Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Be Okay"

Every morning my mom will call me and let me know what's on her agenda or if she needs me to take her somewhere. Our conversation then went into cooking of course. She said, "I want to make sausage and peppers, but..."  And I knew what that "but" was. Dad used to chop all her vegetables because her arthritis leaves her in pain even after slicing one pepper. "Mom, lemme chop the veggies and we can cook stuff together." She was very happy and reminded me how Dad used to do all of the prep work for her and I then heard her voice lower almost into a whisper. She has a hard time in supermarkets because although she hates any sort of fruits, she bought them for Dad. He loved every type of fruit out there. As she walked into the produce aisle, she felt herself starting to lose it. She then went over to buy tilapia, the kind my Dad loves. She lost it. It's extremely difficult to shop for her - it's an emotional torture event that she's trying to overcome and "be okay" with.

As our morning conversation went on, she knew what I was doing: sitting out on my deck getting some sun (and praying)...and yes, crying a bit. I do this before I start my day. Pray, meditate, relax and just 'be'. I was telling my mom about the night I had. I was up awake trying to deal with my intense anxiety attacks that left me nauseous in the bathroom half the night. She then told me she was up all night herself. I suggested she call me to come down if she is ever up and can't go to sleep. "I'll come down and watch a movie with you and we'll tire ourselves out." But she said she didn't want to 'bother' me. Not a bother. Before my mom got off the phone with me, she said, "Be okay....ok?" I just gave her a "Yeah ma... I'm okay. You be okay too, ok?"  A little giggle followed after and we both kind of felt better afterwards. We knew what we were talking about.

I had written a post a while back called, "Don't Cry". It dealt with my mom always begging me to not cry if something would happen - anything.  An excerpt from that post reads: "During my childhood years way into adulthood, I heard my mom say many of times, 'Oh don’t cry mama - don’t cry, please!' She wasn’t saying that crying was bad for me, but she just wanted me to be this happy-go-lucky type of person that wore a smile on my face 24/7. I was never taught that crying was a healthy outlet for me. I didn’t know how to deal with certain things in life. When my first boyfriend had broken it off with me, I didn’t know what to do other than sit inside my room and secretly sob, where nobody could hear me. It would upset my mom if she saw me crying. I remember when I found years ago that a girl that I had been seeing was dating other people besides myself and dealing drugs on the side as well. I had to end it. The pain I felt was so intense. I cried so hard that evening - it must have been 2am and my mom heard me. She walked inside my room and asked, 'Whassamadda?' To her, someone must have died, but it was only my heart. She didn’t say one word other than bring me out to the living room and made me hot tea with honey. She just sat there and said absolutely nothing. She just watched me sob and drink my tea. That was all I really needed from her at the time. She then went into the kitchen and sliced a potato. She placed two round little potato slices on each of my eyelids. It took the swelling away. My eyes had become little slits from crying so much. The salt blew my lids up like balloons. I’ll never forget that night." ----You can read more here

Whether she thought crying was a sign of weakness, or she was taught that sort of mindset, I truly believe that crying is a good outlet so it doesn't manifest itself into other health problems. At times, with certain people in our lives, it's hard to not show our sadness. They can just tell. Part of me feels guilty for being sad - like 'who am I to be upset over this since Mom's been with Dad for over 50 years' type of thing. As I try to dive into work and create more work for myself, I'm still left with me at the end of the day. And then that's when my anxiety attacks begin, right when I'm about to settle down for the evening. For the first time in my life, I asked my doctor if I could take an anti-anxiety pill - (antidepressant) which I'm highly against, because it's debilitating me to the point of madness. I was informed that due to the Prilosec that I need to heal my ulcer, I can't be on any anti-anxiety meds at all or I can risk a heart attack. The interaction between Prilosec and a medication like Celexa can be fatal. So, yeah -- there's my dilemma. But through my faith, I know that if God brought me to it, He'll get me through it and if all else fails, just "be me", which is the same as "being okay" in my eyes. 

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Susan said...

I agree with your point on crying. Some people can't do it. Some people cry, but it isn't a healing cry. And with grief, some people do nothing but cry--if the wound is deep, the tears may need years to do their healing.

Anxiety is something that I am really trying to tackle using the observation of my thoughts. I also think anxiety is the new epidemic.

Deb said...

I always felt that if I cried too much, I would get some kind of heart attack or something because of the extreme emotion. Silly, right? But yeah, more and more people are suffering with anxiety disorder much more than ever before. I've noticed that myself. Kind of makes me feel less cWaZy...

The Elephant's Child said...

When I was diagnosed with MS, my partner wept while he was telling his parents. Which seemed only right and proper on so many levels to me. His father however took it very badly. Crying is a sign of weakness!
Well no, sometimes it is the only way to let the toxins escape.
I am feeling for you and your family at this terribly difficult time. And I love the warmth expressed and received in 'be OK ...ok?'

Myriam said...

sometimes someones writing touches me. I like that. that is the kind of writing I like. This one did it.
Sadness makes those who care for us try like mad to stop it, but we need to go through it. A big loss deserves some tears. Let them flow.
I can't imagine what it's like to wake up and not have someone we spent 50 years with next to us. I'd be lost.
I want to end by saying that you must have looked really cute with those potatoes in your eyes and how come your mom gave you tea and not some Absolute?

Deb said...

TEC, first I'm so sorry that you have MS. It does bring me back when I found out when my dad was diagnosed. I mourned THEN. I had hope, but boy did I mourn the doctor's "words". Sometimes I think well, if I cry it'll make me feel depressed all day, but it actually sets me up for a better mood if that makes sense at all.

Myriam, potato medallions on my eyes was not the sexiest highlight of my life... (not sure if I even have a "highlight)--- but thank you! lol My mom said to me this morning while getting ready to head off to my niece's birthday, "This is the first time Dad's not going to Sophia's birthday party." Then she let out some tears. So there are going to be those 'dates' and reminders of when Dad was present, which kinda sucks. We're like setting ourselves up for "date torture" if you know what I mean.

The Elephant's Child said...

There will be far too many dates which act as trigger points, at least for a while. Which is a sign of how much he was appreciated. Which doesn't help your loss at all, but does justify it in some way if that makes sense. Sending bucketloads of empathy.