Archive | May 2015

Getting A Lot Done

I’ve gotten an amazing amount accomplished this month. I got the gutters cleaned, put the air conditioners in, fixed the window with a hole in it, and got the tub converted into a one-handle system (solving a leak from corroded pipes).

All while not particularly wanting to live. Yeah, yeah, I’m back on my anti-depressants and seeing my shrink more than ever.

The doctor’s office called and wants me to call back. Of course, I attempted to do so but the office was closed and there was no way to leave a message. The receptionist sounded a little upset. Of course, I will attempt to call again Monday, but I suspect they will not be happy with me (having gotten a mammogram that demanded a redo and not even making a doctor appointment to discuss the results). I will reassure them that I do have another one scheduled, but that I am unsure of the point of talking to the doctor before the results are in.

You see, normal people have the attitude of, “OMG. Don’t you want to live? What could possibly be more important than getting this addressed?” My response is, “Uh…Lots of things are a higher priority right now. My husband and I live in a house that neither one of us is capable of taking care of and, regardless of who lives or not, the house needs to be sold. This is bigger than either one of us. What’s more, this is Michigan and these things need to be taken care of before the snow flies. I am doing both of us a favor, which is quite remarkable given that I am emotionally and spiritually exhausted. You don’t approve? Oh well.”

In other words, I feel satisfaction. I never knew satisfaction was so utterly different from hope.

Clarity, Clarity

Just to establish a baseline of my health before I leave Michigan, I got a mammogram two days ago. Yesterday morning, bright and early (before 9 am), the diagnostic center calls me to set up a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound. I set them up for about 2 or 3 weeks from now. These appointments have to fit in with everything else I am handling.

I’ve been wanting to be out of this never-ending position of taking care of the two of us for a long time. I may have my way out now. Who knows? It may be nothing.

I am now looking at my life and what is (and is not) worth fighting for. I am absolutely physically and emotionally exhausted. Am I willing to fight so I can continue functioning for two? Uh…no. I am going to continue paring down the possessions and fixing the house. Regardless of who lives (or not), doing these things will make things easier for the survivor down the road.

Also, I can start reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead for myself (and not just in relation to Barry) and start preparing myself accordingly.

I don’t know what comes next, but I feel clear as to what I am (un)willing to invest my time and energy in. Clarity is a precious thing.

Trying to Get Things Done in a Zen Way

Trying to do things in a Zen way

I’m not sure how to do things in a Zen way. To me, Zen is about being selfless and doing things in a natural, uncontrived manner. I’m not sure I have that freedom right now.

I have to function for two, myself and my husband. I read Zen books and magazines and they talk about the virtues of silence and solitude. I read them and think, “That would be nice!” There is nothing silent about calling people to fix the various parts of the house that are breaking down. I have to let go of the money involved in a non-dramatic way. There is no solitude when Barry spazzes out about the window fracturing into pieces from the pressure of pushing it upward to put in the air conditioner.

What I have always loved about Buddhism has been how reality-based it is in terms of psychology. It understands how the mind works. However, much of it is Asian-descended and patriarchal (read: irrelevant) to me, married to a husband capable of taking responsibility for nothing. My philosophy at this point is basic: If you’re not going to help, you don’t get a vote.

I try to live a simple life, eschewing non-necessities. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize just how little one needs to live: shelter, clothes, food, and meaningful activities. Everything else is optional. Needing to function for two has forced me to put my physical and emotional health as a top priority. I just got my first mammogram in over a decade. I want to leave Michigan knowing my health status. I explained to Barry, when I saw the hole in my window so close to my head, about how to get things done if I should die. If there is no Cindy, his options get real limited, real fast. I can only “dumb down” things to a point. Beyond that, he’s on his own.

I am reaching my limits, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There seems to be some understanding of human limitations in Zen. I cannot find solitude or silence at this point in my life. Anyone or anything that does not understand the slamming of a person against their limits is out of my life. It’s not just about other people’s suffering anymore; it’s about my own. I don’t have the time or energy to pretend otherwise anymore.

Life Making My Point for Me

Life is making my point for me. Words do not (and have never) cut it.

Yesterday, I was having a guy put in the air conditioners because it is getting to be that time of year. One of the windows has that BB hole in it. When the guy raised the window, the little hole cracked into various directions. Barry saw this and was dismayed. To me, it was just so sad/comical. I looked at Barry and said, “Do you get it now? Do you see why we need to not own a house?” Replacing the window went from “eventually” to “get it done before next winter.” No amount of convincing could ever have the impact of watching the house fall apart before our very eyes.

Now that I am clear about what I need (to get rid of the house), I have been looking for help. All those people that have been telling me, “If you ever need anything, feel free to call me. I’ll help,” now I’m calling them to take them up on their “offer.” I’m finding out fast who was sincere versus who just wanted to be polite and get out of a difficult conversation as quickly as possible. I will never forget who was there for me—and who wasn’t.

Soothing words are the problem, not the solution.

I am in the process of shedding everything and everyone that does not help me get to the next stage of my life. Life demands flexibility. That’s why we are to not get attached to things. Life makes demands and the only way to be able to move forward is to not cling to anything. Anything you own, owns you right back. You look at something and say, “I own you now.” Its response? “Back at you.”

Thank You, I Think

People have expressed admiration to me lately for my getting rid of things. “Oh, I need to get rid of more stuff.” “I need to get more organized like you.” That kind of thing. Their compliments have struck me oddly and I just figured out why: they are congratulating me on side-effects of what I am doing, which is preparing for the next phase of my life.

Imagine congratulating an Olympic athlete on the musculature of his thighs or a competitive pianist on the dexterity of their fingers. What is the proper response? “Uhhhh….Thank you?” The point of what they are doing is time-bound and competitive. They are training for a purpose.

What I am doing is preparing to leave Michigan. I am not de-cluttering, let alone organizing. Don’t get me wrong. I am way more organized than I have ever been. When a snake sheds its skin, it does not collect a pile of former skins and organize them according to size, thickness, or color. (Organizing is always according to some principle: date, alphabetically, etc., to take the randomness out of the situation.) No. It leaves them all behind. It moves forward without them.

Are people really missing the point regarding what I am doing that badly? Am I miscommunicating my intentions? Will these same folks be mystified when the “for sale” sign is planted in my yard? We’ll see, I guess.

Clarity’s Cost: Comfort

My life is taking a different direction now than I thought it might. For the first time, I have a sense of clarity about what to do and why. I am being driven by necessity and safety.

There is a hole in my living room window. I don’t feel safe sitting in my chair at the window as I have for years. (Turns out it was a BB, but a BB to the brain would still have been problematic.) So I had my chair removed. I had been planning on getting rid of my chair when Barry passed anyway and the chair is in sad shape, so I moved up the date for chair removal from “someday” to “now.” There is now more space in my living room. I feel like various problems (safety, space, etc.) all got solved at once.

And so now I have nowhere truly comfortable place to sit in my own living room. I don’t plan on fixing that issue. This is the best way to not sit and watch TV and waste my life I can think of.

I know I have to get rid of the vast majority of Barry’s modelling stuff. And I do a little every day. Progress is being made.

Monday, I got the gutters cleaned. Things are getting done. Perhaps I have had a spiritual breakthrough.

I’ve never had this degree of clarity. I have spent my life being continually overwhelmed. I still feel a little of that, but not like before. I feel like I have my marching orders for who-knows-how-long. Others can approve, disapprove, or whatever, but people not supportive will play no role in my future.

Do I know what I am doing? Not in the slightest, but I’m learning as I go. The fastest way to destroy any positive momentum would be to go to the furniture store and purchase another recliner. I could sit back, relax, take a nap….Wait a minute. Where did 2015 go?

No, that is not a valid option. Pick again.

Under Seige and Walking Away

I am pushing in different directions now.

I am in the process of getting rid of Barry’s modeling stuff, about three trash bags a week. I’m not touching the kits because my friend Tamara is going to take some kits and books off my hands. I’m talking about the random supplies that go into making models, frou-frou accessories. I simply cannot move forward with this quantity of material. Letting go is not optional; what’s worse is that Barry hasn’t touched these things in probably five or even seven years, making holding onto them pointless.

Speaking of letting go, I saw my best friend of twenty-some years Friday at the grocery store. I told her about the something/someone shooting some projectile through my living room window within six inches of my head. I said, “This thing is evil.” Her response? “It’s not evil.” When your best friend tells you that something shot at her head, the proper response is, “Omigod. Are you okay?” not “It’s not evil.” I am letting go of her and our friendship. I need friends that take me seriously, not dismiss threats to my very life. I simply don’t have the time and energy to fight whatever-the-hell-this-is and maintain a relationship with her. She has the one with the multiple traumatic brain injuries. She expects me to call her and remind her to do this and that, basically maintaining the relationship. She threw the relationship ball into my court, expecting me to call her to set up a time to see each other. I am dropping the ball and walking away permanently, or at least until I am completely satisfied that she takes the threat to my life seriously. Goodbye, Sherri.

Earlier that day, I went to the cemetery and made an extra payment on our grave marker and services. It is very creepy to stand on your own future grave. It puts every imaginable issue into perspective. How can you ever take prestige seriously again once you know where your body will be interred forever? Life is short. I’m dealing with real issues, doing the best I can with what I have. A little help would be greatly appreciated right about now.