My Dear Beloved Family,
I’m Missing You
I think of you often and I miss you beyond what words might accurately express. My heart is not on a switch that makes it possible to turn on and off my love for each beloved family member. I have a good life where I am at now. I’m resting in the sense of peace. I no longer exist on a treadmill which does not support my ideas of health or wellness — whether in the physical sense or any other.
This example of my art reminded me of what my life looked like at the end of my marriage. Massive changes were exactly what I needed to rejuvenate my life. Leaving my marriage as well as the family religion were essential to my personal vital well-being. The rose painting was one of three that I did in 1997 — the year of my divorce — after bringing some art books home from the library.
I love to paint with watercolors. I produce art because it is important to me, even if it doesn’t matter to anyone else. Ever since I was a young girl living at home, I loved to draw and paint, thanks to a very supportive teacher that I had for three of my early school years. I have written about how difficult it was to take time for such “worthless pursuits”, as my parents and family friends believed, and which I revealed in another blog post. Nevertheless, as I put some distance between me and my parents, I dared to pick up the artist tools again. I’ve even dabbled in acrylics, for some variety. Additionally, I began PhotoShop art after acquiring a certificate in Multimedia. It feels healthy to express myself through my art and creativity.
My rendition of
I have been journaling since we lived in Lethbridge, at my therapist’s suggestion. I find it therapeutic, as it helps me sort out my feelings and often assists me in problem-solving. My therapist taught that when a person writes, they use another part of their brain. In my case that part gets me out of my head and into my heart.
I love living in my heart. It feels healthy, even if sometimes it hurts unbearably, especially when I think about beloved family members who I have not seen since the year 2000. I figure living from my heart is more natural than living under overly strict rules and orders. It’s closer to nature. It seems to me that human ideals have the power to supplant the heart and derail our humanity. That’s what happened to me when I was forced to shun my beloved mother from 1985 to 1992. It almost destroyed me.
Filling in the Family Gaps
In the meantime, I have met other family members for the first time ever. I discovered numerous cousins on my father’s side who I never met until Uncle Pete’s funeral in 2001. These are family members who are precious to me and understand now why it took me all those years to finally introduce myself to them. They are wonderfully supportive of my new life, and for that I am truly grateful.
My beautiful babies who I carried in my belly, and nurtured into adulthood — I trust you will feel safe to contact me at any time. I don’t blame you, my cherished ones, for shunning me. I realize you have been trained to behave that way — and I am the one who taught you to shun by my restrictive example. I’m the one who was forced to shun my own beloved mother. I set a dreadful pattern for you to follow. I don’t know if you remember, but Allan Stewart, an elder from the Selkirk, MB congregation wrote me a letter. You may read it here and then you will perhaps know why our family’s ideas to shun one another became law. I no longer live by unbearable, inhospitable rules. Those rules made me seriously ill.
Communication as Path to Resolution
If you’re still with me, I have a few final thoughts to add. In the real world, communication is the only path to resolution. I am a firm believer that when a misunderstanding occurs in relationships, communication is the one and only path to resolution. Shunning keeps the wound open. The pain continues, affecting all concerned — the shunners and the shunned. Shunning isn’t wisdom. It’s divisive and is used as a means to control behavior.
I’m planning to add some of my own writings and stories to this page. I would very much love if you’d be interested enough to enjoy them along with me. I look forward to our communications.
Following Where the Heart May Lead
In relationships, who does their emotional work these days? The woman? The man? Both partners? I figure men and women must work together to make any beneficial and lasting changes toward harmonious living. Conceivably, they’ll find some common ground and heal relationship aspects that ripped apart our respective worlds in the first place. As a result of men and women having been taught such different and conflicting harmful beliefs about one another, they must come together to heal disparate parts before much healing could occur between the sexes. Read more >>
I felt a strong pull on my heart strings about moving back to Manitoba and re-establishing myself with my family in the late 1990’s, after my divorce. I discussed it with my therapist at the time. She was concerned that the progress I had made in moving away from codependent patterns might be hampered or even reversed if I were to re-situate myself in the midst of the dysfunction so soon into my therapy. It certainly was a valid concern for me, too. But, to hear her verbalize what I had already been thinking was enough to reconsider my course of action. Read more >>
I’m playing this one for you, Andy, my beloved brother! Don’t You Wish it Was True by John Fogerty. It was one of his favorite songs. I am Andy’s sister. He took great pride in saying I was his favorite sister — of course I’m his only sister — but that didn’t stop him from saying that each time we saw one another. I am here for Andy, to celebrate his life. He passed from this world on February 4, 2012. He had a hard life, but he had many joys, too. He has two wonderful children who he absolutely adores. Read more >>
When I run into problems, I normally feel resistant, wondering what I have done to create this seemingly insurmountable problem. In the past I always blamed myself when I had to face or heal something I considered “awful.” Recently, I have had to face a diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, which several doctors say could take a couple of years to heal. Read more >>
What do parents consider “normal” desires, anyway? How do they conclude what is normal? And why must every desire be scrutinized and put into a box they call “good” or “bad”? As a young girl I was taught to feel ashamed of my normal desires. For example, when I was about four my Grandma watched me glued to a show featuring ballroom dancing. She and Mom asked me if I would like to dance like Ginger (as in Fred and Ginger). Oh, how my innocent child-self adored watching them dance. Read more >>
I never would have imagined that by the end of a week-long visit with my beloved mother that I would be shunning her. It was 1985. I lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and my Mom lived in Selkirk, Manitoba. I had been asking — begging — Mom to come and visit us ever since we moved to Saskatoon from Selkirk, in 1978, a period of seven years. 1978, the year of my baptism as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was also the same year that my husband was laid off. Our family was in transition on so many levels. Read more >>
If anyone wonders how much our family was blessed when Mom gets reinstated, you’re in the right place. In the year 1990, Mom appealed to the elders to get reinstated as a Jehovah’s Witness. She decided to go back to the family religion after being disfellowshipped for 13 years, and I shunned her for seven of those years. As a back story, an elder from her town heard she had visited me in Saskatoon, and proceeded to write a letter to warn me. The threat was real — I’d better comply with the “Disfellowship Order” and shun her, lest I too get disfellowshipped and shunned. Read more > >
The other day I watched a bright flickering light near my computer at work. I was reminded how a flickering light, or the flash of a photocopier, or even a camera at one time could bring on a migraine headache. I paused for a moment and thought about the last time I had endured a migraine. It must have been 2005. Read more >>