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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Nebraska,A Prairie Life

Dear Grandaughters, 
    I am going to do a series of posts about growing up in Brady, a small town on the Nebraska prairie. I will be writing about my experiences in the '50s and '60s when life was different. At that time, we lived without televisions or air conditioning. Calling a friend meant picking up the phone and telling the operator what number you wanted her to dial for you.. We didn't have a swimming pool, or theater, and certainly not...computers. Our only store, except for two grocery stores, was the drugstore.
    This might sound drastic, but I have wonderful memories and a few not so wonderful! (I could be on the ornery side.) Nevertheless, I would like to share those things I remember., I will be writing about school, holidays, parades, the games we played. the Brady cafe, and much more. I will include my own antics. I hope you enjoy these blogs.  Love, Grandma Barb

Inner Joy: Hope After Suicide

Inner Joy: Hope After Suicide: Last night I attended a group for those who had lost someone, or lost even more than one, through suicide. I too experienced this. I was a j...

Hope After Suicide

Last night I attended a group for those who had lost someone, or lost even more than one, through suicide. I too experienced this. I was a junior in high school when my mother overdosed the day before Christmas. I've had many years to deal with my loss, but I hoped to be a support for others who were hurting.Besides, I'm comfortable talking about the subject which wasn't always the case. In 1963, the year I lost Mom, people didn't talk about the subject. Suicide was a stigma--although last night,  I learned that to a great extent that it remains stigmatic.

In truth, suicide normally deals with those who suffer from endless depression--unending feelings of hopelessness--some turning to drugs and alcohol not knowing how to deal with life. Towards the end, my mother was drinking more than I realized.--For many years I thought that her death was my fault, when in truth, it wasn't. Unlike many who take their lives. she talked about wanting to die, yet I was stunned and numb when she actually took too many pills. I had to return to school within two weeks. I didn't want to cry, so I crawled inside of myself and returned to school with a big smile on my face and hidden pain inside. The pain was even hidden from me. In time it caught up with me--more than once. I suffered from anxiety and depression for several years. Fortunately, I had good professional help.

So what am I trying to say--what message do I want to get across?  First, I feel we need more education about suicide and those who are left behind, the survivors. We must do away with the stigma. When people die of cancer, we talk about the illness and approach the grievers. Often with suicide, people don't know what to say. Some survivors actually lose their friends.

I was blessed to have a woman who took over as my mom. I could talk to her and her husband. However, when I went to college, there was no one. Again, I tucked my emotions inside. Ironically, my first roommate, a wealthy girl, who appeared to have the world in her hands, took her life. I found her in our room one day. She was despondent, so I spent several days listening to her. Her parents took her away to a hospital. The next year, she died of asphyxiation. A tragedy.

As I am sure some of you have done, acknowlege the person who has lost someone. Hug them if nothing else. Feed them special nurturing foods. be with them...or rather let them know you are available. Say you are aware of the pain they must be experiencing. My closest friend's Mom was a help. I loved her smile and the fact that she took myself and her daughter to plays and once, to the Miss America pageant.

Not talking about or acknowledging what happened, doesn't help. The griever knows what happened;  it is on their mind, I can assure you. Suicide is different in that it never goes away and there is often no way to resolve the death. Even now, a day rarely passes that I don't remember.

In a college class in 1982, I was told I couldn't tell anyone what happened...that I might scare the other students. For goodness sake, it was a class on becoming a family counselor. The message was that I was bad, and the students would be afraid of me. This from a professor with a doctorate in family counseling!! Shame on her.

We are making progress with the topic of suicide, but we have a long ways to go. Suicide is rampant in the young. We need more education on how to reach out to those who are depressed and on touching those who are left behind, the grieving.    Those we lost were human and those who lose their loved ones are humans too. We cry, we laugh, we hope, we love, like others.
 In closing, I want to thank my high-school class for coming to the funeral. I turned around and all 16 were there. I was deeply touched and have never forgotten. I thank each of them. Their presence began a long journey of healing.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Four Year Old and Grandparent's Day

   This coming Thursday, we attend Anna's preschool Grandparent's Day. I have been wondering what runs through her mind. For example, I have already planned my wardrobe! I doubt she's given a second thought to clothes. It's the same with other issues. She won't  ruminate on impressing us with gestures. If she does, her actions will be spontaneous. The same is true for apprehension about what we'll think of her,  how she looks,  how she cuts things out, or if we're going to like her art work. She's too busy living to touch on superficial worries. I'm not even sure she knows we plan to attend. For certain, she would have no idea about snacks or how long we're staying, though school only lasts for two hours, I think.
    I'm curious about what we'll do during that time. It could be that the kids are planning a skit or singing songs. I've heard her sing in church, and she seems to have no qualms. She might glance at us, but she doesn't seem blown away by our presence. If anyone has anxiety, it's me. In case you wonder why, it's the computer. If they are using one, I'm boggled by all the skills a four years old knows. At Christmas time, when leaving our house, Anna yelled out, "Mom, did you remember to pack my upload?!" I couldn't help but wonder what she was talking about. As it was, she was referring to  a Christmas gift- a game she got to play on the computer.
    I felt undone. She knows more about the computer than I do. When I was four life was all about my baby doll and doll dishes. That's as far as I'd gotten. All of this new "early learning" sort of intimidates me. Oh well. Regardless, she'll charm Grandpa and me beyond anything we can imagine because that's what grand kids do so effortlessly. I can hardly with to go. I hope she'll approve of my black velvet pants and a top with a red jacket. Signing off...Grandma