Sunday, April 28, 2013

Holding patterns

I've been sort of in a holding pattern until they can find out more about what caused the congestive heart failure, which leaves me in bed most of the time unable to do anything lest I damage my heart further.  I have been to the store a couple of times, once just moving very slowly with my cane.  Twice with the electric cart they provide.  Without the cart I am so tired and sore and can't get out of bed for a day or two afterward.

I haven't done as much reading as I would like.  Concentration really sucks when you have life or death matters on your mind.  And I have had those on my mind for months...mostly due to my mother's illness and death.  Now I think about my own.  Not a lot of fun.

As a result of this situation, though, my mind has turned to things that comfort me and part of that is druidry.  I have a few books on the subject and just ordered more from the library (along with a spooky horror movie I haven't seen yet.)  Zach found himself thinking along the same lines so we are studying a bit together.  I have missed some aspects of spirituality that I had briefly set aside while finding my way and now feel very drawn back to them.  I miss a stronger connection with the deities and the deeper spiritual things.

I am still very much on an eclectic path though.  I found some connection with some Celtic-type deities and was drawn a bit toward some of the Norse, too.  And my beloved Greeks are still hanging around although I don't feel drawn to them so much anymore. 

Not sure what will happen for Beltane as I have an obscenely early appointment in Fond du Lac for an echocardiogram so I will be thoroughly exhausted and most likely unable to do anything much.  Maybe Zach will do a ritual in my room so I can watch.  Or just participate in a minor way.  I'm not much of a leader anyway.  I'd rather be in the background.

Time for a nap now.  I'm supposed to rest every afternoon, take a nap and just chill out.  I'm learning to let others take care of me.  It's not very easy though.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Learning to deal with it

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around my mother being gone and this diagnosis that is keeping me mostly in bed all the time.  I do get up and around occasionally but until we get the fluid out of and around my lungs I'm supposed to avoid exertion...which right now is just about anything.  I have fixed myself breakfast and sit up in a chair for a while.  And while showers exhaust me, I'm not forgoing those at all either.

Mostly I'm feeling a bit abandoned.  Not having any friends has always been an issue for me but every effort I made always failed so I just stopped trying.  Now, I sit alone except for Zach (Tom is either at work or sleeping) but I hate to keep bugging him.  He waits on me hand and foot, fixes my meals, cleans up after me and runs errands for me, but I still feel very much alone.

Sadly the world does not revolve around me.  Or maybe that's not so sad.

I do need to pull myself out of this pity party and find the positive in it all.  I am working on some old projects that had been abandoned so that's good.  I'm focusing totally on regaining my health and doing what I need to do to accomplish that so that's good as well.  My blood sugar has dropped 30 points in the last month, so that's excellent.

Now if I could just get my brain back so I could read again.  I have so many books on the headboard of the bed just waiting to be read and I can't concentrate.  I haven't done any rituals lately because I just can't concentrate on that either. 

And I'm sleepy all the time.

Still, during all of this I have developed a connection, although not a relationship yet, with Airmid and Danu.  And surprisingly with Brighid as long as I don't think of her as a hearth goddess.  As the goddess of craft she really draws me, but as a goddess of the hearth, not at all.  I had come to the conclusion a while back that hearth goddesses didn't appeal to me in general but because I never listen to myself, I struggled to find a hearth goddess in the Greek or Norse pantheons.  Never made the connection with them either.  Now, house elves or house spirits, yes, but not goddesses.

I also have remained consistently on this path for quite a while considering the way I have gone back and forth from month to month.  Of course, I have the freedom to call upon the gods in other pantheons any time I feel so driven so I have no need to shift from this path. 

I am frustrated that this illness has interfered in the forward movement I have wanted on this path, however. Still, I need to figure out a way to do it all from here because waiting for something to change is never a good thing.  I should learn to deal with my circumstances as they are now.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shamefully repeated from the other blog

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far awa--no, wait, that was this galaxy--I had chemo. Now chemo medications are mostly poisons that kill off cells in your body.  And while they can do great things to nasty cancer cells, they can also cause harm to healthy cells as well.  Fast forward to about a year ago when i started noticing I was tiring out more and more often and unable to function as well as I used to.  I thought it was the fibromyalgia which causes a lot of fatigue in the people who have it.

Not so.

Fast forward again to a month ago when I developed pneumonia that got better and then got gradually worse.  Unfortunately the pneumonia triggered that nasty side effect they warned me about, which was apparently already manifesting itself in my body anyway.

So my dr agreed with Dr. Jerk's expensive tests and sent me to the ER in Fond du Lac to meet with the pulmonologist and be evaluated by him.  Thankfully he sent me home after his assessment but unfortunately that nasty side effect will be with me until the day I check out.  The one side effect I really feared was congestive heart failure.  And that's what all this has been.  Initially it was the pneumonia, the pulmonologist agreed, but now it's not.

He assures me I will have a full life ahead of me but it won't be as active as it used to be as I now have limitations due to a weakened heart muscle.  On more meds now and hopefully this will get rid of the excess fluid in and around my lungs. 

I'm going to have to stay in bed for a while and then gradually get up and about, walking and such but no strenuous exercise and no really physical work at home.  At least for quite a while.

I'm still processing this emotionally but for now I'm going to bed and take a nap.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Reaching from beyond the veil

On Friday night Zach and I started doing ritual at the ancestor altar, after putting my mom's picture and her engagement ring, the first one Daddy gave her, on the altar.  We had just started the first prayer when my cell phone rang.  Normally I wouldn't have answered but as my family had my cell phone number I thought it might be them.  To my utter shock and pleasure it was my estranged daughter calling to see how I was doing.  I hadn't talked to her since my chemo and only recently did she friend me on facebook allowing me to see the pictures of her kids.  She doesn't acknowledge me as her mother, which I suppose I deserve.

It was my mother's dearest wish that we repair our relationship although it never happened in her lifetime.  I can't help think that just as we were preparing to honor her as our newest ancestor, she reached beyond the veil and influenced my daughter into calling me.  We talked for nearly an hour about everything..and nothing.  I think we did repair some bridges but I still won't presume to have fixed everything.  Maybe nothing more will come of it or maybe this is the start of something.  Who knows?  I only know that my mother is responsible for this.  My Christian family would say it was God honoring Mom's request.  I give Mom the credit that now as an ancestor she affected the change herself.  She didn't need anyone to do it for her.  But I am completely convinced that my path is right for me and that by this gesture on her part, she was telling me that, too.

I have more to talk about later but as I am still in bed resting I need to go back to doing that.  Any prayers, energy, candles, etc would greatly be appreciated if they were sent this way.  I am having such trouble getting over this pneumonia.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Through the veil

Sometime around 4 a.m, my time, my mother passed through the veil to take her place among the ancestors.  That's about how I phrased it on facebook.  My friends were very loving and supportive.  Some of them are Christians, some atheists, some fellow pagans.  All of them were very sweet.  My in-laws as well. 

I am experiencing a muddle of emotions, as to be expected I suppose.  Relief is way up on the list.  Mom was dying by inches and for some reason prolonged it way beyond the expectations of the medical field. She lasted 16 days past her last dialysis, something that boggled their minds.  But while her physical health diminished, her dementia grew increasingly to the degree she was abusive with the staff at the nursing home.  Fortunately, they knew this wasn't her but her disease and were gracious and kind to her in return.  My sisters sat vigil with her daily up into the night until they had to go home and get some sleep.  Because of this, Mom was alone when she slipped away.  Oddly, I think she planned it that way.

Other emotions that go together are grief, sorrow and sadness, of course.  They aren't really the exact same emotion although they are similar.  Don't ask me to explain the different right now.  My brain isn't answering my calls today.  I will miss the phone calls we shared about every week even if we haven't had them since January.  I'll miss her filling me in on the town and family gossip.  And her expertise on homemaking and gardening.  While there are things I won't miss, I'm not going to dwell on those right now.  This is the time to mourn.

Excitement is another emotion...or rather anticipation.  When Steph called this morning (the baby sister) I was already awake so I took the only picture I've been able to find so far, a picture of both parents, and set up her place on the ancestor altar.  I learned from M, one of my greatest online friends, that Sekhmet is a Mother Goddess so I placed her statue on the ancestor altar.  I added Bast as well because they seemed to want to remain together.  I haven't done any rituals yet.  I will do some tonight although I probably won't call upon Mom tonight. I figure she needs time to adjust and get to know her surroundings first.  Beltane is approaching and I am so looking forward to it.  It has been one of my favorites but I never knew until recently that the veil is also thin on that day.

I look forward to having a different relationship with Mom.  In some ways we might end up closer than we were when she walked this earth.  I'm not assuming that...just considering it as a possibility.

The emotion I didn't anticipate was feeling liberated.  Much of my life was spent avoiding her disapproval, even keeping things from her to avoid a lecture, even into my 50s.  One of the biggest reasons I never wrote publicly was because I was afraid of her reaction. Maybe that was just an excuse but it was still very valid.  I knew it would break her heart to learn that I had left Christianity and was now a Pagan.  I couldn't do that to her, but I also had ulterior motives for hiding it from her.  I didn't want her to preach to me or tell me she was disappointed in me.  I heard that enough.  Feeling free this soon wasn't something I thought would happen. I don't worry now about what I write in my blogs or on facecrack.  I'm free to write and be comfortably me.

She was a good woman and selfless in her devotion to her god.  She gave of herself all the time to her church and the people she cared about.  The church will be full on Monday morning.  I wonder sometimes what to do with my Christian ancestors who looked down on non-Christians and thought they were doomed to eternal torment.  Did they get to go to their version of the afterlife?  Or are they now aware that there is more than one way to spend eternity?  Am I wrong to put her on the ancestor altar and pray to her?  I don't know. Time will tell, I suppose.  Or not.  I may never know the answer to those questions.  Mostly I have just prayed to the unknown and distant ancestors.  Now I think I might include those nearer in my prayers.

Tonight I will call upon Sekhmet and Danu and The Morrigan whose raven pentacle I wear all the time.  And I will tell them about Joyce and her love for life, her husband, her daughters and her grandchildren.  And how she did for others without regard for her own health.  And what a loving mother she was.  I won't say the problems we had in the past have vanished from my mind or my heart, but I will try not to dwell on them.  They are in the past and can never be repeated again.  That part of the relationship is over.  The new one begins.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The comfort of the veil

My mother continues to be drawn through the veil.  I was able to talk to her today, to tell her I loved her and that I would miss her.  I didn't say good bye though.  Not sure why I can't say it except maybe I don't see it as good bye.  I believe my relationship with her will continue but on another level.  I haven't found a good picture of her for the ancestor wall yet.  I should hurry though as we are down to hours and days. 

Losing my mother hasn't been a simple situation because I have been conflicted about our relationship for decades. I have always loved her but always felt her love for me was conditional.  Maybe it wasn't but it felt that way.  And I always felt like the daughter who was loved the least even though she made comments about how hard she tried to make sure she didn't favor one of us over the others.  I'm not bitter or angry.  I do think she did the best she could.  But I am conflicted.

Because of that feeling I've never been particularly drawn to a goddess before.  I've loved them and worshiped them and tried to connect with them, but it's not been an easy thing for me to bond.  I've been praying to Brighid at the hearth altar every morning until it finally occurred to me that I didn't need a hearth goddess.  I needed a mother goddess.  Once I realized that I turned to Danu, who is the closest thing to a mother goddess I've known since leaving Christianity behind.  I felt an instant, electric connection.  I felt loved and held and comforted.  Since then I have felt her with me constantly. 

In no way does she replace my mother but the bond with Danu does go a long way repairing my heart where my mother is concerned.

I haven't been racing to fill up my altar with deities or trying to adopt a pantheon of sorts.  Instead I've just been moving instinctively, waiting and biding my time.  Cernunnos is on my altar of course and I keep a black rose (silk) on it as well to represent the Dark Goddess, whoever she turns out to be but beyond that I haven't been keen on assembling a host of gods to worship.

As Beltane approaches though, I am finally feeling the tug toward incorporating more ritual into my daily life.  During the pneumonia and the vigil for my mother, I have set aside most ritual and have just done what I can to get through each day.  But now I'm eager to bring some order into my chaos and pack up the tent I set down by my path to abide a while.  Now it's time to move forward.

And at Beltane I will have the opportunity to be with my ancestors including the one who will have just arrived.  It's a precious thing to know that Beltane will come so soon after my mother passes through the veil.  A year ago when my aunt died, Mom expressed sadness that "heathens" wouldn't have the comfort and security that Christians had when someone died.  I didn't respond at the time but I can say now that I find more comfort in Paganism than I ever found in Christianity.  While I'm sure my sisters and my dad have a great deal of comfort in it, for me it was not comforting and there was nothing but fear and emptiness for me.

I'm glad they have their comfort but I am so grateful that I have found mine.  I will miss my mother, our weekly talks about homemaking and gardening and knitting socks for her, but I have the comfort of knowing that she's never really far away and that when the veil is thin, we can share so much more.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The bittersweetness of leaving

I'm trying to get my spiritual mojo back after the pneumonia.  I'm mostly just going through the motions right now but I do have hopes that the connections will come back and I will feel good about it all again.  I have no doubts about my path; it's just hard to feel spiritual after spending 2 weeks in bed (or near the bed) and feeling crappy most of that time.  I continue the rituals because they do still mean something to me.  I felt more attuned this morning so I know it's coming back.

I mentioned in my mundane blog what the vagueness was about when I was talking about a venture. I hate to plug my other blog (no, I don't!) but I don't have the energy to repeat myself so if you want the story go there.  On the other hand, the shorter version is that Zach and I are starting up a business together selling things we make of a pagan nature or connected to that somehow.  It will be a year before we actually have enough inventory.  But we're also doing some writing.  A book, some articles and some short stories.  I'm terrified and excited all at the same time.

My mother continues to edge closer to the veil.  I can't be there for various reasons but I get updates daily from my sister and her husband.  I feel like an outsider especially as they are rallying around their own religion during this time.  Which is absolutely appropriate for them to do.  Zach and I plan our own rituals and ceremonies as the time grows nearer and the veil thins.  It's still surreal to me that my mother is passing away.  I guess I always thought of her in terms of forever.  And maybe that's still true, but it's not forever here.  I will miss her but at the same time I look forward to forming a new relationship with her as an ancestor.  I'm preparing my wall already.  I just don't know what I've done with the pictures of her.  I'm terribly unorganized but I do hope I can find the picture before she goes through.  I'd like to have her up on my ancestor wall by that time.

I'm still pretty numb emotionally about it but I've been on the verge of tears a time or two in the past couple of days.  I will miss her.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Feeling more sane today

I had a very good, very cathartic bitch session with some fellow...well...bitches, today in which we poured our hearts out in a very safe environment and got a lot out of my system.  Shared pain promotes healing.  Plus I got to talk to my dad tonight and my younger sister was there and wanted to talk to me.  Without the other sister's influence we could have a relationship.  But when P gets in there and starts running things, not so much.  I'm going to wait on burning bridges, I think.

I'm feeling better physically each day.  I was able to walk with my cane without gasping for breath today.  Zach and I did some research today on the venture we have planned and are close to beginning the process.  I don't want to appear coy about it but as things can go so many different ways right now I don't want to start talking about it yet.  It's not a huge thing although it's definitely outside our comfort zone and one of those risk things I never like to take.  And since we haven't even come close to defining all the details, I don't want to gunk up the works by speaking too soon.

Tomorrow I plan on getting some cleaning done.  Zach is going to work on laundry; I'm going to work on chaos.  It will take a while and I don't intend to wait until the house is clean before I start organizing my life better so the more room I can find to move around, the better I can start working on things like starting my garden indoors and working on other crafting things besides knitting.  I have many different things I want to learn better and get proficient at.  Too numerous to go into right now.

Now I think I need a nap.  I didn't sleep last night due to some financial shit going on that I can't do anything about because...well...paperwork!  Didn't get it, don't have it, can't pay the bill without it kind of shit. For now I'm going to bed and if I fall asleep, so be it.  I don't care right now.  :)

Monday, April 1, 2013


I'm feeling a lot better physically today.  I was able to get out of bed and run some errands without gasping for breath or having to sit down every 3 minutes. In fact, I forgot to use my inhaler this afternoon.  I am still taking it a bit easy but it's obvious that staying in bed for 4 days was what I needed.

Emotionally, however, I am not doing well at all.  Maybe it's depression due to the pneumonia or my mom's impending death but I think it's just I'm fed up with having to wear a face that doesn't represent what I feel all because I have to suck it up when it comes to my family.  I won't be putting the link to this blog on facebook today because while I'm almost positive no one in my family ever reads my blogs, this would be the one time they do.  And I'm just not into lectures or scoldings right now.

I am largely ignored when it comes to my sisters.  They get together and make decisions about Mom and Dad and then tell me what they decided later.  If I come up with an idea, it's shot down immediately so I just stopped offering up suggestions or opinions.  When I started writing my mundane blog nearly seven years ago, I was excited that this would be a way to keep in touch with my parents and my sisters.  I gave them the URL and waited to see if they would comment since I was writing mostly about my day to day existence along with the knitting stuff.  Not a peep.  So I asked my mom if she had read it.  She hadn't and didn't even know what I was talking about so I gave her the link again and told her what it was.  Still nothing.  I asked again and she then responded that she didn't like stuff like that.

Forward a year or so when my older sister, P, went on sabbatical to Europe and blogged about it.  My mom raved about P's blog and how wonderful it was.  I mentioned my blog again, gave her the link and still she never would read it.  P also keeps writing blogs about our mother's dying process and getting them published on a widely read internet source.  The first one was nice.  After the third one it felt more like she was capitalizing on Mom's impending death.  She keeps sending me copies of this wanting input from me.  I sent her a paragraph from my last blog entry and I got crickets chirping from her.  Not one fucking word about it at all.  Last year she gave a sermon telling her congregation some very personal things about me, painting me in the darkest of colors scoring points off of my past.  She asked permission to tell the story but I just couldn't believe her arrogance so I just told her to do whatever she wanted. 

I also offered the URL to my older son as well but he wasn't interested either.  So neither my sisters, my parents or my older son are interested in what I write.

As you know my older son just published a book on  He sent me emails with excerpts from it asking my opinion, wanting me to praise his book and offer him support. I made a few suggestions and offered him support.  Several years ago I started writing a book and asked his opinion about it.  I got criticism and an offer to edit it for me since he didn't think it was very good.  I put the book away and never touched it again.  So now he's got a book out there and during the birthing process called and emailed me about it a lot.  When I got pneumonia, I told him on his facebook page but he never responded at all.  In fact, the next night, when I was really feeling like shit, he called me dumping his problems on me.  I mentioned the pneumonia and he said he didn't know even though I wrote about it on his fb page.  Next night he called again.  I just wanted to sleep but he wanted to talk about his book.  He acted as though I had never told him about the pneumonia.

It's apparent to me that there are people in my life who are supposed to care about me who don't seem to give one shit about my life, what's going on in it or how I'm doing.  I shared an email with him about them taking my mom off of dialysis and his only response was that my older sister had already told him.  That was it.  Nothing since then.

When both my parents are gone, I'm ending the relationships I have with my family.  They're not healthy and certainly toxic to my mental health. I'm tired of being there for people who are never there for me.  I'm tired of the anger and criticism and lecturing I get from all of them, including my older son.

Zach and I have plans once I am through this pneumonia and once he gets through his cold.  It involves a creative process that will take up a lot of time and includes several venues all of which spiral from our pagan practices.  I won't have time to deal with the shit I get from people who don't have room for me in their lives unless it benefits them or unless they have to let me in because they can't exclude me.  And I certainly won't let that negativity derail me from taking my life out of this rut and making it more fruitful and productive.

I know they all view me as the black sheep of the family.  My daughter has disowned me for real and imagined offenses that she won't let go of and thanks to P who fed the fire, will never make up with me.  In fact, I thought we had made some headway because she friended me on fb but now she no longer even responds to me when I pm her about my mom.  I have no idea what my offense is this time but I am fucking through trying to pay for my past sins.  I don't know what I have done to make everyone feel this way about me but I am through trying to make up for the past.

This is the family that is know...the religion of second chances.  I've given much more than two chances to them.  And not being a Christian anymore, I'm all out.  I'm through.  I'm taking care of me and the ones who really are there for me from now on.