something. As a very young boy I used to think for weeks to determine what my Sister and I could do to make the day special for her and then we spent an equal time trying to decide what was a perfect gift, a gift just for our Momma.

There was more than one time our funds were not as abundant as I thought they should be. Momma was always willing to give me a little money. I used to think I was pulling a fast one on her, but as I grew up I realized Momma always knew what I was after.

After Momma and I moved to Arizona, following my father’s death, the real parties began for her. The first big splash was for her seventy-fifth birthday, a day Momma was very nervous about having it arrive. It was the only time Momma didn’t yearn for tomorrow. Earlier in the year all three of her sisters felt she would never make to seventy-five. There Mother died when she was seventy-four and for some ridiculous reason they felt Momma would leave first and follow in her Mother’s footsteps. Sadly, Momma did leave before they did, but they had to wait an additional dozen years for it to happen. I often wondered if they knew how mean they were when they suggested that to her.

In the years following Momma had many wonderful parties and she never was hesitant to have another birthday. Her birthdays were like her tomorrows. They were something that she needed to keep looking forward to rather than dwelling on the past. Even last year, her last birthday with me, was joyfully embraced by her. Momma always adapted and that day her strength was paramount. She had just been in the hospital, very frail and barely could speak loudly, yet she was ready to get dressed, sit on the sofa, rather than stay in bed. It was Momma’s day and the hair, makeup and dress had to be perfect for her. When we sang Happy Birthday I lit candles on a plate of pastel White Chocolate Nips as Momma’s cake. Her swallowing had become very weak and she was not able to eat, yet even those little nips with candles were very special to her.

Momma was and is a very special person. I shall never be able to equal her in humor, wisdom or compassion. She has always been my guiding light and continues to be. Many days I know my Mother’s hand help direct me through what I am doing. I know Momma is here with me now as I write and as I prepared the movie that will help share our special feelings during her memorable birthdays over the last decade.

Please join me in sharing my memories–

Home is Everything–

Yesterday late in the day, we arrived in the car and momentarily waited on the driveway for the garage door to open, then after driving the car into the garage, I opened the door to alight and get Sousé out of the back seat.  Quickly, we made it up the ramp to the laundry room door, the door I looked forward to seeing for the past weeks and smiled because Sousé wiggled anxiously and gave me his gruntled meow to let me know of his impatience.  Stepping into the laundry room we both exhaled a giant sigh–we were home!!   As we moved into the family room, Sousé  meowed, “Migraults!”  Knowing better not to tarry,  I quickly set him down.   He raced at full  seal point speed to cross the family room and reach the kitchen, recognizing the track changed  from carpeting to slick tile and he knew he was in the last stretch.   As Sousé entered the kitchen I paused to make a clumsy, pirouette and before me the wall of glass continued to fuel my serenity through the windows prisms  highlighting the primary colored pillows in the room, the colors that my Mother chose to use to make the room as bright and cheerful as possible following her stroke.

Sousé beat me to the far side of the kitchen and sought to find his feeding and water station.  Immediately, a loud call from the master sounded……..this time  a demanding meowed,  “MiNukNot”, which means for me to get down to business.  I quickly get him water, not in his water bowl, but another  and ask that he be patient because the cat food is in the car.  “MarRook,” he answers and I know he has given me limited time to provide him with dinner.  If I am not back before his time clock strikes,  I know he will tell me he has been waiting long enough for dinner!!

Yes, the little demon was so good in the car (well as good as good can be after he let a little warm drizzle flow while sitting on M’s lap)  and waited the last hour without food when I told him he would eat at home and not in the car.  As I set the food on the floor, he pushed my hand away and gives me a quick “Guark”, the meow which tells me  thank-you.   His simple response makes me  realize our little cat is as happy as I am to be back in our home, his house, my house,!!

Darkness arrives soon after and reminds me how tired I am.   One stair at a time will bring  me to the second floor and as I climb the stairs I peer down to look where my Mother should have been.  Instead, I see Sousé curled up, with nose under paw, on his love seat  sleeping.  I bid Momma Good Night and touch my lips to throw a kiss and then continue on to bed.  Hastily, I ready the bed and myself to jump in side.  As I fall asleep, burrowed deeply under the covers,  I think about “Home” and its relationship to humans and pets.

Home is where I belong, where Sousé belongs.  It gives me my identity, a locus of security and a point of centering in our world.  Home is where I can kick off my shoes, fall on one of the sofas to rest and ignore the doorbell if I wish.   This place of “home”  surrounds me with memories, freedom, levels of thought and an environment of safety.  It is the place that is born of family traditions, of gaiety and sadness, of humor and bittersweet moments.

When I think of it those elements are much the same for Sousé.  It is the place he feels the most secure, has his secret hiding places in all the rooms and a stairwell to race up and then down or sit on the balcony and call till I look at him!

Home brings our special likes to mind and often makes us want them again.  Home is my Mother’s ravioli, gnocchi and sauce.  It is her smile and outstretched arms.  It is my understanding  of my Mother’s faith in her God and acceptance and curiousity in M’s Jewishness.  It is my creativity in unique entertaining that one day you may enjoy and it is my thoughts that you feel when you look at the art on the walls.

Home is the essence of Spring and Summer as you walk through my roses, bend to take a whiff and have a thorn catch you by surprise and so you continue on to an array of wild lilies, miniature apple trees, fresh strawberries, a peach tree and a changing carpet of colors from all the rest of the flowers.  It is also to walk the weaving fence of willow and feel their wispy branches move in the breeze and understand the sound you hear is their spirit speaking to you.

Home is everything I want and provides everything Sousé needs!
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Is it a question of attitude?

 

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% of events that happens to me and 90% of how I react to those times!  Therefore, it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.  Charles W. Swindoll

When I first read this quote, I passed right on by it.  A few days later, I came upon it again, reread it, and finally realized what I should have seen before!

I stopped to think about my attitude and how my outlook for the day is formed and if it ever changes during the day, what either format means and if there was anything I should do about making sure I carried with me the best possible reaction to the events in my life.

Usually, I awaken in the morning very early.  This is a hold over from when my Mother was alive, but now I treasure that time because it is my time to think, write or do whatever I like on the computer.  It is a time that is always in the darkened room.  It is always quiet and affords me the ability to write in privacy!  While I am at the computer I have a small cup of coffee and if it is one of the days that sleep has eluded me then the coffee does no good, I still feel like sleeping, I nod often and soon realize the best thing to do is go lay down!

When I first awaken and during this private time, I am one of those that do not wake up to well.  Two hours can pass and I will still be in a cloudy state.  Yes, I can write and develop what I am writing, but if I need to really think, or function, I am not too good at it at this hour.  I have always been like this in the morning, quiet and possibly, you would think I was in a dreamland, which I may be.  Regardless, I feel I am innocent in premeditated actions because I just could not plan a thing until much later.  When I worked, I always responded the same way when I got up.  So often, then, I repeatedly told myself everything would be fine once I got in the car, because I knew I needed to face the day as soon as possible.  After arriving at work I still needed my time…everyone knew that and usually, unless a crisis set in, everyone respected that time.

At home, during my state of reverie I may go about straightening things up a little.  I may move a comb, a knife or a sheet of paper, all in grand innocence, yet those are the things that annoy M the most.  If I do move them, I am chastised and there fore, at that moment, my Attitude is negatively forned for the day.  Possibly, the phone may ring and the caller may also perturb me or even the cat can bring me from cloudy maze to arched eyebrow disdain.  These ill-received words received may cause my attitude to be less than stellar for hours.  I can, unintentionally, brood during that time.

When I finally read Swindoll’s quote I sheepishly thought, yes I do have a choice.  I can allow a sarcastic question/statement to send me lurking about in dark moments or I can tell my self that it is not worth having them affect my attitude for the whole day.  I think he makes sence wben he writes that events happen to you each day but they only comprise a small percentage of your life, as compared to how we react which can be a much higher percentage of getting it wrong.  So if life (my happiness and good will) is 90% of how I react to the events in my life then I had better start making respond positively, rather then letting my attitude travel south into a not so happy place.

 

A Time of Reflection

To reflect upon my own life is much more difficult than if I was asked to give thought to another’s worth. While I was in college, I became concerned if I had done anything that would let me be remembered after my death. Even more so had I achieved any lasting legacy for the far future to know me?

I asked that many, many times and now my reaction to that question is that it is unimportant. There are other concerns in my life that I should attend to, or begin to resolve. These are issues that relate directly to my elder years or that will help me feel fulfilled. I cannot guarantee that anything I have done meets some unknown criteria. If it does, fine, but then it runs the risk of history not recording the accomplishment. Often a special deed is lost or distorted and if it is a small achievement, it can be lost. I think I am far better off knowing the things I have done in my life have made me happy and that I have done some good for someone else and not worry if anyone else remembers or agrees.

Even though I may occasionally complain, I know my life has been good to me. I have little wrong with me except many, many extra pounds! Early in my life it became important for me to be employed in distinctive positions, ones not in the regular mill of things. I accomplished doing that, but now wonder if I was doing that so others would acknowledge my success, or was I doing it for me so that I could feel better? Until I went to college I always felt I wasn’t equal to someone who was educated. So often in grade school or high school, I had problems with my grades. I had no idea how to go beyond that stigma. Even when I applied to Arizona State University and was finally accepted it was on the condition that I take limited courses the first year. After the close of the first semester the grades rolled in and I was astounded I had a 4.0 pt average for the semester. As I graduated from grad school, I still had a 40 average and I began to understand what my capabilities and intelligence was. That lack of trust in me marked why it was so important to me to have jobs people recognized as special. I never was able to understand that if I could do the job that it must have taken a little more something than pure brawn.

Throughout my life, withstanding any minor character deficiencies, I have been generous and willing to help someone. Unfortunately, this help and generosity has been limited mostly to my family, but occasionally I have given my time to help others. The last few years I have cared for my mother, as she passed from her Crepusculum and into her darkness. Constantly I hear how special I am that I can do this for her, or that I will do this for her. It is my choice to care for her because when I watched my Aunt and Father deteriorate faster in a nursing home than necessary, I decided I would never allow anyone else close to me to experience the same. Now, a few years later I know I have made the right decision. Caring for her has given me insight, knowledge and patience. Now, even when one of my S/O’s family members called to tell us that they were terminally ill, I offered for her to come here so that I could care for her. This is not an act of goodness on my part; I believe it is more an act of caring and a responsibility of what should do.

Possibly, I should list the flaws I believe I have. Probably I am one of the worst people you can communicate with on a one to one basis. I am one of those who doesn’t listen unless they want to and I am often too quiet, nor will speak my opinion. From early on I was timid and even today carry many of the traits of an introvert. In addition, I live in a continual gray cloud. For years I only knew that everything was fine until suddenly I was moody or uncontrollably down. I continued this way on into my early fifties. During my forties, instead of changing things in my life I began drinking. I went away as so many do, but never could control it. Finally, during another gray period I decided that I couldn’t go on this way. I packe our truck with my cherished items, hooked up the muffler to the window and passed out believing there wouldn’t be another tomorrow. The next morning I awakened, unbelievably groggy and slightly irritated I couldn’t even orchestrate this event flawlessly. By that evening M had arranged to have me started on antidepressants. The world changed in a day. The gray cloud lifted and now only occasionally returns. The new day allowed me to stop drinking immediately, go to college, receive two degrees, make plans for the future and be able to take care of my mother now. Unfortunately in the past fifteen years there have been times I stop taking the antidepressants for a couple weeks and each time I do the gray, overwhelming cloud overtakes me with such intensity that it reminds of taking my pill.

My memory is very selective. I may choose to remember you as a dear friend, but I will never remember your birth date, nor will I always remember to write or call when I should. If I remember to call it may take a very long time because phone calls are a little bit of a problem. I do not like to make phone calls. I hated making business calls and always had a secretary or someone else to make the call and then give the phone to me. My family was even included in the continual hesitancy to make a call. Today I am much the same. M makes most of my calls unless i am calling a family member or a very close friend.

As I grow older and think more about my future, I find I think more of the past and wish to relive them (never change them-just relieve). Once I asked my mother if there was a time in her life that she would like to revisit. Her immediate response was, “Why should I–tomorrow is better!” It was the first time I realized how much I tend to live in the past and the first time I understood how much her attitude has allowed her to continue to live. If she had not been able to enjoy her unknown tomorrows, she may have had less living to today! I see the lesson in her curiosity of tomorrow, but it is a lesson I most likely won’t take.

Now is is time that you may decide if I have even come close to reflecting upon myself. My life is mine and at the present time I am happy with the way that I am. Tomorrow I need to forge on in my journey to Crepusculum. During that time I know there will be many diversions, particularly as changes occur with my Mother. To those of you who read my posts and especially to you who are kind enough to respond then if you have a moment that I have made you smile, gave you a moment of thought, or let helped you resolve a problem, then I am happy and content!