a slice of my heart

Monday, November 5, 2018

The River of Time

It is a river, isn't it? Floating along or caught in a snare. Metaphors on that one are endless.

I took some time off in March because of my illness. Sometimes blogging has been stressful to me. It proves that I am often times hard to understand. No need to expound on that, save to say that that is hard to carry. So being away was what was best for my health and peace of mind. And it helped. I recovered more quickly than I thought I could. Thank the powers for that, because what was waiting down the line was shattering.

On May 2nd my darling, beautiful, oh-so-smart, daughter made a very serious attempt to take her life. 60 blood pressure pills and at the last few minutes she thought of her good old mom and was able, in those short minutes, to dial 911. (Sidebar here folks, keep it on your speed dial, you just never know.) I have no way to adequately explain to you what it is like to read a 5 page suicide note. To hear suffering of that depth, which is easy to express in what one thinks are their last hours on earth, felt surreal. There is no holding back. It was so deep, so far down that hole, that I knew I was not going to be able to comfort her enough. I knew that no matter how long my arms were, they could not reach her. All that I could do was to show her that they were reaching down, knowing that she would have to do the rest. There was absolute numbness along with piercing sorrow for her.

I spent 6 days and nights with her in ICU watching her every reaction and every machine hooked to her. There was no brain or nerve damage, but they discovered that she has congenital heart disease.  There is no way to tell if it was the affect of the pills that damaged her heart or if it has been lingering there all along, which would make it even more miraculous that she survived.

There was a stint in the mental health ward at Kaiser and then straight to Rehab. Three trips to emergency, lock down and a lot of heart crushing screaming. Then another stint in the mental health ward.  To say she has been through hell...you would not want to see this kind of hell. What we've both learned over long, hard years is that our country does not have adequate training to really help alcoholics except to say, "will yourself not to drink and say your affirmations". AA just doesn't work for a lot of people, actually for the majority of people. If it did,  addiction in all it's guises would not be savaging our country.  So saying this was her third go at it can't even get close to how devastating and frustrating it is. Try, try and try again. What that insures is that suffering is going to be a constant road without a map. Some of the people going through this with her have been through it 9/10 times, one even 16. It's mind blowing. She finally got the help she needed from a 10 page letter to Kaiser assessing their program and telling them what she actually needed from them and how to really help her. Things changed immediately (this girl is gifted, she would make a phenomenal lawyer!). They brought in a psychiatrist just out of Boston University who literally saved her life. Kaiser does NOT want to be sued. Success can be possible, IF the knowledge of this young and brilliant man, and others, is respected and shared. He would not give up, just try to imagine how very rare that is.

Addiction is not a disease, it is not the result of weak character or a self indulgent nature. It is brain damage. I could expound on that, but not now.

She has now had 6 months of fairly effortless sobriety. I say effortless, because she isn't going mad with cravings, but it's still there...the desire, only now, controllable. Brain damage can only be treated with medication. We can't will brain damage away.  No amount of affirmations is going to heal the brain. Finding the right combination of medication is what her psychiatrist was committed to doing and he got it. There has been a bit of tweeking, but she's doing great and will start back to work in the next couple of weeks. Unaltered. How incredible is that? She is her same sassy, silly and brilliant self and I, well, I am a mom taking a long, relieving breath and getting back to work, too - with eyes wide open, ever vigilant. There are no cures, no miracles but there is hope.

Love, Liv

Friday, March 23, 2018

The best of ordinary days

                            'Woman Waiting for the Moon to Rise' by Shoen Uemura (1944)

Actually, there are no ordinary days. Every day is extraordinary. I am glad for each one that I encounter when I wake, whether gray or sunny it really doesn't matter to me. I get another chance and that is all that matters.


My roommate brought home a begonia with the palest peach blossoms.

My daughter sent me a sweet letter heavy with her golden heart.

I listened to the downstairs tenant tell me all about the new exercise pants that he got on line and he was smiling and happy because I listened with genuine interest.

My sister called with some sad news and we shared a moment of tenderness that we don't always get to experience.

I brought home Paul Newman's pizza and shared it with my roommate and she actually liked it. It was so good to see her enjoy something American.

I was sick last night, but it's gone today.

Yesterday I built a planter for the strawberries that I will plant on the deck and admired it's perfect imperfection  each time I walked past the window.

An ordinary life, in an ordinary, extraordinary day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I'm in Thailand

Ha! There is a a lot I don't need to know! Perhaps I should stay away from Bangkok.

Obviously I am not there. If I was, I would be sitting on warm sand at the edge of the ocean and not writing this. I would be sending you gorgeous pictures of beaches and lusty food.

My roommate is Thai. A culture that I've never known anything about. Lovely people, lovely land.
We get along pretty well. She is nice and and I am learning to eat and cook Thai foods. I like most of the food, but dessert's, no no no! (crisco and sugar !) And I've learned to say: Sa wad dee ka, hello and goodbye. Sa bai dee mai ka, how are you and Kab koon ka, thank you. Ka is how you end a sentence if you are female.... Men don't have an ending.

It is difficult living with strangers all the time, especially when you know they are transient. She is young and as a lot of young people are, she must be right all the time. I mean all the time. I think that might just be a personality thing. She and her uncle own several restaurants here so there is a lot of security about money and she is a world wide traveler. No exag. I think she said she has been to 30 countries and is going to Hawaii in the next two weeks (she's been there twice) and will go to Argentina this summer. It is a little tough for me because essentially she also thinks there is nothing good about America, except for, shopping, traffic (Thailand doesn't have the infrastructure that we do), the fact that people let you go in front of them in the grocery store if you only have a couple of things, and the pastries. Seriously, that's about all. She thinks American food is bland and disgusting, although she loves McDonalds and eats there at least twice a week. Go figure! I wanted to say that perhaps she could also like the fact that we let her in and she earns more money here than she probably could in any other part of the world. But I didn't. I let her be right and I don't challenge her negative views. Because I need her to stay here !  Even though I have given her the master suite, and for $200 less than I pay for my 10 x 10 foot room, it is still $$ and it helps to pay the rent, good enough. And in spite of everything, I do like her and enjoy her company and we laugh a lot, she has a very sweet side - when she isn't criticising, it's just a winding road to keep things smooth.

There have been some sad goings on with a sort of distant member of the family. Alcoholic families are very complicated. It's hard to extract yourself from that, especially when you love the other person who is suffering. This is a particularly sweet and good hearted young man, so kind, so endearing and he just cannot make healthy decisions, for a lot of sad reasons. My heart is breaking for him and there is pretty much nothing I can do, except tell him I am here, if and when he can ever accept love and help. He really is the jewel of the family. And no matter what, he remains so.

It's made me think about the concept of opportunities and how we see them in regards to those who have them and those who don't. Everyone has opportunities, "New Age" cheering tells me that. I see  it, but I do not always believe it. I also see something else that I do believe. People who have opportunities and have seized them, often times do not understand those who have very little, or none. It doesn't happen so much in America, we are the "Land of Opportunities". But the world is full of those without a chance, or very little. It makes me very upset when people say that those suffering during the Holocaust had choices. Some did, of course, but there were others........

 I'm thinking of war zones, in particular, Syria comes to mind. Where are all the choices there? I can think of a few examples to illustrate what I mean but it's all so heartbreaking.
I hope this darling young man see's the opportunities that are being extended toward him. But he is very broken. It is possible that he is so far down that he can not see them. And it is possible that he may never. I just love him, that's all I really know.

 In regards to my thinking about choices and opp's, it's complicated, I am complicated, so is America.  Like Marco  say's, I'm just talking to the trees.

Other than that, I am doing just fine. We've had a ton of sun here.
Lord what would we do without sun?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Cheap canvas. I love cheap canvas


r.h.sin is a feminist poet and writer. You can find his work on Instagram.

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. I knew perfectly well the cars were making a noise, and the people in them and behind the lit windows of the buildings were making a noise, and the river was making a noise, but I couldn’t hear a thing. The city hung in my window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking, but it might just as well not have been there at all, for the good it did me.”
The Bell Jar

I thought I would post two of them to, well, because I just did.

I haven't posted for awhile because I am just "tired", the nomenclature for depressed.  I'm actually not usually this way. My medication keeps that in bay a bit. But lately I've been just as Plath puts it. There is a silence. Life is in slow motion. Neither blogger nor facebook seem like appropriate places to reveal. Every one seems to be coping and more. And it's nice to look through the window and watch. I feel kind of proud that I have such as you - that I've chosen you. It must mean that in a lot of ways I am just like you, coping and sometimes more. So why do I get so tired?

I have things to talk about so I'm pissed that it's getting in my way.  Get the fuck out! You're in my way!

I'm eating way too much. A healthy meal, a shit meal. I'm actually not a drinker at all. But I've been having a glass of wine about every 2/3 days. God, why do people drink wine? Unless you can buy the best, it's just shit sour pop. I mock it.  - Good God, you're worthless. You're a pretty color but you do not bring the advertised freedom that you subtlety suggest in your ad, you're a tease. -  So it sits in the cupboard until it is vinegar. If I am eating pasta, or maybe pizza, or, ahh...eggplant, I think, well aren't you supposed to drink wine with this? But the plate is empty, the glass is half full and what was on the plate seems to have done what the crimson liquid was supposed to do. See, you're useless and you cost me $6.

I'm am painting and enjoying it. But that's all I want to do. Just stand at the table and play with color and water on cheap canvas. It's practice though, so cheap canvas is a brilliant invention, those little cardboard things with the canvas glued on. I love them.

I think my roommate may be adding to the depression. She is a type A. And pretty much wears it like a badge. But she is only a part, I can't seem to nail the others. I have a wonderful new therapist. Got lucky on that one. She asked me a question the other day and I said, "Come on, that is a woowoo question and we are both better than that." We both had a lovely belly laugh and I am proud of her that she got it right away. She's almost as smart as me - I have had more than my fair share, of - consultants..haha - so it is great that she can keep up and give me one better, a lot.

I wish I could write more poetically about this state of being. Like Plath. But then if I could, I might be in big trouble. I wish someone could have saved her.

If there is anyone still out there and you feel like commenting, please do. But don't give me any woowoo. You know I am laughing. Depressed people do laugh, a lot in fact.
I could NOT resist this!!!!!