Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Old me...I'm comin for ya!

It's been 5 years this July since Dad's been gone.
I like to remember the no anxiety me before. More and more as of late. 5 years is a long time. My kids weren't teenagers or adults heading off to college.
The old me rocked! The one who when my 8 year old son Adam was hit in the head with a baseball coming in at 85 mph, calmly stroked his head while the medic ran full on at us. I think I was the steadiest person in that stadium suite with him crying and his sister crying. I left a message for my husband to meet us at the ER to to get a MRI and I was calm as a stone. Then there was the time my son was 4 and slipped on the bathtub edge and broke his collarbone and screamed so loud so long I think folks in neighboring state could hear it! As we waited in the waiting room of the ER, I put my calm into my son with energy healing and slow breathing and he actually conked out and napped hard on my shoulder leaving a sweat spot! The Dr. came in confused and then convinced that it couldn't possibly be a broken collarbone if he was sleeping. X ray showed it was indeed broken. The real me was the one who always joked with my Dad before his heart surgeries over the years rather than fret over it. That me also usually encouraged the kids to "Jump!" or "Climb it!" Usually. I've always hated trampolines and that one was always a solid steady no.
Thinking back tonight I marveled that I was the one who calmed my Mom when Dad was trying to be revived. Me! He had been moved out of ICU and aside from having difficulty sleeping seemed to be doing well and in good spirits. Mom caught me the morning of before anyone else. A phone call interrupted a voice work session I was in with the message to come quick to the hospital, Dad isn't doing well. My mind raced a little on my way over "not doing well how?" I wondered pretty calmly and prayed. I got to his room and it was full code blue with flight staff and nurses jumping him. I felt the room spin and couldn't find Mom. I left the room so I wouldn't faint and found her in family room alone and spent next half hour or so consoling her while a nurse updated us and then other family arrived. I was a bit frantic in trying to reach my husband Paul as I hadn't told him anything other than to pick up the kids at school and wait for my word. I couldn't reach him but really the me now would have been far more erratic I thought today while clipping my rose bush.
In an instant it was like I never had time to process myself. I've suffered situational anxiety since. Medical situations generally or the impending threat of them. Soon after my Dad died, Paul went in for a fractured foot and had a serious high blood pressure situation unexpectedly. Soon after that, my now teenage daughter Hannah was tubing at a friends lake and suffered a bad concussion. It took months to recover if not a year and she still has headaches and a weak hand grip. In addition to all that, my Mom's health rapidly declined after Dad's death and I spent enormous amounts of time her helping her downsize and move. Worse, I had to watch her instantly go from the Rock of Gibraltar in my life to a fragile tulip in the wind. I literally had never seen the woman cry before! Then I went in to the Dr. myself for something else and we talked about it. And she said goodness this is normal for what you've been through. She did an assessment. Labeled it. That helped. A little. My BP was high likely from being so anxious. Strong me has hated it and wants to conquered it. Sure, I have never had to be on medication. But, I despise that it changed me.
I fortunately haven't had to see a Dr. for years. I've seen free BP clinics here and there and wanted to conquer it all so badly in this symbolic way. My now 16 year old son, I can hear him in my head coaching me "Mom just do it! Seriously what's worst thing that could happen?" But, then I convince myself that I'm jittery so my BP will be high and when it's high that will cause me to freak out.
Lately old me has been poppin out a bit more. And I like it. After all, I was the one who recently encouraged my daughter Hannah, at age 17, to fly to NYC on her own. My Dad did stuff like that. Powerful and empowering and scary as hell but so great to get you to stand on your own two feet. She did it beautifully too. And the other day when I lost my wedding ring stone unexpectedly, while definitely sad I didn't see point of fretting over it. We're together and blessed to be in love and that's all that matters. Yet anxiety-me pops up just enough to say "I'm not going anywhere!" Reading about the bears before our hikes on our recent vacation to Glacier National Park in Montana was a logical thing to do I figured but instead of being thrilled to see one, I was nervous. Old me would have been excited! I was a bit jumpy when we saw a young adult grizzly across the lake. I bonded with another mother who was nervous about it in corner. But old me would have been fist pumpin fired up and getting in the lake to nearest driftwood to get a closer look where the kids were but still safe.
Today I just decided 5 years is enough. I miss the old me. My daughter's leaving in few months and old me hasn't been around enough since she was 13. It's just a matter of grabbing the rose until the thorns aren't even a bother. It's just too beautiful to matter. And yes, it strikes at unknown times but if you envelope your world with joy and silliness all the bad stuff shrinks. I am working now with some really calm, joyful, huggy people. It's amazing how that has really helped expand the love and goodness instead of all the stress. Stress that wasn't just my Dad's death but two bankruptcies in 10 years, several enormous job losses with loss of 90% of our income, foreclosures that were staved off. All kinds of boogie-man-things that could justify anxiety. But time passes quickly. Life moves swiftly like it or lump it. And it just makes me want to go all in on joy. It's all about how you want to be defined. I don't want any complaining or worry to crowd out the laughter.
I want my legacy to be laughter.
I choose joy.
Let's see if this works.
Old me... I'm comin for ya!

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