Month: April 2019

My grandfather

My paternal grandfather died in 2010 while I was in pursuit of my first post-baccalaureate degree. He had throat cancer, but ultimately died in his sleep during work travels.

He was a roofer by trade and he was a hard worker. Even during the years he struggled with alcohol addiction, he worked faithfully. Today, experts would suggest that he was a functioning alcoholic – but I am not sure the title fits.

Of course, he worked tirelessly and he maintained his household; but there’s more to functioning than being able to work.

He was born in a completely different time than I was and his family’s composition was one that I can never fully understand.

In my early and middle childhood days I was afraid of my grandfather. He was definitely harmless, but he was loud. He would come into my grandmother’s house loudly making his presence known.

You see my mother was a quiet woman who rarely raised her voice so the most noise in our house was us children playing or occasionally the television or radio. I was unsure of how to what it meant when someone was loud.

In my wee mind people were only loud if there was danger near. So when my grandfather would speak loudly I thought something was wrong and I would cry.

For quite awhile he thought that I was simply crying because he was in the building! My grandmother and mother explained that I was just frightened by his loudness.

He was always crazy about me. I was his first grandchild by his favorite child. Seriously, everyone would agree that my dad was my grandfather’s favorite child.

Fast forward to my teenage years, my grandfather and I grew very close. I was no longer afraid of him and I realized he was only loud when he was announcing his entrance into my grandma’s house.

He and my grandmother were separated but still married. He still financially supported my grandmother; however, for some reason unbeknownst to me they were separated throughout my entire life.

Once I was a teenager I would go to my grandfather’s house and sit with him. I loved those times, some times we would talk but most of the time we would just sit in silence.

My grandfather is no longer around but even to this day I love just sitting in silence.

When I moved for college I talked to my grandfather at least once a week. Neither of us were really good phone conversationalist but with the distance between us we learned how to converse on the phone.

He would tell me about his travels for work and about the men he worked with. I would tell him what I was doing in school and how I thought college was stupid.

He would generally end the conversation by encouraging me to stay in school. He told me my schooling would pay off eventually.

You see he didn’t have much formal education and neither did the majority of his siblings. Education was something some of them aspired to but it seemed out of reach.

My grandfather did get to see me graduate high school and college. He was very proud of me. My pictures were all over his house and he talked about me to any who would listen.

He wasn’t a perfect man, no one is. And he had some issues, everyone does. But he taught me a lot about work ethic and character.

I’m glad I was able to let him know that I love him while he was still living. I’m ultra glad that I got to know him as a person and not just as my loud grandfather who doesn’t live with my grandma but seems to pay all the bills!

I think he would be proud of me today. As I prepare to use my education to educate others. He would likely remind me of how he would tell me that schooling is good for me and it will pay off.

Mental Health Days

During my days in elementary school, my mother taught me about self-care.

I do not believe that she was intentionally teaching my sister and I about self care when she would declare a random day – Mental Health Day.

Mental Health Day did not come often but when it did it was outrageously exhilarating to elementary me.

Ok so Mom’s Mental Health Day was a day of lounging, eating something healthy and fuss free, and enjoying board games with some sort of dessert!

The most fascinating part about these Mental Health Days is that we stayed at home from work and/or school on these days. We just enjoyed each other’s company.

If we watched something on the television, it was a family movie that we all wanted to see. Since there were rarely movies that we all wanted to see, we rarely watched television on our special days.

Looking back, I see now that my mom had to carve out time for us as a family. Time that she was not rushing to go to work or trying to rest up for the next shift at work. She knew that our school work and her employment would be there once our day commenced…however, she must’ve been acutely aware that the easygoing, laid back time we shared together would be limited.

My sister and I are adults now and even living in the same town, it’s difficult to carve out a day when we can just share each other’s company. Work, school, family, church, and so on and so on gets in the way.

Neither me nor my sister have mom’s ingenuity to select the perfect day as a Mental Health Day. We’ve tried but we just don’t have the special touch my mom did.

Now when we try it feels forced and we are often busy trying to connect to the outside world on our devices and we just don’t accomplish a Mental Health Day.

But we remember those wonderful days that we shared with our mother and we marvel at how easily she pulled them off!

Back then once our day was over and life as we knew it returned, we were refreshed. Practically skipping joyfully on our way to school and/or work.

Our behavior at school and home improved and our relationship with each other grew.

I didn’t know it then but now I know that my mom taught me that self care is vitally important and it does not take much money.

I’m pretty sure that these mental health days likely occurred on my mom’s days off and on those rare half-days at school because my mom wouldn’t just let us miss a full regular school day

However, back then I was simply ecstatic that we were having fun with each other and just relaxing.

As I mention, I don’t have the magic formula my mom had to pull off a perfect mental health day; but mom gave me the guidelines on how to take care of myself regardless of what’s going on in the world or even in my world!

Mental Health Days in my home embodied what is now known as self-care and my mom was the best at it!

That ONE Post

Does anyone else wonder what that one blog post would translate to if you were suddenly no longer around?

Honestly, I think this very thought about the emails I send and the blog posts I write. What will people think of me if they canvassed my writing and read that ONE POST?

You know, like that one post you wrote when you were upset or maybe even in an impaired state of mind. Or the post you composed when you first started your blog and you just knew NO ONE would ever see it. Let’s not forget the post you wrote about a topic that you were deeply passionate about; only to really you were also very ill-informed. Or maybe it’s the nonsensical post that was just for fun at the time of writing.

All of these posts will be read one day, some more closely than others. Depending on how it happens that you are no longer managing your blog, the post will be read differently.

Have you ever heard an investigator, anthropologist, historian, or even someone’s family member piece together someone’s identity based on written documents?

What image will people have of you based on your posts? Specifically, what image will they have if they only read that one post?

How much attention should we pay to the image we cultivate through our words? Are there certain times we should pay more attention to this sculpted image?

I have the slightest idea what someone would think of me by reading any of my posts…it really depends on which post they read. However, I know one thing that even if I posted everyday; the reader would only know what I wanted them to know in that moment.

Besides I am more than any of my attributes, and my attributes are great!

Emotional Reaction

I hate you – at least that’s how I feel in this moment.

Hate is too strong of a word. One might say, but in the moment hate is the best descriptor I possess.

When I say I love you, no one tells me that love is too strong of a word.

Hate. Love. These words are often thought to be opposites. Some even suggest that there’s a thin line between them or perhaps they are on a spectrum…easily blurred.

If I tell you I hate you right now, will you even hear the words “right now”? Or will you only hear “I hate you”?

Does it even matter if you hear the entire statement?

Does the context matter? If I said it while I was upset or in the heat of the moment, does that change how you receive my statement?

I hate you right now, but I’m not sure what that really means.

I’m not feeling very lovingly toward you so does that translate to hate?

I won’t hate you during the next moment; but in this moment I do. Does that change how you receive my statement?

I hate you right now; but, perhaps I’ll love you later.

Does that matter since I hate you right now?

Breaking Point

If they paid any attention they would recognize that something was amiss.

If they listened they would hear that something was amiss.

If the knew her they would know that something was amiss.

She is slowly crumbling, albeit internally.

She appears put together externally.

She knows that she is at her breaking point; but those who say they love her and that they care are clueless to this very fact.

At this point she refuses to try and hold on.

She gave up many moons ago.

The only fight she has left is pure instinct. She only reacts now with a faint attempt to survive.

They don’t realize she is crumbling.

They fail to notice that anything is wrong.

If she ultimately breaks, in the aftermath they will suddenly recognize that she had been at a breaking point for quite some time.

They will compare notes to see whether the things become clues to her crumbling are really clues are just quirks.

Oh she is full of quirks and hard to get to know, so they disagree on what clues she displayed – this debate takes place in the aftermath of her finally breaking – and what was just her quirks.

They should see that she is crumbling, prior to her breaking…but they don’t know her well enough to truly recognize the clues.

She is slowly crumbling and losing her ability to fight it.

Unfortunately they won’t realize anything is wrong with her until the aftermath of her breaking completely.

Do better, be better, pay attention, get to know one another…don’t wait until the aftermath to realize what’s been there all along.