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Primal Loss Book Review

There was a book circulating on Instagram from those I follow that caught my attention, “Primal Loss, The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak” by Leila Miller.

It didn’t take me long to realize this would be a tough one to read.

Leila Miller, a Catholic author/writer, compiled questions and answers from participants from all walks of life.  The book, “gives voice to the adult children of divorce. Their stories are not pretty. ..breaks through layers and layers of pro-divorce propaganda.” Answers are given numbers to keep the participant anonymous.  Much of the responses I could relate to, to the point of highlighting, noting a page, and writing in my answers.

Chapter one, “The Effect of the Divorce”, the first question, ‘What effect has your parents’ divorce had on you?’  The answers are  raw and some sound as if they are still struggling.  Response noted: “Stunted my ability to properly form my own emotions” and “parental presence, instruction, and stability were often missing in my childhood.”

The second chapter, “Feelings as Child vs. Feelings as Adult, what is the difference between how you felt about divorce as a child and how you feel about it as an adult?” There was a response I highlighted from a woman who spoke about her brokenness and how she carried it into her marriage. That early on, she wrestled with the behaviors, but thanks to God, her husband, “never gave up…even when I gave him reason to walk away…through their marriage, I have come to learn what love means, what truth means.”

Third chapter, “View of Marriage, has our parents’ divorce affected your own marriage or your view of marriage?” A reply noted: “I struggle with trusting my husband. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, which I am sure must be related to the feeling of abandonment by my family of origin.”

Fourth chapter, “Are children resilient? What do you want to say to people who say that ‘children are resilient’ and ‘kids are happy when their parents are happy’ and ‘kids of divorce will be just fine and will go on to live successful lives?”  Responses marked: “What divorce does is shatter that universe in a drastic and traumatic way, and there’s no coming back from that. It even changes the way you perceive reality, you become anxious, nothing ever feels safe or predictable, and you’re always waiting for the piano to fall” and “I was never happy with the way things were. I simply accepted that I had no control over any of it.”

Chapter five, “Speak to your parents, then and now, what would you say directly to your parents…how it affected you, would you advise them to do it differently?”  Response noted:  “I would have told them that God must be at the center of their marriage, that they were losing focus on the family, and that they were pursuing too much of their own self interest” and “I didn’t even know my pain was buried, but every now and then something would trigger this little girl inside of me.”

Chapter six, “What society should know, what do you most want adults in our society to know about how divorce affects the children?” Response noted:  “I’d want them to know that divorce is likely affecting their kids in way that they, the adults, can’t see or understand” and kids “often don’t gain the vocabulary and perspective to even begin to articulate all they are experiencing and questioning until well into adulthood.”

Chapter seven, “The role of faith in healing, what role has your faith played in your healing?” Response noted: “My faith taught me that marriage is a vocation that leads me to unification to God. It isn’t “romantic” love or superficial happiness; true love is an act of will.”

Chapter eight, “To those facing divorce, what would you want to say to children facing their parents’ divorce today?” Response noted: “You will confuse them and make them feel abandoned in the process” and “all the positive things you modeled for your children will be eclipsed by the disordered things you modeled when divorce is the punchline” and “even though they are children, they have a voice and should say, loud and clear, what they are feeling.”

Now my response.

I begin by admitting, the book took me a while to finish.  For whatever reason, I would become anxious before and while reading.  There were emotions, thoughts, that I felt I was clear of, but then memories surfaced that I had forgotten.  I would stop and think, text my sister, ask for her recount. Sometimes, I would ask my Mom questions throughout the day, to see if she could recall situations. And for those who don’t know me or my blog, my Dad is no longer alive.  He passed away in 2006 from sarcoma cancer.  However, before my Dad died, we did talk and reconcile (thanks be to God).

Before I go any further, I wanted to share when I found out my parents were divorcing. It was a weekday morning.  I was leaving to go to school in 7th grade.  That’s when I was given the news.  I clearly remember it was in the winter, clear morning, and my world began to close in.  My sister, who is eight years older than me, was already married with her new little family.  My Dad was quickly out of the house which left just Mom and me.  Mom worked a full time job and soon began to search in her ways of attention and self seeking joy.  In 7th grade, I tried marijuana and alcohol and continued using through my Sophmore year of high school.  Time at home on the weekends was on my own or, thanks to my sister, spent with her on the weekends.  My Mom and Dad led selfish lives fulfilling their own needs and not looking towards mine.   I was fed and clothed, but the impact of my parents non-emotional non-spiritual care was heavily felt.

Even after reconciling with my mom a couple of years ago, this book pushed out things I still had trapped in my heart I didn’t know I had. Thankfully, when we spoke she listened to me when I vented the pain it caused me.  Mom is 77 years now.  So even though, there are more things I would like to clear up, she can’t recall nor does she have capacity to help me resolve.  In a way, once I realized that, it saddened me because I know I will need to deal with it with God and on my own.

This book was a challenge, but I know I had to read it not just for me, but also for my nephews and niece who are also victims of divorce.  I can see much of their own behaviors in the book that match.  They are adults now. This book gives me knowledge that I could help them in ways I didn’t notice before.

But I think the biggest thing I took away from this book, is my progress made by faith as a now adult child of divorce.

There was a moment in the book when I jumped up, put the book down, and ran over to my husband and cried to him.  I literally saw God’s hand paint over my life from the time of the family destruction to where I am now.  Holding my husband’s hand, I cried and said, “Thank you! Thank you for staying with me in the beginning when our first years of marriage were rough. For not retaliating and leaving me. For understanding I had a rough past and still with some issues to this day.” His answer, “we broke the cycle.”  How much Our Lord Jesus knows our pains and struggles.  How much He heard my cries as a teenager, saying randomly, how I never want to be like my parents or have a marriage like them. The times when I was left alone to grieve the loss of family from junior high through high school, keeping it inside, moving like a zombie pretending to be normal and happy. Through the time after high school, living a double life of seeking attention and finding myself in the pew with my sister’s family on Sunday’s because I felt I was holding onto something good.

In many ways, I know that’s why this blog started.  It was healing and still is healing. I know the way God needed to reach me and stop the pain and focus I was starting to show in my marriage, despite putting in front of me a husband, stability, love, was to diagnose me with Lupus. I know for sure, that put me to change, have recourse in my life that I’m forever grateful.  It allowed me to see truth.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  1621

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music makes the whole world go around

After a week of dealing with a lupus flare, I recalled my hospital stay in 2008 and my long track back to better health during the time I recovered from CDiff .

I did much walking. I would step out of the house and just walk!  I had anxiety issues so going for a walk would help. And while I walked I would play my iTunes or play music at home throughout the day.

I’ve always been passionate for the artists I listen to and have always received joy from their songs to this day.  I can hit repeat and never get bored.

When I was little, my parents would often have weekend parties. They would play music from Santana, Mexican music artists, and some popular artists of the 1970s and early 80s.  I used to love to dance to this music and so I grew a love for music early on.

Then MTV happened.  My attachment to music got stronger.  And for whatever reason, I became a rebel in my own mind on who I chose to listen to.  I ended up choosing to listen to groups that were about some form of leather and spikes. It made me feel tough and almost like showing those around me I’m going against the grain. Yes, I was bad to the bone….. Ha!

My mom bought me a stereo for Christmas one year. She never complained to me, but I wonder now if she regretted it. I would turn the speaker out the bedroom window so that my friends and I could listen to music while playing in the front yard.  Not caring or even wondering if the neighbors were disturbed by it.  I also had a beat box. Again, going around the neighborhood carrying it, playing the music loud. Sometimes with roller skates on.

Throughout the stages of my life, I have had some sort of theme music to go with it. But now as I’m older, I find myself wanting to only hear the oldies but goodies. It takes me to a time and place that seemed innocent. Tank tops, shorts, ice cream man, trips to the store with my Dad, road trips to California, summer time at the beach, riding my bike through the desert trails, and slow Sunday mornings.

The music stirs a comfort in my heart that satisfies an emotion. I can’t hug my Dad but if I hear a song, I remember him. I can’t go back to family gatherings but feel the joy when a song reminds me of them.

My husband often laughs or is surprised by my knowledge of music. When we are on our drives to meet family and an old song comes on, I begin to sing. He’s surprised I even know the song.

I love music that touches the soul.

During my recovery, I remember playing Chicago – Strongchicagoer Everyday. Over and over. It felt like a revival for me. I would sing and dance in our office listening to it. I was by myself all day so I had no worry of looking foolish.  And in my heart, I knew during the dance I would give thanks to God for helping me progress.

So when you’re having a rough day, if you can find some time to just sit outside, put your earbuds in, and listen to some old favorites to reach that place, I know it will bring you some peace.  Give yourself some time to enjoy.

Here are a few videos of my recent cravings:

Todd Rundgren – Hello It’s Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLeCB7Kn-VE

Van Morrison – Into the Mystic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEvsDuJYEnI

Stevie Wonder – As

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWhMyOs0pCQ

St Cecilia – Patrom Saint of Musicians, Pray for us! Pray that whatever needs healing good music helps us get there!+++

Music! Can’t live without it!

Yes I’ve always had a love for music.   Those close to me know my taste in music and are always shocked what I want to share with them.  It’s actually pretty funny!!

My attention to music began around 5th grade.  I was taken by “Saturday Night Fever”, “Grease”, and all the musical films.  I even took up the clarinet for two years in elementary.  I loved my clarinet.  I loved going to the music store to buy reeds. Wow, I was a musician!

Fifth grade included the popular 80’s music of the time. Duran Duran, Howard Jones, Madonna, U2, INXS, Frankie goes to Hollywood, English Beat, WHAM….This was also the same time MTV broke out! Video watching was my past time. You not only got to see your favorites sing, their fashion, but learn dance moves too.  My room was covered with Duran Duran.  Unfortunately, I never did get to see them in concert but it didn’t stop me from being loyal.

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But as with stages in my life, when my Mom and Dad began their decline to divorce, my music became dark.  I was also influenced.  So at the turn of 6th and 7th grade, I started listening to heavy metal. I remember buying a Motley Crue t-shirt at a swap meet and being proud to wear it.  A rebel I thought I was! I started distancing myself a bit from certain friends and found myself with new ones. The t-shirt I wore had a pentagram on it.  I had no idea what it was. Just thinking it was a design. I can’t remember how I found out later or someone told me.  My mom didn’t take it from me either so in my mind I guess I thought it’s ok then! Not sure she knew what it was.

My interest in music stayed this way all through high school.

I had cassettes of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, RATT, Skid Row, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Megadeth,…I’m sure there was more heavy metal bands I had but I can’t remember! I also attended just about every concert that would come into town. It was like a badge of honor to collect ticket stubs. Yes I still have them.

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The influence of this music was also due to the type of boyfriend I had in High School.  Unfortunately, at a time where I really needed parental/spiritual guidance, I found myself being very needy of someone’s attention at no matter the cost.

I had much freedom from the music I purchased, clothes I wore, concerts I attended, people who I associated with, time, etc.

Around my senior year, by the help of some very kind friends, I did very well my senior year in order to place myself in good college entry courses.  My maturity brought a bit of change in music too. I was interested in Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Beastie Boys, to name a few.

In 1993 is when I met my husband to be.  He couldn’t have been more different than what I was “accustomed to”.  We had mutual friends and that’s how we met. He came from a disciplined family, attended Catholic school, and graduated from university. We often went to dance clubs with family and friends. We enjoyed our fun with the sound of Heavy D, Boyz II Men, and whoever else was being played in the clubs. Can’t say it stuck with me but I did enjoy dancing! To this day, we still are an odd music bunch!

I had a short affair with country music. I still am a fan of George Strait, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. And of course, Johnny Cash.

After a pilgrimage to Italy in 2006, an awareness to global music was found.  I right away found interest in European artists who sang mainly in their native tongue. I found that I could get a radio feed from here and listen music from anywhere .  With the help of iTunes, I started downloading artists such as Pino Daniele, Jamiroquai, Negramaro, Jovanotti, Laura Pausini, to name a few. It made me feel connected to other parts of the world.

In finding spiritual music, I found  chant music to the most reverent when I want to go to that prayerful place.  My playlists include Cysterian Monks, Poor Clares, and Gregorian. I am not a fan of Christian popular music that is too loud or blaring.  If you want to me to think about my relationship with Jesus it shouldn’t be like the pop music over the radio.  That’s just my opinion.

If you listen, there are many artist who give glory to God. U2 is one of my favorites!

Music will always be a way out for me to an emotional place!

St Cecilia, pray for us! +++