YHVH Rapha

He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” ex 15.26

Archive for memories

Worth the read, twice over

Read this a few months ago.  Intended to blog about it, but time has gotten away from me.  (Story of my life.)

Nurse resentment and you are are never released and forgive your parents for the past or the past forever holds you, a permanent child.

I’ve got to figure out how to do this, how to honor the parent, because didn’t God promise that without that nothing else can go well?

Yes, yes indeed. But how?

among other things. . .

When you believe that everyone is always just doing their best, that we never war against flesh and blood but against the principalities, that in light of their own limitations, they truly are doing their best… this changes everything.

Interestingly enough, I’ve done this.  Helps to know I’m not perfect, can’t be perfect, am not supposed to be perfect. . . and neither is mom.  i have my limits and so did she then and now.

Diagnosed mental illlness helps too.

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And then there’s this one.  A little more recent.  Still much wisdom.

I keep my secrets tight and my secrets keep me tight.

We all  thought the secrets would save us…  but they slowly slay us.

I can show you my scars.

ouch.

And yet. . .

Because it’s keeping secrets that keep us from being real. From being fully alive.

Need to remember this.  This format, this blog, may be a great place to share my secrets without being condemned for them.

I will have to think about this more.

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Mother’s little helper

I was 17 years old still living with my mother and siblings. I was on my way to work, it was before noon. Mom was puking drunk. Orange juice and alcohol, a great breakfast. When I got home from work she was nasty mean, probably hung over and miserable.

She admitted that there were other times that she drank over the years after she and dad divorced. I don’t remember them, of course I wouldn’t, I was at school when she was getting drunk. But now I wonder, was that one reason she was so mean.

Did she drink while she was pregnant with us?  I shudder to think.  Might that explain our difficulties now?

That song about “mother’s little helper,” can’t stand it.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

I picked this book up off the library shelf, thinking it would be a nice way to help me get my own anger under control.

Guess what? It’s not about controling one’s anger.  But it was helpful to me, nonetheless.

It’s about a little girl whose mother has bipolar disorder.  This used to be called “manic depression” because there are two different, severe moods: the depression, where a person can barely get out of bed, and the manic phase, where a person seems to have boundless energy. . . and is easily angered and even sometimes subject to psychotic delusions.

It wouldn’t be a fun thing, I’d imagine, to deal with your own bipolar disorder.  I can’t imagine it would be fun for a child to deal with his or her parent’s.

The main point of this book is that the children should not think that they cause their parents’ actions.  And that parents who deal with mental illnesses should have the support of their community–family, neighbors, etc.

The author notes that bipolar disorder can be treated and parents should have treatment, although they often may resist their treatment. (I imagine that during the “psychotic delusion” part of the bipolar disorder, one may think the medicine he or she has been given is harmful. Or that the neighbor or relative who is truly, truly trying to help is “spying” or “out to get them.”)

I can SO relate to the girl in this book.  Her mom is in a good mood when she leaves for school, but is angry when she gets home.  It leaves her to wonder “What did I do wrong?”  She calls her grandma, who tells her she’s done nothing wrong.  “You know that your mother has problems, and she hasn’t gotten the help she needs.  I hope that one day she will.  But your mother loves you even when she’s yelling.”

I can relate to this girl because it was like that with MY mom.  One minute, she was fine (at least she wasn’t screaming and yelling!) and the next I wondered what I did wrong.

I cried while reading this book because I did not have a grandmother to call, to comfort me and remind me that mommy still loves me and is not mad at me.  A few days ago, my younger sister and I talked about this.  She doesn’t believe that mom loves her.  It took me a long time (almost 30 years) to realize that yes, mom does, but because of something in her head mom can’t be the “mommy” that I wanted her to be.  Still happens today. I’m 36 years old.  I have to keep reminding myself that “this isn’t mom talking, it’s the mental illness.”  It is so hard to keep that straight!

I did not have a “secret snack” or people I could call.  I truly believed that I was the problem, and that mom was mad at me, and why would a neighbor help me, after all I was a problem child and caused my mom such grief.

I cried reading the book also because I wonder, had mom had the medications or therapy or social support that she needed. . . where would I be today?  Another sense of grief, loss.

And yet if she had, then I would not be the person I am today.  Hmm.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, by Bebe Moore Campbell (illustrated by E. B. Lewis)

Pain from my father and mother

I’ve heard before that “it isn’t until one has children that one truly understands the sacrifices made by one’s parents” and yeah, I rolled my eyes.  You don’t know what they did or what they were really like, I’d think.

I was raised to look at the negative side of things, to look at what was lost, to focus on the ugliness of life.  It’s been hard for me to think of anything positive from my childhood.

As an adult, I guess I have been afraid to let go of the yuck.  I don’t mean not forgiving, I have forgiven my parents many times.  I mean letting go of the ugliness and negative side of things and losses.

I think I should be looking for the benefits and gains and positive things that happened when I was a child.

But I don’t want to.  Because to do that would be like saying the ugliness had no effect on me, that life was ok and it wasn’t really that bad anyway.

Maybe that’s not really what “letting go” is after all?

I’m coming to realize that there was more to my history than the negative, and if I am going to move on from this I need to see my past more clearly.

Because holding onto the yuck is holding me back, keeping me from seeing benefits.

And part of that is appreciating the blessings I’ve had, instead of always complaining about the troubles and pains.

The Glass Castle

A friend recommended that I read this book.  So I borrowed it from the public library and it sat on the table for two weeks.  When I finally picked the book up and sat to read it, I devoured it in three days.  I had to force myself to put it down and even then the shock and horror of what I read stayed with me all day.  Language wise, it is an easy reading book.  But if you consider the implications of what Jeannette Walls has written, it was very difficult to read.

It is the story of her childhood.  She talks about her father, who spent the family’s money on alcohol, disappeared for days, and yet taught his children science and complex math.  She talks about her mother, who preferred painting to cooking, accumulated books and glass bottles and painting supplies, and didn’t bother with structure or schedules ; and yet, when three-year-old Jeannette burned herself cooking hot dogs, her mother was there in a moment to help her.

Jeannette talks about being hungry and having no food in the house, being shunned by other kids because of her body odor and dirty clothing.  She and her siblings relied on themselves and stuck together.  They were self-sufficient and resourceful.  They ate whatever they could find in the woods or even in garbage cans.  They worked hard to earn extra money not for food or nicer clothes, but to move to New York City where they thought they could live easier.

True, there were two very distinct periods in her childhood.  First were the early days of nomadic living, of sleeping in the car, making do with whatever they could find, and picking up in the middle of the night to move on.  The family worked together and they were happy. The later years of being stuck in a small West Virginia mining community were much more difficult.  By then Jeannette had grown up enough to see her parents’ faults.   And yet, she writes about them so lovingly.  And she and her siblings grew up and thrived in their lives.

I am constantly comparing myself to others and this book throws me way off.  On the one hand, I would say that my childhood was nowhere near as bad. We always had food to eat and clothes to wear.  And yet my struggles with self esteem, with who I am, and how I relate to others, the difficulties that I have . . . she does not have these.  So who really grew up abused?  And what constitutes abuse?  Is a parent who fails to provide for a child’s physical needs, yet attends to their emotional needs really abusing their children?  Once again I am left with the conclusion that emotional abuse is worse than physical neglect.

I found a you tube video about this book.  Jeannette Walls talks briefly about her childhood and the book.  I think that her last statement is very profound:

You could look at the glass castle as another one of my father’s drunken promises, or as hope for the future.   It is whatever you choose to make of it.

So maybe I need to re-think my childhood.  What things do I see as negative? Where is the benefit in them?

Daddy

I guess the thing that surprised me the most about my father’s death, besides how little I knew about him, was was how painful it was to me.  How incredibly much I miss him. even t hough I didn’t know him very well at all.

I know his name, his birthdate. I can look up where he was born. I know a little bit about his childhood, from things that I read after his death, from things he told me.

How did he meet my mom, I wonder. What was their dating and engagement and marriage like, from his perspective. I’ll never know.  What was I like as a child. That one has come up a few times, especially as I watch my young daughter playig or learning to walk and talk.  Did I play the way she does? Did I say   words like she does?

I’ll never know.  I could ask my mom, but I doubt she’d know. There were so many of us kids to keep track of, ya know. She couldn’t possibly remember each of us individually.  But I bet my dad remembered.

Validation, positives, compliments, were hard to come by when I was growing up.  I was convinced that I was a horrible child.   (But that’s a post for another time.)  Just a few weeks before my father passed away he said something beautiful and lovely and endearing to me that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  And yet, why did he wait 30+ years to say it? Or was he saying it the whole time, and I just don’t remember.  I’ll never know.

I miss my dad so badly.

The thought comes to mind, “Now God is my dad.”  I never was able to figure out what that means. Sounds so pat, so trivial. Like something you say when you have to say something, but don’t know what to say.

My younger sister, she has a great grasp on the “God as father” concept.

I guess I’ll learn about this now.

What was I saying

I really, really, intended to keep posting.  Sorry.  I got some bad news in the beginning of September and it sent me into a tailspin for a few months.  See, I got the call that my dad had died. Just suddenly and unexpectedly.  I was able to go to his funeral (in a nother state) and visit with family.  All the kids were there, with their kids.  In a sense it was agood trip, except of course that we were saying Goodbye to dad.

We kids sat around and talked late nights.  Last time we had been all together was, what, a decade ago? Or more.  So good to visit with these people.  It’s hard to get around each other’s opinions and such, one or two it’s like walking on eggshells trying to avoid offending them.

One thing that stands out is we didn’t relly know our dad.  And we stayed up late talking about the garbage in our family.  Like did Dad have a drinking problem, does that explain the hole in the wall.  Who was he aiming for.  Someone said I mentioned this, five years ago, I have no memory of it.  One brother claims to remember all sorts of horrid stuff, he’s much younger than me and I don’t remember it so how could he?  One brother obviously had something hard to say but could not work up the courage to say it.

funerals are hard anyway, but with the added flavor of abuse they’re just yukky.