For 2023, I’m putting my life online as if my life were on the line. My essential self-expression is all that sustains me now. I am in a years-long recovery from mental and physical health challenges with no guarantee of reaching the finish line. I have to tell my stories, while I can.
I reaffirmed my dedication to self-expression in this New Year’s Day video. Watch it to understand what compels me to share about myself.
Reaching Out and Reconnecting
I feel shame for having fallen out of touch with so many close family and friends, many quite abruptly during the years of caregiving crises with mom. I’m using this website as a way of reaching out and reconnecting, and giving some explanation for why I have been incommunicado for so long.
My first attempt at reconnection was shortly after my mom died, sending out announcements. I did not know then that now, two and a half years later, I would still be struggling with chronic health issues that left me barely functional. Only now, in 2023 have I regained a few hours each day where I can be productive. As much as I am able, I put that time toward reaching out and restoring my relationships.
Caregiver for Mom
My devotion to my mom’s care was unequaled. I was her loving and doting son, her champion, her patient advocate, her caregiver, her companion. Every single doctor, nurse, social worker, therapist, religious clergy, professional caregiver, neighbor, friend and family member said that they had never seen a child take such good care of an aging parent or family member.
In my brother, Nick’s, words I did “a yeoman’s job.” Doing a “good job” was high praise in our family and my brother’s recognition was the highest praise I could be given.
After looking after mom for years daily, but part time, a medical emergency turned me into a 24/7 caregiver overnight. I cared for her every need for 34 months without a single day off. It broke me past the point of suicidal despair but I carried on beyond that with absolute determination until she was taken from me.
During all that time, I documented every significant detail in writing, photo and video. Now (last half 2023) I intend to publish those items here, organized into storylines. Frankly, I’ve been too fragile to attempt this until now. (There was one attempt in 2020, but it only lasted a week.)
Chronic Pain Chronicles
Ever since a spinal injury four years ago, I’ve been in debilitating chronic pain every single day. The recommended spinal decompression surgery terrified me and I opted not to take it. I also declined opiates (didn’t want to get addicted/zombified) and nerve pain meds (which incapacitated my mom).
Instead, for several years now, I’ve undertaken a range of conventional and alternative medical therapies. I have made significant progress, extending my ability to stand or sit up straight and/or walk without pain from about 15 seconds to 15 minutes at a time. (Note: sitting at the computer limited to 10 to 20 minutes at a stretch makes it painfully slow to work on this site, but I’m doing it as best I can.)
While I have experienced my personal tragedies of family illness, death and the loss of my previously perfect health, I realize that meanwhile everyone else (and society as a whole) has experienced a devastation from this pandemic.
As I seek to move beyond being broken and reach out and reconnect, I also realize that others have experienced their own personal tragedies, both before and throughout societal catastrophes.
We are, all of us, deeply traumatized and in need of solace and healing. Telling stories on this site becomes a vital part of my personal healing process.
Each article (post) on this site focuses on a particular event or aspect of our family stories. Normally, on blogs, each article has its posting date set to the date the article was published on the blog. On this site, however, I have set the post date to the date when the event occurred, even if that is many decades in the past.
So all the posts are ordered chronologically by date of event occurrence. The website menu bar has links to different collections of these stories. Also, use the search box (on the right side of the menu bar at the top of every page, also in the footer, at the bottom of every page) to find stories of interest.