Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Moms and daughters’ Category

The Town Crier

In Moms and daughters, Multiple sclerosis, Too young, Trying to be professional on November 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

I didn’t know I had leftovers within my emotional makeup. I found out the truth when I covered an event involving survivors of lung cancer and their families. I listened to the stories of men and women who were diagnosed with lung cancer – 17.9 percent nationwide never smoked and another 60 percent had quit smoking.

The survivors said they were asked, “Do you smoke,” a question that they said blames the victim. They said that when heart patients or those with diabetes get sick, they are not asked, “Do you eat healthy?” “Do you exercise?”

One woman said that battling cancer is a frightening experience but that she learned to cope through the support of her family and learning to watercolor. Her daughter said she was hurt, sad and angry and too young to have a mother with cancer.

I wiped at tears as I took notes. I am way too sensitive to be a journalist, I thought as I took more notes.

I inhaled air and a sob came out of my body. I was so embarrassed, especially feeling that tears were all over my face.

I ran to the back of the room, taking more notes and crying.

I felt something come to the surface, something I wanted to keep inside, away from where the tears are ready to sweep away the pain, only if you let them out.

My mother was in the hospital for a week last month. They, at first, thought she had had a stroke but later found that she had a flareup of multiple sclerosis, something she was diagnosed with in the mid-1990s. I knew my mother was sick. She uses a cane. She is exhausted. She forgets words. She misplaces things.
These things I’ve cried over. But I guess I hadn’t finished giving way to all those tears piled up in the muscles and ligaments of my body. I hadn’t cried about my mother’s hospital visit. I had only got teary-eyed and got busy with my own life.

Why have I become the town crier, I began to wonder when I had dried eyes? Where is this pain coming from? I, like the daughter of a lung cancer survivor, am hurt. I am angry. I am scared. I am too young to have a mother with M.S.

Friends Again

In Confrontations, Dog sitting, Forgiveness, Moms and daughters, Separations on September 19, 2010 at 8:08 am

My mom and I are friends again.

My mom and I are friends again, but it took me a few months to get over what had happened. Our argument pointed to longstanding family issues that I had yet to resolve, but it took that argument for me to do some more inner work.

I am sure my mother, too, remained mad at me for awhile. I did not ask her if she, deep within her own emotional world, forgave me.

Forgiveness is hard, but losing your friendship with your mom because you or she cannot get past family issues would present a big loss, at least for me. I had been angry at my dad first, an anger that surfaced when my parents got divorced when I was 30. I was angry at him for not trying hard enough in his marriage with my mom. And then I was angry at my mom for not trying either.

The separation of their lives was out of necessity. Zoey’s and mine, however, was out of circumstance, lack of money and the fear of losing my job and having nowhere to live.

Zoey’s and my separation, however, will not be permanent. Until we are girl and dog again, I cannot help but miss her little body next to mine at night and her following me everywhere I go as if I’m the most interesting person in the world. Where else can you find a friend like that?

Dog Sitting Zoey, Part III

In Babysitting, Dog sitting, Moms and daughters, Not easy to raise on August 29, 2010 at 10:27 pm

(NOTE: I was sick last week and tried to post, but forgot to hit “publish.” So here is what I tried to post a week belated.)
This dog sitting story is quite long, but blogs are short, and then I push their length as it is. They are supposed to be 250 words. Given that I like words and lots of them, 250 isn’t much, unless you give me a $ and a few zeros. Oops, I’m starting to pretend …
In June 2009, my mom and I came to a compromise: Zoey would spend more time in the kennel and I would take her to doggie day care once a week.
For my end of the bargain, I failed to take Zoey to doggie day care every week, but I tried. Some weeks, I worked several late nights in a row and, as a reporter, did not know when the city council or school board meeting I was covering would end, so I couldn’t count on getting to the boarding facility before it closed.
My mom did not kennel Zoey, so Zoey continued to be a nuisance for her. Zoey wanted to go in-out all day long, preferring to be outside for the smells but also inside to keep track of her people. She barked at every passing dog, car or person. She wanted to sit on my mom’s lap all day long, or if not that, she wanted to play, play, play. My mom wanted her old life back …
(Come back next week for the rest of the story. Do I sound like a commercial? But I do have the 250 words to consider, or in my case, it’s up to 260 …)