My Daily Ransom

Facing the Unknown…

Moments of Balance in 2017 — December 31, 2017

Moments of Balance in 2017

This year has been a year beyond struggle. The pain has been immeasurable and the anxiety and depression has taken a tight grip.

This past week I have done things differently than I usually do for the start of a new year. I have done some deep cleaning of our apartment, I have found some self improvement projects that begin tomorrow, January 1, 2018, and I went to the store so our refrigerator and pantry will be full for the start of our new year. I have to make a change or I will stay stuck in this hole.

So, I decided to to do something completely different than I usually do. I am going to remember things that brought me balance, happiness and/or joy, even if only for a moment in time. I’m not only going to look back on them, I’m going to write them down. Maybe this can help my soul as I remember all the painful moments over and over again without fail, that these moments can help balance out my overwhelming mourning.

Texting and FaceTiming with my nieces Shea and Puddle.

Sitting with friends outside of Mikey’s house just chatting and watching music videos on YouTube.

Going out to see Split with Pikki and Garrett.

Playing and spending time with Michael and Alexandra.

Being able to talk with Christina about our issues we shared.

Cuddling Brutus,

Going on walks and hikes with Brutus,

Cooking fresh chicken for Brutus,

Having a meltdown but have Brutus pull me out of it.

Cooking home cooked meals.

Eating out at two of our favorite restaurants.

Cuddling on the couch with Justin.

Watching a thousand Christmas movies that Justin loves.

Putting up a foot tall Christmas tree for Justin.

Going to DuQuoin, IL to visit my Mommy. First time we’ve been able to see each other in years just for the purpose of loving each other.

Talking with my Pops on the phone for an hour here or there.

Seeing large groups of blue birds, seemed as if they’ve followed me around this year.

Helping my first Buyer buyer their first home.

Going to Dallas to spend the weekend with Amber and Will.

Spending a week in Washington D.C. with Justin, his Mom and sister.

Working for JB Goodwin.

Meeting new people.

Writing this blog.

Having friends back home that I can still count on.

Getting the text that Ramon was finally born.

Spending time with Xuan and her family.

Being able to text, call or FaceTime Sarah whenever I need to, day or night.

I have to remember that there is still good in my life and there’s much more than what I’ve listed above. I have to figure out how to keep the balance. It can be so hard and overwhelming but it’s something I’m working on each day.

We can all do this together. We can continue to communicate with each other and support each other.

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Depression and Grief Are Not The Same Thing — December 21, 2017

Depression and Grief Are Not The Same Thing

Depression and grief are not the same thing although they can coincide or trig the other.

Depression has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life. Grief has been something that has sprung up throughout my life but the past five years has not left my side.

As a young girl, I can remember hating myself. Hating the way I looked, the sound of my voice in my head, the way my hands looked as I wrote and colored, every little thing I did, that made me who I was, I hated. I have journals filled with spewing hatred about myself. My first thoughts of suicide came before the age of 6. I always felt as if I wasn’t good enough for my family. Maybe, if somehow, I was better, smarter, prettier, more fit, more athletic, funnier, happier, so much more, I could make their lives more fulfilling.

I struggled with nightly terrors. I had the same nightmare for years every single night. It never failed. We lived in Pennsylvania at the time and I would dream about a trailer we lived in on a hill (we actually lived there when the dreams started but continued even after we moved). It would start with an army of soldiers that would come marching from the right side of the property where the garden was. I could see them coming from far away and I would yell for my parents and brothers to come into the house but no one ever did. The soldiers would get up to us and I watched as they shot my father, then my mother. My brother Adam and I would hold hands and run into the house to hide with Josh running with us. Adam and I hid in a cabinet together and Josh hid in one by himself. I could somehow see though the walls. I watched as the soldiers came into the house, open the cabinet where Josh was and they would shoot him. Then they’d open the cabinet where we were hiding and shoot Adam, right there beside me. They never hurt me. They would leave after they killed everyone and I would be left alone, crying and begging for my family to wake up. Then I would see them all get shot again and again. I had that dream for years. I’ve had it about a dozen times since I’ve been an adult.

I’m sure that fed my depression as a young girl. My depression and anxiety would hold me so tightly I couldn’t speak. Still at times I would want to say something to someone but I physically couldn’t speak. It’s as if I was frozen and my tongue and throat couldn’t move. The words would repeat again and again in my head but nothing actually would come out of my mouth. That’s another reason I always wrote in notebooks or whatever I could find to write on/it. That still happens to this day.

I had a boyfriend in college who would get so frustrated with me because I would be upset but I couldn’t talk. I’d just grab my notebook and disappear to write. He once grabbed my notebook and said, “Fucking just say what you want! Don’t run away and write shit in this fucking book! Just say it!” If only he knew how badly I wanted to speak. I longed to say what was on my mind but I’ve always felt as if…maybe…maybe I didn’t deserve to feel what I was feeling. Maybe the pain I felt was because I wasn’t a good person or was doing something wrong. I thought, if I’m doing something wrong, or upsetting someone, why should I get to express my emotions. I was in a prison of self hatred with no self worth.

With grief in the picture, now I feel guilty about being upset because my dad and brothers don’t get to have feelings or emotions. Why should I get to have them when theirs were cut way too short? So my lifelong depression gets amplified with the grief of the loss I’ve consumed these past few years.

I know to many this all probably sounds crazy. And maybe it is. But depression can play some crazy games with your mind, with your thoughts, with your life. Maybe this is a new way for me to speak without having to use my physical voice. Or maybe it can be a voice for someone who feels or has felt the way I do or have.

I plan to write more on this topic, for now I need to stop.

 

Not A Day of Remembrance — December 1, 2017

Not A Day of Remembrance

No, today is not a day of remembrance. I remember you every single day. I think about you nonstop. I think of conversations we should be having and at times it feels as if they are happening, right here in this bruised mind of mine.

Today isn’t a day like the rest. It’s not a day to think of you and all the love we’ve shared and experienced together. Today isn’t a day to fondly look upon as if something should be remembered. Today isn’t a day for that. Today created the date to the right side of the hyphen.

That hyphen shouldn’t have that second date. Not yet. That hyphen should still be collecting memories and experiences you should be sharing with us. That hyphen holds more than just a dash between two days. It holds a lifetime of knowledge, understanding, support, fears, loss, heartbreak, love, relationships, family, friends, warmth, weakness, and strength. That hyphen, that dash, is life. That hyphen doesn’t belong there because you’re growth wasn’t finished.

Today is a day of anger. A day of anxiety and pain. If I could stop this day from coming, I would. I’d fight it off with the might of a dozen wolves protecting it’s pack. I’d tear through it leaving nothing behind, not even fragments of it’s existence to peer back at us. I would dismantle any torment felt on this day and create something new. I would make this day a day with no meaning.

 

 

This Capsule That Imprisons Me — November 26, 2017

This Capsule That Imprisons Me

I’m imprisoned by this capsule. A capsule of depression and anxiety. It keeps me from doing the simple things I once enjoyed so much.

Running- I use to feel so free when I would run. The wind I created in still air as I would run off my fears. It was a time I could reflect on thoughts and pain. I could run anytime of day and any weather type. It would just hit me and I’d go. The sweat, the deep breathing and heavy heartbeats pounding my chest was a medicine that I could consume. I could even leave my body and just be a spirit swirling gently in the wind. Mother Earth would heal me, even if just for the moment.

Writing- I’m having to force myself to sit down and write. Before, I would just write; anywhere and everywhere. I have a tote full of notebooks, pizza box lids, Milk Duds box that I opened up and wrote on the inside because something just came to me and I had to let it out. Happiness, sorrow, pain, love, thoughts, moments. memories, a flower I spotted growing in the middle of cement, a beautiful person walking near me; I was truly inspired by so many different things. It’s where I felt whole. I could express my lightest and deepest me.

Working out- I started pushing myself in a way I had never known I could. I was becoming so strong and powerful. I learned how to manifest the pain inside and let it out in a healthy and productive way. I would do research on new workouts, I joined a gym and loved it. I followed people on Instagram and read articles about people overcoming personal obstacles with the power of self discipline and self love.

Social settings- I’ve always been told, “You know no stranger.” I’ve continuously been able to walk into a room and start talking to anyone. People have, without fail, opened up to me and told me their life stories. I was so interested in learning about others and share a little piece of myself with them that it felt so good to be around others. Strangers telling me secrets and peeling back layers right in front of me. What a privilege that I held in my own existence while standing there with them.

I can see all these enjoyments for inside this capsule. The physical pain I feel walking into a room full of people is so intense that I can’t utter the words to describe it. I’m trying to do little things I once enjoyed to spark that excitement I once longed to engulf myself in. I went to a Thanksgiving dinner with a small group of people I did not know (besides three) and I thought about it all day. I tried to prepare myself for questions about who I am and what I do. But the anxiety of having to talk out loud to people just overwhelmed me. I thought of reasons not to go but the notion of my friend and her little girl forced me to shower and go.

Working out and running takes so much energy that I do not have. I’m so tired all the time. Having to shampoo and condition my hair consumes so much of my physical energy that the thought of doing something more feels like a height that I can’t get to. Then I’m inundated with anger. That anger makes me feel irritated by everything around me. The irritation wraps around my shoulders and I feel like a ball of sadness trapping me inside these feelings.

I don’t want to feel these ways or be this person. I started doing yoga and meditating for 5 minutes each in the mornings. I did it for 4 days straight. It felt as if it was helping me. Baby steps to progress each day. Then the physical pain at night hit hard. I was up all night in pain (a pain outside of my depression and something I’ve been dealing with for years now). I have another obstacle that I have to work around and that breaks me down once again.

I want to be…different. Different than the person I am today. Different than this person in this capsule.

 

Linda, My Sounding Board — November 19, 2017

Linda, My Sounding Board

How can I describe Linda? How can I express the feelings I’ve shared with her and the light she gave me? I’m not sure that’s possible, at least not at this time.

Linda came into my life after I reached out to CancerConnect. When Bubba (my Dad) was  first diagnosed with cancer I had meltdown, or in other words a panic attack. I knew I was going to have a very difficult time. I was here in Austin, Texas while he was back home in Conneaut, Ohio about 1500 miles away.

I started questioning how I was going to survive this. How could I be there for him if I was here, so far away from him. I knew I couldn’t do it alone so I started doing research online for resources. That’s when CancerConnect, which is now apart of The Care Communities, shined like a beacon. I called and told them a little bit about my situation of being long distance with my family and not having money to get counseling. They said they would connect me with a counselor who could help. A few days later is when Linda reached out to me.

Linda had experienced giving long distance support for her family when her father got sick. She understood me in a way that no one else did. She wasn’t pushy about getting a lot of information right away. She allowed me to open up as I felt safe to. I still struggle with letting people in, to let others know my true feelings inside but she didn’t mind. She had me start with that day and go back as I needed to. That’s when I knew she was different. She would be there to help me through this painful time of my life and guide me with experience and true concern.

She wasn’t getting anything out of it. She wasn’t getting paid (at least not from me) yet she was so present. She was the most sincere person I had ever met. If I started down a hole that would lead me to more darkness, she wouldn’t cut me off. She allowed me to express the shadows that were weighing me down and then showed me how to crawl out from under them. The power she showed me I had was remarkable. Never had I understood the capacity I had to endure so much.

Within 6 months of my Dad getting sick, he was gone. We lost him early Saturday morning at 1:50 a.m. on February 18th 2012. I was suppose to fly out on Friday but I felt a pull on my soul. I knew he needed me and I needed to go. I changed my plane ticket early Wednesday morning and flew out to Cleveland within 3 hours. Linda told me I could call her while I was there whenever I needed to.

I always felt so weak but she shone lights on things that didn’t make sense to me. I felt so pathetic and broken without any strength left to go on but she saw me in a different way. She understood my weaknesses and imperfections but said that doesn’t mean I’m feeble or inadequate. It means I’m human who’s gone through some traumatic situations and I need to be patient with myself.

I called her while I was in Ohio, after it all happened. After I had sat there holding his hand for days. After calling for the body donation people to come get him. After curling up in his chair where he took his last breath and dreamt of only white for a couple hours. She didn’t say much but just having her answer her phone was significant. She showed me that she cared enough even though she didn’t have to.

That is what set the tone for your relationship. She was there when I needed her. She was still there after I came back from saying Goodbye to Bubba, to the abusive relationship that ended, to starting a new relationship, to losing grandparents and most life altering after my Dad, losing my brothers. She has helped me so much.

Linda has sat on the floor with me as I collapsed on her rug as soon as I entered her room the day after we lost Adam. That’s all I remember about that day. Crying on her rug that had given me so much comfort before. Her presence with that rug soothed me in a way I can’t explain. She’s hugged me and I felt some pain melt away. She would gently rubbed my back as I exited her door and that gave me a sense of ease that I could walk out that door and not dissolve.

Linda and I shared precious and painful moments for over 5 years. I learned so much about her and from her. She became a trusted friend who I love and cherish dearly. The amount of tenderness I hold for her can never be measured. Her pure heart has made a genuine difference in this world.

She retired the last day of September. I have mixed feelings about it for only selfish reasons. I miss our meetings and that rug that soothed me. But I’m happy she’s doing what’s best for her. She gets to experience life in a new way and she deserves that. She can take her pup for hikes whenever she wants, she can bird watch and travel the world.

Linda, the woman who changed my life. Thank you. I truly do love you for who you are.

 

Am I A Vampire? — November 17, 2017

Am I A Vampire?

I’m afraid I’m a vampire. I feel as if I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes and I have to just continue on as I watch everyone I’ve ever loved leave me.

I’ve watched the ones most dear to me leave this earth as I pray to whatever might be listening to take me with them. I long to just be with those ones who left too soon. The ones I’m meant to grow old with but they can’t return and I can’t leave to be with them. I’m trapped here begging to feel their presence and warmth again.

That’s what all this darkness must be, the life of a vampire. I must crawl around in this damp cold life, longing to find that warmth that has disappeared. My skin so fair, my veins easily seen through it’s transparency. The yearning is for the warm blood of those who have vanished;  to pump through their hearts once again, to have them raise to their feet and dance with me.

The daylight hurts my eyes and burns my colorless casing they call skin. I just stumble through my days on autopilot waiting for the sleepless nights to arrive. I spend the nights sleeping for a few hours then my mind races to what I should do as I continue to exist.

For I must be a vampire, there is no other explanation.

 

 

Muted Colors — November 13, 2017

Muted Colors

Seeing the world in muted colors is a strange life. Taking that once beautiful vibrancy away from your everyday experience is frightening at first. Now, I feel numb to the muted colors. My emotions are so strong that the once beautiful things in life, aren’t as beautiful as they once were. I wonder to myself, “Will the beauty ever return?” and it appears doubtful, even cloudy at times.

I long to write but it feels like a burden to share my grievance with others. The thought of someone else knowing my truth, makes it hard to breathe. I’m fighting this battle within myself as I try to reach out and share my moments but then it’s suddenly too dark. The darkness cuts my breath off, squeezes my muscles and stops me dead in my tracks. My mind starts this wave of fears and I can’t see straight.

When this happens, I can’t carry on. I can’t drink, I can’t eat, I can’t talk, I can’t walk, I can’t do anything. I’m stuck in this dread that’s holding me down. How do I get this boulder off? That’s why these muted colors no longer have the significance to me. I’m so lost in the darkness.

I’m not even sure what all I’m afraid of anymore. I know I’m horrified of my past, of what I’m missing in my life and what’s to come without them but I’m also afraid of so much more. But, what is that “so much more”? How do I figure that out? Do I want to figure it out?

I look around and nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Or is that just my perception playing tricks on me again. All my senses are off and nothing seems quite right. Can it be that the darkness is just a ruse? For now, I’m unsure . I’m unsure of it it all. But I’m forced to continue this journey in the darkness. Scared and alone longing to find the light that I hope is only hidden away in all this darkness.

How Do I Choose To Suffer? — June 9, 2017

How Do I Choose To Suffer?

There’s this saying that goes something like, “Pain is Inevitable but Suffering Is Optional”. I HATE that saying.

My life has changed drastically for the worse these past few years. I have lost 3 of the most important people in my life. The ones who knew me better than anyone. The ones who held me when I was sick, when I was heartbroken, when I was damaged and needed put back together. I can tell you that I am not choosing to suffer.

My days are filled with raw emotions. I cry every single day. I scream inside as I see smiling faces, laughing families and love that fills the air. It makes me angry that I can’t share that with my brothers and my Dad. It makes me sick knowing that I will continue to meet milestones in my life and they won’t be here to see them. It infuriates me that I can’t see their faces and hear their voices.

These emotions I speak of come on without notice. They run up my back and beat against me until I’m dizzy and can’t see. They fight me when I try to think of something good and break me down each time. These emotions are more powerful than anything I’ve ever experiences. They are relentless.

So tell me, when do I choose to suffer? Where do I choose to suffer? How do I choose to suffer?

I go to counseling, grief meetings. I write. I scream. I talked to people who loved them. I talk about the good times. I get up and go to work. I even laugh here and there yet the unyielding agony is so deep in my soul that I’m in constant pain. My body aches to the bone. My muscles cramp with tightness. My head throbs with misery.

So please, tell me, how do I choose to suffer? How can I make my days better? How can I see my life any different than how it truly is? Because my life is nothing how I would ever want it. Not just little things that you can work to change. If you don’t like your job then work to find another one. You don’t like where you live, make a plan to move. But my life was ripped from me. I had no choice in how anything was going to happen.

But my soul, my being, those have changed. I lost the most valuable love to ever be created. And I didn’t just lose them. I watched them slowly fall from my grip. It’s as if they were hanging off the top of a mountain and I tried to hold on to them the best I could but I wasn’t strong enough. I pulled and tore at them as they were slipping from my hands. My body was thrashing against the rocks and dirt as I tried to fight gravity as it pulled with all it’s might. Now I’m sitting on the edge of the mountain, bleeding from my heart, from my eyes, from what remains here on Earth. And I wonder; why not just jump?

So please, tell me, how am I choosing to suffer? How could this be what anyone would ever want to feel or experience? Because this is the most desolate feeling.

May 18th, Just Another Day — May 31, 2017

May 18th, Just Another Day

May 18th has always felt like a magical day. It’s always a beautiful Spring day with life bursting out all around you. The birds are singing in the trees all day long, the flowers are blooming and buzzing with the sound of bees. The streams are flowing with the music of showers that gave birth to the new life of our world. Baby animals are coming out from their homes and exploring the bright colors. It’s a day to celebrate life and love; it’s also the day I was born.

I’ve always been a big birthday person. I love celebrating people’s birthdays and my own. I’m the person telling everyone, “My birthday is coming up.” or “Tomorrow/Today is my birthday!” I plan dinners, celebrations with friends and family, going places to be together. But that has all changed. May 18th has become just another day with a little extra sadness sprinkled on.

This year I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday. No one in my office knew, many of my friends didn’t know and most of my family didn’t know or didn’t remember. But most of all I didn’t hear from “the boys”, my brothers or Bubba, my Dad. These three were the first ones to usually say Happy Birthday to me. They would call me, text me, put it on Facebook (either all three or at least one). Birthdays were so special to us.

My brother’s have always made me feel extraordinary, especially on my birthday. Ever since I was little they did things with or for me on my birthday. All photos from growing up had me sitting on one of their laps or sitting so close we were touching especially when it came to singing and blowing out candles. They made me feel like I was the best thing to ever happen to them. I remember just loving them so much and feeling their love encompass my entire being. But I don’t feel like that anymore.

I don’t feel like my birthday is worthwhile the way I use to. I don’t feel like celebrating life and the new season of plentiful offspring scouting the environment. I don’t feel that tiny burst of excitement as I open my eyes to a new year of life and growth. I feel heartsick that I’m not sharing this day with the people I love the most. My soul is cheerless as I move throughout my day. The few birthday wishes I receive are recognized but irrelevant.

May 18th, just another day in the world.

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My Sleepless Nights — April 30, 2017

My Sleepless Nights

It’s 4 am, I went to sleep at midnight but I’m wide awake now. This happens each night. I can’t sleep at night, I can’t take naps during the day. I can’t sleep. Ever.

When I do sleep, I have weird dreams. Many times I dream where people argue with me that you aren’t really gone. “No, your brothers are still here. I literally just saw them! What are you talking about?!” Then I wake up, thinking I’m crazy and having bizarre dreams. I go to text you…

But then it hits me. It’s like I relive those horrifying, unbearable, relentless moments, again. I try to rationalize my thoughts but they make no sense. These moments have no reasoning and are just absurd. And the anger is back. Flooding my entire body with rage as I lay there in my bed trying to grasp my thoughts yet I can’t. I want to go back in time and fix things. I want to make your lives better than they were. I need to be your baby sister. I need to hear your voice on the phone, read a text that you just sent me, plan to do things when I come home to visit. Help plan ways to change our lives, the girl’s lives. I NEED YOU BOTH SO MUCH!

This is not meant to be my life. My greatest accomplishment has always been being your sister. That’s how I’ve always identified myself. Constantly saying, “I have two brothers…”, “My brothers…”, “When I was growing up my brothers…”, “I’m the baby with two older brothers….”, “My big brothers…”, that’s who I am. I’m your sister. I’m your baby. That’s where I find peace, being your baby sister. Who am I without my brothers?

I’m lost in this dark world. Literally, I’m surrounded by darkness and my mind is so heavy. It’s like these nights last a lifetime. I’m scared, I’m lonely, my body is in so much pain and I can’t seem to get it to ease up. I see flashes of you in those last moments. It’s like I was right there beside you when it all happened. I died with you. You took me with you and now I’m just a shell of myself.

So I find myself abandoned. Unable to comprehend my surrounds. Fearing everything.