Most people don't know this, but I'm sad almost all the time. Have been for awhile. I'm just really good at hiding it. That perpetual sadness that creeps in whenever I feel some semblance of being happy. Here lately, I can no longer contain it; it's so present that my younger kids can see it. I hate that. I don't like for them to know that most of time, I feel like there's no other color in this world but gray. And it's not just any one thing; it's everything and nothing at the same time. For years, I have felt like I've loved and lost, tried and failed. Sometimes, it feels like, I'm just barely holding on to the world by the skin of my teeth. I'm going to be flung into space at any second. Everything is out of my control. No, I'm not suicidal or anything like that-- I just feel like I'm slight. My spirit doesn't feel full. Somehow, I'm lacking. Something somewhere is missing. And no matter what possession I acquire or what goal I accomplish, it's just not enough. I can't feel whole. Not as a person, as a woman, as a Mother, as a Nurse, as a sister, as a daughter, as anything. The worst part is Christmas brings all this front and center. Every single year.
I know this is foul, but I hate Christmas. I have for a long time. Thirty years to be exact. I hate holidays period. No, I'm not a Scrooge. I don't run around saying, "Bah Humbug!" I know it's supposed to be a time for peace, love, joy, celebration, and family. I get all of that. But, when I see everyone around me celebrating with their parents and siblings, and I can't -- I won't even lie. It just makes me sick. To my heart. Of course, I buy the kids their presents and I put up their tree and I listen to the oohs and aahhs but inside, I feel lost and empty. It goes back to this: as a young girl, my Mother was going through a nasty divorce. I was the oldest of three kids. We didn't have the same father so with all the problems of my Mom's past, the odds of us staying together didn't look so good. Actually, the odds were quite dismal. Eventually, we were split up. They ended up with their Dad and I ended up with an Aunt who didn't quite like me. She was an aunt by marriage and she already had a lot of kids so her taking me wasn't something either of us looked forward to. That year, I prayed hard every night for God to fix my family. Every morning, I woke up and I was right there in my Aunt Martha's house just as miserable as the day before. My last resort was Santa. I wrote a letter and asked Santa for one just one thing-- please put my family back together again. I told Santa, I'll be a good girl. I'd do all my homework. Keep my room clean. Stop wetting the bed. Anything. I promised: I'll do anything. He wouldn't have to bring me another present ever. Just grant me that one gift. I colored that envelope all pretty and handed it to the postman. And that year, Santa really let me down. I waited patiently all that day. Nothing. I was about 8 years old, and this is how I came to the realization that he and Christmas magic wasn't real. At all. If he was, there wouldn't have been tears and longing, baby dolls, books, and games. I didn't want any of that crap! I just wanted what I never should have lost to begin with. Oh if only people knew my struggle and my story...
So anyway, Santa became a jolly fat man who only stood by and didn't grant wishes and I became the girl who couldn't stand Santa. And to this day, I refuse to give him credit for my hard work and money spent. I know it's silly but it is what it is. I can't let that memory go no matter how hard I try. I have my own family yes, but I miss out on the siblings, nieces, nephews, parents. This awareness of what I don't have comes back every time the holiday decorations go up and those stupid carols play on the radio. If it's not about about Jesus and some bells, I really don't care to hear it. And yes, I've prayed about the whole family situation but I guess it's to be like Moses and the Promised Land. I'll get to see it from afar but never step foot in it. Must have really screwed up somewhere down the line. Otherwise, why would God turn a deaf ear to my pleas. Ah well...
Come to think of it, this year just has not been the best year. I thought that 2006 was bad, but this year ran neck and neck with that one as a crappy year. I had some good moments. Buying my first home. New grandbabies. Changing jobs. Twice. But the biggest event was losing my best friend in all the world. Suddenly and without a warning. I keep thinking back that somehow I knew it was coming.
When we talked that last time, I could just feel it. Those words were being said as a goodbye. At that time, something in me felt compelled to put everything on the table. Oh, how we reminisced. It was like our friendship. See, growing up, we shared everything. We talked about EVERYTHING. There was God, love, Mercy, Grace, our children, their fathers, our weaknesses, our struggles, our victories, everything. I kept no secrets and she didn't judge. Just listened quietly. Sometimes, she'd offer advice other times, she'd laugh, lots of times, she hold my hands and pray. We knew that where two or more people gathered in his name, He'd was there in the midst. Her faith was so amazing and it seemed that all she saw was the goodness in everything even when I couldn't find a rainbow at the end of her life's storms. She knew that God was there and He would carry us through anything. We just had to hold steadfast, believe, have faith, and pray. Speaking of, she'd pray over someone at the drop of a dime. Strangers, anyone. I never knew someone with such a big heart and so full of compassion. For any and everybody despite all the bad things that happened in her life. She gave me this book one time called, The Color of Water. I started reading it after one of the worst days of my life. It changed me. I was heading down a dark path and God put the right person with the right tool in my life at the right time with that one. I've never been the same since. Nor do I ever want to be that woman again.
As, I said before, the last time we talked, we laughed and almost cried but we had the most amazing conversation. Mostly about Jeremiah 29:11. I was saying that if anyone had told me that God would work that scripture in to my life, I would've half-heartedly said, "Sure," but I wouldn't have believed. I have so many different things going on in my life, that I wouldn't thought it was possible. I remarked how He made a believer out of me. She said, "Girl, don't you remember I spoke that verse over your life?" And she did. Right before I decided to go back to school and was doubtful as to how I was going to do it all. She reminded me of how I had to have faith because he only wants the best for us. Suddenly, I remembered. Then she told me her plans, that she knew God had great things in store for her.
After we had that talk, how was I to know that, a week and a half later, she was going to be gone? Gone. Quickly. No pain. Sudden cardiac death. She fell over dead just like that. I asked God, "What happened to us growing old together?" I'd imagined us as two old ladies in a nursing home. Me all cantankerous and giving the staff hell. Her laughing and then offering to pray for me as was always her way. As fate would have it, all this was not to be. Speaking at her funeral was something I never imagined that I would ever have to do but I got through it. Strange thing is I thought I could feel her there beside me saying, "It's okay. I'm just fine." I know when she got to the pearly gates, St. Peter exclaimed, "Job well done!" She was right-- God did have something better in store for her. I'm sure she's where we all aspire to be. It doesn't make the pain any less than what it was then or is now. Twenty six years is a long time to know and grow with someone. There have been so few people in my life that I let get that close and she was one of the last ones. I have such a hard time letting people in. I don't think nor do I want to ever let anyone else take that spot in my life again. Until then, sweet dreams and sleep tight, Sistah! When my time is up, we'll meet up at the beach where the waves meet the sand and D.L. awaits. We'll laugh and hug and watch and wait.
On a lighter note, I've been watching these kids of mine. One of the best parts of my life is the joy they bring to it. They balance all the ugly parts of my existence. For some reason, I call my last five kids, my Poot Noots. Don't ask where I got that name from but it just seems to suit them. They came one behind the other and I enjoy spoiling them rotten. They run and laugh and play and fight and make me crazy all at the same time. They smother me with hugs and kisses and innocence. I missed out on that as a child because my own Mother just wasn't emotionally able. Wasn't her fault, just a hand she was dealt. I don't want the same for them so I try to make sure that they don't ever go a day without knowing how much I love all of them. When I'm having a bad day, I come home to them and immediately, the smiles come out. They need me, welcome me, and love me. Unconditionally. Yes, my oldest seven children love me and I them but the middles are getting to the age that Mom bothers them while the eldest are busy with their own babies, life and love. And it's okay. They have to learn to be independent for I won't be here always. I'm just so grateful that I didn't stop at seven. I would have missed out. That's for certain. For so long, I've felt abandoned and unloved by those who should care the most all my life. These youngest five make up for it hand over fist. They put magic back where there was darkness for so long.
I'm sitting here thinking about the past eight years and of course, the upcoming year. I have three themes that I'm going to focus on: surrender, happiness, and purpose. Here's my plan: I'm going to dedicate my forties and the rest of my life to living with purpose. I want, no I have, to make a difference in someone else's life but my own. Be it my children, grandchildren, loved ones, clients, whomever. Everyday has to have and serve some type of purpose. I want to be a blessing to somebody either through thought, word, or deed.
I'm going to have to surrender to Him. I'm such a strong-willed person by nature; thus I have a tendency to be stubborn. I want what I want when I want it. Sad. I think it comes from being raised as an only child. You don't have to learn to share when there's no one to share with. The past couple of years, I've become sort of impatient. I'll pray for things and have such a hard time when I don't get it or when I feel like it takes too long for Him to answer. So, I'll try to do things my way and almost every time I screw it up. I don't know when or how this happened but I'm tired of being like that. It's no way to live. Luckily, He's there to pick up the pieces, discipline me, and set me straight. This coming year, my goal is going to be to surrender to His will for my life and not my own. Just completely step out on faith and let Him has with way with me. I keep saying it but I gotta live it. I just can't think of any other way. I'm so grateful that my Heavenly Father loves me enough to let me make mistakes, forgive me, and still welcome me with open arms. With some of the things that I've done, I'm certainly not deserved.
Finally, happiness. I know that this is the only life that I have and I can't waste any more time. Instead of focusing on my perpetual sadness, I want to focus on the things that bring happiness to my life. Things that make me feel good inside. Think I'll start today. When I blog for 2015, the titles will start out like this.
- Hearing my Poot Noots say, "I love you, Mommy!" every single day. I didn't get a lot of 'I love yous' growing up so God really made up for most of what I lost when He blessed my life with them. When they come to my room every morning and say those three words, they make life worth living.
- Seeing my grandbabies with arms outstretched every time I walk thru the door. Just being their Grandma is enough. My best friend will never see her kids give her grandkids so that makes me love mine even more.
- Seeing rainbows peek out from behind clouds at the end of summer storms. I love thunder and lightning. Rumbling storms are my favorite. That rainbow reminds me that the best is yet to come.
- Sitting at my desk in my little home office in my very first home. I bought it about six months ago; I never thought that I'd ever have one of my own. I'd been on public assistance so long that when it dawned on me that I wasn't entitled to stand on someone else's back so my family could reap THEIR reward, it made me work even harder. I set goals and one of them was owning my own home. Paying for it with MY blood, sweat, and tears. God is so good.
- Hugging my baby boy, Matthew-Lucas, 5, tight. One of my first patients from my Nursing Preceptorship was a five year old boy with terminal cancer. He was the same age as my son and I even wrote about him a couple of years ago. He died recently and all I can think of is that I bet his Mom would turn over Heaven and Hell to hug him one more time. This is going to be her worst Christmas ever. Therefore, I'll hug my own son even tighter because...
- My daughter, Yasmine, looking back at me with her smokey black eyes. She was hit by a car recently on one of the busiest roads in this city. I know that she could have been killed but He chose to spare her life. I thank God. She's a miracle and I'm in awe of that young lady. He's got plans for my girl's life. All my kids. I can't wait to see what they're going to grow up to be. Oh wait a minute. Actually, I can wait. I want to enjoy every minute.
- Being able to work from home so that I'll be the first person my kiddos see when they walk thru the door. I don't wanna miss anything else. They're all I have in this world so they deserve to have a Mama whose present.
- Signing RN behind my name. I worked hard to get it and that's not lost on me. I sign my name with pride. Sometimes, I practice it because it reminds me that God stood on His promise to prosper me. Jeremiah 29:11
This is my longest post ever. Wouldn't you know it, with all this writing...I'm starting to feel better already!