I deserve to be treated with respect

180 Degrees

When I was young I just took it for granted that everyone would treat me the way I treated them. In my 20s I found out that wasn’t always the case. Janet loved me unconditionally so I grew up with someone I could always count on.

I don’t think I’ve done a 180 so much as I have dealt with events in my life that have changed me. I have done a lot of stuff on my own so I’m more comfortable by myself. I will no longer be friends with someone who is going to judge me for my decisions. True friends listen and validate my feelings. I am so thankful for friends who allow me to be mad. I never thought I would be a person who would be ok with having a rift in my family but that is the way it is. True friends respect me enough not to say “you need to forgive him”.

On Thursday I bought myself an Ipad. I used to be one of those people who thought “but I already have a computer and it works”. I want to use some health apps. I want to be able to download music and the best part is I can facetime. I have had a shitty year and I deserve to treat myself.

This 180 stuff is a work in progress!

Instragram

Do Not Disturb
I have privacy settings set up on facebook. I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t tell someone face to face.
One day I found my sister-in-law’s Instagram account. She is not technologically inclined so does not have the settings marked as private. There was a family picture of the 3 of them and when I looked at my niece’s face I could see Janet. Her expression is so much like her. I could see it in her when she was a baby.
It makes me sad because I am the only one that will ever know.

Not what I meant by free time

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling very overwhelmed with all the work that is involved in looking after my Mom and house and yard work that wasn’t even started. I was counting down the days until my spa weekend in June. I have now spent 3 whole days to myself. It’s different this time. I’m sleeping better for one. She’s much more stable than the last time. I’m enjoying the time to myself. I don’t really feel guilty for saying it. I now have my own schedule without having to take care of Mom first. Yesterday I had really healthy lunch of chicken Caesar salad and half a bun. Dinner…chicken breast other half of bun and deli coleslaw. And snack at eight pm.

Last night I was thinking about what it would be like if I was alone forever. I realize that I could do it but I’m not ready yet. Yesterday I went to local bank and got receptionist to help me. She asked how my Mom was and then asked if my brother knows. People think I’m strong to be able to do this on my own without help. To distance myself from my brother. It was hard at first but I’ve been doing it for almost 6 years. Mom told me yesterday that she gets asked by nurses if she has family. She never knows how to answer them. She says 3 kids. One here, one in heaven and one in Toronto. Grand kids? Yes, one and she leaves it at that. She deserves to be supported by both of her children but my brother doesn’t do well in crisis. Let’s just say women aren’t the weaker sex in our family.

Photo Challenge–ON THE WAY

039On the Way
Share a photo you took on the way to something else
I actually had a few to choose from but I decided on this one. It was taken on the boardwalk in St. Thomas when we got off the cruise ship. We were on our way to do some shopping and we saw lots of iguanas sunning themselves. It was like watching squirrels at home (because they were all over!)
It’s very rare that I carry my camera with me except on vacation or special events. There is a really cool photo I took in the shuttle bus on the way back to the ship in Dominica of a house with what look like icicles made out of cardboard with aluminum foil. I took the picture because I thought it was quite clever. I was so used to snow and cold and it was 30 degrees outside–90 farenheit.

Childhood

jandjbikesChildhood Revisited
Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood?
I wish we had travelled more. My Dad didn’t like to travel so the only place we went was to my Uncle’s house near Toronto which is about 2hrs away. We would go for the weekend. I was jealous of the kids who got to go to Florida for winter break.
Janet and I used to stay overnight at my Grandparents on the weekend occassionally (even though it was only across the street). We would go over every Sat and have a visit. We usually played cards with grandpa, or Mom would come too and we would watch baseball in the summer. We would bake cookies with grandma and grandpa would eat them.
My Mom would take us out for a treat on PD days. There were times when I wish I had the latest toy or newest clothes but we had everything we needed and we weren’t spoiled.
My Mom signed us up for summer day camps (for 5 days). She thought we needed something to do not realizing we were fine just the 2 of us. We both hated it and couldn’t wait for Fri. If that could have been different I would be ok with that!!
All in all I can’t complain too much.

Not Shy Anymore

A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma
When we were very young in public school people would comment on how shy we were. Our report cards would read “quiet, consciencious student who could speak up more in class” Both of us had the same comments. By our late teens we weren’t quite as shy. When we went to California Janet was sick from something she ate so Mom stayed in room and I went out sightseeing with another woman from our tour group. She had to go back to hotel for something (which wasn’t that far) so I was waiting out front for her. A woman came along and invited me to have lunch with her. I had a glass of iced tea and she had lunch. I had a long conversation with a complete stranger does a shy person do that?? When we were in our early 20s Janet and I were more outspoken. We thought youth were taken for granted at our church and at any meeting we would speak our minds. We quickly learned how to say NO or we would be volunteered for stuff we didn’t want to do.
Janet and I were great observers of people. We could do that because we were quiet. It also meant that we could gauge a situation pretty quickly. People tended to underestimate us (and I think people still do for me) because we were sweet. We both had a little bit of our Dad in us.
Because this blog is such an extension of me I don’t think there is much that you don’t know about me.

Baggage

Baggage Check
A former minister of mine preached on simplifying our life. He started off talking about cleaning out his closet. How we have to know what to keep and what to give away. He ended by saying that it is our choice what to keep and what to give away nobody can make that for us. How true. He also talking about our purpose and stuff. I remember thinking “What if my closet is so full it would all tumble out if I opened it?” I was dealing with a lot of stuff in my family with my Dad’s cancer, my brother, grieving for Janet and trying to figure out who I was. There was a lot of stuff that I had to put off to the side. I couldn’t properly grieve for Janet because I had to be strong for my Dad and my family.
When I first thought of doing this blog I did have a moment where I had to think if I was going the right thing. Since how Janet died and some of my life is public I didn’t know whether I wanted to put my feelings out there. What if someone judged me? My past dealings with people who didn’t want to understand what twinloss is like influenced my decision too. I decided that MY need to do this was greater than the what ifs that were swirling around in my head.
It takes a compassionate, caring person to accept that I do come with baggage. I was telling a friend last night that when Janet died I tried to be the same person but it wasn’t possible. I learned that I just had to be my true self and if people didn’t like it that was too bad.
You can come along for the ride but you’d better leave room for my baggage.

Nightmare? I’m living it

Nightmares
I just spent all morning in Emergency with my mother who has developed the same symptoms she had when she went in the hospital the first of Feb. It’s 3 months since she was discharged.
She had a kidney transplant 27 yrs ago and her health is declining.
Do you know what my greatest nightmare would be? That something would happen to her and I would be alone. When she was in the hospital for 3 weeks it was kind of like having a taste of what it would be like and it wasn’t fun.
Yes, the Drs will fix her up but I know that she isn’t that well. I’m here everyday I can tell.

Songs of my life

Mix Tape
Happy–Pharrell
You Raise Me Up–Josh Groban
Power of your Love—Hillsong
Dancing in the Sky—Dani and Lizzy
Please Remember—LeAnn Rimes
Faith of the Heart—Rod Stewart or The Climb
You Are Loved—Josh Groban
I was here–Beyonce

I have a long playlist of songs that I saved on my computer. Most are what I think of as my “grief songs”. Powerful songs that I listen to when I need strength. The hard part was narrowing it down.
I chose Happy because when I was young I was happy. Of course there were struggles but I always knew things would be ok.
You Raise Me Up because I was stronger with Janet. She always had my back.
Power of your love was a song that I chose for Janet’s funeral. It was a song that Janet and I both liked.
Dancing in the sky is a song that a fellow twinless twin posted on fb. It talks about how everything changed after they died. There is a sadness to it but there is also a certain comfort to hearing her say I hope you are singing with the angels.
I live my life honouring her memory, remembering our time together.
It’s a toss up between the 2 next songs. “It’s been a long road to get from there to here”. The journey after losing Janet and then my father hasn’t been an easy one. Sometimes I couldn’t even see the path but as the songs says “it’s not about how fast I get there”.
I don’t know what my future holds and I couldn’t even begin to pick a song for it. The last song is a powerful song about leaving a mark once I’m gone and I hope I can do that. When Janet died 125 people came to her funeral. That’s how many people she touched in her life (and many more). Almost everyone remembered her for her laugh.