Large Family Happenings, Medical Issues

Family Update February 2021

Family Update February 2021Family Update February 2021

Here is our BUSY Family Update February 2021.  For the shortest month of the year, it *feels* like this month lasted 428 years.  So.  Very.  Busy.  That meme cracks me up.  I’m not sure if it is my guardian angel, my mama, sister, or therapist.  Maybe all of them do that when I tell them something new.  Tis my life.

School

Still, Job Corp is not open.  I believe, to date, one has opened, so that is progress.  Right?  Noah got accepted into MSU and got his financial aid going.  He is figuring things out, so I don’t have to.  We’ve decided that Hunter will have his therapies at school.  Virtual therapy is STUPID.  It is seriously the dumbest thing ever.  He will only be at the school for an hour and a half.  Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech will all be done weekly.  Maybe we will see some progress.

As for the boys, Jude is doing well.  He is learning to take his time.  The school gives him the ability to redo his assignments, but not tests or quizzes. He is learning to ask questions and study.  It has been a journey.  Daniel is struggling.  With FASD, it is hard.  Teachers “see” one thing (virtually), yet life is another.  We are going to take him 2x a week for tutoring.  After much back and forth, we adjusted his 504.  Praying that is going to help.

Happenings

There have been lots of birthdays this month.  Grayce, Hunter, Alyssa, Mimi, daddy, and several nephews have celebrated.  Also, we had a wedding shower for Alyssa on Hunter’s birthday.  That is one way to crunch it all in.  Originally, we had a separate day to do their share. Sadly, Alyssa got the flu or a stomach bug.  She was pretty pitiful.  We were not certain what she had, so we canceled until the 19th.  That would be one day before her wedding.

The rehearsal didn’t quite go as planned because there was a major snow/ice moment.  We considered postponing the wedding.  It was touch and go.  Alyssa was a wreck.  Arkie was a rock on the outside, still unsure of what lies beneath.  We got that done, without Arkie’s family.  Sadly, they got more snow than we did and just couldn’t make the trip.  I know that was a hard decision for them to make.

Once home, we did their shower.  Luckily, both my moms were here.  Hannah and Savannah were here.  Once the parents left, we started cooking.  We were all so tired but got it done.  Then, my girl came and snuggled with me until about 2 am.  Sigh.  Worth it all for that moment.

Wedding

All in all, we got it done.  My daughter was breathtaking.  Simply breathtaking.  Arkie.  I tied his tie and saw this sweetness in his eyes.  He really is a sweet boy.  Change is just hard.  Alyssa.  Stunning.  His family was able to come home.  The sun was shining.  Her pictures will be so beautiful with her flowers and the snow.

My mom knocked it out of the park with her flowers, doors, and all the things she creates.  She is brilliant.  My other mom was so helpful.  I’m so thankful my aunt was able to come.  The boys kicked in and helped clean up.  The food was good, the company was good.  Alyssa was so full of joy.  Arkie was so excited about his apple pies.

Health

Big Daddy was diagnosed with diabetes.  He has lost a lot of weight and his sugar levels are really good.  My plantar fasciitis sucks pond water.  That is in my right foot.  In my left foot, I’ve lost feeling in a couple of toes and the top of my foot.  It is due to a bone spur.  Eventually, when I lose feeling in more toes, we’ll address it.  My essential tremors have calmed down as have my psoriasis.

We have some upcoming appointments with Daniel to have him assessed for autism.  Honestly, we have always suspected it but as he gets older, things become more prominent.  Also, we have some upcoming appointments for Jude.  We are hoping to get some help with his FND.  Hunter had a massive treatment that I will address in another post.  So, stay tuned.

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Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon

Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon

In this Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon, my guest blogger remembers her brother who died of cancer 6 years ago.  What a thing for a family to go through.  The loss of a child, grandchild, brother, and friend.  He was a few days shy of turning 19 when he met Jesus face to face.

Lord, bless this family.  Bless them with peace and sweet memories as they navigate this difficult week as they remember this sweet boy.  Please give them the knowledge that he is healthy, happy, and hanging out with your Son, Jesus.  He is waiting for them to all be reunited, one day.

Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon

 

Dear Z,

It has almost been six years without you, and I don’t feel that it has gotten any easier. This is a wound time is taking forever to heal. I miss you so much, and naturally, I wish you were here with me. This is my least favorite time of year. I know you are watching over me and taking care of me.

I Wish You Could Answer Me

I’d give anything to have one final conversation with you or to give you one last hug. If I could go back and change things I would. I would have stayed by your side through it all. I think about that all the time. Does it make me a bad sister for leaving you there? I could have taken whatever our step-father threw at me, just to stay with you.

Missing All The Things

My mom told me a few years ago that you asked for me every day.  That you asked when I was coming back from dad’s. You know I like to take care of people.  I took care of you for the longest time. Honestly, I miss waking up at 3 in the morning to refill your feeding pump. I miss helping you walk around, even though you protested the entire time. For six years I have been waiting for you to appear in front of me.  Just to give me a chance to tell you my final goodbye.  To tell you I loved you just one more time.

It Hasn’t Happened so I’ll Keep Waiting

I think I can finally start to let go of the regret I’ve had for the past six years. It’s time. You know I love you more than words could ever describe. I know your biggest fear in death was being forgotten, but you are so unforgettable. You made an impact in everyone’s life. I will never forget you or the things you did for me.

You were one of my best friends. I promise you my kids will know what an amazing man you were. They will know how strong you were, and how hard you fought. They will know that you are my hero, and I aspire to be as strong and as brave as you were.

After Six Years, I Can Let You Go and Let You Rest in Peace

That doesn’t mean I will forget about you, It just means I don’t have to worry about you hating me for leaving. I know you loved me as much as I loved you. I know you weren’t upset about us leaving moms. I’m just upset she wouldn’t let you stay with us.

I am letting go of my regret because it wasn’t my fault you got sick. Honestly, I was a child and I know it wasn’t my responsibility to take care of you. I am moving on and trying to start the new year off right. Thankfully, I know you will be with me and watching over me every step of the way.

Love,

S

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Medical Issues

2020 Update on Reuben Schwartz Amish Iridologist

 

2020 Update on Reuben Schwartz Amish Iridologist

2020 Update on Reuben Schwartz Amish Iridologist

Well, today is a 2020 Update on Reuben Schwartz Amish Iridologist. Since he is Amish, he has no access to the outside world. By that statement, I mean no cellphones, no landlines, no television, computers, ipads, or running water. Communication is done by mail, word of mouth, and horse/buggy.

So, I decided to call my friends at Mountain Air Herbs. I wanted to get the skinny on my Amish friend and the updates on their business. Can I say these are the friendliest humans ever? So kind and so willing to help in any matter. They are not Amish, so they do have access to a telephone.

Get the Details Out

Number 1: I DO NOT WORK FOR REUBEN! There is no way I can make you an appointment. I can only share with you what we learned while we saw him. Honestly, I get several emails requesting that I get someone an appointment, and I read their stories. I reply with this same statement. Also, have the opportunity to encourage and pray for those people.

Number 2:

For an appointment, you MUST WRITE a letter to Reuben requesting a day/time. If you do not request it, they will give you the next day/time available. This process takes about 7-10 days. There is no need to go into details of your condition. They may not know the details of your condition. They look in your eye. I mean my son has Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. Most doctors have never seen that in their lifetime. I am pretty sure Mr. Reuben had never heard of it.

Side note, Mountain Air Herbs cannot make appointments for Reuben either. They cannot relay messages or give any advice or consultation as to what Reuben says.

Number 3:

He sees walk-ins. Yet, he always gives priority to those with appointments. He does try his best to see everyone. Remember, he also needs to eat and take breaks, occasionally! Please be kind and respectful. Take the time you are waiting and sit on the beautiful porch and enjoy the silence and peace. Seriously, go pet a horse, look around his shop and buy some popcorn or bread!

**EDITED TO ADD: I saw Jake about two weeks ago as Mr. Reuben has had eye surgery and is not working right now. I was blown away by the things he told me. Please, make an appointment. The day I went, I did not have one and waited for 5 hours to see Jake. ~ From Michelle Shoemake(r)**

Number 4:

Money. Reuben does not charge for his assessment, though he does take donations. He has a box on his desk where you can place cash or change. His herbs/pills/supplements do cost money. That amount varies based on what you buy and how much of it you buy. You do not have to get everything he recommends. Ask. He will tell you which is the most important. Also, he will tell you what you can hold off on until the next visit.

Mountain Air Herbs is down the hill from Reuben. What he does not have, they will have. There are some limited supplies due to their suppliers and Co-vid19. They take cash, card, and checks. They also have a phone and a restroom if you need it.

Addresses

jake Shirk **Reuben Schwartz (NOW RETIRED), Amish Iridologist

1205 Radure Rd.

Hestand, KY 42151

No Phone Number because of Amish and all.

 

Mountain Air Herbs

1945 Radure Rd.

Hestand, KY 42151

270.487.1334

Days/Hours of Operation **THIS HAS CHANGED**

Reuben Schwartz

Monday and Friday from 7:30-3

Saturday 7:30-11

 

Mountain Air Herbs

Monday and Friday from 8-4

Saturday 8-12

BREAKING NEWS!

Mr. Reuben is RETIRING at the end of 2020. It is time for him to hang up his crucible and flashlight and enjoy his porch. I am very excited for him. He has given a lot of himself, and it is time for him to relax. Rest assured, his business will stay open. His replacement will be Jake Shirk. He has been helping Reuben for about 16 years or so. He knows what he is doing and was trained by the best.

New Update *12.18.20*

This message is from a follower, Doris R. Today, I went to Reuben Schwartz’s place. Today was supposed to be his last day. Back in October, he got some kind of metal in his eye while working at home. He went to the hospital at that time. It is my understanding that he has not returned to his office since. So now, they said he was officially retired. Reuben’s replacement is Jake Shirk. His hours will be the same. He is already back up until March of 2021. That is the update as of 12-18-2020.

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Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

In Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness, my guest blogger shares her thoughts on this subject.  I have a mental disorder that can be crippling at times. When I say crippling I mean I cannot get myself out of the bed. I have thoughts in my head on a continuous loop that should not be there, to begin with. Those days when I don’t call, text. or even speak to people.  Hell, I don’t even come out of my room. When I say I can’t get myself out of the bed, I mean, I literally will stay in it for days.  I will only leave to go to the bathroom or to eat.

The “Happy” Place

There are also days when I am “happy” these are the days when I can really get myself into trouble. when I talk ninety to nothing and spend all of my money in one place. Or I could get in the car and just drive in one direction not knowing where I am going but going anywhere is better than where I am. These are the days when I bombard all of my friends that I haven’t talked to in days that I want to do something. On these days I don’t sleep, I could be up for days at a time and it wouldn’t bother me one bit. I make poor choices when I am like this.

This is Bipolar Disorder in a Nutshell, at Least in my Case.

I am tired of the stigma on mental illness or mental health in general. If you have asthma, everyone can tell by the physical complications that you have. However, when it comes to mental illnesses we dare not speak of them. They don’t exist to people who don’t have them or at least they perceive it as a negative.

You don’t see people not talking to people with asthma so why shouldn’t they for people with mental illness. Honestly, I should feel free to share that I have bipolar disorder without having people think that it means I’m crazy. Furthermore, I shouldn’t have to own that lie but yet here I am pretending it doesn’t exist or calling myself crazy.

I am Tired of Comparing Myself to “Normal” People

What does that mean anyway? To be “normal”. The definition of normal is conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. So what I’m seeing is that everyone is supposed to be the same, act the same, and do the same things the exact same way? Maybe I’m looking at it in a negative way but it sounds to me like normal people are nowhere to be seen. Because no one is the same no one is conformed to the same standards.

So why do we make ourselves feel less than just because of a mental illness? Bipolar disorder is my normal just because it isn’t yours doesn’t mean that you have the right to tell me that I am wrong, not to be trusted, or dangerous because of it.

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for modern medicine.  It has helped me look at life a bit more clear.  God is bigger than all, but He created man to create medicine to help.  Never feel weak because you need a medication to help you even things out.  You are not weak!  Honestly, you are brave and strong.

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From the Outside Looking

From the Outside Looking

From the Outside Looking

From the Outside Looking In {my family}

We were a happy family

{We} went to church

We spent time with other people

{We} went places together

 

But what you don’t see

Is the mother that can’t get out of bed

Or the stepfather that won’t help feed the kids

And the nine-year-old raising her younger brothers.

 

All that is seen is what they want you to see

Happy, healthy children

Children that spend time with other kids

And parents that provide the best they can

 

Truly my parents did try the best they could

But sometimes that’s not enough

Sometimes the best is not good or bad just an effort

On the days that everyone was happy

Everything was fine

 

But those days when the yelling was too hard to bear

Or the throwing of things was upsetting to hear

Those are the days that stick with children

 

Having a stepfather that could care less

Or can’t stand to look at you because you’re not his

Or maybe because of jealousy of the bond a mother has with her kids

 

That is hard

And then there are the days

When your mother can’t get out of bed

Because she has massive depression

Not that you understand because yet again you are nine

 

Those days are the days that are the hardest

Because you’re alone in the house

And in charge of the kids

Who are five and one

 

Don’t get me wrong I love those kids

And I would do anything for them still

But there is so much one child can do

And somethings are just too much responsibility

 

And even though no one knew what was going on

Or maybe no one was observant enough to see

Either way, I choose to believe that it all happened for a reason

And I would still choose to help even though it took away my childhood

At least they got to keep theirs

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for this young lady.  She is a beautiful human who is loved tremendously.  I am so proud of her journey and watching her grow and heal.

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The Real Truth About Death and Grief

The Real Truth About Death and Grief

In The Real Truth About Death and Grief, my guest blogger goes through her emotions of losing her brother at a very young age.  The loss of a sibling is devastating to the other children, as well as, the parents.  It is unimaginable pain that lingers for so very long.

The Real Truth About Death and Grief

Dearest Z,

A kid my age who I knew from school came in, and he reminds me so much of you. He has something wrong with him medically and he walks just like you did when you got sick. I saw him, and that made a bad day worse. Seriously, I wanted to give him a big hug. Then, I wanted to crawl under the register and cry. I miss you so much, It has been five years, I can’t believe it. You deserve to be here bub. I believe that you would be married with a family now.  You would a good dad.

Honest Prayer

I prayed to God every night for years that it was me instead of you. Honestly, I prayed that I could take all your pain away. I wanted to make you better and I couldn’t. That seems to be a recurring theme in my life. I make jokes about you being dead, but that’s how I cope with you being gone.

I’m sorry we left you with mom. I’m sorry I didn’t stay with you for that last year. I would have gone through whatever Tim threw at me, just to be with you that last year. Mom told me about how you asked for me every day after your seizure, and that story hurts my heart. She told me all about how you thought you saw me running around the foot of your bed every night before you went to bed. I am sorry I wasn’t there for that. I wish I was actually there to be running around your bed.

Life isn’t the same without you. I miss your voice, hugs, and I miss you yelling at me when I tried to help you walk. Honestly, I just miss you, dude. You were a light to anyone who knew you, and I miss your presence.

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for the beginning of healing.  Honestly, awareness of where healing needs to happen and the knowledge of the route that needs to be taken in order to walk through the pain that leads to healing.

 

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The Lost Art of Effective Doctor’s

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The Lost Art of Effective Doctor’s

The Lost Art of Effective Doctor’s. I always go into an office with new hopes and new challenges. I hope I take my kid into the office and get something valid. Anything, really, as long as it is a concrete diagnosis. One child went to seven hospitals to finally land on a final diagnosis. Another child has had a slew of issues. Sadly, after almost a year and a half, life is not much different. We have seen four doctors in two hospitals and have been about eight things. It’s super fun to be talked AT and not talked TOO.

The Crystal Vase

I am listening to Broken Vessels by Hillsong right now, and it is striking a chord within me. So many days, I feel like a shattered piece of glass. Once, I was a beautiful crystal vase. There was a purpose for my existence. I held water and beautiful flowers and made people happy. Now, over the last 5 or 6 years, my beautiful crystal self has been shattered, and it is in a million pieces. Some pieces are large enough to glue together, though the cracks still show. The rest is just dust. You can’t put dust back together.

That analogy is one I hold close to my heart, and I think of often. It comes from a movie, Joshua. Joshua is an old movie, but it is so important in my life. Man cannot take the shards and dust of my former self. Yet God can take all of those shards. He can craft something unique and different. This creation has a purpose and is worthy of being displayed.

Man, I am struggling tonight.

I have to drive to Louisville tomorrow with my sixth child. We are going to Norton’s Hospital to see if we can figure out what is wrong with him. I have such PTSD with this drive, the hospital, the doctors. Sadly, it is hard for me to explain.

That is the 3rd place we took my 7th child to when he was finally diagnosed with Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. It has been three years, and to me, it feels like yesterday. I can recite that first year like I am reading a book. It was so traumatic. Hearing the words “take your son home until he succumbs” haunts me to this day.

So, tomorrow, I have to look down the barrel of that gun, once again, with another child. The waiting, wondering, listening, being talked at instead of talked to, the anxiety floods over me. I feel like my vase is being shattered all over again.

I am Overwhelmed with Fear

Being alone, navigating this all by myself. I am harboring feelings or hurt that my husband wasn’t with me though I know he had to be here to take care of our other children back then. Logically, I know that. Yet, that anger is still within me.

Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness. I am afraid of allowing myself to be vulnerable or of showing too much emotion. Honestly, I am afraid of asking the wrong things, feeling stupid by the “professional” doctors, and seeing that one that said my other son would die. Sadness. I feel sad because I do not want to have another child with another “super rare” thing.

I know that Fear is a Liar

For real, I have the shirt that says that. **Hahaha, I’m listening to praise and worship on Youtube while I’m writing this piece.  Fear is a Liar just came on the channel. Wow. Just wow.** Yet, here’s the thing. We have been to see one doctor for his sleeping issues. We got there, did EEG, MRI, Sleep studies, bloodwork, etc. He was diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia.

In checking him for Transient Alteration of Reality, this doctor “accidentally” stumbled on Epilepsy. So then he had a diagnosis of Generalized Epilepsy with Gelastic Seizures and Absence seizures. He referred us to another neuro that works with teens for his Epilepsy. This same doctor would handle the Idiopathic Hypersomnia. The doctors did nothing else. There was no education on anything.  

Doctor #2

We get to the other doctor, did more bloodwork and another EEG. That showed that he was constantly having seizure-like bursts. So he changed the diagnosis to Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy with Gelastic Seizures, Grand Mal Seizures, and Absence Seizures. Prescribed meds. No education, just wait.

The first doctor “treats” him for IH, but in reality, does nothing. I mean, quite literally, nothing.

Then…the grand mal seizures began.

Not fun.

ER visits. No help.

Phone calls. No answers.

Emails. No responses.

Got a second opinion.

She said everything we were told was wrong.

Alrighty then. She spent 1.5 hrs with us. Now, we have information overload.

She is throwing around words like ESES, LKS, CSWS, and our heads are spinning.

“Get a medical id bracelet. You will need to cook with a buddy. Put the pans on the back burner, do not swim alone, do not climb a ladder. When bathing, tell someone and keep the door unlocked. Driving may be an issue. This may not go away we may have to take the magnet out of his head, ….”

Uhm, okay.

His new diagnosis is Generalized Epilepsy with Grand Mal Seizures. He does not have IH or Narcolepsy.

“Can you wake him up when he falls asleep?” Uhm, no. It usually leads to a long episode where he makes funny noises, makes fists, and stiffens his body. “Oh, those are grand mal seizures without the convulsions.” Oh, well, okay then.

“Violent episodes where he seems possessed and looks different?” Yes. “Oh, that is a seizure.”

“Moody? Hysteria, tears, angry for no reason?” Yes. “Oh, those are seizures.”

“School…is he delayed in Language and Math?” Yes. “Yep, part of it.”

“Deaf?” Yes, in his right ear. “Also part of it.”

**UPDATE to say that what he was experiencing with the sleep episodes are not seizures. They are called Functional Neurological Disorder. Blog post coming soon about that.**

I am OVERWHELMED.

Going back to this hospital that sentenced my baby to death (yet he is fine now) and seeing all those same people make me so nervous. Our goal is to be home by Tuesday. Supposedly, we will not have to see that one doctor. We would not leave without a complete picture and plan. We shall see.

Thankful

I am thankful that we were able to get into the hospital. Also, the doctor that I need to see is the one on call, so that is a positive. I am prepared. Big Daddy took care of little things like snacks, fixing my tire, and filling up my tank. Also, I’m thankful I have therapy tomorrow because I will need to use my words. 

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How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom

How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom

My guest blogger writes a letter to her mom.  She is working through How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom.  Her path of healing has been long and difficult.  She is wading through the good memories and the bad.  Right now, sadly, the bad memories are more prevalent.  I pray that one day, she will remember the good memories she had with her mom.  Somehow, someway, it makes the bad memories more bearable.

How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom

My Dearest Mother,

My Dearest Mother, you have caused me so much pain for the past ten years of my life. I cannot count how many times I have laid in bed at night and cried because of you. Sadly, I have cried because I was not good enough for you. I have cried because at the times I have needed you most, you were not here. Also, I have cried because when I have had a hard day at work or school, I cannot call you. It is so frustrating to me that you are so thickheaded that you cannot see what you did wrong. I have written you numerous letters in hopes that they would somehow reach you, and you would come to your senses.

Spoiler alert, you have not.

For years, I walked on eggshells just to be sure I did not hurt your feelings. At this point, I do not care. I am fed up with the lies you feed everyone. Imagine saying that your eleven-year-old daughter made up a story about how you locked your sick son up in his bedroom and would not give him food. Like, I did not just wake up one day and say ‘Hm, I think I want to make up this lie and make my mom look bad today.’ Imagine trying to blame you and your husband’s actions on CHILDREN. Honestly, I have not asked you for much, just for you to admit what you did and apologize.

I know that is something I will never get.

One time you told me you were raising us the way you wanted to be treated. That just does not make sense to me. Who wants to be sexually abused by their stepfather for years? Because I certainly did not. I did not want him to watch me every time I took a shower. Also, I did not want him to watch me get dressed. I did not want him to put his hand on my butt every time I stood remotely close to him. Furthermore, I did not want him to take me and my sister up to the garage that day and assault us. I did not want all this trauma you gave me. All I wanted was a mother.

At this point

I do not even try and wonder what my life would be like had you not met my stepdad because it tends to hurt my feelings. Why wasn’t I good enough for you? Honestly, why? Why? Just why? I have so many questions for you, and I know I will not get a single answer. All I want, is a mom. Someone to look out for me, give me advice, and most importantly I just I want to experience a mother’s love.

Every night, when I pray, I pray that I am not like you. I pray that I never cause my children pain. Also, I pray that my kids will NEVER lay in bed at night crying because they feel I do not love them. I will be nothing like you, and that is a promise. Maybe one day you will come to your senses, but that is doubtful.

Best Regards,

Your Daughter

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I Am Who I Am

I Am Who I Am

I Am Who I Am

Being who I mean that I do not have many friends.  It is hard for me to open up to other people, because of how often I have been used.  Also for being backstabbed by these so-called “friends”. My circle of friends is very small due to this issue I have had in the past.

I have maybe 4 close friends who actually care about me and my well-being. I would do anything for them.  Honestly, I am loyal to the end. It is hard for me to let go.  Especially when potential long-lasting friendships end. I also tend to take on my friends’ problems.  Sadly, I claim that I am the cause of their issues.  I will just as easily take the blame for everything rather than have them take the blame.

This One “Friend”

This one “friend” is currently my co-worker and unfortunately my neighbor. The first nightshift we worked together we instantly clicked.  We became comfortable with each other which is incredibly rare for me. As the days led on we continued to text constantly about work and life.  We would hang out at my place and watch movies on our days off. His friends and family became comfortable with me as well as we continued to hang out.  Working together was a blast since we got along together and the kids enjoyed it when we both worked on the same day.

Tragic Event

He was always there for me when I needed him. There was a huge party at the apartment where I used to live.  There were easily at least 200+ party-goers.  This definitely goes against the contract of the apartment complex. Unfortunately, the party got out of hand.  There was a tragic event that turned the party into a nightmare.

My anxiety was at an all-time high and I needed to get out of there, my friend came to rescue me as quickly as he could. He was so understanding and was there to help distract me from this event. My friend even insisted that I did not return to my apartment until things calmed down and the police finished their investigations.

Maude My Orphan Kitty

My friend was also supportive of me when my little orphan kitten died that I was trying to bottle feed after her mom rejected her. I stayed up late nights and took that little kitten with me literally everywhere, we eventually had a routine and I was so proud of the way she was progressing.  I do not do well when animals die, especially if I am the one dedicated to their health and well-being. The little baby passed away and I was heartbroken, my friend was with me and he took the kitten and buried her for me since I could not do it myself.

I Told Him Everything

We did not have secrets and we knew each other pretty well. He was concerned for my mental health and physical health since the job profession we work in is extremely taxing for someone with mental health issues. I was grateful to have someone to talk to that has some of the same problems that I struggle with on a daily basis. This person was the true definition of a real best friend, or so I thought.

We did not date even though he admitted having feelings for me that I just could not reciprocate for personal reasons. But we remained best friends for a long time, that is until his current girlfriend came back into his life. They had dated once before in the past. I was supportive. I still wanted to hang out with him and I also wanted to get to know his girlfriend because I was trying to be supportive of their relationship.

All of a Sudden

He stopped talking to me and he did not text or call me at all. I had no clue what I did wrong to make him not talk to me because we spent almost every day together. Things just got worse from that point, I tried to talk to him but he refused to acknowledge my existence and futile attempts to get him to speak to me.

I admitted to him that I was jealous that he spent every day with his new girlfriend and the fact that she moved in with him only two weeks after them dating. Not jealous in the love sort of way but jealous that my best friend put all of his attention on just his girlfriend and nobody else.

Then One Night

One night I was walking my dog and he was outside on his back patio with his sister and girlfriend. I did not say a single word to him. He shouted from his yard that he needed to say something to me and he let me have it. He told me never to talk to his friends or family again and that if I had something to say I should say it to his face.

Instantly I got defensive and shouted back an obscene comment while rushing back to my own apartment. Granted, I should have handled that situation with better decorum but I was not prepared for that verbal attack. He would text me nasty things and his girlfriend even got in on the action and told me to stop talking to her boyfriend or things would get bad for me. I did not know how to handle this situation at all so I just ignored him.

My Depression and Anxiety

My depression was through the roof and my anxiety about the whole scenario kept my mind running in 20 different directions. He drunk dialed me one night and I just broke down and told him everything that I was feeling and how betrayed I felt about the whole situation. He blamed me for his drinking and dipping problem and he told me that I am the one that caused drama between him and his friends and family.  Being the person that I am, I claimed his problems as my own. I honestly started to believe that our entire friendship had been some sort of one-way street and that I caused all of his problems.

Eventually

After we were mature and decided to end our silly feud, when we would work together, he started talking to me more and we kind of fell back into our usual best friend ways. He said that his girlfriend did not like me and she did not like the fact that we would hang out all the time and text each other constantly. I told him that if she was threatened by me trying to “break up their relationship” that I could never ever do that to someone. I’m not that kind of person. And I reiterated the fact that I will still support him and care about him because he played a part in my life whether I wanted it to happen or not.

I Missed my Best Friend

Honestly, I told him that I missed my best friend, and I truly did. I missed the days we would hang out together and just be goofy and have fun with our two dogs. The thing is, is that I hold onto the people that come in my life.  I try to make any situation better by offering to help however I could at the time. My friend kept in contact with me but we never actually hung out except when we were working together at the boy’s house. He fell into a bad depressive state and I tried my best to be there for him since I know how rough it can be when you get in that depressive state.

One Random Night

His girlfriend added me on Snapchat and sent me a message. I dreaded opening it because I hate confrontation. We talked for a good long time and we were okay, I explained that I did not have feelings for him other than feelings of being a best friend, and that I was not trying to break up their relationship.  I called my friend and told him what she said and how everything was good between us again. Everything was fine for the next two weeks.

Enter My Mom

One day my mom came over to visit me and she wanted to introduce herself to my boys and my friend since I had already told her about him. All she did was shake his hand and introduce herself. Two days later, I got the most hateful message from him early in the morning. He accused me and my mom of trying to start drama and that she came over to his house unannounced. I was confused and hurt by all the hateful things that were sent to me.

Horribly Bullying

He called me a crazy psycho manipulative bitch and that he never wanted to see my face ever again. We were NEVER friends were the exact words that were texted to me.  That was along with some other things I will not mention. I was at work at the time so I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom to cry and then compose myself best I could. My hands were shaking and I could feel my blood pressure rising with each nasty message. I was confused, hurt, betrayed, and I seriously started to believe all of the things he was saying to me.

Is This a Joke?

I honestly thought at first that it was a joke.  That it really wasn’t him because my best friend would never say things like that to me. I profusely apologized even though I did nothing wrong, but he did not believe me. He said that I am not innocent and that I think that I never do anything wrong. I allowed myself to be sad for a little while.  Then I had to get over it and finish out my shift so I could go home. Why?

Seriously, Why me?

Why do I always end up getting into situations with people that betray me and my trust? I love fiercely and I am loyal to the end. I would never do anything to hurt my friend. But he hurt me. He hurt me so badly that I felt like my chest would rip open. I was miserable for the next week or two. His friends would always come at me.  They would send me nasty messages.  I just took it all on my shoulders like I usually do.

I really need to stop doing things like that

And that doesn’t make me a bad person. I am allowed to have feelings.  To be sad and mourn my best friend who I managed to alienate in my life somehow. After I attended a church sermon one day, my pastor said something that resonated within me.  It probed me to remember how badly he hurt me. He said that even though someone might have done us wrong, we need to forgive.  Also, pray that God will bless their lives abundantly.

I started to cry thinking about all my past friendships that crashed and burned for whatever reason it was at the time. Then, I sent every single one of my so-called “friends” a message.  It was a ‘to the point’ message which said exactly what I wanted to say. I did this in a kind and Christ-Like manner. I do not know if any of my friends even read that message.  At least I sent it to them and forgave them.

Message to my “Friend”

I still see my neighbor around and I also see him at work. Today, I will choose kindness.  Also, I will choose to still love (as a friend).  Furthermore, I will care about him even though it is hard. I will choose to make friends if God brings them into my life. Also, I will still love fiercely and be loyal to them no matter what comes my way.

And to my friend, even though he says we are not friends, I hope that you have a fruitful life.  That you and your girlfriend are happy together. That is all I ever wanted for you. I want you to be happy and successful. Even if that means our friendship is at an end. That’s okay. I will be okay. Because my heart belongs to God and I believe in his everlasting love for me.

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Now What?

Now What?

Now What?

Now what?  Honestly, what am I supposed to do now?  Over a decade of friendship and now, aside from your son and the children, you are all gone.  This ache is deep and my tears flow freely at any given moment.  It is so strange knowing that you are gone because that is not what we talked about.

I Miss You

It has only been a few days but I miss you.  We would chat, most nights, until about midnight about all the things.  I would watch my car detailing videos, mute, and tell you about every detail.  Then, we would discuss the children and what they were doing.  We would fix the world’s problems and now I don’t have anyone to talk to.

 

Always Wondered

I have always wondered is it best for others left behind for a loved one to die quickly or to *know* that they are dying so you can say what you need to.  Honestly, I have experienced both ways and they both suck.  For me, they do.  The ones who have passed well, as a believer, once your eyes shut on Earth, they open in the presence of the Lord.

Instantly

When your loved one dies instantly, with no warning, there are SO many things unsaid.  That last I love you, the last I am sorry, the last smile…when did you hug them last?  For me, it has been 6 mths due to conflict.  I remember the last words spoken.  Furthermore, I remember the last words he spoke to me.  Also, I remember sitting in my car screaming at the top of my lungs just to get out the anger.

Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness.  My fear was knowing how my husband would react to the words said to me.  My sadness was knowing what the outcome was going to be.  It was an outcome that I never wanted but was necessary in order for my husband to heal.  Yet, the pain that came in the morning was devastating.

A Small Amount of Time

This time, however, I have known of “not feeling well” since February or March.  What started out as vertigo and back pain ended in death.  Something so treatable as those 2 things.  Doctor visits yield Meniere’s disease, possibly.  Could be allergies.  Maybe it is stress.  Go to the chiropractor, get some blood work done, blah blah blah.

Those things led to not being able to keep anything down and losing weight.  Energy waning.  Speech slurred a bit.  Upset stomach and passing out.  She was “forced” to go to the ER where they said, “your electrolytes are low and you are dehydrated.”  Well, let’s pop in an IV and get that up.  For a moment, she was better.

Until She Got Worse

That moment was fleeting and we all tried to convince her to go to the doctor again.  This time they did x-rays, co-vid testing, and blood work.  There were bacteria in her bloodstream.  I remember her saying that.  Then she said, “good news, I don’t have co-vid!”  A sigh of relief.

Then silence.  She said, “but they found a mass on my pancreas.”  My heart went into my throat and I asked if it was cancer.  She said she did not know and she had an appointment with an oncologist on October 7th.  This was the day after her 61st birthday.

When I Got to Her Place

I walked in and there laid a shell of the woman I was used to seeing.  She had lost so much weight and was so jaundiced, I knew that this was serious.  I walked over and laid my head across her chest.  She patted my head and said “Brandi, I’m going to fight this.  It’s going to be okay.  I’m too mean to die.”

I snuggled up with her on the couch and we talked about all the things.  Once again, we solved the world’s problems.  I came by almost daily to check on her and the children.  At night, I would call.  Then she went to the doctor on the 7th…she said they called in hospice.

The Next Day

I came over and we started talking about other things.  Things neither one of us wanted to talk about.  Funeral homes, flowers, plans for her grandchildren and son.  She kept saying that this was all pointless because she was going to get a second opinion and fight.  This woman fought to the very end.

Most days she would ask me to “take her feet apart.”  AKA rub her feet because that felt SO good.  Then she would want me to play with her hair.  Somedays, I massaged her stomach because the swelling was so much that she said it helped her feel better.  Other days, I would just curl up next to her.  Sometimes we would nap and other times, she would nap and I prayed.

The Night at the ER

She finally could not take the pressure and swelling of her belly.  So, she asked me to call an ambulance just to have her checked.  They got there and the stress of moving her caused her to pass out.  We all thought she was gone and rushed to the ER.

Her son and I got there before the ambulance.  They wheeled her out and she cut her eyes at me and waved.  I crumpled in the parking lot.  It was like all the air being let out of a balloon.  Her sisters were there and we all rushed in.

The Beginning of the End

I knew that night, that she would be gone soon.  As I sat by her bed watching her breathe, we talked again.  She talked of her salvation, her husband, and her daughter that died before her.  David died 5 years ago of cancer and her daughter died 2 years ago by a choice that was horrific for her family.

She said they were standing up there going “oh hell, here she comes!”  I told her there was no swearing in heaven.  We both laughed a bit and then the topic got more serious.  She knew there was no fight left.  It was a matter of time and that time was up to God.

Final Words

She asked what would happen to Steve, her son.  Then we talked about Lexi, her granddaughter.  Next, we talked about Austin, her grandson.  Sierra, the precious girl that lived with them and expecting Donna’s great-grandson (whom Donna named).  She talked about Kenleigh, her great-granddaughter.  We got it all squared away.

Then, she looked at me and said “who is going to keep you out of trouble?”  I just sat and cried.  She said, “wanna crawl up in this bed, there is room?”  If I could have, I would have.  I told her we would get in trouble and she said she didn’t care.  She begged to go home.

We Got Her Home

Home.  She was not Donna anymore.  There were moments when she would focus, but we all knew the time was coming.  That time came…my Donna was gone.  Once again, I walked in and laid over her chest, and cried.  I listened to the wails and sobs of her son and grandchildren.  Her sisters.

I haven’t even fully processed it all but today is her funeral.  Everything changes for everyone.  Life never stops moving, does it?  I feel lost and go to pick up the phone and realize, there is no one to call.  Oh, Donna.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  We talked about that, remember?

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