As a child, I used to sing myself to sleep. One of my favorite songs was “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Each note I sang was full of hope that someday I would live somewhere safe where there was no abuse. “There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby…” I fully believed that I would find a place of love and safety, free from harm. Where did I get such faith? I read books and saw movies where children and people were cherished. Life wasn’t scary and filled with predators. As an adult, I set my course to live in such a place. I married with high hopes. But the day after the wedding my husband changed from Prince Charming to a sneering, demeaning brute. Confused, I tried to behave in a way that would please him; but to no avail. That is, until he wanted to have a child and then the one-time prince made a brief appearance. During my pregnancy and the subsequent birth of my lovely son things improved somewhat. I was treated better… till I wasn’t. Then, all smiles and embracing me he said he wanted another child. But, I was not so easily duped again. I told him that I would not be having more children with the likes of him. I had gained some self-respect. And so we divorced. I then made a life and a safe, loving home for my son and I. I still had hope. After several years of rebuilding our lives, I met a kind man and decided to try matrimony again. But, then he became very ill within a year of marrying him. The doctors gave me medicine to inject him with every day. Then they tried infusions. But still, his health deteriorated till he was no longer able to walk or stand or sit up without support. During all this I lost hope that life could feel safe and good. My husband’s illness was very frightening. No doubt, for both of us and my son. He eventually even lost his hearing. Then, he passed away one night. When I found him the next morning he finally looked at peace. But, then I was left alone to pick up the pieces. And, all hope was gone.
Its been over two years since he died. During this time I have received much help from friends and my son as I try to start my life over. Not only did I not have any hope, I even forgot that such a thing as hope existed. Its a terrible way to live. Then, a month or so ago, I caught a scent, a fragrance. It seemed strange, yet familiar. Although, I didn’t recognize it, I welcomed it. I sensed that it was young — something from my youth. Just a week ago, I learned it’s name — it is hope. Somehow it found me. I am more than a bit frightened of it; but, I am now more frightened of living without it. So, I tentatively hold it’s hand and take small steps into my unknown future.
During my teenage years I would collect quotes and poems and write them in journals. Finding words of truth was a source of great satisfaction to me. This quote from The Little Prince was a great favorite of mine and has remained so to this day. Kindness, love, and affection are gifts from others that I prize above all else and are things I can give in return. Sometimes they can be seen with the eye or heard with the ear, but the heart sees them in all their glory and secrets them away in a cache to draw upon on a rainy day. As we grow older and age wears out my body, our spirit becomes even more important. Unseen by many who use only their eyes to see, it is to be treasured more since it is the essential part of me and you. Today, I am going to practice seeing with my heart. Seeing others and seeing even myself truly. And I hold up the prayer that my heart may be kind and loving.
From Vocabulary.com- the definition of succor: In archaic times, succor meant a reinforcement of troops during a hard battle. These days though, those reinforcements are a bit more figurative. Succor is a helping hand in a time of need, relief when the going gets tough. Succor can also be used as a verb, as in, “After Bob fell overboard, […]
via SUCCOR — Patricia J Grace
An insightful post about the wall we put up to keep ourselves safe but limits letting love in.
I was sitting at the dining room table yesterday and looking out the window when a Federal Express van pulled up out front. The delivery man got out of the truck and went to the back to pulled out a box which I recognized as a flower delivery. I thought to myself “Oh, what lucky person is going to get those?”. Then he proceeded to walk up to my door! What a surprise! I flew to the door to get the box. Inside were two dozen beautiful roses of different colors and a box of chocolates with a note wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day from my son. As I handled each precious rose and snipped the ends all dreariness left the day. “He loves me in spite of my many faults” I thought with great relief. I really hadn’t expected this and would have been content with just a card. I had been getting a bit broody thinking how far away he was on Mother’s Day. I had been remembering how he always spoiled me on this day when we were together. He would make my coffee in the morning and breakfast and lunch and dinner. But, more important, he would give me his time and attention and I would just revel in it. And we would play our favorite card game Quiddler. Many things in my life have not worked out as I had dreamed. But having him was all I could have hoped for and more. I remember leaving the hospital and carrying him in my arms not quite believing something so wonderful was happening to me. I enjoyed every moment spent with him while he grew from an infant to a young man. Life has been difficult at times, but he has made the journey worthwhile. And, so I sit looking at my rainbow of roses and eating chocolates thinking upon this great good in my life.
I made a promise to myself many years ago to pursue reality. I was in an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage at the time. Denial had been my coping mechanism; that and pretending that he was an alien from another planet to explain his cold-heartedness and lack of empathy. It’s taken years to see the full arsenal of weapons he used. Also, to fully appreciate that it was a deliberate choice on his part and not something he couldn’t help. At times, I have felt stupid for having been fooled. But these realizations were nothing compared to recovering the memories of rape and incest I experienced as a child and teenager. Despite the heartbreak of finding out that my father was not the good and loving man that I loved, I still would choose reality. Those that have been abused live in a different reality though. The world does not make sense. Life does not make sense. Parents and people are not to be trusted.
Family is often not a good word but a term that is filled with pain. But, with good therapy and good friends, (and kind pets – I must add) small steps can be taken to start to engage with your fellow humans and stop expecting the worse. Still I feel, at times, that I have come from a different planet than many of the people I know. And I wonder sometimes if others can sense that I am different. Sure, I try to fit in and laugh along at the jokes. So often though, it is a huge act. There’s a feeling of isolation that crops up suddenly sometimes. Because I don’t talk about my past to the majority of the populace. Its a secret that I carry around. A secret that has been kept so long, since childhood. This disconnection from other people is part of my reality.
But, reality is the price that I paid for not going mad. As I slowly wake in the mornings after a night of strange dreams, I check in to see if I am still sane. I usually am not sure I am till after two cups of coffee and reading through my fellow bloggers latest blogs. I then start to notice the world around me. I hear planes overhead, bird calls and see whether the sun is out or hiding. Its another day. Another day for learning new ways to live and accepting the reality of now with both it’s blessings and challenges. Reality can be both bad and good; there is darkness and light. And just for today, I will try to embrace the goodness in this world.
Aside from some all too brief hours of sunshine in the afternoon on Friday, it has been either rainy or dismally cloudy here in Chicago for seven days. Was it only last Sunday that it was bright and warm and saw the lawn covered with sparrows, squirrels and rabbits? It seems but a dream now. It feels like it has been dreary and grey forever. My thoughts and mood are dismal to match. But the sun is still in the sky. And one day this week it will reappear (the weather forecasters have promised!). So will I while away the day thinking of the many trials of my life or will I try to count my blessings? Will I embrace hope and think upon the many beauties of this world or will I gaze stubbornly into the darkness? Can I choose? I think I can. I choose to think upon my blessings. Its still overcast outside but I feel my spirit begin to lighten. I recognize that for many years now I have given up on hope. The illness and death of a loved one will do that to you. To hope again is a frightening prospect. It may only lead to bone-crushing disappointment. But, how else is one to live? I have been too long under a blanket of dejection and it has not served me well. I read a poem today and it made me remember how full of hopes and dreams I was when I was so much younger. Some dreams didn’t come true and nearly broke my heart. But, some did come true and caused my heart to soar. Can I learn to live in a better way? It seems to me that I used to be wiser. I was certainly happier. It feels a bold move to make but I think I will choose to hope again. After all, some dreams did come true. Perhaps more will too.