I am trying to sort out my experiences and thoughts to better understand how to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Lately, I've been a little like Dorothy looking out of my house as I spin around in a tornado.  Work (paperwork is not my friend), home (still good and bad days), my dad (he needs surgery) have all been pulling me in so many directions, that it was hard focusing on any one of them to feel as though I was doing a really good job with either of them.  Then, this weekend I got sick (I rarely get sick) and am still recovering but feel a lot better that I did on Sunday.  So, of course I'm two days behind where I want to be but, I'm not stressing about it. It is what it is.

In the back of my mind has remained my 'pilgrimage'.  I really wanted to exorcise those old ghosts.  During those moments when I had time to just be quiet and think, I tried to plot out a route to take.  On that route I would stop and maybe lay a flower, or take a picture and then burn it and spread the ashes, or just sit and say a little prayer.  I was trying to figure out how best to put those bad memories to rest. 

Then, one morning I was taking a shower (always my best place to think) and the thought came to me to change my thinking.  It came to me that I don't have to physically go through all of that if I don't want to.  The change has to come in the way I'm viewing those places.  So the question popped into my head, "Do I see those places as a time where she was drunk or do I see those places as a time that the Grace of God covered the situation making it one that could have been horrible, but instead, each time some little miracle happened that allowed the situation to pass without anyone getting hurt, or arrested or dying?"  My thought was not to see those places as reminders of all of the negative, but as places where God stepped in and, 'saved the day.'    Once I considered that thought, it was like a weight had been lifted from my whole being.  I think I may have even taken a deep breath, like the breath you take when you open the window in the spring on the first nice day and smell all of those sweet, fresh fragrances.  The fresh fragrance of clearer thinking.

Here is one of those miracles that really is not so little.  She was to run an errand for the place that she worked for on campus.  During the middle of a test I was giving, she called the phone in my room.  I could tell by her speech that something wasn't right.  Just at that moment, my principal walked into the room.  I'm not sure if I had a look on my face or what, but she asked me if there was a problem and I said, yes.  She asked if it was family.  I said yes (she knows nothing about my family). She then asked me if I needed to leave. I said only for a few minutes.  She told me to go, that she would administer the test for me (that never happens). So out the door I ran. I called my daughter on the way and found her sitting in the snow on the curb right as you enter campus.  To all others, it looked as though she had fallen.  I pulled over, helped her up, and took her home.  All in 45 minutes which is another amazing feat.  No one was hurt, no one knew, and I got back to work and all was 'fine.' 

That was just one of the insanities that occurred during those early years when I was trying to understand what this was all about. 

So, there in the shower, I had my pilgrimage. I decided to shift the focus of my thinking to the blessing not the curse, so to speak, and that heaviness in my heart, lifted.  Though I haven't had the time to drive past those places, yet, I know it will be different.  It is different already, here, at home, with the memories that have accumulated, here.  A lot of negative went on (still goes on) here, though I don't dread being here, anymore.  It's different, now. My view is different.  I was putting up Christmas decorations and the phrase, 'There by the Grace of God go I,' came into my mind. I have said it on occasion, with no real commitment to what it means.  I completely understand what it means, now.  They aren't just words to me anymore.  They are a declaration.

Merry Christmas and bountiful blessings in the New Year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Unchained Memories

I still feel as though I'm in a transition of sorts.  No more of those panicked feelings even though life here feels a little like the waves when you're sitting on a raft in the ocean.  It's not a stormy sea, but it's not calm waters, either. 

Thanksgiving here was nice, though, because of work, my son couldn't be here (first time) so it was my daughter, my dad and I.  It was  a nice, calm and relaxed day. 

My daughter and I were out yesterday, walking through the stores, testing perfumes,  looking at clothes, admiring odds and ends.  It was fun begin part of the shopping crowd without that nervous feeling of needing to find the gift everyone else is looking for.  I stopped worrying about shopping for Christmas a while ago.  I take it slow, now, and things seem to turn out a lot better than when I was one of those frenzied feeling shoppers.

On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store and my daughter ran in to pick up a few things. I waited in the car.  I sat and thought about a quick comment that I made leaving the mall.  It had something to do with wanting memories of places we go to or things we've done that have nothing to do with a drinking memory. I don't want to look at some picture that was taken that on the outside looks 'normal' yet I know that she had been drinking.  Or, some place we drive past that has some memory of a drinking moment.  I did comment to her about it and we kind of joked about it, which feels like a good thing to me, because in the past anger could erupt with only a one word mention of drinking.  Progress.  Anyway, as I sat in the car, I started to wonder, how do you make new memories to overlap the old?  Those old memories feel like false ones, anyway.  That's not really how life should be or how it was supposed to be.  Those are not the memories that were supposed to be held onto.  Those old memories do not really reflect the life situations that my child should have been in.  I know it may not make sense, but that is what I was thinking, and pretty much how I feel about it.  I'm not resentful.  Not really remorseful, either.  More like going through my mental album of memories and wanting to remove the 'false' pictures and replace them with the mental photos that should be there. 

So, that's what I'm doing.  I'm toying around with the idea of revisiting all of the 'haunted' places with the false memories and doing something positive to recreate better memories.  I'm not sure that I will actually go through it with all of the places, but I do think I just may make my own pilgrimage to some of these places to  'set things straight' so to speak.  I don't want to drive past something (I've written about this before) and constantly see the ghosts of drinking past, waving to me or peeking out from behind a pole as I drive past.  I want unchanged from those memories.