Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have



Today is my grandmother‘s funeral I’m not attending on the grounds that it’s bad for my emotional well being. You see, my grandmother was severely abusive to her children and never saw anything wrong with it. Maybe it was the time my mom and her siblings grew up in but besides the physical abuse there was denial. Mom’s father sexually abused her throughout her childhood and my grandmother never supported my mother when she told what was happening. Instead she forced my mother to leave home whilst remaining with her incestuous pedophile husband and three other kids. The years following my mom’s departure from her childhood home saw no reaching out from my grandmother to my mom to make amends. Nothing. Just denial anything happened and a disgusting lack of ethics in remaining with a man who sexually abused his own kids.

So I stayed home in protest. If anyone (family) does ask I’m going to be honest and tell them exactly why I didn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral. I am sick of denial and phoniness. My aunts will hear the truth if they do phone me to inquire why I didn’t attend. On the other hand, my dad might make up a bogus story to “cover” for me. He will be covering up his own discomfort though because I don’t want him to lie for me.

In an effort to keep my mind off the funeral I cleaned this morning and afternoon. Thankfully there are plenty of things requiring cleaning to distract myself with!

©Natalya, 2013.




Grandmother Died Today

Well my grandmother died earlier today (Saturday). I don’t feel much of anything at the moment. We weren’t close and I didn’t exactly love her so I’m not sure if I “should” feel anything now or not. She took a stroke a week ago in the nursing home she was in and couldn’t swallow afterward. As she also had dementia and was in a very poor state no food or water was pushed on her. Thus; it was a matter of waiting ’til she died “naturally”.

There will be a small service for the benefit of my aunts and dad who had an attachment to her. Personally, I never was able to form loving feelings for her because my mother had always told me about her when I was growing up in a very negative light. She had abused her children severely and I just couldn’t develop the warm feelings one does for their grandparents typically. The maternal grandfather was a pedophile so I didn’t think much of him either. Mom kept my sister and I away from her parents when we were growing up because she never forgave them. So not meeting my grandmother until an adult it was harder to form loving feelings for her.

I’m not sure there is any merit to my attending her funeral service given I’ll have to see family there I prefer to avoid. Is it really beneficial to attend a funeral service when I don’t feel anything for the deceased? Granted it is “proper” and “expected” one attend their grandparent’s funeral if able to but “proper” and “expected” are in the realm of inauthentic  and I try to be authentic. So, what to do? Hmmm. I know I will just have to meditate on the dilemma and see what comes to me that way.

How do you deal with death of family members you don’t love?

©Natalya, 2013.



Toasters and Cooling Pads

What an odd title for a post but I couldn’t think of a better one. Today I went to Canadian Tire (a

English: Canadian Tire Money which can be used...

English: Canadian Tire Money which can be used as scrip in Canadian Tire stores under loyalty program, but is not considered a private currency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hardware department store in Canada) and bought a toaster for only $5.09 after I paid the bulk with Canadian Tire money! LOL I had $11 in Cdn Tire currency and the toaster was on sale so I got a good deal. Just so you know I organized the Cdn Tire money into one dollar sums because otherwise it would have taken forever to count at the checkout. If you’re unfamiliar with the Cdn Tire money it is money you get everytime you buy something in the store. It comes in $0.05,$0.10,$0.25,$0.50 and $1.00 amounts. I had some in the larger denominations but a fair amount was in the lower amounts too. It was pretty funny but I had “real” money too in case they had a limit or something on the amount of Cdn Tire money you can use for a purchase. Now I have a nice new toaster and I didn’t have to pay hardly anything for it! 😀

For my laptop I bought a cooling pad and mouse because my laptop overheats easily and my previous mouse was a crappy one from the Dollar Store! Not a great place to buy your electronics and computer accessories from! LOL It worked but it was lacking a scroll wheel and the cursor didn’t scroll smoothly or track well. Plus it wasn’t comfortable for my index finger and wrist. So my new one is wireless-Yay!- and scrolls with ease. The cooling pad seems to be working because it has been 1 hour and 40 min. since I turned my computer on and it’s not burning me! Normally it would be hot enough to fry an egg and I’d have my fan directed on it to cool it off. That worked well but it was bad when I got too cold from the fan! LOL My cooling pad is not noisy either like the one I had in the past. It was a cheaper one though and sometimes you do get what you pay for 😛

Tomorrow is my counselling appointment so I’ll post about it if anything interesting occurs. We’re also getting a buffet hutch tomorrow that was my grandmother’s before she had to go into a nursing home. I am hoping we’ll have enough space in the kitchen for it and it doesn’t look out of place. I’ve had to do a lot of rearranging since we’ve been acquiring some of her furniture. It can get kind of interesting figuring out where to put things and deciding if something can be given away or tossed.

©Natalya, 2013.


Brunch With My Aunt and Grandmother Done

Zen wisdomWell I had brunch with my aunt and grandmother today. It went well, or better than expected anyway. My grandmother was quite forgetful and asked me more than several times the same questions again. She also repeated her sage advice to me numerous times! I didn’t mind though. She had lost some of her social filter from what I could tell and didn’t have the same ability to tell stories like she did last time I saw her (a year ago). The dementia has certainly had an effect on her. She couldn’t remember my name but knew who I was and you know hearing her advice repeated over and over again was sort of therapeutic. She couldn’t remember having said certain things already so just said them again which was kind of like hearing affirmations!

Having an 86 year old woman tell me what I should do didn’t bother me. Somehow

Be compassionate to all-especially YOURSELF!

Be compassionate to all-especially YOURSELF!

it seemed okay because she was speaking from experience and her words did have wisdom in them.My aunt didn’t really bother with questioning me much so I was grateful. I didn’t have to set my boundaries firmly in place. It was my grandmother who bluntly asked if I was working. Since she has dementia this was forgivable. Her diminution of social graces lent her an honesty I could respect.

It’s interesting that I’m able to pick up on symptoms of dementia in those afflicted with it. Some people seem quite willing to make excuses and be in denial about their loved ones with the illness. I, on the other hand, am different. No surprises there! Even when my mom had her various issues I could see them and didn’t pass them off as normal or an eccentricity. My dad isn’t very observant when it comes to human behaviour so he thought my grandmother was just fine today! I pointed out all the things I’d noticed and he seemed to have been somewhere else entirely from his assessment, which consisted of “well your grandmother looked good today”. Oy! 😛

Acceptance of What Is

Acceptance of What Is

Anyway, I thought the difference was marked even if she looked relatively normal/like her old self. She’s on medication for her dementia and can’t look after herself properly so is living with one of her adult children. It’s possible she may need to go into long term care soon if family can’t keep up with her increasing needs. I feel sad about this.

Hopefully my intuition of her only lasting several months is

Artist: Raoul Vitale

Artist: Raoul Vitale

catastrophic thinking on my part. I’m sure she’ll likely last a while yet. Then again, she can’t be on her own and has hallucinations and delusions despite being on medication. She’s not the sort who would want to live many years in such a condition. This is not fun stuff to think about 😦 Guess I am overdue for a death now. Last time I dealt with one was my grandfather after he’d fallen and hit his head in 2009. The year 2008 was my mom and a former client of a group home I’d worked in who had cancer. 2010 was the year I learned of my abuse being mother daughter sex abuse, which at the time felt like a death of sorts. I made it through 2011 without any deaths or painful revelations(apart from not qualifying for a student loan and being unable to return to university for the Masters degree I was admitted for), and 2012 has been reasonable, aside from financial concerns and being unable to go back to university still.

Live from your heart

Live from your heart

I’m not sure what’s next for me or what the new year will hold. All I know is now, this moment and nothing else. Thus, I shall exist in the moment and attempt foregoing fortune telling (aka worrying about the future). What else is there but the ‘now’? Eckhart Tolle may finally be percolating into my consciousness (I’m alluding to Tolle’s book The Power of Now). Be one with the Universe and all that good stuff now my lovely readers.

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.



Thinking About Dying

Well there you have it, the topic I’ve been mulling over lately, death and dying. Why? I’m not sure apart from I generally



think about it sometimes more so than others, depending on the situation or circumstances at present. Right now I suppose it’s because I found out my last grandparent has dementia. She’s in her 80’s but last year when I saw her she was sharp and doing well according to a recent(then recent) medical inspection. So when I found out she had Dementia with Lewy Bodies I got a little…hmm, contemplative I guess. My grandmother was a very abusive woman to my mother and didn’t apologize until late in my mom’s life, and only after my mom pushed the subject. Perhaps you can understand then my less than overly affectionate feelings towards her. Mom kept me from seeing my grandmother when I was a child because she was so angry with her. I was fed lots of negative stories about her and I have no doubt they were very true, thus I didn’t miss her.

Full of Remorse?

Full of Remorse?anguish?

Then when I was an adult and my mom reached out to her mother a relationship was established-not a strong one but it was something. A few years passed and my mother forgot the repairs to the relationship as her Early on-set Alzheimer’s took hold of her memory. So the relationship drifted. All this is to explain why I’m not overly emotional about my grandmother’s dementia diagnosis. It’s complicated when you’ve gone so long without any connection then try forging one when you’re an adult. I guess the death piece entered my mind because it’s been 4 years since my mom died and my grandmother has been declining in her health ever since. Primarily she had depression and understandable guilt from having been a terrible mother. Now she has dementia. I can only guess at how long she’ll last but I have a hunch it won’t be as long as expected for the specific condition she has. My intuition is she’ll go early from grief. How does one ever truly reconcile out living one’s child knowing your part in it was to blame? I suppose she could live years, but I think months are more likely. A boat load of guilt is hard to live with for very long. But she might surprise me and live a few more years yet.

Lately I’ve been wondering about what happens to the soul once the body dies. I’m not Christian so don’t believe in

How do you view death?

How do you view death?

Heaven. But I have my own ideas on where the soul goes. I should mention I don’t believe in Hell either. I’m quite certain we make our own Hell here on earth. I’d venture to share with you my theory about the “afterlife” but this blog isn’t focused on that; also I don’t think it’s fair to get into a host of metaphysical discussions when I’ve marketed this as a place for sharing my thoughts on abuse, mental health and spirituality(in a general sense). So I’ll spare you the speculations I have about what happens when we die.

How many of you regularly think about death(in a broad sense)? including your own death? Is it something you fear or accept?

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.


A Visit From My Aunt and Grandmother

This Sunday an aunt of mine and my grandmother are visiting my dad and I. Apparently my grandmother now hasfile4091340255130 Dementia with Lewy Bodies. Fortunately, it’s not genetic so I am not fearful of having it when-if I make it to old age! My grandmother is my mom’s mother who abused her as a child. Now she has hallucinations where she sees children around her. It’s sort of odd. Ever since my mom died my grandmother’s been on a decline health wise. She seems to have been hit particularly hard, perhaps recognizing how awful she treated my mom and feeling guilty for outliving her. It’s not a pleasant thing to experience so much remorse and grief in your senior years I’m sure. No doubt this has brought on some of her symptoms, as I think it can be ‘activated’ by one’s environment/situation etc. Something like bipolar or schizophrenia being developed in some individuals due to the environment or conditions they’re in.



Anyway I am not looking forward to the meeting. We’re having brunch. Every time we meet I endure judgement from my aunt about what I should be doing with my life. It’s not her place to tell me when I’m 30 how I should do things. In fact, I experience it as an interference. I’ve had to deal with a lot of judgement from other people about how I live my life; I think that’s partially why I withdrew and stopped going out as often, among other reasons. If I want to live a life that is based on my heart rather than societal conventions that’s my business. It might not seem rational and sensible to everyone but it’s my life da*nit! As you can tell I’m a little bit defensive and annoyed by it. I know it’s ‘normal’ to have people putting their ‘two cents worth’ in where it’s not wanted but I haven’t mastered the art of not giving a sh*t quite yet.  So when family, heck even strangers, start passing their judgement onto me I am hurt. I want people to accept my choices like I accept other people’s choices. I might not always like their choices but I keep my mouth shut and have the decency to respect their decisions. I’ve never been able to conform-EVER. It’s been one of those things I guess. Some people fit in well and others don’t. Yes, I know I needn’t care but I do.

Picture from artist a day.

Picture from artist a day.

I guess I’ll do my best not to worry about Sunday before it gets here. But a large part of me is scrambling mentally to come up with ‘legitimate’ stuff to tell them I’ve been doing. In my mind blogging about abuse and spirituality aren’t likely good things to mention, especially where I’m talking about them or relatives on here. So what the heck do I tell them besides I have been doing employment workshops to help with career decisions? My default has been to fall back on embellishing my mental health issues to garner sympathy. But I don’t want to have to pretend I’ve been languishing in a pit of depressive despair either for effect. It’s kind of ridiculous really the way I give others power over how I feel. What nonsense! I need to stop this and just focus on being me. Why should I have to feign craziness so people will not press me on my less than conventional way of living and seeing the world?

You know what bugs me about all this is I’m still trying to rehearse how to answer

Making my list of things to tell my aunt and grandmother I've been doing!

Making my list of things to tell my aunt and grandmother I’ve been doing!

their inevitable questions they’ll ask, such as why don’t I have a job yet? or why am I not volunteering in the meantime? Even I wonder why I’m not volunteering sometimes. I think it’s because I worry obsessively about starting volunteering then missing a job opportunity. To me it’s Murphy’s Law, I’ll start volunteering beginning to enjoy it then have to stop if I get employment. But if I’m honest it’s because I feel like I need to get a job first so I know when I’ll be available for volunteering. Totally a** backward to most people I’m sure but that’s how I think! Maybe I have more respect for volunteering than paid employment. I don’t want to disappoint the place I’d be volunteering at by having to leave or drastically alter my schedule. In the past I volunteered then got a job but it was different because I’d been volunteering with the place for a few years and had grown to dislike it. So I was happy for a chance to make my exit! Otherwise, I’ve never had a job and volunteered at the same time; only volunteering on its own or employment on its own.

Think I’ll go make a list of ‘acceptable’ things to tell my aunt and grandmother I’ve been doing for our brunch on Sunday….

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.

Leave a comment

This story touched me so thought I’d share with you. It’s a nice story if you read all of it.


This heartwarming real story happened in Indonesia.  It’s regarding a judge handling a theft case.  The defendant is an old frail granny from a meager family.  She committed the crime as her child was sick and grandchildren were starving.
She succumbed to stealing cassavas for them.  But the manager of the plantation insisted to put her behind bars, so she has to face the punishment.
After reading the sentence, Judge Marzuki took a deep breath and made the announcement.  “I’m sorry Grandma, I have to abide the law.  You are guilty of what you have done, you are to pay a fine of 1 million rupiah (about US$100/=) or you’ll be put behind bar for 2½ years.”

The old grandma lowered her head with grief.  At this moment, the judge put away his judge’s cap, took out 1 million rupiah from his wallet and put it on his cap.  He…

View original post 109 more words


Cleaning Up After Grieving

Auguste Deter. Alois Alzheimer's patient in No...

Auguste Deter. Alois Alzheimer’s patient in November 1901, first described patient with Alzheimer’s Disease. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 23rd will be the fourth anniversary of my mom’s death. She died in the hospital’s palliative care ward after only one month in hospital. Her diagnosis was early on-set Alzheimer’s disease but she died from dehydration/starvation-refusal to eat & drink. Reflecting back, I think she refused to eat and drink on purpose when she knew she couldn’t leave. There was a point where she went from not eating much to not eating/drinking at all. Eventually she just died from dehydration from not having enough fluids and food. My dad, sister and I knew she didn’t want to be kept on any sort of life support so we let her die without force feeding her. One of my aunts and grandmother were not pleased at first but accepted it was the right decision once they talked a bit more with the doctors and nurses.

I thought it best to give you that bit of information because when I mention cleaning up after grieving it’s a

English: Photo of the living room of a compuls...

English: Photo of the living room of a compulsive hoarder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

present issue. Four years ago we did not throw away most of my mom’s things. We donated some of her things and gave away some items to other family but by and large her stuff is still around today. Yesterday was important because I helped my dad clean/tidy up his room that he couldn’t handle himself. Grief had made him inert where tidying up was concerned because he’d have had to go through my mom’s things in his room. He had all kinds of blocks/obstacles in front of her things that I think he was unaware of. The obstacles kept him physically unable to deal with moving her clothes and donating them to charity. Every ‘block’ was another excuse for him to put off dealing with her clothes. I gave up a year or so ago on trying to convince him to part with the things. I realized he’d do it when he was ready-not because I pestered him into it. Today he sounded like he was ‘ready’ when he mentioned giving my mom’s clothes away finally. My tidying up his room gave him the momentum and clarity he needed to see a way through his resistance to parting with mom’s stuff.


Clothes (Photo credit: codey)

I feel very pleased my dad is finally moving forward in his grief work. Some people can toss their spouse’s clothes and belongings in the first year. Dad needed longer but at least he’s getting there. Maybe I have been able to help him by living with him. He says he appreciates my company. But sometimes I feel guilty for not doing more. Yet now I see perhaps I have given him something less tangible and concrete-a way to heal.

There’s still a lot of things to be dealt with in terms of giving things away but we’re a lot further ahead than we were just a few days ago, and even more so than four years ago! My mom was a compulsive hoarder so she had more things than is normal and healthy. Thus, despite giving away a large amount of her stuff there remains a fair amount to be sorted still.

Related post:

© Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.