If you have been following the last two posts then you know I was hoping to hear from someone unknown to me from Evansville, Indiana. I wrote about my reasons, sharing it in a story that after almost 40 years was still painful to tell and then followed it a few days later with an update and a thank you to all the kind folks who left me such sweet messages of support in my comment section.
I thought I must have scared my Evansville reader off, but to my great surprise when I woke this morning I found the message below in the comment section of the first post. To say I was delighted would be mild and I would like to offer a big thank you to Rita from Evansville who took the time to say hello and add to the story that has been changing over the last few days.
Welcoming Rita from Evansville:
“ I may be your Evansville reader, I have been out of town and just read your post. I found your blog a long time ago and so enjoy reading your adventures and seeing your photography. I love all things English, Irish and Scottish so I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of reading your blog. So sorry for the bad memories the name Evansville evokes for you. This is generally a caring, friendly area in southern In. I guess we all have good and bad memories we associate with places, events and people. My 3 best friends are sisters who grew up in an unstable home. The oldest has only bad memories of that time, the middle sister only good memories and the youngest very few memories at all. I suppose their individual personalities and coping mechanisms come in to play. I am happy that you are a strong woman who has had a journey that has taken you to a wonderful place in your life and a wonderful family to share it with. I do hope you now will think that this area, like all areas, has it’s share of the good, the bad and the ugly, but I think we could sit and talk and share some laughter and hike to some beautiful areas here and take pictures and replace more of those bad memories! “
It is not always easy to ask for what we want. Most of us have a negative voice in our heads that can seem as if it’s on auto-replay at times as it spins out the same old messages that keep us from living the life we dream of. Everyone has a different soundtrack, but for those of us who tune into that particular radio station too frequently, the impact can be staggering. Asking for what you want can be the first step towards change for some. It’s a lesson that took me a long time to learn, but once mastered has returned great rewards.
Is there something like that in your life … some dream of a thing you want to share with us … something that you need to hear or know that might require an answer or effort from someone else. You can practice on us if you wish … share it in a comment below and let us give back to you. I’m here and I am listening.
I’m so glad that Rita made contact and told you who she was. So much better than the wondering who it might be.
As for the question you ask in your final paragraph? I am in a good place in my life right now and don’t have any burning questions or worries. I just love the uplifting feeling I get from reading your posts or the way that the questions you ask run around my head over the next few days and make me think about things I otherwise would not.
I am looking forward to coming back in a few days to read the other comments. They are often as fascinating as the original post!
Welcome Rita, really pleased for you Elizabeth, that she made contact. Would of been quite bad for you if you had been left wondering.
I have just read your final paragraph .. .. I am not good at sharing , and have a little negative voice in my head , maybe because I don’t really know what my problems are.
I will call back over and have a read of other comments, I am sure you will have lots on this post.
Take care Anne
I’m happy that you got a response from Evansville! That’s cool.
The lesson of asking for needs to be met is SO hard. I don’t have a current urgent need, but I went through learning that one four years ago. We were moving from one city to another and into our first house. My mother died many years ago, so I didn’t have a mom to help me. I’d shared some of my wistfulness with an older friend, she’d exclaimed, “But you NEED a mother to help you! Just say the word and I’ll come.”
I thought about it and it took everything in me to call her and take her up on her offer. I asked if she’d drive down in the moving truck with us and stay a couple days to help us settle in the house, then we’d fly her home. She’s a bit of a flibbertygibbit, so I wasn’t surprised when her initial answer was, “Oh. Well, I’ve already promised to help so-and-so that weekend.” I was assuming disappointment, so I wasn’t crushed. Then a few hours later she called back and said, “I told my husband what was going on and he said, ‘E, so-and-so doesn’t need your help. OTRgirl needs you. That’s where you should be.”
So she came. It was so hard to ask, so scary, yet so rewarding to be surprised and have my need met.
Well, I hate to break the streak of no one asking for help, but here goes…
I am a caregiver to my mother but sometimes I need time away. I spent the whole day taking care of her yesterday, and just before I left she called me fat again. Joy joy. She called today and wants me to call her back. I just can’t. I can’t handle having a mom today that makes me feel less than I am. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, could you share some words that a mother should say to her daughter that cares for and loves her as much as possible? I need some TLC.
Thanks for listening.
Jeanne asks for what she needs in the comment above ” In the meantime, could you share some words that a mother should say to her daughter that cares for and loves her as much as possible? I need some TLC. ”
~ If I were your mother I would say, ” Being your mother has been one of the very best blessings of my life and I am so grateful you were born.”
I would go on to say that I was sorry things had shifted so that you were now my caregiver and that my fondest wish was that you be able to have a normal life with friends and family and hope that caring for me would not become burdensome and a drain.
I would ask you to sit with me and talk about how we might deal with my fears about growing old and how out of control my life felt now and then I would say that I was sorry if sometimes my own sense of loss of control over my life made me say things I shouldn’t to you.
Bad comments about your weight for example and other parts of your life that were none of my business and certainly places I should not intrude. I would tell you that my outbursts towards you were really about me and all the fear I had about change and loss.
I would listen quietly as you shared your feelings regarding my comments and needy behavior and after saying just how sorry I really was for being so ugly and out of line with my behavior, I might ask you to outline a simple contract or guideline of sorts so that we might both feel comfortable in our changing roles.
In it I would agree that some areas such as weight discussions would be off topic completely and I would allow you room to deal with your body and your life in the same way I had witnessed you managing the rest of your life … on your own.
Together we would discuss what you needed from me and how we might best navigate this next stage of life so that I wasn’t too lonely and you didn’t feel like my only friend and caregiver instead of my daughter.
I would finish our talk by asking you to share a memory of a time in your life when you felt loved and accepted by me so that I might be able to remember that when I felt tempted to speak about things which were none of my business and might only cause you pain.
Then I would open my arms to hug you and whisper into your hair that I was sorry for every mean thing I ever said and I how I would do everything from now on that I could to show you how much I really loved and admired you.
So Jeanne, that’s what I think a mother should say to a daughter like you who loves and cares for her as much as possible. I hope it helps. xo Elizabeth
As sad I am to know your mother died young, I am happy to hear of how you asked for help and actually received it. Hooray for the friend who shifted things to be there for you.
I have always struggled with asking for help so I know it wasn’t easy. Some of us can become so accustomed to doing it all on our own that we forget that by allowing room for someone to give to us we also give them a chance to share in our experience and feel the joy one does in doing something special for someone you care about.
Thanks for sharing this with us and reminding me that sometimes the gift of time and service is not just in receiving, but in allowing someone to know your needs and step in to fill them.
You are so kind with your comment about my posts and I am really pleased that you frequently find them uplifting or thought provoking. I am so fortunate to have so much joy in my life and if an experience I’m having can affect someone else in a positive way that makes it even better.
Additionally, I always enjoy reading about you and your family adventures. Your life looks pretty sweet to me too.
I’m really glad Rita made contact as well. We’ve had several emails back and forth and it’s quite fun getting to know her.
I’m wondering how you know someone from a particular area visited your website. I have wordpress blogs and all I see on the dashboard is google searches and references. I don’t know why some of these companies have my blog on their site – financial companies, health-type places and some not so nice websites refer people to my blog. I’m thinking they put people’s blogs on their sites to get people to their blogs or for advertisement.
I have all sorts of questions, but thankfully I can turn to Proverbs for some understanding and I read the Psalms at night – very good to sleep on. My mother was a puzzle to me and other problems throughout life, but I try not to let the past eat on me but to be thankful for everything.
I think you are a very good writer – and I enjoy reading what you have to say and learn more about your area of the world – life in England.
Thank you so much for your kind words of TLC. When I read your post about asking for help, I didn’t hesitate to respond. I felt like I had to ask in that moment before I lost my nerve. I want you to know that there is something about your spirit that encourages trust. And so I asked.
In reading your response, between tears, I realized that some of the trouble is in my reaction to her digs. While I agree that she lashes out because of her own issues of frustration, lack of control and isolation, I allow her to upset me. I’ve tried several times to encourage her to reach out to other friends, become a volunteer somewhere to improve her isolation, or even move into a place that would have the ability to care for her more fully. However, she doesn’t seem to be able to do any of them.
It is up to me to set the boundaries that I can handle, and inform her of them as well. I’ve responded calmly to her digs that I don’t want to talk about my weight for example, but I’ve never been proactive with her. I like your idea of a “contract” of what is acceptable to discuss, and a conversation about respect for me as her daughter. She won’t like it, but at least she will know the rules and I can distance myself from her if she can’t behave by them.
I love my mother very much and want her to be happy, but I can’t let it be at the risk of my own self-esteem and goals.
I really appreciate your re-framing of the issue for me, and I continue to read your every post with eagerness! 🙂