Homesickness

I finally got in a long overdue and much needed visit with my (favorite) brother. This distance each way is almost a 2-hour drive, but I know where he goes to hang out for coffee every Saturday morning, and that location cuts about 15 minutes out of that drive, so that was my plan. I’ve been complaining that my freezer was tightly packed because I had so many homemade meals and soups, etc. awaiting to be handed over. However, with the ongoing fatigue issues I’ve been experiencing, I wasn’t comfortable actually scheduling a day to visit because I don’t know how well I’ll sleep at night anymore, nor how much energy – and for how long – I’m going to have the next day. I texted him to let him know this morning that everything was in my car and I was on my way.

I’m pretty familiar with the route, although I always use the GPS as a back-up. The place I was meeting him was a new place for me to find, though I was somewhat familiar with the area, having grown up not far from it. The sky was blue but with low-level clouds, so there was no sun. The trees along the highway are just beginning to prepare to shower the eyes with that autumnal splendor of reds and golds and oranges. Nonetheless, there was an occasional clump of trees that seemed to be ahead of schedule from the majority, so there was some color to appreciate.

Once I was on the last leg of the drive, about 15-20 minutes from arriving at the destination, I found myself getting a little sad. I had the passing thought that I really missed this area, but thought that maybe it was more that I was looking forward to a big, also overdue, hug and I was feeling sad about how long it had been. Brad always comes here for Christmas, but I usually make at least 3 trips to visit him during the course of the year. Obviously, the pandemic changed all of that.

Our visit was lovely. Not the kind we usually have when we’re one-on-one in his home or mine, but just a nice visit. We were joined, as anticipated, by his frienemy, Jim, so I got to see him as well. We sipped coffee with free refills for about two hours, and then both Jim and Brad had other places they needed to get to, so we went outside, talked a little bit more, exchanged another hug and loaded the bags full of food into Brad’s hands to put in his car and take home.

Once I was back in my car and headed towards home, I didn’t get very far until I was on a road I’d traveled countless times over my years. Again, it was that sense of missing this area that was part of much of my life.

As a tween and teen, I spent an entire summer with an aunt and uncle and three cousins in South Carolina. I never felt homesick. I never felt homesick when I spent a month another summer with a different aunt and uncle and cousin as a “helper” to my aunt as she was in her 7th or 8th month of pregnancy with her second child. I lived on campus while I was away at college without any sense of being homesick. Even when I moved to Lancaster County and lived there for 14 years before making this last move, I never felt homesick.

But as I made the drive back to Pennsburg today, I couldn’t let go of the sense that I missed “home”. Not the actual brick and mortar of the building that housed me all of those years, but a sense that, in my heart and soul, this area in which I’d spent the majority of my life was “home”. It was familiar in an engrained way, and it stored within it a lot of memories of my life. Its familiarity felt safe and comfortable, despite the many changes that have happened over the years.

Don’t get me wrong… I live in a cute but old borough that is rural, not the suburbia I grew up in, and it has its charms. But I can honestly say that I’ve never felt as though I belonged here. To be honest, I never felt like I belonged in Lancaster County despite being there for those 14 years, but where I lived had more of the suburbia feeling that I was used to, so there was some comfort and familiarity in that.

The idea of packing up, moving and then unpacking fills me with dread. That will probably be the biggest hurdle that will keep me where I am. But having experienced being homesick for the first time in my life, I suspect that is a feeling that will reoccur during each and every trip back again.

I do need to remind myself that some of this might come from starting to enter into my ‘advanced years’ and perhaps subconsciously seeking to grasp onto things from a younger time in my life. On the other hand, all that I have left of my immediate family is my brother, Brad, and I do wish we were closer so that we could spend more time together.

All I know for sure is that, deep in my heart, I want to go home.

She Was Beautiful

SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL…….. but she didn’t know what that meant. When she was a little girl they told her she was beautiful but it had no meaning in her world of bicycles and pigtails and adventures in make-believe.

Later, she hoped she was beautiful as boys started taking notice of her friends and phones rang for Saturday night dates.

She felt beautiful on her wedding day, hopeful with her new life partner by her side but, later, when her children called her beautiful, she was often exhausted, her hair messily tied back, no make up, wide in the waist where it used to be narrow; she just couldn’t take it in.

Over the years, as she tried, in fits and starts, to look beautiful, she found other things to take priority, like bills and meals, as she and her life partner worked hard to make a family, to make ends meet, to make children into adults, to make a life.

Now, she sat. Alone. Her children grown, her partner flown, and she couldn’t remember the last time she was called beautiful.

But she was.

It was in every line on her face, in the strength of her arthritic hands, the ampleness that had a million hugs imprinted on its very skin, and in the jiggly thighs and thickened ankles that had run her race for her.

She had lived her life with a loving and generous heart, had wrapped her arms around so many to to give them comfort and peace. Her ears had heard both terrible news and lovely songs, and her eyes had brimmed with, oh, so many tears, they were now bright even as they dimmed.

She had lived and she was. And because she was, she was made beautiful.

~ Suzanne Reynolds, © 2019

And When October Goes

I’ve ‘borrowed’ the title for this post from a song sung by Barry Manilow. The music and lyrics are both haunting in their own way. It goes like this:

And when October goes
The snow begins to fly
Above the smoky roofs
I watch the planes go by

The children running home beneath
A twilight sky
Oh, for the fun of them
When I was one of them

And when October goes
The same old dream appears
And you are in my arms
To share the happy years
I turn my head away to hide
The helpless tears
Oh, how I hate to see October go

And when October goes
The same old dream appears
And you are in my arms
To share the happy years
I turn my head away to hide
The helpless tears
Oh, how I hate to see October go

I should be over it now, I know
It doesn’t matter much how old I grow
I hate to see October go

I remember clearly the first time that, in hindsight, I experienced the onset of S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). It was not a diagnosis that many years ago when I first experienced it. I was in my first semester at college, and my dorm room’s windows faced out to a beautiful tree-lined scape just off of campus. My desk was in front of those windows, and I can still visualize looking out the windows towards that scape. The first sightings of the leaves changing color was a magnificent kaleidoscope of golds and oranges and reds, but all too soon, those colors disappeared and the trees became tall, gangly big sticks with bare limbs that seemed almost garish compared to the splendor that had just been there. It set me into a state of melancholy that I couldn’t seem to shake. In my eyes, the view was so ugly that, with my roommate’s permission, we moved things around so that my back was to the window instead of facing it. That way, I could still benefit from the natural light without being able to see the scenery.

Finally speaking to my physician, nearly 20 years later, I mentioned how I was beginning to feel at our October appointment, and the diagnosis was made. I was given a mild anti-depressant to see if it would help, and it did seem to. I stayed on that medication until the following March. I also followed her suggestion and would make myself go outside, facing the sun, no matter how cold it got, as long as there was bright sunshine. The next fall, the same prescription was offered, but it didn’t seem to have much benefit. The dosage was doubled, and I learned that this particular medication doesn’t always offer relief being taken ‘seasonally’ like we had done. It’s now part of my daily regimen 365 days a year.

A few years ago, I was working in what was a pretty dark space without fluorescent lighting or much in the way of natural light. I ended up taking quick breaks, whenever I could, to go stand out in the sun with my eyes closed and my face upwards.

Now, I’m pretty able to handle what happens when the change of seasons is in full swing and winter sets in far too early. Older now, I’m not as keen on going outside when it’s cold, but I do have west-facing windows in my home which get full afternoon sun, so I might stand at them for some minutes and capture the brightness of the sun. Last winter, although it was mild in terms of snow/ice, it also seemed more gloomy with many less sunny days. Ironically, I now spend my time worrying about how bad this year’s onset of S.A.D. will be. I’ve been blessed to not have had a serious depression for almost two years – the last one I had was just after the holidays and it was intense and long-lasting. As is my habit, I simply shut myself away and pretended, when necessary, that I was okay. It will always be difficult to talk about that darkness with anyone who has not experienced it, who cannot fathom what it feels like. I’ve only begun opening up about it with people I truly trust, and letting them know that there is nothing they can do to help fix it – that I only need them to not be afraid of the darkness and be willing just to sit with me in it. I’ve said it many times, but perhaps never in this blog, that so many people want to stand above the dark hole and shine light down or reach down with a hand to pull me up. Those things don’t help – in fact, they often make it worse, as I see them as a way of indicating that I should just pull myself up. Don’t you think I would if I could??? The only thing you can do to help me is to sit in the dark with me, as a silent reminder, almost, that the demons inside me aren’t as scary (to you) as I think they are (to me). That’s the kind of reassurance I need.

So, it’s October already, and in the shittiest year in which I’ve ever lived, and as each day passes on the calendar, I can’t help but ponder if and when good ole’ S.A.D. will make its appearance. I’m already mentally preparing for it and using my old stand-by of “expect the worst, that way you’re never disappointed”.

If any of my readers suffer from S.A.D. – diagnosed or not – know that I am the best person to reach out to! Really! I’m too busy fighting my own demons to be afraid of yours!

Hacks from my Happy Place-XVIII

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my happy place. I guess that’s because it’s been a while since I’ve given into spending a chunk of time in my happy place! I’m blaming it on my shoulder, my struggle with fatigue and the fact that my kitchen doesn’t get anything from my window ACs so it’s always hot in the summer! It didn’t help the cause when my brother took in a temporary roommate and I didn’t know that person’s likes and dislikes so I didn’t cook for him during that time. Then, I also had a week or so where I just didn’t have an appetite – my taste buds were completely shut down and nothing sounded appealing. Fortunately, that was also temporary!

But now, the weather has quickly changed and I’m fine with my kitchen being warm. (I haven’t officially turned on my heat.) Also, my physical therapy is working well enough that I’ve been able to regain much of the use of my right hand, arm and shoulder without a problem. It seemed like I had to retrain the right side to take back all of the tasks I’d turned into habit with my left side!

Anyhow, this past weekend I made a batch of baked pork and sauerkraut. I’d been hungry for it, and I knew I’d be feeding others as well. I even made real mashed potatoes because I was going to share! For the record, let me state that I’d rather clean the toilet than peel 5 pounds of potatoes!!! Got it? Living alone, I tend to use instant for myself because of the convenience, but I decided to splurge. Besides, it was a good repetitive motion to work my arm and shoulder muscles!

I enjoyed the process enough that I also decided to make a meatloaf and some baked mac ‘n cheese (I use shells though). The meatloaf was better than the last one I made but still not as good as others I’ve made. The baked mac ‘n cheese was cheesy good, though!

The reasons I bake my pork and sauerkraut instead of using a crockpot are several. I like to brown the pork I’m using a little bit at first, so that it stays moist inside. I can brown it in my Dutch oven (5 quart pan) and then that same pan can go right into the oven. My mom always added some dill weed to her sauerkraut, insisting it took some of the ‘gasiness’ away, so I do as well. The secret I use that my mom didn’t however, is adding apple sauce. Sweetened or unsweetened is fine, just not the stuff with cinnamon. The applesauce sweetens and takes over a good part of the bitterness of the sauerkraut without changing its flavor. And, I admit, I also like when it’s done and the sauerkraut turns just a light brown color, which only happens when baking it.

This turned out to be one of my better batches. I have given, or will be giving, 4 meals of it away, which left me with enough for two good-sized meals. That’s just enough to enjoy without growing tired of it!

A little trick I’d heard about, in the meanwhile, has to do with reheating leftover pizza. If you’ve done that, you know that using the oven to reheat will make the crust extra hard, and using the microwave will make the crust extra chewy. The trick said to use the oven, but to sprinkle some water on and around the slices, then cover the pan with foil to reheat. The claim is that the steam, as the moisture evaporates, goes into the crust (because it’s the only porous thing available) and makes it like it was when it came out of the oven the first time. I tried it! It worked! I mean, it wasn’t just like fresh-from-the-oven, but it was so much more palatable than not using the trick!

I found, at the recommendation of my chiropractor, a website called http://Half Baked Harvest which has a lot of recipes. The bad news is that, like most cooking shows, the creator of the recipes uses items most of us don’t have, like sesame oil, ginger juice, fresh herbs, but as I looked at the recipes, my mind was turning with the possibilities of substitutions. I plan to take a closer look and see what I can adapt to things I have or am willing to buy (I mean, seriously, what am I going to do with a bottle of ginger juice after I’ve added 3 tbsp. to a recipe??). If you like new recipes, please take a look at that website and see what inspires you!

So thanks to my efforts, plus a meal to try gifted to me by my bestie, I’ve got lots of options to get me through Sunday before I have to scramble again! And Tuesday, my bestie and I are going to bite the bullet and go to our favorite place for a late lunch indoors. I feel safer there than any place around, and if we feel it’s too crowded, we just won’t stay. I already know I’m going to have either chicken tenders and fries or fish and chips!

Also, please always feel free to tell me about recipes you like – – or ask me questions about something you’d like to try making and I’ll try to give you good advice!

And remember, it indeed is time to start putting on your winter weight (your body will do this naturally, so why not enjoy the process!!!

“I want my Mommy!!!”

Okay, I’m 64 years old. Okay, my mom passed away over 21 years ago. And okay, my mom was not the nurturing type. But nonetheless, I still have these moments now and again.

I started physical therapy for my shoulder, after 4 months of still having harboring pain from dislocating it in May. My chiropractor has been working the shoulder bones every two weeks when I see him, but this pain was not in my shoulder but down my arm. I’d thought briefly about PT and when I asked Dr. Craig, that was his suggestion as well. Luckily, I found a place just 3 doors up from my doctor’s office, very convenient for traveling to and from. And my insurance covers the cost with no copay there, so that’s a bonus.

I went into this expecting it to be painful. It is at times, but not critically so. My problem lies in the fact that all of the exercises I need to do except one require use of my arms, and I have zero arm strength! I mean, sometimes I have to use both hands/arms to carry a heavy garbage bag out zero. I bag my own groceries heavily because I don’t want to make a bunch of trips to the car for retrieval, but I’m almost stopping twice on the steps (a total of 6) to put the bags down and shake my arms.

The first week – the second appointment of the week – had some major repercussions. I got put on a rowing machine (to me, it’s more like bicycling with your hands) for 4 minutes forwards and then 4 minutes backwards. It didn’t take long for my arms to tire. With just over 2 minutes left, I was ready to give up. I was drenched in sweat and breathing heavily and hurting far more than I wanted to. But I just reminded myself of “The Biggest Loser” on TV when I watched it and how the trainers demanded people keep going when they were sure they couldn’t do it anymore. So I pushed through the pain and finished. I immediately dropped my arms and they were like Jell-O and shaking, but I’d made it through!

That was my last exercise. I had one errand to run on the way home, picking up a prescription at the drive-thru of my pharmacy, and I was exhausted and plopped into my recliner. I wasn’t sitting there long until I started to ache from one shoulder to the other and up my neck. It was intense enough that I quickly grabbed the freeze cream and applied it liberally, washed my hands and then popped three ibuprofen. Back to the recliner.

Of course, the ibuprofen needed time to kick in. But the freeze cream did nothing! I hurt so badly that I could have cried, only I didn’t want to waste the energy to do it. And one thought traveled through my mind: I want my mommy! My logical brain knew that, not only was that impossible, but if it were possible, it wouldn’t do any good. But I still wanted her!

As I thought about it, trying to take my mind off the pain, I realized I wanted a June Cleaver or Carol Brady mom, one who would coddle me and promise me it would get better.

My curiosity peaked further… As children, we somehow instinctively know that our moms’ job is to take care of us, just like our dads’ job is to protect us. This is not a lesson we’re taught; it’s somehow innate in our minds. That fascinates me! We talk about how much our environment shapes us, including our mindset, and I agree that’s true – but only to an extent. I use the example of my mom’s siblings to explain – one was a (recovered) alcoholic and another was a preacher, yet they both lived in the same household and grew up with the same parents. They were also the oldest and the second oldest, so there wasn’t a big span of time in which their environments would have changed drastically, one to the next.

Anyhow, back to the subject… It fascinates me that we have these mental intuitions and that we are, perhaps, born with them? Anyone have any insight on that?

And, am I the only one who still has “I want my Mommy!!” moments?

Dress Rehearsals

I read the words that became the title of this post in another blog in a different context. But those two simple words gave me a sudden insight into how and where my mind wanders more often than not, and I feel the need to explore that.

Whenever I have my just ‘sit and rest’ breaks, which are happening with more frequency since I started physical therapy for my shoulder which makes me even more tired, I prop my feet up on the recliner and just close my eyes to rest. This is the time when I work to clear my mind of things that make me stressed and just let it wander. Often times, memories come into my mind, assorted ones with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes, however, I think about things that are more in real life in the near future, and find myself thinking about how I want to handle them.

I’ve never liked surprises. I have ZERO poker face, so any emotion I feel is going to be displayed for all to see. Because of that, I’ve developed this sort of strategy for how I want those things to play out so that I’m prepared for how I’m going to react emotionally. It can be what I plan to say or do, or how I plan to react to what might be said or done. After all, we’ve all heard time and time again the adage that this is our life, not a dress rehearsal for it.

I’ve had to work hard to overcome the me of the past who, having learned it from my mother, would fly off the handle without warning. That work has allowed me to keep automatic retorts and my impatience for idiots to, if not come immediately to mind, at least not come out of my mouth. To be honest, there are times I wish I could visit that ‘old me’ just for a moment – just have a moment now and then when I can immediately blow off the steam and ire that has bubbled up. And I have – on very rare occasions – and immediately felt bad and ended up apologizing. My bestie can probably recall the time I said something very nasty to her and apologized, while she thought it was just my streak of sarcasm and what I said didn’t even faze her. But I knew I’d said it in a moment of anger, so I needed to apologize.

So, it is really helpful to me to have these dress rehearsals in my head… to play out potential scenarios for something I’m pretty sure will be happening and how I want to deal with it. I don’t know – perhaps it is a form of wanting to control a situation, though I think it’s more about wanting to make sure my self-control will be activated. And sometimes, it’s planning something I want to say to a person in kindness, wanting to make sure that I hit the right chord of words that will lift someone up when they are feeling low.

Dress rehearsals are, I guess, a coping mechanism for me. However, once again, I wish I could just spontaneously combust when the spirit strikes me. Because I choose not to, I realize that the emotion I’m feeling just gets tucked away (not disposed of) and that I end up carrying it with me. Such is the case in my recent post about finding forgiveness. The anger I felt at the words that were said to me never got a chance to express itself, so these years later, it’s unresolved (thanks again to Just Being Me for words that have been helping me resolve it internally!).

I remember when I was still the ‘explode now’ kind of person, and a therapist I was working with who helped me by suggesting I visualized a container inside my chest where I would put those feelings, tighten the lid, and hold on to it until I was in her office, where I was free to let them out and deal with them in a place without judgement or fear. That actually worked like a charm! But now, I have no scheduled time or place where I can look forward to freeing them, so they tend to fester. Seldom are they things that don’t just dissolve with time, but when they are… Consciously or sub-consciously, I carry them around as a part of me – and then I wonder why I’m so tired!

I need to work on finding ways to free those emotions in a safe and non-judgmental way. I have been more open with my bestie and my brother in discussing them, and I have this blog as a place to at least pour them out.

But still, I choose to let my mind play out these dress rehearsals. Maybe it’s just my way of avoiding the possibility that something will happen that will add to my already full internal container…

Lost Sight

Once again, my brother has written a poem that moves me deeply inside.

commonsensiblyspeaking



~~~

Envying those who have more

We lose sight of how to give

And in the race to be like them

We lose sight of how to live

~~~

In the want to be pedestalled

We lose sight of the ledge we climb

Shiny bobbles to keep us fooled

We lose sight of how precious time

~~~

When wealth is all we idolize

We lose sight of just who we are

When looking down from up above

We lose sight of our guiding star

~~~

And here lies man’s great tragedy

For there is more in life to find

Having sight does not mean we see

When we choose to remain so blind

~~~



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I CAN Find the Forgiveness!

I have to start this post off with a big Shout-Out and a truly heart-felt THANK YOU to a fellow blogger, Just Being Me (read her blog here: https://justbeingme73.wordpress.com). We follow each other’s blogs and reply to them as appropriate. In response to my post about trying to find forgiveness, her reply gave me some real insight into the situation from a different perspective, and I’ve mulled that over several times, each time I do so allowing me to let go of some of the long-lasting anger that has plagued me these many years. Basically, her words helped me recognize that, perhaps in her own grieving, she simply wasn’t cognizant of the insensitivity of her words and the affect they had on me; that she may not even remember the event at all! In that light, I can begin to understand that, while I will always feel I deserve an apology for them, I’m more at peace about why I may never get one. It may still take a while, but I can now see that forgiveness in this instance is achievable, and the weight of its impact becomes less heavy by default.

On top of that, I was scrolling through social media recently and heard this quote on something produced my Jay Shetty, and it really struck a cord. “Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.” Not only are those words psychologically correct, but they are literally correct as well!

Picture it visually. Someone above you can’t pull you down. It’s an impossibility. The only way in which they can pull you is up! Conversely, a person needs to be literally below you in order to pull you down!

That gleaned idea is helping me recognize that I don’t want to feel like I’m being pulled down by this experience, and that my holding onto its negativity so tightly only means that I’m keeping myself down!

Further ruminating allowed me to take stock in the fact that her actions, good and bad, will be called to attention before God. Mine will as well. Do I really want to have this anger in my heart something that will be called to my attention when I stand before the Pearly Gates? Trust me, the list will be long enough without it there, too!

So, again, thank you to Just Being Me for your insight! For that alone, I’m so glad I continue to blog and learn!

I’ll take the peace, thank you very much!

Can I Find the Forgiveness?

Above is one of the few memes still left in my “Future Blog Ideas” folder on my computer. Every time I gaze upon it, one very specific moment in time comes right into focus. It’s been almost 5-1/2 years since that moment took place, and yet, to this day, it tends to make me angry and pissed off still.

The person from whom I will never get an apology is someone who touts her strong and faith-based Christianity to anyone who might perhaps hear her. This same person once belittled me, when saying grace before a meal, for not saying “in Jesus’ name we pray” before I said “Amen”. She told me in no uncertain terms that I need to say that in my prayers because we can’t get to heaven without going through Jesus. I chose to let the moment pass, swallowed down any retort and just didn’t give her any response at all.

This person of whom I speak was my father’s wife, the woman he married some years after my mother had passed. She is a woman I’ve known most of my life, as she was married to my mother’s brother (therefore my aunt) for many years until my uncle passed away. The two couples were always close and upon retiring, my parents moved into the same gated community in Florida where my uncle and aunt had retired to. She was there to help my dad when my mom took ill, and he was there to help her when my uncle took ill. I can’t say I was surprised that they ended up married.

I remember, visiting them after they’d been married a little while, that I had said something to the effect of how excited I was that my cousins (her two daughters, one from a previous marriage and one with my uncle) would now be my step-sisters, because I’d had only brothers. She quickly reminded me that they were my cousins, and it was no big deal in the scheme of things.

When my dad passed away, there was a service in Florida, which had been home to him for over 20 years, but he was to be buried in Pennsylvania, next to my mom. I pushed for a memorial service in PA before burial; she tried to tell me that wasn’t important because all of his friends were now in Florida, I pushed back with, “That may be, but his family is here”. I felt we, my brother and I, my niece and other close friends, had the right to have a service. I set it all up – paid for it all and for her hotel room since she had planned to fly in the day of the burial. I even paid for an obituary in the local home paper because they still had friends and people who knew them from the many years they lived here. Albeit small, we had our memorial service in the church that was ‘home’ before their move to Florida.

The burial was mentioned in the obituary to be at the convenience of the family. We wanted it to be small, even though we had it scheduled in advance. It was attended by her, my brother and I, and my older brother’s widow (oh, she’s another story!).

At the end of the service, as we all went back to the driveway where our cars were parked, we were asked if we all wanted to go out for food and all declined. In moments shortly thereafter, my dad’s wife said something that literally made all of us drop our jaws. She very tersely told me that she was angry that her granddaughter (daughter of my cousin) should have been listed as one of my dad’s grandchildren because he was the only “pop” she’d ever known.

To this day, I still feel my eyes get big with disbelieve at those words. My cousins were not to be considered step-sisters, and the other cousin’s son wasn’t considered as a grandchild, but this one should be? And the way she said it, you’d have thought that this child who was omitted was going to be scarred for life for being omitted!

Very quickly after that, after the three of us had handled the shock, we all split ways. Mary (dad’s wife) got back in her car, drove it back down to BWI airport, where she’d flown into, and spent time with her daughter and precious grandchild. A picture was posted on Facebook shortly after of the two of them jumping on a trampoline in the back yard, and the granddaughter did not look worse for the wear for having been omitted…

We had no contact again until I needed to contact her about the birth/death plate that hadn’t been put on the grave marker. Since everything had been prearranged and prepaid for the cemetery before my parents ever moved, she didn’t want to deal with them so suggested we contact them directly. Eventually, my brother got everything straightened out and the plate was added. (Thank you, Brad!)

Since then, we’ve had no direct contact. We are “friends” with each other on Facebook, and very occasionally, she posts something for which I hit the ‘like’ button, because I like it. Her birthday date comes up on FB, but I do not send a greeting. Mine does NOT show on FB, and I suspect by now she doesn’t remember when it is.

But here’s my point… I can’t get past her consistent “religious” posts, still portraying herself with this moral sense of faith while she is capable of uttering such painful spite and never thinking she needs to apologize for it. That is a struggle I’ve had before – the people who are vocal about their amazing faith while simultaneously doing obvious things that are just the opposite. It’s that “black and white” way I see things. I’m not religious, though I am spiritual and have a connection to the faith in which I was raised. And I know I’m often a sinner, but I don’t go touting my faith in a way that would make anyone think I wasn’t.

I know I should let go of this. To be honest, it isn’t something nagging at me as it used to. But I can’t visit my parents’ grave without remembering it, since it happened there, and it certainly takes away from the reason I choose to visit it. How do I forgive that? I get that finding forgiveness is being the better person, but do I really need to forgive? I mean, I’d like to be able to let it go, but the circumstances of where and when it happened will always remain, so how can I? An apology would help me so much – for her to recognize that what she said was unfair and cruel would truly allow me to forgive her for the wrongdoing. But I just don’t have what the meme says… I don’t have the strength (to be honest, I don’t have the DESIRE!) to forgive someone who isn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received.

It’s a shitty situation to be in…

Before and After #MeToo — rachelmankowitz

I’ve been thinking about the #MeToo movement a lot, especially in the shadow of the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement, which has led to both protests and intensive discussions over the past months. The parallels in how discrimination functions are so clear, no matter which group is being put down. The literature on microaggressions […]

Before and After #MeToo — rachelmankowitz