There are a lot of posts on social media these days about the power of happiness. Happiness is today’s key to prosperity, health, love – all that is to be strived for in this life. I have nothing against happiness. Being happy is pleasant, but personally I am a huge fan of peace, above all else.
I love silence. There is nothing as soothing and spiritual and beautiful as silence. Peace exists in silence.
I love the infinite depth of peace, that feeling of absolute immortality.
I love the security of peace. I cherish opportunities to spend peaceful, happy, quality time with loved ones.
I love the kindness of peace. I love those moments that touch your heart with sweetness.
I love the simplicity of peace. I love how easy it is to focus and think and create when there is peace.
I love the strength and power of peace. I love the ability to rise above all challenges to the place where everything is natural and stress free.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I know that in its worst form it destroys lives. I have struggled to deal with anxiety issues throughout my life and a lot of them are much improved. It is only recently – last December actually – that I realized that my worst anxiety issues now are a result of a mild form of PTSD.
The month of December has been difficult for me since 1993. That is the year my father passed away on December 17th. I was very close to him and it broke my heart, which would be expected. But it was so much more than that. My father had been dealing with cancer of the sinuses for five years – it was a horrid ordeal. Despite working and raising three pre-teen to teenage children at the time, I did everything I could to help my parents through these years. I was the youngest of the family, I was living the closest to my parents, and much of my dad’s medical attention and treatment was done in Regina, where I live. I have five other siblings, all of who did everything they could for our parents, but a lot of it fell on me. It was incredibly hard.
But, there was so much more. I was married to my first husband at the time. The first eleven years of my first marriage were dysfunctional. The last seven years were violent, abusive and traumatizing for me and our children. There was seldom a day when there was not a violent or hateful outburst. To say that he was not supportive of what I was dealing with was an understatement. I had decided that I had to remove my children and myself from the situation a couple of weeks before my father’s diagnosis. After that, I felt compelled to stay until he was gone. My husband felt compelled to take advantage of the situation and make our lives a living hell.
Five months after my father passed away, I told my husband I was done. A few weeks later we moved out.
I was worn out. We moved into a small three bedroom basement apartment. I slept in our kitchen/livingroom so the kids could each have their own bedroom. I worked eighty hours a week and spent the rest of my working hours being a full-time home maker. It sounds rough, but we were really happy and starting to heal. Things got better, we got a better car, we moved to a nice little duplex. I met my current husband and my kids grew up, moved out and started their own families. Life still has its ups and downs but I am okay.
And then there is another December. The decorations go up, the carols start playing and my heart breaks. This week we had an incident at work. One of my co-workers had a violent outburst. He slammed through the shop, swearing, kicking things, having a man size tantrum. I have been shaking ever since.
The thing is, it’s okay. I get that my physical and emotional and mental reactions are about my past, not my present. I know I am in a safe place now. I also know I am stronger for having been through my past. In December, I have a really deep compassion for those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one or any of the other heartbreaks that are worse in December. When I see someone being a bully, having a man size tantrum, I am reminded how very fortunate I am to be with my with my current husband. I have the courage to stand up for those who are being bullied and I am proud that my sons and my daughter do as well.
As difficult as these episodes of PTSD are, I know they make me a better person. As long as good can come out of the worst times of my life, I am okay with that.
My parents were both born into large families. My father had twenty siblings and my mother had nine. By the time I was born, both families had scattered across the country, but they kept in touch. They would visit back and forth, celebrate holidays together and have family gatherings They were there for each other during good times and bad – always.
My parents had five daughters and one son. I was the youngest. From the time I can remember, my two oldest sisters were married and living away from home. My brother was ten years older than I, so he was in highschool when I was starting grade one. Regardless, I always knew all of my family. The older siblings would come home with their famlies to visit and we would go to visit them. I saw them regularly. Once we were all grown up, we were widespread, but we kept in touch and got together. We would gather on a regular basis. We all spent time with our parents and they would come to spend time with us. As our parents aged, and their health failed, we were there to support them, and each other. To this day, we keep in touch via social media, we call, we visit. We were, and we still are, family.
Back in my day, family meant something. Family was a commitment. Family was loyalty, respect, shared memories and a shared unconditional love for our parents and each other. We are not always super close, geographically or otherwise. We have our differences and we certainly all have our faults, but we would never deliberately or spitefully hurt each other. There is always a line of consideration that we do not cross as family. Family, and extended family matters.
Nowdays families are shattered on a regular basis. My own sons and daughter have little love or respect for each other. Their love and respect for me only goes so far. They certainly do not maintain peace in the family for my sake or anyone else’s. This has caused me much grief over the years. I have come to accept it, not because I want to, but because it is not my choice.
Our family is hardly unique. This is the norm for many these days. Family or not, you disagree with me, you cross me one way or another and you are toxic and you are out. There is no going back. I know sisters and brothers in their eighties who have nothing to do with each other, parents who won’t speak to their children, children who will not speak to their parents and children who do not know their aunts or uncles or cousins. Many, if not most, of these family breakdowns could have been resolved with a reasonable conversation, but people don’t want to talk and they certainly are not willing to listen.
It is a shame and it is beyond sad, especially during the holiday season, that families cannot set aside their differences. It is a shame that family members are strangers, that memories cannot be made or shared, and that traditions are lost. It is a shame that generations of children are growing up without the stability and security of extended family. It is terrible that such selfishness and disrespect shatters so many families.
It is not a wonder that there is so much conflict and violence in the world. Love and peace and respect and kindness are learned at home. If this is not what we are teaching our families, than what are we releasing into the world?
I, like most parents, made sure my little ones were protected by the vaccines available for them. I have gotten flu and pneumonia vaccines to protect myself. But shingles vaccine, pfft. This weekend I got an education.
Shingles is hell – I would think it would be hell anywhere but I have it across my face and through one eye – which has been found to lead to dementia (Yay). Elderly people with shingles are subject to stroke or heart attach. If I am fortunate, I will just have a rash comparable to having acid poured over my face, stabbing pains in my head (think icepick) and constant nausea for a week or so.
Shingles will not cause shingles but it can cause chicken pox in anyone who has not been vaccinated – because they are too young or were from the pre-chickenpox vaccination days – like my husband and adult chicken pox is terrible.
Bottom line, if you are fifty or over, have had chicken pox, have not gotten the shingles vaccine – get it now. Protect yourself and your loved ones. 💞
With my husband on a mission to clean and organize our garage, I am once again feeling the renovation bug. Living in a normal house, this wouldn’t be a huge deal. We don’t live in a ‘normal’ house. We live in the house my husband’s family lived in before he was born sixty years ago. Renovations in an older home are a big deal – a huge deal.
When I met my (second) husband, I was renting a duplex for my three teenagers and myself. After my sons graduated from school and moved out, Dan decided we should move into his house. Dan, my daughter and I, living in his house. The first couple of years we worked on the interior of the house to make it a bit homier – a bit of paint here, new sink taps there, some new flooring. We did things in manageable projects and worked as a team.
With the interior of the house coming together, we felt it was time to start working on the exterior. Nothing heroic, a little fresh paint on the window frames. This was when Dan decided to educate me on the real challenges of renovating an older home.
Apparently, one could not just paint the exterior window frames. First they had to be scraped and sanded. These were not normal windows. These were windows made up of a number of small, framed panels. I started with the living room window. Having broken several of those miserable little panels, we decided it would be easier to just replace the entire mess with a new picture window. Dan scraped and sanded the rest of the windows, saving me the aggravation of fighting with them and us the cost of replacing any more of them. Now they were ready to paint – or so I thought.
Dan decided that before we painted the window frames, we should paint the house. That made sense, as painting the house later would risk getting paint spills on the freshly painted windows. Now it was time to call in my son Mark, to help me tear all the eaves troughs off the house, as one does not paint an old house without replacing the eaves troughs.
I don’t remember why we had to cut down the twenty foot tree in the back yard, but it had to go. The stump is still there. Every summer it becomes host to a huge patch of mushrooms which we dig out only to have them magically re-appear. However, with the tree gone, we were ready to paint the house – as soon as Dan repaired a few cracks in the stucco and brushed any dried paint flakes off it.
Fortunately, by the time we had the house prepared and painted, the window frames painted and the new eave troughs installed, winter was well on it’s way. The new roof, garage and garden shed had to wait for another round of ambition that hit us a few years later.
There are a few projects we would still like to tackle. It would be nice to finally have that home gym in the garage. Would it really be worth it? That is questionable, but we will see how we are feeling after Dan finishes his cleaning and organizing.