Grief – The Scenic Route

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I have always been the type of person who has the mentality of all or nothing.  If i’m going to do something I’m like Nike, Just do it! Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to everything in life.  Grief is one of those things. See my dad was the patient one. He had lots of patience. Me…not so much. That’s one of the reasons I hated being in the passenger’s seat when he drove.  I just wanted to get there. Get to the next stop. Keep moving.

Dad was more for the scenic route, the long way home, he was never in a rush.

I feel that way with grief.  My dad passed away just over a month ago.  I thought for sure my life wouldn’t go on. And if it did i would just spend days crying and then things would slowly go back to normal.  I’ll cry, I’ll grieve and then it will be over and I’ll be OK. Like a skinned knee, a broken bone, a cold.

Grief is not like that.  Death is not like that.

Each day I wake up is different.  It’s like your life is just the same, yet your life is very different.

Some days you feel angry at the world over what seems like silly things.  You run into someone and they simply say, “Hey, sorry about your dad” and hug you.  One day you may respond, “Thanks!” and smile. Another day you may take a deep breath as you choke back tears because you’re standing in Starbucks and God forbid you cry in the middle of a store in front of all these people who will judge you.  Some days you smile and think of something funny he would have said or just a memory of him pops into your head and it makes you happy.

Then you run into the person who must know you just lost someone close yet they just simply say, “Hi! How are you?” as they make simple conversation, never acknowledging your loss. You smile and chat while inside your head you are having your own conversation.  “Are they serious? MY DAD DIED!! WHY DON’T YOU KNOW MY DAD DIED? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY!! WHY ARE YOU NOT SAYING YOU’RE SORRY!”

Inside your head you want to punch this person in the face and scream at them.  How can they be so insensitive??

It’s the strangest feeling.  As much as you don’t want to talk about it, you want people to acknowledge it. And when they don’t, it only makes you angry.  And sometimes, you don’t even know if it is just because they simply have no idea or maybe, they just don’t know what to say.

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Some days I feel like I walk around looking normal to everyone on the outside.  They must think, “Wow, her dad just died and she seems fine!” But I’m not. Yes, I may look OK.  Yes I still smile. Maybe I smile a little more now because I realize that there may be millions more going through what I am going through and maybe someone needs to see that smile to make it through the day.  But really I just get up, keep moving and fake it a little.

Some days I feel OK and all of a sudden it hits me and I have to run to the ladies room to cry.

I feel like I keep waiting for it to hit me.  Like maybe one day I won’t be able to get out of bed because I will be overcome with grief.  Many days I just feel tired. No tears, just tired. Many days I forget things. I have a great memory most of the time but lately I feel much more forgetful. I often keep myself busy and my calendar full.  Then there are days that I just need to be alone. Even if it’s to sit home and cry by myself. Other days I need to be surrounded by others and maybe even laugh or share stories about my Dad and tell everyone what a great man he was.  I think the scariest thing about grief is that you really don’t know how and when it will hit you. If it will be tears or anxiety or anger. So right now I’m learning to take each moment as it comes. Whether it’s strength or laughter.  If I need to cry, I cry. If I need to nap, I nap. If I need to scream, I scream. Because the one thing that is for certain about grief is that there is no wrong way to experience it, just take it as it comes.

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Cooking and Grandma Vichy

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Francis Gafford aka Grandma Vichy

So today I got a text from a friend of mine saying, “Soooo…no blogs? Lol”  My response was, “No.  Sorry.  You were expecting one?  Do I usually blog every weekend?”  “I think so” she says.  I had to go back through my posts and see the last time I posted something which was Thursday morning I think.  I have been meaning to blog.  I’ve been wanting to, but I have a life too.  I actually left my house this weekend.  I also did some house cleaning and cooking.  I don’t seem to cook as much now that I started writing.  Which saves some money because of the fact that I don’t really know how to cook for two people, more like twenty two! 
The not cooking will surprise some that know me well.  I am always inventing new recipes or trying to copycat ones I have tried at a restaurant.  I’m usually baking up something from scratch or rolling wontons for soup.  Making dough for homemade pizzas or vats of rice and beans for my son and his friends.  I once had a friend of his ask why I always had rice and beans in the fridge when he came over.  “Because it’s cheap and feeds lots of teenage boys,” I told him.  In fact, I’m kind of known around town for making rice and beans.  Besides my son’s friends, many of my friends will request I make my rice and beans for get together’s and I’ve been known to make some of the best rice and beans late night, after the bar closes.  I’m good for having a couple of drinks and inviting the whole bar to my house for the after party.  I’m not sure if it’s the southern blood in my veins, but I just love to feed and cook for people. 
Cooking rice and beans makes me think of my Grandma Vichy (pronounced Veechie).  Francis was her name and she loved my rice and beans or as she sometimes called it “rice and peas”.
Back when my son was just a baby, she came to stay with us for a bit.  She was on oxygen then and had bad emphysema and I believe she had COPD, too.  She couldn’t get too far without taking a break.  I remember watching her go up a set of four stairs one time and she had to take a break after just two.  I know she had been a smoker in her younger days and she loved her whiskey, too.  My favorite was the story my mother told me about how as a little girl, her job was to hide the booze and cigarettes when the Mormons came to the house.  My grandmother was Mormon and would often tell me all about Joseph Smith, which my mother was never happy about because she was raising us Baptist.  I guess she was worried Grandma would successfully convert me but I always thought it was good to learn about all religions, then I could decide why I believed what I chose to believe. Many times when I think about Grandma Vichy, I think about how proud she would be with my cooking skills these days.  Mostly at the fact I have learned how to cook from scratch and waste less.  Grandma Vichy had lived through the Great Depression which explains why she had this need to save everything.  In fact most of it was rolled up in napkins, stuffed into plastic bags and pinned inside her bra!  If she wanted to give you some money she would reach into her bra and pull out treasures unknown!  Just thinking about it makes me laugh now, but it was just normal to me as a kid. 
The one time I will never forget, was the time I was cooking beef stew while Grandma was staying  with us.  It was my first time and I was probably about 20, my son was a baby and was sleeping upstairs.  I remember browning the meat in a cast iron pan and tossing it into a pot.  I was following the recipe directions as I had never made it before and wanted it to be just right.  I went upstairs to check on my son and when I came back down Grandma was in the kitchen.  She had added some water to the cast iron pan and was scraping all the flavor out to add to the soup.  I remember being so annoyed that she had messed with my cooking (I’m still that way in the kitchen) but I couldn’t say anything.  She was my Grandma, I could not disrespect her.  So I walked away, tried to stay calm and take a minute.  She said she was just trying to help and I of course continued to act like there was nothing wrong.  She was grandma, what could I say?  The stew cooked for a while and I checked on my son again.  I can still hear her voice and that strong southern accent when she apologized to me, “I’m sawry Lissa Beth.  I didn’t mean ta mess with yer stew.  I didn’t want it ta go ta waste.”  I remember feeling awful, I didn’t mean for her to feel bad.  She was just trying to help.  I didn’t want her to know I was upset.  It wasn’t until years later that I would wish she was still around to teach me some of her tricks and techniques on cooking.  It wasn’t until now that I really wish I had asked her more questions about the great depression, about all the history she had lived through. 
Growing up, Grandma lived between RI, FL and GA so we often wrote letters back and forth.  From time to time I will go back and read her old letters to me.  Like messages from heaven, I can hear her voice clearly saying, “I luuuuv you, Lissa!” In that southern twang, “and tell mama I luv n miss her too!”  I would be so excited to get that envelope in the mail and often times would open it up to find a single stick of Freedent gum enclosed.  It was one of those quirky things only Grandma did, kind of like the treasures in her bra.  So maybe I make rice and beans because it’s cheap and resourceful like my Grandma taught me.  Maybe I enjoy cooking and feeding people because it’s in my blood and it’s in my southern roots.  But maybe I just make them, because deep down, they make me think of Grandma and the times I used to cook for her.

Prince’s Ea’s Video about Labels

So a friend of mine, Wendy of Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake, posted this video on Facebook last night.  I am already a fan of Prince Ea, but I was yet to see this video.

Prince Ea is a rapper/spoken word type artist.  I love his videos because they are very thought provoking and inspiring.  He started the  “Make ‘SMART’ Cool” movement and you can find more info on him here or you can just watch the video below and decide for yourself.

I really enjoyed this video.  I hope you do as well.  Feel free to comment below or share with others.  Thanks for checking this out!

 

 

😍I’m in love 💜

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I’m in love.  It’s funny, because I have known my object of affection for over 20 years and it was only recently that I realized how I felt about them  Then all of a sudden, one day, it clicked.  I couldn’t get enough!  I wanted more.  I NEEDED more!  I wanted to eat, sleep, drink, it all in.  This object of my affection is one I share with many of you readers…it is Writing! 
It’s like I just can’t get enough.  My thoughts constantly want to be writing things down, ideas for blogs, books, poems.So let me take you back to where it all started.  Where we first met. 
I remember one of my first diaries, which I still have, was my cabbage patch kids diary.  It’s filled with stories of my vacation to florida, stuck in a car with my two older sisters tormenting me and my mother probably singing just to add to the irritation.  It has the list of boys I had crushes on in 3rd grade.  The who likes who, ratings on how funny Keith was or how cute Nate was.  This was serious stuff!  It only progressed from there when my 4th grade teacher gave us all journals for Christmas one year, which I also still have.  Filled no doubt with series of more crushes, important elementary gossip and so on. 
Let’s skip ahead to high school…this is where my writing got a little more interesting.  This is when I had my first love (or as I now refer to him, ”my baby daddy”, but only because he hates to be called that!)  A quick back story, he was living in a group home at the time I met him so we often wrote letters before we actually met and while we were dating.  (Kind of similar to dating a man in prison, but much smaller scale)  So, I would spend my days in school classrooms, doodling hearts and filling them with our initials or writing love poems about him and dreaming of the moment I would get to spend time with him again.  After all, it was that first love, that innocence.  Ahhhh if only every love could feel like that.  So fresh, so new, so innocent.  Eventually the new love fades, people grow and change and life happens.  With writing, that’s ok.  Writing never gets old when you’re in love with it.  Change is what inspires writing.  Anger, hurt, tears, fears, love all inspire something new to write about  and fuel the fire inside of us to write more!
Over the years I continued to write, but usually it was for therapy.  If I had a breakup or a I was feeling some sort of emotion about a person or situation.  Never again would I write a love letter.  Not to anyone I knew anyways, but I have hope for the future.  That one soul mate, love of my life is somewhere, just around the corner.  The one man who will inspire me to write the best story or poem of my life. 
It is through writing I can find myself.  I can discover the why of my emotions.  I can have those “ah ha!” moments and really learn about myself.  I have always written for myself first. 
Never once in my years of writing did I ever think that people would want to read what I wrote.  Never once did the thought cross my mind that, hey, maybe someone else has been through that.  Maybe someone else may find that interesting.  Maybe your view could make someone think, could change an opinion.  Once I actually shared my writing and people started reading it and complimenting me all that kept going through my mind was Chris Farley in his skit, “Living in a Van down by the river”.  I kept hearing this voice say , “Sooo you wanna be a writer, huh?? Is that Bill Shakespeare over there??” (see a clip of the video here)  
Once i realized people actually enjoyed reading my work, I decided to start blogging.  Like, these people subscribe to my blog!  They look forward to my writing!  My best friend of over 30 years, (yes we were only like 5 when we met)  sent me texts like, “ummm I feel so embarrassed that I never knew you could write” to which I had to reply, “umm neither did I!” I think I really love writing because in writing there are no rules.  Yes, we can place rules, but when I write for myself I can get my thoughts out of my head so much smoother.  I can be me.  I have no pressures, no worries, no judgement.  Writing lets me be who I truly am.  Whether I decide to share all these parts of me on my blog is another story.  But, in my journal I can truly be me.  Writing never judges me.  Never talks back.  Never tells me I’m doing it wrong.  When I write I can release my inner ginger.  When I write I am my true me.
I have been wanting to blog so badly this week, feeling like i need to create this great post.  I had to stop and really think about why I write.  I had to take time and remember that I write for me FIRST.  For healing, releasing and therapy.  In fact  I decided to do a writing cleanse but I will blog about that another time.  It’s hard because I love connecting with people through my writing. It motivates and excites me!  But sometimes I just have to take time to embrace my inner writer not for the audience, just for me.

Photo Credit: internet