author moments, awareness, family

Taken

Sometimes things get taken away from kids, teenagers, and sometimes adults. Maybe for punishment. Maybe for a break of sorts. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to hit pause on items or things or maybe people.

In the past seven days I lost communication with somebody very close to me. The first thing taken was the Snapchat streak. It might not seem important to some but the duration signifies a time period of connectedness. Random to some but important to us.

The next thing that seemed to slip away was the sight of a smile. The connection of where our eyes met each day. The partnership. The little nuances only we know. The physical connection whether in person or virtual.

The backup plan was taken. We watched each other’s pets when each other had conflicts. We covered car pools. We shared burdens. We backed each other up. When one of our dogs would run off the other’s phone number was on the pet tag. Only I lost my ability to call. I lost my backup.

Breakfast visits. Laundry pit stops. What’s in the fridge visits. I just stopped by to say hi.  I just decided to drop by with coffee. Want to meet at the game? All taken. Gone. Vanished. Obsolete. A new lonely sets in your heart. 

Sometimes we take advantage or complain about what’s in front of us and don’t really appreciate it until it is no longer there.

Take note today. Breathe deeply. See what’s around you. Be aware of your good friends. Support those who support you. Be present.

You never want to feel the empty I felt this week as I adjusted to my new normal.

The military can be a great option for some and it can be lonely road for others. Today my family falls into the lonely road category. Timeframe is unknown but the missing time has already begun. Of all things taken I miss time the most.

Time together

Time to chat 

Time to laugh 

Time for us 

Time to be free

Time creates memories. Time is captured in pictures. Time is so very valuable. Time really can’t be replaced. Time away triggers feelings for many around us. Time belongs to the military when you enlist until your time commitment has ended. And for some time can be extended if certain instances such as a time of war or other conflict. As a civilian I never really understood military time as it didn’t apply to me directly.

As I wrap up my day, I still feel lonely. A week of time has passed, but I’m not better. I may even be bitter. I want what was taken but I can’t have what I want. Not now. Not in the near future. Patience is what I am practicing today, tomorrow and beyond. Shifting from civilian to soldier is taxing for not only the soldier but also their loved ones.

Gas prices might be soaring. There may even be conflict overseas. The price of groceries are high. Supply and demand issues  lurk as well. For me my conflict is here with me. Front and center. A daily battle. Just a mom missing what was taken; her son.

awareness, challenges

My World Erupted

Shaken to the core.

Abruptly awaken.

All seemed taken.

I blinked. I sighed. I swallowed my pride.

One lonely night a medical emergency hit home. The challenges that go with this situation are taxing to say the least. This wasn’t about me, but it spiraled around me. Time spiraled to the east. Memories spiraled to the west. What if scenarios spiraled to the south. Family spiraled up north. The spirals met and formed a chaos cyclone. A circus show in my brain. Who? What? Where? When? Why? Oh my!

Amidst the chaos another lingering shit show keeps rearing its ugly head. Unfortunately, this one is a one and done meaning the gas tank is empty when it comes to help or support. No mental energy. No funds to spare. No support to give as it all falls to the wayside. The taker in life. The taker in my life. The mental strength it takes to keep the takers at bay is not for the weak. A wall of sorts is built. Carefully crafted to shield all my loved ones from the mayhem. Managing this on top of life and unplanned medical challenges is just wow. No words to really describe today. The now.

When I breathe deeply and let it settle in another blow strikes. This one is hard. Straight to the gut. Straight to the heart. Straight to the mind. All the feels. All at once. The pressure is intense. Every calming mechanism is put into play. Repeatedly.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup. 

One would think I just played a hard core tennis match, but I didn’t. It was just life. The uncertainty of life. The unplanned chaos that can ensue without notice. Sure there are worse scenarios, but in that moment my life was in disarray. It’s seems unforgiving. Relentless forces striking at once. Repeatedly.

Life is full of wonder. Life is full of surprises. Life is full of happy, sad, ugly, fear and so much more. Life is about living and living means shit happens. When life throws the shit show your way, it’s up to you to see the perspective. Don’t crumble. Don’t let fear stand in your way. Live through the turmoil. Learn from mistakes. Find opportunities in the chaos. Fight for you. Fight for those around you.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup.

Do it as many times as you need to. Be relentless. Be daring. 

awareness

I Am

In today’s episode of “words matter…”

Watch how you speak about yourself.

A family member of mine recently had surgery. It was pretty major, requiring him to take a serious step back from his hard-working, able-bodied lifestyle. He went from working 60-80 hours a week in a physically demanding job to passing most of his waking hours sitting on the couch, healing. He went from managing many tasks for multiple businesses and family members to needing help tying his shoes and buttoning his shirt. It would be a long recovery.

A couple of days after the surgery, as he slowly slumped up the stairs to move from couch to bed, I heard him clearly mutter “I am pathetic.”

To which I responded, no…you may not feel well or energetic, but you are not pathetic. You are healing. You are making progress. You are doing the best you can. You are doing what needs to be done.

I hear it in the words of my friends often, too. I am so stupid. Why am I this way? I am such an idiot. I am such a dumbass. Whatever insult you feel you deserve in the moment.

Does this gloss over every mistake? No. But it’s the “I am…” that we have to look out for. Don’t mistake how you’re feeling for who you are. Don’t confuse an error you made with your identity. Watch how you speak to and about yourself. Don’t put that energy out into the universe.

Instead, tell yourself you are strong. You are on the right track. You are figuring it out. If you screwed up, own it and vow to do better. “I am ready to learn and improve.” Whatever you need to say to and about yourself, keep it positive. If you make a mistake, you can remark about the action, not about who you are as a person.

Words matter, use them wisely, even when you’re just talking to and about yourself! Today’s healthy mindset hack. Watch your language!

awareness, nature

Chasing Sunshine

Some days you just need to take a break and enjoy the sunshine or should I say chase the sunshine. It could be taking a walk. Maybe taking a hike is more your speed. For me today it was just sitting in the sunshine. Not doing anything per se.

It was a cool crisp day but the warmth of the sun took the chill out of the air. The breeze was calming. The leaves just ruffled as they blew side to side. Today is supposed to be the last day of sunshine as the gray skies are moving in. A winter cold front full of snow, ice, sleet or whatever shows up per the weatherman. Today is an odd day to sit outside yet it seemed perfect at the time.

Many I know are struggling for various reasons in life. Some have depression. Some are anxious with the pandemic still lurking around. Others have health issues in their family spiking beyond the pandemic. Many are stressed for one reason or another. Maybe this post will make its way to somebody who just needs a dose of sunshine. A ray of light on a dreary day.

If you are reading this today and needed to hear this message, step outside. Feel the sun on your face. Smile. Reflect. Enjoy what is great in your life right now. Put the worries aside. Focus only on the peace around you. Listen to the sounds. Think about how you could pass some virtual or homemade sunshine to another. Maybe a sweet email or text. Maybe a hand written card to friend. Maybe a cup of coffee for the car behind you at the drive thru.

While outside enjoying the sun, you may hear the panting of a playful dog. You might hear a bird chirping. You may hear the revving of car as it passes by. Whatever sounds are near, let them creep into your soul. These sounds can be beautiful if you listen with intent. Active listening is a skill that needs to be mastered by everyone. Sometimes stepping away from your crazy day or life even for a few minutes will allow time to regroup, breathe more deeply and set your mind at ease.

Chase that sunshine. Today and everyday. When you learn how to capture it, pass it on. One can even find sunshine on a cloudy day. You just might need to look a little harder or listen a little fiercer to feel its warmth.

awareness, challenges

Jail Time Revisited

Recently I had the opportunity to experience a county jail with an added twist. I’ve written about visiting the jail before as a contractor recounting an inside view. I visited the exterior as part of a jail run a few years back that included running the officer obstacle training course (so much fun) and the campus which bordered the barbed wire fences and guard towers. Both experiences were memorable and offered different views of the same place.

Over the past week I had yet another view. An unexpected view. I needed to try to visit an inmate. What started out as a simple endeavor ended up extremely complex. So many things I didn’t know, didn’t expect or just couldn’t wrap my arms around.
The first big blow is no in-person visitors which is the exact opposite of the county website, which states visitation Mon-Fri and Sat/Sun for under 18. I guess they are still under COVID protocols even though most other places are not. This was funny in itself as you don’t  need a mask to enter the jail but you can’t visit. The next option is a fee-based video visit, but figuring this option out almost requires an IT degree and a lot of patience.

That’s right. Get the app. Download the app. Set up a user ID. Add funds. Upload identification documents to prove who you are. Now wait. Wait until somebody in an office somewhere approves you. This took three days in my case. Once you have access, you can schedule a call. I almost forgot you need to deposit more money for the call and pay more service fees. Just when you think you are at the finish line you have to be patient again. It seems the schedule is not the same day. That means you wait longer and the person inside has no idea how hard you are trying to make contact. Big sigh.

What’s the other option? Send a letter. I was told happy mail is very uplifting. Okay, what’s the address? Well the address you mail to is far away. It has to be sorted to make sure there is no contraband. Well over the holiday, mail delays, etc. would lead me to believe this would be another dead end.

How about a phone call? Can the person make a call? Only if they have money they tell me. How do they get money? Glad you asked. There is a jail ATM. Never seen one of those before. You have to upload your picture, your social security number, address and so much more. Then you can pay money and exorbitant fees. Again, it’s not instant. It takes a day to process and the funds need to be deposited by 8am. That means if you put money in the ATM on Sunday at 4pm the inmate won’t see it until Tuesday after 8am. Delays galore.

Four days it takes to get any form of contact. This provides so much insight into what folks deal with when they are immersed in the jail system. I can’t even imagine if my parent was in jail, how a young adult could handle all the chaos associated with saying hi to somebody who probably needs some extra support during their incarceration.
This experience has taught me I for sure don’t ever want to spend time in jail. I also don’t want to have to visit anyone I know in jail. I like my freedom too much. I like to choose what I do and when I do it. I thought visiting somebody in an assisted living facility was hard in the heart of the pandemic however I would definitely say visiting a jail is 1000x harder current day. 

With mental health issues challenging society today, it is bothersome to me that inmates lose not only their freedom but their ability to get compassionate care. I define compassion to include communication with willing visitors vs. starving them of hope and friendly faces.

in summary, I’d always tell somebody think carefully about actions or inactions that can land one in jail. It’s not a place I’d recommend at all.