Friday, June 21, 2013

Changing Directions Series - Surviving

Here we are on the last day of the Changing Directions Series: Surviving

The traumas that I have survived:
  • The loss of my brother William (Billy) Dean his website here
  • Domestic Violence
  • Divorces
  • Loss of my only child Dustin Davis his website here
  • The Love of my LIfe having a massive Ischemic stoke more info here
  • The loss of my Daddy
  • The loss of my son's best friend Luke who was in the accident with him but had survivors guilt, he died of an overdose, he lived with us a lot before Dustin died.  his FB page here 
  • Being a Caregiver
  • Having my 83 year old Mother move in.  Love her to pieces, she is my rock.


My brother Billy

Me and Billy

My precious Dustin and two with me

My Mom and Dad, one Mom and I and one with Billy as a baby

me and Luke and Luke and Dustin (I always try to hide my gum!)

It would not be stretching it to say that I have survived several traumas.  My fiance's stroke, loss of my Daddy and the loss of Luke was within a year.

Did I think I would lose my mind?  Yes.  It was so arduous to say the least.  I slept a lot, cried and kept asking why?  You know we never know the reason why.  That in itself is haunting.  

Going back to the death of Dustin.  I have to admit Mr. Webster does not have a word to describe what happens to you and what goes one, indescribable.  It hurts like hell and you feel a sense of hopelessness and most of lost.  A child is a part of you and when gone a part of your goes with them and that is so very true.  Never again are we the same. 

The main reason I kept going was I wanted to keep his memory alive.  I didn't want anyone to forget him.  He lived and breathed don't forget him.  This alone kept me doing a lot of things.  We had a scholarship in his name, scheduled walks in his name, and I did the website which was about the most soothing of all.  When you have lost someone all we have left is pictures and memories.  Keeping the memories vivid by writing down in fear of forgetting, holding each photo tight and in a safe place, protecting them because now that is him for me.

I survived.  I carried on despite the hardship and trauma. I remained functionable for a while then sought help and medication to facilitate the troubled heart, soul and mind.  I had to admit that I was weak and needed the help.  I worked at it for about one year to get myself to a comfortable point.  It didn't happen instantaneously it was not a spring but a marathon.  I survived.

When Michael had his stroke with me in the same room everything around me went swirling like a tornado spin.  Frantically I called 911.  So many thoughts were going through my mind.  What now?  

The doctors at The Ohio State Medical Center explained what had happened to Michael in detail with drawings.  It occurred to me I didn't know that much about strokes. Well let me tell you the doctors taught me everything I needed to know and answered all of my questions and I had to learn quick.

Michael went to Dodd Hall Rehab at The Ohio State Medical Center on February 15, 2011.  The nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers were in my face either asking questions or teaching me something.  I had no time to grieve, I had to be there to assist in his healing.  The therapist expected me to learn the physical  occupational and speech therapies so I knew how to apply them and keep working with him.  His recovery was going so well.  He was in in patient therapy treatment from February 15, 2011 until June 23 the day he got to come back home.

Not to forget I had to get our home ready for him.  Had to have a ramp built, bathroom redone, furniture moved, rugs put up as we have all hardwood floors which made all of the therapist so happy.  Michael also learned he was a diabetic so I had to learn injections and all that went with the disease.  Cooking was low sodium, low fluid, low carb diet.  Try fixing meals that met all of those criteria.  He is still doing outpatient therapy and takes about 32 meds so I have to be on top of my game.  Guess what?  I survived.

The month of June Michael was in rehab at Dodd Hall and my Daddy was at The Ohio State Medical center very sick.  My Mom refused to leave him so she stayed with him the entire time 24/7.  I spent my days walking back and forth to keep track of all that was going on with both.  I hated to leave my Daddy when I would have to go to Dodd Hall to tend to Michael's needs.  I only missed two days of being at Ohio State Medical Center from February 15 to June 23.  So obviously I was left to take care of our bills and now my parents bills also.  There were days that I thought I would lose my mind.  Guess what?  I survived.

When Michael first came home I believed that I could handle everything on my own without outside help.  It didn't take me long to realize I was not Superwoman.  He now has an aide eight hours during the day and two hours in the evening.

My Daddy had to go to a nursing home.  Guilt ridden as I told him I would never put him in one.  I spent my days going back and forth as again my Mom would not leave his side.  So of course I worried about her too.  July 11, 2011 my Daddy passed away.  Devastation was in my life again.  This was Daddy and I was his girl.  I felt I had to be strong for my Mom so my grieving was done privately.  No words to describe losing a parent either.  We were so close.  Guess what?  I survived.

 Me and Mom and Mom

My Mom did not want to live in their home in the country so she moved in with Michael and I.  She is 83 years old and more active than me.  Her and Michael are perfectionist and I am so far from that.  Now they do drive me crazy with that.  Guess what?  I survived.

The phone rang and when I answered it I was told that the squad was at Luke's house with a non breather.  Immediately I started to hyperventilate because I had just learned he was suffering so badly from depression and survivor's guilt that he was now addicted to heroin.  I knew it was him and it was.  He was pronounced dead the next morning.  I would text and talk to him daily.  He was gone.  It was surreal.  When I went to the funeral home early as I knew I would whale and bawl so I wanted it be without a lot of people around.

My Mom and I walked into the funeral home and there were pictures of Dustin and Luke everywhere.  Flashbacks came fast and hard.  Everyone would see me and come to hug me and ask me how I was doing.  Did they really want to know? Luke was holding a picture of Dustin with raffia and a rose around it.  The rose was from Dustin's funeral.  Guess what?  I survived.

The only reason I survived is by doing what the other parts of this series has been talking about.  I had to make myself work the process each and every time a trauma happened in my life.

I journaled, I sought counseling, medication, talked with friends and wanted to get through it as unscathed as possible.  It was not easy and again it didn't happen overnight.  I still grieve for my brother, Dustin, Daddy, Luke and look at Michael and ask why I actually grieve for him too.  How terrible to trapped inside your own body.

Books are good to read to help you understand some situations.  The most important thing is that I want to survive.  I wanted to heal.  I wanted to live my "abnormal" normal life which kept changing on me.  I fought with all that was in me.

So today what are you going to start doing to survive?  What work will you do to help yourself?  Nobody is going to do it for you.  The will to survive has to be stronger than the will to give or get used to being in pain.  Being in pain is the easy road because there is no work involved.  It just is and there so oftentimes we go with it.  Is that going to be you to take the easy road?

I am here for you.  My email is so email me with your concerns or questions.  Join a group in your community or one online.  You just have to do something to survive.  Doing nothing will bring your health down and then what?

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you that are trying or not trying.  Changing directions in life is not easy.  I have had to do many times.  Guess what?  You can do it too.

My God bless you all.