Lost words

The words used to flow so freely from my mind and through my hands onto the page. After the chemo, the medication, the illicit drugs, and the health conditions that have all affected my memory, my concentration, and the speed of thought, it has become such a struggle to write anymore. It takes forever to find the that perfect word I have on the tip of my tongue and I remember a day when 10 page papers were a breeze to me. It’s painful when your passion becomes a difficult reminder of how much your brain has changed over the past 20 years or so. I have so many thoughts spinning around up there but focusing enough to get them down on paper is a serious chore. Writing used to be a release for me, a therapy session with myself. Now I find myself getting frustrated because I can’t find the ‘right’ words to express what I’m trying to say.

What do you do when your passion has become a painful process for you?

Hope

Hope is what happens when you first see a light,
Just a distant, small star in the darkest of night.

Hope is what happens with the first buds of spring,
When dawn touches the sky or a bird spreads its wings.

Hope is what happens when a wound starts to heal,
Whether skin deep or soul deep, you begin to feel real.

Hope is what happens when you’re poor but not broken.
There’s a goldmine of dreams still yet to be awakened.

Hope is what happens when someone is kind,
A feeling not lost, just misplaced in your mind.

Hope is what happens when war turns to peace,
After everyone prayed that the fighting would cease.

Hope is what happens with the smell of fresh rain,
When your long drought of dreams is renewed yet again.

Hope is what happens when clouds finally clear.
Troubled thunder falls silent, courageous whispers you hear.

Hope is what happens when fresh bread is baking,
And what hungers your heart will someday stop aching.

Hope is what happens when kindling ignites.
You rediscover your passion that burns day and night.

Hope is what happens when the pain eases a bit,
And deep down inside, you find your true grit.

Hope is what happens as long as we breathe,
For although it takes time, the sorrow will leave.

Hope is what happens long after the pain…

Hope is what happens, again and again…

~ Catherine DeVrye

RIP Mommy

Mother’s Day is probably one of the most difficult days of the year for me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to spend a moment in time with my mom today. Losing her was like losing my whole sense of self. Looking at each other was like looking into a two-way mirror.

Without trying, my mom raised a daughter who shares most of her best and worst qualities. I give her all the credit for my ability to love unconditionally without boundaries or limits. She instilled most of the values I will always live by such as honesty and compassion for others.

I will forever hold dear to my heart the way we continually switched off as the caregiver throughout the years. On the other hand, I definitely got my “crazy” from my mom. You can only imagine some of the epic blowouts we had when our “crazy’s” would collide.

As I get older, the questions I wish I could ask her continues to grow. I guess that’s one of the worst parts of losing your mom at such a young age. She was only 54 years old when she passed away but they say only the good die young, right? It’s what I choose to believe. Just like I choose to believe she’s always looking down and protecting me as one of my guardian angels.

Warriors

I fought cancer and won that battle. I struggle with addiction and found that recovery is possible. I deal with a number of chronic illnesses but don’t let them control my life. With all this being said, there’s still another monster that defeats me every time it rears it’s ugly head. Depression is the most powerful opponent I’ve ever encountered. How are you supposed to win a battle against something that steals all your desire to fight or do anything really?

To those who don’t understand mental illness, it may seem like people suffering with depression are just giving up on life. Knowing this enemy all too well, I see things in a much different way. I believe that some of the strongest people are the ones who pull themselves out of the darkness and do it repeatedly throughout their lives. It takes a true warrior to make it through depression alive.

All In

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don’t want to be stuck in bed doing nothing while life just passes me by. This whole “living” thing isn’t meant to be a spectator sport. It’s about experiencing every encounter, the good and bad. I’ve made a decision that I WILL NOT HALF-ASS MY LIFE NO MATTER WHAT!

I guess you could say that I’m “all in” because what’s life without taking risks? I know for a fact that history wasn’t made by people who played it safe. I could lose it all and it wouldn’t matter. Things can be replaced. I’m more interested in a thrill at this point. I don’t expect to live forever or even make it through my 40’s so I’d rather jump headfirst into the unknown than hang around in the shallow end where you can drown just as easily.

I may be crazy. I may be delusional. I may be sick of people placing labels on everyone just because they’re different. I may just happen to be myself and that should be good enough for the world. It is for me. I am who I am and I’ll never be anything else. I kinda dig her actually. You should meet her sometime. It’ll be fun. I promise.

Giving the Glory to God

It’s days like today that make me appreciate the life shattering experiences I’ve faced and reassure me that God has a plan to turn my pain and suffering into something beautiful.

Today I met up with a representative of UFCW International which I found out to be a union that advocates for better working conditions in a number of different industries. The really interesting part is what happened leading up to this meeting….

I got a voicemail message from a man that obviously called the wrong number because my name isn’t Irene and I had no idea what he was talking about. Usually I delete voicemails right after I’ve listened to them but for some reason I kept this one in my inbox. Almost a week later, I came across the message again and actually listened to what was being said this time. After a few more playbacks, my curiosity took over and I decided to call the man back. Without going into too much detail, the man explained to me that there was an issue involving WalMart and the number of calls that the City receives requiring the police department to respond and use its resources to detain shoplifters. I asked a few questions and then he asked me if I would attend a City Council meeting the next day to support the union’s concerns.

I still have no clue what possessed me to agree and then actually show up to the meeting when I’ve never even entered the Courthouse of the City I’ve spent most of my life in. I sat through the meeting and soaked in as much information as I could about the topics addressed and how the meeting was structured. This was how I originally met Anahi and made plans to connect up for coffee later in the week. Which brings me to our present day where I began this story.

We spent about an hour discussing the issue while exchanging information, questions, ideas, etc. After all the business stuff that I won’t bore you with, we just got to know each other a little better and exchanged life stories. Needless to say, my story takes a bit longer to get through than anyone else so I try to condense it down as much as possible but when you mention Cancer, it’s hard not to explain the parts that make it so extraordinary.

This is where I have to stop and acknowledge the undeniable presence of God in every part of this totally random occurrence that still baffles me. I don’t believe in coincidences so I know God planned every detail of this experience for a reason making nothing about it random or minuscule.

Whenever I’m in a situation that calls for me to share the defining aspects of my life, I always make sure to give all the glory of my story to God. I make it clear that I’m merely a vessel to serve Him and His ultimate plan for me. We must always remember to praise God when speaking about the moments in our life that make us who we are. If it weren’t for Him handcrafting each one of us, we wouldn’t even have this life or anything to tell. Right?

It’d been a seriously long time since I had the opportunity to share my story with a perfect stranger or anyone really. When I finished, she just stared at me with this look of disbelief and said, “You are such a strong person.” I didn’t realize how desperately I needed to hear that today when I’ve been struggling to overcome weaknesses and feelings of fear that have been holding me back for awhile now. I never know how to respond when someone points out the strength they see in me. It kinda makes me a little uncomfortable really. The most I’m ever able to muster up is, “Umm… thank you.” So I just Give the Glory to God because in Him is where I find my strength.