Monthly Archives: August 2014

Another Sadness Report

There is just too much sadness in this world.

Globally, I can’t believe what is happening. The song refrain “In My Own Lifetime” keeps going through my head. In my own lifetime, I never thought I would see such destruction and such heartless acts of savagery. Beheadings? I never thought I would see such prejudice and hatred.(the beating and intimidation of Jews walking to synagogue in Europe). I naively thought that we had progressed as human beings, but I see that I was wrong.

On a personal basis, I am losing too many friends. I just received this email:

I have felt sad this weekend about the loss of our very special friend, Diane.

It made me think about the people who lived in the house with Diane and our happy times at UW, living and laughing together, studying together, creating and performing homecoming skits together, attending parties together, and generally being carefree with great adventures awaiting in our futures. Also about the amazing contributions to our families and communities that we all have made over the last 40 plus years. It is my understanding that Diane also was a dynamic leader in her Chicago community and has many devoted friends and family members, as do all of you.

So I just wanted to send a big hug to each of you in memory of Diane. Continue reading

In Praise of Crying

There’s a lot of sadness in this world, my dad would say. I think I could write a book with that title—each chapter talking about a time when his words would resonate in my life. He started saying it when we were young and complaining about something trivial, but he continued saying it into his nineties. He said it so often that I hear it in my head all the time. My kids, grown up now, say it too.

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There IS a lot of sadness in this world. Sometimes my world becomes so sad that the weight of it fills the room—like when my brother-in-law got throat cancer and died. And we didn’t know whether to tell my mother-in-law—whether to disturb her dementia with truths. Whether to pull her out of the nursing home to take her to his funeral. You’d want to go to your son’s funeral, right? Or maybe wrong. That was a sad time, but you didn’t have time to dwell on it. You had to make decisions—you had to argue with siblings about what to do. That pushed the sadness away.

I don’t know why I am so sad this morning. Is it the world situation, which terrifies and saddens me? Is it that wonderful friends have been diagnosed with cancer and brain tumors? Is it because I’m now just beginning to process that we moved away from a place where I had twenty-five happy years? Is it that I have been looking through photos of my life with my granddaughter as she prepares to scan them into the computer? She is already twelve—no longer the three-year-old who loved to play Goldilocks on our front steps. Don’t get me wrong. She is a lovely girl, inside and out. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way, but how did it happen so quickly?

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And how have the years flown away since my own little family looked like this?

 

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Or is it just plain melancholy I’m feeling? In our society, we’re not allowed much space for sadness. In the nineteenth century, there were spots in gardens set aside for people to sit and examine their melancholy. It wasn’t seen as an illness. Now we say these people are depressed and we should find a cure for it; medicate in some form. I usually medicate by overdoing. I’m so busy that I don’t have time to think let alone cry. But this morning was different.

I took a walk along the lake, listening to an audio book. This kept the mind busy, giving me no time to think. Then I happened on some dead bushes. I idly wondered if they were victims of the drought. My attention was caught by the original tag on one of them, waving in the breeze. Someone had placed it on the plant when it was healthy and blooming. Now the withered plant was dead. The hopelessness of it hit me and I began to cry.

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I pulled myself together and kept walking. I didn’t start crying again until I was in the kitchen cleaning out the pantry cabinet, throwing out food that had passed its sell by date. One side of my mind told me to cut it out, eat my breakfast and get on with it. The other side told me to let go of my sadness—to let some of it, at least, seep out of me. It was when I was cutting up celery that I began to keen like some banshee. I put down the knife and leaned against the sink. I was alone in the house and could make as much noise as I wanted. It was only the dog I scared. He looked at me with alarm, then ran to get a toy to drop at my feet. I sat on the floor and hugged him. Normally I would have told him I was okay to reassure him, but not this time.

So why am I telling you this? I’m not sure why I’m revealing so much. I know that when I got up and started cleaning up the kitchen, I stood outside of myself, wondering what someone would think if they saw me: is that old lady batshit crazy? I wondered how many other women did as I was now doing—cried when no one else could hear. Maybe fifteen minutes later, I realized my tears weren’t feeding my depression—my sadness—. Instead they were easing it. I was doing something I should have been doing all along—crying out my grief, not trapping it inside to fester. The phrase, “It’s All Right to Cry”, that Rosie Greer sang on Sesame Street began to play in my head so I looked up the words. Here are some of them:

It’s all right to cry
Crying gets the sad out of you
It’s all right to cry
It might make you feel better

Raindrops from your eyes
Washing all the mad out of you
Raindrops from your eyes
It’s gonna make you feel better

With Robin Williams’ death, there has been much talk about depression. Maybe that’s why I’m sharing my experience. Because you know what? I feel a lot better. My chest doesn’t hurt and I can take a deep breath. Yeah, it’s all right to cry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automated Phone Hell

I don’t know about you, but having to deal with big companies’ automatic phone answering systems is wearing me down. It’s gotten so bad that when I hear that woman’s computer generated voice, I start looking for a tranquilizer.

At the end of June we had our credit card’s number stolen. How? I don’t know but the bank decided not to call us when someone made 14 one dollar purchases along the road from La Valencia to Palm Springs. I would have thought that was suspicious, but what do I know?

Because of this theft, we had to get new cards and also change every automatic payment we make. Several I could do online, but others I had to call. And go through listening to the voice telling me to choose my options: one, two, three and four. But I couldn’t just choose—I had to listen to what each option was. Invariably I was Option: Other. It didn’t end there with a person to help me. When I went to the option, I had to enter more data. Or answer stupid questions.

One day I lost it and started shouting into the phone, “I want to talk to a person!” Another time, after waiting patiently for Option Three I got this response: “Due to a high volume of calls, we suggest you call at another time. Goodbye.” That was not a good day.

I just got off the phone with our credit card company. Yesterday my card was denied at the grocery store, which is always a pleasant occurrence. So when I called to check on it, I had to go through the whole rigmarole of options. Finally, a young woman came on the line and asked me every question in the book except my bra size. When she began to explain company policy, I put my head on my desk. By the time she was done with me, my eyes were crossed.

I’m beginning to believe this is a Soviet plot. (Yes, I said Soviet. Live with it.) It’s a sneaky way to drive formerly sane Americans to commit acts of violence. No wonder there’s so much road rage.

Blind Beliefs

UnknownUntil this Gaza conflict, I had not realized how blindly I could follow doctrine presented to me as news, while actually it was opinion with a biased slant.

I don’t want labels put on me–I will not register as a Democrat or a Republican. I reserve the right to be liberal on social issues and fiscally conservative, at the same time. (But I hope I am wise enough to look at the situation, and not just give a blanket stamp of approval either way.) I am not blue or red, but red, white and blue. I am an American and proud of it. Because I am American, I feel entitled to be free to speak my mind without fear of threat. And to change my mind if facts dictate it. But where do you find FACTS?

Someone who wanted to find unbiased reporting of the Gaza-Israeli conflict asked if Al Jazeera would be a good source. Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, an Arab nation. I can’t believe their news reporting is unbiased towards Israel. But people believe it to be reporting evenhandedly. Someone else directed me to a site that was supposedly unbiased that said Israel was using chemical weapons, trying to kill as many Palestinians as possible while keeping the buildings intact. That made no sense to me–I’d seen the rubble, for God’s sake, but the site did have an article with the headline: “Israel charged with Using White Phosphorous”. I was shocked, and decided to research the site’s origins. It was a media company based in Ramallah, a Palestinian city. Not a news company–a media company. The article was written in 2009 and was merely an allegation. It wasn’t based on FACTS. But if I hadn’t gone further, I, too, would have believed it.

Hamas plays by different rules than Americans. Israel, a democratic modern nation, plays by similar rules to ours. Maybe that is why the world holds it to a higher standard? That the world believes Israel should be more humanitarian, while it’s okay for Hamas to follow a doctrine of terror? It is a fact that Israel is going after the threat to their nation. I believe that the United States would do they same. (That is not genocide as some celebrities have charged!!) It’s pretty well established that Hamas has used schools and mosques as staging areas. It is fact that Israel has sent warnings to the areas they are going to bomb before they do. Why not get the people out? Hamas chooses to use them as human shields and pawns. Who is putting the Palestinians in harm’s way? World leaders are asking this same question.

I must say that I am against war. I want peace talks to work. I want people to live side-by-side, in peace. (I’d actually like people to work together to make the world a better place, but oh, well.) I can’t imagine attacking anyone–Wait, that is not true. If someone was trying to attack my grandchildren, children, my husband–any of my family or my next door neighbor, I’d go after them to the best of my ability. I’d use every weapon I could. I realize that now. Which is a FACT.