Who Am I

Sep 19, 2012 by

Who Am I


I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a woman, a girl, a writer.  But I am no longer a wife.

Five years ago the rug was yanked out from underneath me. Much like the magic trick when the magician pulls the table cloth off of the table and all of the dishes somehow magically remain on top. Except in my case, most all the dishes, the glassware and even the silverware came crashing down to the ground. Some shattered in hundreds of pieces, unable to be reassembled and put back together.  Some simply cracked and worth a second look. And some of them are remarkably whole, but I am not quite sure where they should be placed back up on the table.

It’s a strange feeling, being complete but still feeling the missing pieces.  My marriage, my husband, my confidant are gone.  I have tried filling them in with different experiences, places, people, things…it doesn’t really work that well.

What I have discovered is that I have to accept the broken pieces, throw them away and introduce newer, better parts into my life.  Things will get taken away from us, so that we may be able to keep ourselves open to picking up the pieces that aren’t broken, fixing some of the pieces that are broken and throwing away what we can’t salvage.

I am still a mother (a great one, if I do say so myself), a daughter (a decent one), a friend (I do my best)…and all of those other things. Now it is time to create the rest of myself. What does that look like?  I want to help others who have experienced loss, disappointment and far too many broken pieces. I want to enjoy this last year with my daughter at home. I want to travel and experience all that is waiting for me. I have come to realize that although I have some broken parts (who doesn’t?) I am still whole.

We all travel as tourists through this crazy thing called life.  The more we look at it as an adventure, the healthier we become.  I have no regrets about the past decisions and choices and experiences that I have had. I have faith that there is a reason for all of it. And it is faith that will keep me on my path. The path that is unseen but is there for me to continue travelling upon.  The people I am going to meet that will help me change my life, as I help them change theirs for the better.  The prayers I put out into the world, not only for myself, but for everyone who is suffering one way or another.  I know suffering.  Just start picking up the pieces, a day at at time. Don’t forget the most important person in the equation YOU!

What helps?  Meditation helps ease anxiety, I’ve learned that and it’s amazing.  Sitting quietly and listening to beautiful music, bringing peace into my heart and finding some sacred space.  It used to sound so funny to me, but it times of true strife and loss, it works beautifully.    I have a long journey ahead of me.  We’ll see what happens along the way.   But with friends and faith, it just may turn out better than I thought.

I may try to pull the tablecloth next year, again, and see what happens.

Catherine Graves

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Author’s Personal Memoir Breaks Down Behind-The-Scenes Trauma

May 11, 2011 by

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AUTHOR’S PERSONAL MEMOIR BREAKS DOWN BEHIND-THE-SCENES TRAUMA
New Book Just Released:
Checking Out: An In-Depth Look At Losing Your Mind
By CATHERINE GRAVES

May 2011 (Phoenix, Arizona) Catherine Graves knows firsthand what it feels like to lose her mind.  She knows what it feels like to lose all sense of responsibility and her sense of self.  But, she also knows how it feels to emerge from the depths of despair to reclaim her life.

In Checking Out: An In-Depth Look At Losing Your Mind, first-time author, Catherine Graves, takes us on her personal and private journey to what she and her family experienced. When her husband starts to act out-of-character and increasingly disinterested, Graves suspects the worst—but while she needs confirmation of one sort, a different type of nightmare begins, which becomes the toughest year of her and her two children’s lives – a dreadful year in which nothing for their family will ever be the same. Graves makes keeping it together possible by realizing that the poor choices and mistakes she makes has consequences and repercussions.

“I was convinced that my husband was having an affair – or several affairs.  Eventually I discovered that he had a massive brain tumor,” says Graves, “and the guilt I experienced over that was enormous.  I learned that you can be wrong about your assumptions, make big mistakes and still have reason to forgive yourself.  I am the perfect example that the end of your loved one’s life doesn’t need to be the end of your own.”

In her speaking engagements, Graves’ audience is responding to her unbridled honesty and can be thankful to lead less extraordinary lives. She inspires others to see that there is life at the other end of immense grief.

Significant Points

  • When she suspects John, her 46 year-old husband of having affairs Catherine hires a private investigator to follow him.  He’s guilty of something, she’s convinced.
  • They seek counseling, and the counselor says that he’s in a deep depression and instructs them to go to Sierra Tucson for treatment.
  • There they discover that he has Glioma, a severe brain tumor.  (Ted Kennedy and Johnnie Cochran died from the Glioma)
  • After he dies, she’s left with guilt and deep grief.
  • She abandons her family, makes terrible choices, loses her mind, and checks herself into treatment.
  • These days she’s taking full responsibility for the negative effect her thinking and actions had on her family, friends & herself.

About Checking Out
Checking Out: An In-Depth Look At Losing Your Mind
by Catherine Graves; ISBN #978-1460914397; $16.95; Softback; 6’ x 9”; 184 pages; Available on Amazon.com and Kindle; ISBN #9781613974261.

UPCOMING BOOK READING / SIGNING
Where: Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S McClintock Drive, Tempe, Arizona 85283, (480) 730-0205
When: Thursday, June 2nd, 7:00PM – 8:30PM

PDF Version – Catherine Graves: For Immediate Release 05/11/2011

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We All Fall Down

Dec 7, 2010 by

We All Fall Down

John’s chemotherapy and radiation treatments were over in six weeks as promised. Three weeks later he started falling apart. Falling down. A lot. At first he could help me get him back if not his feet, and least into a chair. But even that didn’t last long, and then it was just me struggling to lift my big, forever strong and handsome husband up from the floor.John had seizures, many of them, and all he could do was sleep them off the way some ridiculous college binger would sleep off a big weekend. I watched him sleep, sometimes dozing off myself, then waking with a start, afraid that John wouldn’t awaken at all.I took John back to Barrows ahead of schedule and insisted he have a scan done of his brain. The news the scan brought was not good. I hadn’t expected it to be, of course, but I couldn’t always trust my intuition anymore. (Other than from the kids, I wasn’t expecting to see good coming from anything). There were three new spots on John’s brain. In strictly physical terms, small. In medical, and psychological, terms, enormous. The glioma was recurring with remarkable speed. The cerebellum, where your physical coordination comes from, was the site of one of the new spots. That explained a lot. His motor skills were shot. The falling wasn’t just weakness from the weeks of chemo and radiation. This was not something he would get over with time and rest.The implantation of a Gliadel wafer was brought up now. Of course it would mean going into what should be no man’s land—John’s brain—once again. It was, in the most generous terms, a stopgap measure, one that might add some time to John’s physical life, but would not in any way ensure any quality of life. And the side effects, as mentioned before, seemed almost more dreadful than the treatment.We chose home instead.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this post  by sharing a comment below. if you enjoyed the post, please share it by using one of the sharing links on the page.

©2010 Catherine Graves

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The Ugliest Word in the World

Oct 1, 2010 by

The Ugliest Word in the World

Glioma is a word ugly enough to make you wish your mouth and tongue couldn’t make the motions necessary to say it. Glioma. Or more exactly, and more to the point, Glioblastoma multiforme. On a list of things you would ban from this world, brain tumors—particularly this type of sinister, aggressive, cancerous growth—would have to be near the top of the list. Even if you are the ultimate misanthrope; even if you hate dogs (which are also strangely susceptible to this particularly horrible disease). It was also exactly what John was diagnosed as having.These devastating brain tumors are relatively rare (fewer than twenty thousand are diagnosed annually in the United States), unpredictable (there are no blood tests, no genetic test nor marker that can predict who will develop Glioma; there appears to be no hereditary component to it either), and always incurable (though there are different treatment regimens that can extend the life of a patient, the commutation of that grim sentence generally lasts no more than ten to sixteen months).The warning signs of glioma mirror so many other physical and psychological disorders that a tumor—and this particular tumor— is one of the last things anyone would blame. Symptoms include headaches, confusion, seizures, nausea, arm and/or leg numbness, personality changes. But, as was the case with John, he never talked about any “symptoms” as such; he complained that his eyes hurt one time and never mentioned it again. The confusion and personality changes, I took as “symptoms” of something very different, as did behavioral specialists. Another significant problem with diagnosing gliomas is that they frequently produce no symptoms until they get to a relatively huge size.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this post  by sharing a comment below. if you enjoyed the post, please share it by using one of the sharing links on the page.

©2010 Catherine Graves

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