In This Present Moment Things can Only be What They Are

I have found that when you grow up with alcoholics you mark time differently than other people.

You think about the past and there is fear and you think about the future and  you worry.

The present is a difficult place.

 I made the stuffing today exactly like Daddy likes it; but he is dead.

We are having pumpkin pie with whipped cream,  but Mommy won’t be eating it.

I cook for the past.

 There is an inescapable fact: today is Mommy’s last Thanksgiving.

 I am frantic and scared and living in the past and fearing a future that I can’t begin to comprehend.

 I am nowhere near the  present.

 I said in the kitchen while cooking, “This time next year we will be orphans.”

My brother-in-law, Paul traveled here from England  to celebrate his first Thanksgiving.

 Paul said,  “Or, This could be the first Thanksgiving with your niece Ella, and for Will to have Ella here too.”

I realized then there are choices I can make.

 Paul reminds me that family goes on and love is ever after;

 my father and my mother live in the blood of our children and our children are growing to love one another

and their cousins in Iowa too.

The present knows no distance or distraction or fear.

The present today knew tremendous Love and laughter;

Dark humor and political debate.

I am wearing makeup and lipstick today and that is not the norm.

I look in the mirror and I can see what the aide at the nursing home saw;

a beautiful woman.

Dark eyes and high cheekbones.

I am my mother’s daughter .

That is a good thing.

It is a good thing in this present moment.

Our Godson Patrick and his fiancée Chrissy are here too in the present.

Patrick was Will’s age when Will was Ella’s age.

They are bound not by blood but by Love and Time and shared experience and tonight they were present and together.

Chrissy is here too; adding Wit, Power and Beauty to our stronghold of Womanhood.

She is of us and we are blessed to welcome her into our uncommon fold.

My sister, my niece and I;  I want to say three generations in one home from two countries.

But no.

I am not my sister’s mother or my niece’s grandmother.

Two generations.

Plenty of Beauty and Woman Power to carry on in the present with our men and our family with us.

I write this in the present with the house dark and the sound of the late night freight train rolling by.

I am present and in this moment, this one moment.

I am safe and happy and unbelievably peaceful.

Orphans or not, we will carry on. We always have and we always will.

In this present moment things can only be what they are and what they are is only a blessing.

Peace to you in this moment of Thanksgiving.


~ by Step On a Crack on November 25, 2011.

14 Responses to “In This Present Moment Things can Only be What They Are”

  1. You know, one thought I had reading this is that we have our earthly family to whom we are born, our genetic family, and then we have our spiritual family, members of which I continue to meet as time goes by. Also, the family I am in today is not the same family I had on Thanksgiving six years ago. It’s also not the same family I had six years before that. Too often in the past I have thought of family as something static and unchanging, a whole “blood is thicker than water” thing. My life is teaching me differently.

    From this perspective, though, you are never orphaned, your birth parents are just no longer present. Instead, you have the family of the heart, the family someone once said to me is my “Lilo and Stitch” family. I have to go with that because of the irretrievable breakdown of my earthly families (and they are plural), many members of which I have not seen in more than three years, my kids included. I have a family of “right now,” but given my life track-record, I know there are no guarantees that they will even be here in another six years. I’m learning to hold on lightly to the idea of “family” as a result.

    But then again I have weird and probably some dysfunctional ideas about family, too, lol, so take what you like of what I write and leave the rest, eh?

    In any case, I know that this post is about coming to terms with things, and with the continual process of grief. It’s not easy stuff, and pretty much you just have to go with it because the only way out is through.

    Blessings be yours this holiday weekend, and peace to you, too, Jen.


  2. When we are little and lose someone we cherish, it is natural to turn to the grownups around us, usually our parents, for direction, comfort, or cheer. When we lose those parents, we are left with only one real choice: to become the grownups.
    What a leap, from depending on our parents to carrying on where they left off.
    We feel sad and unprepared, yet somehow, we know what to do, once we put one foot on the path.
    You have put one foot on that path. You know.
    But it is SO okay to feel the sadness and the unpreparedness.
    You made the firs preparation, though, long ago, when you decided you would leave a better legacy. And now, you see, the better legacy has happened and is happening and is worth the walk down that path.


  3. In this post Jen, you’ve shown beautifully the wisdom of living in the present. The past has no-go zones for most people and the future is often filled with terrors unknown. The present though, can be filled with love and laughter, tears and hugs.

    The present is the only true thing that matters, and the people with you right now are the ones who count the most, right now.

    The children will develop their own ‘family’ images to carry through life, and you can develop your own new ‘family’ images, based on what’s happening in this difficult time, and the ways your extended family is helping you to deal with the choices and actions you’re undertaking.

    May serenity be your life-guide.

    Carolyn, cherishing you and your words from the land down under.


  4. This is a beautiful beautiful post. So raw and painfully honest. Thank you for sharing with us.


  5. It’s hard to face the loss of a family member, when there’s so much baggage.

    Do you hash out what you can? Just let it go and enjoy whatever you have left?

    How to move forward in a situation that’s nothing short of an emotional mine field – without creating more fights and regrets?


    • Thank you for being here where ever here is ehh???

      Try this: what do you do when the ONE is already in the netherworld of Morphine and Dreams? Stuck. Done. Over.

      She beat me as a kid and neglected me. Past is Past right? Sure.

      The emotional minefield is only mine now. What now? Not Morphine and Dreams for me; only reality…

      wow. thank you…. I will come up for air soon soon maybe…


      • In the ether…

        Most of the women I’ve been friends with over the years experienced physical and sexual abuse and I never talked about my childhood because I was a happy kid, I had no sense of how poor we were, but I got tired of being told I was suppressing or in denial.

        For me, though, the one thing that has haunted me was my parents split for a while when I was about 2 and a half.

        My Dad sat me down and told me that he and Mom weren’t going to live together anymore and asked who I wanted to live with.

        I said him.

        He said that I couldn’t because I was a girl and girls go with their mothers.

        My mom took us to her sister’s in Saskatchewan and I remember the summer and in fall, we went home and back with my Dad.

        My parents had no idea that I remembered any of this until I was 16 and I told my mom. She was mortified and I have more of the story, but I think that incident is the root of my abandonment/commitment issues, why I was a tomboy, maybe even factoring in why I am a lesbian.

        I wasn’t physically harmed, but I was traumatized by that – and, in a family where there was mufti-generations of alcoholism, various physical abuse on both parent’s families, it’s amazing to me that my parents did pull it together and raised very independent thinking daughters.

        So the conversation that I want to have with my Dad, who is dying of heart failure but otherwise functional and this is more than likely his last christmas, is:

        He was a behavioral psychology student at the time, so WTF, traumatizing a small child with a false choice like that? If it was decided and he just wanted to be wanted by someone in the face of being rejected by my Mom – I was 2 and a half, WTF?


      • I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me on so many levels. I too know TOO many women who have been abused. I experienced abuse outside the home also. Being with women helped me heal in so many ways. It is true. We were dirt poor too BUT so was everyone else. That made it easier.

        This gets me:

        “He was a behavioral psychology student at the time, so WTF, traumatizing a small child with a false choice like that? If it was decided and he just wanted to be wanted by someone in the face of being rejected by my Mom – I was 2 and a half, WTF?”

        What they did was wrong and you nail the whole alcoholic multi-generation problem! I am amazed that my dad was able to pull something together and help us get a grip. Weird and Wonderful. We are also very strong willed women.

        I confronted my father (and my mother but she was a closed book) after many many years of therapy and was amazed at the relationship we ended up with: close, warm, loving and supportive. He COPPED to everything! Not right away but over years.

        It is worth a shot and what do you have to lose? He should have known better and who knows what may come of saying what is on your mind? WTF is right on the money…

        When I was with Terri, my very serious relationship with a woman, my father loved her and my mother tolerated ‘my situation’. When I came out to her, her response was immediate, “You are NOT THIS WAY because of anything I did!” wow. show your cards, I thought to myself. I loved Terri because I loved Terri. She happened to be a Woman. My father loved her. I found that loving a woman helped me to learn to love myself. I knew when I married a man that I was not just choosing monogamy, but also choosing to let go being with a woman again. It was a tough choice. I count myself bi-sexual and I know there is some flack out there in the LGT world for that choice. That slays me: it is about choice right? loving who we love, period?

        thank you for being here and for being so honest and intelligent and outspoken. yes ma’am. I hear ya sister!

        xx Jen


  6. Beautiful post. As you said life will continue to go on, and even when loved ones pass on they stay with us in our memories. Try to keep enjoying the present, and don’t let the future discourage you.


    • thank you for your kind words and for stopping by…. I keep picturing my father there with my mother. I don’t know if it works that way; I hope it does for her sake; even in a dream state… I fear the future now; thank you for the reminder. I will not let it discourage me. I just won’t. Peace, Jen


  7. Your right – it’s better to talk and deal with whatever the fallout

    than wonder what could have been, after it’s too late.

    A heart that doesn’t care doesn’t get broken, but it also doesn’t get to love or be loved.

    Maybe love is taking a risk and discovering that it’s no risk at all.

    I can’t help but think that early childhood events that upset your child understanding of what’s normal – which is you’re the centre of the world until you get older and learn that everyone thinks that because that’s how we experience the world – which is perhaps why we walk around expecting everyone to know what we know or beleive as we beleive

    when everyone’s experiences vary and occur under a wide range of optimal to sub-optimal conditions – which change what we could have been under ideal conditions.

    As if each bump – parents can separate or die or leave you, or people who are supposed to protect you will harm you, even if you’re 5, knocked you down a step from what your ideal could have been.

    So it comes down to us, our resiliency and adaptability, to manage,to cope, to find ways the thrive despite….but it’s early childhood where we develop our sense of self, of security, of protectiveness.


    • “So it comes down to us, our resiliency and adaptability, to manage,to cope, to find ways the thrive despite….but it’s early childhood where we develop our sense of self, of security, of protectiveness.”

      Wise Words! It is up to each of us to dig out from our own childhoods and become the adults we can imagine. Many of us did not have healthy role models. many of us did not have any idea what ‘normal’ was. WE MUST go out and figure it out ourselves and then let the rubber hit the road. It is a total waste of time to blame our lives lack on our childhoods. We MUST take control and Move our own lives toward sanity wholeness and intimacy no matter how hard that may be.

      I was very fortunate to have a therapist work with me for years. She listened and asked the questions that led to knowledge and then said, ” take time away from me now. You now know why you are the way you are (an alcoholic drug user; ‘high functioning’) NOW you need to decide if you are ready to take control of your own life and be your own parent. What they did was wrong. so what. You are an adult. don’t come back to see me unless you decide to drop the blame.”

      wow. fired by my therapist unless I was going to take responsibility for my life. That did it. I was back in 3 months. Clean in a year.

      I said to her a few years ago when in session about my moms dementia and my place in caring for her, “You saved my life.” she said, “No. I did not. You did.” She was right. I am my own parent.

      We have power. We have choices. yes. we. do. thank you, You. xx Jen


      • The role of a health practitioner is to get you out of treatment and back to having a life where you are in charge and socially capable.

        The role of scammers is to keep you coming back for treatments indefinitely.

        so it’s critical for each of us to understand who is a health helper and who is seeking to make us dependent on whatever they are selling (think AA, homeopathy or chiropractors – or anything that is not founded in science and is generally invented by a single person or upheld by a group who benefits from whatever is being sold)

        and we can only get healthy when we understand what’s gone wrong and are directing our treatment towards our own wellness goals.

        I’ve had a lot of time to think, like Nietzsche, I’ve experienced a cognitive break and become too delicate to live in the world as it is.

        But, I am a problem solver who’s worked in grassroots activism for human (gay and women’s) rights, non-profit sector (women in film) and for 13 years in the Canadian Federal Government.

        Being at home, where my survival needs are met by being on disability and my emotional needs are met by my wonderful spouse who’s always thought that she was the frog and I am the princess, and now I’m the frog and she’s the hero princess – I’ve had time to think.

        The problems that I am working on solving, is how to make the world into a place that I can be a part of again.

        with having for the first time in my life, the opportunity to sit and think, to exist inside my head – I finally understand why I am so different – I think that my brain actually works very differently than other people’s.

        so, I’ve figured out how to solve the world’s problems and reverse engineering how to get the world to become the foundation for Star Trek’s united federation of planets.

        I want to live in the Star Trek world where everyone’s basic survival is assured and the world instead is about our potential as humans.

        We can’t live to that potential until we put aside all the internal squabbling that we currently divide ourselves with.

        Education and economic participation – people don’t worry about others scamming the system when the system is set up in a way that participation yields better rewards than cheating – there is no need to cheat in fact – when each of us has personal sovereignty and have security of person, food, shelter, family and friends and meaningful participation in society.


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