Becoming a new person in spite of myself

I am always amazed at the person that I have become. It is like an out of body experience, and usually leaves me a bit perplexed. For my 70th birthday, I read what people said about me, and actually typed it out an hung on the fridge to be reminded that I am loved. They said things like “you have a giving heart,” “a beautiful soul,” “you are most kindest, thoughtful, generous person,” “I am honored to know you,”. I cannot understand nor own these statements.

But when I do acts of kindness it is automatic,  without any thought or hesitation. Example, I saw a lady in my neighborhood that has osteoporosis mowing the lawn, she could only look at the ground she was so bent over. I stopped the car ran over and offered to mow her lawn. She said no, but the response was automatic. This week as I was standing outside in my driveway talking to the lawn guy, a man came up looking very hot and tired, he said he was lost and couldn’t find his way home. I said, “I will help you,” I asked, ” where do you live?” He said, “I don’t know.” I said, “what is your address?” He said, ” I don’t know.” I said “I will get you some cold water, and I will find where you live.” You should have seen the look on the lawn guys face. He kept looking at the man then me, and could not understand how I could take a man home if I didn’t know were to go, but I knew if I had to drive up and down every street I would get him home. While I was getting the water he called his wife, and when I returned I got the address, and;took him home.

This past winter, it was really cold and snowy. I was at the grocery store, and I started talking to the man in front of me about the quality of the food. He said he had walked 12 miles to this store and was going to walk another 7 miles for an interview. He had a scruffy beard, and dirty clothes and was a little grungy. I said, “I will give you a ride to the interview.” Everyone’s heads turned wondering why I would offer to help this man, and shouldn’t I be concerned about my safety? I took him to a barber shop to get cleaned up, and talked to him for 2 hours, about, trying to get him to try a better job than White Hen. He said he only had a associates degree and didn’t think he could do better, I explained I didn’t even go to high school and I became a success. I am certain God put me in his life to share my experiences. I hope it made a difference for him. When my foster mom died, I loved her and had forgiven her for beating am an throwing me against the wall. If I cried she would hit me until I stopped crying. I can honestly say, I loved her and took care of her for 2 years, flying down at least once a month to see her, and spending $4000 a month to care for her.

I am becoming the person that God wants me to be, kind, and loving. I hope I will have enough time to share these gifts that I have been given. I can see the smile on Gods face, and he is saying “good job, my child I believed in you , even when you doubted.”

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What The Holiday Season Means To Me

I was raised in a foster home and my mom had a gift shop. She was open 365 days a year, because she never thought she would have enough money. ( the ironic thing was at the end one of her caretakers stole all of her money, and I could never find out who it was.) My mom never cooked a meal of any kind. When I was six, I stood on a stool to make my food, if my foster dad didn’t cook. They ate strange things, brains and scrambled eggs, okra, heart stew. Not me I would sooner starve. Everyday was the same, no holidays, pretty much the way it is today. I remember 2 times we went to my foster uncles house for Thanksgiving, but my mom did not like his wife so we never did that again.

There was no Christmas. No tree, presents, dinner. NOTHING. When I was six my mom  started giving me $50 to buy myself something. I would take the bus downtown and buy my mom Evening in Paris perfume, my dad handkerchiefs, my aunt chocolate covered cherries. I never bought anything for myself. That was my Christmas.

One year I got a bike, but I was only allowed to ride it to the corner and back. I was 12. Most of the time I spent in my room, which was very dark because my mom wired the blinds shut.  I spent the time praying to be out of that house. I even had an alter set up with flowers I got from a florist down the street when they though them out.

The only thing my mom ever cooked was fruitcake. I do have to say it is the best fruitcake ever, and everyone that tries it usually loves it. It does not have citron which makes it bitter. Every year my Christmas has fruitcake and I have to have a piece as soon as it is out of the oven.

So with the start of the holiday season this is how I feel today.  I was divorced at 25 and never remarried because I was abused as a child and abused in my marriage.  I have 2 sons, 3 granddaughters,  2 granddaughters that live out of state, the other one chooses not to talk to anyone because  of my son, her dad.  He chooses to be with his girlfriends family, for the holidays.  That only leaves two other family members my other son, and my grandson that live with him.  Every other year my grandson goes with his mom, so that leaves a son my only family to be with on the holidays. Every year I ask my son about Christmas eve, Christmas day and my birthday which is 2 days after Christmas. He says, “you want all 3?”

Thanksgiving we go out, because I don’t know how to cook a little bit of Thanksgiving dinner.

Then here comes Christmas.

I try to make it wonderful for ME. I love my Christmas tree and spend a lot of time trying to find the most perfect tree. I look at everyone on the lot and make sure it is a perfect as can be. Then I bake my fruitcake.

I spend hours decorating the tree, and move the ornaments everyday until I think it is perfect. I spend a lot of time alone, and most of the time it doesn’t bother me. Christmas Eve bothers me, and my birthday.

Last year I was 70 and I must say I expected something grand, because when you are that old, I wonder how much time to I have left? 5 years, 10 years, what will my quality of life be. I forget a lot so maybe it won’t matter. By 2 in the afternoon the phone hadn’t rang. I did get lots of flowers and did go out to dinner with my most favorite people, and my son gave me a beautiful bracelet. I would not care if there were no presents, since I have a hard time receiving them.

So how do I really feel at the holidays, being alone most of the time?  I look at what I have, instead of what I don’t have. I have been blessed in so many ways. I have a loving son and grandson, great loving friends, that love me for me. A warm house, money to buy anything I need, good food. I am grateful beyond belief, from where I came from to where I am today is a miracle. God had the plan, I am happy,  joyful,  faithful, loving, kind, giving, and whole. I heard in a homily, that the more grateful you are the happier you will be, so true.

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How do we become who we are?

I read someone’s blog today about roller coasters, they stated it was about giving up control. It immediately stirred up anxiety, and very fearful memories. When I was very young my stepdad had a daughter, she was a teenager and she was put in charge of babysitting me. She took me to an amusement park that had a very old wooden roller coaster and put me on it to ride by myself while she hung out with her friend. It shook at every turn and I was convinced it would collapse. Then she would put me on the ferris wheel and somehow would convince the man to turn it off when I was at the top. These amusements were at the beach and the gulf breeze was always blowing so I would swing back and forth. I would scream and beg to be brought down but they all would laugh.  She did this to me every time she babysit me. To this day I am terrified of roller coasters and ferris wheels. My grandson wants to go on the roller coaster that goes in the dark and goes forward and backward, at Disney.  I don’t know,  I may risk it for him, but even thinking about it my stomach turns. So the conclusion that roller coasters are  about giving up control, which is true, I would be willing to do it if it weren’t not for the terrible memories.

Now another topic. My dog died suddenly and without warning. I was thinking about death and that it is easier to accept if someone or something is sick or old. The sudden experience is overwhelmingly sad. I miss taking care of her,  she slept with me without moving all night. Sometimes she did snore, but I would shake her and she would stop. She always met me at the door. I cannot get another dog because my cat has a heart problem and I have had a dog for the last 30 years, and they overlapped, when the other was sick, I had a backup. My heart has a hole in it.

I told my son that I was sad and lonely and he told me to get a hobby

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You may never know when you have made a difference in someones life.

As I have gotten older,  some people are telling me that what I say or have done has made a difference in their lives. Maybe it’s because I am 70, and as each ten years go by, I learn things that I sometimes try to past on, whether people want to hear it or not.  I always ask advice and listen to what they say. I try to recognize my part in any situation, and be the “best I can be,” contrary to what my children may think. 

Something I find strange and interesting happened yesterday. I was invited to attend a graduation of a girl that I have known since she was small, she also has a younger brother. Her grandmother died when she was about 10, so working with her dad, I told them I would be “grandma Dee,” and make them birthday cakes ever year, and also see them at Christmas. Even though we live in the same town, this is the only time I see them, so I cannot say we are close.

I was surprised to be invited considering they have a big family, and I was the only one that was there with her parents. I said thank you for letting me see our little girl graduate, and the mom said, I was there because I had made such a difference in her daughters life. I was thinking “birthday cakes?” She said when her daughter was growing up she was very shy and not confident. Her mom said I had her daughter assist me in a garage sale and this made her blossom with confidence. She graduated with the presidents award for all that she did for the school, making videos and communication. She is going to college to major in communications, and perhaps be a television commentator. Her mom also told me there was only one ticket and she wanted me to be there more than family.

When people tell me things like this, I still lack the ability to understand that because of something I have said or done has made a difference. Even though I am confident about what I say or do, when someone gives me a compliment or says something made a difference, I think they must be talking about someone else. My friend told me I am the most loving generous person she knows, and that she wises she could be more like me. I know I am loving a generous, but when someone else says it, I think they her talking about someone else.

Maybe God wants me to know and He will keep reminding me, until it is my time. Until then, I hope that I will get used to the idea that someone else can see the person that I have become.

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Who Am I

The words form Les Mis have always intrigued me. I think about this a lot because my life has been so different then most. Living in a foster home, being abused, becoming an alcoholic, not being a very nice person, believing that my God had abandoned because I thought He allowed me to live in pain. Living in poverty, with no food or money,  then God guided me to a job that would ultimately give me a wonderful life, but I was 40.  It is not the material things that impresses me, but the person that has evolved.

Last night as I lay in bed, I was overwhelmed  with gratefulness for the comfort of my bed and my day. God has created a new person, and I suppose I had to experience the opposite to truly appreciate what I have.

I believe that everyone should be poor at least once in their lives to appreciate what they have. Most people take their lives for granted. They indulge their kids with cell phones, and feel they should have a car in high school. 

When my children turned 16, they had to get a job, pay rent, and if they wanted a car, they had to pay for it and get their own car insurance.

I am alone about 90% of the time, and have been divorced since I was 25 with very little family. No mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins. Just 2 kids and 3 grandkids. I see one son and one grandson once a week for about and hour. Strangely my “aloneness” does not bother me.

I could find a part time job, and volunteer more, but I do not want to be committed, I want to be a “free sprit” and do whatever I want. I have earned that.

Most people do not change as they grow older. They just get older, but for me it has been so dramatic,  I cannot help but reflect on it. Even 9 years ago when I was still working, I was totally self absorbed in my career. I took people for granted, and the people in stores were there to help me. I did not notice them or appreciate what they were doing or who they were. Today, I genuinely care. Not just a little, but a lot. I want to help everyone, care for everyone, and do whatever I can do to be a better person. Who is this person, and what have you done with Dee?? 

God has blessed me with abundance,  caring people, financial  security, and the ability to continue to be “the best I can be.”

 

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Telling the truth

I do not understand why people choose not to tell the truth. It has never been a problem for me I  have always been able to accept the consequences.

The man that cleans my fish tank for 19 years, called and told me that when he was changing the water on my tank the toilet overflowed. It has never overflowed, and I do not even use it. Ok, I could accept that, even though my hardwood floor might warp. When I got home, I checked everything and it appeared to be ok. Thank you God! I called and ask, ” why did you use 2 rolls of paper towels, instead of towels or a mop?”  He said he didn’t know where the mop was or my towels. He’s been coming to my house for 19 years and has used my other bathroom so he knew where the towels were. I asked did you close my curtains? He said, “the white ones,” I said, “yes the white ones”.He said NO! I went downstairs and in the garbage was about a whole roll of paper towels. How did that much water get into the basement down the sewer pipe? He told me the toilet backed up, and that the pipe downstairs was sweating because it was hot downstairs, so he used a roll of paper towes to remove the SWEAT. I said, ” I do not think that is the way it happened, I think you pored the water into the toilet too fast and it overflowed.” He said that was a possibility.  Drives me crazy. Why does anyone have to lie.

My son does it  sometimes.  I  may need to know if I am watching my grandson, something I need to know. He doesn’t answer the  phone or read my text. Which makes me scared, because I think what if it was REALLY important. He is completely indifferent. Drives me crazy. He always says he was too busy. Ok, but how do I ever know. I have tried to make an agreement that,when you have time could you please return my call so I will know when I am watching Ryan. He says sure, but he never returns my call.

Trust is a probem for me, because I have been hurt, physically and emotionally. I need to trust you will tell me the truth. I have been around the block more than once and I can handle anything if you tell me the truth.
I told my kids you will not get punished if you tell me the truth. They did not believe me.

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Exercise and memory

When I retired I thought I deserved the right to rest and do whatever I wanted. I always follow doctors orders, except when the doctor told me that I should not eat ice cream, because of high cholesterol. I told him to stand in front of my casket and tell everyone he tried to get me to stop eating ice cream. I will not give it up. sometimes I think it is the only pleasure I have left. I never meant to be this good. It happened in spite of me.

My memory loss was really concerning me. When my son told me,  “You told me that already,” I did not believe him and of course he didn’t believe me., when I told him I didn’t remember.  I went to my regular doctor and he told me to see a neurologist that I had seen 2 years ago, for the same concern. At that time I tested perfect, but I was 68 and now I am 70. I failed 2 simple test remembering 5 words and naming zoo animals for 60 seconds. He said I should be tested in 6 months again, but thinks if I do what he told me to do it should be ok. He also told me to read a book called Super Brain. I though I would glace at the book because I do not like what I thought to be a boring book. I ordered it the next day, and when I received it but the print was too small, so I started reading it on my tablet on Kindle. It is a great book.

I was told I needed to exercise and take vitamins called Alpha Lipoic Acid which is an antioxidant and eat food high in antioxidants,  the possibility is great for improvement. I could not imagine anything worse than losing my mind, plus he told me more people die of Alzheimer’s than cancer, and I would not be able to take care of myself. Thirty per cent of everyone will have some form of dementia by the age of 80. I do not want to be one of them, so I am willing to do what it takes not to. When I ask my friend what happens when you die of Alzheimer’s he said all of your organs shut down, and you forget to breathe. Oh no, not me please!

I read that one of the primary causes of memory loss is stress and anxiety, I am in serious trouble. I stress over things I cannot control, things I think I should control, because I do not have boundaries about anything. Even thought I know I should not try to help with my grandson and his father, I cannot help myself. Example: my son told me that next year the is going to send my grandson away to Wisconsin for camp. I freaked out. It would be the worst thing possible, because my grandson is very insecure and he told me in the divorce he never knows where he is supposed to be, and does not like sports or have friends. Ok, it is a year away, why am I concerned? Even though I do not know what will happen a year from now I am starting to worry. The book also said that people get concerned and worry about getting old. OMG, I was fine until 70, then it puts things in perspective. How much time to I have left, how will I die? Will I be able to care for myself and not go to a home? My son hates my dependence on him and does not have any idea, that since 1987, I have done everything possible to find a mate. I have no family, other than my son and sometimes he resents the responsibility. My friend sees his mother everyday, but I get one hour a week, and yesterday I did not get that because he had a date.

How do I learn to accept things the way they are, and trust God has the plan. Faith is not the issue trust is. I am smart and clearly understand that I have no control, and after 36 years in AA, you would think that I could, “Let go and let God.” I always think he needs my help. Now time to exercise on the new recumbent bike.

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