I truly loved my last blog so much, it pains me to write this one.
I'd rather be a positive Patty than a sick Sally any day of the week, but alas, today Sally is in the house.
As a direct result of radiation treatment for breast cancer I have developed a debilitating pneumonia. Call it radiation pneumenitis, call it whatever you like, it's pretty bad.
Interesting to note that I was able to work through five weeks of a six week radiation treatment course before needing to take off only for the last week because my breast tissue was just too uncomfortable and I was exhausted. However, this pneumonia that has developed only eight months later, has flattened me. I've never been hit by a slower moving train.
Funny, the day before I woke up with a horrific, piercing pain in my left lung, I was in a very good place. I felt as if I were getting my life back. I was looking forward and trying to plan a little trip to Florida to surprise my niece, nephew and Mother whom I haven't seen in several years. I was thinking about planning a birthday celebration. I was thinking of a lot of positive things. Life had other plans, however.
It's been a pretty hard blow. I find myself wallowing in the whys and what's of what is truly going on in this body of mine. I have had it for close to 50 years now and its cells have memory. I'm wondering if it's just a simple side effect of the radiation or something more.
It's always something more, isn't it?
Just when I think I've worked through some hardship, past hurt, or painful memory, something or someone happens and BAM!
I'm pretty sure I can put my finger on the exact trigger of this one.
This pain, this ill, this poison has been around me my whole life. It's the exact opposite of the AGAPE love I wrote about in my last blog. It's so human and flawed that it's potential to destroy is as strong as God's potential to heal. It has the ability to pierce your heart, your skin, your mind, your lung - if you let it, if you see it coming, and especially if you're still holding a grudge.
Am I still holding a grudge and if so, against whom?
Well, truth be told, and the truth is not so easy to tell all the time, I have a very toxic relationship in my life that I have tried and tried and tried to mend, to no avail.
As a matter of fact, my most recent attempt at mending this fence was met with a frantic building up of an ever bigger, more painful fence by the other person. Namely, my father.
We do not see eye to eye on anything. We are the most two different people on the planet and how we can even be related at times seems erroneous. I do not belong to him, I never did. We do not agree to disagree, it's just his way or no way. His memory fails him and his lack of empathy is palpable, but not just to me.
My father is 76 years old now and in failing health. He's lived his life exactly the way he's wanted to, no excuses. I imagine he will do exactly what he wants to with his remaining years, even telling me a few weeks ago as I was trying yet again to reach him, that 'he doesn't miss me' and that 'everyone in the family HATES' me.
At least he finally admitted what I had been feeling my whole life, not about how the family feels because he can only speak for himself. This was about how he felt about me.
What he was referring to was my recent absences, or unwillingness to fly to Florida over the past few years for a few family gatherings. Granted, working through a divorce and cancer, according to him, were not valid excuses, it's something I should have gotten over by now especially because he set the example on how to get over his divorce, I guess. So, the icing on the cake was hate.
That's been a pretty hard thing to process along with a lot of older pains that I have tried to work through, discuss and even forget. This one....not so much.
This one was not hard, it was ridiculously hateful, painful, deliberate, and it's causing me to rethink everything I've ever thought about our relationship. I had always known I was not Daddy's little girl. I have been telling people that for years hoping to hear that every one's Dads are like this, but those closest to me remember things that even I've forgotten and they say things like "well, he was never there for you", and "he's always only been about himself". So, why couldn't I just accept things the way they were? Why couldn't I just settle for less?
Don't get me wrong, we've had some really wonderful times together - as adults mostly, and I won't get into my childhood here and my parents divorce, suffice to say it carved out a hole in my heart that only he could've filled - if he were honest with himself for putting it there in the first place and if he were willing to fill it. It just seems that given half a chance to make me whole, he runs in the other direction into denial, frustration, no patience and then just finger pointing and anger. I have had some real hurts that needed some real validation. That's a lot of hard work to do on both of our parts but it's just not going to work if only one person rolls up their sleeves. I've never been afraid to look at who I am and what I have or haven't done. I have no problem with saying "I'm sorry - mea culpa". Not sure where I get that from, but it's definitely not my Dad.
And you know what? I forgive him, I still pine for him, I still love him. I will not however, allow this toxicity to invade my life any longer. I feel as if for the first time he spoke his truth. He never wanted children I believe. I believe if he did, he wanted sons. I was his last chance for a son in his first marriage and I was a disappointment as a girl who was jokingly called "Mario" for along time partly because I was a tomboy and I'm guessing because I was the son he never had so the "I don't miss you" and "everyone hate you" that's a direct quote from his heart and those closest to him - about me. His flesh and blood. His baby girl.
That's my cross to bear. That's the lesson in forgiveness that God himself has allowed to come directly to me. But why?
Deborah King, Spiritual Author and Healer, whom I met in person, took one look at me and said "boy, he really hurt you, didn't he"? At the time, I wondered if she was referring to the man who molested me when I was twelve right after my parents divorced or if she meant my Dad because she was running her hand over my abdomen, but it was very clear that one molestation for me did not create a lifetime of pain. She meant my Dad. When he left my Mother and my sister, he took my heart with him and he never brought it back. Of course, there are so many details that I'm leaving out and purposely so. I'm not trying to paint it black. I'm just trying to let go once and for all of someone who never held onto me as closely as he should have. I'm trying to let go of the false notion that all families are perfect, all parents are perfect. I'm not capable of romanticizing the past. It wasn't romantic for me. I was suicidal for most of it.
Deborah went on to say that I wasn't ready yet to be a healer. At that time, I had no idea how much more I would have to go through to be ready. I wonder if she thinks I'm ready yet? I don't believe so. It still hurts too badly. I haven't evolved enough as a healer if I'm still allowing anyone to disappoint me with their words, their deeds, or lack thereof. I feel shortchanged on one hand and so very blessed on the other. I feel so completely broken and felt so completely determined to fix it that every single time I tried to fix things - it just got worse and worse and now I'm here.
So what have I learned?
To start with, it is so important to speak YOUR truth. It will make some people crazy, especially if their perception is not exactly in line with yours, as I'm sure is the case with my Dad. I'm not so vain as to even think anyone is reading this blog, let alone my parent, but if he did see it because someone shares it with him, it will probably create more disturbance but if you read my past blogs - and I've blogged for many years - this topic was never touched. I stayed clear of it. I didn't want to speak my truth especially when everyone close to me has moved on and expected me to do so also. I don't really care anymore. I cannot walk around with this bottled up in me creating dis-ease any longer. I tried my best to make a really bad situation better but you know what?
Sometimes it just is what it is and you either accept it, forgive and move on - or you live a life of unmet expectations, disappointments and hurts and you know what that gets you? Cancer. Pneumonia. Ill.
Speaking your truth does not mean hurting the people around you. It does not mean hurt others to make yourself feel better. It just means tell your TRUE story. I wish I could tell my story and leave others out of it, but it wouldn't be much of a story would it? It would just be me blabbering. No. I have a story to tell. I have a biography, a life, a journey that has a beginning and a middle, so far. I am planning a wonderful ending, I can tell you that much, if God lets me live long enough.
I have only always wanted to help people since I was young girl. I remember telling my Dad that and he sarcastically said "then go to Africa and feed the starving children". Not a note of sincerity in that, he mocked me and you know what? It didn't change that part of who I am, not one bit.
There are 17 million hungry children in this country right now, hungry for love, food, attention. When I am well, I am going to be reaching out to the organizations that feed them and I'm getting involved. I pray that God would satisfy these children and allow me to feed some. I pray that God would heal the world and allow me to heal some. I'm not interested in hurting anyone for any reason. I want my story to be all about helping others, not about helping myself. I want my strength to help others. I want my life to be a testimony of helping others.
Mother Teresa I am not, but I sure do look up to her and aspire to be half as good as the heart God gave her.
When I speak my truth, I pray that I am 'not bitter but better' as LL Cool J says. I pray that my heart is full of forgiveness and that any hurt from my past is brought into the light and changed into a learning lesson to help others. No, I did not survive the Holocaust. No, I was not abused by my Dad. I believe he loved me as best he could, or chose to, but a survivor I am.
Like a phoeix rising, I will over come, from this life into the next taking all my battle scars proudly with me. I am triumphant because of who is in me and for no other reason. I will show you how great I am because of how great He is.
Now maybe you know why I cling to God so much. Simple right?