Posted by adalamar on October 24, 2016
We all need to experience new things, or even old things that we have not experienced in many years that gave us joy. As adults, we need to have fun, enjoy life even in tough times, especially in tough times. Friday my father and I went on a Father-daughter date to the symphony. He loves classical music, and one of his favorites was playing. I had never been to the symphony and looked very much forward to the first experience.
I love the fact that I will be able to say that the first time going to the symphony was with my Dad. He was very excited, as was I. We left in plenty of time for traffic (which for Atlanta is at least an hour with some extra padding). Upon arrival we noticed quite a crowd. Each part of the art center had functions, and Atlanta loves the arts. We were seated in the main orchestra section close enough to see everything. We even met a very nice lady who gave us tips on the best places to sit depending on what we wanted to see the most.
And then the music started. Wow. As many live music shows as I have been to, I have to say that there is nothing like the symphony. To not only hear the music, but to see and notice the nuances as the instruments are played is amazing. You are carried away by the violins, then the cellos…then you notice that the flutes are being played, when you had not noticed their subtle under tones before…and a whole new world is opened in that piece of music.
We were both lost in the music while the orchestra played, both fascinated by the way the conductor led the members, and both carried away to another place and time. Wonderful memories. And no doubt there will be more symphonies for us, as looked online to see what our next musical adventure.
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Posted by adalamar on October 21, 2016
Tonight will be a great night. It is something my father and I have been looking forward to for quite a while. Dad loves classical music, so when I saw this event, I knew we had to go. Dvořák’s popular “From the New World” Symphony is one of his absolute favorites, and it has been a long time since he has been to the symphony.
Tonight is Father Daughter Date night. We will go to Casual Friday’s at the Atlanta Symphony, enjoy some great music, then have a nice bite somewhere tasty. Truly good quality time together, he and I. A treat to celebrate a bit of life, something good at the end of the tunnel and the start of maybe a new tradition.
The holidays are approaching, and the symphony has many concerts for the season. But tonight is the first. Something I will no doubt cherish for a long time.
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Posted by adalamar on October 21, 2016
When little boys think they are men. When boys think they know the difference between books and real life, and Robin Williams sets them straight. One of my favorite scenes.
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Posted by adalamar on October 18, 2016
In this world of bigger is better, more is best and the more you can accomplish and cram in one day the more important you are…it is important to pace yourself.
There is so much to this week, even with things slowing down a bit. And I struggle not to be overwhelmed and not to be tempted to unpack and organise trough the night. Not everything has to be done today or tonight. Indeed, one must have a good pace in order to complete the race.
My schedule has been non stop since early April, maybe March. Dealing with Mom’s degrading health, planning the sibling reunion, having the reunion, Mom’s death, moving Dad in with us, organizing the move into the bigger house, unpacking, getting ready for moving all of Dad’s things in, and getting settled in a new job – in addition to family issues. It’s a lot!
And I am feeling burned out. I am struggling to not burn out.
What is the solution? I don’t know. What I can say is that tonight, I must pace myself. Tonight I put our relationship first. Salmon steaks, wine and some smiles and plans. Your must make sure your priorities are in line and conducive to a healthy, happy life. And that takes effort. It takes effort to pull away from the brink of burnout to make your partner know that they are important and that you appreciate them. It takes pacing yourself to make the time necessary for care and nurturing that relationship.
It is so important right now, with all the changes, that I take care of those I love, including myself.
And so it goes tonight. And maybe the answer is the pace of it all. Maybe it is in slowing down, taking a breath, saying a prayer and making the effort that we find ourselves anew.
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Posted by adalamar on October 18, 2016
I have long had the theory that if you do something with love, it will be felt throughout. This past weekend is a great example. My father wanted several of his belongings and pieces of furniture moved up. A new home doesn’t really feel like it’s yours until you have your most favorite things around you.
And so my man and I went down to Mom and Dad’s, loaded up a 16’ truck full of his favorite things and drove them up to the new house. Dad is taking full advantage of the fact that there is space for his things now. So, with the help of some wonderful friends, we unloaded the truck and arrange Dad’s new room.
When my father returns, he will find his room full with his bed, his desk, his favorite chair and other items he picked to have with him. My man and I arrange everything last night, moving heavy solid wood furniture, pulling out the tape measure with blinding speed, trying not to fall over the cats and trying not to trip over each other. The result is warmth that you can feel as soon as you walk in the room. A room filled with, arranged with and designed with thought and love. It is my favorite room in the house so far.
It seems that when you are doing for another, being of service to them, whatever love is felt is returned ten-fold. Doing things for Dad helps me feel better. It makes me feel as if Mom is smiling as she watches over us. It melts away all my heartache, channels it into something positive, and makes me smile. Serving others helps me heal. I can no longer do for Mom, but I can do for those she loved most and make sure they are good. And the is no doubt she loved Dad the best and the most.
Now, to arrange the rest of the house in the coming weeks. To make it ours, warm and comfortable. A sanctuary in a crazy world, a place of rest and peace. And love.
Special note: I am the luckiest woman in the world to have such a wonderful man as my partner. He has been there for me, putting up with me in my emotional, grieving state. He has been patient, letting me cry when needed. He has been amazing to my father, treating him with nothing but kindness and respect. He has lifted and moved heavy furniture, called on his friends to help, done dishes and laundry, eaten questionable cooking, and watched TV shows just because I liked them. I have been treated with more kindness, grace, gentleness and love that I deserve or could possibly hope.
There is a saying that when a woman is loved the right way, she becomes 100 times more than she ever could have been. He has shown me this is true. And I am blessed.
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Posted by adalamar on October 10, 2016
Sometimes we find ourselves in interesting places while trying to get back into the rhythm of life. This is where I find myself. Three months after Mom’s passing, which still seems so surreal, we are all starting to get into the rhythm of forward movement.
In many ways is it the land of Almost (Which I wrote about here). I say almost, because I am not there yet. But it feels like the brim of many things. I am almost back into life, almost feeling like myself, almost back into the swing of things. We are almost unpacked, almost settled, and I almost know what I am doing. At work I am almost done with a few projects, my clothes almost match, and I almost feel like I look like I have it almost together.
It is peculiar, this place. No longer there, but not quite at the other. It is better, as I come out of the darkness. I almost have a routine, and it feels good. Get up, make coffee for Dad, discuss what is going on for the day. At lunch it is either running a quick errand, eating at my desk or running home for lunch. After work is maybe going to the store for ingredients, then cooking, a little clean up and spending time with talking with my boyfriend about the day. Still have to finish unpacking and figure out things like when to work out or watch TV.
A return to the routine after months of holding on, letting go and breathing out. The bittersweet relief of normal. I look pictures of my mother, noticing her features as I inspect my own in the mirror. There are enough similarities that I know I can do this. And I sleep warmly under a blanket which she picked. She and God equipped me with all that is needed, and she loved me enough for a lifetime. Soon it will no longer be Almost…soon it will be a rhythm of life and love and hope and all the wonder that they hold.
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Posted by adalamar on September 27, 2016
Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful. – LR Knost
The ups and downs of life. We can’t avoid them. And honestly would we really want to? While there are times when we all wish we could fast forward, would we really want a life with just ups and no downs? I don’t think so.
This was a rough summer for me. And I am still healing. But this hard time, this heartache, it makes me think back to the wonderful memories of when everything was perfect. I hold onto those memories so tight, knowing this will not last forever.
While packing up for the move I found cards my mother sent me during other rough times. And those cards felt like a wonderful blanket of love and warmth, with the things she wrote still holding true.
THIS. This is all part of life. We cannot appreciate to the good without also experiencing the bad. I remember reading a book called “The Prophet” when I was 19. Totally changed my life. One of the passages states only that which brings you great joy can bring you great sorrow. Truth be told, I will gladly grieve the loss to be able to say how much joy I had with my mother. I will gladly cry and miss her now, for the fact that I had her in my life for 43 years.
And that is just life. The good, the bad, the ugly and the all of it. It is the all of it that makes life so rich, so deep, so mosaic and so riveting. It’s the mistakes, missed opportunities, wrong roads, paths less traveled, the unexpected moments that take our breath away and truly make life worth living.
The best stories and memories aren’t when everything goes as planned. We find ourselves and our joy oftentimes in the most assuming and surprising places along the way. We find our life in the spaces of the hills and valleys of our heart and the tales it tells. We find our love in not only the happiness, but the sorrows.
And in the end, when I look back, I hope it’s as magical, as memorizing and as beautiful as I imagine.
We just have to hold on, pray, have faith and breath. I wish I had some deep and fantastic thing to write about it. But the simple truth is we just have to live it. We just have to live THIS.
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Posted by adalamar on September 26, 2016
Most people things that a happy, peaceful life comes easy. But in my experience, it does not. It takes a lot of work to make sure that all is well and happy and healthy in your life. Just like exercise and keeping your body fit, life sometimes requires some work in order to keep things in shape.
You must be very vigilant to make sure that you keep out people and situations out that will cause drama. When you don’t, the result can be a lot of energy spent dealing with destructive, emotional situations that leave you exhausted. And constant drama can not only leave you drained, but also emotionally unhealthy.
There is a saying about keeping your circle small. I have found that to be true. And every now and then you have to let people go when they drain you of your time and energy by dragging in unnecessary drama. Even if you love them, even if they are dear friends, even if they are family. Sometimes the best thing is to just walk away.
I did this recently and the result has been actually having the time and emotional bandwidth to heal. Mom’s death and all the changes surrounding that have been tough. And everything has happened very quickly. So I had to choose, either my emotional health, or them. My emotional health won.
Healthy boundaries are a necessity for a peaceful life. You must have lines that others are not allowed to cross. Anything that disturbs your peace of mind or makes you feel bad, anything that does not serve you or your purpose or your joy, must go.
And now I can grieve properly – in a safe, loving environment that fosters emotional health. I can truly concentrate on what is best for my family as we move forward. I can make sure that this move goes as smoothly as possible. That this home, our home, is a good space that is a shelter from all that is bad. And bottom line is that I am too busy and have too many things on my plate to deal with such foolishness. I just can’t be bothered.
I could not do that if I still had those situations and people interfering. So don’t be afraid to be selfish, don’t be afraid to stand up and do what is best for you, for your family and for your life. Today is not a dress rehearsal. Don’t be afraid to take control and be a supporter of boundaries for peace.
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Posted by adalamar on September 26, 2016
What is she looking for, I wonder? When she looks at my blog, at the same ones that she always reads? Is she looking for comfort? Or inspiration to leave? Has he done to her what he did to me? Is she trying to get the courage? Is she looking for a clue? Why it is those entries? Except, I know.
This is to you, yes you, his new. Don’t be afraid to leave. You deserve better than to have someone speak to you that way, treat you that way, hurt you that way…hit you that way. Yes, what I say is true, all of it. And there is life after, love after, all after it’s over. Two others have gone before you, and there is enough of a record to stop it. If that is the road you choose, you will not walk alone.
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Posted by adalamar on September 20, 2016
Packing up an entire house, with the belongings of 3 people in no small thing. And the house gets messy when you are throwing around boxes and arranging items securely so they don’t shift or break. Boxes are everywhere, stuff is everywhere as we try to organize what should go in which box. And we are packing so there is not much time for actual housework.
And then I get the call. The property management company wants to show the house to a potential renter. She makes the appointment time and now it is time for a frenzied cleaning spree. You never realize how much of slobs you are until you are packing up and living in the same space while working full time and trying to have a life. All of the sudden it was dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, organizing, folding and actually putting the laundry away. Not to mention arranging the boxes into a manner where you can see the floor and do not have to walk a narrow walk way. Getting all the cat fur and dust bunnies from underneath the bed and out of the corners. Wiping off counters and cleaning bathrooms.
I realized in that moment; in that moving, cleaning, OMG, we have been so busy we have not had time to do this moment, we had become temporary slobs.
And the house will be shown, and while it won’t be perfect – the know we are in the middle of packing – it will look decent. This little house that has been our home, that has been such a blessing and rescued all of us in one way or another. Leaving is bittersweet – this is the first house in a long time that truly felt like home. And I felt it from the moment I looked at it. It has been a space filled with love, and promise, and my first Thanksgiving celebration, and family, and memories and so much love, it’s hard to believe a building can hold so much.
And now we move to another home, this one bigger, with more space for Dad, and better commutes to work. But still that little house will always be one of my favorites. And we will continue packing, then unpacking, and probably being slobs until we are settled into the new house. And that’s OK, because we are in order where it counts – our priorities, our love for each other, our commitment to each other and this little family – my boyfriend, my father and me. Life can get messy, but as long as we have each other, it will all work out in the end. And it’s OK to be the slobs next door – for now.
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Posted by adalamar on September 13, 2016
In the silence of your absence
I am acutely aware of the space
Between the raindrops
And the heartbeats of each minute
I have deep knowledge of
The distance a whisper
Can travel in a quick breath
On the thick summer air
In the silence of your absence
I have felt, with keen understanding
The depth of love and pain
And loss and hope
I have heard and follow
The cries of the doves
And the joy of the butterflies
As their wings work their magic
In the silence of your absence
Though deafening as it may be,
I comprehend the bittersweet
Celebration of all the love you left behind.
And I recognize the calling
In the songs of the hummingbird
And I distinctly hear your voice
As the silence is broken.
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Posted by adalamar on September 13, 2016
Someone asked how Dad and I were doing today. This day, the 2nd month anniversary of Mom’s death. Two Months. One can live a lifetime in two months.
Most of that day is a blur to me. I remember parts and pieces. I remember painting Mom’s fingernails and gently brushing her hair the night before, and that morning. I remember gently talking to her about how much I loved her and about my favorite childhood memories. Like the Alfonso’s break dancing kit gift debacle. And when she read Little House on the Prairie book series to me. And when she would brush and fix my hair in the morning when I was a child. When she taught me all those childhood songs that I still remember, how she decorated my bedroom when I was a teenager and made it seafoam green…and how I really did not appreciate that as much as I should have. How she sat with me through each and every heartache and break up. And teaching me how to cook and make her famous milk sausage gravy…and so many memories.
I remember how I held her hand and watched her breathing get more and more shallow. Even when you know it’s coming, you are never prepared to see someone take their last breath. And I remember the lights flickering three times after I said “I love you…”
And then there was talking to everyone, making arrangements. Making decisions and taking care of everything. I know it happened, and I was the one to do those things, but I really don’t remember.
Grief is not as I expected. I thought it would be a huge brick in the pit of my stomach. But it’s not. It is more like an acute awareness that she is not here. It is the extreme knowledge of the Last time I felt her arms around me. It is the silence of her absence. And it is deafening.
But my answer to my dear friend who asked was simply – We are getting better at moving forward.
Because we are. Every day we get better at honoring her by creating something beautiful. We live for her to look down and smile. We pray for God to hold us – and her – in his big hands. We hold our breath for the signs and whispers. We look up and feel the sun, see the clouds, celebrate the rainbows, feel the rain and notice the magnificence of the world. A life beautiful through honoring her, her memory, how she wanted us and raised us to be. A life beautiful by creating a safe, peaceful space that is a sacred sanctuary, protected and kept close.
We move forward by honoring her memory and being true to ourselves and those we love. We continue forward with the move to the new house, and creating something special. We weave together the fabric of this life with every heartbeat.
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Posted by adalamar on September 12, 2016
It is always exciting when you move to a new house, everything but the packing. And Sunday it was time to take Dad by the new house. He looked around and inspected everything with his precision eye…making sure everything was in line and right.
The basement, the most important thing and what he was the most excited about. And he went down. It is not perfect, but we can make it work. We can make it work with his workshop, with a few moderation. Add some light fixtures, get some extension chords. And there is plenty of room not only for his workshop, but for storage as well.
He likes his new room. It is big and has enough space for whatever he wants to put in there. He can have a little office as well. The deck is being worked on, and will be ready by the time we move in.
It is not perfect, but it is great. And it will be a great place for us.The house we are in now has been wonderful – the Rescue House. It rescued me from me from the House of Mold, it rescued my boyfriend and became a place of love, and now it rescued my Dad and has become his home too.
The new house will be a place of new beginnings. And it is my privilege to have Dad with us, starting this new life with us. I am a lucky woman. And I feel Mom smiling.
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Posted by adalamar on September 12, 2016
When I first read it so many years ago, it made me cry. It makes me cry still. A beautiful writer, a wonderful friend who wrote a beautiful piece. For me. And now I share it with you. Thank you Rex Holiday.
It’s Already There
I see it this way: from a guy who has pissed away more great chances in a week than most men will see in a year: I’ve been allowed to see incomprehensible scenery connected to a brain that “gets it”.
Without those missed chances I would have: never been able to speak of the pain of an aborted father in the throes of post-regret, nor spoken to others who are bleeding the same way. Never known the kind of fervor and spit and fire it takes to speak my mind into a howling wind and actually made it slice through.
Never known the dubious pleasure of bringing down a pseudo-Napoleon living as king of his particular hill in a school system I pay for.
Never heard the voice of a now-relieved-son thanking me for helping his invalid grandmother out of a winter storm
Never had the ocean-powered wave of gratitude wash over me when I, alone, stood with one, wrongly accused, against a courtroom full of antagonists. (Not-guilty, by the way)
Never known the sheer power of being the one in the fray who is COMMITTED.
Never been able to speak of true, unrequited, ripped-apart love to an adolescent who’s going through the same thing.
Never known the joy of vocally and VERY audibly cheering a teenager when they finally excelled at something and got their due for it.
Never seen the pain in a true friend’s eyes when they buried their youngest. Never been able to hold them and let them cry the way they would only in a true friend’s arms.
Never been blessed to help bear the pain of someone you love on any level.
Never felt so dirty and ashamed as to chase even my closest friends off.
Never felt the heat of a South Georgia summer.
Or the cold of a Kentucky ice storm.
Or the power of an Alabama thunderstorm.
Or the thundering beauty of a Mississippi sunset.
Or the caress of a Tennessee mountain morning.
Or the complete release of a hearty and block-shattering “KISS MY ASS” to authority.
Or of watching the pain
Would never had heard the crowd’s approval swell like a big gentle wave in the warm Gulf.
Or my new bride, taking such care to dress in some kind of frilly underpinnings complete with garters and white stockings say, “…do you mind if we don’t”, on my wedding night.
Not a bit. I just drove three hours through nowhere, Mississippi to say to the hotel clerk, “I’ve waited 31 years to say this: I just got married, and I need a room.” I was tired. Be real.
I would have missed words like, “I do”, “You may take your planet home”, “Would you hand me the piano?”, “I want to try everything, tonight.”, and “Honey, wake up. Hannah Newton was killed last night in a car wreck. John was right behind her.”
Not all of these are pleasant or desirable but they are rich. A mosaic of life. If we didn’t like imperfection and character, photographs would far outsell paintings. It’s what we’re here for.
I would have missed the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, and the cussing of the GM.
And I would have missed you and your smile.
Most of all.
Stop searching. It’s already there.
– Rex Holiday
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Posted by adalamar on September 8, 2016
I am learning that within our own imperfections we find the greatest truths, unconditional love, appreciation and a mirror of who we really hope to be on the inside on the good and Bad days. – Jennifer Jo Clark Singleton
We all have those times in life were we just have to do it. There is a reason why that slogan is such a hit. It is especially appropriate after a tragedy or major setback in life. When we feel hopeless, defeated, hurt, scared, sad, depressed, discourage, unsure…we just have to get up and do it.
I remember a lesson I learned from my mother. She had a very bad back and suffered terrible chronic pain. She was extremely strong willed though and worked through it. The pain would put most people in bed…and I remember asking her why she didn’t just take a break or lie down? With a smile and that common sense way of thinking for which she was famous, she told me that her back was going to hurt whether she got up or not, so she might as get up, and get busy. Wow. Now that she is no longer with us, I want to carry her on lessons of strength and endurance in the face of hard time.
The fact is that we will probably still feel scared, discouraged, sad, or whatever, but we just have to do it anyway. At some point you have to decide to reach deep down, where the soul meets the mind, down where each heartbeat mingles with our breath, and pull ourselves up. It’s going to hurt anyway, so we might as well just do it.
And so it goes. There is much to do at this moment. So much change, heartache, work, love, fear, truth, honor, sadness, and life. Adjusting to having an aging parent in the house, making sure he has everything he needs and wants, packing and organizing two moves, working a full time job, trying to cook, clean and do everyday things, keeping up with friends and family… I have no idea how I am going to do it, but I just have to, because failure is not an option.
But I know I can do it, because my mother could do anything, and I am my mother’s daughter. The pity party is over – and that is another thing she taught me. Have a pity party, but just make sure it doesn’t last too long. Because life and it’s demands do not stop just because you are having a bad day, or week, or month or even year. So you better figure it out.
I can hear her voice, gently whispering to me, as I get up in the morning. She knows I can do it. I will not be perfect at this. I will stumble, fall and even fail sometimes, no matter how hard I try. And in my imperfections, I have found this truth. In her imperfections I have found that unconditional love and faith. I have found that mirror of who I am now and who I want to be on the good and bad days. And I am blessed to have a wonderful people around me who will stand by firm. They are my roots.
We can also choose in what spirit in which we move forward. We can choose to rise above the drama and pain, or let it drag us down. We can choose to do things with a loving and cheerful heart, or we can be bitter and angry. I choose the former in both sets. Dolly Parton Sings in her hit Hard Candy Christmas “I’m barely getting through tomorrow/But still I won’t let/Sorrow get me way down/Me, I’ll be just fine and dandy.” And I will be just fine.
I think that starts with acceptance. It is going to be hard. It is going to test my limits and strength. But’s it’s going to hurt anyway so I might as well get up and get busy. Things are going to be unbalanced right now, so I will just grab what time for myself that I can, and just get through the rest. Maybe the key is finding the unbalance you can live with temporarily. And the bad times are always temporary; it won’t be like this six months from now, a year from now, ten years from now.
You can pack and cry at the same time; you can move mountains while still wounded. You just have to do it. And so I will. How…I am not sure. I guess we will figure that out along the way. And in my imperfections I will find life.
Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together. – Elizabeth Taylor
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Posted by adalamar on September 6, 2016
The air is starting to crisp. I for one am ready for the coolness of Fall. It has been a cruel summer, and I am looking forward to the kinder nights of the changing season.
The change will not be without challenges though, as a two moves, what would have been my parents 49th anniversary and also the holidays are all on the calendar. But Fall offers a break from all the heavy topics of summer, and a chance to break away for a moment and breathe.
Fall offers sitting out on the back patio next to the fire pit, maybe even the roasting of a marshmallow or two. It offers a slowing down of life and taking time to enjoy the air. It offers apple picking and talks of new plans and a new life that comes with a new season, a new house and a new situation.
We made it through the summer, working hard and getting through. We all need a bit of a break, to breathe, to smile, to laugh. To remember that there is life after tragedy. To grab a good time and make a memory or two along our journey. To make new traditions, while honoring the old. To hug and hold each other, and to really know that together we can do anything. There is safety in numbers and we are stronger and better together, our little unit; my Dad, my boyfriend and me.
With love, patience, Grace (pray I have it), and Faith, we can do anything. There are other siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and dear friends to add, all making for a great supportive extended family. Why worry about one, when there are so many with which to celebrate the new season?
I just want to surround my father with so much love that it makes the loss and absence easier. I want to block out all drama, all negative people, all dialog not constructive to create a protective order.
I am ready for cool breezes to cleanse the sweat and tears of summer. Ready for the foundation of the next chapter to be poured as we build something beautiful and honest and real. Yes, I am ready for Fall.
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Posted by adalamar on September 6, 2016
How did my Mother do it, I wonder? How did she manage the family and all the activities? When she was here, she was the one who took care of everything and everyone when they needed something. Now that torch has been passed to me. And I think I am failing miserably at it.
For example, my sister closest in age has refused to help with moving our parents belonging out of the family compound into the new house where Dad will live. When I asked if she would help her answer was “Dad can handle moving by himself, he is not a child.” I don’t know of a single adult who can handle a move completely alone, including her. In addition to that, she has many things of her own still in the house that she is expecting Dad, or someone other than her, to pack, load, move and store for her. Seems to me like that takes a lot of nerve to expect. And it makes my blood boil as I see the hurt in Dad’s eyes, and his panicked and defensive tone as he says he doesn’t need her, any one’s help.
I am not a violent person, but the urge to throw something large and heavy at her was hard to resist. But I did, barely. How exactly did my mother do it?
When you are placed in a leadership position, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that goes along with it. That responsibility also gives you certain rights or privileges. For example, I was there when my mother passed, that sister was not. The cross that my mother was wearing when she passed, hangs around my neck now. That cross my dear mother gave me, I took and placed around her neck so she would have a cross to wear for her journey. And when my mother’s journey was complete, the cross once again hung around my neck from hers. A beautiful gift given, an intimate moment shared between mother and daughter. That detail gives me the privilege to tell my sister she should have been there herself if she wanted anything different. The responsibility is to try to have Grace..to have justice tempered by mercy. I am pretty bad at that part.
And I try so hard to remember my mother’s teachings of Grace and patience. But that is oh so hard when I see my father being hurt. I want to be fiercely protective of him and tell her, in no uncertain terms, what I think if her selfishness, her refusal to work with us, her refusal to communicate or plan anything from his move, to his birthday to plans for the holidays.
We have all heard of a divorced parent whose ex-spouse makes joint custody of the children a nightmare. Just because it is an adult parent, and not a child, does not make it OK to be an uncooperative ass. And my mother dealt with this for almost 30 years, this sister causing problems. It should have been expected then, but I thought it might be different because of the circumstances.
And I wonder how she did it, my beautiful mother, because I am drowning. How did she keep her cool when selfishness came to the door and inside the house? Because I want to come out swinging.
When someone so selfish comes into your life, it completely alters the energy and feel of the room. You can feel the air being sucked out of the entire space, as they are a black hole that devours anything positive and good. It leaves you feeling exhausted as you try to feed their insatiable hunger. But nothing you do for them will be enough; they will always want more, expect more and refuse more and more to do anything. They are entitled, after all.
But you cannot defecate on those who love you and expect them to stick around.
And I realize maybe the solution is in walking away. From the drama, from the pain, from trying to be nice to someone who has no use for anything Burch but yet demands everything to be given. And Maybe the Grace and Patience my mother had comes not from believing in my sister, but from having faith that God will provide regardless. God works miracles every single day. Somehow this move, this time, this holiday season will work out without my sister, without her drama and her selfishness. You cannot force someone to care, but you can move forward without them in your life.
And in letting go and leaving her behind, maybe therein lies the Grace. And also therein lies the Peace
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Posted by adalamar on September 1, 2016
There are times in everyone’s life where all we can do is look up. In looking up there is faith and hope. Sometimes, we have to put our heads down and work through whatever it is, go get through or to reach a goal. And then we find ourselves looking up at the sun, or feeling the cleansing rain on our face. Looking up means noticing all that is around, not only above. It is saying a prayer, giving thanks and taking a breath.
There is a conversation you never dreams of having with your loved one. The “It’s ok if you are tired, you can let go” talk when a family member is too ill. I had that conversation with my mother while she was under sedation and she could not really respond. The nurse had given her the shot before I had a chance to have a real conversation, so this was the best I could do. I know she could hear me, so I stroked her hair and gently told her that I know she had been in pain and was so very tired, so if she didn’t feel l like fighting, that it was Ok to let go. She had our permission.
I sat at her bedside, looking down watching her while rested and reassured her that while I wanted her to be around forever, it was OK if she was too tired and I understood. And loved her more than words could ever say. I told her about the prognosis – that her body was just too weak to fight the infection and recover. The truth that if she did recover, it would take months of rehabilitation to get back to normal. That Everyone would be OK, even though we would miss her more terribly and deeply that we could ever imagine.
I think it is one of the hardest conversations to have with a parent or any loved one. Gut-wrenching and physically difficult, it is what you do when you love someone and want what is best for them. But it goes against every selfish desire you have, because you naturally want your loved ones with you for as long as possible. But not at the cost of their comfort and quality of life. So you break your own heart and let go, letting them let go too.
After she passed, I said my final goodbye, taking her hand and telling her one more time that I loved her so very much. When I stood up to leave, the lights flickered softly three times. A gentle whisper of “I love you.” And I looked up and knew it was her.
As we move forward without her here, there has been much to do. Getting the old house ready for sale, cleaning, arranging, packing. We go out to take breaks and sit on the back deck facing the water. Feeling the breeze, watching the flowers dance. And I look up and see fireflies dancing and playing right in front of me. And I know it is another gentle whisper.
And there is unpacking the van in our current home, taking Dad’s things out and putting them inside for him, making sure he has all he needs to keep him warm and feeling loved and not so alone. Unloading 40 houseplants, finding a place for them, in the sun, or partial sun, or full shade so that they flourish as much as they can. And I look up…and see a double rainbow after I asked for a sign. Another gentle whisper, this time captured on my phone.
After dad and I were down dealing with the coin collection, there was a penny at my door, the year of my birth. And I looked up, thankful for the whisper. Truth be told, there have been too many signs, signals and whispers to mention. Every day, another whisper, just as I have asked moving forward. A wonderful reminder that she is around, looking over us. I hope she is proud of me, when I look up at the sky, at her in the beautiful cloud formations. I hope she likes the way I try to carry her legacy of love, warmth and laughter. I hope she is patient with me learning how do balance everything she did so effortlessly and does not frown too harshly when my patience and Grace and running short. I hope we she is pleased as she looks down and we look up.
The fact is that moving on is not possible, because it insinuates that you close the door on that part of your life. And that is simply not possible when missing a parent. You miss them always. But you can move forward, learning how to wade through and make new paths while still honoring and keeping the old ones. And even the old paths will not ever be the same; but different isn’t always bad and change doesn’t have to be negative. You can build a beautiful life on the grounds and foundation of your parents.
And you never have to stop looking up.
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Posted by adalamar on August 26, 2016
In the past 9 weeks, since June 28th, I have put a little over 6,000 miles on my car. When you are the only local child that can drive to take care of parent issues, you tend to rack up the miles on your car when there is distance between you and the parents. Both my car and I are exhausted.
June 28th I drive down to meet my parents at the hospital to watch over Mom while she was in the hospital and help with recovery afterward. She never recovered. And then it was a flurry driving back and forth between Atlanta and the small southwest Georgia home where they lived. And every weekend, I have driven down to help sort things out. Every weekend but two.
My Dad wants to go down every weekend to fix things like burned out light bulbs, outlet covers and things like that. The house is for sale and he is convinced no one will buy the compound if one single light bulb is burned out or if they do not like the outlet covers.
So, when in this situation and absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed, how do you put your parent on restriction? How do I look at my Dad and say “Dad, I love you, but you are grounded. You are not allowed to leave town until there is actually a problem with the house”? Because I need a break. I need to be home for a weekend to do laundry, because I need to sort through Mom’s things that you have brought up here, because I need to sleep…because I just need to take a breath and NOT drive 1,000 miles in a weekend.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, part of the cure is to set firm boundaries so you can begin to get things under control. How does that work when it’s your parents, and they need things too? I guess it is the same as if he were a child. And that is what it feels like a bit. So how to go through and take care of myself and him and the boyfriend and the job and the house and the cooking and the cleaning and the looking for a new larger place and the everything else and still handle my own grief? I am tired just writing it.
Most of the time when life gets hard, my answer has been to put my head down and work hard and just do it – whatever it is that needs to be done. But the loss of a parent is very different. The very person I would call to inspire me, talk to me when exhausted and just give a kind word is gone. So what now?
I am not sure. I have found that being thrown out of my comfort zone also means not knowing a thing about what I am doing or how to do it. Sometimes you may just have to accept that fact that it is just going to be bad. It will be difficult, exhausting, hard, emotional and will push you too your limits. But no one said that life would be easy all of time. No one promised us a rose garden. And this is not where you will read how much the hard times will make you better. Because quite frankly, I am not sure how the death of a parent can make a person better. Once you have gone through it you can empathize with others in a way that you could not have before…but that is as optimistic as I can be.
So this is just going to be one of those hard times. This is going to be one of those times where it seems that nothing is working, nothing is moving forward, nothing is getting done, nothing is getting better. That I don’t even have time to do laundry, much less to things enjoyable like watch a favorite TV show. There really have been few moments to enjoy, because there is too much to do. This may be one of the times when you have to let the train run over you and pray you aren’t too messed up when it’s over.
And here I am. Dusty, tired, a little scraped up…but here.
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Posted by adalamar on August 18, 2016
It would be easy to call this redefined, but to me a stronger word is needed. To redefinition is to define something from scratch. When you really have no clue, but have to figure it out anyway. This is where I am.
There are a few things to redefinition in my life. First, life is great, all things considered. A great career, a great company, a wonderful relationship, amazing, supportive, loving friends. I am very lucky and blessed. But even with all of that, there is a lot of figuring out.
Happiness: Happiness after the loss of a loved one feels different. I am a happy person by default, having an upbeat disposition. But I am acutely aware of who is missing. Wanting to call and not being able. But knowing she is here with me, watching over me, saying hello with little signs. There is happiness in these things.
Family: Now the family unit must be redefinitioned (yes that is a word, at least in my dictionary). Mom is gone now. And my closest sister in age and geography has stepped out of the picture, no longer wanting to be a part of mine or Dad’s life. So I must figure out how to be a family now. Thank goodness there are 3 other siblings on which to lean and who are being very supportive. My answer? LOVE. What will that look like for Dad’s 80th birthday? Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years? I have no idea. But surely there is enough love out there to figure it out.
Adulting: Crap. This means I have to be an adult. I still have trouble putting my pants on without falling on my face. I have no idea what I am doing, or how to do it. Unless it involves falling, tripping and breaking my toes. I would like to think that I will get through this with Grace and Humor. More than likely it will be a lot of long pauses, awkward moments and blank stares. The role of Humor will be played by those who are watching. I know, you aren’t laughing at me, you are laughing near me…
Love: Holy crap, do I have enough love to fill the void of Mom, sister, her three sons? I have no idea, but certainly with faith and prayer I will find out. It’s going to be rough, but it can be done. People do it every day, so we can too. And no doubt there will be plenty of laughter along the way, as there always is. That is the thing about life – we may never know or understand the roads on which we end up traveling, but we can at least make the best of it.
Grief: I have no idea what grief looks like, but I have a feeling that I am deeply in the middle of a staring contest with it. I am going to win too. After going through all of the phases, which I am not even sure of what they are called. But a rose by any other name…so does it really matter? I imagine grief and I will become quite good friends before the end. So I hope it likes coffee and wine. And soft pillows.
Every day: Slowly I am getting my groove back. Getting back to work, being productive…not bursting out in tears every hour. That is pretty huge. My co-workers were beginning to think my puffy eyes and red nose were a permanent thing. Life is getting back to being a series of serious and comedic moments. Living with an 80-year-old is an adventure. He likes it really warm. As in 90 degrees feels good to him. Like when we ordered pizza. And he wanted to eat it outside. When it was 93 degrees. My boyfriend and I are melting, trying to eat this hot pizza, sweat pouring out of use like were are made of holes. Meanwhile, Dad is oblivious, even putting hot sauce on his slice commenting on what a nice evening it was. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Holidays: See above family. Just an expansion. Mom held everything together. Now we have to figure it out on our own. For sure there will be a big Christmas tree. Her ornaments. Wrapping. And wrapping. And wrapping. Hot chocolate. Cats. A big fireplace. And not sure what else. We will figure it out when we get there. Redefinition.
Decoration: I already had a stuffed house before my boyfriend moved in. Now more things with Dad. I am discovering the lost art of cleaning out, throwing away things I haven’t used or worn in years to make room for…more stuff. It is liberating and slightly scary. When was the last time you looked in those boxes that have been packed for the last 20 years?? Yep, did that a few weeks ago. And everywhere you look, there is a painting, picture, piece of furniture. And whatever you do, do not open that closet door!
Dinner time: We usually cook every night anyway, but it is pretty cool to have another at the dinner table at night. And then after dinner conversations. Beer or wine on the patio. TV? At some point I will have to binge watch everything I have missed and am missing. I may need to book at “Bedcation” to catch up.
Gardening: In addition to lots of stuff, I have inherited about 40 plants. Except I am not good with plants, but I am determined to changed that. Everything from a Delicious Monster, or a Staghorn Fern, to rubber tree plants, to a ficus benjamina, to many cacti, to other green things, this is going to be a very leafy adventure (hopefully). There are plants everywhere in the yard, and this winter, my house will be the greenhouse. Should be interesting with the cats…
Working out: Help! My fat pants seem to have shrunk in the laundry…Or maybe I just need to get to the gym, eventually. Between working and everything else, the gym, or even working out at home, seems like a distant fantasy. It’s a shame redefinitioning doesn’t burn any calories, because if it did I would be in my skinny jeans.
No doubt many others have redefinitioned these things too, and more. The great thing about life is that we do get to make up our own rules, we do get to write how we want it. And whatever these things are, I want them to be stuffed with Love. Like a giant stuff olive (can you tell I am hungry?)
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Posted by adalamar on August 16, 2016
One month, this past weekend. That is how long it has been. Since I heard her voice, gave her a hug, held her hand. One month since I saw her breathing and take her last breath, surrounded by family. It seems like a lifetime ago, yet it has only been a month.
She was anorexic, and subsequently died from complications of severe malnutrition (something which I will write about later). Her little body did not have the strength or energy to fight the pneumonia. And the heart cannot continue beating when the body has lost the ability to process food. She was between 65-68lbs when she died.
But through it all I see God’s Grace in taking care of us. My contract ended suddenly two months ago, just in time for the sibling reunion, and for taking care of Mom when she went in for surgery. I was truly able to dedicate my time and attention to her. I was able to help her when it was clear recovery was not possible. And how thankful I am for that time, even as difficult as it was.
Learning to function again after the passing of a parent can be a challenge. But I am my mother’s daughter, and as such I will meet the challenge. At an early age, my mother taught me that no matter what happens in life, no matter how bad, or traumatic, or hurtful…it is but one thing. And your life, my life, is so much bigger than that, or any one thing. So you must continue.
And I have, slowly. Going back to work, doing little daily tasks like cooking or cleaning. But you slowly get the hang of it again. I keep hearing my mother’s voice telling me to get up, get moving. It’s just a little death. And life is bigger than death.
And how different things look now than they did just six weeks ago, two months ago. A new job, Dad living with us now and no Mom. More furniture and things than we ever thought would fit into the house, several trips to the family compound, the compound being put up for sale, six cats and seven guns.
But if there is one constant that I have learned, is that life is full of change. And when we find ourselves in the middle of the winds of change, love is what can get us through. And my life is full of love. Mom is here, around, I feel it. And I try to honor her in small things that I do every day. My friends have all been so supportive, lifting me, even carrying me when needed. My wonderful boyfriend has been an amazing rock, letting me cry, and my father. Yes, love is everywhere. And that is my mother’s legacy.
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Posted by adalamar on August 16, 2016
It is a blessing to have a broken heart. It is a blessing to cry rivers, even oceans of tears. It is a blessing to feel loss so deep that you wonder if you can even breath.
This may sound ridiculous. But to me it means that I have truly loved enough to feel that loss. My mother and I were very close. And her passing has left a terrible loss in my life. But I would not trade that loss for anything.
Because it is attached to my wonderful childhood, to being taught silly songs when I was little, being read to, being made to do my homework. It is attached to hot chocolate on a night when I could not sleep, and too many hugs to be able to count.
Heartbreak and heartache never get easier. Losing those you love never gets easier. But no one said that life would be easy. That was never promised to us. And when our heart is breaking, is it not because whoever it was gave us joy and love? The amount of joy and love conversely reflects in the amount of the pain.
So let it rain. Let the floods wash my soul and heart clean, let the love of those I have lost carry me through. And let the love of those who are in my life now fill in the cracks, so that all my pieces are put back.
So if it hurts because I loved them so much, then that is OK. I want to love. That is part of living a full life. And that is the blessing of a broken heart.
Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, Building a life, faith in love, Geneva Sams Burch, Genny Burch, I miss you, Mom, Mothers | Tagged: ada burch, ada lamar, ada lamar burch, adaburch, adalamar, being happy, blogging, faith in love, hope, human spirit, life, love, mom, Peace, thoughts, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by adalamar on August 16, 2016
Five Year reflection
It has been five years this month since I was brutally attacked and nearly strangled to death by my then boyfriend. And I was not going to write a post about it, because life has moved so far past that event. But there are many women who experience violence at the hands of the man they loved and trusted, so this is what I have learned having been through it and survived. These are things I wish someone had told me:
- It is not your fault: No matter what you did, what you said, how you were dressed or how long you stayed, it is not your fault. You did nothing to provoke him or deserve being hit be the man you loved and trusted. That is on him. He is an adult and he is responsible for his actions. Not you. Even when he blames you and says it is your fault, it’s not. And no matter how many other people say it’s your fault, it’s not (we’ll get to that later). Remember that.
- Get Counseling: I did. You will need a safe space to talk to, beyond family and friends. Being attacked will affect you in many ways. Taking care of yourself during this time is very important. You may have PTSD, you may have nightmares, you may have flashbacks, you may have panic attacks, you may feel angry, depressed or like you are going crazy. You are not going crazy. But seeing a counselor will help you get through this experience as quickly as possible. If you have trouble sleeping, see about getting on Ambien or similar. If you are getting depressed, ask about being temporarily put on an antidepressant. It’s all about you and making sure you are OK.
- This isn’t the first time: If he or anyone else says that this is the first time he hit a woman or was violent – it’s not. Do not believe them. This is not the first time. You are not the first woman. And, you will probably not be the last either.
- It is not personal: It is extremely personal to you, but not to him. You were just there. But no matter if it was you, or Sally down the street, he would have done it to whoever he was with. It just happened to be you. This time. Abuse is about control and power. It is not because you did anything wrong, it is not because he was angry, it is not because he had a bad childhood and no one understands him. It is not because of anything other than power and control.
- Verbal before physical: Before he will ever hit you, he will be verbally abusive. This may be obvious like yelling at you or calling you names. Or, most times, it starts out very subtle and before you know it, you just feel bad about yourself, but may not be able to put your finger on it. You just feel stupid all the time…especially when you are around him. Many times the emotional abuse goes deeper and is worse. Because when you have a bruise you can point to it and say he hurt me…but when it’s emotional…what can you say? He hurt my feelings? He made me cry? Many times we are told we are too sensitive or are being trivial, over reacting or suffering PMS…You are not. You have been wounded.
- You are not stupid: He probably didn’t start out as an asshole when you started seeing him. He was probably charming and attentive. He was a con artist. You are not stupid because you fell for him. You were just taken in by a con. And it happens to a lot of women. You are not alone. Thousands, maybe even millions of women have been through this. And they survived. You will too. And if people are talking or gossiping about it? Yes it is mortifying, but you’ll get through that too. Because no matter they are, or how together they have it, at some point everyone has relationship drama.
- The police are not Always on your side: When it comes to law enforcement, there is a lot of victim blaming. I naively thought the police believe the good guys and go after the bad guys. It can be the way around when it comes to domestic violence. You will be asked what you did to provoke him, you will be asked personal things in condescending and accusing tones. You may even be blamed…for everything. I was blamed for leaving the first time he hit me, another woman I know was blamed for staying too long in the relationship. I was blamed for being swift and thorough – I went to the cops immediately, assisted officers in locating my attacker, and lured him to the area when the police arrested him. And then was called a vindictive actress by the assistant DA. Another woman was blamed for waiting too long, and giving her attacker too many chances after several violent attacks. Basically, it doesn’t matter what you did, you may be blamed. Don’t listen. Know in your heart that you did the best you could. And that is enough. You are enough.
- He knows how to work the system: Because you are not the first person he has hit, or the first time he has been in trouble for it, he knows the legal system better than you. That might mean not answering the door to avoid being served with a restraining order (if he can’t be served the order will be dismissed). Hire a process server to hunt him down at work, at the store, or where ever to get him served. You can even do a service by publication. When he does get served, he will be charming, extremely charismatic and he will paint himself as the victim. He may get an attorney. And he may be vindictive and try to bring charges against you, accusing you of petty or untrue things. People like that know exactly what they are doing. They know how to dance on that line of harassing and not get arrested. My attacker tried to get me arrested for fighting back when he attacked me, saying that I attacked him, and that he had injuries and needed to be compensated. I thankfully got a female judge who recognized what he was doing and dismissed it. He would contact me constantly but not say anything threatening…and law enforcement would do nothing because he “was being nice.” He also contracted my friends and family harassing them. Again the police said that there was nothing they could do. Then when I tried to get a restraining order against him, he taunted me by sending me emails saying he did not have to answer the door, and described my friend’s houses, and even what one of their daughters looked like going to school. Law enforcement said he was doing nothing illegal because he was not threatening anyone. Laws for stalking have come a long way in the last five years, so it may be easier to get something done now. Just be prepared for a master manipulations of the system.
- Get an attorney: And make sure it is a good one who specializes in domestic violence and understands the personality of an attacker – that he will be slick and manipulative. Even an open and close case can be dismissed if your attorney doesn’t take it seriously.
- Some of your friends will blame you: IGNORE THEM. They are not your friends. They are wrong. It is not your fault, you did nothing to deserve this, you did not ask for it, you did nothing but open your heart to love and trust another. This happened to me and it was both shocking and incredible hurtful. These were strong, professional women who had been close friends. They looked at me and told me I asked for it because I invited this person into my life. That it was my fault for provoking him and having a life so full of drama, it was my fault because I should have known better. These “ladies” were supposed to be my friends. I was shocked that they would take his side, some for them even becoming friends with him. It may sound silly, but it is their loss. They are not your friends; they are weak petty women who would rather point fingers at you because that is easier than supporting you. Leave them in the dust and don’t look back. Your true friends will be supportive, understanding and patient. They will love you and help you.
- You have the right to be shitty: Great advice given to me by one of the wonderful, kind, supportive women who stood by me after the attack. That means you have the right to be mad, emotional, moody, whatever. You have the right to feel however way you want to feel. For as long as you want to feel it. You have the right to fall apart, to be depressed, to be whatever. You have the right to tell all of your friends you need an emergency lunch, then decide you don’t want to eat anything. And your friends will love you anyway. So give yourself time and permission to be shitty.
- Lean on your friends: Let them stay with you or you stay with them. Call them when you feel scared, or just bad. Let them help you through this.
- This does not and will not define you: It feels like it does now. It feels like a definite divide between before and after. But it won’t always be that way. It will rule your life for a period of time, especially if it is going through the legal system (and you have to relive it over and over). But after time, what happened will just be a memory. It will just be a bad moment. Eventually there will be enough miles and time and life and distance between that you will say yes, this once happened to me, but I am still me.
- You will be OK: It may not seem like it now, but you will be OK. And this will make you a better, stronger, finer, more compassionate person. When you get on the other side of this, you will be scarred. But scar tissue is stronger than the original. And you will be too.
- You will never be the same, and that’s OK: it took a while for me to accept this, because I just wanted to go back to the way I was, the way life was, before the attack. There is an innocence that is lost when another human being tries to kill you, especially as violent as strangling you. Because that is so close, so violent, so angry and you can see into their eyes when they are doing it. You see that kind of evil and it changes you. You cannot go back to who and what you were before you saw that. But that is OK. Because now that is part of you. And you have the choice – keep it as a ball and chain to keep you down and make you bitter, or use it as a stepping stone to rise above it to become stronger. I chose the latter and hope you do too.
- Not all men are bad: It is easy to think that all men are bad after being attacked. But very, very few men ever hit a woman. I remember right after the attack being at the airport and looking out at men in the crown, wondering “has he hit a woman before?” Has that man ever tried to strangle a woman?” And I remember telling my therapist that I look forward to the day that I don’t see a man and wonder that. Five years later I am with a wonderful man, who loves me and is so kind. You will find one like that too. But just concentrate on healing for now.
There are many other things, but that is enough for this blog, for now.
Posted in Abuse, abusive men, Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR | Tagged: ada burch, ada lamar, ada lamar burch, adaburch, adalamar, hope, life, women, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by adalamar on July 31, 2016
Life after loosing one of your parents is indescribably different. I liken it to an unvisible injury…you look normal, sound normal, maybe even act normal, but inside you are wounded, mourning the loss of a loved one.
Today was going through some of my mother’s things. And something unexpected happened. I got to know her a little better. I saw old pictures of her I had never seen, saw things of hers I wondered where she got them and why? Items that surely woyld tell a story, no matter how small, if they only could.
A friend of mine made comment of my mother’s mischievous nature, and asked when the “treasure hunt” will start. She knows my mother loved things like that amd no kne would be surprised to find hints and clues as to whatever she might be leading us to hunt. And indeed it has started, justcaa she planned. Now, if I can figure out the next clue…
I feel her with me. Maybe it’s the photos, or smelling her perfume in her clothes (I loved how she smelled) or knowing she is enjoying watching the hunt, I know she is near. And this gives me comfort.
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Posted by adalamar on July 19, 2016
My lovely mother:
Geneva Burch Obituary
“He drew a circle that shut me out
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!”
This quote describes Genny’s life philosophy. She dedicated her life to serving others, whether through helping foster children, cooking a good meal, serving in church, helping a stranger or consoling a broken spirit.
Geneva (Genny) Sams, was born on May 16, 1941 to Coy and Ada Sams in Oneida, Tennessee. She went to Scott County High School and graduated in 1959.
After graduating, she joined the Air Force and followed her wanderlust to Washington DC. There she worked at the Pentagon on Project Mercury and with Lieutenant General Thomas K. McGehee, General Curtis Emerson LeMay, and General Isaac D. White. After leaving the Pentagon, she worked on classified government projects with AT&T, until leaving Washington in 1967.
In addition, to achieving measurable career success in Washington, DC, she met the love of her life, James Burch. Genny and James wed on November 21, 1967, a wedding date set and shared by her soon to be mother-in-law. With this union, Genny was also gifted three stepchildren – Carolina (Carie, James and Byrn Boothe (Boots). Genny also blessed her husband with two daughters, Rita Lynn and Ada Lamar.
In 1969, she and Jim moved to Ontario Canada, where they lived for 5 years. After that they moved to Lake City, FL in 1974 where she was a dedicated mother and home maker. The family also spent time in Albany, GA, and Wauchula, FL before calling Valdosta, GA home in 1985. She and James moved to Donalsonville, GA in 2001.
Genny was a devoted wife for 49 years and an amazing and patient mother, who in addition to raising her own children, fostered 63. She loved children. Genny was small in stature, but had a personality that can only be described as larger than life – a force of nature, having survived stage 4+ ovarian cancer in 2001.
She was feisty and was often described as mischievous, loving to play practical jokes. Children gave her the most joy, as did her extended family and friends. She loved gardening, reading, cooking, talking, politics and drinking wine. She also loved writing, and even wrote and published her own children’s book titled “My Name is Bobby Claus”.
On July 13, 2016, Genny succumbed to complications from a short illness. She was surrounded by love and family. She will be greatly missed
She leaves to cherish her life, her loving husband, James, their two children Rita Lynn Mahoney (Brian Mahoney), Marietta, GA and Ada Lamar Burch, Lawrenceville, GA; three grandsons (whom she loved very much), James, Brian Jr., and William Mahoney; and her sister, Maxine Sams Berryman, Jacksonville, FL. She is also survived by three stepchildren, Carie Burch Quigley, Pleasant Hill, NY; James Oswald Burch III, Wilmington, NC; Boots Burch Quimby, Bethesda,MD.
She reunites in heaven with her parents Coy and Ada Sams, and her siblings, Dovie Sams Foster, Wiley Sams, Juanita Sams, and Cora Bell Reed.
A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday July, 23rd at 2pm at St Barnabas Episcopal Church, Valdosta, GA. Please bring stories of the mischievous lady.
Genny Burch – she loved.
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Posted by adalamar on July 19, 2016
She was magic. She taught us how to catch butterflies, make home made bread, make a bed with hospital corners, tie my shoes, sing silly songs, how to read, she is the reason I am a writer…she is the reason why I am who I am, because I am my mother’s daughter. And now I must learn how to live without her. This wonderful, magical, strong, independent, feisty, loving loyal woman.
On July 13th, my beautiful mother, passed away. My father and I were holding her hands. She did not suffer. She very peacefully and gently slipped from our hands into the big hands of God. While it was the most painful moment of my life, it was also the most beautiful. It was my honor and privileged to be there for her, in her moment in that her journey. She was surrounded by love, and I believe she chose that moment herself.
You drew a circle that shut me out, but love and I had the wits to win, we drew a circle that took you in.
Even though we were very close, even though I was there for her during the last 3 weeks, even though we talked almost every day, what I would not give for just one more hug, just one more chance to tell her I love her, just one more chance to hear her voice. Hug your loved ones close, tell them you love them every chance you get, make sure they know.
Even though it is the way of nature – that children say goodbye to their parents, it is a very painful time. I loved my mother very much and I will miss her every day of my life.
And there really is no way to describe such a wonderful woman, who was so full of live, so magic, so wise, and so loved. She was a wonderful wife for 49 years, and an amazing mother. She raised 2 children, 3 grandchildren, and 63 foster children.
So many memories, so such laughter so much love. And above everything that is her legacy: Love
Genny Burch. She LOVED.
Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, family, Geneva Sams Burch, Genny Burch, human spirit, humanity, I miss you, Life, Love, loving parents, Mom | Tagged: ada burch, ada lamar, ada lamar burch, adaburch, adalamar, family, Geneva Lucille Sams, Geneva Lucille Sams Burch, Geneva Sams, Geneva Sams Burch, grief, human spirit, i miss you, life, love, mom | Leave a Comment »
Posted by adalamar on June 17, 2016
There are two things that just feel so good in life. First is spending time with family. This weekend is a great family reunion, the first of its kind really, because of the family that will be there. Some I have not seen in many years. There is always much love at family reunions. And, as we all sit together at the same table, love will continue to flow.
The second is knowing that you home ia safe. One of my best friends will be staying at my house while I am at the reunion. She just needed a weekend to get away, nothing to do and no where to go. So when she asked if she could come up and rest, relax, read and enjoy, the answer of course was yes. House sitting can be a great mini-vacation.
Once in high school, my friend who is house sitting for me now, invited me to house sit with her. It was a beautiful house, with a hot tub, animals and a full fridge. However, by the end of the week, the hot tub had over run with bubbles from not rinsing our bathing suites, the dogs and cats had fought all week long, the cows got out of their pin and eaten the lady’s prize winning tulip garden, the fridge had broken and quite a few other disasters…it was an adventure to say the least!
But hopefully her stay at my houae, watching over my kitties, will be much more relaxing.
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Posted by adalamar on June 9, 2016
So, for a Klutz, that title at first sounds a bit ambitious. I saw a piece that I wrote about 5 years ago. It talked about accomplishing goals except for balance. But now looking back, it seems that has been accomplished, and replaced. It is now Grace that seek.
Though life is wonderful right now, there is always room for better; to do better, be better, work better. And faith. Even when my faith is short, somehow prayers get me through. When I am frazzled and worried with family, work, career, and just life in general. While it seems that I have mastered the art of balance (at least for the most part), I am still ever chasing that illusive Grace. (Yes, I know I am a klutz).
Sharing space and a home together with my boyfriend, as we start a new life, so to speak. Making plans to build a life together, step by step, one heartbeat at a time. It has been a long while since someone else has lived in my house. It has made me aware of so many wonderful things, including the need for Grace in every day life. To give more, be more kind, be more loving, be more patient, than ever. Because your home should be sanctuary, should be where you are protected and loved and where things are sacred. But it takes work when you are frazzed after a long day of tasks, or after a 4 hour total commute in traffic.
And it is faith that helps me remember Grace. Yes, even for a klutz, Grace is possible. And I find that I have more and more every single day, as I explore and strengthen my faith.
You can still be passionate, still stand up for that which you believe. You simply do not have to be ugly about it. Imagine what the world would be like if more people aspired to have Grace?
Imagine just what politics would be like if more people practiced Grace? No more name calling, or comparing hands, or arguments. Just kind discussion. Well, a girl can dream right?
Here is the original post form 5 years ago that started me thinking today:
At the end of last year, I made a goal board. It had several things on it that I wanted to accomplish for 2011 – exercise, travel, balance, love, laughter, a great pair of shoes and peace. So far everything has fallen into place and every day, inch by inch, baby step by baby step, I am getting closer to meeting those goals. The hardest one, the one that seems could be the most illusive is balance.
There are so many things to do, that needs to be done, that I want to do, that I should do, that sometimes it is overwhelming. And I get stressed and irritable. There are meetings, phone calls, outings, projects, laundry,working out, friends, family, pets and life. All calling my name, all wanting time, all needed a piece of me. I makes lists so I can keep track of tasks and feel a sense of accomplishment as I cross them off.
I know how to work hard, I know how to accomplish a great deal of things, but somehow the balance escaped me sometimes .. And I struggle to get it back. I write for a living, but sometimes I am so busy living that do not have time to write and that is when I feel most off balance. And as I scramble to get everything done and accomplished. I have been frazzled, I have been careless, I have been exhausted.
Maybe the secret to balance is not to speed up and get everything done, but to take a moment (or three) and prioritize. And at the top of the list? ME. I have to remember to take care of myself if I am going to be able to be balanced AND cross things off the to -do list. Sometimes to accomplish balance, once must take pause and be still.
So I take a breath. And another. And another. And soon the moment passes. And as I make my way through the list and tasks, I take a breath. And then another. Maybe balance is something we strive for, always working on it, never ceasing to reach for it. Maybe just as our lives are liquid and always a work in progress, so is our balance…Or maybe i just need a vacation.
Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, Building a life, honesty, honor, hope | Tagged: ada burch, ada lamar, ada lamar burch, adaburch, adalamar, being happy, hope, life, thoughts, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by adalamar on June 8, 2016
Usually I save this space for lighter topics, but this one really stuck a nerve.
When I was in college, it was standard that if a young lady drank too much, she was protected. The gentlemen or female Friends around her would make sure that she got home or at the very least, some place safe to sleep it off. My house was usually the place everyone crashed, so there were often friends in the couch, or on the floor even, safe and sound. I didn’t drink in college, so I was usually the designated driver, or the person who poured the coffee the next morning and handed them an aspirin.
Never, ever was it considered OK to take a woman to bed if she could not stand, much less if she were unconscious. So I am wondering when, in the space of 20 or years, did it become OK for someone like Brock Turner to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, or anywhere for that matter? When did drinking too much alcohol become a free pass to take advantage of a woman, or anyone, in a sexual manner? When did the presence of alcohol become confused with consent and when did rape become condoned as “2o minutes of action” that was basically the fault of the defendant?
It is easy to boil this story down to a bunch of privileged, narcissistic egomaniacs thinking they are beyond reproach, and yes I do believe that is part of it. But I do think that there is more. Look at the person who did this to the woman, then read his father’s reasoning in his letter to the court. We all understand loving and standing by your children no matter what, but to say that young Brock is the victim over the young woman is beyond outrageous. It it reprehensible. And the apple does not fall far from the tree.
But the sad fact is that no matter how disgusting Brock and his father are, that the judge agreed is even worse. And no matter how outraged we are that this happened, unless or until law enforcement changes their attitude toward female victims, nothing will change.
And I have harsh words for the current situation and those who believe it is acceptable.
It has long been the habit of law enforcement to blame the female victim when it comes to violent crimes. If a women says someone beat her, attacked her or even raped her, she is immediately put in a place where she is guilty until proven innocent. A fact I found out the hard way five years ago when I was brutally attacked. Despite twenty witnesses, police photos of my injuries and my attacker’s prior criminal record of domestic violence, the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Police blamed me for the attack and did not believe I did nothing to “provoke him”. Bottom line is there is nothing any woman could do to deserve being beaten and strangled within a few seconds of her life.
And, despite the comments of Brock’s father and the judge in the case, no amount of alcohol makes it acceptable to blame the woman for being sexually assaulted. And if you are of the mentality that it is, then you are part of the problem. It doesn’t matter if she was naked at that party and completely drunk, no means no, and being unconscious means, beyond a shadow of a doubt, NO. The fact that young men, older men, and even some of Brock’s female friends do not understand this is repulsive. It is basic human decency to not attack or assault someone when they are unconscious – how she became unconscious doesn’t even matter. Whether she had a medical condition, drank to much or was in a permanent vegetative state, she was not able to say yes or no.
Meanwhile, women are also often criticized for being feisty, for not giving men a chance, for being bitchy independent or too picky when it comes to men. As a single woman I can tell you that it is rough out there, and women have to be feisty in order to survive. And the fact that any women may be expected to lesson her spirit, her fire, her independence, her feisty, to make it easier for men, is unacceptable.
I have a wonderful man who loves me, but that does not lesson the fact that while most men are wonderful, women must always be on guard for the ones who are not.
A man will never know what it feels like to be a woman walking in a dark parking lot, or on a deserted street to her car. A man will never understand how it feels to have to be aware of your surroundings all the time when out, even when with friends. How protective we have to be in bars, even when out with friends, what kind of lines we are fed in those bars, in grocery stores, in the gym, at the bank, at work, and pretty much everywhere.
When I have a daughter, I will not only teach her how to be discerning with the friends she has in her life, but also the men she has in her life as well. I will teach her to be smart, and feisty, and confident. I will teach her to be fierce enough to make any man who mistreats her cower in the corner because he should know better than to mistreat or raise a hand to any woman. In short, I will teach her to breath fire, and be proud of it.
But I will also teach my son how to be a gentleman. That no means no, and that basic human decency is the very least he should do, and he better do more than that. It isn’t enough to just treat others with the most basic excuse of minimum treatment. He should rise and lead by example to not only be a champion of women, but to all those who are weaker than he. Because the bottom line is that if you want to know what is wrong with the young men in the world, look to their parents.
And, one of the most important things to teach, one of the most obvious absent values in Brock’s life, is accountability for one’s actions. It is not enough that his father thinks what was done is acceptable. Or that the attorney attacked this young woman on the stand, splaying her guts wide open for everyone to see, dissecting her life as wide as possible to humiliate her.
Brock is of legal age, he is a man. If he can get into that nice and expensive of a college, he has the power of deductive reasoning, and he can tell right from wrong. In that moment, behind the dumpster, he made a decision that forever changed her life. And the fact that he doesn’t like the consequences shouldn’t even be taken into consideration. If we freed or suspended the sentencing of every criminal who didn’t like being caught and paying the price, this world would truly be a terrible place.
If Brock Turner didn’t want to go to prison, if he didn’t want to be a registered sex offender, if he didn’t want to be known as a rapist, then maybe he shouldn’t have raped an unconscious women behind a dumpster. And if his father didn’t want to be embarrassed by having his son in the news for such a terrible act, maybe he should have taught him better morals and character. NOT raping an unconscious woman should never be the exception, it should be the rule.
The one good thing that might have come from this terrible situation, is that it is causing a tremendous amount of dialog, and people are becoming aware. It has brought attention to the fact that rape on college campuses is rampant (something that was true even when I attended). That many times, maybe even most times, law enforcement blames victims and makes it so hard for them, that many don’t even bother to come forward and report the crime. And that there is a subset of men out there, who are successful. good looking, accomplished…and completely devoid of conscious or remorse in how they treat member of the opposite sex.
Promiscuity and alcohol have nothing to do with rape. It doesn’t and should not matter how much a woman has had to drink, what she is wearing or what she was doing up to the point she says no. And to say that any of those things means a women is asking to be raped is unacceptable. We don’t say kid who talks to a child molester is asking for it.
No means no and alcohol is not, and never will be consent.
Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, brock turner, rape | Tagged: ada burch, ada lamar, ada lamar burch, adaburch, adalamar, brock turner, life, rape, thoughts, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by adalamar on June 8, 2016
We have all read many times that as you go through life, there will be people who motivate and inspire you, and there will be people who try to tear you down, demoralize, dehumanize and demotivate you. People who are jealous, threatened or who just may be miserable themselves, who will do their best to stop you from succeeding. And then there are those who will lift you up, inspire, motivate and encourage. Those are the true leaders in the world, regardless of job title or position.
It was may years ago that I sat I her office one afternoon. As vice president of the company we worked for, I was shocked to hear the words that same out of her mouth. She told me that I was too stupid to work at that company. And as I listened to her, I made a promise to myself that as a leader, I would never do to her what she was trying to do to me.
First, let me say that I thank her now, so many years later. Because that negative experience motivated me in a way that I then could not have imaged. She was not a leader she was just a boss. A leader would never have said anyone was “too stupid”, even if it were true.
Had I been younger, less confident and more impressionable, she as the vice president, would have greatly damaged my confidence and self image. There is a saying that with power comes great responsibility, and that is true. What was not true was what she was saying. The only thing it did was show how little class she had, and motivate me to be a much better leader than the example sitting in front of me.
I want to always inspire others. Because to be able to inspire others, to make them think or feel, to help them believe in themselves, to help them feel love for themselves and others, to me, that is the most amazing thing to do. And if I can do that, just a little, then that is can incredible blessing.
So when someone shows you that they are a boss and not a leader, when you have someone who says something so cruel and unprofessional, you can use that and turn it into a positive. An example of what not to do and how to be better than those who are beneath you, even if they are above your pay grade.
Why do some want to tear you down? Who knows. It could be that they are threatened, or jealous of you and your success, or they are just miserable themselves. And honestly it doesn’t really matter why they do what they do, just that you do not listen to them. Or that you use what they do or say as a platform on which to build. You should be so busy working to make your life fabulous, that you don’t have time to take what they say to heart. Build on their words and negativity. You have the power to turn it into something positive, something beautiful.
From that job, have been blessed to be a successful writer, working for some of the most amazing companies. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some incredible leaders, and they have never demoralized anyone like that one boss. Every great leader I have had, has inspired others to believe in themselves and their abilities. They have taken opportunities to teach and give constructive criticism that made that person want to be better. That is leader.
So please, please, don’t let let those who would try to tear you down, break your spirit or just be mean, affect your self worth. Whether it is on a professional or personal level, only those who are there to inspire you have your best interest at heart. A leader will never insult you, never tell you are you stupid, or ugly, or dumb, or defective in away. if someone says these things, it says more about them than it does about you.
That is not to say that those who love you will never criticize, but learn the difference between those who may be concerned and are truly trying to help, and those who simply want to entertain themselves watching your pain. And then, reach deep inside you, deep where light does not even go, and turn that pain power.
Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, Building a life, inspire, inspration, inspration, integrity | Tagged: ada burch, ada lamar, ada lamar burch, adaburch, adalamar, being happy, hope, life, motivation, thoughts, women, writing | Leave a Comment »