Thursday, December 30, 2010

healthy delusions

I have been, over the last few weeks, thinking about how I am handling all this. I know it sounds odd, but it’s hard when you’re in the middle of it to see how it’s changing you. I know this will change me. It’ll change me as wife, mother, daughter, and human. I am watching myself, but as I said it’s hard to get a good view from inside the storm. I am trying to make sure I don’t become bitter. Angry, at times, is okay-even useful. Afraid is understandable-at times. But bitter is nothing. It’s lazy and ugly and the opposite of love. Or the absence. And maybe the absence is worse.
I have decided that what might help is gaining some of my healthy delusions back. I want to believe that the “what if” will not happen to me. I need to. I need to feel safe again.
Ken and I used to have this game (I think I started it) called “Not Allowed”. The game consisted of us watching TV (ER or something) and the storyline would involve a heart attack or cancer, or car crash etc., and one of us would say to the other, “Not Allowed”. It was a joke. But, at least for me, it was also a bit of a prayer. I took it a little bit seriously. It was my small way of telling the universe, “hey, I know what you can do, I know what to fear, don’t send it to me or the ones I love”. I did this for years. I did this after my sister died, after my other sister nearly died, after Gus nearly died. I haven’t done it since Ken. I have lost my ability to live in delusion.
It’s a bit like PTSD, there are varying symptoms, one of them is the triggering effect of noises. You’ve all heard the stories of the war veterans who jump and cover at the sound of a car backfiring because it brings them back to the moment of combat. But what if the re-occurring event is not war, or personal violence. What if the re-occurring event is watching the people you love almost die? I really am wondering about that. How has it changed me? Does it matter? Am I, without knowing it, shoving myself under something for protection? Figuratively speaking, of course.
Anyway . . . I’ve been reading this wonderful book about prayer. Not that I am becoming a religious person, but I am trying to become a calmer, more self-aware person. A person who is guided by love. I think prayer, for me, is more of a reminder of who I want to be. I want to be more aware of love. Not in the hokey sentimental way that we often see it. But in the way it has been shown to me over the last few months, a useful and tangible structure to hold onto. Because I think that will save me from the bitterness. My husband, and my kids will do that, too. But I have to find it in me. I know, and I have seen that we can surprise ourselves with who we become, good and bad. I am trying to ensure that whatever happens, however I am changed I have something to say about it. And maybe in that way I can get some of my healthy delusions back. I can start to feel safe again.


  1. Jamie, I'm glad you're on guard against bitter; I think it would be an easy slide into bitter, given all that you've endured, but Girl, you are a walking ball of Love, a whirling dervish of Goodness flung out in all directions. I don't think bitterness will take you down. Exhaustion, maybe. Be on guard against that too, please.
    love, Amy

  2. Hi Jamie,

    I remember thinking more about church and community in going through everything with Jen. It was nice to think of the different types of support.

    I also have a friend that is in Narcotics Anonymous and doing very well. Part of the system they have is believing in a higher power. His was music as he was uncomfortable with God. He has gotten to a place where he prays every day. Though he does not believe in the god of the bible, he believes there is some type of power out there and that everything will be alright in the end... this life and what comes after. I find I like hearing these sentiments.

    Wishing you both the best and love,

    PS I am wondering if there are a few things that you and Ken could list in a post that would be helpful anytime. Sometimes when the spirit moves me I am not sure what types of things are most helpful

  3. Jamie,
    I have a friend from my UU Church who has been dealing with a brain tumor that was duscivered, operated on once and recurred this year. She had to have a second operation and is doing well now. Next checkup is in mid Jan. She is interested in becoming a UU minister and she speaks and writes in meaningful ways. I'd love for you to connect with her blog. Her name is Lyn Betz and the blog is on a site called Caring Bridges. I think you can get onto it by looking up Caring Bridges on the Internet and then creating an ID with them so you can log in when necessary. She just wrote an amazing entry on prayer. Her tumor has caused her to see double and she has to wear an eye patch on her bad eye all the time. She had two operations as the tumor regrew after the first operation. And last summer her 24 yr old nephew died of a brain tumor. He was greatly loved in her family and she did the memorial service for him. This recent blog has his brother's prayer thoughts as his sibling is dying. If you have trouble getting on the site, let me know and maybe I can help. Lyn has a wonderful spirit, as do you, and I would love for you to connect.
    I have been following both of your blogs all year.

  4. Go to the following link to read Lyn's recent blog and see her other posts. Lyn is a divorced mother of two boys - one teenager and one younger and she is a very spiritual yet down to earth person. I think you would like her.

    Love to you, Kitty