Hello to everyone out there. It has been awhile since I have sat down in front of my computer to write, so….No, that’s not true at all. I have been here. Quite a few times. It’s just that the words refused to flow from my head and heart through my fingertips, so I just sat here and stared at a blank screen. I still don’t know what I am going to say, so I will ramble, if you don’t mind.
A lot has happened since we last ‘talked’. Some good, some tragic. Some wins, and one colossal loss. Such is the way of life; I get that intellectually, but I am having a devil of a time talking sense into my heart.
Every one of the grandchildren and my nephew are entering into a new chapter of their lives. Blake is entering high school. There is enough right there to write another blog. Gabriel is entering eighth grade and ready to make the most of his final year of middle school. Sayge is just starting middle school and will be concentrating on both how to conquer the ever mysterious locker combination while maintaining ‘cool’ status, and Lennon will be embarking on her preschool career. God help us all on that venture.
My son-in-law, PJ, has opened a Ninja gym/Spartan training course in his backyard to give the community endless opportunities, and my daughter and niece are planning to work together on a book, which will be beyond amazing because they both are. These are all wins.
Our family took quite a blow this summer. My beloved mother lost her battle and bodily left us one month ago today. She fought so gallantly and with every weapon in her arsenal. She was beleaguered with diabetes, mini-strokes, seizures, Parkinson’s, and the most evil of them all, Alzheimer’s disease.
Her mind actually left us some time ago. Those of you who have family members tortured by this disease or who are caretakers of someone afflicted by dementia already know. You know that you will never know where they are in their minds, you know that while they appear the same, they are not who they once were as they stare vacantly at you, trying to place who you are and why you are not letting them ‘go home’. You know that every trick you try, it won’t work the next minute, and you know that when you are treated with a glimmer of who they really are…one flicker of recognition or one second of peace instead of the tortured hell in which they are trapped, you have been blessed, indeed. It is a gift you will hold dear and take out periodically to examine and cherish.
My daughter commented the other day that she has become almost frightened as she had never seen me sad. No matter what, I have always bounced back, and like everyone else, there has been a lot to bounce back from. Through divorce, through my only child moving out too soon to live with her father so that I always felt ‘incomplete’, as if I had never finished my job, through the loss of some of my eyesight through a surgery gone amok, through the loss of my father, through the loss of my beloved dog, Baloo, through a move that meant giving up my house to move in with my mother (which turned out to be one of my greatest blessings), and on and on…I was always happy.
You know why? Because I had my best friend to pull me through all of these trials. I have always played the Game of Life by holding all my cards pretty close to my chest, never letting too many people in. My mother knew this and kept at me, chiseling away at the wall that I felt was necessary to protect me, and without her, I feel that I am back to playing Solitaire.
This is not true, and I know this deep within my heart. I still have that crazy, eclectic group that is our family, and we are here for each other. They are suffering as well, because this wonderful woman left such a gaping hole in our tribe. As one dear friend put it, “There will never be another Betty Horner”, but as another dear friend, my ex-husband, said, “She would not want to look down and see this crying shit! She wouldn’t want that.” And that is the truth. She would be the first to tell me enough is enough and to get on with the business of living. And this I shall do. I just wish it didn’t hurt quite so badly.
She often said, before she became so lost, that she was so grateful that she could come with me on my journey of writing. So the time has come for me to quit looking at this blank screen and get on with it. Stop fearing life, and stop fearing that I won’t be able to pull off being the head of this most wonderful yet most challenging family of mine. I always think of that quote, “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” by Erin Hanson. That would be the essence of what Mother would tell each of us. I am not her and I never will be. But I am me, and I will try to be the best me I possibly can. I will breathe. I will teach, I will love my family, I will write, I will fall but will get back up, and I will live this crazy, wonderful life.
But, step one. Breathe…