Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two very hard things to do

There are two things in life that I think many people find hard to do: (1) forgive and (2) let go of guilt. At my uncle's funeral last week, the minister talked quite a bit about these actions. I'm sure that my uncle had some input into this as he was very close with his minister, who visited him in the hospital during his last weeks.

These two actions are especially hard in my immediate family. My siblings and I seem to live on guilt and grudges. I wonder if this section of the funeral was directed at us in any way? Or I wonder if our seemingly perfect cousins share our affliction?

I find it very hard to forgive people. I try and think I've forgiven them and gotten past whatever has happened but it still lurks in the back of my mind. I don't think I ever truly, 100% forgive people. Is it possible? Can you forgive someone and never look back?

With forgiveness comes something else - retrusting. I find it very hard to trust people in first place. Once they have my trust and then lose it, wow...it's hard for me to ever really trust them again. I have many relationships where I still have to interact with people (due to work or family relations) where I do not trust the person 100%. And there's been a few times where I've gotten past things and re-trusted the person just to have them stab in me in the back. Quite a circle of events, isn't it?

Now, onto the second action: letting go of guilt. VERY hard. I have always lived with a little guilt. I do things out of guilt; I think I should have done things differently and feel guilty; I have a constant ball & chain of guilt on my ankle with some people. It's a heavy emotion that really pulls you down sometimes. It makes life complicated. If you could let go of it, you might make decisions more clearly and objectively with your mind and not your heart. But would that truly be "me"? I am quite soft and subjective a lot of the time. And yes, I do get taken advantage of because people pull on my heart-strings (aka guilt!).

I think the answer is finding a balance. Find a balance of forgiveness and letting go of guilt that you can live with. Try to strive for these actions but recognize your limits. Of course, it's easy to say and hard to do. But it's a good thing to keep in mind when your emotional baggage gets heavy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My heart aches for the new members

I went to my Uncle's funeral this week. It was nice as far as funerals go.

I cried a bit at the church service as there was a slide show of my uncle's life, including my dad, so that was a bit hard for me. Of course, it was mostly set to sad songs so that is definitely a trigger for me too. I've found over the past few years that I cannot bear to listen to sappy songs or watch sad movies. I avoid them at all costs.

At the grave site, my cousins were openly crying and I found myself crying too. I was crying for many reasons as many thoughts flooded my mind as I looked at the casket: the loss of my uncle, the memories of my dad, my mother's illness, the dysfunction of my family... but most of all, I was crying for my cousins' newly found pain.

The more I saw my cousins cry, the harder I cried. They were being inducted into "Club O" and it hurts like nothing you've ever felt before in your life. I was hurting for them. I was crying for their pain. I was physically aching for them. And there is nothing you can do. All the words in the world won't help.

Later at the reception, I gave all my cousins hugs. I looked into their eyes and tried to give them strength. Even my older cousins, who are in their late 40's, openly told me that they were still in shock and the day felt so surreal. My uncle had been sick for many years and very sick as of late so they knew this day was coming but you are never quite ready for it.

So far, I've been talking about the children's pain & loss. But what about the spouse? My aunt was solid. She didn't cry. She was married to my uncle for 53 years and was a rock at the church, cemetery and reception. She has seen my uncle through years of illness and here we were at his funeral and she was the most composed person there.

When I think about it, my mom was the same at my dad's funeral. She didn't cry that day. She didn't even cry the day he died. But it all caught up with her some days when she would cry so hard and barely be able to utter "I miss Dad" (my parents always called each other mom and dad). It killed me to see her like that and to see her slowly become sick herself. How cruel and unfair life seems some days.

My uncle & his family have always been very religious (unlike my family of quasi-pagans). At the funeral this week, my cousins' speeches spoke of how religious my uncle was and how even in his last days, he was faithful to God. In one sense, I thought this was nice but then in another sense, I wonder how there can be a God that allows such pain, sickness, suffering, wars....if my uncle was such a good religious follower, why did God not reward him with a healthy and long life?

My mother (when she was well) was also quite religious. She went to church every Sunday and was always quite devout. Yet she has also suffered for over 15 years now with a horrible disease. What gives??

Well, I'm rambled on long enough now. Time to hit post. Till next time...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Welcome to "Club O"

My Uncle passed away this weekend. He had been very sick for a few months and generally sick for many years. In fact, I always remember him being sick from my earliest memories. He had diabetes, heart problems and was very overweight so if you add those up, it's a recipe for disaster. My father was the exact same and he died 16 years ago when I was in high school.

I'm sad about my Uncle passing away as this was my dad's only sibling so in a way, I feel like it's the end of an era. Sure, there are kids on both sides and the sons have sons so it's not like my family name is gone. But that generation is done and the knowledge and wisdom is gone with them. There are many things I wished I had asked my dad or uncle but never did. With my dad, he passed away suddenly so I didn't have much warning. With my uncle, he's been sick for a long time so I had ample opportunity to talk to him, but I never really did. I found it hard to be around my uncle because of his likeness to my dad. Maybe some people would have found that familiarity comforting, but I just found it too hard to handle.

So what's "Club O"? It's Club Orphan. To me, there is a distinct difference in personalities between people who have parents alive & well and those who do not. A friend of mine (who lost her mom years ago) brought this up one day to me to see if I notice a difference too. She & I concluded that when you lose a parent, something happens inside of you.

You have been orphaned and something intangible inside of you changes. And when both parents pass and/or are very ill, it's like that safety net is no longer there. You have to sink or swim. You're on your own and if you fail, you don't have a nest to run home to. Even though I'm into my 30's, there's been so many times where I've just wanted to run home to my mom and have her pat me on the back, give me a cup of tea and tell me "everything's going to be ok". People who have parents don't get this. They don't know how things are in Club O. And I look at them somedays and know the heartache that lies ahead for them one day...

I went to my Uncle's visitation last night and looked at my cousins with such heartache for them. A few of them mentioned to me that "I must know what they're going through". Yep. Went through it way too early in life. Even though my cousins are mostly older than me, it's still hard for them. You're never ready to join Club O.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shhh!

Ok, this is more of a rant than anything. I work in a cubicle in an office environment. Most of the time, it's pretty quiet around me. Sometimes, it gets pretty noisy with co-workers screaming (excitedly), laughing or yelling. Either way, I have no control over the noise level in my work area because I work in a cube.

So, if I'm on the phone, sometimes when there's a sudden burst of noise in my area, it gets really hard to carry on a conversation (and we're talking work-related conversation). The person on the other end of the phone has to keep repeating themselves while I plug my free ear and strain to hear them.

On the other extreme, when it's really quiet, it's SO quiet that I swear my co-workers can hear me breathing and blinking. Do you know how hard it is to take a simple personal call when it's this quiet? My DH doesn't get this - he gets frustrated with me talking quietly because I really don't want to share every little detail of my life with everyone at the office.

If you have an office, cherish it. Cherish your walls and door. Because when you live in a cube, you've got no.privacy.or.control.whatsoever.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Where do lonely books go?

I "released" 4 more books last week through bookcrossing and they are still AWOL. Where do these books go? Who picks them up and doesn't register their "find"?

Over the past couple of years, I've released 24 books and only 3 have been registered as found. How can people who find these books not be intrigued and visit the bookcrossing website? Why don't they want to play this giant game of hide & seek?

I remember my first time...the first time I found a bookcrossing book. It was in a hotel room in Mexico. I had just checked in and went to my room and found a book on the dresser. I thought the previous guest had left it behind by accident and felt badly for them. Until I picked up the book and saw the bookcrossing sticker telling me the book wasn't lost. And now comes the true confession. I didn't register my find. The book was a weird looking sci-fi novel that wasn't my taste so I took the book to the public book cart at the hotel and dropped it there. How hypocritical of me. I wonder what ever happened to that book...

Something good did come out of this first encounter though. When I got home from that trip, I visited bookcrossing, became a member and started spreading books all over my city!

But back to my lecture. I've released 24 books and only 3 have been "found"? C'mon people out there! Play along in this game. Be nerds like me!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

See a penny...

...pick it up. All day long you'll have good luck!

Do you pick up pennies? I do. I pick them up almost obsessively. And I'm here to confess this. When I see a penny in the street or on a bus or on a restaurant floor, I am drawn to pick it up. I think if I don't pick it up, I'm throwing the "good luck" it has back to the world as if I don't need it. And then I'll be doomed. Ok, maybe not doomed, but who doesn't need a little luck?

My DH laughs at me when I pick up pennies in front of him. I think he is entertained by my weird little obsession. I often wonder if other people have this hobby and they do! I keyed in "see a penny" into Yahoo and there are tons of people out there writing about this...here's two examples:

http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyle/story.html?id=62a6f7cf-09d0-4f99-8934-2deb86759f9b&k=98695

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1465169

What about you? Do you pick up pennies?