Bittersweet

I am feeling bittersweet my friend. Like a helpless bird in a snare your have spent half of your life trapped within your own body. The stories you have longed to share have been trapped inside your mind, never to find their way out. The songs you sing are only sung within your heart. Communication is only through the nod of your head or the blinking of those big brown eyes. That enchanting laughter we have shared has been truly magical, accompanied by laughing brown eyes and a beautiful smile
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All of the crazy stories I have shared with you in my animated ways, were vociferous and often bigger than life . When I would notice tears of laughter rolling down your face, I knew they had served their purpose well. The imaginary mountains we have climbed, and the paths we made through the endless hills of wildflowers as far as our imagination could carry us were some of the most beautiful moments I have spent with you. The waterfalls we have seen and the oceans we have crossed were only those in our imagination but hand in hand we have crossed just the same.

I am feeling bittersweet today for our time to explore the African jungles, and highest mountains peaks are coming slowly but surely to an end. I will miss you my friend but will never forget you. A firm grip you have had on my heart since the day our eyes first met. I will miss brushing your long dark hair. I will miss the smile on your face when I enter your room. I will miss our wonderful adventures but most of all, I will miss your laughing eyes and your gently soul. I will always remember the peace in knowing we could look deep into each others eyes and know exactly what the other was thinking without ever uttering a sound. I can only hope I have brought a fraction of the joy to your life that you have brought to mine.

I am feeling very bittersweet today. With each day that the sun rises and sets you are closer to freedom. As time is surely running out my friend, you will soon be set free. Free to fly…fly away home my sweet friend. All of the journeys we have shared in our minds will become real for you. You won’t just speak, and stand again. You will sing and dance once more Ranae.

I will miss you…. yet will know exactly where to find you. I will know when looking across the beautiful lakes and seeing the sunlight dancing on the water, you are dancing once more. I will look across the hills covered in wildflowers and I will know you are alive. In the snow covered woods when all is silent and at peace, I will know you are near me and with every bird I see gracefully gliding through a sunsets….. I will remember you Ranae and I will know you are free at last…. no longer a bird in a snare.
~Lisa Standridge~

 

***   I did not write the above words and will assume no credit.  My mother lived in a rehabilitation/nursing home for the remainder of her life after her car accident twenty years prior.  This beautiful letter explains so much of my mom on a deeper level than anyone else could have understood.  The woman who wrote this would often visit her own mother who shared a room with my mom.  During the course of her visits, the women formed a deep, spoken without words bond.  My mom has since passed away and is free to run and dance once again.

 

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The past has left him burned and scarred.  His thoughts consumed by raging fears that he cannot control.  Intimidation is his game and seems to do it well.  Consumed by his own emotions he lashes out with words that sting.

She lives in a constant world of fear.  She plasters on her fake smile so that he can lifted up at all times while unknowingly pulling her down.  The years of accusations have made it difficult for her to make eye contact with others.  Her friendly demeanor is long gone and in its place is a dull and expressionless woman.  Jokes are a thing of the past along with singing and laughter.  She doesn’t even recognized herself anymore

Day in and day out, she tries her best to please those around her while she alone is drowning in her own dark thoughts.  Her own desires left to rot while his continue to flourish.  His dreams becoming reality while hers are left to fade.

He claims that he knows her and should not be surprised when he is left to his own thoughts and wondering what went wrong.

Monday for a Mom

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I’m pretty sure that both of my kids went to school with death-breath this morning.   If I were to ask them why they did not brush their teeth I am positive they would tell me that they didn’t have time.  DIDN’T HAVE TIME?!  Dude, they sat there forever and a day playing with fidget spinners while bragging about who’s will spin faster.  I do not care about how fast their fidget spinner spins.  I care more about how fast their toothbrush can spin, who has made their bed, who isn’t sneaking a lunchbox full of candy to school, and who is jumping on my bed like a kangaroo.

I’m beginning to think my kids need a hearing aid the size of a megaphone.  I have answered the same question at least fifty nine times this morning alone.  And each time I have to tell them that I do not know where their imaginary friend is.  “Jimmy!  Come out Jimmy!  I promise not to eat your burgers again.”  This seems to make the kids giggle and another 2 minutes fly by with no more progress to get leave the house on time.

I’ve got the dog barking, kids making a mess, my hair dryer in one hand, and makeup in the other hand all at the same time I’m trying to put my clothes on.  The kids decide now is the time to play with water balloons.  I was not aware that we were on holiday and please tell me that if it is, I can bring out the adult drinks already.

Finally, we are in the car, my hair is still wet, and I look like a poodle.  I can smell death breath hitting me in the face on the way to school.  I was to late and I was not willing to turn around.  I had planned to do a drive by at the school.  A “slow down the car but not stopping all the way, open the door, and push the kids out” kind of thing.  I didn’t do it though.

I clocked in at 7:59. Clock in time is at 8 and this is my story every single morning.

Facebook

What thoughts do you have while scrolling through your phone for the fifth time today?  Checking Facebook newsfeed again like it can cure your hunger.  A hunger that is only satisfied while looking into other peoples lives.  A need that causes everything else around you to be silenced.  A need that can eat away at your life because you begin to long for the things that people brag about on Facebook.

You silently ask yourself why you can’t find a love like the school teacher down the road.  The truth is, her  husband beats her and she is hoping that if she posts about her love for him the beatings might not come that day.  You wonder how others can  afford the new trucks, a new house, and the other things they love to brag about.  What you do don’t know is, that the husband works long hours out of state, the wife is cheating, and filing bankruptcy is right around the corner.  You’re never going to admit that you’re jealous of the lives others post about on Facebook.

While you’re to busy scrolling through newsfeeds, your family is missing you.  You don’t know who you’re kids are anymore.  Well, maybe you do if they share the same interest as you.  You’re wife tried to tell you about her day even though you never asked.  Of course, you didn’t hear or notice the fact that she walks away with her head down feeling more alone each day.

You think your life isn’t going the way you want it to.  An endless life of the same thing each day.  Put down the phone and notice the things that are real and right in front of you.  Paying attention to your kids can be so uplifting.  Noticing your wife can make a world of difference in her actions.  Put the phone down and stop complaining.  Do something before it not only ruins your life but your families life too.

Better

Wow, my aunt and uncle sure did have a hard time raising me.  At age 12, I moved out of state to live with them and lost my warning label and instruction manual along the way.  With no kids of their own, they were unaware of what they were getting themselves into.  I mean, come on now,  a 12 year old!  That is puberty and a preteen/teenager mixed in one.  I will always be eternally grateful that they always stood by my side without giving up.

Right away my grades began to drop at my new school.  Maybe, it was due to finally having friends for the first time.  I doubt it.  Something was brewing in my 12 year old mind and it would take several years for the pieces to connect.

I began to hate homework and studying.  which was unusual since before the move I loved to do my school work and made decent grades.  Even more, I hated receiving help with homework.  I would become very defiant, angry, and defensive.  ADHD medication did help me focus, but it took my personality with it.  I could stare at a magnet on the fridge for an hour unaware that my mouth was probably hanging open.  I still did not want to study and would much rather spend all my time on the phone with my friends, watching the TV, or reading a book.

After a rough year of being bullied, I switched schools right before my freshman year.  Switching schools didn’t help my grades either.  I had to stay after school most days for tutoring in algebra.  That teacher and I had a mutual dislike for each other and that caused me to be even more defiant with my failing school work.  The only classes I exceled in were advanced English and science.

I had friends, a lot of them actually.  I was not bullied at my new school, nor was I alone.  I looked happy and normal to those around me.  However, the unknown monster hidden deep within me was still plotting his escape.  I stayed out of trouble at school for the most part.  I was an above average prankster and some pranks were not very nice.  I wasn’t thinking of anyone’s feeling but my own.  At that time, I didn’t feel to much of anything.  All of that changed when my best friend unexpectedly passed away in a house fire.

The “monster” was ready to make his debut and destroy anything that stood in his way of destroying the host that he inhabited.  At first, I became more of a bully at school.  I thought since I was “pretty”, I could do what I wanted.  I was very conceited.  My attitude towards my aunt and uncle continued to go downhill.  I remember having an argument with my aunt one evening and I somehow ended up backed against the hallway wall begging for help.  I needed help and didn’t know where to find it.  I’m sure she thought I was just being a dramatic 16 year old.  Working on the weekends and after school helped to keep my mind busy for the most part and the “monster” seemed to give me a little space.

A year later, in my advanced English class, the “monster” decided he was ready to be noticed.  I ran out of the classroom crying and screaming heading straight to the girls bathroom.  I tried to get as far under the sinks as I could while a classmate tried to coax me into talking to her.  My brain wasn’t registering what she was saying or what I was doing.  I continued to cry and scream until a likeable teacher rushed in and got down under the sinks with me.  At this point, I’m wondering what she is doing since she isn’t sitting that close to me.  She let out one quick scream and told me that sometimes you have to let out the bad emotions somehow.  I wasn’t laughing, but I wasn’t crying either.  She asked me a few questions without receiving an answer other than me telling her I wanted to go home and that I needed my aunt immediately.  She didn’t hesitate to call my aunt at work and have me picked up less than ten minutes later.

Depression.  That is what  the psychiatrist labeled my monster as.  He sent me on my merry way with a prescription for Zoloft.  Zoloft is what killed the little bit of my former self  that was left after I snapped.  That Zoloft was good, too good.  It numbed me in such a way that I didn’t have a single emotion.  I remember my friends urging me to hang out with them, to have lunch with them, or to just be with them.  Zoloft was all that I thought I needed.  With the medication coursing through my veins, I sat alone while everyone passed me by.  As the days went on, my friends began to give up on me and would no longer invite me to hangout with them.  When weekends rolled around, sleep was the only thing I wanted to do.

I became a high school dropout my junior year and had my GED a month later.  I have never looked back.  I often think that if I had stayed in school I would have chosen to end my life.  I had thought about it plenty of times, but never acted on it.  The depression didn’t magically disappear when I quit school, but it did get better.  For years after that I would still call my aunt crying about the things that would haunt my thoughts.  Nightmares became a normal part of each night and I would often stay awake as long I could before falling asleep.

I became a mother at age 18 and knew I couldn’t allow my infant to feel my pain.  I’m now 28 years old and haven’t been on antidepressants in almost two years.  As the months fade into the past, I get better and better.  Not every day is a good one, but the bad ones come less and less.  My husband bought me a dog and I haven’t had a depressed day since the dog has joined our lives.  My kids no longer fear that I will break at any moment.  My husband still walks on eggshells around me and I hope that I can show him just how happy I am.  He makes me happy, the dog and kids do too.

**I wrote this post because the word prompt of the day was “better” and I knew I had to write about something that so many others silently struggle with.  I wanted to let others know that they are not alone and shouldn’t feel that way even though that is often how depression makes you feel and think.  I know reaching out to someone while being depressed isn’t usually an option since most people don’t understand.  I understand.  And just because I’m better doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten.**