Life feels full of hurdles these days. The end in sight is a lovely holiday with Dane and Jonathan in Tucson at the beginning of March for 2 weeks. But I'm tired and was feeling quite depleted, then I began to look back to see the hurdles I'd leaped over (some I staggered over, admittedly) but I'd gotten over or across them even if I'd had to knock them down first then crawl over them. This is how it felt at times. I'm a Pisces, prone to drama. Please indulge me. I realise there are much harder things to deal with in life but I was feeling an overwhelm of random tricky incidents which came with their own emotional load.
Yesterday, a big hurdle that I'd thought had been knocked over, sprung back even bigger and knocked me over in doing so. In the night time darkness as I lay in bed unable to sleep, letting all my feelings wash over me, the beginning of the song 'Rise Up' by Andra Day kept running through my mind: "Broken down and tired..." A good description of how I was feeling. Then the rest of the song came to mind, especially the chorus: "I will rise up!"
The words sparked a fire I needed. Then Rob totally freaked me out by calling, "Sssusan...Sssusan...Sssusan..." in his sleep (he knows I don't like being called Susan) and I had to wake him to shut him up. But the creepiness I felt by that inspired a haiku. Once I'd written that down and calmed myself into a mantra of 'right here right now' instead of the catastrophic thoughts that were haunting me, I finally fell asleep; a good sound sleep which left me feeling more refreshed. I'm on midnights tonight so will sleep some more before work. When I woke, I knew that writing a blog would also help. I'm fortunate that I have the time today to do that. Or rather that I can make the time to do that.
A quick rundown on life the last few weeks:
Tuesday 21st January 10:30pm: Rob got a phone call that his mom was dying so we raced down to the nursing home and sat with his two in-town brothers and their wives for 4 hours. An emotional time, especially as Rob has had a strained relationship with his mom but, although she was unconscious the staff reassured us she could hear, Rob had some alone time with her in which he seemed to sort a lot of stuff out. He offered to keep vigil overnight so we left my car there for him and I got a ride home.
Wednesday 22nd January 9:30am: Rob's mom has settled into a deep sleep, even snoring at times, and Rob has been fed breakfast. Then my parked car at the nursing home is hit/side-swiped by a city bus and I get a call from my stepdaughter Willow to tell me that "a city bus is stuck to the side of your car.". We got a ticket for being parked in the wrong place at the wrong time through the night (2am to 7am no parking which I'd neglected to see the night before) and the police officer at the scene also gave us a ticket for 'illegal parking' even though at the time of the accident we were legally parked. The officer also stated that the accident was no-fault on both sides meaning, we thought, that we'd be responsible for the insurance deductible. Fortunately and quite amazingly, the damage to my car only seems to be major scrapes and a couple of dings and she is driveable.
The same day: Rob and I saw a paralegal friend and got free advice (and a quarter to pay for parking while at his office) re the traffic tickets and he said to definitely dispute the one from the officer as it made no sense. When we went to see about the tickets, the parking authority cashier told us to look carefully at the two tickets and notice if there was a difference between them. Indeed--the officer hadn't filled in all of my licence plate number so the ticket was void. I believe the officer had done this on purpose and when the cashier told us and also reduced the amount of the other ticket, I started to cry, touched by the kindness of strangers. So in all this mess and tangle of emotions, some beauty.
Thursday 23rd January 7am: Before work, I notice a message on our answering machine: Rob's mom had died through the night. Rob had intended to go back to the nursing home on Wednesday but with all the other stuff going on, he simply crashed when we got home and I let him sleep. I was worried that he might feel extremely guilty about that so I fretted about him. I felt like a wreck and was sent home from work with bereavement days, wanting to be at least there for Rob. Meanwhile Rob went to work although he did come home early!
I also found out that the insurance company found us at no fault so our deductible was waived. Yayy!
Sunday 26th January: Rob had organised a Chinese New Year celebration at a local restaurant for the kids and extended this to his siblings and their families as a celebration of life for his mom. Most of them came which was a heartwarming show of support for Rob and a good support for everyone. At the end of the meal I broke half a tooth! Luckily no pain and not in sight (unless someone really looked at my smile). When we got home, I decided to do a load of laundry only to find that the tap had leaked all week and there was water all over the basement floor. Meanwhile, Rob had put a box of wagon wheel cookies from his sister on my table and, despite my diabetes, I thought 'Dammit, I'm going to have one, maybe two of these." The box had been taped down but his sister Kat often did that, gave us a box of something and took out a few for herself. But when I opened the box it was full of socks!
What can you do at that point but laugh? Rob later went out to settle the restaurant bill and brought back 4 boxes of wagon wheels! Gotta love this guy.
Tuesday 29th January: Rob's mom's visitation and service. All went well overall. The service was graveside on a mild winter's day and the sun broke through as we laid pink and white carnations from one of the flower displays on the coffin. All very touching.
Wednesday 30th January: after poetry group, one of my friends, Deb, took me aside to tell me how she thought I was a very strong woman who remained unbroken and not embittered by life's harsh times. She was telling me as she wanted to reach out to people after Kobe Bryant's death and let them know what they meant to her while she still could and she knows that I often suffer from shaky self-confidence.
Monday 3rd February: received a letter from my good friend, Carol in England...only there was no letter...only the envelope with the shape where a lovely thick letter had once lived!
Tuesday 4th February: received some beautiful ATCs and gorgeous, thoughtful crafty bits and pieces from my Willowing Arts (Life Book) ATC partner for January. The care and attention to them moved me considerably. Also received lots of incredible stencils from the artist Sarah Trumpp as a contest win from Moonshine, the online art-witchery course I'm in run by Effy Wild. I felt seen and loved. And strong. And I can see light.
Wednesday 5th February: took Kaden to the vets. His blood glucose levels had sky rocketed at the beginning of January and we had increased his insulin dose. They were down a little but still high (down from 33 to 21 when they should be between 4 to 6 so we increased the insulin levels a little more) but the vet reassured me (as much as you can with a living being!) that he should be good without his insulin while we were away. This put my mind at ease considerably as I'd been so worried about what to do about Kaden's insulin and about asking someone to look after both cats and the house while we're away. Another hurdle down.
Friday 7th February: in the middle of a split shift, I go to the dentist. She is completely wonderful and fixes my tooth effortlessly and painlessly without freezing and the bill isn't too high. Another hurdle crossed. I'm starting to feel good. Within an hour of being home after the dentist and before I have to head out for my evening shift, I take a call from the insurance adjuster. She tells me that the cost of fixing my car is too high and they want to write it off! I'm stunned speechless. I just finished paying the car off last year. I just finished paid almost $400 for a rear seal leak last month. I'm in total shock and cry when I put the phone down and send a distraught text to Rob who phones as soon as he gets it and calms me down some. I also realise that my play wasn't selected for the 10x10 showcase this year which is a disappointment but writing disappointments are part of my choice of putting my writing 'out there' and despite the pang at first, I'm used to them.
I'm concerned on Monday and Tuesday that I have to renew the first aid and cpr certificates for work. This alarms me as I worry about my ability to remember everything needed and this year especially as i know we have to kneel on the ground for 6 to 8 minutes. I haven't been able to kneel for a long time so have been practising kneeling and stretching my leg muscles each day...well almost each day.
All this brings us to how I coped today and through the night somewhat with a swirl of overwhelming thoughts and imaginings:
Right Here Right Now
I'll never find another car like this one with the insurance settlement money: Right here right now, there is a beautiful, reliable, driveable car parked in my driveway
What do I do about the car? Right here right now, I have the luxury of time to think about my choices
My play didn't get selected: Right here right now I have wonderful helpful and constructive suggestions on how to improve my play
I can't write! I'm a failure as a writer! Right here right now, I'm writing a blog and have many writing awards and recognition around me and stored in my computer and online and in print
I'm attracting all this bad stuff! Something really terrible is going to happen to me or to someone I love. I'm cursed! Right here right now, I'm comfortable in my own home, at my own computer with many options of how to spend my time, with many beautiful memories and incidents of love and support, at least an equal amount of goodness vs crap. I am much more blessed than cursed. And bad things happen to everyone. There is no shame in it. And no logical or intuitive reason to think that someone I love will be seriously hurt or injured because of anything that has happened lately.
I'm starting to feel bitter and angry. Right here right now, I have no need to feel bitter, instead I'm feeling compassion more than anything else. Compassion for myself and for family and friends for their troubles, indeed compassion for people the world over who have so much more to contend with. I am reminded of this each time I hear of people dealing with the coronavirus. I also feel an underlying strength once I treat myself with compassion and acknowledge the fear then move through it.
But I start with self-compassion. Right here right now. And I hope you can, too.
And thank you for reading such a long post. Right here right now is the end of it!
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.