Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Staring Back at Me


Little did I know that when I began this blog, that this space would become exactly my mirror staring back at me. In this space, I have written about being a daughter of someone who daily struggles with a mental illness. I have written about the joy I find in playing and spending time with children. I have written about my deepest desires asking "How long, Lord? Oh how long Lord?" I have written about friendships that only God can orchestrate. I have written about who and whose I am!

Last October, when I joined the Write 31 Days challenge, I never would have imagined how healing my series would be for me, but it healed wounds that I didn't even know where still there. It opened up my world to others who have blessed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. And to be honest, writing our story down was and continues to be one of the bravest things that I have ever done. Because even yet today, our journey of mental illness ebbs and flows. There are days I am proud of who I am, proud of where I have come from, but then there are days, that I wonder why us, why our family.

A year ago, during the Write 31 Days challenge, I penned the words below (in italics) after completing the Write 31 Days challenge. Even looking back at them now, I realize how vulnerable I was. In the words of Ann in this chapter, I never realized how desperately I wanted and needed to share our story. Ann writes: "I desperately wanted to understand myself, unearth who I was meant to become. And deep down, I wanted to write." Yep, I wanted and needed to write! Yes, there have been times when I was afraid to hit the publish button and there are other pieces of our story that I have held close to my chest. But unearthing our story led me to realize how brave and strong my Mom is, but also how brave and strong I am as her daughter.

An excerpt from Praying on the Prairie originally posted on October 31, 2015:

"You do not need to know precisely what is happening or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope"--Thomas Merton

"Saying yes to the situations that stretch you and scare you and ask you to be a better you than you think you can be"--Annie Downs; Lets All Be Brave; P. 107

I am reminded of a word "eucharisto." It is a word that my colleague shared with me a year ago in his sermon on the day I shared with the congregation that I was leaving and had accepted a new call. In that sermon, my colleague talked about listing our blessings and thanking God for all the things God gives us. He later told us that the word in the text for 'thanksgiving' is translated 'Eucharisto.' As I sat there and listened to his sermon, I found myself reflecting on that word. And today I find myself clinging to that word again.

As I sit here this morning and reflect on the last 31 days, I find myself once again clinging to that word 'eucharisto.' This write31 days community has blessed me in more ways than I can count or even imagine! Today I am so very thankful for each and every one of you; for you who shared your stories with me, for you who told me how my story blessed you, and for each of who ventured to participate in this challenge. So today I am uttering these words back to you my dear friends, 'Eucharisto!'

And as I give thanks for each of you, I am also very thankful for my momma. She has been through so much. Yet she is one of the most beautiful faith-filled women that I know. Our story of mental illness will always be a part of who my mom is and who my family is. I hope that through these 31 days, I have been able to let so many know they are not alone. I also hope that I have been able to share our story, and shatter, at least, some of the stigma associated with mental illness. Thank you for reading my story and walking with us through these 31 days because I am a daughter; a daughter of someone who daily lives and struggles with a mental illness. And the truth is I will always be that daughter.

I am and always will be that daughter. This summer was a great summer, but it also was crummy too. While I was in Colorado, Mom ended up in the hospital. The doctor diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection. She was released from the hospital and seemed to be doing well. Only a few days after I returned from Colorado, I got a call saying she had gone to the doctor again. They said it was still the UTI and after time, she would be fine again. Then on our way back from the National Youth Gathering, I got a call from the nursing home yet again. Mom was adamantly asking to move (which made no sense because she loves it there) This was a side of Mom that we had not seen. No answers...and only more and more confusion. While my sister and I were on our sister's trip, we got a call asking to move her. We were adamant about her not moving, yet there seemed to be no solution. With much hesitation, we gave permission to move her to a new facility. She seems happy there, but still is not the Mom we have known and loved. I only have more and more questions and no answers. My prayer is that soon Mom will return to her old self and will be able to move back closer to me. (Instead of 45 minutes from me, she is now like 4 hours away).

Like our story continues to ebb and flow, I am realizing how healing it is for me to share our story. I sit her with my cup of tea, talking to you like an old friend. And I take comfort in knowing that this old friend knows me and our story. (I also have dear friends that I can do this with in real life too!) And as you listen, I find myself leaning in to tell you more of my story.

In telling my story, I find that it is also important to play. I love holding infants. There is something so holy about holding that little life in my hands. On Monday, I made a pit stop to see a dear friend and her new baby. It was just exactly what the doctor ordered. This weekend, I was able to spend time with my family. I helped my aunt put up veggies from my Grandma's garden. I sat and broke bread with my dad and sister at the cafe downtown. My sister and I laughed and smiled as we learned how to use our new selfie sticks.

But, the most joy was playing with our brand new farm puppy Kotee. Kotee loved all the attention my sister and I gave him. He was a little wound up by the time our aunt and uncle headed back to the farm. (Sorry P and T!) The best was seeing how much grandma enjoyed Kotee. Recovering from surgery, Kotee brought joy and peace to Grandma. He was the best medicine for her! And seeing that reminded me, reminded all of us of the importance of remembering to play.



As we remember to play, I am reminded of how life too ebbs and flows. It has its ups and its downs. It has its moments of ordinariness and extra-ordinariness.

"Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it's 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


16 comments:

  1. Oh girlie... I love this whole post, but that last quote! Oh my, Yes and Amen! Thankful to be living this amazing, awful, ordinary life with you! (And thanks so much for your sweet card! Your words and His timing... always such a blessing to me!

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    1. Thanks friend! I know that last quote got me today to. I am so thankful to be living this amazing, awful, ordinary life with you too. You are so welcome for the card. I am glad it blessed you!

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  2. great post tara. my head is a bit fogged from writing but i did enjoy your post:)

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  3. I am so glad I got to know you through the 31 Days Challenge. The way you play the cards you have been dealt with grace is so inspiring to me. :)

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    1. Melissa, I am so glad we met through the 31 Days Challenge too. Thank you for your kind words. I don't always feel like I play the cards I have been dealt with grace!

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  4. I related to being the daughter of a mama needs others to care for her. In my case it's Alzheimer's and she lives on the other side of the country from me. Not a problem for her, just me. The quote at the end says it all and says it perfectly. Glad you're writing your story. It's how God reminds us we aren't alone and how he sends others to comfort us. Thanks for sharing, Tara.

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    1. Debby, you indeed can relate to having a mom with health concerns. I am sorry you are so far away from your momma. That quote at the end spoke to me today. I am glad it spoke to you too. Thanks for stopping by, Debby!

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  5. Love this! I too feel like my journey has been amazing since my 31 days journey last year. It is true how authenticity either makes or breaks a blog presence. You are so REAL on here which I know so many like myself LOVE about you. Thanks for being open and being yourself!

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    1. Thanks Bethany! Glad I can be REAL and be myself for all of you and that you appreciate that about me.

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  6. I love your post- it's great to hear about how you being brave enough to share your story has not only helped others but blessed you so much too. I love the quote at the end as well.

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    1. Thank You, Carly! That quote is one of my favorites as of late too!

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  7. I have no words. Your words spoke volumes! Vulnerable does help us heal doesn't it? You are a grace filled young woman dear Tara!

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    1. Wow! Thank You, Christy! Saying my words spoke volumes means a lot to me. Being vulnerable does and can help heal indeed. Thank you for saying I am a grace filled young woman. :)

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  8. Absolutely love the image of you sitting having tea with your story. Wonderful. Loved, absolutely loved, everything you wrote here and how very honest you are in your writing. It's a great talent. [I had difficulties organising my thoughts for this prompt and have only just now put my post up about it; half organised/mostly jumbled still...]

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    1. Thank You! It means a lot to me that you loved my words. I will have to check out your post a little later.

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