The Calm between the storms
I don’t know how to write a short inspirational Instagram post so I decided to copy and paste it into my non-blog that kinda hides out. Maybe one person will be encouraged by this as it’s not the fully story... I keep trying to write it all, but it’s SO HARD, so many other things I’d rather do. And, this is too long for a post...
So here is some back story that I feel is safe to share publicly. I’m careful, because I believe that to honor someone means to always speak kindly TO, and ABOUT them Even if you don’t like or respect them sometimes.
What’s going on in my mind and heart and life mostly surrounds my dad. Long story short, he showed me what God was like when I was young. He was good and kind and loving and gentle. He stayed home with me while my mom had to go back to work (cuz he’d been laid off when the company he worked for had to close down). He chose to build his own insurance business and was essentially my stay at home mom while he did that. He read his bible, quoted scripture, took us to church on Sundays and if I needed to just sit and cry for no reason he’d hold me until I was done. He was just GOOD. So good.
But one day while dropping me off at school he told me he didn’t think marriage was forever for him, but that he wouldn’t leave my mom until I graduated high school..... (Insert a lot of thoughts here).
And, since EFT Tapping has been given so much credit for my overcoming anxiety, I’ll add that this was the moment that my subconscious grabbed onto when I no longer felt SAFE. I learned in my 30s that, that moment held a new belief that I couldn’t count on things staying GOOD. I would have to wait until they turned bad. That I’d be expected to accept the unacceptable and then walk into a crowd and smile.
Dad ended up leaving when I was a sophomore. He wasn’t the same anymore, he hadn’t been for a while, and it was confusing to my young spirit who loved and looked up to him. I dealt. It was hard.
I work with women today who have what I call “real trauma”. I don’t dismiss my own pain and confusion that drastically changed the foundation of who I was and who I’d become, I’ve seen what it did to me to look up to someone so beautifully, and be disappointed so deeply, over, and over, and.... over. I understand that broken people break people. I understand emotional and spiritual wounds, I understand generational sins and how the brain learns repeated behaviors and we can wire our minds towards life, or death, peace, or stress. This post isn’t to blame my dad... he and I and you all suffer from the same condition... the human condition. But, this is also my story, and much of what brought me to you and EFT and the work we do together. It helps me to understand pain, abandonment, disappointment, the love of a child, the love as a PARENT, and how crucial it is to our spirits to learn how to say, ”I’m listening, I hear you”, “I’m so sorry”, and “I forgive you”. Dad and I have said and done it all. I dealt with it, but I’’m still dealing... and it feels like I’m dealing again...
I waited for my dad to come back to Jesus with that spirit I remembered as a child.... I waited and prayed and talked, and begged for 20 years but he wanted to live his life his way.
I met Mike on a snow slope at 19 and we were pregnant 3 weeks later. We weren’t proud of it then, but today it’s our story and we are certain that any two people who want to make it work together, can. I moved from my dad’s home to be with Mike’s family in the Central Valley of Ca and learned how to sell Peaches and merge with another family. We married, moved a lot over the course of the next 12 years for work and always had fun together even though we felt very unsettled never knowing where we’d live or work permanently. This isn’t the story of us, but some of it matters to this post.... the four of us eventually moved back to the central coast in 2010 where we bought our first house, but Mike almost immediately and unexpectedly got called out of town for work. We were told often they’d transfer him home for work ASAP so the kids and I stayed at the Coast while he committed to the Valley and San Francisco. We ministered the way we knew how to together by allowing struggling friends to live with us while they got on their feet. We even took in my amazing niece and her half brother who we had never known up to that point. He was LIKE a foster kid in a sense, 15 years old. That was hard for everyone including him, tough for Van our oldest, but Van also grew to love him like a brother... That didn’t end well, in fact almost every single time we helped someone it didn’t end well. No good deed goes unpunished right? We learned how easy it is to be taken advantage of and we grew apart through it as people do when they lose proper prayer and communication with their most important person.
5 years went by of him commuting and it complicated life and marriage and with God’s directives we moved our family back to the Central Valley to be together full time. This is where we finally learned to do things God’s way, not our own and suddenly things began to make sense and fall into place. relationships strengthened between us all and we learned that home is wherever we are together, truly. Without any hope for ever getting transferred back home, we settled the best we could temporarily in Visalia, Ca and eventually, our prayer went from “please bring us back to our beach house” to “give us our next best step”. We did what God asked us to do there and it remolded the faith we wished we’d learned sooner together. We had a new appreciation for obedience and a new faith and God gifted home on the coast back to us under one condition... that we would give Him our house, AT THE COAST!!!! Easy, we no longer held onto earthly things and listed it for sale and very quickly Mike got his transfer back home that was clearly not ever going to happen according to PGE. For the first time in our entire relationship Mike and I FELT hope for being settled. We had done a lot of hard work emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and looked forward to life finally feeling NORMAL and PREDICTABLE. He‘d have his job close by that we’d prayed for for SO LONG, the kids would have their school and friends back and while “home” had really changed for me because reasons, I looked forward to a new start.
At that time, my dad was struggling with a living situation and had suffered two injuries and we offered him to live with us while he healed-despite our new promise to NEVER take anyone in EVER again....We‘d help in other ways. Dad literally moved into our home before we did and ended up staying a year (May 1, 2017-May 1, 2018) . It was for love and it was the right thing to do but it was HARD.
After that year dad chose to leave the state and would head to South Carolina. He only kind of knew one person there and when my dad gets something in his head, it’s REALLY hard (impossible?) to get it out or change his mind so I put my big girl voice on and spoke clearly and confidently to him and said, “Do what you want, but there are SO many affordable places between here and SC. You’re 69 and will only age. If something happens to you, I won’t be there to take care of you.” He thanked me and told me he’d live forever. I told him I was serious, and I‘m pretty sure he told me he was too.
I loved him, but he was stuck and I was exhausted from going CRAZY trying to manage all the conflict I’d felt that year with having him and teenagers in the home while building my business and settling back in, instead of peace and calm and newness. I couldn’t change him still, and I knew I could only continue to pray for him. I wonder if he was as glad to go, as I was to see him leave.
13 months later my dad was diagnosed with a stage 4 Glioblastoma Brain tumor. It was removed, and he’d begin treatment. I hope I can elaborate more on this journey sometime, but for now I’d like to just finish this dang non-blog.
I inevitably flew to SC to care for him July 2019 and we discussed all the hard things and had fun while doing it. We laughed, ate, talked life, apologized, forgave and discussed literally every single “what if” that could arise were this tumor to actually start to break his mind and body down and kill him. He told me what his wishes were, including that he NEVER wanted me to have to ship his dead body back to CA. That if anything got “harder”, he wanted me to get him to CA asap so that he could be in my care and the care of CA doctors, and be buried in CA weather it took him now, or later.
He decided to stay in SC for care and if things got harder, I’d get him to CA. Things got harder within weeks As he’d ended up unconscious in an ICU. One doctor told me he’d die there, and Susan who I hope I can share all about soon, taught me how to advocate for my dad. We got him a different neurologist, blocked dad’s hospital room off so that he could get the sleep he needed, that he couldn’t get with all the in-necessary interruptions, made him sleep for two days and he got well enough to be released. His long term memory was ok, but he was on 4 anti-seizure meds and his short term memory was sometimes on a 30 second loop. It was a long 2 weeks there, caring for him, packing his things, and getting him back to CA. I learned how to empty catheters, administer heavy duty meds including chemo, and more than anything learned how to be VERY patient. There were times he’d ask for Chinese soup, and by the time I ordered it, he’d ask for A McDonald’s ice cream (nooooooo!!!! On so many levels no.)
(If you don’t know me, I work with very holistic doctors and coaches and am an energy healer. I was on meds most my life and never got well, in fact my body broke down. It was very difficult to move forward with my dad’s request for traditional meds, but I did. So, of course I tried to keep him on a diet that wouldn’t feed his cancer. With his short term memory loop, this was IMPOSSIBLE, even if I was the one preparing his food and feeDing him.
I cared for him for 3 months. (My timer just went off that was holding me accountable) Every doc appointment, every med change, every learning curve, ME. I did it. Thank God for my family’s help and patience. I worked hard with him daily and got his short term memory to function about 80% better. I learned that if we sat together often enough and practiced things like taking medication, he would learn new habits, but it wasn’t enough for him to live alone. My dad forgot most of it and went back to SC against everyone’s wishes.
He’s been in SC now, alone, in cancer treatment, without me, without help, for almost 5 months. This is where the mind spin comes in from the story below that prompted this writing. So many what ifs. So many details. So many questionable MRIs and so few answers from docs. So many what ifs. .... is he confused? Or is he stubborn? Both maybe? I don’t know. Is he even taking his meds properly? He says he knows he needs to move back to CA, but he says each day he needs another day to sleep on it... then another two weeks goes by. He’s now on a new med, not with the docs who I built a relationship with, who I trust. It has side effects and he’s losing function in his arms and legs. Could I even get him back to CA if this got ANY worse? Does he remember HIS wishes if this were to get HARDER? Does he? No... he really doesn’t. So what do I do? Do I honor the well man who shared his heart and wishes with me? Or do I honor the stubborn confused (gentle, kind, loving, so so handsome) man who “needs one more day to think about it?” (We may not have one more day.) This is a 12-15 month life expectancy, we’re on month 10. The the Covid-19, Quarantine, travel restrictions... family who loves him too, and their opinions based on their life experience and needs. Too much for a girl to handle (just kidding I’ve got this, see, I’m still here).
So... all of that, to share this IG post that was too long for IG...
I needed to make a decision. Do I stay in CA knowing that if he continues to lose body function, I will not be able to get him to CA “to die” (or live)? Do I go against family’s wishes who are worried about a virus that (sorry not sorry) I’ve learned isn’t as scary as the media wants us to believe? And even if it IS, is it worse to expose him to it, or let him fall on the ground again, alone, with no help?
Enough for now.. here’s my post from today (April 17, 2020) I’ll add to it as I have updates because SO many of you ask daily and I just wish I could keep you all up with every single detail.
My spirit was NOT calm when this photo was taken last week but I chose to let my head stand still for the right things. I never used to remember accomplishments, only failures or things that still need to get done. Today I’m sitting under a cozy blanket with coffee on the East coast, inside the decision that Mike let me fight through that day on a long LONG walk.
I was struggling to make some really hard decisions under a lot of pressure against the clock and unfortunately with opposing opinions from people I love. I KNEW that with my mind already spinning, I could easily lose any remenance of the peace and calm I’d been practicing to fold deeper into into my life. I needed to keep the blood in my brain so that I could think clearly & think I tapped the whole day. There are never too many tools for a wrestlers spirit.
I had even scheduled THIS day off with my guy, but was again being inconvenienced by someone else’s decision that continues to disrupt everything, often. When we make decisions we want them to be final, but things aren’t always up to us. Walking away would be careless & lack love.
But I live to love, even the hardest people.
I can easily go from just weighing options to being plagued with self doubt. I was quickly feeling very, very.... STUCK. I hate stuck. Even when I settled on one decision, it would open up 25 other impossible decisions to make-quickly.
I knew I needed to grip everything good and true WHILE I was in this place of uncertainty. It was crucial to hold the hard in one hand while I held the good in the other. (Awe, I think I held Mike’s hand and tapped with the other😉)
I always let you feel ALL the feelings and try to treat myself as kindly as I treat you so I even gave myself permission to finally admit and feel my anger. Mike validated those feelings too while helping me anchor back into some of the things we had both already agreed WERE for certain. He helped me to not waiver more than necessary and we knew my head was spinning for all the right reasons.
The thinking couldn’t stop yet, but what I chose to do WHILE thinking would allow for more capable decision making as the days unfolded. And it did, and it has.
When I see this photo, that day is a memory of hard & good conversation, being in a place where I was safe to think and feel supported. Fresh air, running into friends on our walk and catching up, one even said he’d been praying specifically for what I was struggling with prior to seeing us. What a gift. We walked, talked, drank all the coffee all while Van rode in circles around us telling us jokes.
So much good. Hard doesn’t have to be bad, hard is good and when I thought I had been stretched enough, I was stretched even more. And I still am, and I will be more, and it’s gonna hurt but today all is well. Tomorrow’s worry’s can wait for me.