MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY DARLING FRIENDS (and Happy Holidays!)

I discovered the most amazing blessing today and I wanted to share it with you guys.

I started going through all of my Facebook posts and blog posts from this year and I noticed all the people who had left beautiful, supportive and loving comments for my family and me.

And because of those comments I started writing up a post that specifically mentioned a bunch of people who had been particularly wonderful to me this year. What I realized, and what the true blessing is, is that the list was so long that it would take me 15 hours to write it.

What an amazing gift to be given by your friends.

My intention had been to name each of you, one by one, and thank you very specifically for the help or love or encouragement or support that you had given me. But the list was, quite frankly, a bit daunting. Because of that long list, I’ve never been happier.

That God has blessed me with friends who come out in such a strong force to keep me encouraged and out of a depressive hole of blackness is quite amazing to me.

It’s very important for me to let you guys know, that every smiley-face, every heart, every hands held together in prayer, every snarky or sarcastic comment, every lovely and supportive comment, every comment telling me that I was going to kick ass, every precious thought, emoji, gif, picture, you name it… has meant the world to me and lifted me up when I really needed it.

While I wish I had those 15 hours to name every one of you specifically and just how you helped me right when I needed it, I hope that this note will suffice because without the loving support, or the super-funny laughs, or the occasional ass kicking, I know without hesitation I could not have made it through this year. Your love and your prayers supported me and gave me more strength that I knew I had.

So let me end by saying this: When I say love you in a comment or a post, I mean it with my heart. When I say thank you, I mean it with everything I have. When I call you sweetie or doll or darling it’s because that’s how I’m truly feeling in that moment. When I send you hugs it’s because I really wish that I could hug you.

You all have made this year, which could have been my last, more beautiful for my heart than I ever could have dreamt. That’s the best gift of all. If I got coal in my stocking and a note from Santa that said, “Fuck you,” that would be okay at this point because all of you have given me a gift everyday and sometimes even more than once a day.

Know this, I love you guys and you are always in my prayers. Regardless of what you are celebrating this holiday season may you be blessed with joy and love throughout every moment of it.

With all of my heart…

WARNING!!!!! Rant about to occur!

Hi everyone!

arg-dancing-happy-holidays-red-sm-url

I promise I’ll get to all my mushy, sarcastic, holiday fun as Christmas approaches, but I wrote this on Facebook and my sister immediately said that I should post it here too. So I’m a gonna! 😉

Love you guys and bear with me and my rant. It’s all from good intentions, even if it is quite mouthy, I swear! 🙂  🙂  🙂

___________________________________

UPDATE TO MOUTHY RANT BELOW:

Hey everybody. Now I feel bad because I think that my crazed rant the other day was taken the wrong way. Or let me rephrase that, that I did not explain myself well. Trying to write all of that on a stupid tiny little phone, I sometimes leave things out that maybe I shouldn’t.

What I really meant, was not that I don’t love seeing things like, “Ha!” or “Love it!” or “Sending prayers,” or “Happy birthday,” or “You’ll be fine…you’re strong,” and things like that.

Those comments are AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL and I know that I personally am always very thankful for them because it means someone actually stopped, took a moment out of their day and let me know what they were thinking in that moment. That’s precious. I love that.

What I was flipping out about the other day was when somebody is clearly in pain and reaching out for help on Facebook, and someone gives them some condescending platitude that makes it seem like they, the comment writer, are just so much smarter and more enlightened then everybody else. And if the person writing the original post was just better or stronger or understood the world more, then everything be just fine. That I just cannot abide and that is what I was commenting on the other day.

It was a specific post that I was referring to that just set my hair on fire. So please know, that I was in no way, shape or form trying to say that anyone should stifle saying anything on Facebook. You guys know if I’m for anything it’s for free speech. I was more saying that real empathy when somebody needs help is so much better than preaching at them because you think you’ve got The Answers to Everything and you will arrogantly share them with everybody else so we are better people through your enlightened comment.

I’m so very sorry if I came across the wrong way, or left that out, because there’s nothing I love more than having fun with you guys on Facebook. It’s those little connections that help keep us all sane and make us giggle and remind us that we’re loved.

So if anybody took what I was saying wrong or I just did a shity job of explaining myself, I apologize. I meant no disrespect to anybody, with the exception of people who are jerks. They can still bite me.

Love you guys, and I really mean that.

____________________________________________

PS: If you are wondering what got me to this point, and why I started noticing this kind of stuff and had to post a rant, here’s what I just shared with one of the dearest people in my life that I hadn’t shared with anyone before–she’s a 2nd mom to me.

On the day I nearly died…THE ACTUAL DAY, someone said to me, “You had a stumble, big fucking deal. This will be okay.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????

That was the kind of thing I was talking about with platitudes and remarks that are utterly inappropriate. How about something else like maybe, “Oh my God, I’m so happy you are alive.” or something like that?” But to say that awful thing to me as I lay there in organ failure, 90% dead? WTF????

_____________________________________________

Original mouthy rant: 

So something I’ve noticed over the last few years that has finally started to drive me crazy to the point of wanting to flip out and respond in ways that are impolite and against my sweet nature is the fact that so many people now speak in cliche on Facebook.

It’s as though they’ve read every self-help book in the world and think that they are now the gurus of “How to make your life better,” or “Take control of your life,” or “Don’t let people affect you. Your reactions are YOUR reactions and you own them.”

First off, duh. Secondly, don’t fucking preach at me, or anyone else for that matter.

We all have our own lives. Our own experiences. Our own pain. Our own joy. Our own fears. Everyone is shaped differently due to the experiences that they’ve had in their lives. Therefore, people tend to react differently in the same situation. Now this sounds like ME being all preachy, but what it really is, is me just trying to explain that having someone tell you that, “No one can make you mad, only you can allow yourself to feel anger,” makes me want to punch a fucking wall.

Because while that is a great sentiment, and true in many ways in that we choose how we respond to external stimuli, if someone punches me I’m going to be fucking mad and I’m going to want to punch them back in the fucking head…with a hammer.

So yes, I could say to myself, “They just punched me. WTF??? But I am in charge of my response. Maybe they punched me for a good reason? Maybe they had no reason for punching me. But don’t allow them punching me to make me mad because anger gives THEM the power and I have a choice of whether or not to give them power. Choose not to.”

Give me strength. Good Lord. Possibly only Gandhi and/or Mother Teresa would respond that way. Having natural responses to external stimuli is one of the most natural things in the world. And it’s okay to react.

Now, do I suggest reacting in a calm way? Yes. The madder I get, the calmer I get (believe it or not!). I have found that this works best for me. Especially because I’m always so bonkers and giggly and sarcastic and tend to let most shit slide because in the end who really cares about most of the spilled milk, but when I’m really, really fucking pissed, I tend to become very quiet, very introspective, and think very hard about what I’m going to say so that I don’t regret anything that comes out of my mouth.

That is how I take control of how I react to external stimuli. That doesn’t mean that anybody else has to do it that way. But it works for me. But to say that I’m not allowed to have my gut, raw reactions to other people’s behavior is ridiculous and insulting and quite frankly stupid as fuck.

I’ve also noticed that while many, many of us have been through just absolute nightmares the last year, that some people feel empathy for others and for the pain they’re going through, but other people feel like they own what pain is and that only they are the experts on how to deal with it. That is such a bunch of shit.

I tell my dear friends at work, when they aren’t feeling well, how much I hope they feel better and that I’m praying for them. And almost all of them tell me that it’s ridiculous for them to even complain about their aches and pains because look at what I’ve been through this year. And I tell them that just because I’ve been through pain doesn’t lessen their pain. It doesn’t make their migraine go away. It doesn’t help them go into remission from cancer. It doesn’t help their knee that is in constant pain or their back that hurts like a fucker all the time. Just because I’ve been through the wringer, doesn’t mean that I own what pain is and that no one else could ever understand. That’s ridiculous and quite self involved.

So, you’ll have to forgive me for my rant. And I know I may have even gotten off track a bit. But I’m just so exhausted by this inauthentic, non-genuine truckload of responses that I constantly see on Facebook. It’s so annoying. Be your real self. That’s all any of us want from our friends. I don’t want anyone to be fake with me. If you think I’m an asshole, tell me I’m an asshole and unfriend me.

I much prefer honesty to anything else. Anyone who’s ever read any of my posts knows that I say it like it is, whether it’s pleasant or not. And I’m not telling anybody else that you need to write your posts like I write mine. Again, we are all individuals and we choose to communicate in the ways that we want. But at the same time, if I read one more cliched piece of shit that says nothing, is an excuse for real emotion, is condescending or patronizing, or is used as a weapon to make somebody feel as though their emotions don’t have the value that they actually do have, I’m going to freak the fuck out.

I love you guys all so very much and that’s why I just let it all hang out. Good, bad and ugly, you guys see every side of me. Now, for a lot of people I know that is hard to do. And I’m certainly not telling you that you should. But please, when someone is angry about something or hurt by something or scared about something, please give them the consideration, respect, compassion and love they deserve by responding to them in an authentic way that lets them know how you really feel. Quoting a fucking bumper sticker isn’t going to help anybody unless the bumper sticker says, “Fuck ’em all, you’ll get through this.” Then at least they might laugh.

Again, sorry for the rant. But I read something on someone else’s page this morning that just pushed me over the edge and I had to comment on these way-too-common, cliched, self-help, lazy, bullshit responses that I now see so often on FB. This person’s comment just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. But that camel has been really fucking tired for a long time, so it didn’t take much.

Love you guys, even if it doesn’t sound like it during this rant, I do. I just want us all to live in a place where our opinions are valued, even if they’re disagreed with. Where our hopes and dreams can be supported by those that love us. Where our fear and our anger can be dissipated by the love and support of our friends.

I don’t want to live in a world of fake shit. I want to live in a world of truth and love and kindness and a good kick in the ass sometimes if it’s needed.

I hope everybody has a wonderful, relaxing, healthy, happy weekend. We’ve all earned it. Thanks for putting up with my mouthiness. I know I go on with my crazy verbal vomit sometimes and I love that you guys put up with me. Hugs!

Even after the year I’ve had… still so much thankfulness

 

I originally posted this on Facebook, but a friend suggested I put it here too since I have the most wonderful blogging family EVER!!!! 🙂 I totally agreed, as I love you guys to no end. So, here goes. 🙂

______________________________________________________________

I know it’s past Thanksgiving, but I’ve never really followed the rules for anything anyway. I have some things I want to let everybody know that I’m thankful for, and so much of it has to do with all of you.

I am so very deeply thankful for all of the love, kindness and support my friends here have shown me. It’s so easy for social media to be a place filled with nothing but political banter, disagreements, and or superficial–but very often still funny–types of things.

What I have found this year is it is also a place filled with love and prayers and people who come out of the woodwork to truly let you know that they love you and only want the best for you. That has meant more to me than I can ever begin to express.

I am also incredibly thankful that I’ve been able to return that love to so many of my friends that are having a very rough time of it lately. Whether you’re in emotional pain, physical pain, or both (which is likely the case), being able to let you know that I love you and that I truly am here for you brings me great peace. From the bottom of my heart I mean it when I tell people that they can call me and just cry for an hour, or just sit in silence for an hour knowing someone is on the other end of the phone if they do decide to talk. Hell, I’ll watch a TV show with you over the phone. Or you can just scream and yell cuss words at me until you can’t utter another word because your throat is sore. I truly mean with every fiber of my being that those of you who are going through hard times can call me and do any of those things.

It may have been many years since I’ve seen a lot of you, and we may not have even been close in high school or at a job or wherever it is that we met. Heck, we may not have actually ever met in person, but we’re here now, together, and to me that is what matters.

I’m also so very thankful to my family for supporting me through the last 10 and a half months. That my husband tells me I’m beautiful, even though I’ve lost 75% of my hair and gained a shit ton of weight from not being able to do anything, including walking, for almost a year just blows my mind. And the anazing thing is, I believe him. To know that the man you’ve chosen to spend your life with truly cherishes you is the best gift anyone can ever give or receive. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’d be thrilled if I lost 40 lbs, and I know he’ll be happy for me when my hair grows back in, but in the meantime he does nothing but support me and lets me know that he loves me regardless of any of that superficial bullshit. That’s such a gift and I can never express my gratitude enough for loving a man who loves me for me, not for me as arm candy, or a bank account, or any of the other reasons so many men have been with me over the years. He loves me. I will forever be thankful for that.

And for those of you who grew up with me and my sister, the very beautiful and loving Becky, you’ll know that she and I had our ups and downs as we grew up. It’s hard being so close in age when you’re a teenager and then your twenties and unfortunately tend to attract and be attracted to the same types of men. God knows it caused a verbal cat fight more than once. But my precious, angelic sister has truly become my best friend. She lets me call her anytime night or day and never makes me feel like a burden.

When Becky was here taking care of me after surgery, she was the most amazing medical advocate for me. She took no shit off anybody and made sure I got the best care possible. When you’re as fucked up as I’ve been, you need somebody strong to have your back. And Becky was that. She never made me feel embarrassed for the hideous things she had to see and do. God bless her for that. She can never unsee the things she had to deal with and yet she’s never made me feel bad or humiliated. She just took it all in stride and made sure that I knew that she loved me and she would do anything for me. That kind of love is simply amazing and I’m so truly blessed for all of that.

While I still have a long way to go to get back to normal, and it may still be a few years before I have enough emotional energy to be a truly good friend in the way that I like to be, what I’m thankful for is that the people who love me understand that I don’t hibernate because I don’t love them or don’t want to talk to them. I don’t hibernate to avoid being a good friend. If 95% of you called me tomorrow and told me you needed me to be on a plane to come take care of you, I would be on that plane. But what is such a beautiful thing is that the people who know me understand that my keeping to myself is me just licking my wounds and trying to heal my brain, my heart, and my body. Plus they say it takes about 3 years, if ever, to feel normal again after severe sepsis, so thank God everyone seems to understand that me not leaving the house to go party has nothing to do with not wanting to see my beautiful friends. It just has to do with me taking time to heal so that when I am back on my feet I’m going to kick ass from here to Maryland and back… Taking no prisoners!

I do realize I should have probably just written a fucking book as this is about the length of one, but it’s 4:32 in the damn morning and I felt like telling everybody how deeply, deeply thankful I am for all of you.

I know I often say things in my comments like “much love,” or “tons of hugs,” or “XOXOXOXO.” And it may seem like just the way I sign off on my comments. But I really mean it. I have so much love in my heart for so very many of you and I just want you to know it. So I will tell you that over and over and over again so that there’s never any question about how I feel.

In closing, finally (right????), know that I do love you guys and I am so very thankful that you are in my life, and that you take the time to show me love means more to me than you could ever possibly know.

May God bless every single one of you and take care of your every need. I love you all so much. If you ever need me, I’m here.

LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and every other happy sentiment I can send you! 🙂 XOXOXOXXO

The path to happiness… :)

My dear friend Joel suggested that I post this on my blog and not just on my FB page, and a wise woman always listens to Joel. 🙂

I was telling a few close friends a story of betrayal the other day and how, when over a decade later, this person reached out and apologized I told that person that I’d forgiven them years ago. This person was shocked and thankful for the forgiveness and didn’t understand how I could have had forgiveness in my heart many years before any apology came.

I told them that while forgiveness is a beautiful gift to give to others, it is equally as beautiful a gift to give yourself.

It frees you.
It helps you persevere. 
It keeps your heart open.
It allows you to move forward, not remain stuck in the mire.
It gives comfort both to you and the person you forgive.

Forgiveness in your everyday life is something to cherish and be thankful for.

Learn from those betrayals.
Understand how those betrayals, in some way, taught you something that will give you wisdom down the road.
But also forgive them.

The person who suffers most by not allowing forgiveness to fill their heart, is the person who is unable to forgive.

Free yourself from the past; forgive, love, giggle and do your best to spread kindness.

That is a life worth living.

And I must tell you…as a side note, it makes for such a happier life. My mom always told me to pray not only for those you love, but those that cause you pain; for if that person can heal, then their little piece of the world will be a better piece and possibly spread joy to others as well. It was sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but she was right and I still pray for the nasty bitch that ruined my life over 25 years ago (just kidding…I no longer carry that anger–just said that in classic Jodi style). Her happiness affects those around her, so I want her to be happy. Even if she TOTALLY TRIED TO DESTROY MY LIFE. No bitterness…honestly. I’m just being a smart ass. I forgave her decades ago and it took the weight of the world off my shoulders. It was a huge blessing to my own heart and I’m thankful every day that I let it go. (Do NOT start singing “Let it Go” from Frozen or I will hunt you down!)

Anyway, much love, as always. XOXOXO

Musings of an Old Hag (but an alive one) on her (almost) Birthday

First and foremost, massive hugs and love to all of you for your many emails, flowers and other goodies you sent to the hospital to cheer me up and the tons of prayers that most certainly kept me alive these last 4 1/2 months.

Also, thanks to the good Lord above for blessing me with a second set of doctors and surgeons who, quite literally, saved my life. I will forever be thankful to God and to them for their gifts of skill and determination to keep me alive.

While the last 47 years have been full of joy and laughter, love and lust, peace and grace, they’ve also been quite full of pain–both of body and mind. I sometimes startle when I think of it. And I think that’s the greatest blessing of all…that the bad hasn’t overcome the good and made my life one of sadness and fear. That I still am a bit shocked when I think of all the trials I’ve been through shows me that it’s not those trials that define who I am, but it’s those trials from which I’ve learned to be who I am.

Since January and the medical issues I went through and am still going through, I’ve endured more physical pain than I ever thought possible. And the emotional toll has been devastating. The fear. No. The terror of everyday life over the last 140 days has been stunning in its endurance. But, even with all that, and what continues to happen as a result of that, I know I’m blessed. And here’s why:

  1. My husband not only tells me he loves me multiple times each day, but he shows me. What’s he’s had to endure watching me go through this mess would have broken a weaker man. Instead, he tells me it’s his privilege and honor to take care of me. I didn’t know love that like existed. A person’s true character shines brightest not in the light, but in the dark. He lit up my entire world and continues to do so.
  2. My sister flew out and took care of me for almost 3 weeks. She made damn sure the doctors, nurses and everyone else that had to do with my care did everything that was required to keep me alive. Her dedication to my health, both physical and mental, was beautiful and more than I ever could have asked for. She was, and continues to be, such an amazing support and shoulder. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.
  3. My mom, God bless her, who is 78 and seen more pain in her life than 10 other people combined, managed to survive all of what has and is happening and not snap or give in to despair. She even makes me a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce every week to cheer me up and make meals easy for me as I’m getting back on my feet.
  4. My 2nd set of doctors and nurses did their damnedest to keep my ass alive. My nurses showed me so much love it overwhelmed my heart. I had one doctor in particular who made me feel safe every time he walked through the door. When you are living in non-stop terror and pain, that reprieve is more valuable than anything on earth.
  5. My home nursing staff breathed love all over me with every visit. I’ll never be able to thank my sweet nurse who managed my care enough. I think of her so often and how her tenderness, love, support and understanding helped me through one of the truly darkest times of my life. I’d never before been so sad and so frozen in fear, but she held my hand and told me I was going to make it through. On her last visit, we both got emotional for we’d forged a bond through pain and understanding that doesn’t go away overnight.
  6. My friends rallied like never before to pray for me, support me and send me love on a continual basis. My sister kept everyone informed over Facebook as to what was going on and the outpouring of tenderness still warms my heart. I still cannot believe the cards, flowers, blankets, teddies and other wonderful tokens of love that my friends sent me to cheer me up. And I still feel bad that somehow all the wonderful notes that came with the heart-felt gifts have vanished. I would love to have been able to reach out to every kind person that sent me a card or gift and thank them profusely–alas, I was very drugged and while I was overwhelmed with thankfulness when my husband read me the cards when delivered, for the life of me I can’t recall about 80% of who sent what–but a HUGE thanks to those of you who sent me reminders that I wasn’t going through this alone. And a HUGE thanks to all of you who reached out virtually to let me know you were praying for me. Those prayers made all the difference.
  7. My ability to forgive hasn’t weakened. For that I’m eternally thankful. Sometimes, the rage and the heartache and the sense of betrayal can be so overwhelming it feels like I’m sinking into a hole from which there is no escape. But before I get to the bottom of it, I remember to forgive. And that pulls me up out of it. Though sometimes that dark hole tugs back, I won’t let it gain purchase for that is place I never want to live.
  8. I’m still alive. Dammit! I’m forever thankful for that. I still get the privilege of loving my husband, my family and my friends. I still get to do my best to bring joy (often through sarcasm!!) to those around me. I still get the pleasure of petting my kitties and taking care of the chickens, hamster and hedgehog. I still get to go to Starbucks and chat with all the wonderful friends I have there (I drink way too many frapps!). I still get to giggle with my hubby about silly things and make my teddy bears have conversations of a most inappropriate sort. I still get to love all the things I loved before…that is truly a blessing. And, most importantly, I didn’t die and leave my family bereaved. The thought of hurting them even more than the last 4 1/2 months already have just tears out my heart. So, I’m forever thankful that they didn’t have to plan a funeral, decide what to do with my stuff, have holidays without me and mourn my loss. The feeling of pain for those I love is always more important to me than my own pain, and I’m blessed to have kept them from that particular kind of anguish.

For those people who’ve been around me, most of you likely think that all is good as I’m still cheerful, quick to giggle and have done everything in my power to stay strong and be thankful for the good things that remain. All of that is true. It’s not a façade. At the same time though, way down deep where fear is a living and breathing thing, I’m truly terrified of the upcoming tests I still have to face and what the results of those may be. I’m very lucky to have a brain that compartmentalizes very well…it lets me get on with life while wrapping up all the pain and fear into a little box that I only let see the light on rare occasions. If you are so inclined, I’d be ever so grateful for continued prayers and healthy vibes. I still have some icky things coming up that scare the ever-loving fuck out of me, so your positive thoughts are so very appreciated. 🙂

I know this hasn’t been my typical post, and I know it’s been a long time since most of you have heard from me at all, but I’ve tried to spend these last months focusing on getting better, reducing my constant fear, learning to live with unexpected consequences, and being thankful that I’m even here to write this.

After 47 years of life I know that the most important things have nothing to do with money, possessions, looks, position, power or any of that other superficial bullshit. What I do know is that allowing people to love you and loving them back with your whole heart is the greatest gift in the world. For that knowledge, I’m forever thankful and blessed.

May you all have a wonderful life and know that I’m always praying for you to be happy, healthy and safe.

Much love,

Jodi