Category Archives: Grief

What my life is made up of ….

wisteria 6

 


I seemed to spend my time dodging from work to family and to friends, as well as endeavoring to keep my health intact. If I missed a day’s work, I knew that I could make up that lost time. But, family and friends are made of glass and if I dropped one of them, our relationship would be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, marked or even shattered. It could never be the same again. Health? I knew I had to live at a slower pace, but could I? I am not sure.

So, what I’d been doing was striving for balance in my life. But, how could I achieve that? I tried not to compare myself to others because I thought it was the very difference in each of us that made us special.

I learned not to set my goals by what other people deemed important. After all, I was the only person who knew what was best for me.

I learned not to take anything for granted, especially appertaining to near and dear ones. I handled them with kid gloves as my life would be meaningless without them all.

I had learned how destructive it was to live in the past or in the future. By living life one day at a time, I hoped to enjoy all the days of my life.

Knowledge is weightless, a treasure that I could carry easily, so I was no longer afraid to learn.

While I still had something to give, I wasn’t about to give up. Nothing was really over until the moment I stopped trying.

For a very long time, I shut love out of my life, not wanting to expose myself to hurt again. Now, I no longer do so. Once again I have learned a lot along the way. The quickest way to receive love, it to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold onto it too tightly;  and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

I very often admit how less than perfect I am and maybe it is this fragile thread that binds people together.

I’m trying not to run too fast lest I forget not only where I’ve been, but where I’m going.

I am no longer afraid to take risks. By taking chances, I’ve learnt how to be brave.

I’ll always be aware of the fact that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

I now endeavor to use time and words more carefully as neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, rather, a journey to be savored each step of the way. But, I still have a lot to learn, and one day at a time, I hope to enjoy all the days of my life.

Knowledge is weightless, a treasure that I can easily carry, so I’m no longer afraid to learn.

While I still have something to give, I won’t give up. Nothing is really over until the moment I stop trying.

I very often admit how less than perfect I am. It is this fragile thread that binds people together.

I’m trying not to run so fast that I might forget not only where I’ve been, but where I’m going.

I am no longer afraid to encounter risks. By taking chances, I’ve learnt how to be brave.

I’ll always be aware of the fact that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

I now endeavor to use time and words carefully as neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, rather, a journey to be savored each step of the way.

 

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‘Making Lemonade Out of This Shit’ Grandma Jill

1 lemonade out of this shitI decided to post this as it was heartwarming to find it on the Internet.

Grandma Jill,

MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF THIS SHIT

Grandma Jill

Thank you to my kind (virtual) friend and inspiration, Grandma Jill.  I started to read Jill’s blog during the depths of depression.  She blogs about mental illness, and her entries on schizophrenia started to resonate with me when I started having concerns about my brother.  After his suicide this past August, I reached out to Jill as a resource.  She has been an endless source of inspiration and knowledge.  “David’s Story” is a remarkable, yet heartbreaking, tribute to her late-son David.  She details her family’s journey as well as her frustrations — although she is not alone — with the mental health system.   She tragically lost her son to suicide just as we lost my brother last August.  I read most of  ‘David’s Story’ within days, but I must admit that I delayed reading the last few chapters for months.  I couldn’t bring myself to deal with the reality of suicide given the rawness of my brother’s death.  As I came close to the end of a train ride, I finally mustered up the courage to finish Jill’s book.  I spent the last hour sobbing — uncontrollably.  Her book hit at my core.  Jill’s persistence was and remains enviable.  Her courage is admirable.  Her compassion is incomparable.   If you have a chance, please read “David’s Story.”

“A person diagnosed with a mental illness is usually the very last one to speak out about it due to the stigma. Mental illness is far more common than diabetes, heart disease or cancer. It is NOT a character flaw. It doesn’t help to tell someone: get over it. But it does help to show compassion as they are struggling. Try and find ways to give support. Maybe it’s time to deal with it openly with the emphasis on kindness and acceptance.” — Jill Sadowsky.

Visit her blog (https://jillsmentalhealthresources.wordpress.com) or read “David’s Story.”

Reviews on “David’s Story

“Jill Sadowsky bravely and generously shares her experiences with her son’s schizophrenia. While her story is harrowing, her strength is inspiring. She has led the way to removing the stigma associated with mental illness. Despite the heart-ache I felt, I could not put it down. Well written and without a whisper of self-pity.”

My sincerest thank you for sharing your family’s story with us. Your book is a wonderful tribute to your late son, David. By having the courage to share this story, you ensure that the dialogue around mental illness will continue, which ultimately will lead to greater understanding and compassion. After reading through your blog, I purchased David’s Story trying to find some solace. Less than five months ago, my 24-year-old brother, Ben, died by suicide. Although he was never officially diagnosed, there were many similarities between Ben and David. I shared the book with my family with the hope that they too would find some solace. It has helped us all with the healing process and has made us feel a little less alone on this journey. Thank you again for your courage. You are a remarkable and strong woman.” My deepest gratitude, Holly Neiweem (http://bennyfund.org)

“Sadowsky has written a wrenching memoir of her son’s mental illness, which was eventually diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. The book is not as dark as I expected; there are many moments of joy and humor and family togetherness. But Sadowsky’s fear and worry for her son come through, as well as at times fear of him, what he might do in the grip of a delusion. I appreciate her honesty and openness. Through all the fear and anger and frustration, what is most apparent is the love, not just for this difficult and damaged boy, but between all members of the family.”

“I didn’t know what to say or do — How many of us have been caught up in a guilt-ridden conscience battle when considering contacting people whom we know are dealing with specific problems. Somehow it is easy when there is a physical situation that can be referred to in terms that we all know and understand. BUT it is the OTHER situations that cause us the most difficult of decision making. But beyond the decision there is the feeling of “not knowing what to say or do.” Many life situations have rituals that give us security to deal with a specific event – religious traditions are most helpful and are guidelines as to what is expected and we can lean on these rules to guide and give confidence as to what is to be done. But then there are the matters as “mental health” that is not so clear-cut or so obvious and do not have the ground rules to follow. We are lost, we feel guilty that we do not know what should be said or even if something should be done.  That is why “David’s Story” is going to be a bible to many who have watched from the sidelines not knowing if they should or how to get involved. So many social taboos are associated with mental illness that no guidelines are there or modes of behavior or social etiquettes to deal with these situations. There are many such cases where society has not given us the tools to cope, not only as the actual participants directly affected but also those of us who are on the periphery and who would want to help but are at a loss as to what is expected or what will not be offensive.  At last an open book, a true exposure by those most affected, is going to offer key codes of reaction that will be treasured guides to those many, many people who just were at a loss as to what they could do.
Jill Sadowsky not only has opened her heart and soul to relate such painful aspects of her life but she has opened the world of mental health to the better understanding by all of us, giving us vital information that can guide so many, to be able to reach to those in need of support – hopefully we shall know what is needed.  From a friend who was lost – I thank her for her courage to help us know better what to do whenever it is necessary.”

 

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‘Grandma, what happened to Papa’s brain?’

BRAIN image with Alzheimer'sI had a problem explaining Alzheimer’s disease to our young grandchildren. After agonizing about how to go about this, I sat them down, and came up with the following:

Your papa has an illness called Alzheimer’s disease that makes him act the way he does. It’s like having a broken bone, but with Papa, a little piece of his brain is broken and doesn’t work the way it should. Because of this, he can’t remember what you told him yesterday. Because of this, he forgets how to use the television remote. Because of this, he falls asleep sometimes when you are telling him something important. Because of this, he forgets things as well as people’s names. BUT, the part of papa’s brain that is for loving, is still working well, and I know that he loves you all very much.

I have reblogged this as I received so many requests to do so. Whenever I read it, I get tears in my eyes when I remember the looks on the children’s faces during the above explanation.