Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Dave-I Miss You Brother

I Miss you Brother

Dear Dave, I've been thinking about you more than usual lately because you would've turned the big "50" on January 8. It's hard to fathom you've been gone for ten years already. I've been trying to write you for some time but I guess I wasn't ready until now. So many feelings come up in me and I think of what you could have been if it wasn't for that insidious disease that crippled you and took your mind, body and soul prisoner.
We were very close in childhood and well into our twenties. You, Laura and I, pretty much did everything together because you were only a year older. The three of us even looked alike and had many things in common, especially our love of music. Laura and I loved when you called us on stage to sing with you and the band. That is, until alcohol started to pull us apart. Your drinking changed you. Your sweetness, charm, intelligence and incredible talents started to fade away as your alcoholism progressed. You even turned your back on your beloved passion and true love of your life. The guitar was always a part of you and when you put it away, I knew you were losing your greatest joy in life. To me, this was when I knew you were giving up and alcohol was winning the battle.
Those last ten years of your life were painful for you and difficult for loved ones to watch. I will never forget the night I was watching the local news and there you were. Your mug shot reflected a sad man that had lost his soul. Your physical body was there but your true being had gone somewhere else. Your eyes were now hollow and desperate. You were driving home from your job at the airport after putting in a full day. You were pulled over because of reckless driving and given a breathalyzer test. Your blood alcohol was a shocking 4.3 The police found luggage in your back seat that you'd stolen from baggage claim. I remember getting phone calls from friends, family and past acquaintances. Many who called were callous and insensitive and asked if I was embarrassed about your latest escapade. I told them in no uncertain terms that I was not embarrassed, just grateful that my brother was still alive." I knew then as I'd known for years, that this disease had a hold on you and may cause you to die early, just like mom. You tried sobering up and voluntarily entered treatment three times but you'd eventually succumb to your craving and addiction for alcohol.
Your roommate of many years, finally had enough. She kicked you out, knowing she was enabling you and your drinking. She was in love with you, even though she knew you weren't in love with her. For you, she was a friend and a place to lay your head. She would fill the refrigerator with beer and make sure to keep it restocked to keep you happy. It was a toxic and co-dependent relationship yet she found the courage and strength to let it go.
You now found yourself living on the streets and eventually moved into a homeless shelter. Several months later you qualified for a place to live. It was a stable apartment downtown, serving those who were deemed homeless.
I received the dreaded call I'd always feared would come. It was your older sister, wailing on the other end, trying to get the words out. "A policeman just came to my door Linda. He is dead, David is dead."
No one had seen or talked to you in a few days and became worried. When the landlord walked into your apartment, he saw you lying in bed. You were fully dressed, you even had your shoes on. You died due to an overdose of oxycontin and alcohol. You were thirty-nine years old, the same age mom died of alcoholism.
Our cousin Mike told us at the funeral that he bumped into you, just a week before you died. He had no idea the healing he provided, telling us that you'd recently taken out your guitar again. I believe God knew you needed to play before you died.
P.S. I know we didn't talk much those last years but it was too painful for me. I had to set limits and take care of myself, especially when you'd call me drunk and get verbally abusive. I know now that your in heaven, you understand why I had to sever ties. I loved you David, it was the behavior from the addiction I hated. I dream of you often and like having that time with you. In my dreams, your healthy as a horse and not addicted to alcohol. It's just you and me, the way we used to be before you got so sick.
P.S.S. I love you and miss you brother. Happy 50th birthday.
© 2012 Linda Rogers

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ghostly Apparition over Lake Victoria

Athereal Apparition over Lake Victoria
I heard a loud shriek coming from the upper living room today and ran to see what was going on. Laura was on facebook and yelled for me to come see something our older sister Shelly had posted. "Get your cheats on for this Linda," Laura proclaimed. "You wont believe it until you see it." I could see tears welling up in her eyes and knew it was something big.
My childhood wasn't always an easy one. I am one of five siblings, with my twin sister and I being the youngest of the brood. I have been told, that although mom and dad were heavy drinkers before we arrived, it became increasingly severe after we were born. Life at our house became very unsafe and chaotic as their alcoholism took over.
Sadly, by the time I was nine years old, I lost my mom to this insidious disease. She was only thirty nine years old. Losing a mother so young, was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. Dad continued to drink after her death, despite pleas from his kids to stop. After several years and going through treatment five times, dad was able to stop drinking for the remainder of his life. He was an inspiration to many who struggled with alcoholism and often told them, "if I can stop drinking, you can too."
Throughout the years since mom and dad's passing, each sibling has had their share of heavenly visits. Each contact is unique to the relationship between mom, dad and their adult child. The latest such incident happened to my sister Shelly this past weekend. She was standing at her balcony window when she noticed a wispy figure hovering above the lake. She captured this ethereal image which I've uploaded here. She knew it was an angelic sighting but after closer inspection realized it looked just like our mother. It didn't surprise her to know mom would make an appearance at this critical time in her life. Mom knew her daughter needed her.
© 2012 Linda Rogers

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy 49th Birthday Twinner

Dear Laura,

It's about 7:30PM on our birthday eve. Your out and about with your kiddos right now and I have the house all to myself. I'm getting really pumped up for our birthday tomorrow and celebrating at one of our favorite restaurants. I still get excited like I did when we were younger, because I always know that I share this special day with my Best Friend. I hope your planning on staying up until midnight, so we can bring in this 49th birthday right. Some day we won't be able to stay up late so let's get the jammies and slippers on and watch the clock strike Midnight. It's going to be another Friday the 13th birthday. Those have always turned out to be amazing birthday's for us. I think with all the superstition surrounding the date, our expectations have been low, which made them that much more fun.

I guess I'm writing this birthday wish for you, so you'll always know, in no uncertain terms, what you mean to me.

Laura, I can truly say, that my journey in this life has been Beautiful because of you. Life has thrown us some curve balls but because we love each other, we manage to not only Survive, but Thrive. When I was diagnosed with cancer almost eight years ago, as scared as I was, I knew I wasn't alone. I knew my twin sister would be there for me, through thick and thin, and never waiver.

My love for you is so strong, that I was glad it was me that ended up with cancer and not you.

Your love for me is so strong...

When the pharmacist told you my medical insurance ran out and I was no longer covered for pain and nausea medication, you went to bat for me. You caused quite a commotion at Health Partners Clinic that day. The poor, unsuspecting pharmacist didn't know what hit him. Though you tried to be strong for me so I could get the needed medication, desperate pleas and flowing tears illuminated your Unconditional Love for me.

When you hadn't come back to my room with the medication for about twenty minutes, the oncologist had an "aha" moment. She'd seen this happen before and realized that my health insurance probably ran out. She assured me, I would get the chemo drugs I needed to help combat the bad side effects, but added, "there may be some confusion with the pharmacy, you'd better get downstairs and let Laura know we can take care of it." Before I even reached the lobby, I could hear my frightened twin sister, pleading with the pharmacist. "Please, if she doesn't get the medication, she will be deathly ill." Her voice was loud and firm yet sadly vulnerable. By the time I entered the pharmacy lobby, all eyes and ears were on Laura. I noticed that people were looking at her with compassion like they'd been in this situation too. Many onlookers had tears in their eyes as they watched my sister fight for me. When I finally reached Laura, I wrapped my arms around her and said with all the love in my heart, "it's ok honey, my oncologist will take care of the medication." You could've heard a pin drop as the people in the lobby witnessed the unconditional love of a sister. 

Happy Birthday Laura-I love you with all my heart and soul and can't imagine my life without you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Keep your New Year Resolutions Realistic

Every year as the new year rolls around, we start thinking about what our resolutions will be. Some of us don't bother making changes because we know we wont be able to keep them anyway. Those of us that do decide to make changes, start out with much enthusiasm and confidence that we'll succeed. We start out motivated but eventually the optimism and gung ho attitude, fades into the winter doldrums. Why do so many of us fail with our resolutions?

I've been attemtpting this New Years Resolution thing for quite some time now. I know what has worked for me and what hasn't. Here are some suggestions that may help you avoid giving up on your '2012' resolutions.
  • Set realistic goals-This can help you be more successful
  • If working out and losing weight is on your list, focus on how much healthier you will be instead of focusing on numbers on the scale.
  • Don't tell the world what your resolutions are as I've learned from experience that it creates pressure which can lead to failure which can lead to feeling depressed and embarrassed. Your close friends or family members will likely figure out your resolutions which can hopefully help and not hinder your progress. In short, love yourself enough to know you don't have to tell people as your doing this for yourself.
  • If your cutting out or cutting down on certain foods or sweets, don't be a black and white thinker. It's fine to have a little treat once in awhile and this shouldn't cause you angst or thoughts of giving up. Cutting down on certain foods is a lifesyle change and choosing those foods now and then, means just that. You can cut down without giving it up completely.
  • Pamper yourself as your working on your New Years Resolutions. Maybe a spa day would make you feel good if you have a little extra cash. If your looking for something free and simple, take a nice hot bubble bath. These simple rewards can help motivate you as you accomplish goals during your journey. I try to get a massage once a month because it's something that makes me feel special, relaxed and rejuvenated.
  • If one of your goals is to drink more water, go out and buy a fun water bottle. I know it sounds simple but it's helped me to consistently drink the recommended 64 Oz. of water a day. I found my cool bottle at Caribou Coffee but you can find them all over. Anywhere from gas stations to big outlet stores like Target and even grocery stores.
  • If healthy eating is on your list, be prepared. Make sure to buy and stock healthy foods, so you don't go for the junk. I even bag my meats in a sandwich bag so I know it's the right serving on the Weight Watchers Program.
  • If working out is one of your goals, know what exercise you Really enjoy. I've learned that power walking is something I stick to because I genuinely enjoy it. If weather permits, I prefer to walk outside. If weather doesn't permit, I jump on the treadmill with headphones. Research has shown that people will stick to an exercise routine more consistently when it's something they enjoy and not an exercise they have to talk themselves into.
  • If your trying to quit a bad habit like smoking, think about joining a support group to help you stay motivated and on track. These days you can even find support, online.
No matter what your New Year Resolutions are, give yourself permission to make some fun choices now and then. This makes your goals easier to stick to, because you know it's a lifestyle change and not a death sentence for no more fun. For those of you that have decided to make some resolutions, good luck to you and I wish you a Happy Healthy New Year.
Sincerely, Linda Rogers

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone

Here we are in the year, "2012." That year sounds strange at this point and I know I'll be writing 2011 on my checks for awhile. I don't know about you, but I get very sentimental and nostalgic as the New Year rolls around. Looking back at the previous year and looking forward in hope, to a new one, gets me emotional. I want to wish all my blogger friends, a Happy and Healthy New Year and thank you for all your support of my writing here.

I had an amazing New Years Eve and thought it would be fitting to put on a video and lyrics of the 'Auld Lang Syne' song. Whether you sat at home on New Years Eve or went out on the town, you probably heard this infamous song. The song was written by a scottish poet by the name of Robert Burns, in the eighteenth century. It's well known to ring in the new year as the clock strikes midnight but it's also played on other occasions as well. The first line of the chorus, Auld Lang Syne, basically means, "for the sake of old times."
I brought in the new year with my best friend and twin sister. We started the night at a local restaurant and had a cocktail and an appetizer. Then we came home to our two dogs and watched 'Dick Clark's Rockin Eve' special. It's tradition to put out a delicious buffet of our favorite finger foods which we graze on throughout the the evening. So far, sis and I have always made it to midnight and sometimes beyond. The Dick Clark special actually ends at 2AM Central time. I made it till the show ended but sis pooped out around 1:00AM.
Lyrics to Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld Acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
for auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.