Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Untwisting the Knife

My daughter told me recently that someone in the family called her and hurt her deeply. They said that her father would be very disappointed in her. That alone is hurtful enough. Tim died nine years ago and the grief is still felt by all of us. Telling someone their parent is disappointed in them is painful. Telling someone that when their parent is deceased is more than painful. It is cruel. And it is cowardly.

That was not all. He also reminded her that she was born out-of-wedlock. (Do people really still use that term anymore?) Basically, she was a bastard child. Now she has repeated the same pattern, the same mistake, by having a child while not married. Basically, she had a bastard child as well. He suggested she not consider baptizing her. That beautiful little girl is anything but a bastard. She is gorgeous and joyful. She will hug any human that hugs her back.

I’m considered the Christmas Queen around here. (Or I’m called the Christmas Nazi, depending on your perspective.) I watch every Christmas movie I own every year. I have to start in October to accomplish that. I have thousands of Christmas songs. I am still working on those, maybe by New Year’s? Christmas books, you name it.

I grew up in the church. I know the Christmas story forward and backward. I know every word to every verse of every Christmas carol. (I might be exaggerating, but only a little.) Today, something hit me at 52-years-old that I never thought of.

Jesus was born to an engaged woman. Jesus was technically a bastard child. I texted my daughter and told her she should remind her very staunch Catholic family member of that fact before he berates anyone else.

I sat in my pew and thought about how completely interesting and fascinating that Jesus chose to come into the world that way. The emphasis has always been on Mary being a virgin. While that is true and significant, it is also completely consistent with the fact that Jesus later hung out with the prostitutes and tax collectors. He actually shut down the church leaders of the day. He reamed them out and called out their hypocrisy. And He got baptized.

I’m proud to be THAT kind of Christian.


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Not Fun To Write

This is not a fun blog to write and I’ve been struggling all week with how to word it. Let me start by saying that I do not blog with the intention of airing my dirty laundry, or anyone else’s. I write mostly for two reasons.

  1. Writing helps me to process what is happening in my life. It is for my own mental health.
  2. It appears to help other people process things in their own lives. Being able to identify with someone who is brave enough to voice their inward thoughts and feelings moves them along in their own growth. That is why I say all this work (the books I’ve written, blogs, my career path) are the lemonade I have attempted to make with the lemons I have been handed (mostly the deaths of the people I loved dearly).

Obviously then, the goal is to heal, not to hurt. I am completely aware that when you post anything on the Internet, you are making yourself vulnerable and subject to criticism. I’ve never been a fan of that but I understand it comes with the territory.

What I find disturbing, is when people use my writing to hurt me, or even worse my family. It has come to my attention that “people” (I don’t know who or exactly how many) have been telling my kids that I write awful things about them on my blogs.

The worst part of that is why the hell someone would do that? What motive do they have? It can’t possibly be for the good of my kids. It only hurts them to think the one that cares for them is not actually caring for them. And how could it be good to try to create division in someone’s home? The only motive that makes sense is that that reader doesn’t like me and wants my kids not to like me either. That is selfishness of the worst kind- hurting others for your own “gain” if you could even call it that. Or maybe the reader just wants to hurt me? If so, congrats! Hurting my kids is about the shittiest thing you can do. Any mother knows there is no worse pain than seeing your kids hurt.

What else sucks is that telling my loved ones that I trash them is completely untrue and false. I do write about the struggles of parenthood at times. I do write (rarely) about things my kids do that are hurtful. But the intent is not to bash, it is to learn and grow and heal from. Any parent recognizes the truth in that. When you look at the big picture of my writing, most things are positive when it comes to them.

When I was approached by one of my kids with this idea that I am “negative” about them, I responded with two things.

  1. I reminded them that a couple of years ago I had a SPECT image done of my brain. (Blogged about that, too.) It uncovered that I have “refractory depression” which means lifelong depression and also resistant to treatment. My “negative” slant in life (my ability to identify often with pain) is part of my hard wiring, not part of a plan to hurt the people I love.
  2. I read an excerpt from my PUBLISHED BOOK that spoke to the high heavens about how I feel about them and the deep love I feel for them, proving that I do not go around trashing them. It was obvious to them at that point, that the sources who were feeding them information had completely misrepresented me. Perhaps in the future, they will ask their “sources” to be silent, or maybe they will read for themselves before assuming the gossip is true.

Although I was surprised to even know that many people bother to read my blog, I do have a couple of things to say to those readers who are doing so in order to hurt my family. First, why don’t you contact me personally instead of hurting my kids? Or better yet, why don’t you post comments on my blogs and see what kind of reactions you get? Just because I share my rawest emotions, doesn’t mean it is easy to be that vulnerable for the world to see and criticize. It isn’t. So instead of attacking me behind my back, have the courage to speak up. If you can’t match my bravery, then stand down.

Lastly, shame on you. My family has been through enough heartache. Stop spewing poison. Whatever reasons you think you have, they are not appropriate. Our family may not be perfect, but we are all here together. We have been since Tim died. We have survived and we love each other. LEAVE US ALONE.


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A Thankless Job

Can you guess what it is? Parenting. Well, maybe that isn’t quite fair. Kids are pretty cute and grateful until about age 4, maybe longer if you are lucky. Then it turns off until in their thirties, or maybe when they are off on their own, or when they have kids of their own. That’s what they say anyway.

I’m still waiting. I’m a lot better at accepting all of this as developmentally normal when I have my therapist hat on. When I have my parenting hat on, I’m completely confused. I would literally give my life for these suckers. Don’t they see it? And if they do, how can they possibly not be grateful?

I’ve got a few of them at different ages. One isn’t talking to me, going on month five. When there are grandkids involved, the pain takes on a whole other level. The holidays only increase that disappointment by a hundred times or so.

The teenager… Is it enough to just say he’s a teenager? He’s absolutely great as far as the things that lead kids astray. No drugs, drinking, sex, violence, and so on and so on. But he truly recoils if he brushes up against me. Even when you are trying to do something nice like get him a gift, he is a total disrespectful punk sometimes. I just don’t get it.

Another one is just moody. One day you walk in the kitchen and suddenly there is no eye contact whatsoever. There is no response to even the most simple question. It’s like I’m completely invisible. Like I’m not even in the damn room. I just wonder what the hell happened from yesterday.

I just pray and pray and pray that someday it will get better. I love my children and grandchildren so much that my chest hurts when I think about them. There is nothing more valuable to me than them. As we approach the holidays, I want to say with a thousand percent sincerity, I don’t want a thing from them. Not even the tiniest object. I just want them to love me and I want them to let me love them. Nothing would make my heart soar more than that.

Stinkers. I adore them though.