Two Paths Toward 9/11 and Beyond

Death knocked on the door this morning,

cold hands crumbled smoldering towers of steel,

as the candles were extinguished by bitter breath,

sorrowful clouds permeated blue skies this morning,

hopes and dreams shattered by windows of pain.

 

In 1992 after graduating college, I went to a headhunter in Manhattan. She sent me out for two job interviews that week. The first one was in Tower One of the World Trade Center. I cannot recall which floor it was on, but can recall my nervousness as I approached the beautiful Twin Towers. They framed the city for me. I grew up in Staten Island and I always got so excited whenever I saw them from the Staten Island Ferry, or from any direction. They showed me which way to go many times. They will always mean so much to me. They were a part of my childhood, they were romantic, and they were the setting for many television and movie scenes. But they were not to be the location of my demise, for I was sent on a different path. My second job interview was in Midtown Manhattan. I received a job offer right away after that one and I took it. I worked at that job as an administrative assistant until 2002.

Around the same time my husband, who I didn’t meet until 2004, was faced with a big decision. Should he take the test to become a New York City Fireman, or should he try to enroll in Nursing School. Both would have been excellent choices, and both would offer rewarding careers. One of his best friends at the time chose to take the test and wait to be called to service. They had many discussions about it. My husband ultimately chose to enter St. Vincent’s Nursing School on Staten Island instead after a few years and much thought. He is here today. His brave and heroic friend from Engine Co. 10 is not. My husband chose a path of saving lives by being a nurse, and his friend also chose a path of saving lives, and lost his in the process. His friend was a hero before September 11th and an even bigger one after. He thinks of him often and always remembers his humor, bravery and love for the FDNY. He also thinks of what may have happened if he chose the same path and was at the World Trade Center that fateful day.

I had two possible paths toward a career and chose the one not located in Tower One. My husband chose to be a registered nurse instead of a member of the FDNY who lost 343 souls that day.

Our paths eventually led us to each other. We talked about September 11th soon after we met. We were both from Staten Island and the subject of the tragedy comes up often. Everyone was either there or knew somebody who was. Two hundred seventy five people with ties to Staten Island perished. Almost everyone you knew lost a relative, a neighbor or a friend. My husband told me about his great loss of a very good friend and person. I told him of neighbors and acquaintances I knew who lost their lives, and of my sister’s luck in being late for work that day. She worked in Tower One. I told him of the difficulty of that day, being all alone in Midtown, walking home to my apartment on the Upper East Side among many ashen people. People who I did not know, but whose faces I will never forget.

There are street signs and many other honors for the victims lost from Staten Island. Every time I visit there, I imagine the footsteps of my neighbor’s brother, and those lost from The South Shore Swim Club which I was a member of and spent much time at as a child. You can almost still feel the loss, it was huge and devastating and will always be a part of the community I grew up in. Lots of moments of grief, lots of healing and lots of support and good deeds.

Lots of honors and lots of remembrance, especially this time of year.

My husband and I moved off of Staten Island in 2010. We now live in Northern Virginia, closer to the Pentagon. We will pay our respects to those victims someday soon.

We are very grateful of the paths we chose. Paths which led us to each other. Paths which led us to a new life here in Virginia with two great kids. Paths which may not have intersected had we made other decisions. Paths that led a kind wonderful man to a broken, chronically ill wife who his love has saved many times. I try to walk a path to return that love to him as often as I can.

We often think of his good friend and of those lost on September 11th, and of the paths they took. They were just going about their day. They were just living their lives when tragedy struck. They could have been us. They could have been anyone.

September 11th is always a sad and somber day for us, we barely put on the television for the reminders are still too close and painful. It is a day that should teach us all that every day matters and that life is short. That we must hold those we love close and dear, and cherish every single moment with them.

Our paths will lead us back to Ground Zero soon. Back to see the beautiful new memorial and museum, back to pay our respects, back to where we came from.

Our paths will always lead us home. We should honor all of the victims of September 11th by choosing kinder, gentler paths. Paths of empathy and compassion instead of anger and destruction.

Paths that lead to helping others more and making a difference. Paths that would make all the Angels proud as we salute them each and every year.

We will always remember them. We will always love them. We will spread that love to others and make this world a better place.

For when all is said and done love is all that matters.

That love will always remain, as well as the pieces of broken shattered windows of pain.

dada kids farm walking

 

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

 

To My Daughter with Anxiety

I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. The way your freckles frame your beautiful face. The way you shrug your shoulders when you are unsure of yourself. The way your smile and laughter brightens up a room. You are a perfect reflection of love and all that is good in this world.

You are pure magic. You are the light of my life. Ever since you were placed upon my chest after birth, you have managed to fill up a huge place in my heart. I became a mom when you were born. I wouldn’t want to be anything else, for you bring more meaning and love into my life than I have ever known.

You may not know this, and I am sorry if you cannot comprehend how much you mean to me. It is difficult to put into words how the stars came down from the sky when you were born. They brought you to me, my shining special girl. You are so amazing, and you have no idea of your worth. Never doubt your worth, never let anyone put you down or make you feel less than you are.

You have been struggling with anxiety on and off for a few years. I know it has been very difficult for you and I would do anything to take these feelings away. You are only ten years old and should not have to face such misfortune at such a young age. You should be living happily, frivolously and free of such adversity.

You are having a hard time adjusting to middle school and all the changes you are facing. You are no longer a small elementary school student, you now carry a heavy load of honors classes and much more responsibility. Recess is a thing of the past, and playtime is replaced with commitments and worry.

Your old friends are just a blur in the busy hallways, and new faces crowd the overwhelming corridors of your new life. You are trying to adjust, but your anxiety is holding you back. It drags you down, it clouds your brain, it holds you back from all you are meant to accomplish.

But, I have no doubt that you will overcome this difficult challenge and accomplish great things. Anxiety is tough, but you are not ashamed to admit you are struggling, you are not afraid to ask for help from the school counselor and from your after school psychologist. You are the bravest girl that I know and I couldn’t be prouder of you.

You are putting yourself out there, you are climbing mountains and you are breaking down the walls that are holding  you back. You keep fighting every single day, and you never give up. Though you leave the house in tears often, you come back better, stronger and more powerful than you have ever been. This will build your character, this will expand your ability to feel empathy for others.

I am in awe of our strength, your courage and your willingness to help others though you are struggling yourself.

You are the kind of person I admire. You are the kind of person I still aspire to be like.

Though you are still so young, you have such wisdom packed into your little soul, and enough love in you to change lives.

I know that you will overcome your anxiety and live a wonderful, fulfilling life.

Never be ashamed of asking for help when you require it, those who do are the most courageous people in the world.

I am so proud of you and always will be. From the moment I first saw you, you were my stars, you were my heaven on Earth, you were mine.

My sweet darling daughter, never forget that you can overcome whatever life throws your way. Always keep trying, always be yourself, always stay kind.

I cannot be prouder of you, and I will always be in your corner.

Forever walking by your side. With each passing moonlight mile.

My sweet daughter, how I love you…

 

Yes, Virginia…We Need Stronger Gun Laws

Virginia, throughout America your little friends are crying. They have been affected by their parents, and other Americans, cynicism, divisiveness and apathy. They know the scary things which they see on the news. They comprehend the violence occurring every day on their streets. Their minds are not little. They see the bloodshed. They feel the loss of their innocence. In their great big worlds dreams are being replaced by fear, art is being replaced by a picture of their friends mother crying at their child’s burial. They are not too young to grasp the fact that their classroom closets are now our inept way to cope with the reality of gun violence in our nation.

Yes, Virginia there is a need for stronger gun laws. Those of us who are willing to put politics aside and march toward a safer, more peaceful world know this. Your world should be filled with joy and fireflies, sprinklers and bike rides, carnivals and endless laughter. We should always put you first, and do what we can to protect you from harm. So that your world will be like an infinite poem, one that provides a rhyme and reason for your beautiful life.

We should not turn a blind eye each time we hear a story of another child killed by a gun not stored safely, or by a person intent on doing harm to school children or innocent bystanders. Over thirty thousand beams of light are extinguished each year by a gun. This light should not be forgotten, these flames should continue to burn in each one of us.

Not believe in gun laws? You might as well not believe in the pursuit of happiness which our forefathers fought so bravely for. So many people are fighting every single day for you and your happiness Virginia. They walk the streets, they make phone calls, they attend tough meetings. You may not see them, but they are there just as sure as the princesses that fill your dreams. Many of us choose not to see these unsung heroes, but many of us do and march to the beat of the same drum.

You can take apart this drum and see the rim, tension rods and tuning screws, but you cannot see the depth of the heart that beats for you and for all Americans. These hearts are strong, these hearts are united, these hearts want you and all children/people to be given a chance to lead a full, wonderful life. They believe in stronger gun laws and background checks because they work and save lives, not because of a secret agenda. Their agenda is pain. Their agenda is a mother’s tears. They want these tears to stop flowing. They can see the reality of the situation, but they remain hopeful. They want to fill your world with this hope, and they want you to revel in the beauty of this nation. The beauty of friendship, the beauty of community, the beauty of love.

No gun laws? That was never the intention of our forefathers, for they knew we must create, amend and uphold the laws of our land so that we can all be safer and free. Many years from now, I hope you are able to look back on a wonderful childhood, free from the fear and constraints of a violent society.

We have the ability to make that happen. We are the adults, and yes you should believe in us. You should believe in childhood fantasies and fairy tales. You should walk the streets with a smile on your face, and lots of love in your heart. You should believe that we will keep fighting for you and never let you down.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

* This blog post is inspired by, and follows the format of the famous editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” which was printed on September 21, 1897 in The New York Sun

 

To My Future Mommy: From Your Unborn Child

I’m just a little egg right now sitting all cozy in your ovary. I haven’t been thrust into your Fallopian Tubes, I haven’t been fertilized, I haven’t been born.

I may just be a very distant thought in your mind, or I may be close to being created or born.

Whatever point in your life you are at, please sit down and listen to what I have to say.

Please think of me when you choose your lovers, your partners, your spouse. They may become my Daddy someday. They may become my greatest joy, or my worst nightmare.

I will require a whole lot of care, patience and love. Please find someone who is kind and who treats you well.

Please choose someone who respects you and knows how amazing you are. Someone who walks beside you, who knows how to comfort you, who truly loves you. That love will greet me, it will keep me warm just like an amazing soft blanket.

Please do not stay in a situation where you are being abused, for that will become my destiny. That will become my living hell. That will become my prison, one that I will be unable to escape from. I will be an innocent child, I will be given no quarter.

Please understand that any abuse is not your fault. Please understand that there is someone out there who will listen and help you. Please seek them out, and make a plan to leave any abusive environment.

You do not deserve that kind of life and neither do I. You are a good person, you have great worth and deserve to be happy.

PLEASE RUN, DO NOT WALK, FROM ANY ABUSER.

Please take the time to heal your wounds. Please don’t give up. Please continue to walk a new path toward happiness and self-love.

I know it won’t be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.

You may be my future Mommy. Please set yourself free.

And, by doing so, you will prove how much you really love me. You could not bare to bring me into this world and see me abused.

So, you walked away.

And now we are both free.

I cannot wait to meet you, my incredible, brave Mommy. I cannot wait to hear your voice. I cannot wait to be in your arms.

I love you Mommy, and I thank you for all you have done before I was ever even born.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

Love and Scrabble: My Struggle with Chronic Illness

As I sit here playing Scrabble with my daughter, I am thinking of all the time that I have wasted. Quality time that I could have been spending with her, my son and my husband.

Time spent fighting Lyme Disease and Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, among other chronic illnesses.

I am surrounded by lettered tiles, a smiling daughter, and much regret. The cardboard box says “when you play games, everyone wins.” I have not been winning the last three years, I have barely been in the game. But, I will fight my heart out to get back into the game. I will fight my heart out to be there for my family once again.

As I was struggling with Lyme Disease, I overlooked the damage that PMDD was doing to my body and brain. I had not taken my diagnosis seriously, and blamed all of my symptoms on Lyme Disease because Lyme Disease has many intolerable symptoms. What I did not realize was that most of the rage, imbalance and panic that I felt was caused by PMDD.

As soon as I learned that the only cure for PMDD was surgery, I signed up. I had a hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy. This decision was not taken lightly, and anyone considering it has to consult with many doctors, try a few other treatments, and do an enormous amount of research. There are many risk factors and no guarantees that the patient will feel better, but I was ready to take my chances.

My lowest point was being a prisoner in my house, in my own body. Grasping onto the couch for dear life as the anxiety and panic consumed me. Seeing my kids but not being able to play with or enjoy them. Letting them down constantly. Not wanting to be stuck in that prison anymore. Oh how I love my family, that’s why I kept going. That’s why I had surgery as soon as I could. That feeling of doom is gone, the towering prison walls are gone. Only anxiety remains. I will overcome that too.

I feel more hopeful now. The board is full of endless possibilities. Words float around like jubilation, contentment, and survival. Glorious text that I gleefully place on our Scrabble board, glad that it supplants words like despair, indignation and trepidation.

My daughter’s eyes sparkle as she looks at me. Oh how I have missed that look. She is pleased to be able to spend time with her Mama again. All these years she has needed me, I was unable to truly be there for her. She never gave up hope though. She never stopped loving me.

She laughs as she spells the word bunny. Her many freckles frame her beautiful face. I will notice these freckles more now, I will try to make up for lost time.

So many thoughts enter my mind as I sit in our kitchen. What words will I now put on the table? I will choose them more carefully. I will teach my children that words matter. That they are a reflection of who we are. That they can hurt, help or heal.

I will work hard to gain my strength back, to use my words to help bring my family closer, to help others who may need to hear them.

I have a long way to go, but I’m glad that I’m going in the right direction. The Scrabble board is in use again. My mind and body are regenerating. The words will keep flowing.

My life continues. The love continues….

Kathy ❤

Poetolgie

 

 

 

To My Husband on Father’s Day: You Are My Blue

I have always loved the color blue and all of its hues. It is endless skies and vast rolling oceans. It is beautiful, comforting and a part of me. It inhabits my wardrobe, it inhabits my dreams. It is the color of my December birthstone, it is a constant companion.

I don’t ever associate it with being down. I don’t ever use it to describe my feelings about my many chronic illnesses. Blue is infinite possibilities and the color of hope. It is what I love.

It is you.

I remember when you got down on your knees to ask me to marry you under an American Sycamore tree. We were young, optimistic and surrounded by blue skies.

I remember when, only months later, we said our wedding vows under an azure winter sky surrounded by the beauty of Lake George.

Our daughter’s nursery was blue and yellow, full of moons and stars and many happy memories. The dark blue starry sky painted on her ceiling reflected the starlight in my eyes as I looked at her, and dreamed of our life together.

After many miscarriages, we brought home our newborn son covered in soft baby blue blankets. I held him and rocked him to sleep, as I was overwhelmed with the blue hue of happiness.

You brought all of these wonderful things into my life, just by walking into it. You interrupted my dark nightmares, and made me see the serene skies in the distance.

Though the clouds of chronic illness constantly hover, you help me to remember that blue skies will always return.

You make our precious children so happy, and they are so lucky to be able to call you Dad. Their childhood memories will be full of silly stories, carnival rides, long nights, endless walks and cerulean skies.

You are the glue that holds our family together. You are the father that every child wishes for.

Each person is made up of many different colors. Each color reflects a different part of themselves. Each color reacts to different situations. Each color reflects the rainbow that exists inside of all of us.

I’m glad that you are mostly made of blue.

Like a magnificent ocean you surround us with waves of strength, and you push us toward a life that flows with hope, calmness and clear sapphire streams.

You are our blue, and we will love you for as long as our blue eyes can see.

Happy Father’s Day!

lake george honeymoon

Fifteen Things to Say to a Woman with PMDD

I was diagnosed with Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) five years ago. It was right after the birth of my son. I felt off, not like myself, and very irritable. It was hard for me to concentrate and take care of my new baby, and my daughter. I was constantly trying to subdue my inner Joan Crawford. No more plastic baby hangers!

I went to my gynecologist and told him how I was feeling. He prescribed birth control pills and said I had PMDD. I said “yeah, you know me.”

I took the pills, and felt better within days. I have been taking them for 5 years now, but recently they have stopped working and my PMDD has become severe and debilitating. It is the worst thing I have ever been through, and I watched the movie version of The Phantom of The Opera.

I don’t think I would get through it without a little help from my husband, my doctors and of course my friends. (Beatles ear-worm starts NOW!)

I had never heard of PMDD before, and if I tell anyone about it they have no idea what it is either.

Johns Hopkins Medicine describes it as follows:

“an abnormal reaction to normal hormone changes that occur with each menstrual cycle. The hormone changes can cause a serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is a substance found naturally in the brain and intestines that narrows blood vessels and can affect mood and cause physical symptoms.”

I describe it as follows:

“When Moses begins the cycle of parting my Red Sea, I get cray-cray.”

I can personally tell you how serious and difficult PMDD is. It is like entering the Amityville Horrors door to the pit of Hell- you want to get out, but you are stuck in a suburban type home on Long Island full of tears, fears, and Tears for Fears music.

According to Harvard Health about 15% of PMDD sufferers attempt suicide.

I can personally tell you I now know why they do.

If you know anyone with PMDD, or anyone who you think may be suffering, here is a list of 15 things you can say to help:

  1. I believe you have a real illness called PMDD, and that it is not your fault. Tell me more about it. I will sit with you on the bench of life just like Forrest Gump. I know that life is not always a box of chocolates.
  2. I still love you and will support you for as long as it takes to get the proper treatment. Even if it means decades until you reach menopause. Golden girls here we come!
  3. If you need some space I will give it to you, even if you tell me to f*ck off and go to another galaxy. Just let me know when you would like me to visit/call, I will always want you to live long and prosper.
  4. If you need a friend, I will always be here. I’m not going anywhere, not even when you become Bitchzilla, or your head spins around like Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist.
  5. If you need a ride to the doctor’s office, I will take you in my bitchin’ Camaro. There may even be donuts on my lawn.
  6. If you need someone to pick up your prescribed medication at the pharmacy, just call and say “Hello, it’s Xanax I’m looking for.”
  7. If you need help doing some research or finding a proper specialist, I will help you, I know how overwhelmed you are. The FBI’s got nothin’ on me.
  8. If you have to stay home often, I’ll join you and not feel like I’m missing out on anything, because you are what matters to me and that’s what friends/loved ones do. They show up. They’ll do a Game of Thrones or Godzilla marathon, watch Terms of Endearment, or Star Wars: A New Hope for the 100th time. Whatever suits your mood.
  9. If you have a panic attack, I will hold your hand and comfort you and help you breathe until it’s over. We will find balance together, and Rock the Chakra or the Casbah.
  10. I don’t like to see you suffer and I will do anything I can to help you ease the pain, even sit near you when your dogs are barkin’ like Del Griffith from Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
  11. Just let me know what you need, and I will do my best to help you. You don’t have to become a drifter and walk alone, no matter what Whitesnake says.
  12. You can always count on me. I am not going anywhere. Like Bon Jovi says “I’ll be there for you.” We will live on a prayer…together.
  13. I will not judge you and will always love you no matter what. (Unless you start listening to Justin Bieber or sport a mullet, then the deal’s off.)
  14. I’m so proud of you for your strength and courage. You are doing a great job trying to fight this. I know you will eventually succeed. (Insert Rocky theme song.)
  15. As Ted says, we are Thunder Buddies for life! I will help you through any storm, that’s what spouses/friends do, that’s what I will always do!

This blog marks the first time I have been able to find humor in my current situation. This illness is not humorous though. If you need help please go see your doctor right away. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide please call 911 or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

A helpful closed Facebook support group is PMDD Moms:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/pmddmoms/

I wish all of you that suffer strength, success, peace and much love.

Hang in there, you will eventually be okay, don’t give up!

 

 

Caught in the Jaws of PMDD

Two weeks ago I had to run out of my doctor’s office. I was in the waiting room and was hit by a giant wave of extreme panic, the likes of which I had never felt before. As an anxiety sufferer, I thought I knew what panic was, but boy was I wrong. I couldn’t even say goodbye to my husband and 5 yr. old son. I just kept running. I was completely overwhelmed and out of control. I did not know what was happening to me, I just wanted it to stop. Please let it stop. I ran to our car and my husband and child joined me shortly after. I could barely get out the words, “take me home now!”

I am extremely fortunate that my husband is a psychiatric nurse. He was able to recognize my symptoms of panic, and gave me some of my Xanax as soon as we got home. He held my hand and comforted me the whole time. After five or ten minutes I started gaining some control. The seasick type feeling I was experiencing subsided. I could let go. I was back on the shores of sanity. For now.

I was so lucky to be in the presence of someone with extensive psychiatric knowledge. I was so lucky to be in the presence of a man who was not scared away by this event. He never left my side. He only held me and listened to what I had to say with no judgement. He listened as we tried to figure out what was going on.

I have been suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease for almost three years now, and six other chronic diseases for almost twenty. It is often hard for me to figure out what is wrong with me since I frequently have so many symptoms. It is a constant tidal wave of pain and anguish.

I usually blame my Chronic Lyme Disease for my discomfort, since it is my worst illness which often causes mayhem.

But I have never experienced severe panic attacks before. This was new. This felt different.

I explained to my husband that this felt hormonal and unlike my Lyme Disease symptoms or Herxheimer Reactions. He agreed that it could be my PMDD worsening.

I was diagnosed with Pre Menstrual Dyphoric Disorder  (PMDD) five years ago, right after the birth of my son. I was put on birth control pills, and they helped to keep it at bay for over three years, but are no longer working.

I never suffered from PMS, and had no idea that something like PMDD even existed, or was so awful and debilitating. According to the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, it is a severe form of PMS that affects about 3-8% of women in their reproductive years. It can happen to anyone, but their are a few risk factors including age, family history, and prior anxiety or mood disorders. The symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, panic, lack of control, confusion, trouble sleeping, headache, cramping, nausea, hot flashes, dizziness, heart palpitations, sadness, feeling overwhelmed and social isolation.

Johns Hopkins Medicine describes PMDD as follows:

“an abnormal reaction to normal hormone changes that occur with each menstrual cycle. The hormone changes can cause a serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is a substance found naturally in the brain and intestines that narrows blood vessels and can affect mood and cause physical symptoms.”

I am not myself right now, and I am currently debilitated from it. I was already low-functioning due to my other issues, but now I can barely perform any daily tasks. My family is suffering, and I can’t feel much joy or even leave the house much due to my extreme fear and ongoing symptoms.

I’m caught in the Jaws of PMDD and I struggle to be set free.

I hope and pray that the treatments my doctors prescribed will help very quickly. Some of the suggested treatments are Prozac, different birth control pills such as Yaz, light therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, lifestyle and diet changes, and some herbal remedies. Due to the severity of my PMDD I must try many of these options. I will start Prozac in a few days. I will pray for it to work quickly. If it does not, I may have to try a different birth control pill or pursue other more drastic measures such as Oophorectomy/Hysterectomy .

This is very hard for me to deal with. The feelings of fear, loneliness and despair are all consuming. I want to plan fun trips with my family. I want my kids to enjoy their summer vacation. I want to be a good loving mom again. But until my PMDD is under control, many things are on hold. My life is on hold.

I must bear this burden, I have no choice. I will pray for an end to the panic attacks for they are the worst part of this. They are almost unbearable for me because they are terrifying and temporarily impair me. They make it impossible for me to be fully present and able to handle any emergencies that may arise, such as my son suffering an anaphylactic event due to his food allergies.

I must get this under control. I know that I will eventually, I just don’t know how long it will take.

I had to take some Xanax just to be able to write this story because just thinking about it induces panic. That has never happened to me before. Writing is my escape. It is my joy, my calling and my blessing. It is currently being taken away from me by the great leviathian called Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Like a chum filled ocean my thoughts are cloudy, and I want to escape before the next shark takes the bait. I am uncharacteristically writing this fast so that I can try to out swim the panic. It creeps up on me slowly, it entraps me, it encircles me.

Like a shark looking for its next meal, it sees me struggling on the water. My legs kicking swiftly just to try to keep afloat. My hands swirling around, I must keep treading. I cannot go under.

But when it has me in its grasp, I struggle to breathe, I struggle to speak, I struggle to swallow. I want to run. I want to escape. I want to be anywhere else. I want to be anyone else.

I want to be free.

But my heart keeps pounding, my head keeps aching, my mind keeps racing.

I would give anything to have a simple bad hair day, or a bad hat Harry day, but this is simply intolerable.

I need Chief Brody to destroy the monster inside of me.

I need to become fearless like Quint to be able to keep fighting, but I’m trying not to be swallowed whole by this and suffer his ultimate fate. Like he said in Jaws “You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn.”

I’m trying to wait for my turn to be healed. And I am very frightened.

I may need a bigger boat…..full of hope….

A Letter to My Children on Mother’s Day

I will always treasure every moment
I spent with you dear child
you are my baby and will always be
through many moonlight miles

I hope your days are always filled
with more happiness than you can accrue
and when I am no longer here
the moonbeams will send my love to you

Dear Children,

While you were in my belly I thought a lot about being a perfect mother. I dreamed of you under a starry sky and a bright full moon. I felt like I had been waiting my whole life for you, and I wanted to make sure you were happy. I pictured being Martha Stewart in the kitchen, having a house worthy of Better Homes & Garden magazine, and endless days of laughter, fireflies and fun.

When you arrived I knew the true meaning of love, and wanted to fulfill these goals more than anything.

What I didn’t know then was that I would not accomplish many of these objectives due to Chronic Illness, Lyme Disease and Anxiety. These dreams slowly drifted away as the pain increased, my brain got more foggy, and my strength diminished.

Though I knew that there was no such thing as a perfect mother, I wanted to be as close to perfection as possible. I set the bar very high, and I could never come close to that goal.

You are my little moonbeams, and I prayed to the moon for your forgiveness.

I read you books when I could, played games when I could, and took you to the park when I was able. I walked many moonlight miles with you, I would walk anywhere with you. I cooked you nice meals, and baked awesome allergy friendly treats as often as possible. I watched the sprinkles fall from your fingers, just like I watched the rapid passage of time.

I thought that despite my health issues, life sure is very sweet.

I would destroy the bar I set, and set a new one. This one would focus more on love than longevity, and more on feelings than frequency.

I would learn to enjoy whatever time we had together, and make memories that would last us a lifetime.

I knew that no matter what, I had already accomplished my greatest goal, bringing two incredible children into the world.

You are incredible.

Never forget that.

You show compassion when others are in pain, you hold your little umbrellas up to me to shelter me from the rain. You sit at the buddy bench with those who need a friend, you live your lives with joy and kindness that certainly does transcend. You help plant our garden with seeds of hope, you help me get by, you help me cope. You are as peaceful as little doves, have taught me the meaning of unconditional love. You are more special to me than words can say, and I will love you til’ my dying day.

I am so blessed to have you in my life.

I am sorry for my shortcomings, or for anything you have missed due to my illnesses and anxiety.

But I am not sorry that you failed to miss what the meaning of life is.

Being kind and true to yourself. Being able to put others in need before yourself from time to time. Spending as much time as possible with those you love. Never taking them for granted, never forgetting to tell them how much you care.  Love yourself, others and the environment. Never stop growing your mind, your heart, your soul.

I am so proud of you.

I am so happy that I get to spend Mother’s Day with you.

There is no one else I’d rather be with. There is no one else like you.

Thank you for all of the joy you have given me, and continue to bring to my life. I hope all that joy comes back to you two-fold.

I hope you will always remember what I have taught you.

Always live your life to the fullest.

Always remember how much I love you.

Always remember that that light that shines within you is greater than the light of any moon.

 

 

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Today I’ll Take Care of You: A Letter to My Family

It is a quiet Saturday morning in April. Rain falls softly outside, and the streets are covered with cherry blossom petals. Though all of you are sick with a virus, it is a good day.

Today I am able to take care of you for a change. Today I feel okay. I have the strength to make you some eggs, toast and tea. I’ll bring them to you in bed, and plant a gentle kiss on your forehead.

Today I will make some of my homemade tomato sauce that you love, and its magnificent aroma will fill the air. I will bake those nut-free vanilla cupcakes that you’ve been asking me to make for months. We will play Scrabble for hours since my brain is less foggy. We will cozy up on the couch and watch a great family movie.

I will be the mom/wife that I want to be every single day. The mom/wife that is not too sick to care for you, to cook for you, to be present for you, to explore the world with you. I will cherish this day, and pray for many more like it.

My many chronic conditions include Asthma, Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis, Anxiety and Pre Menstrual Dysmorphic Disorder.

Any one of these conditions are enough to make life difficult to manage and cope with, but together they are often debilitating.

You see me wince with pain, so you help dry my tears. You see me tired and hungry so you bring me food. You see me unable to do chores so you help do them for me. You see me suffer, so you bring me my medicine.

What you don’t realize is that you provide the best medicine in the world. The medicine I need the most.

Love.

You provide it in daily doses of hugs, teaspoons of tenderness, and soothing scripts.

There is no better prescription for happiness. You make the tough days tolerable, the painful days palatable, and the crazy days comforting.

You are there for it all, and help me get through the unavoidable rain. You rarely complain, you just want to help me feel better.

I appreciate every single thing you do for me. I appreciate all of the sacrifices you make. I appreciate your constant companionship.

It is nice to not have to feel so alone in this long journey of chronic illness. In this long journey of life.

It is nice to have all of you by my side. My sweet family. I love you more than words can say.

Today I’ll take care of you.

Today I promise to keep fighting to get better so that we will have many more days together in sickness and in health.

Today it is my turn to provide you with some comfort, warmth and unconditional love.

Rest your weary heads.

Mommy is here.

And I will be here until the last cherry blossom petals wash away.