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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Honest Words In Hard Times


   I had said that I wanted to record and tell of things in life and how I felt about those things as they occurred. I am finding that more difficult than I had ever dreamed. When I wrote the book I Will Not Give Up...Not Today....Life Is A Journey, I did not so much write it to tell my own story as to try to share the idea that we can not give up. If we give up today there is so much of tomorrow and the rest of life that we miss. We do not have to be dead to be dead to life. Just because we are alive does not mean we are truly living life. When we loose the ability to find the beauty in life, life can have a dim outlook. When we loose the will to stand up and keep going we fall farther and farther down. If we find what we look for in life it can be something beautiful or it can be dark and increasingly hopeless. I guess that goes to the old saying we need to watch what we look for..... we just might find it.
          When I wrote I Will Not Give Up it was the hardest thing I had ever written but I felt compelled to write it. I wrote about things I had never talked about, and remembered things that for years had been beyond my ability to remember. As I wrote, it was like a flash back and I did not just remember it but relived it. I have heard from so many that the book touched their heart and even helped in their own lives. I could not go back and read my own words. I was unable to risk the feeling of reliving things such as the head-on collision and other times that were so difficult. The pages were not written as an author but emotions straight from the heart.
          Now as I try to keep my word and honestly write about life and how things are going with my writing and surviving, I again find it difficult. I would like to tell you that every day I look on the bright side and am able to see hope and bright and shining things but that would be a lie. I have felt almost overwhelmed. There were times I felt so filled with despair there was no one I could talk to. There was no where I could turn. I turned to prayer. I understand there are many who do not want to hear religious discussions but my beliefs and faith are a part of me. I believed that God was there with me but I do not know his plan. Am I to survive? What are the challenges ahead?
          I was also not alone because of the outpouring of support and well wishes and prayers from all of you online. I have said before how much you have touched my heart and how much it has meant but words really do not describe it.
          Then we lost the internet. My husband has always taken care of our family. He could no longer work. He was lucky to be alive. Everyday he faced challenges trying to survive the damages the brain injury has left him to overcome. We had no income but what the church provided in offerings. We had to go the food banks to have food and work applying any and everywhere we could to get help.
          I had no idea how we would pay for things I feel are necessary in addition to food and utilities or gas to go to doctors. How would I pay for the oxygen that is my lifeline? They showed such compassion and have helped to keep me going.
          Month after month I tried to hold on and not give up. My husband had nearly died in March. My mother and father had been very ill. The end of July we lost my mother. As I stood at her side holding onto her in the physical and emotional sense in those last moments, I felt overwhelmed. I felt a terrible pressure in my chest. I could not breathe even with the oxygen. I went down.
          I thought it was my nerves. I thought it was anxiety. In addition to respiratory problems and the loss of most of my left lung to cancer I have severe hypertension and some heart problems. During those months I felt sure the pressure and stress was showing in an anxiety attack. My family tried to get me to go to the hospital but my mother was dieing,, my father would need me, my husband was so hurt from the skull fracture.... I was so sure it was stress.
          I was wrong. It was my heart. I could not give up. My father needed me. My family needed me. Even the funeral became a nightmare. We could not bury my mother until we came up with money. We thought it was all arranged and there were insurance to cover but it had been cashed in long ago. My father had no idea and the stress was immense. He has mild Alzheimers and it made it more difficult.
          I did my best and she had a beautiful service eventually. I felt so tired. I tried my best to keep going. During that time there were so many who posted comments that helped so much. I thought we were through the worst that life could throw at us but life has a way to surprise you.
          I became so weak I could hardly get up. If I took more than a couple of steps I became dizzy and felt so fragile I began to tremble. We had no choice but to go for help. The good Lord does look after me even as stubborn as I can be. I have felt so bad for so long it is often hard to tell when I am in danger. The went in and found I had an 80 percent block on one side and 70 percent on the other. Four stints later I was doing so much better.
          Since that time I began a rehab program for cardio/pulmonary. It helps so much but how could I be strong enough to do it or have the gas to get there? When my left arm fell down I felt so confused and could not make it work. I just wanted to go home. I thought if I rested I would get stronger and all would be fine. I could do it..... but.... I had had a mild stroke.
          I am still working to get it back and making great progress. I am typing this. I may have to do it over and over and it takes longer but I can do it. During all of this there were times it was hard to look on the bright side. There were times it was hard to find hope and beauty in life. I thought of the things I have been working on combining art and words to help share the message of hope. I sat and looked at my own works to find hope in my own life.
          I was hanging on but barely. I read the words you all posted and they inspired me that I was not alone. There were others who cared. The love of my daughter, grandson and husband kept me going. Friends and family shared their love. I could do it. I could live through all of this and find a way to make life worth while.... I hoped I could but was not as sure as I had once been.
          I am finally back online but feel so tired and weak it is difficult for me to be here. I do everything a little at a time. I really miss my momma. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving thanks to my daughter, grandson and her boyfriend. They worked so hard and made such a wonderful meal. My father was there but he looked so lost and fragile. When he first was there I do believe he was ready to go be with Mom. By the time he left, I saw him smiling and talking about the future.
          The little grandson works magic for all of us. He held my father's hand and told him about how he would have to be there for Christmas. Now Daddy is talking about Christmas and smiles. That is the same little grandson that is my co-author. The book we just got out is one I can not promote but am so happy with. I feel it is not only a good story for children but one that may touch grownups too. I wrote a journal type book as we worked to share how we did this. I did not only want to tell a story but teach my grandson how and what it takes to make a story a book. I wanted him to understand why we wrote it as we did and what we were doing as we developed the story. I hope that helps young and older alike to make their dreams come true with the own writing.
          Before I got so sick I was invited to be the guest speaker for the fourth and fifth grade classes at Green County Tech. It was wonderful. The children were so excited and filled with enthusiasm. I hope one day to be able to do a special event and work with some that are interested in writing. So many times the thing that holds us back is the ability to believe and determination to work and work hard learning as much as we can to accomplish our dreams. There are so many things that I want to do. It has been so long since I could be up and about to do the writers group but I will not give up. We still keep in touch on the phone.
          This last round nearly did me in. I was having problems thinking of the future in anyway other than one filled with pain, and a dismal end to life. I could look outside and see a bright day that I could not be a part of. I thought that maybe it was time for me to say enough. I had tried, but living was really hard. I wanted my grandson to hold the book he had worked so hard to write in his hands. It is here now. It is real and so is the book that shares how we did it.
          We let him open the package it arrived in. At first he had no words. He seemed overwhelmed with emotion. I had my husband take pictures of him. 

In a flash he grabbed up the two copies and held them up with a smile that would light the room. 

          I was sitting beside him. It had been a very difficult day for me and I think it showed but he lunged toward me with the books in his hands and we had a special moment I will never forget and even had the picture of the moment.

          After that I had a really bad day. I had not been feeling well at all. The blood pressure is uncontrolled even with medication. I have tried my best but felt so bad. When I finally gave up and went to the hospital they kept me there. I began to wonder if this would be my last. I had the nurse take a picture so if I did get to come home and write this it would be one more piece of life's puzzle. For a brief moment I thought it might be the last picture of me to be had. It was a sad and fearful feeling. 

          I felt so weak and fragile. They did many tests and all of a sudden we were headed to the heart cath lab. They called in specialists and they were so good. They went into my heart and did what they could and I am alive. I have to find ways to make life special and live it, instead of just being alive. I had pressure that had built up in the heart that could have ended all of that. I still am fighting hour to hour the blood pressure that could do it again but I am alive.
          I came home from the hospital in and ice storm. We live out in the country and often loose our electricity. When we loose ours I loose my oxygen. I have a couple of small tanks, but how long will they last. The ice made it impossible to leave the house. There was no way I could walk on the ice or for us to get our vehicle out to go anywhere.
          The night we got home from the hospital we did loose our electricity for awhile but thanks to those who work in the cold and difficult weather they got us going before I ran our of oxygen. The next day I looked out the window to a world of ice. I usually love the beauty as it sparkles like crystal. All I saw was a shroud. It was a shroud of ice. I looked out the window at the trees the ice storms of the past had broken with their twisted limbs reaching up and more ice on the branches. Was it a world of beautiful crystal or a shroud of ice? I guess it is all how you look at it.

          I looked out and thought of all the messages from those online. I thought of the love of family and friends. I thought the my husband, daughter and grandson and knew I had to find a way to see the beauty. I had to find a way to get tough and get up and live. It is not over until we give up.
          My grandson asked how will anyone ever know about our book. I told him not to worry. We did something special and I believe in the story. It is a tale for young and old alike, sharing the story of two young children and the discoveries they make down the path they take. The choices we make have consequences as the two young children discover. What may seem like an adventure and time of fun can often evolve into something more sinister or frightening. Discovering the right path and surviving to come safely home is something the children almost loose hope of finding. A story of the faith of a child and courage to stand by what they believe.

I told him it is there and it is real. Even if only one person reads it and it touches them we did good.
          I looked out again at the ice on the trees and knowing how cold it is outside. I saw it sparkle in the sunlight. I saw the beauty again. I did not give up. I may have come close but there is more for me to do in this life. I have no idea what the future holds and am working with all my might to hang on and improve. There are so many more things I want to do. Even on the coldest days the love of family and friends here and online make a warm place in my heart.
Before I go I want to share some of the art projects I have been doing with art and words.  I have used my own water color paintings and photos to combine feelings, sight and heart