Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Fear, Happiness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Make a Difference, Misconceptions, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Understanding

You Don’t Always Have to Be Strong

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lately.  It’s really heartbreaking for their families, and leaves so many unanswered questions, but it seems that only when something like this happens do we really understand how much pain (emotional or physical) someone may have.  Of course, it’s too late to help them at that point, but how do we help someone who is hiding their pain from those they love? How do we know?  Some people love playing “the victim,” and love getting the attention that goes along with that.  Others of us, however, don’t want to be a burden on those we love.

My daughter had a friend who committed suicide a few years ago.  They were very close in high school, and then this friend ended up pushing away my daughter, along with a lot of other people who had been her friends.  Of course, it makes sense why she pushed everyone away now, but at the time, how could anyone know that she was hurting so much?  She pushed people away with meanness and made them not want to be with her.  I guess in her way, she was trying to protect them from the pain she knew she may eventually put them through.  Even when it happened, my daughter was not mad at her.  She hurt for her.  She still loved her.  She understood then that her friend had needed help, and didn’t know how to ask for it.

We all need help from time to time.

Last summer, I found myself in a dark place.  I was not suicidal, but I was sad.  I was afraid.  I was hurting.  And I was feeling a lot of pressure from so many different places.  I had been diagnosed with a medical condition that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I was alone when I got this diagnosis because my husband was in New York with his family.  I had recently been terribly hurt by some people I really cared about. I had no idea how I was going to handle another year of teaching with this type of medical diagnosis.  I was bogged down with some very difficult, important paperwork that was pushing me to my limit.  I was overwhelmed, alone, confused, sad, and hurting a lot.  I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to disappear for awhile.  I laid down on the kitchen floor, and cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And finally a calmness came over me, and I got up and finished my paperwork that had been frustrating me so much.  I was still upset and alone, mad and frustrated, but I knew I had to pull myself together to keep going.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me, or how anyone was trying to hurt me.  I had to keep at the paperwork, no matter how confusing and difficult it was.  Al would be home in a few days and we could begin exploring our medical options, and he would be home to comfort me.  It would all be okay.  I was entitled to a meltdown for all I was dealing with.  But I had to get up and face these obstacles.  I had to be strong for my husband and my children.  I couldn’t disappear.

Al and I had a discussion earlier tonight about how when either of us is hurting or sick, we try not to let the other one see how much we’re suffering.  We try to protect each other, even through our own pain.  I didn’t tell Al about my major meltdown last summer until recently.  I didn’t want to worry him, or put any added stress on him.  He worries enough about me….why cause him to worry more?  Why cause him added pain?  When he is sick, he tries to conceal how bad he feels so I won’t worry.  It hurts to see your partner hurt.  We are strong for each other, but we also know that sometimes we can’t handle everything alone, whether it’s a physical illness or a giant weight on our shoulders.  We need help from each other.  We don’t have to do it alone, and it has taken me awhile to learn this.  It isn’t something I’ve been used to.

Those people who are in so much pain that they take their own lives, aren’t trying to hurt anyone else.  So many times they have been protecting their loved ones for so long it becomes too heavy of a burden to carry.  They’ve had to be strong for everyone while they hurt.  They’re really quite selfless, even though some will argue just the opposite.  They’re funny, compassionate, and caring, but they have hidden their own feelings in order to protect those they love.  We know to take care of those who ask for help.  But let’s take care of those who seem strong too.  Let’s be there for the ones who always seem to be there for everyone else.  Let’s be there for the ones who start isolating themselves, even if they don’t want us.  Let’s be there for the ones who make us laugh when we want to cry.  Let’s be there for the ones who say, “I’m fine.”  They may be the ones who are suffering the most, and don’t know how to ask for help.  We are all human, and every human needs help at some point in their lives.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Advertisements
Anger, Be Kind, Being Strong, Bill Cosby, Coping, Egos, Insensitivity, Laughter, Make a Difference, Racism, Respect, Respecting our Educators, sexual assault, Speak Up!, Uncategorized

Bill Cosby’s Sad Legacy

Bill Cosby……Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids……The Huxtables…….the Jello pudding guy…….I Spy……..the Little Bill books……so much a part of my childhood, as well as my children’s.  I’m not here to argue his guilt or innocence….the verdict has been handed down.  It is what it is.  And it’s incredibly sad…..

I remember being upset and disappointed in the downfall of O.J. Simpson.  He had been such a charismatic personality, and the events playing out on television each day became part of our lives.  It was sad, but O.J. had not had the same positive impact on lives as Bill Cosby has.  Bill Cosby depicted African Americans and their families in ways that were positive, and lifted them up, during times when a lot of America was only portraying the negative, perpetuating ethnic stereotypes.  He helped them believe that everyone can make something of themselves with an education and hard work. He contributed to charitable causes such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.  He was a supporter of educators and literacy projects (his son was dyslexic).  The Little Bill books that my son had taught life lessons to early readers in a sweet storybook.  He and his wife have created scholarships for hundreds (maybe thousands) of recipients. And he made ALL of us laugh.  You can’t deny it.  He was funny…..especially when it came to his skits with children.  He brought a lot of good to the world, and yet behind closed doors, had a completely different personality.  All of those good things he did will now be tainted or scarred because of his conviction for sexual assault.  I can’t watch the news because it makes me so sad.  Of course, he wasn’t who we thought he was (what television personality is?), but he was doing a lot of good things…..and unfortunately, bad things.

I have heard a story that Cosby wanted to buy NBC, and there were people who didn’t like this because of his color.  They knew he had these allegations against him by different women, so they used it to bring him down, in order to keep him from buying the network….”we’ll show him!”  Now….this could be an excuse.  It could be his team playing a bit of the race card.  Or, it very well could be true. Whether or not you want to admit it, racism is alive and well!  I’ve seen it more than I want to admit.  There are an awful lot of powerful white men who have been accused of the same type of behavior, and are not facing jail time.  Sure, they may have lost their million dollar jobs and their status in their field, but they’re not facing charges in court……yet.  To be honest with you, I don’t believe every woman who makes these accusations.  I do think that a lot of them are out for their 15 minutes of fame, money, or to ruin a man’s career and/or life.  But each one should be heard until a decision/verdict is made.  The deserve to be heard.  We can’t ignore them.

Bill Cosby should pay for his actions, as anyone should who commits the same type of acts.  But what about the good things he did?  Do they just get erased?  Are the scholarships now gone?  One of my students was looking at a “Little Bill” book the other day.  Does Bill Cosby’s conviction mean that the lessons in these wonderful books are no longer relevant and helpful?  I know I also learned a lot of lessons from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids every Saturday morning.  And what about the Huxtables…….you know there were a lot of other people involved in the making of that show.  There were other actors, writers, producers, directors, stage hands, etc.  By pulling the show off of television, those other actors also lose their royalties, and they did nothing wrong.  Many of them were children! How about keeping the show on the air (it has been syndicated for many years), and ordering Bill Cosby to give 100% of his royalty shares to programs that help victims of sexual assault? If you don’t want to watch it, then don’t, but at least he would be forced to make amends in some way, and the rest of the cast can receive the money they deserve.

The man obviously has a dark side, but he also had so much to give.  It’s incredibly sad that all of the good he did will now be forgotten.  Yes, his accusers did the right thing.  I fully support them.  But let’s not erase the good things.  In fact, let’s continue some of those good things.  Let’s contribute to charities, literacy programs, help children learn valuable lessons, look past color and stereotypes, and always, always, ALWAYS have a sense of humor.

Now let’s move forward, respecting each other, hearing each other, helping each other, and….making each other laugh.

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Courage, Don't Judge, Happiness, Kindness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Life Happens.....Make the Best Of It!, Love, Loyalty, Make a Difference, Married to My Best Friend, Passion for Living, Relationships, Thankfulness, The House By the Side of the Road, Uncategorized, Understanding, Unexpected Life Events

How Will You Be Remembered?

How do you want to be remembered?  I think if everyone asked themselves this question, the world may be a better place.  How do we want our loved ones, friends, and acquaintances to remember us? I’ve had a lot of time to think about this the last couple of years.  In 2016, I was facing a potentially fatal health situation with a mass in my abdomen on two major organs.  I wasn’t afraid of dying, but I was afraid of what it would do to my husband and children.  I felt guilty about the potential pain and loss they would feel.  I didn’t feel like I had had enough time with them.  I even took my youngest daughter to Disney World because I wanted her to have happy memories of me, since she is still so young.  Fortunately, that health scare all turned out to be benign, and I made a full recovery (I think!).  Now I’m facing another serious health situation that has me questioning not only my mortality, but also thinking about how I want to be remembered.  As I struggle with the migraines, seizures, balance problems, tinnitus, vertigo, and pressure in my head, I am constantly trying to stay positive, grateful, and keep my sense of humor!  With the real possibilities of hearing loss and facial paralysis, and even death, staying positive can be a challenge!  I lean on my husband a lot, but I know it hurts him to see me hurting and struggling.  I’m just lucky I have him to help me through this process.  I may live another 30, or even 40 years, but I may not.  Any one of us could be gone tomorrow because of things we cannot control.  So even though being sick has made me think about these things more often, everyone should think about this…..see if it changes your attitudes or behavior toward anyone, or about how differently we could be conducting ourselves.

My parents and grandparents were wonderful people.  I don’t know of anyone who remembers them differently.  They may be remembered for their humor, their bravery, their honesty, compassion, and kindness, but most of all, they will be remembered for being good people.  My grandmother had a poem hanging next to her front door written by Samuel Walter Foss.  It was called, “The House By the Side of the Road.”                          It read:

“Let me live in a house by the side of the road, where the race of men go by. The                  men who are good and the men who are bad, as good and bad as I.  I would not sit              in the scorner’s seat, nor hurl the cynic’s ban. Let me live in the house by the side                of the road and be a friend to man.”

On the back of the poem was inscribed, “To Daisy…who lives in the house by the side of the road.” Obviously, my grandmother was thought of, and now remembered, as someone who was a friend to all, no matter how good or bad.  Years later, I told my former sister in-law about that poem, and she presented me with one very similar to the one my grandmother had for my birthday.  I have it hanging next to my front door, as Grannie did, and it reminds me every day to try not to be scornful or pass judgement on someone in need.  It reminds me to be patient, helpful, generous, compassionate, and kind because my grandmother was all of those things and more!  Having people in my life who have been so influential as far as their character and morals has been a blessing!  Not everyone has good role models, and I have been blessed with so many! I have also been blessed with a good sense of humor, which helps me get through a lot of difficult situations!

For a very long time in my life, I was unhappy, and stressed out with a lot of responsibility.  It was hard to stay positive sometimes!  I hope that if people remember me during this time period, they will at least remember my strength and perseverance.  I made it through some really difficult situations! We will all have difficult times in life, and hopefully, we are better people after getting through all of it.

I hope to be remembered as someone who is a good wife, mother, and grandmother, compassionate, helpful, protective, funny, kind, considerate, loving, sincere, welcoming, accepting, strong, stubborn (not always a bad thing, is it?), generous, and loyal.  Are there other ways I will be remembered?  Short? Silly? Sarcastic? Dog lover? Hard worker? Good teacher?

Like I said earlier, I think if we all thought about our own mortality, and how we want to be remembered, we may make more of an effort to be good people.  Who wants to be remembered as mean, petty, selfish, angry, resentful, controlling, manipulative, racist, or hateful? We never know how much time we have left.  We will not all live to be elderly.  If you see any of these negative qualities in yourself, it isn’t too late to change. I want to be remembered as the one who lives in “the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.”