I am because you were

Today would’ve been either your 85th or 86th birthday depending on which document or story you refer to. Either way, today is your birthday. And today I am sad like I have been sad since I ever considered your death and the fear of how devastated I would be when that day came. I started feeling sad about that fateful day years and years before it ever arrived. I do that with everyone and everything these days. I start feeling the sadness of the death or loss of that person as soon as I realize I love them. I have even done that with my dog. I’ve already come to realize I’ll maybe only have 13 or so years with him before he’s gone and I will be sad about his death. I’ve already mentally prepared myself. My relationship, I already know that one day, whether it’s soon or not until the day one of us passes, it will end. And it makes me sad. I realize this sounds depressing or grim, but it is what I do for now. It also makes sure I don’t ever take a moment for granted as every second shared is a second gained and a memory made that deepens the connection which carries us longer together. Every single second counts. And because I know it will end one day, I make sure to savor those moments even with the undercurrent of sadness of the inevitable.

With the times we shared in the last years I knew that your days were numbered grandma. I knew that after grandpa died it wouldn’t be too long thereafter we would have to say goodbye to you. But this is thing… losing you to the monster of death just rips me to my core. It reminds me that no matter how lovely, wise, good gardener, good cook, loving Christian, generous and kind, death robs us of our life and leaves holes in the hearts and lives of the people who love us. There will always be a piece of my life missing because you are gone. I know it’s childish to wish for invincibility or long for more time when we aren’t in control and the human body is fallible and weak. But God do I wish I could’ve had one more day. One more memory. One more time to watch you wrestle my son or race him in the parking lot. One more chance to learn a recipe from you. One more chance to watch you tend to the garden or complain about one of the kids.

I am because of you. Because you lived I too am alive. Because of the life you lived I am more whole and more able. Because of you and your persistence I have a drive that is endless. I aim to be a good gardener and have the green thumb you so easily possessed. I aim to create a legacy of love and goodness that you left for me. The good stories I get to tell my son from my childhood are because of you. The good lessons I have learned came from you and your example. Because of your generous spirit you gave and provided for me for many years. I’ll always remember and always be grateful.

Grandma, I know a birthday in heaven isn’t quite the same and I know you have arrived where you’re supposed to be. But I can’t help but be sad and wish for all the time I still want with you and want time for my son and all the other great-grandkids who now can’t know you like we did.

I keep seeing these damn cardinals all over my yard and home and I feel your presence. I don’t know why but I feel your spirit with each visit I get from them. It might be silly to some but I have to know that you’re still here in some way. That your spirit still exists in this realm in some way. That you are not gone. That because you were, you still are and there’s a permanence to your existence.

My birthday and Mother’s Day happen to fall on the same day this year and it will also be two months exactly that you’ll have passed. I don’t know the significance of that beyond the alignment of such things. I do know that because you lived I have life. Because you are my mothers mother then this Mother’s Day is a little emptier than usual but serendipitously because you’re my mothers mother then I am and I am my sons mother who is the shining star of my life. And without you there would be no me, and no me there like be no him and he is good and will do great things in life.

Thank you for existing. Thank you for being the you that you were in this life and giving what you did. I am grateful for you in so many ways. 🎉❤️ Happy birthday in heaven, grandma. 85, 86, of 39 again, have a blast celebrating you and God breathing life into your lungs and wooing you into existence. 🎉

Hole-fully,

The Repressed Peach

Legacy

While in Arizona for my grandmother’s funeral my family members and I got to relish the opportunity to sort through hundreds, maybe even thousands, of my grandmother’s photos. She had a vast collection spanning many decades all thrown together in a couple of suitcases. Pictures from back when she was likely in her early thirties (before I ever met her) and all the way through the last two or three years of her life. My aunts, uncle and I all picked through the pictures recalling old memories and sharing them with some of our children. It was truly wonderful in many ways. I saw pictures I never knew existed. I saw my mother in various forms of her life including teen years and as a young mother. I loved sharing this time with my family. We were all hungry for good memories and to find the next treasure in the chest. It was very cathartic for all of us and really bonded us in our grief.

And this was all my grandmother left behind for the most part. Anything of any value actually. She had a few trinkets and knick-knacks, but all essentially worthless. And no meaning in any of them. When I first walked into my aunt’s home she had some of grandma’s jewelry laid out on the kitchen table. The first question to me was, “would you like to have anything?” The last thing I want right now is to pick apart my grandmother’s life piece by piece and parcel everything out. It seems strange to me in so many ways. We work so hard to have the things we have to enjoy life. We labor over these things and worry about them. We pack and unpack only to pack again and move them about with us as we travel from home to home in our moves through life. Yet at the end of the day when the death bell rings and we have ascended to glory, all we have are some old pieces of costume jewelry and knick-knacks that nobody really wants. We are reduced down to the few meaningless possessions which are split amongst those who care about us the most. And then I wonder, does it even matter? Those things are just things and do not represent her or why she mattered to me. She was a person whose life mattered. How she loved me mattered. How her infectious attitude and laugh mattered. Her zest for life and her love of Jesus mattered. She mattered, not the things she possessed. I guess this is why I didn’t want anything of hers. All she could give me she gave while she was alive. She gave me the greatest memories and taught the best values. She left a legacy that cannot be associated with any sum of money or equated to treasures to take to the pawn shop, she left a living legacy of love, hard work, happiness, joy, and family.

At the end of my life I hope someone can say the same for me and what I’ve done with my life. I hope that whatever material possessions I have remaining aren’t riffled through with reckless abandon but are treasured and respected while also not being valued over my life. I hope that the people who surround me while love each other, reminisce on their time with me, cherish each other deeply, support each other in their grief, and leave the event better because it happened.

With love,

The Repressed Peach

Self-quarantine: Days 3 & 4

3/24/2020: Day 3 was chock full of looking at transcripts, course selections, flipping through binders, and managing emails as they hit my box. I found myself easily distracted by things in my home office so I took some time to organize and rearrange my craft closet. I felt a bit better after that and pushing the vacuum. Sometimes that “heavy” work when I’m feeling anxious or stressed really helps me breathe better. I enjoyed working in the office and the liberty to move around more freely in the comfort of my home is very nice. I truly love my home and it’s a safe haven for me so it’s nice to enjoy that and work. And I love my work too, so that’s definitely a bonus. I know not everyone can say that. For the most part, day 3 felt like a typical day that I would have in summer break.

3/25/2020: Day 4 is starting out good. I feel more tired today but I think that’s because I’ve been dreaming of the virus and all the associated stressors for the last couple nights. I feel the tension in my shoulders and my jaw is a bit tighter than usual in the morning. I think I might need to take the dog for a good long walk today and get some fresh air. Last night we got an email that said our school closure has been extended through April 24th and surrounding towns have gone to “stay home, work safe” protocol. I think it’s lingering in my mind that if our town goes to that I will feel even more restricted than I already am. In reality I won’t be but that’s what’s running in my head. I feel the burden of restriction weighing on me. It’s nothing compared to what others in history have endured but it sure gives me a glimpse into the heir experience. I’ve seen so many memes about Anne Frank and her family being tucked away in the attic for years and I can only feel uncomfortable for her. What a terrifying and terrible feeling to live like that so long. This is why though we, as a nation, enjoy our freedoms and don’t take them for granted. I have the perspective that I appreciate the opportunity I have to get up and go anywhere I want to, eat what I want, spend what I want, wear what I want, and do as I please each and every day. I’m a law abiding citizen, but I enjoy all the freedoms of my life. I can’t imagine being in a prison.

Well the day continued with relative ease. I felt myself well up with tears a few times just from latent emotions lingering around. It really got me when my son participated in his first zoom meeting with his JROTC classmates. It was so sweet to hear all the kids talking and laughing with each other and asking if everyone was alright. It was a sign of such compassion as well as humanity. I loved it. And I love that he has that with other young adults in his life. I recently asked him to reflect on his strengths and weaknesses/struggles from his freshman year in high school and he said he didn’t feel as though he had any weaknesses or significant struggles but he definitely feels like his strength is in his social skills. He then added, “I feel like the friends I’ve made this year are friends who would go to my funeral and I would go to theirs.” I lost it. I was caught so off guard by that remark but so happy to know he feels so strongly about the connections and the friendships he’s made this year. What an amazing blessing to him!

Back to quarantine life… so groceries have been tricky since we are in self-quarantine and I cannot go out to get anything myself. Although we are not symptomatic we are taking as many precautions as we can. Social distancing, the new buzz word in society, has been easy since we are home bodies for the most part, but it’s very hard to do in a grocery store. So we have been ordering groceries through delivery services like Shipt. We were getting low on puppy food for our sweet Duke but not dangerously low. I just didn’t want to run out and then have to switch foods because we all know how hard that is on a pup’s tummy. Last thing I need is to have a stinky house. Anyway, finally got the dog food we needed yesterday as well as some other staples that we needed. However, the store was out of my ice cream! I know, I know… first world problems, but it’s my guilty pleasure and I can’t go hunting for it right now. I guess I will enjoy it more once I can get it again.

Anyway, work was uneventful. No meetings to attend via zoom or crises to handle. So it was a day of paperwork and binders again. But my work laptop is small, and the screen is not conducive to long periods of time and all the data entry I have to do. So I reached out to my neighborhood through our Facebook page and asked if anyone had a spare monitor laying around that I could borrow for the time period. Within three days I had several people offer but didn’t have the correct connection (I needed an HDMI port on the monitor). Then I got a hit that worked out! My neighbor lives just up the street from me brought me a 20” monitor hand delivered to my doorstep and a nice bottle of wine to boot! 😊 I was so surprised and so grateful for the kindness and generosity! The monitor is working out great and making my life a smidge easier in these wild times.

To add to that I’ve had time to appreciate all the little miracles of beauty around me in nature. The lizards running around my back patio eating the crane flies. The beautiful hibiscus flowers blooming in the pot outside. The beautiful wild flowers lining the side of the back roads. It’s been a nice time to slow down and take things in… like not just “see” them, but see, appreciate and wonder at them. It’s nice.

Wild flowers alongside the back road
First hibiscus bloom

We will get through this. It’s just gonna take some time. Hopefully we will be better on the flip side of this tragedy.

Expressly yours,

The Repressed Peach

Self-quarantine edition: Day 2

I’m a day behind… so this should’ve been written and posted yesterday:

Today was day one of tele-work for our school district. I got up with ease and hopped into my work clothes and put on my work face. I feel like some sense of normalcy is important for my mentality and to get into the zone for productivity. Once done I zipped up to Starbucks to get my venti iced caramel macchiato through the drive thru after ordering from the mobile app. No person to person contact at all, never got close enough to anyone to breathe on them or them on me either. I hustled back home and jumped right into work mode. I felt like I was in my office on campus although the digs were a little more homey and comfy. Even had my work buddy on my side. He was chewing on a pig ear while I worked.

I did a teleconference via FaceTime with my counselor colleagues which lasted about an hour or so. It was intense with so many people talking and so many faces to watch. While intense I felt like it was actually more productive than our meetings in office. Everyone was more relaxed and attentive to the tasks at hand. It was interesting to see the different dynamic. I even felt different, I felt myself listening attentively and refraining from jumping to conclusions or feeling antsy and judgmental. I definitely felt more relaxed compared to our usual meetings. Anyway, then I got to talk with a parent, send some emails about transcript updates, and then got ready for a professional development zoom meeting.

I’ve zoomed before, but this was different! We had over 300 participants! I couldn’t believe it! All those people from all over our region “calling in” to one place to talk at the same time. Technology is amazing!! The moderator muted everyone so we couldn’t hear all the craziness in people’s homes and such, but video was still on. Lol… oh people… it was comical at times. And it kinda felt intrusive, I didn’t know but maybe 8 people on the call, but I can see more than that and they’re in their home offices, kitchens, living rooms, etc. I felt like a voyeur on accident. Technology has given us access to so much, and sometimes to things I don’t want. Anyway, the professional development session lasted two hours. It was long but very useful information. At the end of it I only had one hour left to be on the clock. And boy was I grateful! I was tapped out on being so connected to tech. I had a laptop in front of me and a phone in my hand the whole day. Not to mention the binders and paperwork I was rifling through. I was worn out! Once the school day ended I silenced my phone and put it on Do Not Disturb for more than an hour. I couldn’t look at my phone or anything… I was done.

Then I made dinner. I can certainly feel myself thinking more about meals and planning them more intentionally. It’s a strange sensation actually. In a way I feel guilty for being such a consumer before and living on autopilot in some regards. It’s sad to think about really. I like to think of myself as a rather intentional person and a good planner, but this is one area it’s very apparent I have work to do. Even feeling myself rationing certain items because I’m being conscientious about going through it too fast. It’s an odd sensation in my mind. It’s a new way of thinking and one that I could stand to maintain after this crisis passes.

Once dinner was done and the kitchen cleaned, my son and I went outside to play some baseball. We stayed in our front yard and didn’t contact other people although there were many children and families outside walking dogs, riding bikes, playing basketball and more. It’s amazing how alive our neighborhood felt despite this crisis. Everyone seemed happy and there was joy where I haven’t heard that before in my hood. So we played baseball with a weighted ball, it’s nearly one pound heavy, and stayed outdoors for over an hour. It was a warm evening but nice and got even better once the sun started to set and a cool breeze washed over us. It was rather lovely really.

Here are some insights that I’ve had since this whole thing started:

  • technology is great, but I’m now in a position where I am overstimulated by it. I wonder how many of our kids will experience this when we start virtual learning.
  • Autopilot is for planes only, not my brain
  • Rituals are critical to creating balance and wellness in these trying times
  • Moving your body is an important thing to do when you’re cooped up inside for long periods of time
  • Working from home doesn’t give me any more time than I had before and it in fact makes other people forget to maintain boundaries
  • I could get used to this! I wonder how our district will change its policies based on this new learning of infectious disease and contagion
  • I generally suck at grocery shopping! But I have room to improve!
  • As a parent it’s important to talk to your kids about their stress, but you shouldn’t talk to them about your stress. They shouldn’t be alarmed by the things you’re hearing or reading.
  • Work hours and tasks have more flexibility in them than I am currently allowing. I need to create a ritual and create space for me to exist in the midst of it all.

As you can see my brain is taking in all this new data and trying to sort through as much as possible. It is overwhelming at times and stressful, but I do believe everyone on this planet may become better through their opportunities.

Wholly yours,

The Repressed Peach

The Self-quarantine edition

So we went to Arizona for my grandmother’s memorial service which made us leave the sanctity of our home and travel via airline to our destination. We all know airports and aircraft are breeding grounds for major bacteria and viruses alike. What with this pandemic, we took major strides to limit the potential for infection but you can only do so much when accompanied by 30+ passengers who have all been in contact with at least 30+ others themselves. So we are self-quarantining for the next 14 days at least. In effort to save my sanity and explore the new dimensions of what I might learn of myself I thought I would blog my adventures each day. And here is my day 1:

I got up this morning around 8:30 and took care of the dog. Let him outside for his potty break and fed him. Then piddled around the kitchen tidying up a bit. Around 9:00 I sat down in the media room and started putting together the new patio furniture set I purchased from Wayfair. It was definitely an interesting task although not as cumbersome as an IKEA purchase. A few minutes into this adventure and my dog tried eating the directions and simultaneously lost a puppy tooth. It was a tiny little molar! I was so surprised because I haven’t seen a puppy tooth before. It was precious! So I set that aside to show my son when he woke up later. I put the dog in his kennel so I could work with fewer distractions and to ensure the directions were salvaged to get me through the building of the furniture. Finally got the project done around noon but in the middle of it I stopped for breakfast, and to collect the groceries I had delivered to my front door. Thank the lord for grocery delivery service during this pandemic because I don’t know what we would’ve done. Thankfully this grocery delivery I was able to acquire meats. In previous orders the meat department was entirely sold out of products so I couldn’t get anything delivered. This time I got a two pound package of ground chuck, a four pack of chicken breasts, bacon and sausage. I generally don’t split packages of meat up because I’m lazy or don’t think of it, but this time I spent the time needed to split the packages into smaller serving packs to ensure I only defrost what I need and will use in a meal. I thought that this was definitely something I need to do better about all the time so I don’t waste meat. I felt myself appreciating the meat and thankful for the grocer and farmer who worked to provide for me in this instance. Even more so, appreciative of my shipt shopper who went out into this uncertain world to provide a needed service to me. After I finished that task I completed my furniture project and let the dog back outside. While he was doing his business in the backyard, I placed the new furniture outside on the front patio. It is a drizzly, wet day outside so it was sprinkling lightly. It was a little cool outside, but still pleasant. I sat down into one of the new chairs and rocked. I found myself enjoying the rocking and actually rocked myself to sleep a little bit. I dozed off sitting in the rocking chair outside in the sprinkling warmth of a strange spring day. Before I fell asleep I marveled at the growth of my flowers in the front garden. I admired the many buds about to bloom and found some plants that need to be tended to. Just little trimmings here and there then they’ll be good as new. Grandma would’ve gotten up right then and pulled those things off or out of the ground, she wouldn’t have waited. She also wouldn’t have complained or remarked about how she felt doing it, not a gripe about her body or her hands hurting, not a slow rise from bending over, nothing. She was mighty and strong in so many ways that I’m not. Anyway, I thought this thought and found tears well in my eyes and a knot form in my throat. I swallowed it away and dried the tears. I didn’t want to cry right then.

The remainder of the day was relaxed. I ate a little bit of lunch, showered, and then took a good nap on the sofa for a couple hours. Although it wasn’t a perfect nap it was nice. Too much light in the room and a little noisy from my son playing video games in the media room, but whatever. I napped and enjoyed it. Shortly thereafter I made dinner. We enjoyed New York strip steak, baked potato and bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers as an appetizer. Gosh did we love those poppers. I wish I would’ve made more but then again, I’m trying to ration some of our food stuffs. Bacon is a prime commodity right now and I don’t want to go through too much in one night. Strange the adjustments we make in fear of inaccessibility… The steaks were from a couple weeks ago that I ended up freezing because we didn’t eat them when I thought we would. Each steak was just a smidge over 0.5 pounds so we ate well tonight. The potatoes were good with light butter and shredded cheddar cheese.

After kitchen cleanup was done I headed to the home office to set up for tele-work tomorrow. Our school district has gone to virtual learning with the school closures and counselors have to provide support during certain hours. Therefore I wanted to organize my office and prep for the first official day of work from home. It wasn’t challenging at all, but I realize I need an external monitor to connect to my laptop. The screen is small and my keyboard is sticky so I have to use a wireless keyboard which is easier to use when I’m using an extended screen. Trivial things at best, but def an impact to my comfort. I made a community post about someone lending one to me and got a couple offers that I will follow up with tomorrow. This set ablaze an idea about creating a community app where people can post their excess items where others can shop and can digitally pay for said items. However I don’t know the first thing about creating an app so there’s that. Good idea but not feasible right now.

Once we settled down a bit, we enjoyed a bite of ice cream. We each had a pint we had opened a couple nights before so we finished those off for dessert. Tonight was a good night. Today was a good day. I feel relaxed and calm right now. I feel motivated to take on this challenge and grow in ways that I’ve needed to but haven’t had the impetus to change. To start with, I’ve wanted to be a bit more flexible physically. So tonight I did 25 squats, 35 jumping jacks and some other light calisthenics. Not too much, but enough to move a little in the right direction. Maybe this can become a daily practice for the rest of my life. It has to be good for me.

So that’s it for Day 1. We are doing fine. Neither of are experiencing any symptoms or anything which I’m very grateful for. See ya tomorrow for day 2 and all that my day will entail in self- quarantine.

Hopefully yours,

The Repressed Peach

Tribute to My Grandmother

On March 10, 2020 my grandmother, affectionately called Little Bit, died after a massive stroke. She hadn’t been sick or anything and was just days before jumping on a bouncy castle with her great grandkids at a birthday party. The whole family was shocked when she died, to say the least. I find myself rocked to the core with this death… beyond the others I’ve written about, the death of my grandma has me deeply sad but also very grateful for her.

She was feisty, small in stature, big in love, the heart of our family, the thrill seeker, the wrestler, the fearless matriarch. Everyone who knew her loved her. She was a Christian woman who relied heavily on her faith. She was a phenomenal cook. She ran a tight ship in her restaurant business and didn’t take kindly to laziness or ineptitude. She loved all animals and often had various animals on her farm. From chickens to geese, sheep to pigs and cows that would nurse on your hand, she had them all at one point. She was a huge fan of emus before her farm life came to a close. She and my grandfather cornered the market on emu oil and all things emu. They raised them, farmed them, and sold the byproducts. They were all in!

As for her family… she was something else. Grandkids always have a different perspective about their grandparents than our parents had about their parent. My mom lived a different life with her mother than I did with my grandmother. My grandma taught me about Jesus Christ and led me to know him as my personal savior. I learned hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “I Fly Away” by singing them with her during bible study in the evenings in the living room of a small shack we lived in at the time. I learned to pray and what it felt like when God was in the room. Grandma always gave us a place to live when things weren’t going well with whatever man my mom was with at the time. We always had food because grandma would send my mom home with leftovers from the restaurant. If it was her delectable biscuits and gravy or the despicable liver and onions, we had food. My grandmother taught me to brush my teeth. She made sure my sister, brother and I all had Christmas gifts every year regardless of what was happening with my family. Grandma gave me my first job at her restaurant where I earned my first paychecks and saved enough money over time to buy my first pair of brand new, name brand shoes. Grandma taught me the value of hard work, discipline and servitude.

She was a giver in the truest form. Every year on thanksgiving she would have the whole family come together to cook and prepare a thanksgiving feast for the community offered through her restaurant. She had a donation jar for people who wanted to pay for their meals but she had no expectation for payment from anyone regardless of their ability to pay. The entire meal was free for everyone. Every year. Once everyone was served and off to their homes to rest in a food induced coma, all of the family, and any employees who wanted to, stayed for our own thanksgiving meal. We would make a 20 foot long table and load it with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, biscuits, dinner rolls, gravy, and fruit salad. Then dessert was always homemade pies: apple, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin, and other varieties from time to time. The cleanup was always the worst because we all just wanted to go home and knock out for a nap, but alas we had to clean and prepare the restaurant for a full shift the following day.

Grandma was an exceptional cook. She was famous for her homemade jams and jellies. She made blackberry, strawberry, prickly pear, apple butter, peach, marmalade, and so many more. She had the greenest thumb I’ve ever known. She could grow anything out of nothing. She liked to grow cucumbers for homemade pickles that she would use in her restaurant. She liked to grow flowers and plants. She especially loved purple irises and marigolds. I remember both flowers being on her property and behind her restaurant all the time. She also hand an affinity for hollyhocks. A flower I’ve only ever seen in Arizona. She loved green houseplants like the philodendron. Even as she aged she maintained flower beds and small gardens that she diligently tended to daily. She was one of the few motor homes in the mobile home park that had a garden and flowers. It seemed as though she would plant something everywhere she went. A small bit of Little Bit was left in her wake. Gardening and planting joy was her passion. She did it with a smile and great pride. When I would visit she often start off by showing me her plants and what’s been growing in her garden. She would brag about the fact she had the best garden in the mobile home park and would smile in delight.

To grandma, no one was a stranger. She was friends with everyone. She didn’t meet a person she couldn’t connect with or find a way to serve. She was generous in so many ways and found ways to bless others. I’ve learned in the last few years that we had several regular patrons to the restaurant who never paid for a meal because she just fed them. They were hungry and so they ate. She would use that time to talk to them about Jesus or Pop would come out and make friends, smoke cigarette or drink a cup of coffee while they ate. But those guests always had a plate of food and no judgement passed, not that I ever witnessed. Grandma lived a modest life. She didn’t have a lot but she did all at the same time. She was wealthy in family, friendship, and character.

Every being has flaws. We all make mistakes. We all do things we wish we wouldn’t have done or said things we wish we wouldn’t have said. We all have rough edges and need polishing in some regard or another. We are not born perfect, and we don’t die perfect. But, I know that my grandma taught me so much and gave me so much that I will forever be grateful to her. I think she likely saved our lives in more ways than one in the course of my lifetime. Thankfully I had opportunity to meet with her alone a couple times over the last five or so years and expressed my gratitude and the magnitude of the impact she had on my life. I hope she remembered all I shared and how much I loved her. I pray she knew my voice as I spoke to her in her final hours via video-chat. I pray the tears I saw gathered in the corner of her eyes was from the intensity of the love she felt. I pray that in her final hours she knew no pain and ran happily into the arms of God the Father as her spirit left this earth. I pray that she wasn’t afraid or worried about anything. I pray she was at peace with the legacy she left behind.

And for me, I pray that in time my heart will heal and this won’t hurt so badly. This post alone has taken me nearly four days to write because I couldn’t keep it together long enough to finish in one sitting; I was too overcome with emotion and the intensity of it all. I pray that I live the rest of my days honoring her and living up to the person she believed me to be. And more so, I pray that I live a life where I create a legacy of my own while also honoring her legacy.

Until we meet again Grandma, I love you, I miss you, and I hope you know how much you mattered. Rest easy in heaven and I hope you and Pop are enjoying your heavenly reunion! I know he missed you so much! Love you forever and always.

In memoriam,

The Repressed Peach

One of these days you’re gonna love me

Tim McGraw shoves a spear through my heart with his song “One of These Days”. As an adult I feel waves of emotion wash over me as I feel the lyrics of this song move through my soul. I recount all the events that I’ve experienced in my life from childhood trauma from family issues, childhood bullying issues, and the self-loathing developed in response.

I see myself in this song and so closely identify with the words. The emotions conjured in my heart flow from my eyes and I understand myself just a bit better. I’ve heard the song a billion times yet just in the last year has the song reached the depths of my soul.

Bottom line is I’ve never felt accepted by anyone. I’ve never felt embraced for who I am. As an adult, I realize that I’ve wanted pure acceptance from someone all of my life. I’ve longed for unconditional love and have grown accustomed to not having it. I’ve learned over time that being smart and having the answers garnered me some level of acceptance and intrigue so I’ve always just relied on that to help me feel some kind of acceptance so I’ve defaulted to valuing my intelligence over other things.

However, I seem to have found unconditional acceptance, if not maybe love, in someone. He’s the subject of many of the posts within this blog and currently the subject of my heart and soul. He’s been in my life for nearly 8 years and has been a part of my heart for most of those years. He’s amazingly kind, gentle, funny, honest, loving, sensitive, wise, smart, reliable, hard-working, and so much more. When I use harsh words with myself, he’s gentle and reframes my words in love and kindness. When I fumble and get all caught up in a moment he is patient and loving. When I am tired and feel like I look like garbage, he tells me I’m beautiful and touches me with love and kindness. When I’m all passionate and worked up about something intriguing to me, he listens with love and kindness as well as engages in the conversation with interest. He is complimentary and genuine. He is consistent with his praise, interest, passion, communication, and everything else. He’s interesting and has captivated my heart in every way.

He speaks my love language in the exact ways that fuel and repair my heart and soul. He’s the salve, the antibiotic, the warmth, the happiness, the love, the friend that I need in my life. He’s the unconditional love, the forever friend, the confidant and lover that I’ve always needed.

I’m so happy to have that one person who embraces all that is me and it’s a phenomenal feeling. It lightens the burden of always feeling like I’m too much, too vocal, too excited, etc. His hands are big enough to fix my crown and his ego can handle all that I bring to the table. And on this day, I feel like he loves me and I can love me.

Much love,

The Repressed Peach

Un-.

Unloved. Unwanted. Unwell. Underprepared. Uncertain. Unfulfilled.

All of these words and more are the words I can use to describe myself as a young person. And until today my parents were unforgiven for this. See in my mind it was their fault for not being who I needed them to be when I was a child. It was their fault I felt unloved at every turn. It was their fault I felt unsupported and unwanted. It was their fault that I grew up with hardships and uncertainty. I was their fault they had addictions and predilections unfettered while trying to raise kids. It was all their fault. And I’ve honestly held them in contempt for quite some time. Because in my head there are some irrefutable truths:

Crimes against children cannot be expunged. Crimes against children cannot be forgiven. Crimes against yourself that affect children cannot be forgotten. Ever.

However, it was taught to me today, in church, that these crimes and transgressions are indeed forgivable. And since God himself has already forgiven, so shall I. It was hard to feel all the angst and anger rise up in my mind while sitting in church. I don’t like that feeling. But nearly instantly God came to my mind, calmed me, and spoke gently… forgive. Let go. Give it to me. And I saw myself knelt at his feet, crying, asking him to heal my broken heart.

It isn’t my mom’s fault she was broken and unprepared to raise three children. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now. (However, I do wish she would learn the errors of her ways and change, but that comes next.) Life for her wasn’t her fault. She made bad choices, sure, but those stemmed from deeper issues.

My dad, dead, gone and still wreaking havoc on my heart, wasn’t at fault for being an alcoholic and homeless. Again, his issues stemmed from deeper problems that weren’t his to control.

So all of these feelings of being unloved, unwanted, uncared for, and more are done. That’s how I felt then, but not how I have to feel now. And I can choose forgiveness. I can choose to forgive the crimes against me as a child. I can let go and give those issues to God because he spared me from so much even then and he spares me every day. Because although my earthly parents made me feel all the un-‘s, God provides the perfect love, the perfect grace and mercy, he provides the unconditional support and favor, he alone provides all that I need, or needed when I was a child. He was there every step of the way, shielding my heart, mind and body from all the terrors that could’ve been. He definitely delivered me from all the terrors that were.

So today, I am relinquishing all of the unforgiveness that I have harbored. I’m choosing forgiveness today and every day forward because I no longer want to hurt and be hurt by past transgressions. I’m done with it. I give it all to God to help me heal and be better tomorrow than I was today. I release all the un-‘s and wish to see all the possibilities of the “I am…”.

Dad, I forgive you for being less than what I expected and needed. I forgive you and release all of my hurt. Rest in heaven among the angels and be at peace.

Mom, I forgive you for not being all I needed and wanted in a mother. I forgive you for the hurt and pain you’ve caused. I choose to release all of my pent up anger and frustration and choose to rely on God for guidance about how to help you see God’s grace and mercy in your life. I look forward to the healing I will feel in this.

Sincerely yours,

The Repressed Peach

Moms and daughters.

I try to be a good daughter, I really do, but my mother makes it so hard to be around her sometimes. She is difficult, anxious, complains a lot, mumbles, doesn’t communicate well or choose her words wisely, she’s too loud, she’s discourteous, she makes assumptions, she’s often rude and judgmental of others, she’s just a mess all around.

But, I help. I try to help soften her edges. I talk quietly, or at a tone lower than usual, hoping she’ll catch on. I try and remain calm so she reflects my energy. I try to speak kindly and ask questions. I try to have conversation with her that doesn’t make her fly off on some wild tangent that makes her loud, furious, and out of control. I work to make sure her needs are anticipated when out to eat so she doesn’t speak rudely to the wait staff because of her insanely high expectations that can never be met. I try and help her find the words she needs when her mind is buzzing in twelve directions and she can’t utter a coherent sentence. I try and help her find confidence and comfort where I can. But for some reason she doesn’t soften, she doesn’t appreciate efforts to add value and wellness to her life. She doesn’t see kindness in action, she listens for negativity and provocation.

Since I’ve been visiting this week, I’ve cooked several meals. I’ve even bought some of the groceries for those meals. I’ve done countless loads of dishes. Deep cleaned the kitchen. I’ve cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom. I’ve swept, dusted, washed walls, scrubbed mirrors, and hung pictures throughout her home. I tried to fix a minor plumbing issue. I’ve washed off the driveway. I’ve rearranged a bedroom. I’ve manipulated her tiny ferocious beasts with treats so they don’t bite me or my son (she has three Yorkies that are rather out of control). I’ve tidied up here and there as I see something, but have been careful not to be rude or off putting. I’ve yet to hear a thank you or a word/gesture of appreciation. I’ve ensured that I’ve picked up after myself and my son well so that nobody else would have to. I’ve also organized her mail that was spread throughout the house in various areas (counter top, kitchen, under baskets, in a craft basket, shoved in a bag, etc). I’ve sorted her bills so she knows what she has to pay. I’ve helped her develop business cards for this side hustle she’s got going on that I don’t think will profit much but I’m glad she’s doing something creative and positive. She might prove me wrong and make a killing on these things (homemade mumus and hair fascinators), but we shall see. I’ve helped her set up a financial tracking account through a website so she can track profits and expenses for her new hobby. I’ve also spent time with my son, grandmother, nephews, niece, sister, and sister in-law while my mom worked and then communicated with her all day about what’s happening while she’s away. Seriously, what more could a daughter do to help?

Yet, I’m a mean hater for saying the homemade mumus are not my style or something I’m into and that wearing flowers in my hair while I wear jeans and T-shirt’s isn’t my thing either. Not my style. And that’s ok. But it isn’t you see? I have to be excited about what she wants me excited about for her or nothing else matters. It’s infuriating. I can’t just be honest, yet kind without being talked at and nearly yelled at for being a “hater”. It’s so damn dumb. After all else I’ve done just in this week alone, I’m terrible for not loving her handiwork for myself. I love that she’s being creative. I love she’s trying to develop a talent. I love she’s finding herself curious and entertained. I love she’s busy being productive. I truly do. I’m just too practical to want to buy things I won’t wear or don’t like. And I’ve said all of this, yet all she hears is “I don’t like it”.

This is the thing: I’ve only ever wanted a healthy, happy, mutually beneficial relationship with my mother. I’ve never wanted to be a leech or be her co-dependent other. I want her happy on her own and in her own right, and within reason. We can’t expect happiness to just manifest without any work though, so I want her to take responsibility for her wellness and seek support through appropriate channels (therapy, exercise classes, etc). I want her to live a good life full of nice enough things, money in the bank, friends in her phone list, and family who are well and engage with her as typical, healthy families would. Wellness is a huge thing right now. She’s very unhealthy in many ways and she’s “doing things about it” but only gets more pills to swallow. She’s up to 11 different meds and recently thought she was in the early stages of Parkinson’s because she has bradykinesia (hand shaking) but wasn’t told that by her doc, she looked it up on the Google and diagnosed herself with this. She’s a smoker. She has kidney issues. She doesn’t exercise. She doesn’t do anything to promote wellness or health in her body or mind. She’s in a constant state of anxiety and stress which is self induced, mostly. She’s lived a hard life as an adult, she’s made those choices herself though. Jumped from one unhealthy relationship to another, chose drugs and alcohol, got pregnant as a teen, dropped out of high school, moved away from her loving family, moved across the country with three small children and no money or job… she’s chosen this life. And she still chooses it. She’s making life hard for herself on purpose or something. I will never understand. But I will continue to do what I can to try and persuade her to live a better life. Live an easier life for no other reason than she can.

It’s hard watching someone you want to connect with and love spend so much precious time wasting it with such negativity and angst. It’s so sad and heartbreaking. When she does what will her legacy be? What will she have left behind for others to remember or see? What mark has she made on the world that will be remembered for years to come long after she’s passed? I have yet to figure that out exactly, but I fear it might be sadness and hurt.

She has time to turn all this around. She has time to make right her wrongs and choose life, love, and wellness. She just has to want it and then do something about it. I have to pray she sees her options and finds her way through this stage. She’s lived too long to continue fighting against obstacles that aren’t there or those she’s created.

Unlike my dad and my step dad who are both gone and there’s no hope for a different relationship, my mom is here and I have to hope she will choose wellness one day so we can have a better, happier, healthier relationship for the remainder of her life. 🙏🏼

The Repressed Peach

Chosen

Thank you to all the people who have chosen me in my life.

From my first boyfriend who gave me all of our many firsts to my ex-husband who at least chose me for a time at least I was chosen and wanted at some point in my life by someone. Someone who wanted me and chose to commit to me and building a life with me for whatever time we had.

I don’t know if I will ever have that again with anyone so I can’t help but be grateful for the times I was chosen as a partner as someone desirable to have around. Whatever my flaws or features, I was wanted.

The callous that’s been protecting my heart for so long is falling away. Just as I prayed it would. And as it falls further and further away there’s a lot of pain and sadness. Feelings I haven’t allowed myself to feel and thoughts I haven’t allowed myself to think. Now they come crashing in like a damn tsunami. Such it is.

I’m sad sometimes. I am scared sometimes. But I’m always alone. I want a relationship with someone who chooses me every day. I want flowers for no reason. I want birthday presents from the one who loves me. I want vacations and date nights. I want a life partner who will walk alongside me and encourage me in our journey. I want to wake up and feel the warmth of his body in my bed. I want to feel his strong body next to mine. I want to watch him sleep and be the first thing he sees when he wakes.

One day, maybe I will be blessed with a loving, long-lasting, blessed by God relationship where I will feel wholly accepted, deeply loved, and chosen. And I will choose him. Every day. Every moment. For all of my remaining breaths and beyond, I will choose my partner and invest in us with every action, thought, and dream. Just as I would hope for him to do the same for us. One day, I want to forget what it felt like to feel alone, scared and sad. I want to forget the feelings but hold dearly to the lessons so as to never feel this way again. I want to build with someone. I want to build down, not out, not up, but down deep… grow roots and find water, let the tendrils of love sink deep and far into the souls we share and interweave so firmly as to never be broken or unbound. I want the depth of unconditional love for my partner, similar to that love of a child; deep, unbreakable, unconditional, altruistic, peaceful, wholesome love that restores faith, breeds hope, and is strong enough to endure growing pains and struggle that is innate to all relationships.

I will lift my eyes to God and rely on Him and his timing to make this a reality. He knows the needs of my heart and he will deliver in his own time and him own way. I will keep dreaming and hoping for the day when He answers. ❤️🙏🏼

Prayerfully,

The Repressed Peach