Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to my September edition of Realms of Relationships at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine that I contribute to monthly. There are many kinds of relatioships, but often, we forget about the one with ourselves.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care

 

 

Relationships with ourselves – Self-Care

 

Welcome to my Realms of Relationships column at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. Today I want to talk about the most important relationship we can have, and that’s the one we have with ourselves. It’s often easy to overlook ourselves, especially when times are tense, fast, and frazzled with life’s daily grind. And if we have loved ones to care for on top of daily living, often, the last person being served is usually ourselves.

 

I’m a living testament of what self-neglect can leave behind as resulting damage. Often, we get so wrapped up in our lives and lose track of time – the time we let ourselves go. So yes, self-compassion and self-care are just as essential for us to live in good health – not just to survive.

 

Sometimes, some of the most nurturing people forget that taking care of others requires us to be in good health in order to care of someone else. But often in the middle of trauma, our focus often falls on the loved one we’re caring for – both young and old, without giving a second thought for our own well-being. I know this because I lived it.

 

 

Self Care

 

Self- care encompasses the daily things we do for ourselves to keep our health in check – hygiene, eating properly, taking meds and required vitamins, and getting in exercise and enough sleep. Most importantly, any ailments we feel coming on should be dealt with as soon as possible once we notice things aren’t running as smoothly with our bodies, and not left to fester until such time we decide to stop pushing aside things a doctor needs to have a look at. And then there is emotional health.

 

If we are living through a stressful time, not just our physical health needs tending to, but, we need an outlet to relieve some of the mental angst that can sometimes translate to more physical ailments. Trust me, it’s not a myth, stress and worry have the ability to do great damage within us. Just like a health regimen followed daily creates cumulative benefits that add up daily, not following one will most certainly chip away at all the goodness we’ve already accrued through time as we continue to neglect ourselves.

 

Taking care of ourselves is vital for us to function optimally, but especially when someone else is relying on us to take care of them. When chaos or trauma strike, it shouldn’t mean that we abandon what’s important for us to remain in good health, but so often we’ll sacrifice what’s good for us and put others before us. Here’s what we need to know about taking care of ourselves:

 

 

  • Make sure to get enough sleep – not getting enough sleep can initiate other health problems.
  • Make mealtime a routine at least twice a day if you can’t manage three squares. If you eat a good breakfast it can sustain you through the day in case you do happen to miss out on lunch. But even more important to eat a healthy dinner, especially if we’re missing that lunch.
  • Don’t stop taking important vitamins and supplements, especially if you’re deficient in them. Not eating properly during stressful times, then not taking supplementation, doubles the drain on our bodies leaving us without efficient fuel or nutrients.
  • Take a timeout and go for a walk, read a chapter, listen to music – whatever you enjoy for a mental health break from high stressed life. If you’re caring for someone 24/7, arrange for someone to come by and give you a break for some down time and time to get household essentials looked after, and maybe even to eke out some personal time.

 

You can take this Self Well-Being test here to see how you’re doing: Berkeley Wellbeing Survey

 

Take care of yourself

 

How I can attest to this advice? Because I became one of those self-neglecters.

 

During my husband’s illness when I was caring for him 24/7, the last thing on my mind was about what I needed. While my world was spiraling out of sense, I didn’t care about eating properly, sometimes not eating at all. I had no appetite. I’d sneak in a shower when my husband would sleep, or if one of his personal support workers were bathing him.

 

I was full of preliminary grief and anxiety, and I wasn’t hungry. . . Please continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord to learn the repercussions after we forget to take care of ourselves.

 

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

 

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Poetry Challenge – Poet’s Choice

It’s been awhile since I jumped on to Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge at Word Craft. This week is Poet’s Choice and I’ve written a Tanka with Tanka prose.

 

#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY POETRY CHALLENGE NO 242: #POET’S CHOICE

 

 

In grief, many are intimidated when it comes to giving condolences, for fear they don’t have the right words to comfort, they cower in distance because that’s easier for some than confronting.

 

 

A hand to caress

The unsettled grieving heart

And two patient ears.

Searching appropriate words,

Open heart is all required.

 

 

Visit Colleen’s original post and hop on the challenge!

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2021/09/07/tankatuesday-weekly-poetry-challenge-poets-choice-2/?fbclid=IwAR1odZRdMpRexCUBkuwIxE03FNlpMv_Jj2pVDxeMKamWZerqi9E4c7NwzSE

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

 

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Through my journey of grief and reading several books on the subject of grieving, several times I came across quotes from C.S. Lewis’ book on grief mentioned in other books- A Grief Observed, which he wrote after losing his beloved wife. I came across Lewis’ reflections on bereavement in some other books I’d read, which had me scurrying off to Amazon to read yet another book on grief. But I didn’t feel this was just ‘another book on grief’, but a telling, a rant, a questioning, and a feeling of familiarity. I also felt this book different because it wasn’t written after the healing began, rather, in the rawness of grief as he questioned death and what, if anything, comes after.

 

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.

 

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

A Grief Observed is Lewis’ brutally honest reflection on the death of his wife, Joy Gresham, which exposes readers to the fact that man is vulnerable and fragile when attempting to understand the goodness of God in the midst of extreme pain.

 

Lewis’ four-part reflection brings readers face to face with the cruel reality of the damage that sin has done to our world. His writing demonstrates utter despair as a result of acknowledging that death is a natural and unavoidable destiny for all. He writes expressing the sentiment that his wife was so beautiful and beloved that her death, though natural, was undeserved. Lewis compares the feeling of grief to fear stating that it gives him the same restlessness, yawning and fluttering of the stomach. It is not hard for the reader to recognize that Lewis feels that damage has been done to his world.

 

While Lewis paints a vivid picture of why he loved his wife Joy, throughout his reflection she remains a faint figure in the background while the author focuses on grief itself. A Grief Observed leaves readers with a real sense of the frailty of the human experience.

 

Written after his wife’s tragic death as a way of surviving the “mad midnight moments”, A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: “Nothing will shake a man, or at any rate a man like me, out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

 

This is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.

 

 

My 5 Star Review:

I’ve read many books on grief through my own journey of darkness after losing the love of my own life, and what I will say about this book is that it’s raw and in the moment while the writer suffers the pangs of grief for the giant loss in his life while in the depths of his grief, sharing his thoughts and cynicism on the topic of death during the grieving process through his anger at god. Lewis questions all we know of death and what happens after, asking, what do we know really about the end of life and if there really is anything more after. Lewis helps put in words what many of us grievers wonder of the same. The author doesn’t offer the hope, but shares his path to coping as he questions god and religion and what exactly the ‘afterlife’ is all about and if it exists.

 

Lewis is a broken and confused man struggling to accept the death of his wife, writer Joy Gresham, he affectionately refers to as H., (her given name, Helen). These are the writings of a man suffering grief after losing the true love of his life – his ‘other half’. His writings are like a search for answers, a questioning of self, love and god.

 

Lewis talks about some people as ‘idiots’ in one of his rants – people who don’t have the faintest idea about some of the platitudes that automatically spill from their mouths as condolence: “It was God’s plan,” “She’s in a better place now.” Empty platitudes he calls them from people who have no conception behind those words. This statement seems to be the general concensus from those of us who’ve loved and lost.

 

Often people don’t know what to say. They don’t want us to hurt so they say words like, “It will get better, time to move on, or even worse, pretending to know the actual weight of grief when they’ve never walked the walk,” Lewis touches on this, the deep-seated root of pain of loss as he laments in his grief.

 

I’d recommend this book for anyone grieving and searching their soul.

 

 

Memorable quotes from Lewis on grief: ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

 

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

 

“Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?”

 

“Did you ever know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.”

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Updates – Moving On and Best Friends

 

 

Wow! It’s been so long since I posted a personal update here for you. I don’t know where the time has gotten to, but considering my last post a few weeks ago, talking about my brutal move and hearing Johnny Cash on the radio, and the post prior, talking about my moving in July and my BFF coming from the U.K., ya, well, that didn’t happen. But a few things have. And so I’ll fill you in.

 

My bestie from U.K. did not get here because our airports wouldn’t allow non-essential visitors without having to quarantine in a hotel at her own expense, for fourteen days. Heck, so many people can’t even afford to stay that long, so why would they want to spend it alone in quarantine? They only began allowing Canadian residents to come back home, in late June. And now it’s September 7th supposedly, where leisure air travelers will be welcome, as long as they’ve been double vaxxed and Covid tested prior to flight then no quarantine required.

 

Well this new time frame threw a wrench into my U.K. plans. And in the meantime, my friend Zan has sold her house again and will soon be moving to a rental home in a few weeks and she and her hubby will begin a new house project from scratch on the land they’ve purchased. So now, until she gets moved in and her and her hub take a private getaway for a week or so to Italy after their move, their first holiday since Covid struck, she will probably be here in late September. So it’s looking like some time in October I’ll be flying back with her to the U.K. It’s a tough wait, but probably better for time to pass as the summer crowds should be more tame, easier for traveling – maybe a jaunt to France, maybe to Italy, but definitely to Spain, and hopefully more time for the Covid to simmer down. Heck! I may even stay through Christmas, come back, and pack up for Mexico. All I know is I must get out of this constant space and spread my wings and breathe. I have no clue what I’m doing the rest of my life, but I sure as hell know I won’t find out by sitting on a couch with a computer. Nobody is going to come banging my door down with opportunity. I have to get back out into the world.

 

The last week of July, I took a little trip with my girlfriend Alison. We both needed to get out of our four walls, so we rented a hotel room up north here in cottage country for a few days. But, as it turned out, Zan’s sister lived twenty minutes from where we were staying and once Zan told her sister we were there, she swiftly invited us to stay with her instead. So, we stayed the one night at the hotel and off to Kokie’s beautiful home for almost a week! It was a slice of heaven to be in the fresh air and steal a few days at the beach when the usual rainy weather would let up. We had lots of fun yacking, Netflixing, walking, shopping vintage stores and playing Mexican Train Dominoes – a fun variation of Dominoes.

 

It was a lovely mini getaway and I look forward to Zan’s visit here so we can go back up to her sister’s house once she ever arrives here.

 

Coming back to my new abode felt a bit strange and back to reality. I am trying to establish somewhat of a new routine for myself without my husband and now, four months after his passing, everything still feels strange and out of sorts for me without a comforting familiarity.

 

And then something wonderful happened in the midst of my sadness and loneliness, I got a condolence message from my other BFF Bri. We had a falling out a few years back, and sadly, stubbornness had kept that distance hanging. I was elated to hear from her. She adored my husband, and I had wondered why I hadn’t heard from her, thinking she’d have heard the news, but she hadn’t. When she found out, she sent me a message. I replied, and the next thing I knew, we were gabbing on the phone for hours. A few days later, we met at my husband’s grave and spent a few hours together there sitting on the grass, filling each other in on our lives while apart. The day turned into night after picking up some food and killing a bottle of wine together on my balcony at home.

 

The reunion was just what my heart needed, and both of us said to each other that it was my husband who subtly found a way to inform her about his demise and he knew we had to get back together. We both felt that. The whole thing was divine intervention how it all came about, and the fact that I’m pretty much family-less now (a book for another time),  there is no comfort like a best friend who has been in my life for 37 years. She knows all the ghosts, good and bad, and understands my loss better than any family could ever imagine what I’m living.

 

God and the universe certainly do work in mysterious ways. Everything has its time and place. Yes, Zan never got here for my turbulent move, but had she come and the lockdowns coming and going, turns out, Canadians too are being made to quarantine right now still going to U.K. and I wouldn’t be interested in doing that either. Not to mention the new wave the U.K. has been experiencing much of July. Then there’s Zan’s sudden house sale and getting ready to move later this month. Suffice it to say, divine timing is looking much better for the fall than the summer. And in my deep and dark moments, waiting once again for this U.K. connection to happen, my husband and the angels were at work bringing me back together with Bri.

 

In the meantime, I am getting my feet deeper back into blogland. I do hope to get the mental energy up to get back to my MS I completed last fall and get that off to the editor by September. Lots of things up in the air, but definitely some good things to look forward to. I feel uplifted when I have something to look forward to, despite my loneliness and ache for my beloved husband that follows me wherever I may go, making plans and friendships are what keeps me out of ‘the dark’.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

Memoir Bytes: Forgiveness? Love? The Power of Money – Backstory from Conflicted Hearts

Memoir Bytes

Vision perception - Memoirs

 

Sometimes I look back in reflection at some of the poignant moments in life, at some of the characters in my family. I like to analyze in retrospect, how I felt about a certain situation while emotions were running high, and interpret them later in time by dissecting some of those events to see how I handled the situation while experiencing the emotional moment and if my perceptions were accurate.

 

This particular incident recently resurfaced in my memory. I try to look for the compassion I may have missed back then while originally feeling confusion and resentment. As a memoir writer, I tend to do this with many of life’s difficult situations I’ve encountered to assess and better understand not just my perspective but what the other parties concerned may have been feeling. So today I’m going to bring up a sad memory about my father’s death. It seemed only fitting to write about this today when January 9th was the day I buried my father in 1991.

The situation was tragic enough that my father had died suddenly and out of country, but with a dysfunctional family background to add to the mix, there were many more mixed emotions presented at that time.

My paternal grandmother had been dead for a few years prior to my father’s death. And my dad was the only child left of my grandfather’s – a man who’d been dominated by his overbearing, bossy wife throughout his marriage. My dad had one older brother who had been disowned, completely banished by his parents, and consequently, from all of our lives when the edict had come down from my grandmother twenty-five years prior. “We shall speak no more of his name” were her words. And so it was written. And so it was done.

Dad and my estranged uncle Don ran the family business with their father up until that fateful day when something huge went down. I was only about 6 or 7 years old at the time and my investigative listening skills were already fine-tuned from growing up in a volatile and emotional roller coaster household, where listening in the shadows always gave me a leg up on what I could expect come tomorrow. But despite my efforts, I wasn’t permitted to ask questions without being reprimanded for doing so, consequently, much about what I learned about this occurrence was from the chatter that went on after the event at my grandparents’ house and afterward in my own home while I listened to my mother tell her sisters and friends.

To this day, I still don’t know the whole reasoning behind the incident that had my uncle banished for life, but what I got from it was, my quick-tempered uncle grew very angry at his father one day at work and pegged his dad up against the outside brick wall and was stopped short by my father who heard the ruckus and he restrained my uncle from throwing a brick at my grandfather’s head, as he shouted in anger with what seemed the end of his tolerance for his father’s orders. After the feud was broken up by my dad, my uncle was thrown out from the family business – and the family.

When my stern grandmother was informed about what had transpired, she made an instant declaration ( I heard it with my own ears), her son Don was now dead to my grandparents. They even sat the traditional ‘Shiva’ period as we do in our religion to mourn the dead.

We never saw my uncle or our cousins again for almost a quarter of a century.

On January 9th, 1991, 4 children and their grandfather sat in the mourner’s room at the funeral home before it was time for the funeral to begin in the chapel. The door opened and a strange man walked in. He looked as though he was in his early 60s, dressed in a dark suit and tie, slighted hunched over with age, he kept his eyes focused toward the floor as he entered while adjusting his yarmulke (skullcap). I leaned over to my one brother and asked him who this man was that just invaded our mourner’s space. My brother replied, “It’s Uncle Don.”

My heart skipped a beat. In my dire moments of grief, I didn’t know what to make of the sudden appearance of my long lost uncle. Within the same one whirlwind moment of emotions, I felt curious, angry, and heartbroken. I never said a word to him and moments later we proceeded into the chapel for the ceremony then out to the cemetery. We buried our father on that freezing cold day in January and my Uncle Don stood along right beside us.

After burying my father, we proceeded to my younger brother’s house to commence the Shiva where we’d sit in mourning for one week from morning til sundown and receive guests and visitors who would come by to keep us company and pay their condolences.

We’d just arrived from the cemetery, and took our respective seats on the cushionless couches, as tradition warranted for the immediate mourners. Immediate family of the lost loved one are the mourners – parents, children and siblings. And then into my brother’s home walked Uncle Don. That’s when emotions were escalated. My siblings and I were dumbfounded, wondering why he had suddenly showed up after a quarter of a century to his brother’s funeral and for mourning. This was a brother who never even went to his own mother’s funeral a few years earlier.

Suspicions, doubts, and curiosity ran through each one of us and before any of us even voiced our opinion to the others, my grandfather stood up, embraced his long lost son and announced aloud, “I lost one son, but I gained another.”

Who does that?

Resentment built up within me that the complete stranger to us could walk into my brother’s home the day we buried our father and our grandfather greeted him like he was the consolation gift God had given him – the man who threatened to kill him a quarter century past, when his only other son who had been nothing but obedient at his beck and call for all his life had saved his father’s life.

Many thoughts rolled through my head that day – why did he show up decades later? Was there remorse? Was his sudden arrival back into my grandfather’s life for monetary gain?

I felt heart-broken when I lost my father, but I also managed to feel sorry for my grandfather too, for losing his only son who had stood by him all his life. I was never close with my grandfather because of the years growing up around him, feeling no love or compassion from him or from my grandmother – the price I paid for my mother’s deceit when she purposefully got pregnant with me to get my father to marry her. I was a constant reminder to them of my parent’s union.

Because I harbored a life-long resentment toward my grandfather, it wasn’t difficult for me to speak to him with snark and sarcasm. I never had a problem letting someone know what I thought once I moved away from home and found my voice. The four of us confronted him when we were alone together, questioning how he could welcome our uncle with open arms as though the past had never happened. We didn’t hesitate to let him know we suspected the only reason our uncle had shown up was because he knew he was the only child left and there was plenty of money to be gained if he got himself back in my grandfather’s good graces and ultimately back into the will. My grandfather didn’t seem to care. In his own moments of grief I think he felt alone with the loss of his beloved wife and no children left, and so he clung to whatever rope was thrown to him despite motives. Sad.

Us four kids had spent much of our growing up years at my grandparents’ home, despite our reluctance or desire to do so. We were to become the inheritors, but as suspected, my uncle did manage to get involved with the finances. Sure there was some left in the end of it all, but not much. And whatever was left was not divided evenly between us four. I got the biggest shaft of all of us, and that was quite expected. But I never used that against my own siblings because, as I learned well, money had the great potential to divide a family.

@DGKaye 2018

 

Goodbye My Friend

 

Goodbye My Friend

 

Maya Angelou

 

I’m thinking about the past 15 years, We’ve gabbed, laughed, shared rants and pieces of our lives together. I came to you with sore neck and shoulders and locked hips through the years and you healed me many times over with your magical healing hands and heart,

 

You’d always begin by asking what music we should listen to in the background while you worked on my aches, and shared your personal self with me as we exchanged stories. Your enthusiastic interest in everything I had to say, and your concern about my life went beyond the scope of a doctor’s care.

 

I’m remembering the time my husband and I renovated one of our homes until our bones could no longer move and you spontaneously called me to say hello and check up on us. You knew we were too busy to take care of ourselves and made a visit to our home, schlepping along with you, your equipment to fix us both. I’m also remembering another time my overly ambitious husband, then in his mid-sixties decided he must sod our half-acre backyard by himself, and as the morning grew late into night on his knees, determined to finish sodding before he’d stop, only to get pinned down by the last load of sod in a wheelbarrow that fell on his leg. No amount of physiotherapy or chiropractor relieved his pain, but one visit to your office, and hours later, you sent him home pain-free.

 

I’m remembering how we’d laugh about our crazy menopause symptoms together, and how we’d compare notes on outlandish relief methods.  And don’t think for a moment, some of the hurts you kept hidden inside, I didn’t recognize, but I allowed you your space.

 

Everyone who knew you, knew how special you were as a person, and as a magical healer. There was and will never be anybody to replace you,  No matter the struggle going on in your own life, you wore a smile and filled a room with good vibes.

 

I’m remembering the countless times I came to you to fix my aching bones and muscles, and the two and three-hour sessions you’d spend working on me without charging me an extra dime. And it didn’t matter if it was a weekday or a weekend day, you always accommodated a last-minute request to see you.  You always gave of yourself to others first and put your personal life second, too busy to take care of yourself, helping others.

 

How could this happen? How were you always there for us and suddenly you aren’t anymore? I’m pretending I will see you again in a few months. And when that few months comes, I will pretend I had to cancel my appointment and see you in another few months. Maybe, after all those ‘laters’ pass, I’ll begin to accept that I won’t be seeing you again. I can’t even think about what I’ll do the next time my hips lock, but one thing is certain, the pain in my heart when remembering you’re not here will surely overshadow whatever pain I will physically feel.

 

? ??

 

Today I went for my routine checkup to my wonderful naturopath’s office – Dr. Eric. I almost dropped to the floor when he informed me our friend Dr. Shelly had passed over a month ago.

I met Shelly through Dr. Eric when they used to share office space together. We became fast friends. Shelly and I had so much in common, especially our taste in music. We both loved songs by some of the great R & B artists, our absolute favorite was Luther Vandross, whose passing we both mourned together.

Shelly was passionate about healing and often worked right through the weekend as an osteopath, well-versed in accupunture and natural remedies for healing. But it was her magical hands when placed on you that could instantly pinpoint exactly where the problems were rooted, and could heal you with just one treatment.

Shelly was the typical example of a professional caregiver who dedicated her time to fixing others, often neglecting her own ailments. Nobody knew that Shelly had cancer – not even Shelly until it was too late. She died only two weeks after her diagnosis.

 

Music

 

Rest in peace my dear friend. I will never forget you for your friendship and all that you have done for me through the years. I’d like to think you’re grooving up there with Luther Vandross and I’ll think of you every time I hear him on the radio. I will always miss you❣