Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Anniversaries – Celebrations With Reflection

This past week I celebrated two anniversaries both filled with emotions and the struggle to remember.  Two milestones in my life which changed me forever.

On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We have been together 18+ years BUT only married 10.  If you know our story, you get it.  🙂

I generally blog about our story BUT this year,  I want to share the gratitude I have for this man.  Our road has been a rocky one – from his commuting for 5 years, to living together to marriage.  It all seems so basic, right?  But add to it – recovery on the road to relapse, a perceived loss of independence, his congestive heart failure, my diagnosis of MS and now his retirement.  Life on life’s terms which is something I’m not really good at.  It has been a true test for both of us of our wedding vows.  He has been my rock on my most difficult days.  I have tested his patience and he has learned how to communicate just a little bit better. We have grown together in so many ways…

As we sat at dinner the other night, the subject drifted to the one question to be sure about a relationship.  I had never heard this and honestly, I was scared. But he continued saying it is “do you bring out the best of each person?”….. Of course I had to know what he thought about us because honestly my memory is awful and fear was creeping in.  My immediate reaction was to feel less than. Not worthy of his unconditional love.  Instead of blurting things out, I prayed to be quiet while he finished.  He said “our life has been a balance –  sometimes we have brought out the best in each other while there are times, we have brought out the worst.  He said it is life but the true test is how you get through it.  We have made it.  WOW!  I didn’t get defensive.  I didn’t try to over analyze.  I just was grateful I kept my mouth SHUT and for how far we have both come. I may have already forgotten much of the night, I pray his words about our life together stay with me forever.

Jump ahead to Saturday and another celebration…. WE HAVE 3 YEARS!  I look back on where I was three years ago… a hot mess on the verge of losing my hubby, a mound of credit card debt, a victim mentality while I isolated feeling less than everyone else, broken emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Appearing confident (often cocky) on the outside while a scared child on the inside.  I had walked this road before and relapse became part of my story.  I had let down my family, my friends but most of all I had let myself down.  The strong confident person was gone.  What was left was a broken, shell of my former self.  Sadly, I didn’t notice it – I thought I hid it well.  I blamed everyone else for what was wrong in my life when the only one who was to blame was me.

As I sit here writing, unable to feel anything but sadness (MS seems to play with my emotions as well as taken my memories) I struggle to remember how bad it was.  Not just this time but the first time (my first clean date was 10/26/91).  Hubby often says, God took the memories because it was too unbearable for me to remember.  God gives me glimpses at times but when it becomes overwhelming for me, they fade and only segments remain.  So instead of struggling to remember, I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday. Does it always work? NOPE!  I know with God’s help, it will.  I continue to go to meetings – I need to hear the struggles, I need to share my blind faith, I need to be surrounded by people who have been where I have been and I need to remember  “never” should not be part of my vocabulary.

Today, the credit card debt is paid off.  Today, I am trying to connect with local women in recovery.  Today, I accept I am an introvert but it does not mean I need to isolate.  Today, I know my ride & die gals who have been with me since the first night 3 years ago are just a phone call away.  Just for today, I like myself.  Today, I don’t beat myself up over the weight or how I think “I should look”.  My life is blessed in so many ways.  Yes, MS kicks my butt BUT it is not an excuse to go back to those old destructive behaviors.  Living life on life’s terms is not always easy but WE do recovery together.

Thank you to everyone who has walked these many roads with us.  We are grateful for the part you have played and continued to play in our lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Family

Happy Birthday Mom!

mom1I’m super excited I get to spend the day with mom… the first time in many years we have actually spent the day together on her birthday.  Yup, today is mom’s birthday.  Not to worry, I tell how old you are because honestly, no one would believe me.

Despite the memory gaps as a result of the MS, I actually have some memories of life with mom.

mom2

I will admit I was a spoiled only child.  I could be difficult at times – like when I refused to move to our new house during middle school.  I actually thought it was my mother’s plot to ruin my life.

Despite the heartache and headaches I gave my parents growing up, Mom was always there. She opened our home to my friends without giving it a second thought.  Ours was the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go. The house was always stocked with snacks whether I brought 2, 10, 25 or more people.  I was not always thrilled but I was grateful. After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids. Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.  Dad cooking, mom cleaning up and making sure everyone was fed.

My college years brought some struggles. Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy. I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort. Scrimping pennies to make sure I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She often traveled to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room. After college, when I moved home to work locally, I moved in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.

Fast forward to changing jobs and moving to Atlantic County.  The road got a little rough.  Most struggle during their teen years but our struggles came in my late 20’s and 30’s.  It was during these years, my addiction took hold.  I pulled away and mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test. Then along came Belinda.  There were struggles but through it all – mom was there. She helped emotionally, financially and physically. Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college and I moved to Brick, it was a rough time for both of us. Lives changed – I had a new hubby and the one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity. We don’t spend as much time together as I would like but we do try to plan at least once a month mom and me day.

I probably don’t say it a lot and I am sure at times she wonders what I am thinking but the truth is I learned ALOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, a lesson I still struggle with), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself.  She encourages me to reach for my dreams.  I can honestly say my mom is one of my best friends.xmas-2016-2

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you! I hope you have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family

Happy 80th Birthday Mom!

NYC with mom

I know that you hate pictures but I really LIKE both of these…..YES! I went there and disclosed your age because you DEFINITELY don’t look it.

Let me tell you a little about this AWESOME woman that I get to all mom.DSC_9178

Growing up, Mom was always there. Our home was always open to my friends – I mean we were the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go.  The frig was always stocked, the rec room was always ready and sleeping bags were always handy if someone needed to crash for the night.  I may not have always been thrilled but looking back, I am so grateful.   Grateful that I could pick up the phone and say – I am on my way with 2, 10, 25 or more people.  There was never a hesitation even if she was headed to bed.  After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids.  Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.  I mean who wants to ALWAYS hang at your own house,right?

As I left for college there were struggles.  Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy.  I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort. Scrimping pennies to make sure that I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She would travel to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room.  It was then that things started to change from mother-daughter to friends.  After college, I headed home to work locally, moving back in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  We were a team even though I am sure that I drove her crazy.

When I moved to South Jersey there were many more years of rocky roads.  My years of addiction were tough on Mom and for that I am sorry.  There were arguments and periods of not talking to each other.  I missed her but my addiction had a hold of my life.  Mom practiced tough love during those years but our relationship survived the test of time.  Along came Belinda and more struggles.  Me as a single mom letting pride and my addiction get in the way.  When I got clean – mom was there.  She helped emotionally, financially and physically. Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college, I moved to Brick and got married.  It has been tough for both of us. Distance makes it hard to “drop in” when I want on my way home from work. No quick calls to have lunch or dinner together.  Most days communication is via email instead of the phone.

Lives changed – I have a part-time weekend job, my own business, and a hubby.  The one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity when I thought nothing of it when I was commuting 2 hours one way to work.  We don’t spend as much time together as I would like.  It is on our TO DO list again this year – “plan at least a day per month with mom”.

I probably don’t say it a lot and I am sure at times she wonders what I am thinking but the truth is I learned ALOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, so this course I failed), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself (you would think I would know this by now). I can honestly say that my mom is one of my best friends.

 happy birthday URU

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.  I hope you are enjoying the sunshine in Florida but I do miss spending today with you.  Thank you for always being there for me. I love you!

Hope Wissel, Personal Causes, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Thank you Mom!

Today is reflection Sunday – a time to relax, reflect and recharge.  I am excited to say that after church this morning, I will get to do that with my mom, Joan Heldreth.  Since I stopped the crazy commute to Millville in 2011, mom and I have had little time together.  It is ONLY an hour back to Mays Landing (Atlantic County) but on any given day it seems like it is the same 12 hours that it takes to see Belinda in North Carolina.  Most of our communication has been via email which is at a standstill since she is having problems with her Verizon email account.  Neither one of us seem to be good phone people.

My drive to Mays Landing today will give me a time to reflect on the many good times as well as the struggles mom and I have had over the years.  When Belinda and I lived in Egg Harbor Township, only about 5 minutes from mom, she was an active part of  our lives.  She traveled on business trips – my own personal babysitter.  She  attended cheering competitions & gymnastic meets all over the east coast – proud as a grandmother could be of Belinda. We vacationed together (some of which we wouldn’t have taken without her help).  She helped when Belinda was sick – always ready to pick her up from school and doctor her until I got home.  We didn’t always agree on the decisions that I made in my life but she was always there to pick me up when I fell.  Our relationship was not always perfect but what mom & daughter’s is, right?

I am looking forward to spending sometime with mom, talking about the things that have been going on in both of our lives.  Truth be told, I miss these times and part of my “time management” needs to include scheduled moments or days like this.  Thanks Mom for always being there through the good, the bad and the ugly!  I love you!

Here is a picture of the 3 generations at my wedding in May, 2011.  Mom and I definitely don’t like pictures – something we need to work on!

3 generations at wedding

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!  I know that I will…