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Pondering Life and Death ……………

My brother’s wife passed away last Thursday, but to me she wasn’t an ‘in-law’ but always considered my sister!

Briefly, she had an neurological disorder with a very long name, but basically it was a very rare disorder of an unknown origin. The disease progressed very slowly, to the point where her nerve endings were dead. Even so, for many years she could walk and talk; she just couldn’t feel her arms. legs,  and other areas like her face and her fingertips etc. As the doctor explained; as long as possible if she continued to make sure and exercise on a stationary bike etc; the brain would remember how to walk etc. She did so for years, but this spring my brother became unable to care for her, as her abilities had finally diminished and she had to be placed in a long term home.

She had been able to go home for the day last Monday, to celebrate our Canadian Thanksgiving with her family.

On Wednesday she became very ill with multiple issues, but basically her body was just shutting down. Because of the rarity of her disease, she had decided to donate her body with the hope that something could be learned about her condition, and help someone else in the future.

I mention a little about her because whenever there is death of someone close to us, we do tend to think of the subject. I don’t take credit for this thought that I read at some point or heard, but I like it.

When we are a baby in our mother’s womb, we are nourished with food, warmth, comfort and security. We believe this is what life is; there is no knowledge of what lies ahead. Then we are born into this world, and life changes. Usually we are cared for as infants, and the years following; but it is very different than when we were as yet unborn.

As a Christian therefore, it is not difficult to believe that the world we live in now, with all the challenges and joys of everyday life, is not all there is either. We are promised that when our lives on earth have or will come to an end of life as we know it, there is yet one more to come. That is eternity with God, when we believe. While I have heard much about what Heaven is like, with no sorrow, pain illness………….only joy, I won’t really know until that time comes for me.

My mind has just reverted back unexpectedly to a time over 40 years ago, when I had a very vivid ‘dream’ that felt much more. I had been going through a time of depression, but was starting to feel somewhat better; and I had this wonderful sense of being enveloped in a warmth , with an array of colours that seemed to be such as I’d never seen before. While in this “dream”…. I felt so loved, protected and just full of joy that I didn’t want to wake up, but I also wondered if somehow my husband could feel the same… so I was hoping when I did wake up, this would happen. Of course it didn’t, but I wondered if I could or should try to explain it at all to him and maybe our children.  So when I took our my Bible, I asked God  to let me know. I wasn’t in the habit of opening my Bible at random for some special message, but this time I did. The first words that I read were ‘tell the people’. So I did!

I guess this was to me, a little glimpse into heaven.

The Bible also talks about Hell…. I guess I don’t know what that entails totally. It has been described in many ways. My feeling about it is, that for the most part it means an eternity without the presence of God, or joy, peace, love or security. If there is no God, then there is no heaven or hell. We will not be reunited with other loved ones, and this life we live now is all there is.

But I guess you know that I don’t believe that. I believe that there is that world within the womb, the life here on earth, and an eternity thereafter!

Kind of some deep thoughts in this post, but they evolved this week with the passing of my ‘sister’!  

Sometimes Answers Just Don’t Come

For quite a while now I’ve been trying to find answers to questions relating to health issues but sometimes the answers just don’t come.

While I realize many ills come with age, the hope is that we can somehow find out the cause and just feel as good as we can. When I was diagnosed many years ago with Multiple Sclerosis, it was after two or more years of feeling unwell but basically after some blood tests and maybe an xray, I was advised that nothing physical was wrong. I was offered an increase in an antidepressant that I was taking at that time for depression. I remember how I felt as though I was a hypochondriac, and yet deep inside I knew that something was amiss. Well to make a long story short, I ended up in emergency one day; saw an internist and was sent to a neurologist who after testing learned I had M.S.

I have not been severely debilitated by M.S. through these years, but the last couple of years have just had one issue after another. I’ve had so many tests it’s a wonder I don’t glow in the dark or have any blood left. I’ve been to my general practitioner, gastrologist, otolaryngologist, neurologist, dermatologist, cardiologist, respirologist, neuro-surgeon; had blood tests, xrays, ct scans, MRI, bone density, bone scan..

I have some answers; but some with no solution, such as severe dysmotility… which basically means when I eat I have to be very careful as food does not move as it should down the esophagus…. causing issues which I will not go into. There is nothing that can be done about this, as it’s basically the muscles that are just damaged.

One answer I do have is that there is spinal stenosis in my lower back, and will have surgery to help alleviate the pain.

There are other issues which I won’t delve into; one however is a breathing issue for which there seems to be no answer. That’s the one that is giving me the ‘I feel like a hypochondriac again’ thoughts. But I’ve decided to just accept that I’ve pretty well exhausted all the options, and I will just live with it.

Sometimes I guess we just have to accept that the answer is just not going to come !

(Thanks for listening to my rambling/grumbling).

 

Sometimes Moments of the Past… Creep Back

Yesterday, for a short time some moments of the past crept in. It happened in a matter of a few words spoken.

I won’t expand on all the details, but it so quickly took me for a surprise, and evoked feelings that were like those when I was going through a time of depression.

The anxiety that I felt was hard to contain and I didn’t.  The initial aspects only lasted minutes, but the emotions that surfaced are still with me today.

It is strange how a word, can lead to a phrase, that then leads to expressions…. that then lead to emotional reactions.

These past few weeks, I have had some challenges with my health. (It seems to me the word, ‘again’ fits) I guess it goes with age some of it. One of the issues was that I ended up in emergency a couple of weeks ago, because I woke up at 3 am not really speaking or making sense. It is possible that it was a mini stroke (TIA) but equally possible it was something else.  There are some other issues, but won’t go into them.

The only reason I mention that last part, is that I guess, not feeling well, it leaves me vulnerable to over-reaction of words spoken, or perceived criticism, whether there or not.

Anyway, that’s what the left-overs of depression, that sometimes ‘lurk’ in the recesses of your mind, can do to a person years later, if conditions are at all present.

For awhile my strength was very much diminished. I know by the end of today, with God’s help,  I will be okay and my physical and emotional well-being will be as it should.

I write this only as more information, that may help or educate one who suffers/suffered with depression, or one who lives with a person who does………….. I guess I also wrote it to just ‘write’ it! ??

(p.s. I’m somewhat slow in catching up on your blogs; I was also away for 3 days with my sister. I’m hoping to gradually catch up) ………………….. Diane xx

Thankfulness Mondays – A Few Wistful Moments

Week 41 (of 52) along with Bernadette of Haddon Musings and others, posting of things in our lives that sometimes go unnoticed, and which if we think about them, will offset many negatives aspects of the world around us, and make us truly thankful.

A few posts ago, I wrote that because of moving and de-cluttering I found some old journals and other writings, from many years ago, when I was going through periods of depression. They caused me to remember things and I found a great sadness overwhelmed me for a time..

Well today I found some more old letters, but instead of sadness they brought some ‘wistful moments’.  There were some from family members who were very close to me, and some friends but the ones that I most cherish, were from my Mother. I was about 12 and 13 years of age at the time. I used to spend most summers when I was young at one of my brother’s home. This was because of course she had to work, and didn’t want me left alone.

He had 5 children, and I used to ‘babysit’ them. Most of them were not babies, but very young. I used to take them to the pool at the park most days, and various other things. I would then get some spending money to go to the show with a friend, or buy treats with.

Since it was in a city about 3 hours away my mother and I used to exchange letters, and I found a few of them today. I re-read them, and it brought back memories. I remembered how special she was, and felt very thankful for having her as my mother.

Of course she occasionally might get a friend or family member to drive up for a visit occasionally, but she always wanted to let me know she was thinking of me. That of course is way before home computers, or cell phones or emails.

It’s a shame that not many write letters anymore, and I’m one of those who don’t.  I do still send cards, but not letters.  It certainly was more exciting to look in the mailbox each day, and wonder if there would be a letter or card addressed to me. Emails or text messages sent are usually deleted shortly after they are received, and not kept as a treasure to be discovered many years later.

While I am getting rid of a lot of stuff with this move  since we won’t have the storage, I will not dispose of those letters.

One doesn’t throw away cherished wistful moments.

Picture of my Mother and I on my wedding day. A picture I cherish!

 

Reflections From the Past – but I Left Them Behind

In preparation for selling our home in the April, my husband ‘W’ and I have been trying to de-clutter all that we can, as we’re going into an apartment. In doing so we found some things that are from a long time ago, causing ‘reflections from the past.

Now my belief is, that really one should basically not  look into the past too much especially at the worrisome or difficult times. But in having to clear some of it to decide what to throw out, I read a bit of the notes from cognitive therapy I had done and also some writings from a couple of journals. I didn’t read a lot of it but enough to take me back in time to the last period of depression that I had suffered.

We also were deciding what VHS tapes to discard, and so watched a couple not knowing what was on them. There wasn’t anything bad in them, but one was of a cruise we took during another of my ‘episodes’ of depression. We went with his two brothers and their wives, and it reminded me of how little I enjoyed that ‘what should have been’, wonderful vacations. I didn’t recognize most of what ‘W’s  brother had video-taped. I spent so much time by myself, lying down and sleeping so much.  I don’t think I ever went up to the top deck, where the pool was.

I suppose we thought that the cruise would brighten my spirits, but instead it seemed to intensify them.

If you have suffered from this ‘darkness’ of mind and spirit, you’ll know that sometimes good and nice things, or people laughing and having fun make you feel worse.

Anyway, I didn’t stay in the negative zone too long, just long enough for a few tears. I shredded all the material, dried my tears, and left it all behind.

I never want to revisit that place, where at times I could not see any hope or way to feel joy again. It is in the past and will remain there……

I looked into the past for awhile, but only to find out how far I have come!

Thankfulness Mondays – Those Quiet Moments

Week 32 (of 52) I’m joining Bernadette from ‘Haddon Musings’ each Monday, posting of things large or small to  be thankful for, in an effort to offset areas of negativity that surround us on a daily basis

As I’m sitting here, it’s Sunday evening and thinking about what I would write, there was a realization that just being able to sit at home relaxing, was something to be thankful for.

While we all have concerns about situations or people in our lives that may be going through difficult times, I thought that there can be those quiet moments, when we can turn everything in our minds ‘off’ for a little while. There can be a temporary respite from everything, and we can just enjoy whatever we are doing.

When we can’t do this, it can wear us out. When we can’t stop the concentration of all that is not right in our world around, it can be debilitating. I remember so well going through many years of intermittent depression when negativity was so present in my mind, and peace was nowhere to be found.

Depression is not something we ‘invite’ but for many reasons, it just happens. And it’s not just as simple as thinking only nice thoughts, but so very much more. Negativity takes over and robs us of hope. For me it took a long time to find a way to examine my thinking pattern, that had developed over the years, and by doing so, with the help of God and a very kind and caring doctor I was released! Not that I don’t think or have those trying and sad moments, but it’s not the same.

So today, I am just thankful for those quiet moments of reflection and the peace that I have.

I hope that you have, or can find that same peace if your mind is troubled…….  !

2 Timothy 1:vs 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

 

Thankfulness Mondays -” I Have A Dream “

Another Monday (week 24 of 52) participating with Bernadette from ‘Haddon Musings’, recognizing things in our live to be thankful for, offsetting many negative issues that surround us all daily.

I’m thankful for the ability to ‘dream’ and to recognize some of them being realized even greater than what I could ever have imagined.

When I was young my greatest dream was to one day have a family; to love and to raise them to be the best they could be. The dream was never to insist they be a doctor, lawyer, politician or anything that evaluated their worth by how important or rich they became. My only hope was that they would grow and be ‘good people’.

Because my mother instilled in me that love, compassion and kindness were more important traits, I wanted the same for my children should I have any in my future.

When I was going through many intermittent years of depression, my dream was to be well and enjoy life more than I did, but even more importantly to alleviate the times that were difficult for those around me, that had to see me so unhappy.

There were hopes and dreams that I might make a difference in this sometimes chaotic world we live in.

Well, I have to say that the fulfillment of the important dreams that I had, were more than I could have asked for or imagined… as is written in the Bible. That’s what God promises to those who can believe Him.

I have a family to love and cherish, and who share that love. They have made lives for themselves and are happy.

Several years now, I have been freed from depression…. not always from sadness or problems… but ‘depression!

I was able for many years to work for an organization that helped people overseas and within our country, who were/are in need of the very basics in life.

…And having said that, there are so many in this world that can’t even hope to ‘dream’ for anything different than what they have known for much of their life; war, hunger and physical health.

So I’m enlarging my ‘dream’ to hope for their future, that one day they will have all that they need!

Family picture last year. Our three children and us.

Family picture last year. Our three children and us.