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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Java Talk: Someone Who Touched Our Lives



A sweet reader by the name of Nancy emailed an idea for Java Talk this week. She suggested that maybe we could discuss people who have positively affected our lives, since Memorial Day is right around the corner. 

That sounded like a great idea to me. 

(By the way, email me ideas for things you'd like to discuss on Java Talk please.) 

So here we go. The person who most affected my life in a positive way was my first mother-in-law. I have to say that while I was married to her son, many years ago, the very opposite was true. We did not much like one another!

But later down the line, when I was married to husband #3 (Lord, how embarrassing to have to keep up with them that way), that all changed. 

I had my worst depressive episode ever. It was so bad that I tried to kill myself. I was found, obviously, and here I am.

I was 43 years old. My then husband had a huge fit over something that Sunday morning, and took off. All I wanted to do was make things right, whatever it was. I kept calling and calling him and he wouldn't answer. 

Well, now I know he was probably with a woman. But that's neither here nor there, really, is it?

It just so happened to be Mother's Day. Yes, I know that I've hurt my children terribly by doing that to them, and no one feels worse than I do about that immutable fact. 

No one knows the guilt I feel over it, and that they probably detached themselves from me that very day. I know it, so I don't need anyone here to remind me. Okay?

After a few hours, I drifted into a dissociative state, where I became quite calm. You know where you are, but you feel removed. Like you are hovering over yourself looking down at the part of you that is so sad.

I've had quite a few of those over the years, but I didn't ever try to hurt myself during any of them. 

I felt I just needed to end it. I can't tell you where that came from. It just seemed logical to me at the time.

When you're in that state of mind, what you're thinking is not rational. You cannot be rational. If you could be, you would realize that "this too shall pass." 

So many people have died because at that moment, they were not in their "right mind", if you will. And sadly, they were not found in time.

Not only is Mother's Day important because I am a mother, but his fit ran off my youngest daughter who had come to see me. Off she went crying back to the city she lived in. And I was upset over that as well. 

I was so angry that he did things like that, and these episodes became more and more frequent. We'd only been married a couple of years, so back then I couldn't see the forest for the trees.

Most of you know that I never had a mother, and thus Mother's Day has always been an emotional day for me for that reason. 

I hated to go out on that day, because all around me in restaurants I'd see mothers and daughters chatting. I would see the love they shared.

And I'd think: Why isn't that me and my mother? Why did my own mother abandon me? Why isn't she here now? Where is she?

I know I've gone on and need to wrap this up. So I'll just say that when others were angry with me for what I did, and didn't want to talk to me, my ex-MIL (her name was Charlyce; she's been dead 10 years this month) was my rock. My absolute rock.

She called me every single day from her home in another city. She is the person who cared enough to see if I was up or down or somewhere in between. 

She kept on with it, day after day that summer of 2000, until there came a day when I was glad to wake up and see the sunshine outside. 

I see what she did for me as the most caring gift someone could possibly give to someone else. If not for her, I might have just given up. 

And that is why I held her as she took her last breath six years down the line. For those six years, I almost felt like I actually had a mother in her, my children's grandmother. 

We became very close till the day she died. I owed her for my own life.

So I've told my sad little story. I didn't really want to go into all that, but it was pertinent to why she is the person who has most touched my life. 

Now it's your turn. Please relate as much or as little as you'd like.

Cozy Little House
36 Comments
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36 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, and personal, story. Sometimes, whether we have a Mother or not, we are "mothered" just when we need it. I had a tough Mother's Day this year ... it isn't always like the Hallmark commercials, is it? Thank goodness we are often surrounded by those who take our hand and walk us through the tough days. Blessings to you!

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    1. Yes, sometimes fate intervenes and a "mother" finds us for a time, when we really need her. I'm so sorry yours was tough this year. A person doesn't need heartache when all around them they see "Hallmark Moments." Your comment was spot on and really touched me.

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  2. Brenda I know this post was painful for you, but thanks for sharing. You are a strong woman and I admire you. Please keep sharing.

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    1. I did stop sharing for a time. I got some comments that really hurt. And I told myself had I not put myself out there, they couldn't have touched the bruise. But then we never know what others are really feeling, or why they react the way they do. And perhaps if we did, it would all make sense and we could really help one another instead of tearing each other down.

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  3. Brenda, I loved this story please keep sharing there is so many women out there that can identify with your story but are not brave enough to open up and share, this us so good to know they are not alone, unless it is to painful for you, I think you can help a lot of wounded women!

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    1. I'll keep putting myself out there as long as I don't get comments & emails tearing me down. Everyone can have their own opinion, but it should be stated nicely.

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    2. You should never take to heart anything nasty that anyone is saying (or writing) about you or your life. I found it is always better to take the view, that they say these nasty things because they can see you are a good, strong person and they are jealous of the fact that they are not like you. (I always take unpleasant comments as a sort of backhanded compliment - sort of - aah - I see - you wish you were me - type of thing). It makes nastiness just a little bit sweeter. If people are trying to destroy you, they fear you and are envious of you. It does sound ridiculous, but if you think about it - it kinda makes sense! :)

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  4. I have to give you credit for putting yourself out there. You are very strong and brave.
    I guess the person that has most touched my life, is my ex husband. Sadly, it was not in a good way. I was married for over 30 years, and thought it would be forever. It is not possible to share life with someone that long, and not have them have an effect on your life. Let's just say we all have our faults, and life is very hard...much harder than I knew growing up.

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    1. Well, if I'd approached it in that way, mine would have been my ex-husband as well. But it was in a negative fashion, as yours was.

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    2. It is just the truth. I am an orphan, raised by my Grandparents, no siblings, just friends. Most all of my friends have been a very good influence in my life, especially as an adult. I thank God every day for my friends!

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    3. Sometimes I think we just have to create our own family.

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  5. I've had many good strong women in my life but it's odd that the women who have had the most influence on me have been from books, both real life and even fictional. I know for sure that when I read my first Alexandra Stoddard book years ago, it changed my life forever, and there have been fictional characters as well. But then that's always been the way with me, I learn more from books than from life. It's my way.

    Just as reading your post today showed me what one woman can do simply by caring enough to make a phone call a day. I'm so glad she did.

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  6. Well, if I stop and think about it, Dewena, female authors have touched my life too. Anna Quindlen for one. I'm glad you brought this up, as I didn't think of this.

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  7. Dear, dear Brenda. You so touch my heart! I feel like I really know you and that you are a special friend. Thank you for sharing such heart wrenching details of your life with us.
    There was a time in my life many years ago when I had a "nervous breakdown". I spent my days in bed with the covers over my head. My mother came from out of town to try to help me and I was so out of it I did not remember she came for years afterwards. A good friend finally came to see me and she snapped me out of it. She told me to throw away all the medications that were drugging me up, and to start getting out of the house and walking, and to pick up the pieces of my broken life and make a new one. I will never begin to thank her enough for being there for me. She had already had to re-invent her own life which was way more complicated than mine, so she was a great role model for me.

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    1. I was the opposite. I really needed medication. And once we switched to a new one, I started to get better. I think some people don't do well with medication. And there are some, like me, that would probably be dead without them.

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  8. I agree with everyone who appreciates your honesty and vulnerability, Brenda. I have found that pain in life has made me more compassionate. The people who say rude things either haven't dealt with really difficult challenges in life, or they are not willing or able to face the truth. It is through these honest emotions and situations that we connect with others. The person who has influenced me most is my daughter. She is brave, strong, and free-spirited...all qualities I wish I possessed :)

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    1. You may possess more of those qualities than you think, Julie. Or where did you daughter learn them from? Yes, I agree that people open their mouth when they haven't experienced something that perhaps you or I have, and thus judge us accordingly. I say if they haven't experienced that pain, then to not judge. That doesn't help anyone. Kind words bond women together and make them feel safe enough to share.

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  9. Brenda, thanks for sharing your story and the pain. I believe there is healing when others can help bear the burdens of life. Blessings, Pam

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    1. I think you're right, Pam. And I think that people learn compassion through living pain.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this personal story, Brenda. There are so many people out there who are hurting in so many different ways. I'm so thankful your mother-in-law was by your side during this difficult time. I'll never forget what I read so many years ago, that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem; but unfortunately many don't see it as temporary. My strongest influence were my parents, both my mother and father. They instilled in me the person I am today.

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    1. That's exactly right. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Strangely enough, a very good friend who was about five years older than I and was a psychiatric social worker came over and talked to me some about it. And then two years later he shot himself and died. We are none of us immune to this, no matter what we may think.

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  11. What a beautiful post!! You are brave for putting yourself out there. Good for you.

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  12. A woman old enough to be my mom was a powerful influence and wonderful role model and friend. I was raising 2 sons....I was one of 3 girls . I was out of my element. My friend had raised a son and had taught junior high school. She helped me to understand my children....what a wonderful gift. Even after she moved away, we would talk for hours. She loved to clean and that inspired me. She loved old things, and helped me to appreciate history. Most of all she was a good friend that loved life and loved to laugh. I miss her so much.


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    1. I'm so glad you had her in your life. You probably gave her as much as she gave you.

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    2. Thank you, I hadn't thought of it that way.

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  13. Well said. Mothers are not always the thoughts on the cards. Sometimes a 'Mother' is a brief moment with a complete stranger. Keep sharing Brenda!

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

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    1. And I thank you all for sharing here today!

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  15. I am so sorry I missed this yesterday Brenda...I believe the person who affected my life the most has been my son Matthew...He was born 2 months before I turned 36...Suddenly I had someone to live for...someone to give my love to and get so much back..I got braver..I learned to drive because there were so many places I wanted to take him...so many things I wanted him to see..I think I shared with you before that I tried suicide when I was a teenager..I learned that nothing in this world would ever be worth leaving my son behind..Plus his father no longer wanted to be bothered with trying to be a Daddy..I guess it was to difficult a task for him...After Matt started school I started Community College..it took me 4 years but I earned my degree...I just told Matt on Mother's Day that he was the best thing that ever happened to me and I meant it...Nancy

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  16. Memorial Day is to honor those who died in wars. Enough.

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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