Once again, the universe is knocking on my door. Hello, it’s me again.
This time by way of a post on addiction, alcohol to be exact that stirred up a memory I haven’t thought about in years, 10 to be precise. Our minds are complex places.
The memory is of my sister-in-law and her untimely death due to her prolonged use of alcohol. Her story, like everyone’s, is complicated. The big gray area does exist.
Her name was Debbie, she was 51 years young.
My first impression of Debbie was that she was beautiful, intelligent, fun, creative, and talented. She loved her baby brother very much, and she shared a birthday with my sister. A winner.
As we got to know each other better, I realized something was off, but not having any experience with alcoholism, I just thought she was a bitch. I was naive, and everyone around her was in denial.
I learned that when their mother died suddenly at 48 years old, Debbie was in the middle of a typical mother/daughter squabble, and they were not on speaking terms. Forgiveness also died that day.
Debbie and her siblings were grieving the loss of their mother individually, being left with a disabled father in disbelief and not much help. Two siblings had spouses for support, and three were left to their own devices. Grief is a complex emotion, and this was a recipe for disaster.
All three chose alcohol as the device to numb the ache. One escaped. One continues his imaginary competition with Keith Richards, and Debbie, wearing an anchor of guilt for two decades, was found dead in the melting snow 10 years ago this week. Free at last.
As I said, Debbie was intelligent and creative, two skills that come in handy when you’re keeping a secret of this magnitude from the world around you. Keeping it alive is another story.
Living a lie every dang day had to be exhausting. I can’t imagine trying to keep up with the responsibilities expected of me while strategically contemplating how I will sneak in a drink and keep my act together throughout the day. That is no joke; it’s a full-time job.
I know she wasn’t the first or the last to juggle this lifestyle. We’re only human.
Over the years, her intelligence and creativity grew exhausted, while the disease grew arrogant, insisting on vodka in her coffee, leaving the creamer on the curb. Acceptance? Blind eyes? Both?
As with everyone in her life, we grew frustrated trying to help someone who was not ready to receive the offers. She was in her own way.
Correction, she was ashamed, and shame is a powerful emotion. Seducing her with lies quietly convincing her she was worthless while blocking love like a linebacker. Vodka was her helmet.
So, we made excuses to justify the behavior and make ourselves feel better. Talk about creativity.
- She’s only hurting herself.
- She’s a functioning alcoholic.
- She’ll know when to stop.
- It’s not like she’s sitting in a bar all day.
- The list goes on …
After two turbulent marriages, endless lost opportunities, burnt bridges, and too many stints in rehab, the secret was sitting center stage, not Debbie, and it showed. You can only fall down so many times, literally, before surrendering or succumbing.
According to the coroner, she “succumbed” to her disease, alcoholism.
We are ALL worthy of being the best version of ourselves.
If you are suffering, please ask for help. There is no judgment. Make the call.
Do it for Debbie ❤
Alcoholics Anonymous — 800-839-1986.
We are just returning from a much-needed family vacation. The last one was 9 years ago. We weren’t in the door 12 hours before I received a call that my brother has passed away. That kinda left a mark.
After the past 10 months, all I can say is “IT WAS TIME”.
The destination of choice, the Jersey Shore. Why? When we could have been on an island in the Caribbean for what this cost. Well, because this is where our happiest family memories were made and that is priceless.
So, on August 12th, we loaded up the car like the Beverly Hillbillies and headed to Ocean
City, NJ for 7 glorious days of fun in the sun. 5 adults, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, and everything but the kitchen sink hit the road.
Honestly, does it get better? I spent EVERY morning walking the beach without a single care or concept of time or distance. A bathroom for this middle aged bladder would have made it perfect.
It’s safe to say that I could live happily ever after just watching a mother seagull looking over her tribe as they ate breakfast. If only it paid well.
Lisa G., S.O. (Seagull Observer) Has a ring to it doesn’t it?
Quiet mornings on the beach are also made for surf fishing. According to my fish loving son anyway.
He caught the surf fishing bug 17 years ago when he was just 5 years old. I’ll never forget the image of him heading to the water like a boss with his Lion King fishing rod in hand and a lollipop in his mouth. Today it’s high-end gear in one hand and his beautiful girlfriend on the other.
Of course, we were reminiscing about that day because it was indeed memorable. For many reasons.
What happens when a 5-year-old somehow reels in 6 King fish in a row with his $5.00 fishing rod? Other than crowds forming, people cheering, paparazzi and giving high-fives to the happiest 5-year-old on the planet of course. Well, I’ll tell you.
A grown man who was fishing about 10 ft away, with 6 ocean rods lined up like soldiers came marching over to fill my son in on the amount of money he had tied up in his rods and the unfairness of him catching all the fish. Remember, my son was FIVE.
Up until that moment, I had never been in such close proximity to a giant man baby. This “man” actually walked back to his “million dollar” rods, smacked them all to the ground while my 5-year-old looked on and stated, “He’s stupid!” Out of the mouth of babes.
Hmm, where have I witnessed that type of behavior recently? Bye bye reality back to my happy place.
Another joy was sipping a cup of coffee with my toes in the sand. A little sand between my toes was just what the doctor ordered.
As a child, my mother always told us “the salt water heals everything”, and I must admit she was 100% right.
The healing powers of living the salt life surpassed months of doctor appointments and medications. Mother Nature does not accept insurance … it’s free.
A little beach therapy is just what we all needed.
Enjoy! This Ride Will Be Continued.
Just when I thought everything was going smooth the universe made the executive decision to throw a wrench into my peace. Does everyone agree that Lisa appears to be content? Good, bring in the wrench, please. On second thought, make it a double.
It’s been 6 months since I was blindsided, and the universe has been somewhat kind, but recently it has decided to shake things up a bit. As if watching the News wasn’t enough.
My son decided to move out of his apartment and back HOME. The problem with this big fat wrench is he didn’t come alone. He brought his endless appetite, wash, sneakers the size of Pennsylvania and a school project that entails constructing something that has now taken over my entire house. Remember the movie The Blob? It’s like that over here.
My nature is very easy peasy. Little things like gigantic sneakers and piles of wash have never bothered me before, well, maybe not never. But, certainly not at the level of wanting to set the house on fire to make them go away. This is the result of holding in an emotional fart.
Clearly, there are some underlining things going on with me to stir up this level of emotion, and now you lucky readers who were drawn in my clever title get to read about it. Sorry, not sorry.
Although my life keeps moving forward one snail slide at a time, and the memories start to fade, they don’t leave, they linger. Like the crowd you see at Starbucks sucking up the free wi-fi ALL DAY.
The problems I’m facing now are the reminders. Not the “don’t forget we need milk” kind, the “my therapist would like you to come in next week” kind. It is the equivalent of being shot out of a cannon right back to October 12th. Why can’t I take a cannonball ride back to 1974 when I was free of concerns, other than the daunting decision to ride my bike or play jump rope?
In some ways, it’s good to go so I can get a feel as to what’s going on inside my man’s head. In other ways, it drains me for days. Literally paralyzing me from doing what I enjoy. I don’t read, write or go to the gym. I find myself stuck in a cloud of never ending thoughts. In my head, it’s like trying to figure out a math equation that has multiple answers. I HATE MATH!
Of course, I know it’s all part of the process, and that the process is the best thing for everyone and that it’s working, but for god sakes, it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to deal period. Hence the thought that FIRE would be the way to go with ridding my house of clutter.
At this point in my life, I think it’s safe to say that the universe shops at Sears and there is just an obvious endless sale on Craftsman wrench sets, so I need to take responsibility, tighten my helmet, fasten my seatbelt and just … Enjoy the Ride! One long speed bump at a time.
As you know from my previous post I recently experienced the art of Floating. What is it you ask? Well, it can be described as the best freaking thing since sliced bread by me.
In the beginning, it took me awhile to get comfortable. Naked and alone in pitch black room takes a minute to absorb.
I closed the door but left the low light and music on at first. The water was body temperature warm and soothing. Eventually, I did turn the lights and music off as I slipped into the quiet, peaceful zen. It didn’t take long before I was able to completely let go. Free at last.
The coolest part for me was having no concept of time whatsoever, and not caring about it at all. It feels so good.
Float Spas are popping up in my area, but from what I understand floating is nothing new, however, the experience has certainly changed. Once you add the word Spa it becomes sexy.
Apparently, floating also went by the name Isolation Tank, and are you ready … Sensory Deprivation Tank, as far back as 1954. This sounds scientific, not sexy so there were no appointments needed.
Today isolation tanks are located in beautiful rooms with inviting names like “Oasis” or “Grotto” that are chock full of amenities like fluffy towels, robes, scented soap, and shampoo. Anything to divert you away from the fact that you will soon be naked as a jaybird.
My room was spectacular with its private shower, candles, and a hint of lavender. This is how you get your zen on. The room my husband experienced is best described as a Pink Floyd lap of luxury fusion. Trippy with a dash of zen.
The idea behind the floatation therapy is to provide you with a way to pause the hectic, saturated world and enter a state of deep mental and physical relaxation. It takes you away from the endless sensory experiences that seem to consume us these days. It should be mandatory for teenagers and college students.
Just imagine if you could go into your head and give it a good Spring cleaning, leaving not a single dust bunny to clutter your thoughts, allowing you to focus on whatever you please. It basically brings out the best in your brain. My mind left fresh s a daisy.
As for the physical benefits, whew there is something to be said about feeling like a noodle. My muscles take a beating at the gym at least 4 times a week, so they were very grateful for this treat.
The magnesium from the Epsom salt-infused water brings your muscles back to life. It relieves tension and makes your skin incredible. I left looking like a smooth glow-worm.
All in all, it was peaceful, relaxing, invigorating, enlightening all rolled up into one amazing 90 minutes. This was a first for me and my husband, and we would both do it again, and again, and again. As they say, whatever makes your boat float, or in this case, booty.
Enjoy the Ride!
past tense: faded; past participle: faded 1. gradually grow faint and disappear.
I know we all meet sorrow in our own way. For me, it’s looking for the silver lining. Much easier said than done, but hope is always doable.
At first, I thought I might have some sort of super powers. Somehow going about my daily routine like a badass. I went to work without missing a beat. I even went out socializing without a care in the world trying my best to squash the memories. Guess what? Even the baddest of asses have their moments.
For over a month now I’ve been trying very hard to kick my sorrow to the curb. I hosted Thanksgiving like a pilgrim! I channeled my inner Martha Stewart to deck the damn halls! I got all gussied up to attend an amazing Christmas party, and I’ve been working out as if I’m being considered for the Olympics! But guess what people? IT DOESN’T WORK!
When the family leaves, the work is done, the sweat is showered off, and I come home, do you know who is waiting? Yep, just like that annoying guest at the party who never seems to realize it’s time to hit the road …. sorrow is there to greet me with open arms. It’s really beginning to be a huge pain in the ass!
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that if sorrow is going to hang around for awhile, I need to do something about it. I think t’s time we become friends or form some sort of relationship. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m tired of fighting this weightlifter of an emotion.
Wait a minute, “friends” might be a little strong, maybe I’ll start with a roomie and work my way up to besties. I’m only human.
So, for now, it looks like I’ll be chillin with sorrow. I’ve set up some free space in my head so he can get cozy. Yes, sorrow is a man …. because I said so.
I must say since he’s been hanging around, I’ve been learning a lesson here and there about myself, so at least he’s earning his keep. If only he cleaned bathrooms.
Who knows next maybe he’ll show me how to be strong as him. Stranger things have happened…look who is our new prez.
Maybe he’ll even wine and dine me as he leads me to that silver lining. Where I can only imagine unicorns are running free.
Better yet … maybe one day I’ll be able to sit by a nice sunny window, sipping a hot cup of coffee, listening to Marvin Gaye while I watch all of this just fade away. Goals!
Enjoy the Ride!
It’s funny how during all of the darkness over the past month, we have been able to see some light. A glimmer here a glimmer there help the heart heal.
We are both very big believers in noticing the signs that are sent our way, and we were not blind to them even during the darkest of times. Hope comes in all shapes and sizes, the key is recognizing it.
The day after the nightmare began, I went with my daughter to see my husband at the hospital. While walking through the lobby we were greeted by a very friendly face. Sister Kate. The world is so small.
I know Sister Kate from my job, and I haven’t seen her in a couple of years. Our relationship is she is a patient and I’m in shock that this nice, warm, funny person is a Catholic nun. Where the hell were YOU when I was in school is ALWAYS my thought when I see her.
Sister Kate immediately knew from my haggard look that something was wrong. This was the first time I uttered the words “My husband tried to take his life” and the flood-gates opened. Her warm kind hug is just what I needed before heading to face my reality. Never underestimate the power of fate.
We walked into the room to find my husband under 24hr guard by none other than an Italian grandmother from South Philly. There isn’t a pill on the planet that can compare to the healing powers of this woman.
The room was stark, nothing but a bed. My husband was stripped of anything that could possibly hurt him, and yet this woman made that room feel like home. I was waiting for her to pull a portable oven out of her purse.
Lena was just what this doctor ordered…. a mothers’ love. Never underestimate the power of an Italian woman who gets joy from taking care of a man.
During this visit is when we learned that my husband had ZERO memory of the past 12 hours. If only the rest of us had that pleasure.
The following day my son came with me. This time the guard on duty was Lorraine, a very feisty black woman. She was definitely sent for me.
This day was very heavy as we sat patiently waiting for information on the next hospital setting. The silence was deafening. Except for Lorraine’s gum cracking which was no doubt echoing throughout the halls.
My son was saved by a friend who called insisting on taking him out to lunch. Perfect timing!
As we sat in awkward silence listening to that poor piece of gum being assaulted in Lorraine’s mouth, we heard the words “who are you all voting for?” Of all the questions on the planet to ask, this was the one she chose to ask the man on suicide watch.
This is when the unexpected public service announcement was made. Lorraine would be voting for Trump. Why do you ask? Well, because she was tired of her neighbors collecting free money for their 5 children that she named Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro & Cinco. Fast forward to 11/9 … yep, this is one reason why.
On that Sunday I went to see my husband at the next facility. No one could have prepared me for this step of the journey. I’m not sure who decided that people with depression should be dehumanized to feel better, but they need to be fired.
I left this visit defeated, broken and wondering where is that place Dr. Drew sends his patients and do they take Blue Cross? The lack of life in this place could make even the happiest of people second guessing the existence of rainbows. WTF!
When I returned home I was flat. There was just nothing left to feel. I was done. With a weak smile for the sake of the kids of course.
As my son was about to head back to school, he decided to raid my change jar to feed the parking meter in town. He took out a huge pile of coins searching for quarters.
Next thing I hear is “mom, didn’t you loose a ring?” I had lost my wedding band on Thanksgiving 2015.
I have torn this house apart more than once searching for it. Trust me when I tell you I put the FBI to shame with my search efforts.
Sure enough, there was my ring, on the floor, with a dime stuck in the center. My eyes could just about register what they were seeing. The dam broke, and 4 days of emotion exploded into the room.
If ever there was going to be a sign that everything was going to be ok, this friends, was it.
Still dodging potholes while Enjoying the Ride!