My Sweet, Sweet Husband

Yesterday marked two years since my husband left this realm of reality that is our planet, Earth. He is out there now on the ultimate adventure and a part of me is a little jealous.

I’m not suicidal or anything, I just am so curious about what is beyond our limited knowledge and understanding of the afterlife and what happens to us. It’s fascinating.

One thing I know for certain is that we don’t really die. The part of us that is “us”, or the soul is made up of energy. The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.

I know Keith is still around because I feel him all the time. Sometimes I can even hear him if I’m quiet and still long enough to pay attention. Then there are the dreams.

He hasn’t come to me more than a handful of times in my dreams that I can recall. When he does though, it always seems like a real visit. It’s different from a normal dream. It feels as if we are in a different dimension and we are the only two entities that exist there.

Yesterday, I pretty much stayed in bed. I slept off and on and during one of my naps, Keith came. He picked me up from someplace and said, “Are you ready, dear?”

I ran up to him and threw my arms around him immediately in tears and exclaimed, “Where have you been?? You were gone forever, I thought you were dead!”

He replied, “Now, you know I’m not dead, right?”

I looked up at him incredulously and said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know that, but why can’t I see you anytime I want?”

He said something poignant to me and I remembered the gist of it when I woke up so I looked it up. It was a quote by the poet Emily Dickinson.

Keith smiled at me and said, “Forever is composed of moments.”

Frustrated I asked what he meant and he basically said that I have many things to accomplish while I’m here. Be patient and take nothing for granted. He said he will always be close by, keeping watch, and loving me. He said after my series of moments on this plane of existence, he will come for me and we can be together. Until then I must be satisfied with the lovely invasion into my sleep.

We ended our visit with something we said to each other every day we were together.

I said, “You are my sweet, sweet husband.”

He returned with, “And you are my lovely wife.”

Me & my sweet, sweet husband Keith. Photo taken two days prior to his suicide.
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Cheaters and Liars

If I am going to be honest, I have been a cheater and a liar before. In fact, I had an affair during my first marriage which ultimately ended the relationship. Once trust is broken, it’s incredibly difficult to get that back.

Of course, no one cares about how the cheater feels, they cheated. They deserve pain, guilt and whatever else happens as a result of their bad karma. Until I was the cheater, I assumed they didn’t really feel guilty about their actions anyway.

I can’t speak for all cheaters or former cheaters, but not only did it not feel good to cheat, the remorse I felt once I was found out and seeing the pain I caused was truly awful.

Karma working the way it does, it would make sense for me to pay for my decision to cheat at some point. The mere feelings I had were not sufficient. I paid in spades. Everyone knows the saying, ” once a cheater, always a cheater”. That rule doesn’t apply to everyone.

I became obsessed with cheating, only on the opposite side of the spectrum. Honesty, fidelity, and trust became the most important things in the world to me. I became super monogamous. There is now no room in my world for infidelity.

Lying and cheating tend to go hand in hand. Lies become necessary in order to carry out the cheating and to keep an affair going. Once the habit of lying has begun, it’s like a contagious illness, it spreads. It spreads into your daily life in other areas and after a while you may even begin to believe the lies yourself.

With my monogamy comes honesty. I am honest to a fault at this time of my life. I have never liked to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I will if I have to. If anyone would like me to tell you about yourself, just ask. I will begrudgingly oblige.

Keith’s death also has contributed to my lack of filter. My mother-in-law refers to a condition very similar as “grief-stripping”. Seems appropriate.

My whole point of this rant is to let it be known that I understand what it feels like from both sides, and they both suck.

Being the one cheated on feels horrible because of the betrayal. Your body and soul should belong to your partner and is sacred. When betrayal occurs, it’s a violation of this sacred bond and ultimately a violation of trust.

Now, being the cheater sucks on a whole different level. You know you’re screwing up, and you know you could lose everything you have that truly means everything to you, but the lure of infidelity can be exciting and intoxicating.

Once the deed has been done, there’s no going back. You can’t take it away, no matter how much you may want to. If your partner finds out or you tell them, their pain becomes your pain and it should. I had to keep in mind that the pain I felt merely witnessing my partner’s pain, was well deserved.

The cheater and the partner (or former partner), now have to deal with the aftermath. If you stay together be prepared for a lot of work. Relationships are hard work anyway without betrayal, so throwing that in there makes it extra tough. It can be done.

My best advice is this, cheaters, accept responsibility. Do not blame your partner for your bad choices. It’s your fault and yours alone. If there is a problem at home, go home and fix it. All of that energy used to lie and sneak around can be transferred to your relationship and fixing what’s broken. No excuses.

Ok, now the victims, because that’s what you are. The betrayal feels awful when it’s done to you. If your partner comes clean and wants to work things out with you, you have a decision to make. Stay, or go. If you stay to be prepared for a tough road. If you leave then do your best to move along. In both cases, forgiveness is in order. Always remember forgiving isn’t for them. It’s for you. Respect yourself, love yourself. Make your stance on what your needs are and stick to your guns. If your partner loves you and truly wants to make it work, they will work to keep you and should.

That’s it, that is all I have to say about this subject. Goodbye, goodnight, good morning, whatever…

The Kids Are NOT Alright

Mental illness showed up in me at a young age beginning with O.C.D. and morphing into full blown depression by my teen years. Although those things were difficult to deal with as a kid, dealing with having a mentally ill parent was just as difficult, if not more so at times.

The thought that I could put my own children through something similar to my own experience never really occurred to me. I dont know why it didn’t. I believe I sincerely thought that I could raise my children relatively unscathed by my illness. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Not only have my children been affected negatively, they could possibly have a more difficult time than I had ever endured. It’s also possible that it seems more difficult to me because it’s my babies, not me going through it. Emotionally damaging my children is something I absolutely would never consciously do.

Being in denial that my children have been affected negatively by my illness wouldn’t help a damn thing. In fact, I would really like to put us in family therapy to help us cope with the past, present and future.

Hopefully I can convince the rest of their family to be supportive of the therapy. After all, it is mainly for the children’s benefit.

Now that my kids are teenagers, they are beginning to feel resentment toward me and what I don’t think they realize, is that I get it! My mama was bat shit crazy at times and although she did her best, it wasn’t always easy being her daughter.

I wish my kids could see what’s in my heart. They would see the unconditional love and devotion I feel toward them. They aren’t just my babies, they are amazing human beings. They truly are the whole package. Smart, funny, compassionate, the kind of kids women dream about having.

My hope is that my kids and I can have open communication about mental illness and how it’s affecting them. With love, patience, and an open mind, I’m sure that we will get through life together.

I’m certain that we will not get through our life together unscathed. It’s not possible. Getting through it and becoming stronger and better is possible for everyone involved. That’s a challenge I’m willing to accept.

Am I Ever Happy?

Featured photo: cafepress.com Gifs: giphy.com

Someone asked me today if I’m ever happy. This question followed a bitch out session by yours truly. I had a good reason to bitch, trust me. I guess everyone usually feels justified when bitching someone out. If you know you’re wrong and keep complaining, then you’re… just a bitch.

I sat in the car and contemplated this thing called happiness and wondered, “What the hell is that?”

This person is right, I’m not happy and am rarely satisfied with anything in my life right now. So what do I do about it?

I figure I have one of two choices. Either accept my life for what it is and shut the hell up, or change it. So, which one do I choose? Hell, I don’t know. If I knew the answer, I would probably be happy.

So there you have it. The answer is very simple. Everyone else has to change their ways to make me happy.

Since that will never happen, I have to do something different. I am just as tired of bitching as everyone is tired of hearing it. My bitching has gotten to the point where I am annoying myself. That’s pretty bad.

So my message to everyone is, I will do my best to stop all the complaining.

Life sucks sometimes. Adulting especially sucks. When my husband was still alive he was stressed about money all the time. I wasn’t. I didn’t have to worry about it because he did all the worrying. Now I have to do it all and damn it, Keith, wherever you are, please know I get it now!

Eventually, no one will want to be around me with all of this negative energy. I need a Snickers and a Disney movie or musical stat! This is an emergency. If I can’t be happy with chocolate and Disney then I need a lobotomy.

Well… I am totally bombing the no complaining thing. It’s just that I have so much stuff to complain about and so little time.

My first positive statement in this ridiculous post is that thanks to the new medication I’m on, I’m not depressed. Unhappy? Yes. Depressed? No. So that’s a plus, right?

I have to start thinking more on the positive side. This negativity is turning me into a bitter bitch and that’s not me. Plus, I don’t want to be alone my whole life and I definitely don’t want the 100 cats that inevitably goes along with that.

The new me will begin… Tomorrow. Then, I will be a ray of fucking sunshine. Lookout.

The Suicide Moms: Not Your Average Heros

Photo Credit: Sarah Jones
In order from left to right: Peggy, Becky, Karen, Mara, Barbara

My mother-in-law is amazing in many ways. She is intelligent, compassionate, driven, and always tries to understand where someone is coming from; even if that someone is different from her. I admire all of these things about her.

I can now add four more people to the list of women I find truly inspirational and admirable, “The Suicide Moms”.

The Suicide Moms consist of a brave group of women who are all survivors of suicide, meaning they each lost a loved one to suicide. However, these incredible women didn’t just lose any loved one, they each lost their child.

It’s unnatural to bury your child, it’s not the way the universe is supposed to work. Our children are supposed to bury us; add suicide to the equation, and the pain these women must feel is completely unimaginable.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, marked two years since one of The Suicide Moms’ son, Caleb 18, died by suicide. I went to brunch with The Moms to support Karen, (Caleb’s Mom) and to meet the rest of the group.

They are Karen, Barbara, lost her son Keith 36, Mara, lost her daughter Kara 35, Becky lost her son Adam 22, and Peggy who lost her son E.C. 31.

There were a few tears shed, but they didn’t last long due to the support and love these women doled out for each other, no doubt finding strength in each other’s words and simple presence.

Karen’s son Caleb had made oragami figures and passed them out to his friends on a regular basis. Karen brought adorable oragami birds and passed them out to each of us, as well as dragonfly ornaments that hold significance for her. I was very touched by the parallel gifting between mother and son.

After some catching up, the group discussed their advocacy goals. They are advocating for it to be mandatory in the state of Oklahoma for there to be professional mental health staff on-site in our schools.

There are a few mental health related mandates we could be voting on next fall in our state. The Moms consider any progression toward their ultimate goal as a step in the right direction, but they are pushing for action to be taken immediately so tragedies like theirs happen less often.

Barbara wrote a Dr. Suess-like poem about their advocacy and the pressing need our kids have for mental health care in schools. It was amazing. Before the brunch was over the Moms had made plans to recite the poem together and send it to everyone. I offered to be the videographer. I have to get in on the amazing plight these women are undertaking. Their courage and tenacity is contagious.

I feel so privileged to have met all of The Moms, and I’m particularly proud of one. Barbara amazes me all the time, but I went away today super proud to be her daughter-in-law and so grateful to her son, my late husband, for bringing her into my life.

Although the situations in which I came to meet The Suicide Moms is incredibly tragic, I am grateful to have met them. I feel my own children might be safer knowing The Moms are looking out for them and all of our children who are still here, and giving a voice to those whose memories live on in these beautiful, vivacious women… The Suicide Moms.

My mother-in-law Barbara speaking at the Tulsa City Council Meeting advocating for mental health

Intimate Partner Violence & Mental Health

Photo credit: Adobe Spark Post

Statistics and some paragraphs including relevant information from the American Journal Of Preventative Medicine

I began searching the topic of Intimate Partner Violence or IPV, and was surprised to find very few studies of the effects on a person’s mental health.

I figured this was a no brainer. Of course violence inflicted by a partner is incredibly damaging. Your partner should be your safe zone. Trust and respect should reign over control and abuse. Always.

This subject is close to my heart because I have been abused in the past.

I never thought I would be one of those women. Yet there I was. It’s insane how love and fear can keep a woman holding on.

I read an article in the American Journal Of Preventative Medicine, about a study proclaiming that A total of 28.9% of 6790 women and 22.9% of 7122 men had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological IPV during their lifetime.

The article went on to say that for both men and women, physical IPV victimization was associated with increased risk of current poor health; depressive symptoms; substance use; and developing a chronic disease, chronic mental illness, and injury. In general, abuse of power and control was more strongly associated with these health outcomes than was verbal abuse. When physical and psychological IPV scores were both included in logistic regression models, higher psychological IPV scores were more strongly associated with these health outcomes than were physical IPV scores.

The study concluded that both physical and psychological IPV are associated with significant physical and mental health consequences for both male and female victims.

Luckily there are social service programs that help victims, not only with relocating them to safety, but also with therapy and social groups. Another study I read about in the Journal Of Women’s Health and Gender Based Medicine, addresses the positive effects of social service for abused women.

In Tulsa we have Domestic Violence Intervention Services referred to as DVIS. They provide an amazing service and have an empathetic staff whom many have lived through abuse themselves.

There is help out there if you need it. It’s the hardest part for sure and extremely scary. However, it’s empowering to take control back over your life and make good decisions for yourself. I’m including some links of national resources below. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, pass these links on. Be safe ladies, you deserve happiness.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline Big plus, they have an option that helps you hide that you visited their website in case your web activity is being monitored.

U.S. Department of Human Services: Office On Women’s Health they are an amazing resource for finding assistance in your state.

Family and Youth Services Bureau

Domesticshelters.org this website helps you browse for help safely. The option is at the top of the page.

HUD Exchange

My Momma, The Fighter

I haven’t written anything recently because my momma got sick. I mean, really sick.

We have known she has COPD from years of smoking cigarettes. She was smoking two packs a day since she was fourteen, with a couple of breaks thrown in there.

One such break lasted six years. She quit when pregnant with Little Sister, and then five years after having her, she was also smoke-free. She was addicted to nicotine gum, however.

It has become increasingly difficult for her to breathe and lately she has been very lethargic and winded more than usual.

My sister took Momma to an urgent care center where she was diagnosed as having stage four COPD. Her oxygen level was low but they were able to get it up to eighty. It’s supposed to be at one hundred, or at least close to it.

The doctor reluctantly allowed Momma to go home. After being home a short while she was beginning to not make sense when speaking and feeling extremely sleepy.

Little Sister checked her oxygen level and she was at a thirty-five. Momma said she only wanted to sleep but Little Sister said, “No, we are going to the hospital, deal with it.”

Poor Little Sister watched as nurses and technicians scurried around Momma, starting I.V.’s and oxygen. ” You saved her life, ” one nurse had said.

The hospital ran test after test and when the doctor entered Momma’s room in the E.R., he gravely told Little Sister that Momma probably wouldn’t make it past a week, she was dying.

She called me hysterical and as luck would have it, my car was broke down, still is. I got to the hospital the following day and my momma was incomprehensible. She made zero sense. She also thought it was nineteen-ninety-one. I wish.

It was scary and I was very upset. Little Sister left and I stayed with Momma. I went home late that night and broke down. I was devastated.

The following day, I returned to stay with Momma all night. The previous day, I had left a sickly, frail-looking, dying woman. The feisty woman sitting up and griping about nurses was way more recognizable.

I was relieved until I found out there was very little improvement. She was simply making more sense due to her body receiving the oxygen it so badly needed.

I’m going to back up a little and tell you something about Momma.

Momma is somewhat of a drama queen. She is also an attention seeker and prefers the spotlight. She is “on stage” most of the time. Take those attributes and combine them with a little hypochondria, and you have my momma. Except this was real.

A day and a half later I arrived to Momma’s room and found her as I did before, sitting up in bed and griping about nurses. They didn’t hop around her and worship her properly, you see. So I thought I had better do it, and fast, or there was no hope for humanity. The world would surely suffer, but I digress. (I’m not a drama queen at all you know)

I was then informed she had improved. They no longer felt she was dying, at least not within a week as originally thought.

I told her, “You know, the mean one’s live forever.” She didn’t laugh. I thought it was quite funny. Sometimes I think I am the only one finding me funny. Oh well.

My aunt came up from Florida to see Momma because she was dying. With her no longer dying, (well at least not dying as soon) my aunt feels she has wasted a trip. She’s the aunt who only comes to Oklahoma when someone dies. She’s hysterical. I spent some time with her today and we have a lot in common it turns out. She may be more of a bitch though. I have much to learn.

So, there you have it. I am stressed, tired, and now dealing with an incredibly difficult patient. If Momma had her way she would fire all of the nurses and only have me and Little Sister nurse her.

I don’t mind helping or taking care of her. She is just a horrible patient. At three in the morning, right as I am drifting off to sleep, she begins to poke me. She also demands ice chips, she is allowed a couple of teaspoons a day. She is very thirsty and I understand that. She can’t have anything by mouth because she is aspirating everything she ingests. So no, Momma, I’m not going to be responsible for killing you, at least not today.

In all seriousness, although she drives me insane, I love her so hard and we are very close. I know someday I will have to live without her, but I’m not ready. I still need her. I suppose I will always feel that way.

We are always our mother’s babies, and they are always our mommies no matter how old we are. I am thirty-seven and when I’m sick I would give anything to feel my mamas cool hand checking my forehead for a temperature, or have the best potato soup ever that she always spent hours making for me when I had strep throat. It would be hard to pick a favorite memory, there are many.

Now I’m going to go fluff her pillows for the millionth time, figure out how to put subtitles on the blaring television, and empty her urine bucket because according to her, that work is too gross for the nurses. I will do all of this with a big smile on my face because one day I will wish she were here to cause me all of this stress. Oh ya, also because I freaking love her so much. She’s nuts, but she’s mine.