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Eyes up, heart open

Carla Ten Eyck

news flash: i’m not dead…

… yet!! Yeah I know. This will be one of those blog posts that when I DO die (and I will, It’s a proven fact) people may go back and read and be all like ‘how creepy!’ But whatever, that is neither here nor there, and those people will be missing the point anyway.

Here is my point. I am finally at it, five years later.

Today marks the five year anniversary of the day we had to take my Mom off life support. At 1:30 p.m. in the hospital for special care, surrounded by my amazing family. As my oldest sister Tere pontificated on her own blog ‘shouldn’t there should be a commemorative coin or something’ to mark our big 5-0. Right?

See at this point, it’s like get over it already. People are sympathetic still, yeah. But I know better. When they ask ‘How long ago was it?’ And I say five years? I see the smallest flicker of ‘Jesu Christo and you’re STILL bummed?’ Well maybe not the Jesu Christo part…lol but it’s a good honest question that none of them will ask.But I will tell you.

Yes. I am still totally and completely bummed.

This winter I had to watch a friend start his journey to the place where I am. And it rocked my world to its core. Watching him join this sad club at the same time of year under very similar circumstances that I joined brought back every single excruciating detail of when my Mom died. Right down to the big snow storm on the day of her memorial. And she loved quilting! ug. But at least in my mind our Mom’s are cold chillin up in heaven quilting and are happy that their kids are here for each other…

Which brings me to my point.

I FINALLY realized that I have / had survivor’s guilt like a mo fo! Now this is by no means a clinical diagnosis, rather a self diagnosis after watching years of Grey’s Anatomy, Dexter and other melodramatic tv shows and movies that deal with death and their survivors. I mean crap I STILL have angst over when Edgar died on 24 like 4 seasons back!!! Can you feel me????? But that poor sap Edgar died the year after my Mom died and it hit me like crazy. Poor freaking Edgar. And George from Grey’s? Dam that was a hard one!

But. Those deaths helped me see something in myself that I struggled with the entire time my Mom was slowly dying in her hospital room. That I should be enjoying my life WAY more than I was. That I should savor the fact that I could breathe on my own without dragging a little tank of oxygen around, doing all the breathing for me. That I didn’t have people staring at me and my sad little oxygen tank and think ‘did she smoke?’ and then in the next thought think that I deserved this slow painful death. I could walk freely, breathe freely. I could drive a car, I could go swimming, I could walk in the sand, I could run down the stairs, I could laugh so hard I lost my breath and not fear that I was going to never regain it. I could climb down the viny embankment and enjoy that little river in our backyard. I could fix dinner. I could decide what I wanted to have for dinner!

And this was all while she was dying. I felt all this, and struggled with it all.

So after she died it was like a bungee cord was cut and I was snapped with such force out into the world! Holy crap! I was like WHAT??? I CAN totally breathe on my own! I CAN walk! So I started to run. I ran several 5K’s. My business exploded. I dove headfirst into my work. I felt creative and alive and happy and fulfilled.

But what’s that with a bungee cord? It snaps your ass back! So here I am now. Five years later. Feeling a little melancholy! I realized a few weeks ago that I had been slowly letting the things I cared the most about (or the things I should care about the most) slip. Like myself. I am turning into an old house that is care worn and just needs a little fixing up and love to be restored back to its glory. Well. Maybe more than a little! So I have made every appointment I can make to get this old girl back on track. From just getting a pedicure to the hoo ha doctor to the regular old MD to get my elbow and heel on the mend to getting my mind on the mend to mending damaged relationships with some of the most important people in my life. I signed up for a yoga studio this month to ease back into stretching and relaxing and getting ready for this season. I am totally on operation C10 overhaul, and I am loving it!

Because I just realized something very, very important.


I AM NOT DEAD YET. bloop!

27 Comments

  • i wish i’d had the opportunity to meet your mom, but even though i never did i can say with 100 percent confidence that she is looking down and smiling at you. i love you, c-10, just how you are right now.

    Reply
  • Carla, thanks so much for being you. I know we have talked about this before, but it once again reminds me that losing a loved one can change your life forever. And it’s up to us to determine how we will change. Love you and your desire to live life the way it is supposed to be lived…With passion! xoxo

    Reply
  • Mary Beth Morrissey

    Carla you are in my thoughts and prayers today. Great that you can share this with us, I can only imagine how proud your mom is of you now looking down on you!

    Reply
  • Between you and your sister…..damn!
    It’s been 26 years since I lost my mom way too young and anyone who gives you a funny look either never lost a parent, never loved a parent or is a terminator. Yes, we go through our everyday lives and it’s always back there in our hearts but that one day a year and possibly the week preceding and following the anniversary you can feel and hurt and mourn and laugh and anyone who tells you otherwise you should introduce to the rest of the family. I’m proud of you and Tere and your accomplishments and really grateful to Georgie for embracing me and making me one of the family, and know what? I refuse to get over it.

    Reply
  • There is no other chance or possibility in this world that would even remotely suggest your mother is not adoring you and watching proud over you–wish I could have met her! I can imagine she would have been as funny, loving, and happy as her daughter!

    xo

    Reply
  • That was a pretty strong bungee cord because not only did it propel you out into the world to ‘live’ but it affects everyone around you. Your a source of motivation and inspiration to everyone around you. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
  • Good for you for taking care of yourself! I can’t imagine it will ever NOT hurt to remember your Mom and miss her. But you honor her every day that you live life to the fullest. Lost my Gramma last week–she was just weeks shy of her 98th birthday! Have been thinking a lot about how I am living my life as well. Time to wake up, slow down, soak it all in. Love you, Carla. You are like a ray of sunshine. =)

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  • Live it, lady! It’s amazing to see all you have accomplished over the years and how much of that is driven by your mom’s influence in your life. Here physically or spiritually, it is so clear how important she will always be to you.

    Reply
  • This post brought MAJOR tears to my eyes, and it hit me hard core in the heart. It is reality (one that I got too close to this fall), but with your awesome way of providing even the tiniest bit of humor to make us smile. You are amazing, and you look just like your Mama and I am sure she is WAYYYYY proud of the woman and Mother that you are. 🙂

    Reply
  • Car,
    I love you. You needed to arrive at this destination all on your own. Next stop; a truly happy life where you don’t have to catch a wiff of the flowers as you run past them, but you can actually STOP and SMELL and ENJOY them!

    Sadala

    Reply
  • January 5th 2011 was my five year anniversary. My mom died suddenly, and not terribly gracefully, of a massive heart attack in the driveway of the home I grew up in. My Dad died 13 years ago of lung cancer so I couldn’t stop thinking that I was an orphan without a home to go to. No parents to act as a safety net; truly a grown up and I hated it. I remember people sympathizing with me and telling me that they knew how I felt because they too had lost a parent 12 years ago and I remember thinking – seriously my pain is a little greater than yours. Newer. Fresher. Bigger. But now I know what they meant. Life goes on. Your family grows but you always miss them. That never goes away. I try to turn it around and say that because I miss them, I remember them. I remember how important they were. It still hurts but you try to celebrate their lives and the legacy they left behind. What a wonderful legacy your mom has. Two talented daughters that will never forget her. Take the time to remember her today. I look forward to getting to know you better. Janet Taub

    Reply
  • robert norman

    wonderful post—you have a way of approaching these topics in your own stye that I love—PLUS you said “HoHa Doctor” LOL!!!!

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  • Carla, You are a living tribute to your mom. All of you kids are. You are all living proof of how amazing she was. Love you.

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  • You are well aware of the fact that I GET IT on a professional and personal level my dear Carla….and am there if you need an ear or shoulder

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  • love you friend! I’ve known you since the beginning of this journey and although I don’t know the “you” before to compare, I have to say I see everything you’re talking about…and I think you’re marvelous. xo

    Reply
  • What a wonderful tribute to your mom, her life and yours! I’m so happy to know you C10! Your mama raised a wonderful family!

    Reply

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