Thursday, September 24, 2015

Continuing with the Journey

I do not know what is triggering me lately but I have been having nightmares again. They started last weekend and I am not sure if it is because of the recent conflict around Ava's mother or if it is memories stemming from my childhood around my own biological father. Lately, I have been remembering how much I missed my father (Ron) when I was a small child. How I could not express this feeling to my mom or dad (Art) for fear they would be angry with me. I remember laying across my mother's bed crying alone when my father (Ron) was sent back to Vietnam for a second tour of duty during the war. I think I was around 8 years old. Prior to that he was in and out of my life since I was 5 years old. While state side he was stationed in Rhode Island and sometimes he would drive down to Philly over a weekend. Most of my growing up years, I did not have him in my life. He was a career Naval Officer who served one tour in the Korean War and two tours in the Vietnam War. I was 16 years old before he retired after 27 years of military service. I did not understand any of this while I was growing up. I only knew he was gone and my mother seemed to be angry with him all the time. People do not realize how much a child feels because a child cannot verbalize those feelings. Overall I had good childhood years and I grew to love my dad (Art) very much however I never felt completely a part of the family as my younger siblings did and I do remember the feeling of loss and fear.

I wonder if these memories surfaced because of Ava. I often wonder what she is thinking or feeling and if she can verbalize those feelings. My guess would be "no". She is still pretty young and probably cannot verbalize what she feels or does not understand. I do not know for sure since I have not seen her in two years. It has not been for lack of trying on my part. I have hundreds of pictures and videos from her first four years when she was a major part of my life. There are so many memories of things we did together and places we went to. Lots of family memories. More memories than I ever had with my own biological father. I doubt she will forget those memories especially if she is anything like me. I have memories all the way back to being 2 years old kneeling on a chair in my grandmother's kitchen watching my grandmother kneading pie crusts. I still remember my grandmother doing laundry in the shed connected to the kitchen on Ridge Ave using a ringer washer and hanging it out in the yard or basement to dry.  I remember living with my grandparents after my parents were divorced. Considering my mom remarried when I was 3 years old and we moved out of my grandparents' house seems to be a pretty decent memory.

The nightmares can be disturbing though I am not as affected by them as I had been in the past. Time has a habit of healing some things. Truth be told, I also did a lot of work on myself in the past few years. I came to a point when I had to decide if I wanted to be a survivor or drown in self-pity. I am glad I made that choice to be a survivor because life is so much better today despite some nonsense or pain. I am no longer a victim who drowns in self-pity. I have not been for some time. What a wonderful feeling so if anyone out there is reading this and feels sorry for self, it is worth the work to turn that feeling around. I promise you, life is so much better. I have compassion and empathy for those around me who have not yet crawled out of the "victim phrase". I also know that each of us is responsible for our own journey in life. When you give up trying to control how another person thinks, feels or behaves, you gain a sense of freedom and a higher level of happiness. I am only responsible for myself and no one else. My children are adults. My grandchildren have parents. I have my husband and my career, both whom I love.  My future is about work, travel, planning for retirement, enjoying my children and grandchildren, laughing with my sister, and walking the rest of this journey with my husband by my side.

Yes. Life is good today.

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