What I know and what I’m guessing

Here’s what I know, the rest I’m guessing at.

It’s been four and a half years since I have seen or heard from my daughter, fact.
She and I have struggled in our relationship since her teenage years. The struggle intensified when I divorced her step dad after an 11 year relationship. He was a good step dad. I stayed in the marriage longer than I should have because of that. He was a good man, but our marriage wasn’t. We both had a part in that. He and his infidelities, me choosing to stay with him in spite of that. Me drinking to deal, becoming angry, sometimes showing rage that my daughter unfortunately witnessed. It sucked for her. I have days of wishing hard for a redo or an opportunity for understanding and forgiveness.

I’ve read of relationships either strengthening or ending during this Covid time. In the beginning, I thought surely my daughter will want to connect, with all the fear this disease has evoked. Time passed, I got wind she was going through a divorce. As more time passed, the message was clear. She will not be reaching out. She has me blocked on all forms of communication. Covid will not be bringing us together. Nor will it be bringing me together with most of my family of origin. My sisters had a summer visit in the same town I lived in this summer. I didn’t hear from them. I learned on social media one sister has a new grandchild. The message is clear, for whatever reasons, some I am responsible for, divorcing, drinking and suicide attempt our family won’t be coming together. I suppose some things are unforgivable. Sometimes we are seen and defined by our worst actions.

I’m guessing, my family has deemed me crazy, unforgivable, toxic while the diagnosis of varying mental illnesses have certainly been tossed about amoung them. Since we don’t talk, I’m just guessing.
Some days, most days, I realize I have a pretty great life. I’m content really, living in a town I have loved since I discovered it. I’m healthy, have such dear friends, I’m pursuing creative outlets. I’m sober, I’m seeking, will never stop seeking and growing hopefully. I’m not pining to be in a relationship, nor do I feel I need another person to complete me or take care of me.
Some days I miss my daughter so badly, it kinda messes up the entire day. But those days are fewer and they will always happen. I am a mother. I miss my child.
As Dr. Joshua Coleman mentions in his talk here, I chose to feel the pain instead of avoiding it or pushing it away.

Thanks for reading a blog that started as a travel blog turned into a variety of blog posts, favorite shows, podcasts, writings, great places to donate, businesses to support, sometimes it’s sharing the journey of family estrangement. I feel it is an important topic to bring to light and discuss openly.

From Scientific America: “Family estrangement is one of my most requested topics from listeners and readers coping with the loss and isolation they feel when someone cuts family ties. In a way, the grief of family estrangement can be more painful—or at least more complicated—than the grief over a loved one who has died. When a family member voluntarily walks away, you may miss them and feel confused, ashamed, frustrated, and disappointed, especially if the hope of reunification is dashed.”

Word of the day, zhuzh

Today’s word of the day is zhuzh, brought to you by Dictionary.com

verb: to make (something) more lively and interesting, stylish, or appealing, as by a small change or addition (usually followed by up): These colorful throw pillows are an easy way to zhuzh up your living room.

 
Sounds fun, finding ways to zhuzh up your home, your yard, your car, your outfit, your hair, the list goes on. I find myself looking for snazzy face masks. Gotta wear em, might as well zhuzh it up. A friend gifted me one that says “justice”. I love it. It makes me excited to wear a mask.
Speaking of masks, I’ve been thinking of the benefits of wearing one. If you have bad breath people probably can’t smell it, if you have something in your teeth, it will go unnoticed. Heaven forbid, you have a bugger in your nose, no problem. Forgot  your lipstick, just put on your mask. I think my mask, masks my double chin, no need for plastic surgery any more. Your mask is your friend. It’s your friend’s friend. You are saving lives by wearing it. 😷

So zhuzh it up.

Put a little zhuzh in your day.
 
Yesterday at the store two men were discussing the appeal of their face mask. One gentleman was so tickled that he had a reversible one with different colors on each side to change up depending on his mood or outfit!
 

Keep on loving

Feeling good again after not feeling good for a few weeks. I was tired and sleeping a lot, got an upset stomach for a few days, headache, coughing. Doctor ordered a Covid test last Saturday. The results came back Tuesday as negative. A relief, but not convinced. After feeling good for a couple of days now, I know I had something. Could have been any virus really. Could have been a  False negative.

I suppose mainly, I would want to know in order to protect those around me, the cashier at the grocery, the gas attendant, the  friend I had a six feet apart lunch with outside in the yard. Meantime, keep washing your hands, keep your physical distance, but stay close in other ways.

Keep on loving.

Offerings

Our intimate group from Marc Moss’s online storytelling workshop took some time yesterday to share some of the projects we’ve been working on during quarantine time. Katie asked for podcast recommendations, an exchange of “offerings” as her friends call it. You recommend your latest, favorite podcast, book or movie and I’ll offer you my latest.
Here I offer the list of podcasts that came out of our exchange:

Dolly Parton’s America – with Jad Abumrad, number one for the one I want to listen to. She has the gift of bringing people of all philosophies and lifestyles together enjoying themselves in-spite of their differences.

The Way I Heard It– with Mike Rowe, short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span.

Story Story Night– story telling podcast based in Boise, Idaho.

Snap Judegement – Mixes real stories with killer beats to produce cinematic, and dramatic radio. Hosted by Glynn Washington

The Story Collider – True personal stories about science. Liz Neeley, executive director.

Radio Lab – investigating a strange world, making science accessible to broad audiences, with Jad Abumrad.

The Memory Palace – with Nate DiMeo –  “The Memory Palace podcast is among the most potent pieces of audio being produced today; the show’s short tales are so emotionally concentrated that, upon listening, they bloom in the space between one’s ears, like a single drop of dye propagating through an entire glass of water. Nate DiMeo, the show’s sole creative force, often seems to be operating on a level wholly separate from that of other podcasts”

Everything Is Alive – Jennifer Mills produces Everything is Alive by looking all over the world for objects that are willing to speak. “Poignant, touching and at times laugh-out-loud funny examinations of the human condition…prepare to think deeply about yourself, to laugh and at times, cry.”
–BBC

This American Life – with Ira Glass. This American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.

In The Dark – An investigative podcast, hosted by Madeleine Baran, that has examined the cases of Jacob Wetterling and Curtis Flowers. Now reporting on the effects of COVID-19 in the Mississippi Delta.

Happy listening everyone.