The Summer Of ‘What The Fuck?’

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Under the tomatoes, where no one will look? I’m sorry, did I say that out loud… LOL.

I promised myself certain aspects of this year would be better, and they have been, but the rest of the year, thus far, has been a shit-show of epic proportions. I am so thrown by it all, I probably say “What the fuck?!” fifty times a day, if not more.

I’ve talked about it, so by now (unless you’re one of my newer subscribers) you’ve probably heard me say I’m blacking out/losing time. It’s been going on for over a year. I FINALLY go to the appointment with the new neurologist and instead of allowing to me speak and elaborate on this, he barely grunts about it. It was completely dismissed, as was a lot of what I said. He has all the personality of a wet mop someone has recently disposed of. Before I could finish speaking, he was out the door. Does he sound like someone you’d want as your doctor?

Obviously as a migrainuer, this was not my first rodeo with a neurologist. It is, however, my first time seeing one I’m completely unfamiliar with. I do NOT like him. I had such a solid relationship with my previous neurologist; he was like family. He always treated me with respect, he always listened to my concerns, and to this day, I still recommend people to him because I think he’s one of the best migraine specialists. The first two neurologists I was subjected to were complete jackasses I wouldn’t refer anyone to, be they human or animal. Reptile? Maybe.

I had no idea what to expect from this doctor. I read his reviews and they were not the least bit stellar, but I read them too late to cancel my appointment. Many of them stated he should have his license revoked, most people stated he was a highly dismissive, rude “physician”, and one or two said he’s an amazing doctor and they didn’t understand all the negative reviews. He must drink coffee on the days he meets the five-star review folks because grunting and muttering and being dismissive only pissed me off. It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around the list of reviews because people don’t normally write reviews unless they’re motivated by positive or truly negative experiences. My experience left me with no feeling at all. I cannot deal with someone who does the bare minimum, doesn’t answer my questions, and then puts me on medication I’ve already been on. The pharmacist, at least, answered my questions. Don’t tell me generic names and expect me to know what the hell you’re giving me; tell me the brand name like you’re an actual doctor, regardless of what the insurance company pays for. Spend more than ten minutes in the room (The waiting room was empty, I have NO idea where they’re hiding his patients.), and please, do NOT think you’re doing me the biggest favor in the world by saying you’ll put in for prior authorization for treatment you had no idea my insurance even covers. I called them, despite already knowing the answer, and it’s covered, but I’m not 100% sure I trust you to do it because it involves a lot of fucking needles. I might ask a local tattoo artist instead. 😦 At least they work with needles every day.

After openly declaring I have “chronic migraines”, to which I wanted to say “Where the hell did YOU go to medical school, Sherlock?”, but refrained, he provided no rescue medication and no abortive medication, claiming my insurance doesn’t pay for it. I was only too happy to call him and inform him that they do pay for it, and to please contact them immediately for prior authorization for Relpax. If my insurance will pay for twelve pills a month, why shouldn’t I have it on hand? He merely put me on a beta-blocker and an anti-nausea drug that’s about as old as he is. To say I’m not happy is a gross understatement. That’s not effort. He was truly out of the room and down the hall before I could finish blinking. That’s not efficient; that’s half-assed.

To be fair to myself, I am writing up my concussion, migraine, and Fibromylagia history moving forward because I refuse to leave the diagnosis out ever again. My primary blew it off when I used the words “Physical pain from my neck to my toes.” She didn’t even look at me, she focused solely on the migraines and pretended like I hadn’t just explained something requiring a Rheumatology consult, though many rheumatologists are now passing Fibromyalgia off to neurologists. I am NOT dumbing myself down for another doctor. Let her diagnose it properly. The doctor who did diagnose it over a decade ago never put it in my chart. Mind you, when he put me on Cymbalta, at my request, because I had researched it extensively before it was even in pharmacies, I told him how much it helped with the Fibromylagia pain, exhaustion, and physical weakness. He allowed me to take 360 mgs of it for eight years, yet when I said “How is this diagnosis NOT in my chart, he replied “I don’t recall us ever having this conversation.” Dude, in what world would I take 360 mgs of Cymbalta that does NOT work for most people?! In what world does my insurance company approve that much medicine each month when the highest dose most people take is 120 mgs? It angers me greatly to feel jerked around like that. If my primary refuses to listen and/or refer me out, she still needs to know about the original diagnosis and that it was omitted from my chart. If she’s not happy that I didn’t tell her the first time, well, I’m not happy that she chose to ignore me, my blood work, and other things, but conveniently billed me $627 for what should have been an office visit, but actually looks like insurance fraud from where I’m sitting. I’m more than happy to tell her this to her face next month when I see her. She is overbooked, her office staff is negligent, and cannot get a proper message to her to save their life. I NEVER want to be subjected to her Physician’s Assistant again. That woman needs a brain. I shouldn’t have to wait two and a half months to see my primary care physician, who is, quite frankly, minutes away, for ANY reason. She’s not a brain surgeon.

To add insult to injury, when I called her office to ask for a referral for a second opinion after the neuro consult, she refused. “I went over his notes and he’s trying to get you the treatment, so you have to go to every follow-up and do what he says.” Um, who the fuck is the patient here? I can confirm that she has already lost me as a patient for the duration. I will say what I need to say and follow-up, but I am on a waiting list for a new primary care doctor for November, at the earliest. She made the blondest brunette mistake of sending an e-mail to me instead of her assistant. It wasn’t meant for me to read, clearly, but I did read it, and she cannot take back that sort of “mistake”. Once again, she blew me off. After constantly saying I needed to be assessed by her, her e-mail stated I should “go to the emergency room” during paralytic attacks. Apparently she doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that when you experience temporary paralysis, you are unable to move and unable to dial the fucking phone. I’m also ALONE when it happens, and it is TERRIFYING. It is almost always from the neck up or it’s the entire left side of my body, and the fear you feel is gut-wrenching because you never know if this is the next thirty minutes of your life, the next three hours, or if you turned wrong and this is now permanent. How would she like me to get to the ER? Via flying carpet?

If she blows me off at my appointment in any way, shape, or form, I will be on the phone to the state licensing board in a New York Minute. I’ve witnessed some heinous crap regarding my treatment in this state and I am NOT going to tolerate another second of bullshit from ANYONE.

I talked about not liking the whole “temporary” situation and I have to say I was disgusted when “Ms. Temporary” had her office call and cancel on me. My doctor called later on the same day because when he heard about it, he knew I was going to react badly. Despite planning on canceling myself because I simply don’t want to waste my time, or hers, I felt like it was a terrible first impression to force me to make an appointment in the first place and then cancel on me without an explanation. He assured me she’s the most reliable person in the world, and that he wasn’t sure what had happened, but he wanted me to know it was more than okay for me to feel justified in not wanting a temporary situation with anyone. Unlike most people, he genuinely gets me, and the affirmation of that was good to hear. Most doctors would NOT have called to check in with me over anything, but he did, and it meant so much to me because we were on the phone a long time. He was touching base and we went over a lot of different things. I know he was concerned based on what we were discussing, but he also said he trusted me. He probably shouldn’t, but I’m also very careful in how I speak to doctors. I’d never put them in the situation of not being able to trust me. I’m not stupid. The choices I make generally have no bearing on the doctors I am seeing.

I left him a message on his last day to thank him for talking me down, because he didn’t have to do that, but he did, and when I thanked him, he said “I’m here for you. My biggest regret is that I was not able to do more to help you.” There are doctors twice his age who would NEVER admit that to a patient.

When I checked earlier, one of the reviews I’d written for him had finally posted. At least he gets to move forward as a doctor with a five-star review. It is the only review he has. Most doctors don’t have them, for obvious reasons. I still have many more to write for him, but each one is the truth.

I did make an appointment with the doctor he recommended, but I told him not to expect anything out of it because I don’t have any trust to offer her. He said “That’s understandable. Either she’ll earn it, or she won’t.” I see why he chose her, but I reserve the right the judge her for myself. I don’t think I said that to him out loud, but he probably knows I’m not going to make it easy on her. She could be lovely and I’ll still find fault with something because she’s not who I want to work with, period.

He is the person who was disgusted by how my primary blew off the pain I’m in; he thinks it’s wrong that I should be suffering so much and be ignored by anyone. He is also the person who was mortified that my blood work and a high fever were blown off, as though they were no big deal, when in fact he agreed with me that neither of them are normal. I’m almost certain he wanted to ask where the Physician’s Assistant went to school, because he’s a very calm, laid-back person, and his voice is always even, but his entire tone changed when I told him what happened. Technically, despite being out of med school and having his license to practice, he’s still completing his residency, but his professionalism outshines people twice his age because he dots his i’s and crosses his t’s. He asks the right questions and doesn’t blow you off. Aside from clearly having the right kind of mind for this sort of work, he obviously had excellent teachers, as well. But ultimately, it comes down to being the right kind of person to be a doctor. Everyone’s mind works differently. His works from a “How can I understand this?” perspective, which, to me, is interesting because I had to answer some of his questions from a “How does he NOT understand this?” position, where I answered him, but tried not to roll my eyes, and sometimes, I flat-out DID roll my eyes at him.

A lot of people meet me and don’t know what to make out of me. I completely baffle the fuck out of them, and I openly admit I get a kick out of that. In six weeks, this person grasped me fully, appreciated my honesty and sense of humor, and made me feel a lot less damaged than I probably deserve to feel. Between our meetings and every single conversation we had in between, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more comfortable or at ease with someone. And it dawned on me that the ease of the doctor/patient relationship felt more comfortable because he felt like a brother or a close friend. I didn’t tiptoe around him, walk on eggshells, or pretend. I was always myself, and ultimately, I was accepted for that completely. It IS rare, so I have every right to say that I respect him and appreciate everything he did for me. I’m also unashamed to admit that I will track him down like a dog with a bone if I’m not able to find someone better who is fully able to do what he was able to do.

I am fighting for my life, my health, and for proper treatment. I REFUSE to dumb myself down for another doctor or ANYONE in the medical field ever again. I may be a pretty mess, but I’m also smarter than I let on, and it’s time to break all of that out and give doctors a run for their money. But I’m also not going to trust people simply because they think it’s a given. It isn’t. I trusted ONE person this year to take care of me properly because he earned that trust the second he introduced himself. Some people have positive energy, and others I don’t get the same vibe from. Being able to read people is a gift not everyone possesses, but it’s a gift I have. I can tell you a lot about someone just by sitting down with them for an hour or two. Often times, people think they’re getting to know me, but in actuality, I’m the one getting all of the information. People don’t realize how much their behavior, speech, and physicality gives them away. You can obverse a lot if you’re paying attention, just don’t expect to be able to read me. I’m not the “open book” type.

I’d forgotten how dishonest people actually are, at times, with their physicians. I don’t think you need to tell them every single detail of your life, but I do think they need to know what’s going on in order to help you. Set realistic goals and say what you mean, as opposed to what you think they want to hear.

Being told that I “know myself really well” and that I “did not come in asking for the magic pill that solves everything” were two of the greatest compliments a person could give me this year. Yes, I’m realistic, but I’ve also been through hell. I know that certain types of medication can help certain types of people, based on where they stand health-wise, but I also know there’s nothing that will help me moving forward for one specific thing, and as sad as that is, it’s life. There’s nothing I can do about it. You keep going until you can no longer go on, and you don’t listen to external “noise” telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, or what you should or shouldn’t “live for”. Unless you live inside my mind, suffer the way I suffer, experience my pain daily, struggle through the inability to sleep, function, react, and can while you’re going through all that, still be able to hard enough each month to pay all of my bills, you simply don’t get a say in how I live my life. I sit in judgment of no one on this front. I don’t say meaningless shit to people in order to make myself feel better. If I’m concerned about someone, I think about THEM and I say what they TRULY need to be told, not what they want to hear. No matter how hard I struggle sometimes just to get through the next five minutes, I still listen to others with compassion, care, concern, and genuine love. I’ve never turned a friend away. I have loved people and I have lost people, and I don’t ever want to question if I could have said more, or if I could have worded things better.

I’m looking to find out how to manage my migraines better, and find the best way possible to manage the chronic pain I am in, so I will be pushing for an MRI and x-rays of my brain, neck, and spine, even if it means a trip to the emergency room. Not being able to move my neck properly and being afraid that every turn could mean permanent paralysis is scary. My current doctor refused to have my back, so her “reward” is losing me as a patient. A new doctor gets me as her patient in a few months and her reviews are really good (This time, I looked immediately. No more surprises.), so I hope it’s a more promising situation despite the fact that she’s further away. There’s absolutely no reason that well over one hundred primary care doctors and internists in the Boston area aren’t taking on new patients. I thought I was losing my mind making phone calls until I finally found a doctor in another doctor’s office who just happened to be accepting new patients. I can switch to someone else immediately if something is wrong, which is good to know, but I feel like I’ve given this other doctor enough chances at this point. She has one efficient person in her office; her assistant. I cannot stay there just because I like her, nor should I.

So here I sit, on a muggy July morning, and honestly, the pain I am in is intense (I took two Aleve for it hours ago…an absolute JOKE.) and all I want to do is scream and cry. A huge part of me wants to go to the emergency room and demand they help me, but a larger part is afraid they’ll do nothing at all for me. As many times as I’ve fallen since moving here, I KNOW my back isn’t okay. I can feel it. I’m too young to have this much damage and this much pain. As many times as I’ve banged my head into the wall in my sleep (100% unintentionally. I’m restless, fitful, and I throw my body around a lot. I’ve also thrown pillows across the room and accidentally kicked Kitten off the bed a few times because I had no idea she was even here.), I know my head probably isn’t okay, either. I’ve failed two baseline tests, one in May and the other this month, and a Physician’s Assistant and a neurologist both ignored these facts. The brain doesn’t lie, and my poor back and neck aren’t amused by my having to use a heating pad when it’s 90+ degrees outside. Alternating between heat and ice only helps for short periods of time when you’re in excruciating pain. It lets you know it’s not a muscle spasm, but something serious.

I hope and pray doctors start taking me seriously, and SOON. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on without some serious intervention.

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Unless I am passed out from lack of sleep, in which case, I will call you back the second I see your message or missed call. Only certain people have priority clearance and can bypass the “Do Not Disturb” feature on my phone. If you’re calling at any of those hours, you’re probably on the list.

 

Eight Years

Eight years ago tonight, I got a phone call that changed my life. It wasn’t one of those life-changing “oh, how fabulous” calls, either. It was the kind of call that brings you to your knees. Somehow, I was able to remain upright and forge ahead. By the Grace Of G-d, apparently.

Every day since, I have fought to get pieces of me back. It’s not easy, it will continue to be a battle, but I’m trying.

Today, trying was not an option. Today nearly broke me. I’ve never felt more alone in my entire life.

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The reason I am a creative, intelligent, dazzling creature is because my mother willed it into being. It’s how she taught, loved, shared, and dreamed. I didn’t get to live the life she wanted for me, one superior to her own early life, but I’m not afraid to follow my dreams and live outside the box, even when it is scary as hell. I will never stop wishing she was here, because life without her has been difficult beyond words.

If you’re lucky enough to have parents that are still alive, and yes, I’ve lost both of mine, then please, treat them right. Even if they drive you insane, treat them right. For when they are gone, the truly difficult part begins. There’s no true end to grief, you just put one foot in front of the other and attempt to survive.

Tsentr budet derzhat’, mama. Tsentr budet derzhat’. Pokoysya s mirom.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Some People, They Can’t Just Move On…

“Some people, they can’t just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me… I don’t know. I didn’t want to fix it, to forget. It wasn’t something that was broken. It’s just…something that happened. And like that hole, I’m just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remembering and getting on at the same time. ” ―Sarah Dessen

*In Memory Of My Grandfather…Великою людиною дійсно ніколи не може бути втрачено або забуто- A great man can never truly be lost or forgotten.*

Is Time Really The Great Healer?

Each year on her birthday and the anniversary of her death, I try to memorialize my mother  in some way. Writing is the best way I know how, outside of talking about her with those that loved her. One day my children will be able to look back on what is written about their Grandmother, they will be able to see photos of her, hear stories, and they will know that her memory lives on through me.

I’ve always been a highly creative individual, but I started off as a gymnast. Gymnastics was everything to me. My Mom encouraged this as I jumped, leaped, tumbled, twisted, did back handsprings, splits, and things that most normal people do not do from parallel or uneven bars. I was always in motion. Somewhere in the middle of my journey, I became a writer. Once I knew there wasn’t going to be a move to Colorado Springs or an Olympics in my future, the writer was fully birthed.

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My Mom turned my quiet, shy, introverted voice into a strong, in your face, confident human being, someone who is not afraid to speak up or speak out. She gave me rules, structure, and taught me boundaries that I use to this day. She always said I wrote with a supreme sense of fairness, but that I’d knock a person down with fifty words, or a hundred, however many it took. All of these things are still true.

When I got angry, she would always say “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Somewhere along the line, the pen became my sword. I became a living, breathing fencer of words. I don’t just write that way, it’s how I speak as well. Every once in a while I will look back on a letter I have written in a situation and I’m floored by my way with words, or how I handled something in the moment. Occasionally I cringe at the words that come out of my mouth and how harsh they sound, and other times, I know I am completely justified in my words, as well as my tone. I don’t play games and I don’t back down. I might take a step back so as not to end up in jail, but I have a supreme sense of right and wrong, and I will fight that to the death.

I can say with total assurance that if it had not been for my mother’s belief in my ability as a writer, Poison In Lethal Doses might never have existed. I’ve been writing articles under that banner for 20 years and I do feel a lot of the credit is owed to her.

In so many moments and situations, my mother would look at me in awe of how I handled myself, or she’d look at me with pride. I now see other people look at me with similar awe in how I handle certain situations and people, and how I don’t back down or take no for an answer. I was born this way, it wasn’t something anyone taught me, but whenever I do it, whenever I am completely myself, I am reminded of who I am and how proud it always made her.

The last seven years without my mother have been difficult and, at times, quite torturous. Losing a parent young is difficult, but I lost both of my parents, and my mother was my best friend. Whoever says “Time heals all wounds.” probably hasn’t been smacked with quite so much in such a short period of time.

I still find myself thinking “I must tell her about this book…” or “I must tell her about this show.”, and then I get emotional, because she’s not here. When I need strength, sometimes I’ll reach for my Mom’s ring or a pendant she wore every single day.

My Mom & I always had an agreement about “the other side” and getting messages to one another. The spiritual plane was a very common topic of discussion in my life. People can discredit that to their heart’s desire, but I know my mother and I know exactly what I experienced. I didn’t study what I studied for anyone to come along and say “I don’t believe in that.” That’s fine for you, don’t believe in it, but don’t try and take it away from those that know it exists, and know that it’s real, because that is rude and disrespectful. I wasn’t raised to be like that, but was I encouraged to stand up for myself and speak up? Absolutely. Having a voice as a writer helped me overcome my shyness. I still have my quiet moments, but I am by no means shy.

Being a woman in this world can be incredibly empowering, and it can be an immense hindrance at times as well. The intense side of me is a fighter that can do anything, and the Fibromyalgia side says “I’m sick. I need help. I am staying in bed today. I need to take care of me.”

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I’ve been sick on and off for the past two years from the stress of all that I am going through in my private life, and I can only say that I am truly grateful to the people who have kindly helped me through this disaster, and those that have listened to me without judgment. Very few people understand the term “Ride or die.”, but a few do, and I am so blessed to have those people in my life. I’ve learned over the last month or so, and I have certainly learned over the past seven years, who is really with me and who can go screw themselves. That extends to both my personal and professional lives. Loyalty goes a long way with me. Disloyalty shows me your true colors, and once I see that, you’re done.

The song I posted today, The River, was read at my Mom’s funeral. It may not have been her philosophy for herself, but it was definitely a message for her children. It’s a reminder not to give up on yourself or your dreams, and not to let anything, not a single moment, fall by the wayside. Through the darkest of times, I try to keep this in mind, but it’s not always easy to do.

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My mother would have been 68 today, and it pains me that she is not here. Today is my mental health day to mourn her loss, and take stock of where I am going and how I want to handle everything. I’m not having an easy time. I am slaying dragons and demons and sometimes I feel like my swords are dull, and I am too tired for this shit. But then I hear her voice in my head, and the blades are suddenly sharp again and the fierceness of my personality returns in full effect.

When I say that my Mom & I were close, that’s a vast understatement. We were best friends first, mother & daughter somewhere underneath it all. In the final seven years of her life, I discovered how much jealousy our relationship incited in her co-workers. Those with daughters who were not present in their lives were jealous of the fact that my mother, who was partially paralyzed, had a daughter that brought her to work and picked her up nearly every single day. They were jealous that I took care of her and was not just physically present, but emotionally present. They all confided that their own daughters were “way too self-centered and selfish to sacrifice so much”, but that they hoped that if ever they were in a similar situation, their daughters might see the error of their ways. It wasn’t ever said to me with awe, respect, or appreciation. It was said with venom, and I found it disgusting that healthy women who were all so much older than my mother could be SO incredibly jealous of her when she struggled to walk, and yet, never made excuses for herself. She’d push herself to make sure she was at work every single day. I wasn’t raised to be selfish, self-centered, self-important, or self-absorbed. If my mother needed me, then that’s where I was going to be. It was the absolute right place to be, but it was also what our relationship consisted of.

We had the most telepathic relationship in the world. I know no other parent half as connected as my mother and I remain. She was my voice of reason.

My Mom was always extremely honest. She didn’t sugar-coat anything or play games. She raised my brother & I not to accept the easy, to fight for what we believed in and truly wanted. Of the two of us, I’m the one most outside the box. She taught me especially to dream big, for the dream precedes the goal. In turn, I accomplished more by the time I turned 21 than most people do in a lifetime, and yet there’s this wiser part of me that knows it’s not nearly enough, for we are all here on borrowed time and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I’m not afraid to live beyond the word “potential”, and I’m not afraid of other people’s opinions because everyone is entitled to have one, it doesn’t mean their opinion is the correct one.

Death and grief changes you. Do you know what it’s like wondering if each breath a loved one takes will be their last? I watched over my Mom like that when she returned home after suffering from several heart attacks and strokes because her doctor was convinced she would not live another week. I immediately went into nurse/doctor mode, I went without sleep for days on end. Whenever she slept,  I watched over her.

I always wanted my Mom to understand how very important she was to me and how lucky I felt that she was gifted to me as my mother. The last words we spoke to each other were of love. She was tired and said she’d talk to me either later or tomorrow. That night I received a phone call that changed my life immeasurably.

Less than a year later, I found a note from her to me. She’d written it before I was born and while I eliminated some of the more private parts, I share this with you just as I shared it at my parents’ unveiling.

A message to my daughter: ” Be your own person, always be truthful. Be kind, generous, loving, compassionate, and understanding. Be a friend, be thoughtful. Some day you may want these qualities of others. Teach them to your children. Be honest, you’ll always be able to look at yourself with pride. Don’t expect a lot from other people, and you’ll never be disappointed. Enjoy your life, but don’t do anything you’re not going to be able to live with, or are not be prepared to accept as a responsibility. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, hate is a wasted emotion. It’s not necessary to get even. Appreciate what you have, and achieve to the best of your ability. Listen. Sometimes all a person needs is your shoulder. Be gracious, don’t let life drain and break you until you feel empty. Sometimes you have to be selfish. Make your own space, don’t be swallowed by loved ones. Don’t be afraid to admit you’ve made a mistake, we all do. Always know I love you and that you can come to me with anything. Let me be your friend…” Every time I read it, it makes me cry. My Mom had a lot of foresight into what my life would be like.

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At the beginning and end of each day, I still thank God for my Mom. Her loss is felt so deeply within me every single day. Over the years she has sent me so many things to help me heal. I can’t explain what it’s like to fully sense the physical presence of a person, be the presence solid or spiritual ether. Explaining clairsentience to people is a lot like trying to explain air.

People tell me that despite what I am going through, and that which I’ve already endured, I walk in a room and have a glow about me they can’t quite put their finger on. I attribute that to being proud of who I am, for knowing who I am, and being confident in my skin. My Mom helped foster those initial feelings in me, so I am fearless, supremely confident, and despite all of the pain I have endured, I always rise up out of the ashes better than I was before the pyre. I am the astrological sign of transformation and rebirth, and the older I get, the greater respect I have for those moments in my life that help make me better.

I was blessed with an amazing mother. I know not everyone gets to have that kind of relationship with a parent, but I am also a firm believer that everything we experience in life helps prepare us for the moments when we really have to step up. My Mom often said “I never have to worry about you. You will always find your way, you will never lose focus.” I have a lot of bad days, but she’s right, she doesn’t have to worry about me because she instilled so much in me that I know my strengths. Occasionally I have to remind myself what they are, but I don’t ever truly lose focus.

Mom, I want you to know that I know you’re always close by. I know you have saved my life more times than I care to count. I know you see that life is shit’s creek. But I also firmly believe that because you know me so well, you’ll always make sure a life raft gets sent my way. Even if it’s at the last-minute, you’ll never let me down.

I’m my mother’s daughter. I don’t owe anyone anything, but I do owe it to myself to be the very best version of who I am supposed to be, who I am meant to be. My mother only ever wanted me to be myself, but she firmly believed that was a person who would succeed. On a day like today, I need to remind myself that the potential and possibility is there and always will be. I thank you for being my mother, but I thank you more for being the reason I am exactly who I’m supposed to me.

Has time healed anything? No. Do I have hopes that the hole in my heart will eventually fill up a bit? Yes.

I love you, Mom. Thank you…for everything.

“We thought of you today, but that’s nothing new. We thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.

We think of you in silence. We often speak your name. Now all we have are memories, and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake with which we’ll never part. God has you in his keeping, we have you in our hearts.” -Unknown

Excerpts of this are copyright © 2009 by Lisa Marino. Everything else, unless otherwise indicated, is copyright © 2013-2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. No portion of this may be reproduced without written consent under the U.S. Copyright Act. Photos & quotes all belong to their creators. 

“Seek the sweet surrender of simplicity. Listen to the sound of faith like a flute playing inside your chest. Go within. Serenity lives always within your reach.” -Ching Qu Lam