And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

November 29, 2003

Something Shocking

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 8:58 am

If you want to know more about how the rich have taken over our government read this article.

Now What?

Filed under: growth,her words — mark @ 5:35 am

We are back home from a small vacation. We went to Manteo, NC to spend Thanksgiving with my Mother. Wow, what a trip. It is about 1,100 miles from here and it is not an easy trip. We do love going through the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. We also love spending time in the car together. But Mark and I are tired. I am up and sorting through the joy and the trauma of seeing my Mother.

Mom is getting more and more frail. It is hard to see her in this condition. She has trouble breathing and she is less able to take care of herself. It is so hard to see her like this. I know she is coming to the end and that is so hard I cannot get my mind around it now. There are so many things running through my mind I cannot sleep. I know that she needs more care, but Mom is very independant. She is now living in section 8 housing that is alright but could be better. It fits her income and that is good. But there is no one there to take care of her. She talked about falling down recently and hurting her leg. She said she wrapped it and stayed in bed for a week. Then she felt it was alright. I can see that she needs several things. One is that she needs someone to see that she has food. Another is to see that she is alright. She will not tell anyone when she is hurt. She needs to see a doctor to see if there are things that can help her feel better. But my Mother is afraid to let anyone see her pain. She grew up with a very punishing father and an ineffective mother. She is very afraid of letting anyone see her weaknesses. She wants to do things her own way.

My problem is how do I sort out what I want to do to help her, and what I can do that will help without taking away her independance. It has always been a delicate dance. It is made harder because she is not direct. She does not talk in ways that show anyone her truth. She trusts me as much as anyone and yet she does not tell me the truth about what is going on with her. For example, she has always hated where she lived. Within 3 to 4 months of being anywhere she starts finding fault with the place and the people. She is now talking of moving from Manteo to Williamston, NC. This would be a very hard move as it is 300 miles. She wants me to help her and this would be hard since I live in Springfield, IL. Add to that the fact that she wants to do things her way and will not tell me what those are and you begin to see how hard it all is. I would like her to move into an assisted living situation where she can have as much independance as she wants. This would give her a place to have her own apartment and her own car. She could have a kitchen and cook for herself but there would also be prepared food available if she did not want to cook. There would be someone to look in on her. She wants to move to Williamston and move into section 8 housing again where no one will be in her business.

I would like her to move to Tampa, FL where my brother lives. He would like to have her there. I think it would be ideal because the Tampa Bay area has many services for retired people and she could have a place to live where people would be as involved as they need to be. But she is afaid that my brother and his wife would be too involved and that they would want her to baby sit with my sister-in-law’s adopted child, who has special needs. I truly do not want her to move here because I know she would become a hugh part of our lives and that would cause me to resent her. I spent a number of years trying to take care of her. I put off my own life in trying to make sure she was okay. I know I will fall into that pattern again. I now have a wonderful life and do not want to interfere with that. Gosh that sounds and feels very selfish. I know that taking care of myself and putting my needs first is important. But I want to take care of Mom as well. So I am up and trying to sort it out. It is very difficult. There are no easy answers and I admit to having a hard time between what will take care of me and what I can do to take care Mom. I do not want to take away her independance, nor do I want to give up mine. I know my wanting her to move to Tampa is about having her near family. I also know I do not want her near me. I feel as though living with or near her for 40 years was enough. I know I do not like who I am when I am around her. So I guess I have some more sorting to do.

November 16, 2003


Filed under: her words,social issues — mark @ 12:37 pm

Well the subject was brought to the table again. This is one of those sticky, messy and difficult subjects that divide us and keep things stirred up. Recently I saw the photo (op) of George W. Bush and his cronies standing around smiling while they signed the partial birth abortion ban. Several journals have made reference to the fact that the people in the photo are all male. I find it very interesting that there are no women. None of the people who helped this happen have a womb.

In the late 80’s I was on the board of NOW, the National Organization for Women. I joined in order to understand myself as a woman and to see how other women felt. I soon got involved in the stuggle to maintain the Roe Vs Wade decision. I helped escort women into clinics. I often heard people scream at these women and call them terrible names. I also felt the rocks thrown at them and us. I came to see how difficult the decision was to have an abortion in the first place. Because I talked to these women. None of the women I talked to were taking this decision lightly or had come to it without a great deal of anguish and fear. I tried to be supportive of them. I also tried not to judge them or their circumstances. But I often saw the people who were screaming at them as being very afraid. I also tried to have conversations with some of them. Some of the people who identified themselves as pro-life were commited to saving lives. They felt that abortion was murder. I saw that there were a number of them who truly felt that and they were sincere. I tried not to judge them either. But some of them seemed to me to have another agenda. I would not say I absolutely knew what their agenda was, but I knew it was not what they were telling me. I got to debate with some pro-lifers and what they said was that it was a sin and that it should not happen no matter what. I had the hardest time with them. It seemed to me that they had made up their minds and that they were not interested in debate. The group that I came into contact with was Concerned Women of America. What struck me most about them was that they dressed alike, spoke alike, said all of the same things, and that they were all fairly well to do. As a member of NOW one of the things that became apparent was that all of the women and men I met had ideas of their own. It seemed to me that when I was involved in conversation with someone within the organization I found different ideas and opinions. We had a few similarities such as being for choice. Some of the women did not like the idea of abortion and wanted to work for a world in which it was not necessary. Some of the women wanted to help women find alternatives such as adoption. Some of the women felt that it was not up to them to decide what others should do. I admit I was more drawn to the group that was about choice. I wish no one ever had to make such a terrible decision and I do not know if I could do it. But I believe that I need to help people in trouble not judge them and tell them they are wrong. So I wish abortion was never necessary, but I cannot make decisions for others.

November 15, 2003

What Now?

Filed under: growth,her words — mark @ 12:21 pm

It is 11:54 pm and I am awake. Normally by now I am fast asleep. I cannot seem to turn off the rolodex. I am tired, but I am still awake. So I thought I would just talk to my blog and see where it takes me.

I spoke with my mom today. That always takes something out of me. I love her. She is an amazing woman. She has managed to get through some very difficult times. She has a big heart and she can be very cute. We have worked through a number of issues. We have talked about our perceptions of the time we lived together as a family. She saw things differently than I and being able to talk openly about those helped a great deal. She is almost 80 now and she cannot do what she used to do. She lives in an apartment where they keep an eye on her and this is very good. She also lives near her family and they keep an eye on her. But sometimes I wish she lived closer. I start to think that I want to be closer to her. But then I actually talk to her, or I go visit, and I see that we do not do that well together. I do not like who I am when I am around her. She has a different life style that I do. We tend to bring out the worst in each other. So I know that I am better off having contact with her on the phone 2 or 3 times a week. I think what I am missing right now is the dream of having a mom who loves me unconditionally. I know intellectually that my mom loves me very much and shows it in ways that are meaningful to her, but not always in ways that mean that much to me. I know intellectually that I am the only one who can love me the way I want. I know that I am the only one who knows my needs and can fulfill the parts that felt ignored or put off as a child. But sometimes in the night, or the day, I wish I could have that perfect mom. I think that is what I am missing right now. The holidays are coming up. In my house this was a time of tension and fighting. My dad did not like the holidays. He was always angry and on edge. This made the holidays stressful and difficult. Since I have become an adult I have worked at making the holidays fun and full of love. I have built some of my own traditions such as wrapping presents while watching Christmas movies and drinking eggnog. Like riding around and looking at the lights people put up. Like shopping and looking for something special for the ones I love. I even decorate my house now. Most of all I have a wonderful partner to share all of this with. We have made Christmas a time of love and joy. But I still wish I could go home, like the movies I used to love, and be with my loving family. It is a dream. My family was never like that. So now I can make it whatever I want. That makes me happy, but there is still that part–way down in my soul–that wishes. Aw well, I know this is just wishful thinking. I love me and I will give my little girl, that is my inner child, a special present.

As I am writing this I also feel a sense of loss about not having children. I was afraid to have children when I was younger. I knew I grew up in a dysfunctional family, I know all of us did, and I was afraid to pass that on. I did not trust me enough. It has taken years for me to trust myself. I now trust me more than ever because I am as honest with myself as I can be. I know that my parents were not honest with me. I also know that they were not honest with themselves. They kept things from me, in an attempt to take care of me and not talk about their fears. The problem with that was that I filled the void with fear. As a child that fear was of monsters and big horrible things that I could not understand. As I grew up my fears became even more difficult. I know that I was afraid to face many things. I have worked at making a safe place for myself in the world. Now I can face more and more. I am very proud of the work I have done. It has gotten so good that I can even face the loss of the dream of having a Norman Rockwell family. Gee I guess there really is a Christmas!