Sunday, August 30, 2009

Am I Getting Older or What?

Where has time gone? Where has my life gone? I looked in the mirror the other day and realized that I am almost 50. I guess each year when my brother updates his email address it is a constant reminder that we are getting old. My oldest child Rachael will be 30 this year and I finally have a new grandson, Macloud Raiden Ruel. He was born in Feburary but I never saw him until this month. I live less than a mile from his mother yet I never saw him until my mother and sister came to visit me this month. Long story, but hey I haven't written anything in like over a year.

Rachael and Melissa are my older daughters from my life prior to becoming a Muslim. Rachael was a teen pregnancy whose father ran off and joined the Army and Melissa is the daughter of my first husband Steve. Life didn't deal me the best hand as a young woman and our relationship as mother and daughters is not what I want after so many years. Rachael lives with her two children Keeley and Kaleb in Utah and I talk to her just about every day if not twice a week. I talk to my grandchildren on a monthly basis or each time she calls at least. Melissa on the other hand moved here to Colorado after the death of her father. She had been dealt years of stories about Mom that anyone who has gone through child custody and divorce is familiar with. She didn't quite fit into my life and for many reasons she met and married a nice young man Michael. Don't get me wrong I love her with all my heart and they both know it as do my other children I have with Taher but our relationships are not the same.

Even though we are less than a mile apart we may be worlds away. I rarely see or hear from her and my life goes on. In June, my mother told me she and my sister Faye were planning a trip to see me then on to Utah to visit my other siblings. I haven't seen my mother in a few years and except for the phone relationship we now have I am not really a part of my families lives. Another result of American lives. My ties with my family started breaking long before but it was the death of my Adopted father James that broke the last straws for me. James adopted me and two siblings when I was 7 and although I remember that I had another last name I have no memories of my real father. This was one reason why I began my genealogy work. James had been married before and had two sons Kerry my most wonderful brother in the whole world and Farrell whom I met once in my lifetime and I wish to reach out to. Kerry came into my life at a pivotal point I had just became a teenager and he was the older brother I always wanted and now had. He was one of the few who thought it was cool to be an uncle, when I had my first child. Farrell came for a summer the year I was 14 and like most half siblings it was a miserable summer. He lived in Virginia and we never saw or spoke to each other again. James passed away 15 years ago, when my daughter Aieysha was barely a year old. The two boys have no memories of him as they only saw him when they were very little and Aieysha saw him a few weeks before his death. We all flew to Utah for the funeral and stayed just a few days as family issues arose that lead us to leave as soon as possible. Many hard feelings were made that day. Needless to say it was until I began my search for my birth father that my ties with my family were renewed. I finally got up the nerve to call my mother one day and get more needed info to try and solve the questions of my past.

Now it is two years later and I speak to my mother two to three times a week chatting about someone I found we were related to or asking if she can find a certain book at the most wonderful book store in Florida Books, Books, Books. Those ladies are great at finding stuff that I need or old books that are long out of publication lying on old dusty shelves. We joke that one of their best customers is in another state! Anyway, not too long after my sister became ill and they asked me if I could locate her father too. I did, but thankfully it was not a serious illness and they at least have a chance if they wish to form a union.

Maybe it is just me, or something I lost in life but I feel lost without knowing who my father was. I did find him, he is living but not anywhere close by. But once his family got involved they refused to speak to me. They wanted proof that I was his child. OK, I agree, but they have never done a DNA test to help me prove that and they do not respond to my letters. I guess this is one thing I will never know for sure. And it has left me feeling more lost.

Anyway back to last June, not only were my mother and sister coming to visit but my grandchildren Keeley and Kaleb were supposed to visit their father who now lives in Colorado for the summer and they needed a place to stay. So my little house was bursting! Mom and Faye came and we barely got one day with each other, seeing as I had not seen my sister in 15 years it was a bit odd but it felt like we had just talked last week. It was a bit strained I think no one wanted to say anything to damage the delicate balance we now live with. I have yet to really talk with my other siblings. Except for Kerry, I feel like I live alone when it comes to family.

With the beginning of Ramadan I am always sad, I think back to just four years ago when I went with my children on a trip to Libya to visit my husbands family. Those of you who know me know how that journey was. But now with time, all bad fades and I still would go again in a heartbeat to be back were at least there was family. Ramadan is so much of thanking God for what you have and some days I fell like I haven't given my kids the most important gift-FAMILY.

I can only hope that I at sometime in the future hold my grand kids on my lap and tell them the stories of their parents when they were little. While my mother and everyone were here I felt really sick the second day after they arrived. I thought it was the stress of just being together and so many people in one small house. Especially with the two extra children fighting over everything...I was making couscous for dinner and I was trying not to cut myself. I had felt funny all day and this was getting dangerous. I told them the meat was in the pot and the soup needed sometime and the couscous was ready and sat down on the couch. I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure but never stayed on medication due to doctors. I pulled out my blood pressure cuff and took my score it was 179/130. My sister called my old doctors office whom I had just been to a few months back and they took two hours to call me back. They said go to the hospital right away. Taher was called and my son drove as my sister had no idea where or how to get to the hospital and mom stayed with the other kids. At 3 am they said that it was close that my potassium level was so low that a heart stroke or attack was likely had I not came in.

The next day, I cried. I hadn't even seen my new grandson yet and I had just seen my sister after 15 years and it shook me to the core. What if I did have a stroke or attack and had died? Well, its a month later and I am doing better for a few weeks I walked and moved like granny but I have regained most of my health. I tried to fast but it drained me so badly that for my health I will not fast this year. My kids homestudy now and we have been in school two weeks and are doing great. I have my son to take me where I need if I need to go out although he hates to be chauffeur. But imagine if I have a weak spell while driving. I don't risk other peoples lives. The day after I got out of the hospital my daughter Melissa came and brought the baby for me to see. First time in 6 months, he was a beautiful boy, not sure where he got that from!! Hehehe. But I was having problems with weakness in my arms and could not hold him and he was looking at all the strange people and just bellowed. I went into my room to lie down and inside I was breaking, here was my grandson who I could not hold and who I had just seen for the first time and I almost never saw him. To me Ramadan is not fasting, not friends, or how many parties or dinners you have too serve to another group of guests it's FAMILY. Cherish what we have people. Life is getting short. My husband still has not talked to his family in years and mine is strained at best. But I have to make due with what I have. My children that are still at home and help them to understand the value of family as one day when we are older we may no longer have them around to enjoy. Peace to everyone and may you see your life in a new light today.