Saturday, September 23, 2017

5 years Of missing Rebecca

5 years ago, I crumpled on the sidewalk of Cordova and Dunlevy streets in vancouver, as my dad was speechless on the phone as he called me to say my sister had died.  Grief changes, but I learn that it will never likely leave.

Today, as I do every year, Rebecca was high in my thoughts.  Every year, I don't know what I will do to remember this day.  I didn't do much today.  However, I know what I am going to do..

A few years ago, we participated in a public inquiry into her death.  You can watch a clip here:

As a result of that inquiry, we have a binder of pages filled with Alberta hospital policies, nursing notes, vital signs, and hand written memories of my sister.  It is filled with the "evidence" of my sisters final months with us.  Months filled with hard times.  I've often wondered what I would do with this binder... it does no good to my spirit to read it, it only brings sadness.  It will not be needed in the future,  and there are other copies out there. It almost Seems that in keeping it here, it keeps her here too.  It doesn't allow us to heal, or to let go of here.

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.

 I will follow that thought, and at some point in the next few days, I will burn the pages of this legal report.  As I do so, I will pray, I will remember, and I will cry.  I will trust the Lord that he has surrounded her in love, and that she no longer suffers the pain of her illness.  I will watch the smoke rise as a reminder of her spirit rising to be with the Creator. And as I remember, I will be thankful for the short life that she was given, and the light that she brought to this world.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A few good cries.

I had a good cry a few nights ago, one of those "sit on the bathroom floor and sob your eyes out into a washcloth" types of cries.  That was the second one of those in the last month.  Things have not been easy recently.  Writing things like this is not easy either.  there is worry in making things "public."

The first cry came in late April, when I separated my shoulder (AC joint) which was a big bummer...  even though I have been able to get back to some activities, and my range of motion is basically back, it is this consistent, dull ache that niggles me all the time. I want to be able to go out an do things, I even did a road ride the other night, against my physio's advice.  And, guess what?  the past two days have been really painful.

After my good cry the other night, Sean and I went out for dinner last night.  We spoke about the nitty gritty about things that have been going on recently: how we are both coping with our relationship these days.  I've been struggling lately:  I worry a lot that if I am feeling hurt, or lonely, or frustrated, etc., that I cannot express it to Sean.  I don't want to burden him more than what he is dealing with himself.  However, I also recognize that at some base, he is able to take care of me.

and that is just one of so many thoughts/feelings.  They just keep going.

I get really frustrated... like REALLY annoyed at depression. it kills joy, it increases isolation, and it makes pain more unbearable.  It needs to go away, but the solution is not easy or fast.  I just wish that it was more obvious.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

living with three dogs...

recently, you may have read in our family christmas newsletter a bit about our family story with depression.  One of the amazing things that came out of that was the amount of people who reached out and said things like "I never knew" and "thanks for saying something" and "i'd be glad to talk."  The moment you say something is the moment you take away shame and secrecy.   The most touching gift was one from Ontario.  A small book.

As you know, we have two dogs: the lovely distinguished big dog (ilala) and the crazy wild little dog (arrow).
However, this book reminded me of the third dog we live with... A black dog.  You can see the story in the following video.  I had a black dog, his name was depression. on Vimeo.  It's a World Health Organization illustration, and it does a good job with the metaphor.

One of the problems though, is that i really recognize, now, more than ever, some of my concepts and beliefs about recovery from mental illness: and how some of those concepts don't align between my personal belief system, and my progressional knowledge.

For instance, a recent struggle I have faced: is recovery from illness mean living symptom free? or does it mean coping with the symptoms that may continue to plague you?  I mean, if a person defines recovery as "symptom free," and I believe that may not actually be possible, how does that affect my actions/reactions/conversations? is that selling the person short, and losing hope? or, alternatively, is it being realistic?  If a person defines recovery as "symptom free" and recovery is defined by a person's own goals, than is that what we strive for?

That's hard for me to wrap my head around.  I struggle with that.

Meanwhile, I am doing something called "the five marks of love" as a study through this Lenten Season.  Hopefully to have me feel a bit more connected to my anglican roots, and to provide me something to meditate on occasionally.

this week, the first "mark of love" is tell.  We are encouraged to ask 5 people some of the following questions: How have you known and received the love of God? What for you is the Good News of the gospel? What do you understand the Kingdom of God to be and how has this influenced the way that you live in the world?

Would you be willing to share that with me? I would love to hear and have you share that good news. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Suggestions

Earlier in the year, I asked a few friends about suggestions for books that they would recommend for my study this year.  I can tell already that it will take a little bit of effort on my behalf... I have not regularly read books for quite a while, so I will have to actually carve out the time.

Maybe i can cut out the time when I normally watch the bachelor (ugh, can we just take a moment to say that Nick V is SO lame? but how excited are we for the next season of the bachelorette?!)  to read a bit about spirituality and suffering.

SO, here is the main list of books and authors suggested.  I will have to pick out the ones I will actually read, caus this is way to much to get through.   I wonder if anyone has any suggestions as to a order I should attempt to read them in...  Any thoughts? Does anyone want to join me in reading some of these?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Here we come, 2017

The new year is here, and I haven't written my "100 best things of 2016" post yet.  I promise I will write it before the end of the month!  If you got our Christmas newsletter, you will know that 2016 wasn't always a walk in the park. It was not bad, it just was not always easy.  Honestly, I don't know that 2017 will be any easier, but I certainly know that I have many things I am already looking forward too.

Of course, one might ask if I have New Years resolutions.  I didn't have any, until today.  One of them is blogging more... sitting at my computer, and writing out my thoughts.  I have used this blog over the years for many reasons, but this year, I don't want to write about the things I have written about before.  Of course, posts might contain thoughts on racing, adventure, dogs, work, etc... cause, that's me!  But I want to get back to writing for the therapeutic aspect of it. I am going to write about being in the wife of someone who lives with depression. I'm not going to talk about the depression in particular, because that is my beloved's story to tell, when he is ready to tell it.  I will also not betray his confidence in me or break his trust.  But, I am willing to talk about me.  Because, if we are silent, depression wins.  I won't let it win.  We must talk, because this is not a secret or anything to be ashamed about.

My second resolution is to study the spiritual aspect of suffering.  I am a Christian, and as a Christian, I trust that the Lord has this in his control.  In fact, the lord suffered in his love for us.  But I don't claim to understand suffering.  I have suffering every day in my life.  In my family, with my friends, in my work, and in the world.  I have people I love very dearly, who are suffering right now.  Where do we understand the Lords love within this suffering?  If you have books, or a study you would like to send my way, please do.

Finally, I know this is going to take vulnerability, and that is not easy. But Just because I might right something, it does not necessarily mean I want to talk to you about it.  I may, I may not, but please respect me on that.  I welcome you to journey with me.