The Last of the Year of Firsts

This week the year of firsts came to an end; first Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. without my mom. It was a bittersweet day on Wednesday, relief knowing the first year, which I had always thought would be the most difficult, and sadness knowing I had gone a whole year without being able to talk to my mom the way I used to. There was also a sense of pride in knowing I had come through it pretty much intact as well. Yes, I’ve had my moments of being puddled on the floor, but I’ve discovered that those moments pass and that I’m strong enough to go on with my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, and it’s been the most important education of my life. I think the main lesson has been the need to not give into the fear of the unknown. There were so many times during my transcription course when I didn’t think I could go on, it was too hard, and I just doubted myself so much it nearly paralyzed me. But I also knew that my mom would want me to continue and fight through it, so I did, and now I’m working again. That’s been immensely important for my psyche and self-esteem.

When my mom died, I had largely shut myself off from the world because of my stuttering. Part of the reason was that I had been so burnt out taking care of my mom, that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with my speech issues anymore. The other part was my neighbor who had brainwashed me into thinking I was disabled and unable to speak for myself. It was only after he assaulted me, which I now feel was an attempt to convince me that I was helpless to do anything about his advances because I needed his help in order to function, that I realized I had to stand on my own. Stuttering or not, I had to face the world head on and not hide anymore. I’ve had some missteps since then, but now I feel solidly on my own path to where I was meant to be. And even though I know my mom isn’t physically with me anymore, I know that no matter where I go, she is always with me in spirit. I know that even though she is far away, she is still closer than I think.

Life’s Rubber Band

Major life events become

Rubber bands wrapped

Around our life time.

As time passes

It can stretch

To make it

Seem like forever

And when it relaxes

The event

No matter how long ago

Seems like mere days

Have gone by.

Years may pass

Before the band

Loses its elasticity

And the event eases

Itself into real time.

Until that happens,

Humanity is stuck

In a limbo of

Push and pull

On our conscious memory.

Time seems to move fast

And slow all at once.

And we just drift with it.

 

One year ago today, my mom went into the hospital, for what would turn out to be, the last time. It’s another one of those firsts that I’ve had to face since my mom passed. I’m running out of time to have those first moments though. In five weeks it will be a year since she died. That in and of itself seems impossible. That day, her last in this house seems so long ago, yet it seems like it happened last week — such a strange sensation, to bounce from one distance of time to another. Somehow, I’ve found the strength to get through my first summer without her, the first fall, her birthday, holidays, all without her here. There have been moments of unbelievable pain and moments of peace where I’ve found some kind of acceptance. Even though pure acceptance has yet to materialize in my heart, I still can’t believe she’s gone and in some ways, now that so much time has passed, I can. And back and forth I go.

A Brief Resurfacing

I’ve surfaced for a moment to take a breath and wanted to update everyone. I’m still plugging away on my internship, which is going very well. I’m almost halfway through, and have been getting some very positive feedback on my work, so fingers crossed there’s a job offer in the near future. As difficult and stressful as this internship has proven to be I am so grateful to have this opportunity to gain experience and get a taste of what is to come in my new career. Once things calm down, I’m definitely planning on returning to a more regular posting schedule on my blog. I have some things planned that I hope you all will enjoy. Well, better dive back into it.  Hope you all are doing well, and I send you much love.

Caregiving’s Downside

The first week of my internship and I don’t think I’ve been this mentally exhausted in years. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m also feeling a sense of fulfillment I haven’t experienced in a very long time. I feel like I’m working for my future, which I didn’t feel when I was caregiving. But underlying all these emotions is a deeper sense of needing to catch up to all the time I lost while taking care of my mom. I try not to focus on it. I try to appreciate all the time I got to spend with my mom, but it’s hard when I look at my dwindling bank account and realize all the time I lost working and all the money I missed out on making. That’s definitely the biggest downside of caregiving, the financial impact. When your caregivee isn’t here anymore, and you are left alone with thoughts of imminent financial ruin. But, that’s why I’ve worked so hard to get my transcription certificate, so I can start earning money. I just hope I’m not too late to pull myself from the brink of the abyss.

Good News!

So, good news! I passed my exams with a high enough average score to qualify for an internship with a transcription company! Yeah!! I’ll find out more details tomorrow, and I’m pretty anxious about it. I’m not questioning my skills or abilities; I’m wondering whether or not my time as a caregiver will be an obstacle to me getting a job. I haven’t worked since the summer of 2005. I spent the last 13 years caring for my mother full time. Ideally, I’m hoping my work will speak enough about who I am that the work gap won’t be a factor for prospective employers. Realistically I know there are people out there who don’t see caregiving for an elderly parent or a family member as work. My own siblings slightly fall into that category, although now that our mother is gone, I feel like they are beginning to see what my reality was like. It was work. It was 16 hour days, 7 days a week, 365 days a year nonstop. I’m hoping those I encounter in my job search will be empathetic and realize that what I did was work. I have the skills to do this job well and be an asset to any company I end up working for. I just hope I get the opportunity to prove my worth and the 13-year work gap won’t be a hindrance. I hope potential employers will see that my caregiving shows that I am dedicated, that I am a hard worker, and I would be a valuable employee to add to their team. So onwards and upwards with fingers crossed.

Owning Our Story

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – The experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

Appeasing the Technical Gods

Today’s post is a little bit of ranting and a little bit of praying. As I’ve mentioned recently, I’ve been working on my final exam for my transcription course. It’s going reasonably well, I have two transcriptions left to complete and have around a B+ average overall. What has been driving me crazy, however, is all the technical difficulties and hiccups I’ve been facing. In transcription work, you are supposed to use a foot pedal to play, rewind and fast forward audio files. The first one I bought, stopped working every five minutes and I would have to uninstall it, reinstall it, restart my computer, and several other steps. It didn’t take too long to do, but it just got old really fast. So, I thought, “I’ll just get a new one.” The second one I bought kept fast forwarding the audio every time I stopped the audio. Exasperated, I decided to forgo the foot pedal and just work the recording by hand. Problem solved. Not ideal for when I start working because working the audio playback manually slows down my time, but for now it works. I thought everything would be smooth sailing. But the technical gods had been offended by something I had done because now I’ve been having keyboard troubles. The one I’m using now is solar powered. The area where my desk is in a dark corner, so I have a tippy little light that shines down on the keyboard to keep it powered. The lamp is so tippy; I have a book resting on it as a counterbalance. I ordered a wireless keyboard to replace the solar one. When I started to use it the spacebar didn’t work half the time. So, I ordered another keyboard. I got it yesterday, and it won’t work at all. Needless to say, the frustration level in my house is at an all-time high right now.  I find myself bouncing between laughing at the ridiculous of it all and crying due to the pressure I’m putting myself under to finish these exams so I can start working and earning money. I wonder what I have done to piss the technical gods of to such a degree. I also wonder what I can do to appease them again. Maybe sacrifice one of the keyboards under the light of the next full moon? I don’t know. What I do know is that I need my technical luck to change and fast. So, if you guys could send some positive vibes my way, it would be immensely appreciated.