I am no scholar, but it is my wish that you get wisdom from my words.
I am no doctor, but I hope you find healing here
I am no priest, but I pray you see God in what I say.
I am no counselor, but may I counsel:
I am “Taunta Beanie” to those who matter most. Once upon a time I lived in a cottage at the edge of the city. There were no such things as “The Big Bad Wolf” except in fairy tales. I didn’t know that a “Wicked Step”-ANYTHING could even exist, because marriage was FOREVER!
Strangely enough I knew that “Death” was “Forever”, but that didn’t mean it was bad.
In fact, it was only Death that kept people apart.
Because the people you wanted to see were ALWAYS there when you REALLY NEEDED them. I Knew this because, even though sometimes my favorite cousins would have to go Home, the one night I REALLY NEEDED her, (though no one can explain to this day) my cousin was there for me, even in the middle of the night.
So I lived for the first five years of my life, believing in “Happily Ever After” waiting patiently, (probably because) and quite contentedly to grow up and find “Prince Charming.”
Then my dad made his Second and Third Great Mistakes, (though they be mistakes, I can truly say I am grateful for all three, especially for the first, as I live and breathe,); he re-married and took me away from the cottage at the edge of the woods, to the Place of No Return.
Truly, Daddy and I will never be the same after that.
It was there that I discovered there were things worse than Fear or Death or Nightmares. I discovered scares were more binding than Blood. I learned that fairy tales were never meant to be true. I learned the only thing that was Forever was Death, and it began to be scary.
I will tell anyone who cares to ask, that Death has been one of the Greatest Blessings of my Life. I would even have to say, it has been one of the ways I Know there is a Higher Power and that Higher Power has a direct influence in my Life. THAT scares me more than anything else. ANYTHING! Imagine, something so AWESOME as to caused the creation of EVERYTHING-even the stuff humans don’t know about, thinks enough of me to pause in Their awesome creating to cause a single event to occur, much less several as in this case, is quite overwhelming. Do you even know how many people there are in the world? How many moments have and will occur? I can specifically name a few:
My Grandma’s Mother is the first person I remember dying. I was not there when it happened, but I remember her visiting us, and then I remember going to her funeral. I also remember Daddy getting upset with my aunt for telling me “Grandma was sleeping”. Maybe that was the reason I remember it so well even though I wasn’t even five yet. I really don’t remember much about it and, though I do remember people shedding tears, I don’t remember it as a terribly sad occasion.
In fact, I’d have to say, I can’t really remember ever going to a funeral, at least with my grandparents, that was terribly sad. I have since discovered that I’ve been to rather a few funerals, but that has to do with my grandparents having such a significant influence in my life. With as many great aunts and uncles as I had, and the importance Grandpa placed on the idea of Family, it’s no small wonder that it actually became easier the more involved I became. I went from barely comprehending bystander, to singing during the service, to the unexpected close family member, to sitting with an uncle as he took his last breath to losing the One Person Who Loved Me Most. In that order.
As bad as that got, had I not experienced Death in that order, I Know I would not have survived loosing Grandpa. That was the Second Worst Time of My Life. The First was this past year, and next year has not started off to be very promising, except to break last year’s record.
Do you want to know how I Know I would not have survived any of this had those Deaths NOT taken place in the order they did? The Third Great Challenge of my life happened about seven years after the first two that uprooted me from my rose tinted bubble of a world. The first boy I ever called “my boy friend” had his head blown off by a friend playing with a gun.
The preceding summer I had my first suicide attempt. Never mind that I was often calling Grandpa to come get me so I could “run away”. Never mind the one and only fight I EVER heard my dad get into with my grandparents about the custody of me. Never mind the increasingly frequent nightmares I was having, where the ONLY thing that calmed me was the sound of my grandpa’s voice.
Believe me when I tell you I KNOW the way I have learned to deal with Death is a DIRECT result of the Influence of God in my life.
From the seventh grade, until my early 20’s I was suicidal. I mean completely unhealthy, should not watch sappy movies, suicidal. Unfortunately, I was also completely floundering with no clue of who I really was, what I really wanted out of life, what was really even important in life. It was during this period that I was diagnosed as “Manic/Depressive” and, while a different physiatrist, “You’re not Manic/Depressive, you’re Bi-Polar.” These days they get lumped together, which makes no difference to the reality of the fact that I am Crazy.
My Grandpa Knew this. I’m sure of it, because he was always trying to teach me to control my emotions. He Knew emotions gets us into trouble every time. Emotions are there to satisfy the demands of your five senses. Emotions are things of this world, according to him. At least that was where he stood when I was younger. Being his Great Experiment, it was probably seeing me become an emotionally (for the most part) healthy adult that probably led him to late amend his opinion on emotions. It took me a very long time to learn how to handle my out-of-touch-with-reality self, so spare the pain of personal experience, like I tried to do with my parents (I made my own set of mistakes, thank you), and Listen when I give you the Wisdom of My Experience:
Allow yourself to Feel. Emotions are not bad, dirty things to keep locked away like your favorite magazine. Some emotions are pleasant to experience and some are terrible. Some are fleeting little things you barely remember, and some are so intense as to take your breath away. All are useful in their own way, but never let them carry you away, especially those who thrive in Darkness.
When Dark emotions threaten to take you away, find a Safe Place. This may be the place you call Home, (your’s or someone else’s), or maybe a hospital where you Know you’ll be Safe until you have the right Help. I think my Calling has been to provide such a place, but I feel it is not Right yet.
Don’t be afraid to be Who You Are. You will never be healthy if you cannot be True to Yourself. That means accepting the Dark emotions you feel as well. Should I be ashamed to say that I have had to talk myself into staying here? Indeed, you are quite probably one of the reasons I AM here! If I should not be ashamed, then why should you? Accept that you are not always mentally well. Just as our bodies get ill, so do our Hearts and Souls.
Speaking of your Soul, get Right with God, whatever that may mean. I don’t care what you believe in, as long as you Believe. Just as there are many different ways to treat Bi-Polar Disorder and Fibromyalgea, there has got to be ways of Knowing God. God is not a nice neat thing for Human Understanding, but God IS.
When you start feeling bad do two things: 1. Do something nice for someone else. You have probably gotten a text or an e-mail from me that seemed out-of-the-blue. It might be because I’m feeling bad, and for whatever reason I thought you might feel like that at some point, and I would want you to know I valued you in some way, so I sent you a little something to save for a rainy day. and 2. TELL SOMEONE!!! Curling yourself into a tight ball crying “God help! God Help!! GOD HELP!!!” does NOT count. The people who love you do not know what is going on in your head and heart. There may be a chemical issue that you have no control over. It could be your thoughts are spiraling you, and you just need to get your mind going in a different direction. People cannot help you if they don’t know you need help.
Immerse yourself. For me, it is usually writing (as you can tell). For my dad it is nature. It could be anything from fishing to taking a walk in the woods with a loaded camera, but he always seems to feel better when he make that connection. For some people it is physical activity. The adrenaline rush that runners get can be just the chemical push you need to get over this episode.
I am no expert. This is only the culmination of the observation of my experience. I hope it helps.