I didn’t plan to blog today, I didn’t know how I will feel today, I just wished I could go through this day as normally as possible.
My brother of blessed memory was born on the 6th of June 1981.
There are days his memory drives me with so much zeal to do my best for the foundation and my life in general. He wished me and the boys so so much. I loved him to my marrow and oh he went through so so much.
And so today and also the day he died (August 2), are those days when his memory drains that zeal. I am writing hoping to feel better after I publish. Writing is cathartic to me.
To all those who go through such moments in their lives, this too shall come to pass. I don’t even know how to look or talk to mum today. She celebrated his last & 33rd birthday with him on the 6/6/2014 in Boston.
Ah, Healing it seems to me is a never ending journey…I am immortalizing this day by making a new I’d since forgetting the other one in Dakar
Thank you for reading and having a kind thought for me especially on this day
Hello world, My Biological clock is ticking (turn 38 next week by Grace); and peace is my number one top priority at all times now. I admit to having several broken pieces in my life – heck still do so much and they sometimes just poke up and make me bawl my eyes out all over again. I was thus very excited to pick up this other soulful memoir by Iyanla Vanzant one of my all time favorite – No nonsense authors. I mean, I cried again when I read one of her other power books titled Yesterday I Cried – Here, you can find my review of that one. I have had it for almost two years now but I guess it wasn’t time for a review. I even mentioned the book in my own personal journey touncovering the source of my peace.
When I look at my notes from the book, I can share some of the most poignant I made:
…I didn’t know anything about rebound relationships. I didn’t know that it takes a respectable amount of time for one person to get over another person and come to a place of completion… (Neither did I and it’s barely 3 months I finally knew and got there);
…One powerful lesson I learned from him was that just because a man is a good man, it does not mean that he knows how to be a good partner ( my comment on that note says it all: woah, similar to what l wrote about mine);
When two broken people bring their broken pieces together, chances are they will never become a whole anything. (very high chances I think too);
Unworthiness always puts you in debt to anyone and everyone who shows you the slightest degree of attention or love or energy. Eventually, in this form of bankrupt relationship, your benefactors will demand or expect more than you are able or willing to give. This is the precise moment they will choose to call in the loan; (I can relate 99.99%);
When you do not believe that who you are and what you do is good enough, that message will contaminate everything you do. When doubt is present in your consciousness it indicates a much more profound problem. It is a story that we tell ourselves about who we are and what we do and do not deserve in life. Your personal lie is a function of all of the broken pieces of your puzzle—all of the elements of your history, all of your experiences, all that you have been taught about yourself merging with all that you have made up about yourself.
And now three lessons she shared which helped her find peace amidst all those broken pieces
Until and unless you know that you are enough just the way you are, you will always be driven to look for more. Knowing that you are enough is a function of consciousness. Your enough-ness develops in direct proportion to the relationship you have with your true identity. Until you wholeheartedly believe in your own worth, in spite your of accomplishments and possessions, there will be a void in your Spirit. I had more than a void. (here is my comment: this is what l wanted);
When you are starting your life over, with a new sense of self, who you once were is going to challenge you. Who you once were is going to dangle old carrots, old wounds and issues, in front of your face. When that happens, you will be tempted to revert to old feelings, old patterns of thought, and old patterns of behavior. When, however, you have made up your mind that the old you is dead and buried, when you have embraced a certain level of clarity about who you are and are not, as well as who you are choosing to be, you have a different response;
“When you can tell the story and it doesn’t bring up any pain, you know it is healed.” (I got there Amen)
This really is the best way I can review this book – I broke down again so sourly two days ago, and bawled myself to instant sleep just where I was – I got up and with so much unconditional love and support – I decided to stick by the new response to ME and my Life. A big gratitude among others to Iyanla Vanzant and memoirs of hers like this one. I can’t rate this book any less than a 5/5: written in such down to earth english – so personal – so fine to read without a break.
About the Author
There isn’t anything I can say about Iyanla which isn’t everywhere and I mean including on O. here is a snipet from her website:
“What I have learned from all of the difficulties in my own life is that human beings have very thick skin. I call that skin, spirit, our Highest Most Powerful self. Spirit is the key to everything we desire. It is our weather-proofing, our Teflon, our line of credit that assures if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day; there will be a miraculous payoff.”
Visit herwebsite and there you’ll find all the links you need to that great woman described as: ” one who embodies a no-nonsense approach in her message and teaching style. Outspoken, fiery, transparent, truthful, and sage-like”.
This is surely a one of its kind post I admit. Come to think of me an African, paying honour to dogs? A friend of mine out here will simply say that the world is now turned upside down!
And with this introduction, I wanna pay hommage to three gorgeous dogs. Two of them I have never met, two of them I’ll never meet (because they are dead), and one of them I am hoping to someday meet while visiting a dear lady friend of mine.
So here is my hommage to this trio, starting with Tiro:
When I was a kid, we had a pet called Tiro. My brother and I so loved him, he was known as our pet. He lived in a cage (not the more too often stray african ones), ate some good bones, and enjoyed our company as much! One day, I now think he was sick and probably dying, my father bundled him and up we went to a far away beach. There, Tiro was abandoned. I’ll rather just wanna think he was sick and dying. I was still young then to understand the type of relationship one could have with a dog. Fortunately, I have met some blogger friends through whom I have come to learn much more about these gorgeous animal friends we could have.
Lucy the miss who just turned one
When you have a pet with whom you share the same birthday, then I think that pet could only but be a blessing. Poo and pee aside, the love will go beyond several conventions. My lady over at bravely bipolar, has found some very very special love in her cuddle called Lucy. She shares the adventures of Lucy and herself in some of her posts, and only by closely looking at Lucy’s picture, we can understand how she can only be love and peace. I couldn’t really understand the attachment people out here in the East, had to their pets. But the more I learnt, the more dogs and dog owners I met, the more I came to realise how painful their death could be. So painful especially if they died in your arms like Alaina’s Lady did a short while ago.
Al’s fair Lady, gave up her breathe just like that
I just spoke with Lady’s mama Alaina, and she still tells me how much she misses her fair Lady. She told me that 5 years ago before they adopted Lady, she a previously cat person, could never guess the relationship that was possible with a dog. I also have several other friends who have told me that their dogs are their life savers and source of more joy than otherwise.
Hmm, could human beings have such a relationship with dogs? Is it true we are also social animals or do we tend to forget that in our treatment of other animals? Could we love or respect others ‘unconditionally’ without prejudice as to race, religion and ‘rackets’?
Dear gentle readers and followers, I am an open spirit person and decided to learn what it was about dogs that led people especially in the west, to have and treasure them.
I read it named Bridgewater State Hospital but from the you tube clip ( published 15/02/2014) I watched and an earlier abc Nightline report ( published 31/03/2014) , it definitely is a prison (well maybe mild security?). You know the type where you conclude that so called psychiatric beds are actually cells and restrain beds? What they claim to be Intensive treament units are actually ‘punisment isolation cells? That particular one has had its horror stories on focus for over 20 years – but well who gives a damn?
I can only guess my brother was a good patient/criminal? I don’t know which one – oh the ‘goo al system’. Don’t ask me what he did to find himself there. I wasn’t there but just heard that he was accused by the police of assaulting an officer. My kid sister who was present out there told me they had said on taking him away that they thought he could become a danger to himself or others. Is this what civil commitment is about out there? I am still so shaggily ignorant.
He was very ill at that point and my mum had flown out there to try to bring him back home. He was an adult however, and had some US status so couldn’t be brought back against his will. Initially, he agreed to come back home and I was assigned to zoom to and from Brussels airways co to purchase the air tickets.
It was then that he started changing his mind and became very agitated. And oh no, he dared dial 911 to come to his aid and convince mum to leave him alone. He f… called them twice on the same day? The second call earned him an arrest, handcuffs and some time in that infamous Bridgewater. The first call, the family had managed to sooth the officers, but the second call a few hours later – meant danger to them.
Maybe his ‘obedience’ at Badwater (whatever), saved him then because some other parents have been less fortunate. The parents of the 23 year old Joshua in the above you tube clip, are still grieving and pursuing a civil claim which may outlive them too. Of course the District Attorney or whomever, claims there isn’t sufficient evidence to bring an action. Oh, all but one of those guards involved in that horrific incident still work there!
I now share with you a desperate mother’s deaf pleas to that ‘almighty system’. Of course I talk of my mother, Gabriel’s mother who up till date never heard from them. I am sorry, so sorry and sad for my mum:
“Bibiana Mbuh Taku
Tel # 237 77 78 56 44
March 17, 2010
Bridge Water State Hospital
Lisa Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent of Patient Services
Gabriel’s attorney –
Subject: Concerns about the health and life of my son: Gabriel Bebonbechem
I am the mother of Gabriel Bebonbechem who was brought to your institution for “evaluation to stand trial” by the legal services of your State.
I wish to state here that my son is a known epileptic and has been on treatment for some mental problems and epilepsy under the supervision/monitoring of Lynn Community Health Center.
Before he was charged to court on grounds of assault, I was in the process of taking him back home for family support and evaluation before we would decide on when he would be deemed fit to stay on his own and take care of himself while carrying out activities that would give him hopes, a future and independence.
This did not happen because the decision seemed to have been too abrupt and this resulted in a crisis that led him to try to recuperate his traveling documents that he had willingly given to his uncle, hence the charge brought against him.
What worries me right now is the fact that he seems to be deteriorating as per the account that I have received through your weekly report. The fact that my son who was brought to your institution looking clean and cut is now refusing to bathe worries me.
The worse part of the report is that he has requested for the same drug that was reported to have killed Michael Jackson!!!!. I wish to inform you that while on some antidepressants he may have suicidal tendencies as I observed some times ago.
Finally and most importantly, the last psychological report that was requested by his primary health care practitioner, Mr. Daniel Gross, suggested a referral to a neurologist. I had confirmed with Mr. Daniel Gross that I will get him to see a neurologist and in fact there was one on standby to get him from the airport when the unfortunate incident foiled the trip. Mr. Daniel Gross also informed me that irrespective of my commitment to have him see a neurologist in Cameroon, he will ensure he gets the referral upon his return.
I am therefore, appealing to your services to ensure that he is not put on medication that may lead to side effects that could make him to have suicidal tendencies or any other such serious side effects and above all to ensure that the follow-up on his treatment is assured, namely, to see a neurologist as per the December 2009 psychological appraisal that was endorsed by his primary care giver and his family.
I look forward to hear from you and to be assured of my son’s health situation and safety.
Ha, she even received a summon to appear in the court case brought against my brother thereafter: that calls for another post, I just can’t continue.
Dear gentle readers and followers, I know of Bridgewater not only because I researched about it, but because my brother’s violent refusal to talk about it made me see it was a harrowing episode for him. You really need to be beware of those “State Hospitals” or whatever meds they put you on. If you end up being reduced to calling meds, don’t say you weren’t informed. All cases are different and all I know is my brother’s.
I think this youtube trailer by my favorite granny in this blogosphere, tells it best. Visit her blog, I am amazed and I can’t imagine any senior citizen in Cameroon and in her shoes, keeping such a blog.
My Modest Review: Unconditional Love all the way through Schrizophrenia, Suicide and suffering
What do we really know about a mental illness like Schrizophrenia? How does a mother bring forth a healthy boy, see him surf and survive so fine, watch him go into military training only to hear of a sucide attempt in that very camp? In an era when the taboo, stigma and haphazards of psychiatry were ever rampant than currently, talking of the 80s’, we can only but appreciate such an honest and heartbreaking account of the mother of such a victim. Yes, every mother of a son called David, (like myself), nurtues hope of a brave shepherd boy who can grow up and face any Goliath in life and why not become a king?. It was painful for Jill, hopeless and helpless at some point and now she not only lost David but eventually Michael her husband, partner and best friend. Although this is David’s story, we see the usual struggle of care givers. To love or not to love the sufferer unconditionally? Jill did this twice. Once it was David with Schriozophrenia and much later, it was Michael with Alzhemier. To make matters more morose, David joint the rangs of those unfortunate souls whose suicidal ideation got the better part of them. To give this story any less than a 5, will make me feel guilty of lack of emotions. Emotions to emphatize especially being a former care giver to a lone brother diagnosed and lost to bipolar and co, and as a mentally challenged myself. I hope anyone who brings to read this story, gets to that unconditional love which kept Jill then and still does now, as she shares her pale but brave tales with the world.
Well, she wrote with her real name this time around. I just discovered on her blog that ‘David’s’ real name is Doron and her husband’s is Alec. All this matters not, but I just mention anyway. Granny never included a single picture in there but I found one of hers and one of her son (see above).
Now over to granny: Jill Sadowsky was born in South Africa and has been living in israel since 1963. She has been writing since her son contracted paranoid schizophrenia.
is a multiple award winner and her works have been featured in distinguished journals. She is a sought after speaker on brain health/illneses especially given her experience as a care giver of two loved ones lost to Schrizophrenia and Alzehmier.
Dear gentle readers and followers, if people like granny did not share their first hand accounts of battling mental illness and coping with the loss of their loved ones, we would still only be at the mercy of ‘psychiatry’, ‘magic’, ‘mystery’, ‘religion’ and all. Maybe you think otherwise?
I came across this post Dealing with grieffrom a dear Granny’s blog. She is the author of the last memoir I just finished intitled David’s Story. Yeah well one more of those very pale tales, I hope I bring myself to do a review eventually. I admire Granny’s fortitude, I identify with PAIN. There are lots of things we all simply can’t understand and yet have to deal with. Lets read on and hopefully reflect more. I know it helps to grieve it out, supressing or medicating grief is not the best option for me.
By now, many who know me will agree how therapeutic writing is for me. I share with you the preface of the book I have by the most disastrous of circumstances, been pushed to write. I will do so and I will dedicate each frank from the sale of this book to my Mental Health Advocacy.
I never imagined it will end up this way. For some reason I still can’t tell, I thought 33 was a magic number. I thought he will cross it and make it. Well, he almost did until that fateful August 02, 2014. My world was once more battered.
I had not yet finished coming to terms with the tsunamis caused by the publication in February of my own memoir. Indeed, in that book, this is what I wrote about my siblings: “ To my siblings, we grew up very close but life’s twists and turns dealt its blow. You always said I was the toughest of us four and that helped to dissuade me from the suicide thoughts. I had to wear the smile all the time and look for the solutions to our problems though mine almost knocked me off. “
And this was specifically about my brother: “… my father literally ignored my siblings, especially my elder sister and my kid brother, and I hurt most for the latter who so badly wanted to be with his daddy, or even have daddy wink at him – to no avail – and who had too often ended up hiding and crying behind our mother’s skirts.
My brother would surely one day tell his own story and the role this absence of a ‘father’ played in the depression he eventually suffered for a couple of years.” Alas, he is gone with that story but I will do my best to tell some of it as I lived it rightly or wrongly.
So what happened some may ask? Simply put, we didn’t know much at the time. I remember the day my brother was born. I was two years old. My Cousin who had gone with mum to the hospital returned shouting; ‘mami don born’ (Meaning, mama has put to birth). I thought I understood burn and I screamed; ‘mami don burn for fire? (Wondering if she had been burnt). I, even at two, was subconsciously already scared of anything bad happening to my mother.
Sad indeed, that that exclamation is somehow replaying itself today. Oh my poor mother, whose heart was broken on this day. She brought him into this world, she got the news first of his demise, and now, she is indeed ‘burnt’.
My brother was a genius until events started unfolding and then he ended up a simpleton. An aunt often joked that his head was a computer needing downloading.
I write for myself and surely for my brother. I think I know why caged birds sing too (as Maya Angelou titled her first book). I want to share my brother’s journey and with that, my grief and any my siblings will want to share. It’s a blow, a shock, a tsunamis. I don’t want to fathom my mother’s grief.
I hope someday, she bears to live with this loss. Writing is a therapy for me and in such hours when sleep obviously ‘abandons’ me (like it already often does), I can only write and write some more.
May my mother’s God whom she serves ever so faithfully, and whom my brother always called on to bless us all ‘abundantly’ (he loved adding that, even in church he will respond, peace in abundance), be ever present. I hum the song: I need thee every hour…
I will publish this book maybe by November, but I sure will and I know I can count on you all to support me in this ‘painful but worthy journey’.
I wasn’ expecting a visitor at such a late hour! Oh no, I wasn’t expecting that many phone calls either. I have trouble sleeping sometimes, but when I fall asleep, I sleep off like a log for as long as it lasts. So when I got up to go to the Loo at 5 am and didn’t look immediately at my phone as I normally do, I felt suspicious of that new attitude. Maybe it was saving me from piercing my apartment with the kind of scream I later unleashed?
You all know this fellow needs no invitation. You all know he cares not about a phone call. Indeed, he doesn’t ask his host or their family if they are prepared for him. He is self sufficient. I think he knows the might of his stink.
It is so hard for me to write this post, but I must do it so as stay in control of my trembling. This fellow has visited me before. He robbed me of the only daughter I would have had. She was just a day old. Now he stops by again, robbing me of the one person I fought physically and emotionally for other than myself. Yes you can all guess, I mean my brother. The two posts on him can be refreshed here and here.
I equally once went to a funeral and I got this poem, an extract of which I will reproduce here while acknowledging the source:
(Poem written by Mary O’Higgins-Mooney, April 2014) She died that same April and it was at her funeral that I first witnessed a cremation ceremony. I don’t know why I kept to the poem and had even since toyed with the idea of writing mine.
“Welcome the foreign, the unknown; Try not to reckon or to judge;Alert the eyes and open ears;To all that’s mystic, marvel, new
The furrowed brow, the wrinkled skin; A demonstration of within; But such is life and so is death; ‘Twere never one escaped it yet”
I grieve for my mum above all. My brother is gone after spending almost half of his life with several ailments raging from Bi-Polar, eating disorders, Schizo… and what else. I am struggling to keep ahead of my issues too. They won’t get me because I am so determined to fight them. The triggers, the stigma, the meds and their ugly side effects and all.
Until my own day dawns, I will keep on… thanks for all the condolence wishes I will get. This week is a week of mourning, so no posts and hope you understand.
My thrilling life as a single mum, author, coach, mental health advocate & CBT Therapist
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