6:45 am: It just happened and I didn’t have the heart to take her picture nor see where she’s being hurried or taken too. The boys are going to do that.
I cried with Gaby my last son, David who seemed to love her most, and on whose bed she died, just hugged me so tight. I hope he processes that too.
We are having a family meeting shortly, and oh Ella will be past tense now.
I grieve by reading and writing, so what else can I do now?
We had Ella for exactly 2 years+few days, my heart aches, I just got her a tray of eggs two days ago and I saw her this morning as ran to David’s bed, but she had poo and maybe thrown up and something just told me this is it. I was called to see her fretting and throwing up some more, and in no time she was gone.
Whenever you are attached to a person or pet (these especially who love you unconditionally), their death is like a part of you paralysed.
Oh life and love and all these emotions which only last but for a fleeting…
Bye bye Ella, for all the love and joy and everything in between…we’ll be missing you…
Hence I check out my reaction with care, thank you Mahatma
Dear ex, know it for good
Ain’t got no time to hate
You can blackmail forever
I wouldn’t live on forever
Ain’t wasting time to hate
The buttons you so pushed
When you carelessly rode
My lift up, down and round
Finally did the unthinkable
The lift broke down for real
And yet, life has to go on
Ain’t got no time to hate
Me got my lift rebuilt
Learned to service it good
No more careless riders allowed
Ain’t got no time to hate
You can disown dem all you want
You ain’t God and will never be
Me got so much I gotta do
For myself and a distance too
Do whate’r you wish with you
Pray and work harder is what I do
Ain’t got no time to hate
(C) 2018 Marie Abanga
p.s: Wow, and I mean wow…it’s been a long long while I wrote a poem, this should be the first I am writing for publishing in 2018. I mean I have moved from a searching soul to a serene soul and was getting ready to publish my serene soul collection by December, and although this poem is seemingly serene, the circumstances surrounding its composing were a bit disturbing. In a nut shell, x threatened by sms to disown sons because they refused to go with his ‘erratic plans’ this summer. He seems to have stood by his word and followed up saying he ain’t chipping a dime for their back to school. Well, thanks for the pain and inspiration – am not wasting any energy fighting – got my boys already with me and he ain’t God. So, to all in my shoes or anything similar, don’t give in to hate, that’ll eat you up…bring yourself to grieve and then steam it off…don’t give them the luxury of thinking they got you psychologically and emotionally again – Amen
I got only time for merry
pps: 27/08/18 Update deserved because this is a testimony that love conquers all. The above saga played out in July and it took me 3 weeks to deal and heal and write that poem for closure. I refused to fight back in human ways, my support system was active, and I let it go. And just on this day when this scheduled poem was published, I receive what I cal a “peace truce phone call”. The balance of the kids fees and needs for the year has been paid. I looked up to the Heavens and said a silent prayer of gratitude. Ain’t got no time to hate and bear any grudges indeed. Sometimes the best fighting is done on your knees and with tears…all is well that ends well
How do I look in that picture at first glance? Anyway, that was a couple of hours to yet another heartbreaking breakup. I have had one too many in my life and to be candid, I have instigated 99.97% of them.
Why am I even writing this post and washing such linen in public? Well, because as a psychologist and CBT Therapist, I have worked with many who have been through very tough times before and after a breakup.
It is one of those taboo topics marred with the ego’s looming shame, guilt and suck for revenge. Needless saying what some have or will do to supposedly get even after a breakup.
So, how do I feel especially after once again instigating a breakup? I feel like a pity party wouldn’t even do me justice. And yet, it takes commensurate courage to instigate a breakup and do it civil like you guys were having any other conversation. This breakup ha, I prayed for the how to go about it for an entire month. I know others who will just walk away, change numbers or just spit it out and fume it all downing same with whatever can numb the hurt and feelings.
To add salt to injury, it’s not like there is any prospect or plan moving on. Nope, am letting my spirit flow even if right now I can shrink if spoken to by a man.
Let me be raw here, this is my life’s purpose. This is also a better healing mechanism for me than tears and trash. Indeed, an RA mini flare up couldn’t be avoided and I was literally carried back home and massaged.
It still hurts today and am pampering myself some. I believe in the adage ‘Therapist heal thyself’, and writing is one of those healing balms.
I once murmured to a friend that it sometimes was tough being the ‘Go to Person’, because you could as well end up not having your own ‘Go to Person’. My God and my soul are my own ‘Go tos’ and am not doubting them.
And so, to you who can identify with this post in any and either way, know you are not alone. Tough times never last but tough people do.
I hate breakups and if there was a vaccine against them or some magic pill to counter their side effects, I would have gone for those.
But helas, damage control is what I focus on, learning lessons, counting blessings, seeing prospects, not burning bridges are what I look out and forward to. My mental health being of primordial here.
I chose peace over conflict and think I have finally won over my ex husband. The same yesterday, he and I had a very peaceful and dare I say respectful discussion, and for all these milestones I am very grateful.
Any thoughts about breakups to share in the comments anyone?
We are approaching the weekend and my ever contemplative and searching soul just thought about what my past has or is still doing to me. I then thought to share it with us all here and maybe inspire others to do their own introspection.
Ok let’s go.
1) Did my past cause me so much pain to make me despise lots of it? YES. I have admitted my role in all the mess of my past and tried to deal with them in different ways all with a bid to heal. Now, we all know the wise saying about not focussing so much on your past to let it influence your present right? Well I dare argue that wisdom so so easier said than done… There are many including myself who have numerous times over been both physical and mental victims – hostage of their pasts. Some pasts have been know to impact so badly our present circumstances so much that the future is completely blurred and unfathomable… but then next;
2) Am I so ashamed of my past to talk about it or share it? Me, NO. When I realized how much shame of my past was killing me slowly and almost got me to drive a knife in, I decided, (even if implementing that took a few years) to deal with that shame and talk about that past through any medium available. For me, it was also a way to fight stigma. The stigma associated with being a ‘loser, a pimp, an addict, a mentally challenged or ill, etc etc’ and who knows whom will be helped by my story right? ok, and so what now;
3) What has facing my past and pain and sharing done? Oh my, the big big positives negate the tiny setbacks or few hate trolls. I even got a national award for my very first memoir. I have become much more self-empowered and aware, so full of gratitude, so conscious of Amazing Grace, so full of faith, oh so determined as a women’s rights and mental health advocate.I hardly turn down any invitation to talk about my past, share my lessons and journey and yes on my own platforms there is no hiding where I come from… I have become one of those brands you don’t mess around with and I am at peace with this ME… Who knows what or where I would have been had I not made that conscious, painful and challenging decision to deal with and heal from my past; and so in conclusion;
Today, I confidently answer that my past has not defined me but it has refined me – it has helped me to embrace self-improvement, self-love, self-appreciation, self-worth and oh my self-esteem is better than ever. This has been a long journey and actually an ongoing one… But, am better equipped and am using that past and pain as solid foundations from which to springboard to greater heights in all faith, hope and charity.
And you…??? Please share cause you really never know who can be helped by your comment
This was the question I was ‘foolishly’ or maybe ‘highly unrealistically’ expecting to be answered in this all too human and yet piercing memoir.
I began reading this memoir by carefully studying the cover picture. I concluded the two chubby innocent girls on the front cover were Martha Graham-Waldon (MGW) to the left and her dearest sister Kathy Graham (KG) to the right. While MGW looked at the camera, KG looked more closely into the gaze of the pet birds they carried. I noticed her shirt lifted up a little and showed her tummy and yet that wasn’t a problem for the photographer. Yet, some of you may agree with me that in some cultures, keeping birds for pets, or not being properly tucked up be you kids, is simply not NORMAL.
This memoir did more to me than just help me see how another family just like mine had, faced and dealt with their member’s mental illness. MGW may not know to what extent her memoir will impact some, but it has definitely completely shattered this paradigm of ‘NORMAL’ to me.
Was NORMAL to be the absence of a diagnosis mindful of some signs that something was seemingly going on with KG? Was it now their new NORMAL that something was indeed going on with KG but then they had to ’embrace’ that as is, or ‘pretend’ to still fit in with ‘conventional community’? What about it being NORMAL to sympathize with their mum who suffered a stroke, and yet shy away and stigmatize the Grahams for having a ‘mad member’ in their family?
I am not going on any further, I read this memoir with so much attention to everything because I couldn’t really believe another family, far away in the USA, could go through such shattering trauma and deal with stigma too! I really thought such things happened only in Africa, to families like mine, well in a setting where people died more from ignorance than from Negligence. I don’t know what to make of the ‘medication tradition or pattern out there’. What is NORMAL now? Go after the symptoms? Go after the illness as diagnosed? Go after the person and beat the Shit out of them?
And in the process of it, how do you a close sibling deal and heal with it all? I applaud MGW’s vivid narration of their various exotic and adventurous family vacations and existence before ‘Life happened’. This in my firm opinion as an aggrieved sibling like herself, states the strong case that the ‘lunatic’ the world now sees, had a ‘NORMAL’ life before their mental illness. I am glad and actually obliged to MGW for writing this memoir mindful of her pain. I rate the book a 5/5 because of the ‘intensity of the different subjects covered’. If I could recommend only 3 books for your year end, this will definitely be one of them. If you read carefully and in between, you’ll definitely re-evaluate that word NORMAL.
About the Author
Martha Graham-Waldon is a writer, spiritual entrepreneur and armchair activist who resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her family and a menagerie of pets. Her articles have been published locally, internationally and online. She is a winner of the 2015 Women’s Memoirs contest for a vignette based on her memoir Nothing Like Normal: Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia published by Black Opal Books. A member of the National Association of Memoir Writers, Martha also loves travel, the outdoors, Jazzercise and music.
Hello world, today I want to share with you some reflections on the above. You know I turned 37 yesterday and that makes it seven bonus years already. Why bonus? Read this post…
When I recently wrote a post on Maya Angelou’s advice not to make someone a priority when all you were to them was an option, I equally shared how I tried to only leave that place when I had done a lot to Deal and Heal. In that instance, the greater bulk of the process took me 90 or so minutes. In other cases, that process has taken me years. Some issues are even still outstanding. Gosh, I wasn’t even so aware of Heal and Deal (or the otherway round as the case may apply) until a few years back…
So let’s look at them one after the other:
I found this definition online: tomakehealthy,whole,orsound;restoretohealth;free from ailment…
Heal yourself with love, joy, peace & compassion…
Well, just on it’s own, I think to heal is pretty easy right? The benefits are glaring and em everybody wants a ‘healthy heart’ so they live long right? If it’s physical wounds and stuff of course we can’t stand the awful ordour, or blood gushing and handicap that may arise. So we are prepared to do all it takes, go to whoever it is, to get that wound or ailment healed.
Now when it’s emotional stuff, hmm; psychological stuff, hmm hmm and on we go… The first picture at the top says it all: You can’t heal what you refuse to confront… of course even with that wound you have to look at it…
This one phrase from the various definitions of the word, caught my attention: To takeactionwithrespect to someone or something:
When something is not right, and we want to heal, we have to think of the deal involved…
I titled this post H&D or D&H and you’ll see why now.
There is an issue bugging you, and maybe you just don’t have the energy (be it emotional, psychological etc) to work to heal. You reflect on the deal (used here to mean the worth), and you decide you ain’t ready to go there… I mean a friend once told me they would have loved loving someone, but how it hurts to love and loss. They weren’t prepared to go that way again yet or even ever… they’ve sort of dealt with that issue “for now we may add”, but they have not emabarked on any healing because there’s no big deal…
And that is how I think there are situations where the healing preceded the dealing, while in other scenarios the dealing leads the healing. It may be a choice or a natural process. And yet, it sure takes and deserves time…
A couple of days ago, it took me around 90 mins to D&H an ackward situation, although I still had to brood it over with a few friends into the next day…
Since Sunday, I have embarked on a situation that’s sixteen good years old, to hopefully D&H because that’s the logical approach at this moment. I need to deal with the pain it is inflicting and am ready now more than before. Since I wasn’t the only one involved, it’s good that the other party is ready too. We can thus do some of the dealing together, although the healing is of course an individual machination. And yes I must admit it hurts… I am still crawling on that although it’s getting better by the moment…
What’s holding you back
I once watched an amazing youtube from Ms O’s Life Class
I was touched to say the least. When we don’t H&D or D&H, the pain stays there. It stays and grows, and gains proportion – intensity and much more. I mean the pain starts to Haunt you, then it Hunts you down and then it Hurts you terribly. It could someday become you, your story, your definition. People start saying: who, that angry woman? That jealous woman? That childless woman? That drunkard? That Selfish fellow? you name it…
You’ve gotta want to do that dirty homework of confronting what’s wrong. First you have to identify it, feel it, even embrace it, then deal with it in order to proceed to the healing. Other times, you may have to first position your mind to let go of the saga (heal), forgive yourself and show yourself love and all, then you can deal with it once and for all.
This is not the book I had hoped to review while I travel to the US for the first time. I mean I should be writing exciting stuffs right? But, there is so much pain in me as I travel there. My Brother’s birthday is tomorrow June 6th. He would have been turning 34. Yet, as the sub theme of this Terrie’s bestseller puts it; It Just Looks Like We’re not Hurting.
I have been through much more than I would have loved to go through in the 36 years of my existence. Yet, it sure did look for long like I was not hurting. It sure still looks that way to many, and yes even to some close family members. Notwithstanding my thrilling memoirs, the pain can’t still be seen. It is Black!!!
In my last memoir, I shared in the acknowledgments that 4 main authors were my inspiration in this other healing journey via my keyboard. This is what I said of Terrie’s book Black Pain:
” Really, I first thought the Black referred to Black as in skin colour. I now think it fits the Blackness of Melancholia which could so engross you and really make you pick up a knife like I once did”.
Does it have to get to such a desperate point before help is sought and given? So many questions abound. Here is what Terrie says:
Black Pain identifies emotional pain – She knows because she’s one of them.
Terrie had made it: she had launched her own public relations company with such clients as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran. Yet she was in constant pain, waking up in terror, overeating in search of relief. For thirty years she kept on her game face of success, exhausting herself daily to satisfy her clients’ needs while neglecting her own.
Terrie finally collapsed, staying in bed for days. She had no clue what was wrong or if there was a way out. She had hit rock bottom and she needed and got help.
She learned her problem had a name — depression — and that many suffered from it, limping through their days, hiding their hurt. As she healed, her mission became clear: break the silence of this crippling taboo and help those who suffer.
Some personal takeaways from reading this soulful book
I came across this book on New Year’s Eve in Vienna, and I knew I was going to find myself in several instances in there. I read it like a text book, making notes and preparing myself for when I’ll have to take my Mental Health Advocacy to the next level. I share some below:
Page 2: “People Should Understand that depression is not an attitude problem. It’s not a character weakness, it’s not a spiritual weakness. It may reflect in those things, but depression is related to changes in the brain, and what people should know is that you just can’t snap out if”. David Satcher, MD, PHD, Former Surgeon General and Director…
Page 31/32: “I’m not your Superwoman – Overworked, Undervalued, and Under Pressure. I was known for holding it together for everyone. Always worried about whether other people were over their limit, stressed or overburdened. But when it came to myself I had no mercy”.
Page 38: Your silence won’t protect you. Trauma doesn’t go away just because you push it to the back of your mind. Not acknowledging trauma is one of the most common causes of depression. The truth is, we’re not to blame, shame won’t help us, and we’re not all powerful.
Page 109: We were conditioned from very early on to divorce ourselves from our feelings. You had to deal silently with the stress that was a constant part of growing up. No one ever talked about the pain, the Trauma…
Page 127: If we want to deal effectively with depression, we have to go right to where it starts: we have to go right to childhood. Unless we take children more seriously as fully human beings, (that means having them at the table with us!) – and take the issues that trouble them just as seriously – we are dooming them to repeat the worst pains of our own lives.
Page 295: We heal by Sharing our stories, our struggles, our victories
It is only then that we can conclude that we’re having Real Talk – The type you have when there’s nowhere to go but up.
As a conclusion
I am most obliged to Terrie for puttling it all in that book. She shares her innermost struggles, and she says even her own family never knew about them until she published an article. Would they have believed her before she crashed? How can I give this book any less than a 5? Such inspire me to the core, such motivate me without measure. I am grateful for my healing journey and the opportunity to help several others too.
Do yourself a favour and check this book out especially if you or some one dear to you is hurting.
Terrie’s community outreach and mental health advocacy work began with her book, Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens. Her latest book, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, recounts her personal struggles with depression and the impact the stigma of mental illnesses has, particularly on the African-American community.
Who says you can’t talk about it and still thrive on?
Hello world, my week is not starting off as planned, and sometimes I think of my life as a shop. I once sold in a shop my mum owned at some point, and I remember opening the shop each morning not knowing which type of customers I was going to have to deal with that day. There are different types of customers as you all know, and customer relations is a feat of its own.
My Personal Shop this weekend
It was a weekend with lots of travelling and interludes. I was in Spain since Wednesday for a workshop, and yes I registered a big appointment from an initial disappointment. On Saturday morning, we left the village of Onati for an hour and plus bus ride to the city of Bilbao, ahead of our flights back. The morning was already taking off on a deep low, because my first son was graduating from primary (elementary) school, and my current status as a Transcontinetal Mother hit me hard. I am glad my dearest mum attended his ceremony and kept me up to date on whatsapp. I’ll never be grateful enough to my best heroine and Prodigal Mother. I cried some, but they were more for joy – em mixed to be honest. Luckily I had some friends to be chatting with along the line and I must thank especially June my Jamaican Heroine for being available on whatsapp that whole morning.
The trip back to Brussels took at least 8 good hours because take off for Madrid was at noon, stop over 1 hour, then late departure, then arrival in Brussels at 6 pm. My dear Ss Hero was at the airport to pick me up. Simply touching! I was doing much better by then, better enough to accept an invitation to finally go and check out Brussels By Night!!!
Crying as hard as I Danced
After two hours of serious dancing, I knew my body and feet had kept enough score. I had to leave. Although impulse and compulsion are still ‘gears in my ‘life’s car’, ‘invisible tags on my personal shop window’, I am learning to read the ‘writings on the wall’. However, back home, payback started early. My feet were sort of swollen and a foot bath was imperative.
Sunday saw me groggy and I fought myself out of bed and limped around doing what had to be done, including packing and laundry. The weather didn’t help, it rained cats and whoever… I couldn’t even go to my friend’s. There was at least very good news too, my friend Pammy who had lost her voice over two months ago, started talking again and I heard her on phone. Then I got a call from someone I was expecting something from. I was told it wasn’t going to be. I first tried not to cry. Talked with another friend who just happened to call me shortly thereafter. He cheered me on. But his cheer just swelled my pain. The tears started pouring like the rain outside. I wish I could do a head bath this time around!!! When my friend asked why I was crying so hard, hell I didn’t know!!!
This is how my moods can cycle in one single day. At least I have come to inevitably realize the power of self motivation and the value of true friends. I started trying to motivate myself, considering myself one of the clients I could be coaching. I also reached out that late to my Ss Hero, and fortunately he wasn’t mad at me for skyping that late. We spoke for a good 45 minutes and I felt much better. The headaches didn’t go, but I knew with some sleep no matter how minimal, they would. I have tried tranquillizers and anti-depressants and Heaven and mum know how terrible I look and feel after taking them pills. I am so grateful I am not at that level anymore and hope not to get there.
And so to you my friends with such cycles
I know my cycles may be nothing to write about in the eyes of some of my other ‘shaggy’ friends. I know for some of them, it’s plain “rapid and uncontrolled full swing”. At least I can truly empathize. Please, try to work out a rescue plan and coping strategy before the “electrical haywire”. Remember the few friends you may have be it on or offline. Reach out for help. There is no shame in needing help. Cry, write, sing, pray, read, paint, even dance if you can. Just try something while counting your breathing to at least 100… I am doing just that and I write as it flows with no mask on…, TAKING IT ONE MOMENT AT A TIME BECAUSE AT LEAST AM ALIVE…
But in the meantime, I am giving transcontinental mothering my best shot
and oh how glad I am, that soon and very soon a transcontinental mother I’ll be no more!!!
P.S This poem is my heartfelt way of rounding up what I consider mother’s month. Mother’s day is celebrated on different dates accross the globe, and in my country Cameroon it’s on the last sunday of May. One of the chapters of my recently published memoirs, is on Finding Strength as a Transcontinental Mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all once more!!! I hope my three musketeers here below, come to one day truly empathize with their mummy! My first son graduated from Primary School yesterday and all I could do was cry tears of joy and sadness!!!
mum, author, mental health advocate, therapist, inspires & motivates with personal experiences