Monday, May 15, 2017

An Unusual Mother's Day, Not the Hallmark Kind

The appearance of a  beautiful bee life, when it is just part of his day's work.
On Mother's Day I was particularly touched by a post on facebook where someone posted what a sad day it is for her, as everyone will talk about their much loved  and near-perfect mothers, when, for her, it is a holiday that makes her realize what she didn't have. I read on, as something about her story resonated with me. She related that her mother wasn't a healthy person and was abusive to her, no matter how hard she tried to please her.

It made me sad, but her story was not unfamiliar to me. My "Pollyanna Perfectionism" was stripped away and there I was, feeling like she was telling my story, as her realities matched some of my own. I spent years in therapy to talk about the love/hate relationship I had with my mother. It did a lot to help me, as later I took on her care in the last years of her life. With God's grace, I was able to give to my mother what she had a hard time giving to me, unconditional love. I loved her, despite her NOT being a perfect mother. In fact when I was little I fantasized that I had a good and bad mother and when the bad one was in her glory, I knew that my good one was tied up in a closet, eager to be released to care for me. Talk about how my fantasies sustained me! My bad mother died with my good mother and until I read this honest recounting of someone's abusive mother, I quite forgot about my dual-sided mother.

Moving on to another flower.
I have struggled all my life to heal past pains.  Are they related to my health issues of today? I have no doubt about it, and when I left home, I believe that I continued to live out the dramas that hadn't healed before. My supervisors often became a repeat of the relationship I had with my mother. Abused people often love those that abuse them and find others that are similar in their life to work out their unresolved issues. Counseling has helped and yet losses like losing my Zeldie cat only weeks ago, will often resurrect losses of my past.

Pain resurfaces when the Grief Gate is opened. It is OK to feel sadness from the past, however unpleasant it might be. It is good to be in touch with all of me and not just the memories that are only happy ones. I have much tucked away I realized: pains of being misunderstood, and unaccepted; pains over losing my health and continuing to have ongoing health and disability issues; pain over experiencing a complicated career environment, dealing with employers that weren't fair and down -right abusive; pains with my personal insecurities that made me seek paychecks over being happy; pains from losses of friends and loved ones, and cherished pets.

Sometimes upside down.
While losses are part of everyone's life, much of my life was spent carrying a heavy oak cross while others around me seemed to only get light-weight aluminum ones. I have worked hard to keep a Pollyanna spirit and consider the benefits of such trials and they are there, to be sure. I do believe that I have been toughed and sensitized as well. My faith roots have grown deeper and I have become more sensitive, kind and compassionate to others.  In fact I was just writing a piece about feeling others' pains, as again I seem to be overwhelmed by the number of friends and family that are dealing with struggles that dwarf my own. I feel their pain, and though I would love to shut it out, I cannot. I am grateful for the gift of my Zeldie Pooh, no matter how much I miss her now, and I need to be there for whichever friend or family member is in need.

And yet onto another flower. He works very hard!
My dear friend's husband is struggling with a recent decline in his health. Not only does the entire family have chronic lyme disease, but her husband developed ALS symptoms, thought to be lyme induced; add to that only a week ago, my sister called to tell me that she had finally taken my suggestion and gotten herself a glucometer and called to report a fasting blood sugar in the mid 300 range and only hours later her blood sugar climbed into the 600's and her husband rushed to the ER. It was a good thing, as she had gone into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), though until that day she didn't even know that she was diabetic. I had diagnosed her over the phone but thought that she was going from pre-diabetes into a full-fledged Type 2 diabetes, and had no idea that she would be susceptible to DKA! Diabetes Type 2 hits many of us that are overweight, under-exercised, and middle age. She was sent home on insulin even though  her blood glucose was still way too high, so high that she couldn't understand the directions as to how to take care of herself. I praise her husband for his committed care of her!

Busy doing what bees do!


Many of my readers know Red, through Jon Katz's Bedlam Farm blog and know that his wonderful healthy sheep-herding dog has suddenly become very sick with Lyme Disease and its co-infections! It does seem that wherever I turn these days there is a war waged between life and death.  Being in grief myself over the sudden loss of my cat companion, has over-sensitized me to what is happening to others. My rose-colored glasses have fallen off and I realize how much I am fighting back a flood of memories from my life that hasn't always been so great, or worse, has been down right awful!  I could simply push it out of my mind but truly it is a good thing to see what hasn't fully healed while my vision is so clear! I don't want to shut the door but rather allow myself to look at the underlying sadness that doesn't often surface as it should. I want to see and feel the pains I thought I had "dealt with", when in fact they are likely robbing me of energy unconsciously suppressing them.

And still another blossom, all day long working hard!
So I had a very good Mother's Day. It was a bit different than the Hallmark sort of Mother's Day, but perhaps the kind that I needed most. A day to be honest with myself about my very real life. It is less than perfect, but then being real often is! Life isn't easy and being open to the sadness and griefs that come with being a real person is important too. I didn't miss celebrating, the happy part will just come on a different day...I really am OK about the events in my life that have made me into being the person I am today. I wouldn't trade my life with anyone else's. It has been a unique walk and I treasure the lessons that have come my way, no matter how hard! I am glad that my sadness can be felt and realized before it lifts and it will, it always does!

(Credit goes to my husband, Tom McMillen for the beautiful bee photos! Thanks Tom!)



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Time is Slow Without my Companion

My Zeldie, seriously missed!
It has been just over a week since my Zeldie passed away, though it feels more like months! The days have been slow and to say that I have been a bit lost without her would be an understatement! She made my days go by so quickly! Getting up to let her out and then in, stopping to pet her or follow her to her cat dish to give her a treat, or putting up the window shade in front of her cat perch so she could nap in the sunshine was part of her routine and became mine as well.  Cassie, our dog has been equally as lost and has sought me out more often for a pat on her head, or to come and sit by me.

I spent the first few days weeping and resting and then searched the internet for cats or kitties for adoption. I did find a beautiful cat located right in our little town. The advertisement showed a handsome cat with a dark brown face and with a beautiful beige-colored body with short white socks above its dark brown paws. It was sleeping peacefully draped across the back of a sofa. It appeared to be a very unique cat and I couldn't wait to email the owner and receive more information. Apparently it was a relatively young un-neutered male, though judging by the size of its body, it wasn't far from being fully grown. The owner said she had too many cats and was searching for a new home for this one.


When Zeldie was just a baby!  Where did the time go?

A cat to be reckoned with! I miss you Zeldie!
My husband identified it as a Siamese or Oriental cat, which was disheartening to me. I try to bear no prejudice, but I have had a Siamese cat before that I also thought was beautiful, until I got to know her better. I named her after the Peanut's comic strip character, Lucy, as she had a rather sour disposition and complained incessantly and wasn't quiet about it either! We weren't very compatible and I found her a good home with a person that was amused by her.  I had ceased to be very tolerant after she urinated on my bed pillow, and had to be grateful she didn't target my mattress instead! Perhaps she had confused me with the person who bobbed her tail? I wasn't a stay-at-home-cat-mother in those days, and I understand that Siamese cats like to have lots of attention and even then aren't easy to please!?

This teenage Siamese cat could be just the sort of cat I WASN'T looking to adopt, no matter how handsome. Likely he would perhaps only tolerate one squeeze from me anyway and prove to not be the affectionate cat I am looking for.  My Zeldie had a sweet little "mew", and commanded all she wanted with that tone of voice.  I remembered then several hard-learned lessons about breeds of animals. While there is a place for each, breeds can go with different temperaments and are critical to consider when choosing a life-long friend, besides which I hope that my companion will complement my own personality and not bring me more of the same challenges I face in myself!

I am continuing my search, but it is becoming more narrow in scope.  We need a female kitten, "young enough to train", my husband husband added.  "Does anyone ever train a cat?" I wondered and inwardly thought that I was the one that needed to be young enough to be trained to adapt instead for I think that is the way cats work?  Indeed, I have been working on getting younger every day for the past several years but I won't write about that subject now!

Presentation mini-quilt for memory quilt for my friend, Linda P.

Little overalls and mini-quilt made from E. Pollards bits of sewing.

Front side of traditional 9 patch, 2 sided memory quilt, ready for assembly.
As the days pass without my friend, I am trying hard to focus on doing small things. I am slowly making progress on a memory quilt. The pictures show some of the pieces that are done and I hope to put it altogether here soon. I am making it for a friend of mine. Hope grows as I see long term projects nearing completion. Each day also brings more revelations as to the sort of cat I am looking for.

I have found sweet-barn cat kitties but wonder about them not being litter box trained? Habits are formed early and want my next kitty to have all that she needs to better fit into our household, though I know that quirks are what makes each cat unique. Shelters and their fees are well-worth it for their arrangements with local vets to see to it that each pet gets de-wormed, vaccinated and neutered, and often at the cheapest price. We have had many cats with issues despite coming from the "best of well-intentioned owners". I have learned however, to never say "never".  We have had our own barn kitties, some of which have turned into the best pets ever, and perhaps the kitties at the shelters ultimately come from barn cats? 

We do wonder and wait as we add our name to kitty lists everywhere and pray hard that God above has the right one for us and arranges the best time and circumstances of our meeting.  I did tell my husband that I now appreciate seniors that I have seen  in nursing homes that carry small furry stuffed animals with them.  I am tempted! Perhaps imagined companions serve a useful purpose, though I still have a need for mine to purr and play, though the required cleaning of the cat box made me consider the option more seriously! I told my husband and he laughed.  He is taking on this mission of finding me another cat to save my sanity! Do pray that the right kitty will adopt us soon!   I am in much need!