Friday, June 26, 2015

A For Effort

I tried to meditate this morning right after I woke.  I wasn't very successful in the act, but I give myself a 10 for the effort.  Yay Me.  I see it as a great accomplishment since most mornings for the last 7 months my motivation level has been below 0. I will try again tomorrow. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Breakthrough

I was at one of my lowest points yesterday, and then just like in the movies, there came a breakthrough.

I stumbled upon a facebook page called A New Journey created by a woman named Marsha Abbot who lost her 19 yr. old daughter in a tragic way.  Her posts on that page are inspirational and encouraging.  While I was feeling I wasn't yet at that place of hope that she has seemed to reach, I certainly was comforted by much of what she has shared.  And that page led me to her weblog My Bid Red Shoe, which goes more in depth into her and her daughter's story and the journey she has been on during the aftermath of this tragic event.  In one of her blog posts titled Snap Out of it? I Don't Think So... , I found myself thinking "I could have written this post!"  Her thinking and expression of her experiences seem to so closely parallel mine.  And when she mentioned a gentleman named Edgar Cayce and how she has recently been a sponge for his writings, I knew I had to look into him.  So I did.  I sat the whole rest of the evening and into the wee hours of the morning reading about him, his experiences, his materials.  I kept searching online to find more...and more...and I couldn't get enough of what I found.  There is a non-profit founded by him called Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. Association for Research and Enlightenment where you can find information on him, among other things.  There is also a lot of information in the way of books, pdf's, readings, videos, etc. that can be found by way of search engine regarding Mr. Cayce and the information that he brings from his readings and experiences.  My purpose really is not to promote him, his ideas, or this foundation - I'm just pointing to it because of the effect some of it had on me.  

There are so many thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head right now that it's hard to pull things together and write them down in a comprehensible way.  But I will say this...yesterday I was lower than low and today I feel a spark of hope.  Yesterday I had no energy or motivation and today, for the first time in awhile, I feel some life moving in me.  After my daughter's death, 99% of what I believed, truly, sincerely, and what I based my life on had been completely shattered.  No, not shattered.  It had been utterly demolished as if a mega bomb had been dropped and left everything desolate.  I had so many questions and I actually had slowly been getting some answers, not necessarily the ones I wanted or was comfortable with but answers none the less.  And I can say that these thoughts and ideas were priming me for taking the next step into understanding.  I have only read probably 1% of the information from Edgar Cayce's life and experiences but I can already say "Amen" to it.  My mind and awareness is moving into another phase of expansion.  And I can feel that I am ready to embrace it.  And I can feel the hope beginning to rise.  I can feel the openness coming bringing light.  I cannot pin point anything specific in these writings in this blog post right now because there is so much processing still going on.  But, I can say that while my grief is still so strong because of the loss of my beautiful daughter and the life I hoped she'd have and that I thought we'd experience together...I do now have a very real hope for moving forward in this life and being able to continue to love my living children and share and experience joy once again. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ups and Downs and Inside Out

Since my daughter's death, my moods and emotions have been so unpredictable.  But lately I've been experiencing more extreme ups and downs...feeling very protective and private of my thoughts and emotions one minute and then the next minute wanting to blurt out my deepest feelings to any old stranger on the street.  I'll see something that reminds me of my daughter and I fall to pieces, then the next minute the cat does something cute and I laugh hysterically--then I think about my daughter's two cats that she left behind and I'm sinking into a hole again.  It's really becoming extremely annoying to me.  Annoying isn't a good word here, because it's more than that.  It's leaving me feeling very vulnerable most of the time and unable to accomplish much of anything. Right now I have two people that I feel comfortable talking to but they live over 300 miles away, and only so much can be expressed in text and short blippets on the phone. I'm also struggling with just wanting to sleep all the time.  I feel like I'm doing worse now than right after the tragedy.  It's been 7 months.  Is that normal?  I'm thinking I should try to find a counselor to talk to or at least someone a bit more qualified than the 7-Eleven clerk.  I will have to look into it.  Maybe.  We'll see. 

I watched the movie the Village last night, again...for the 20th time in my life.  I flipped across it on tv and was taken in by the resemblance of the Ivy character to my daughter.  Not only were there physical similarities, with the exception that my daughter has...had blonde hair, but also the spirit of the character was so much like my Hillary.  She had this exuberance and fun-ness and also a stubborn determination.  She also had an innocence and an openness, acceptance, compassion, and love for others.  I had never noticed it so much before when I've seen the film but it mesmerized me and I couldn't help but see my daughter in that portrayal of Ivy.  I miss her so much and I know I don't only mourn her abscense but also the absence of what her life could have been.  I also can't help but see all the ways I've failed her and I wish so much I could make it up to her and love her better, do better for her and by her.  Protect her.  I'm her mother and I wasn't able to protect her from this.  I wasn't able to fill her up with enough love so that she would never consider taking her own life.  I feel the burden so heavily of being responsible.  I just want a chance to start over from the time she was little and love her unconditionally, extremely, to the deepest part of her person and nurture her more completely so she would never need the approval of anyone, any guy, any thing, any person in order to feel whole.  But I can't.  I had my chance and it's gone...with her.  But, I do realize that I have an opportunity for those things with the children I still have with me on this earth.  Even though they're no longer little, I can still love them extremely.  I can still express how wonderful I think they are and how proud I am of them, and how I will be there for them no matter what.  I can still talk to them with love in my eyes and a smile on my face.  I remember when I was young and I would try to talk to my dad about something, (my parents were divorced and I grew up with my dad) he would look at me, not paying attention to what I was saying, but focusing on something else about me with a disapproving look on his face - and then he would start talking; I'm thinking he's going to comment on what I said, but would usually be something like, "You're teeth are yellow.  Did you brush your teeth?"  "You're not wearing that outfit, are you?"  "You have too much make-up on, you look cheap."  Ugh, yechh.  Too many negative memories starting to flood back that I've worked so hard over the years to release.  I don't talk to my kids like that, but I haven't been perfect.  Obviously.

I need to work through this so I can think of my daughter and have it accompanied by only positive thoughts about her and not pull me into a tailspin.  I want to be available to my living children, fully present.  I want them to know that even though I grieve their sister with just about every cell in my body and every part of my being, that they are still important and worthy of my attention, my focus, my effort, my thoughts, my love.   It's difficult to do consistently because I'm such a mess right now.

I want to think positively so I can face my days with some amount of strength.  I know I can't continue to beat myself up and expect to move forward.  I was thinking yesterday the most positive thought I could about myself right now and it was least I'm not drinking myself into oblivion or consuming meds to take away the pain.  And then my heart was so heavy for all those people out there - people I don't even know..."possible" people who have suffered some kind of tragedy who are doing just that...self-medicating to cope with the aches and regrets and unbearable heartache.  I wish I could reach through the dark clouds and into your life and pull you out and say, "Let's hold on together, let's cry together, sob, weep, scream, yell, laugh, talk, quiet together.  Feel each others' presence and not expect anything from each other.  Just be, and let that be enough. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wild America!

Look what the cat dragged in....literally!

Found by her litter box.  It makes me sad but the boys in my house find it interesting and amusing that kitty is bringing us gifts.  That's the way of the wild, I guess.  Afterward, I heard my son in the kitchen singing, ..."the circle of life...".

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fabric Storage

I had been mulling over ideas for storing my fabric.  At our previous home, I had several dressers that I kept fabric in but I wasn't altogether happy with that because not being able to see it at a glance, I didn't know what was currently in my stash.  Let's face it, I can't keep all that info on my brain's little desktop.  It's been archived and I don't always remember where I've stored those files.  Having, my fabric visible is quite helpful.

I ran across this idea of wrapping the fabric around foam core boards at the little green bean and was inspired.  I needed to go the least expensive route right now and I had some of those display boards, which we used for my daughter's graduation table, that I had picked up at the Dollar Tree and a couple I purchased at Walmart.  They're basically the same thing, although I can't boast that they're acid free, but I've had my fabric on cardboard before and had no problems.  And I was wondering if those cardboard bolts at the fabric store are acid free?  I haven't checked that out yet, but I'm going with my cheapo display boards for now. 

They look very similar to Missy's at the little green bean .

So, I've been working on turning this....

Into this...

So far, I'm happy with it.  :)

Grumpy Cat Completed

Okay, so the Grumpy Cat from Instructables is finished.  I had to work yesterday so we couldn't start it until evening which meant that we were up later than I had planned.'s finished and we both feel good.  :)  It's been awhile since I've started and finished a project in one day.  And I'm seeing my sewing/crafting as therapy right now.  And I'm happy to help my son start and finish a project as well so he can get that feeling of accomplishment - even in small doses.

Sammy Sewing

 I love these comic book filters.

After stuffing it, he said we should call it Lumpy Cat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sewing Son

My 12 yr. old son came into my finally put together sewing room and asked if he could sew something.  He and his brother have sewn before, but it's been a little while.  I guess my new tidy, organized room is sew inviting that it drew him in - which is what I've been hoping it would do, mostly for me, but also for anyone else interested.  :)

After hemming and hawing, I gently told him I thought it was a bit late to start a sewing project after 10:30pm (even though I've been known to sew into the wee hours of the morning but I didn't want to go there) He had some ideas for what he wanted to make and we were looking online for some further inspiration and came across a plushie tutorial that sparked his interest.  So, tomorrow morning he'll (we'll) be starting on this one we found on Instructables.

How To Make A Grumpy Cat Plush

Sewing Room

I actually got something accomplished today, so that's a positive.  I've been in the process of setting up my sewing room for a couple weeks, at least - it could be more...time eludes me.  But, today, most of what I had dragged out of boxes and the closet and which was scattered about and covering most of the surfaces, I organized and put away.  It feels good.  I now have a clean, tidy, space in which to work.  It's just the basics.  I still have quite a few things in the garage which I haven't pulled out which include craft and wrapping supplies. I also haven't taken out all of my fabric.  I'm still trying to decide how I want to set that up.  But, this way, I can walk into the room and have the basics at my fingertips which makes it a lot easier for me to start a project.  During a project, things will get strewn about and thread, pins, and scraps will fly randomly as I dig in...but with everything having a place now, it can all be cleaned up and put away in a jiffy.

I can't work in a mess.  I even have a problem with doing the dishes if there's too much random mess.  I have to rinse and sort everything, clean the sink, wipe down the counter and faucet before I can begin.  And everything goes into the dish water in a certain order.  That's just how it's always been with me.  I cringe when I see people slipping cups, dishes, and silverware into that clean soapy water with particles of food on them or little gulps of liquid left.  Aaaack!  I can't watch that, can't be in the same room with that, can't think about that!  It's the same with the dishwasher.  Everything has to be scraped and rinsed before it goes in there.  The idea of little pieces of food flying around in "dishwasher space", jumping and landing, dish to dish, glass to glass, like a summery hopscotch game in the yard with the sprinkler on - yikes!  That's what nightmares are made of and enough to cause in me a gag reflex.  But, I digress.

Sewing room...yes.  One of the things that has encouraged me to get working on the room is the fact that I have just had two of my sewing machines serviced.  The first one I took in had stopped working while I was sewing up a cosmetic bag for my daughter.  After checking the tension and threading, I noticed the feed dogs were no longer moving.  I'm happy to say, I found a local young man who works on machines out of his home and he fixed it for me in one afternoon!  While there, I noticed another machine he had on the floor that looked exactly like one my sister-in-law gave me as a gift before I moved.  It's a vintage Singer and was in need of a really good cleaning, so I brought that one in when I picked up the other machine.  The gentleman did a beautiful job on the clean up and service and that sparked an eagerness in me to get my sewing stuff in order.  That modicum of peace I've gotten from something so simple, is proving so precious to me.

Here is my vintage Singer 301A - it came out sometime in the early 50's.
It's even older than me.  It's so nice to have something older than me around.

This is my Singer Stylist 513 
My beautiful, sweet, daughter bought this at a shop last summer and only used it a few times.  It's in a very nice wood sewing table and it became mine after she passed away.  So, it's very, very special to me.  Now that the feed dog gears have been replaced, it runs beautifully.  

And this is my Singer Touch Tronic 2001 - which I love!
Singer introduced this machine in 1978 and it was billed as "the world's first computer-controlled machine".  Such a big deal back then.  It amazes me that 37 years later not only is the machine running but the motherboard is still functioning.  

I seem to have been gravitating toward the vintage machines, not intentionally, it's just that there are so many available at reasonable prices at estate sales and online.  With a good cleaning, oiling, and a minor repair if needed, these machines with all, or mostly all, metal parts are hard to beat.  Maybe someday, if I have the money, I would consider buying new only a Bernina, Husqvarna, or Pfaff.  I've had a Husqvarna.  It was the first new sewing machine that was officially mine - my husband bought it for me the first Christmas we had in our first home.  (a lot of firsts there)  It lasted about 25 yrs. and then the pedal burned out.  The machine itself was still in good condition and I don't remember ever having any problems with it.  I used that machine to sew all my first 3 daughters' clothes, costumes, toys, gowns, stuff for our home, etc.  It got a lot of use and never let me down.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I really miss that machine.  :)  sigh..."Sew" many memories.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Two Steps Forward, A Billion Steps Back

I just read the last post I published and it was incredibly surreal.  I found myself searching the unending folds of my grey matter trying to find that place I was in where it seemed there was light, but to no avail.  I'm happy for "that" self of mine, that was able to experience a drop of joy in that moment.  It seems it's been deleted from the hard drive of my memory, or maybe those memory files have just been corrupted.  Who knows?  "Not I.", said the sad, weepy, lump staring at the LED screen.

Moving on...I realize that life is a series of steps and when tragedy strikes, or difficulties arise, it's baby steps - often the well known "two steps forward, three steps back".  Agreed.  Acceptable.  But, I was thrown by my most recent experience of two steps forward - MORTAR BLAST BACK!!

I can't even share what happened that exploded me into the black hole I ended up in - it's so crazy.  But, it's interesting to me that life after tragic happenings is ridiculously unpredictable.  I mean, life itself has always been somewhat unpredictable but not to such extremes.  The circumstances of life - that's been the unpredictable part, and sometimes, on occasion, other people.  But, I've been pretty predictable to myself.  I can usually see myself coming.  But not since November 2014...November 10th 2014 to be exact.  I have had no way of knowing how I will respond, react, interpret, consider, anything that is seen, heard, read, said, or done in my presence.  This is unnerving to me.  When I'm cleaning and setting up my sewing room and emptying out a drawer in the sewing table and I see this little skinny flat brown box with no markings and I lift the top to find bubble wrap covering a blue and pink iPhone case with the word love printed in cursive on it and I realize my daughter ordered this for her phone and never got to use it - I suddenly feel gutted and I fall into a heap of blubbering tears on the floor.  And now I'm no good for the rest of the afternoon and I can only crawl into my bed, hiding under my comforter, picturing her beautiful face, her big sweet smile, her soft voice - her face in front of mine and she's saying, "Momma, it's okay."  She said that a lot.  Her voice was bright but gentle and soothing with a warmness in it.  Most of the time, no matter what was happening, she'd say, "It's okay, don't worry."  But, it's not okay.  IT'S...NOT...OKAY!!!  I want her back!  Sometimes, when I'm alone, I scream this.  I scream it to whoever or whatever is out THERE that didn't intervene in this situation.  I WANT HER BACK!  I WANT HER BACK!  But, nothing.  Silence.  Not even an ounce of sympathy.  I wait.  It's no use, nobody is listening.  Nobody that can do anything anyway.  So, I sit for awhile until I can accept it enough to make me able to start functioning again.  Sometimes that's a few minutes.  Other times that's a few hours.  And on occasion, it's been a few days.  Initially, it was more like a few weeks, months.  It's been 7 months now since that tragic day when my beautiful daughter left this earth.  Why does it feel like it was only yesterday, or the day before?  My concept of time has been strangely altered since she left.  I really have no consistent awareness of time, at all!  It's weird. 

I had to compile photos of my 18yr. old daughter for her graduation ceremony.  I found an old hard drive that I worked my way into and came across a slew of folders filled with photos which my Hillary had taken of herself, her siblings, her was overwhelming.  I couldn't stop looking at them...ALL!  I was drowning in this sea of photos and memories but I couldn't help myself, nor did I want to.  I was drowning and I knew it but I didn't want to get out of the water.  I didn't want to close it down.  It was pain, tears, agony - yet I welcomed it.  But, it destroyed me for the rest of the day and a couple other days afterward.  I didn't get the photos collected that day of my graduating daughter.  Nope.  In fact, I didn't get anything else done that day.  This is how it goes.  From day to day, I never know what I'm going to face that is going to throw me into a tailspin.  And I don't know how to protect myself from it.  I don't know if I want to protect myself.  Maybe protect is a poor word choice here; maybe shield is more appropriate even though they carry somewhat of the same meaning.  In any case, I don't care what word I use - unlike my previous self - I don't care about a lot of things anymore.  But, whatever, I don't know the proper way of walking down this path.  Maybe there is no proper way.  Everyone is different.  Part of me feels that facing all these things head on, not avoiding or hiding from things that could trigger an episode of grieving is the best thing.  Grieve.  Cleanse.  Heal.  Yeah, true, but then there's other children that need me to be present for them.  There's work.  There's planning.  There's cleaning, cooking, washing.  There's living that needs to be done.  All of which would be almost impossible if I am wasted and in pieces from violent eruptions as I walk through the minefield of this life.

Enough.  I want to express, to get it out.  So much is filling up my head and putting pressure on my being but I can't do anymore right now.

Blinking cursor on "page" of white.  Later.

Not a Survivor

(I originally wrote this within the first 6 months after my daughter's death. I didn't post it then, I don't remember why.  I...