Tag Archive | Life

An Imminent Return

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In the back of my mind for the past two years, I’ve held my friends here as rocks- hard, cold truths that I knew I could depend on without a doubt to still be here whenever and however long it took for me to return.  That’s saying a lot about a friend – expecting their unconditional loyalty.

There are those whom I met here two years ago that so many times brought tears to my eyes as I connected to sometimes every word, sometimes only a sentence.  Those connections inevitably vibrated a chord deep in my soul.  Many times, just a picture could send me soaring, feeling emotions and experiencing passions that were new, inspiring, joyous.

Then there are those that I’ve met in the last few weeks.  It wasn’t until I sat exploring blog after blog, many times finding laughter, often blinking away tears, but always fascinated to the point of almost utter disbelief that there are so many wonderful, captivating and brilliant people in the body of this blog.  And that’s the friend I knew I could return to – the ‘blog’.  I now acknowledge that each of you are the living, breathing heart of the ‘blog’.

Since I last posted an entry, I was given the honor of ringing the breast cancer bell – and I thank God for the tingling of that brass bell, more so with every passing day.

I buried the body of my Mother, her soul still lives – just not here, leaving me as the only remaining member of my immediate family.

My daughter has been there for me every step of the way through these trials – always pointing me to the positive.  It was only as I’ve returned here to the blog, however, that I realized I had shown her a terrible ingratitude.  All the wonderful inspirations she has tried so hard to keep me alive to, I refused to hear.  I allowed the weight of all the bad stuff of years past to weigh me down.  It all slipped up on me totally unaware. For any who have read my previous posts and remember, you know of some of the bad stuff I speak of.  ‘Stuff’ that no matter what, I always found a way to rise above.

But for quite some time I’ve had the doors open to the demons of defeat in all their ragged forms.  I’ve allowed self-doubt to take away my peace.  I’ve let the atrocities of the morning news each day rob me of hope and the day to day dealings with those chasing a dollar or climbing some ladder – whether real or imaginary –  push me to bitter anger.

From so many of you here, combined with her love, much that my daughter has been patiently waiting for me to find, I have found.  Instead of hate, violence, greed, complacency and indecence, your posts have filled me with hope, awe, excitement and most of all, passion. A passion again for life and all the wonderful moments we can experience if we live with a positive attitude.  And with that attitude, wonderful doors of opportunity open in any direction we are willing and passionate enough to pursue. The doors of defeat will be tightly closed. I know this from personal experience, but have never pursued it as largely as all my being has screamed for me to do.

That at this moment changes.  I am stepping boldly into a new phase of my life.  No longer will I let self-doubt control me and hold me back.  I will let the moments of my days make a difference in this world we exist in – my eyes will be open to my own opportunities as well as how I can help in any small way those in my circle of contacts. I am returning to a life rather than an existence.

I thank my daughter for her unfailing faith in me.  I thank each of you for your wonderful and continuing inspiration. And I thank God for the one set of footprints on the beach.

 

“They’re So Wide…”

DSCF3267My Mom and Dad were both blue collar workers – hard workers.  Daddy worked hard to give our family what he thought they needed – a nice home, vacations, all the newest technology, which back then was a microwave, VCR and cordless telephones. We gathered at six each evening for dinner together at the table.  He grilled steaks most Saturday evenings on the brick charcoal grill he’d built in the backyard while first Lawrence Welk and then Love Boat played on in the background.

But for much of this seemingly idyllic childhood we lived with an ever-present fear, one that haunted our every moment.  We continued on as if all was as it should be, but each of us spoke each word, thought each thought with the image of ‘it’ coming back smothering our certainties.

My brother was almost four years younger than I.  When he was seven months old, I was told he had what the doctors called a ‘boil’ in his stomach and life was touch and go as they did surgery to remove it.  When he was seven years old he slid down the basement stair rails to carry dirty clothes to the laundry and fell, hitting his head on the cement floor below.  Seven months later he started having seizures as he slept and after long waits through test after test, it was found that he had a brain tumor between the two sides of his brain. The doctors said the basement fall would have had nothing to do with the tumor, but we pointlessly never stopped wondering.  Surgery was done at Duke Hospital but they were unable to remove all of it due to its location.  For three months, Mama spent days in the hospital with him as treatments were done and either Mama would drive them home for the weekends or my Dad and I would drive up – abour a four hour drive.

At the end of those three months, we were told the tumor was not visible on any of the tests they performed.  Medical advancements were not then what they are now – this was over forty years ago – most of the tests themselves made him very sick.  But, he was able to come home to resume his life with regular visits to Duke to periodically confirm all was still well.

I was eleven when he hit the basement stairs.  The seven months between the fall and the tumor was the last we were all to see of our normal family with normal joys and normal problems.  I remember one Monday morning when I was in the fourth grade when Mama and Roy (my brother) were dropping me off at school as they headed back to Duke.  I was almost to the door, and Mama’s car was almost to the road when I realized I’d left my can of Koby’s potato sticks in the car.  I literally ran trying to catch her car only see her make the turn and disappear.  A kind teacher took sobbing me under her wing that day and become a second mom to me as I dealt with my real mom not being home.

Daddy tried to do his best but he became unreachable.  He would either lie on the catch until he’d go to sleep watching TV each evening, or he’d sit at his desk writing letters to Roy and Mama.  I did my best to do housework and laundry, we’d eat whatever was there.  Basically, as my Daddy drew tighter and tighter inside himself with worry, I worked harder and harder to ease his burden.

Then, Roy came home.  We all were happy to re-adjust, again, and he to try to catch up with the schoolwork he’d gotten so far behind on.  The coming years found him joining the band, finding his love of fishing and for the rock band ‘Kiss’.  But just as our haunt predicted, seven years later the tumor returned, this time inoperable.

He went back to Duke for what treatments were felt could alleviate the pressure of the tumor, and sent home with the knowledge that the treatments ‘may’ have worked to let him live a long life, or they hadn’t.  The picture above is him with his new puppy shortly after these treatments.  I see it in his eyes here – the way he’d look at us with love mixed in with what wasn’t fear, but a knowing.  He played the trombone and one day asked me to come downstairs – he had a surprise for me.  He knew my love of the song ‘Edelweiss’ from ‘The Sound of Music’ -so he had taught it to himself to play for me.  It didn’t sound quite the same on a trombone but I loved him for it.

In just a few short months he began having stability problems, his eyes would suddenly roll up into his head and his head would loll.  When the breathing problems started, his Duke doctors said there was no need to bring him back to Duke, they had done all they could do.  One night as he lay in the hospital bed here in our hometown, Mama sang “Jesus loves me, He who died, Heaven’s gates to open wide” and he stopped her and said something she couldn’t understand.  As she put her head close to his mouth, he said “They’re so wide.”  Mama choked back tears and kept on singing.  Two days later she had to tell him to quit fighting and let go.  He died on the eighth day of the seventh month at 7:07 in the morning.

I made reference to his time of death for one reason.  So many marveled and took comfort in the sequence of sevens in his life – as they saw this number as God’s completion number.  Coincidence or not, I’ve listed them in this little story as I’ve gone along. There are seven of them.

I’ve had this post on my mind for awhile and now that I’ve sat down to write it I’ve found that there are many posts out there right now involving ‘brothers’.  Maybe it’s a thought God’s given us all for some reason….But my writing on Roy has been to let go of some of it.  Yes, it’s been a great many years but just as all those years before he died carried the thought of whether the cancer would come back or not in our every action, the thought habits that those years created in me have been something I’ve tackled for a great part of my life.  I’ve always been the one to try to find a solution to every problem, to excel at whatever I do, to hide my feelings.  I think all of these character traits were formed in those years I was on the other side of Roy’s illness.  My parents were not there for many of my school functions throughout the years because of something or other that would come up with Roy.  The night I graduated high school we left immediately to take him back to Duke.  So much of my life, even though I never resented it, was put on the back burner to do what had to be done.  That carried over into my mistakes in marriage very soundly.  I bent over backwards and expected to be appreciated.  The lengths I went to, I realize now, were not only unhealthy but were part of my allowing myself to be the victim of an abusive marriage all in the name of ‘helping him – he doesn’t mean it’.  I shudder now.  Not only in my marriage, but in ever facet of my life I see traces of “why” I react in certain ways, where my own natural inclination to excel is driven from.

There is also the pain and the questioning of why.  I don’t question why I feel sad when families everywhere are having big get togethers.  Or when holidays roll around and my family is basically only my Mom and myself.  But I do so miss what could have been to the point that it is a literal pain.  But – the pain leaves me truly thankful for the blessings I have in my daughter and her family.  Truly thankful that Roy saw the gates and will be there to meet me at them some day. Truly thankful that God has turned the lessons I learned from those many years ago into the joy of enjoying each day with my daughter and granddaughter and so much more.

If you’re still reading, I thank you for hearing me out.  This is something I’ve never really talked to anyone about but something I also know had great bearing on my life.  I will never forget my brother – I miss him greatly now.  I get very melancholy when I think of what it might be like if he had lived, had his own family.  Life is so very different now from what it would have been.  My Daddy’s death was even a part of Roy’s story, but that’s all for another time as this post is going long.

Again, thank you.  And to each of my blogger friends – may God bless your every moment.

Tammi

Shake A Leg!

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Hello Blogger Friends!

I’ve had several comment that they had checked in to see if I had a new post so I wanted to drop a few words to tell you why I haven’t.

My granddaughter – who has put the gleam back in my eyes – starts kindergarten in less than two weeks. I took the biggest part of this week off from work to spend it with her. We are both thoroughy enjoying our time together but I am spending my evenings resting now rather than writing.

The ‘Shake A Leg’ title? Every once in awhile she and I get the cheap feather boas out and dance and sing all over the house. Not only does that definitely promise me a good night’s sleep, but I’m picking up stray feathers for the next week!

God Bless You Each and Every One – and I’ll be back to blogging hopefully this weekend.

Tammi

This Ad Pricks Me

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This ad has turned up often as I’ve been on the Internet in the last few days. If we lived in a world where it is celebrated for one to be a Christian, I wouldn’t think this is a demeaning statement. But be as things are, this ad seems to be saying “Can you believe this?!”
I know nothing about this movie so I can’t say personally whether it’s Christian based or not. But that we live in a society that it seems that a well known actress is being ridiculed for working in such a movie is disturbing. To take it even further, the ad seems to be attacking the intelligence of Christians, as if it’s a joke that someone of substance would be involved with such.
This goes hand in hand with what I am hoping to accomplish with my blog, my website and my writings of both fiction and non-fiction. Christians are not just those who show up at church everytime the doors are open. Christians are not just those who preach. Christians are those who come into contact with many many people each day and live fully alive in their relationship with Jesus Christ. As they interact daily – with the light of Jesus alive in their hearts, minds and souls – they become someone who is seen by others as dependable, trustworthy, uplighting – the list could go on – but above all, stable in each of these characteristics. If those traits are mocked, it is evident where the lack of intelligence lies. Take that a step further and consider that even when mocked, Christians have the strength of God to turn the other cheek and not allow the mockery to change who they truly are – children of the Most High God. Go a step even further and maybe by standing strong and true, they may even plant seeds in the minds of the mockers that God can bring to fruition. Full circle with how the Kingdom is expanded, wouldn’t you say? And being who we’re meant to be and fullfilling our purpose even, don’t you think? Leave that in the hands of the Almighty and all will be as it should.
I am certain that before taking on the role in a ‘Christian’ movie, an actor/actress is aware of the publicity such a role would incur. I applaud Ashley Judd for turning the other cheek.