Friday, September 29, 2017

Trying to Get My Heart to Beat Again

All I could do was cry out to God asking him why he had to take such an amazing person away from me. Clichés of, "He only takes the best," doesn't explain why some murderers, rapists & terrorists die too. It just kinda makes it feel worse. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being tested like Job was in the Bible. First you take away my dad, and now my mom, leaving me with some financial issues that need to be resolved. All of these "tests" -- or are they tests? Most Christians say, "Well, God would never test you." Sure He would. Satan tried to test Job by taking his family and his wealth. He was ok. The one thing that almost got him was when he took away his health. And even then, Job still remained faithful. Is it for me to stay in faith? I mean, ever since mom died, my faith has been stronger than ever. You would think I would lose all faith. But now that He sees how strong I am, or "could be" -- then maybe He's gonna do something worse? I still have questions, like WHY -- but I'm sure there is good reason for that.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. --Romans 5:3-5

If God is trying to strengthen me, then that only makes me think what else is brewing down the road for me? I'm finding that once I stop doing "this sin." then another one pops right back up. It starts with a thought first. Isn't that how it always works though? I first start stewing about something, and then it's whether or not I react to those thoughts. That's why even mere thoughts could be sinful. I have been overanalyzing many things since my mom's death, trying to figure out if she would've been here longer if I had done something differently. But realistically, no one could have helped her live longer. 

Tomorrow will mark my mother's third month in heaven. This is a woman I have spoken to every single day of my life. There was never a day we went without speaking, especially at the end when we lived together. I mean, to have someone there every single day of your life for you to only come to a screeching halt -- it can definitely put you in one of the most darkest times you've ever been in. Suddenly, everything goes out the window: your healthy habits, your need to socialize, your sleep, and of course, your mind. We never discussed anything about her dying. She wanted to live so badly. There was no "when I'm gone" talk -- nothing of that nature. She never even told me she was stage 4 cancer. Many things were hidden from me, but I saw she was dying. Every single day I saw her die a little more each time. 

One night, I had made one of her favorite meals. She sat at the table, and I could see the pain in her face. She started rocking a bit -- she always rocked when she was in pain. I asked, "Ma, did you take a pain pill?" She shook her head no, because she wanted to be alert and not fall asleep. But I never faulted her for being tired, understanding the nature of the disease. I just wanted her to eat a little something before she rested again. As I saw the pain intensify, I finally said, "Ma, it's okay -- you can go inside and lay down. I'll save your food for you, okay?" She shot me a look and yelled out, "NO! I'm staying here! I'm enjoying this so much and I hate that it's starting in again!" She dug her fork in her food and continued eating, until she couldn't anymore. I wanted to cry and scream in the other room -- I was so sad for her! I just sat there with a huge lump in my throat, secretly praying to God to take away her pain. But He didn't for some reason. He didn't. In the Bible it speaks about sharing in the suffering of Christ. It explains why good people suffer. I can see why atheists always argue this part about Christianity. It's hard to absorb all of that when you're suffering or seeing somebody else suffering who's a good person. Like, why? But the reward isn't here. 

"She's in a better place now." 
"Time heals all wounds." 
"She's not in pain anymore." 

True. True. True. All true.

But what's left behind is me lying in bed hoping morning won't come too soon. I dread the mornings. I pray to God to have made this entire thing one big nightmare, and then I can wake up and see my mom's face again...but without the cancer. We'll be moving by the spring or before the summer time. I hear a lot of, "Change will be good and healthy for you. Start a new beginning..." And I know that what they're saying is once again true, but my mom was supposed to go with us. We spoke about getting a townhouse or a smaller house somewhere and she loved that idea. She just couldn't muster up all that energy to do those things at this time. We chucked it up to, "When you get better." Even next week, we're off to the shore again and it's going to be extremely hard not seeing my mom's face in my rearview mirror playing with my dog in the backseat and not having her there to enjoy the ocean. She loved the ocean so much. She always turned into a different person when she was at the shore. She wasn't stressed anymore. She felt calm, relaxed and didn't seem to overthink things. Her worries were gone....temporarily. And on her last trip to the shore, even though she was reminded that the pain was there to greet her every single day, watching the ocean made it somewhat tolerable, until her pain meds kicked in and she was fast asleep. 

Some friends and family ask, "Well, how's Deb doing?" To appease them, Mad kind of gives them the, "Well, as good as she can get... Some days bad and some days good." 

To be honest, I'm doing horrible.

Some days I force myself to get up, do the shopping, clean the house, cook for Madelene or whichever family member is here to visit and still manage to do my work in between. Sometimes, I have to finish work late at night so I can get a head start in the morning. I pray to God every single day for 2-3 hours at a time. Sometimes I just sit there in silence, listening to His guidance or just feeling His presence. It always makes me feel better. Then there are days where my emotional pain affects every fiber of my being. I can't move, my back is killing me and every bone feels like it's on fire. Then magically, it disappears when I'm emotionally feeling 'ok.' 

Someone recently remarked about my cooking broadcast the other day. I do cooking and talk broadcasts, mostly about managing anxiety. She said, "You look like you're doing great!" But that's me on a public broadcast speaking to hundreds of people. I'm always honest and upfront about my struggles with anxiety, and then there's the part of me who loves to cook, put on my favorite Italian music and dance while the sauce is brewing. I have many facets of my personality that can baffle people. I'm not "faking" the joyful side of me, because the joyful side is screaming to come out, and sometimes comes out successfully. But there are days when it's just too heavy for me to even muster up pushing the "go live" button. Maybe I should do a broadcast in the state I'm in right now to show others what it's like to have a down day while grieving, but I don't like to depress people. It's kind of like Robin Williams -- where he just wanted you to laugh, all the while suffering emotional torture himself. (He was an extreme example, I am not suicidal) but you get my drift. Sometimes all you have to do to feel just a little better is to smile. The contagious effect of smiling or laughing can turn into a genuine case of happiness. THIS I believe with all my heart. That's why I think it's so important to surround yourself with those who are on the more positive-happy-funny side. Not everyone is going to be happy and funny 24/7, but at least those who have that side of them. 

So please bear with me as I'm going into another phase of my grieving process. I may seem to isolate myself, or not doing everyday normal things because my anxiety increased. I developed a little case of agoraphobia again, to which I'm fighting back. I do admit, I order groceries online and they deliver right to my doorstep (which is so so awesome by the way), but I will get my feet back into that supermarket again. For now, I go to small butchers and Korean farm markets to get my fresh goods because it's smaller and less crowded. I avoid big stores like, Walmart and other huge grocery chains. Sometimes, I even avoid parties that I'm invited to, especially if I have to drive more than 30 minutes outside of my comfort zone. I was doing great before Mom died, and now it seems to have come back. I know the steps to take with cognitive behavioral techniques and doing a little better. But if I decline one of your togethers or perhaps you don't see me as much as you used to, please know that I'm struggling really hard to live a "normal" life again. You can just call me and say, "Hey Deb, need a visitor?" And most likely, I would welcome that with all my heart. 

For now, I'm going to tell my heart to beat again.

Listen to Danny tell the story about the lady who was getting heart surgery, and how the surgeon did something unconventional to get her heart back to beating again. The song is just amazing.


For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!