Depression, Encouragement, Family, Life, Mental Health

Another Year, Another Prayer

It’s been 52 years now since I whispered in your ear for the first time.  That whisper was, “Happy Birth Day, sweet little boy”.

On October 5th of each of the last 51 years, I have whispered a short prayer in my heart.

On this 52nd year, I again whisper the following in my heart:

Happy Birthday, Allen Lee.

I pray that you are healthy.

I pray that you are happy.

I pray that you are safe.

I pray that you Believe.

I pray that you are loved.

I pray that you love.

 

 

Depression, Family, Mental Health

Another Year Has Gone By

Happy Birthday, Allen Lee.

My thoughts are rambling tonight as I think about it being your birthday.  I pray that you are enjoying the day.  I pray that you are enjoying your life.  I pray that you are happy.  I pray that you are healthy.   I pray that God is part of your life.  I pray that you have been blessed with a wonderful family.  My biggest prayer is  that you have people who love you.  It is so very important to be loved.

I wonder if you ever think of me.  If so, I pray that your thoughts do not cause you pain.  I wonder what questions you have for me,  if any.  I pray that God has filled your heart with Grace and that you are confident that giving you up for adoption was an act of love on my part.  I pray that one day I will get to meet you and that I can tell you about the love that I’ve always had for you.  I pray that one day I can tell you about the 5 amazing days that I got to spend with you!

But, enough of that!  It’s your birthday!  Go eat some cake and blow out your candles.  Feel the love today.  It’s always there.

~~~

Betty

Depression, Family, Mental Health

A Better Man……..A Better Woman

I’m got up this morning already down.  I woke up during the night with an awful, awful headache, finally gave up and got out of bed.  Sat around in a stupor for a while and then I forgot what today was and opened Facebook to a frillion Father’s Day wishes and tributes to all the good fathers out there and dove even deeper into that dreaded hole.  I always feel this way on Father’s Day. I search my heart and try to find a reason to post my own tribute to my father and no matter how hard I try, there just is no reason that I can find. And I always feel guilty for not being able to find a reason.

As I sat here scrolling through the posts, I turned on iTunes and the first song that came up was “A Better Man” by Little Big Town.  While that song is a love song, I find much of it relates to my feelings about my father.  Oh, how I wish he had been a better man.  I wish he had been a man who had not had an addiction to alcohol.  I wish he had been a man who had had the ability to love unconditionally.  I wish he had been a man who had not had the propensity to hit and yell and demean and make me feel as though everything had been my fault.  I wish he had been a man who had realized that all I wanted out of life was for him to love me.  But, he wasn’t that man.

And then, my thoughts turn to my ex.  Although I know that this is a dangerous subject to breach, my thoughts go there anyway.  Oh, how I wish he had been a better man.  I wish he had been a man who had had the ability to love unconditionally.  I wish he had been a man who had not had the propensity to hit and yell and demean and make me feel as though everything had been my fault.  I wish he had been a man who had realized that all I wanted out of life was for him to love me and love all of our children and all of our grandchildren. But, he wasn’t that man.

I know I’m probably better off on my own
Than loving a man who
Didn’t know what he had when he had it
And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just
Wish I could forget when it was magic
I wish it wasn’t 4 AM, standing in the mirror
Saying to myself, you know you had to do it
I know, the bravest thing I ever did was Run Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
A better manI know I’m probably better off all alone
Than needing a man who could
Change his mind at any given minute
And it’s always on your terms
I’m hanging on every careless word
Hoping it might turn sweet again
Like it was in the beginning

I hold onto this pride because these days it’s all I have
And I gave to you my best and we both know you can’t say that
You can’t say that

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
And I just miss you when I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man

And I wish these things knowing full well that I should have been a better daughter and a better wife.  I was far from perfect in both instances.  My thoughts in both instances had been angry, debilitating thoughts which became angry, debilitating actions.  I wanted so much out of both relationships and worked very hard for many years to make those things come true, but always knew in the back of my mind that both were toxic and finally gave up.  Maybe I should have fought harder in both instances. Maybe I was wrong for giving up on each.  But, maybe I was right in giving up.  Maybe I was right in running from both.

So, for my father and for my ex — Since I know that there is nothing I could have done to have made either of you better men, I must work on making myself a better woman — a woman who always loves unconditionally, a woman who always speaks with love in her tone and in her heart, a woman who never purposefully tries to hurt anyone, a woman who always makes sure that you know how much I love you.  If I can do that, I will be a better woman.  Maybe then, it won’t matter that neither of you were better men.

~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  I despise Father’s Day.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  Yuk.  Hurry up and get here tomorrow.

~~~ Betty 

 

 

Depression, Family, Mental Health

Preparing Myself

Next Friday night, June 2, 2017, Putnam County High School Class of 1967 will be holding its 50th Reunion.  From a class of 58, there were 6 classmates we could not find and 11 classmates who have passed away.  We are scheduled to have 73 people — classmates and spouses or significant others — in attendance.  And this “scares me to death”.

You see, while I attended school with these classmates beginning in grade 1 when we moved to Eatonton through grade 11 and have memories and experiences with them throughout each of the years, I was not there for my senior year, nor for graduation.  I had left Eatonton at the end of my junior year.  I remember the night that I should have graduated — I remember wishing  I was there with my classmates — and I remember wondering how many of them thought about the fact that I was not there.  And I continued to wonder that for four decades — did they even realize I had not been there?

I’ve spoken of my dear friend, Dennis, before.  I remember the day that we had met for lunch and sat at a table outside the restaurant, watching life go on in Eatonton, for hours. We reminisced about life in Eatonton when we were kids and then as teenagers.  We had talked about the people who had owned businesses and who had been married to whom, who had divorced, and who had fooled around on their spouses as well as we could remember.  I remember asking him that day if he had even missed me during 66-67.  Did he realize that I was not at school for our senior year?  Did he wonder where I was? And, bless his heart, true to Dennis, he was brutally honest with me and said, “No, Betty.  I was too busy living the life of a teenage boy to recognize that you were not there.”  (I cleaned that up a bit from the actual words that he said to me.)  In a way, I was devastated, but then, it was the answer I had expected.

Since moving back to Eatonton, I had spoken to many people who had never realized that I had not been there for my senior year.  And I had spent decades believing or hoping that, at least to my classmates, I had been missed.   I do remember that one classmate, Brenda, had told me when we had reconnected a few years ago, that at the beginning of our senior year, she had asked several people where I was and nobody could  or would give her an answer.  She said that she had even asked one of our teachers — several times — where Betty was.  She said that she was finally told by that teacher to stop asking and to let the fact that I was not there drop.  So, life without Betty in the class went on.  As it should have.  The fact that I was not there was of utmost importance to me, but was really no big deal to my classmates.  And I’m not saying that in a critical way — it was as life should have been.  Students finishing up high school are all about themselves and their futures.  If someone suddenly is not there, they just aren’t there.  It’s not going to change the way they live.  But it had certainly changed the way I lived.

Things had been beyond bad at home between Dad and me. They had reached a point where he no longer allowed me to live there and I was “taken” to Atlanta to live.  Upon checking my school records, it was determined that in order to graduate, I only needed a senior English class and a geography class, so I took those two classes and graduated on December 16, 1966 from an Atlanta high school.  It certainly was not the type of graduation that I had always dreamed of — they mailed me my diploma.  But, I did have a high school diploma and I was out of my house.  I was not being abused any longer.  And I did not have to fight with my dad every day.  That was a good thing.  But, it was not the life I was supposed to live.  It was not the life that I had deserved to live.  I was “allowed” to come to Eatonton for Christmas, but received the silent treatment from Dad the whole time I was there.  Shortly after the beginning of January, I began attending Massey Business College in Atlanta and actually enjoyed my life, living in a dorm right off 14th Street.  When leaving the dorm, all we saw were the long-haired hippies and I was fascinated by them.   I met and made new friends, but still missed my friends from Eatonton.  I asked if I could come home and attend my classmates’ graduation service, but was told no by dad and of course he had to add that “Nobody in Eatonton wants you here.  Stay in Atlanta.”  So, I did.  The following September, I moved to Valdosta, Georgia, and began attending Valdosta State College.  And here is where things went wrong again. (More to come on this aspect at a later date.)

A couple of years after moving back to Eatonton in 2010, I attended a class reunion and was petrified.  I had not seen the majority of these classmates since I left in 1966 and I had no idea as to how I would be welcomed, or, if I would be welcomed at all.  But, it was a good night and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone.  Five years ago, I attended another reunion and we had a blast.  And now, for our 50th!  What I haven’t figured out yet is how I pretty much came to be in charge of planning this, seeing as how I may have attended school with these folks for 11 years, but, in reality, I did not graduate with them. I am not a graduate of the Class of ’67, yet I was in charge of planning it.  Somehow, this just doesn’t make sense.  But, it’s done.  We are ready for all 73 people to invade Joe and Melody’s on Friday night.  All the planning that can be planned has been planned and I am not planning to plan anything else.  (I just thought that sentence kind of summed up how drained I am right now.  LOL)  We have the food arranged; we have the name tags made; we have the class booklets finished and printed; we have a photographer coming; we have the frames done for use when we take pictures; we have the Memorial table items ready; I HOPE we have the Memorabilia tablescape ready; and I hope we have the carpooling arranged.  All that is left to do is to show up and have fun.

And, that, my blogging friends, is why I am filled with anxiety.  Although at the two reunions I have attended, everyone has been wonderful.  But, at this reunion, it is going to be evident that I did not graduate.  We have name tags with everyone’s senior picture on them; each of the gals are in their senior drapes and the guys are in suits.  But, not me. It is evident when viewing my picture that I am NOT in a senior drape.  I worry that there will be questions and whispers and that they will remember that I am not actually a member of the Class of ’67.  All those old fears are coming back and the memories as to WHY I’m not in a senior drape are flooding my mind.   I’m trying to think that it doesn’t really matter, that being there for 11 years ought to be enough to count.  I’m going to take that leap of faith that everyone speaks about and just GO and have FUN and not WORRY. Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do.  Right, Betty.  You just keep on thinking that.  Anyway, by this time next week, it will be a done deal.  I will most likely find out that I have worried for no reason and that all my trepidation was unwarranted.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the rest of the week, just in case.

I’ll let you know how things went.

~~~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  I have dreaded speaking about this period in my life.  There is so much more to the story, but so far, I am not brave enough to talk about the rest.  The goal when I started this blog was to be able to be open and honest and real about all of the things in my life that have haunted me for so many years.  Since this period of time is one of the “biggies”, it’s stressful.  My hopes are that at some point, I will be able to speak the truth.  Not that what I’ve written today is not the truth.  It is.  It’s just that it’s such a small portion.  So much is left out.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  I still need to figure out how to do this sleeping thing.  I’m trying to eliminate the need for sleeping pills, but without them, I just flat don’t sleep.  Period.  But, with them, I seem to sleep for 12 hours.  It’s either no sleep or 12 hours of sleep.  It is just so hard to plan things that take place in the mornings.  I missed church again this morning.  Darn it.

~~~ Betty

 

 

 

Depression, Family, Mental Health

It Was A Very Good Day

I was able to spend a good part of yesterday with my baby sister, Karen, known to me as KaKa.  It’s been a while since we spent a lot of time with each other and I don’t like that.  I promise to do better.  Anyway, she had to go out to my local hospital for some tests and I met her there.  When she was finished, we decided to go out to the lake for lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  We laughed for a while about what I was supposed to do with the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream that they had put in a really neat little circle in the middle of my already-cut Quesadillas (I never know what you are supposed to do with that – it’s not a salad and you can’t open the Quesadillas up to put it in them, it’s hard to just pile it on top of the individual slices so, do you just eat it?  I never know how to treat that pile of stuff so I usually just move it around a bit so the server will think that I ate it.).  I know this is far from being politically correct, but I told KaKa I needed to watch one of the Mexicans who worked there eat some so I would understand what to do with it.  After KaKa “ate at” her Chimichangas, we just sat and talked — mostly about  our childhoods.

KaKa is eight years younger than I am and, unfortunately, she doesn’t remember a lot of her childhood.  I left home at the end of my junior year when I was only sixteen which means she was eight and was living an entirely different life than I was living.  She was still a kid, enjoying life and playing with her friends, while I was deep in a raging battle with my father.  I learned that she really had no clue what was going on with us, and for that I am glad.  In a way.  But, of course, I also wish that she could remember the terrible battles in order to validate my memories and my feelings.  For some reason, that validation is still important to me.  I was told so many times by Dad that I didn’t know what I was talking about so I sometimes wonder if he was right.  Did all that really happen to me?  Why did I let it happen?  Why did he let it happen?  Or, more importantly, why did he make it happen?  The more I think about those times, the more confused I become.

The most important thing that happened at that lunch was that KaKa did not judge me. She just listened to me.  And that was what I needed.  In looking at our lunch and the way KaKa just listened, I got a bit of deja-vu.  You see, early yesterday morning, my dear friend, Deanna, posted a poem on Facebook about listening and its importance.  I’m sure you’ve probably read it before, but it’s worth reading again.  Listening is something that is extremely important to all, but is vital to someone filled with doubt, guilt, and with that terrible thing called self-condemnation.

“When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem, you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.

Listen!
All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.
Advice is cheap – 20 cents will get you both
Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can
and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince you
and get about this business of understanding
what’s behind this irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious
and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense
when we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works sometimes
for some people, because God is mute
and He doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.
God just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk,
wait a minute for your turn,
and I will listen to you.”

“Listen.” ~~~Anonymous.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Listening to others.  Not telling them what to do.  Not telling them how to feel.  Not fixing their problems.  Just be there.  Listen to what they say.  Love them no matter how they feel or no matter what they say.  Just listen.

Kaka did an excellent job yesterday of just listening.  Thank you, little sister, for listening to me.  I love you.

~~~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  The lunch with KaKa was just what I needed.  And the fact that Deanna had posted that poem that very morning was another one of those “signs” that remind me I’m on the right track.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  I’m tired.  Go figure.  That’s nothing new.  Tired, but optimistic.  Looking forward to church tomorrow and to our local Memorial Day service on Monday.  A dear, dear friend of mine will be making an address and I’m so very proud of him.  We have many things to be thankful for in our country, and our military is right up there near the very top of my list.  Monday will be a day for us to remember those who gave their all.  May they Rest in Peace as we salute their service.

~~~Betty