Monday, January 4, 2010


Today I was awarded by Herrad at the 'Fighting MS' award.

Thank you, sweet Herrad, for recognizing and acknowledging my efforts to fight against those who have MS--and bless you for your own battle and struggles with this disease.

You are an inspiration!

I'm trying to make the rounds today to return some of the blog love that has been bestowed upon me, I made it to about eleven blogs today--visiting will resume tomorrow.

As for now, I have much on my mind after thinking about what this new year brings. So, far it's brought about much thinking of the past, about friendships long ago gone astray, how we got here to this point, who tried to help, the end result, what I learned, what I finally acknowledged and what I can do differently.

In one week from today we have our bankruptcy hearing. Everything seems to hinge on this.

In light of this, I looked around not too long ago and realized that outside of B and our 'other kids'--Ed and I have been virtually alone in this process, with occasional support and help (financial, emotional) from our parents, who are plagued with their own problems. So, we chose to simply do the best we could in all of this.

So, upon looking around, I realized that the few friends we have had over the years are now gone. Either moved away or stayed away.

What kind of people were we that we ended up so isolated?

Many, many years ago I had a best friend named 'D'. It was through she that I met Ed--who is her cousin.

A little history:

When my daughter, 'C', was very little I was a struggling single parent, having left her abusive biological father--years later, when Ed and I married, he legally adopted 'C'.

Prior to meeting Ed, C and I lived with my Mom for a time, who then moved up north to be closer to my grandmother. My Mom helped so much at that time but when she left it was sink or swim for me. I sank.

I worked full time but couldn't keep up with rent, utilities, gas, car insurance and child care. I received no child support (EVER!) and when I tried to file for financial aid (food stamps, etc.), I was told I wasn't qualified.

I lived in my Mom's old house which was left to my brother who charged me rent--he had no choice having a home, four kids and a wife of his own to support.

My life and circumstances became impossible: I was living with no electricity and struggling to feed C and myself.

D stepped in and said; 'You're coming to live with us' ('us' being her and her parents).

I fought against it but gave in when I went three days without eating, having just enough for C.

I was getting thin, pale and sick.

I moved in with them and felt relief for the first time in MONTHS.

They were having to pay for my bad choices and being in a stable family gave me a glimpse of how life was supposed to be.

And they saw in me and my poor mothering skills (I was 19 when I got pregnant and 20 when I had C--I make no excuses, though) how life isn't supposed to be.

After the abuse, leaving her biological father, fighting to stay afloat every week, scared, working, struggling, being alone, moving again and again, I then didn't do anything to improve myself once I went to D's.

I became complacent--not attempting to improve myself or my life for me nor for C.

It took years and years for me to face the hard facts and truth about myself.

I met Ed, D's cousin, with whom I immediately hit it off.

Once he and I became involved, that was their final straw and I was asked to leave their home.

Make no mistakes, I wasn't just asked to leave their home, but their lives. Ed and I became the outcasts of the family.

I lost my place with them and my long friendship with D, who finally had enough.

Oh, how I thought then about her; "Life was always so easy for you, wasn't it?"

And it was.

But she tried to share that life with me and to help me--but I was too far gone in my own wants, needs and struggles to see the forest through the trees.

You simply cannot help someone who refuses to help themselves.

Against the odds, Ed and I have managed to stay together over 20 years.

But we've done so without friends in our lives.

I pushed people away as my narcissistic attitude and behavior carried on.

I was defensive of every bad move I ever made in my life and it was only a few years ago that I looked around and realized that there is a reason, outside of B and his friends, that we're alone.

It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to take a good, hard look at ones self--to see ones own faults and to travel down the well worn path of self discovery, realizing where we went wrong. Where I went wrong.

Needless to say, I no longer blame D for doing what she did. She tried her best while I did not.

About 15 years ago, I sent her a letter. In it, I apologized for it all.

It came back unopened with big red letters on it saying; "REJECTED".

I haven't tried since and simply got on with my life of self discovery and growth.

Now that Ed's biological Mom, 'E' is back in our lives, she mentions her beloved niece, D, a lot. Talking about her life with her husband and her kids. I remain silent saying nothing.

Saying nothing because it hurts me tremendously to have missed so much. E also mentions D's friends whom I also knew back then and with whom Denise is obviously still friends with.

This is salt in my wound. Well deserved, I'd say.

I remember when D met her now husband--she was 17 and we all worked together at my very first job, 'Taco Bell'.

Both were too shy to talk to the other so I gave a little, tiny push.

They have been together ever since and now have kids of their own.

I wasn't there for her wedding, for any of it.

It was the heavy price I needed to pay for years of bad choices and mistakes.

*Please see my post from back in August titled 'This I Know To Be True'

So, this year--I vow to reach out to others more and to try and repay the kindness that so many tried to give me.

And while I won't be reaching out to D again--that boat has long sailed but I still think about her and wish for her nothing but the best--this year I vow to reach out to others, to try and do better in my choices and in my life.

To try and not be so alone. To learn how to smile at people more (instead of scowl) and to try to make friends--and keep them.

I'm a bit out of practice--and this will entail, of course, my having to leave my house now and then. I don't know where to start--maybe an exercise class or a writing class. Maybe I'll start walking or get a part time job.

If it doesn't happen, my Mom always said; 'If you can't have what you want, want what you have'.

What I have is a new sense of purpose, thought process and self-actualization.

What I have is Ed, B, our other kids--and what is my new self. And if I die tomorrow with only those things, I will die a satisfied woman.


  1. I, too have learned some tough lessons in this life. We are all still a work in progress or at least I am.

    I pray things go well at your hearing next week. I know it will take a huge load off your shoulders and you can begin a new...a fresh start. I am thankful for a few do-overs I have been given in this life. Though I have not filed bankruptcy, I have faced some tough days in the past. We never know what we would do til we have travel down a treacherous road. Hang in there, sweet friend. GOD will see you through!

    Thank you for your sweet comments on arise 2 write.

    Blessings and hugs,

  2. Yes, seems like we both learned a lot about ourselves past few years.

    Your beginnings remind me of my sister who's 35 with 2 children and living with my parents after leaving drug addictive,abusive alcoholic. She stayed with him for 12 years and for last 3 years she didn't get a penny to help her out. She changed a lot being with him. She became rude, mean,cold hearted and disrespectful and has tendency to use everybody for what they worth. I was upset with her for a long time, but now I realized she had to change in order to survive.
    I've been trying hard to make her to look at herself and I think I am finally breaking through and slowly getting back the little sister I lost along the way.It is shame about your friend D. I understand how she felt,but she might be missing out for not wanting to be back in your life.

  3. Ive been on this path you describe...after my moms death it seemed everyone I knew left, I had to take a very hard look at myself recently and take hold of my part in it is tough, but as you have proven my friend, it can be done and we can come out on the other side...I luv ya Jo, you are an insperation to me;)

  4. My mom has severe, progressive MS. :( MS sucks. I'm looking forward to kicking off my fund raising for this year's walk.