Saturday, February 20, 2010

Orphan Handbook Update

I haven't updated or posted anything in a while. I've been having a terrible time at work and I really need to get away. I have been packing up for NY and filling up boxes to give to Goodwill. I figure that once I am ready something will happen and I can go to NY now. I finished reading Anderson Coopers book and I stopped crying so much.

I am a tad worried about my health. I just feel that I really need to get away from my boss. He is extremely racist and can't spell at all. He makes me want to kill myself. I am hoping to have my car paid off in September. We were planning on staying in the south another year and saving up before moving to NY. But I don't know if I can go through another year. You guys know I can take a lot but the economy is so bad. I can't find another job in this town but I can't quite go to NY yet.

I hate how I try so hard yet he still yells at me. He always wants the impossible. I think the economy in the US is especially dangerous for adult orphans on their own. Once I get my car paid off I will have excellent credit and can sell my car and get the money back and go to NY.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tax advice for orphans - Part 2

I just filed my taxes today. I used Liberty Tax Service. I was hoping to get a tax refund but no. I actually owed money. Which is kinda strange since I am already scrapping by. Its because I didn't put 0 on my tax w2 form thingy when i got my job. It always the part that I never know what to put. And normally I would call up my mom and ask her but we all know she is dead. So then I try to ask the person employing me....they say they can't legally tell me what to put. Well dammit you can at least explain to me what it means to put 0 or 1. Shit!

Well thanks to President Obama he save me some cash. The government is giving people who work $400. So that saved me a ton on the taxes that I apparently owe. Now I owe a little over $100 total.

So I just wanted you guys to know. Always put 0 on your taxes. That way the government takes out too much taxes and you end up getting a nice check in March. But if you were clueless like me and put 1 then you will owe money. You would think I would have this down right by now. Well now I know.

Also an update on Valentine's Day. I'm doing okay. Kinda lonely but I'm fine. I listened to my Patsy Cline cd and it doesn't sound like the songs my mom used to listen to. It sounds slightly different. It bugs me. So its really not as sad as I thought it would be. But it really doesn't remind me of her. Have a nice Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Inevitable Grief

All month I have been crying. Not a constant crying but I am in a state where it is very easy for me to cry. I realized that my Grandmother died in February about 6 years ago. I never cried. Same thing happened when my mom died. I didn't cry until exactly 6 years later. Strange. Last night I dreamt that my Grandmother died again. I dreamt I actually got to go to her funeral. Six years ago when she really did die. I was in college. I had gotten an email from my aunt saying that Grams was in the hospital. I thought she would be okay. Then next week I got a letter in the mail saying thats to all who came to Grammys funeral and in one paragraph it said that I couldn't make it. Bull crap. I wasn't even invited.

I never cried until now. My mother never had a grave. She was cremated. I never thought about my Grandmother rotting in a coffin before now.

I never really got to talk to Grams. She was kind of a bitch. But an adult could have a conversation with her. I always wondered what made her so angry. She got skin cancer. She couldn't bath the way other people do anymore. We had to rub oil on her skin so it wouldn't cry out. She couldn't use soap because it would dry out her skin. I'm still not sure what she died from.

She was just another character of my childhood that is now gone.

I'm still reading Anderson Coopers book. Dispatches from the Edge. It makes me cry a little. I still recommend reading it. I love how I read it and see that we all do grieve in the same ways. We have dreams about our loved ones. We wonder why it happened. Flashbacks.

This weekend I will listen to my new Patsy Cline cd. My mother used to listen to her all the time. I will see if it makes me freak out or not. ya know.

And on the whole following your bliss thing of my going to NY. Its going good. I noticed that there are some "unreleased" photos of 9/11 that were on the front page of the newspaper. I find that very inappropriate. Those who lost loved ones on 9/11 are still trying to heal. And then this crap is all over the news? I hope to be living in NY before the ten year anniversary. If you want to help me get to NY you can buy the T-shirt to the right of the blog and $7 will go to me. Also if click on any of the Amazon links on this blog and buy something I will get a commission.

I'm filing my taxes this weekend. Yes, Valentine's Day is this weekend. I may get kinda lonely. But I will just write you guys. And read my book.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Anderson Cooper Goes Back to Haiti

This just in! Anderson Cooper is going back to Haiti! Heck I was thinking about going to Haiti. What a great guy! Follow your bliss! I am surrounded by guys who go on vacation when Haiti is in need but Anderson goes back! YAY! Great news for the orphans of Haiti!
Totally my hero!

Why can't I stop crying?

I usually write several articles on the weekend and post one each day. But this weekend has been different. I usually only cry one week out of the month. But recently I can't stop crying. I'm still not sure why. I am still reading Anderson Coopers Book "Dispatches From the Edge". That may be it. I don't want that to be the reason. I love reading it.

But my friend from College has been writing me. We usually write each week. She has been really upset lately. Saying she hates her job and hates the way things are. I recently read in Anderson Coopers Book that he asked his mother what he should do with his life. She told him to follow his bliss. I thought about that and how I also hate the way things are. I did some research and my friend and I are going to move to NY in a few years. I plan on writing a more in depth article on following your bliss. All orphans need to do that. It almost feels like my mother is guiding me. Every morning I wake up wondering what to do with my life. Especially wanting to change the world. But waking up knowing that I am going to go to NY makes me very happy. It makes me feel full of bliss and so I should follow it.

My whole life I have only been able to know when bad things would happen. I would get a feeling that my car wouldn't make it through college and sure enough I would get in a car accident. It would be totaled and I would have to get a new car. That is just one example.

But now I am excited. Sure it could be rough. But you guys know I can get through anything. Times are tough now. I think all orphans can get through anything.

My friend and I want to try to make progress with our art. I always have graphic design jobs to fall back on. Possibly some modeling. There seems to be a lot of jobs in NY. We just need to save up so we can get there.

I also want to try to find an orphan of 9/11. I was looking on Google Street View and saw the fire station across the street from ground zero where my brother was taking a test to become a firefighter. He is okay. He is retired and married now. But I remember he said they had to evacuate the building when it happened. duh.

Perhaps I am crying because my mother is "talking" to me. After someone dies we cry like crazy. Maybe our loved ones are talking to us. Maybe its a connection. Its been overwhelming lately. I haven't changed my diet. I'm not sure what is causing all this crying.

There are things I will have to go through that will make me cry. Like the last time I rode in a taxi was the day my mom went to the hospital. I just wanted to stay home so I just sat in my room and missed the bus. Mom said I have to go to school I really didn't want to. She would always let me stay home if I wanted. But that time she called a taxi since we had just moved to Oklahoma and we didn't have a car. The taxi picked me up and I cried quietly the way to school. I cried through my first class....second class....third...and then in fourth class they called me to the office and told me that my mom was in the hospital and that I will be going home to my aunts for the rest of the week. So riding in a taxi again will make me cry. Also flying a plane. Last time I flew was with my mom from Boston to Oklahoma. Thats REALLY GONNA HURT. I hate planes anyways. Also leaving the place where mom died. I'm not sure how that will affect me. She has no grave so that helps.

It will be an awesome journey. And I hope it will help all you guys.

So moving will be good for me, my friend, and this blog. Also I am still crying. Not sure why. Maybe once it ends I will figure it out and let you guys know.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Emotional Progress of an orphan

Last week was a bad and good week for me. I posted an article on foods that help you cope with grief. I kept a can of cashews in my desk at work. At first it was nice but I have been crying a whole lot more than usual. I'm not sure why. I've noticed that the month of August and February tend to be hard months for me. Last year I got a puppy. I regret it now. He costs a lot but I want to keep him. Its always good to keep a journal. Then you can look back a year ago and see if you have gotten more emotionally stable.

One trigger of my grief could have been that I was about to go on a date with a guy. And I have never been on a date. I am clue-less. I don't know how to dress etc. I cried wishing my mom and I could go out together and find a cute outfit for me. I went to the Salvation Army on Wednesday (half price day) and didn't really find anything. I looked at the shoes since I have trouble walking in heals. Turns out I have very small feet. All the shoes were a size 7. I am just a size 5. Sometimes I think since my mom died when I was 15, I look and sound like a 15 year old. But as I was looking at the shoes a pair caught my eye. I saw the name Vanderbilt. And realized they were made by Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson Coopers mother.

Let me tell you about Gloria Vanderbilt. Her father died when she was only about 15 months old and her mother was kinda crazy. Gloria ended up with her aunt and sent off to a boarding school. Gloria is awesome. She is a designer, author and artist and much more. I'm thinking of reading her bio after I Finish Anderson Coopers Autobiography. Yes, I started reading Dispatched From the Edge. And yes I have cried. But I don't think the book is what has been making me sad. I love that book. That way he thinks is so much like how i think. You really must get a copy.

He talks about how there is a distinct separation from before his father died and then after. I feel the same way. Its like two different lives that you are living. AD and BC. He says that when his father died, his life restarted. I look back and my childhood with my mom seems like a total different world. I wonder what it is like for others who have a childhood that just blends into their adulthood. When they visit their parents, doesn't it still feel like a childhood? Everyone from my childhood is gone. Mom, Grammy, my sis has moved away and never talks to me anymore. Its all gone. I think about how things were. How surreal, prefect, and full of life it was. I wonder why is it still in my head? What is its purpose? I hope for my life to somehow be like that again. Blue skies, whale watches, Canada, art, trains, McDonalds, snow and tall ships. Now its just cloudy days, a crappy economy and racist rednecks who can't spell or drive.

Back to shopping. I did get the shoes made by Gloria Vanderbilt even thought they don't fit. They look cool. I know it sounds crazy that I did that or weird but I still thought it was cool. It means something to me. To anyone else they are just shoes. But to me its shoes made by a great woman who has experienced loss. The shoes are inspiring. To walk in someone else's shoes.

The guy I was supposed to go on a date with had me call him a few days earlier. Yes, I know he should have called me. I guess I just wasted 40 minutes on him. He was cute but way too normal. He asked about my mom and dad and I told him. I think I need someone who has lost a loved one. Not someone who has a huge family etc. Anyways he was extremely boring. I told him he is a nice guy but I don't think we have anything in common.

I'm gonna try something for you guys. I heard on the radio that there is some Pasty Cline tribute going on in town. And it reminded me of how my mom loved to listen to her. So I went ahead and ordered a cd of Pasty Cline. I will see if it brings healing when I listen to it or freaks me out. Of course it will make me cry. And keep in mind my mom has been gone for over ten years. I don't recommend this for someone who just lost someone. Hek, maybe mom will hear the songs and visit. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Foods the help you cope

Carbohydrates are linked very strongly to production of serotonin. But this is the stuff that gets your teeth all gooey and makes you fat and makes your blood sugar go up and more prone to diabetes. Foods rich in carbohydrates are yams, potatoes, wheat, rice and other cereals. However, keep in mind that there are some people who get more depressed after consuming white rice. So monitor your food consumption and your moods. I love fried rice. It clams me. make sure the rice is well cooked. If you eat dry rice and drink a glass of water the rice will absorb the water and expand and tear your stomach apart. So make sure that rice is soft and moist. Kinda creepy but I gotta let you guys know. Cereals are always good. get some bran granola stuff.

Vitamin B6 is a good source of selenium (an antioxidant mineral), which helps soothe the body. Some foods that are rich in Vitamin B6 are poultry food, groundnuts, beans, peas, fish, eggs, and dark green vegetables. Try hard-boiling some eggs. It usually takes 30 minutes. And you can color the outside shell. I draw little bats on mine with a sharpie. Maybe try writing your problems on the egg shell then break it open and eat the hard-boiled egg. "Gas prices are too high" or "my boss doesn't know there are seven days in a week yet he gets paid more than me". *breaks open shell*
*eats egg*
I feel better now.

Vitamin C is a good source folate which makes serotonin. Foods rich in vitamin C include spinach, peas, legumes, oranges and other citrus fruits, However, be careful not to overdo on the Vitamin C, since excess consumption has an adverse effect on the body. So maybe a glass of orange juice once a week maybe. Spinach once in a while.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. If you are low level of Vitamin E it can lead to heightened anxiety and depression. Foods rich in Vitamin E include oils such as canola oil (use with moderation since it is high in fat), chickpeas, wheat germ, oats, green leafy vegetables, sprouted beans, egg yolks, seeds and nuts. So keep some lettuce in the fridge and get a can of cashews or peanuts. Have a little handful each day. I should try this instead of chocolate. But my mom always used to eat nuts. So I don't like to keep a can of nuts around. Kinda freaks me out.

Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
help prevent heart diseases, stroke and cancers, and stabilize mood swings. Salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and contain selenium. But where the hek are you gonna find that stuff? So some other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are seeds, nuts and flax oils. So you should eat nuts and you won't go nuts.

Water is the most important thing that you can take in that will help alleviate depression and anxiety. When your body is dehydrated, your body is affected in many ways, ranging from problems with liver functionality as well as brain impairment. Try to stay away from coffee, tea and soft drinks. They contain caffeine and may dehydrate you more. Soft drinks are the worst. Most soft drinks will dehydrate you. Keep a glass of water by your bed side. And always drink water if you start to cry. I cried yesterday and now I have a headache. Headaches are caused by dehydration. I didn't even cry that much.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to cope with dying

I made some bad choices in college and I have to get tested for HIV. I had to wait a month for the test results. During that month I wondered what will I do if I have HIV? How will I cope with HIV? I told close friends that I had been tested and didn't have the results back yet. I thought about going shopping if the test results contained bad news. I wondered what to do to ease the pain and fear. My test results came back and I was not HIV positive. But that experienced changed my life. What if the test results had been different? I remember while waiting for the test results I would Google "what to do if you have HIV?" and "How to deal with HIV".

I remember when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was so quiet. It was like she shut down and became detached. I barely noticed. I only realize it looking back.

I'm posting this to help others. I will also comment on how I observed my mother as she was about to pass away. I hope this helps those who are dealing with dying and those who are having to watch their loved one deal with dying.

The Five Stages of Grief, as identified by Dr. Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross in the book "On Death and Dying", is a model of the process you may go through when notified of a terminal illness and are about to "cross over".

The 5 stages are:

1. Initial Shock. Denial and Isolation, in which you grasp for straws that your departure is not inevitable. You refuse to accept the truth that you are going to die, and you tend to isolate yourself from friends and family, saying, “This can’t be true. Leave me alone.”

My thoughts: I remember when I found out that my mom had cancer when I was 13 I felt numb and didn't really feel that she was going to die. I remember my mom saying "You never really think that its going to happen to you. You hear about other people dying, but you never really think it could happen to you". I can't remember her exact words but the is the idea of what she said. I guess that was her "shock" statement.

2. Anger. rage and resentment over why you are “chosen” for death while other people are not. You may be angry at God, family and the doctors about the forthcoming loss of your physical plane life. You may go through anxiety and reason with God, promising you’ll behave better in exchange for a deferment of your transition. “Just let me be at my daughter’s wedding next June,” or, “Please let me go to our grandson’s christening in the spring.”

My thoughts: I don't remember mom being angry. I remember waiting for her to get out of the hospital so she could see me get baptized. But she died and she had to watch me in her spirit form. From what I hear she had cancer for ten years before she had her breasts examined. For ten years she didn't get a mammogram. I'm not sure if she ended up regretting not getting checked sooner. I've had dreams where I ask her why she didn't get her breasts checked sooner. She says "I don't know".

3. Depression. in which you mourn your departure and wonder why you should even bother with anything at all. This may be accompanied by bouts of loneliness, panic and guilt, especially if you feel you could have done more to prevent your passing. You look around at the familiar things and people in your life that you will be leaving behind but don’t know what comes next.

My thoughts: I remember my mom started to eat a lot of ice cream and buy a lot of stuff before she died. After she died bill collectors would call. But we just told them she died. I remember she got a little dog and then the next week she died. Strange.

4. Detachment. You resign yourself to your fate, and slump into apathy and isolation.

My thoughts: I remember when she was diagnosed with cancer we went on a trip (starts crying) to Canada with my older sister. I remember one day my sister was sick so she stayed at the hotel. But mom and I went to the Gardens by the Olympic Tour in Montreal. I video taped her walking through the gardens. She wasn't happy. She just walked. And she seemed detached. We lost that video tape. I wished I still had it.

5. Acceptance. You work through detachment, resignation and apathy, and finally surrender to the inevitable. Depending on your belief system, you hopefully arrive at acceptance, optimism and quiet expectation.

My thoughts: I remember just a few months before my mom died, Princess Diana died. It was all over the news. I remember watching Princess Dianas funeral. Mom watched it too. Perhaps it helped her. 

Not everyone goes through all these stages or in a prescribed order.Denial, the first stage of grieving, isn’t refuting the fact of your departure, but keeps you from being overwhelmed by going numb. It’s a way to get through each day. Denial helps you to manage your grief by metering how much you have to handle at once. It’s a protective mechanism to keep from bring emotionally overwhelmed, because to let it all in at this stage would be too much. So one way to handle your crossing is to go through the Five Stages.

I really believe that there is more to life that this world. When I think about my mom and really seems impossible for life to just end. I persons spirit can't just disappear. It must go somewhere. How can a person who once loved me just disappear? It would be as if she never loved me and I know thats not true. We all know our bodies become wounded and then heal but sometimes things die. But that is just bodies and plants and matter. But what about the life and spirit. I think my mom is just in another world. An invisible world where she cannot be seen. And she has no body. But she is still real and she still exists just in a different form. Why would someone cease to exist just because their body is not longer able to contain their spirit? Their body is no good anymore so their spirit must leave the body like a hermit crab leaves its shell. But a hermit crab goes to another shell. I'm not sure where mom is.

Once last year on the anniversary of my moms death. I was asleep but something touched my arm. I woke up and saw something leave the room. I saw reflection/shadow move across a framed picture on the wall. In the morning I saw that it was a picture of my mom that the shadow crossed over. I think it was my mom visiting. She would always wake me up in the morning.

I don't believe people just disappear. I think people just change form. When there are storms about. I think its my mom also.

I have had several dreams about her. I dream about her at least once a week. In some dreams I am a little girl again and I am warning her about the lump in her breast. In other dreams she has some back as another woman. Other dreams she has left tapes, or presents behind for me with messages on them but I never get to read the messages. And dreams where we are together in the spirit world traveling really fast on a highway in the sky.

The Truth about the 5 Stages of grief

NOTE: I am so sorry. I just did some more research and the 5 stages of grief are for someone who just found out they are dying. Now it makes much more sense. But still the people at my school tried to apply it to the grief group I had to go to after my mom died. It really doesn't work that way. If you look at the 5 stages of grief in the context of you dying then it makes total sense. I hope I have helped you a ton. I just helped me a ton. Pass it around that the 5 stages of grief are for those actually dying and not those grieving the loss.

Grief is an emotion that is complicated, misunderstood, and inevitable. After my mom died I was taken out of my usual school classes and was put in this group of other kids. I found out these other kids had lost a loved one that year. There are about 5 other kids. I was told that there are five stages of grief. We were asked which stage we thought we were in. I just felt numb. I have heard that if we get stuck in one stage or the other, the process of grieving is not complete, and cannot be complete and that there will be no healing. I think that is crap. How would our minds know which stages to go through. I just find that strange. I still wanted to post on the stages because we all grieve differently and it could help someone. From what I hear all the stages are random and not everyone goes through them in a certain order. Again this makes it seem like crap. It is different for each person. I have heard that some people repeat steps and and change steps randomly. This makes it seem like there is no completion. Then healing would be random aswell. I favor Keanu Reeves theory that "Grief changes shape, but it never ends." I have found this to be true. I still think listing the "stages" or shapes of grief will help you understand your feelings and recognize the shapes of grief. I will also elaborate on my own personal perceptions on each "shape".

The five stages or shapes of grief are:

1. Denial.
"This can't be happening to me", No crying. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.

My thoughts: Of course we have acknowledged the loss. But there are times when I wake up in the morning and I think "why did it have to happen to me? Why can't my mom still be here? etc". Its seems surreal at times. And I agree at times I don't cry. I think "unbelief" is a better term for this shape of grief. Denial just seems like we are being stupid. We don't deny it happened. Its just hard to believe it happened.

2. Anger. "why me?", Feelings of wanting to fight back, anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.

My thoughts: I actually have not been too angry. I get stressed out at work. Sometimes I get mad when I am disadvantaged by being an orphan and cry and get mad. Like having trouble buying a car on my own or men treating me like crap because they know I don't have a dad to stick up for me. I have had dreams where I have asked my mom why she didn't get her breasts examined for ten years. I do wonder why but not with a lot of anger. I'm not mad at God either. I will wait until I die and see if there is a good reason why this all happened. Then I will decide if I want to be angry.

3. Bargaining. Bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.

My thoughts: I did this once when my cat was sick and then it died. If this "stage" takes place before the loss then how can it be part of the "stages" of grief? Most people never have a chance to bargain. They may never have a chance to say good bye to their loved one.

4. Depression. Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal.

My thoughts: Well that is a lot for just one "stage". Why not just divide that one up into "stages"? I think we feel all these things all the time. Who came up with these "stages"? This is crap. My trigger stuff is better than this. I feel all of those things in stages.

5. Acceptance. There is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that the person is gone (in death) that it is not their fault, they didn't leave you on purpose. (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person, was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals turn toward personal growth. Stay with fond memories of person.

My thoughts: I think we realized that our loved one is dead the day they died. We accepted that fact. But that doesn't mean we won't miss them and cry from time to time. Finding the good that can come out of the that is what I think about a lot. I do think that having become an orphan has made me a better person and made me more caring. I want to help others as a result of my tragedies. Helping others is personal growth. But keep in mind those fond memories are going to bring tears. I accept that fact that my mom is gone but I still feel sad from time to time. Hopeless from time to time. You understand my point?

The stages idea is crap to me. But the shapes I understand more. There are times when I cry a lot, and times when I not cry all that much, times when I miss her, times when I wonder why it all happened, times when I wish it had not happened, etc. And all these cycle and repeat and alternate. But the healing is all through out it. Its not at the end of it. If so where is the end? I also find it very important to see how this loss has changed you as a person. If I weren't an orphan I wouldn't care at all about other orphans. But since it has happened, I can relate and I really do care. My heart breaks for other orphans all around the world. Then the loss of my mother has become a resurrection. I have heard that with every death there is a resurrection. And yes I did hear that in church but its true. When bad things happen, good things can come from it. Look at other celebrities who have experienced loss. They have grown hearts because of their loss. Hugh Jackman and his wife have suffered a couple of miscarriages and now they have adopted a few kids. Jenny Mcarthy has an autistic son and now she helps others with autistic children. Anderson Cooper lost his father and brother and now he reports on CNN on various tragedies and he cares for those going through hard times. The list goes on and on. Our loss has made us better people. We then help others and they help us. Life becomes easier and we all heal a little bit more. We find purpose and beauty in death and loss. Don't make me go all Oprah on you now! Yes, even Oprah had her hard times and now look at her. She cares for so many people and has made a big difference in peoples lives and I'm sure even she has times when she still cries. People who change the world are ones who have been changed by the world. People who make a difference are the ones who are different.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Waiting to adopt an orphan

The adoption process can take a long time. Lots of paperwork, sending and receiving forms. Especially with waiting to adopt an orphan from Haiti. Orphanages were destroyed and paperwork lost in the earthquake of 2010. Some many families are willing and waiting to adopt. But are they ready?

If a family is so dedicated to adopting an orphan they should make sure that they are prepared. They should do their research and read up on the topic of adopting and how to meet the needs of their new soon-to-be family member.

There are several more. You can click on any book listed above and see similar books on adoption. Research the process of adoption along with how to raise the child and help them with their new life.