Saturday, March 10, 2012


Alas, I am not dead. Hence the post. I have not been feeling particularly well. Hence the lack of posts.

My aunt's death has put Death back on the front burner. I don't know if you have noticed all of the recent celebrity deaths, but Death is definitely not on a holiday. And then there have been all of the natural disasters ripping up the Midwest claiming lives and it all has been making me think about Death. Yeah, it has been a bundle of laughs here.

I don't write when I get all depressed and morose. Honestly, I think it is unattractive. And I think my perspective gets all messed up. So, my tendency is to ride it out until it makes any kind of sense to me.

Had I posted a couple of weeks ago, you would have gotten something like "even my dog doesn't love me anymore." And that is true. But, I hadn't reasoned out the whys and wherefores and it just sounds pitiful. I know I would have rolled my eyes reading something like that. So, I couldn't write it. Instead, I had to figure it out.

I think it all came together for me yesterday. Let me walk you through it.

On the way to my vestibular rehab appt. we were driving through downtown, and my mom pointed out to me a cluster of homeless people that always hang out in front of the Goodwill Store near the bridge. Different people. Both sides of the road. The location is approximate. We wondered if they slept under the bridge. It looked like rain. The bridge seemed like a good spot to get out of the rain. It occurred to me that these were likely some of the people very much in need of my Big Idea. I wondered how many, if any, were sick and homeless. They all looked defeated. I knew how they felt and I had a place to live. I honestly couldn't imagine trying to survive without an address.

When we moved back to GA, my parents set up a gate keeping the dogs out of the bedrooms. My study and bedroom are both behind the gated area. My parents have taken over the feeding of the dogs. About the only time I come out is to eat dinner. My dog, Shelby, used to sleep with me. She followed me around like the Pied Piper. Now she follows my mom around like the Pied Piper unless my stepdad is dealing with food (because he bribes them). My mom says it is just a proximity issue and I need to spend more time with her. True. I am figuring out ways around that.

As I was lying in bed last night, I couldn't help but think of funerals and then those homeless people and then myself. Circles. Circles. Circles. And the line from The Beatles song The End. "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." Well, I have to be perfectly honest. It started out as a pity party. I felt very sorry for myself and all of the people I had lost who were already on The Other Side. And then I felt very sorry for myself that my world of real friends and loved ones just kept getting smaller. Yes, I was thinking about my funeral and how few attendees there would be. And the kicker: most of them would be there to support my mother. Yes, I was really feeling sorry for myself. The pity party was in full swing.

And that was when Revelation struck. That is what Illness does. It shrinks your world. It weakens your battery so that it is always running on LOW and you only have very little to give. It requires that you focus all of your energy on getting well, staying alive, trying to get better, and giving what kindness you have to the care provider who is helping you (if you have any sense at all). It doesn't give you much to work with in terms of giving. It isolates. And it makes you feel horribly alone. And unloved. It is excellent for that. One of the worst things disease does is makes a person feel unloved. Of course, it is a product of the wheel turning round and round. The person does it to themselves because they only have so much to give and they just stop reaching out. They don't have it in them anymore. And one day they are alone. Homeless. Standing under a bridge or in front of a Goodwill Store.

Whenever I have these Horrible, Down In The Gutter, Somebody Please Shoot Me Already periods, I know it is for a reason. I need to see a bigger picture. If I am going to build houses for sick, homeless people, I need to know what they are feeling. I need to know what they are going through. Yeah, they are sick. They have been undiagnosed. They are frustrated. Most importantly.... I need to know their hopelessness. Today I needed to know that they feel Unloved. They used to have a life. However, their battery kept getting lower and lower, so they did what they had to do. They stayed alive. But they lost everyone. And one day they woke up alone. And now they are looking back and wondering, "How in the world did that happen? I used to have friends. Family. But I bet no one will even come to my funeral. I have become someone that no one cares about. I am just another homeless person."

Healing a person is more than just about figuring out what went wrong with a medical diagnosis. Yes, it is imperative to heal their body. But, that is no good if there is no understanding of how they are feeling. My goal is to give them their life back... just as good or better than it was.

So... another part of this journey is getting MY life back. Figuring out how to do it. It is obviously another part of the program. You aren't well until you get your life back. And incorporating those steps has to be a part of your recovery as you are ready to make them. As your battery gains life, that has to be part of your "program." It will feel strange. Some people will be out of the social loop for a few years. Some for many years. It will simply depend on how long they have been sick. I imagine the longer they have been sick and their battery has been "low," the more difficult it will be. Interestingly enough, perhaps the better it will feel.

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  1. Well put, Rob... But, that's not any surpise to me. You always have a way of putting things into perspective in a well thought out and meaningful way.

    One thing I've learned is that when you're chronically ill, you don't go seeking out the pity party. It finds you. And there's nothing wrong with letting it in for a little while. What matters is knowing that you have the power to send it packing.

    Looking at your project idea as a way of helping people who's batteries have tanked, is a great analogy. Yep, it will likely take a while for many of them, but the upside of it is that thankfully, those batteries are rechargeable.

    Be well, my friend. ~Mary

  2. My first response to seeing that you posted again was: 'Oh Yay, Robin's back again'. :) :) And then after reading what you had to say I am more thrilled than ever. Your insight is truly priceless. You take the time to express what so many in your place just cannot. So many bloggers -myself included- start into this because we know we have something to say, but may not be totally aware of what that is exactly. And then it starts to come into focus along the way as we go. You have found what you are meant to say and you are so good at being able to express it in words that are meaningful and touching. I always look forward to reading you.

  3. That illness has theoretically shrunk your ability to give such that it's small, then there is truly a huge potential for you to give when I consider how much you already offer even when not feeling well! And when - not "if" - you're well, your BIG idea is going to come to fruition because you have the gift, the love, the empathy, the will ... everything you need to bring it all together. It's coming, I have no doubt of that ... :)

  4. I'm glad you're writing again :) Maybe you should even write when you've got one of your worst Somebody Shoot Me periods, maybe it would help somehow? One thing I've learnt about writing is that sometimes it suddenly makes you realize things you otherwise wouldn't even think about...And, also, Robin, don't say "if". Say WHEN (just like Yenta Mary pointed out as well). Because it's darkest just before the dawn. Just like in that song by Florence And The Machine (Shake it out, it's good one, you know that).

  5. Hey Robin,
    I just popped into looking at blogs.... as I too have been absent for about a month..... and I saw your post. I haven't been ill, just busy with other things. Bloggers usually get to the point where they have no other life but I decided I need one.
    Sorry you lost your Aunt and that's enough to put one in a funk again. Lots of bad things going on right now and me-thinks it may only be the start of it. I refer to the world situation and no one in particular.
    Love, Manzanita

  6. Robin: Glad to hear from you again. I have been missing in action myself, taking on the usual million projects.

    I must tell you, however, that I, too, lost four very close friends in the past two years. All were old fraternity brothers, and they were young. One was very close to me, and he died last week. Like you, I hurt. I do, however, spend time celebrating their lives, and I feel lucky to have shared my time on this planet with them. They would all be very happy to know that I am happy. After all, they were my friends.

    Talk to you soon.

  7. Damn girl... you have such a fantastic way with words and are so insightful. And as usual, I'm going through something similar where big changes are needed in my life and you nail it right on the head. How you always know exactly what I need to hear, I'll never know. Or maybe I've known all along. :)

    I hope things take a turn for the better for you... and I'm sorry about your aunt passing away.

    The love you give is really the love you end up getting. Yep. The Beatles were so wise. :)

  8. Would your medical condition allow you to get out for a brief bit, maybe once a say...serve a meal at a homeless shelter, or give of yourself in another small way? You steps? Something like that might give the battery a small boost?

    It was nice to see your comment Robyn. Imagine you remembering my driveway post! Way too hot for the driveway last week...had to be by the ocean with the sea breeze. That's over though. It's 26 today!

  9. Hey Robin... I think everyone seems to be overwhelmed by Life and not writing... I know I have been.

    Family issues, work issues, Life issues... blah...

    All in all, though, we seem to do ok...



  10. Robin - It looks like you are really going through alot! I am so sorry .... I hate feeling that way ... absolutely hate it!
    Sending you a hug!


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