Monday, October 13, 2014

That Moment

There comes a time when reality hits and you finally accept that the people that you love most of all will not live forever.  It's a horrible feeling, but it's not like you can change things.  But you can ask for "that moment" that will stay with you forever.

My first "moment" was with my grandfather.  He was a quite man who always had a twinkle in his eye when ever I saw him.  For a long time, he was the man I could depend on in my life.  I remember the final time he went into the hospital.  As I drove to see him, I prayed for one more day with my real grandpa, not the shell he was becoming.  And one day, I got it.  He was happy, talking more than I had ever heard him talk, and full of life and peace.  I remember as I was driving home thanking God for honoring my request.  After that day, I continued to visit the man, but the person was slipping away.  But that day, the moment I asked for, has never left me.

My grandmother, on the other hand, has given me many moments.  That moment where she is near death and you feel special to be part of that moment.  But this woman has a mind of her own.  I have said goodbye more times than I can count, but another "moment" always seems to be in her future.  But it doesn't make it any less precious--because I never know when it might be the last.  Our most recent moment was my favorite.  She has long suffered from dementia.  She doesn't really know who I am, but she looked at me like she knew she was supposed to know me.  She didn't know me, but she asked if I knew "her Kasey."  She told me stories of "her Kasey" and let me know how special "her Kasey" was.  Of course, I was "her Kasey."  Somehow hearing her talk about me as if I wasn't there was even more special.  And when she talked about the angels that were in the room and the friends that were above her bed waiting for her, well I thought for sure this was my final moment with her.  She was discharged from the hospital the following day.  I guess we have another moment still to make.

Today was another moment, but with a different grandmother.  Some would consider her "just a step-grandmother" but she was a grandma to me.  She is a tough as nails, no one tells me what to do kind of woman who has a soft side that you can see, but only on rare occasions.  It's been a rather rapid downhill slope.  But I also believe that's what she wanted.  I went tonight to say goodbye.  But I got another moment.  A moment where she couldn't really communicate, but I felt like she understood me.  She understood me when I told her I loved her and thanked her for being a grandma to me.  I held her hand.  She seemed to calm down.  I even thought I heard a laugh here and there.  I stayed at her bed until she went to peacefully to sleep.  Then I kissed her and told her to do all of this the same way she lived her life--do it the way you want.

I'll go back and see both grandmothers, but it's greedy to ask for more than what I have already gotten.  Because in each of these moments, I am granted moments of complete and utter peace.  And while I am trying to be there for them, it's really these people that I love comforting me in their own way.  And these moments will live in me forever.

May I always have the strength to be there for those I care about when they need me most.  If I can do that, I am the person receiving the gift.  I get those moments that change my heart and make me want to be a better person.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Little Steps, Big Changes

This summer, I changed.  I learned to listen to my own voice.  I learned to recognize my own strength.  I learned to let go of my past.

But I had set up my little world for success.  In some strange way, I was like an alcoholic or a person addicted to drugs.  I removed the most challenging elements, those that continuously kept me from being myself, for three months.  I worked a little each day taking baby steps toward the goal of accepting myself for who I am.

And just like someone out of rehab, I came back to the real world.  Challenges presented themselves, but I handled them.  More than that, I took pride in those moments of success.

My biggest challenge came today.  The past came at me and tried to drag me back.  But I wouldn't go.  I stood on my own two feet, said what need to be said, and put myself first.  It was pretty incredible.

I even waited for the inevitable. That after the fact guilt, self-doubt, or anger.  None of it came.  I called my mom, released the thoughts, and moved on with my night.

Obviously, I haven't completely stopped thinking about it.  But I'm thinking about it in a whole new way.  All those little steps this summer changed me.  I'm so much better for those three months of growth and work.  I'm so much stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Joy of Cooking

Growing up, I didn't exactly have a chef in the kitchen.  We were fed, but cooking consisted of a few meals in a steady rotation.  (Pizza Hut and Burger King were also part of that rotation.)

And then I entered junior high where I was introduced to actual cooking.  For me, it was a whole new world.  All those random ingredients dancing together just perfectly could make magic! 

My poor brother.  He was subjected to my quest to create the perfect spaghetti sauce.  I still had no knowledge of fresh ingredients, but was convinced that I could make the recipe just a bit better if I kept trying.  He will not eat spaghetti to this day.

And my mother.  She had to contend with her night owl daughter.  She would go to bed early and wake up in the morning to find a filthy kitchen and many loaves of fresh made bread. 

I've grown up a bit.  I'm more selective of my ingredients, but the love is still there.  My favorite night of the week is Saturday.  It's my night to grab a glass of wine, turn the tv on in the background, and try a new recipe.  I fail more than I succeed, but that's not the point.  Its almost a form of therapy.  Just me trying to find that next combination of "healthy" ingredients that will impress the harshest critic--me!

So tonight, I made my first roasted chicken (Success!) and mashed cauliflower (Fail!).  But I was able to be creative in my own way.  I was able to "unplug" by leaving my phone in the other room for two hours.  I was able to just be and think.  How the food came out is secondary.  Tonight was a win.

Tomorrow, I will go back into the kitchen where I will prepare a couple of tried and true recipes to get me through the week.  And I have another week to try to find new recipes for next week's therapy session.