Thursday, February 04, 2010
The past 6 days have been challenging, to say the least. I think that people show their 'true colors' when life throws you a curve ball. I see it as character. This is really a follow-up to my last blog. The other day I felt so much stress, that I thought that I would explode! I was going to write in my journal and try to let it go, but instead I wrote my blog. I hesitated in posting it because I was venting SO many feelings, and I felt very exposed, but I posted it anyway. The strange thing was, that soon after, I started to feel relief. Reading your comments helped calm me, and I thank you!!
Yesterday was the memorial service for my MIL's companion, Bob. It was a lovely service, followed by a luncheon at the church. Bob's faith and his relationship with his son were THE most important things in his life, without a doubt! The next holiday at our house will be Easter, and he will be missed! He had a HUGE sweet tooth, and would come here on various holidays, looking for the desserts - before dinner. He knew that I always made baklava on Easter, and I can still see him sneaking a piece, as soon as he got here. When I had my baking business, and tested recipes, I ALWAYS kept the goodies for Bob. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning when I would hand him the bags of treats from my freezer - his face lit up! Memories like this make my heart smile!
The other night, the pastor asked my MIL for a picture of Bob.,.she gave him a photo of herself with Bob. This infuriated my husband, as she is always trying to make herself the center of attention. He felt that the service was about Bob, NOT her. I asked the pastor about us sending photos to the church, that could be used for a slide show. He welcomed the idea. My DH and I spent hours going over pictures of Bob from years of holidays spent together. We tried to include his son and his friends as well. I'm so glad that we did, because we could hear people commenting on what great pictures they were of Bob. It enhanced the service. I also called the church to offer my help, and offered to make desserts. I spent the previous day baking his favorites, feeling like it was the last thing I could do for him. I asked my MIL what she was going to contribute...her answer - nothing! She said "let the other people bring the food". She came empty handed, and didn't even order flowers! USER!!
When something like this happens SO suddenly, there are lessons to be learned! Here are some of my thoughts:
MAKE YOUR HEALTH A PRIORITY!
Bob was having chest pains for the last 6 months, but ignored it. He was in denial about his worsening pulmonary and cardiac conditions, and it cost him his life.
IF YOU'RE NOT HAPPY WITH SOMETHING IN YOUR LIFE - CHANGE IT!
My DH and I couldn't help but notice how unhappy Bob was with my MIL, but stayed because he needed the money. He spent the last 9.5 years of his life literally waiting on her hand and foot, without ONE kind word, or thank you in return! Don't waste your precious life in an unhappy situation.
DON'T GIVE UP YOUR DREAMS!
If there's something that you really want to do in your life - DO IT! I can remember a conversation with Bob and my MIL from 2 years ago. He said that he always wanted to see Las Vegas. She could certainly afford it, but said no, so he didn't go. I remember telling her that if something ever happened to him, and this was one of his life's dreams, that she would regret it. She still refused - and Bob never saw Vegas, and she had NO regret!
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE THAT MATTER MOST!
I know for a fact, that Bob and his son cherished their Sunday afternoons together, watching football. I'm glad that his son has those memories of his dad. My MIL, however, resented his son, and the time he spent alone with him, and would call him constantly while they tried to watch the game. His son told me that they would shut off the phone because they couldn't stand her calling when they were trying to enjoy their time together.
LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU!
Bob's son knew that he was THE light of his dad's life. My DH and I know what we mean to each other, but I thought about the other important people in our lives. Our extended family is our closest friends, and we all consider each other 'family'. They know how important they are to us, but they also need to HEAR it! I told them both the other day, how grateful I am to have them in my life and that I love them.
PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS OR MONEY!
No one at the end of their life will ever think 'I wish I had more stuff or money'. Love is THE most important thing! Bob's son told my MIL the other day, that she should try to fix her relationships, especially with my DH and myself, because she's going to die alone - with her bank statement! Instead of taking his words to heart, it made her angry. She called me, demanding to know what he was talking about and what 'I' said to him. I had no idea that he talked to her about that, and I had NO part in it. I thought that it was a pretty profound piece of advice he gave her - she didn't. You either get it or you don't!
GIVE OF YOURSELF - BE A GIVER, NOT A TAKER!
It can be as simple as hug, when someone needs it most, or a kind word. Yesterday I saw many 'givers', as people brought in food and flowers, or showed their feelings for Bob. SHE however, offered NOTHING! She did stay until we were the last people there, despite our wanting to leave, and she made sure that SHE took home the flowers, and ALL of the food that was left!! It was literally a box full of food, when she didn't even bring a crumb! She even had the nerve to COMPLAIN about the food later, that she didn't care for it!!!! TAKER!
SPEAK UP WHEN YOU WITNESS AN INJUSTICE!
I overheard a group of 8 people repeating poisonous comments that my MIL made about Bob's son, as if they were the truth. Without a second thought, I approached them and spoke the TRUTH! I told them that Bob's son is NOT a bad person, that you can't believe the gossip that SHE spreads, that he and his dad had a wonderful relationship, that I 'chose' to not judge him, but show him compassion! They were silent at first, and I wasn't sure what would happen next, but I was PROUD of myself for opening my big mouth! They started telling me all of the BAD things that SHE said, and how it spread through out the church. To be honest, I was surprised and a bit disappointed that a group from church didn't give him the benefit of the doubt, but believed gossip! I told them that I was at the emergency room and held his son while he cried. They looked shocked, because they were told that his son didn't even care. I hope that I helped them see his son in a different light.
WORDS HAVE POWER!
Beware of gossip and those that thrive on it! It's VERBAL POISON! A cruel or untruthful word can cause SO much harm, and spread like wild-fire. But, a kind word can do SO much good!
DON'T BE A DOORMAT!
This is one that I've been working on. In the past I was a polite doormat- but NO more! Don't let yourself be manipulated into doing things that you don't want to do. This was a lesson that hit me in the face 8:30 yesterday morning, and I'm THRILLED to say that I passed with flying colors!!!!!! My MIL called to ask me "to intercede with Bob's son and ask him WHEN he's going to repay her the 2+ thousand dollars that Bob owed her"! YEP, you read correctly! The morning of his funeral, this was the first thing out of her mouth. She does NOT need the money!!!! I was SO shocked by her disgusting behavior, but pulled myself together...and said NO, I'm NOT doing that! She got nasty, which only made me get my back up. AS she pushed, I told her flat out that I couldn't believe what she wanted ME to do, and that he TOLD her that he would repay her, and that I want NO part in it! SHE yelled at me on the phone and got REALLY nasty. I didn't take it! YAY, no more doormat! Tacky bitch!
DON'T EXPECT WARMTH AND KINDNESS FROM A RATTLESNAKE!
After all, it's - or should I say SHE, is a cold-blooded reptile! Don't expect people to be something they aren't - in this case - human! The only one you can change is yourself!
DON'T TAKE CRAP!
Another one for me! But, I'm doing okay! Speak the truth and set boundaries, otherwise you have no one to blame but yourself! SHE started on me as soon as we picked her up for the service, but my husband and I IMMEDIATELY shut her up by letting her know, we're DONE with her crap! Yes, it was one tense ride to the church, but I didn't care. DONE, DONE, DONE!!!
DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING THAT A DELUSIONAL LIAR SAYS!
Do you know that saying - when someone shows you WHO they are - believe them the first time??? My MIL actually told us that 'NO one liked Bob, that they only tolerated him because they LOVE her'. She didn't expect much of a turn out for his service. Well, there were at least 90 people there to celebrate his life! Both my DH and I noticed that some people were giving her odd looks. Everyone spoke highly of him, but NOT even half of the people approached her! Many didn't even speak to her.
DON'T EXPECT WATER FROM A DRY WELL!
People can only GIVE what they have. If they're honest, expect the truth. If they're kind, expect compassion. I stopped expecting even ONE kind word from her! She didn't even introduce us to ANYONE!!! Both my hubby and I mingled and introduced ourselves, only to be SHOCKED, REPEATEDLY - that NO one knew SHE had a son or daughter-in-law! I heard how they ALL knew about her daughter, but she never mentioned having a son!!! Evil witch!!! It still 'stung' to hear this over and over again, because it had to hurt my husband. Both my friend Helen, who came to the service, and myself, overheard people telling her 'what a sweet DIL you have'. Her reply.... SILENCE! Instead of being hurt, I now chuckle, because SHE's one dried-up well, with nothing to give!
NEVER SACRIFICE YOUR VALUES TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE!
I won't get into details here, but over the years I've seen Bob 'loosen' his values a bit. Don't let yourself be pushed into doing things that you KNOW aren't right for you.
DON'T PUT YOUR NEEDS ON THE BACK BURNER!
By Friday night I knew that it would be a rough few days. I ate a small bowl of granola and almond milk for dinner at 10:30 PM! I knew that I wouldn't have the time or energy to Spark. So I made a decision to get through the service, stick to my food plan the best I could, and get back on here on Thursday. Instead of being side-tracked like I would have in the past, I took a few days to do what needed to be done, THEN put myself back on the FRONT burner.
I'm by no means perfect, but I do have a very strong sense of right and wrong. I am a work in progress, as my friend Yvonne says on her page. I try to do my best on any given day, and do no harm. I'm working on making myself a priority, and I'm thankful that I was aware enough to 'see' the lessons that Bob's passing brought to light. I will do my best to learn them all and put them into practice! Thanks Bob, you will be missed!