Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Shitty Little Christmas

It was a DISASTER. I think any and everything I tried to do to overcome the dreaded first Christmas without WB resulted in a train wreck. With time to reflect and a several thousand mile roadtrip, it was anxiety and fear of the unknown driving my depression therefore perhaps exacerbating it for others. Even the most precious and well-intentioned messages from friends and family had me ramped up for the big explosion and I fully intended to thwart it. Mistake.

While trying so hard to create a new set of memories, I stepped right of into a pile of manure. Reminded me just now of the Renee Zellweger character in the movie Cold Mountain. "Ruby Tewes, you are a C-A-T-A-S-T-R-O-P-H-E!"

Then, a scan of Eckhart's website confirmed for me that I should reading his books. Front and center, he cites, "The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are."

I rattled Kate out of bed earlier to share. Sleepy and now sure she was not so amused with my ah-ha moment, I am now thoroughly convinced she didn't process it quite the same. That said, I moved on to a discussion about dinner. Meatloaf, it is.

Living in the past is weighing me down. Anxious about the future is weighing me down. I've got to find a way to get in to the HERE and NOW. That was Eckhart's advise and it's definitly worth a shot. Obvious that I cannot change how I got here or life events before today, there is simply nothing that can be done to change them. That memories are just that. Memories. Just another reminder of what I've said many times before, my memories are personally mine as everyone else has their own. My feelings are mine, and mine alone.

Really need to start practicing what I preach. Then, visiting a Blog that I follow, The Christian Working Woman, I found this post  "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10). The fear in me has been so present for so long and this has really resulted in a real conflict for my children and I.

I do not fear any man or woman. I am not fearful of any legal issue, court battle, or death. I have never been afraid of anything that I can remember except a serpant of any kind. However, worrying about what comes next in our lives has substantially paralized me and I speak to this often. Give me anything and tradtion is, I can typically handle it. Therefore, this fear is in my mind. It's not physical, it's embedded in my soul.

For months and in an attempt to keep the FAITH and a constant search for any system, methodology or scripture - it just came around this morning at first cup and the landing on the right TV station. I cannot even accept my 'religious beliefs' without tapping into my own spiritual self.

How long have I co-mingled religion and spirituality? For as long as I can remember we've heard people say, "God spoke to me." And, for as long as I can remember, I've yearned for that. Oh how I've pondered, can they hear God speaking to them and I cannot?  

Coveting their experiences present so many questions for me; What does God's voice sound like? Is it gentle? It is strong? Does God have an accent? Will he speak to me in a way that I may understand? Am I too shut off with anger or guilt that he may not present himself at all? Is it because I like wine and I say 'SHIT' regularily? What is it? Why can I not hear God speak?

This notion may change within a short while, but is the goal to get to that place within yourself, a quiet and still place where you can mediate on God's word? Is that how God speaks to me/us?

Fortunately (or unfortunately) these issues are documented in many of my postings. Taking the time to look back on my thoughts and feelings of the past 9 months, one can easily see a vast array of emotions and stages of grief. From no grieving to angry grieving, to trying to quash the grief and then trying to undermine grief by completely ignoring and rerouting our traditional Christmas. At this stage in the process, one may typically suggest a doctor or stronger medication. My family, friends and anyone following this has got to be thinking, "This woman is CRAZY"!!!

True that. Still crazy with grief. Crazy with love for our children, grandchildren and extended family. Crazy still with a sense of responsibility for those less fortunate or needing assistance. Crazy hungry for an end to the pain yet crazy enough to keep it close. It's the memory.

Thinking that next year we will remember our SHITTY LITTLE CHRISTMASI will also remember that the friends and family who were reaching out to me knew that no matter how hard I tried to disguise it, disaster was iminent. Just as we will remember that our sabatical to Texas during the holiday was the first in over 20 years absent the big guy taking up all the room in the car. 

Be still.  

I will also remember that my girls and I had a delightful Christmas Eve sharing gifts of need and then a restful Christmas Day with great food, a fire in the fireplace and endless movies. As for today, I'm scribbling and scratching in an attempt to keep this in the here and now because it's all so heavy. It's just another memory. Be still, Rhonda. Keep reading. Keep studying. Keep praying. Keep the faith.  

Just be still.

My name is Rhonda Brantley and my husband, Billy Ray Brantley suffered from Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia.

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