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LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR DIABETES, BEFORE IT CONTROLS YOU


Late one evening while watching TV with my husband Phil, I reminded him to check his glucose level. His reply was the usual, ‘I’ll do it later.’ Knowing him as I do, I was frustrated. He has the tendency to procrastinate, so I chose a different approach. “Why don’t you check mine and let’s compare.”

Never did I expect my little psychological game to backfire. Pricking my finger, I waited in anticipation. When the meter flashed 468 on the screen, I laughed. “Something’s wrong with your machine. I do not have Diabetes. I do not have any symptoms. I’m fine.”

“You’re always tired,” my husband said.

“Isn’t everyone? If someone else walked in my shoes, they would be tired too.”

While it was true I was always tired, I suffered from insomnia and never felt rested. I worked ten-hour days at work and at home, working as a professional and moonlighting at night pursuing my writing career. My fingers were not numb, I didn’t suffer from increased thirst, and I certainly did not have unexplained weight loss. My mother had Diabetes so it does run in the family. Unexplained weight gain? Could that be a symptom?

The next morning I visited the doctor’s office, confirming the diagnosis of Type II Diabetes. My glucose level at Dr. Knepper’s office was 362. When he opened the door to discuss my condition, I was in tears. How could this happen to me? I ate properly, at least I thought I did. I did not exercise, and fast food was a part of my weekly meals, due to my crazy work schedule. Dr. Knepper reassured me I could recover and he encouraged me to learn all I could about Diabetes.

“I’m a writer,” I said. “I can become an advocate, if needed.”

Soft spoken and kind, Dr. Knepper nodded. “Let’s take it slow for now. We can get this under control. I want you to focus on your food intake, and what you are eating. Watch carbohydrates, increase your water intake and exercise. Check your glucose level at least three times daily and keep a record of it. I want to see you in three months. We’ll do blood work to see what your A1C level is.”

I had a lot to learn about Type II Diabetes. Leaving his office armed with a handful of prescriptions, a meter, booklets, and a fearful look on my face, I chose to learn all I could about Type II Diabetes.

That afternoon, I performed a Google search, typing in the key word of Diabetes. The wealth of information was informative, especially the web site of the American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp. I was able to click on information about Type II Diabetes, condition and treatment, a listing of resources, and so much more. Recognizing it was time for me to make a lifestyle change; I started building a plan of attack.

My New Years resolution for 2005 was to join a gym and lose weight. After the diagnosis of Diabetes, I was motivated and determined to change my life. I stopped visiting fast food joints for lunch, choosing to eat fresh vegetables and healthy snacks, instead of chocolate, or desserts. After work, I drove to the gym, worked out, and learned more about proper nutrition. I attended a nutrition class with a Diabetes nutritionist, asked lots of questions, and changed my diet, discovering the art of portion control.

Much to my surprise, I learned that sugar was not necessarily the enemy for people with Diabetes. Portion control, monitoring glucose levels, and limiting carbohydrates were the keys to success for Diabetes management.

Checking my glucose levels three times daily encouraged my husband to monitor his levels. He was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1992 and he rarely monitored or practiced portion control. My determination to get my Diabetes under control encouraged him; however, when his levels were higher than mine were, he was defiant.

“I don’t understand. You had the same thing for dinner that I did, and your levels are lower. It’s not fair,” he said, shaking his hands.

“Portion control,” I teased. “You had seconds. I never clean my plate. You go back for seconds, and you always snack late at night.”

“Whatever,” he grumbled.

Our competitive game of Diabetes management was underway and this time, I was the winner!

Three months later, my doctor was amazed how quickly my A1C level had dropped from 8.5 to 5.4. His goal was ‘6.5, but that could take a year,’ he said to me in February 2005. ‘Now, you’re my new poster child for Diabetes.’

Pleased with how quickly my eating and Diabetes management habits changed, I was still a bit annoyed that I was not losing weight. Inches were falling off of me. In three months I dropped two inches from my chest, four inches from my waistline, and two inches from my hips. My weight failed to drop at all.

“It’s hard for a Diabetic to lose weight, especially if you have insulin resistance,” Dr. Knepper said. “Don’t get discouraged. Your A1C level is great. I’m amazed how quickly you got it under control.”

“Insulin resistance,” I moaned. “Is that why my glucose level is so much higher in the morning?”

“Probably. Keep doing what you are doing, and don’t get discouraged. I’ll see you in three months.”

In June 2005 my position at the university ended when the campus relocated. With the closing of that door, I chose to open a window to my writing career. Now I had a bit of freedom to do what I wanted to do. I walked my dogs every day, worked out three to five times a week, and my weight decreased. By August 2006, I had lost a total of 26 pounds, and many inches. A1C levels were averaging 5.9, cholesterol levels were decreased to a healthier level, and I had more energy and self-confidence. Dr. Knepper was amazed and so proud of me. He had no idea how proud I was. Meanwhile, Phil’s A1C levels continued on a dangerous roller coaster ride. His doctors prescribed additional prescriptions and insulin injections. His reluctance to change his eating habits with portion control inspired me to continue monitoring my eating habits and glucose levels. Horrified of needles, I was determined not to join him. Each time he reached for his injection, I left the room.

Controlling Diabetes is now a lifetime commitment for me. My daily routine is a personal allegiance to educate myself and the public about the proper steps to Control Diabetes. My doctor is pleased with how quickly I was able to get my Diabetes under control. As for myself, I am proud of my new willpower. Before Diabetes, I procrastinated about life, my health, and my writing career. I made excuses for everything. Now, as a Diabetic, I want to do all I can to educate others, while educating myself. Diabetes is not a death sentence, but a way of life. A condition that can be monitored and managed through exercise, proper eating habits, portion control, and modern medicine. I plan to live my life as a healthy diabetic. So can you.

Daily Rituals to Monitor Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Seek professional care. Follow your doctor’s advice and learn all that you can about Type 2 Diabetes.
  2. Monitor glucose levels. I check my levels every morning, afternoon and evening.
  3. Exercise. Take daily walks. You will learn to appreciate the little things in life again – like hearing a chirping bird, saying hello to neighbors, and enjoying the freshness of morning air.
  4. Change your eating habits. Instead of going back for seconds, do not. Learn to eat slower, while enjoying the taste of food.
  5. Get regular physicalGulf Shores, AL 2008 082s. I confess, I did not, until Type 2 Diabetes knocked on my door. Now, I follow the advice of my doctor, and myself.
  6. Do not get discouraged if you have difficulty losing weight. Keep active and have a daily exercise routine.
  7. Visit the web site http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp and learn all that you can about Diabetes. Knowledge is power.
  8. Diabetes is a lifestyle change, not a restriction of distasteful meals and social restraint.
  9. Think of portion control. Working as a professional photojournalist, there are times when my willpower is put to the test, especially during luncheons or special dinners. When dessert is placed before me, I eat one or two bites and leave the rest. Portion control is the key, not a constraint.
  10. Monitor. Your food intake. Your glucose levels, and your weight. Even a small reduction in weight is better than an increase.

What Is It In the Sky Today?


Breaking News – Charleston, SC, January 5, 2019 — – Today, there is something bright in the sky. EVERYONE is shaking their heads saying, “What’s going on? It’s so bright? What can it be?”

We’ve researched several sources, and checked with meteorologists in the area. According to them: “there is a bright object in the sky today. It’s been missing for so long, people in Charleston have forgotten it. Please wear your sunglasses, if you go outside today.”

WHAT IS IT?

Looks like sunshine to me. Sunshine??? I’m hesitant to say the word, or to give an oral description.

When I awoke this morning, I noticed it and said to myself That can’t be sunshine? I haven’t seen it in such a long time. It’s hurting my eyes. That was over two hours ago. 

Now, the bright light is still dancing in the skyline. Can it be sunshine returning to Charleston?

I’m overjoyed if it is, and I pray it stays out. Such a beautiful day! At the moment it is 57 degrees outside, with gusty winds, but who cares? Looks like a beautiful sunshiny day!

Early Happy New Year 2019 Wishes


Dearest Readers:

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a Happy and safe celebration for New Years Eve, 2019. Please, if you drink alcoholic beverages, remember to have a designated driver. I am always the designated driver for my hubby and for me.

Somewhere today I read that South Carolina has some of the most dangerous roads and accidents during the New Years Eve celebration. No surprise to me. We have way too many drivers tail-gating and rushing thru red lights. It’s no wonder we have so many accidents. Some people seem to be on a highway of Its all about me, and everyone else can just —!

Sad, isn’t it.

My wish for everyone is to embrace 2019 with your loved ones. We shall celebrate with good friends, and knowing me as I do, I will be snuggled up tight within my bed watching the apple drop. I feel safer at home.

Happy New Year, 2019. May we all be a little kinder, a little more considerate, and may we all give thanks to God for another year.

Please keep our Armed Forces in your prayers and if you are a member of the Armed Forces, please know, I thank you for your service. I remember our first New Year as a married couple – only my hubby was away in Vietnam. I remembered looking up towards the sky, gazing at the bright moon, imagining my soldier hubby watching the same moon while knowing I was thinking about him and praying for his safety.

Memories. Such wonderful memories. Happy New Year, 2019.

Christmas Eve


Dearest Readers:

Monday, December 24, 2018 — Christmas Eve. This year, after fighting another dreadful battle with bronchial asthma, I am able to give thanks for life, health and loved ones.

My wish for all of you is to keep Christ in Christmas. Never leave Christ out of Christmas when writing it. I’ve seen people writing Xmas. The only time I write this is to share with others how I keep Christ in Christmas. After all, if it wasn’t for the birth of Christ, we would not celebrate Christmas!

This year, I miss my dad terribly at Christmas. After Phil and I moved to Charleston, my father came to visit us every Christmas. We shared Christmas dinner and other festivities together.

During Christmas, 1997, my father was in the hospital, fighting for his life as esophageal cancer threatened to take him away. Our last Christmas together was the Christmas of 1998. I watched his body becoming so frail he needed a walker for strength. He detested that walker! Somehow I knew, this would be his last Christmas on earth. Now, he celebrates a joyous Christmas in heaven with his heavenly father, his parents, identical twin brother, sisters and another brother. Oh, how I miss him.

For reasons unknown, I have cried many times this Christmas season. Missing him, wishing I could reach out once more and hear his bellowing laughter. His Christmas prayer. His love. Christmas isn’t the same without him.

Tomorrow, I will celebrate Christmas dinner with my husband Phil and our Bratty Boys, our four-legged family members. We will dine on prime rib, baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, croissant rolls and sour cream pound cake. Missing will be my Dad, Walter W. Perkins, along with our son and his family. Never do they visit at Christmas. It’s their choice, not ours. Also missing, our sweet, precious Little Mr. Hanks, the Tank. We lost him the day before Thanksgiving.

Merry Christmas, Everyone. Please keep CHRIST in Christmas. After all, He is the reason for the season – not Santa Claus!

Little Things Mean So Much


Dear Readers:

Yes. I know. I’ve been a bit quiet. A bit too quiet. Why? Well, it’s the holidays. Yes. I got my flu shot. Yes, I wash my hands – seems like a thousand times a day. Apparently, during the holidays (between November – December) of each year I appear to get sick with a case of my infamous bronchial asthma. 

Last week, I awoke in the darkness of night coughing. I got up, used my inhaler and strolled back to bed. On Friday, I awoke feeling sluggish, having a bit of difficulty catching my breathing. I cancelled our Friday night date after dinner, telling Phil I felt weak and wanted to go home. He agreed. Saturday, I remained in bed or in the den, watching Hallmark Christmas movies. If you’re a woman and you have the two Hallmark channels, no doubt you understand what I watched. Girl cannot decide what she will do during the holidays. Will she go back home, or will she remain in New York, California, or maybe Georgia. She goes home. Meets an old flame. And blah. blah. blah. And off they go to a wonderful Christmas life. Really???

I suppose I’m a romantic. I LOVE those movies, and the oldies, but goodies. It’s A Wonderful Life. I imagine you have a few.

On Monday, I failed to clean the house. My coughing was almost non-stop. Early Tuesday morning I awoke to a strange growling, or was it roaring, noise inside the house. My body ached from head to toe, I was coughing, and coughing. Listening to the strange noise, I realized the squeaky roar was me. Every time I struggled to breathe, I heard roars of air struggling to get out. Phil called to check on me. At that time, I was OK. Later, as I fought to catch my breath, I realized I needed to make a doctor’s appointment. I went online to the Patient Portal, discovering I could book a late afternoon appointment, and so I did.

My doctor knows me well by now. He should. I’ve been a patient since the beginning of his practice now. Yesterday, I forgot to ask him how his daughter, Emily, was enjoying college life. When he knocked on the door and came inside, he looked at me. I suppose I must look like I’m knocking on death’s door. He asked how I was doing, and I muttered, “I’m sick.” He heard the rasping sound of my voice and when he listened to my chest he wanted to know how long I’d been sick. I replied: “Since the weekend.”

I should’ve made a bet with my friends, and on Facebook, simply because I knew I would win this bet, but –I’m not a better! I laughed at my doctor and I told him I knew what he would diagnose. Bronchial Asthma? Am I correct?

He laughed, letting me know it was a good thing that I made a doctor’s appointment. “You really are congested. Down. Deep.” He mentioned steroids. I nodded no. I can’t take Prednisone.

Today, I have an antibiotic I will take for 10 days. He gave me a shot, and prescribed something for my nebulizer. I can mix this prescription with the albuterol I take and I should get better. I certainly hope so.

Phil and I are supposed to go to a Christmas party tonight. Feeling the way I do at this moment, I doubt we’ll make it.

Why is it I always get sick at the holidays?

My husband knows how I detest dirty dishes left in the sink. I know I left a cereal bowl, coffee cup and spoons in the sink yesterday. He fed the dogs. Before going to bed, I went to the kitchen to wash all the dishes collected, but there weren’t any. Never did I ask him to wash them. Years ago, he let me know when we were out of clean glasses. I was pregnant at the time, with horrid morning and day sickness. Instead of starting a fight, I got up and washed every glass. Tonight, — poof – I suppose the magical fairy arrived to wash the dishes. It certainly wasn’t me, or — could it be — Phil? Would he actually wash dishes?

This man amazes me now when I’m sick. He actually is doing some of the things I do. You know…those Little Things! Fluffing the couch pillows where the dogs were resting. Picking up doggie toys. Washing dishes??? Maybe he’s learning a thing or two while watching Hallmark Christmas movies???

Perhaps I’ll continue watching Hallmark at Christmas time!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Missing Mr. Hanks


Dearest Readers:

It has been a tough, sad week for me. Losing my little Hanks the Tank, as I called him when he first arrived at our home, I’ve found myself looking for him this week, realizing he was not here anymore. Others knew him as Hank, but I called him Mr. Hanks. He rushed to me, happy with a personal name from me.

Hanks, the Tank…At Last, he has a happy home!

Mr. Hanks was protective of me, from the beginning. If my husband crossed his path, Hanks rushed to stop him. Now, I ask you, just how can a small mini-schnauzer manage to bite my husband like he did so often. We tried scolding him – never spanking him, just letting him know his behavior of biting was not acceptable. Occasionally, when I could, I grabbed Hanks harness, holding him back. Never did he bite anyone else, not even the pet sitters. Two years ago, he stopped biting. If Phil startled him, he rushed to grab his pant leg or shoe, only to place his mouth on Phil’s leg or foot, but he didn’t chop down on it like before. I suppose he finally realized my husband was not like the Phil who owned him previously. 

When I became the foster for “Hank” I was told he did not like to be crated. At our home, we do not use crates. We have a gated area for all of the pups. It seems to work well. I purchased dog beds, placing them on the floors so they would not sleep or play on the cold tile floors. They were demolished within a week! 

Finding a stack of old pillows, I washed them, placing each inside a pillow case or pillow sham. Mr. Hanks crawled up on two of them and that is where he slept when he did not sleep with me. All of our dogs enjoy the pillows. I suppose because they must contain hair particles or our scents. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve washed those pillows, and none of them shred them. I suppose they realize these pillows are for them, our four-legged family members. Each of our pups has a special place where they sleep. Now, Sandy Bear sleeps on Mr. Hanks pillows. Sandy Bear and Hanks were close buddies.

Mr. Hanks was an interesting character. How I wish I could’ve heard the stories he held within his heart. Stories of ill treatment. Stories of fear. Stories of how he felt when his family members took him to a kill shelter to have him euthanized over seven years ago. He still had life to live, and with us, he did. Fortunately, Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas saved him, contacting me to see if I could open my heart to a special needs rescue. 

When I served as Hanks foster, he was adopted; however, I had dreams about him. I’ve never had dreams from other fosters I kept. One night, I awoke hearing a bark at the front door. You must understand, my grandmother gave me the gift of visions when she went to Heaven. On the night I was having a vision about Hank, I opened the front door, but he wasn’t there. I contacted the person who adopted him, wanting to know how he was. At the time, he was ok.

I realized Hanks was communicating with me, and so, I listened to every dream I had about him. One dream told me he wasn’t happy where he was, and when I contacted the owner, I discovered why. 

Later, I drove to rescue Hanks from the owner and we adopted him. When he saw us, he recognized us. Rushing into the house, he ran to the toy box, picking out a tennis ball, Mr. Hanks was home!

Mr. Hanks loved the treadmill. Every morning when I stepped to get on it, I had someone behind me, ready to walk. Mr. Hanks. I have no idea how he knew how to work a treadmill, but that was Mr. Hanks! He observed life with excitement and happiness with us. I stepped off, and let Mr. Hanks walk. He was such a delight!

Mr. Hanks stopped playing with the treadmill and tennis balls last year. His legs hurt him. There were times we still played our little game, “I’m gonna get you Mr. Hanks,” and I rushed near him. He barked his happy bark, attempting to rush at me. His little, tender legs made him squeal. 

Last week, he decided it was time to go. On Monday, he ate and drank. Then, his tired body rested. Tuesday morning, he didn’t want me to pick him up to go outside. He growled that mean growl he knew so well.  He refused to eat or drink. The lights in his eyes were dark. I held him close telling him to fight. He turned his head away. No food. No drink – all day.

Wednesday morning, I called the vet, asking for an emergency check-up even though Thanksgiving was the next day. Arriving at the vets office, I had Mr. Hanks bundled up in a blanket, holding him close to me. They examined him telling me it was time. And so, I leaned into Mr. Hanks asking him if he was ready to go see Shamus and Shakespeare. He did not respond. His body was shutting down. My vet said it was only a matter of time, and the only humane thing to do was to grant him peace. I whispered sweet love words to him, while rubbing him. Minutes later, he took his last breath and I cried so hard.

Now, I must adjust to my life without Mr. Hanks. I am crying while writing this. How does one learn to stop grieving and move forward? Rest in peace, Mr. Hanks. I pray you will communicate with me once again soon.

I love you and miss you. I hope you send me a vision soon. My love to you always, “Mr. Hanks, the Tank!”

Thanksgiving, 2018


Dearest Readers:

I realize this is Thanksgiving week; however, I wanted to share a bit of a touching, sad story. This morning, Wednesday, November 21, 2018, we had to let our precious little 14-year-old+ mini schnauzer go to doggie heaven. Since Monday evening, he deteriorated rather quickly. He ate his dinner. Drank water, and on Tuesday morning, he could hardly walk. I lifted him gently, carried him outside and watched him struggling to stand  just to potty. His legs were like spaghetti. Although he wobbled to stand, he couldn’t.

I watched him all day, noticing he would not move. He lay in his urine, I cleaned him and did all I could. At dinner time, he turned his face away. Refusing to eat, even when I tried to hand feed him. He rested on his side. His breathing was labored and he was lethargic. This was not Mr. Hanks.  

All night long, I watched him. He hadn’t moved at all. I had his favorite pillow next to him. A blanket and a beach towel. No movement. Hank loved pillows and blankets! Early this morning, with no response and no movement, I made a phone call I prayed I would not have to make. I asked the receptionist if the vet would check him over. He would.

Arriving at the veterinary hospital, Hank was examined. His breathing was labored and short, like he had raced, or been on the treadmill with me. Yes, Mr. Hanks the Tank loved the treadmill. He would always jump on it before I could! Hanks truly had a delightful personality when he was happy, which was all of the time with us.

Prior to us adopting him, or maybe it was him adopting us, he lived a life of cruelty when his family member passed away, and the relatives did not want Hank, so they took him to a shelter to euthanize him. Fortunately, he was saved when Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas intercepted, saving his life. 

Hanks, the Tank…At Last, he has a happy home!

After we adopted Mr. Hanks, he was a bit reluctant to accept my husband. When I reviewed his papers, I realized his former owner and my husband had the same first name. That’s when I realized in Hank’s eyes, he was fearful of someone named “Phil.” It took us many months to get Hank to stop nipping and biting at Phil. I don’t recall him biting him in over two years. Sometimes, he would rush at him, I suppose to protect me, which he didn’t need to do, and he would place his mouth over Phil’s toe, or foot, growl and walk away. Obviously, he grew up in an abusive family; nevertheless, when I touched him, or moved away, he would grumble and follow me around the house. 

Mr. Hanks the Tank was a special needs schnauzer. All he really needed was for someone to reach him gently, touch and rub him and speak softly to him. In our home, he did not see abuse, only kindness, love, respect and acceptance.

Tomorrow at Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for God providing Mr. Hanks to come into our lives. While I write this, I am crying my heart out over losing him. It was one of the toughest and most heart breaking decisions I’ve made. My animals are my family!

Happy Thanksgiving in Heaven, Mr. Hanks, the Tank. I pray you are with Sir Shakespeare Hemingway, and Prince Marmaduke Shamus. Mommy loves all of you. I give thanks for God sharing our lives for only a while. I love and miss all of you.

CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD – EXCERPT


 Dearest Readers:

Listed below is a bit of Chattahoochee Child:

PROLOGUE – Rhythms

October 2003

There is a rhythm to life, moving us at a pace we control by the decisions we make. When I was lost, and alone, I embraced the Chattahoochee River while listening to the melody of rhythms created by the symphony of dancing waters. As a child, I was fearful of the rushing waters of the Chattahoochee. Once, while standing on the banks of the murky waters, my mother shoved me, laughing deviously, reminding me of a witch.

“Mom,” I shouted. “You pushed me. I could’ve fallen into the waters. You know I can’t swim. I could drown.”

Her laughter reminded me of Boris Karloff. Evil. Cruel. Conniving.

“Well, if you drowned, I’d have one less child to worry about. Not that I worry about you, ever. You’re so independent. You seem to love being alone. But I know. You’re a stupid girl. Stupid girls cause trouble. You’re the thorn in my side.”

I crossed my arms and walked away while listening to mother’s hateful laughter.

Water has always held my passion. On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, I feel embraced in the hands of God when I slowly allow my body to enter the sanctity of water in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. While the water soothes me, I dare to find the courage to allow my body to float in the water so I can travel with the current to faraway places.

DSC_0013***

It feels a bit strange to breathe oxygen into my lungs after my mother’s lungs no longer needed the breath of life. A part of my being was swimming in the waters, drowning, anxious to touch the bottom depths of the riverbed, to find the grief missing from her death. My mother failed to share her life with me. Now with her death, I realized we could never make amends. Although I made many attempts to bury our emancipation, she refused to move forward. Over 20 years ago, I cried from the loss and rejection of my mother. I did not feel a wall of grief pounding down on me after her death. Instead, I felt an incredible need to confront my sister and embrace the shores of the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia.

Now that she is gone, I’ve discovered I loved my mother, not because she was a good mother. I loved her for giving me life. Never did I approve of her mind control strategies, or for the emotional guilt she used to punish me by being so cruel. She was quick to remind me that I ‘wasn’t a good girl…I behaved badly…I asked too many questions, defying her authority.’

When she was angry at me, she called me ‘Little Miss Goody Two Shoes.’

’ She twisted her words and actions, making me believe I was worthless of love from anyone. I loved her because I wanted to love her. She was my birth mother. Without her bearing the pain of childbirth, I would not have life, and I am thankful for the precious gift of life she bestowed to me. As a child, I dreamed of her returning a mother’s love; instead of sharing it, she tortured me with the supremacy of her dependence. Once, she stated to me that actions meant more than words. Without a doubt, the actions of my mother spoke volumes! The more I grew up, the more she pushed to control me and never let me go. I retaliated in the manner safest for my sanity. I broke away from her web of destruction. As a grown woman, I lived with ‘survivor’s guilt,’ the guilt of surviving and escaping the misfortunes that were due to me just by being born.

“Life’s never a bed of roses,” Mom said to me as a child. “You and your silly big girl dreams ain’t nothing but a joke. You ain’t never gonna find no one to love you…NEVER!”

Before her death, I chose not to reopen the cycle of bitterness delivered by the hands and poisonous tongue of my mother. Rehashing my childhood would do nothing to help our situation. She was a melancholic, unkind woman who lived life in the dark shadows of her past. I wanted to move forward with her, to make peace with her, regardless. My fondest wish was for Mom to learn to love me. Most of all, I wanted her to learn to love herself.

The true test of life is how we educate ourselves to forgive our parents for the trials and tribulations of life’s disappointments. As children, we are born into the life we live. As adults, it is our decision how we choose to mold ourselves into the person we desire. We can take a step forward, to build our life into productive, respectable individuals, or we can reflect on prejudices of the past, living our lives in a shell as a mirrored imitation of our parents. I chose to break the mold, refusing to look back with regret.