Mystery of Death

I do not understand death. it’s so excruciatingly painful. The grief comes in unexpected waves by surprise. It rocks me and is indescribable. My heart aches, and can’t even grapple with the depths of it. I hate gun violence— violence of any sort! I hate murder. I can make sense of natural illness, body deterioration, natural causes— but never senseless violence.

I can never be okay with the violence of black on black crime. Generations of stolen fathers. Generations of fatherless children. Generations of widows.

Although, my grand daughter has her Papa, he will never replace her father. Her uncles will never replace her father. My daughter will forever not have the support of Joi’s father. I can never be ok with this. I feel like my family was robbed of something invaluable and irreplaceable. I’m angry. I’m so saddened. It’s so heart breaking. I grieve for my granddaughter, and his family.

God is righteous, just and faithful. He hates violence. Sons, please be careful about the women you let in your life. Seek God’s wisdom! Hearken to your mother’s voice.

Dalonnie loved his children. He came to our house for refuge. We took him in. I seen him as a son. He needed guidance and direction. He was not violent. He was caring. He was humble. He acknowledged Charity’s efforts and her parenting. He loved Joi. Unfortunately, he was a victim of his environment. He trusted the wrong person.

Sons, be careful! Hearken to wisdom. Trust your instinct.

Emergency Room Experience

I visited Kaiser Permanente hospital on Morse Avenue in Sacramento, California on Thursday, January 27, 2022. I was experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, light headed, high pulse rate, fatigue, and radiating pain from upper back around to my right arm. My son drove me to the hospital and rolled me into the emergency room and pushed me to the nurse counter. Its where I sat for at least 15 minutes, even though another staff member told the RN I was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. As the pain intensified and I realized I was not being evaluated, I tapped on the window next to me, barely able to even speak. I just didn’t feel like I had any strength. I finally got the nurse’s attention.

He proceeded to talk down to me, in a disrespectful and demeaning way, and snapped at me by saying, “I can’t just stop what I’m doing with my other patient to see you.” Other words were said, that made me feel humiliated, but I didn’t have any strength to advocate for myself. My son could not stay because of the COVID policies. At that moment, I felt like a victim. I couldn’t believe I was experiencing such behavior from medical staff in the situation that I was in. I felt my issue was life threatening.

He put me on a pulse reader, and only then did they begin to care for me, and then requested an EKG. His tone only changed then, but it was all too late. I immediately felt my blood pressure and pulse rising even higher at the type of treatment I received.

Several minutes later they took me back to get an EKG. I was lying there for another 15 minutes, before someone hooked up an EKG. Again, I didn’t have the strength to request help or find out the status. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and needed a pillow to elevate my head. The nursing staff were chatting up, talking about dates, life, etc all while I thought I was dying. It definitely was not a place for healing to occur. I thought, if I could say something, I would say I am not interested in hearing about your dating life. I am dying here..people. I mention this because it was a distraction to timely care. The nurse who was putting the sticky tabs and preparing for my EKG, was talking and distracted. Let’s just say, she could certainly improve on her multi-tasking skills.

After my EKG was finally done, they took me around to a chair to sit in and wait for care. I overheard they were supposed to put me in a room. I told them I didn’t feel comfortable walking because I thought I was going to lose consciousness and felt dizzy. They made me feel as if I didn’t deserve a wheelchair. Someone asked me, “can’t you walk?” I said, “I don’t feel comfortable walking because I feel unsteady.” So, only then did they get me a chair and wheel me to another seat. The nurses drew blood to test and see if I was having an actual heart attack. The nurse drawing my labs also had a nasty attitude. It was obvious by her eye roll when I asked for a blanket because I was freezing. She looked at me as if, I had the audacity to ask for a blanket.

Next, I got a chest x-ray. And that was another degrading experience. The way the RN placed the IV in my arm, was uncomfortable, but also to the point that I could not bend my arm. The x-ray tech is telling me to take my shirt and bra off. I asked for help, and she said, “you can’t do it yourself?” I said, I wouldn’t have to ask if you allowed at least one family member to be in, and proceeded to explain the way the IV was placed, it was painful if I attempted to bend my arm. I needed to be able to bend my arm to wrap around to undo my bra and pull my shirt off. Mind you, I was not steady and felt my balance off. She reluctantly helped me.

I writing this post to shed light on the way I and another man were treated on this day at the Kaiser on Morse hospital. My treatment was nothing compared to what I will share next. Every time I share or think about this event, it literally makes me sick.

There was this older man, whose home language is Punjabi. There was a language barrier; but you don’t need to be interpreter to know he was in dire emergency need. This man was gasping for air and vomiting blood. The care he received was something I would expect to see in a movie, not in United States, nor a prison health care system, or a communist country. For at a minimum, this man was seeking help, crying, “doctor, doctor, can’t breathe, doctor!” He was begging to be helped and not one person came to his aid. They gave him a vomit bag and was mad because he dropped the bag a couple of times. He was literally grunting, wrenching, and dropped his bag all while holding his stomach. The grimace on his face, the sounds he made made me think, I was going to witness him die in front of me. I immediately began to pray for him, asking God to breathe air into his lungs, and to spare him.

He dropped his bag a couple of times, and there were two nurses standing near him, but not helping him. One did hand him a bag and started cleaning up the vomit, but the other nurse was vicious. She started scolding him- several times over the course of 30 minutes. She yelled at him, “stop dropping your bag. You’re making a mess. Hold your bag!” He would cry out, “doctor..doctor…” And she would again, scold him and say, “we hear you already. Stop asking for the doctor.”

Eventually, at some point they moved him to the bed. He laid there continuing to grunt. No oxygen was given- nothing. They then start to ask him what happened. Apparently, he was hit in a vehicle accident. The doctor says, let’s get a translator. After, all this time they decided to call for an interpreter. Meanwhile this man, someones father, grandparent, sibling is struggling to breathe.

I am calling for the personnel who did not assist him to be terminated. No human being should be disregarded, ignored, humiliated, and left to suffer without timely medical intervention. I seen the doctor before him, and he was gasping and vomiting blood. It was obvious he was in excruciating pain.

She should be terminated from employment immediately. I don’t know what pledge she recited during her pinning ceremony, but she should revisit that and offer amends for all the people she has harmed by creating mistrust for the health care field. Her behavior/actions should be immediately investigated.

As I blog about this, I am reliving that traumatic night. I felt helpless for this poor man. I was afraid to speak up for him. I barely had the strength to even speak up for myself. I know my God is a God that heals and hears prayers. I can only hope that he survived. I can also only hope the day my brother was brought in from the ambulance on June 17, 2021, to Kaiser (the same hospital), that they did not ignore his dire need for medical intervention. He died in the Kaiser hospital emergency room.

On a side note, I recognize not all humans behave like she did or the nurse that checked me in, and that most first responders don’t have the same character. However, these type of behaviors must be addressed and stopped immediately. It is one of the reasons why people do not trust the health care system. Please change COVID policies so that families can advocate for their loved ones.

In honor of American Heart Health Month and Black History Month as we still fight to pursue heath justice and equity for all!

Trying to Tune into my Emotions

While I was going on my walks in Florida, I perceived, not feeling my normal self. Everything was beautiful around me, but I felt a little empty. And I kept trying to shake it off. This past month I noticed I was aching for companionship and a desire to connect with my ex-husband. I was trying to figure out the reasons why, and also trying to make sense of my feelings by identifying my emotions. I pondered: Is it the change in season? Is it the holidays approaching? Is there something about the weather that is causing me to feel this way? Then I began to ask myself, is there something particular or an event in the past that occurred in October to stir up any memories. I even went as far as examining, is there something happening right now that could be triggering this need.

I did not dare share with anyone how I was feeling for several reasons. 1) I did not want anyone to get the wrong message or impression. 2) I did not want those who care and love me, to worry. 3) In general, people lack understanding. 4) Just because I am processing my feelings, does not mean I would change anything in my life right now. Yet, here I am I sharing with you. Smile.

Divorce grief is real, painful, and sneaks up on you at unexpected times.

Being conscience and aware about my feelings is healthy and keeps me moving forward, and not stuck in the past. He was apart of my life for 28 years, more years than in my childhood. There are parts about him that I miss. I enjoy dining out at trendy local restaurants on Saturday mornings, before everyone wakes up. Admittedly, I miss hearing his loud, contagious, and corny laugh – sometimes. I always called it his “fake laugh.” I miss shooting the breeze and sharing my work day with him. I also miss making him laugh. People closest to me, know that I am actually a jokester. I always made him laugh, not the “fake laugh.” I think I miss the camaraderie we had, absent of the arguments about our relationship, faith, or the kids. We had good times too. I carry no shame for feeling this way.

Autumn whispered to the wind, I fall but always rise again.” – Angie Wieland-Crosby

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I miss cooking and baking for my family. I miss the annual family trips and fall traditions. Decorating my apartment is not the same when there is no one to share it with. Nevertheless, I decided that I will pull out the fall decorations and embrace the season. Literally, as I write this post, my aha moment just came to me. I am thankful to God for what he just revealed to me.

“And lastly, remember that it is okay to cry.” — Richard Kauffman

Oh boy, “goooooo eaaaaaasy – on me.” The song, Easy on Me by Adele came on while I was doing my cardio on the elliptical machine this morning. I was listening to the Apple music Pop playlist for “working out,” and this song came on. Awww shux!! You already know what happened. I was an absolute mess in Planet Fitness. So much so – that I had to put my mask and hoodie back on. Guys, I call that real therapy. I am still unsure how this song made it on a “workout playlist.” Seriously though, I think Adele wrote that song for the both of us. I am apologizing in advance to my poor neighbors who will probably hear this song on repeat for the next week.

Identity can be linked to Partnerships

My brain is still reorganizing what my new life is beginning to look like, and it may take a couple more years to fully process. My grief is not isolated to an individual, but to other aspects of my life over the last 28 years. I just wanted to be a good wife, good mother, a good Christian, and have a happy normal family life.

Friends, I leave you with God’s word, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 Amen!

In His Grip,

Chana

Ending a Relationship with a Sociopath

In 1992 at the age of 15, I met a man who was a sociopath and married him when I was 18. I was a teen in a violent dating relationship.He was a known gang member, violent, aggressive, rule-breaker, a bully, explosive, stalker, and very popular. People feared him, and many still do. Fast forward, I am 45 years old and I am still dealing with the aftermath of being in an unsafe, unhealthy, and unstable relationship.

Not all Wounds are Visible

I have been in therapy for about two years, and finally through the help of my church, found a trauma therapist who is a Christian. I have learned alot through these sessions, and am so thankful that I am finally able to share my inner most thoughts with a therapist. Many years while I was married, I attempted counseling, but I was so ashamed of myself for being married to the man who harmed me so deeply. (It is important to note: I have forgiven him for all offenses, and hold no bitterness.) I could never be a wife to him because although my heart forgave him, my body remembered what he did to me. The body keeps count/memory of the trauma.

When I was 15, he stalked me for several years and shot me. At the time, I was living in Los Angeles. He was a menace to society, to me, and my family. I did not feel safe. I had nowhere to turn. What does survival look like at the age of 15? He threatened to hurt others if I didn’t come back to him. I believed him. Why would I not? After all, he hurt me. He hurt my step-dad. He hurt my family. He hurt several people. I remember seeing him drive down my dad’s street while my little brother was playing outside, and he drove by with a gun. This is after he shot me.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” 
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

As an adult, I carried so much shame about being with someone who harmed me in such a significant way, and continued to hurt me. Some of my closest friends that I met in adulthood, had no clue about my past, or why I was unhappy. On the outside looking in, he appeared to be the perfect Christian husband. I protected his image, while slowly the little girl inside me was dying.

I broke away for about 7 years from 1999 and reconciled back in 2007. Leaving him in 1999 almost cost me my life, the 2nd time. Again, he did what he knew best, to stalk and be violent towards me. FACT: Leaving an abusive partner/husband is the most deadliest time for a victim. I went back to him because I was young and under the influence of false teachings. I really believed that I would be cursed because I divorced. Had I got proper mental health counseling/therapy, I would have learned this is false. One’s faith is never a reason to stay in a broken marriage. Its a lie from the pits of hell. Its damaging to children and future generations to stay in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of children and/or due to biblical convictions. Divorce is not an unforgivable sin.

As I began to grow and recognize he still was disrespectful, significantly lacked empathy, manipulative, and downright harsh, I made up in my mind to get out. I started memorializing the events that made me want to leave while I was married because I found myself minimizing his behaviors. And, I didn’t think it was acceptable to leave a marriage for emotional abuse alone. I was taught a woman could not leave a man, unless adultery was involved. My faith made my decision so much more complicated.

2021 Unpacking Trauma Bond

All I hoped for, was that we could be mature, respectful, and kind to one another for the sake of our children and grand-daughter. Yet, he has not changed. He is being tormented and has so much hate for me. I am still dealing with toxic text messages, phone calls, threats, and hate. He continues to drag my children in his toxicity, parentification and alienation. He uses Holy scripture to instill fear. And constantly tells me:

Death is upon me.

I am the reason my brother died.

I am the reason why my dog died.

I am the reason why Cooper misbehaves.

My back issue is because of my sin.

I am going to hell. I will be turned over to the tormenters.

He hates me.

Worst yet, when bad or unfortunate things happen, he’s the first to say, its because of my sin.

My sin has destroyed the family.

The text messages are so damaging. His words have assassinated my character as a woman and mother. He has modeled to my sons how to harass, humiliate, bible beat, stalk, and treat women. Sadly, my children believe he loves me. They are confused and manipulated by his behavior as well.

Unusual Grief

In 2020, as I began to shatter the fantasy of him changing, the pain was so overwhelming. The deep anguish I buried for so long, began to present. I am still hurting and healing. It is possible to hold joy, hurt, and hope in the same hand. Yes, I moved on with my life, but I still hurt, and remain hopeful.

I grieve for that young woman I was becoming before I met him. I grieve for my baby that I lost. I grieve for my children who are hurting. I grieve for my childhood that was taken away from me. I grieve over friendships I lost during the divorce. I grieve for the marriage I never had. I grieve over the relationship. I grieve for the person he never became, that I hoped he would through Christ.

As I close, I will often share a song that is meaningful to me. Remember, leave people in a better condition, then you’ve found them. In loving memory of Gabby Petito, Rest In Peace.

Grief Day by Day

Cannot go back to sleep. Fell asleep around 1:00 ish am and was awakened by a stupid balloon that somehow floated into the ceiling fan around 3:00 ish am. My dog and I were both startled because it sounded like gun shots.

Yesterday, I went to my garden that I’ve neglected. It was a divine appointment. One of the fellow gardeners poured into me, after she seen me sobbing. #gratitude