Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings gets me every year. This go ’round I was actually excited for the light earlier in the morning. It’s so hard to get up and walk the dog when it’s both dark and chilly. Regardless of how cute she is.

Well, I woke up this morning cold, and in the dark. Just like every other day, the past few months. I gotta say, I was disappointed. It’s that knowledge that while the clock says 5am, it’s REALLY 6 am. It’s the change, it’s the external difference that I have to adjust to. It’s the dreaded T word. Transition… any transition is just so hard.

I feel like life has been one big transition the past six months and I’m still in the dark about how to move forward. To name a few biggies… The trial, and all that entails, has come to an end. I am still learning how to live with CHF. And most recently, my grandmother died. So many changes going on, and I feel weary from the stress of it. 

Then there’s the “Where do I go from here?” Question.  I have felt stuck, not knowing which direction to head in. Well, the answer came in the form of a Great Blue Heron I saw a few days after GM died. I waited til now to look it up in my Animal Speak book. Here’s what I got…

Animal Medicine: Powers of The Great Blue Heron

HERON’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ESSENCE: aggressive self-determination and self reliance.



“Herons are part of a group of birds called ‘waders’. A bird of the marshlands and shallow waters. All waders have similar physical characteristics – long, thin legs, long necks, and sharp bills. Legs enable animals and people to move about on the earth. They are symbols of balance, and they represent an ability to progress and evolve. Also the longer the legs, the deeper the water the heron will feed in. The deeper life can be explored.

The long thin legs of the heron reflect that you don’t need great massive pillars to remain stable, but you must be able to stand on your own two feet. This is especially significant for those with a totem of the great blue heron, as it is a lone hunter. When it feeds, it stands in the water, reflecting a connection to the earth – while implying the exploration of other dimensions on the earth (water element).

It is important for anyone with a heron totem to explore various activities and dimensions of life here on Earth. On the surface, this may seem a form of dabbling, but those with heron totems are wonderfully successful at being the traditional ‘Jack of all trades’.

This ability enables them to follow their own path. Most people will never be able to live the way heron people do. It is not a structured way, and does not seem to have stability and security to it. It is, though, just a matter of perspective. There is security in heron medicine, for it gives the ability to do a variety of tasks. If one way does not work, then another will. This, heron people seem to know inherently.

 It is the tallest of the herons, and when it flies, its head is folded back in a flat S-shaped loop. This reflects the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and control life’s circumstances. It reflects a need for those with this totem to follow their own innate wisdom and path of self-determination. You know what is best for you and should follow it, rather than the prompting of others.”

So basically, I got a kick in the pants. Or a gentle reminder… however you wanna put it. Either way, it’s time to pick myself up, dust myself off, shake off the shackles of conformity, and get on about the business of living my life in a way that brings me joy everyday. I think I can manage that. It sounds really good, actually. 

I just gotta get out of bed first, it’s wicked chilly out there😉

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News too good not to share!

So it turns out all is not lost, like for real! I got a call from the county attorney’s office two days ago. As usual I was anxious about what they wanted and ignored the call. Yesterday, however I decided I’d speak to them. I made plans to conference with the prosecutor and the victim’s advocate.

I won’t leave you hanging… he is interested in a plea deal.  That’s right, he’s willing to plead guilty. I was pretty unemotional about the news as they laid it all out.  We spent 20 minutes or so going over what I would need in order to say yes, and was told they would make it work.

Needless to say, I was in shock. It literally didn’t compute. I was keyed up after the call, I couldn’t pull it all apart and get clarity on what this means for me. Hours later I was telling a friend and the reality of it smacked me hard in the face.

HE’s admitting guilt! It’s like the world shifted on its axis. I went from being a sexual assault survivor fighting to get some justice in a system that is fundamentally broken, to an admission of guilt!

I’m still shaking my head to try to make sense of it all, but this really is the best possible outcome. A guilty verdict is a great thing, but this feels better to me. Its validation from the source. It’s ownership of his crimes, at least part of them. No more wondering if I’m believed or not. But almost as importantly, it can be over… forever.

Nothing is set in stone, and the deal isn’t perfect, but it’s something I can live with. The parts that matter most are included. I have to hurry up and wait again while they wrap this all up. Even still, I feel like I woke up in a whole new world this morning. Wow, just wow.

It’s funny that I didn’t really internalize the information ’til I heard myself saying out loud to my friend last night. All of a sudden I was more excited than a kid at Christmas! She said the news was a real pick-me-up for her too. So that’s why I’m writing this now, before the kinks are worked out and everything is set in stone. There’s such a lack of good news out there these days.. I thought I’d share mine❤️

GM

This quote found me yesterday and it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. Grief is a complex thing and every situation is different. I’m finding as I let go of my last remaining grandparent, I’m afraid. Of what, I’m not so sure.
Grandmother is, well… indescribable really. She was a woman ahead of her time. She taught me how to read a map so I could navigate on our Sunday drives. Her favorite game was to throw the ball and play catch. She taught me how to split and stack firewood. She showed me how to change the oil in my car. She also introduced me to my first computer. She worked in tech and loved to brag that she had an email in 1979!

I was the first grandchild on my mothers side of the family, so it’s safe to say I was a little spoiled 😏

Here’s GM (as she liked to be called) with my mom (no, she was not a child bride) and me when I was first born…

Four generations of Fish women❤️


Just including this one because I LOVED that red shirt🙄

GM was not your average grandparent in many ways. She could be thorny sometimes, but her life had not been easy.  And several years ago she had to give up living independently due to the symptoms of her worsening dementia. GM was such a trooper through it all. I spent 5 months in Texas helping care for her and I’m so thankful I had that time with her. We laughed every day and made some more great memories ❤️


For more than the last year GM, has been in South Carolina with my Aunt and I haven’t been able to see her. Up until recently we were able to FaceTime, but the dementia has made it too difficult for her.

Two weeks ago she took a fall and just a few days later was sent home from the hospital with hospice. Here she is grinning from ear to ear because the EMTs who’d come to transport her were soooo handsome …

And that’s where she is right now. Home at my Aunt’s house with her three girls by her side. I keep telling myself this is a good thing. She’s been enjoying her life up til she fell and now she’s ready to go. She looks so peaceful.

Me, I’m way far away… just waiting for the call that says she’s gone. In fact, I’m counting the minutes right now til it’s late enough to check in!

Which brings me to my opening quote. I’ve been a mess since GM went home with hospice. Not because of how she would die, I’m trained as a hospice volunteer, so I know the drill. But more of a panicky feeling, scared… but of what?

I did some digging, and at the core of all my feelings is fear. And it surprised me to realize the fear is that it’s going to hurt WORSE when she dies than it does right now, waiting. And I’m not sure I can take it. So I’m trying to let go of the fear… after all GM isn’t afraid.

This is my favorite picture from the last day I spent with Grandmother. I was visiting family in Texas and my sister in law and I took her to get a manicure. She was fascinated by it all! She’d never had her nails done. She kept us all in stitches and left me with one more amazing memory…

I love you with all my heart GM. Thank you❤️

Crispy Air

It’s a cool  morning here in Boston. I can feel that crispness in the air that tell us Autumn is on her way. Her timing is perfect, as usual. I need her help to do some more shedding and restoration. Plus, all reports indicate this is going to be a spectacular fall foliage season. 


My favorite part of Autumn, aside from time in the mountains immersed in her beautiful color, is that crispy air. It’s sharp and clear… it brings things into focus… every breath feels like a cleanse.

I’ve had a difficult spring and a worse summer. I have tried to make the best of it and ” keep my chin up” so to speak. But it has taken a huge toll on me physically, emotionally, and spirituality. No need to go in to great detail in this mornings post as I’ve written about most of it already 😉

The point I’m trying to get to is that the crispness I felt this morning gave me hope, of which I am in desperate need. I can breathe easier when the air feels cool and clean, my mind feels clear and alert, the sun feels softer on my skin; I feel in tune with Mother Nature after a season feeling at odds with her.

The reality of living with Congestive Heart Failure and chronic migraines means hot, sunny summer days are the enemy, something I have to hide from… but as of this morning the tide has turned.  Looks like I’ll be coming out of hibernation and joining the rest of the world for my favorite season. 


The timing is perfect, as usual.  Since there is some healing/ restoration I need to do, as I mentioned, and Autumn is just what the Doctor ordered. 

I may not be able to do much hiking this year. Our annual pilgrimage to the White Mountains may consist largely of leisurely drives, but that’s ok with me. All I need is my spouse, fur babies, my journal and a place to pitch my tent and I’m good to go! 

I leave you with a few of my favorite fall quotes. Then I’m going to take my coffee outside and soak up the crispiness🤗


Literary Escapism

There’s hardly anything I like more than being consumed by a book. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with reading and it’s not letting up! My current favorite is the outlander series. I’m on book eight and loving every minute of it.

I remember as a kid, when life was too much to handle, I’d shut myself away and get lost in a book. It was the only way to escape the chaos and pain. My love of reading came from my Grammy Sybel, she was a librarian in a small coastal town in Maine. Grammy was well known for burning supper, or whatever she had on the stove because she’s was reading and forgot to stir!

Whenever I went to visit Grammy and Papa,  the first place we went was to the library. We always came back with an armload of books.

I never gave up reading, but as PTSD symptoms began to appear it wasn’t as effortless as it had once been. Racing thoughts and limited concentration make it hard to focus on anything.  I still read, don’t get me wrong. But if it wasn’t an easy read, I’d skim the descriptive parts to get to the meat. Or I’d only be able to read for a short time.

Over the past several years I’ve done some really difficult inner work and that’s produced lasting healing for my heart and mind. It’s been a hard row to hoe, but I’ve never felt better. That being said, the last few months have felt like I was caught up in a big ole nor’easter. I’m feeling bruised from being smashed around.

So, naturally I’ve been feeling down, a little depressed even. But then I realized… this to shall pass. I really am ok! I didn’t turn to any of my old (mostly harmless😉) vices to alleviate my pain! I didn’t even think about picking up a cigarette. Although, I may have had a slice of pizza or two.

The exciting thing for me is I have found myself lost in my books again. Effortlessly, I didn’t even realize it was happening. Not just reading, but hearing the accents of different voices or seeing the vibrant colors described in a scene. No more skimming, I’m reading every word! What that says to me is those “symptoms” or ways of navigating through the world that were not authenticly “me” have finally fallen away.


I’ve got a ways to go still, on my journey of healing, but it’s becoming more clear everyday that I really am ok. Whatever life throws at me… I got this!

Now I’ve gotta wrap this up, I’ve got Claire and Jamie waiting for me!

Home

It’s been two years since I left Maine for an adventure living in Boston. Life here definitely has its advantages, but I’ve been plagued by homesickness the entire time. I truly enjoy my life here, but I long for “home.”

My family moved a lot when I was growing up, so my grandparents house in Maine was home for me. I was surrounded by family and felt safe and secure. I lived with them for months at a time. Plus, I had cousins aplenty to play in the woods and at the shore.

When I was 15 my family moved to south west Georgia to work with Habitat for Humanity. Americus quickly became my second home and I  made a slew of lifelong friends. I spent 10 years there and so many of my favorite memories come from that time and place. Working and playing together creates a bond unlike any other and I still miss those days…

After college I decided to move home to Maine. 

My extended family had grown up and scattered like the wind, but my connection to the ocean and hills was as strong as ever. 



I found a community of friends who provided a safe place where I could me, my whole self. I was able to come out… loud and proud, without the negativity and homophobia I faced in Georgia.

I was back home in Maine 15 years before we left for Boston.

 

I knew it would be hard to leave, but I had no clue it would be as difficult as it was. Don’t get me wrong, I really love lots of things about the city, and I’m making the most of my experience here… but I’m starting to see it will never be home. 

I’ve cried countless tears these last two years, often lamenting my sad situation. After this Maya Angelou quote found me I realized just how lucky I am. Lots of folks I’ve talked to say they don’t have a place where they can just be. And me? I have two! So if the result is perpetual homesickness, I’ll take it! 

Optimistic-ish

Day 5 of my Staycation and I’ve got a stress test,  which I’m really nervous about. Not anxious about the text as I’ve done them before, but afraid to hear the results. Unfortunately for me the test isn’t until 2pm.  I also had a heart monitor put on Monday that I have to wear for two weeks. It’s surprisingly small and aside from some skin irritation, I mostly forget it’s there.


Whenever I’m having symptoms, like a racing pulse, or pounding chest, I just push the little button and it records everything! Technology is really impressive! I already know I have arrhythmia and flutters, so this test doesn’t scare me. It’s things like Coronary Artery Disease that scare me to death, and the stress test will indicate those kind of issues.

 

Yesterday was a really difficult day, which compounds my fear. I overdid it on Monday, and found myself in rough shape. The exhaustion was so profound and the episodes of not being able to breathe/ feeling faint were happening too frequently. Days like that make me wonder if I’ll ever feel healthy again.
I’m so thankful for these sweet babies. They make everything better, those warm little bodies snuggled up close❤️
And, as I often say “hope springs eternal!” Little Miss woke me up at 5:30 this morning and I felt, well… decent! I was able to walk her for 15 minutes or so. When I needed to rest, we practiced her commands. She’s the smartest most responsive pup I’ve ever had and she makes me laugh every single day.

These early morning walks really are my favorite time of day. My neighborhood is still quiet, this morning was nice and cool, and I could smell that salty air.

 

I did have to press my little button a few times, but I was able to be outside and expend some physical energy. That always feels good! So yeah, I’m optimistic again today… in spite of my fear.

If things go well during my stress test,  I may be able to get out of the city… at least for an overnight. I hope that’s the case! I am so thankful to be where I am, but Mother Nature feeds me in a way the city never can. So here’s to hoping❤️